Saturday, January 15, 2005

Happy Birthday Captain Beefheart!

(I saw him at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver during the "Doc at the Radar Station" tour('79?), in fine howling form, playing clarinet, reciting poems. His last words from the stage were "Read Wyndham Lewis! Read Wyndham Lewis! Apes of God! Apes of God!")

sun showers danced like
dye darker green shadows
light on green leaves
played bamboo golden
light organ pipes
wooden 'n' olden
down finickey halls
shadows leaped like lizards scaling
flower eyes trailing random vines
tales that curl-ee-cued
beans that hung green light berries
butterfly's grasp upside down
in pain
lovely in their rapture
golden dust
golden winged eels slither apart
bleeding life's light on to the ground
'n' quiver down golden light
corny little yellow horns blew petals
stem riddles
bees ride fat honey
legged drips
center pulp splinters
her flowered eye
a legend on a rock she scribbles
a dew drop pops
up in the 'sun dawn dance'

don van vliet 1970 Posted by Hello

New images from Titan Posted by Hello

"Prometheus" by Lord Byron

Titan! to whose immortal eyes
The sufferings of mortality,
Seen in their sad reality,
Were not as things that gods despise;
What was thy pity's recompense?
A silent suffering, and intense;
The rock, the vulture, and the chain,
All that the proud can feel of pain,
The agony they do not show,
The suffocating sense of woe,
Which speaks but in its loneliness,
And then is jealous lest the sky
Should have a listener, nor will sigh
Until its voice is echoless.

Titan! to thee the strife was given
Between the suffering and the will,
Which torture where they cannot kill;
And the inexorable Heaven,
And the deaf tyranny of Fate,
The ruling principle of Hate,
Which for its pleasure doth create
The things it may annihilate,
Refus'd thee even the boon to die:
The wretched gift Eternity
Was thine--and thou hast borne it well.
All that the Thunderer wrung from thee
Was but the menace which flung back
On him the torments of thy rack;
The fate thou didst so well foresee,
But would not to appease him tell;
And in thy Silence was his Sentence,
And in his Soul a vain repentance,
And evil dread so ill dissembled,
That in his hand the lightnings trembled.

Thy Godlike crime was to be kind,
To render with thy precepts less
The sum of human wretchedness,
And strengthen Man with his own mind;
But baffled as thou wert from high,
Still in thy patient energy,
In the endurance, and repulse
Of thine impenetrable Spirit,
Which Earth and Heaven could not convulse,
A mighty lesson we inherit:
Thou art a symbol and a sign
To Mortals of their fate and force;
Like thee, Man is in part divine,
A troubled stream from a pure source;
And Man in portions can foresee
His own funereal destiny;
His wretchedness, and his resistance,
And his sad unallied existence:
To which his Spirit may oppose
Itself--and equal to all woes,
And a firm will, and a deep sense,
Which even in torture can descry
Its own concenter'd recompense,
Triumphant where it dares defy,
And making Death a Victory.

a letter from Byron to D'Israeli mentioning his subsequently destroyed autobiography--

TO ISAAC DISRAELI Montenero, Villa Dupuy, near Leghorn, June 10th 1822

(to ye care of John Murray, Esquire)

Dear Sir, - If you will permit me to call you so. I had some time ago taken up my pen at Pisa to thank you for the present of your new Edition of the Literary Character, which has often been to me a consolation, and always a pleasure. I was interrupted, however, partly by business, and partly by vexations of different kinds, for I have not very long ago lost a child by a fever, and I have had a good deal of petty trouble with the laws of this lawless country, on account of the prosecution of a servant for an attack upon a cowardly Scoundrel of a dragoon, who drew his Sword upon some unarmed Englishmen; and whom I had done the honour to mistake for an officer, and to treat like a Gentleman . . .

But to return to things more analogous to the Literary Character. I wish to say that had I known that the book was to fall into your hands, or that the MSS. notes you have thought worthy of publication would have attracted your attention, I would have made them more copious and perhaps not so careless. I really cannot know whether I am or am not the Genius you are pleased to call me, but I am very willing to put up with the mistake, if it be one. It is a title dearly enough bought by most men, to render it endurable, even when not quite clearly made out, which it never can be till the Posterity, whose decisions are merely dreams to ourselves, has sanctioned or denied it, while it can touch us no further.

