Saturday, October 08, 2005

chapter 27 of William of Newburgh's 12th cent. history concerns the "Green Children" of Woolpit, whom I'd never encountered before, though there's a lot elsewhere on the web--

"Moreover, after they had acquired our language, on being asked who and whence they were, they are said to have replied, "We are inhabitants of the land of St. Martin, who is regarded with peculiar veneration in the country which gave us birth." Being further asked where that land was, and how they came thence hither, they answered, "We are ignorant of both those circumstances; we only remember this, that on a certain day, when we were feeding our father's flocks in the fields, we heard a great sound, such as we are now accustomed to hear at St. Edmund's, when the bells are chiming; and whilst listening to the sound in admiration, we became on a sudden, as it were, entranced, and found ourselves among you in the fields where you were reaping." Being questioned whether in that land they believed in Christ, or whether the sun arose, they replied that the country was Christian, and possessed churches; but said they, "The sun does not rise upon our countrymen; our land is little cheered by its beams; we are contented with that twilight, which, among you, precedes the sunrise, or follows the sunset. Moreover, a certain luminous country is seen, not far distant from ours, and divided from it by a very considerable river." These, and many other matters, too numerous to particularize, they are said to have recounted to curious inquirers. Let every one say as he pleases, and reason on such matters according to his abilities; I feel no regret at having recorded an event so prodigious and miraculous. "

I got a kick out of the Mexican cover of The Band's second album. I have a psychedelic "Tom Sawyer" somewhere around the house.

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Friday, October 07, 2005

ooh la la

"You went into jail in the summer.
It is fall now.
You will have stories to cover--
Iraqi elections and suicide bombers,
biological threats and the
Iranian nuclear program.

Out West,
where you vacation,
the aspens will already be turning.

They turn in clusters,
because their roots connect them.

Come back to work--and life.
Until then, you will remain
in my thoughts and prayers.

With admiration, Scooter Libby."

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(Acadian Driftwood)

"There is no use
crying about it,
Cousin America
has run off with
a Presbyterian
parson, and that
is the end of it."

(Horace Walpole)

The beaver, the rampike, the musket, the cod,
The fortress of pine & the hovel of sod,
Orcadian whalemen possessed by a God
Merciless, English, a bit of a sod.

The nickel, the loonie, the quarter, the toonie,
McDonald, Trudeau, Pearson, Mulroney,
Only Diefenbaker made us swoon, we
Liked his rhetoric on the noon TV.

Poetry arrived in the year of '65,
A tatterdemalion just barely alive,
He went out to Horseshoe Bay on a drive
And left us a goal for which we should strive.
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interview with Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park, I'm hoping to cobble together some kind of Cronenberg/Were-Rabbit matinee double bill tomorrow.

"I didn't deliberately base Wallace on anyone--he started out as a rather stereotypical northern Englishman, wearing a sleeveless sweater, collar and tie all day long. Traditionally, you'd wear a flat cap and work down in the mine.

He used to have a moustache which is quite typical too. I got rid of it because it got in the way--you need to get your fingers inside the mouth to sculpt it. The cap also got in the way--I got rid of that immediately.

I was planning on Gromit being a cat at first. When it came to making him out of plasticine it turned out that a dog was a lot easier because of the smoothness of the coat and the length of his legs. I needed to get my fingers around the legs to move and resculpt them, otherwise your fingernails scuzz them up. "

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

(A Letter from Hammertown to a Pair of Unspecified Brooklyn Postal Districts)

