Friday, December 24, 2010

I saw the po-lice arresting Santa Claus?

Nope! Don't worry-- according to The Law and the Multiverse, a blog that takes a close look at superheroes and their actions in the context of US law, they'd have a hard time making the charges stick:

At first glance it might seem that Santa Claus is liable in tort and criminal law for trespass, but the homeowner’s consent negates both charges. Sending letters to Santa, hanging stockings with care, setting out milk and cookies, and the like are all clear manifestations of consent for Santa Claus to enter one’s home and deposit presents (or coal, as the case may be). Indeed I suspect it would be quite difficult to find someone who received a present from Santa Claus yet could honestly claim that he or she did not consent to its delivery.

This is a really interesting blog that I'm sure you guys will get a kick out of. Some of the language goes over my head but the explanations are very clear and get broken down for the laymen. Found this via The New York Times. Says the article, "The site thus suggests that in the grand Venn diagram of life, there appears to be substantial overlap between lawyers and the people Mr. Daily lovingly refers to as 'comic book nerds.'" Something I definitely noticed, especially at Midtown Comics in Manhattan. If you ever went during lunchtime, there were always these youngish to middle-aged men in suits standing around reading the latest magazines. It was always a fun thing to see.

Oh yeah, and it's relevant to the real world, too. Or at least, it will be one day:

Professor Somin added that debating the legal ramifications of superpowers might bring a smile, but might also prove the foundation for something more important some day. “Over the next several decades we’re going to see technology and powers emerge that today only exist in science fiction and comic books,” he said, citing Arthur C. Clarke’s famous saying that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

[pic source]

i'd never steal from santa

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I'm sure you've seen this floating around. At first I was a little nervous because, as you know, I have a deep and abiding love for Bing Crosby, and will violently defend him, alcoholism and all (not that you have to do this in a world where top 40 hits talk about gargling with liquor, as far as I can tell.) Anyway, it turned out that Will Ferrel and John C Reilly have made what is a rather sweet homage to the original-- very wackadoo if you think about it-- video while still leading up to a pretty funny payoff. Turns out you can make a joke very funny with only a few simple elements, and not a fart in sight. Because remember, you cunts. He's Bing Fucking Crosby pal okay?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

holiday in cambodia

The more I think about this song, the more problematic I find it. Don't worry; it's not about being PC. It's just that Khmer Rouge-era Cambodia was such a shockingly weird and tragic place. The leadership operated under secrecy, they were doing things like abolishing money and clearing out the cities. The numbers from their secret prison, S-21, rare somewhere around 7 survivors for the 17,000 who went through. You had a .04% chance of getting out of there. I was assigned Voices from S-21: Terror and History in Pol Pot's Secret Prison by David Chandler to read in school and I couldn't make it all the way through. It was that disturbing.

So the song is ostensibly about rich kids in the US acting in a self-righteous manner by professing their empathy and understanding of plights less fortunate than theirs, all while driving around on the East Coast in their dad's fancy car that I couldn't even tell you the maker of.

So you been to school
For a year or two
And you know you've seen it all
In daddy's car
Thinkin' you'll go far
Back east your type don't crawl

You're right, Jello Bifra. Nobody likes those people. And you say it in such a catchy way. He next suggests that these kids should check out Cambodia in order to see how bad it can really be:

Well you'll work harder
With a gun in your back
For a bowl of rice a day
Slave for soldiers
Till you starve
Then your head is skewered on a stake.

One problem is is that that last line there is a little too Orientalist for my taste. It almost says, Oh those wacky Cambodians. They put heads on stakes just like those Polynesians do. And the Indians did. And the Vikings. It's a classic trope of barbarianism, along with, like, not wearing shoes and going months without bathing-- and barbarians, by it's etymology, is simply the group in opposition to us. That's lazy-- which is my main problem with slogans in general; it's a distillation of complex issues into a single, sensationalist soundbite that lets people be lazy about understanding those complex issues that are now lost the moment you put it on a shirt or tote bag.

In fact, the cover of the single is a picture from a 1976 student massacre in Thailand. Thailand is not the same country as Cambodia. They might all look the same, but they're not. Maybe they're the ones that put heads on stakes?

But really what it is is that the lyrics suggest that Jello Biafra's main concern is not describing the problem with the situation in Cambodia, or even exposing it to the casual listener. It's about how the existence of that situation is beneficial to him because it let's him stick it to the fat capitalist cats he has problems with. He is doing the same thing that he accuses the people in the song of doing: using the plight of others to prove a point about himself. Here he is saying that his awareness makes him superior and thus righteous. This is exactly what he says the kids in the song are doing. If we were really going to look at Cambodia under Pol Pot, you could say that that toothless bum living under the overpass has it better than the people over there. Because it's true. That shit was fucked. up. Maybe we all need to be sent back in time over there to truly realize how lucky we are-- the kids on the crew team at the Ivy Leagues, the suburban moms in their SUVs, the punk kids in their squats. But I don't think that's how people learn or solve their problems. If you spend all your time comparing your situation to the desperate conditions of others, you can't get things done.

I thought of this while reading the comments under a Youtube video of the Foo Fighters & Serj Tankian of System of a Down covering the song at the VMAs. The argument, as usual, was how nobody in the audience knew the song & they suck. First off, who cares. If you're worried about who listens to what music, and that's how you decide your tastes, you're giving them an awful lot of control-- you are giving them the power-- and not paying attention to the merits of the actual art. But it also showed me that this song hasn't sparked discussion about Cambodia, history, or even class divides. People were more interested in whether seeing this vid got people into the Dead Kennedys rather than wondering if they became interested in the Cambodia of the title-- a name perhaps only used by the song in a sensationalist, exploitative way? (Second nature to the band in light of their name.) The discussion was thus concerned with labels and constructs and superiority-- could this be the case because that's all the song is about, and the lyrics and phrases and name dropping is simply to rile people up rather than to make them think?