Mr Murray is in possession of an MSS. Memoir of mine (not to be published till I am in my grave) which, strange as it may seem, I never read over since it was written and have no desire to read over again. In it I have told what, as far as I know, is the truth - not the whole truth - for if I had done so I must have involved much private and some dissipated history; but, nevertheless, nothing but the truth, as far as regard for others permitted it to appear.

I do not know whether you have seen those MSS.; but as you are curious in such things as relate to the human mind, I should feel gratified if you had . . .

If there are any questions which you would like to ask me as connected with your Philosophy of the literary Mind (if mine be a literary mind), I will answer them fairly or give a reason for not - good, bad, or indifferent. At present I am paying the penalty of having helped to spoil the public taste, for, as long as I wrote in the false exaggerated style of youth and the times in which we live, they applauded me to the very echo; and within these few years, when I have endeavoured at better things, and written what I suspect to have the principle of duration in it, the Church, the Chancellor, and all men - even to my grand patron Francis Jeffrey Esquire of the E[dinburgh] R[eview] - have risen up against me and my later publications. Such is Truth! Men dare not look her in the face, except by degrees: they mistake her for a Gorgon, instead of knowing her to be a Minerva.

I do not mean to apply this mythological simile to my own endeavours. I have only to turn over a few pages of your volumes to find innumerable and far more illustrious instances.

It is lucky that I am of a temper not to be easily turned aside though by no means difficult to irritate. But I am making a dissertation instead of writing a letter. I write to you from the Villa Dupuy, near Leghorn, with the islands of Elba and Corsica visible from my balcony, and my old friend the Mediterranean rolling blue at my feet. As long as I retain my feeling and my passion for Nature, I can partly soften or subdue my other passions and resist or endure those of others.

I have the honour to be, truly, your obliged and faithful Servant,
NOEL BYRON Posted by Hello

Amusements of the Learned from the Isaac D'Israeli blog

"An ingenious writer has observed, that "a garden just accommodates itself to the perambulations of a scholar, who would perhaps rather wish his walks abridged than extended." There is a good characteristic account of the mode in which the literati take exercise in Pope's letters. "I, like a poor squirrel, am continually in motion indeed, but it is but a cage of three foot; my little excursions are like those of a shopkeeper, who walks every day a mile or two before his own door, but minds his business all the while." A turn or two in a garden will often very happily close a fine period, mature an unripened thought, and raise up fresh associations, when the mind like the body becomes rigid by preserving the same posture. Buffon often quitted the apartment he studied in, which was placed in the midst of his garden, for a walk in it; Evelyn loved "books and a garden."" Posted by Hello

Friday, January 14, 2005

Anodyne spots a lynx!

"And, on the way back, all six of John's blue plastic jugs filled and capped with rubber bands and Safeway bags, my first ever glimpse of this guy, lynx rufus, with his distinctive ear tufts, stumpy bobbed tail, and huge rabbit-like back feet, as he passed in front of us, scrambled down the bank to the road, and disappeared into the woods on the other side. A cat the size of a German shepherd."

Charles Lamb

"I care not to be carried with the tide, that smoothly bears human life to eternity: and reluct at the inevitable course of destiny. I am in love with this green earth; the face of town and country; the unspeakable rural solitudes, and the sweet security of streets. I would set up my tabernacle here. I am content to stand still at the age to which I am arrived; I, and my friends: to be no younger, no richer, no handsomer. I do not want to be weaned by age; or drop, like mellow fruit, as they say, into the grave. -- Any alteration, on this earth of mine, in diet or in lodging, puzzles and discomposes me. My household gods plant a terrible fixed foot, and are not rooted up without blood. They do not willingly seek Lavinian shores. A new state of being staggers me.

Sun, and sky, and breeze, and solitary walks, and summer holidays, and the greenness of fields, and the delicious juices of meats and fishes and society, and the cheerful glass, and candle-light, and fireside conversations, and innocent vanities, and jests, and irony itself -- these things go out with life?

