Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Poetry I wrote on April Fools Day, 1999


 I'm sort of all over the place and don't have all that much to say lately, but I figured I'd share something anyway. This is a sampling of writing I did in college, and it sorta depresses me that as corny as some of it is, it's better than I could come up with now. Anyway, I think the purpose of this assignment was to emulate Wallace Stevens, which I completely did not do. Anyway, here it is.

I promise I'm not going to just start posting crap from my college years, but I got sick of seeing that last post at the top of the page and I found this while searching for some writing samples for something. Hope everyone is well.



A schizophrenic views the outdoor gardens

      I.
Trees residing in a small park.
   Please do not disturb them
      or tap on the glass.
   Trees, after all
           need their rest.
     
      II.
No tire swings or birdhouses here,
   and the lack of squirrels
 is almost disquieting
     
      III.
Electrical outlet!
  poking out of the soil
     next to the azaleas
 like some deformed root.
     
      IV.
  Which of these lucky shrubs is
moved to the inside gardens for
         the winter?  Which are
   grown back every year?
  
      V.
Across the street,
  a tree reaches into the sky
    like a ragged claw
  with laughing children in
     its clutches.

      VI.
In the background,
  the cathedral leans towards
       the sun
looking for some water.

      VII.
The English Oaks of
    my childhood don't
 seem as at home here,
    without my house to dwarf.

      VIII.
  The only sound,
  whirlwinds of dead leaves
     crackle by
    in jittery conversation.

      IX.
  Nameplates with nothing
      to label
  act as gravestones
          for the weaker shrubbery.

      X.
    All these plants,
  yearning towards the
iron fence, looking out, and
    trying to breathe
         the free air.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

you might as well skip this one...

Hello all,

I'd normally take the time here to apologize for my radio silence and offer a weak excuse before getting down to what I had already planned to write about. I'm not going to do that today, because I don't really need some of those details on the internet at the moment. All I will say is that we had a lovely vacation that was somewhat tempered by some shitty news from back home. As a result we barely got to spend any time in Philly (one of the main reasons I booked a longer trip than normal), but I did get to loadup on La Columbe, so there's that.

Anyway, I don't want to get to into heavy stuff right now, so I figured I'd offer up my schedule for the day, since I apparently have nothing else to write about*. It might offer some insight into what I've been up to as well as why I've been so horrendously overdue on returning several phone calls. See? It's not just the internet I blow off.

Anyway, today we slept in until 8:30, which is a rarity in itself. After coffee, I run Carrie up to her work while I return back here, make myself a bowl of cereal and search/apply for whatever jobs I think I could be suitable for.This can take anywhere between 2-5 hours. Today, there isn't much new stuff, so  just check on the status of some stuff and see if I've heard anything.

Sometime aroud 10:30, I head to Project A**, where today I'm going to be sitting in a vault by myself and sorting through the personal archives of a semi-legenday nutjob who might have saved every scrap of paper he ever said a hand on. Essentially, I'm sorting through this stuff and trying to get it into a working order for a grant proposal I'm working on. It's a hot, dusty job, but fascinating nonetheless. I get to see a history unfold as I work on this stuff, the life's work of a fanatically religious naturalist and see images that people might not have laid eyes on since 1920. It's one of the things I like the most about this field I've found myself in.

While I'm doing this, I'll be alternating back and forth between listening to an audio recording of Elmore Leonard's The Moonshine War and a playlist I created the other night called "FROBERG!", which consists entirely of Drive Like Jehu/Hot Snakes/Obits songs.

I'll work on this stuff until about 5 or so*** and then head home, where Carrie and I will probably make dinner before she has band practice. At 7, I will begin work on Project B. Project B is archival work, and something I've been engaged in for roughly 21 months. I'm hoping to have it wrapped in the next 5 days or so, so you can imagine my eagerness to get it over with. Hopefully this will take me through to about midnight, where I will close my computer, watch the dumbest thing I can find on Netflix, and talk shit with Carrie about how the Eagles will beat the Steelers tomorrow night.


If I'm lucky, I'll get to read the copy of  League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol III): Century #2 - 1969 that I picked up last week. It's been sitting on my nightstand taunting me, but I need to make sure I give it the attention it's due. The same could be said for Noir Afloat, which it's sitting on top of since I last opened it a week ago.

So that's the day I have planned. Try not to get too excited by it. When Project B wraps up, I'm hoping to be able to resume semi-regular posts here, but my concern is that by then Project A will have mushroomed into something scary. We'll see!

My apologies to anyone I didn't get to see back East, and to everyone I haven't been in touch with since returning. There's just a lot of pressure for me to take care of some things here, and I owe you more than a shitty text message saying I miss you.


I hope all is well, and I'll be in touch soon one way or another.

*except our trip to Forest Lawn a few months ago, my mindblowingly good steak taco recipe, the recent discovery of a ghost town nearby, and whatever else I'm forgetting...

**Sadly, I am not visiting the set of a 20 year old Jackie Chan movie, but I wish I was just to see Yuen Biao.

***lunch today: granola bar, some licorice, water

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hamburger Cake


homemade hot dogs and sausages, chilled beer, and probably the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for my birthday.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hi-Lo



1. "Getting Ready for Christmas Day" - Paul Simon
2. "Eleven" - Thao & Mirah
3. "Down the road" - The A-Cads
4. "Baby Let Me Take You Home" - The Twilights
5. "Whatevering" - Coma Cinema
6. "Jealous Guy" - Donny Hathaway
7. "The Aay Jays Theme" - the Aay Jays
8. "Ra Ra Roo" - The Stewart Brothers
9. "I Don't Know" - Lantern
10. "Axel Rose" - Art Brut
11. "Shack Up" - Banbarra
12. "Soul Raga" - Mehrpouya
13. "When I Paint My Masterpiece" - The Band
14. "Byrdesdale Spa FC" - Porcelain on Porcelain
15. "I Wanna Do It (feat. Heidi Alexander)" - Earth Girl Helen Brown
16. "Soul & Sunshine" - Harvey & the Phenomenals
17. "Eh Bien Mon Ami" - Orchestre African Fiesta
18. "Light Love" - Free Energy
19. "GB City" - Bass Drum of Death
20. "Mighty Agabo (Max Tannone remix)" - Ghostface Killa
21. "Bloodstains on the Wall" - Honeyboy
22. "It's Not Easy" - Ofege

Download here 1:20:06

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My apologies for the radio silence lately, I've had a few things come up. Namely:

1) I had the apt to myself (and the cat) over the week, which ensured that I was going to work and watch a bunch of horrible movies and bad reality TV (Pawn Stars, namely) and generally not think about writing anything.