It's still relevant today-- some of the leaders are only just now being put on trial.

It's also too bad that kids today have taken the lyrics seriously and decided to slum it in order to gain whatever cred your scene gets you.

Play ethnicky jazz
To parade your snazz
On your five grand stereo
Braggin' that you know
How the niggers feel cold
And the slums got so much soul

That's what half the kids I knew in NYC were about-- adopting mannerisms, living habits, and addictions in order to prove that they haven't "seen it all/In daddy's car." That they've seen it at ground zero instead. You're still doing it in "daddy's car" if he's paying for your rent, coke habit, & credit card. These are all addictions they can afford, with the help of their therapists-- and I know your part-time Urban Outfitters pay can't be covering that. The style of proving one's awareness and empathy might have changed but the philosophy behind it hasn't. Nowadays, you might be living IN the slums rather than driving by them, but you're still doing it to prove that you got the "soul" that you presume these slums to have, and that they have it by virtue of deprivation. What's most reprehensible is that they are leeching off others' misfortune and it is in their interest that neighborhoods remain dangerous rather than thriving. Plus their very presence (and its purchasing power) is one of improvement through gentrification rather than community building from within.

But on the other hand, whatever. I like the song. Let's go.

Monday, December 13, 2010

5 Most Disappointing Music Videos of 2010

2010's Five Most Disappointing Videos, most of them sadly paired with really good songs.

Teenage Anarchist - Against Me! - This vid is just as bland as their sound is threatening to become. Don't get me wrong-- I like some catchy pop punk any day of the week, but I kind of want a fun video to go with it-- I need the whole package. Not the video of how the wrong stripper showed up to the lead singer's bachelor party. (Though could an argument be that this simplified view of us versus them meshes with his "teenage anarchist" ideals?)

3000 Miles Away - Star Fucking Hipsters - Same thing with this vid-- take your martyr complex out on your therapist. Not us. It presents an oversimplified vision not so much of brutality but of incarceration in general. What if the other four were, I don't know, arrested with 20 dead illegal immigrants in the back of their truck. What if they're trying to find the other 30 immigrants in their other truck? And they're orphans? In the truck? GET LENNIE BRISCOE BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE GUYS! Anyway, that's not cool. And if Ethan Suplee is in this, does that mean SFH is now part of the Scientology conspiracy web that runs media? I mean, look at the production value on this: it's spiffy! (Ok. Jedi mindtrick moment is funny.)

Infinity Guitars - Sleigh Bells - I am so over anarchy cheerleaders. I didn't like it when Nirvana did it. All that goes through my head is Be Aggressive, which isn't a bad thing I suppose. This video does support my theory that hipsters are the new douchey McJocks of the decade, though.

Born Free - MIA - I remember when I liked MIA? In high school, they were playing Fire Fire on the radio and I was digging it like one of those Egyptian guys in Raiders of the Lost Ark. (Right? They excavate the Well of Souls in like, 4 hours.) Then it kind of got annoying-- then she kind of got annoying. And now this sensationalist drivel to match her revolutionary chic, something she's not even revolutionizing herself; it's always been about the flash and bang and tanks painted pink, and not about answering questions and providing information and awareness. This video takes that to the NINE MINUTE max and instead of defying expectations only has one thing to say-- MIA has nothing to say.

Florence and the Machine - Dog Days Are Over 2010 Version - I'm all over the place with Florence & the Machine, and this is on here more on principle-- I can take or leave the video, which is a little bit of awkward America's Next Top Model photoshoot put in the easy-to-digest-avant-garde blender. But I think it's 100% nonsense that they've released another video when they had a perfectly decent one out their already. I couldn't tell you what the old vid looked like but this new move is a total George Lucas, this time with some backup dancers rejected from a Cramps video.

Bonus: I saw this on TV & it makes me uncomfortable.

did you know AFI is still around?!

What are they up to, you ask? Dressing up like Maroon 5 at a New Jersey after prom party & making unremarkable singles. Maaan, they were so hot in high school.

New Patrick Wolf track - hooray!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

" And they sort of enjoy that they are the great showdowns."

I want to show you all of them right here right now! but I can't so here are a few favorites. Go check out the rest, from 12 Angry Men to some Big Trouble in Little China at Mr. C's Great Showdowns. You can also see his other devastatingly cute & clever works at his blog.

a very cool painting of a snake by edel rodriguez

gary shteyngart on Reading

A little follow-up on the conversation we've been having on the power of reading (via The Rumpus). My employers in NYC were very cool people: they had a double subscription to the New Yorker & gave me the extra copy each week. It was great to have it to read on the subway because sometimes you want to take your mind out of gear and read a magazine, a movie review, and so forth. (Especially if it had taken you a month, ie 5 days a week, 2 subway rides a day-- to get through only the first volume of the B&N Sherlock Holmes collection. Or you're trying to read the NYRB explain the economy.) There were some great articles in those pages and short stories that ranged from horrendously smarmy and icky in a I hate this guy way (like one about a screenplay writer at a party in Hollywood. For real, like who likes to read about that stuff.) to really really good. This was around the time the controversial 20 under 40 came out (nobody likes precocious children) and Gary Shteyngart's story stood out. It was funny & touching, and turned out to be a lead-in into his book Super Sad True Love Story, which everyone and their grandma loves and I swear I will read someday.

I've noticed that the New Yorker has been cordoning off more and more of the fiction on their website, which is too bad. Anyway--
Reading requires an act of empathy, really. What you're doing when you're reading a book is saying, I'm going to turn off who I am for a little bit, and I'm going to enter the personality of another human being. Reading is a very generous act, but it's a very helpful act if you really want to understand what another person is like. [Gary Shteyngart]

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

odds n ends

Just some stuff--

1. Why is the notorious Michiko Kakutani writing Family Guy fanfic? I didn't get a goddamn thing out of this review (check out this one instead) except that it's narrated by a dog. Plus, I don't even like Family Guy. (Is this controversial?: I think American Dad is a lot better.)

