Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Sunday, September 26, 2004
james wood on richard yates. a mostly forgotten "reader's writer" and heavier drunk than just about anyone spit out of the wars. maybe malcolm lowry?
new wes anderson film: the life aquatic
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
if you're small
and on a search
i've got a feeder
for you to perch oooon.
look at all the people
travelling like herds
well, i like birds
does anyone else like eels? why haven't i listened to these guys? i just listened to that novacaine song and pretty much forgot about them. been listening to daisies of the galaxy (third album i think). good stuff vern.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
from david gordan green, the director of george washington and all the pretty girls. (he jumped the shark on in living color)
pretty funny rant on rather and cbs news. i refuse to sup the th.
Dan's been play-acting at being a reporter for so many years now -- the suspenders, the loosened tie, and all the other stuff that would look great if he were auditioning for a cheesy dinner-theater revival of ''The Front Page''; the over-the-top intros: ''Bob Schieffer, one of the best hard-nosed reporters in the business, has been working his sources. What have you managed to uncover for us, Bob?'', after which Bob reads out a DNC press release.
more party of the confused (or how to read the subtext of the news and offend nearly everyone)
- bush guard memos are likely forged, but this does not negate the inherent truth in them.
- kerry is to moveon.org as bush is to swift boat veterans for truth. unless the swift boat veterans are funded by a bunch of conservatives. then they're evil.
- 507s are corrupt unless they're telling the truth in which case its ok to drop hitler comparisons and smear decorated vietnam vets. this is what we like to call "campaign finance reform."
- saddam did not have stockpiles of wmd, but he could have built wmds fairly quickly. he could've also smuggled everything over to syria, but we have no way of knowing. perfect.
- bush will win in a landslide unless there's a debate. then it's anybody's guess.
- iraq has nothing to do with terrorism except for all the terrorists blowing shit up over there. this, of course, would not have happened if we hadn't invaded iraq and let saddam continue to peacefully blow shit up.
- the u.n. has decided that the sudan situation is a "humanitarian crisis." this naturally calls for more sharply-worded resolutions. meanwhile, the u.s. has sent money. and colin powell.
- all these hurricanes are the result of global warming. except that warmer polar regions would reduce the temperature gradient between the poles and tropical regions, thus reducing the number and intensity of storms.
- there's an unlimited supply of glass (i.e. sand), but somehow we need to conserve it by recycling. ok, ok, it's really about landfill space. of which there's a shortage?
- it's not ok for a group of motards to rip up a little girl's bush/cheney sign, but perfectly understandable for a father to take his kid to a democrat/union rally and have her wave a political sign around?
in all cases, the news generally reminds me of a line from an alice munro story:
"it reflected no good on anyone."
follow-up on alice munro
here's a great interview from 2001 with alice quinn, her editor at the new yorker.
gomez is dead. long live gomez.
we went to see gomez on fri. night at la zona rosa. disappointingly, they were just ok. they opened with bring your lovin' back here, which was probably the best song of the night. they never quite managed to reach that mix of rock/blues and groove-engine rhythm again. the audience was swept away after that song and ready to go anywhere. alas, they took us all straight into the shitter.
gomez is sort of a jam band for people who don't like jam bands, but they have two major weaknesses which become more evident in their live show:
1. they have three lead singers, but only one of them (ben) is unique. his voice is killer actually. imagine john lennon channeling tom waits. the other two sound like your average british whiny boys. for some reason, however, they all take turns, so you only end up getting the killer-voice on 1/3 of the songs. in fact, if the whiny guys sing two songs in a row, you're really pissed.
2. aside from the crowd-pleasing opener and an inspired beatles cover, they avoided all their best songs. this could be b/c they're sick of them or b/c they were trying to play new stuff, but even the new stuff seemed to be falling into the lame category. i picked up the new album and sure enough, nearly all the songs are going for a more folksy, more tailored ballad-type sound. they've been accused of having an identity crisis and i suspect this is their response to that, but that's what i loved about them. the mix of techno and blues and guitar and piano on in our gun was phenomenal. i don't know quite why they felt the need to tone it down or reverse step into coldplay territory (ok, record sales), but it's a mistake in the long haul. the new album won't sell for shit either and they'll become another longsuffering also-ran.
i guess those are really both the same weakness. they don't know or play to their strengths. this is all to say i love gomez and wish they could've figured a way to keep going in the vein of get miles off bring it on or even rex kramer from in our gun. listen to detroit swing 66 off in our gun and tell me that's not the future of rock/pop. for now i'm left with the lame cry of the dejected fan: if only...if only...
Friday, September 17, 2004
william just came in, half-asleep, and walked toward me with his arms stretched out.
