Friday, October 29, 2004
finally found a computer with internet access in this godforsaken hospital. i brought my tablet and asked if they had wi-fi. the nurse brought me some wipes. life is full of such gaps. i can't use my cell phone anywhere inside and can't use the room phone to dial out. other than this, things are shitty, but we're eaking through. i feed her ice chips and move her feet around. she tells i'm a lousy foot-rubber. the nurses have names like procavia and napolean. they seem to all be from the west indies. polite and soft-spoken and utterly incomprehensible. people call or email and tell me stuff to tell her or myself. they've been through the same thing, etc. attitude is the differentiator! i can't help but think they had to forget an awful lot about dying to say most of this nonsense. i don't know what to say either though. some of her church friends call and say they're praying for her. she shakes her head at me. no, no. don't pray for me to get better, she says. i've had enough. jim tells me i can go back to austin whenever. when it's over, i told him. when it's goddamned good and over. shirley has a pillow in her house with stitched lettering. it reads "if it's not one thing, it's your mother." i say that to my mom joking. don't make me laugh, she says. and rub my feet.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
the story behind the story. just driving to work today i heard on kgsr this reporter mentioning the "explosives that were recently stolen in iraq." seriously. i'm wondering how long it'll be before someone mentions it to me personally. i give it a day. "did'ya hear how bush lost all those explosives? fuckin' tard." so the 5 second blurb wins. again.
a damn good story about ted williams, the baseball legend.
IT WAS FORTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, when achievements with a bat first brought him to the nation's notice, that Ted Williams began work on his defense. He wanted fame, and wanted it with a pure, hot eagerness that would have been embarrassing in a smaller man. But he could not stand celebrity. This is a bitch of a line to draw in America's dust.
Monday, October 25, 2004
my mom's not doing too well. she's been in the hospital for about a week with a hard-to-diagnose infection. she called me yesterday to let me know it's liver cancer. they'll be transferring her to st. luke's in houston some time today and hopefully her oncologist there will have more information and options. for those of you who don't know, she's also been undergoing chemotherapy for overian cancer.
anyway, keep her in your thoughts and prayers.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
update on spirit of america efforts. no matter which way you lean, this is an incredible project and testimony to the fact that many americans do want to make a difference and do care about the iraqi people.
celsius 41.11...the temperature at which the brain begins to die
before you start in with the comments about how hypocritical i am and michael moore is the savior of the known universe, i know this is political agitprop. i didn't like moore for this very reason, but there is something satisfying in all these films upending moore's premises; i.e. that he only means to reveal "the truth" through calculated editing of images and eric clapton songs. once you've opened that bottle, you can't put the genie back in. hence we now see democrats screaming and threatening to sue sinclair broadcasting over the airing of an anti-kerry film on television. it's only truth if we get to reveal it in the way we want.
sabotage almost made the show worth joey's carping about the cheap seats [we were in section 40, row 19] and the erwin center running out of beer. i also thought the video displays weren't all that interesting. maybe i was jaded by the zoo tv tour, but heck that was nearly 12 years ago.
i give the show three out of five fingers. back-to-old-school beasties aren't bad. it's just hard to blow out an arena show.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
the paperback revolution. some great covers here.
for kyle: interview with neal stephenson on slashdot.
esp. liked his answer to question #2 even though i think he's partially wrong about the advent of the novel. it wasn't just the means of production that allowed the novel to come into being (some time in the 19th century if i'm not mistaken). it was also this notion of class, of people being able to transcend their station. emma bovary (flaubert) wasn't possible before the 1800s b/c she wouldn't have existed. literally. there was no moving up and down the social ladder. you were a peasant or you were a prince. the novel (the new) was something that grew up out of the social upheaval of that period. also an attempt to break free of classical poetry. the printing press helped, but that's like saying blogs simply grew out of the internet. yes and no. there is a social phenomenon at work distinct from the means. still, good points all around about the rift between Beowulf (classical school) writers and literary stylists (high modern) and all the points in between.
tv-b-gone. a $15 universal remote that can turn off any television in a public space.
go yankees. actually i don't care who wins the yankee/sox matchup, but thomas, through no doing on our part, is rooting for them. i think it's because flat thomas is in nyc right now with rob. how is flat thomas rob? i tried to tell him the mets are the real hometown new york team, but he won't have it.
i'm hoping the astros go to the series. i used to love to watch them when i was a kid. j.r. richards was their pitcher. i actually had a big poster of richards on my wall. he was something to watch. probably one of the most talented pitchers to ever take the plate. my buddy scott (you still read this blog?) can testify. also a sad tale. he suffered a stroke and never played baseball again. he became a bum, living under overpasses in houston. everyone forgot about him until this reporter did a story on him (i remember, we were living in galveston at the time of the story) and people sort of pitched (oops) in and helped him back on his feet. he's probably the patron saint of the astros if there could be one. aside from the rockets, houston's always been a town of losers. maybe this'll change.
