Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stories For The New Depression, Inspired By The Last One





COAL BREAKER
From: The Devil's In The Cows



THE GREAT MAN’S house. The daughters of the men who cracked his anthracite cracked oysters for him in there. The girls would come home and say they had a place in the great man's house and would rub shoulders with quality, pa. The fathers knew him, though. A werewolf. A vampire. They would sit silent with their black faces and their watery eyes at the kitchen table and know what it meant to turn your children over to such men. They'd say nothing because there was nothing to say.

    They turned their sons over to the collieries. There was honor there -- and shame. A man hopes for better for his children than he got. Nothing ever gets better in a mine. You come out every day like the womb. Born again. Or not. The great man would read of the little men like insects that worked in his seams, dead of the gas or the great hand of gravity. It was a story from far away, as their very daughters cracked his oysters.

    The men would see their sons fight back the plain fear that showed in their eyes as the sky passed away and the rank earth swallowed them for their labors, and feel pride, too. No man is ashamed of his son at his elbow in a mine. He is ashamed of himself, maybe.

    What is a man to do? A Welshman might as well be a black ant. He's got the instinct to go down and up in that little hole and he can't help himself. He knows no other thing until he knows nothing forevermore. He does what he does. And the great man did what he did. He saw the man's weakness, and his strength, and used one to get the other.

    The great man had the other great men in his pocket. He could call out the guard on a whim. He could kill a man legal. He could kill him any which way. He could do as he pleased. He could live in the shadow of a boneyard in a palace and there were none dared to squeak. The men said we'll vote and stick together, and the great man just put one more man in charge of them, the new black prince of the county with the thing with the letters behind him. It was organized, but not like you'd think. Things would go on behind a velvet curtain. If they drew it back you'd see the smirk of the hyena in there.

    Then there was no work. The union and the boss alike said no coal. The big machines and the kept men kept even the culm from us. The great man couldn’t mine the coal by himself, so he mined the banks and the government and the union and got his gelt just the same.

    The great man thought he knew men. But he did not know your father and his father. They knew the coal like he knew his oysters. They went into the woods where the seams lay close to the sky, and they began again. The very earth gave them what they always sought. The men sent to find them and stop them joined them instead. The trucks ran at night to the great glittering city where the coins slept in great vaults.

    The housemaids knew from where it came, for they had come from there themselves. They pressed the coins into the dingy hands at the alley gate and burned it in their own great man's house. Their little hods filled with bootleg coal made a pyre for our great man.

    The great man’s house. Look on it.



Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Druids (from 2009)


He'd put his finger in the spoke of the wheel and turn it like the rude machinery it was. Drove it like a plow or a trolley or something. The rattletrap Dodge almost brushed the curb as he let the wheel spin back through his fingers. He knew where everything was.

I look down from my naugahyde aerie through the dirty glass at the spot where the granite curbstone meets the spidered pavement, filled with all the dirt and corruption an old city can offer. The winking neon reflects in the little disconnected puddles left from a rainstorm weeks ago. Tonight's mist hasn't even made it down here yet; it just drifts into the spalled bricks up on the floors where gilt letters in the windows announce last generation's professional men and merchants to no one, then trickles fitfully down to join the re-pulped flyers in the gutters. The sun never shines in the canyons of an old city. The streets are too narrow. And no rain could ever wash it clean. It will be snow soon.

The radio hisses and spits like a viper. There's towers right down the street, Father says, but the signal can't fight its way into the slit trench of the road in a little town gone big. He rolls the big chrome knob back and forth until something is intelligible. Catch-as-catch-can is life, he says. The random music and the sonorous voices in the interstices make a jolly soundtrack to the scrolling scene in the passenger-side window.