2. Vulture has 7 steps on how to on hate the Beatles, who are now available on iTunes. I don't quite get the point but it is kinda amusing in that you could apply it to not liking anything that is generally popular.

5. Don’t have some big overarching narrative about baby boomers or technology or anything. The point here is that you’re amazing people by not enjoying the Beatles’ music, not Western history. Don’t start trotting out complex arguments about the cultural influence of baby boomers or the role of legendary bands in a “narrowcast” culture — you’re disliking a band, not writing a trend article for Wired [. . .]

7. Remain calm and amused. Hey, you just happen to not enjoy the Beatles — it’s everyone else who’s getting weirdly worked up about that. Maintain a sense of bafflement, as if you’ve been immersed in a glorious world of music way better than the Beatles, and are slightly confused that all this is happening[. . .]

We’d be remiss not to note, though, that any environment in which these tricks really work is probably not a fun one for you to be around in the first place.

Anyway, I have a one-point rebuttal on why you should love the Beatles: this. Oh yeah.

Friday, December 03, 2010

GAP owns Christmas

Shame on me for this in light of the rampant commercialization of Christmas. Or look at it this way: money funds the arts? I dunno. Anyway, I vaguely remember these ads on TV, but only just ran across them on Youtube. Obviously I dig the Janelle Monae cos it's Janelle Monae. I also dig "Baby It's Cold Outside" because of Selma Blair, who I'm all about simply because she's in Hellboy. I'm that easy.

no doubt vid

This No Doubt cover I can take or leave, much like No Doubt in general; it's got good energy. But I just saw the video (never knew there was one) and it's pretty silly in a good way.

sharing is caring.

So, guys-- do you agree with Wired that "The Age of Music Piracy is Officially Over"? I don't, especially because I was never downloading things because I didn't like the sound quality offered by Apple. (Actually, this whole thing is probably just an article sponsored by Apple. Cos they would do that, I tell you. My secret shame is that I have an iPod, but happily not one track on there was purchased via iTunes-- which can I say has been annoying the heck outta me? I've made the informed decision, after trying out version 9 or whatever, to go back down to 7, which I like fine. I might have mentioned this before. But all the recent updates have just been add-ons to get you to buy music-- Genius thing, or whatever. And that really annoying feature where it scrolls back to whatever song starts playing, so if you were browsing around in the Rs but listening to, say, your Justin Bieber music, it scrolls back up to that part of the alphabet when the next song plays? That drives me batshit. for real.)

I do find that it's harder to find new releases to nab, but what the hell. This is actually relevant because I think someone requested on a dusty old post for a file reupload-- I just can't track down what it was. I'm very sorry to say that, as you guys recall, I've had to change my policy to no more full album uploads. Keep in mind, though, it's pretty easy to do a Google search or to convert, say, Youtube audios into mp3s, so best of luck to you, sir or madam!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Jeeves contd

My Best of Wodehouse is one of my proudest acquisitions. It's fancy & hard-covered and a seriously for real classy Everyman's edition.

The above is cool, too. It's from the blog Inside a Black Apple. The artist, Emily, also has an Etsy store with some sweet stuff.

Hugh Laurie on Wodehouse

I was, in truth, a horrible child. Not much given to things of a bookey nature, I spent a large part of my youth smoking Number Six and cheating in French vocabulary tests. I wore platform boots with a brass skull and crossbones over the ankle, my hair was disgraceful, and I somehow contrived to pull off the gruesome trick of being both fat and thin at the same time[. . .]

But this, you will be nauseated to learn, is a tale of redemption. In about my 13th year, it so happened that a copy of Galahad at Blandings by PG Wodehouse entered my squalid universe, and things quickly began to change. From the very first sentence of my very first Wodehouse story, life appeared to grow somehow larger. There had always been height, depth, width and time, and in these prosaic dimensions I had hitherto snarled, cursed, and not washed my hair. But now, suddenly, there was Wodehouse, and the discovery seemed to make me gentler every day. By the middle of the fifth chapter I was able to use a knife and fork, and I like to think that I have made reasonable strides since.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Typographical map of NYC by Ursula Hutz [detail above of places I lived-- we lived on 31st St for awhile though I'm not sure it's really Chelsea or the Garment District. . . call in Penn Station adjacent?] I've linked to her blog, seagull's eye, which features other cool pieces by her, including similar maps for Paris and parts of London.

um i think this is funny because i am a 14 year old boy. i also love fart jokes.

Actually, I don't-- I can't stand fart jokes. Or rather, I don't find them funny in the slightest. Which I believe was the subject of a South Park episode? If you believe them, it's men who like fart jokes. Now I'm sure there's some ladies out there who find them hilarious, too, so whatever, but let me tell you-- fart jokes have been around forever and they cross international borders faster than cocaine and immigrants seeking a better life. We read in my Asian texts class (I mention this because I honestly couldn't tell you what the text was) some, like, 6th century Japanese text that was a three page fart joke. Nothing was lost in translation. And I'm pretty sure the Decameron or Canterbury Tales is full of them. Those funny little history people: according to Wikipedia, the "word fart is one of the oldest words in the English vocabulary."

SO-- I'm not sure what I signed up for that won me all this free spam (I am convinced it was Skype). Usually these things use a slower approach. They mention the low price, the effectiveness, ]how it will improve your life & relationships. But this one I got is almost revolutionary in its refusal to mince words. Even the name doesn't fuck around. I mean, I could write a postmodernist underground hit right now: "Make your dick good." Art fucking sucks. Spam does too. As a bonus: "Creamy Spam Broccoli Casserole." Ick.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

han solo seriously had too much of that blue milk, which looks totally harmless but apparently is not.