if voters paid attention, would they ever vote?
lonanne and i talk about this all the time. the more information you have, the less sure you seem to be about any given topic. take global warming. there seems to be some measure of agreement that the earth is heating up. but scientists differ wildly on what causes it. just take this brief critique of an MIT article on how mathematical errors may be responsible for the linkage of human activity to warming. i defy you to read the short critique let alone the entire MIT article. you're saying big whoop right about now, but think about this. every time either kerry or bush bring up the kyoto protocol, this is the science underlying any decision they make. if industrialization is not responsible for global warming, wouldn't our money (a la the skeptical environmentalist) be better spend elsewhere? but if we're wrong about that, it's a big deal. and you can't get even two mathematicians to agree on it? as the reason article notes, people at a certain point simply make a choice and then back it up with selective facts. some people hold their noses, knowing that they are basing their vote on generalities that can't be quantified. i hate bush, therefore kerry. the war on terror is more important than (insert gov't initiative here) therefore bush. they're both dopes therefore libertarian/green/nader. it helps to have these sturdy one-liners, but in the end, they aren't much more than irrational decisions based on a series of assumptions that might be false. i guess that's faith. or just plain old american common sense.
contributors to the reason universe step up and reveal their votes
also, short quiz to boost comment ratings. name one right from the bill of rights that has been amended or modified or removed or destroyed by either the patriot act and/or john ashcroft's justice dept. in no way am i indicating there are none. i hate the underlying principles of the patriot act and think we're better off overhauling the INS, but i'm curious what if anything has changed?
i'll start off with a question: can they search your library records without a warrant from a judge? interesting wrinkle: most libraries (i worked at one) don't keep public records past a few days. even if they wanted to know which books you checked out last month, it'd be very difficult to do. that might have changed, but i don't think so.
mr. picassohead. promises minutes of time-wasting fun.
the new breck girl
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
kerry desperate? nah.
i do think the analysts are right that the mary cheney statements don't help. more people have kids than are offended by some perceived hypocrisy concerning homosexuals (no matter how true that may ring). and you just don't talk about someone else's kid. unless you're saying how awesome they are. apparently, even mike mccurry (clinton press flak) has been begging kerry to issue an apology.
all your al qaeda are belong to us
we observe our caterpillars closely.
thomas' died before becoming a butterfly. i think they all died. ahhh, life.
Monday, October 18, 2004
short term goals
resist hysteria over flu vaccine.
listen to joseph arthur on musicmatch. also guided by voices. i'm having a hard time with the second one.
reorganize netflix queue.
reflect on buddha nature when it comes to cars. thank God and 60,000 mile warranty. the trooper had 58,400 miles on it and the $7,000 engine blew up. consider this if you're thinking of purchasing a trooper.
help out at soccer practice. thomas is doing great (he's unusually fast for his height and the fact he inherited my stubby legs) and his coach is all about letting them have fun, which i like. but it's getting to the point where they need to develop some of the killer instincts girls come by naturally. i helped out one practice and ran up and down the field yelling at them like a maniac. KICK THE BALL. HARD. FASTER. they did pretty well.
try not to be let down by beastie boys concert. i haven't been to a decent concert since the walkmen during sxsw. everything's hyped and overblown. even the strokes were disappointing. you might find this unsurprising.
drink less coffee, more water. cut out sodas altogether.
help carve pumpkins.
overcome nagging fear of death (not helped by reading joyce's the dead)
finish new story (tentatively titled m.i.l.f)
stop responding to comments on blog. this takes more energy than you think given the pathetic nature of my comments and i have zero energy to spare.
vote early. shirley and i talked about it and she'll probably write in mccain. i'll write in shirley. also vote no on bond propisition concerning light rail. even the environmentalists don't like it.
get william a haircut. this pains us both greater than you might suspect.
read everything charles portis has written. just finished true grit. what a book! what an author! next up, norwood.
cut back on the following words: just, really, very, pretty much, interesting. pretty much all prepositional phrases. see how hard it is?
new bio out on e.e. cummings; he of the lower case life...
