Friday, April 30, 2010

D.A. Powell

sent me a friendship invite on Goodreads and I was quite touched.

Well, I'm always touched when anyone sends me a friendship invite on Goodreads or anywhere else.

I can't keep it up, because I'm antisocial. Bipolar. And all the rest.

But still.

I was touched.

The man has written some poems which will last.

And they sound like poems out of the Greek Anthology often, which are sort of my favorite type of poem.

I hope he lives forever.

I hope you all live forever.

But you're not going to do that, are you?

You're all going to be difficult.

Rumor Has It

that along with the other sweeping changes being made for the DSM-V--like rethinkings of the autism spectrum and better clarifications about what really constitutes Asperger's Syndrome--is the addition of the new diagnosis of "batshit-crazy."

It's finally being recognized, and those who suffer from this devastating condition will finally be able to receive the care they have been denied for so long.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

my throat is swollen from drinking blood

No, I didn't finally give in to the vampire craze and try to emulate some metrosexual vampire in some hugely successful potboiler. It's my own blood. I had the poison tooth extracted. I went in blithely figuring it would just be a simple procedure like that plied by the the barbers of old (this is why there's a RED stripe on their pole...for dentistry...or was it because they bled people...i know they applied leeches too...that's in the one Gide probably knew that) using their pliers to pluck out the offending dental agent provocateur, but noooo.

It was a complicated procedure in which the oral surgeon was grinding down layer after layer of nerve. The Novocain (or generic procaine, whatever) wasn't cutting it. Or it was, but in intervals. I kept thinking of that scene in Marathon Man. I'm so glad I was so naive about this so I only had to deal with the brief horror of it...well...briefly.

I did make the fuckers keep shooting me up with more Novocain and I have to say the guy didn't stint. He'd drill and then use some tool like a metal shoehorn to dig and gouge and as he drilled he'd hit more live nerve where the painkiller hadn't penetrated so he'd stop and shoot me up again after I had yelled out something close to an obscenity. Bill Murray would have been orgiastiacally screaming out oodles of "Candybars!" if he had taken my place today.

Anyway, the fucker's out. I nearly knocked the doc's tools onto the floor because I made a mad sick dash towards the metal tray to retrieve the extracted tooth as soon as it pinged into that. I hadn't realized he was using my chest as his operating table.

He's a nice guy. He came back into the room afterwards and asked me all seriously, "Are you mad at me?"

It sounded like something guys say after prison sex. That tone.

I laughed and muttered through a big muffling bloody tampon of gauze, "Hell nawl...I'm grateful...Androcles and the Lion...."

Only it sounded like this: "Afdrogkleese ahrnd druh Lyerbun."

I just put another "tampon" in and feel like singing Shania ("Man, do I feel like a woman!")

But the blood is still leaking out, and you know what blood does to tissues it's not supposed to be irritates and inflames them and makes them all swollen and creepy. So my throat feels all swollen from the blood and so is the one side of my tongue. It's a gory fucking mess in there. The hole is fucking huge. It looks like a new sexual orifice. Perhaps it's not true. Perhaps you CAN invent a new sin.

Excuse me. I have to go hold this stupid ice pack to my face for another twenty minutes. Twenty minutes off and on all night til I go to bed.

Yeah. That will happen.

Goodbye, Molar #31. I feel I barely got to know ya.

Maybe I should have asked to take it home with me.

God only knows what they're doing with it now.

They could be selling it into white tooth slavery. Or molesting it.

Now I'm starting to feel like a horrible shepherd to my teeth.

Ah, nevermind. Fucker deserves whatever they do to him.

My jaw still fucking hurts.

And you know what this means, right?


If you're in the area and look insanely good in orange bikini underwear give me a call.

I don't think your sex, gender or orientation will matter after we are both on the second Vicodin.

Or we could just sit around and draw.

That would probably me more prudent.

Unless you have a vampire fetish. Because I could so turn that on for you tonight.

and she said

"Oh being sane is just a whim that nature has absolutely no obligation or even inclination to honor. It's like a creature having a whim of not wanting to die in winter, wanting not to be "found" out, or the quixotic desire to have one's past lovers think well of the ghost with whom they once bedded very comfortably, but perhaps now anathematize. Sanity is a foolish intransigence spitting in the very teeth of those embodiments, those borrowable intelligences, which approach one on rare occasions in one's life with their supernal integrity, hoping you will honor the gestures made by the "no one," who exists. But probably you fled then. To be alone in the room with these can be most unpleasant. Surfeit of listening can produce a saint or a serial killer. Most do flee. Even Virginia Woolf got tired of discourse eventually and used water--really only to drown out her hearing."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jonsi -- Go Do

Singer from Sigur Ros goes solo.

And comes out.

Or maybe he was out? Not sure.

Sorry, Parlophone keeps a tight rein on their artists' videos on YouTube, so no embedding.

But it's nice.

Do visit.

Sigur Ros Sprouts

The Homophonic Paradox: Christian Boltanski Reifying Personnes at the Grand Palais

Christian Boltanski being his usual cheerful self.

Okay, I'm all down with witnessing and art all about mortality can have a lurid fascination.

(Speaking of which, I just learned last night that noted shark hunter and Aussie Vic Heslop was the shark wrangler who got Damien Hirst his tiger shark! Quien sabia!)

I remember when Boltanski's work referenced the Holocaust and there were moral targets, but this is more about a sort of decadence of enjoyment of mortality--it's pretty much Schadenfreude.

But wouldn't it be great if Dieter from Sprockets wandered into this interview?

I feel so sorry for Boltanski's boyfriend or girlfriend.

Can you imagine the conversations? He probably follows you into the bathroom with this sort of talk he's doing here.

Or should I say schtick?

This is museum schtick.

Mr. Boltanski, if you come to the thrift stores or the flea markets with me, you'll find you are making the superfluous gesture.

They do Boltanski better than Boltanski does Boltanski.

Okay, Now It's Coming Clear

I've been reading some of Zora Neale Hurston's works online, and I discovered another reason why this spirit might have chosen to remain outside even the outsiders.

And it might explain why Langston and she were initially such fast friends and worked well as collaborators.

In addition to her many other unpopular affiliations, she was a lesbian (or bisexual).

Interesting (and shameful) that Wikipedia chose to gloss over this fact in its entry on the author.

I see that Wiki even tries to whitewash Langston's homosexuality--or put it in strong dispute.


Yes, Vachel Lindsay discovered him alright. I bet they discovered each other that night.

DEVO - Focus Group - COLOR

Free Ryan Ferguson

He didn't do it.

And Chuck Erickson probably didn't either.

Score another tragic hit for implanted memories.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Once again courtesy of one of my favorite YouTube compilers, who puts on a masterful show.


Harold Budd and Eno collaboration from '84.

Of course Budd was a one-time Cocteau Twin member and left his mark indelibly on The Moon and the Melodies.

If You Need An Altered State or An Elan

Boris Rogowski

is the genius whose words and music were filling me up last night and whom I did not credit.

I kept seeing the name Moishe Lichtfuss and of course that's a hard name to stop looking at and attempting to pronounce in a dream.

But I see now Society Islands is Boris's baby and it doesn't surprise me to learn he's an old hand and has many albums under his belt (even if you can't find them yet).

He's originally from Cologne, Germany, and here is some more info you can learn about him by being nosy and going to JPop's site here: Boris Rogowski

I like the way some of his songs remind me so much of contemporary Icelandic music that I love, particularly songs like "Fuck Bunny" which sound soooo Icelandic to me.

Penicillin VK 500MG Q.I.D.

I was pretty sure I had cancer or something was completely out of whack in my body anyway. The lymph nodes thing was pretty scary. And the neutrophilia was not meaningless as the E.R. intern wanted to say, assuaging, assuaging. The other doc ordered the CAT-scan from high up the neck down into the apical parts of my lungs and they read the results and said "no lymphadenopathy" and sent me home.

The one intern was nice to bring up my results on a computer screen in my room and move through the transected planes of images of my neck; it was almost like one of those computer programs where pilots are trained. Imagine your neck as being imaged inside a crystal ball, and she is turning the ball in her imaginary "hands" and you are seeing your carotid, your lymph nodes, your bone structure....she even showed me the "virtual ruler" and how they deploy it to measure the nodes to determine whether lymphadenopathy is present. I kept asking how old the intern who read my CAT-scan was and whether he was dumb or not. Of course, I couched this in a more subtle way. I didn't use the word "dumb."

