Sunday, May 31, 2015

Caribbean rhapsody

A friend of mine just got back from Jamaica. He'd been away for awhile. It was the Peace Corps, so by "awhile" I mean two years.

It is, by his account, a very religious country. Not Rastafarian, as some might think it--and the public perception of Rasta as a constant excuse to party is distorted in itself. No, there's a great deal of Christian activity down there. Missionaries, yes, but also established churches in every denomination you could name.

He also sampled some bootleg movies. It's still done the old way of pointing a video camera at the screen and recording everything, including audience chatter.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Fairly Freudian Friday Random Ten

I just watched Hitch's Rope, which I'd never seen all the way through before. Good crime movie, fairly lean. There's a scene at the beginning where the two not-at-all-gay-killers have just murdered their friend David. John Dall's character looks especially ecstatic, and he lights up a cigarette. I think most people back then got the subtext, they ust thought they were the only ones who did.

1. Nellie McKay - Pink Chandelier
2. Dave van Ronk - He Was a Friend of Mine
3. New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers
4. Sarah Vaughan - Sermonette
5. Morphine - Radar
6. The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset
7. Lower Dens - Quo Vadis
8. The Ramones - Pinhead
9. Beth Custer and Joe Goode Performance Group - You Are Song
10. Les Baxter - Quiet Village

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wear feather friends

I'm guessing the guy who's taking the video is also the one who put the peanuts out. Seems like a small price to pay.

Monday, May 25, 2015

When we all scream

I was waiting for a bus in front of an ice cream parlor today.Might have miscalculated because it turned out to be a long wait. A family parked their SUV not far away. The mother and the older daughter got out, did something, came back. The younger daughter was freaking out because she wanted ice cream. Which was apparently not on the agenda. Anyway, she alternated between pleading and tantruming.

Now I understand about building character, not giving in, the marshmallow test, blah blah blah. But Jesus, make it easy on yourself. Drive around and park somewhere else and you have a better chance of changing the subject. Does parenthood damage your common sense or does it just make you a masochist?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Out of service Saturday Random Ten

When there's a holiday Monday the library is usually closed on Saturday as well. I know this. I think I kind of understand why; so workers on different shifts will both get days off. I can just never remember, because it's not intuitive to me. Today I wish I had, because I was looking to use their bathroom too. It was an anxious walk home.

1, The Magnetic Fields - In My Secret Place
2. Sun Ra - China Gates
3. The Ramones - Glad to See You Go
4. Sarah Vaughan - Easy Street
5. Beth Custer - Tribal Duets
6. Sonic Youth - Brave Men Run (In My Family)
7. Dave Van Ronk - Fixin' to Die
8. New Pornographers - Born with a Sound
9. Lower Dens - Non Grata
10. Cannonball Adderley - I Can't Get Started

Friday, May 22, 2015

Two out of three ain't bad

Various nights this week I've watched the second series of Sherlock. Cumberbatch and Freeman are pretty much bulletproof, as is much of the supporting cast.

On to the stories. The second is the X-Files-ized version of "The Hound of the Baskervilles", which I liked. The third was the Reichenbach fall, the update on "The Final Problem". Pretty good, although there are some apparent logic gaps. Leaving the first story, "A Scandal in Belgravia". Where Irene Adler is a dominatrix/prostitute who's a lesbian but has the hots for Sherlock anyway. I don't think "Let's do our 21st century Sherlock Holmes update the way Frank Miller would have written it" is an idea that should have gotten past the cocktail napkin stage.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Good advices

From Reductress:
It’s a hard time to be a woman in her twenties. The job market is intimidating, technology is advancing rapidly, and dating is as confusing as ever. However, the problems we face today aren’t as unique as we think – you might just get the advice you need from classic works of literature. Not from reading them — from rubbing them on your boobs! Here are eight legendary works of literature that will give you the answers you need when you mash them all over your sweet, sweet nips.
I'll admit to being a little outside of the group the article is addressing, age- and gender-wise. But I am glad to see young women still being advised to seek wisdom in the classics.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Royal blues

Caught up with some of the works of Mr. Riley B. King on the occasion of his passing. This seems like a nice one to see out the weekend.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Crispy Friday Random Ten

The above image I saw on and couldn't resist using it here.

Being introverted, reserved, call it what you will can leave people with the impression you don't care for them. Not that this is never accurate, but a lot of times it isn't. It's a puzzler.