2. Our car might have died on my way home last night.

3. I have a really, really big interview tomorrow that I've been preparing a presentation tomorrow. Wish me luck.

I will resume semiregular posting tomorrow afternoon, and in the meantime go check out some more awesome google maps screenshots.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

3 facts about me today, 7/5/11

1. I am completely exhausted. Yesterday was long and fun and a little drunk but mostly it was damned hot. It was nice to see a parade, though. I haven't seen a 4th of July parade in what has to be a decade, and it was nice to find myself sitting in a friend's lawn and waving to other friends in the parade. Sure, we were probably the most obnoxious group of spectators there (my "show us the birth certificate" calls certainly didn't help anything), but it was still pleasant.

2. In less than 2 hours, I'm expected to go to softball practice, and it just dawned on my tyoday that I signed up for this forgetting that the only thing I dislike more than hot weather is having to exercise in it.

3. blah blah Casey Anthony blah Florida blah blah swamp people.

Usually, I'd have something interesting to post here but after waking up to find over 1500 new items to read in my Google Reader, I dumped ALL of them to save myself the trouble. Later tonight I'm planning on writing up a description of Carrie and I's visit to Forest Lawn cemetary over the weekend.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

3 facts about me today, 6/28/11

1. So there's an update on my previous post. As I mentioned, I'm weeding all of these amazing books to be removed from a library, which I'd be lying if I said wasn't the worst part of the job. A lot of these books Are not only being weeded, but a lot of them are somewhat dated and will probably just get chucked in the end. Usually these are technology or current affairs texts. Case in point, yesterday I was working my way through a chunk of books largely devoted to military science and history. While I admit a fondness for this subject area (I can idly thumb through a book about swords any day), it was the section about nuclear armaments in the Cold War that caught my attention. It seems that in the mid-80s, Cold War hysteria reached the library in force. I probably discarded some 35 books on the subject. One of them was so great, though, with all of these vintage graphics and charts explaining the history of the ICBMs and there's even a cutaway picture of a Soviet 9K52 Luna portable missile complex (comedy nerds might remember this as the giant truck/missile thing from the ending of Spies Like Us). It was the sort of book I knew would get junked and also that I had to have. So I went home, found it for $0.98 on Amazon, and bought it. This is a process I find both liberating and rewarding, but it's going to get me into a lot of trouble. Last night I ordered 4 books spotted on just one short shift of work. I'm afraid to see what happens when we start hitting the areas of knowledge I'm really fascinated by.

2. As much as I enjoy the Pod F. Tompkast and Stop Podcasting Yourself, Paul F. Tompkins as a guest on SPY is one of my favorite things in the world. If not for that most recent episode, there's half a chance I'd be a smear on a freeway in Orange County right now.

3. I'm sure a lot of you have seen this by now, but there was some footage making the internet rounds last week of an SUV plowing through a 7-11 (and one of its employees). It's pretty horrifying to see, especially when two people jump out of the car and nonchalantly walk away before the driver takes off. When it came up last week on one of the Spanish-language news channels, I assumed it had taken place in either Southern California or Mexico. But it happened in Yeadon, PA, which I found to be a little disheartening. Then 2 minutes later I picked up a newspaper and read first about some monster killing a Golden Retriever less than a mile from my home and then something in Sacramento I cannot even being myself to repeat. So now I'm just depressed for all of us. For the next week, I can't bring myself to read any of these stories that have taken place in this country. Even Florida. Can we get on that somehow?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Steam


Part of my job consists of weeding the print collection a relatively large community college library. As electronic books and databases become the norm for research practices, the print collections of most libraries is being drastically reduced. I understand this, and there are long-term cost savings, but at the end of the day it still means that a bunch of books are getting thrown out. Of course, a lot of the time these books are outdated and somewhat useless (see, computer science manuals) or too specific for a community college (veterinary medicine is not a huge topic here). But sometimes, it's just an old book that not many people check out. At the moment, I'm looking at a book called The Power of Steam: An Illustrated History of the World's Steam Age. It's a thirty-year old book that's long since been out of print and not specific to a subject taught here. And it hasn't been checked out since 1997. So I am forced to recommend it to be junked.

But here's why this bothers me so much.

This book is amazing. Never mind that I don't care about a lot of the specifics of the development of the steam engine, though it confirms that it was invented by James Watt (thanks, The Simpsons!). The book also explores the social and practical impacts of it (which is way more in my wheelhouse) and features so many awesome pictures I don't know where to start with it. There are oil paintings of a steamboat drag race, photographs of the Industrial Age's foot soldiers toiling in assembly lines and engineers caked with oil and grime. There's a wood engraving of an engine on Tokyo's Negishi Line from 1872*! There are lithographs of the first trial run of the London Underground (between Paddington and Farringdon in 1863), and a race in 1866 between a steam engine and a pack of dogs!

Sure, this the sort of thing a dork like me loves, and I hardly had time to explore the text itself. But if I can be so engaged by this book, couldn't someone who actually cares about engineering or history get even more out of it? This is my biggest problem with the eagerness of so many libraries to dump their print collection. I never would've searched in a computer for this book in a million years. The only reason I found it was because I stumbled across it while going through the shelves.


*Strangely enough, we were at a train museum a few weeks ago and saw an electric trolley that ran on that exact line at around 1910. I won't get into why we were there or why that excited me, but it should probably confirm what you think you know about me; namely that I am a 6 year-old at heart.

3 facts about me today 6/24/11

1. It's 11:12 AM and I have already spilled two separate cups of coffee on myself.

2. Right now, the only thing I've listened to (aside from a few podcasts) is Fucked Up's David Comes to Life, which might be the best album I've heard in 4 years. It's got a lot of things that I should dislike about it in theory, not the least of which being that it's a narrative concept album. My track record with these is spotty at best, despite some of my favorite songs of all time come from albums like this. My problem is that they invariably go off the rails in a serious way. Sometimes they make a movie out of it, which might help to fill in a lot of the blanks (Quadrophenia) or it might help to illustrate how poorly thought out the third act is (Tommy). Even Songs From the Capeman (shut up, I stand by a lot of those songs) loses track of its voice a couple times, and that's about as straightforward as it gets.
   But David Comes to Life feels different for me, perhaps because I'm not trying to follow the plot. Or because the music has so much energy (those guitars!) that I can't be bothered. Maybe because the lyrics paint enough of a picture that I can just consider the songs vignettes and ignore the larger picture. Maybe I just love driving and listening to it. Regardless, it is amazing.