Can a ghost laugh, or shake his gaunt sides, when you are pleasant with him?

And you, my midnight darlings, my Folios! must I part with the intense delight of having you (huge armfuls) in my embraces? Must knowledge come to me, if it come at all, by some awkward experiment of intuition, and no longer by this familiar process of reading? " Posted by Hello

"Poetry Compilation" from Money Art

(thanks to Boing BoingPosted by Hello

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Classics in the Slums

"Proletarian novelist Ethel Carnie warned that the pursuit of literature and art would simply 'chloroform' the workers, who should focus instead 'on the narrow, rigid, and distinctly not impartial facts deduced from the experience of our own exploited class.' But WEA students found these assaults offensively condescending. 'Will Miss Carnie be good enough to show where the chloroforming process comes in?' shot back garment worker Lavena Saltonstall. 'Greek art will never keep the workers from claiming their world; in fact, it will help them to realise what a stunted life they have hitherto led. Nothing that is beautiful will harm the workers,' who were perfectly able 'to hear a lecture on industrial history, or economics, or Robert Browning, and remain quite sane. As a Socialist, as a trade unionist, as a suffragist . . . I resent Miss Carnie's suggestion that the WEA educational policy can ever make me forget the painful history of Labour, or chloroform my senses to the miseries that I see around me.' And (Miss Saltonstall wound up) if anyone thinks 'that a working man or woman is liable to be side-tracked or made neutral or impartial because they look at all sides of a question in order to understand it fully, then they are libelling the intelligence of the working classes.' "

first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary seen relaxing in its den Posted by Hello

check out our local college station Radio Malaspina CHLY 101.7 FM, whom I thank for providing some wind-up techno during the power cut... Posted by Hello

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

happy birthday Jack London--from "The Iron Heel" (1908); Chapter 22: The Chicago Commune

"Many things were to occur simultaneously when the signal went forth. The Canadian and Mexican patriots, who were far stronger than the Iron Heel dreamed, were to duplicate our tactics. Then there were comrades (these were the women, for the men would be busy elsewhere) who were to post the proclamations from our secret presses. Those of us in the higher employ of the Iron Heel were to proceed immediately to make confusion and anarchy in all our departments. Inside the Mercenaries were thousands of our comrades. Their work was to blow up the magazines and to destroy the delicate mechanism of all the war machinery. In the cities of the Mercenaries and of the labor castes similar programmes of disruption were to be carried out.

In short, a sudden, colossal, stunning blow was to be struck. Before the paralyzed Oligarchy could recover itself, its end would have come. It would have meant terrible times and great loss of life, but no revolutionist hesitates at such things. Why, we even depended much, in our plan, on the unorganized people of the abyss. They were to be loosed on the palaces and cities of the masters. Never mind the destruction of life and property. Let the abysmal brute roar and the police and Mercenaries slay. The abysmal brute would roar anyway, and the police and Mercenaries would slay anyway. It would merely mean that various dangers to us were harmlessly destroying one another. In the meantime we would be doing our own work, largely unhampered, and gaining control of all the machinery of society." Posted by Hello
clean-your-screen-for-free---from the inside

take a walk over to stride magazine from Exeter UK, feat. Ottawa's Rob Mclennan, review of Rexroth, lots more Posted by Hello

(portrait of Jenny Yeats, JB's wife & the poet's mother)

I've been reading the letters of John Butler Yeats

"A poor gentleman upon whose hands time lies heavy is absolutely necessary to art and literature. Being gentlemen they know how to idle with dignity, and because of their poverty there is no distraction to prevent their brooding on life and truth. Thinking of life, they become poets; thinking of truth, scientific students. " Posted by Hello
Who Paid the Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War