Dear M,

do you have
The Magic Band

audience tape,
Boxing Day 1976,

audio quality
better than the Dead Sea scrolls,

not quite as good
as one of those Northern Soul

anthologies taken
from singles

traded for leapers
in the ozone-swept alleys

of Cleethorpes?
The audience energized,

better fed than usual
at least the day before--

those from the area
and those like Mr. Van Vliet

swept in on the Franz Klines
and Santa Anas--

it takes a day for the stuffing
and unfamiliar liquers

to clear but everyone
hits the ground running--

a mellotron is introduced
the clarinet is busted out

& the old songs wriggle
& roll like the Ford-era traffic outside

by recreating the accidents
of their conception--

'The Blimp' in this context
greeted like 'Katmandu'

or 'Kashmir', old pros
with a hint of indifference

givin' it to the people
like the last present

hidden forgotten behind
the tree, though at points

the rust flakes off
to dust mite central

blowing back yo-yos
tumbleweeds, poppies, coyotes.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

farewell Paul Pena, the blues guitarist who became a Tuvan throat singer, as recorded in the great documentary "Genghis Blues", as powerfully moving a film as I've ever seen.
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A Page of Talmud

"In this Web page, a typical Talmud page will serve us as a port of departure on a voyage through the history of Jewish religious literature."
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Charlotte's Webpage

"'There have been no advances over the past decade that can be confidently attributed to broader access to computers,' said Stanford University professor of education Larry Cuban in 2001, summarizing the existing research on educational computing. 'The link between test-score improvements and computer availability and use is even more contested.' Part of the problem, Cuban pointed out, is that many computers simply go unused in the classroom. But more recent research, including a University of Munich study of 174,000 students in thirty-one countries, indicates that students who frequently use computers perform worse academically than those who use them rarely or not at all. "

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Van Morrison's Contractual Obligation Album--the hits just keep on comin'!

Twist and Shake
Shake and Roll
Stomp and Scream
Scream and Holler
Jump and Thump
Drivin' Wheel
Just Ball
Shake it Mable
Hold On George
The Big Royalty Check
Ring Worm
Savoy Hollywood
Freaky If You Got This Far
Up Your Mind
Thirty Two
All The Bits
You Say France and I Whistle
Blow In Your Nose
Nose In Your Blow
La Mambo
Go For Yourself
Want A Danish
Here Comes Dumb George
Chicken Coo
Do It
Hang On Groovy
Goodbye George
Dum Dum George
Walk And Talk
The Wobble
Wobble And Ball

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interesting reassesment of Adorno's 'Authoritarian Personality'

"Consider the case of John R. Bolton, now our ambassador to the United Nations. While testifying about Bolton's often contentious personality, Carl Ford Jr., a former head of intelligence within the U.S. State Department, called him a "a quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy." Surely, in one pithy sentence, that perfectly summarizes the characteristics of those who identify with strength and disparage weakness. Everything Americans have learned about Bolton -- his temper tantrums, intolerance of dissent, and black-and-white view of the world -- step right out of the clinical material assembled by the authors of The Authoritarian Personality."

amongst much else in his handsome new blog Rue Hazard John Latta quotes Paul Klee--

"The logic of life does not tolerate permanent revolutions. There are possible on paper . . . The most dizzying experiments are permissible, but even in Art the logic of life arrests the experiments as soon as they have reached the point when the death of the experimental objects becomes imminent . . ."

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its not cronyism, its Texas!--Bush takes a leaf from LBJ's playbook--memories of Abe Fortas

"Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) ran for Senator from Texas in 1948. His opponent in the Democratic primary (then a one party state, contested elections occurred in primaries, not the general election), Coke Stevenson, had been a popular governor of Texas. LBJ had appeared to win the primary by 87 votes. Charges of voting fraud in south Texas led Stevenson to obtain an injunction preventing LBJ's name from appearing on the ballot for the general election, pending a hearing. Although a number of lawyers were involved in determining LBJ's strategy, it was Fortas who managed the litigation and succeeded in having the injunction overturned. Thereafter, LBJ viewed Fortas as the best lawyer in America, and the relationship between LBJ and Fortas, which began in 1937, became stronger during the 1950s and 1960s. That relationship would eventually lead to Fortas's nomination to the Supreme Court in 1965."
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Chris reads Clement Greenberg--

"Two assertions jump out at me:

1. "If anything and everything can be intuited esthetically, then anything and everything can be intuited and experienced artistically. What we agree to call art cannot be definitively or decisively separated from esthetic experience at large."

