February 28, 2005

All the negatives have been destroyed

* Top TenConservative Idiots. excerpt:

2. George W. Bush

Best Attempt At Keeping A Straight Face Considering The Circumstances: Our Great Leader was on a European vacation last week, and what a jolly time he had! After deciding that spending most of his first term publicly scorning the French and Germans wasn't very good foreign policy, Bush tried to make nice by sucking up to Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder and, um, accidentally insulting NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. Of course, having learned that invading a country without any international support doesn't often bring the best results, it did appear as if Bush was just trying to get the Yurpeans to help out with his next invasion. Not that there's going to be another invasion, let me make that clear! Why, Bush said just last week that it is "simply ridiculous" to think that the US might invade Iran. Five seconds later he followed up with, "Having said that, all options are on the table." Including the simply ridiculous options, apparently. Bush also took the time to visit with his old friend Vladimir "Pootie-Poot" Putin, where he had a bit of a rough time. During a press conference, an obviously confused Bush offered up this interesting statement: "I live in a transparent country. I live in a country where decisions made by government are wide open." Right... so you'll be telling us who was on the Energy Policy Task Force, then? Or why your administration finagled all that "evidence" about Iraq's WMD capabilites? Or who outed Valerie Plame? Or who was responsible for the Jeff Gannon scandal? Or... oh, forget it.

* Ian Frazier on the life of William Zantzinger, who struck and killed Hattie Carroll, a black barmaid, with his cane on February 9, 1963. She died that night; he got six months. Bob Dylan wrote the protest song The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll in response to the murder. excerpt:

"As I listened, I noticed the tense of that verb. The Lonesome Death was perhaps Dylan's most journalistic song, nearly contemporary with the events it chronicles. Hattie Carroll died on February 9; Zantzinger went to jail on September 15; Dylan recorded the song in New York City on October 23, all in 1963. The immediacy of that 'owns' got me wondering about the actual event, and about its consequences working themselves out through time.

"For example, William Zantzinger: What happened to him? Does he own that farm today? Zantzinger is, it turns out, an amazing guy. In the semi-rural part of Maryland where he still lives, many people know his name. If you mention him to someone working in property, the antiques business, the legal profession or law enforcement, you get a reaction. People don't want to talk about him, or they do, or they want their names left out of it, or they shake their heads and laugh; they never have to be told who he is. Many say he's a wonderful person, always polite and smiling, a good friend. Because Dylan's song made him a 'story,' in the news sense, reporters come to Charles County, Maryland every so often to see what Zantzinger is up to now. They are usually surprised, as I was, that he is hard to summarise."
"What Zantzinger did next got his name back in the news. He knew that the county now owned the properties, but the renters, all poor and black, did not know. Counting on a lack of attention all around, he simply went on collecting rents as before. Even more enterprising, when tenants fell behind on their rent, he filed complaints against them and took them to court. The county court, in calm and bureaucratic ignorance, heard the cases. And to put the cap on it, he won.

"Eventually, local authorities caught up with him. In 1991, a sheriff's deputy arrested Zantzinger on charges that included fraud and deceptive business practices. A number of newspapers, the Washington Post among them, did stories about this latest chapter in the Zantzinger saga. The houses he had been renting were such disasters - run-down shacks without plumbing or running water - that they embarrassed the county and gave traction to local fair-housing advocates. All the same, a few tenants came forward to speak up for Zantzinger, saying that without him they would be living on the street. When the judge sentenced him to 18 months on work-release in the county jail, 2,400 hours of community service and about $62,000 in penalties and fines, there were people in the courtroom who cried.

"Zantzinger reportedly now lives on a farm in neighbouring St Mary's County. People say he's had a few health problems; he's a big man, 6ft tall and heavy, and he is 65. They say he still owns a lot of rental properties, some as run-down as Patuxent Woods. (He doesn't talk to reporters, so I never found out for sure.) Candice Quinn Kelly, a former housing activist in La Plata, Maryland, told me: 'I was on the other side from Zantzinger in the Patuxent Woods situation. In fact, it was our organisation that uncovered his fraud to begin with. Maybe I've mellowed or sold out, but I don't see things as clear-cut as I did then. Billy Zantzinger provides housing to marginal folks nobody's going to give a lease to, because they don't have a job or a rent deposit or a bank account or whatever. I learned that you can offer people tons of help and they still can't get out of poverty. Billy rents to those people anyway. Since Patuxent Woods, I've met him and talked to him a couple of times, and I feel strange saying this, but Billy Zantzinger is really a very nice man.'"
"Listening to The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll today, you can hear Dylan shouting against exactly this blindness. The song he wrote took a one-column, under-the-rug story and played it as big as it deserved to be. Dylan's voice sounds so young, hopeful, unjaded, noncommercial - so far from the Victoria's Secret world of today. Even the song's title is well chosen: Before I went to Carroll's church, I had not quite understood why her death was 'lonesome.' But of course, as Rev Jessup noted: 'Not one of those people stood up for her.' In a party full of elegant guests, Hattie Carroll was on her own.

"If it weren't for television and videotape, we would not know how powerful the march on Washington, or Dr King's speech, really was. And if it weren't for Dylan, nothing more would have been said about Hattie Carroll."

* "As beings capable of imagining and producing fiction, we go toward things that are not there and whose evocation demands to be supported by the complicity of a language less freed from itself, more realized... As prosaic as prose is and as close to banal life as a story is, language undergoes in it a radical transformation, because it invites the reader to realize from the words themselves the understanding of what happens in the world offered him, and whose entire reality is to be the object of a story. We like to say of a reading that it holds us; the expression answers to this transformation: the reader is in fact held by the things of fiction that he grasps, given by the words; like their own characteristics, he holds on to them, with the feeling of being enclosed, captive, feverishly withdrawn from the world." - Maurice Blanchot [via]

February 25, 2005

Your true home is the sea

Poems by Jack Micheline:

Poem To The Freaks

To live as I have done is surely absurd
in cheap hotels and furnished rooms
To walk up side streets and down back alleys
talking to oneself
and screaming to the sky obscenities
That the arts is a rotten business indeed
That mediocrity and the rage of fashion rules
My poems and paintings piled on the floor
To be one with himself
A Saint
A Prince
To Perservere
Through storms and hard-ons
Through dusk and dawns
To kick death in the ass
To be passed over like a bad penny
A midget
An Ant
A roach
A freak
A Hot Piece
An Outlaw
Raise your cup and drink my friend
Drink for those who walk alone in the night
To the crippled and the blind
To the lost and the damned
To the lone bird flying in the sky
Drink to wonder
Drink to me
Drink to pussy and dreams
Drink to madness and the stars
I hear the birds singing

Blues Poem

I got no smile cause I'm down
I carry a horn to blow in all these streets
A solo riff out of my head
How could you ever know I feel
So high on life and feet and ass and legs and thighs
That I can rise and dance with all the stars
And I can eat the moon and laugh an I can cry
The dark caves of cities hungry streets
The tired faces dark and dreary bent
and all the death it dies
I let it die
I lift my horn and blow some sounds
some sound for kids to come
Some unborn sun
in darker streets than mine
Magicians carry wings so they can fly
Let's blow a horn and love
Let's get on it and ride
and laugh and dance and jive
Let's shake the dead and let the downers die
The magic of the singers warms the earth
A song
A poem
Some paradise of mind
I got to smile now
I'm feeling good
The city street
The palace of my mind


I chose the whippoorwill
The imaginary throne of ego madness of fantasy land
I chose the herringbone
I chose the waitress at Tina's
I chose chasing pussy over a bank account
I chose poetry over standing in line at the opera
I chose art just to kick the dark devil in the ass forever
I chose pain and torture because I'm a masochist
I chose alcohol and cigarettes over 9 grain cereal
Sublime destiny over mediocrity
Like Darwin I chose the monkey over man
I chose the harmonica over the harpsichord
I chose Superwoman over Betty Grable
I chose the safety of failure over the Winner's Circle

