Thursday, March 30, 2006

All yours for a $45 Tax Deductible Donation

Mike Doughty's blog had a link to hip NYC radio station WFMU.

Talent Show

Replacements Reunite For New Songs

"As tipped yesterday (March 28) on Billboard's Jaded Insider blog, Replacements members Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson and Chris Mars have reunited to record two new songs for an upcoming retrospective, "Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?: The Best of the Replacements." Due June 13 via Rhino, the set will feature "Message to the Boys" and "Pool & Dive," the band's first new recordings in 16 years."
This is even more exciting than getting the first disc of Six Feet Under Season 5 last night in the mail. I am eager to hear the new material and just wish there was more. I was more pumped up about the Pixies getting back together because I had never seen them live. I did get the oppurtunity to see the 'Mats a few times before their demise. Once at a small outdoor stage near an amusement park in CT during the final days of the band when they opened Elvis Costello and once when they were headlining at a club called One Step Beyond in Santa Clara, CA on the Don't Tell A Soul tour. Both times band seemed relatively sober and we were fortunate it was not of the infamous shows in which they were plastered and played all cover songs...poorly. I just wish they would reunite for a new tour. If only the Pixies would record a new album as has been rumoured.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

As an alumni alumnus it was sad to see that the Connecticut women Huskies have joined the men in being eliminated from the NCAA tournament. It was a good run and at least they played better than expected, unlike the men who should have lost at least once before they did and screwed up office pools around the country. Excerpt of poem below is taken from a collection entitled Rising and Falling by William Matthews that can be found here in a Contemporary American Writers collection of out of print poetry at Connecticut College.

"In Memory of the Utah Stars"

Something in you remembers every
time the ball left your fingertips
wrong and nothing the ball
can do in the air will change that.
You watch it set, stupid moon,
the way you watch yourself
in a recurring dream.
You never lose your touch
or forget how taxed bodies
go at the same pace they owe,
how brutally well the universe
works to be beautiful,
how we metabolize loss
as fast as we have to.

P.S. I have also added former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty's blog to my list...he has a lot of pictures from his trip to Eritrea and I dig his new record.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

May 7, 1963: Birmingham Police arrest Parker High School student Mattie Howard in front of the Carver Theatre. Youths became an integral part of the civlil rights movement when the Children's Crusade began on May 2.

I was tipped off to the site that this photo is from by an email newsletter, Tourbus, which mostly is a FAQ and help site about the internet. Although the authors do come up with some interesting links now and again.

There are dozens of pictures taken from a recently discovered treasure trove of around 5,000 photos documenting Civil Rights Movement featured at The Birmhingam News links below...

A pdf file of the spread from The Birmhingham News is here...

The site from paper is here...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Tom, a friend and former coworker from back east, likes to send emails of with photos from his digital camera. Usually they are shots of him with random women at Red Sox or Patriot games. Many pictures feature his red Dodge Ram truck. Sometimes he even sends a picture of his son. This one surprised me as it is a fairly decent shot of the beach at Groton Long Point. You can make out Fisher's Island NY on the horizon. This beach on the Sound and a great place to see live bands in the summer. I think I need to see an ocean soon as I am getting a little nostalgic.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Triumph of Death

It has been a hectic week. Returned from Columbus (Red State, sorry I was too busy to get some Korean food with you this time. Will be back in state week of April 9-13).

I will try and keep up the site. It may be infrequent posting until work settles down later this week but I assure you the quality will continue to be sub-par. For various reasons mostly related to work and the Martin Amis book Experience, I have been thinking of the above by Bruegel. I first ran across this at Uconn in a history class on the Reformation which initially sparked more of an interest in the art of this period.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Scenes From A Mall

Driving a sports car such as this might say something of one's personality. Parking said vehicle in such a manner speaks volumes.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

And the award for actual news site that most closely resembles The Onion goes to...

Top Story

Local Woman Writes Novel
A Cedar Rapids woman released her first novel Monday evening. It's a story based loosely on her life. Christina McGriff spent a month and a half writing her first novel.Complete Story...

Record Food Stamp Numbers
An all-time record number of Iowans received food stamps in February. But the Iowa Department of Human Services is not concerned. In fact, the higher numbers are part of a plan and not a sign of economic distress.Complete Story...

Hawk Fans Celebrating Big 10 Champs
Gas Grills In Marion
Deadly Fire in Coralville

Deadly fire is buried as the fifth lead? To be fair the broadcast version at 8:00 am lead with an identity theft story. And if the poor woman's novel is only currently available online how about providing a link? Then again perhaps there was a reason for that.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I often find myself juggling several books at once without a problem. Every once in a while I attempt too many and as my reach extends my grasp they all come tumbling down. After sweeping up the mixed metaphors, I reshelve some of the them and return the rest to the library and attempt to focus on one book.

