January 30, 2004

I stood in line and ate my Twinkies

* Jean-Jacques Burnel of The Stranglers lists the 10 best 1970s songs.

* Will these old directions still direct? Apparently not, as Britain's biggest-selling hiking magazine apologized Wednesday after its latest issue contained a route that would lead climbers off the edge of a cliff on Britain's tallest peak.

* Willie Williams, the top high school football recruit from Florida, recounts his visit to Florida State University.

[via metajournalism]

an excerpt:

...But nothing impressed Williams more than when he sat down for dinner with nearly a dozen other recruits -- including Northwestern [Florida high school] cornerback Trevor Ford and Killian [Florida high school] cornerback J.R. Bryant.

''Dinner was tight,'' Williams said. `We had our own section in the restaurant, but the only thing that bugged me was that I sat all the way in the back -- so I was the last one to get my food.

`Coach Haggins told us to order as much as we wanted. I ordered a steak and a lobster tail. The lobster tail was like $49.99. I couldn't believe something so little could cost so much. The steak didn't even have a price. The menu said something about market value. I was kind of embarrassed so I didn't order a lot.

'But then I saw what the other guys were ordering, I was like, `Forget this.' I called the waiter back and told him to bring me four lobster tails, two steaks and a Shrimp Scampi. It was good. I took two boxes back with me to the hotel.''

After dinner, Williams met his tour guide -- defensive back Antonio Cromartie. But he quickly urged the coaches to find him a new one.

''That boy was on crutches,'' Williams said. `I would have had to hop around campus everywhere. Besides, I wanted somebody who played my position to take me around.''

Cromartie was immediately replaced by linebackers Ernie Sims, Willie Jones of Carol City [Florida high school] and A.J. Nicholson as well as defensive lineman Clifton Dickson of Northwestern [Florida high school].

''After dinner, we hit the clubs,'' Williams said. ``I had a great time with [fellow recruits] Xavier Carter, Xavier Lee, Aaron Jones and Kenny Ingram. All of us really bonded and had a great time. We got back late -- and we paid for it the next day.''

Richard Brautigan was born on January 30, 1935. Here are a few poems to celebrate his birthday.

Late Starting Dawn

It's a late starting dawn that breathes my vision,
inhales and exhales the sound of waking birds
and pokes ten miles of cold gray sky at a deer
standing alone in a meadow.

Too Many Lifetimes Like This One, Right?

Too many lifetimes like this one, right?
Hungover, surrounded by general goofiness,
lonely, can't get it up, I feel like a pile of bleached cat shit.

The American Hotel

Baudelaire was sitting
in a doorway with a wino
on San Francisco's skidrow.
The wino was a million
years old and could remember
Baudelaire and the wino
were drinking Petri Muscatel.
"One must always be drunk,"
said Baudelaire.
"I live in the American Hotel,"
said the wino. "And I can
remember dinosaurs."
"Be you drunken ceaselessly,"
said Baudelaire.

The Beautiful Poem

I go to bed in Los Angeles thinking
about you.

Pissing a few moments ago
I looked down at my penis

Knowing it has been inside
you twice today makes me
feel beautiful.
(3 am, January 15, 1967)


The sea is like
an old nature poet
who died of a
heart attack in a
public latrine.
His ghost still
haunts the urinals.
At night he can
be heard walking
around barefooted
in the dark.
Somebody stole
his shoes.

January 29, 2004

I'm regular I'm treble kicked

* Jim Jarmusch’s newest film, Coffee And Cigarettes will feature musicians Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, The White Stripes’ Meg White and Jack White, and the Wu’s GZA and RZA as well as actors such as Italian funnyman Roberto Benigni, stand-up comedian Steven Wright, Steve Buscemi, Cate Blanchett and the always loveable Bill Murray, among others. The film is set to be released in May.

* Speaking of coffee, the Dust Congress recommends: dutch flowers.

* This is easily one of the strangest and disturbing images Ive seen on the net. Its just plain weird.
can't keep track of each fallen robin

* Blake Bailey's biography, "A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates," has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle award.

* John Cale on the Chelsea Hotel. an excerpt:

"Bob Dylan got married during his three-year stay in the Chelsea Hotel from 1961-64, and his first child Jesse was born there. After first arriving at the hotel in 1963, Viva (who went on to become an Andy Warhol superstar) gave birth to both Gaby and Alexander and married both her husbands during the 25 years she lived there. Leonard Cohen, however, preferred to write 'Chelsea Hotel No 2', a song commemorating fellatio with Janis Joplin in room 104, when he lived there in the 1970s. Patti Smith first stayed there in 1959, and in 1962-63 returned with a penurious Robert Mapplethorpe who could not persuade the owner Stanley Bard that his photography made an equitable exchange for rent. Stanley let them stay anyway. Joni Mitchell had 'Chelsea Morning'. BonJovi had 'Chelsea Midnight' and Nico and Andy Warhol had Chelsea Girls.

"Stanley Bard has been at the helm of the Chelsea Hotel for more than 40 years, since taking it over from his father David in 1957. The building was the first co-oped building in New York, having been built, complete with features such as artist studios, in 1882. It became a hotel in 1905, ended in bankruptcy, and rescued from the bank by a group led by David Bard in 1940. Now featuring 400 rooms, it has been the recent focus of morbid rumours of its imminent sale. It's not happening. What seems to have happened is that attention has been drawn to New York's Chelsea area in general as a result of the recent move there by so many art galleries, filling the blocks from 10th Ave and 24th St West to 11th Ave and 26th.

"In its relationship with the various art movements that flowed through New York, the hotel under Stanley's watchful eye, was always a noteworthy recipient of those fringe, and sometimes mainstay, figures that were active then. The list is long and fearsome, something like the opening verses of Genesis. It begins with Brendan Behan who needed to finish two books for Geiss and was allowed in on the proviso that there was 'no destruction of property'."
Northern Lights

this picture was taken Saturday night just outside of Anchorage, Alaska.

January 28, 2004

you've got to keep your wits about you

* Mark E. Smith recounts the time an American taxi driver overheard Coldplay discussing business in the back of his cab - leading him to believe they were stockbrokers. [via
no rock and roll fun]

"I got this taxi in America, and I always say I'm a building engineer if anybody asks, though I told this particular driver I was a sound engineer.

"And he said, 'How's business?' and I said, 'It's alright apart from musicians.' And he goes, 'It's funny you should say that because I picked up three guys the other day, three British guys like you, and they were going on about 25 per cent this and 25 per cent that and five per cent this and they looked pretty scruffy.'

