One of the loose collective that binds Crispin and me -- The Defeatist-Malcontent-Anarchist Slacker Collective and Bait Shop -- a Vet who's trying to get his band going in upstate New York doing kind of boogie rock with metal overtones, spends time he should spend doing something like picking up bottles for the return fee on a Marshall Amp blog, and one of the folks on it posted something about a piece of software that my pal had not heard of. He tossed it out to the collective, and one of the guys explained that it is really kind of an auto-cad system that enables engineers, architechts, and marketing types to overlay everything and walk the customer through the whole bloody thing. He then commented that if he wanted to go back to working for somebody else, he's take some classes...and then realized what he just said. Commented that he hated his life, and went off to drink copiously in the pine woods of Maine.
This made me realize something. The goal is not 3D confusion but infinite dimensional confusion. Then, people can do things like compare the budget and expenditures of the United States with your family checkbook, and have people pay attention. This software then is part of the Koch agenda and goal for the brave new world where You can confuse the customer in multiple dimensions, including time, simultaneously! What is it? It's all of this. When will it be done? When it is done. What will it look like? Like all of this in layers. Why is this here? it's in the regulations. In France, it would have to be here, but we're not in France so it has to be there. Don't blame us, it's in the regulations. What is it going to cost? What it costs. Cost =f(X,L) where X is the "cost" and L is "a lot" and the relationship is undefined...either you add a lot or you multiple by a lot, but it's going to really cost a helluva lot.
So, I decided to hide in music for the rest of the day...Anybody besides me remember The American
Breed? 60s garage band that incorporated a trumpet in a lot of their fadeouts. Almost recruited a chick trumpet player for mynon-existent but brilliantly conceived garage-punk-blues-rock band...The Barstow Bad News Blues Band. However, she can't sing and only knows how to play marches. Wouldn't really help get a unique sound. Have been thinking about substituting kazoo for the trumpet if we do a cover version of their hit, though?
Looking for the one thing led to a lot of others. Here's some other garage-type stuff from my youth...For example, the Knickerbochers. Guys were from Yonkers, or someplace else in the neighborhood, but everybody thought they were either the Beatles or from Liverpool. Yeah...Liverpool, outside Syracuse, home of Heides Hotdogs...
The Beau Brummels were an interesting group. With that name, in the 60s, they should have been dressed in electric suits (really electric, plugged in like Christmas trees) but I guess they just liked the name. Pretty good song...
The Zombies had an interesting kind of vibe and were a talented band. Sort of stuff the Moody Blues originally did before they discovered psychedelia...and flutes.
Here are the Yardbirds with Jimmy Page supposedly playing the Beck riff because he was off being "brilliant" some place. I hate Jeff Beck, although I think his current bass player is hot. Actually, seeing her with that geezer is something I find scarey... I also think this was lip synching. Here's the Original with Beck --and, I don't hear the difference. To complete the circle of jerks and egos at the time, here's one their first lead guitarist, What's his name, Dick Crampton or something...I read something recently that said that the Minor Pentomic Blues Scale was what differentiated the three of them. Beck rarely uses it; Page was sloppy with it; Clapton precise and thorough. Yeah...sure.
Now, We Five was an interesting group -- kind of folky, with a big voiced lead singer named Beverly. Who had a helluva voice...since by then the folk voices for women were the amazing altos of Joan Baez, Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell, not too surprising that they got lost in the dust. Kind of a shame -- she's dancing, shaking and jiving on stage like she might mean it, in a nice Christian California girl way.
Syndicate of Sound -- A classic song, but what a waste of two Rickenbackers including a George Harrison 12. Couple of Japanese Squier knockoffs from Kresge's before it was K-Mart would have done the trick for that rif. Saw these guys in 66, one of the opening acts for the Stones.
Finish up this nostalgia with two organ songs...despite the legend, not Augie March on both of them. She's About a Mover was Doug Sahm, Augie and some other guys. Flip side was his attempt at being part of the summer of love, which I think was horrible. MENDI-cino. MENDI-cino. Mover was a helluva number though...\ Then, of course, there's that great American Band, ? and the Mysterians.
There is nothing about these numbers that doesn't say the yearning of teenage sex, Budwieser and cold duck on a Friday nite after the dance in the gym...who wouldn't like that, again?...