3. The NBA draft is over, which means that until late fall, the only sport I really need to think about is the Phillies. The exception, however, is going to be the U.S./Mexico soccer game taking place in Pasadena tomorrow. It's the final match of the gold cup, and watching the semis has somehow endeared this whole tournament to me, not to mention the sheer insanity of what's gonna happen at the Rose Bowl tomorrow.

4 (Bonus!). We finally finished season 1 of Treme last night, and I still have very, very mixed feelings about it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

3 facts about me today 6/19/11

1. I'm fresh from one of the most relaxing (and rewarding) mini-vacations ever, which is strange. I've never imagined myself as Desert Folk. In fact, as someone who has watched horror movies for the better part of his life, Desert Folk scare me only slightly less than Mountain Folk and Swamp Folk on the grand scale of creepy desolate weirdos. They live in the closest thing to a wasteland I can think of, with only rattlesnakes and coyotes (2 syllables) for company. The cultural norms and and legal standards of the nation seemingly vanish with the water vapor, replaced with the mysterious, unwritten code of DESERT LAW. DESERT LAW, it seems, is a lot like the law of the jungle, but with allowances for things like crystal meth and the living mummies that inhabit Palm Springs.
   But weirdly enough, we had a great time out there. Not that I could live there permanently, but there's something refreshing about being out there, with pure spring water coming out of the taps and the massive San Gorgonio Wind Farm. The wind farm is one of the saving graces of the trip. Instead of seeing nothing but brush and corpses for miles, the different sizes, shapes, and speeds of wind turbine provide an almost hypnotic landscape I can only compare to an ocean. Also, it gets so hot there this time of year that everyone just kinda siestas in the afternoons, which I'm clearly a fan of. In all, Desert Folk ain't so bad (some of 'em, anyway), and there are surprising advantage to living out there. I'd describe the trip in greater detail, but it was a) a personal vacation, and b) it would ruin a lot of my next pic dump. But keep an eye out.

2. Once again, my hair is getting embarrassingly long. Right now my 2 options are to comb it super-tight with product for work or to slap on a baseball hat. Part of me wants to grow it out a little (not mullet length, but floppy), but then I remember that in 2 months, it's gonna be too hot to think around here so maybe I'll just chop it. Stay tuned!

3. Clarence Clemons died last night, and while I'm certainly not the only one thinking about this on Father's Day (see Will's similar thoughts here), it's a loss. I've written enough about my father and I's shared love of Springsteen here, so I don't want to bore you with that. Clearly, the band will never be the same. The Big Man was an essential piece of the E Street Band and, like Danny Federici, he is irreplaceable. Sadly, those two were also the most unique pieces of the band, and among the most identifiable musicians I can think of, but so different. Danny's accordion (particularly on "Wild Billy's Circus Story") and organ are ornamentation that fills in the empty spots of the records, painting the rest of the picture. Clarence's sax, on the other hand, just grabs the reins of the song and takes off. Late last night I was listening to one of my favorite recordings of all time, with the guys in Bryn Mawr, PA playing at the Main Point in 1975. It's a super early concert by band standards, and there's plenty of things still being worked out onstage (including the prototype for what later became "Thunder Road"). It's an amazing show, but at some point during "Rosalita" that night, Clarence not only took over the song, but he sent it careening in an entirely new direction, forgetting Bruce's please for love and instead strapping it into a roller coaster. the jaunt resolves itself a few minutes later when Clarence and Bruce start tapping out a call-and-response with sax and guitar, and things right themselves cosmically. It's a thing of beauty.

Go ahead, give it a listen.

There's a great old story about David Sanborn when he was the hottest of the hot shit studio horn men, he was asked by some producer or artist if he could play a song more like Clarence. He thought for a minute, and replied that yes, he could, but in order to do so, the lights in the studio would have to be turned way down, in order to provide mood. They accommodated this wish, and started again, but Sanborn stopped them again, and asked that the lights be turned down even more. They did this, and then a third time Sanborn asked for the lights to be turned down yet again. They did this and started the track once more. They played the song through but when the sax parts came up, there was nothing from silence coming form the darkened booth. When they stopped the track and turned up the lights to see what had happened, Sanborn was gone.

Sure, the veracity of this story is highly suspect, and I'm sure that even if it was true, nobody's gonna admit it. But it's a fitting story to this man, who was introduced in a fantastic way every time he took the stage with Springsteen. He was larger than life in a lot of ways, and while I can't replicate most of Bruce's stories, I can at least repeat one I heard secondhand.

Happy Father's Day to every great dad out there. If I could, I'd send each of you a ridiculous tie and a warm handshake. Keep doing what you're doing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

3 facts about me today 6/14/11

I missed doing this last night. I'm not trying to say this is something I plan on (or will end up) doing every single night, but I'm gonna try to keep it somewhat consistent).

1. I'm trying to make this a little short because tomorrow Carrie and I are going for a tiny vacation out near Palm Springs and we've promised each other that we won't bring computers. This is a pretty big statement, considering we both spend at least 10 hours a day or so working on them. I'm actually pretty excited. I'm bringing a fresh order of books to read and reread (Duane Swierczynski's Fun & Games and Greg Rucka's first two Queen & Country novels -- the first is new and I'm revisiting the second two). I'm really excited and plan on do a lot of reading by the pool with beer. You know, to keep hydrated in the desert lest some coyotes decide to have their way with my unconscious body. What? I heard they do that now.

2. I've been picking up a lot of snails lately. Have I mentioned this here? Every time it rains here, hundreds of snails end up on the sidewalks. I feel like that's happened everywhere, but here on the edge of the desert (where we still get rain), this is magnified a hundred times. Normally I wouldn't notice, but sometime after I accidentally stepped on my tenth snail I had a change of heart. The crunching sound alone is revolting and causes me to freak out, and so now I try to chuck 'em into some bushes to slow them down. They still gross me out and I hate touching them, but at least I don't have snails on my conscience. or on my shoes, I guess. Which is just as nice.

3. I forgot to call my mom on her birthday last week, which makes me feel just about as terrible as you would think. The thing is, I had a note on my nightstand to remind me, and I still didn't remember. I'm hoping that by writing this out now, I'll remember to call my grandmother tomorrow for hers. There are like 20 friends and family members with June birthdays, but that's no excuse. My excuse is that I never remember them. The only birthday I remember consistently is my grandfather's, and that's only because it's the same as mine, which I'd forget if Carrie didn't remind me. Yeah, I'm a crappy person. But also birthdays sort of stop after 18, right? excepting round numbers?




on an off note, does anyone have anything to say regarding Pandora vs. Rdio? I know I'm super late on these, but I spent like 4 hours working yesterday while listening to a Louis Jordan channel yesterday that has me rethinking my dislike of streaming/cloud audio. Is one of these services clearly superior to the other? Should I just be waiting for Spotify before paying for either? The last one one is the likeliest candidate at the moment.