"So he got them to where they were going and said, 'Have a good day, hope you have a good stockbroker meeting,' and they go, 'What's that? We're Coldplay!' And he goes to me, 'Have you heard of Coldplay?' I said, 'Yeah, they're big in Britain.' And he said, 'I thought they were fucking three fuckinging stockbrokers.' And I said, 'You're damn right.'

'Cos that's what they are, fucking middle-class businessmen. 'Cos their moms and dads are all bank managers, money is all they're bothered about. If they were my children I'd say, 'Get a fucking proper job. Do something useful. Be a scientist.'"

* An interview with Mark E. Smith. an excerpt:

Interviewer: You always dress normally?
MES: I've always been like that - ever since I was 14. It's always best to remain anonymous. Having a name like Smith makes you anonymous for the rest of your fucking life! And it's really good. At school the teacher would never ask you anything - they'd look down the list and pass over Smith, and they'd see some really weird name, y'know "what's this, I'll ask him the question". You can stand at a bus stop and old fellas will talk to you. If you dress up like a punk, old fellas don't talk to you 'cos they're frightened of you. It's their fault but I don't like to be restricted in anything I do. We went over to Ireland to play with the Virgin Prunes, and they really dress up - pearls and dresses - they're all guys - and they're really into good music, but we went into a pub and people were hassling us all the time. People wouldn't serve us in pubs, and I reckon that's all just a waste of time. It's two points of view. You can either get into the system or...you've either got to be totally bland or if you're going to dress up, do it, that's great, but I like my advantages. How can you talk about the world from the position of a punk? No-one will talk to you, they all think you're just fucking idiot, and maybe they're right.
Interviewer - What's 'How I wrote Elastic Man' about?
MES - Writers, which is why Dave McCullough didn't like it. It's about a guy who wrote a book called 'Elastic Man' and everybody gets on his back about it, he's a celebrity and it fucks up his art.

* The difficulties of being in The Fall were discussed in a Guardian article last week.

* Mark E. Smith Font.
a payphone was ringing; it nearly blew my mind

* Thoughtful Bob Mould post on "this business we call music." an excerpt:

"The conglomerating of media outlets, namely radio, shifted the power base to the outside concerns. The radio stations dictate success or failure for most artists, and have the record companies over a barrel. Feed the beast, and watch it grow. The song is not even important anymore; just the chorus, please, so that it can fit nicely underneath fantastically filmed images of Hummers racing across Antarctica, or wherever the hell they go. The music is now an accompaniment, not a centerpiece, of our culture and life; it's one of the few ways artists can make a few dollars these days - keeping the beat of the background alive.

"The companies wonder why people have chosen to 'steal' the one good chorus. Well, you fed the wrong beast. Instead of feeding the fans' never-quenched thirst for more, you sold out the art form to radio and TV concerns, forgetting about the traditional bind that is created when an artist tells their stories in long form, and the fans listen with their full attention. You, the stupid music business, wiped away 50 years of history by pandering and pleading for 28 seconds of airplay, or, even better, thousands of dollars funneled to individual radio stations for nothing more than an ADD, a false mention of a song being played on a pseudo-influential radio station. The music fan is not stupid - they will buy music direct from artists, if the work speaks to them. I try shareware, and if it works for me, I always pay for it. Music fans will support the artists, if we can find that way to connect, both artistically and through word of mouth promotion.

"Sadly, the days of 'the album' may be behind us. If so, music fans need to prepare for different 'formats': it may not look like an album, it may not feel like a song, but it will be the voice and vision of the artist, and we will ask you to compensate for our time and effort. If you choose to support it, the new system (whatever exact shapes it may take) will be one that bonds the artist and fan once again. Anything is possible now."

* Much missed Suck.com has put a lot of its archives up for review. [via the morning news]

* The Pictoral Madonna Review: On this site, if you are interested, you can look at pictures of Madonna dating back to 1958.

January 27, 2004

I can track a single bee to the hive

Two poems by Bill Hicok:

Spam leaves an aftertaste

What does the Internet know that it sends me
unbidden the offer of a larger penis?
I’m flattered by the energy devoted
to the architecture of my body.
Brain waves noodling on girth, length, curvature
possibly, pictures drawn on napkins
of the device, teeth for holding, cylinder—
pneumatic, hydraulic—for stretching
who I am into who I shall be. But of all
messages to drop from the digital ether,
hope lives in the communiqué that I can find
out anything about anyone. So I’ve asked:
who am I, why am I here, if a train
leaving Chicago is subsidized
by the feds, is the romance of travel
dead? I’d like the skinny on where I’ll be
when I die, to have a map, a seismic map
of past and future emotions, to be told
how to keep the violence I do to myself
from becoming the grenades I pitch
at others. The likes of Snoop.com
never get back to me, though I need
to know most of all if any of this helps.
How we can scatter our prayers so wide,
if we’ve become more human or less
in being able to share the specific
in a random way, or was it better
to ask the stars for peace or rain,
to trust the litany of our need
to the air’s imperceptible embrace? Just
this morning I got a message
asking is anyone out there. I replied
no, I am not, are you not there too,
needing me, and if not, come over, I have
a small penis but aspirations
for bigger things, faith among them,
and by that I mean you and I
face to face, mouths
making the sounds once known
as conversation.

By their works

Who cleaned up the Last Supper?
These would be my people.
Maybe hung over, wanting
desperately a better job,
standing with rags
in hand as the window
beckons with hills
of yellow grass. In Da Vinci,
the blue robed apostle
gesturing at Christ
is saying, give Him the check.
What a mess they've made
of their faith. My God
would put a busboy
on earth to roam
among the waiters
and remind them to share
their tips. The woman
who finished one
half eaten olive
and scooped the rest
into her pockets,
walked her tiny pride home
to children who looked
at her smile and saw
the salvation of a meal.
All that week
at work she ignored
customers who talked
of Rome and silk
and crucifixions,
though she couldn't stop
thinking of this man
who said thank you
each time she filled
His glass.

Sex sells coffins

The picture above is from a calender used for marketing purposes by this Italian company that produces and sells "coffins urns and handicraft-items of funeral art."

Mick Jagger reading his eulogy for Brian Jones, July 5, 1969, Hyde Park London, two days following Jones' death.