2. "If this is so, then there turns out to be such a thing as art at large: art that is, or can be, realized anywhere and at any time and by anybody."

Think about those sentences and their implications for a while. I actually shivered on the bus when I read them this morning; then I read them again to make sure they said what I thought they said. Then checked a third time. Anywhere, at any time, by anybody. The ostensibly arch-conservative "formalist" (I put the word in quotes because I personally don't believe it has any meaning, outside of the clear intent to diss whom or whatever so labelled), the champion of bizarre figures like Jules Olitski and Anthony Caro, coming right out and siding with his arch-foe Duchamp. Anything and everything. A blank canvas, carved wood, solar energy, "red," US Navy SEALs, a shark in a tank, fluorescent tubes from the hardware store, copper plate, bronze sculpture, oil on plywood, language, "oral communication," photographs.

No more craft boundaries. No more guilds of skilled makers circling the wagons."

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Monday, October 03, 2005

"independent of measuring devices
monoliths eventually topple
across a system
of crystalline forms
a cat blinks
in the dust of a passing bus"

from "Name Unknown" in "Clean & Well Lit" by
Tom Raworth

(photo from bonny oaks scrapbooks)
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Sunday, October 02, 2005

fragment of letter, female handwriting, found walking back from the corner store, oct 2, 2005

"can one
like to do
how we
did not
as friends


my attititude
going for
be more
good as
asked me"

The dewy or was it shimmer
rising off the stand of wild
mint under the Catstream bridge,

sparse sleepy Toytown traffic
waddling up up the hill
past the firestation, the diner

where you worked--
unmatched vivacity in
a city of incandescent

waitresses--these gabled houses, through
brown fences a tobacco corona
ringed round stucco under a

jutting pipe, were insufficient,
weasel words, false memories,
backed into a corner

I emptied the dandelion wine
discreetly onto the ground,
less empathetic than the rock

I'd stumbled over,
reconstructing leaks
from instant coffee in the margins,

and a theory of everything
that didn't account
for walking downhill,

the age of Laing gave way to
the age of Foucault
while we slept, the flapping

muslin curtains and fairy lights
all I remember of the heatwave,
& if on that night I'd drowned

your sleek otter dive
would have been my unearned
polaroid epitaph.

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Prisoners Evacuated After Hurricanes Allege Abuse - New York Times

"'Of the inmates I interviewed, almost all said that they had been physically abused themselves or had seen others physically abused,' Ms. Lehmann wrote in her affidavit. 'Apparently the guards were particularly fond of dragging inmates out of their beds or pods (often by the hair) and beating them, often by slamming their heads repeatedly into the floor or the wall.'"

I like has a bunch of links about Marimekko, the Finnish fabric/fashion/architecture company, to celebrate a show in Glasgow. Helsinki is certainly the best-dressed place I've ever been, and they're a big reason why.

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at the ksw is a PDF of the 10th issue of "W", a 100+ blockbuster Robert Duncan issue, featuring work by Leslie Scalapino, Miriam Nichols, Lisa Jarnot & Pauline Butling...
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nicely done Doppelganger is a new online journal out of Vancouver. First issue contains writing by Chris Brayshaw, Lynn Tillman, Matthew Stadler and Meredith Quartermain...

"Doppelganger magazine is an exclusively online journal based in Vancouver, BC. We are devoted to publishing lively, intelligent, and critical writing on visual art and literature. Specifically,we are interested in boundaries. What defines one thing in relation to another? From this question, we hope to explore a series of other questions. For example, what defines "good work"? What possible futures can criticism have? Then we hope to complicate these questions, however tacitly, by asking: how do two seemingly different practices--visual art and writing--correspond? As we imply in our tag line, it's difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins."

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