Closing Shop for the Holiday
Hard times build character, think of it that way.
See you in a few days...
the ride with this blog is worth the fall
I used to go to New York University a long time ago, which is in Greenwich Village, that's where I started, and I was, ah, in love in my freshman year, but I did not marry the first girl that I fell in love with, because there was a tremendous religious conflict, at the time. She was an atheist, and I was an agnostic, y'know. We didn't know which religion not to bring the children up in.My favorite bit is "The Moose," which I read years before I ever heard it. Go and enjoy.
I wanted to discuss my marriage, 'cause that's important. My marriage, or as it was known, "The Oxbow Incident." I had a rough marriage. Well, my wife was an immature woman and, ah, that's all I can say, she...See if this is not immature to you: I would be home in the bathroom, taking a bath, and my wife would walk right in, whenever she felt like, and sink my boats.
Labels: Five Songs
I've been living pretty peacefully at Hull since last seeing you, watching the girders rise on the site of my library, about half as fast as they ought to, and trying to dodge as many university functions as seems decent, and playing some rather clumsy LP recordings of the readings I did for the British Council, finding a certain guilty pleasure in listening to the sound of my own voice. (The BC in familiar cheeseparing fashion used an old tape, so that behind my reading can occasionally be heard the ghost of a string orchestra, appropriate or not as the case may be.) It occurs to me that the apparatus for the creation and maintenance of celebrities is vastly in excess of material fit to be celebrated. But if the apparatus were not to be used, then countless fellows would be out of a job & might have to do some real work for a change, so of course the messy farce goes on. This is the explanation of a great deal of life as we know it.
I was using what trainers call "approximations," rewarding the small steps toward learning a whole new behavior. You can't expect a baboon to learn to flip on command in one session, just as you can't expect an American husband to begin regularly picking up his dirty socks by praising him once for picking up a single sock.
“I know well enough by now that when (the novel) comes out, the world won't stop. People won’t fall down in a dead faint, though I’d like it very much if they did.” A brief pause. “You know, I’m disgusted with myself for wanting that.”
5, 419, 96, 2, 109, 1716Just for the exercise, I wanted to try to make a sentence (or two or three) out of 40 words -- the 20 most common and the 20 least common. So I set down the top 20: the, of, and, to, a, in, that, it, is, was, I, for, on, you, he, be, with, as, by, at.
I know it's only natural to want to hand over all your wealth to your children, and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it as such. But it is not the only moral claim; and those who elevate the biological family to supreme status in our society seem to me to be missing something important. Take care of them, of course. But keep them in their place. Along with the rather base impulse to benefit one's own genetic material, there is also philia -- the love based on choice and acceptance of another free human being -- and agape -- the love for all as one loves oneself. These two other forms of love and giving are clearly morally superior to "family values." They certainly were to Jesus, whose disdain for the biological, nuclear family is one of the great themes of the Gospels.Read the whole thing.
Leary belonged to what we reverently refer to as the Greatest Generation, that cohort of Americans who eluded most of the deprivations of the Depression, grew fat in the affluence of the postwar years, and then preached hedonism and truancy to the baby-boom generation, which has taken the blame ever since.Plus, I'm stuffy and old-fashioned in certain ways, including my distaste for the philosophy of drug-use-as-portal-to-enlightenment. I'm not saying the experience is completely hollow, but when people preach too fervently for it, I see them as no better or more convincing than an evangelical who's traded in God for fungi. (Also, I have some silly notions of purity, and I don't like the idea of drugs as a shortcut -- I remember feeling offended that it took smoking pot for the characters in The Breakfast Club to open up to each other.)
Sarah asks: I recently joined a writers' group. Twelve aspiring novelists, short story writers, and essayists meet biweekly to discuss our works in progress. During our meetings, I tend to shut myself off from the rest of the group and fester in a homicidal rage during which I imagine using my pen to stab each of my peers in the jugular. In the movie "Casino," Joe Pesci uses a pen successfully to do just that. Is my aggression a worn out cliche produced by viewing too many Scorsese movies? Which pens work best for you?
John Kellogg Hodgman, Former Professional Literary Agent: Writers groups are a wonderful way for a writer to meet and learn from his fellow artists, determine that he is smarter than them, form silent alliances against one or two especially hated colleagues, seek to become the most popular in the group, nurse a silent crush on another, prettier writer, and have his work reviewed by a collection of bitter amateurs who wish him only the worst. But I have also wondered: why should someone join an informal writing workshop when they could instead pay perfectly good money for the exact same experience at any one of hundreds of university creative writing programs across the country? But that is my question. To yours, I have no answer, as I advocate murder only rarely.