The book that caused the most recent collapse is Martin Amis's Experience which I found while browsing at The Book End. I picked it up glanced at it for a bit and then moved it from fiction to its proper spot on the memoir shelf near a copy of Traci Lords: Underneath it All. I made another lap around the store. I picked it up again (the Amis not the Lords book as I had paged through it on a previous visit) and read some more. Five mintues later and two dollars fewer I was on my way. It was a steal.

I have read more about Amis then of him and it seems the Brits or at least the press and critics have a love/hate relationship with him, enfant terrible being the most frequently used sobriquet. His novel Night Train is the only one of his that I have read and with pleasure. A dark take on the detective novel. A genre so well known for its happy endings. I seem to have lost or misplaced an autographed copy of London Fields in one of my many moves. (I have never read his father Kingsley Amis most known I suppose for Lucky Jim. Amis père, as Christopher Hitchens has noted, was a forerunner in the humorous literary campus novel so prevalent today.)

Experience is difficult to categorize strictly as autobiography since the memoir addresses becoming a writer, growing up the son of a writer, the disappearance and death of a cousin, becoming a father, failing romances, marriage, literary contemporaries, losing his teeth, and the death of his father. Plus it has lots of footnotes which I love. I would compare it to Speak, Memory by Nabokov, a stated influence and clearly a favorite of his . Martin Amis has clearly dealt with lot of pain and caused no undue amount as well and all without losing his sense of humor or knowing who he is.

Naturally about half way through this book I checked out Lucky Jim from the library. Time to start juggling again.

I could not resist.

from Slate

Saturday, March 11, 2006

October 25, 1986

Where were you on that night? It's the tagline to a new movie with a screenplay by Don Delillo about Game Six of the World Series, Mets vs. Red Sox in what turned out to be a game that until 2004 was the closest the Sox came to winning the World Series in almost 80 years. In fact, I doubt this film could have been shown in New England if Sox had not won in 2004. No Sox fan alive wants to see the ball rolling between the wrongfully maligned Bill Buckner's legs on a big screen. The film is currently in limited release and I have not seen any reviews yet. I am curious not only because of the subject but also to see what Delillo has done. The Pafko at the Wall section of Underworld is as poetic a portrayal of a famous (or infamous depending on your team) ball game as baseball gets. Almost as beautiful as Updike's essays on the 1967 Red Sox or Ted Williams last game. Although I am a big fan of Delillo earlier works, I was not able to get through his book Cosmopolis and the previous one, The Body Artist left me mostly confused. So I suppose I am rooting for a return to form like that bastard Clemens after he left the Sox. But I digress.

Where was I? I have drawn a complete blank as to what I did that night. I was in San Francisco ostensibly doing Korean homework, probably at a bar called the Black Fox. I don't think they even had a TV set. I do know that I was not really following baseball much at all after the 1981 strike. I became a Sox fan after moving to southeastern Connecticut (You were either a Sox fan or a Yankee fan but anyone rooting for the Yankees east of Bridgeport was considered a band wagon fan and subject to well deserved abuse) and I had also been a Bill Buckner fan since being told he was the most famous alumni of our little Vallejo school, Napa Valley Elementary. (Well most famous to 8 year old boys at least. There could have been Nobel Laureates that attended and we would have been clueless unless they were pictured on a Topp's bubble gum card.)

Anyway, I was always more crushed by the Red Sox losing the one game playoff to the Yankees in 1978 then I was the '86 series. At the time of World Series I was in the Army, distracted by the attractions of San Francisco , struggling to do well in Korean so I would not get reassigned as a petroleum supply specialist in the Sinai. (This happened to some classmates.) So I really wasn't paying too much attention to baseball. In1978 the Sox had blown a huge lead in the standings but I still had hope. In 1986 after Game Six, I knew there was none. Not until the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees. "Our losses were repaired." I still wish I could remember where I was. Someone had recentlu given me a copy of Endzone so perhaps I was reading Delillo for the first time. Probably not.

Friday, March 10, 2006

It was time to swap my art from library. From some reason this one by Diego Rivera stood out from all the rest after a week of snow, rain, and a outdoor palette of grey. I still need to see Julie Taymor's Frida.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

When is it okay to drink before 10 am?