There are furtive creatures in a city, like animals at the edge of a clearing when the moonlight draws them out from the woods. God knows what makes a man hang in the doorway here. Collars up; hats down. The women totter on spikes and you can make out the fishnets on their legs from across the street. There's the blaze of a match revealing eyes like raccoons at the trash cans, then the moment passes and the little glowing orange indicator light of the smoker in the dark takes its place. The sidewalk is a galaxy of butts and you wonder if everywhere that is not here is Virginia. The neon signs in the purplish windows have some teeth knocked out, but they remind a man there's some Tennessee out there, too.

Father knows the way. That's the problem. He knows every which way. It's in his bones and marrow. The city of his birth -- and mine. Everything is familiar, and so he often wanders on his way because he can always find his way everywhere from anyplace. He points out buildings gone dark, sometimes motioning at nothing but air standing in a fetid slot in the brick rows where a building once stood. He murmurs about the where and when and who of them. The buildings no longer represent their stated purpose -- a friend lived there; some ne'er-do-well here; a man who could perform some service no one wants anymore, there. Shave your neck. Hobnail a boot. Take a bet. I realize he is not speaking to me anymore. He is chanting in a church sacked by Druids.

Or we're the Druids; I don't know.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Man Called To Say He Had A Good Day. Nothing Bad Happened


I'm forced to read the local papers now. They're uniformly dreadful. But every once in a great while, there are some bright spots. I like finding people working on the edge of the map and the sharp edge of honest commerce, too. Local papers in the middle of nowhere are like that sometimes. Local papers can't afford to have all editorials disguised as news stories, all the time, and still make a buck. People in small towns can't tell half their fellow citizens to pound sand with impunity in most any walk of life.

I've discovered the piquantly masted Fiddlehead Focus recently, which serves the far-northernmost communities in Maine, around Fort Kent. Ya gots ta get in the hammah lane fah a lawng time to get there from heah,  I'm tellin' you what, is what I mean, jeezum crow; but if you read their paper you feel like neighbors. If you read the Bangor Daily News and felt like they were your neighbors, you'd stop reading immediately and move farther away, after bathing in bleach. The Fiddlehead Focus is charming.

"Doing the needful," as the Indianism goes, gets done in the local papers. The quotidian details of life get reported accurately. But who says accurate means dull? The Fiddlehead Focus Fort Kent police blotter is a wonder.
14:20 - A caller reports that a man is walking his dogs without a leash.
14:27 - A man reports he lost his dog.
15:09 - A man found his dog.
That's three straight entries in the log. What a story! For pathos; excitement; suspense; character development -- for those of us looking for a touching denouement, with a hint of the scolding of hubris -- what story can compete with that? Hemingway couldn't touch it. It's a daisy.

There's hundreds of entries, not because Fort Kent is a hotbed of crime, but just the opposite; when nothing much happens in a Police station, you tend to write everything down. In Chicago they only report the murders if the corpses are stacked high enough to topple over and discomfit a passerby. They're missing the wonder of life:

There are unusual things on the road in Fort Kent:
16:05 - A man requests that the police escort him through town, because he is coming in with a combine machine.
17:16 - A man calls regarding an orange vehicle.
07:59 - A caller needs a permit to haul a shed.
12:47 - An officer spoke to the road crew and they put the light back on at Main and Pleasant.
There is love, and loss, and redemption:
17:35 - A woman would like to have an officer call her.
05:50 - The Quebec police are looking for a woman that stayed the weekend at the university, but she failed to return home when she should.
21:47 - A woman asks for an officer to come by a convenience store.
10:09 - A female came to the station to see the chief.
10:14 - A female left the station with the chief. 
People trust the local police, and rely on them overmuch, perhaps:
12:12 - A caller asked for the phone number to the unemployment office.
 09:30 - A man calls to ask if his dog is at the station.  It is.
20:50 - A woman wants to know when Catholic Mass begins on Sunday.
09:41 - Caller has questions about a glasses case.
10:53 - A woman reports she found her wallet.
19:23 - A man is at the station looking for saddlebags.  They are not here.
12:01 - Caller asks, "Is it raining?"  Dispatcher writes, "Drizzle."
They still farm up north in a serious way, and so there's more than just dogs in the report -- and by the by, the last two items look related to my eye, somehow:
16:49 - A woman reports that there is a loose herd of goats near Winterville.
10:39 - A man is at the station for a squirrel cage.
10:56 - A man reports there are dead mice all over his yard.
19:57 - A woman reports a stray cat is near the credit union.
The kids are alright in Fort Kent, but being human, they do get up to things:
16:25 - A caller reports that kids are fighting on the levee.
17:48 - A caller reports thee is a group of young kids smoking behind a local restaurant.
19:45 - Caller says kids are making a lot of noise behind a local convenience store, goofing off.  The caller said two of the vehicles have loud exhaust systems and are the two worst ones.
17:50 - Caller reports there is a kite in a telephone line.  They cut the string and let it fall down.
17:11 - A caller reports that dirt bikes and ATVs are doing wheelies behind a convenience store.
17:44 - 911. The caller hung up.  The dispatcher called back and spoke to a person who said a son dialed 911, and "he's in trouble."
We can't go on together, with suspicious minds:
16:36 - A man calls to report that somebody with long hair is going down the riverbank.
16:50 - A caller from the Madawaska Police Department says there is an ambulance coming in with a patient who "...may act up."
20:24 - A person reports someone is yelling or screaming in the trees near a residential street.
The grammar and orthography in the Focus isn't bad by newspaper standards, although there are about a dozen different entries that refer to a "loose dog" wandering around. I think they mean there's a dog loose, but I might be wrong. I've never been to Fort Kent, and their attitude towards the mores of stray dogs might differ from my own. The editor is a wag, though:
22:00 - Four women return a fire axe that fell off a truck that was heading to the St. John fire.  The women want this in the police blotter. (Editor's note: You got it.)
Even the crooks are honest in Fort Kent, apparently:
14:33 - A man calls to see if the police have a warrant for him.
Fort Kent is an out-of-the-way place, and apparently there are no US Senators or pop singers in town:
18:23 - A woman with the recreation department reports nothing is happening at the bathroom.
There's a lot of what would pass for low-hanging fruit, arrest-wise, elsewhere, but I have a feeling the local police must bore a lot of dry holes before they strike a gusher:
04:40 - Caller reports there is a fight in the trailer park.
05:13 - Officer reports no one is fighting.

15:47 - A caller reports that a pick-up on Caribou Road is making a bunch of noise.
16:03 - An officer reports the noisy vehicle is parked right now.
A bona fide, gold-edged, hand-tooled, leather-bound, honest-to-goodness joke appears in the listings:
02:36 - An officer, state trooper and a prisoner arrive at the station.
And the capstone of the proceedings, the single most lovely sentiment I've ever read in any police blotter:
22:20 - A man called to say he "...had a good day.  Nothing bad happened."

God bless us, every one!


And don't forget to read The Rumford Meteor, or you won't know what it says.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Because At Night The Sun In Retreat Made The Skyline Look Like Crooked Teeth



I know, it's not very good; maybe only 43 percent better than the original:



The Heir and The Spare play in a room with no heat; it doesn't even have electricity. If they play too loud, plaster falls on their heads. When they want to practice, they have to run an extension cord in there first. But somehow, they manage to play together every day -- often twice a day. The Heir has to sing through a practice bass amp, and it doesn't even have reverb. The Spare is only nine, and his legs still have trouble straddling the snare to play the high-hat and the bass drum, but he never falters, really; he's as reliable a timekeeper as most adult drummers already. These videos are just practices recorded on a Flip camera with an ambient microphone.

They've tried to play with a hearty handful of neighbor kids, but they always drift off; they can't seem to concentrate on any one thing for any length of time. Their parents and the schools have them doing forty things at the same time, as if they were polymaths on diet pills, but they end up being as reliable as electricity in India at everything.

My boys press on. They have no natural advantages, and lots of impediments. How can they fail?