I remember them asking me if I'm allergic to the iodine dye when they were fixing me up with the i.v. before the CAT-scan, and I lied and said "No." Well, I don't know if I lied. I had no clue if I was allergic. I just figured if I was, I would go into anaphylactic shock and my misery would be over quickly and Lee could collect a fortune from this wealthy institution.

And of course I knew it was not nothing even after the pronouncement of "No lymphadenopathy...Go home" and spent a horrible week wondering what it really was, and not really able to dismiss it as my S.I.G.M. surging bacterially when that seemed to be in abeyance somewhat.

So I tool into my dentist when I finally scrape together the funds to finally fill this cavity that's near the back of my mouth and starting to really throb. I had been doing the poor man's treatment with the fake filling stuff from Wally World and then Orajel, and had had bad reactions to both of these substances that lasted one day.

And he says, "Wait, I need an X-ray" and of course I knew instantly what's coming next when he says that.

He tells me it's abscessed and he can't fill it. It's a root canal at the periodontist or nothing.

I haven't seen my periodontist in three years. We tend to move in different circles.

So I ask him how much it will cost me to have the fucker yanked instead and he says "a few hundred, possibly less."

And how much for a miserable root canal (that might not last anyway). And he says a thousand bucks probably. Then seven hundred for the crown.

So you can guess which option I chose.

Plus with my depression lately I did the verbiage count. I figured I could get the tooth yanked by speaking about 150 words, but it would probably require at least 2500 words with strangers to set up the root canal and crown.

And is any single tooth (in the back mind you) worth 1700 dollars? I could see a front "star" tooth demanding that salary, but a rear grinder? It's a mere bit player really--lucky to even be able to share the stage with those celebrated incisors and canines, who are in practically every scene. Don't even try to talk to them after the show if you're a lowly molar. Let them get their beauty rest. They'll be on again soon enough.

I asked the dentist what the pitfalls of having it pulled are, and he said my teeth would shift and my bite would be off.

I asked if I could have some sort of "bridge of one" constructed to stop this and he seemed to imply this is possible with a vague nod.

I'm sure this is something ridiculously exorbitant as well.

So now this probably explains why the lymph nodes that I felt were all on that side of the neck and back below this tooth.

I never even thought to put that tooth and the problem with it together with what was happening with my body and my CBC. But I had started taking aspirin-substitute and ignoring the pain as it crept up somewhat insidiously and tended to wax and wane. I should have known by the time I started feeling pain in my jawbone that something seriously bad was going on. You can die from an abscessed tooth if you neglect it. And it was one near the back, so the odd pain I had in my brain might have actually been bacterial attack migrating that direction. Ugh.

I'm hoping this explains why I felt shitty and why I had neutrophilia (which is usually a response to a bacterial infection).

The receptionist at the oral surgery clinic is wonderful but she was doing her best to terrify me when I made the call to schedule. She wanted me to fill the penicillin rx instantly. So I did. Right after Googling "abscessed tooth" and "death" and "oohing" and "aahing" for about twenty-five dunderheaded minutes in which bacteria were probably doing their best to hurry up and do me in (doubtless they had overhead the news that the assassin Pencillin had already been phoned up).

I hadn't realized I had probably once again gone over to bacteremia, possibly without even the influence of the nefarious S.I.G.M.--or maybe the S.I.G.M. had made this situation more possible. I'm not sure if the bacterium in question is one of the ones I'm more susceptible to--that tends to be more strep or staph strains. I think these teeth ones tend to be other spirochete creepy things.

It isn't like I don't brush after every meal (I do). I just have been cursed with what I was told is "thick, ropy, enzymatic saliva" since I was young. I think it runs in my family. As one notorious friend noted, "God probably knew you would need that for the blowjobs." I always had to get cleanings more frequently than others, even though I brushed and flossed just as often.

So maybe the pencillin is what made me feel momentarily free of my agoraphobic tendencies lately and allowed me to go to Saturday's Market in Middletown with Lee and Chas yesterday.

I found a bunch of great items, mostly to give to Lee to pass on, but a few tiny things for gifts and to keep.

Found a great nineteenth century photograph of a waterfall I don't recognize at all, an oversize cabinet photo that's just gorgeous (one dollar), a bizarre rotogravure postcard of a little baby girl (a buck) and a tintype of a baby that I think is Civil War era (two bucks).

Somebody's Mother died and she had collected salt and pepper shakers. Collected is an understatement. Worshipped? Hoarded? I usually don't pick up too many of these as I find most of them exquisitely boring but the son was selling all of them for a buck per set and she had ones that caught my eye. Green plastic atomic bombs from the fifties. A cast iron pup in a cast iron shoe. A weird set composed of a German Shepherd and a logpile he was apparently guarding. Many were older and had the corks for stoppers.

I found some great children's schoolbooks from the thirties, forties and fifties. I bought mostly workbooks as the textbooks tend to be less rare. There was a linen book featuring breeds of dogs, one per page, that was to die for, but it had too many condition issues. It's so hard to find those linen books. And they are invariably amazing. The colors and design on this one were out of this world. They were definitely 1940s doggies.

At a jewelry stand there was this great sale on vintage pins and I found some awesome ones. Lots of old Halloween pins and a weird African Ubangi one.

Someone threw in a free stuffed Chilly Willy (the penguin) when I was buying other items.

I had a good time talking to sellers and found some I definitely want to seek out again.

I was sorry I didn't take my digicam for pics as I saw some amazing things I didn't want to buy, but would have loved to have shared here.

We started with the outside sellers (a huge parking lot) and then moved inside. Some of the inside sellers (who have permanent stalls) have amazing displays of centuries worth of photogenic detritus.

It's like walking through the Titanic at the bottom of the sea for me. And that's about how slowly I move, unfortunately, in places like this. I get totally absorbed. There were sellers I had to just walk away from because I knew I would fall into a trance for hours--certain postcard sellers, for example, or the guy who had every science fiction journal from the thirties, forties and fifties there for purchase (most in mint condition).

I could truly spend a month just looking at one day's displays if I were able to freeze time and not sleep for that period.

Of course I made sure we got lots of veggies, fruit and treats from the stands, mostly from our favorite Amish families.

The tomatoes are already delicious. In April! You have to forget dietary sanity when you're buying from the Amish. Their flavored potato chips, pumpkin roll, cakes, chicken pot pie, etc. are musts.

I picked up goodies and things for my Mom and we dropped them off for her on the way home. I found some jewelry for her as well as the pieces I found for Lee to put online.

Oh, I almost forgot to say. The other night I was looking at this lovely Gruen fob-style watch on an ornately articulated chain that I had resting atop a chest of drawers in my bedroom for quite some time--just for eye-appeal. It's definitely 1920s or earlier. And I wound it up and was surprised to realize the thing actually keeps perfect time. I think I'm going to carry this around in my pocket now like a complete madman since my Seiko battery died sometime back and I can't face an interaction with a person behind a jewelry counter at this point in time. I know it only costs five bucks to have the battery replaced but you need the jeweler to open the watch. It's one of those ridiculously impossible backs that requires the jeweler's tools.

I'm still not sure I don't have lymphatic cancer or something else horrible but I'm hoping once the oral surgeon removes the fucking poison tooth things will resolve in the CBC and the nodes.

I was making horrible jokes at the Market. I told Lee "Wow, I could even go out and fuck someone with syphilis right now!" Penicillin makes you feel so armored. I'm sure it's an illusion. I don't think he appreciated my slutty sense of humor.

I offered Lee and Chas penicillin in case they too wanted to get right up in people's faces at the market and breathe some contagion but they passed. Of course, this will do nothing against the viral stuff. It's just penicillin.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Melodium - My Xylophone Loves Me

Some High Llamas

Awesome Unknown Band Alert: The Society Islands

Check out some tunes here...I love "Fuck Bunny"...

Some tunes by The Society Islands here

Here's what the singer says about one of the songs on their album:

"This is the shortest possible version of the first song on Last Hero of the Western World. The ideal version plays for about two days (48 hrs) and features two Turbojet engines and a choir of 1011. If you happen to be very rich and want to help with the realization of this project feel free to shoot me an email. This is not a joke.

