Wednesday, May 28, 2003
down 19 points in the 3rd quarter??? oh my friend. sounds like somebody is going to be ponying up some money. and it better not have an I or an O or a U attached to it. biatch! dirty (dirk), filthy (finley), nasty (nash) are taking it all the way baby!
crow is a dish best served in your mouth.
Tuesday, May 27, 2003
here you go, you lousy grubbers.
more pics. these were taken by a friend with a medium-format camera.
Monday, May 26, 2003
for rob and anyone else keeping track.
i've updated a poem i meant to update a long time ago, but forgot about. no, this technically doesn't count as new work. but i've been wrestling with this particular poem for awhile. so there you go. keep it up, rob.
Sunday, May 25, 2003
thomas' kindergarten graduation ceremony was this past friday. they did this "it's a small world after all" sort-of song and dance routine. it was cute in every sense of the word. this is what happens when your kid goes to a christian private school. his bit was jamaica. he dressed up in a hawaiian shirt, shorts, a straw hat and carried a basket(?) they sang the banana boat song by harry belafonte, who, although an american, was, i think, raised in jamaica. i videotaped the whole thing and lonanne took pictures. the one below was one of two decent pictures out of about twenty.
i'm sure the tape will be worse. we're both horrible at this sort of thing. i end up trying to frame every shot and totally become disconnected from the event itself. like i need to try to do that. afterwards, i sat down next to the principal on one of the pews. he was sweating profusely, but jovial and laughing with the kids. i finally put down the camera and said, "you can either film it or participate in it." i felt assured that he would think i'd been partaking of the crack pipe, but he just turned, and not really missing a beat said, "yeah, i used to photograph weddings. i'd get so busy trying to get the right picture of the bride that i'd miss out on all the beer! finally, i said, that's enough of that. more beer!" then he laughed and got up to help a kid with her cap.
he's definitely the best damn thing about that school. next year thomas will be attending gullet elementary. we will miss redeemer in a way. where else would they make your kid sing day-o at his graduation?
has anyone listened to fischerspooner? they've completely ripped off the pop-synth movement of the mid-late eighties, but somehow, i'm addicted. i could throw in a bunch of relevant comparisons (kraftwerk comes to mind), but i don't know that they're as ground-breaking as all that. the chemical brothers and all the other british electronica bands are probably squirming in their parachute pants. why do two nyc doofballs with a synthesizer all of a sudden get all the press? electroclash my ass. new words for the same music. whatever the case, i can't quite bring myself around to stop listening to it. it's got that crazy beat that kids love and i can put on my headphones and pretend i'm in a new york discotheque surrounded by beautiful, french-loving artists. one can dream.
speaking of the death of art and the public's slide into cheap amusement and apathy, i was recently reminded, when i opened up our fair city's underground rag to the art "scene" section, of how much i dislike most poetry and, through association, most poets. each week, they put in a poem of the issue, which is usually culled from some local artist's chapbook, but occasionally displays a fairly well-known arbiter of the form. in either case, i usually end up realizing why it is that, without exception, most people i know hate poetry.
i know. i know. seriously, i know.
how is that i can sit here and write some of the goddawfullest poetry around and then bash on my peers for doing the same thing? how can i sit in judgement of something that i do? well, it's actually pretty easy. the plain truth is: most of it sucks. like bad paintings, it is very easy for someone to sit down and type out a poem. the more abstract the better. anything goes. if i fall into that same bucket, so be it. i've been writing poetry for the better part of ten years and at times, i do think it is a complete waste. as with my 90% crap motto, there are times when people transcend the limitations of their upbringing and truly put words on the map that matter, that affect you and make you go back, over and over, to try to grasp what it is that they are saying about your life. the man on the train, depressed, reading about a man on the train who is depressed. the realization, the spark of something that points back into you. i don't have much of a point other than this: if you hate poetry or don't get it, welcome to the club. but think about all the t.v. shows, movies, and books you've seen or read in the past year. how many of those rose above the pablum of mediocrity? how many things in life return to you something of the effort you put in? don't try. go shop at k-mart. buy your furniture at foley's. wait for the next episode of american idol to let you know what or who you should be listening to. and avoid poetry, god help you, avoid it at all costs.