Saturday, September 22, 2012

If SimCity Was Real


The Lion City from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

The tilt-shift photography gives everything the Matchbox car vibe, of course, but that's not it. Singapore is SimCity for real people.

Singapore is a country; a sort-of city state, like Venice in the Middle Ages. It was a British protectorate for a good long while, and after that it used to be part of Malaysia, but that only lasted a couple of years. By any measure of anything,  it's gone on a tear for its entire history.

My children like playing building games. They can be as ham-fisted as Minecraft, or as sophisticated as Age of Empires. They design mud huts and rollercoasters and everything in between, rendered in pixels. I liked that the programs have a heavy budgeting aspect to them. Even Doom is sort of a budgeting game. You can't run out of shotgun shells before you run out of imps.

SimCity was always the king of all the planning games. It was a pretty good representation of life, too; you couldn't force people move to the city you were laying out, you had to coax them there by setting up a situation that made the place attractive in the first place. They'd bug out without hesitation over taxes or droughts or whatever, too, just like real people. The buildings in the game had a nice visual vibe to them as well -- coherent but variegated. Real cities can only achieve that vibe by having all the buildings burn to the ground at the same time, and then being rebuilt by Victorians. And SimCity had a pleasant sense of humor about itself, which is more than one can say about Detroit.

There is an element of real life that most building and budgeting games can't, or won't simulate: people are very unpredictable. People act crazy. Sometimes people are entirely put-upon by their surroundings, and stick with it and flourish anyway; others live in a cossetted wonderland and pee in the corners. People are strange. They're sometimes strange and wonderful, it's true; but the wonderful part doesn't keep regular hours, and the strange part works overtime.

So you look at Singapore, and it certainly looks strange and wonderful. If you read about who lives there, and how they behave, and how they're housed, and how they are governed, and what they do for a living, and how they manage it with nothing but an equatorial mudhole for ground zero, you realize that every nostrum for the behavior of humans you've been told is essential for a successful civilization is contradicted there -- probably because there are competing visions of how the world works, and neither one works on its own while the other vision hangs off the back of the applecart and drags its heels. Singapore looks like you can just move the sliders back and forth and the humans and the buildings shift like numbers in a ledger. It's wonderful and a little unnerving. It doesn't seem real.

By the way, I have a nine-year-old son, and if I ever find the person that invented Minecraft, he better have major medical.

 

Friday, September 21, 2012

BBROYGBVGW


Fascinating look into a factory making motherboards.

A motherboard is the component that holds the CPU --Central Processing Unit -- in your computer. It generally holds your memory and has lots of connectors on it for your peripherals -- your disk drives and such.

This is an old-fashioned sort of factory. It mentions that Giga Byte is now the last motherboard manufacturer in Taiwan. China is Taiwan's Taiwan now.

I've worked in a clean room factory on electronic stuff before. Defense plant stuff. It's a bizarre atmosphere. No natural light all day makes you weird. It's doubly weird if you work the night shift. If you sleep all day, in the winter you never see the sun.

It was a very long time ago, but I still remember the mnemonic device for remembering what the colored stripes on the resistors we used meant: Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Gives Willingly is how it was taught to us. They've since tried to make it more politically correct, and hence, less memorable.

These motherboards are generally sold to housebound agoraphobes covered in cheeto dust who play video games and put together their own rigs. The world is getting strange. An ax is more useful than a computer now.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Want To Have The Only Blog With Two Deipnosophistae Entries


Aw yeah.

The knowledge of God is the bread of angels. So, all in all, we're better off than angels, because God won't let you put butter all over him.

Isn't it nice to see someone that loves his job? Why not be happy? He's never cold, he's never hungry, and he'll never get fat. 

Deipnosophistae

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ode To Work


Is it just me, or are there a lot of bespoke ax makers on the Intertunnel just now?

Well, never mind. We applaud people making things out in the landscape, and people buying them, and hopefully, treating them with more respect than something off the rack.

