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October 31, 2002

be careful with that ax

Dr. Eugene Chadbourne finally has his own web page, and no one told me!

Death in the Family by Judith Lewis

Death in the Family by Judith Lewis.

originally posted by daiichi

i've seen monkey poop

Arlington County, Oct. 16. A caller requested that an animal control officer speak with her son, 6, because he was so anxious about her plans to drop lobsters into boiling water for dinner that he took them into his bedroom. The animal control staff person who took the call suggested that she try to calm him by explaining the food chain. If that didn't work, the mother was advised to ask a neighbor to cook them or take the lobsters back to the store.

Intruder Monkeys Around on Porch

Arlington County, Oct. 2. Animal control received a call from a woman who claimed that a monkey had been defecating on her back porch. When asked if she had seen the culprit, she said "No, but I've seen monkey poop and I know that a monkey comes to my back porch." Animal control told her to call back if she saw a monkey.

Every now and then, reading the Washington Post's Animal Watch column pays off.

ftrain: looking at the numbers

So lets say that the cylinders roll around and line up: not three cherries, obviously, but maybe three lemons. I think that did happen. And the payoff is that you're visiting me in the hospital after I break my leg, putting up shelves with me, grouting the tile in the bathroom while I paint the hallway, listening in amused frustration, from the bedroom, as the dog gets into the trash, not talking to me for an afternoon because I'm mean. Who knows, maybe you're digging your fingers into my hand until your draw blood while the midwife - well, more on that later. If I could have all that, and it's more than I ever expected, why not release my independence, my solitude, which has been caged up inside me like carrier pigeons. And let them fly out all over the city and into the country?
Wow. Yesterday's Ftrain is pretty, sad and fully human.

drop the rock

Nelson Rockefeller’s granddaughter was among those arrested in Manhattan Wednesday while protesting the strict drug laws named for the former governor.

Mayla Rockefeller, two State Senators and eight others were arrested
at a drop the rock protest yesterday.

k&r living

After a late-October class, Mr. Kernighan explained that his goal in the course was to impart an intelligent skepticism about computer technology, an informed sense of its possibilities and limitations. "And you can't do that in the abstract," he said, which is why programming and projects are essential elements in his course. Smiling, he mentioned the often-quoted line from the science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." A wonderful phrase, Mr. Kernighan said, "but there is no magic."
Brian W. Kernighan now teaches classes in technology at Princeton. He's the "k" in "the k&r C book" on every computer scientist's shelf (it's never farther than two feet from me, though I rarely read it).

Behind the turntables is where he stands

When a drumbeat on a vinyl record is scratched back and forth under a needle, it makes a sort of percussive swishing sound. The first scratches the average pop music fan ever heard were Mr. Mizell's.
The New York Times: D.J. for Rap's Run-DMC Is Shot to Death in Queens.

October 30, 2002

errol morris

At Transom.org, Errol Morris discusses his work with photographer Nubar Alexanian, and answers questions from readers.

let them golf?

Wedge Issue? In Hard Times, Mayor Golfs

Not everyone is amused. The New York Public Interest Research Group said it intended to file a formal complain to the Legislative Ethics Committee, citing a state law that bars elected officials from accepting gifts over $75, including travel, entertainment or hospitality, "under circumstances in which it could reasonably be inferred that the gift was intended to influence him, or could reasonably be expected to influence him."

October 29, 2002

The government chooses which side it's on.

The Department of Justice has given the union representing 10,500 West Coast dockworkers until noon today to present "a substantive response" to allegations by shipping lines of an illegal worker slowdown.
The Justice Department is the plaintiff in an action in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, representing President Bush.

Defend the dockworkers. It affects all of us.
Update:The union responds.

originally posted by zagg

C30, C60, C90, Go! (or: the crucial dialectic between Side A and Side B)

Someday music will be only air. There will be no objects to hold or fetishize and people will simply collect lists. No disc, nothing spooled or grooved, nothing to scratch or break, no heads to clean, no dust to wipe, no compulsive alphabetizing. Nothing to put away in shoe boxes in spare closets and be embarrassed about.
The Washington Post: Unspooled. "It was a nation of tapeheads, living on some social margin, out past the faint hiss, waiting for nuclear war." I'm a sucker for these Style articles, but this one is different. It's an elegy, a last rewind; that excruciating moment when the tape runs out and the song cuts off and an apology is all that's left. Like a haircut so drastic you no longer recognize yourself in the mirror, it's time to throw those cassettes away.

