Friday, March 16, 2007

fine essay on The Velvet Underground--

"The classical avant-garde even today is sometimes content to play down the pain, annoyance, boredom and nuisance of the willed adherence to dissonance, atonality, minimalism and extended settings which were hallmarks of many of its best effects over the last century. You are supposed to be a good and educated listener, which means listening through annoyance for transcendence. The Velvet Underground, however (in Cale’s revision of LaMonte Young, and in his new partnership with Reed), was able to reposition avant-garde annoyance and aural pain as part of a thematics of being bad: of being, that is, a ‘good’ listener who could know the joy of vicariously being ‘bad’. Aural pain went with lyrics about willed pain to produce an ‘avant-garde’ musical correlative to squalor, masochism, sexual deviance and drugs – and an experience for listeners that today’s lifestyle gurus might call ‘aspirational’.

The success of the Velvet Underground under Cale would then be that it provided what it promised: the right kind of pain..."

Nanaimo trees

fun-sounding Gothic meller (not seen by me) Spider Baby on TCM tonight at 11--

"Spider Baby tells the story of the Merrye family. Following Titus Merrye's deathbed request, the family chauffeur, named Bruno (Lon Chaney, Jr.), takes care of the children. But these children are no normal brood. They all suffer from an extremely rare condition called the Merrye Syndrome that causes their brains to deteriorate as they grow older. As we learn in the movie's introduction, victims of the Merrye Syndrome suffer from "progressive age regression" that may "progress beyond the pre-natal level--reverting to a pre-human condition of savagery and cannibalism..."

another good title I can't use--A Field Guide to the Identification of Pebbles

"Have you ever been walking at the beach and wondered what that pebble or rock is, or do you ever wonder what stories rocks tell? If so, then this is the guide for you. The Field Guide to the Identification of Pebbles , a full colour, laminated, accordion folded, easy to use guide with over 80 beautiful photographs of pebbles from beaches and rivers. Use the photos to identify over 28 different types of rocks and minerals. A great resource for Earth Science curriculum units in schools, the short text deals with how rocks form and how to tell if a rock is igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic. It also provides some fun facts about minerals in our daily lives."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

YouTube of Betty Hutton performing "Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief" from "The Stork Club" which was just on TCM this morning...

closer to home a "Magnolia on Renfrew" (and its little daffodil posse) givin' it up for spring from Christopher

thanks Vanessa for this lovely Indian tree...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spring Training Cramp

after Donato Mancini

spring ingratitude demonstration
settlement mentholated educators
torso somnolent lentil
tiled educated editorial
alcopop operation onset
etherised edema
macerate atelier error
rorschach achieves escape
pending dinner nerves
essentially lyrical calzone
nearly lynched cheddar
arterial alterations onshore
realtor origami amino
minotaur urbanites test stampedes
describe beaver versifiers
ersatz tzigane ganesha
shambolic licentious usual
already dynastic stickle
tickles lest established
shed-dweller eradication
onetime mephisto historian
angioplastic ice-scraper
perennial altoid idolater
lateran ranch hand
adipose suture tureen

story of the Eye--

"The fish Bathylychnops exilis has four eyes: one set to look up, and one set to look down; but at what? Nobody knows. The surface-feeding fish Anableps anableps can see clearly both in and out of the water. Mantis shrimps use polarised light to swap messages that no other animal can see. Even a kilometre below the sea’s surface there is, incredibly, still plenty of material my story could have drawn on, if only there were room. Bioluminescent photophores tattoo the sides of lanternfish, fang-toothed fish dangle lures baited with light-making bacteria, and one deep-water fish, Aristostomias, communicates with others by generating pulses of red light – a colour no other neighbouring species can see..."
Bush heart Chomsky

"To Bush, like Chomsky, the United States and Iran are locked in a zero-sum struggle for control over oil. To Bush, like Chomsky, rolling back Iranian influence in its neighborhood are vital to American national security and economic prosperity. To Bush, like Chomsky, America is all-powerful and can easily succeed at swatting back the Iranian fly. To Bush, like Chomsky, Bush is a clever and brilliant leader full of subtle and cunning schemes to manipulate events inside Iran. To Bush, like Chomsky, Bush's policies are continuous with those employed by past presidents to render the United States the richest and most powerful nation on earth. And so on..."

acquired yesterday the first edition of the excellent Yukon Places and Names by R. Coutts. Books like this, William S. Powell's "North Carolina Gazeteer" & Walbran's "West Coast Place Names" are great places to get a feel for a place's history while aimlessly browsing (nice to know, for example, that a river named for Charles Babbage flows into the Beaufort Sea)...

"When first prospecting in the southeast Yukon and Cassiar country, I was naturally interested in the history of an area about which I had read and been told so much. Becoming curious about the origin or meaning of a Yukon place name, I found that there was often no answer, or conflicting ones. Alone of Canada’s provinces and territories almost nothing has been written on this subject. On reading the early literature it often appeared that the modern name was not that given originally and that in many cases the name and its meaning had been altered or changed. I began to search for the true origins of these names. Gradually, the people and the stories behind the names began to live for me and many were more interesting than much of the fiction written about the territory. As the stories unfolded and extended, my interest became more serious but no less enjoyable. Many newly learned facts revealed other stories and puzzles to be traced and solved..."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Nanaimo trees

farewell Betty Hutton--

to paraphrase James Ellroy on Buddy Greco, she didn't just sell a song, she drove over to your house and installed it...When big fan Bjork covered (and channelled) Hutton so succesfully in her "It's Oh So Quiet" video she seemed a natural for an "Annie Get Your Gun" remake (Altman maybe??), but then along came Lars Von Trier, who stuck her in the worst musical ever made & the last one she would ever do, unless you count those Matthew Barney vaseline pours, which I don't...

Monday, March 12, 2007

fine defense of 24

"With all the earnest hand wringing over the 24's absurd torture scenes, military spin-doctors must have seen an opportunity to turn 24 into the scapegoat for Guantanomo Bay et al.

But did they really just admit that soldiers couldn't separate TV from reality? Do they want to be advertising this to the American public? After all, they are putting weapons in the hands of people who need TV dramas to carry the disclaimer, "Don't try this at home...""

Five miles out of London on the Western Avenue...

must have been a wonder when it was brand new...

(via I like)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

new piece on essayist George W.S. Trow, who died in Naples last year...
Critical Mess in Seattle...

"I don't ask for [art], and I don't expect it," Kangas said. "I do have an art collection, artists have made gifts of work to me over the years, that is true. But that has been their decision, not mine.... I'm sorry if they were unhappy with what I might have written about them. I'm sorry if they are upset or if they feel the need to fabricate conversations. I've been here a long time; I'm a big target."