ESPN's the sports guy came up with a modified list in response to a reader pointing out some omissions. I was trying to think if he left any other situations out. For me it would be St. Patrick's Day when conditions are appropriate. Say, for example, when you are in Cancun for your first and only Spring break as a college senior while there is a blizzard going on back in New England. Although that might just fall under the envelope of Spring Break rule of being able to drink 24/7 although we did generally wait until noon that being the time when we usally woke up on the beach quite thirsty and in need of more sunscreen. I will try to dig up some pictures. I need a scanner.
Here is his list.

SG: You're right, I completely blew that list the first time around; I'm taking a mulligan. Here's my official "When it's OK to drink before 10 a.m." list:

While attending football tailgates, college reunions or the Boston Marathon … during your final two weeks of college … during any Vegas trip or bachelor party or guys-only golf outing … if you pulled an all-nighter and haven't left a strip club yet … before any wedding that starts at 1 p.m. or earlier … any time your in-laws are visiting … during any morning when it's below 10 degrees … if you're dating an actress and just attended a movie premiere during which she had a graphic sex scene with someone else on a 50-foot screen … while living in any town in Canada that's farther than 75 miles from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa or Vancouver … if you've been writing for a late-night talk show for more than two years … if your name is "Jack Nicholson" … before your fantasy football draft if you're trying to get the ball rolling so some of your other buddies get plastered … and if you're Vin Baker and you're getting checks from four different NBA teams at the exact same time.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Frederick Busch

I was saddened to read about the death of the writer Frederick Busch. I was a big fan of the two historical novels of his that I read. The Night Inspector is the tale of a disfigured Civil War veteran who befriends a lonely, frustrated, novelist working in New York City customs office, Herman Melville. The writer has been forgotten after his first two sensational novels about his seafaring experiences sold well and his masterpiece of the whale has been published without fanfare or interest. I also read his Dickens novel, Our Mutual Friend with pleasure.

from L.A. Times...

Frederick Busch, 64; a 'Writer's Writer,' Former Professor at Colgate University
By Mary Rourke, Times Staff WriterMarch 2, 2006

Frederick Busch, the author of close to 30 books, many of them novels and collections of short stories about the hardships and anguish of ordinary people, has died. He was 64.A former professor of literature at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., Busch suffered a heart attack during a visit to New York City and died Feb. 23 at Bellevue Hospital Center, his family said. He had been a resident of Sherburne, in central New York state.

Using his local environs as the setting for many of his novels, Busch "brought central New York alive for millions of readers," Colgate President Rebecca S. Chopp said in a recent statement.He was often referred to as a "writer's writer," and his work was compared to that of such literary masters as Raymond Carver and John Cheever. Busch received a number of prestigious awards, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters fiction award in 1986 and the PEN/Malamud prize in 1991. Busch once said his goal was to be "a really honest, minor writer of the 20th century."

Many of Busch's stories are about good people going through hard times. "Manual Labor" (1974) tells of a married couple struggling with repeated miscarriages. "Rounds" (1979) follows a medical doctor as he copes with the death of his son. "Girls" (1997), one of Busch's best received novels, is about a husband and wife who are losing touch after 20 years together."We're not talking about wife beaters here," Greiner said of "Girls" in a 1997 interview with National Public Radio. "We're talking about the little tensions that build and build and build. I think [Busch] is very, very good at suggesting a kind of domestic heroism, what it takes to hold a family together".

Two of Busch's novels blend fictional characters with figures from history. "The Mutual Friend" (1978) is about 19th century British novelist Charles Dickens. The Guardian newspaper in London called it one of the 10 best books of the year, though a reviewer for the New York Times said it was "often brilliant, but inert.""The Night Inspector" (1999) features American author Herman Melville, a once-prominent writer who was nearly forgotten by the time he died in the late 1800s.In Busch's story, Melville interacts with a Civil War veteran in what a reviewer for Publishers Weekly called a "serious, nuanced, meditation on history."

Busch's interest in his vocation led to a book of essays called "A Dangerous Profession: A Book About the Writing Life" (1998). In it he reflected on the work of Ernest Hemingway, Graham Greene and other authors he admired. He also described his own experiences as a writer."Read this book if you are a beginning writer who wants the assurance that others, too, have written, submitted and been rejected over and over again," wrote a reviewer for the New York Times. "Read it if you are an established writer and want to see the continuing doubt and despair of those who have produced great books."

