Wednesday, November 19, 2008

So hold me, mom, in your long arms. Your petro-chemical arms, your military arms, in your electronic arms.

UPDATE**UPDATE**UPDATE** is on the way.

Short post today, longer blog about Election Night rally coming soon. Really, promise, with photos by Josh, etc. I'll stop watching the Abrams Star Trek reboot trailer and looking on the internet for photos of my future haircut, and get to work. Etc.

I hear there are some folks looking for advice about following along with Obama's political reading...and I am here to help.

Any wader boots wading into Lincoln-alia begins with his own masterful speeches and writing, and the best place to start is Right here. I have a nice Modern Library Classics hardcover copy of this volume printed in 1942. From the temperance address to the Cooper Union speech to the second inaugural, it's all here. Includes a short, serviceable biographical essay.

For a good in-depth one volume Lincoln biography, I'd recommend the David Herbert Donald, here.

The President-Elect has also been boning up on the New Deal. The best one volume jam on the Roosevelt years all things considered (recent scholarship, readability, ease of finding) is probably by David Kennedy, from the Oxford History of the United States series. Here is all the info.

Last, but not least, is what I'm reading right now. I'm probably overdoing it with a mighty three volume Depression/New Deal spectacular, but I have a hard time reigning it in sometimes. Arthur Schlesinger Jr's combo meal covers basically everything from 1919 to the eve of WWII. It's stylishly written and hums with liberal vibes. Just like the rest of the universe right now!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I do not mean to say we are bound to follow implicitly in whatever our fathers did.

So, I'm going to see Celine Dion at the United Center tonight. Should be rippin'! Got free tickets from Hopper. Thanks girl! I heard she (Celine, not Hopper) does a tits-up cover of Father Befouled's "Excrement Pastorous" on this tour, right after the Wayne/Juice Newton medley. The segue from "Danke Schoen" into "My Short and Curlies--Slowly Unfurling" must be heard to be believed!


I'm totally going to the Obama rally. As in, I got tickets up in that piece. Josh and yours truly will be in line in a few hours...he's taking the snaps, I'm providing the freaked-out nervous vibe and Rahm Emanuel bumperstickers. A comprehensive review of the night's festivities should be forthcoming soon. They are serving hot chocolate tonight the Trib reports and it's 70 degreez!?!? That shit is out to Lunchables. Oh, and did I mention that change is coming to America?


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

No Dreams Breed In Breathless Sleep, or 4th (5th) on the list?

Unprecedented blogitude, keeping you current!

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Along with a cast and crew of thousands, I'm nominally house-shitting for next door neighbors Bob and Anne while they are getting their vaca-y on in South America. Very occasionally hanging out with their cats Steve, Charles and Chicken, and watching some free cable. Cable is terrifying. I came over this afternoon, turned on the box, and got the fear.

1) MTV's richest crib havers: a DJ I've never heard of in a house the likes of which I have never seen with a swimming pool filled with water "imported from the Bahamas". He used the term imported 3 times in the 10 seconds I viewed. I clicked over to CNN.

2) Lou Dobbs telling me that Mexicans are going to come and eat my family, steal my jobs and give me salmonella poisoning via electrified grapefruits. I clicked over to VH1.

3) I Love The Oughts. 2006? Michael Ian Black talking about Michael Vick and dogfighting and a Nelly Furtado song. Do I remember that? NO! IT WAS 3 WEEKS AGO!

TV off. That was less than 30 seconds of viewage, and I have not turned on the damn thing since. No, instead I'm reading some Howard Phillips Lovecraft in my own living room and giving blog. But just across the hall, roaring like the screaming banshees of Cthulhu, the Comcast box awaits me.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Kewpie dolls and urine stalls will be laughed at the way you're laughed at now

Note to our California friends: the robins are from the White Lodge, the owls are from the Black Lodge, BOB travels by electricity. It explains all the weird slow-mo shots of ceiling fans and random light flashes when things get creepy and surreal. Just a theory, but a good one, I think. I have a lot...of theories. I spent more than three months in 1990/91 thinking Deputy Andy was the killer! Following The Giant's clues might lead you to that conclusion.