January 26, 2004

* "It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted…secretly, it was being dictated instead by the needs of technology…by a conspiracy between human beings and techniques, by something that needed the energy-burst of war, crying, 'Money be damned, the very life of [insert name of Nation] is at stake,' but meaning, most likely, dawn is nearly here, I need my night's blood, my funding, funding, ahh more, more.…The real crises were crises of allocation and priority, not among firms—it was only staged to look that way—but among the different Technologies, Plastics, Electronics, Aircraft, and their needs which are understood only by the ruling elite…"
–Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

* "If it all seems too much, just remember that Kant never got laid. Ever." –Andrew Butler

* "Shall I tell you something? That much-repeated quote was said after 14 Pernods, in one of those kind of fits of beautiful drunken bravado when you didn't throw up and you didn't fall down and you suddenly had a moment of clarity that you thought was like the most original thought."
–Elvis Costello

when it's snowing, the outdoors seem like a room

* A list of books read by Art Garfunkel since 1970. [via travelers diagram]

* Interview of Chrissie Hynde. an excerpt:

"There was her on-off relationship with her great love, Ray Davies, lead singer of The Kinks, with whom she had Natalie. In the past she has talked about how she idolised Davies from afar before they met. 'I thought he was a genius,' she says. 'I recorded two of his songs, Stop Sobbing and I Go To Sleep, and they are magnificent. He wrote both of them before he was 20. He really is something.'

"Still, she left him. In the past she said they rowed a lot but maybe she just gets bored and likes to move on. When she was on tour in Australia years ago, when Natalie was a baby and she and Davies still a sort-of item, she surprised the world by going off with Kerr. By the end of the tour she was pregnant, married to another man and performing on crutches because she’d damaged her knee. 'Don’t ask,' she says. 'It was crazy.' She says she is single now but maybe she’ll meet a lovely Brazilian man in Sao Paulo.

"Is she difficult to live with? 'I suppose I must be,' she says. 'It’s hard to say because I really love all my exes. They all want me back, of course, which is how I like it. I loved them all, unless they were pissing me off. But I am a solitary person. When I’m at home I don’t play music. I don’t watch videos. I don’t chat. What is there to chat about? Films? Fashion? I have no interest in these things.'

"She says she doesn’t really like talking about the past. When I ask her about The Pretenders, she says: 'I’ve been asked about this 5,000 times. It’s all got so complicated I can’t remember the truth any more. I came over here 30 years ago because London looked cool and I fell in love with the music scene and ... that’s it really.'

"So she doesn’t think about the days she hung out with Malcolm McClaren and Vivienne Westwood and nearly married Sid Vicious in order to stay in the country? 'Not really,' she says. 'I do think about punk and why I loved it. It was great being a girl around punk because you didn’t stand out. We didn’t have stylists and videos and plastic pop stuff then. We just turned up and played and that was part of our image.'" [via the fold drop]

* Jhumpa Lahiri, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her stories, defines her beliefs about writing -- directness, simplicity, reality and emotional truth are her guideposts -- on KCRW's Bookworm program. [via maud newton]

* Tonight, in cities across the country, meetup with other local activists who are interested in grassroots organizing to persuade our members of Congress to impeach George W. Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors -- its National Impeach Bush Day. [via Jenny Miller]

January 23, 2004

The edge of creation is blurred and blushed

DC artist Laurence P. Wyllie has an opening reception Wednesday, January 28, 6:30 PM at the Alliance Française (located at 2142 Wyoming Avenue, NW Washington, DC).

Wyllie was born and raised in France. She studied interior design at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Techniques in Paris for five years and later decorative painting and faux finishes at the Van der Kelen Institute in Belgium. She is a member of the Studio Gallery in Washington.

In other news:

* Wonkette, a DC affiliate of gawker, is an online roundup of gossip from Washington, DC and the US political arena run by Ana Marie Cox, who previously was behind the antic muse.

* And, RIP Captain Kangaroo.

* CBS won't air MoveOn.org's ad during the Super Bowl (because of its obviously contradictory policy of not running advocacy ads) but will run ad from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (The WH ad, of course, will be nothing more than propaganda and advocacy). read more.
No Plot Without Desire

Two poems by kim addonizio, from her recent collection, what is this thing called love

Dear Reader

Tonight I am amazed by all the people making love
while I sit alone in my pajamas in a foreign country
with my dinner of cookies and vodka. And I am amazed
that my own country still exists, though I am not in it
to speak its language or break its drug laws. How astonishing

to realize that I am not the glass being shattered
on the street below, or the laughter that follows it;
I'm not even one of the congregation on my small TV,
getting the Lord's good news, though I can reach
the screen by leaning forward, and touch

the wavering line of each transfigured face. I tell you
I can't get over it sometimes, I still have trouble
believing that an egg deep inside my own body
went and turned into someone else, who right now
is on a tour boat on the river, having forgotten

how she used to hold on to my legs whenever I tried
to leave the room. Right now, somewhere I am not,
the history of the world is being decided,
and the terrible things I'd rather not think of
go on and on without stopping, while I separate

the two halves of another cookie and lick
the creem filling, and pour myself one more
and drink to you, dear reader, amazed
that you are somewhere in the world without me,
listening, trying to hold me in your hands.

'Round Midnight

In the book I'm reading: hard rain,
spike heels on pavement,
a man waiting in a rented room

to draw a women down onto his bed.
She's the wrong women,
she's a car wreck in a silk dress

and he can't wait to touch her.
No plot without desire,
the more desperate the better.

I look up to find that here, too,
it's raining. And now that I'm back
in my own quiet life

I feel like a character who's barely
been imagined yet, just a name
wearing a faded t-shirt,

reaching for her glass of cold wine.
If only the river would surge into the streets,
if only a tree would uproot itself

or the roof fly off in a funnel of black wind.
Such is my life: A minute ago I was happy,
immersed in a book. No I feel a misery

only violence could cure. Now
I have to invent a story
to drag me out into the city,

toward music and grainy light
and the wrong men, I have to discover
what it is I want

and who I'm going to have to hurt to get it.

January 22, 2004

Rush Limbaugh: the Rick James of political pundits

* A Must Read: Margaret Cho responds to an email from a person who "disagrees with most of [her] political opinions and some of [her] social positions. [via skimble]

* Is a $10,000 laser turntable necessary? Probably not, but one is on the market. Check it out.
In the Middle of the Bottle is a Little of the Way You Talk

* First reported death said to have been caused by marijuana smoking, likely wasn't. an excerpt:

"Let's just take a little look at that. Let's assume that it really was an overdose (the first in recorded history). Millions of people have smoked pot for thousands of years. And now that we have one death, 'Ooh, look at how dangerous that is!' Harmful drug? Aspirin poisoning causes 60 deaths a year in the U.S. Catastrophic liver failure from Tylenol overdoses causes 150 deaths a year, and Viagra causes death in 5 of every 100,000 prescriptions. We're not locking those people up, are we?

"Here's a suggestion for the shadow secretary -- put a warning on packages of marijuana cigarettes suggesting that if you smoke every day, you should limit it to five.

"But the thing is, I'm still not convinced that you can overdose from marijuana. Let's take a look at a piece of a report put out by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency Administrative Judge:

"8. At present it is estimated that marijuana's LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. In layman terms this means that in order to induce death a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette. NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes weigh approximately .9 grams. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.