October 28, 2002


Last weekend's This American Life was about middlemen. It opens with a fascinating interview with a man who handled TTY calls between deaf and hearing people. Sometimes, he says, the callers tried to drag him into arguments between them. Other times, they made him say embarassing things and laughed at his discomfort.

NPR's outrageous miscoverage of the DC peace march

BRAND: Was the crowd as large as expected?

MARSHALL: It was not as large as the organizers of the protest had predicted. They had said there would be 100,000 people here. I'd say there are fewer than 10,000. However, they did accomplish their goal of actually marching around the White House in one continuous stream of people. It is a little bit thin in some areas, but nonetheless, they have marched around the White House.

Nancy Marshall 'reported' for NPR on the march in DC on Saturday, and her crowd estimate appears to be a complete fabrication. I'd like to allow for the possibility that she's honestly mistaken, but -- well, she can't be. No one who was present, left right or center, would put the crowd at only ten thousand -- and certainly no ethical journalist would include such an outrageous figure in their work.

I'm not convinced that NPR needs to fire Nancy Marshall as this online petition demands, but NPR needs to address this publicly and immediately.

i'd like to teach the world to sing

On his current tour, Ben Folds has been encouraging his audience to sing the instrumental parts to his songs. The results are impressive. (RealAudio.)

October 25, 2002

Where do we go from here, Paul?

I grew up in Minnesota, worked for Paul Wellstone's campaign, wrote about his ads for the local alternative weekly (City Pages) and jumped on the bed so violently the night he won the friggin' thing collapsed. And I just cannot contain my grief today. He was a man of conscience who chose to work within the system, and achieved more than anyone could have anticipated through cooperation and persuasion; in his book he talks about getting Ashcroft on his side to pass an important piece of legislation.

And, speaking of Ashcroft: Forgive my paranoid maniac conspiracy-theory-mindedness, but this was just on Yahoo!:

"Wellstone's death was eerily similar to the circumstances surrounding the October 2000 plane crash death of another Democratic Senate hopeful, Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan (news - web sites). His plane crashed in bad weather in that state killing him shortly before that year's election. He was elected after his death and his widow was appointed to take his seat."

originally posted by judlew

The great article Top Ten

The great article Top Ten Digital Photography Tips led me to the very attractive O'Reilly book, Digital Photography Pocket Guide.

October 24, 2002


In the Papers, New York 1's pre-blog video blog, the best thing on television, is now available on the Internet. I am going to cancel my cable this weekend!

October 23, 2002

Who is Deborah Triesman, besides

Who is Deborah Triesman, besides the new fiction editor at the New Yorker?

At the Literary Saloon, (no permalink, scroll down) they're trying to figure it out. In the New York Times article about her, they mention she's married to a "rock musician.' Who? Help!

it's okay to eat fish

I am not a junkie...Ive had a rather unconclusive and uncomfortable stomach condition for the past three years...I decided to relieve my pain with small doses of heroine for a walloping 3 whole weeks.
From Kurt Cobain's journals, excerpted in this week's Newsweek and to be released as a book.

October 22, 2002

When I tried to use

When I tried to use third person, I just felt like I became a god. But I don't want to be a god. I don't know everything. I can't write everything. I'm just myself. I would write something just as myself. I don't mean that I really am the protagonist but that I can envision what my protagonist sees and experiences. Writing lets me enter my own subconscious; that's the process I use to tell my stories. It's the most exciting thing I've ever done. For me telling a good story is like what happens when I walk down the street. I love the street and so when I'm walking I'm watching everything, hearing and smelling everything. When you do this, the world changes--you're experiencing everything in a new way. The light and the sounds and your emotions. That's the way writing is for me. I'm forty-six and married, but when I'm writing I can become twenty-five and unmarried. I can walk around in somebody else's shoes--and feel those shoes. Writing becomes your second life. That's good.