People approached me asking if the lyrics on this one were a riddle – not a Nik Kershaw type of riddle which is not a riddle at all, albeit believed by many to be one (the problem is that I still believe that the Nik Kershaw riddle is, in fact, a riddle). Others asked me if the song contained allusions to the Cold War, their reasoning for this assumption being the image of an armed girl swimming across the Bering Sea (some reasoning I have to say). Another group of people wanted to know if this song was about the end of economic hegemony and if they should sell their [xxxxx] stocks (in trade for what, you idiots? money?). A 7-year-old was pretty sure it was about the follow-up to World of Warcraft. A citizen outraged tried to hit me in the face crying about “your sinister heritage, son, which deprived me of the last moment of placidity my ever so challenged mind was allowing me”.

My answer is yes.

And be sure to give a listen to "Fuck Bunny" which is also on the site for preview.

Love love love this track. Especially what happens around 2:00.

This band is amazing. I expect to see them hugely famous in about six months.

The artists write...

“Fuck Bunny” is song number 5 on Last Hero of the Western World and for those who are interested I have 5 fun fun fun! facts (sorry, been reading James Frey recently) about it:

1. The lyrics do not contain any form of profanity (but your interpretation of them might).

2. With the exception of the noise guitars all instruments were tuned to 435 Hz (the 1885 Viennese standard pitch). The guitars were tuned to 440 Hz which we didn’t realize before mixing. At the end we decided to embrace the dissonance and not change the pitch digitally.

3. The bass guitar and the banjo were plucked with a rubber seal ring because I was too lazy to look for an appropriate pick.

4. I had forgotten to write lyrics for one of the parts and since I didn’t want to pause and pick up a pen I quickly made them up, starting with a line from an earlier part, “stay on these roads”, which I had stolen from A-ha in the first place.

5. I fell asleep shortly after finishing the song and had one of the most unpleasant nightmares of my life.

Got picked up at UIO, LIS, LAX, NRT, I forgot; wrought iron fences through cab window through the condensation and the hems peering upward until hotel arrives now putting hair straight steam from storm drain hazy check-in second round in discounted ambassador suite on 4th floor head hurts get cleaned up looking at skyscrapers moving out without briefing air and traffic noises hurt big house of god sleeps in square liana garden calm inside despite evening service pew hurts my back holding your weight holding you forever unease is bearable not quite seizable drinks somewhere resembling cannon street fingers eyes scalp itch waiting for another cab back at the hotel the room changed you notice spread eagled on the center bed you changed I notice your body lifts off the mattress hovers face down right below the ceiling


Love in an Elevator? Love the Acoustics to this Society Islands' Cover of Peter Gabriel's "San Jacinto"

from one of my favorite albums of all time, Security.

Love the elevator acoustics on this.

Sort of puts me in a trance even with the radical reinterpretation.

But that album was all about altered states to start out with.

There are about five songs on there that always seriously alter my waking consciousness.

They all seem to be aimed at different brainwave sets (some are the frantic trance state where waves are sped up--what scientists say they see in faith healers' brain when they are elsewhere and working their "craft".) An example of this latter would be "The Family and the Fishing Net" on Security.

I can't think of a single album that is more shamanistic than Gabriel's Security.

At least nowhere in the domain of what would be called (somewhat inaccurately in this case) pop music.

Darren Hayes

David Henrie for IPOD

I've got to stop watching the Disney channel.

I find Lorazepam + OTC drug combos make for wonderful compatibility with The Wizards of Waverly Place plotlines.

Is it just me or is David Henrie probably playing a character ten years younger than his actual chronological age.

They find the most adorable young gals for Disney. Selena Gomez is charming as is her costar, Jennifer Stone, the gal who makes me actually want to watch Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars tomorrow evening.

Is that really Dom Deluise's kid? Playing Dad? Has to be. It's fun to watch his waistline change from episode to episode. I think he vacillates between four sizes usually, from what I can tell.

I-Carly is also very cute. Sometimes I have to switch over to Disney for a mental palate cleanser, after the umpteenth body on the floor on INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY.

The Wizards of Waverly Place has those cute, supernatural plotlines with a host of non-threatening vampires, mummies, witches, etc.

I do have to draw the line at anything involving the Jonas Brothers, though.

CAMP THIS or CAMP THAT movie. Can't last two minutes.

Even with all the medication, my stomach won't hold out against them.

Okay, I just checked. David is 21 years old.

Whew! Was worried I had gone Disney-pedo there for a moment.

He's completely legal to ogle.

But he's a good Catholic boy.

See the tattoo?

He's smart to keep an angel looking over his shoulder. I mean, twenty-one and in the industry he's in.

So I guess I'm okay to post this very non-Disney beefcake photo now.

Zora Neale Hurston

I was reading more of the biography of Zora Neale Hurston yesterday after watching the Oprah-produced adaptation of Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Halle Berry was excellent in a great ensemble cast and wonderful playwright Suzan-Lori Parks did an admirable job of adapting the novel.

I had always familiarized myself more with the better-known poets of the Harlem Renaissance and she stayed a shadowy figure to me, although I had picked up the various strains of disdain or at least strong ambivalence regarding the woman and her body of work before, both from statements made by her contemporaries and even from living writers today when I would bring her name up in conversation, while admitting my ignorance with regard to her body of work.

Even if you read this quick bio at Wiki, you'll see many possible reasons why the artist might be looked at askance--or worse--by her contemporaries, African-American or otherwise...

Zora Neale Hurston on Wikipedia.

I'm impressed by how free-thinking this woman was (even if I'm sort of appalled by some of her political positions) and can't begin to imagine the sort of resilience and strength it required for her to maintain these positions in the period of time in which she lived.

I confess I have always had a HUGE fascination with people who have passed themselves off as considerably younger than they actually are--and this includes those with all sorts of reasons, conditions or intent, from the criminal to the amnesiac to the merely pathetic. I would love to write a book someday along just these lines, as many of these stories are fascinating case studies in deception (and often self-deception).

I had no idea Hurston had to do this just to ensure a fair playing field in her education. I don't really see anything devious or pathological in her choice in that regard.

The movie adaptation I watched yesterday clearly downplayed the one element of the novel to which most of her literary confreres objected most strongly--her use of dialect.

African-American novelists who were being accepted into the largely white canon (accepted or assimilated?) made some particularly nasty attacks upon Hurston and doubtless slighted her achievements as a result. It's not really surprising that these were male authors. I don't agree with their assertion that she was pandering to a white audience at all. Anyone who picks up the book or even sees the movie can see how commited this work is to the position that women must live honest lives, lives honest to their own desires, even when these desires disappoint other generations, other colors, other societal norms, or even fellow travelers, who are all, ultimately, other too. The book is about quieting the other to hear the self.

Okay, maybe Zora started the M.I.L.F. thing too. Just a little bit. Long before Stella was trying to get her groove back, Zora had her protagonist finding hers. I'd like to think the molestation charge, however, was something trumped up. I want to read a detailed biography of the woman.

I want to hunt down some of her anthropological work also. As you can see from the Wiki article, she had interactions with some of the scholars who are usually among the first two or three names of that period that come to the educated mind when one thinks of the discipline. I wonder how her own work in that field ranks. I had read of her fascination with the voudon religion. I had even been a victim as a child of one of those urban legends about her--that she had vanished in Haiti and had most likely had been turned into a zombie. I don't know where that ridiculous story originated, but I'm guessing it came out of the years of obscurity she suffered near the end of her life and after her death. (Unless I'm misremembering, that ridiculous assertion was included in one of those books in the bestselling Book of Lists series that came out in the seventies.)

I found it quite moving that Alice Walker went back and tried to discover her grave, and ended up choosing a random one to make sure there was a place for pilgrims.

But Hurston's been uppermost in my mind tonight. My mind keeps boggling at some of the alliances she made, and yet I think how even with my shock how proud I am that she was able to make her own way, and how much she is a testament to the freedom of the mind America does allow (although it might choose to starve the body). It's very telling that she was finding her subsistence as a maid towards the end of her life. How many other celebrated authors of the twentieth century do you think suffered a singular fate like that. I'm sure you can count them on the fingers of one hand, and I'm betting none of them were white.

And yet, even with all the perverse twists in her life, I can tell the woman lived completely authentically, that she did the work she came to do, and she made no apologies for it.