Only Rare Things Create

When love creates
When tenderness creates
It is the greatest of all sounds
When man and woman creates a baby is born
When fear creates anger is born
When loneliness creates despair is born
When business creates hype is born
When newspapers create politicians are born
When art galleries create money is born
Cemeteries don’t create
Museums don’t create
Hospitals don’t create
Prisons don’t create
Power don’t create
Only love creates
and it is the rarest thing of all

February 24, 2005

the gold stereo stretches out the sound

* Interesting annotation of the first page of White Noise. [via] excerpt:

"6. This sentence is the first laugh-out-loud line in the book, but DeLillo didn't nail down the delivery right away. In what appears to be the third draft of this paragraph, the joke makes its first appearance as 'giving off a scent of massive insurance coverage,' which DeLillo knew wasn't quite right. 'Scent' is a word that might be taken a little too literally," he says. 'And it's ultimately inaccurate. The feeling the men give of insurance coverage is not that pinpointable.' In the fourth draft, the phrase has turned into 'something about them suggesting a sense of massive insurance coverage,' and then the words 'a sense of' are crossed out, leaving a joke that is funny because it has been honed until it is honest and spare —funny, as the saying goes, because it's true. DeLillo may have put it best in that letter to [David Foster] Wallace: 'I think the key to all this is precision. If the language is precise, the sentence will not (in theory) seem self-conscious or overworked. At some point (in my writing life) I realized that precision can be a kind of poetry, and the more precise you try to be, or I try to be, the more simply and correctly responsive to what the world looks like — then the better my chances of creating a deeper and more beautiful language.'"

* "Sometimes i think nothing is simple but the feeling of pain."
--Lester Bangs

* From Theives, a short story by Richard Yates, begins:

"Talent," Robert Blaine said in his slow, invalid's voice, "is simply a matter of knowing how to handle yourself." He relaxed on his pillow, eyes gleaming, and shifted his skinny legs under the sheet. "That answer your question?"

"Well, now, wait a minute, Bob," Jones said. His wheelchair was drawn up respectfully beside the bed and he looked absorbed but dissatisfied, begging to differ. "I wouldn't define it as knowing how to handle yourself, exactly. I mean, doesn't it depend a lot on the particular kind of talent you're talking about, the particular line of work?"

"Oh, line of work my ass," Blaine said. "Talent is talent."

That was how the evening's talk began at Blaine's bed. There was always a lull in the tuberculosis ward after the wheeling-out of supper trays, when the sun threw long yellow stripes on the floor below the west windows and dazzled the silver spokes of wheelchairs in its path; it was a time when most of the thirty men who lived in the ward convened in little groups to talk or play cards. Jones usually came over to Blaine's bed. He thought Blaine the most learned man and the best conversationalist in the building, and if there was one thing Jones loved, he said, it was a good gabfest. Tonight they were joined by young O'Grady, a husky newcomer to the ward who sat hunched at the foot of Blaine's bed, his eyes darting from one speaker to the other. What was talent? Blaine had used the word, Jones had demanded a definition and now the lines were drawn--as clearly, at least, as they ever were.

"Best definition I can give you," Blaine said. "Only definition there is. Knowing how to handle yourself. And the ultimate of talent is genius, which is what puts men like Louis Armstrong and Dostoyevsky in a class by themselves among horn players and novelists. Plenty of people know more about music than Armstrong; it's the way he handles himself that makes the difference. Same thing's true of a first-rate ballplayer or a first-rate doctor or a historian like Gibbon. Very simple."
And get lost in snow and drown in rain

* Agassi and Federer hit some balls as part of the 'Helipad Open', atop Dubai's 321m high Burj Al Arab hotel, which is set on a man-made island.

* From a short interview of Ira Kaplan:

Q: Do you think you'll work with other artist like Maureen Tucker, Jad Fair or Daniel Johnston in the future?

Ira: I'm sure we will. We just played a concert in Utah and Daniel Johnston was on the bill. He sang "Speeding Motorcycle" and the Beatles' "The One After 909" with us. We haven't seen Jad in a while, unfortunately. And although we have never worked with Maureen Tucker, we would love to. We have spoken about doing something a few times, but our schedules have never worked out.

In December we played at Maxwell's all eight nights of Hanukkah (the third time in the last four years we have done this). We played very few songs as a trio, and were joined by a long list of great people, including all four members of Eleventh Dream Day, all four members of the Coctails, most of Calexico, Dave Schramm, Wreckless Eric, Conor Oberst, all three members of the Shams (the New York Shams, not the current band from Cincinnati), Glenn Mercer and Dave Weckerman from the Feelies, Steve Wynn, and Laura Cantrell, and more.

* HST's ashes may be shot from a cannon.

"Hunter S. Thompson, the 'gonzo journalist' with a penchant for drugs, guns and flame-thrower prose, might have one more salvo in store for everyone: Friends and relatives want to blast his ashes out of a cannon, just as he wished.

"'If that's what he wanted, we'll see if we can pull it off,' said historian Douglas Brinkley, a friend of Thompson's and now the family's spokesman.

"'There's no question, I'm sure that's what he would want,' said Mike Cleverly, a longtime friend and neighbor. 'Hunter truly loved that kind of thing.'

"Colorado fireworks impresario Marc Williams said it's doable.

"'Oh, sweet. I'd love to. I would so love to,' said Williams, 44, owner of Night Musick Inc. in suburban Denver and a fan of Thompson's writing."

February 23, 2005

I never knew the bird could fly so low

Hunter S. Thompson's Author's Note (to The Great Shark Hunt):

Well... yes, and here we go again.

But before we get to The Work, as it were, I want to make sure I know how to cope with this elegant typewriter--(and, yes, it appears that I do)--so why not make this quick list of my life's work and then get the hell out of town on the 11:05 to Denver? Indeed. Why not?

But for just a moment I'd like to say, for the permanent record, that it is a very strange feeling to be a 40-year-old American writer in this century and sitting alone in this huge building on Fifth Avenue in New York at one o'clock in the morning on the night before Christmas Eve, 2000 miles from home, and compiling a table of contents for a book of my own Collected Works in an office with a tall glass door that leads out to a big terrace looking down on The Plaza Fountain.

Very strange.

I feel like I might as well be sitting up here carving the words for my own tombstone...and when I finish, the only fitting exit will be right straight off this fucking terrace and into The Fountain, 28 stories below and at least 200 yards out in the air and across Fifth Avenue.

Nobody could follow that act.

Not even me...and in fact the only way I can deal with this eerie situation at all is to make a conscious decision that I have already lived and finished the life I planned to live--(13 years longer, in fact)--and everything from now on will be A New Life, a different thing, a gig that ends tonight and starts tomorrow morning.

So if I decided to leap for The Fountain when I finish this memo, I want to make one thing perfectly clear--I would genuinely love to make that leap, and if I don't I will always consider it a mistake and a failed opportunity, one of the very few serious mistakes of my First Life that is now ending.

But what the hell? I probably won't do it (for all the wrong reasons), and I'll probably finish this table of contents and go home for Christmas and then have to live for 100 more years with all this goddamn gibberish I'm lashing together.

But, Jesus, it would be a wonderful way to go out...and if I do you bastards are going to owe me a king-hell 44-gun salutr (that word is "salute," goddamnit--and I guess I can't work this elegant typewriter as well as I thought I could)...

But you know I could, if I had just a little more time.