The Review of Contemporary Fiction interviews Haruki Murakami.

As exhilarating as most of

As exhilarating as most of his films are, Brakhage's work can also be impenetrable, and if viewers don't happen to be in the mood to use those parts of their brains that Brakhage is interested in engaging, then his films can be maddeningly opaque, hermetic, obscure, academic. Of course, these are the terms most often used -- usually in tandem with "elitist" -- to dismiss abstract art, whether it's on the wall or on the page. Such epithets are meant to flatter and glorify the un-curious and the anti-intellectual at the expense of viewers -- or readers or listeners -- who aren't afraid to have their curiosity rewarded with occasional moments of frustration or confusion. Those who prefer their art safely representational have the security of knowing they'll rarely be confounded; on the other hand, they may not get to experience those occasional moments of connection, clarity and even bliss that occur when one encounters an artist's pure, if abstract, effort to communicate the ineffable.
The National Gallery in Washington, D.C., is hosting a retrospective of the films of Stan Brakhage.

people should get beat up for stating their beliefs

It's exciting to be recognized as a band, because we're really ambitious about what we do. Because we incorporate humor in what we're doing, it always makes people a little nervous that they're somehow going to be manipulated. It's a very fragile equation, mixing rock and humor, and sometimes, people may think we're a little pretentious about what we do. But this project means everything to us, it's our entire lives. We've always been in an odd place and we're extraordinarily comfortable in our odd place.
John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants. Note that Dial-A-Song is now online.

hingitaq 53

Inughuit were told they had no right to return either to Uummannaq or to the land surrounding it. They knew this land intimately over thousands of years. It sustained them. Then, in an instant, it was forbidden.
The Inughuit of Greenland have sued Denmark in an effort to close an American military base that shoved them off their land 50 years ago.

you can tell a country...

Executions of juvenile offenders are barred by international human rights treaties, though the United States has not accepted those provisions. Only the United States, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of Congo have reported them since 1990.
Just to remind you of the fine company the American democracy keeps. But four Supreme Court justices disapprove of executing juveniles.

Mr. Dunne, who, naturally,

Mr. Dunne, who, naturally, is working on his own bird guide, said birders did not see the guides as competing because they bought everything, and more than one copy. He cited an informal survey he did recently of him and two other birders while they were out in the field. How many Sibley's did each of them own, he wondered. The answers were five, two and five.
The New York Times: Vital Gear for Birders: A Good Book. "The Sibley Guide to Birds [is] a 544-page work that now has 700,000 copies in print."

Anil Dash has launched Magazine,

Anil Dash has launched Magazine, a place to park some of his ideas about technology & blogging.

Following the success of Ghost

Following the success of Ghost World, in fact, Tomine has received several calls from would-be producers of the first Optic Nerve flick, but the cartoonist actually talked the callers out of it.
East Bay Express: Geek Chic. That's just a curious aside in this long, thorough profile of Optic Nerve creator Adrian Tomine.

From Neiman Marcus's Christmas catalog:

From Neiman Marcus's Christmas catalog: action figures of yourself. (via girlhacker)

A year later, scientists

A year later, scientists and physicians in New York City are still trying to figure out just what tens of thousands of people inhaled that fateful day.
The American Prospect: Under the Plume.

October 21, 2002

My favorite part is when

My favorite part is when the kid is saying to the other kid you are me. They become friends. They point to each other a lot in the book. The book has marks like a question mark and exclamation point. I liked the book.
Yo! Yes? reviewed by Chris B., age 7, for the Spaghetti Book Club.

you think that you are white

If whiteness didn’t have a social meaning, if the advantages weren’t there, then people wouldn’t think of themselves as white.
Metro Times Detroit: The problem with whites. The article is just race traitor 101, but this is a good quote. I remember being attached to my whiteness and utterly unable to even ask myself why. What I want to know is: why hasn't there been an issue of the journal published in a year? Is the project still active? (How long has this story been waiting to run, anyway?)

where have you gone, dana dane (with fame)?