I was impressed by her public condemnation of Truman's decision to unleash the illimitable horror of--not just one but two--atomic bombs. Hurston called him "The Butcher of Asia". (Yes, I'm well aware of the arguments that this saved countless lives on both sides, and I've never really bought it. Common sense still balks and says, "Why not drop one atomic bomb, and wait and see if that accomplishes the goal of conditional or unconditional surrender?")

As I said, this is an author about whom I'm woefully ignorant. But I look forward to searching out books, both her own works (she did write some poetry too) and biographical works.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Is There a Guy on the Planet...

who doesn't laugh like a monkey getting his balls tickled when that Shake Weight commercial comes on.

And here I am just coming from watching Jody's death scene in Their Eyes Were Watching God.

And then the Shake Weight commercial totally did me in.

Sorry, Zora.

I figured that was waaaay too easy for parody and sure enough it's a cottage industry on YouTube.

Here's an example.

Love to Say "Told You So"

A.S.C.A.P. just gave its award for Songwriter of the Year to Jason Mraz.

Told you so on this blog some time ago.

Congratulations Jason!

Somnium Decipio

Another video by the guy or gal who posted the Louise Gluck.

Loved this.

Louise Gluck from the Mouths of Babes

It's so fashionable to dislike or dismiss Louise Gluck's poetry.

I've always found a great percentage of her work to be exceedingly memorable.

I always maintain that the most dismissive criticism I've seen has always clearly missed the brilliant irony and humor of the work, even when it sometimes poses as indulgent confessionalism.

Yes, sometimes she actually sinks to that level.

But more often she achieves the sort of archetypes that aren't supposed to be tenable anymore in poetry.

We're supposed to be "done with all that."

And yet when she takes her funny pose as Orpheus in the Underworld (the nth poem about Orpheus in the history of world lit) she pulls it off.

The funny self-consciousness of the role is often uppermost in her mind.

"Put your gravitas in your Cuisinart," many of her best poems seem to say, and then pour out the lovely, nasty smoothie and get drunk on it.

So it's not altogether surprising that the words of her poem here sound so natural and right in the mouths of the young.

She's not out of touch at all.

The self that's being indulged, and the self that's being castigated, is not nearly hers alone.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Siobhan Magnus and Edward Gorey

Lee and I have been pulling for Siobhan from the start.

She does a good Linda Ronstadt and a good Sheena Easton.

Plus she's just the most loveable one this year.

You can get the lunchbox featured here on EBAY for a very good price.

If you're worried the auction is going too high, just wait.

One guy or gal on there lists them constantly.

I had it first as my Twitter avatar, Siobhan!

Back when I used to Twitter I mean.

Before I OUTGREW it.

(Hair flip.)

Bad YouTube Imitations of Keith Morrison + Pauly Shore Actually Serving a Valuable Function for Once by Irritating Keith

I was hoping to find some good parodies of Keith Morrison but I found these pretty funny crappy ones instead.

The kid actually does a very good job of imitating Morrison's annoying bird squawks, creaky door vocal affectations, and lame attempts at humor when dealing with the most horrible fucking tragedies of life.

And then there's this even better clip (one of a series) where Pauly Shore verbally pokes the quasi-journalistic annoyance, who demonstrates that he is as every bit as condescending and smug in person as he is in his stupid interview/narration gigs.

Tradd Street Killer Tranny Tries to Save by Skipping Vaginaplasty

It's odd.

I saw my friend (and publishee) Celestine Frost's street on Investigation Discovery the other day (I think I recognized her family's ancestral antebellum home!) and it was a gruesome story.

These events all played out on historic Tradd Street in Charleston.

In summer, I would correspond with Celestine at her Tradd Street address.

I think I have a hundred letters in my file coming from that address that still always fascinate me when I reread them.

Often Celestine's thinking switches between the lexical and visual, or conflates these modalities, and her meditations (often on etymologies of words in English or other tongues) often tendril off suddenly from written characters into drawings. I've not met another poet who was more devoted to creating a hybrid of writing and drawing (I suppose bp nichol comes close).

In the book of hers I brought out, there's actually a terribly moving and unforgettable photograph of her mother's empty bed, shortly after she had passed, with the words le lit non occupe below it.

I wonder how many doors down that house is from the house where this horrible murder occurred.

You can probably see the Dateline on YouTube. It's unimaginatively titled "Fatal Attraction." I'm guessing they probably tastelessly first had it titled "Dressed to Kill"--and then switched one unimaginative title for another. You know Dateline.

It's one of the weirdest murders.

I really really hate Keith Morrison's Doctor Seuss type narration on these murder stories.

It's very condescending and disrespectful to the dead.

And the surviving loved ones.

I suppose he's someone it's fun to parody, but that's about it.

He's usually as creepy as the stories.

Dressed to Kill a Reluctant Stepmother.

The disturbed young man wanted to kill the woman who refused to become his stepmother after many years of quietly stalking her.

This guy had a "plan" to "become" her.

It's so fucking bizarre.

He ordered a wig on her credit card, some clothes and other "tranny paraphernalia" the day he killed her and moved into her house.

And he thought he was going to pull it off.

Without electrolysis even.

Without a copy of Emily Post's book or a vaginaplasty.

The noive of some killers.

The sad thing is they never even speculate why this young gender dysphoric man (who is bipolar also) wanted to kill and "replace" his father's former lover (and his father was obsessively attentive to the woman and proposed marriage, unsuccessfully, on numerous occasions).

I think the sad truth might be some sort of simple Freudian equation.

The only person the father demonstrated love for was the son's future victim.

Perhaps this was some sort of strange courtship ritual in his subconscious.

Daddy will love him once he becomes the gracious Southern belle.

Life is indeed often tackier even than pulp fiction.

Much Better than Duran Duran's Cover Anyway

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kate Bush Makes Every Day Better

I wasn't aware they reissued The Hounds of Love in '97 with some additional bonus tracks (of course without inserting them where they would intrude on her masterpiece).

Don't Pick on J.P. Donleavy's Grammar and Impoverished Simulations of the "American" Tongue and Manner

I finished Donleavy's The Lady Who Liked Clean Rest Rooms last night.

It's a cute book. It's a cute tale.

It's more than a bit of a shaggy dog story, but I won't drop a spoiler here.

I'm not a grammatical precisian.

Really, I'm not.

I'm sure I make errors here and there while blogging at breakneck speed that I would rectify if I were going to print with something.

Or at least that's what I'd like to think.

I wanted to see if anyone online shared my sense that the writer really is sloppy when it comes to standard grammar.

I found this through Google, which I'm guessing is exactly what most of his educated fans probably say when drawing up a balance sheet of the merits and flaws of this rather witty Irish (American born) writer.

Quotes a bloke named Mycroft...on a site where readers are lamenting the grammar of well-known authors...

Trinity College, Dublin educated J.P. Donleavy ...
And he was an American by birth!

His form of the English written word leaves a helluva lot to be desired, but he's my favourite author of all time.

He's also a bloody good laugh!

Mycroft about says it all right there.

I could go through and stick drawing pins or specimen pins through some of his most egregious slip-ups (agreement of subject and verb, a homophonic error in transcribing an idiomatic expression, embarrassing factual errors about how things are in the American South).

In one scene, he has his fallen southerner in New York, his belle, remember salamanders climbing in the curtains of her North Carolina home.

Ah yes! The magic salamanders that get in the curtains in the American south. They love those moist curtains.

I don't believe he ever decides in what time period his story is set. A clear euphemistic reference to AIDS means it would be taking place several decades after the time period within which several earlier scenes seemed quite clearly to be set.

There is the possibility that the author is sardonically suggesting that certain enclaves of wealth do keep under a bubble, keep to the far side of a time warp, but the speech of these characters is so characteristically fifties that it belies that generous interpretation.

I really think the author based his knowlege of the American South on a few episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies.

And his ear for the "American tongue" is way off. Characters are constantly saying "Gee" and "Buster." I'm assuming he was watching Leave it to Beaver when he was still thinking he was writing a story set in the fities.

And even if it were the fifites, these are patrician characters engaging in conversation in rarefied social settings. He knows they are snobs. He seems to confuse his interjections and slang, having the lady of the manor use the expression the boy who mows the lawn would most likely use. And vice versa.

The thing is, Donleavy is a decent writer. And when he gets going, he can work some magic. There's a scene which takes place near the end of this short novel in a funeral parlor and the interior monologue is rather hilarious, coruscating; he manages to pull of some verbal slapstick while simultaneously unspooling golden threads of empathy. Here his use of fragments is completely warranted and speeds the scene along in a dreadful way and the images and phrases he deploys etch themselves into the reader's mind as acid does glass. For the few pages that the scene lasts he sparkles like Gogol.