I kept hearing about this interview but never watched the video mostly because I figured it couldn't be that bad. Harrison Ford couldn't be so high that you could tell! Who does that on TV! He's like 80, 80 year olds don't do that! People are just being mean! And so forth!

Okay, well guess what, he is-- you just have to see him walk onstage & sit down and you can figure it out-- & the big scoop: he dishes on exactly why he is going to make another gawdawful Indiana Jones movie. And it's exactly the reason you'd guess.

rancid wants to help you get your weekly rancid fix

Looks like Rancid is starting up a weekly feature called "Live in the Living Room," a video series of stripped-down versions of their songs, as well as some promised covers, which is what I'm especially looking forward to.

Sez them: Rancid has started doing weekly sessions we're calling "Rancid Live In The Living Room". Every Monday a new song drops. These songs are recorded live and filmed to share with you. We are keeping it raw, no overdubs, no studio tricks. Acoustic, and electric renditions of Rancid songs varying from our entire catalog, as well as an occasional cover song.

Neato freakin mosquito. Thus far we've got "Wrongful Suspicion" and "Tenderloin," (embedded above) a swingin' version that's pretty cool. It gets my thumbs-up for being a cover that brings something new to the original; "Wrongful Suspicion" does, also, but not in the same exotic way a rockabilly "Tenderloin" does.

A long time ago I left a vague comment on one of Tim Armstrong's videos on YouTube about how he's like omg waaay into b&w high-contrast-- as in so into it every single video from his album got that visual treatment-- and people got mad at me and I never commented on YouTube again because I'm sensitive. So I was worried I was the only one who is still sick of seeing all these vids in b&w high contrast. I dig the look on stationary, unmoving images: posters, art, whatever. T-shirts. I have a Rancid t-shirt that is exactly that; it's an integral part of the punk rock aesthetic. But I find it totally uninteresting to watch as a video; the movement makes the shadows move around too much & becomes hard to follow. It's also boring. Luckily, turns out other people don't like it, as I found out from Punknews, where I first heard about the Living Room series. I take comfort in being part of the majority, I really do.

So this is totally mean but we have this running joke at home about how Matt Freeman, who is always getting cut out of videos-- FOR REAL, they cut his freakin head out of one vid (I can't remember which one, the one where Tim has the Buddy Holly glasses) so they could film tim singing, or something--sounds like a muppet. But then again, so does Joe Escalante (Exhibit A) as well as crust, in general.

(See how I sneaked in a Christmas song on Thanksgiving? Which is to say, Happy Thanksgiving everyone xoxo)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

i'm back! [kinda]

and I have a pretty good reason for dropping off the radar:

I had a kid.

Yeah, what the fuck, right? Errol was born two Mondays ago, and he's doing well. If you'll look at the post 2 prior to this one, I mention that I was sick-- turned out it was morning sickness. Haha very funny, life! (And when Jim asked if I was trapped under something heavy, pretty much, yeah :p

And then my computer broke, and I didn't have a computer all summer while I was living in the Middle of Nowhere, PA, and everything was hectic, what with 3 separate moves and the whole life milestone changey changes thing, and it kind of all came down to a sort of pre-maternity leave.

So where am I now? I am living with my husband (he had to make an honest woman out of me) in Atwater Village, CA. We left New York (for reasons this guy will explain and the bedbug epidemic & because J. is getting his PhD at USC) and are settled in here. I have never been so tired in all my life. Like this: once in college I pulled an all-nighter cramming for a final, then did not sleep the next day and then the next night took a wacky substance that then kept me up all night the next night into the afternoon-- so that's, what, 48 hours with no sleep? I've been more tired than that and then some everyday for the past 2 weeks (and I'm sure anyone who has a kid is going DUH, b). I've also discovered that it's hard to type one-handed while holding a kid in the other, or rather, discovered that I've been trying to do it more often than I expected, so posting is probably going to be short & sweet. But I realized how much I missed this place and all of you, because let's face it, I've been doing this for too long & have met too many awesome people, so I'm going to do my best to keep it consistent. I've been reading a lot and watching a lot of things and just want to get back to sharing my thoughts with you guys.

I'm also having my first Guinness in 9 months. So right now, life is pretty fucking good.

I hope the summer treated you all well, and I'll be seeing you around!

xoxo b

Monday, March 01, 2010

lee marvin is clearly the man charles bukowski wanted to be.

Another record dropped on the stereo. "When it comes to 'Clair de Lune,'" he said, "I have to go pass water. Tinkle, is the expression. Oh, sweetheart, do you think this day will soon be o'er? I have a hangover. We had fun last night. Went up to the corner, had a few drinks, told a few lies."

From Roger Ebert's Esquire interview. Speaking of which, I finally read the Esquire Chris Jones Ebert profile-- definitely worth a look, as is Ebert's response to it.

i like a prizefight

That ain't no fix.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Everyone knows Eartha Kitt, but usually for different reasons. Most know her for "Santa Baby" and/or as Catwoman. I know her as the batshit lady in the Emperor's New Groove. Whatever it is, she's awesome.

The animators, by the way, got her to a freakin' T.

tender egos. or, gee, here's a lazy news story/music vid pairing or THE CLASH IS ALWAYS APPROPRIATE K.

HTMLGiant asks how effective is this form of dissent. Berkeley students rioted/set a Dumpster on fire/threw things at cops the other day.

It's effective in terms of what they were doing: trying to make themselves feel better. People protest as a way of assuaging their own ego or conscience, whether it's so they can tell themselves that they have done something (and hopefully are sincerely convinced they did, regardless of the reality of the situation) or so they can tell other people they were in a demonstration or a riot. If they get arrested, even better. Maybe they can write a book about it someday. They can say they went to jail omg. It's their version of owning a brand name purse.