HST #1,
R.I.P. 12/23/77
HST #2,
All sing to say my dream has come

* Wolcott:

"Jack Valenti is about as useful as a third foot. Since turning in his executive washroom key as head of the Motion Picture Association (i.e., Hollywood's ambassador to Washington, and vice versa), Valenti has been something of a regular on CNN's Inside Politics, paired with an inanimate Ed Rollins. Valenti's role, I surmise, is to provide the senior statesman perspective from the Democratic side as Rollins plays the role of Republican warhorse, snorting sawdust."
"Today the topic was the just-released Bush tapes, which Valenti thought revealed Bush in a favorable light, since they showed he was all of a piece, not saying one thing in private and another in public. Now, I don't think these tapes are a scandalous biggie. Taping friends without permission: finky. But I also think it's a true falsetto note of hypocrisy for Bush to sneer at Gore for being "a pathological liar" when Gore was honest about marijuana use and Bush hedged the issue, using the phony argument that he didn't want to be forthcoming and set a bad example for the kiddies. That's become the great all-American personal copout and political rationalization, claiming that your goal is to "protect the children."

"Yes, it's comforting to hear that Bush doesn't harbor hate for homosexuals, but so what? The anti-AARP campaign that uses gay-bashing--men kissing! cover your eyes, Myrtle!--to help sell Social Security privatization has Karl Rove's grubby fingerprints and gleeful grin all over it, and anti-gay-rights referenda will be shoved forward going into to the midterm elections to build even greater Republican majorities.* This is the wishing well that Andrew Sullivan kept falling into, and perhaps will again. He thought that because Bush's Crawford ranch is "green," Bush wasn't as anti-environment as his enemies made him out to be (no, he's worse), and that because he's comfortable around gays (i.e., doesn't stiffen like an ironing board and ick out), he didn't really intend to prevent Andy from getting married someday."

* Jesus' General posted some viewer email sent to Keith Olbermann.

* "The United States is the only place in the world where you can drive down of Anytowm USA and finds the word DRUGS spelled out in four foot high letters. Historically, the 'War on Drugs' has been nothing but a war on progress, while a simultaneous war on the impoverished." -- Thomas Ware, Thomas; Admission of Error is not Concession to Defeat; 1994.

* Ramble Tamble? Bush has Creedence Clearwater Revival on his ipod.

February 22, 2005

With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves

* 10 greatest rock and roll myths. excerpt:

"3: The Beatles' spliff in Buckingham Palace
Sometime after our four young heroes bounced into the Palace in October 1965 to receive their MBEs, John Lennon claimed they'd shared a toke in the loos. Not the most reliable witness - he once claimed he wrote 'Eleanor Rigby' - Lennon later 'fessed up, admitting 'we'd have been far too scared to do it'. McCartney, meanwhile, remembers simply having a 'sly ciggie' with the chaps to calm nerves.

4: Keef's blood transfusion
Keen to clean up for a European tour, Richards reportedly replaced his poisoned old claret with an infusion of healthy blood in a Swiss clinic in September 1973. In reality, it was probably only haemodialysis, which filters impurities from the bloodstream. 'Someone asked me how I cleaned up, so I said I had my blood completely changed,' Richards said. 'I was fucking sick of answering that question, so I gave them a story.'

5: Stevie Nicks having cocaine blown up her bum
It's tempting to believe Fleetwood Mac's queen bee followed her addiction to such deliciously depraved depths - but sadly, untrue. 'That's absurd,' said Nicks in 2001. 'Maybe it came about because people knew I had such a big hole in my nose. Let's put a belt through my nose, because that's how big the hole is.' So she just talks through her arse, then. Maybe."

* Steve Gilliard on Hunter S. Thompson and blogs. excerpt:

"...Which is why Hunter Thompson was a hero. He was honest to a fault and mean to a fault. In a world where journalism has become about asking questions politely and fiction about settling grudges with parents and schoolmates, he was about something far more important.
"When Howard Kurtz whines about 'fairness,' someone needs to tell him the truth. 'Mistah Kurtz, we are not fair. We are honest.' Bush uses fairness like a Samurai uses a katana, to slice and dice and win. Fairness will no more stop Bush than a bazooka could stop a Tiger tank (couldn't come close). It is honesty which will stop him. People have to tell the truth. Kurtz and his fellows are people to be derided and mocked, not argued with. To accord him respect and seriousness, in the job most journalists disdain like cops hate internal affairs, is to give him power that his peers would never. The next time he whines about fairness, laugh in his face, wave a shrunken head in front of him, show him a picture of King Leopold. Do anything you want to show him the contempt you hold him in. But his words are meaningless to the people who matter, our readers.

"Thompson understood the danger of objective journalism, which was a creature of the post-war period, Roosevelt would have laughed at the concept, battered by Father Coughlin and the Chicago Tribune, which is that the dishonest and the disingenious can have their way with the honest and decent. He called for subjective journalism long ago and our temporary experiment of objective journalism is ending, because it only serves the status quo, which is not most of us.

"It's odd to think of the outsider Thompson having won the day about what we call journalism, but blogging allows for a world of outlaw journalists, working cheap and fast ans supporting each other in ways he couldn't imagine. It's not a bad legacy."

* Check out the latest hijinx of improv everywhere: putting a bathroom attendent inside a Times Square McDonalds.

February 21, 2005

give me a home where the buffalo roam

RIP Hunter S. Thompson (July 18, 1937 - February 20, 2005)

From Newsday:

"Hunter S. Thompson, the hard-living writer who inserted himself into his accounts of America's underbelly and popularized a first-person form of journalism in books such as 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,' has committed suicide.

"Thompson was found dead Sunday in his Aspen-area home of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, sheriff's officials said. He was 67. Thompson's wife, Anita, had gone out before the shooting and was not home at the time.

"Besides the 1972 classic about Thompson's visit to Las Vegas, he also wrote 'Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72.' The central character in those wild, sprawling satires was 'Dr. Thompson,' a snarling, drug-and alcohol-crazed observer and participant.

"Thompson is credited alongside Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese with helping pioneer New Journalism -- or, as he dubbed his version, 'gonzo journalism' -- in which the writer made himself an essential component of the story.

"Thompson, whose early writings mostly appeared in Rolling Stone magazine, often portrayed himself as wildly intoxicated as he reported on such figures as Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton."
"Thompson was a counterculture icon at the height of the Watergate era, and once said Nixon represented 'that dark, venal, and incurably violent side of the American character.'

"Thompson also was the model for Garry Trudeau's balding 'Uncle Duke' in the comic strip 'Doonesbury.' He was portrayed on screen by Bill Murray in 'Where The Buffalo Roam' and Johnny Depp in a film adaptation of 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.'

"That book, perhaps Thompson's most famous, begins: 'We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.'"
"Born in 1937, in Kentucky, Hunter Stocton Thompson served two years in the Air Force, where he was a newspaper sports editor. He later became a proud member of the National Rifle Association and almost was elected sheriff in Aspen in 1970 under the Freak Power Party banner.

"Thompson's heyday came in the 1970s, when his larger-than-life persona was gobbled up by magazines. His pieces were of legendary length and so was his appetite for adventure and trouble; his purported fights with Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner were rumored in many cases to hinge on expense accounts for stories that didn't materialize.

"It was the content that raised eyebrows and tempers. His book on the 1972 presidential campaign involving, among others, Edmund Muskie, Hubert Humphrey and Nixon was famous for its scathing opinion.

"Working for Muskie, Thompson wrote, 'was something like being locked in a rolling box car with a vicious 200-pound water rat.' Nixon and his 'Barbie doll' family were 'America's answer to the monstrous Mr. Hyde. He speaks for the werewolf in us.'

"Humphrey? Of him, Thompson wrote: 'There is no way to grasp what a shallow, contemptible and hopelessly dishonest old hack Hubert Humphrey is until you've followed him around for a while.'"