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain, has such small hands
Thursday, October 14, 2004
genghis khan, sensitive new age guy (S.N.A.G)?
the real story on kerry's tora bora meme (i.e. bush lost bin laden in the white mountains)
new jibjab. click on "good to be in d.c."
thorough breakdown of bush's tax cuts.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
fair breakdown of bush vs. kerry on healthcare. fodder for the domestic debate.
survey that determines your ideal candidate.
here are my results:
1. Your ideal theoretical candidate. (100%)
2. Bush, President George W. - Republican (62%)
3. Badnarik, Michael - Libertarian (61%)
4. Kerry, Senator John, MA - Democrat (42%)
5. Peroutka, Michael - Constitution Party (23%)
6. Cobb, David - Green Party (15%)
7. Nader, Ralph - Independent (15%)
8. Brown, Walt - Socialist Party (7%)
i would've thought libertarian would come up first, but i guess libertarians pretty much oppose iraq. i didn't even know there was a constitution party. i live in texas so it doesn't much matter who i vote for. bush is going to sweep texas. i wonder who my ideal theoretical candidate would be. maybe mccain. or schwarzenegger. of course there's that pesky constitution
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
for kyle: not that this by any means trumps the death of superman, but jacques derrida is also dead. here's an anti-deconstructive deconstruction.
money quote: For one thing, deconstruction comes with a lifetime guarantee to render discussion of any subject completely unintelligible.
i'm reading kenneth burke's counter-statement for class and, much like nietzsche, the guy is eminently readable if left alone by post-structuralist literary theorists. somehow he's become the poster child for all sorts of academic hooey, but taken as a literary critic who has something to say about art and truth, i think his writing is remarkable. i don't have a problem with layering abstractions, but we've come to a point where much of the conversation about language and art is completely devoid of any concrete details that the average person can relate to. it's fine to blame t.v. and illiteracy, but i think academics have their own accounting to do about this gap.
Monday, October 11, 2004
this about sums it up for me.
''Can we get any of my water?'' he asked Stephanie Cutter, his communications director, who dutifully scurried from the room. I asked Kerry, out of sheer curiosity, what he didn't like about Evian.
''I hate that stuff,'' Kerry explained to me. ''They pack it full of minerals.''
''What kind of water do you drink?'' I asked, trying to make conversation.
''Plain old American water,'' he said.
''You mean tap water?''
''No,'' Kerry replied deliberately. He seemed now to sense some kind of trap. I was left to imagine what was going through his head. If I admit that I drink bottled water, then he might say I'm out of touch with ordinary voters. But doesn't demanding my own brand of water seem even more aristocratic? Then again, Evian is French -- important to stay away from anything even remotely French.
''There are all kinds of waters,'' he said finally. Pause. ''Saratoga Spring.'' This seemed to have exhausted his list. ''Sometimes I drink tap water,'' he added.
sometimes i drink tap water. that's going to go down along with: terrorists are a nuisance...like, gambling and prostitution. there is a kerryism site right? tell me there is one.
it always rains when it pours
honda needs radiator replaced. $400.
trooper threw a rod on the way to kerrville. possibly $2000 if my warranty won't cover it.
car stereo stolen right in front of my fucking house. $250.
knowing where the next six month's of your income is going: priceless.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
just when you think we've discovered everything
six foot lion-killing gorillas. or giant chimpanzees. or the monty python crew dressing up, trying one last media stunt before they fade away into infomercials.
Friday, October 08, 2004
whatever happened to carl lewis? i bet you were wondering this weren't you? well, he unfortunately failed at music videos.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
r.i.p. rodney dangerfield
oh, and who won the veep debate? i saw snippets. edwards sure does blink a lot. i heard a funny prediction on it at our writer's round table at the river pub. edwards will defend kerry while cheney gnaws on the bones of dead children.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
is it possible to drink too much water? everyone always says you can't drink enough water. but i feel as if perhaps i've had too much.
nice history and pulse of the short story. hard to imagine its current incarnation is only a few hundred years old.
Monday, October 04, 2004
how the other half lives (literally)
my stepbrother the architect was kind enough to share his wristbands with us and we got to go to the aia austin homes tour yesterday. there were some incredible houses. we went inside a condo at the nokonah (over there by whole foods near lamar/6th) and some really nice renovations over off enfield and in tarrytown. the best or most over-the-top was def. number 9 on 811 congress. holy bejeezus was that place swank. four story loft in what has to be a building from the early 1900s. it had just about everything including a pool with a glass bottom on the balcony (you could see up into it on the floor below) and a home movie theatre that made alamo drafthouse look like the dollar cinema. the place was decked with more midcentury modern furniture than aqua has in its entire inventory. i asked one of the docents what the guy did. she said he worked at accenture. i think she must've meant he owned accenture. there was even a yard on the top of the building. not astroturf. not a little garden. a freaking yard. the most amazing thing, however, was how many people were just standing around as docents. i mean each house must've had like 10 people per house. are there that many architecture students at UT? who were these people?
Sunday, October 03, 2004
Saturday, October 02, 2004
the long slow death of christopher hitchens
i know i link to a lot of stuff from this guy. love him or hate him he's our reigning intellectual gadfly. his ideas don't chart along normal lines. pick up letters to a young contrarian if you seriously doubt this.
futura font in wes anderson films.
a new postman. or bloom. here's an excerpted essay by mark edmunson from a book called why read?
learning as suffering?
the online fallacy finder