There were hunger strikers on my campus a few years ago. They couldn't come up with anything real to be upset about so they made up a bunch of shit that didn't actually have to do with them (the community board who lived in the threatened community publicly disavowed the strikers; most students, myself included, who would have been effected by the strikers' proposed initiatives disavowed them.) They they hunger striked anyway so they can one day speak with pride about sacrifices they've made and action they've taken in the name of their ideals. How they were always authentic and passionate and authentically passionate and passionately authentic. Louis Vuitton. Coach. Prada. Rodarte. Conspicuous. (Forget people actually die while hunger striking.)

I suppose political change and action is always necessarily selfish. If it doesn't affect you directly, you are still made uncomfortable by the fact that something disagreeable to your ideas is going on somewhere.

It becomes clear--through protesters' actions--when said protesters are in denial of this; when they go for flash and bang over buck because they are more interested in the exposure and personal gain--fame or notoriety, for example-- than for effectiveness and real hard progress. Also, ""There were windows broken, there was spray painting and graffiti on the interior, there was construction equipment that was tossed around," she said." Who do they think has to clean that shit up? Not the fat cats like your mom and dad you think you're sticking it to. Oh, and this? "Officers physically pushed the crowd back so that Berkeley fire personnel could extinguish the flames." Yeah. Ok. You made it so the cops were doing something good.

Also, the Berkeley "riot" started as a dance party.

You need to be pretty smart or sliver-tongued to convince me you were actually protesting something at any point that night, besides your white or PC-liberal or middle-class or capitalist guilt, which you should go work out yourself, quietly.

You also need to explain to me why you waited to protest the UC system's carrying out the budget cuts instead of protesting back when the state government made those cuts.

Get off my lawn.

your new favorite website.

oh yes. [image of Martine Carol via starlet showcase cos ps HOW SAUCY is she?]

a bunch of your favorite singers yowling for haiti.

& it's good.

There's a lovely piece about bookshelves and book collections at The Millions by Kevin Hartnett. I want to quote the last three paragraphs (down there) because I think he hits it on the head and because I found it quite touching. I'm sure most people have had similar experiences. It also states the case for books and bookshelves as displays and catalogues of people's tastes and personalities much better than this snobby bitch does, boo snobby bitches:
if you don’t read, I don’t want to be your friend…I don’t even want you to serve me a drink at a bar. If a stranger came over to our apartment, and there weren’t books, or–oh no!–not enough books, what would that say about me and Patrick? If my copy of Handmaid’s Tale or his copy of The Power Broker weren’t on display, how would anyone understand us? Some people have a cross in their home, or a mezuzah on their doorjamb. I’ve got nine books by Vladimir Nabokov.

I got THIRTY books by Valerie Tripp, bitch. Suck it. I'm kidding. But anyway, ew, not cool. People like this make me want to put all my, like, Dragonlance books in the foyer and make 'em stand next to them at a cocktail party while I talk about how I would never be friends with someone who doesn't read, like all those kids our school system is churning out, those people with empty, empty lives. Minorities, too, mostly the brown ones, though. African orphans. Blind people. "They're not really reading, you know? They're turning a purely intellectually pursuit into a physical activity. Another PBR, you down to earth American original, you?"

I'm also quoting a big chunk of it because I'm becoming an old lady who views all this new technology with deep suspicion and says things like "the rise of the machines" and "corporate creation of instant gratification addiction, just like they gave crack to the ghetto" and "kids on my lawn." Okay, here's the quote. Emph mine.

Of the bookshelves I’ve inspected in my life, two stand out as particularly consequential. The first was my mother’s, which was built into the wall of the bedroom where she grew up. When I would visit my grandparents in the summer I would spend hours inspecting that bookshelf. The books were yellowed and jammed tightly together, as though my mother had known it was time to leave home once she no longer had any room left on her shelves. In the 1960s novels, the Victorian classics, and the freshman year sociology textbooks fossilized on the bookshelf, I got the clearest glimpse I ever had of my mother as a person who existed before me and apart from me, and whose inner life was as bottomless as I knew my own to be.

And then there was my wife, whose bookshelves I first inspected in a humid DC summer, while her parents were away at work. The shelves were stuffed full of novels—Little House on the Prairie, The Andromeda Strain, One Hundred Years of Solitude—that described an arc of discovery I had followed too. At the time we met, her books still quivered from recent use and still radiated traces of the adolescent wonder they’d prompted. In the years since, on visits home for the holidays and to celebrate engagements and births, I’ve watched her bookshelves dim and settle. Lately they’ve begun to resemble a type of monument I recognize from my mother’s room. They sit there waiting for the day when our son will be old enough to spend his own afternoons puzzling out a picture of his mother in the books she left behind.

It remains to be seen how many more generations will have the adventure of getting to know their parents in just this way. One for sure, and maybe two, but not much beyond that I wouldn’t think. To the extent that bookshelves persist, it will be in self-conscious form, as display cases filled with only the books we valued enough to acquire and preserve in hard copy. The more interesting story, however, the open-ended, undirected progression of a life defined by books will surely be lost to a digital world in which there is no such thing as time at all.

This also might explain it. We have 3 more similar shelves in a very small apartment. I like touching books. My parents' house has about a bazillion more. I used to find books that I later had to read at school, the same school by father went to. It was cool.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

i can't imagine that tom waits hasn't read gwendolyn brooks.


We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

Read more of Gwendolyn Brooks' poems here. I also really like "A Penitent Considers Another Coming of Mary." Hear her read it at, via. She explains how the poem had been banned because it contained the word "Jazz." hahaha, those old timey people.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

young indiana jones was awesome ok?

lazy history sunday!

Before World War II, the war was also known as The Great War, The World War, The War to End All Wars, The Kaiser's War, The War of the Nations and The War in Europe. In France and Belgium it was sometimes referred to as La Guerre du Droit (the War for Justice) or La Guerre Pour la Civilisation / de Oorlog tot de Beschaving (the War to Preserve Civilisation), especially on medals and commemorative monuments [. . .]