The Aymara, especially the elderly who didn't command a grammatically correct Spanish, indicated space behind themselves when speaking of the future -– by thumbing or waving over their shoulders –- and indicated space in front of themselves when speaking of the past –- by sweeping forward with their hands and arms, close to their bodies for now or the near past and farther out, to the full extent of the arm, for ancient times. In other words, they used gestures identical to the familiar ones –- only exactly in reverse.I find something about this quite poignant, but I'm way, way too tired to parse it. At the very least, it seems like a good starting point for a Charlie Kaufman script.
Another study produced by the Institute of Psychiatry last year found that constant disruption from emails and phone calls had a greater effect on IQ than smoking marijuana.
The Sun is dying, and mankind is dying with it. Our last hope: a spaceship and a crew of eight men and women. They carry a device which will breathe new life into the star. But deep into their voyage, out of radio contact with Earth, their mission is starting to unravel. Soon the crew are fighting not only for their lives, but their sanity.Of course they are.
The best part, that only makes me love the concept more, is that such a scenario is utterly ludicrous. El Sol ain’t like a big f***in’ briquette that you just squirt more lighter fluid on once it starts to die down. Not to mention, if it WERE dying down, the first thing it’d do is swell up to red-giant size and nuke-ify all the planets inside the asteroid belt. Thirdly, that won’t happen for another 4 billion years.Here's the high-quality official site for the movie, which includes facts like this one:
The Sun contains more than 99.8% of the total mass of the Solar System.In other words, the Sun is one bad dude. Which reminds me in a roundabout way of the first verse of "It Don't Matter to the Sun," a song that's been covered by everyone from Garth Brooks to Rosie Thomas. (Um, I recommend her version over his.)
It don't matter to the sun
If you go or if you stay
I know the sun is gonna rise
Shine down on another day
There will still be a tomorrow
Even if you choose to leave
'Cause it don't matter to the sun
It matters to me
The scariest horror film ever made. We're f***ed. And we deserve it. I have a new respect for Al Gore.I can't tell you how these few brief sentences have shaken me. It's not an exaggeration to say that I've spent the past several days unsuccessfully attempting to reconcile them with the world I had known previous to reading them -- a world in which Ray respecting Al Gore was as likely as Michael Moore respecting Kenneth Lay.
The first pragmatic reason to be for Gore, then, is that he is electable. He won once. He can win again. This is not simply a slogan; it is a serious thought.Peretz then takes issue with the Supreme Court's activism in giving the presidency to Bush, which, no matter what you think of its truth, is so tired and pointless that I can't bear to reproduce it here. Then he continues:
Imagine what would be the outcome of a rematch. My guess is that if there were a poll asking voters whom they had voted for in 2000, Gore would win by a landslide. I know people who are actually ashamed of having cast their ballots for George Bush. But Gore will not be running against Bush.That last sentence is a rather large qualifier. In all their frothing desire to reverse the last two presidential elections, many pundits are losing sight of the fact that Bush can't be beaten because Bush won't be running. It's enough to deflate any old-fashioned revenge fantasy. I feel their pain.
Whom did you vote for in the 2004 presidential election? And if the election were held again today?Granted, the poll obviously skewed conservative if the respondents voted 49-35 for Bush in '04. But still, Kerry dropped 12 percentage points from his initial total, and it seems that many people are hoping to vote for this "Other" fellow (or gal) in two years. I, for one, can't blame them. The somewhat inexact lesson being something along the lines of: retroactive anger doesn't make an original loser more electable. As I've said before, I don't think Gore should run. I don't think Hillary should run. Their problems would include, but not be limited to:
George W. Bush
2004 - 49%
Today - 34%
2004 - 35%
Today - 23%
2004 - 5%
Today - 35%
I’m always looking for ways to keep the blog fresh. (Not that it’s getting stale or anything; um, er...) So here, for the first time, is a post by someone else. This is from my friend Clare, who works for The Menil Collection, a terrific museum in Houston. Recently, the museum needed a courier to accompany some sculptures and drawings by Calder from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. For Clare, this meant flying to California, meeting up with the drivers, and traveling non-stop –- sleeping on the truck, and living under the condition that at least one person had to be inside the truck with the art at all times. In general, Clare writes incredibly funny, dry, smart e-mails, so I asked if I could share this particular account with the crowd. Enjoy.We drove from San Francisco to Minneapolis and, including loading and unloading the truck, the trip was 51 hours. It was a little longer than it should have been because we broke down in the Sierras (on Donner Pass, actually) soon after starting out and lost quite a few hours fixing the truck. Then we headed toward Reno, where I got to spend quite a bit of time in a truck stop, which was one of the more depressing places I've ever been. It included, naturally, a casino. At least there were slot machines and poker machines and one guy dealing blackjack. And smoking indoors in public places is apparently still legal in Nevada. So there are all these massively overweight and gray-faced people, men and women, smoking and drinking 42 oz cokes and eating truck stop food and gambling. It was kind of gross.