"9. In practical terms, marijuana cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity.

"Now, let's say you believe everything the drug warriors say and think that marijuana is 30 times as potent today. How you'd smoke 6 joints a day of really potent pot is beyond me. Plus, pot smokers are able to regulate their intake. If they smoke really potent pot, they tend to smoke less. But, what the hell, let's assume. Then it would only take 50 pounds of pot in 15 minutes.

First marijuana overdose? Yeah, right."

* Mike Watt is keeping a journal documenting the recording of his next album, the secondman's middle stand.

* Washington Post editorial showing the pork in the spending bill that the Senate is expected to pass this week:


"It is grotesquely stuffed with pork. According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a conservative budget watchdog group, it earmarks funding for 7,931 projects costing $10.7 billion -- $50 million for an indoor rain forest in Iowa, $1.8 million for exotic pet disease research in California, $200,000 for recreation improvements in the city of North Pole, Alaska. And it is a grab bag of clandestine, largely ill-guided policymaking that ought to have been done in the normal course of congressional business, not stashed in an 1,182-page spending measure.

"It is easy to become so inured to stories about congressional pork that what once looked outrageous seems like congressional business as usual. But according to figures compiled by the Congressional Research Service, both the number of earmarked projects and their cost have ballooned since the Republican takeover of Congress: from 4,126 individual spending items costing $26.8 billion in 1994 to 10,540 items costing $44.6 billion in 2002. As Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said yesterday in a valiant, if ultimately doomed, fight against the omnibus bill, 'The sum of these political indulgences is enormous and growing and amounts to the theft of our future and the theft of our economic recovery.'"
Potluck Setlist

Beck -- Modesto
Beachwood Sparks -- Something I Don't Recognize
Neil Young -- Revolution Blues
Meat Puppets -- liquefied
Graham Parsons -- I Can't Dance
Gene Clark -- Full Circle Song
Silkworm -- Let's Kill Saturday Night
Lee / Nancy -- Greenwich Village Folk Song Salesman
Bill Fox -- I'll Give It Away
Wilco -- War on War
PSOI -- Something Happens Always
The Clean -- Psychedelic Ranger
Pink Nasty -- Mordecai
Palace -- We All, Us Three, Will Ride
Risin Shotgun -- Is Not a Cowboy
Bobby Bare Jr. -- I'll Be Around
Silver Jews -- Inside the Golden Days of Missing You
VU -- Cool It Down
The Clientele -- Joseph Cornell
Felt -- Christopher Street
Orange Juice -- Felicity
Belle & Sebastian -- She's Losin It
The Wrens -- Hopeless
Built to Spill -- Made Up Dreams
Pere Ubu -- The Modern Dance
Pavement -- Westie Can't Drum
Fugs -- Kill For Peace

January 21, 2004

Two poems by David Hernandez:

Tempo Records

That record store huddled against the corner
of town held all the treasures a moody boy
ever wanted. Fifteen bucks in his pocket meant
a fifteen minute drive to Tempo, meant greeting
Sara behind the counter with Hey, and Sara

replying Hey, her hair dyed so black it turned
to blue felt by the window. Nowhere else
would he have found that Pavement EP,
those four songs he memorized like hymns.

Or the Grifters’ One Sock Missing, blasts
of static from Memphis, damaged melodies
the boy sang in his car, hummed in his room.
In the back, a black door closed and paint-
chipped, bright stickers slapped on haphazardly.

A black door and skinny Jay behind it,
rolling a joint. At the register the boy slid
the Spoon CD toward Sara, pulled out
the crumpled five and ten, two speakers

nailed to the walls of the store thumping
with the sound of Russell Simmons mugging
his drum kit. Sara’s eyes bloodshot
from who knows what and the boy’s
studying the crisscross of his shoelaces.

Sara wearing despair on her face like blush
and the boy wearing it like a jacket, shoulders
hunched from the weight of it. But the tunes
helped, guitars chainsawing the quiet helped.

And that was six winters ago. That boy
hung up that jacket. That record store emptied
for the Veterinary Clinic that took its place,
for the sick cats, the broken winged parrots,
all those howling dogs waiting for treatment.

Sex and Death

Always the same two themes pushing through
the revolving door of the page or canvas:

O’Keefe’s skulls and vaginal irises, petals
engorged and flaming crimson. It’s the story

of the teenagers walking their libidos
to a moonlit cemetery, their studded tongues

clinking in the dark. And the mortician,
after a long day of opening cadavers like purses,

comes home to his magazines, glossy women
touching themselves as if to say, Here I am.

Here too, how the ashes of a woman I never met
cool inside the urn on a shelf. Gray dust,

bone-chip of pelvis or femur, her daughter
in the next room, her pelvis crashing into mine,

the bedroom fertile with the night’s soil
for us to plant the blue flowers of our breathing.
the subway trains speak to me now

* Commentary on the Iowa caucuses last night leaked into the NBA game on TNT. During the halftime show, the studio crew riffed on politics, and analyst Charles Barkley started talking up John Edwards -- he’s even given Edwards money.

Ernie Johnson, the anchor, looked at Barkley and said: "Charles, I thought you were a Republican." (Barkley has talked about running for governor of Alabama as a Republican.)

Barkley's response: "That was before they started screwing all the poor people!" [via salon]

* Punk rock aerobics

* Poetry, a tough way to make a living.

* Army Joins Struggle to Save Beer

January 20, 2004

We can live in the empty spaces of this life

* Charlotte Pressler on the 1970s Cleveland scene.

an excerpt:

"La Cave was a small basement club on Euclid Avenue near East 103rd, a short walk from Case Reserve. In the middle Sixties, when the folk revival was in full swing on the college campuses, and racial tensions were still low enough that college kids felt safe in venturing two blocks into the ghetto, it had become the folk music center of Cleveland. Josh White, etc., had all played there. But around 1967-68, when acid-rock began to replace Odetta in the dorm rooms, lesser-known rock bands began to appear at La Cave as well. Some quickly went on to larger venues. One that never did, that became in fact something like the La Cave house band, was the Velvet Underground. Cleveland was one of the Velvets' better cities; and among the core of loyal fans who could be counted on to show up for each performance were two West Side kids, still in high school and thus technically underage for the club. They usually hung out in the back room between sets, listening intently while Lou Reed strummed his big Gibson stereo and talked about chord progressions and life on the road, An uneasy, tentative friendship began to grow between Peter Laughner and Jaime Klimek. Peter invited Jaime down to hear his band."

I never meant to be the needle that broke your back

* Leading scientists accused the Bush administration last night of putting the interests of powerful American sugar barons ahead of the global fight against obesity.