The earliest known use of the term First World War appeared during the war. German biologist and philosopher Ernst Haeckel wrote shortly after the start of the war:
There is no doubt that the course and character of the feared 'European War' ... will become the first world war in the full sense of the word.[214]
—Indianapolis Star, 20 September 1914
The term was used again near the end of the war. English journalist Charles A. Repington wrote:
I saw Major Johnstone, the Harvard Professor who is here to lay the bases of an American History. We discussed the right name of the war. I said that we called it now The War, but that this could not last. The Napoleonic War was The Great War. To call it The German War was too much flattery for the Boche. I suggested The World War as a shade better title, and finally we mutually agreed to call it The First World War in order to prevent the millennium folk from forgetting that the history of the world was the history of war.[215]
—The First World War, 1914-1918 (1920), Volume I, Page 391.

The above was directly excerpted from the wikipedia page "World War I," where you can see links to the citations. It's always interesting to see where history sees itself with that kind of awareness before it's actually history.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

oh honey you better cut that out

thursday afternoon hijinkery.

I love Jules Verne. So these? There are awesome. Possibly the most awesome senior thesis ever. If you browse his blog you can see the lead-ups to the final product and also some other sweet stuff. This guy has a fantastic eye for design and is worth checking out. [via the millions]

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

this is awesome and i want it. [ via. ]
"I expect you'll find the cash tied up in a big bag in the middle of your bed," said Herbert, as he bade them goodnight, " and something horrible squatting on top of your wardrobe watching you as you pocket your ill-gotten gains." -- Read the full text of classic horror short story The Monkey's Paw by WW Jacobs, because never forget. . . monkeys (and wishes and mysterious arcane objects) are evil.

i mighta had to watch "are we done yet?" on a bus to maine but i will still always like this song

Saturday, February 13, 2010

187 on the--

It's funny Northern Jon brought this vid up, actually, cos I'm pretty much convinced we ran into an undercover cop at Manitoba's the other day. He never introduced himself to me & roommie when we walked in to meet drunkpants boy, cut his can of beer with 4 cups of water, and when our drunkypants boy turned down his offer to "ride over to the West Village to check out this hookup" he disappeared just like that. "Take a ride." Cop. Or guy with a van. Sketch either way.

"Revolutionaries" by Tony Judt

Was worried I wasn't going to be able to find this online (and I can't find my hard copy right now-- where could it be?) But luckily this Tony Judt piece, 'Revolutionaries." is available on the NYRblog. Huzzah! The following is the last paragraph-- so it might (kinda sorta?) be giving something away and so you might wanna check out the whole piece instead.
No one should feel guilty for being born in the right place at the right time. We in the West were a lucky generation. We did not change the world; rather, the world changed obligingly for us. Everything seemed possible: unlike young people today we never doubted that there would be an interesting job for us, and thus felt no need to fritter away our time on anything as degrading as “business school.” Most of us went on to useful employment in education or public service. We devoted energy to discussing what was wrong with the world and how to change it. We protested the things we didn’t like, and we were right to do so. In our own eyes at least, we were a revolutionary generation. Pity we missed the revolution.

And in other news, some people suck.

wow these would make great gifts for valentine's day

this & this. if you're a dork. (you are.)

au revoir, ma vie en rose, au revoir.

It appears I have been living in a fairytale world where I thought "Wig Wam Bam" was written Gavin Friday for the film Breakfast on Pluto, which features the song on its soundtrack, as well as part of its plot, sorta. So I could say stuff like, See how good this film is, it even has good original songs, go see it! etc. Liam Neeson wheee gays. Though in my defense nobody ever corrected me, so I feel a bit better. Though then comes the argument that I "should have" known-- but no, I shouldn't have. I found out when the time came to find out zen blah blah bullshit.

So yeah, it's a Sweet song. Which brings my knowledge of Sweet songs up to four-- don't get me wrong, I have always loved "Blockbuster" and "Ballroom Blitz" and that "Fox on the Run" song like everyone in the world, but I had never really bothered to look further into them, which I am rectifying now. Okay, now J. just said, "Yeah, I knew. I didn't think you cared." yesicare.

Anyway, I still like the Gavin Friday's version more-- it's more. . . better. Anyway, you can listen to the film version after the jump. And while Cillian Murphy is rather good looking, this kid's video makes me feel a creepy stalker if I keep it up on my screen, so there's your warning because it's the only copy I can find. (At least it's not anime characters.) Continue reading!

ugh whatever.

Okay, so the story about the AUTHENTIC little girl has been circulating around more than I realized and some people are pointing out its relation to the loosening of intellectual property laws and theories.

I disagree. I think credit is highly important, and maybe this is a result of studying history (or any academic subject rather than aaahhhrt), where it is essential to trace sources and ideas in order to form a coherent and valid argument. I don't have a problem with copy & paste if it is done in a manner that recalls citation. Properly sourced, properly credited. I'm not talking about payment and royalties. I'm talking about the necessity of acknowledging your place in an intellectual or artistic tradition. To eschew this is arrogant. You are not special. You are not unique. You are doing what you did when you were five an didn't realize it-- gathering up things, ideas, phrases, shapes verbatim is what children do as they begin to form their own modes of storytelling and ideas.

If you're gonna do it and be dumb enough to get caught, that's your own fault, and a different issue altogether. If you are not willing to admit up front that you brought together a bunch of others' works, you have no firm ground to stand on when you try to argue that you were doing something purposeful and for the sake of art-- all you did was half of the legwork, and then you hid behind the assumption that others wouldn't inquire further and will think you are magical and original-- it's not about the work, it's about you. Also, if you truly respected those ideas and words you stole, wouldn't you want to share this admiration by naming the sources and individuals? Wouldn't you want to bring your use up for comparison, so that each piece might illuminate something about the other that is only revealed through side-by-side observation?