While covering the Hell's Angels, Thompson (a personal hero) wrote numerous poems, many on a whim while killing time in his Haight Asbury apartment or a local taven. The following poem was written in a Point Richmond bar after a night of heavy drinking. Thompson said "its a true story, I was sitting at the counter with a waitress having some coffee when suddenly a stranger came out of the bathroom with shaving cream on his face ranting like a madman." Thompson struck up a conversation with him and eventually brought him to Sunday brunch at the home of Richmond mayor David Pierce where they gorged on blintzes with raspberries and Napa Valley champagne. They spent the rest of that Sunday together at the Mariner's Tavern.

Collect Telegram from a Maddog
(October 13, 1965)

Not being a poet, and a drunk as well
leaning into the diner and dawn
and hearing a juke box mockery of some better
human sound
I wanted rhetoric
but could only howl the rotten truth
Norman Luboff
should have his nuts ripped off with a plastic fork.
Then howled around like a man with the
final angst,
not knowing what I wanted there
Probably the waitress, bend her double
like a safety pin,
Deposit the mad seed before they
tie off my tubes
or run me down with Dingo dogs
for not voting
at all.

Suddenly a man with wild eyes rushed
out from the wooden toilet

Specifically Luboff and the big mongers,
the slumfeeders, the perverts
and the pious.

The legal man agreed
We had a case and indeed a duty to
Right these Wrongs, as it were
The Price would be four thousand in front and
ten for the nut.
I wrote him a check on the Sawtooth
National Bank,
but he hooted at it
While rubbing a special oil on
his palms
To keep the chancres from itching
beyond endurance.
On this Sabbath.
McConn broke his face with a running
Cambodian chop, then we
drank his gin, ate his blintzes
But failed to find anyone
to rape
and went back to the Mariner's Tavern
to drink in the sun.
Later, from jail
I sent a bunch of telegrams
to the right people,
explaining my position.

If you are a fan of HST, Dust Congress recommends reading his recently published books of letters, where you learn about HST as well as the then-current mood of the country, including the fact that the idea for Top Ten lists may have come from Thompson:

From a December 11, 1970 letter from Hunter S. Thompson to Rolling Stone editor John Lombardi:

..."But by 'music' I don't mean the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. If the Grateful Dead came to town, I'd beat my way in with a fucking tire iron, if necessary. I think Workingman's Dead is the heaviest thing since Highway 61 and 'Mr. Tambourine Man' (with the possible exception of the Stones' last two albums...and the definite exception of Herbie Mann's Memphis Underground, which may be the best album ever cut by anybody). And that might make a good feature: some kind of poll on the Best albums of the '60s... or 'Where it was at in the Rock Age.' Because the '60s are going to go down like a repeat, somehow, of the 1920s; the parallels are too gross for even historians to ignore.

"So, for whatever it's worth -- to either one of us, for that matter -- here's the list from Raoul Duke:

1. Herbie Mann's Memphis Underground
2. Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home
3. Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited
4. Grateful Dead's Workingman's Dead
5. Rolling Stone's Let it Bleed
6. Buffalo Springfield's Buffalo Springfield
7. Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow
8. Jazz innovator Roland Kirk's albums in general
9. Miles Davis's Sketches of Spain
10. Sandy Bull's Inventions

"Jesus, what a hassle to even think quickly about a list like that. Even now I can think of 10 more I might have added... but what the fuck, its only a rude idea. But a good one, I think, and particularly for RS. The implications of the final list would vibrate far beyond the actual music... it would be a very heavy fucking document. You may want to give it some thought."

February 18, 2005

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

Poems by David Lerner:

The Night of the Living Tits

Joie was back in town, see
and the joint was even liver than usual
the night of the living tits

see, poems were read
in honor of her return
from San Diego
where she'd been in self-imposed exile
boiling her art down to the impossible

but, anyway, she read a story, a
fierce flaming tale of truth and sentiment
ending with the lines,
"It's just like Dorothy said,
"There's no fuckin' place like home,"

and the place was like an
inferno of joy

and then she showed her tits

and then Danielle got up
to read
and she showed her tits
and it was good

and the temperature somehow rose
and the fair Kathleen, she
showed hers too
with a little bump and grind
they were excellent, soft and

and then it was Anna's turn

and everyone was so happy

tits, Joie, beer, poetry, dementia, heart attacks, the
world and everything in it, trading places
with fire, it was just
one of those nights

Slamdancing to the Blues

there's a sadness that is
better than love
it fell in the air
the other night

little girl face
with a mind as wide as Egypt

she reads all the high-class
sex literature
the pornography of Henry Miller
even the later novels of Rechy
now into the novelization of
Liquid Sky
and The Apocalypic Culture

during the days
she takes off her clothes to
Tom Waits and the Dead Kennedys
at a theater on Met
while the customers finger their crotches
and tip paper money

she said "How do I look?"
and I told her she looked like
a 14-year old beatnik with an
IQ of 200

she wasn't sure she liked that
she has invented herself so well
she's not sure she can

I know that song

Mein Kampf

all I want to do
is make poetry famous
all I want to do is
burn my initials into the sun

all I want to do is
read poetry from the middle of a
burning building
standing in the fast lane of the

falling from the top of the
Empire State Building
the literary world
sucks dead dog dick

I'd rather be Richard Speck
than Gary Snyder
I'd rather ride a rocketship to hell
than a Volvo to Bolinas

I'd rather
sell arms to the Martians
than wait sullenly for a
letter from some diseased clown with a
three-piece mind
telling me that I've won a
bullet-proof pair of rose-colored glasses
for my poem "Autumn in the Spring"

I want to be
by everyone who teaches for a living
I want people to hear my poetry and
get headaches
I want people to hear my poetry and

I want people to hear my poetry and
weep, scream, disappear, start bleeding,
eat their television sets, beat each other to death with
swords and
go out and get riotously drunk on
someone else's money

this ain't no party
this ain't no disco
this ain't no foolin' around
grab-bag of
clever wordplay and sensitive thoughts and gracious theories about
how many ambiguities can dance on the head of a
machine gun

this ain't no
genteel evening over
cappuccino and bullshit
this ain't no life-affirming
our days have meaning
as we watch the flowers breath through
our souls and
fall desperately in love

this ain't no letter-press, hand-me-down,
wimpy beatnik festival of bitching about
the broken rainbow
it is a carnival of dread
it is a savage sideshow
about to move to the main arena

it is terror and wild beauty
walking hand in hand down a bombed-out road as missiles scream, while a
sky the color of arterial blood
blinks on and off
like the lights on Broadway
after the last junkie's dead of AIDS

I come not to bury poetry
but to blow it up
not to dandle it on my knee
like a retarded child with
beautiful eyes
throw it off a cliff into
icy seas and
see if the motherfucker can
swim for its life
because love is an excellent thing
surely we need it

but my friends...
there is so much to hate These Days
that hatred is just love with a chip on its shoulder
a chip as big as the Ritz
and heavier than
all the bills I'll never pay
because they're after us
they're selling radioactive charm bracelets
and breakfast cereals that
lower your IQ by 50 points per mouthful
we got politicians who think
starting World War III
would be a good career move

we got beautiful women
with eyes like wet stones
peering out at us from the pages of
glossy magazines
promising that they'll
fuck us til we shoot blood
if we'll just buy one of these beautiful switchblade knives

I've got mine

February 17, 2005

You're an untamed youth that's the truth

* Frank Rich chimes in on the Jeff Gannon/James Guckert saga. excerpt:

"'Jeff Gannon's' real name is James D. Guckert. His employer was a Web site called Talon News, staffed mostly by volunteer Republican activists. Media Matters for America, the liberal press monitor that has done the most exhaustive research into the case, discovered that Talon's 'news' often consists of recycled Republican National Committee and White House press releases, and its content frequently overlaps with another partisan site, GOPUSA, with which it shares its owner, a Texas delegate to the 2000 Republican convention. Nonetheless, for nearly two years the White House press office had credentialed Mr. Guckert, even though, as Dana Milbank of The Washington Post explained on Mr. Olbermann's show, he 'was representing a phony media company that doesn't really have any such thing as circulation or readership.'

