Thursday, October 27, 2005

goats at peace

"There is this strange sense of peace that comes over you when you give up that last shred of dignity. It's nice."

That's what the goats in the tree think.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Electoral Futility

I see that the Times has attempted to spice up an overwhelmingly dull election cycle with some speculative reporting about Fernando Ferrer's missing middle name. Give a shit. Can't we just hand Bloomberg his re-election, thus sparing Ferrer the embarrasment?

Which is not to say that I particularly care for Bloomberg, though I do give him credit for not pussyfooting around for the last year in anticipation of the campaign. Even if his flagship policy, the West Side Stadium, was complete bollocks. And it could have something to do with his essentially unassailable position in the polls, held since forever. Still, I can't imagine voting for someone other than him, certainly not Ferrer, that swine. I dunno, is Lyndon LaRouche running?

Of more interest is the Transportation Bond Act, the only real reason to even vote at all on November 8th, though once again more a case of "damned if you do damned if you don't" than participatory democracy. Wouldn't it be just swell to assume that the MTA would deal wisely and scrupulously with any carte blanche handed to it? Part of me wants a "No" vote simply for a fuck you to everyone's favorite unaccountable transportation authority, but the subways can always use work and then fares might go up.

Then again, fares are certain to go up anyway, so maybe I'll just close my eyes in the ballot booth and let chance decide, trying my best not to laugh at the idea that any of the major decisions weren't already made before I'd even closed the curtain.

Friday, October 21, 2005


-Philip Truong [Barcelona] We arrived in the city at rush hour. Friday was bustling the same as any major city in America. Trendy kids were pulling open the steel shutters on their trendy shops, business men were pumping soberly through the streets and old men paced in the Plazas of the Old City. I was with Joseph and neither of us knew how to use a pay phone in Europe. We were reduced to asking an adorable girl working an information booth on Las Ramblas why our calls to confirm the hostel reservation kept failing. I swear she sized me up as a complete idiot telling me in clear English that the country code wasn't necessary, but Joseph says there was no such look on her face.
After securing a room, we showered and slept, but not for long. We had to try and call Christina Pau, the Hong Kongese girl from Manchester who had arrived with her friend two days before. After leaving a message on her cell we found a quiet cafe to drink coffee and eat Tapas, our first meal since the single-serve beef and potatos from Delta Airlines. Coffee in Spain is a revelation. Cafe American-style is like a half a coffee cup of espresso. The sugar packet they give you could hold two-and-a-half to three American sugar packets worth. Needless to say milk is completely unnecessary at this point. Just sit back and listen to yourself speak as fast as the ideas erupt.
To make a long story short, all four of us ended up together for dinner and drinks, and now I am too tired for any more details.

Can it get any better than this?

Two of my favorite forms of entertainment are uniting: Radiohead & Harry Potter! I'm not sure if you all know this, but Johnny Greenwood & Phil Selway (from Radiohead of course) have helped make three tracks for the upcoming Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire movie with Jarvis Cocker, Steve Claydon and Jason Buckle.

You can download one of the songs "This Is The Night", but you'll have to venture over to the sometimes overwhelming Fansite: The link below also has the song, but it doesn't always work.

As an added bonus, Johnny and Phil will be appearing in the film as part of a rock group of witches called "The Weird Sisters" - a very popular band in the wizarding world.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


"A poet is, after all, a sort of scientist, but engaged in a qualitative science in which nothing is measureable. He lives with data that cannot be numbered, and his experiments can be done only once." --Lewis Thomas

More to come...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Dali's Exorcism

A sculpture of Christ on the cross was recently found in Rome and attributed to Salvador Dali. This piece of art was given to a priest in exchange for an exorcism. An exorcism? No. Surely not. But doesn't seem completely out of the question that Salvador Dali would have had an exorcism when we think about the bizarre images in his work. Surprisingly, though, we learn this:

"The reported exorcism took place during a period in which Dali had broken away from Surrealism and started producing more realistic works, often with religious imagery ."

It puts a smile on my face to think that Dali needed an exorcism when he had drifted away from the unusual and into reality & religion.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Enigma of Bob Dylan

Like a lot of people, I'm experiencing a renewed obssesion with Bob Dylan since the No Direction Home documentary aired. I used to listen to Dylan a lot in high school - my parents' old records of Blonde on Blonde and Planet Waves - and it's nice to come back to the music a little bit older and find new, deeper appreciation.

But there's been a crankier reaction to all the recent Dylan hoopla as well. I came across this article from the Belfast Telegraph, which articulates the feelings of a particularly cynical branch of the baby boomers, who apparently yearned for a more intimate understanding of Bob Dylan for thirty years and then were terribly disappointed to discover that he is a mere human being. Nothing irks me quite like the self-indulgence of the baby boomers. To a certain mindset their time (the 60s) was the end-all be-all of music, culture, politics, protest, you name it - we're all familiar with the cliche. But the boomers had the misfortune of being able to grow old and see their beloved pop idols tarnished or their totemic stature reduced to simple humanity, and damn if they haven't adopted a luxurious weariness about it. I begin to understand more and more why arch-conservatives hate the boomers so much - they're like spoiled children throwing a hissy fit.

The Belfast Telegraph author writes of his disappointment with Dylan - which is in reality his dissapointment with his own image of Dylan - in the manner of someone writing a complaint letter to a department store. This, I think, exposes the fundamental hypocrisy of the 60s generation - for all their talk of revolution and change, they couldn't recognize that their behavior still played exactly by the rules of whatever power structure they claimed to oppose. Pop stars like Dylan illustrate this perfectly - the musician/fan relationship plays out in the product/consumer model. The musician Dylan is the product that the fan consumes, and therefore feels they own. So, by extension Dylan "owes" the fan something and is met with righteous indignation anytime the fan feels snubbed. Now, pop stars are often selfish primadonnas, sure - after all they're egomaniacal narcicissts - but they're involved in a fundamentally dehumanizing situation and the self-absorption of the fans is equally absurd.

It is the logic of the person who sends back their food and is rude to the waiter while dining at a restaurant. This type of attitude is the result of privilege, and the baby boomers were and are the most privileged generation our country has ever seen. And just look at the zeal with which they cling to their tattered icons, like some ratty teddy bear from a Cape Cod childhood.

I'm just glad I can listen to Dylan as just quality music, without the attendant anxieties of the failed 60s.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Quote of the Century

"Lenin," mused Natasha Zakharova, 23, as she walked off Red Square on Tuesday, admitting that she was not quite sure whose body she had just seen. "Was he a Communist?" (from today's NY Times)

Well, it's at least good to see that a casual ignorance of recent history pervades other countries as well as our own. Even so, this is a little like being a German and saying "Hitler - yeah, didn't he fight a war, or something?"

On the other hand, some people never forget. I'm sure you could find hardline Palestinians or Israeli Jews who could recount every historical injustice ever inflicted upon their people.

I wonder which is more dangerous - selective memory or selective amnesia?