Monday, June 13, 2011

3 facts about me today 6/12/11

1. The NBA playoffs have come to an end. Obviously this isn't a fact about me, but it was a satisfying end to one of the best NBA postseason I've ever had the fortune of watching. I've been thoroughly entertained by the past 9 months of basketball, but I'm happy it's done. Now I'll have more time to devote to work and following Phillies games.

2. So, our cat has been involved in this long-term psychological operation on some birds near out balcony for the past few days. I assume that they have a nest nearby or something, although I haven't seen it. But they will flap around just outside of our balcony, squawking up a storm and trying to scare of Fergus, who just sits there staring at them with something resembling a grin on his face. I'm not even making this up! I think he basically just goes out there to antagonize them, despite being the scarediest cat I've ever seen.
   The thing is, these birds are really pissed off, and when I go out on the balcony to see what's happening, they're about eye level with me and so I run away screaming.  Fergus is relatively safe behind the bars of the railing, but I'm still uneasy about it, so I go out there and chase off the birds a couple times a day. Usually I throw a grapefruit at them.
   Ours is a home with a lot of grapefruit. Especially right now, when they're in season and friends drop off whole bags of them, which we always happily accept. But if I have to throw something at some birds (or in some cases, a relatively large stray cat orgy in the parking lot of the vet outside of our window), I don't want it to be hard enough to break anything, or for it to just become litter. So I fire a grapefruit at them. It works, but now there's grapefruits all over the lawn by our balcony and so our neighbors probably think something crazy's going on. Nice.


3. I was up at 4:35 this morning researching the etymology of the word "filibuster", and trying to see if there's a "crownstone" from the Mason Dixon Line that's still intact that I might be able to visit when I'm back East this Summer (I think there is!). This, along with stops at a few restaurants, is what I'm most looking forward to on that trip.

okay, I'm done for the night. Hope everyone has a stellar week.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

3 facts about me today 6/11/11

1.  I had to go to Target twice in one day and I'm super ashamed of it. Even more, I'm angry because the stupid Target brand mineral water is TERRIBLE.

2. In the past 4 days, I've seen 5 bands perform featuring people I know. Basically, I'm hiding out at home right now because a friend's band is playing at the bar next door and I'm just overloaded on live music right now. Thus, I am home unable to decide whether I want to watch an MST3K movie or WWII in HD.

3. This morning I was awoken -as I am most saturdays- by a band playing the Harley dealership also next door. Without fail, they play a lot of Sabbath and Steppenwolf covers but now they've incorporated "White Rabbit" into the set and it is seriously affecting me. I've always disliked that song, but it's now been upgraded to outright hatred.


Friday, June 10, 2011

3 facts about me today; 6/10/11

Okay, this is gonna be a new feature on here to try to get me to write more. Mostly, it's the thought that by posting 3 current facts about myself is both narcissistic and short enough that it shouldn't be as daunting as when I park my ass in front of my laptop for 2 hours and rant about M&Ms or something. Let's hope it works!


1. From when Carrie got on a plane late on Sunday night until yesterday evening, I ate nothing but sandwiches. There was a slight amount of controversy when I introduced the "Swedish Fish Sandwich", but after review from the all-sandwich diet committee, it was ruled that the SFS did, in fact, qualify as a sandwich provided that the top and bottom fishes were of the same color/flavor. The streak ended last night when I made myself some short ribs. They were delicious.

2. I've been listening to a lot of Forge Your Own Chains: Heavy Psychedelic Ballads & Dirges 1968-1974, and last night I fell asleep in the tub listening to Donny Hathaway. Also, a collection of Pakistani pop music that constantly makes me feel like I'm in that scene in The Wire where the Greek is shutting closing up shop in Baltimore for the time being.

3. I saw X-Men: First Class and loved it. There were a few things (and 1.5 characters) that bugged me, but overall I really enjoyed it. Probably in my 5 favorite superhero movies ever, and certainly the best movie I've seen in a theater all year. In all fairness, I think Thor is the only other movie I've seen in the theater this year. Man, I'm a loser.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday, May 20
7:54 PM

   It is Friday night, and I am home alone since Carrie left for band practice. It's dark in hour living room, and I'm playing a combination of ambient music and the Los Angeles police band at a particularly embarrassing volume. I'd be curious to see what my neighbors must be thinking about now. I had two beers with dinner and am thinking about using the last of the bourbon on the shelf to make myself a cocktail.

I don't really have anything interesting to post. I mean, I probably do somewhere, but the last several ideas I've had have been preempted by stuff I've read or seen or heard about, which is a shitty excuse not to write, I know. But sometimes any excuse is a good one.

Maybe I've exhausted all of the episodes of Justified I was catching up on. Maybe I'm just bored. Maybe, after reading about a pending apocalypse all day, I didn't want the last post on this site to be about a freeway exchange. It probably doesn't matter.


-rest of this post deleted out of common sense/rapture joke fatigue. I've spent too much time on the computer today and I need to get the hell away from it.

I'll try to think and post something up before the end of the weekend.

In the meantime, try not to get too bummed if you're not one of the people floating off into the sky. I'll still be here with you.

Friday, April 29, 2011



A photo of a particularly bad part of my commute to work. Total commute comes to something like 40.4 miles each way. On Wednesday, the round trip took me almost 4 hours.

I realiz that these pictures aren't hard to come by, that I probably could've used Google Earth to get something very similar (or of my entire drive), but that's not as fun as browsing some weird site and coming across a picture of one of your most groan-inducing weekly moments (often when running late for work).

original can be located here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gone With the Wind

Last night I watched Gone With the Wind. Actually, I read comic books and half paid attention and half complained while Carrie watched it. I had never seen it before, mostly because I've never had much desire to. From the story's content to its fans to the era in which it was filmed, it never held much for me to be excited about. to be honest, I think it's way more of a crime that I've never seen Casablanca than my not caring about Gone With the Wind, and my feelings haven't changed since last night.


  Let's ignore the fact that the movie is 11 hours long and absurdly racist*, and what I took away from that movie is that everyone is crazy and horrible or stupid and horrible. I mean just the sort of people I would absolutely not be able to sit in the same room as. Not that I could afford to, but still. I don't know why people don't talk about that. Probably because it's just a movie, and when you think about it, movies rarely feature characters that act like normal people. Hell, why pay for that? Pretty much all the best movies have a characters that would make you crawl out of your skin had you encountered them in real life.