"How this happened is a mystery that has yet to be solved. 'Jeff' has now quit Talon News not because he and it have been exposed as fakes but because of other embarrassing blogosphere revelations linking him to sites like hotmilitarystud.com and to an apparently promising career as an X-rated $200-per-hour 'escort.' If Mr. Guckert, the author of Talon News exclusives like 'Kerry Could Become First Gay President,' is yet another link in the boundless network of homophobic Republican closet cases, that's not without interest. But it shouldn't distract from the real question - that is, the real news - of how this fake newsman might be connected to a White House propaganda machine that grows curiouser by the day. Though Mr. McClellan told Editor & Publisher magazine that he didn't know until recently that Mr. Guckert was using an alias, Bruce Bartlett, a White House veteran of the Reagan-Bush I era, wrote on the nonpartisan journalism Web site Romenesko, that 'if Gannon was using an alias, the White House staff had to be involved in maintaining his cover.' (Otherwise, it would be a rather amazing post-9/11 security breach.)"
"It is a brilliant strategy. When the Bush administration isn't using taxpayers' money to buy its own fake news, it does everything it can to shut out and pillory real reporters who might tell Americans what is happening in what is, at least in theory, their own government. Paul Farhi of The Washington Post discovered that even at an inaugural ball he was assigned 'minders' - attractive women who wouldn't give him their full names - to let the revelers know that Big Brother was watching should they be tempted to say anything remotely off message.

"The inability of real journalists to penetrate this White House is not all the White House's fault. The errors of real news organizations have played perfectly into the administration's insidious efforts to blur the boundaries between the fake and the real and thereby demolish the whole notion that there could possibly be an objective and accurate free press. Conservatives, who supposedly deplore post-modernism, are now welcoming in a brave new world in which it's a given that there can be no empirical reality in news, only the reality you want to hear (or they want you to hear). The frequent fecklessness of the Beltway gang does little to penetrate this Washington smokescreen. For a case in point, you needed only switch to CNN on the day after Mr. Olbermann did his fake-news-style story on the fake reporter in the White House press corps."

* John Moe's Pop-song correspondences. [via]

Dear Mr. Fogerty,

Thanks again for your latest inquiry, and please accept my apologies for not getting back to you on your last several letters, phone calls, e-mails, and telegrams. I had thought this issue had been cleared up already but, judging by the volume of your inquiries, it has evidently not been.

Our position is unchanged: under no conditions will we allow you to play center field. Setting aside the fact that Bernie Williams and Kenny Lofton are performing quite well in that capacity, and that we have several talented prospects in our minor-league organization, the idea of a fifty-nine-year-old man with no demonstrable baseball experience playing center field for the Yankees is ludicrous. I’ve told you this in several previous replies. I wish you’d believe me.

Major-league-caliber players are, uniformly, incredibly talented athletes who have dedicated their lives to the game. They spend years working their way up through the system. They don’t just ask 'the coach' to 'put them in.' Another thing: I’m not a coach. I’m a manager. If you knew anything about baseball, you’d know that.

As to your arguments, I remain unconvinced. You claim to have 'spent some time in the Mudville Nine,' but while we all enjoyed that poem, there is no such team. So you’re lying, Mr. Fogerty. And while you are clearly excited about your beat-up glove, homemade bat, and brand-new pair of shoes (thanks for the many photos), such acquisitions in no way qualify one to play center field for the Yankees. The team provides state-of-the-art equipment to all our players. Again, any understanding of pro baseball, or even simple logic, would have told you that.

I hope we can now put this issue to rest. I’ve included a Derek Jeter key chain as a token of goodwill.

Joe Torre
New York Yankees

* Buy Jami Attenberg's Instant Love.

February 16, 2005

and i think the journey did her well

Two Poems by Loren Goodman:


I am Yeast, a great poet
I live in Ireland
Some say I am the greatest
Poet ever

My poetry makes bread grow
All over Ireland and the world
In glens and valleys, bread rising
In huts, clover paths, and fire wood

There will always be critics
Who deny Yeast
But you can see
The effect of my poetry
Through the potato fields
And the swell of the Liffey.
The amber coins and foaming black ale

Poem for the Government

I'm writing some poems for the government
but I can't talk about them now.
I can't talk at all. The writing has been going
well, on schedule, and all expenses have been taken
care of. I'm not at liberty to discuss
the secretive nature of my work
which demands that I write
in silence and disgust and under
an assumed name. My work for the government
is not only confidential, it is gross, exquisite
many lives hang in the balance. I'm also writing some poems
that aren't for the government, but now those seem
about nothing at all. I don't know where or how my poems
will be used, but I want them to be fool-
ish and deadly.

That I write in silence
and seclusion and under
this parasol, for the government
my tiny son at my feet, makes me
extremely poetic. I think
of splashes and hear the poems
I am writing in this paradise, one
of which is really for you
I include it in the government batch
perhaps to better include you in our lives.

Goodman provided the Top Ten list in the current issue of Artforum, and in it wrote that Joe Brainard's I Remember "is so good I can hardly describe it. Uniquely wholesome, it has the same thick, physical feeling of life as his Prell-bottle sculpture, admiration for Nancy, and repeated desire to start all over again. And why not? Call it honesty —pie, sun-filled arms, Oklahoma, or things as they are. A relaxed grace: something like reclining in the soft, huge upholstery of the world, of winning Wimbledon with lobs."

-- by Frank Stanford

I aimed to get some of my blood
back from the Snow Lake mosquitoes
my belly was full of lemonade
and my hair had Wild Root on it
I took to the thicket at dawn
not knowing where I was from in the man in the moon
there were trees with so much shade
you shivered
like someone chiseling the year in a graveyard
the shadows seeped thick as smoke
when you touched them
even breathing drew blood from the wood
it was dark
as a swarm
they smelled like olives
and feet in a garden
when you bowed and kissed them

February 15, 2005

I fear rivers over flowing I hear the voice of rage and ruin

* Tom Watson on Daryl Strawberry. [via] excerpt:

"I've always liked Darryl - from his introduction to New York fans as a top draft pick - the 'black Ted Williams,' a tall, stringy outfielder with a long, loping swing - to his final last-chance at bats with the Yankees. His were the plate appearances you didn't miss, the four or five times a game when conversation stopped, when you put down the book or the paper and really watched the game, pitch by pitch, swing by swing. The slightly open stance, the unquiet windmilling of the bat, the nervous glance back to the umpire with every pitch he took - these habits revealed the unsure Strawberry, the young man in the glare not quite comfortable with his talents, not quite sure if everyone liked him. Then the swing, that explosion of wood through the strike zone, and the sound when Darryl connected - a unique sound in those pre-steroid days - a deep, maple-tinged crack. And of course, the long, arcing moonshots to right-field."
"Strange, as Lou Reed says, how time turns around. Seven years from spring training in 1962 to a fairy-tale world championship - the time from birth to second grade for a couple of 7-year-olds - and then 17 years until the next title. At 24, Strawberry seemed to be on the edge of a Hall of Fame career. Still hidden were the demons, the alcohol and the drugs, and the violent anger. In 1986, I was the callow deputy editor of The Riverdale Press, the youngest newsroom denizen of that storied Bronx newspaper, learning the hard first lessons of management and responsibility. When she turned over the reins to me earlier that year, my predecessor - a brilliant community journalist - cracked laconically to this fresh-faced 24-year-old: 'no more boy wonder, huh?' No kidding. My beat was Bronx politics and what an education the likes of Stanley Friedman, Mario Biaggi, and Walter Diamond provided on a weekly basis."
"And so it goes. When he was in jail in Florida a year or so ago, his last chances run out and his promises dim, I wrote him a quick letter. Just to say he wasn't forgetten. And because, as another 40-year-old with a different set of miles, I was well aware of the 'there but for the grace of God' factor at play. Darryl could hit a fastball a mile, and I could write a line or two. His talents produced an arc of success and failure like the creaky, wooden rollercoaster at Coney Island - loud and scary and sudden. Mine produced what has been, comparatively, a series of more gently rolling hills. Who knows why."
"It would be easy to point to Strawberry's upbringing in a tough LA neighborhood and his early success as factors in his downfall; these are the oft-cited reasons. Poor black guy from Compton had too much too soon and crashed. This is simple, too simple, and life is more complex, all myriad shades of gray. As I told Strawberry in that letter, everyone has demons, we're all in the midst of a titanic battle against them almost every day. The only path is forward. Because of his talents, Darryl's were played out in public, in the rocket's glare of his moonshots. Springsteen wrote: 'Nothing is forgotten or foregiven when it's your last time around.' But we're also a society of comebacks and, it seems, it's almost never too late, unless the pilot light goes out."