* When Are Nazi Comparisons Deplorable?
For Fox News, only when Republicans are the target

an excerpt:

"The controversy over comparisons between George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler in two ads submitted to the anti-Bush ad contest run by the online activist group MoveOn.org says less about the state of left discourse than it does about the double standards at Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

"News Corp's Fox News Channel started the controversy on January 4, airing Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie's complaint about the Bush/Hitler comparison. 'That's the kind of tactics we're seeing on the left today in support of these Democratic presidential candidates,' Gillespie charged, calling such tactics 'despicable.'"
"So what did the Murdoch organization do? Fox appears to have completely ignored the Post's own Nazi analogies--there's no reference to the column whatsoever in the cable channel's transcripts. And the New York Post seems to have sent the column down the memory hole--clicking on a link that used to go to Peters' story gives you a 'page not found' message, and the text isn't found in the Nexis media database. (Ironically, in light of this Orwellian disappearing act, the column also compared Dean to Big Brother.)

In the interview that started the brouhaha, the RNC's Gillespie was asked if he would oppose similar attacks on Democrats. He replied: 'If they stoop to the kind of despicable tactic like morphing a candidate into Adolf Hitler, yes, absolutely, I will tell you right here on the air. Have me back if any organization does that, I would repudiate it.'

"The same organization that interviewed him did that, through another of its branches, the very next day. So far, Fox News hasn't had him back on to condemn the New York Post. "

* Bob Pollard suffered a back injury, he could still drink but GBV had to cancel three shows over the weekend.

January 16, 2004

Join us at Potluck and start the year off with some great music. Hope to see you there.
Truth in Advertising

Any ad that asks people to vote democrat and calls George Bush an assfaced ignorant fuckhead is fine by me. check it out. [via lendmesomesugar]
Art is Denser than a Hockey Puck

Three Poems by Adrienne Rich.

November 1968

you're beginning to float free
up through the smoke of brushfires
and incinerators
the unleafed branches won't hold you
nor the radar aerials

You're what the autumn knew would happen
after the last collapse
of primary color
once the last absolutes were torn to pieces
you could begin

How you broke open, what sheathed you
until this moment
I know nothing about it
my ignorance of you amazes me
now that I watch you
starting to give yourself away
to the wind.

My Mouth Hovers Across Your Breasts

My mouth hovers across your breasts
in the short grey winter afternoon
in this bed we are delicate
and touch so hot with joy we amaze ourselves
tough and delicate we play rings
around each other our daytime candle burns
with its peculiar light and if the snow
begins to fall outside filling the branches
and if the night falls without announcement
there are the pleasures of winter
sudden, wild and delicate your fingers
exact my tongue exact at the same moment
stopping to laugh at a joke
my love hot on your scent on the cusp of winter


Living in the earth-deposits of our history

Today a backhoe divulged out of a crumbling flank of earth
one bottle amber perfect a hundred-year-old
cure for fever or melancholy a tonic
for living on this earth in the winters of this climate.

Today I was reading about Marie Curie:
she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness
her body bombarded for years by the element
she had purified
It seems she denied to the end
the source of the cataracts on her eyes
the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil

She died a famous woman denying
her wounds
her wounds came from the same source as her power.

January 15, 2004

Coming Soon

New Partner / Ohio River Boat Song / Gulf Shores
You Will Miss Me When I Burn / The Brute Choir
I Send My Love to You / More Brother Rides
Agnes, Queen of Sorrow / Viva Ultra / Pushkin
Horses / Riding / West Palm Beach
No More Workhorse Blues / I Am a Cinematographer

Out at the end of March.

Enough On Our Plates

* With Bush talking about spending $1 Billion for NASA to get to Mars and another $1.5 Billion to 'promote marriage,' which in Republican speak translates to, 'make sure gays have less rights,' its difficult to believe more people are not up in arms.

Its shocking to see nobody taking Bush to task as he proposes spending 50 percent MORE in the fight to deny a segment of our population basic rights than he proposes to send someone to Mars.

We have the largest deficit in american history, Osama is still at-large, airport screeners (and the TSA) have no clue, and while the media has for a year or so now been echoing the Administrations' assurance that the economy is getting better, people are losing jobs everyday, and those unemployed continue to have real problems getting a job in their field. Why is there not incredible anger and dismay about these new, superfluous projects?

Weave my disgust into fame

* "Art is spirituality in drag" -- Jennifer Yane

* Haruki Murakami discusses his birthday [via book slut].


"Delivered in the burnt-out ruins left after the intense bombing raids, we in Japan matured with the cold war and the period of rapid economic growth, entered the flowering of adolescence and received the baptism of late-60s counterculture. Burning with idealism, we protested against a rigid world, listened to The Doors and Jimi Hendrix (Peace!) and then, like it or not, we came to accept a real life that was neither very idealistic nor imbued with rock 'n' roll. And now we are in our mid-50s. Dramatic events occurred along the way - men on the moon, the crumbling of the Berlin wall. These seemed like meaningful developments at the time, of course, and they may well have exerted some practical influence on my own life. Looking back now, however, I have to say in all honesty that these events do not seem to have any special effect on the way I balance happiness versus unhappiness or hope versus despair in my life. However many birthdays I may have counted off, however many important events I may have witnessed or experienced first hand, I feel I have always remained the same me, I could never have been anything else.

"These days when I drive my car I put silver-coloured CDs by Radiohead or Blur into the stereo. That's the kind of thing that shows me the years are passing. And now I find myself living in the 21st century. Whether or not the person I think of as me undergoes any essential changes, the earth never stops circling the sun at the same old speed."

* New music tips from 'My Life in Heavy Metal' author Steve Almond.

January 14, 2004

Turpentine and dandelion wine

* John Darnielle on the future of rock. [via chromwaves]

* Thomas Lux on bill knott [via arm sasser]

* Bob Mould has a blog. [via travelers diagram]
Cool lips to the bottle To hell with everyone

* The New Yorker profiles Larry David.

* the weather outside is sunny and bright, a new short story by a.m. homes.

* "The hardest thing to write is straight honest prose on human beings. First you have to know the subject; then you have to know how to write. Both take a lifetime to learn, and anybody is cheating who takes politics as a way out. All the outs are too easy, and the thing itself is too hard to do." -- Ernest Hemingway

January 13, 2004

George Bush: you're killing me, you're killing me again

The Map of Iraqi Oil Field documents that have the Bush Administration currently in a uproar have been public for over six months. These documents, which are now the focus of a Bush Administration probe, were originally obtained as a result of Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force (which of course was filed after the Administration tried to keep the documents secret).