Speaking of the Black Lodge, who else is livin' in one? The Man From Another Place dances out from under my couch. Boy oh boy, summer seems to have gotten off to a hard start around here. Flux, move-outs, holy rollers, day in day out like Ian Curtis sez, too much fast food, not enough sunshine, shoes getting dirty, pants getting holes, no decent parties, people are getting married in droves, the White Sox are tanking, the "John Adams" mini-series was kind of rotten, I still hate coffee, LOST is off the air...I got more litany than the Pope.

That's why I downloaded the Let It Be re-issue a few weeks back and play it constantly, even more than I did when I bought it as a know-nothin' Blackburn College freshman who had just gotten laid (and summarily quite ruthlessly dumped) for the first time. Even if the entire damned record wasn't a perfect construct of adol-leased life doom and post-teen twaddle and middle-20's ennui and deepening-into-thirties WHAT THE FUCK it would still put a corncob pipe sized lump in your throat if you, say, happened, for the first time, to run into it on the street corner one day as you were blowing off some scheme or bumped into it when you went out on your windowsill to smoke at, like, 5 in the AM when the dawns early light smacks of an interrogation room. It would stare you in the face and embrace your failures and the revoked lease on life you are using as toilet paper and say, hey! HEY! Gary's got a boner! And you would laugh and say "he does indeed! I forgive everyone! Boners!"

And then you might try to figure out how exactly Westerberg was able to channel Carl Fisher from Blitz AND Billy Joel, and you would fail and keep listening and realize failure is engraved on the turd-encrusted esplanade walked by all the faithful and faithless alike, and that the subtle empathy of "Androgynous", which sounded like a put-down to you for years was actually far from it and in fact a kind of very powerful medicine, cure/armor that kind of carries you for weeks in it's wake, in a surprising manner, and you want to tell people (friends, acquaintances, parents, government officials, minor and major deities) here is a song so catchy and sure and it's not saying "don't touch my jewelry" or "I don't love you any more" or "I'm gonna come on your face" or "your enemies deserve the worst your rage can fathom" or "Hold on while I count my amazingly huge stacks of money and BTW feel free to admire the prestige/honor/self-satisfaction/microwave burritos it buys me"...or something like that. Records are so great! I forgive everyone!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

All around, people looking half dead, walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a matchhead

Back by popular demand...a head full of Ezra Pound...ears full of death metal demos...and a belly full of delicious, ripe pears! You know who is on the library computer now, son!

Miles burned me the new Lil' Weezy record yesterday, and I'm not sure what to think. I kept waiting for blast beats and arpeggiated lydian solos that sound like horses collapsing under the strain of...being horses, but it didn't happen. Instead there are songs about sex and repping and other stuff that modern people do. Me, if it's not about decomposing corpses and satan's glory, I'm kind of immediately lost. But I'll keep on it. For the people.

Speaking of people, the girl next to me on the lib. computer in the U of Michigan shirt smells really bad. Like somebody perhaps drizzled a little poop into her ears while she was sleeping. Officially summer.

O Humanity! How the hell are ya? Did you read my stuff in the last few issues of Plan B? The Boredoms live review where I talk about my moms' dogs AND spaghetti-o's? The Times New Viking bible browbeat Hopper and I did a few issues back? I don't think they're up on the webby web but I'll take a look and link to them here, should opportunity provide. Oh yeah, and I'm on Facebook now. Holler.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Do you think loud orgies of luxurious good taste can drown the moans of the tortured earth?

So, about that top ten list I promised. Getting there slowly, with a few distractions. I'm about 350 pp deep into Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals, which is a ripping yarn about...what else? Lincoln molding his political rivals into a functioning wartime "team" (aka cabinet). Big surprise, huh? Good on the Moms for setting me up with this tome for Xmas. I never fail to be impressed by Old Abe, no matter how many times I read his tale. And it is, in one way or another, the same story every time, no matter who is writing the book. Glimmers of speculation here and there change with authorial perspective, of course. But the ending is always the same: saves the union, frees the slaves, murdered by insurgent conspiracy. The pure allegorical power of his life and political career would be banal if it wasn't true, and that is part of the myth, of course. By now, after third fourth and fifth grade school middle school high school and Sam Waterston Gregory Peck Ken Burns and Carl Sandburg and DK Goodwin, it DOES come across as a bit banal. But you can't help but notice the political atmosphere these days and wonder about the evolving myths of history and what they'll say for our time. After all, it wasn't that long ago (twenty years or so now?) that various relatives of mine told me Martin Luther King wasn't so fucking special; that he cheated in college, cheated on his wife, stuck his nose where it didn't belong. Isn't it wonderful that in America people can talk mindless filth like that to children and not go to jail for it? There is a good reason to vote this year right there, if you needed another one. Pull the lever for mindless filth!