"Our expectation is that they will recover from this completely and will go on to lead very, very normal lives," Dr. Stein said.And here's the reaction of the girls' mother:
When Ms. Fierros was asked at the briefing what she wished (for) her children, she wiped away tears and answered in Spanish, "to see our daughters run, go to a normal school, to prepare themselves for life, to enjoy everything that life has to offer."A touching sentiment, no doubt. But according to Gilbert, those are wishes that might be held more deeply by the mother than the children. This is from a provocative section on conjoined twins in Stumbling on Happiness:
As a prominent medical historian wrote: "Many singletons, especially surgeons, find it inconceivable that life is worth living as a conjoined twin, inconceivable that one would not be willing to risk all -- mobility, reproductive ability, the life of one or both twins -- to try for separation." In other words, not only does everyone know that conjoined twins will be dramatically less happy than normal people, but everyone also knows that conjoined lives are so utterly worthless that dangerous separation surgeries are an ethical imperative. And yet, standing against the backdrop of our certainty about these matters are the twins themselves. When we ask Lori and Reba how they feel about their situation, they tell us that they wouldn't have it any other way. In an exhaustive search of the medical literature, the same medical historian found the "desire to remain together to be so widespread among communicating conjoined twins as to be practically universal."There's further exploration of these findings in the book. Like I said, provocative.
And how did you end up as the lead singer in a comedy band, after studying Shakespeare and Brecht and serious drama at U.C.L.A.?
Comedy seemed a lot less pretentious to me. There is something about acting, about believing it is real, about Strasberg and "Feel the coffee cup, feel the coffee cup, it's real." It's all just so touchy-feely.
The animation of the inanimate has been a staple from the dancing brooms of “Fantasia” right up to the talking clock in “Beauty and the Beast” and the remote-control car in “Toy Story.” ... Now, in “Cars,” we have the rise of the machines, and it comes at a peculiar time. With the price of oil gurgling upward, and even the President conceding that the nation’s fuel consumption could use a trim, Pixar has produced a hymn to the ecstasy of driving. The entire film dreams woozily of a chrome-bright past, and especially of the glory days of Route 66...Is a dreamy paean to the ecstasy of driving ever really untimely? That notion shocks me. (Forget about the fact that current disillusionment would make such backward-gazing wooziness more explicable, not less; less "peculiar," not more. It pains me to point out uncharacteristic sloppiness from Lane, who I unrepentantly worship.)
The length? Too much competition? Creative exhaustion? How about this, guru: A whole lot of us are (in) no mood to celebrate —- to laugh at, to laugh with -— the very machines that have turned Iraq into a death factory. Disney should have stuck with cute toys and lovable animals -— cars can never be anything but political.After reading that, I think the more apt conclusion would be that Charles Mudede can never be anything but political. He must be fun at parties. ("I would partake, but guacamole can never be anything but political.") A Stranger reader responding to the piece beat me to my comment, and put it more succinctly than I would have:
My God, you hippies come unglued for the most ridiculous reasons. How about this theory: what if the movie just sucks? Naw, what was I thinking. It must be a massive geopolitical entertainment revolt centered around the war.But now I'm reading that the movie might not suck as much as I feared. I think I have to see it -- not only to give it a chance after loving every other Pixar movie, but also to counteract Mudede's overly earnest boycott. Come to think of it, maybe everything is politically motivated.