In fact, Skimble posted the documents on his site way back on July 18, 2003, around the time they were first made public.
The Bush administration's ethics are hidden away in a secure, undisclosed location.

* "Three leading non-proliferation experts from a prominent think tank charge that the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush 'systematically misrepresented' the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

"In a 107-page report released Thursday, Jessica Mathews, Joseph Cirincione and George Perkovich of the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) call for the creation of an independent commission to fully investigate what the U.S. intelligence community knew, or believed it knew, about the true state of Iraq's WMD program between 1991 and 2003."

For more, read: New WMD Report Slams Bush White House.

* "Fox viewers are much more likely to see a great deal of bias in media coverage than viewers of CNN, network news or local TV news." - Howard Kurtz, finally telling the truth, however inadvertently [via media whores online]

* Michelangelo Signorile on Matt Drudge and Andrew Sullivan.


"It's sleazy enough that a conservative would work for Moon and ignore his dark and dangerous agenda. But how on earth could a gay writer take a check from a man who can't wait to see him thrown into an oven? Andrew Sullivan has reveled in his own idiotic claim that after 9/11 certain liberals, because they didn't agree with George W. Bush's policies, represented a 'fifth column' supporting Osama bin Laden. Meanwhile, here he is, on the payroll of a guy who would like to see the mass extinction of his own people. Sullivan likes to think of himself as a gay rights activist?that's actually how New York magazine described him recently but he only seems to activate when the targets are liberals. Bill Clinton gets the Sullivan hatchet treatment for signing the Defense of Marriage Act, while the grossly homophobic Unification Church's leader gets a weekly column from him in return for a few bucks to keep Sullivan's increasingly lackluster and predictable web page afloat.

"Equally duplicitous is the sexually circumspect Drudge, who draws credibility from the Washington Times' numerous references and vice versa. He spent the better part of last week trying to frame liberals as belittling the Nazis and the Holocaust. For days he stoked a bogus story pushed by the Republican National Committee and the Wall Street Journal that claimed that the group MoveOn.org had created tv ads comparing Bush to Hitler. When the ads were gone from the group's web site, the right-wingers claimed they had scored another victory, as when they got cowardly CBS to ban The Reagans."
"Drudge and company were nonetheless successful in spinning their lies into the mainstream press, with the lazy Judy Woodruff and others at CNN only too willing to report the RNC's talking points as objective news. Funny how Drudge blew up a fake story and expressed outrage about Bush being compared to a genocidal dictator, but then didn't find it newsworthy to link to the comments of a powerful newspaper owner, cult leader and Bush family pal who is actually calling for genocide of Drudge's own kind, no less.

"Maybe Moon had told Drudge and Sullivan that they'll be spared on Judgment Day. Or maybe they just don't give a shit about anyone but themselves."

Two Poems by John Tranter


Another fuckwit drops into the dustbin
of history, just as we're finishing our coffee.
Some of us are meant to burn out, is that
right? Like roman candles, across the night sky.

I want to go up like a tree, not a rocket.
I'd like to get drunk disgracefully
with a favorite neice, and grow old
among an amplitude of footnotes.

Pour me another Pernod, Famous Poet, and
tell me again about the doomstruck literati,
those dropouts immortalized in ink -- your
thirst, your secret greed, your mausoleum.

A Poem About Kenneth Koch

He never writes poems about writing poems,
this dog-eared wunderkind who’s tapped
the unconscious of the race. His main characteristics:
in the fall he develops a fatal liking for stiff gin
martinis. He’s not a disguised Mayor Ed Koch —
the hair’s different — and don’t let anybody tell you
he is. He kisses wives under the mistletoe,
given half a chance, and he’s a sink of indiscretion,
so look out, gossip-wise. A knot of contradictions, he is
a simpering tough guy, and a brutal sook — mercy me,
here he comes! Violently athirst!

January 12, 2004

about changing America

* Unelectable, My Ass!: Arianna Huffington on Howard Dean:

an excerpt:

"Like Kennedy, Dean's campaign was initially fueled by his anti-war outrage. Like Kennedy, Dean has found himself fighting not just to represent the Democratic Party but to remake it. Like Kennedy, Dean is offering an alternative moral vision for America, not just an alternative political platform.

"And like Kennedy, Dean has come under withering attack from his critics for the very attributes that his supporters find most attractive.

"'He could be intemperate and impulsive... the image of wrath – his forefinger pointing, his fist pounding his palm, his eyes ablaze.' Sean Hannity on Howard Dean? No, Theodore White on Bobby Kennedy in 'The Making of the President 1968.'

"It's the same ludicrous charge of being 'too angry' that's being constantly leveled at Dean. Have his Democratic opponents (and the notoriously decorous Washington press corps) suddenly morphed into Miss Manners? Personally, I could never trust a man who does not occasionally get hot under the collar.

"Of course Dean is angry. Take a look at what's happening in Iraq, where another 236 American soldiers have been killed or wounded since Saddam was dragged out of his spider hole. And take a look closer to home, where we have 12 million children living in poverty, six out of seven working poor families unable to afford quality child care, record levels of personal debt, and more and more U.S. jobs being 'outsourced' overseas.

"If you still have a pulse (are you listening, Joe Lieberman?) you should be royally pissed.

"'I have traveled and I have listened to the young people of our nation," Kennedy said during his announcement speech, "and felt their anger about the war that they are sent to fight and about the world they are about to inherit.'"

Your horseshoe's rusty and your mirror's cracked

* Pete Townsend sends a note to Rocky Mountain News critic Mark Brown after reading a review of the surround-sound Super Audio CD mix of The Who's Tommy, which noted that while the guitars and vocals were well-mixed, the bass and drum sound were disappointing. [via no rock and roll fun]

* Happy Birthday to Haruki Murakami.

* Kill Bill II release to be delayed by at least two months.

January 9, 2004

* Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill likened President Bush at Cabinet meetings to "a blind man in a room full of deaf people."

"O'Neill, who was fired by Bush in December 2002, also said the president did not ask him a single question during their first one-on-one meeting, which lasted an hour.

"'As I recall it was just a monologue,' he told CBS' 60 Minutes, which will broadcast the entire interview Sunday.

"In making the blind man analogy, O'Neill told CBS his ex-boss did not encourage a free flow of ideas or open debate.