But then he's back in the world of the television writer where the staple and staff of life is the Quip.

He's very good at the quip, J.P. Donleavy.

He's wearing a fine English tweed in his author's photo on the wrap and standing in front of a castle I'm assuming he either owns or at least has mortgaged (if one can mortgage a castle) so I wouldn't weep for the man or his occasionally shoddy grammar or his inability to convincingly depict American life or American colloquial expression in prose.

One thinks of Twain's wry assessment of a poor singer's performance, telling her she got the words right, but didn't quite have "the melody." I'm paraphrasing. I'm too lazy to Google it right now.

Well, Donleavy has got the American attitude somewhat right in this sneering little book, but the particulars are all off.

I did enjoy the book. I'm just not used to quibbling so much with an author. I mean it was every other page or so it was something factual or something grammatical setting me off.

Yet he made me laugh.

And I loved him for having his one law firm decorated with art by Paul Klee, Charles Addams and Edward Gorey!

He paid a little tribute en passant to one of my favorite creators, so that made me love the man a bit.

There are some odd similarities, actually, between Donleavy's approach to character and Gorey's. Both are in love with the doomed figure who had pretensions--pretensions which are slowly melting. They love the puddle of doom that accumulates at the feet of their hapless heroines. Although Donleavy lacks Gorey's conviction that most things turn out bad in the end. (Or at least he does in this tale---but there I go inching towards a spoiler! Sorry! I said I wouldn't do that.)

British spellings were left intact but so were so many U.K. idioms and expressions which would not be coming out of the mouths of the main character unless she were a total poseuse--which she is decidedly not.

The fallen lady, the protag, is so clearly J.P. Donleavy and so clearly a vehicle for his scalding Irish wit that it's not even a ruse.

Her thoughts on fucking (one of her favorite words) are his thoughts on fucking. Her thoughts about the practicality of whoring are clearly J.P.'s realistic views about the practicality of whoring. Her views of mortality and the niggling, nonstop bites that Age takes out of all of us are clearly beefy nuggets in a thick Irish broth of Donleavy wit.

(One wishes the author would strain his grammar as finely as he strains credulity at times in this far-fetched tale! Gee Buster, If you want to write a fable, write a fable. It's harder to quibble with facts in a fable, J.P.)

Once or twice he tries to make excuses and alludes to his protag deciding she will affect an English or Irish manner--when she has fallen so far that she is considering becoming a servant in one of the palatial estates that would have been dwarfed by her own digs a short time before.

I would think an American editor could have easily gone through and made suggestions, or at least made the orthographic emendations which would have been more appropriate for this edition, which came out through St. Martin's Press.

I think American editions and U.K. editions should be edited differently. It makes no sense to have a tale set completely in America with all American characters and then retain U.K. spellings simply because the author is Irish.

And isn't it terrible when a press actually breaks a word between pages (as this edition does) with "volu" ending one page, and "ble" beginning another.

That's just crass.

Enough kvetching.

I would still actually recommend the book as a breezy read that will make you laugh.

If you enjoy arguing grammatical points in your head while reading--and sometimes it is indeed like tennis without a net to borrow a trope from Frost that was meant for a different art and different circumstances--you might enjoy it as much as I did.

And I did, actually.

I'll try another book by this author.

I sense this is one of his slighter works.

Or that's what I'm hoping.

The Dark Side of ONSTAR

This is the ONLY time that Benny Hill music has ever actually accompanied something funny.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I Don't Know What's Wrong with Me

And neither do the doctors.

I think I may have cancer.

It sucks that there are not easy, surefire ways to diagnose cancer (other than biopsy).

Sure, some cancers announce themselves very politely and early on in their visit, while others set up as if they own the place and only tell you they moved in once they've destroyed the house, eaten all the food and broke all the furniture.

They keep scanning me when they find these things, so I know they're taking it seriously.

In the hospital again yesterday most of the evening, CAT-scanned, more blood work ups.

Then they say "no lympadenopathy there." Because it's all based on the little "virtual ruler" the reader of the image puts next to the node on the cat-scanned image on the computer screen. Never mind that it's completely stony, anchored down like a motherfucker and wasn't there before. Never mind that it's not the only one.

Never mind that there is one glaring thing in the CBC which also correlates exactly with that node being like that.

I hate it that an intern was reading my CAT-scan. Supposedly it gets read the next day by an "old hand" but if you think like I do, you know that guy or gal is probably gonna go eat a donut instead. I hear an "I trust you" dooming people. That's me...looking on the bright side as usual.

We disagree about one of the results on my CBC. They are towing the hard line that when something is borderline normal it's probably the case of a statistical outlier.

But I know how I usually come out on those tests and this is definitely not normal.

I was hoping when I found out about my SIGM that I was one of those lucky ones, where it was either primary or secondary to something less serious than cancer (like an auto-immune disease, although they are no fun either obviously).

But it's usually secondary to cancer. And the increased risk for some types of cancer (and in particular one I'm pretty worried about right now) comes out to a ridiculously multiplied one over the genpop.

I have at least four serious symptoms of cancer and one of the signs really points to a cancer that has metastasized.

This really worries me because often I am very good at figuring out what is wrong with me before I get medical confirmation.

And until the past few days, I was leaning away from cancer. (Hey, it's always a good idea to lean away from cancer. In fact, it's a good fucking idea to run. Run like the Monty Pythoners when they see the killer bunny. Fuck "leaning away.")

My nurse was from the islands and she saw I wasn't watching t.v. and I guess she saw me engaged in prayer, because she was kind enough to come in and join me and she asked if she could say a prayer for me and it was a wonderful one.

I mumble and ramble in my prayers. I think if God every spoke directly to me the first thing He would say is

"Could you please type all future prayers....and use a prose-editing program that will point out redundancies, rambling and may suggest more effective paragraphing? I think you'll find it very helpful. I know I will! Thanks in advance! And hey, thanks for praying!

Yours (possibly someday after a VERY extended period in Limbo),


I mostly pray for people in my life, I know from online who are having a hard time and for all the victims of horrible murders and their families I see on t.v. Especially those have disappeared.

Sometimes I pray for an entire country, which is sort of fun. Because I get these prayer emails and they ask you each time to pray for a different country after saying about three or four sentences about the clearly godless country.

I pretty much pray for everyone. Because it's a free service (for now.). Prayer is like the coffee at the copy shop. It's free to "lure you in." :-) It works.

But I think it's only the good man's prayers that God heeds, so Houston we may have a problem.

I'm trying to stay medicated correctly so I don't totally wig out and end up in-patient again.

That never gets me anywhere. A psych ward doesn't care if you have cancer. They'll focus on treating your anxiety about the cancer while the cancer continues to metastasize. You can talk about it "in group."

And they don't find it funny when they ask if they can get you anything (they mean a cup of water or peaches in a small round white container sealed with cellophane) and you respond, "Just some succyinylcholine."

Oh, and please don't arrest the Pope if he goes to England.

That wouldn't be very nice.

Although I love the image of Mother Angelica parachuting down into England with a brigade of nuns, and it all looking like the Siege of Navarone.

MOTHER ANGELICA applying plastique to the Pope's holding cell: "Don't worry, Father. Just stand back now while I trigger the blast. I'm gonna have you out of that Anglican monkey cage so fast you won't even get to "blessed is the Fruit of thy Womb" in your first "Hail Mary." Come on Girls! This country has fucked over Catholics long enough. Let's show ole Henry VIII what we think of new-fangled cults masquerading as religions. The Anglican Church, indeed. Not by Satan's ball-whiskers!! Who has the semtex? Sister Rosalie? Let's DO THIS!!! How you like this Reformation, Limey schismatics??"

Plus I love the image of Sister Angelica as Rambo, using her rosary to garotte the Pope's prison guards.

I feel right now I am in this weird middle zone.

I am a living semi-colon lately.

I feel a sentence is begun and there is an affix that naturally follows this beginning.

But I'm not so sure I'm going to be so happy when that independent clause is hammered on the other side of that semicolon.

Some professionals are worried about my mental health.

Hey, the mental illness is just icing really.

It's the cupcake I'm worried about.

There isn't going to be any icing if the cupcake problem isn't addressed soon.