Normal people.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

 Fredd Ott's Sneeze


It took 5 days to film. It required a machine the size of a refrigerator to view and takes up about a billionth of my hard drive.
 "The star is Fred Ott, an Edison employee known to his fellow workers in the laboratory for his comic sneezing and other gags."

comic sneezing?

Monday, April 11, 2011

pic dump 4/11

Graffiti in San Francisco 



Monster fire truck


Boojum tree. Taken because I like saying "Boojum" (name taken from a Lewis Carroll poem)


From James Jean exhibit "Rebus"


Truck I was stuck behind on a freeway for over an hour. Those are mattresses.


Not surprisingly, they were pulled over. They acted like the cop was insane for doing so, and were pissed when he told them that they couldn't drive home.

The Bradbury building, one of the most gorgeous pieces of architecture I've ever seen. You might remember it as J.F. Sebastian's home in Blade Runner. It's a little hard to see in these pictures, but the things on the sides of the first picture and in the background of the second are hand wrought steel elevators. It's hard to do the building justice with my crappy cell phone pictures, but check out some better ones here.



A converted theater across the street. These are really common for downtown LA, and often overlooked in the grand scheme, considering how beautiful they can be.




Weiner cactus

and weirdly related are these three pictures. I remember when I became old enough to notice used condoms in the street. It always (and continues to) freak me out because A) it's disgusting and B) how the hell did they get there. After awhile I figured out that lots of people have sex in cars, often professionally, and it's easy enough to throw it out the window when done. Gross and littery, but still an explanation.

Currently, I live across the street from a 24 hour "adult superstore". It's a thriving business, judging by the number of people who almost run me over when flying out of their parking lot hoping to not be seen. What I can't for the life of me understand is how many of these people are buying sex toys and throwing the packaging out the window on the way home. I get why they are popular. But are people using these in the car? while driving?

I don't care that there's a porn store across the street. There are like 5 of them within a mile of my house. There's also a stripper clothing store, several organized crime fronts, 35 tattoo parlors, 5 liquor stores, a trucker academy, a Harley dealership, and a hookah lounge. I don't care about any of these, in fact I kinda like the smutty character it lends to the immediate area. 

But for fuck's sake, can we not throw this stuff in the street? For one thing, it's like super industrial non-biodegradable plastic. For another, one has the words "Extra veiny dong" written on it, which perplexes me in ways unfathomable. Enjoy sex toys responsibly, people. and the their packaging.
 



Thursday, April 07, 2011

Tamanend





 Tamanend, leader of the Lenni-Lenape. Name later bastardized to Tammany (as in Hall). A man for whom I was woefully ignorant (despite growing up on his land) until quite recently, and driving past the above statue with regularity.

Weirdly, I can talk for hours about Tomochichi, though. One of my favorite names/bridges ever.

More flotsam

 My review for Asterios Polyp. (OGN = Original Graphic Novel):

I make no secret of my love of comics and graphic novels. Trying to legitimize them as a respected form of art on the internet in 2010 is probably akin to justify movies in the mid-50s, but for some reason I will always feel that the medium is undercut by the notion at large that they are mindless and sensational. Of course, many of them are. I probably tend to prefer the sensationalistic (though not without artistry) tendencies of the superhero genre more than the subtle storytelling of the OGN (original graphic novel). But I remain an avid fan of both and a staunch defender of the merits of both. Unfortunately, the mainstream will always be harder to legitimize, and at the cost of the latter.

After I recently gave one comic book (Jason Aaron's amazing Scalped) five stars, my sister (hey, T) sent me an email that consisted of one word: "really?" Granted, that particular collection had an unfortunate name, but it remains a powerful work and one that I was amazed with. Overall, the experience made me wonder if I should start putting more effort into explaining the ratings I give sequential art, both the bad and the good, the mainstream and the OGN, if only to solidify my opinions to myself, if not to others.

David Mazzucchelli was the artist on one of my favorite Batman stories ever, Year One. Now I'm discovering that he is the sole creator (yes, even lettering!) of one of my favorite OGNs. Asterios Polyp is the kind of book that I would give to almost anyone I know, a true endeavor of creative storytelling coupled with talent and soul. I bristled at some of the storytelling, but only in a way that made me somewhat embarrassed of doing so by the end, as if I hadn't been paying attention the entire time. It is a book that takes advantage of the medium and is greater than the sum of its parts.

As I mentioned earlier, this is the sort of book I would give to just about anyone, especially someone doubting the potential of a graphic novel in delivering a great story. Unfortunately, it's also the sort of book that 95% of the people I gave it to would never read. Still, that 5% might be worth it.

I could've sworn I wrote a really good review for I Kill Giants, but I can't find it right now.  Hopefully I'll fix that in the next few days.

Speaking of magic...

My review for Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites:

One of the pull quotes on the back of this book (from the amazing Eric Powell, creator of The Goon) begins with so "I never thought I'd feel this way about anything with talking dogs in it..." which is a good place to start. This is a book about talking animals. Who are friends and solve mysteries together. Spooky, supernatural mysteries.

That sets the bar pretty low, right? Sure it does. But this isn't an All Dogs go to Heaven. There are no stoned teenagers in a van. What you get here instead is an engaging, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking tale of a band of friends (or at least neighbors) handle the unexplained as if affects their neighborhood. the characters are distinct and developed, and each story unfolds with a complexity that belies the whole talking-dog aspect of the book. And there is Jill Thompson's art, a watercolor style that fits the story and characters like a glove. As with most of the comics I like, I wouldn't recommend this for children, but I think that mystery and pet lovers alike would really enjoy this book. I ask you to go ahead and prove me wrong, if you get the chance to pick this volume up. I dare you. Go out on a limb and try something new, and I bet you'll like it.

Strange Magic

   One of my new obsessions is Joe Hill's amazing comic Locke & Key, the trades of which I've been devouring lately. Eventually, I'll get around to writing up those books for Goodreads and repost here, which is something I've been meaning to do for awhile*.The book is fantastic, but I'm not necessarily going to talk about it today. However, there's a concept within the book that's been on my mind lately. In the story, there is magic. It is old and powerful magic, and so far, it is completely unknown by the adults of the series, even the ones that dabbled in it as youths.

   This isn't a groundbreaking idea. Going back to Peter Pan (and probably earlier), the idea has been raised that if magic were real, it would only be understood or appreciated by children whose minds have not been closed by... well, prolonged existence, I guess. I think this is a natural concurrence, really.

