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.