It doesn't matter that Mr. Wainwright sounds nothing like Garland or that his voice...isn't half as good an instrument as Garland's. The spirit was there. At the very least, his loving song-by-song re-creation of Garland's brilliant concert of April 23, 1961, which became "Judy at Carnegie Hall," the most beloved of all prerock concert albums, was a fabulous stunt. Not even Madonna, pop music's ultimate provocateur, has attempted anything so ambitious.I love several of Wainwright's songs -- I think people will be listening to "Foolish Love" a hundred years from now -- but I do tend to listen to him in bits and pieces, because his distinctly beautiful voice can be grating in large doses. Still, I would've liked to have been at Carnegie for one of those nights.
The notion that the public accepts or rejects anything in Modern Art, the notion that the public scorns, ignores, fails to comprehend, allows to wither, crushes the spirit of, or commits any other crime against Art or any individual artist is merely a romantic fiction, a bittersweet Trilby sentiment. The game is completed and the trophies distributed long before the public knows what has happened. The public that buys books in hardcover and paperback by the millions, the public that buys records by the billions and fills stadiums for concerts, the public that spends $100 million on a single movie -- this public affects the taste, theory, and artistic outlook in literature, music, and drama, even though courtly elites hang on somewhat desperately in each field. The same has never been true in art. The public whose glorious numbers are recorded in the annual reports of the museums, all those students and bus tours and moms and dads and random intellectuals . . . are merely tourists, autograph seekers, gawkers, parade watchers, so far as the game of Success in Art is concerned. The public is presented with a fait accompli and the aforementioned printed announcement, usually in the form of a story or a spread of color pictures in the back pages of Time. An announcement, as I say. Not even the most powerful organs of the press, including Time, Newsweek, and The New York Times, can discover a new artist or certify his worth and make it stick. They can only bring you the news, tell you which artists the beau hamlet, Cultureburg, has discovered and certified. They can only bring you the scores.
...a stellar read. (Charles') messed-up, seriously melancholy, punk-rock romantic narrator, Vim Sweeney, is the true-blue modern incarnation of Holden Caulfield.
Labels: Five Songs
For now we should all salute both of these fine cities, which have so many reasons to be proud. Miami, of course, has its spectacular natural beauty, its exploding cultural scene, its vibrant nightlife, its sizzling Latin-Caribbean energy, its booming economy. Dallas, for its part, has a total of five Neiman Marcuses.(Via A Glass of Chianti)
Both cities attract millions of visitors each year. They come to Miami to swim, dive, fish, boat, golf, shop, dine, enjoy the exciting club scene or simply ''kick back'' on the beach. They go to Dallas mainly to change planes...
I'm not saying that these two cities are unblemished paradises. Both have drawbacks: Miami is vulnerable to hurricanes, whereas Dallas is completely surrounded by Texas.
To see God everywhere is to see Him nowhere. We go from day to day, one day much like the next, and then on a certain day all unannounced we come upon a man or we see this man who is perhaps already known to us and is a man like all men but who makes a certain gesture of himself that is like the piling of one's goods upon an altar and in this gesture we recognize that which is buried in our hearts and is never truly lost to us nor ever can be and it is this moment, you see. This same moment. It is this which we long for and are afraid to seek and which alone can save us.
Down for MaintenanceThe site was back shortly, but I was still angry (though I know it's stupid of me to be angry at a mechanism that allows me to blog when it's down for an hour when I'm the type of person who, left to his own devices, can barely operate an old-fashioned television.)
We are migrating databases to make Blogger stronger and better.
Stay tuned, we will be back shortly!
American officials themselves offered an immediate warning against overstating the impact that the death of Mr. Zarqawi, the most wanted insurgent in Iraq, would have on prospects that American and Iraqi forces can gain the upper hand in the conflict.Andrew Sullivan, from whom I get a lot of my war news, stays in form and doesn't shy away from the moment’s lack of clarity:
Perhaps the biggest reason to rejoice at his demise is not that he represented the core of the Sunni insurgency, but that his strategy of fomenting sectarian mayhem helped unleash the most destructive force in the nascent state. Maybe his removal will help abate that force. Or maybe it now has a momentum all its own. We'll see.
...both in its ingratiating vibe and bland execution, "Cars" is nothing if not totally, disappointingly new-age Disney, the story of a little cherry-red race car, Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson), who can win the race of (his) life only after he learns the value of friendship and the curvy appeal of Porsche Carrera (Bonnie Hunt).Too bad. Nice to see Bonnie Hunt playing a romantic lead, though, even if Hollywood has to anthropomorphize her before realizing she's attractive as a human being.