That should ruin the weekend for those of you with daughters!
And for us to pretend to be interested in Hank Williams Junior and the sign at Rick Perry's hunting camp. Been a long time, long time, long lonely, lonely time indeed...
I try not to abuse my guest blogger privileges over here. It's all Crispin's fault anyway...
The idea that punk rock, skepticism as a way of thinking about everything and science have some sort of relationship is pretty intriguing. And, of course, why didn't I think of this before... Although, the YouTube request to disable embedding makes me wonder about how pure the motives can remain.
Crusader AXE here, occasional guest blogger and long-time fan of Crispin's Sonata in A Minor for Kazoo and Jewsharp. I know that he occasionally despairs about the ability of his undergraduate students to read, write and think critically. I did with mine and found a solution; I ceased teaching. This was especially rewarding for me personally, since my students were graduate students.
However, it's wonderful to see what happens when highly intelligent adult scholars and scientists choose whimsical idiocy over serious endeavor. It makes me feel warm inside to know that there is indeed hope for the sword-swallowers amongst us.
i felt bad about my mental deformity...until i met a man with no head. he told me, without a mouth, that he felt bad until he met a man with no torso. and the man without a torso told the man with no head that he felt bad...until he met a man who was "perfectly intact."
if you want american culture's deepest take on human meaning, you have to deal with the beer advertising of the anheuser-busch corporation. "this is what i believe in, when the day is done. this is budweiser." michelob amber bock: "it's everything you want to be."
maybe you've been tuning in to npr's new series "this i believe" - the revival of an old edward murrow radio show in which people articulated the fundamental principles by which they lived and how they came to those principles. the first contribution to the new version, from colin powell, was just unlistenable: a little collage of cliches, as in "i believe in america." yeah whatever. but anyway, i decided to have a crack, though i have this funny feeling they're not going to bite. so anyway:
The applicability of principles to situations is always at
best inexact, because situations bristle with specificities of which no
principle can take account. Indeed, the broader the principle, the wider its
application, the more it approaches the status of sheer yammer that no one even
hears: it merges into the white noise of politics and advertising, the rote
muttering of educators.
perhaps in a momentary delusion, manage to commit themselves to a principle, or
a slogan, or even the merest word, such as "excellence." The problem
may not be in the state of the enthusiast's sincerity, but in the absence of anything in
the world that corresponds to or causes that enthusiasm: there is nothing out
there that attaches itself as the reality to the abstraction that is
"excellence." One floats into the term like a balloon into the sky,
then pops. "God" is a word like that. "Truth." Even, God or
whatever help us, "love."
Principles always have the possibility of
imposing or nurturing psychosis: a mere detachment from the real world, life
among the abstractions, life that has left the world behind and now is lived
Nowhere is this
more obvious than in "This I Believe": the phrase, especially under
the tender ministrations of, say, Colin Powell, quickly degenerates into cant.
Principles do such
a sorry job of finding reality that people have been tortured slowly to death
as an expression of love or because of a commitment to human freedom.
I have no idea
what principles are worth living for or what the purpose of life is, and
perhaps the only real purpose I want is letting go of purposes: immersing myself
in the process in all its detail and renouncing the fantasy of transcending or
I believe: Children are our future. Believe in yourself and you can do anything.
Freedom isn't free. I believe in the promise of America.
I believe in the amazingness of the sheer wonder of life.
I believe that I
have a dull headache here, right behind my eyes.
onr feels just a mite plagiarized, even if what they are grabbing, or reproducing by coincidence, is something everyonw else roundly condemns. radley balko, the agitator, issues the following expression of stern disapproval.
Responding to my Fox column someone pointed me to this James Wolcott blog entry
from a few months ago. It was a stupid thing to write then. In light of
recent headlines, it makes him look like a particularly skanky piece of
I root for hurricanes. When, courtesy of the
Weather Channel, I see one forming in the ocean off the coast of
Africa, I find myself longing for it to become big and strong--Mother
Nature's fist of fury, Gaia's stern rebuke. Considering the havoc
mankind has wreaked upon nature with deforesting, stripmining, and the
destruction of animal habitat, it only seems fair that nature get some
of its own back and teach us that there are forces greater than our
own. Sure, a hearty volcano can be enjoyable. Burning rivers of lava:
so picturesque. But a volcano is stationary, like Dennis Hastert after
a big lunch. It doesn't offer the same dramatic suspense. Hurricanes
are in unpredictable flux. They move, change direction, strengthen,
weaken, lose an eyewall, repair an eyewall; they seem to have volition
and opera-diva personalities.
