Sunday, September 30, 2007

stop the coming war

Time to write your congressional rep. Really.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Be my Mal Evans

I've spent the last week shirking my trivial epidemiological responsibilities and immersing myself in the Beatles. If you've never watched the 8-part Anthology-- and I hadn't-- it's well worth the time.

Much of it is crudely sequenced and laughably staged. Paul is interviewed while apparently captaining a tugboat. Later, he is interviewed while casually tending a campfire in the woods. Paul is kind of an ass. George, though admirably humble, sardonic, and down-to-earth, is interviewed in his palatial home. It appears to have been decorated by a billionaire Uzbek immigrant. 1994 brought some questionable sartorial choices. Paul's mullet. George's colorful sweaters. Ringo's LA Raiders cap.

But the documentary is riveting. Their Elvis encounter is a Liverpudlian Rashomon:

  • Ringo & George seem to be telling the truth about it (I paraphrase): "We were stoned out of our minds & all of us forgot where we were going. Then we realized, oh yeah, we're gonna meet Elvis. We fell out of the limo giggling, and there he was, hanging out on the porch watching TV and playing a bass guitar. It was weird. He was surrounded by sycophants and seemed kind of out of it. We stayed a few hours. Shame he was so threatened by us later, telling Nixon that we corrupted America's youth and all. Whatever."
  • Paul: "Oh, yeah, I was blown away. What a historic encounter."
  • John: "We just jammed with him, you know, all the old rock & roll standards."
  • George: "John said he jammed with him. Must have been when we were out of the room."

Much of the footage is surprisingly moving. Some highlights:

  • A performance of "I Am The Walrus" from Magical Mystery Tour.
  • Music videos of "Paperback Writer" and "Rain."
  • Twickenham bickering and jamming.
  • Yoko perched like a vulture, watching the lads play "Let It Be."
  • John being consistently clever and acidic. If you're going to be an asshole, might as well be interesting-- take note, Sir McCartney.
  • Ringo comes off well.
  • The transition from publicly well-behaved lads to irreverent hippies is shockingly rapid. It was only four months between "You're Going To Lose That Girl" and "Norwegian Wood," and less than a year between matching suits and Sgt. Pepper.
  • The transition from goofy hippies to gaunt, bearded sages is similarly rapid.
  • The mythopoiea of the Maharishi sojourns and lysergic trips is deflated by all the footage of young confused folks behaving in entirely recognizable ways. '60s envy is ameliorated if not cured.
  • Just watching the 4 of them play together is pretty damned thrilling.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Semaphore of Squamuglia

You really ought to check this out.

It was forwarded to me by DR, who says "It's hard for me to imagine something you'll find more interesting." DR knows me; what can I say?

[clarification: DR is not the Dominican Republic, with whom I have had little correspondence, other than a series of increasingly urgent communiqués in 1973 stemming from a diplomatic misunderstanding. Apparently "puta" is not Spanish for "put," FYI.]

Monday, September 24, 2007

1969 Old Farmer's Almanac

  • During the months in 1968 while we have been compiling this 1969 OFA, we have been constantly reminded, by student revolts, racism, et al., of the need in this country for such strong traditions as this Almanac.
  • Don't graft trees when moon is on the wane or not seen.
  • "A common Case this, to call in our Neighbours to rejoice when all the good Liquor is gone." -Pliny
  • Abortion is no longer not being talked about. However, it may well be that medical science may render such laws obsolete almost before they are written. The "morning-after" pill....
  • "The Soviet Union could still efficiently destroy the United States even after absorbing the full weight of an American first strike," Mr. McNamara stated as he left office in May 1968.
  • In general, with NORAD in operation, it may be said we have about a 15-minute warning of a missile attack from anywhere in the world. This would allow three counter-attacks... however, there is not as yet any active defense against an ICBM.
  • [advertisement] KEEP DRY "The Masculine Way" -- MALE-DRI. $5.95 with 3 snap-in absorbent pads.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ceramics and skulls

A friend wrote me & helpfully informed me that she considers the new CC&P design to be "Very Southwestern New Age."

I was hurt, and even considered changing the background to a different detail of the same painting-- one with uniformly dark colors that evokes only haunting and very stylish Swiss expressionism. Not bolo ties, turquoise earrings, coyote trickster spirits, and desert tai chi.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I don't have much to say today, this fine Thursday, other than a small suggestion. I believe this may be the solution to the minor problem you have. Consider this to be your horoscope for the day, but a scientific kind of horoscope, calibrated in antiseptic conditions by Finnish scientists. I think you should put on the Beatles' "Rain," and turn the volume up as high as your speakers can stand without distortion.