* For the first time ever English soccer club Arsenal has no English players.

* "Why should we honor those that die upon the field of battle, a man may show as reckless a courage in entering into the abyss of himself." --William Butler Yeats

February 14, 2005

I wanna see the movies of my dreams

* What is in Popeye's pipe? [via] excerpt:

"...Yet is the spinach which gives Popeye his super-strength really a metaphor for another magical herb? Have children around the world been adoring a hero who is really a heavy consumer of the forbidden weed – marijuana?

"The evidence is circumstantial, but it is there, and when added together it presents a compelling picture that, for many readers at least, Popeye's strength-giving spinach is meant as a clear metaphor for the miraculous powers of marijuana."
"During the 1920s and '30s, the era when Popeye was created, 'spinach' was a very common code word for marijuana. One classic example is 'The Spinach Song,' recorded in 1938 by the popular jazz band Julia Lee and Her Boyfriends. Performed for years in clubs thick with cannabis smoke, along with other Julia Lee hits like 'Sweet Marijuana,' the popular song used spinach as an obvious metaphor for pot.

"In addition, anti-marijuana propaganda of the time claimed that marijuana use induced super-strength. Overblown media reports proclaimed that pot smokers became extraordinarily strong, and even immune to bullets. So tying in Popeye's mighty strength with his sucking back some spinach would have seemed like an obvious cannabis connection at the time."
"Further, in the comics and cartoons made during the '60s, Popeye had a dog named Birdseed. Surely the writers who named Popeye's dog during this "flower power" era were aware that cannabis was in fact America's number one source of birdseed until it was banned?

"Another slightly different drug reference occurs in the 1954 cartoon, Greek Mirthology. In the cartoon, Popeye tells his nephews the story of his ancestor, Hercules. Hercules, who looks just like Popeye, is shown sniffing white garlic to gain his super strength. By the end of the cartoon Hercules has discovered spinach and switches over to it. Is this a metaphor for the benefits of cannabis over cocaine or snuff?"

* Sign this petition to get Neil Young to release "Time Fades Away" on cd. [via]

* Top tenconservative idiots. excerpt:

"2. Scott McClellan
The real scandal of the Jeff Gannon story, is, of course, 'what did the White House know, and when did they know it?' - and as usual, they're pretending not to know anything. However, last week Scott McClellan admitted that he knew Jeff Gannon was using an alias, because anyone who wants to get into a White House press briefing must provide their real name. Yet he consistently referred to Gannon/Guckert as 'Jeff' when calling on him during press briefings - how kind of Scott to keep up the pretense. Additionally, Gannon didn't have full press credentials (or did he?) - in fact, he'd previously been denied a press pass to cover Congress on the grounds that Talon wasn't a real news organization. Yet somehow he was able to obtain daily passes to White House briefings whenever he felt like it. At a press conference last week, McClellan said, '...[Gannon], like anyone else, showed that he was representing a news organization that published regularly, and so he was cleared two years ago to receive daily passes, just like many others are.' That's odd, because according to this DailyKos analysis, Talon started publishing 'news' on April 1, 2003, and Jeff Gannon's first report from a White House briefing was on April 3, 2003. Considering that Gannon's partner in crime Bobby Eberle is a big-shot Texas Republican, and considering that it only took two days to come up with a White House 'Jeff' on the many occasions he called on him for a question, it's hard to avoid the stench of rotting bullpoop emanating from the White House press secretary."

FYI: Americablog promises "a big Gannon story" at some point today.

February 11, 2005

snow scenes level lonely bastards

"Suicide Hall, 295 Bowery", 1995 by Marc Winnat

"According to numerous historical references, this building housed a saloon called 'McGurk's,' which was open from 1895 to 1902. The name 'Suicide Hall' was adapted after a number of down and out prostitutes, that worked the area, began killing themselves inside the bar. Soon a morbid curiosity took over and people started visiting the establishment, simply to witness one of these events in person. Thus the name, 'Suicide Hall.' The actual building is still standing on the Bowery, near Houston Street, but it is in danger of coming down very soon due to redevelopment. [via]

Never Ever Again the Same
-- by James Tate

Speaking of sunsets,
last night's was shocking.
I mean, sunsets aren't supposed to frighten you, are they?
Well, this one was terrifying.
Sure, it was beautiful, but far too beautiful.
It wasn't natural.
One climax followed another and then another
until your knees went weak
and you couldn't breathe.
The colors were definitely not of this world,
peaches dripping opium,
pandemonium of tangerines,
inferno of irises,
Plutonian emeralds,
all swirling and churning, swabbing,
like it was playing with us,
like we were nothing,
as if our whole lives were a preparation for this,
this for which nothing could have prepared us
and for which we could not have been less prepared.
The mockery of it all stung us bitterly.
And when it was finally over
we whimpered and cried and howled.
And then the streetlights came on as always
and we looked into one another's eyes--
ancient caves with still pools
and those little transparent fish
who have never seen even one ray of light.
And the calm that returned to us
was not even our own.

The Luxury of Sitting
-- by Chris Stroffolino

As if life is the box at the wharf
for those who need surgery to feel--become splendid
and grateful as the wave's happy sacrifice.
Ah, the power we have when the water recedes!
No more the voyeur borrowing moon
now that the jackhammers have peeled our clothes
and the rooster's caught redhanded
by the sun that seconds its smile
if you stoop to think about it
near the grass factory where invitations incubate.
On the other side, no one can see you.
The reason: they think it's their duty to be attentive
and cannot live the lie of laziness.
We are animals in search of whiffs or flames.
The precise ants and out of tune bulls.
Dualism sends urgent warnings, reminders.
A fool is a formletter but there's a still hill somewhere
and it takes two or time to find it.

DIY Foot Washing
-- by Kristin Hall

I never meant to hypnotize us
and not your little man Swerve inside
at the drive-through strip club.
Me and the line of cars looking
like a fluffy white dog,
my delicious face, serious
enough to bring home, pretty much
anywhere that could wait until later

And even now, Swerve is feeding us
apple seeds and hopes the cyanide
will kill us, but as a film projectionist
he's always fucking up the ends,
beaming blue and blaming it
on the marijuana. Deep in his own voltage
he feels like an octopus
working with three hearts.

Swerve is paying off kids
in the village and bathing us in
the kitchen sink. He doesn't know us
until we're done and promises
burlap shirts for our territories,
bit parts in forgotten songs
about trains. The war is small and not
many people are dying, we're shooting
skin over our eyes in a statement of purpose,
but who can resist the 60 watt bulb
charging up our leg fluid.