I do believe that.

Arsenic cupcake most likely.

I find sleep to be the best medicine.

Strange I don't have nightmares.

I have mostly very absorbing, interesting dreams.

My dead father keeps making appearances.

I think this is funny in a foreboding way.

It's like, "Umm, are you here to show me how to do something again?"

I trust his advice.

Maybe he's part of the Welcoming Committee lol.

With all the time in the hospital, I see people a lot worse off than I am.

Physically anyway.

Yeats had the right idea..."Once out of nature, I shall never take my bodily form from any natural thing..."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I actually made it out the door (despite my overwhelming agoraphobia lately) and made it to the closest thrift store.

It was an okay day.

I found a nifty yellow star pillow with mysterious face on it. Think of the occult Procter & Gamble Moon. But now change it to a star. That's what it looks like. Lee can do something with it.

The abandoned sugar "bowl" poodle finally made the grade and sold today. The one that was so pissed at her asshole creamer husband who abandoned her, jumped ship after forty years by her side. I'm happy for Lee.

I found a Carolyn Keene Nancy Drew (Grosset & Dunlap--ghetto press, I know) from 1933. But that's pretty old for Nancy Drew and it's pre color covers and not beaten up at all. Also an old Uncle Wiggily book. You're welcome, Lee.

Not sure whether to give Lee this vintage Walkman I found or keep it. It's the real thing, not a knockoff. He has his Zune but I actually like this "primitive like an orb." It's black and orange. My old school colors. It works fine. Just having one album of songs on a player at a time. Imagine. Horrifying, isn't it? It was $1.91.

I also got this weird bag of construction pieces for an imaginary town. It has little people, train stations, gas stations, McDonald's restaurant pieces....just a weird mix of several construction toy sets. I figured I'd use it to construct an imaginary city and take photos of it. Do a series called "Views of an Imaginary City."

Sort of like that anonymous painting in Philly I love so much. I think it's called "View of an Ideal City." If I remember correctly, the critical text affixed to the painting points out that the city is ridiculously balanced, at stasis, unable to accomodate any real changes without losing its "ideal" quality. Plus, I believe there are no humans in the painting. Maybe that was the medieval painter's joke. It's the one Terry Gilliam shows in his wackadoo movie when they're reading poetry after the world ended (only they don't know the world has already ended). When bears prowl Broad Street in Philly again in the snow. Of course, he chose that because it made sense in context of the movie. But I thought it was cool he managed to feature one of my favorite paintings in that whole damn museum.

A few other small items I bought but I forget.

Oh, a little Honeywell thermometer shaped like a computer. Heavy metal thing. Obviously sat on some Honeywell employee's desk. It's cute. Probably from the seventies.

I saw a DHL truck in the one toy bag but it was missing parts or I would have bought it.

I used to have so many DHL items from my DHL days. I used to collect so many rare items when I worked there. I think Lee sold them all. He did well with those though. A few years ago he sold my one jacket and get well over a hundred for it. I may actually still have a few old uniforms in plastic wrap. Pre-Airborne merger. Old colors. I should hunt them down and give them to Lee.

I used this stuff called Temparin to fill in my cavity until I can see my dentist.

You're basically spackling in your mouth. It expands and gets hard and creates a temporary filling. I'm terrified to think what's in this shit and trying not to swallow it. It was like 2 bucks at Wally World.

The little gingko tree out back has such cute little baby leaves right now. It's now two gingko trees as its offshoot is nearly as tall as itself.

I was drawn to the Carolina Allspice too. Its creepy little cut paper flowers. Like dried blood. The spiders love to hide in those as much as the Japanese beetles love the gingko.

Pollen. Cum. Driving snow.

Birds' funny idea of fucking.

I tried to explain to Lee how we could leave the country and just have some businessman take over the mortgage of the house, move in with it furnished. This would require minimal movement of things into storage. Leave a zero sum game in America. Just find someone trustworthy and responsible without kids who will enjoy all the space. Have him sign the lease on a yearly basis. And it's Vaya Con Dios.

Some island or other.

Curacao is below the hurricane belt. Probably unaffordable.

But only seventy miles north of Venezuela! Such gorgeous wildlife.

I Learned Something Interesting

When you are finally certified Grade A Lunatick, da Gubberment (kindly) doesn't care if you choose to leave the country and live as an expat (say, a country where it's much cheaper to live). They will happily electronically forward you your disability stipend anywhere in the world, with the exception of a small handful of countries--I believe eight or nine--countries where you would never move anyway (I think more than half of them are engaged in constant civil wars).

You are free to leave.

When I read that in the brochure, my little mad eyes began to sparkle.

Spring Really is Here Mrrrmmmmm Yes!

In Etymologies Being Dreams, In Dreams Begin Etymologies

I tend to think my dream images are often Wortspiels.

So I wondered about the reason for the imaginary Brothers Grimm tale of "The Rose Cummerbund."

When you Google it, the first thing you get is sales pitches for actual rose cummerbunds.

Bridal cummerbunds.

There has been a marriage theme in my dreams lately. Fucked up matrimonial weirdness mostly.

You can't ignore the cum in cummerbund. Or the cummer.

Or being bound?

Am I too bound to cummers?

Is The Rose Cummerbund my lost slut sister? Poor chile gone into forest?

Too funny, Mr. Sandman!

What does my favorite online etymological source say?


1616, from Hindi kamarband "loin band," from Pers. kamar "waist" + band "something that ties," from Avestan banda- "bond, fetter," from PIE base *bhendh- "to bind" (see bend).

A mouthful of cum is carrying spider's silk from place to place.

This is the way you write the novel.

Talk about an Ultimate Banzuke impromptu sport.

I like that as a title for a book and think I will use it: Impromptu Sports.

Sex is an impromptu sport.

There is no one set of reliable rules, is there?

But we all know when someone is being "not very sporting," don't we?

The Rose Cummerbund. Father and Mother and the Brothers Grimm

A unicorn in the garden isn't a good thing. Really, it isn't. In the dream, I realize I must carry the bits of the novel very carefully from place to place, like holding spider's silk in one's mouth. Perhaps the spider is still in there, connected to his woman's work.

I was in a bookstore in the dream with my dead father. I was happy to see the antiquities and oddities section had gone unmolested since our last visit, and I was able to grab a pile of books. I was particularly pleased to see the tetralogy was still there, four old grey novels a contemporary German artist had modified into sculpture. Black raised triangles on the spines of the books and he had made other alterations inside. The books had all been recoded. I found a lost book by Salvador Dali. I was looking at some lost paintings of his, but they really looked more like De Chiricos. I'm not really a big fan of Dali in my waking life, but in the dream I seemed to be.

There was a concern about some meat we had left (chicken?) in a freezer in the front of the store (bookstore and what??) several years ago, but the rather officious clerk produced the bag and assured us it was fine.

Later, I was in my old bedroom and my mother had come upstairs and I was showing her some of my book finds. A horrible anthology from the twenties was beautifully designed. The poems were terrible but the book's inner design was a silver Bauhaus forest. I was going to cut this up and do something with it.

I was sad because I realized the Brothers Grimm story "The Rose Cummerbund" applied to me. In the dream, this nonexistent story was the archetypal story of the lost twin. Only, I explained to my mother, I felt my twin was a lost boy, not a girl as in the Grimm version (the twins were fraternal, apparently). We talked a bit about "The Rose Cummerbund," which doesn't exist.

Later, I wonder if this was because we had watched the largely horrible performances of "Elvis Night" on the dvr'ed American Idol. I don't remember consciously remembering then about Elvis's lost twin brother or saying anything about it, but whenever anyone mentions Elvis it's usually the first thing I remember or say: about the tiny dead twin that spooked him all his life.

I had a toothache on and off through the night. I woke and took aspirin and went back into the dream.

I kept wondering if the one song Mike sang, "This Woman's Work," was really a strange arrangement of the song by Kate Bush.* Or did Kate Bush really do a cover on that album that was so intimate? I haven't Googled that yet and now I"m wondering. Kate and the Brothers Grimm. I thought of the Red Shoes. This is after the dream, half awake. I think it's generally conceded the Red Shoes are about sexual transgression/misappropriation leading to the "fallen woman." The red shoes stand in for the fruit in the tree in the Garden. Sample that forbidden fruit and it owns you. Sexual addiction. Here the Freudian shoe probably fits too. Shoes, purses, deep hats. The usual funny scriptings. But shoes. Forced to dance "til your legs fall off," indeed. Kate's funny interpretation in the video sort of makes this interpretation clearer...and funnier.