In Search of a Pan That Lets Cooks Forget About Teflon
"Click" focuses on a workaholic architect who finds a universal remote that allows him to fast-forward and rewind to different parts of his life. Complications arise when the remote starts to overrule his choices.One day, I will be back in Dallas for a Bad Movie Club festival, so Jason, do me a favor and add this to the list, if you think we can stomach it.
Many years ago, when I was in analysis, my therapist used to say, "Love is homesickness." What she meant was that you tend to fall in love with someone who reminds you of one of your parents. This, of course, is one of those things that analysts always say, even though it isn't really true. Just about anyone on the planet is capable of reminding you of something about one of your parents, even if it's only a dimple. But I don't mean to digress. The point I want to make is that love may or may not be homesickness, but homesickness is definitely love.
A Rabbit As King Of The Ghosts
by Wallace Stevens
The difficulty to think at the end of day,
When the shapeless shadow covers the sun
And nothing is left except light on your fur—
There was the cat slopping its milk all day,
Fat cat, red tongue, green mind, white milk
And August the most peaceful month.
To be, in the grass, in the peacefullest time,
Without that monument of cat,
The cat forgotten on the moon;
And to feel that the light is a rabbit-light
In which everything is meant for you
And nothing need be explained;
Then there is nothing to think of. It comes of itself;
And east rushes west and west rushes down,
No matter. The grass is full
And full of yourself. The trees around are for you,
The whole of the wideness of night is for you,
A self that touches all edges,
You become a self that fills the four corners of night.
The red cat hides away in the fur-light
And there you are humped high, humped up,
You are humped higher and higher, black as stone—
You sit with your head like a carving in space
And the little green cat is a bug in the grass.
A gang of toughs jeopardizes the team's reputation by posing as the four and terrorizing rodeo performers and spectators.In the first few minutes, one of the phonies throws a rodeo worker to the ground. A pretty blonde rodeo woman comes to her colleague's aid, and kneeling next to him, looks up at the impostor and says, "I thought the A-Team was supposed to help people!"
About the list, I'm always astonished by the devotion to Updike. I think it's just from seeing his name in the New Yorker so relentlessly. I mean, no writer I know really values those books except the first one, "Rabbit Run," which I think is terrific. After that it became dilution.She also writes about the book she chose -- Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, which she's read once a year for more than a decade:
I find it terrifying, and even though most of the characters are pretty despicable, I love them -- I can't live without the characters. It's like having a crush on somebody and stalking them. Like you're standing outside the window of that book with your boombox on your shoulder waiting, playing love songs and hoping they'll come out again.
The formula did note a commuter population of more than 16 million around the city twice struck by fundamentalist terrorists and twice more targeted in plots halted in pre-operational stages. It noted the more than eight million residents and the largest rail ridership in the nation -- more than five million. It is those commuters and rail riders who are expected to suffer most from the cuts since mass transit is listed on most DHS alerts as the top terror target.From one of sixteen million: thanks, guys.
I think the facts are clear. What they've really done is taken what was supposed to be threat-based and just started to distribute it as normal pork.Or, as a commenter over at The Stranger put it:
using "homeland security" to dole out cash to battleground house and senate races. despicable.(Via The Stranger, via Modern Art Notes, via Daily Kos (the link to follow for the ball of paint and other jaw-droppers))
Frankencelery is really just an actor named Phil Winklestein from Toledo. Junior saw him in the scary movie, "Frankencelery." Junior was afraid, but Phil introduced himself, and he and Bob and Larry helped Junior to learn that God is bigger than any "boogie man." Phil also has done several parts as extras. He also performed a quartet with the Scallions in the Silly Song "The Yodeling Veterinarian of the Alps."Sounds like more fun than Sunday school, anyway.
She gave a lazy laugh. "You should invite me to where you live someday and see all the wacky things I'm going to do."
"I will," I said. "I will." Though I already imagined that by the time I got back to my new job and life, with all its distractions and busynesses, that I wouldn't know how. Or why. Despite all my curatorial impulses and training, my priestly harborings and professional, courtly suit of the past, I never knew what to do with all those years of one's life: trot around in them forever like old boots -- or sever them, let them fly free?
Of course, one couldn't really do either. But there was always the trying, and pretending. And then there was finally someplace in between, where one lived.
I curled next to Sils and closed my eyes. I slept the light, watery sleep of a sick person who has already slept off the day and then awakened to night, not knowing what to do.
When your mother kills your father and his girlfriend by running them over in her Cadillac, it affects you for the rest of your life.