By the way, the Didion quote below is from an interview she gave to the Paris Review in 1978. I found it yesterday when I was cleaning out my "Favorites"-- the collection of 60 or so bookmarked links that I never, ever visit. I don't know when I found it, but I'd never read it. Along with the Didion interview, I found this and this. Please to enjoy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Q: How did the "fragility of Joan Didion" myth start?

A: Because I'm small, I suppose...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Look out, DiMaggio

My friend and I share a subscription to MLB TV, which allows one to watch most games online. However. Said friend sneakily chose an password that is a crude play on my name. Let's just say it involves two obscenities ingeniously compressed into one. Had my schoolmates discovered this innovation back in 3rd grade, I might never have recovered.

So every time I log in, I am forced to slander my good name. It's, um, as if my beer mug were constructed of dried manure. (That's two fecal analogies in two days. Every streak starts small.) I don't intervene to change the password because I hate myself.

[Also, I switched templates because of bugginess w/my old template. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you and your loved ones.]

Monday, September 17, 2007

When it rains

Michael Hirschorn recently wrote an article in the Atlantic that assails "quirk," in particular the brand peddled by This American Life. In my judgment, Hirschorn's point is like a nugget of tasty corn in a well-formed stool. Anyhoo, this passage caught my eye: "[Quirk] becomes a kind of psychographic marker, like wearing laceless Chuck Taylors or ironic facial hair—a self-satisfied pose that stands for nothing and doesn’t require you to take creative responsibility."

It's true. For too long, people with Chuck Taylors have evaded creative responsibility for their footwear. For the record: my pose is clearly labeled. My email address and cell phone number are featured prominently on my pose (28 pt all-caps Trebuchet font), and there is a comments section.

*Also, Lindsay Robertson points out that Mr. Hirschorn is creatively responsible for the presence of Celebrity Fit Club on VH1.

Keeping the doctor at bay

I have missed you, blog. Oh, how I've missed you. It's just that I didn't really have anything I wanted to write. In conclusion: I haven't missed you, blog.

But today begins a noble experiment (forced daily posts) with two non-exclusive outcomes:
a) sweet creative release, preventing my tumescent creativity from bursting through an inconvenient collection of body tissues. O Creativity! Why must you swell inside me like a banal balloon?
b) declining blog quality, assuming we haven't zeroed out here already.

Null hypothesis: a = b. Effort is pointless but harmless. Life is meaningless. Sell your possessions, kiss a baby, murder a kitten; it doesn't matter; zero is the sum.
Alternative hypothesis: Corn Chips and Pie will save/destroy the world.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's nothing at all

  • I finally got around to watching Slow Century, the Pavement DVD. The highlight-- ferret around for it, because it's worth it-- is a clip of some KROQ promo guy or DJ stepping onstage before the band comes on. Upon being instantly heckled, he gamely carries on for a minute or two. When his multiple attempts to announce "upcoming shows" are met with angry shouts, he reacts by taunting the crowd: if it wasn't for KROQ, you guys wouldn't be "turned on" to Pavement, etc. Boos and cups of beer come flying at him. He keeps winding up the crowd. He stays onstage far longer than he has to (probably for 5 minutes), like a punch-drunk boxer keeping his feet. "Call and response, baby, call and response. It's an old blues trick. Picked it up in the House of Blues." He's not a hero; he's just a regular guy in extraordinary circumstances.
  • I also liked how Thurston Moore, the Ancient One of indie cool, was filmed in wrinkle-proof, deifying yellow light.
  • A long day of football awaits. Pray for me.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cicada nuggets

  • A long time ago, I wrote a post about a box of treasures and its unknown provenance. Recently, a man contacted me out of the blue-- he was a family friend of the woman who owned the box, and had some light to shed on her life. I'm shipping him the box; he certainly has a greater claim on it than I do. I'll miss you, Loie.
  • Ayn-Rand-worship, or even Rand-tolerance, never fails to irritate. Recently, it came to light that a shadow corporation involved in ground zero demolition-- and possibly corruption-- was named John Galt Corporation. Now it comes to light in the New York Times that a company providing software to TastyKake is named John Galt Solutions. Truly, there is no nobler manifestation of man's will and achievement in the field of excellence than the TastyKake. With the sign of the TastyKake as our symbol — the sign of free trade and free minds — we will move to reclaim this country once more from the impotent savages who never discovered its nature, its meaning, its splendor.
  • I hate baseball. What a silly sport! Grown men chasing a tiny ball around. It's so boring. How can people watch it? Me, I'll take the frenzied excitement of a nil-nil match between Portsmouth and Liverpool over a 11-10 "base-ball" yawnfest. This has nothing to do with the fact that the projected starting lineup for the Giants next year features Bengie Molina at cleanup and about 8 speedy light-hitting centerfielders competing for the leadoff spot. I honestly couldn't care less that the Giants' last 1B above replacement level was Will Clark. Maybe I'll become an Orioles fan. They seem like they're on the right track.