"'There is no discernible connection,' CBS quoted O'Neill as saying. The president's lack of engagement left his advisers with 'little more than hunches about what the president might think,' O'Neil said, according to the program. [via skimble]
It's my Non-alignment pact

From Kristine McKenna's Book of Changes:

"Artists somehow stumble onto the best life in the world and I have no complaints about this life -- maybe the next one, but not this one. Acting, meeting a guy who feels good the way you do, being able to get up on the morning and do what you want during the day and then go to sleep at night -- it's a pretty good thing." --- Gina Rowlands, 1989

The most over-rated idea currently popular in western culture is "the idea of the free individual. That's a very over-rated aspiration and American society is full of its symptoms. There's a limited sense in which people differ from one another and those differences are fairly superficial. There are many more ways that people are alike, but the whole accent of contemporary culture is to stress the differences. People are encouraged to want their own this and their own that, and told that these preferences are indicative of their individuality -- and such is the basis of consumer culture." --- Brian Eno, 1980

"I read when I'm not preoccupied with other things, like getting healthy, or getting in a state of euphoria, then yes, I read a lot."
--- Nico, 1979

January 8, 2004

sometimes i drive out to topanga park my car in the sand

Manufactured Outrage: The Whining Never Ends:


"Key in the Republicans' tactic was the technique of 'manufactured outrage.' Remember the righteous anger of Henry Hyde, Bob Livingston and Newt Gingrich during the failed impeachment? Well, you can't possibly describe it as anything other than manufactured outrage - because while they were railing about how Clinton's conduct was rending the very fabric of our society and threatening the existence of our nation, every one of them was practicing the exact same conduct. Newtie was, to put it coarsely, bending his secretary over the desk. Hyde had wrecked his share of marriages by that time (of course it was, in his description, a 'youthful indiscretion' - if you can count age 40 as anything vaguely resembling 'youth'). And Livingston was engaging in conduct so potentially embarrassing and so deviate, that he resigned as Speaker of the House rather than have his personal sexual proclivities revealed.

"But that's all in the past. There's a whole new - and even more bogus - form of manufactured outrage being practiced by today's Republicans, and it's proof that they are beyond shame and more than willing to do anything to win. Case in point - MoveOn's 'Bush In 30 Seconds' ad competition, the Bush family's connection to and financial support of Nazi Germany, and Ed Gillespie's efforts to conflate the two.

"Prescott Bush's connection to the Hitler's Germany is a matter of public record. Last year, Miami reporter John Buchanan went to the National Archives in Washington and walked out with literally hundreds of documents linking Prescott Bush to financial dealings with the Nazis, both before and during World War II. This is fact. The National Archives do not make stuff up. The archivist who supplied Buchanan with the Bush-Nazi documents said he would stake his career on the veracity of the documents, and while Republicans whined like babies over Buchanan's three-part series in the New Hampshire Gazette, not a one of them disputed any of the charges raised in the series. "

"MoveOn has nothing to do with the 'Bush Is Not A Nazi.' It is not a finalist in the competition. It was never even entered in the contest. But of course, that doesn't stop crybabies like York and Drudge, who wake up every morning yearning for something to be shocked and appalled and outraged about. And if they can smear TBTM and MoveOn at the same time, so much the better. But their outrage, and the outrage of that big whining baby Ed Gillespie, tells me something.

"They are all afraid of liberals who stand up to them. Each and every one of them are scared to death of people like us.

"Gillespie has become accustomed to dealing with Beltway Democrats, who roll over and pee on themselves on his command to show how 'bi-partisan' they are. Gillespie is used to Democrats who go along to get along.

"And he, and Drudge and York and all the slime in the swamp of right-Wing Hate Radio are all coming to the same realization - that people like us, and web sites like TBTM and MoveOn, are anything but pee-on-yourself Democrats. and it scares them like they've never been scared in their lives.

"I'm sure that Ed and Byron and Drudge, were they to read this, would cluck their tongues and shake their heads and make some remark about how uncivil and impolite and downright rude we are, and right on cue, they'd all be outraged and appalled and shocked. Like I said at the top of this article, they can dish it out, but they cannot take it. And where they have come to expect Democrats in the past to be remorseful and regretful and apologetic, Symbolman and I - and thousands of other like-minded sites and blogs - have a slightly different message instead.

"We're fighting back this year. You won't go unchallenged any longer. We don't care how outraged or shocked or appalled you are, not any more.

"To put it in terms you're more familiar with - get over it."
the sun highlights the lack in each

* On Johnny Cash:

"But more than that, Johnny was the kind of person who could simultaneously hold in tension the conflicting parts of his personality and communicate to those who are alienated by a deeply counterfeit culture—particularly a counterfeit Christianity. Cash could preach to offenders and the defenseless alike, and make faith believable in a way that most of us never can. We seem to prefer the smile that conceals an inner deception to the honest purgative truth about ourselves. But with Johnny it was otherwise.

"That’s because he lived, sang, and played truthfully. There was in him no hint of fraud. At a time when he could have resurrected his career by riding the coattails of others’ popularity (as is the trend today), Johnny did the reverse. On 1994’s American Recordings (on the cover he stands in a field wearing a long black preacher’s coat, alone except for two dogs), he did not simply return to the 'old' Johnny Cash and commodify himself for a younger audience. Rather, he signed with a punk label and sang about his familiar subjects, but this time with no musical accompaniment beyond his own acoustic guitar. All kinds of audiences ate it up because they recognized that in a world full of fakes, Cash was authentic."

* 1998 Index Magazine interview of thurston moore and kim gordon:

"THURSTON: This is all about making money.
Index: Oh, I see. Is that a driving force?
THURSTON: Money? Not creatively. But it's a driving force for ambitions. I want to tour with Phish because the kind of music we make is more in tune with their aesthetic than it is with any K-Rock or Geffen rock aesthetic. So it's only fair to us, and to that audience. We deserve each other. And I think we can expand their horizon, although they can do nothing for us.
Index: This expansion you're describing ...
THURSTON: Expansion of our market.
Index: But you have other outlets that are the opposite of that expansion.
KIM: You mean, doing improv stuff?
Index: Yeah, improv ... or just floating through the noise.
THURSTON: The local experimental noise scene that we've always been involved with is more referential to post-Grateful Dead listening habits. So it makes sense to me that we'd be able to bring what we do with free improvisation and experimental music into a big arena. And the only arena that exists is the arena that the Dead created, and that Phish have bit into. We want in. We should have in to that. It's just not fair. It's not fair for the kids because they deserve us, in a way.
Index: Oh?
THURSTON: They shouldn't just have post-Dead squibble. They should have Sonic Youth.
Index: Oh my God.
THURSTON: And we both win out. They become enlightened and we become millionaires.
KIM: Is this a Royal Trux interview or something?
Index: I don't know about this ..."

* DC residents, don't forget that the DC primary isNext Tuesday, January 13. DC is having the nation's first presidential primary to highlight its lack of equal Congressional Representation and full local self-government to the nation.