Don't you love the way Evil has a unibrow?

When I woke up, I freaked out because I thought I saw a rash on my neck but something had bitten me. I searched my bed for a spider but couldn't find one. It's probably a flea bite. It must have just happened because it took a few minutes to resolve into a smaller raised circular area after I applied rubbing alcohol like crazy. Lee insists Dru is now free of them but I know it's not true. We get him 99% free and then it starts again when the weather changes. He's not getting outside. I'm going to pay forever for one goddamn stuffed chihuhua or something. Somebody else's dog's fleas biting me on the neck in the middle of a German book forest.

I want to shoot a unicorn. And stuff it. And place it in the center of my living room.

Then I will be truly German.

*I guess I knew it was her song. I had recognized it. The reason the arrangement was so far afield of the original was because Big Mike was covering Maxwell's reinterpretation of the Kate Bush song. This is the one that made Kara cry.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Finished Jane Unrue's Life of a Star. Reading J.P. Donleavy...

Unrue's book didn't disappoint one scintilla when I finished it today.

Certain writers can address the erotic with the gravity it requires.

Like Marguerite Duras. Or like Jane Unrue in that most recent book.

I highly recommend it.

I'm reading much lighter fare now.

I'm on page 24 of J.P. Donleavy's The Lady Who Liked Clean Rest Rooms, which I'm finding quite funny. I'm probably relating overmuch to the dismal protag. We are nearly the same age, and have so many shared personality traits it's rather scary.

J.P. Donleavy's attempt to write an American tale (this is set in Scarsdale) in what is not really American English is a little disconcerting.

I'm guessing this is part of the charm of his style? I mean the preposterousness of his "American." He doesn't come even close to pulling it off.

The Irish is in him to stay, apparently.

Example: "There was also a laundry shoot adjoining the maid's room which shot down to the basement washroom and which her kids had put everything else into except laundry, including baby chicks they were once got for Easter, and then garter snakes they caught to scare the shit out of Mary the Irish maid."

This got thing has come up on more than one occasion already.

Also, some of the dialogue isn't convincingly American.

The blithe way he goes about telling this funny tale excuses much, and that includes some nearly solecistic grammatical twists and turns.

I haven't read Donleavy before, so maybe these are exactly the traits that endear him to his readers.

I will confess they don't really irk me. They would if the story (so far) and central character weren't so amusing.

The prose is well-freighted with many amusing incidents and has enough giggling sidelong glances at a certain American subculture of wealth that the minor snags in the tooling of the prose can be forgiven.

Acidulous is the first word that comes to mind to describe the author's sense of humor right now.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bewitjanus Doesn't Live Here Anymore

I rarely check my email at Bewitjanus, because I get so much spam and so many scary emails there.

It's the one the relatives use, for example, so notices of deaths and illness arrive there fairly regularly, as the family moves en masse into the realm of shades, obsequies and consolatory hand-patting.

And since I'm sojourning on Dysfunction Island lately, I check it once a month. At best.

But then some kind people and good words arrive there and I miss them.

If you are one of the few people who actually read this blog, you know to write me at by now.

And even there I'm not so great at remembering I exist in that capacity (as an emailee).

Anyway, I managed to whittle down nearly four hundred emails to something like two hundred and twenty emails.

Mostly it was delete delete delete but there were a few things that piqued my curiosity and I saved them for later (announcements of certain books, a liquidation sale at Calamari Press that had me wishing I had more money at hand, review zines bruiting, etc.).

And old friend James Chapman pointed me to a recommendation to poetry lovers to pick up my Sanskrit of the Body in the Massapequa (did I spell that correctly) something or other.

This was in conjunction with April being the cruelest month (National Poetry Month).

Thank you, editor Carah, for your kind words.

And Andersen Prunty wrote me an email that included this: "I was writing to ask if you would mind my using chunks of your Overwhelming Urge review for an upcoming edition of The Dream People. It's an online magazine edited by D. Harlan Wilson. The May issue is going to be Andersen Prunty-heavy and he wanted to know if I could point him to any particularly insightful criticism/reviews of my work. The entry you did for The Overwhelming Urge was the first one that came to mind. By the way, thanks again for being very generous and kind with a newbie author on his first book. That review was great to read."

And that made me happy for Andy.

I enjoy his writing.

I was reading D. Harlan Wilson's Wikipedia entry and that made me curious to read some books by him, as well as try to catch up with Andersen Prunty's latest writing.

But, as you know, I'm always ten paces behind my intentions.

For example, I have no less than six ideas written out on a desk upstairs for separate blogs with different themes I want to do (some writing, some visual and some inter-genre).

Will any of this happen?

I have no idea.

But it's nice to hear from old friends and that in itself is a good reason to check the Bewitjanus madhouse of email now and again.

And I saw people had tendered submissions of writing, which of course I saved for future perusal.

But that version of Joe is over there, and I am over here.

I suppose I should just continue the idea of the blogazine here.

But mostly I get rhyming poetry, doggerel and greeting card verse.

Often I suspect people are pranking me with these submissions, but it would be horrible to ever venture such a response to someone, because then you know it's absolutely guaranteed that the person was convinced they were writing work to rival Dante.

And it's guaranteed that person will be VERY well-armed and very good at locating your home address.

So it's best to smile and assure them that "This work will surely find a home elsewhere."

We've all heard it. We'll all hear it about our own work again.

The wonderful Elsewhere.

In the Sweet Bye and Bye. In the Sweet Elsewhere.

Where all good writings go when you or they or you both die.

Baby Steps, Baby Steps

If you can't get out of bed, if you haven't really managed this for days or weeks, try making a list of people who excite you tremendously, a list of people you could actually imagine yourself stalking.

Because here is a secret that people don't really like to admit, although television pretty much says it every hour, in its not-so-subtle way....

The will to stalk is the will to live.

If you begin to visualize the obtaining of the prize, the wonderful movie-like moment when the stalkee turns and smiles at you as in a Duncan Hines commercial, you may find yourself beginning to stir somewhat.

It might at least get you downstairs and carry you through the mechanics needed to prepare and eat a bowl of Froot Loops.

Don't feel discouraged if you can't reach the level of felony right away.

Remember: Grandma Moses didn't start painting until she was like ninety or something.

Troll Story

My lover who is not my lover drives me crazy or else I drive him crazy. It's much more fun to start in the middle of things. Start six months in. Start at 3:22 a.m. Start with Derek Jarman's "Ask" video already playing in the darkened bedroom and tumble backwards onto the bed. Pulled by my lover who is not my lover into the imaginary marriage bed, pulled by my well you get it who knows where to place his big strong heterosexual hands. If you had arrived yesterday, I would have been a man. Imagine that disaster! Here, let me remove my apron for you. I was just baking some psychosis in the kitchen. But who taught you to kiss like that. Read the teleprompter, handsome. Yes, the subconscious one. You visor your hand to your forehead. Funny. I switch to Sirius CHILL. I don't kiss, really I don't I'm saying, but you are six feet two and you smell like heather or is that Heather and computer paper and maybe you smell like Canada. Yes, you smell like Canada so I do kiss. You look like a Brendan. I'm sorry, you do. You are courtly in bed. I do what I never do. I begin asking questions between kisses, your first name, your middle name, where you were born, if you are feeling tingly there, everything is answered with candor, everything is yes. Your high school. Reward question reward. I can tell you're not lying. Even when I try to make you lie by going too deep in there. You work in IT. Of course. You wear a nice jacket. I held it a moment too long. Idealistic bracketing leads to the exchange of several gallons of saliva. The awful medieval truth of what is happening. I fathom you. Your tongue is criminal. You've never done this before. Right. Well, not this way. Except later I find you don't lie. It's quite disconcerting. Why don't you lie? What's wrong with you? When you leave you don't leave. You play a trick. You pretend to leave, and you're still there. One hand behind your back leaning against that wall on the landing. Smiling. The boyish thing in a big man. Are we making a commercial? Not merely fucking? I come to you and you are taller and clearly more Canadian in this light. This is the way in the movies. I have to look up to kiss you and the little green breath mint now is delivered to me in a tongue game. I catch it on my tongue and then return it. How many hours have passed in the sandbox? Men can fuck but they will only husband sparingly. Who taught you to husband so well? I write you an insane email an hour later and you send me a funny response. Teal is not really my color. I make a small moue in the mirror. You're not really Canadian. But upstate New York? Almost Canadian. What would we do? Really? This is a horrid development. Go look at geese together? I want to live inside a magic box and have you visit me there. I feel horrible. I don't know how to tell you I am actually a troll and I was going to turn you into bacon. But you knew, didn't you? You used that magic Canadian troll dust on me and blinded me. It makes trolls think they are princesses. What have you stolen? What did you come to steal? We marry calendars. Don't come on Thursday. That's a troll day. Friday troll as well. Saturday I will take the princess pill and walk in the arbor behind the house. Monday beware....I must confess I fantasized about you as bacon. Long strips of Canadian bacon sizzling in a pan that I would chew like an old woman and let the juices drip down into my white whiskers. I would toss you into the mouth of my wonderful troll lover who is my lover and can do that trick where he bites both my kneecaps until funny faces of strangers appear. Flee. Flee to Canada in a hybrid. I will remember you in several hospitals, I've no doubt. The troll surgery where they break my legs and try to stretch them out. Later, I shock the doctors when I remove my troll tunic and have one perfect princess breast. It is all the young doctor can do to restrain himself from falling upon it with his medieval mouth.