Friday, May 23, 2003
we went to see a co-worker/friend's play (lonanne's co-worker/friend) at the hyde park theater last night. quake. the cast was great. the play was awesome. i loved the set pieces. ah, hell. who am i kidding right? you don't go from cynical, free range bastard to a theater-goer overnight. i often read of people enjoying a play or a musical or a poetry reading and i think to myself...huh? i think with plays, it's usually the pacing and the way that the actors have to speak that limit the experience for me. by the end, i'm alternately yawning from the $4 wine in a plastic cup and thinking about how i'm going to jump over three rows of seats to get to the bathroom. in defense of lonanne's friend, she was good. there were times when i felt like the experience of seeing her on stage was better than if i were, say, watching her on a t.v. set. shit. i can't give a good review to save my life.
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Sunday, May 18, 2003
blogs are ruining search engine results.
Although the vast majority of meteors are much smaller and burn up in the Earth's atmosphere, the average homeowner should expect to repair direct meteor damage every hundred million years.
Friday, May 16, 2003
also checked out the book punk show at emo's. not bad. i've yet to make up my mind if i want to write a review. not much happened. a guy in an orange jumpsuit read some shit. neal pollack saw me taking notes so i stopped. hell, what was i writing anyway?
guy in orange jumpsuit
reading some shit
neal pollack looking at me now
a band called hobble played their hearts out. the lead singer looked strangely like a midget version of anthony kiedis. not full midget. maybe partly midget. he had some midget in him, i'd swear by it. toward the end, he took his shirt off and kept it over his head. i couldn't hear him, but i could tell he was screaming by watching his stomach. neal pollack threw a chair at him. and some beer. some guy got up to read about his experience during the first gulf war. it seemed important and funny. well, it seemed like he was trying to be important and funny and make some larger point about how there isn't any point during war. it takes a lot of effort to say that sort of thing, so he read really quickly and everyone else drank. he had some t-shirts. i asked for a medium, but got an extra large. neal pollack read from his anthology of american literature. i've slept with a thousand women. or was it five hundred? i kept thinking of wilt chamberlain, who really did claim to sleep with a thousand women. what would he think of all this? shit, he'd say. that little white boy ain't slept with two women his whole life. then i thought about magic johnson and the fact that he didn't sleep with quite that many, but still got aids. and how the lakers were getting their ass whupped and i was missing it for this show. the one true glorious moment in these nba finals, and here i was. finally, the yuppie pricks took the stage. they seemed inspired and quasi-serious about their message. money and coke are good and george bush is a great president. it's sort of hard to miss their message as i was five feet from the stage when the lead singer offered a "fucking poster artist" a double sawbuck to suck his exposed toe. i felt sorry for the poster artist. something in my stomach turned watching him pick the hair out of his mouth after retrieving the twenty from underneath the prick's toe. everyone laughed nervously. neal pollack threw a chair at them. predictable, but not all bad. sort of like watching seinfeld reruns. you know what you're getting, but you still sit down and watch the whole damn show.
on a plus note, i would recommend the animated series that the bros wachowski put together as backstory. beautiful anime work. the fact is, these little bits have more art and soul in them than the entire bloated sequal.
saw the matrix reloaded yesterday. what a huge waste of perfectly good money. what a waste of carrie anne moss. what a waste of...well, not keaunu reeves. it just goes to prove that millions of dollars and all the special effects wizardry in the world can't save a goddawful story. it always comes back to the story. the fights in the first movie meant something. they mirrored neo's own internal development. they let on slowly that he may or may not be the one. there was nothing even close to that tension in this sequal. it just lay flat and barely got up for the next overlong action sequence. plus, monica belluci? my god, my god sweetheart. first that bruce willis flick, now this? you are a beautiful woman. maybe get together with carrie and ask the wachowskis to make bound 2. this time without joey pants. now that's something to look forward to.
Sunday, May 11, 2003
on another note (i know i know, i say that all the time and it really is just the same note played backwards or forwards or sideways), we went to mcdonald's yesterday, after thomas' t-ball game. it was thomas' pick as usual and who are we to argue with a) fast, easy food and b) playgrounds. they really do have you. we try our best to do the "local thing" (of which i am also deeply suspicious since isn't everything technically local? i mean, some local guy prolly owns the mcdonald's and the people that work there are most likely local or at least from buda) and eat at dan's or fran's or top notch or central market, but, for just pure easy living, it is almost always mcdonalds. it only takes so many times of sitting there in dan's for 30 minutes with the kids throwing salt shakers and everyone staring at you and the flies buzzing around the sticky tables to realize why fast food was and is one of the defining notions of our country. it's hard enough to get kids to eat anything other than pure sugar, let alone sit still for the better part of an hour. and the playgrounds. sweet jesus, the playgrounds. you can actually sit there and finish your food and have a relatively sane conversation for more than 5 minutes.