January 7, 2004

It's an anthem in a vacuum on a hyperstation

Terry Teachout on blockbuster museum shows [via modern art notes]. an excerpt:

"Having said all this, I do want to make a couple of modest proposals:

(1) Once a year, every working art critic should be required to attend a blockbuster show on a weekend or holiday. He should buy a ticket with his own money, line up with the citizenry, fight his way through the crowds, listen to an audio tour—and pay close attention to what his fellow museumgoers are saying and doing. In short, he should be forced to remind himself on a regular basis of how ordinary people experience art, and marvel at the fact that they keep coming back in spite of everything.

That one’s easy. This one’s harder:

(2) Every 'civilian' who goes to a given museum at least six times a year should be allowed to attend a press or private view of a major exhibition. The experience of seeing a blockbuster show under such conditions is eye-opening in every sense of the word. If more ordinary museumgoers were to have such experiences, it might change their feelings about the ways in which museums present such exhibitions.

Lastly, I’ll take a flying leap into the cesspool of arrant idealism:

(3) No museum show should contain more than 75 pieces, and no museum should be allowed to present more than one 75-piece show per year. Tyler Green (whose Modern Art Notes is about to become an artsjournal.com blog, by the way) wrote the other day to tell me that Washington’s Phillips Collection, our favorite museum, is putting on a Milton Avery retrospective in February that will contain just 42 pieces. I can’t wait to see it, not only because I love Avery but because that is exactly the right size for an exhibit of that kind—big enough to cover all the bases, but not too big to swamp the viewer and dull his responses."

Let's be undecided, let's take our time

Bright Eyes, David Byrne, Ray Davies, Keb' Mo', Yo La Tengo as well as fabulous surprise guests will be playing at the Tibetan New Year concert on Wednesday evening, February 25, 2004 at 7:30 p.m. at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Two Poems by Denis Johnson

After Mayakovsky

It's after one. You're probably alone.
All night the moon rings like a telephone
in an empty booth above our separateness.
Now is the hour one answers. I am home.
Hello, my heart, my god, my president,
my darling: I'm alarmed by the alarm
clock's iridescent face, hung like a charm
from darkness's fat ear. This accident
that was my life will have its witnessess:
now, while the world lies whooly motionless
and sorry in a crapulence of stars,
now is the hour one rises to address
the ages and history of the universe;
I swear you'll never see my face again.


the towels rot and disgust me on this damp
peninsula where they invented mist
and drug abuse and taught the light to fade,
where my top-quality and rock bottom heart
cries because I'll never get to kiss
your famous knees again in a room made
vague by throwing a scarf over a lamp.
Things get pretty radical in the dark:
the sailboats on the inlet sail away;
the provinces of actuality
crawl on the sea; the dusk now tenderly
ministers to the fallen parking lots --
the sunset instantaneous on the fenders,
memory and peace...the grip of chaos...

January 6, 2004

Sunlight chases colors on my wall

* George Bush by the numbers. How federal spending has grown during President Bush's first three years. An excerpt:

"Discretionary spending, the one-third of the budget that must be approved annually by the president and Congress.
Numbers are in budget authority, or new spending Congress and the president enact. Some of the money is for long-range projects like defense contracts and is spent over several years.

Numbers include midyear emergency bills enacted to finance wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other costs, including $20 billion for 2001 provided under Bush. They also assume enactment of a measure combining seven 2004 spending bills into one, awaiting Senate approval.

-- Overall discretionary spending: 2001 $664 billion; 2002 $735 billion; 2003 $846 billion; 2004 $873 billion.

-- Overall discretionary spending increase under Bush, 2002 through 2004: $209 billion, or 10.5 percent annually.

-- Overall discretionary spending increase under Clinton, 1994 through 2001: $141 billion, or 3.4 percent annually.

* On book jacket puffery:

"'Call it puffery's 'War Against Cliché.' Things got odd in an attempt to avoid the banal. Really, if you can't do any better than to call a book a 'page-turner' or say that you 'couldn't put it down' (and god did I read a lot of those), you shouldn't be writing puffs at all. You have to say something different. Like James Ellroy on John Burdett's Bangkok 8:

'A novel so steeped in milieu that it feels as if you've blasted to Mars in the grip of a demon who won't let you go.'

Yes, it sounds good, but what does it mean? Why would a demon be taking you to Mars anyway? Is that where the demons live?

This is the kind of thing I mean. I puzzled over this year's puffery. Granted that it's part of the puffmaster's art to occasionally baffle, but I'm talking about firing metaphysical blanks. Michael Dirda on Steven Millhauser: 'A prose that doesn't merely aspire to the condition of music but actually achieves it.' Actually. Actually, in trying to improve on Pater, Dirda has said something that I don't think makes any sense. But at least I can see what Dirda is getting at. When Lorna Crozier tells us that Florence Treadwell's Cleaving 'arrives like a blue sweater filling the doorway and nothing is the same again' I pull a blank."

* Home recording studio building, for dummies [via tim o thompson]

January 5, 2004

the Sherlock Holmes English Speaking Vernacular

Kinks' Ray Davies shot in the leg:

"Singer-songwriter Ray Davies of the Kinks was shot in the leg while chasing thieves who snatched a purse from a woman he was with, police said Monday. He was not seriously injured.

Police said Davies, 59, and the woman were walking along the Quarter's Burgundy Street around 8:30 p.m. Sunday when the theft and shooting happened."

"Politics is the art of making people indifferent to what should concern them."
- Paul Valery
Virginia may be for lovers but it is not for hell-raisers

* Recent essay on Virginia, purportedly written by David Berman:


"I was born in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1967, exactly 360 years after the first British colony in North America was founded, down the road, at Jamestown. In mathematics 360 degrees is regarded as a return to zero. A flipping of the odometer as it were.

In 1967 my father was a waiter at the King's Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg. The employees wore period dress. Because he was just off work when my mother finished labor, the nurses handed me over to a man wearing knee breeches, buckled shoes and a tri-cornered hat.

I was an unwitting solipsist as a child. I believed that God had left clues embedded in the world for me to interpret and make use of.

Once I discovered the secret of the 360 years I had to wonder what He was trying to tell me. That I would be a witness to (pardon the stupid name) America II? Or (as I secretly hoped) that I would be a leader, a general, a statesman, in that new era?"

"After graduation I left Virginia, no longer believing in the secret of the 360 years.

It was soon after, on a Christmas visit to my mother's home in Central Ohio, that I discovered how I was nearly never born. I was rifling through her personal files while she was at the mall when I discovered a letter from the public relations department of a spermicidal jelly company, addressed to my mother and dated four months before I was born. They had received her complaint letter and were sorry that the product had not protected her from impregnation. Finally they reminded her that no contraceptive was 100% effective and hoped that she would continue to use their jelly in the future.

Needless to say, this blew my mind."