"It could almost work here like hip-hop works for Brits — as a fantasy," he said. "For Americans it could be like: 'Who's he? He says geezer all the time! He's got this weird lifestyle.' And that's what could make British rap more powerful ultimately, because American rap today is a TV show — really conservative."
To read now: "The British Can't Rap, Haven't You Heard?"

To read later: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's "Sing praise" series on Atlanta's black gospel music scene.

October 20, 2002

usability - via the woman who designed the most usable site on the Internet

There's this one user, a Google zealot - we don't know who he is - who occasionally sends an e-mail to our "comments" address. Every time he writes, the e-mail contains only a two-digit number. It took us awhile to figure out what he was doing. Turns out he's counting the number of words on the home page. When the number goes up, like up to 52, it gets him irritated, and he e-mails us the new word count. As crazy as it sounds, his e-mails are helpful, because it has put an interesting discipline on the UI team, so as not to introduce too many links. It's like a scale that tells you that you've gained two pounds.
Interview: Marissa Mayer, Product Manager, Google

October 17, 2002

completely Zen kinda feelings

"Totally," Billy said. "So, you ever listened to much Frampton."
"No but I heard he's so fucking awesome. Completely revolutionary."
"Yeah he's pretty core," Billy said. "I was totally bummed when I heard he died. I was in my loft droppin' some beats and I was totally sampling from Crazy Framp when I just got this like completely Zen kinda feeling, like something just said 'Peter Frampton is no longer with us'"
"No shit?" she said. "I didn't know he was dead. That's totally sucks."
"Yeah, heart failure. It was just last month."
"Holy shit. I swear when I saw the cover I said to myself 'You-need-to-get-this-record,' I swear."
"Totally core dude."
"Yeah," she said. "Check out the cover! Awesome huh? The fucking hair! Awesome!"
"Totally," Billy said. "Man, why did they put some white dude on the cover."
"That's not him?"
"No way!" Billy said. "The Framp was black. But he got in a fucked up car crash in the Bahamas in the 70s and I think they had to do all kinds of fucking skin graphs and shit, so maybe he just looks white."
"Is that why he sings through that voice box thing?"
"Totally," Billy said. "But he used to play the vibes man, for Louis Armstrong."
"Wow, that's totally core."
The New York City Anti-Hipster Forum is totally core. Via Ftrain.

iBiblio is hosting an impressive

iBiblio is hosting an impressive free collection of Classical Asian music.

boondocks boosting

As to McGruder's being allowed to say the things he says only because he is black, it would probably be more accurate to say that he is able to see the things he sees because he is black.
The Chicago Tribune's Don Wycliff presents an insightful defense of Aaron McGruder's Boondocks.

uncle steve

Apple is offering every K-12 teacher in the country free copy of Jaguar. Homeschoolers, too?

woody h

The fact is that George Bush Sr continued to supply nerve gas and technology to Saddam even after he used it on Iran and then the Kurds in Iraq. While the Amnesty International report listing countless Saddam atrocities, including gassing and torturing Kurds, was sitting on his desk, Bush Sr pushed through a $2bn "agricultural" loan and Thatcher gave hundreds of millions in export credit to Saddam. The elder Bush then had the audacity to quote the Amnesty reports to garner support for his oil war.

A decade later, Shrub follows the same line: "We have no quarrel with the Iraqi people." I'm sure half a million Iraqi parents are scratching their heads over that. I'm an American tired of lies. And with our government, it's mostly lies.
Woody Harrelson in today's Guardian.

October 15, 2002

I almost forgot it was columbus day...

Jean Chadwick, a Cherokee Indian from Hiram, Maine, was delighted to hear Middleton expects about a dozen other students to join him in calling for an end to Columbus Day.

"That’s wonderful news," Chadwick said.

The Cherokee woman belongs to a group called United Native America. They want to replace Columbus Day with Native American Day.

