Saturday, April 30, 2005

nice piece on the immortal Joseph Mitchell

"'If I was to tell you the time of day,' says Mr. Flood, as the farmer, 'we'd get into a conversation, and I got a crock of spirits down on the floor between my feet, and in a minute I'm going to take a drink, and if we were having a conversation I'd ask you to take a drink with me, and you would, and presently I'd take another, and I'd ask you to do the same, and you would, and we'd get to drinking, and by and by the train'd pull up to the stop where I get off, and I'd ask you why don't you get off and spend the afternoon with me, and you would, and we'd walk up to my house and sit on the front porch and drink and sing, and along about dark my old lady would come out and ask you to take supper with us, and you would, and after supper I'd ask if you'd care to drink some more, and you would, and it'd get to be real late and I'd ask you to spend the night in the spare room, and you would, and along about two o'clock in the morning I'd get up to go to the pump, and I'd pass my daughter's room, and there you'd be, in there with my daughter, and I'd have to turn the bureau upside down and get out my pistol, and my old lady would have to get dressed and hitch up the horse and go down the road and get the preacher, and I don't want no God-damned son-in-law who don't own a watch.' " Posted by Hello

Friday, April 29, 2005

hands down song of the day: Paul & George nailing the tough harmonies of "This Boy" like an asphalt roof in August, Ringo tapping the closed hi-hats, & John channelling Ben E. King, Johnny Ray, the Chantels...

"'This Boy', with its tight three-part harmonies, jumping triplet rhythm, cliche chord progression, and climactic bridge section for the vocal soloist, is a stylized update of the late fifties genre sometimes described as 'the slow wall climber'." Posted by Hello

lucky Lee Ann is off to the MerleFest: An Americana Music Celebration Posted by Hello


(thanks again I likePosted by Hello

amongst much else at Plep, "The World's Famous Orations" edited by William Jennings "Cross of Gold" Bryan in 1906, from which Thomas Babington Macaulay on the Reform Bill, 1831--

"Who wishes to dethrone the king? Who wishes to turn the lords out of their House? Here and there a crazy radical, whom the boys in the street point at as he walks along. Who wishes to alter the constitution of this House? The whole people. It is natural that it should be so. The House of Commons is, in the language of Mr. Burke, a check, not on the people, but for the people. While that check is efficient, there is no reason to fear that the king or the nobles will oppress the people. But if that check requires checking, how is it to be checked? If the salt shall lose its savor, wherewith shall we season it? The distrust with which the nation regards this House may be unjust. But what then? Can you remove that distrust? That it exists can not be denied. That it is an evil can not be denied. That it is an increasing evil can not be denied. One gentleman tells us that it has been produced by the late events in France and Belgium; another, that it is the effect of seditious works which have lately been published. If this feeling be of origin so recent, I have read history to little purpose.

Sir, this alarming discontent is not the growth of a day, or of a year. If there be any symptoms by which it is possible to distinguish the chronic diseases of the body politic from its passing inflammations, all those symptoms exist in the present case. The taint has been gradually becoming more extensive and more malignant, through the whole lifetime of two generations. We have tried anodynes. We have tried cruel operations. What are we to try now? Who flatters himself that he can turn this feeling back? Does there remain any argument which escaped the comprehensive intellect of Mr. Burke, or the subtlety of Mr. Windham? Does there remain any species of coercion which was not tried by Mr. Pitt and by Lord Londonderry? We have had laws. We have had blood. New treasons have been created. The Press has been shackled. The Habeas Corpus Act has been suspended. Public meetings have been prohibited. The event has proved that these expedients were mere palliatives. You are at the end of your palliatives. The evil remains. It is more formidable than ever. What is to be done? " Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 28, 2005

more bird news via Daph--Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Rediscovered in Arkansas

"A group of wildlife scientists believe the ivory-billed woodpecker is not extinct. They say they have made seven firm sightings of the bird in central Arkansas. The landmark find caps a search that began more than 60 years ago, after biologists said North America's largest woodpecker had become extinct in the United States. " Posted by Hello

thanks Bernd Heinrich

Fifteen feet over the porch a plucky sparrow VERY handily seeing off a raven--who had probably tried to snack on a nestling--harassing its tail so thoroughly it couldn't get a good take off motion going, hence a series of short stalls which then caused it to drop for split seconds onto the sparrow's relentless ass-poking beak. But the sparrow grasped an important truth about ravens--they're not so tough, their aggression and rapaciousness held in check by enormous caution, especially about the unfamilar. They can be surprised--the sparrow must have rushed the raven in a split second--and lulled into a false sense of security, which must be when the eagles get them.