We Are Detective

My lover who is my lover slept with me and I had this dream.

I was a detective. I think I was a detective in a film or in a book which I knew was going to be made into a film. I think I might have been Clint Eastwood but Clint as a younger man. Clint is the name of my lover who is not my lover, and I just realized right this second that must be why I was thinking Clint Eastwood.

I remember in the dream while I was driving I was thinking with irritation that the mystery of which I was a component was part of an annoying series of such mysteries, like Sue Grafton's alphabetically titled mystery books which so ruin the experience of visiting a used book store or thrift shop.

In the dream, I was heterosexual and I was going on a first date with an attractive slip of a woman. I think she lived north of me, possibly as far north as Canada. After I picked her up (in a 70s Mustang, I'm thinking) and we started conversing in the car, I realized how eccentric she was.

I had planned on taking us to a restaurant of her choosing, while I chummily turned over the details of the "to be solved murder" in my mind like tumblers in a lock, trying all combinations. I don't know how I was doing this, as I had no details of this alleged murder. I realized instantly that somehow she was going to help me solve the mystery; she was the inevitable female counterpart so often encountered in the detective genre, that weird animus/anima thing that Poe probably started, the way these mysteries are not really about murder so much as they are about gender and some weird sort of Jungian bath we all have to take sooner or later. Poe got that. The Japanese mystery writers get that. Most noir films. A handful of others, I suppose.

Anyway anyway anyway anyway anyway she throws me a loop during the drive, while I am heterosexually admiring her beauty (and I think she is wearing a tank top, which of course is also known as a "wife beater"--strange games people play!) when she makes this verbal feint which makes me feel all tingly, because I realize with this feint she has already begun the process of "solving the murder."

I have no idea who was murdered, where or when or anything. It's clear the murder will be introduced later in the movie or text, even though it's probably occurred many pages back when neither she nor I were present in the movie or text.

She says that she wants to "dress a chicken" and this leads me to discuss the difficulties of correctly preparing duck. She then explains that she can prepare duck perfectly, but she can only do it in a kiln.

This is apparently something she learned from her mother.

"Her mother," I think.

So instead of going to a fine restaurant, we are going to purchase a whole chicken and a whole duck and we are going to make dinner together. I have no idea (in the dream or here now) where we are going to get a kiln for the duck.

The dream ends with us driving. She has rolled down her window and is smiling at me seductively as her wife-beater ripples about her slender arms.

We are driving into the solution of the murder or dinner or maybe it is only literature or another dangerous lover.

Planetary Anthem

I think this should be our planetary anthem.

It says it all so succinctly.

Jane Unrue's Song

I have no idea if this is really Jane Unrue's song.

But I'd like to think it might be.

Or maybe it's Jane Mendelsohn's song.

I love this song.

I figure since we were doing "people's songs," I'd venture a guess at Jane's.

I remember when we lived at the apartment and I would go over to the swimming pool during the day and there'd be nobody there and I'd float on my back at midday and watch planes fly through the blue and hear this song in my head.

Well, actually hear this whole album. Which is pretty great.

Sometimes it's good to go only half the way to Steely Dan, as this song does (though I love 85% of Steely Dan).

But maybe Jane's song is more hard-edge.

Maybe it's "Jane Says" (or is that "Jayne Says").

I could see her singing the lines "Have you seen my wig around? I feel naked without it..."

I love both songs.

Who knew Perry would put steel drums on a song like that?

Who knew Perry would do anything?

But then he's a genius, right?

I think "Pets" should be the planet's anthem.

Either Perry or Ben Folds are welcome to come over and sing in my bedroom anyday.

Hell, Ben can set his piano up in my bedroom.

I will even move the funky IKEA light that stands on the floor and is nearly as tall as a person but looks like something the set designer for Dr. Who misplaced.

Your Song (Kiddo I Copied You Copying Me)

Kiddo, I copied you back.

You said you copied me by putting your song, Weezer's "Suzanne," up.

So here I am putting up your song here.

I am like Elton John, I think.

Because you can tell everybody that this is your song.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Two Unplain Janes: Jane Unrue's Life of a Star

arrived the other day courtesy of Waldrop generosity.

I started it tonight and read to page 62, just over half the little novel.

It's quite good.

I was already a fan of Jane Unrue.

Googling her just now, she seems to be a well-kept secret.

For now.

But that situation cannot last when one writes as well as she does.

Jane Unrue reminds me in an odd way of Jane Mendelsohn (I Was Amelia Earhart).

They both write subtle novels composed of almost ectoplasmic prose.

In a weird way, it's like an inheritance of the Jamesian thing (the supernatural James anyway).

But both Janes wisely take a pass on Henry's Byzantine grammar and tool sentences and paragraphs of a much more palatable length.

Both authors understand the mystery inherent in grammar itself, and how this can become an important part of narrative.

I suppose Mendelsohn's vampire novel is a bit slight, but I liked it. She was sort of the literary belwether on that, as vampire erotic lit broke shortly after her first novel along those lines.

But her Amelia Earhart novel, written in the first person posthumous, was wonderful.

I listed Unrue's book House on my shortlist of "The Twelve Books by Burning Deck Press You Should Own" sometime back.

This novel is about the almost mythological power that hides itself in the erotic.

Also, it is about the torturously well-fitting clothes of jealousy.

Jealousy's ridiculous sartorial splendor.

And the wreckage that follows.

As usual, Unrue shows us that a straight line or direct stare is always the longest distance between two points we are trying to use to reperer in any real investigation of the world.

(Sorry, Leslie Kaplan's novel uses the French verb on every other page and now it's stuck in my head!)

Unrue's prose is deliciously Lobachevskian like that.

The irreal is found, as ever, to be more convincing. At least when it comes to that strange creature we call narrative.

She writes very well. Did I already say that? It's worth repeating.

I see I have missed a novel, Atlassed, which came out in 2005, which I will need to hunt down.

And I see she published a novella in the swan song of 3rd Bed, Vincent Standley's wonderful magazine (of which I was happy to be a part on more than one occasion).

I probably actually have that somewhere in this house or the old one.

I'll try to review this when I finish it.

I can already recommend it.

Stylistically, it's that delightful mix of novelistic innovation and unapologetic anachronism--that thing so many contemporary French novelists (yes, P.O.L!) do so well.

P.S. Love Keith Waldrop's cover art for this!

P.P.S. You can find some links to works online by Unrue at her rather exiguous Wiki entry here: Skewing Light

A Splay

A splay of reading just now, lepidopteran legs of reading, The Holy Forest, Richard Scarry's Naughty Bunny, Robert Creeley's Windows.

The dead changing their punctuation constantly.

Their sense of caesura.

You never walk through the same cemetery the same way twice, do you?

The sky will have a lot to do with that. The sun. Wind. Acuity of vision.

Are you in love?

The Marsh Grenadine Bear has had some absolutely horrible conversations with Spock Bear and his "friends" down in New Jersey.

I should transcribe these conversations.

But oftener I prefer to lie in bed, my legs stuck out stiff in front of me, a thrilled antenna.

I realize it's a bit creepy.

But make do. Make do.