"To Native Americans, Columbus is seen as the great genocider," Chadwick said. "It would be almost the same for us to have a Hitler Day if you were Jewish."

Going to school on Columbus Day? High School Senior Jerret Middleton celebrates an anti-holiday.

[link courtesy of uppity-negro]

October 14, 2002

LAT: "Growers Shed Organic Label,

LAT: "Growers Shed Organic Label, Keep Roots"

Men Behaving Badly

Most people asked to envision a sexual-harassment complaint from a man would probably think of ''Disclosure''-like scenarios starring rapacious female bosses in pinstriped Armani. Maybe, when reminded that men can file sexual-harassment suits against other men, they might think of a gay boss coming on to a subordinate. Both kinds of cases do occur (the latter more often than the former), but judging from law journals and court documents, they do not represent the typical harassment claim brought by men. A more common case involves heterosexual men, often in blue-collar and service-industry jobs, who object to the ''hostile environment'' created by the behavior of other heterosexual men.
In a companion of sorts to her earlier "Alpha-Girls" article, Margot Talbot asks If men victimizing men is sexual harassment.

October 13, 2002

I, Casey

My personal top 40 tunes this week:

  1. Dedicated, Digable Planets

  2. Stumbline, Smashing Pumpkins

  3. Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon (Utopia Planitia), The Flaming Lips

  4. Epiphany, The Spinanes

  5. Ocean Beat, Tosca

  6. Is This It, The Strokes

  7. Intro, Aim

  8. Wigwam, Bob Dylan

  9. Toj, El-P

  10. All We Have is Now, The Flaming Lips

  11. From A Seaside Town, Aim

  12. Neil Young - Heart of Gold, Neil Young

  13. The Flute Plays On, Monsieur Charles

  14. I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, Wilco

  15. Baraat, Monsoon Wedding

  16. War On War, Wilco

  17. Pot Kettle Black, Wilco

  18. Heavy Metal Drummer, Wilco

  19. Poor Places, Wilco

  20. I'm The Man Who Loves You, Wilco

  21. Jesus, etc., Wilco

  22. Radio Cure, Wilco

  23. Glass Onion, Beatles

  24. Good Disease, Aim

  25. Do You Realize?, The Flaming Lips

  26. the golden age, beck

  27. Kamera, Wilco

  28. Reservations, Wilco

  29. One More Robot - Sympathy 3000-21, The Flaming Lips

  30. Are You A Hypnotist??, The Flaming Lips

  31. In The Morning Of The Magicians, The Flaming Lips

  32. Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell, The Flaming Lips

  33. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pt. 1, The Flaming Lips

  34. Smokes Quantity, Boards of Canada

  35. It's Summertime (Throbbing Orange Pallbearers), The Flaming Lips

  36. Ashes Of American Flags, Wilco

  37. What Does Your Soul Look Like, Pt. 1: Blue, DJ Shadow

  38. Rose Rouge, St Germain

  39. One Very Important Thought, Boards of Canada

  40. Kaini Industries, Boards of Canada

(Read about the methodology at Xspot.)

October 11, 2002

Howard Zinn has a new

Howard Zinn has a new book out. Last night I saw him lecture for the second time. He is now on my list of things that are almost as good as pesto. A wise man and a wise-guy.

originally posted by jdavis

October 10, 2002

nonesuch explorer series, revived

The super-duper Nonesuch label is reviving its extensive Explorer series of world music recordings. None of that fancy production work on these babies. Producer Stephen Jay was on NPR, talking about his recordings of traditional African music made in the '70s. Then David Byrne talked about discovering the recordings as a youngster in Baltimore, when he checked them out of the library. (Does anyone check music out of the library? I love it.)

There's a Philip K. Dick

There's a Philip K. Dick novel, I can't remember the name of it, but I remember reading it and realizing that in order to understand it, the patterns of thought in your brain have to change. The Sound and the Fury does that, too. The Sound and the Fury reorders your mind. You can't just read it passively; it changes you. To understand it you have to work so hard that when you make the connections there's a physical change in your brain. Since everything the culture gives us is so mindless, and kills the connection in your brain, real art has to find some way to reorder the mind.
Nobody quite gets Michael Tolkin's Under Radar -- including Michael Tolkin.