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National Poetry Month Raises Awareness Of Poetry Prevention

"NEW YORK: This month marks the 10th National Poetry Month, a campaign created in 1996 to raise public awareness of the growing problem of poetry. 'We must stop this scourge before more lives are exposed to poetry,' said Dr. John Nieman of the American Poetry Prevention Society at a Monday fundraising luncheon. 'It doesn't just affect women. Young people, particularly morose high-school and college students, are very susceptible to this terrible affliction. It is imperative that we eradicate poetry now, before more rainy afternoons are lost to it.' Nieman said some early signs of poetry infection include increased self-absorption and tea consumption."

some alpines at Kew from October '02 Posted by Hello

animated pastel sketches of emergent English spring at Kew Gardens, which also has a new Alpine House...

"Window walls and metal cladding can now match the curves of a nautilus shell or the membrane of a bat’s wing. Large areas are covered by glass panes butted up at the edges or overlapping, fixed together to resemble those ancient Chinese funeral-suits made of hundreds of plaques of jade. The most developed versions of the style are now often characterised by complex clasps, hinges and bearings – an aesthetic prefigured in the cladding and cables and anchoring points of Frei Otto’s suspended structures." Posted by Hello

Form's Life: On Bernadette Mayer by Nada Gordon

"This thesis was written, although not without passionate attention, as an academic requirement in 1986, in my early twenties. If I were to revise it now I would make it less simple in its analyses of the literary milieu, history and texts treated therein. The clarity of my comments is not equal to the complexity of the subject, I guess. Now, however, embroiled in a plethora of other projects, and characteristically quite lacking in patience, I shan't revise this. I humbly beg the indulgence of the reader." Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

re Monday's Hotel Point entry, a list of some words (or usages)that had their first OED appearance in 1958, the year I was born--

American Express
doner kebab
film noir
petrol bomb
rhubarb (v.)
roof light
soft landing

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Monday, April 25, 2005

Nightmares about Nightmares

"However, I can not support The Power of Nightmares because this progam is based on lies. The program claimed that the neocons and specifically President Ford's "Team B" and later groups (both Team B. and the later groups were largely controlled by people who were not neocons, but the program, rather quietly, accepted that - so let me leave that aside for now) made up the Soviet arms build up of the 1970's. It was one of the 'myths' that the wise CIA rejected. The trouble is that there WAS a massive Soviet arms build up in the 1970s (at the very time that the United States military was in decline). This was even accepted by Russia (at least in the Yeltsin years I do not know what the Putin government is saying). The evidence is overwhelming - it is not some Plato-Strauss 'myth'.

The program claimed that Soviet support for terrorist groups was another 'myth' indeed that the wise CIA rejected this 'myth' because they know it was originally based on CIA lies about the the Soviet Union. The trouble is that the Soviet Union DID support terrorist groups. The Marxist ones (including some in the Middle East as well as east Asia, Europe, and Latin America) were natural targets for Soviet support, and support them it did. The basic point of the Soviet Union was to spread Marxism all over the world - oh sorry this is another 'neocon myth'.

On the basis of the above if The Power of Nightmares claims that 'neocons' have made up a 'myth' about an international network of Islamic terrorist network, I will take it as an indication that such a network does indeed exist..."
right-wing review of BBC's The Power of Nightmares, which I started watching last night, is unfortunately mostly borne out by the show's shockingly ahistorical reading of recent history, especially re the Cold War. Like Michael Moore at his worst, the program assumes that you know absolutely nothing and proceeeds from there. So the Soviets get to invade Afghanistan (killing a million and a half people) & still be a helpless giant rotting from within, etc. And the constant wave of wittily assembled and juxtaposed Craig Baldwinesque found footage and the way too loud in the mix music of Eno & Morricone seem like attempts to patch over a thesis it can't sustain otherwise. A case can certainly be made that there is a climate of fear being generated over "terrorism" but so far "The Power of Nightmares" makes a better case for the intellectual vacuity of the institutional left.

useful new Public Transportation Portal

"This site is designed for transit users and for those with an interest in transit issues, including students, transit professionals, and transit enthusiasts. Although focused primarily on commuter services within cities, there is also limited information on services connecting communities.

As well as providing links to the websites of transit services in Canadian centers, there are links to historical accounts of public transit and to transit museums in Canada. Further, visitors will find links to transit sites and transit museums offering historical and current information from selected other countries."

 Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Rat hitchhiker sighting from terrific poet Alan Bernheimer on the LRB letters page--

"Sean Wilsey's piece on rats reminded me of a startling sight during my morning drive to work last month (LRB, 17 March). On a busy San Francisco Bay Area freeway, a rat came out of the median, crossed the high-occupancy-vehicle lane, and clambered up into the right rear wheel well of the black Acura 2.2CL sedan stopped in traffic in front of me. It hitched a ride for four or five miles, then disembarked and ran back across the high-occupancy-vehicle lane to the median.

Alan Bernheimer
Berkeley, California"

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