   I feel like my childhood was riddled with this, the magic of everyday life. The night I swear I saw a ghost in a rocking chair in the top window of an abandoned house. The power of a ghost story**, an out-of-body experience... these are things that I swear all happened to me before my teenage years. There was the time I went to Europe with my grandparents at age 8, and I returned with sore, hacked-up fingers. I thought for some reason that if I left fingernail clippings all over the streets and alleys of Italy then a piece of me would remain there and imbue me the wisdom and artistry of the ages. Now, it sounds like a pretty childish and disgusting habit, but you have to think that many, many superstitions have been started by less.

   There were two places in Maryland that I was terrified of. One was an old motorcycle clubhouse that hadn't been occupied in over a decade, the other was a cluster of trees around a streetlight. These were places I was certain were haunted, or at least held the power in my mind to be haunted. Nothing ever happened there, as far as I knew, although maybe some of my siblings tried to convince me otherwise. I don't know what it was, but I would fall into a catatonic state before willingly walking through these places. Weirdly, the giant abandoned hotel down the street was more or less fine with me. But a cluster of trees.... whoo, boy.

   Obviously, things didn't stay that way. The juju of the world is replaced by cold, dry logic. Gradually, the places I was terrified of became the type of places I would venture on dares from myself and others. It was somehow a part of the maturation process. Go to the places you once feared, and once you're not murdered there, a piece of magic withers away from your mind.

   I remember the first time I worked up the nerve to check out the old clubhouse, and the worst of my fears were confirmed when I saw someone had spray painted a pentagram on one of the walls. There has been foul business here. There were sacrifices of children and unholy ceremonies in my minds eye. It wasn't until later that I realized that it was a certainty that these were put there by kids not much older than myself, and with the intent of frightening kids like me. In fact, I'd put even money on the culprit being one of my brothers, trying to secure a place where they could smoke cigarettes without me finding them.

   There's a reason that teenagers love to spraypaint that shit. Pentagrams, 3 sixes. Swastikas. These symbols all have a power unlike anything else we know. It isn't until you're older that you realize that they are just lines and mean sweet fuck all. 99% of the time you see these things, it's a dumb kid trying to evoke a gutteral response from anyone that sees them. Unfortunately, it still works for a lot of people. Remember in the 80s, there was that massive fear of devil worshipers. the story of the West Memphis Three is pretty indicative of the paranoia associated with this stuff, which now we all look at as kind of silly more than anything. I feel sorry for devil worshipers at this point, since all they can really evoke from me is a rolling of the eyes.

   Nowadays, I miss that feeling. I think that I, more than just about anyone, fought the dissipation of magic from my brain. My reading habits (consisting largely of sci-fi, fantasy, comic books, mythologies, and occult manuals) probably helped with that quite a bit. But time goes on, magic grows stale and abandons our imaginations to more material pursuits. The Wonder of the world is replaced with a much different (and scarier) kind of fear.

The more I've been thinking about this the more I've been upset. I want nothing more than the ability to continue being amazed and enchanted by the world around us. I want one day to hear my child speak and not dismiss their magic as childish nonsense. So I started raking my brain for the magic in my life, and how I perceive it. and I realized, that I never really abandoned the concept, nor did it abandon me.

There remains magic in music for me. Not in the same way I saw it as a child, where members of KISS might abduct me in my sleep, or how Jim Morrison was some kind of stupid shaman. It is more subtle than that. When I was driving the other day, one of my favorite songs, "The E Street Shuffle" came on. Not the funky album version, but the shuffling, slow version that Springsteen and the band did live. Bruce tells a story, this one about Clarence Clemons and how they met. It's a long story, and a funny one. But it ends with Bruce cowering in the doorway of a closed shop, hiding from Clarence, who he thinks is out to get him. The giant man extends his hand and, this is where Springsteen's voice is practically a whisper:

Sparks fly on E Street when the boy prophets walk it handsome and hot 
 
   and I almost had to pull the car over. I can hear, feel the magic in those words. I've probably heard that song two thousand times in my life, and no matter how many times I might've glossed over that line, it still has that power over me. It was there the whole time.  Ditto for the beginning of the Velvet Underground's "Heroin", which I was certain I never wanted to hear again until this morning when it floored me by complete surprise. 
 
There is magic in The Exorcist, when that ghoulish face appears. I know it is a special effect in a film, but that has never stopped me from shuddering when I see it. There is magic in every single episode of Pushing Daisies that drips with a charm that distills in me a nostalgia for things I've never known. 

There is magic in The Stand, when we are introduced to Randall Flagg***, and in the narrator's home (a crumbling, waterlogged hotel) in Amnesiascope.
 
As I've mentioned before, there is magic in so many comic books I don't know where to start.
 
Though fiction, these things all come from someplace very real. Stephen King has admitted that his inspiration for Walter Flagg, one of the greatest villains ever created, came Symbionese Liberation Army leader (and Patty Hearst kidnapper) Donald DeFreeze. DeFreeze was a prison escapee who convinced people to do horrible things for him in the name of justice. Horrible, but absolutely magic. Same could be said for Charles Manson or Wayne Coyne (probably not a fair comparison, but I needed good and evil, you see).

In my rambling, incoherent way, I guess I'm just trying to remind you that there is magic out there. It's not Harry Potter or satanists, but it's in the minds of you and your loved ones, and creators, and in the atmosphere at large. the next time you get a feeling, instead of listening to the adult voice in your head or to rationality, try to just go with it. Make a note of it. Tell somebody else about it. Use it to wonder at the world around us. I know it feels naive, and perhaps stupid, even. But it makes things a hell of a lot more enjoyable. Don't preoccupy yourself with life, preoccupy yourself with living.





*So I've been pretty negligent with my Goodreads account, largely because I am always reading either too much or too little. One of my hobbies lately though has been to write up graphic novels and comics, since I feel they could use a bit more legitimization. I've done a couple, and I plan to do more. Unfortunately, most of these "reviews" are just diatribes about legitimization of comic books. Anyway, maybe I'll post a few after this post.