October 9, 2002

Flex Your Head

Dischord Records just released an incredible box set, Twenty Years Of Dischord, documenting two decades of Washington, D.C. punk rock and harDCore. It includes three CDs featuring all fifty Dischord bands (73 songs in all), unreleased stuff (two "new" Minor Threat songs!), video footage, and a 134 page book. You can order it, postage paid, for a ridiculous $25 - or find it for less elsewhere online as I have. That's right - twenty five dollars.

while we're in hiding

The October 2001 run of randomWalks is one of my favorite web pages ever. Even though I was depressed as hell, it was the beginning of (slightly) better things.

bush opens west coast ports

"We're absolutely furious," said Richard Trumka, secretary-treasurer of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. "The P.M.A. locked the workers out, contrived a phony crisis and then gets rescued by the administration. They're getting their way and have the weight of the government behind them."
A rare and successful use of the Taft-Hartley Act ended the longshoremen's lockout on the West Coast yesterday.

October 8, 2002

"okie from muskogee" wuz robbed!

Before listing my top selections, I should explain the criteria on which I based my choices. First, I based them solely on the conservatism of the lyrics. A song had to have an explicitly conservative theme, although just a single line may represent it. I looked particularly for those embodying religious or patriotic themes, as these are unambiguously conservative values.

Second, I paid no attention to the politics of the performer. There are a number of good conservatives, such as Ted Nugent and even Walter Brennan, who have had hit songs over the years. But unless their songs had an explicitly conservative theme, I did not include them. Conversely, if some outspoken liberal recorded a song with explicitly conservative lyrics, I still included it.

Third, I limited myself to songs that made Billboard’s Top 40 chart after 1955. I relied heavily on the latest edition of Joel Whitburn’s book, Top 40 Hits. I did this in order to limit the universe of potential songs to a manageable number. Also, I think it is more telling if a conservative song had broad popularity, as indicated by sales, than if it is buried on some obscure album. Unfortunately, this rule forced me to leave out my personal favorite conservative rock song, ‘Taxman’ by The Beatles (well covered by Stevie Ray Vaughn). I also had to exclude Ray Charles’ wonderful version of ‘America the Beautiful.’
Mm, nothing like counting down those conservative Top-40 songs (as seen on daypop).

almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades

Israel: Slain Palestinians 'mostly armed' - this reminds me of the scene in Princess Bride where Wesley was "mostly dead."

"If you wish to learn

"If you wish to learn how to live in a democratic society, then you would do well to play in an orchestra," Barenboim tells us. By doing so, "you know when to lead and when to follow. You leave space for others and at the same time you have no inhibitions about claiming a place for yourself." And yet--in one of the paradoxes of the book's title--music, he tells us, is also the best means of escape from the problems of human existence.
L.A. Times, "Music Is Overture for Political, Social Dialogues" on Daniel Barenboim and Edward W. Said's "Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society"

October 7, 2002

Well, I'm the only one here.

Last 20 Searchengine QueriesUnique Visitors
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Mark has drawn attention to the issue of Google's latest index showing some odd weaknesses. I don't know that I've noticed that, but I can tell you that this set of search referrers stands as far and away the best (ie: most likely to be please the searcher; ie: not a search for porn) set I have ever seen.

Participants have also been

Participants have also been surprised by the choice of authors, who are always selected by Mrs. Bush. When Patricia Nelson Limerick, a leading historian of the American West and the author of the influential revisionist history "The Legacy of Conquest," was asked to speak about the Western writers Willa Cather, Edna Ferber and Laura Ingalls Wilder in September, she had to read Ferber's "Giant" for the first time — and came away stunned.

"It is quite a penetrating, mocking portrait of Texas rich people, and particularly of people making their money in oil," Ms. Limerick said, adding that she at first could not imagine that the first lady, with her roots in Texas, would have selected such a book for White House discussion. But when Mrs. Bush spoke in her opening remarks at that symposium of Ferber's shock at "the swaggering arrogance of men in 10-gallon hats," Ms. Limerick knew that Mrs. Bush was no stranger to the themes of "Giant."