The leaves are turning color here outside my workshop just now, and it's below 60 inside as I type this. As I watched this fellow feed his forge, I realized I might have chosen the wrong profession in the wrong place for a guy that's always cold.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Working In Plein Sight


My Intertunnel friend from the wrong coast, Casey Klahn, at work at his easel. He is a very fine artist. He exhibits a kind of bravery in his work. Boldness.

It is a solitary thing to make things, and it's always piquant to get a look at people when they're working at it.

See more of his work at The Colorist.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

In Hardwood Groves



In Hardwood Groves - Robert Frost 
 
The same leaves over and over again!
They fall from giving shade above
To make one texture of faded brown
And fit the earth like a leather glove.

Before the leaves can mount again
To fill the trees with another shade,
They must go down past things coming up.
They must go down into the dark decayed.

They must be pierced by flowers and put
Beneath the feet of dancing flowers.
However it is in some other world
I know that this is way in ours.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Punk's Cole Porter Sings Steely Dan


Joe Jackson was one of those fellows like Elvis Costello, and Sting, and a couple hundred other guys from the eighties, that wore skinny ties and snarled to make a buck, but wished they were doing dinner theater the whole time.

Now, Steely Dan -- they pretended to do dinner theater right from the get-go, while the whole time they were Beelzebub's function room house band.

So now, the square is circled. Any major dude could tell you that.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Paestum? Damn Near Killed 'Em




Paestum is a ruin near Naples, Italy. It dates to the seventh century BC. It was founded as a Greek colony, originally named Poseidonia. It coasted pretty good for 1400 years or so, until it was abandoned. They started digging it up in the 1800s. It got a good going over from invaders from Hannibal to Hitler, but there are lots of stuff still standing.

The Università degli Studi di Salerno has made a neato computer reconstruction of Paestum, and joined it at the hip with a kind of perfection in music --Ancient Airs and Dances by Respighi. Of course, it only has 48 views on YouTube, because Justin Bieber isn't in it. But it's pretty good anyway.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Peel Me A Grape


Cultural literacy at our house: You have to know the difference between a picture of Blossom Dearie and Barbara Bel Geddes

Hot sensible women. Even Marilyn Monroe took a run at the look and feel of it, wearing capri pants and a turtleneck, and holding one of her umpteenth husband Arthur Miller's books upside down while lounging on a couch.

The fifties and pre-hippie sixties are always portrayed as stultifying for women in the current culture. I dunno. Blossom Dearie could really play and sing, and did, right until she died. She was plenty sophisticated. An urban fixture. Coquetteish and serious in turn. Midge was just a character in Vertigo, but movie characters reveal archetypes as well as any pop culture thing does. She was a bohemian in a garrett and had the audience murmuring to themselves that Jimmy Stewart oughta ignore the brassy broad and towers and settle down with Barbara Bel Geddes and her squirrel-hair brushes. Serious was a kind of fun then.

The lyrics of that song are wry:

Peel me a grape, crush me some ice
Skin me a peach, save the fuzz for my pillow
Talk to me nice, talk to me nice
You've got to wine and dine me

Don't try to fool me bejewel me
Either amuse me or lose me
I'm getting hungry, peel me a grape

Pop me a cork, french me a fry
Crack me a nut, bring a bowl full of bon-bons
Chill me some wine, keep standing by
Just entertain me, champagne me
Show me you love me, kid glove me
Best way to cheer me, cashmere me
I'm getting hungry, peel me grape

Here's how to be an agreeable chap
Love me and leave me in luxury's lap
Hop when I holler, skip when I snap
When I say, "do it," jump to it

Send out for scotch, boil me a crab
Cut me a rose, make my tea with the petals
Just hang around, pick up the tab
Never out think me, just mink me
Polar bear rug me, don't bug me
New Thunderbird me, you heard me
I'm getting hungry, peel me a grape
There you go, guys. That's the Cliffs Notes to forty years of subscriptions to Cosmo. Make it so, and get your own Marilyn Monroe to read your book upside-down on your couch.