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Busch graduated from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. He married Judith Burroughs in 1963, and they had two children, Benjamin and Nicholas.Busch joined the faculty of Colgate in 1966. The next year he received a master's degree in literature from Columbia University. He continued to teach at Colgate until 2003. One of his most popular courses featured living writers, many of whom he brought to the campus to read and discuss their work with students. He was also acting director of the creative writing program at University of Iowa in 1978 and 1979. Besides his wife and sons, he is survived by a grandchild, Alexandra.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Did anyone else think that Jack Nicholson called an audible when he read Crash over Brokeback Mountain as best picture winner last night? Was anyone else still awake? I saw it as similar to the conspiracy theory going around at the time when Jack Palance selected Marisa Tomei over the four Brits for supporting actress. Perhaps not that much of a stretch though.

As for films about race, I am much more inclined to try and see Tsotsi, the foreign film winner from South Africa based on novel by reknowned playwright Athol Fugard. I first saw Fugard's play Master Harold and the Boys in its pre-Broadway run in New Haven while in high school. It moved me so much that I made my combined social studies/english project that year on apartheid and Fugard.

Coincidentally, I have recently started reading a novel with racial issues set in America circa 19th century. The Amalgamation Polka by Stephen Wright is set in the Civil War. Main character Liberty Fish is son of Northern father and abolitionst Southern mother. I just started it so can't really say too much about it except that I have always liked Wright's prose. One blurb called it a cross between Heart of Darkness and Alice in Wonderland. Wright is a graduate of Iowa Writer's Workshop and former Army Intelligence soldier during Vietnam (Meditations in Green is his novel of Vietnam that I have mentioned here before that I loved).

And perhaps not completely coincidental is today's poem from Poetry Daily....


In 1965 my parents broke two laws of Mississippi;
they went to Ohio to marry, returned to Mississippi.

They crossed the river into Cincinnati, a city whose name
begins with a sound like sin, the sound of wrong – mis in Mississippi.

A year later they moved to Canada, followed a route the same
as slaves, the train slicing the white glaze of winter, leaving Mississippi.

Faulkner's Joe Christmas was born in winter, like Jesus, given his name
for the day he was left at the orphanage, his race unknown in Mississippi.

My father was reading War and Peace when he gave me my name.
I was born near Easter, 1966, in Mississippi.

When I turned 33 my father said, It's your Jesus year – you're the same
age he was when he died. It was spring, the hills green in Mississippi.

I know more than Joe Christmas did. Natasha is a Russian name –
though I'm not; it means Christmas child, even in Mississippi.

Natasha Trethewey
Native Guard
Houghton Mifflin Company

Friday, March 03, 2006

Playing with my cell phone camera

Spring (Hot pepper plants I started a couple weeks ago)

Winter (View from outside my front door)


I am not hungover.
I am not hungover.
Not hungover am I.
Am I hungover? Not!
Hungover am I not.
Am hungover? Not I.
I hungover not am.
I am hungover. (Not).
Not I am hungover.
Hungover I am not.
Am I not hungover?
Not am I hungover.
I not am hungover.
Hungover not am I.

David Lehman

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sex Pistols to Hall of Fame, Piss Off

The 'official' response from Sex Pistols.

Ariticle from Pitchfork.

from the New Yorker


From: His Holiness
To: All seminaries

Subject: While the Church approves of ordaining “transitory” homosexuals—that is, those men willing to take subways and buses rather than taxis—according to our most recent directive we “cannot admit to the priesthood those who practice homosexuality, present deeply rooted homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’ ”

The following questionnaire should be used to help identify and root out such truly committed homosexuals.

1. Jesus would have been a bad boyfriend because:
(a) He wasn’t gay or sexual in any way, so the question is disgusting.
(b) He would have cared about everyone, but not enough about you.
(c) He wasn’t really Jewish.

2. Priests traditionally wear black with a white collar because:

(a) The attire is simple and modest.
(b) It’s slimming.
(c) The matching quilted shoulder bag is what really makes the whole thing work.

3. Priests take a vow of poverty because:

(a) It’s selfless and humbling.
(b) It’s handy when the check comes.
(c) It makes their apartments feel larger.

4. Should Kate Moss be allowed to take Communion?

5. If there were a Fox series set in the Vatican, it should star:

(a) Wilfred Brimley, as a wise, compassionate Pontiff.
(b) Jennifer Love Hewitt, as a lovely and devout young nun who can talk to martyrs.
(c) Me and Heath. Period.

6. If you found yourself attracted to another priest, you would:

(a) Ask him to pray with you to battle the sinful urge, over drinks.
(b) Banish all such thoughts from your mind until you lose fifteen pounds.
(c) Ask him, “What’s black and white and wants your number?”

7. When you were watching “The Passion of the Christ,” did you ever think, It’s deeply moving and profoundly important, but it’s not “Chicago”?

The rest is over here...