"I did Mrs. Bush a terrible disservice thinking that maybe she didn't know, that she thought these were all little houses on the prairie," Ms. Limerick said.

Right on Laura Bush! [NYT, rwalks.walks]

I'm at Coco's house

And we're listening to this. "My heart is like an ancient holy song." Yeah. Yeah yeah yeah. Can't get enough of it.

originally posted by judlew

October 6, 2002

they call me william holden caufield

Latter-day versions of Holden still drop out and wig out. But they must face tougher situations than, say, taking a phony to a Broadway matinee or fielding a quasi-pass from a former teacher. And the world they observe is a much more dangerous place. Holden worried about the ducks in Central Park. The eponymous hero of the movie "Igby Goes Down" hears obscenities shouted by uniformed schoolgirls in the park as they clobber each other with hockey sticks.
Having just seen Igby, and thinking about it in connection with Tadpole and The Good Girl, I guess I'm not surprised to see this.

folk is punk

For Curry, "Virginia Roots" is but the first of many planned sallies against the record industry. "I want to undermine the corporate giants of entertainment and all the garbage they put out," he says. "This is as anti-Trashville" -- as in Nashville -- "as you can get. Trashville is threatened by the old stuff that has so much life to it, as opposed to the crap they're churning out now."
An original member of GWAR has just compiled a two-disc set of super-rare Virginia folk music recorded in 1929 in Richmond, by OKeh.

[the strokes] are it

The fervidly romantic ambivalence of a downtown New York guy (or girl, for that matter) -- that's what Julian Casablancas, who writes and sings all the Strokes' songs, writes and sings about. Jobs, bars, beds: stay or go? And when he sings, earnestly crooning like Mel Torme when he begins a verse, then caustically (and a little comically) muttering like Lou Reed to end it, he does so through a filter that distorts his voice electronically, allusively -- it's the voice pleading through the intercom from the apartment vestibule, the voice leaving a message on the cell at 4 a.m. It's the voice of New York, or anyway youngish New York, at its most intimate.
With love, the NYT [rwalks/walks] smothers the Strokes--as if the backlash hasn't already...

October 5, 2002

must be dreaming?

Am I alone in my obsession with Frou-Frou?

originally posted by judlew

October 3, 2002


Alternet: Psychedelics and Zen: Teach your Children Well

[John Perry Barlow:] I consider LSD to be a serious medicine, but by diminishing the hazards in our cultural drugs of choice and demonizing psychedelics, we head our children straight down the most dangerous path their youthful adventurism can take. (...)

Laugh at authority in America and you will know risk. LSD is illegal primarily because it threatens the dominant American culture, the culture of control.
[University of Massachusetts professor Nick Bromell:] Why these drugs? What is the synergistic connection between these drugs and coming of age -- of middle class adolescence? Clearly this is something fundamental and still unresolved. (...)

There was nothing noble about lounging all afternoon in a suburban rec room and feeling that life sucked. But there was (and still is) something mythic about dropping acid and descending into a maelstrom where the nameless nagging insecurities of the everyday become tempests and nebulae in the void of inner space.
[Ram Dass:] It's a great gift, a profound sacrament. You can't put it down. We just don't know how to use it, for the most part. ... I feel sad when society rejects something that can help it understand itself and deepens its values and its wisdom.
"The government says we should just say no, but I think we should just say 'Thanks, thanks Kesey.' "

Two hunters are out in

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy takes out his phone and calls the emergency services.

He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"
CNN is calling it the world's funniest joke, but the study only demonstrates that it's the joke with the broadest appeal.
Bizarrely, computer analysis of the data also showed that jokes containing 103 words were thought to be especially funny. The winning "hunters" joke was 102 words long.

October 2, 2002

The most intriguing part of

The most intriguing part of the book is Appel's explication of James Joyce's "Ulysses," particularly the Molly Bloom chapter, which he hails as the century's greatest piece of vernacular prose. (Appel is a professor emeritus of English at Northwestern University.)