1. Mose Allison - That's All Right
2. Yo La Tengo - Beanbag Chair
3. Sun Ra - Bassism
4. Beth Custer and the Joe Goode Performance Group - What the Body Knows
5. Pink Martini - Uskudara Gider Iken
6. The Who - Tattoo
7. Fitz & the Tantrums - The Walker
8. Lower Dens - Your Heart Still Beating
9. Sonic Youth - Justice Is Might
10. Sarah Vaughan - I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Like R'lyeh, man

And it was pretty good. Most of the guests were human or almost-human toadfolk who slobbered into their own beers (they brought their own keg too; I passed on an offered mug) or Monglod giants who peered into the apartment through a glass transom and smiled till I wandered over to open the door for them. They just sheepishly went to the corners of the living room and watched A mugwump named Doc appeared and played poker with himself, a winning hand clutched in each of ten spindly spider arms. A few of the old drunks who knew Neal back when he was a little kid ("I was a real rugrat!" Neal announced as he shoved an old feller named Howie at me, and Howie smiled and showed off a gap in his teeth big enough for a harmonica) joined in the game, foolishly forgetting the old rule never to play cards with anyone who called himself Doc.
That's a brief excerpt from Move Under Ground, a novel that's pretty brief in itself. It's about the Elder Gods of the Cthulhu Mythos making themselves known to Jack Kerouac and other Beats during Kerouac's Big Sur period. So, you know, it's out there.

Actually I get the feeling that Nick Mamatas, the author, is being quite critical of the Beats, finding them self-indulgent and more provincial than they thought. While Mamatas is a lefty, I think that racism aside* he may sympathize more with the Lovecraft side than the Kerouac side.

* I know. Aside from that how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln? 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hot and cold in the running

We've gotten an early taste of summer the last few days, particularly on Sunday and Monday. Hot and muggy, sweat pooling on your forehead. In response a lot of businesses and offices have really cranked the AC, so much so you might need another layer when you go inside. I'm expecting thunderstorms in doorways pretty soon.

In other news, got a package in the mail yesterday. I'm monitoring the situation. Looks to be in my favor. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Bless this mess

This is from the installation that Sarah Sze did at the Venice Biennale a couple of years ago. I think what interests/appeals to me about her work is the way it shows the bits and pieces of a life, whose connections are invisible. Only she makes them visible. Anyway, I hope you like.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Big Easy Saturday Random Ten

I spoke with someone this evening - a barista, in point of fact - who had been away for a while. One of the places she'd been was New Orleans. I've been there too, and found it lovely. I think it's a little hard for a Northerner to get used to how they do things down there, but a Southerner from somewhere else would find it just about as alien. She says there's a lot of construction going on in various parts of the city. Pretty much there would have to be. Katrina isn't something you just get over.

1. Les Baxter - Calcutta*
2. Reading Rainbow - Animals Take Control of Me
3. Yo La Tengo - Song for Mahlia
4. Morphine - Scratch
5. Fitz & the Tantrums - 6am
6. Beth Custer & the Joe Goode Performance Group - Stay Put, Stay Here With Me
7. Mose Allison - Promenade
8. The Kinks - Death of a Clown
9. Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure
10. Sarah Vaughan - Midnight Sun
* Kind of an odd city to name your zippy bachelor pad music number after, but hey.

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Got a bad ache of the neck/top vertebra tonight. It was really bad at first. Got it under control now through the application of Mineral Ice. Good stuff, but I hope it's gone tomorrow. The pain, not the ointment.

So if I say I have a pain in the neck I mean it literally. But that's about the only way to mean it nowadays. My sense is that even people who use euphemisms have pretty much given up on that one.

Monday, May 4, 2015


There are signs of Spring, perhaps especially a delayed one like we're having this year. Trees get a lot leafier seemingly overnight.There's a sudden cacophony of bird songs playing in the morning. A lot more bustle socially, too, and particularly if you live in a college town. Probably more partying too. Of course my building has some students living in it and has remained pretty quiet. Guess their festivities are taking place elsewhere.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Friday/Saturday Random Ten: Death of God edition

I'm currently reading James Morrow's Towing Jehovah. The start of a trilogy, apparently, it has to do with the dead body of God being found in the ocean. The Vatican sends an oil tanker to bring the body to the Arctic Circle for burial. A circle of atheists, tipped off by someone onboard, want to sink the body to cover up His existence. I was a little surprised to find out that Morrow himself is an atheist. Nonbelievers don't come off any better than believers in this book. There's a lesson there, I think.

1. Roxy Music - Grey Lagoons
2. St. Vincent - Severed Crossed Fingers
3. Diana Krall - I've Got You Under My Skin
4. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - Hi-Fly
5. Sarah Vaughan - Moanin'
6. The Kinks - Tin Soldier Man
7. Yo La Tengo - Black Flowers
8. Sonic Youth - I'm Insane
9. Morphine - Whisper
10. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Pretty Words