So there's something disappointing when a hurricane doesn't make landfall, or peters out into a puny Category One.
I guess 100,000+ dead in South Asia must've given Wolcott reason to pop his New Year's champagne early.
well below is a column i wrote in 1997 for the philly inquirer. anyway, this thing has completely overwhelmed my ability to watch the weather for entertainment, and i'm sure that's also true of wolcott. i mean shit, rad, give us a break. now also in 1997 i wrote a paper called "why the world trade center has to explode." and on sep 11 i got a couple of emails sayying: you got what you wanted you sick fuck. but a nasty piece of prose or a humor column does not kill people.
A Storm Named Tiffany By Crispin Sartwell This is going to be sick; brace yourself. I root for natural disasters. In particular, I’m a fan of bad weather. The worse the better. I like nothing more than watching a hurricane track across the Atlantic from Africa until it demonstrates that Florida is in fact water-soluble. Most nights, I’m glued to the set enjoying the mudslides and the floods, the tornadoes and the tsunamis: the pain, degradation, homelessness, and death visited upon us by our abusive mother, nature. El Nino is cool. El Nino is this rocking disaster-making delinquent loitering off the coast and lobbing terrible icestorms into Canada. I hope it gets worse, much worse. I’d like to see our region scraped so clean by the next noreaster that we are forced to abandon North America and move en masse to central Asia. Before you condemn me as a nasty sociopathic monster who gets his jollies by immersing himself in the stomach-churning spectacle of other people’s pain, let me, as the politicians say, be clear: I am a nasty sociopathic monster who gets his jollies by immersing himself in the stomach- churning spectacle of other people’s pain. And pardon me while I observe that you too are a nasty sociopathic etc. Or at least, I am not the only one who is tuned to the Weather Channel watching some engorged, raging river devour Sacramento or whatever. Most of us, in the sweet little secret heart of us, are praying for an earthquake to destroy Lima, as long as there is good videotape. In fact, other people’s pain is the basic product provided by the entire entertainment industry. You see? We go to the movies to see gorgeous models being blown to smithereens or getting into romantic entanglements that would leave most of us rocking back and forth in a rubber room, mumbling randomly. Do you watch “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “Leeza,” “General Hospital,” “Homicide,” “ER,” “Tom and Jerry,” the NFL, the news? Then go ahead and admit you are a connoisseur of other people’s suffering. Been to a video arcade lately? Even music is about inflicting pain. How else do you explain the popularity of Pearl Jam or, for that matter, opera? Huh? How? But the hip thing about natural disasters is that they cut us puffed up, paltry people down to size. Even with our amazing technology, even with our obsessive control over every part of the environment, even with our climate-controlled vehicles and mega-malls, we can still get our pathetic little butts smacked by the world. What I want to see tonight on CNN is, like, the Mall of America slowly collapsing under the weight of seventy-seven feet of snow that fell in a single hour, pureeing hapless consumers into a kind of human soup. That would show that even while we’re shopping at Bloomies we’re still mammals running around on the surface of a planet. Essentially, we’re overgrown, egomaniacal squirrels. We’re smarter than squirrels, maybe, but not as much smarter as we think we are. We are vulnerable to reality; we exist at the world’s whim; we are not in charge, thank God. Get used to it. So next time you’re watching luxury homes lapse into the Pacific or a storm named Tiffany beating the fecal matter out of Cape Hatteras, get real and admit that you’re actually rooting for the weather. It’s a lesson in humility. And it’s darn good television. ____________ Crispin Sartwell’s most recent book is Obscenity, Anarchy, Reality.
i'm unable to update my website (which should at least be viewable again; it's been down for a couple of days). so i thought i'd just publish this here: my creators column:
The Real Person of the Year
By Crispin Sartwell
Every year, the world awaits the announcement of Time magazine's Person of the Year. Time's
2004 choice was extremely bold: they honored George Bush for paying down the national debt.