"i want to give you a hug, dad," he said. lonanne told me he did this to her a few nights back, and when she told me i imagined some sort of unadulterated joy, some consolation of parenthood that only comes in five second spurts and powers a day, a week, a month. in short i was jealous since he's going through a period where kissing or hugging dad is plainly yuck. i pulled him up in my arms and then we both walked back to his bed. there's nothing like it, truly. covering your kid up. as if for that one moment, everthing from your childhood forward to theirs is right and held perfect. one time, as she was covering him up, he whispered to lonanne: "baby, baby, baby." i think of that, too, every time. baby, baby, baby. rob says i should put that in a story. someday i'm sure i will, but right now, it all seems too much to fashion into anything other than love.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
tim o'brien sat in on our workshop last night. had a lot of good stuff to say. namely, a story has to thrill you. he's not much for the literary fiction that's all limp character study or useless descriptions. seems like a common theme in both him and hannah. thrill me, baby, is what hannah says. no eggheaded intellectuals here.
after class, standing outside with him, he said it was a good class. "no dummies that i could make out," he said. "or we all conceal it well," i said. he said he liked this writer named charles portis. he wrote a book called true grit. said that was one of his favorite authors. just a damn great writer. its easy to forget that bad movies sometimes come from great books. i recommended chester himes to him. cotton comes to harlem. another bad movie also. anyway, he sure as shit doesn't have to be there. the things they carried is probably in its 10th printing. he's won the national book award. was a finalist for the pulitzer. i think he just likes getting back on the ground every so often. it keeps you fresh.
Monday, September 13, 2004
detailed (i.e. sleep-inducing) analysis of the bush "guard memos." not that dan rather saying "these are real" isn't a reliable source and all. i'm honestly not sure what to believe. cbs is sticking by its guns, which may or may not mean anything. plenty of experts have weighed in on either side and then been accused of partisanship. i don't know how you get an objective expert unless they were to disagree with the point you expected them to make. or maybe if they were from france. the wife and son think its fake, but i'm sure they'll be accused of partisanship. the date of the memo is (last i read) supposedly after the guy retired. i think the above link is about the most comprehensive in terms of laying out the argument strictly in terms of forgery. still, people who don't care a whit about kerning, will probably just shrug and fall back into their settled opinions. "i don't care what they say, bush/kerry is a liar." i think its fairly incredible that cbs blames it all on a bunch of political operatives. what are they?
two cool new places
salado has a movie theater. we took the boys yesterday with grandma and watched a popeye cartoon and a buster keaton movie (the general). thomas and william both loved it although william got a little bored with the keaton flick. at intermission he asked "is it over now?" funny story about the guy who runs the theater: after he graduated from duke univ. his parents came to pick him up and they asked what he wanted to do next. he told them he wanted to go to clown college. so he went to clown college and now he's opened this great theater. man, i wish i had gone to clown college. (errr, setting self up here...better put in lame putdown...). or maybe i already did.
the longbranch inn is also now open for business. after the hannah reading on fri. night (which was outstanding and perhaps a story for another time), we tooled over to the east side with bearden and his wfie to check out this bar. it's a pretty cool place right down east 11th. they've really renovated (i.e. gentrified) the whole area. both the longbranch and the victory grill used to be blues joints where a lot of the greats would come when they played austin. now its turning into hipsterville, which is okay too. at least its alive. some of the old-timers still wander in. one guy, named goldenboy, drives an old beater caddy with the top sawed off and a longhorn attached to the grill. knife in the water played a pretty good set. and sun. night was johnny cash night. you can't really go wrong there.
the brainy bunch. yes, they even have a theme song.
on a related note, here's a petition you should sign. 15 min. for recess is retarded. the problem is a dingheaded implementation (at the district level) of dingheaded guidelines (at the state and federal level) for the no child left behind act. yes, i think bush's education policy is stupid. i also think kerry's education policy is stupid. teaching to lame standardized tests and throwing good money after bad are both equally ignorant policies. we need someone who can get money to the schools while breaking the iron grip of the administrators (who pull down a shitload more than teachers). it's a little like getting aid to africans. it has to filter through fifteen layers of idiocy and corruption.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
what's old is new.
or, study reveals reading increases brain activity.
Monday, September 06, 2004
nice interview with elmore leonard, the dickens of detroit.
in other news (and now this!)...
the first week of school has been a little rough. not rough, just a lot of reading already. still, the form and theory class is much better than i expected and the workshop folks are all very interesting. of the 14 first year students, only 2 of us are from texas. i also got to meet barry hannah last week. famous (lonanne loves it when i say that) southern writer. he was pretty funny. told us about the time he met johnny cash. he's giving a reading at the katherine anne porter house in kyle(!) this coming friday at 7:30 pm. if anyone's interested.
Saturday, September 04, 2004
graphic on the words speakers used during both political conventions.
get your "quotes" out.
qt has a blog
if you simply can't live without the answers to the questions like "what IS going on with Hell Ride?" or "what's after Inglorious Bastards?"
two planes blown up. children being shot in the back. parents carrying their corpses out of blown up buildings. but, hey, that's russia, right? and besides it has nothing to do with al-qaeda, right?
whaaa? the associated press biased? i guess what's more interesting than the (intentional?) flub is how quickly the blogging community caught the error and the ap removed it. the wisdom of crowds meme is making the rounds in a lot of poltical speeches on both sides of the aisle (i heard clinton mention it at a church rally recently), but it's interesting to see it in action. eyewitnesses to the rally can speak directly to what happened and even record it while the AP reporter simply files a story and moves on to the next. we've moved from a press holding politicians accountable to a community holding the press and politicians accountable.
the party of ideas? interesting take on the street festivals that have become our political protests.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
ideas for titles:
things weren't always this way
early american suicide.
i'll call first
via kyle: this made me fall out of my chair. gets funnier with repeated viewing. i think it's the smirk he has on his face at the beginning. i'm dr. bad-ass.