[Hall's poem is from Issue 1 of Backwards City Review]

February 10, 2005

pearly gray love is leaf-like

* Momus writes about old and strange commercials for Design Observer. Click the link to watch the commercials. excerpt:

"Eventually all advertising will seem strange. Brad Stockshot and Cindy Clipart, modelling chunky knitwear on the beach, will look like absurd freaks. The 2005 Audi A6, as sleek as an arrowhead up on that billboard, will seem as archaic as a crossbow. When the endless repetition of these images stops, when the things they're referencing are forgotten and arcane, their power to define what's normal will stop too, replaced by an intriguing quirkiness. As they slip further away from their original purpose, the distinction between these commercial images and art will start to decompose. They'll hang in museums alongside art. Their power to evoke a lost Pompeii will be just as great, sometimes greater. And they'll seem as strange as art, sometimes stranger."
"Early campaigns [for Afri-Cola] emphasized the product's high caffeine content, but in Charles Wilp's 1968 Nonnen ("Nuns") spot drugs of quite a different kind seem to be involved. Accompanied by a bold soundtrack of disorienting contemporary classical music (scary sliding violins and atonal Henze-like piano chords) the visuals, shot through a melting sheet of icy glass, evoke the decadent filmed parties of Andy Warhol, Jack Smith and Shuji Terayama, with lascivious nuns instead of drag superstars. The voiceover to this 'Charles Wilp film' (the prominent caption makes clear its auteurist pretensions) evokes some kinky, prurient documentary about a wicked yet attractive underground scene. Here are 'stimulants, sexy cola sounds' and everything you need for an orgiastic 'alcohol-free party.' The Pepsi-trumping voice-over slogan, apparently phoned in by Nico, is 'sexy mini super flower pop op cola.'"

* Tank talks with David Pajo. excerpt:

"'I just read a cheesy surf novel called Tapping The Source,' Pajo reveals. 'It's a dumb, easy read about a surfer who gets beaten up by biker gangs. Lately I've been going for the dumber things. I enjoy dumb comedy. I like Alan Partridge. And I like Rudy Ray Moore, of 1970s blaxploitation film fame. He's in his 60s and he does stand-up now. Rudy considers himself the first rapper. He's still got the edge. He told some joke about raping a deaf and dumb girl and then breaking her fingers so she wouldn't tell anybody - that's so harsh!'

"Polite, if warped, but assuredly warm of heart, Pajo does acknowledge the primal side of humanity. 'The fact is that violence and sex gets people's attention, so I try to mix the two. I do like violent and shocking lyrics, but I'd rather hear Merle Haggard sing about murder than the Wu Tang Clan. I never liked country music when I was a teenager because to me it was adult music, but if it gets into your system, then...'
"Pajo recently completed a 10-day fast - 'I had tons of energy and was really lean, and your skin gets really good' - but how does a creative dynamo like him reward himself after a working day? 'I download pornography!' he laughs. 'Just kidding. I try to spend as much time with friends and family as I can.' Any plans to have his own family? 'I'd like to have a kid, but it's finding the right partner. I just got out of a brainfuck relationship so I'm just sowing my wild oats, I guess. I'm gonna put myself on a relationship diet...'

Pajo's 'old' band Slint will play the 9:30 club on March 22, 2005.

* Don't miss TMFTML's list of "The Ten Greatest Songs To Listen To While Making Sweet Love If You're A Premature Ejaculator."

* Thanks to the good folks at the Backwards City Review for sending along a copy of their first issue, which includes pieces by Kurt Vonnegut, K. Silem Mohammad, Arielle Greenberg, Sarah Manguso, and Cory Doctorow. Its been a great read so far, head over to their site and pick one up for yourself. Issue 2 should be available soon. (And don't miss the Bowie link they have on their blog.)

February 9, 2005

punks in the beerlight

Info on the upcoming Silver Jews album, from the main Jew:

We won't be finished until Feb.24th. So it should come out around July. i'm giving a reading at sarah lawrence on thurs nite at 9pm. bring a walkman and ill let you listen to what it sounds like so far. the working title is "tanglewood numbers"

you know "woodchilde masquerade" had it's chances. and i know what you're thinking-

but remember "the natural bridge" is THREE words.

the players in order of appearance:

mike fellows
steve malkmus
brian kotzur
bob nastanovich
bobby bare jr.
steve west
duane denison
azita youseffi
will oldham
pete cummings
tony crow
paz lenchatain
j.d. wilkes

songs are called :

sleeping is the only love
there is a place
punks in the beerlight
how can i love you (if you won't lie down?)
the poor the fair and the good
animal shapes
i'm getting back (into getting back into getting back into you)
sometimes the pony gets depressed
the farmer's hotel
brian's song
freezing in the shadow of your knee
region ten

re: is it the last silver jews album? Impossible! as long as two of us walk the earth the band is still together. and, as always, thanks to you that give a damn about what we do.

let's have a smile for an old engine driver

* Sistani's vision for democratic Iraq has cricket but no chess. excerpt:

"Cricket is allowed but chess is 'absolutely forbidden.' Women may not shake hands with men. Music is permitted but only if it is not for enjoyment. Men cannot pray when wearing earrings.

"These are the views of the most powerful man in Iraq. After the US invasion, various American officials and generals believed they occupied this position. They turned out to be wrong. As the election victory of the Shias has confirmed, the most influential figure in Iraq, dressed in tattered grey robe and black turban, is Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani."
"Iraq could be on the verge of seeing the greatest setback to women's rights in the Middle East since Ayatollah Khomeini took power in Iran in 1979. Laws on marriage, divorce and inheritance could be changed in favour of men. Under Islamic law, daughters inherit less than the sons.

"The views of Ayatollah Sistani on chess, cricket, music, earrings and almost any other topic can be found on his highly professional website (Sistani.org). They show tolerance of other religions. Last year he was swift to condemn attacks on Christian churches in Baghdad as 'abhorrent crimes.' He counselled restraint when Shia leaders demanded retaliation after the bloody bombings of Shia shrines and processions."

* "In the first place, capitalism is a purely cultic religion, perhaps the most extreme that ever existed. In capitalism, things have a meaning only in their relation to the cult; capitalism has no specific body of dogma, no theology."
-- Walter Benjamin

* Who knew? Dean Wareham has a kid. excerpt:

Q: So, it's not about internal strife...

Wareham: There's some internal strife…I don't think you can be in bands together for twelve years and not have internal strife…

Q: But that's not the impetus for the breakup, then?

Wareham: It's not out of control…Like any kind of relationship there are ups and downs. I don't know…being in a band is different…when you turn forty it's all different...

Q: Is it a question of youth or of maturity, perhaps?

Wareham: Well, I'd say that some things are not as much fun at age forty as they are at twenty-five…life becomes more complicated ya know? I have a kid, it's just...I think that there's a reason that the lifestyle suits people more when they're twenty-two and don't have a care in the world. They can do whatever they want. They can go on a long tour and maybe not make any money…

Q: But things change when you gain more responsibility...

Wareham: That's true. It doesn't make it impossible, but it makes it more of a juggling act. Personally, I'm just tired of organizing my entire life around a rock 'n roll band. Making all the decisions as a committee of four. It kind of wears on you. There are great things about being in a band, too. Especially when it comes to playing live where you can depend on each other. It makes that aspect a lot easier. I've heard other people say this, too. Little things like picking a photo or a title or something.

February 8, 2005

hopes pinned to poses honed in men's room mirrors

* The Cream Interviews: William Burroughs. excerpts:

Q: For many contemporary rock critics and musicians, William Burroughs is rock ’n’ roll. Do you feel the same affinity for rock ’n’ roll that rock ’n’ roll obviously feels for you?