"One of the most important and fascinating discussions in Saunders' book is about the fact that CIA and its allies in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) poured vast sums of money into promoting Abstract Expressionist (AE) painting and painters as an antidote to art with a social content. In promoting AE, the CIA fought off the right-wing in Congress. What the CIA saw in AE was an 'anti-Communist ideology, the ideology of freedom, of free enterprise. Non-figurative and politically silent it was the very antithesis of socialist realism' . They viewed AE as the true expression of the national will. To bypass right-wing criticism, the CIA turned to the private sector (namely MOMA and its co-founder, Nelson Rockefeller, who referred to AE as 'free enterprise painting.') Many directors at MOMA had longstanding links to the CIA and were more than willing to lend a hand in promoting AE as a weapon in the cultural Cold War. Heavily funded exhibits of AE were organized all over Europe; art critics were mobilized, and art magazines churned out articles full of lavish praise. The combined economic resources of MOMA and the CIA-run Fairfield Foundation ensured the collaboration of Europe's most prestigious galleries which, in turn, were able to influence aesthetics across Europe."

I always wonder, well what about Charlie Parker then? James Jesus Angleton might have at least put in a word with the New York Cabaret Commision and got him his card back, seeing how bebop was destroying totalitarianism and all. Black Mountain College could have used a few bucks too, and Olson knew FDR! Though it could explain why the Velvets ended up on Republican Mike Curb's MGM records....
two primo cat cartoons @ Gawker

Our power went out again! briefly, I hope. Also the front porch onto which melting snow dripped when it got to one degree yesterday became during the night a waterfall of ice.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Ben Katchor's site now contains updated weekly strips Posted by Hello
fascinating archive of documentary films at Best Laid Schemes a site exploring the hopes and consequences of Glasgow's sweeping postwar social planning--

"Glasgow grew fast, Glasgow grew overcrowded. In 1945 we planned to fix things. This plan, the Bruce Plan, planned to knock Glasgow down and start again.

Did we need to? Why did we want to? What did we do? When the dust settled, what were we left with? "

(thanks I like)

(Emily Perkins)

more TV:Da Vinci's Inquest is back on CBC tonight at 9... Posted by Hello

thanks metafilter for Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles, Tricks and Conundrums (with answers), which includes the infamous "Puzzle of the Educated Cats" Posted by Hello

Monday, January 10, 2005

a special treat for those of us with fond memories of the great William Devane in John Flynn & Paul Schrader's 1977 Rolling Thunder was seeing the old boy kick a little ass on "24" tonight...  Posted by Hello


"(Akira Kurosawa admired it, and somebody did a re-creation of it at Burning Man a few years ago) " Posted by Hello
Pantaloons on the James Schuyler letters

"Schuyler taking in On the Waterfront, Flesh, Cage aux Folles, The Wages of Fear, The Fireman's Ball, Les Biches. He loved Roman flower stands. Salutation to John Ashbery: 'Dear Beany Bacon Dip.' The solace of knowing some of Schuyler's reading matter: a Benedictine tome on herbs, also The Victorian Fern Craze, A Gardener's Book of Plant Names, Intellectual Life in Gay Colonial New England, A Reader's Handbook to Proust, all kinds of mysteries and comix, including Steel Penis Farming. "

another good one from Eagle's Wing

"Gollum, I am swimming on the
sky and you are sinking in the sky
and there is no such thing as
grass. Anyway I am still on the moon..." Posted by Hello

9 days into 365 Sketches by Vancouver photographer Adam Harrison Posted by Hello
link for below

("Protecting the Sampo" by Akseli Gallen-Kallela) decent NYT on the Kalevala--

"The German poet Johann Gottfried von Herder was urging Europeans to seek their cultural identity in their ancient folklore, which he termed 'the mirror of the soul of the people.' Finland, a province of Sweden since 1155, had been annexed as an autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire in 1809 and was beginning to hatch dreams of nationhood..." Posted by Hello

"Location", from Hollywood Noir, "a collection of satirical photographs by Will Connell" Posted by Hello

Sunday, January 09, 2005

our page on the The Atlas of Canada (thanks metafilter) Posted by Hello

(up to the store for milk and cat food 2005) The power went off here about ten minutes after my last entry, came on for about 5 minutes an hour ago. An expanse of wedding-cake icing like something out of Turegenev's "A Huntsman's Notebook". Last night I made corned beef hash on the woodstove, and Daph and I listened to Dal Richards play swing records as the cheap black candles hissed, popped and fell apart in chunks.  Posted by Hello