**query: Have I told my Tockwogh Hermit ghost story story here? If not I will fix that.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

   As a kid, I think my parents tried to do what they could to make sure that there were always educational books and toys around the house for the benefit of my siblings and I. There was a 25+ year subscription of National Geographic, which remaine largely untouched in our loft* for several decades until we moved. There was Changing Bodies, Changing Lives, which was somewhat sarcastically presented to me by my brothers when I was like 9 (two years after they gave me a preemptive, unsolicited birds vs. bees talk, and maybe 23.8 months after my dad figured out that somebody had taught me the term rimjob). There were trivia books (my favorite) and keyboards and globes and all sorts of stuff. Whether or not they had any effect on us I cannot attest to. I mean, I'm sure the results varied, but I don't think rolling the globe off the top of our roof a couple dozen times taught me much about geography...
   But there was a few books that I devoured, and would re-read every couple of weeks. These were largely American history texts I've long since forgotten the names of. I'd pore over these, remembering specifics about Civil War battles and where the Presidents were born. I'd stare at pictures of the A-bomb tests and woodcuts of the Crispus Attucks shooting. I probably learned more from those books than anything else before 7th grade. There was another book that I distinctly remember showing how Samoas are made. But in spite of these amazing things, my favorite of these books was actually a science book, which is odd because I've probably never liked science as much before or since.

But this one was special. for one thing, it had one of the coolest covers ever:

   Seriously, what's not to love about that? Crazy-ass rocket ship? check. Massive, impossible-in-outer-space flames? CHECK. I think I still love this cover, and I'm sure it's the reason I ever picked it up. In fact, I think it's pretty telling that I gravitated towards a science book largely because it had a very science fiction-y cover.

   Even though I learned a good bit of physics and astronomy from these books, the real reasons I loved this book were two features. One was that on the title page for every planet, there was a great illustration of the Roman god that the planet was named for, as well as some text explaining why the choice fits. I can still picture all of these quite clearly, although searching the internet has yielded few results.


As a kid steeped in Greek and Roman mythology, this was right up my alley. I wish I could find the Pluto and Saturn ones, both of which probably haunted my dreams well into my twenties.

But there was also something else. and that was a tiny section towards the back, where aliens were discussed, and several theoretical life forms were proposed, based on the environment of their respective planets:






This was the section, the 4-6 pages in the book that I would read over and over. I loved the idea of this, creating these aliens but with at least some basis for their appearance and behaviors. These seemed like things that could be. In retrospect, this was probably my first exposure to science fiction outside of Star Wars or The Black Hole, and it probably had a more positive impact on me than anything else at that age. Maybe it stimulated my imagination, or made me want to learn more about the other planets. Maybe it provided me with a desire to hallucinate. I don't know, and don't plan to. But it was something I lodged deep into my mind and never forgot.

   None of this is that interesting, I know. What is interesting is that I always thought I was one of few that read this book. It wasn't until much later, early into my relationship with Carrie that I made a passing mention to "stovebellies" that she bolted upright and screamed "You read that book, too?"

   It turns out she grew up with the same book. Since then, we've encountered at least a half-dozen people who also grew up with this book in their houses. and what's more, all of them thought they were the only ones that read it. Usually, with something that shared amongst a generation, there's some sort of reference made to it within popular culture or something that sort of cements it in our public identity. We realize that this is material that is sharing a collective brainspace, and from there we might discuss its impact on us.

   But I guess no Family Guy writers ever had this book as a kid. But looking aounf online, it's definitely more of a widespread phenomenon than either Carrie or I ever thought ten years ago.

   I guess what I'm wondering about is if there are still books like that in kids' hands. Or even those same books. There was no reason to have this book around (I thought it came with our subscription, but apparently not), and I was flipping through it long before I was old enough to understand most of it, but it still had that impact on me. I guess they bought it for my older siblings, but as far as I know they never picked it up. Their loss, but it was supremely fortunate for me.

   It concerns me when I see how age-specific some of the books out there are. In the library, there's pretty much an astronomy book geared for every age between 4 and 15. I understand the reasons behind it, but why not just get one that's way advanced. Hell, I probably couldn't even read when I first picked it up, but the pictures were enough to get me to want to understand it. Sometimes it can't hurt to aim impossible high.

   I still buy books like this whenever I see them. Hell, I still learn from books like this all the time (a few months ago, I bought a small set of Time-Life books about Jacques Cousteau, and I'm still loving them).  I look forward to having a little critter to show these to, and maybe I'll even know enough to help explain them to him or her by then.

So yeah, aim high. It's only going to help instill curiosity in a tiny person, and hopefully within you as well. Hell, you might even be able to use it to chat up an attractive member of the opposite sex.



*I grew up in a converted barn. Read this as "attic" and not "small apt. with high ceilings"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Departure Style


1. intro
2. "The Bridge" - Jean Grae (prod by RJD2)
3. "The Love You Left Behind" - Syl Johnson
4. "Cease and Persist" - El Ten Eleven
5. "Tuesday" - Grass Widow
6. Don't Step on a Man When he's Down" - Don Covay
7. "When I Was a Flood" - Electric Owls
8. "Just Test" - Bayard Lancaster
9. "Luck's Run Out" - Little Fish
10. "I'd Rather Be Blind, Crippled, and Crazy" - O.V. Wright
11. "Mom and Dad" - Middle Brother
12. "Walk Away" - Rachel Goodrich
13. "Nuclear Ambition, pt. 2" - Man's Gin
14. "You're Not the Only One" - Black Pistol Fire
15. "Old Beirut" - Lynn Taitt & the Jets
16. "Fredericks" - Tom & Fredericks
17. "Piranhas Club" (live at SXSW) - Man Man
18. "Just Walkin' in the Rain" - The Prisonaires
19. "Dance the Night Away" - Colleen Green
20. "Reasons to Quit" - Phosphorescent

link

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Civic Whinnying


I feel like I write this post every couple of years. The reason I feel like that is because I'm certain I do. What happens is that someone puts out an article, essentially questioning the intelligence of the average American. It will cite examples of one in 5 people can't identify Abraham Lincoln or think that Judge Joe Brown serves on the Supreme Court or something.

This time it was Newsweek. They interviewed 1000 members of the U.S. citizenry and found that:
  • 29 % couldn’t name the vice president.
  • 73 % couldn’t identify a reason why we fought the Cold War.
  • 44%were unable to define the Bill of Rights.
  • 6% Don't know the date of Independence Day.
and then it goes into some more specifics before listing how bad our country's knowledge of world (or even American) events compare to those of other nations.

and I (with I presume everyone else) then get a little depressed and blame the educational system or MTV or something.The article cites a study which found that since before World War II our civic knowledge decreases annually at an average of just under 1%, which I found pretty appalling. Not the number, really, but the overall trend.
  
I figure those numbers were never all that great to start with. I mean, by the end of the 18th century, I'm sure there was a sizable faction of the populace who couldn't be bothered to give a shit about that sort of thing. "We paid your damn taxes, now leave me alone and get off my lawn." We as a nation were hurdling ourselves into more useful pursuits. Industry. Agriculture. Wood lathing. Legislatin'. drinking.