and so it was in this sweet spirit of appreciation that we finally left mcdonalds. i was all too ready to give up my anti-consumer tendencies and concede that, goddammit, this was a company that did something right. they didn't deserve scorn. they deserved praise. hell, they deserved a whole day. mcdonald's day. it was just in this moment, as we were pulling out of the parking lot, that i turned and noticed the sign, and was instantly snapped back into the proper realization that mcdonald's is pure, unfiltered evil.
the sign said: see you tomorrow!
first of all, let me start by saying that i think it's full-on retarded when husbands get their wives mothers day cards. for the first twenty years of your kids' life, you will already be the one buying the card and the present. plus, she's not your mom, no matter how much she may behave like it. second, it just feels like another hallmark moment. as a people, we're good at producing sap on demand. i just don't like this notion that, collectively, i am forced to feel a certain way on a certain day.
however, you can't argue with a son's love for his mother. ask paul simon. nor can you ever successfully bad mouth a day that is reserved for the woman who bore you into this world. a la erma bombeck (look it up), these are the ties that bind and gag you. so, i'll go along, albeit grouchily. i love you moms. you know that.
Friday, May 09, 2003
hilarious dennis miller on norman mailer. dennis miller!? the smartass from sat. night live? the guy who said he was a lifelong democrat? man.
Mr. Mailer was the Father of the Nonfiction Novel and now he can also claim lineage as the distant, addled Third Cousin of the Rational Op-Ed. Studying at the Sorbonne as a young man obviously made a deep impression on him because this thing reads like Jacques Chirac's Dream Journal.
Monday, May 05, 2003
our neighborhood's throwing a party worthy of its funkiness. we're also finally meeting all sorts of people who live nearby with kids. it helps. our kids play with their kids. we sit in their backyards and stare at the trees and sip lone star. i've resisted this sort of thing long enough. hello neighbors. hello world.
this whole bill bennett thing is just stupid. in every online mag i read, there's some quasi-moderate-liberal choking on their glee over the fact that they found out that the father of the book of virtues is a hypocrite. tee hee. ooh hoo. big f'in deal. i could go down to 6th and congress and find you a half-dozen hypocrites, everyone from a bible-thumping, guitar-playing jesus freak who yells at people to a cross-dressing mayoral candidate who deficates in the street and then complains about city services. besides, if they didn't like what he was saying about virtue, then isn't that enough? everyone loves a payback and it is hell, but christ almighty, i don't think the people dancing on bennett's grave are coming off that well either. think about clinton folks. he was the one that signed the defense of marriage act, remember?
it's time to revive rochefoucauld. "hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue." in other words, if you're gonna slam the guy for doing something that he thinks is wrong and you think is inconsequential purely for the sake of pointing out his contradictions, then what you're doing is equally hypocritical. if it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter. if it does matter, then why?
Sunday, May 04, 2003
It's a mad mission
Under difficult conditions
not everybody makes it
To the loving cup
It's a mad mission
But I got the ambition
Mad, mad mission
sign me up
Saturday, May 03, 2003
b.r. meyers, of a reader's manifesto fame, succumbs to an interview about his broadside against the literati.
People who can't draw often fake it by thickening or smudging their lines. Art teachers flunk students who do this, but the well-meaning viewer will look at the blur and unconsciously create in it the line that makes sense. What you get from writers today is the verbal equivalent of these little ruses, and the same aversion to simplicity and clarity. The way Auster repeats himself all the time, for example, is like a sketch-artist going over and over something with his charcoal—a badly drawn hand, say—until it has an impressively "worked-on" look. Or the way Proulx strings a dozen lame phrases into a long sentence that looks great when you read it with one eye on the TV. This isn't the sort of late-Faulknerian badness that comes from over-exuberance or pomposity. It strikes me as very calculated, very furtive.
my new favorite band name: i love you but i've chosen darkness
have no idea if their music is any good. i'm trying to download their mp3s as i type.
also, great review of evelyn waugh by christopher hitchens. he's really shaping up to be my favorite free lance essayist. behind the sports guy, bill simmons.
i got an email response from neal pollack regarding my sxsw review of his show...
Just read your review of my SXSW show. Glad you enjoyed. I must say, though, that I'm a better writer than you think I am. Regardless, maybe we can get together sometime and compare babies.
We have a Book Punk show on May 15 at Emo's. Two excellent writers, Joel Turnipseed and Matthew Derby, plus The Yuppie Pricks and three-fifths of The Neal Pollack Invasion. 6-9:30. Come on down.
joel turnipseed? the yuppie pricks? what strange new door have i opened? and does it involve beastiality? i'm not afraid to admit i'm afraid.