Blossom Dearie on Amazon

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Shirt Them-A-Tear Up, Trousers Are Gone


The Israelites was the first reggae song I can recall hearing. It came out the same year as the Beatles' White Album. All sorts of things used to come out of the radio back then. Wonderful things. Odd things. Music got to be big business later on, so the whole process got roped and branded and leveled out quite a bit.

Desmond Dekker and Leslie Kong wrote The Israelites, and there's Desmond singing it in the video.  Desmond's clothes have obviously been placed in  his wardrobe by his enemies. Leslie Kong sounds like a pretty tough name for a guy, but he's been dead since I was in eighth grade, so I guess he wasn't built for the long haul. Anyway, it's a marvelous piece of backwards backbeat.

It was the Jamaican version of Louie Louie, in that no one could agree on what the hell the lyrics were. Here's as good a guess as any:

Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir,
so that every mouth can be fed.
Poor me, the Israelite. Aah.

Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir,
So that every mouth can be fed.
Poor me, the Israelite. Aah.

My wife and my kids, they are packed up and leave me.
Darling, she said, I was yours to be seen.
Poor me, the Israelite. Aah.

Shirt them a-tear up, trousers are gone.
I don't want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde.
Poor me, the Israelite. Aah.

After a storm there must be a calm.
They catch me in the farm. You sound the alarm.
Poor me, the Israelite. Aah.

Poor me, the Israelite.
I wonder who I'm working for.
Poor me, Israelite,
I look a-down and out, sir.

I remember how profoundly exotic that song sounded coming out of the radio the first time I heard it. It was backwards and sideways and their accents didn't register as any I'd heard. It was a message from outer space, only warmer.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Canvas Stretched Over A Wooden Frame

Dull people are more interesting than interesting people, generally.

These fellers aren't putting on a phlegmatic act, as far as I can tell. They might be mugging for the camera for all we know; catch them on a regular day and they'd be cigar store Indians.

Businesses, even businesses that are interesting to people who aren't customers like these boatbuilders, need sober and industrious people to take risks and stick to business. I grow weary of lamebrain pitchmen. Make something people want, and make money at it, and don't fold your tent in the night five minutes after your first profit. Then you're a businessman. 

Breeze buckets!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

VIOLATION


The random floes of life bumped and ground in the wake of the broken berg of everything. All was rimed with a frost. Breath revealed itself to the world, an empty bubble of words you didn't say, passing away unheard. The earth was covered with a paste of dirt and snow that couldn't decide if it was liquid or solid. 

The police were there to watch you commit your crimes, and you watched them commit theirs in their turn. A light on at night was a burglary. A letter put in a box might go anywhere or nowhere, so you tended to say nothing to nobody.

Everyone wanted to be somewhere else, but there was nowhere else. The world had stopped spinning. The shops were full of a peculiar kind of nothing that you couldn't afford and didn't want anyway. People danced in disco terrariums and bumped against the glass that fronted the street like goldfish, surprised every time to see the same life outside. They had money for drugs to make them as uneasy as a sober person.

There were bars on the windows and flames licking around the mansard while hands reached out for escape while other hands reached in for the warmth. The fire died for want of fuel and the hands were all withdrawn.

The meters stood drunkenly at attention and shouted nothing but VIOLATION at pedestrians. Yes, we know, we muttered, and trudged on into the endless dusk.


Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Impressionism


There are windows in my donjon now.  It is a strange mixture of basement and tower. The house burrows into a slope and I'm below the house but above the ground.

Not as many windows as there once were; more than when we found the place. The last people were their own jailers, and Poe to boot. They immured themselves like Pharoahs. I tore the window holes back open like a delirious person his bandages. Let in some light.

I am never in a reverie. I have a clamp on my head, and a fibrous hand over my mouth. The machines roar and moan incessantly. I think of things while I stare at the grain, over and over, the grits increasing in number and the day slowly decreasing into night. There is nothing dreamy about it, though. I think.