Fun with digressions, huh? So, yeah. I just started watching Rome also (the HBO series; in the middle of season one and steaming ahead), and it's mind-warping and excellently stupid entertainment. Sandals and swords, togas and titties. After the family caterwauling drama of Big Love, it's a nice palate cleanser. Actually it's like fifteen candy bars and a few faint stirrings of emetophilia, but I'll keep watching.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Winter 2008 AKA Love in the Time of Hypothermia

Yes friends, it is the *official* derogatory theme/name of the new season. Do you have any? Do you remember the Summer of Forgiveness 2007? The Winter of Our Disconnect 2005? Anyway, ideas for this year: pass em along...may they spread our cheer. Or cheer our spreads.

Speaking of spreads, I cut my own bangs today in our dimly lit bathroom. I did a pretty good job. I still look like a blown out member of the Strokes circa 2001, but we can't aim too fucking high around here, can we? What would be the point? Miles is amputating his toes in the bathroom because he got frostbite on the way home from the bar. Apartment feline Princess stares at the huge broken tennis racket and the Hellboy doll in the corner for hours at a time. Dayne is sleeping off some champagne on the couch. I'm about to throw on Season 1 Disc 2 of Dexter, but thought I'd give you all a holler first. Whup, hood?

I am on the internet occasionally. You know this. I keep up with culture more than I probably let on, even that eternal bane of my existence, "popular music". It so happens that I watch videos on youtube, roam the myspace for emerging strains of scuzz-rock, even peruse the web for screen caps of that crazy sex scene with Philip Seymour Hoffman giving it to Marisa Tomei doggy-style. Such a thing exists! I know because I was at the Wicker Park library branch a few weeks back and two teenage kids were watching it in rapt awe. I hustled over to a free computer and found the footage myself in a manner of seconds. I was disgusted, and then flushed with a horrible flash of doomed elation as I realized, again, that this is a serious feature of modern world citizenship and the earthen Pequod we all sail upon is mast-deep in the foreordained muck of decimation. That includes you and yours, Rear Entry Jones. Someone get the dancing shoes out from under the bed, for I hear St. Vitus at the door. Sit down, Carducci and Ginn. Not THAT St. Vitus.

Uh, pop music. Right. I was looking at some of the year-end critics poll lists on this web of ours, comparing "notes"...Pitchfork, Idolator blah blah and for a pang or two I even missed the old annual Voice Pazz and Jop. Whether art thou, Pazz and Jop, and thoust checks for ten bux for comments rendered? The good old days! Seems like everyone this year is up on M.I.A., LCD Soundshitstorm or...Against Me? Hmm. I think Kala offers serious blunted trauma for thee patriarchy and seems like an "event" more than just a record...fact is, I think M.I.A. is one of the fabbest talents going and much more of a rabid synthesizer of juicy rich ideas, scrambling around and grabbing them off of every available (not just record) shelf, rather than being just merely competent, or even super-competent, much as Mr. Murphy may be. She set her heart on the controls of the sun, and I think she turned the lights out on everyone else this year. Too bad about that Timbaland rap on the last song. Seriously, the guy might be richer than Warren Buffett's breast milk, but has anyone ever embarrassed themselves on a song even remotely this much? I mean, not even bad rhymes. Just totally misreading a fellow performer, her worldview, artistic agenda etc. to the nth degree. It was like she wanted him on there to prove what a jackass he is. If I'm right, I nominate her artist of the millennia.

Could I make a top ten list for you? Maybe. Maybe I will.