In jazz terms, he tells us, Molly's narrative pulse of 86 beats per minute "is at least fifteen years ahead of its time ...," a precursor of jazz. Though many have found that particular Joyce text difficult to penetrate, Molly's "syncopations" become palpable, Appel explains, if one punctuates the opening passages with slashes, which he does on the page, adding a musical dimension to a piece of iconic modernist writing.

To get the reader in the right groove to appreciate Joyce, Appel suggests the publication of a paperback volume containing only the excerpted Molly Bloom chapter, packaged with a compact disc of jazz performances set on or very close to Molly's metronomic beat.

This is a great idea, and one which brings up a problem for those readers lacking an encyclopedic grasp of jazz history and a extensive library of original jazz recordings: Without the ability to hear the music that Appel references, many of his riffs come off flat, if not nearly silent.
"If Modern Art and Literature Had a Soundtrack, It Would Be Jazz"

October 1, 2002

I'm coming home to you

I await a movie where a New Yorker tries moving to a small town and finds that it just doesn't reflect his warm-hearted big city values.
Said Ebert. He thought it was cute. I saw it in a small town movie theatre - the kind that you imagine in that idealized small town - with a sophisticated small town audience. It was a good old formula film - almost could've been in black and white with music and dance numbers.

originally posted by Greer

let's split Weird Al

On the Clear Channel Band Availability List the Upright Citizens Brigade costs twice as much as Vanilla Ice!

i'm too embarassed to come up with a title for this post

Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami failed to obtain a visa in time to attend the New York Film Festival because of heightened security after last year's terrorist attacks.
(google, salon)

I can think of some American filmmakers who pose a much greater threat to our children that Kiarostami. Start with Jerry Bruchkeimer, Michael Bay, and everyone else responsible for Pearl Harbor.

Finnish film director Aki Kaurismäki has cancelled his planned participation in the Festival out of solidarity.
Kaurismäki explained his move by saying: "If the US authorities do not want an Iranian, they will hardly have any use for a Finn, either. We do not even have any oil."

Kiarostam had applied for a US visa at the US embassy in Paris.

Kaurismäki also wrote that an even greater concern is, that if Abbas Kiarostam is treated like this, "what is happening to anonymous prisoners?"

from salon:
But Kaurismäki raises a crucial point that should concern all Americans who worry about our profile in the world (and especially in the Middle East) at a time of war. As he asks, "If international cultural exchange is prevented, what is next?" The refusal to grant Abbas Kiarostami a visa should appall all Americans, not just because of the slight to a director whom many in the world film community of critics and directors consider one of the greatest now working, but because it calls into question how much the Bush administration knows about the Middle East, and how committed it is to encouraging the ideas and values of democracy, which is what will ultimately determine the success of the war on terror and our own future safety.

National Novel Writing Month is

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

It's almost that time of year again. Anybody else planning to knock herself out this November?

Great City Writer / Our Jennifer Steinhauer / Breaks Down the Traffic

Mayor Bloomberg ditched J-Sty when they were touring the world together so he could photo op with our troops in Afghanistan. Still, she manages to be fair in her coverage.

In an ambitious attempt to liberate Manhattan from traffic congestion, the Bloomberg administration will try to turn 10 Midtown streets into express routes by banning turns from them during weekdays when traffic is heaviest....

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, whose passion for information about traffic patterns is rivaled only by his love of recycling trivia, agreed to test the program after learning that the average speed of a car in Midtown during spring 2002 was 4.8 miles per hour, a mere 1.4 miles per hour faster than the average walking speed of humans...

[UPS driver James Middleton] was not happy to hear about the new regulations. "Every street that is driver-friendly, the city changes, and it's not to fix traffic, it's to raise revenue for the city."

He added, "If the mayor wants to fix traffic, he should ban noncommercial drivers from the city."

Now that's what I'm talking about! NY x (Times, 1, Daily News)

somebody post this to MetaFilter

put down the blog and
pick up the pen: write haiku
for peace with dayku