But now is not the now of twenty years ago. We have information. VAST amounts of information constantly at our fingertips, now. I can learn more in 78 hours in front of a computer nowadays than the entirety of what I took away from college. So how could our civic knowledge not be improving? Maybe we're replacing the pursuits we turned to so long ago with celebrity news and fluff.

and don't get me wrong, because I'm as guilty as anyone of this. I know an alarming amount of information about the casts of the Twilight movies and Glee, which is insane because I haven't seen ten seconds of either.

Anyway, reading these studies always get me wondering how I would do, especially since I seem to be so upset by people not knowing them. So I went and took a few online practice tests. I scored a 92, 96, and a 94%. For some reason, I really raw a blank on Woodrow Wilson.

So then, because I'm an idiot, I decided to take the Canadian citizenship test and got something like 8 40% scores in a row. I think something might've sunk in, though because I just took one and got an 80%. Nice!

But at the end of the day, who cares? Is being able to name the Vice President going to make you a better person, or feed your kids at night? of course not. This is *luxury* knowledge that we don't need to survive or make a living, but it's damned advisable to have.

What pisses me off though is that there are so many people (on every side of the political spectrum) who are wailing that it is time to take the country "back", or claiming to be "true Americans", or so their t-shirts tell me. But when our civic knowledge is that much in the shitter, isn't it fair to assume that a lot of these people might not be able to pass a citizenship exam for the nation they claim to represent? If people have to learn this shit on top of our crazy-ass language, culture, and food serving sizes then I think it's only fair that we all do to.
Right?

   So I guess the moral of this story is don't call anyone else out on their shit if you don't know it yourself.

I'm not all that smart. I mean, I do okay, but I'm not smart smart. I live with a smart person and I know that there's stuff in her brain I won't ever comprehend. and I'm okay with that. Tom Scharpling says he isn't smart, but he's "crafty; like Bugs Bunny". I'm not even that. But I'm curious as all hell and I will look up pretty much any question that pops into my brain. I guess it's kind of fortunate that I want to do that for a living...

update: In a spur of the moment Supreme Court Justice test, I just completely blanked on Elena Kagen

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

also, I need to redesign this site if I'm gonna keep this up.


it's spring, damnit.

I'm still on this...

i am.

I sat down to write up something on the duality of good and evil last night (seriously! well, as told through the lens of a video game, but still!), but got emotionally wrapped up in the story of the Fukushima 50 and once they were withdrawn I was drowsy and a little sick from what I hope is allergies.

So my next few days are busy. We're going to be going to the Sixers/Clippers game tonight, renting a car early tomorrow morning, then driving to San Francisco to see my brother for a few days before driving back home, then going straight into LA for a James Jean art exhibit, dinner, and the Paul F. Tompkins show. Sunday I have to work all day. But Sunday night, assuming I haven't passed out from exhaustion, I'll be able to get it all down then.

right?

a guy can hope.

Also, I've just begun putting together the most ambitious mix I've made since the demise of the cassette.

And I'm in the process of hooking up this site to my RSS feed (so that I can broadcast things here from there), but it's more confusing than I thought so it'll take a bit. But yeah, get ready to be annoyed with the amount of posts here.

until then, GO SIXERS.

PS have you been reading Paul F. Tompkins' American Idol recaps or Tom Scharpling's Celebrity Apprentice recaps? If not, you should get over there and do it, they're amazing. I don't watch either show and I'm enjoying them...


Friday, March 11, 2011


   I get into the library today to discover that I'm working on the Earthquake section today, which is a little sad.

   The book on the right though is an amazing 1907 account of the recent earthquake's effect on California wilderness. This is the kind of nerd stuff that gets me super excited, these old bound manuscripts and stuff. I just wish that little barcode wasn't on the outside cover like that...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Apologies in advance for this

Yesterday morning, I began writing a post and it fell further and further by the wayside as the day went on, thanks to the deadly combination of work, exhaustion, Angry Birds, and Netflix Instant. It wasn't a particularly profound post (don't hold your breath for those), but I'm making a serious effort to keep up with this thing, and it was something. Here are some bullet points from my aborted post:

-This Charlie Sheen thing is out of control. I don't wanna talk about it, and I'm sick of reading about it. But the thing I find the most strange is that this has all happened before. We knew 15 years ago that he had drug/alcohol/hooker issues, and he was for the most part vilified. So does it just take dickish catch phrases and unfettered arrogance to make it work for the public? Or just a hit TV show? Why does Mike Huckabee attack a consistenty reasonable Natalie Portman for only being engaged when she's pregnant and not him? I don't give a shit what he does and with who, really, as long as his kids have nothing to do with it. But when someone with his proclivities is insisting on having custody of his children, then by all means we should be firing away at him.

Okay, that's it. I'm sorry to even bring that up, especially since the cycle appears to have run its course for the most part. But there's my weeks-late analysis of the whole thing. Also, for all his bluster and arrogance, I bet Rip Torn -at 78- could still mop the floor with him.

-The other overriding point is that you should be thankful I almost never forward/post/tweet the petitions and stuff I go through every day. It usually annoys me when other people do it to me, so I'm trying to keep that courtesy.

That's it!

Up next: Netflix as a political barometer?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

*******

When I was a kid, for a while I was obsessed with S.E. Hinton's books. Her books were great, and at a time when I hated most of what I read in school, something attracted me to her work, which probably felt to me as punk rock as anything I'd ever read. There was a whole continuity she'd created, filled with inequality and smartass kids and drunk adults. It felt like a world much closer to real life than the dumb Red Badge of Courage ever presented to me.
One of her books, probably one considered to be for older kids, was That Was Then, This is Now. You might remember the movie, which had Emelio Estevez and... Craig Scheffer? Something like that. Anyway, the book revolves around these teenagers growing up and falling into drugs and love and crime or something. But in it there's a kid who is obsessed with M&Ms. He holds his face up to the open bags to look at them*.
 Less surprisingly, he falls into a bad way with drugs and eventually goes missing or something. Look, it's been over 20 years since I read that book (which is not the one I mentioned at the beginning of the main post, in case you were wondering). But ever since then I think I have a buried association in my mind connecting M&Ms and drugs. Stay in school, kids.

*Not surprisingly, he is called M&M. Whether or not this had any bearing on a young Marshall Mathers III is beyond my ken**.

**Footnote within a footnote's footnote! I can't keep up with all of this.