One comment at The Nervous Breakdown points out the cento-- a form of poetry that is based around taking lines from other works. I'm glad I know about this now, because I think it helps indicate what the girl claims she was doing. The cento is different because by adhering to the form, you immediately disclose to your audience that there are lines borrowed-- borrowed, not stolen, because you have via the cento form the implicit permission. Same with collages-- the moment you see a collage you know that it uses objects culled from other sources. The collage artist is not trying to pretend otherwise. Nor the mashup artist, the MC, the DJ. The originality of the work is half based on the ability to bring disparate parts together. It is nothing if you do not recognize what those parts are, if not necessarily where they come from.

Friday, February 12, 2010

ugh can someone tell this guy that the broad in the video

does not have "progressive post-Tegan & Sara" bangs? Hipsters-- keep your hands off yet another subculture-- those are skinhead/chelsea bangs-- you're already selling Fred Perrys at Urban Outfitters, you couldn't stop there? Yeah- I hate you guys enough to defend a scene I don't really like even though I have the world's shaggiest chelsea because our conniving old roommate made off with the hair clippers. I just found out about this website and I hate it already. Never going there again. You shouldn't either-- they have posts about things like worrying about if Pitchfork is selling out.

this song is full of gems. gems i say.

I can't decide which is my favorite:
  • Just keep my name outta yo' mouth and we can keep it the same/Nigga, it ain't that I'm too big to listen to the rumors/It's just that I'm too damn big to pay attention to 'em/That's the difference (life advice? he is a doctor. . .)
  • I be catchin bitches while bitches be catchin feelings (this cracks me up every time)
  • What's the difference between me and you? (What?)/About five bank accounts, three ounces and two vehicles (aw yeah i wish)

For the vid (live!) . . . Continue reading!

i hate the day after

it snows in NYC. the snow/slush gets gross & dirty. shit, it gets as dirty as this song is.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

that's what i'd be doing

via Bleeding Cool.

Warren Ellis: just shot six pages of FELL 10 over to you

Ben Templesmith: Oh you tease me sir.

Warren Ellis: rub it on your fucking nipples son

Ben Templesmith: My gods, he actually did. Warren Ellis sent me some FELL pages. Printing out & rubbing them on my nipples right away.

please be real. i think it is!

these hip kids.

open letter to parent of preschooler ("pre-kindergartener") at elite nondenominational prep school:

dear parent. why are you dressing your child in a RUN DMC shirt and green black & yellow Adidas? are you making a statement? a joke? a clever pop culture reference? perhaps you should explain and describe it to your child before you send him & his nanny off in the morning. yours, b.


also, i had entertained the notion of going to see the "who shot rock n roll" exhibit but after flipping through the accompanying coffee table book at the above mentioned family's apartment and coming across a picture of kurt cobain paired with a description that ran something to the effect of "the tears on kurt's face that night are now the tears of his fans who miss him," i think i will pass. anyway, it's probably ended already.

book porn in 4 parts.

"Although Ms. Hegemann has apologized for not being more open about her sources, she has also defended herself as the representative of a different generation, one that freely mixes and matches from the whirring flood of information across new and old media, to create something new. “There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity,” said Ms. Hegemann in a statement released by her publisher after the scandal broke" [from "Not Plagiarism but Mixing and Matching, says best-selling German Author, 17"]

I have two immediate responses: "What?" and "You're a dumb bitch." Name dropping "authenticity" makes you look pretty foolish, I think-- frantic and juvenile and uncertain-- and proves that you have a prefabricated path towards what is necessarily then a prefabricated authenticity-- an impossibility.
like you need another reason to love Plan59. or be reminded of a time when men were men-- cos this is the least subtle thing I've ever seen. I love it.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I read this over at Annalemma, which has a very good selection of short stories available online, and this one actually made me smile at the end. It's like a country song gone right. Check it out--"Hot" by ZZ Boone

"And if you get hooked, baby, it's nobody else's fault, so don't do it!"

So every so often I am reminded that I don't really like hanging out with blowtarded people. They talk too much, and I am one of those people who are too mortified to either gracefully or awkwardly disentangle myself from bad conversation. So I have to stand there and agree with the points they have been making over and over again for the last ten minutes. About, like, colors, and like, their place in life. Also, people with collapsed noses are scary, and one took my pen at the food stamp office. (Okay, she offered a dollar. I should have taken it. But it's hard to do that when all you can do is stare at her face. And it's not like you ever really take the dollar that guy is offering for that cigarette. Though in NYC that's how much each cigarette comes out to.) I guess I feel about it the way I feel about certain types of, say, clothing-- it's a bit of conspicuous consumption that I find disagreeable, but it's not like I won't let you in my house if you're wearing it. And last, I've been listening to the first song a lot on my commute-- oh wait, I was until my fuckyouPod decided to start fuckyouFREEZING. Eh, it's like 4 years old. What can you expect, except that it was supposed to wait to die when I had gobs of cash in the bank for a new one.

Cocaine-related songs after the jump. Have fun, and don't miss the Johnny Cash tune-- love it.

Continue reading!

Monday, February 08, 2010

fuck you bob marley.

It's been awhile since I last mentioned Bob Marley. I stated that I was moderate on him. I mean we all liked him in high school, right? And then we discovered real reggae, right? And then we realized that not everybody had and that people keep listening to him all throughout college, really loudly, and after college, really loudly, like the fucking Dominican woman on the 1st floor who listens to Bob Marley (and U2) so loud I can hear it all the way on the fifth floor.

So I now hate Bob Marley. And to make matters worse-- notice how in the last few years, bookstores have started playing pop music over the speakers? And how it's irritating and prevents any actual reading (which might be the whole plan) while listening to, say, Motown hits (I love them, but hey, time & place, right?) or gee, I dunno, Bob Marley's greatest hits? Like you can't escape him? Like he's everywhere, forever?