BURROUGHS: Well, yeah. (laughs) I have given them a lot of titles: The Heavy Metal Kids, The Insect Trust, The Soft Machine. There are a couple of others.

I enjoy rock ’n’ roll. It certainly is a unique and incredible phenomenon. Remember that 40 or 50 years ago, musicians didn’t make any money. They played to very small audiences in night clubs and road houses. Also, they had no protection on their records.

I’m always asking rock ’n’ roll people if they know who Petrillo is, and none of them do. Well, they wouldn’t have a dime if it weren’t for Petrillo because he organized the Musicians’ Union way back at the end of the ‘30s. And that is why they make money on their records. There wouldn’t be any white Rolls Royces or anything like that.
Q: Did Jimmy Page know who Petrillo was when you talked to him?

BURROUGHS: (laughs) No. I’ll tell you one who would know is Mick Jagger. He’s a businessman, he went to the London School of Economics.
Q: Is there any advice you’d like to give to young writers?
BURROUGHS: I have an exercise I learned from a Mafia Don in Ohio: see everybody on the street before they see you. It’s quite interesting actually because, if you see everyone before they see you, they won’t see you. And then you’ll find that somebody beat you.

* A marijuana study from National Institute on Drug Abuse in Baltimore found that "smoking marijuana can affect blood flow in the brain so much that it takes over a month to return to normal. And for heavy smokers, the effects could last much longer." What is ridiculous is their definition of a heavy smoker: one who smokes 50 joints a day or an average of 131 joints per week. Does anyone know someone who smokes that much? And as Libby at Last One Speaks noted, NIDA depends on keeping marijuana illegal to make their money.

* Krugman. excerpt:

"You might think, given these facts, that a plan to reduce the deficit would include major efforts to increase revenue, starting with a rollback of recent huge tax cuts for the wealthy. In fact, the budget contains new upper-income tax breaks.

"Any deficit reduction will come from spending cuts. Many of those cuts won't make it through Congress, but Mr. Bush may well succeed in imposing cuts in child care assistance and food stamps for low-income workers. He may also succeed in severely squeezing Medicaid - the only one of the three great social insurance programs specifically intended for the poor and near-poor, and therefore the most politically vulnerable.

"All of this explains why it's foolish to imagine some sort of widely acceptable compromise with Mr. Bush about Social Security. Moderates and liberals want to preserve the America F.D.R. built. Mr. Bush and the ideological movement he leads, although they may use F.D.R.'s image in ads, want to destroy it."

* Reminder that The Wrens will be at the Black Cat in DC Friday February 11.

February 7, 2005

we are guardians of a rare thing

* Gore Vidal:

"I don't see much future for the United States, and I put it on economic grounds. Forget moral grounds. We're far beyond any known morality, and we are embarked upon a kind of war against the rest of the world. I think that the thing that will save us, and it will probably come pretty fast, when they start monkeying around with Social Security, that will cause unrest. Meanwhile, the costs of the wars the cost of rebuilding the cities immediately after we knock them down, if we didn't knock them down, we wouldn't have to put them back up again, but that would mean that there was no work for Bechtel and for Halliburton. We are going to go broke. The dollar loses value every day. I live part of the year in Europe, which is always held against me. What a vicious thing to do, to have a house in Italy; but I also have one in Southern California. We are a declining power economically in the world, and the future now clearly belongs to China, Japan, and India. They have the population, they have the educational systems. They have the will. And they will win. And we will -- we only survive now by borrowing money from them in the form of treasury bonds which very soon we won't have enough revenue to redeem, much less service. So, I put it down to economic collapse may save the United States from its rulers." [via gluelabs]

* Another adventure starring bad news hughes.

* Quick One Before I Go
-- by David Lehman

There comes a time in every man's life
when he thinks: I have never had a single
original thought in my life
including this one & therefore I shall
eliminate all ideas from my poems
which shall consist of cats, rice, rain
baseball cards, fire escapes, hanging plants
red brick houses where I shall give up booze
and organized religion even if it means
despair is a logical possibility that can't
be disproved I shall concentrate on the five
senses and what they half perceive and half
create, the green street signs with white
letters on them the body next to mine
asleep while I think these thoughts
that I want to eliminate like nostalgia
0 was there ever a man who felt as I do
like a pronoun out of step with all the other
floating signifiers no things but in words
an orange T-shirt a lime green awning

February 4, 2005

I need a fix, don't need an apology

* in oak, in elm provides an early highlight to his trip to Russia:

"clients taking me out for dinner in red square with many beers and 3 bottles of vodka followed by the cute office assistants taking us out for russian karoake with many more beers and 2 bottles of vodka. blacking out the rest of the evening, though i was apparently quite the charming conversationalist. waking up the next morning fully clothed with no recollection of how i got home. passing out on the flight to chelyabinsk. being held by a giant polish man as i violently threw up out of the sliding door of a passenger van downtown (lots of pedestrian traffic) and literally minutes later speaking to an assembly of 100 or so russian college students followed by a series of personal interviews and a short stint in front of the camera of a local news station. then being treated to dinner at a joint that had belly dancing and a strange and very bacchanalian show put on by young aspiring russian models in skimpy underwear, somehow mustering the strength/courage/stupidity(?) to suck down the hair of the dog and sharing numerous 'big beer' and 4 more bottles of vodka."

A couple of poems by Charles Bukowski:

close to greatness

at one stage in my life
I met a man who claimed to have
visited Pound at St. Elizabeths.

then I met a woman who not only
claimed to have visited
but also to have made love
to him—she even showed
certain sections in the
where Ezra was supposed to have

so there was this man and
this woman
and the woman told me
that Pound had never
mentioned a visit from this
and the man claimed that the
lady had had nothing to do
with the
that she was a

and since I wasn't a
Poundian scholar
I didn't know who to
but one thing I do
know: when a man is
many claim relationships
that are hardly
and after he dies, well,
then it's everybody's

my guess is that Pound
knew neither the lady or the

or if he knew
or if he knew

it was a shameful waste of

one thirty-six a.m.
I laugh sometimes when I think about
Céline at a typewriter
or Dostoevsky...
or Hamsun...
ordinary men with feet, ears, eyes,
ordinary men with hair on their heads
sitting there typing words
while having difficulties with life
while being puzzled almost to madness.

Dostoevsky gets up
he leaves the machine to piss,
comes back
drinks a glass of milk and thinks about
the casino and
the roulette wheel.

Céline stops, gets up, walks to the
window, looks out, thinks, my last patient
died today, I won't have to make any more
visits there.
when I saw him last
he paid his doctor bill;
it's those who don't pay their bills,
they live on and on.
Céline walks back, sits down at the
is still for a good two minutes
then begins to type.

Hamsun stands over his machine thinking,
I wonder if they are going to believe
all these things I write?
he sits down, begins to type.
he doesn't know what a writer's block
he's a prolific son-of-a-bitch
damn near as magnificent as
the sun.
he types away.

and I laugh
not out loud
but all up and down these walls, these
dirty yellow and blue walls
my white cat asleep on the
hiding his eyes from the

he's not alone tonight
and neither am

February 3, 2005

just got back from a dream attack that took me by surprise

Some Amsterdam photos:

Grey Area, one of Amsterdams better coffee shops


the western canal belt

Inside Dutch Flowers at 10:30am. Probably my favorite coffee shop

chess shop

Krusty enjoys Grey Area

The Foreign Press played a three song set here during the January open mic

The rest of the week we recorded on this Korg we bought in Amsterdam after we neglected to get the correct conversion devices and blew out the Tascam we had brought with us.

Hoops in the Jordaan

Tram tracks

Ill be uploading some more picures and maybe some short video bits soon.