But true connoisseurs of the Person of the Year concept know that the definitive award is made
by this column. Every year we measure the zeitgeist with our supersensitive "scientific"
instruments and locate the person who crystallizes it most perfectly.
Overall, there were two great themes of 2004: pure pop pleasure and sheer degraded death. We
searched the world over for the people who made those things happen for all of us.
First, the short list.
In one of the great achievements of the year, Yasser Arafat lapsed into a coma and died.
P. Diddy brought out the youth vote in unprecedented numbers, leading to John Kerry's
victory in the presidential election.
Kerry himself would have been a plausible choice. He shone like a moral beacon across this
great land. As the most electable Democrat, he substantiated yet again the old adage: Moe was
the smartest Stooge.
Like every other year, 2004 was an extremely good year for white men, led by Dick Cheney
Shortlisting publishing uberbabe Judith Regan was literally a no-brainer. She brought together
the two most important stories of the year: the Scott Peterson trial (Regan signed a book deal
with person-of-the-year finalist Amber Frey) and the Bernard Kerik meltdown (trysting with
Kerik at his love nest).
It was the year of the neocon. American idealists such as Richard Perle, William Kristol,
Islam Karimov, Augusto Pinochet, and Crown Prince Abdullah spread democracy and good
cheer throughout the world.
Jesus Christ visited a storm of death upon His enemies in Fallujah.
Before resigning over the oil for food scandal, Kofi Annan spearheaded the heroic
multinational effort in Sudan that saved tens of thousands of lives. The next Secretary-General,
Bam Margera, can only hope to follow in the footsteps of greatness.
Vlad Putin had an amazing year. He seized dictatorial power, killed the last few Chechens,
and published the bestselling "Cooking With Dioxin" (Regan Books, 2004).
A strikingly similar set of accomplishments must be attributed to Kobe Bryant.
In 2004, like Yasser Arafat, government of the people, by the people, and for the people
perished from this earth. A few people shed a nostalgic tear.
No one on earth has ever had more magnets and less armor, more support and less chance of
success than our troops.
Men with erectile dysfunction stayed on the scene like lovin' machines this year, while
James Brown underwent prostate surgery.
In a world gone mad, Sponge Bob Squarepants was the last voice of sanity.
But no figure combined pure pop pleasure with sheer degraded death like our Person of the
Year. She was at once the best and most typical American artist. As Afghans and Iraqis
contemplated her greatness, they understood for the first time the true meaning of their liberation.
Her ten-gallon leadership style brought the world to heel. Without further ado, I give you the
Person of the Year: the great Lindsay Lohan.
i kinda wish that op-ed columnists were more like rappers. i could devote column after column to snapping on michele malkin's mamma, or matching quotations with george f. will. i could get into a beef with ellen goodman that would spin out of control into exchanges of gunfore between our crews. at heart, i'm a soldier, son.
like ken lickiss (deseret news , ut), i've been thinking about rewinding to my teenage years and this time trying to get it right. ok, ok, maybe this 35-year-old was just into dating cheerleaders. but anyway, i could remake my life, expunge all my mistakes. this time i would definitely drop out, thus preventing the misery of an academic career. then i would triple my intake of alcohol and drugs, to hasten my recovery, so that i could relapse while still in my early thirties. then when i got to my late thirties again, i just might return for yet another round of adolescence. it's as american as american pie.
check this from the charleston, wv daily mail. seems pauline lester's home was burgled. the crooks took quite a miscellany of trinkets. a few days later, the stuff showed up on her porch in christmas wrapping. now that is a profound act. pauline lester has been given what she already had, as a gift. she has inventoried what she had, and she has learned to receive it, no doubt with gratitude. indeed, this act transcends all dualisms: of giving and receiving, charity and greed, property and theft, christmas and crime.
dude. why did these perfectly nice, and mostly healthy, whales all beach themselves simultaneously? (story) who knows? and yet...i think this is final proof that whales and dolphins are the intellectual and spiritual equals of you and me. really, the only difference between us and the so-called lower animals is that we kill ourselves. these guys might have been part of a suicide cult a la jim jones. or maybe they just collectively started contemplating the abyss that is a world and life without god, without meaning, without truth. either way, it's a remarkably hopeful sign.