My motherfucking way? Or- I'm scared of Filipinos.

So we already talked about this madness, so that's good-- but what is this?
The authorities do not know exactly how many people have been killed warbling “My Way” in karaoke bars over the years in the Philippines, or how many fatal fights it has fueled. But the news media have recorded at least half a dozen victims in the past decade and includes them in a subcategory of crime dubbed the “My Way Killings.”

The killings have produced urban legends about the song and left Filipinos groping for answers. Are the killings the natural byproduct of the country’s culture of violence, drinking and machismo? Or is there something inherently sinister in the song?

Whatever the reason, many karaoke bars have removed the song from their playbooks. And the country’s many Sinatra lovers, like Mr. Gregorio here in this city in the southernmost Philippines, are practicing self-censorship out of perceived self-preservation [. . .]

A subset of karaoke bars with G.R.O.’s — short for guest relations officers, a euphemism for female prostitutes — often employ gay men, who are seen as neutral, to defuse the undercurrent of tension among the male patrons. Since the gay men are not considered rivals for the women’s attention — or rivals in singing, which karaoke machines score and rank — they can use humor to forestall macho face-offs among the patrons.

From the NYTimes "Sinatra Song Often Strikes Deadly Chord." Related: Letters of Note has Frank Sinatra's belligerent response to a news reporter's allegations: "I will allow you to pull my "hairpiece"; if it moves, I will give you another $100,000; if it does not, I punch you in the mouth. How about it?"

Saturday, February 06, 2010

you know those friends on facebook that you awkwardly fell out of touch with & how they have an "unemployment" FB photo album?

and how all the photos are of them at shows and going out to eat?

and how come my unemployment album would have just been the below picture over and over again?

because life is not fair. and now you know why you fell out of touch. BUT besides that-- Jim posted about German band the Jeans Team and I love this song now.

Friday, February 05, 2010

my name is b and i don't like hardcore.

We had our place sprayed for bedbugs (that we don't have this time) yesterday so everything is in bags. . . debating whether to take shit out or not, since roomie claims they will come back in 2 weeks and do it again (I hope not.)

So that means my HD is somewhere in the plastic-wrapped bookshelves (that was fun) that are making this place look like the set of the shoot out Children of Men-- I would take a picture but the camera is somewhere behind the plastic, too.

So Youtubing stuff to listen to as I get all our clothes out of their bags-- they had to go through the dryer. I have already unsuccessfully tried to get myself to like hardcore. It won't work, I think. Couldn't go in the apartment all day yesterday and so was drinking at the bar while waiting to go to work with (in proximity, listening to) a guy from Agnostic Front, which inspired this effort. I dunno. I can't do it. "Anthem" is about as far as I'll get.

Clicked on a live Rancid vid-- Lars gives an incomprehensible motivating speech to kick it off that makes me feel better for not liking hardcore- got bored of watching Tim not play his instrument & went over to the album cut-- saw this comment "Rancid is duh best punk band 4ucking ever!!!!! Punkrock ftw!!!! XD" What does "4ucking" mean? Is it "fucking"? Is it a clever portmanteau: "for fucking"-- like they are the best bad for-fucking-ever? Does this kid feel bad about using the f-word on the internet? Am I just too old?

why is the radiator not on?

You know what it means when it says on your MySpace page that your band sounds like "girls reading Beckett" or "cats & girls in the fog" or "machines in the distance" and "your mother's favorite loud noise" or "bleeding girls reading Beckett" or a picture of pop rocks and coke?

It means your band sucks.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

so here's (one of) my problem with your elite PC school.

The wee kiddies told me yesterday that they are learning about "the New Year" this week and celebrating it to boot. Oh, you mean Chinese (Oriental Lunar) New Year? There are. . . there are no Asian kids in your class. I mean, I love Chinese New Year-- food, money, new clothing, family. Blar blah blar. I also love Mulan. Yeah!

Continue reading!

(See, I do.)

So this school, supposedly secular but stuffed so full of hysterically sensitive people that the kids aren't allowed to wear a Middle Eastern-type hipster scarf to school (a legit & quite beautiful one the father brought back from a business trip in Dubai or somewhere) because it's anti-Semitic, is using "ethnic" holidays to replace things like Christmas, Easter, etc as excuses to have parties in class or whatever. Which is fine, whatever, do what you want-- but don't ignore that these "ethnic" holidays have roots in religion and philosophy. It's not something quaint that slopey-eyed people do because they aren't white. On the other hand if exoticism is your goal than that's fucking weird. SO then how you gonna explain ancestor worship to these kids, hmm?

I remember in 1st grade we learned about Columbus. This was a public school in SoCal in the early 90s. When my father asked me what I had learned, I said something about how Columbus had kidnapped Indians. Because that was the only thing they had stressed. He was pissed, and I understand now what his point was. And I agree. Just telling that one side is as obscuring and damaging no matter what side. Columbus discovered America yay. Ok. Not enough. But it's the same as Columbus came to America and kidnapped Indians boo. Ok. So what. Still not enough. Tell kids why things are important. They're not stupid. And don't tell them the fucking world was flat then. It wasn't.

Or, how about-- a few weeks ago, teaching my nanny-kids gospel songs in an ostensibly secular school because black people sang it during the Civil Rights movement & Martin Luther King Jr is (was) next week. Doing so devalues the lyrics and their power and makes it seem, again, like something those wacky brown people just, you know, do, because it was "then" and they were "them." Taking things out of context is a dangerous thing to do. It is a form of censorship and infantilization. Not what I'd want to get out of 24K/kid/year. Religious, or in general, holidays-- including Christmas, Hanukkah, jeeze, even Kawanza-- are really interesting to learn about. Shying away from dicussing the background is cheating kids out of a real chance to learn about something they would otherwise not have the opportunity of exposure.


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