There was a flash of coral pink outside the window -- my wife passing by my window on her way into the garden. She didn't see me. I am lost to her all day.

The hill is steep and people go by like they're descending a stair, and they look at their feet as people like to do in such cases. She made it past the phalanxes of logs in the dooryard, brooding in the desultory sun, poised for the winter's battle. Into the garden she went.

We didn't make the garden. It's wild and unkempt and wonderful. It's the wreckage of everyone's bad idea of a garden, that somehow knitted itself into something. There's a perfect Christmas tree in the center of it, and the carpet of grass and moss pinwheels around it. The greensward wears a ruff of lupines, black-eyed susans, bleeding hearts, daylilies, daisies, roses, thistles, blackberries, and many other things we don't even know what to call. There's an abandoned greenhouse next door, and some of its prisoners have escaped and hide out in our yard, too. It's late in our season here, and the garden has gone rank and overgrown. The birds turn up their nose at it; the bees have found employment elsewhere.

There's just a plank ramp from my door to the ground. The house, neglected, shed its porches and roof on that side in a fit of indifference long before we'd even heard of the town we're in. I shuffled down and stood at the bottom and watched her for a moment.

The wind makes all  the leggy stems sway back and forth like a current in a sea. That wind will remain all winter, but the sun will flee, and it won't feel as nice as it does now. Bracing, and interesting in its effect on the landscape. She disappears and reappears in the dancing stalks. She's cutting the yellow flowers that have taken over a corner of the little world. I'll see them on the table tonight.

No maid in a field of poppies, with a Frenchman and his paint pots, could have made a scene like that for me. You cannot love just any stranger in a garden like that.

Monday, September 03, 2012

What The Boys Are Currently Playing In The Attic


Arctic Monkeys - Fluorescent Adolescent.

I wish I had a "Pally" organ, I'd play along. But I'm afraid of the clowns. 

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Mindless Self Indulgence



In one of those piquant examples of the power of computers, the lovely Ginevra Di Marco's name is translated by Google as: Mindless Self Indulgence.

I love stuff like that. My name can be translated from Latin as "one-eyed night watchman." 

I let Google take a crack at the lyrics, too:
Thanks to life which has given me so much,
I gave two stars that when I open
perfect distinguish black from white,
and its upper sky starry background,
and among the multitudes the man I love.

Thanks to life which has given me so much,
gave me the listening in all its opening
capture day and night crickets and canaries,
wind howling storms hammer
and the voice so tender who I'm loving it.

Thanks to life which has given me so much,
gave me the sound and the ABC
with him the words that I think and say,
mother, friend, brother illuminating light,
the way of the soul of who I'm loving it.

Thanks to life which has given me so much,
gave me the ride of my tired feet,
I went with them to cities and puddles,
beaches and deserts, mountains and plans
and your house, your street, the courtyard.

Thanks to life which has given me so much,
I gave my heart shaking its border
when I look at the fruit of the human brain,
when I look so good from evil,
when I look deep in your eyes clear.

Thanks to life which has given me so much,
gave me the rice and gave me crying,
so distinguish joy and pain
the two materials which form my singing
and the singing of others that it is the same song
and the hand of all that is my own song.

Thanks to life


Ginevra Di Marco at Amazon

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Do An Act Long Enough, And The Act Starts Doing You


Tom Waits and the face he keeps in a jar by the door.

I didn't know he hooked up with Duke Robillard. He's the fellow with the voluminous guitar. He's from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, near where I grew up. Used to see him here and there when I was still outside at night. He's a terrific player; he founded Roomful of Blues back in the day. 

Tom Waits? He must have put a funny hat on his head when he was young, and tried it askew once while he sang, and so began a long glide of going out there while keeping The Picture of Mixolydian Gray in his attic. At some point, smeared with cheap hairspray from his date's bouffants and soaked to his tallow with booze and caked in nicotine, he spontaneously combusted and ran at the picture, consuming all. He is the ghost of whoever he was now, and rattles his chains for us on Letterman.