Thursday, July 30, 2015


Like the Italian girls said: SPIT ON HEGEL 

Ann Rule, 1931-2015

....she single-handedly ruined the Argosy's dinner-with-an-author program. I still recall the disgusted faces in the audience: People who'd paid a lot of money for this experience were pushing away their untouched froufrou dinners because Rule was up at the podium happily discussing exit wounds and bruises caused by nylon-rope strangulation, while billboard-size photos of same were projected over her head.
I especially remember the look on her face as she was talking about men who kill their wives and the mothers of their children. She wasn't ebullient, exactly, but it was the kind of look that someone gets when she's doing something that she dearly loves: Her expression was full of a weird kind of grace.
....When the question comes up, as it always does, about why she does what she does, the answer is so corny, but delivered so earnestly, that you can't doubt her. She always patiently explains, that weird grace in her smile again, that if she can save just one woman from a rage-filled creep of a husband who tries to bounce her off the floor like a Super Ball, or convince one promising young coed to not take that beer with the slightly funny aftertaste at the questionable party, then she feels like she's done good work. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

It was 90F here today (normal for this time of year is around 75F) and it didn't set a record only because July 29, 2009 was the hottest day ever recorded in Seattle: 103F.

FML.

Joel Plaskett - 'No Surrender' [Bruce Springsteen Cover] (Q107 Sessions)


Calexico - Cumbia De Dunde (Live on KEXP)


I'm not from here (¿De dónde eres?)
I'm not from there (¿A dónde vas?)
Where am I going? (¿De dónde eres?)
Should I care? (¿A dónde vas?)
When will I get there? (¿De dónde eres?)
Can you even say? (¿A dónde vas?)
I'm in the moment (¿De dónde eres?)
I'm on my way (¿A dónde vas?)
I'm on my way

I'm on my way

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

....it has been unnerving to witness how the Internet's strengths -- limitless space, a 24/7 publishing schedule, precise quantity and popularity metrics -- have meshed with old-fashioned corporate imperatives of sped-up reporter productivity and indifferent journalism quality.

The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia Journalism Review Books), Dean Starkman

"Keeping Things Whole," Mark Strand

In the first stanza of the frequently anthologized poem “Keeping Things Whole,” Strand sets the tone and presents the themes which continue to dominate his later work: “In a field / I am the absence / of field. / This is / always the case. / Wherever I am / I am what is missing.” Just before his death in 2014, Strand asserted that he wrote this poem in 20 seconds during a card game.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

sup bosches

seen on twitter

Friday, July 24, 2015

still on repeat


I just fucking love how they're all in a circle and the person doing the verse steps in and then steps back -- essence of the group, right there.

AND THEN DESSA SINGS AND HOLY SHIT. From the UTU comments: 'They did this song in Fort Collins Colorado and Dessa jumped off the stage and was walking around the crowd in the pit during her entire verse... She walked up the railing on the outside of the stairs and was hanging out over the pit from the raised 2nd level during the final hooks while she was throwing those backing vocalizations... Heavenly.'

JESUS CHRIST THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER



Jonathan Miller's Sunday Night Play from 14/11/1965: Plato's "Symposium" as a picnic organized by an OxBridge don for his students.

OH MY HOLY FUCKING CANNOT EVEN FLAILING IN FRONT OF MY LAPTOP LIKE A MUPPET
AN ATHENIAN MUPPET

current book wishlist

This is going to be embarrassingly long as all hell because it's the buildup of more than four months or so, but I just want to get it down. Probably there's also a lot of repetition from previous lists.

Eight White Nights, Andre Aciman
The Art of the Con, Anthony M. Amore
Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity, Bruce Bawer
Walking the Night Road: Coming of Age in Grief, Alexandra Butler
H. Beam Piper: A Biography, John F. Carr
The Brain's Way of Healing, Norman Doidge
Every Single Day, Doomtree Collective
At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America, Philip Dray
Peter's Room, Antonia Forest
The Wild Girl, Kate Forsyth
The Forgotten 500, Gregory A. Freeman
Muse, Jonathan Galassi
The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience, Perry N. Halkitis
Kiss of the Fur Queen, Tomson Highway
Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet, Jennifer Homans
Chapman's Homer: The Iliad, Homer
The Iliad: A New Translation by Peter Green, Homer
Empire of Deception, Dean Jobb
William Inge and the Subversion of Gender, Jeff Johnson
Letter to His Father, Franz Kafka (dual-language edition)
The Walking People, Mary Beth Keane
The Liberator, Alex Kershaw
A Short History of Indians in Canada, Thomas King
The Back of the Turtle, Thomas King
Archivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace
Unabrow: Misadventures of a Late Bloomer, Una LaMarche
Comprehending Columbine, Ralph W. Larkin
The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man, David W. Maurer
Circling the Sun, Paula McLain
Code Talker, Chester Nez
How to Cure a Fanatic, Amos Oz
The Origins of AIDS, Jacques Pepin
Monkey Beach, Eden Robinson
Kolyma Tales, Varlam Shalamov
A Life of William Inge: The Strains of Triumph, Ralph F. Voss
Brooklyn's Promised Land: The Free Black Community of Weeksville, New York, Judith Wellman
Damages, Barry Werth

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

AA was a humble program. A program of suggestions, never rules. It was a place of storytelling, which operated on the same principle as great literature: Through your story, I hear my own.

- Sarah Hepola, Blackout


ETA And then this bit: "'Your problem is that you step up to every plate and expect to hit a grand slam,' a friend told me, and I said, 'Yes, exactly!' as though I were simply grateful for the diagnosis....I needed to build a new tolerance. Yes to discomfort, yes to frustration, yes to failure, because it meant I was getting stronger. I refused to be the person who only played games she could win."

Friday, July 17, 2015

"Orestes," John Singer Sargent (1922-1925)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fear is not to be avoided. It is to be followed. Fear is like the light on the end of Rudolph’s nose - it’s the beacon we follow into a foggy and uncertain place, where we can’t see more than three feet around us, where we know we might spiral out of control and crash at any second, but where we are armed  with the knowledge that if we can somehow navigate those storm clouds successfully when we are piloting blind into such a situation, we might just get the job done and we might just do something legendary. The kids will get their Christmas gifts because of you following your fear. And you will get the laughs, you will lock into the character, you will utilize that fear to push all the buttons inside yourself that made you send me this question.
The point is never to figure out how to NOT LOSE. The point is to figure out how to LOSE WELL. Be good at losing. Be graceful at losing. Learn how to lose with class. Learn how to lose often enough and severely enough that you want to quit, and know that your only job at that point is to not quit. You have failed enough that you have achieved the goal of wanting to give up. And know that if you do quit, that’s ok - it’s ok to admit this is not for you.
But know even moreso that if you don’t quit, you will run into the same situation where you want to quit, over and over again -endlessly - for as long as you do this.
But don’t avoid it. If you avoid failing and fear, you will at best become someone who plays it safe.
But please, trust me. I can speak from experience, if you embrace failure and know that success and failure are not going to give us what we assume they will anyway, then failure can become your greatest weapon. Failing equals growing. Almost failing on stage and not quite failing equals your greatest moments as a performer. Letting an audience see you on the brink of complete failure and allowing them to watch you pull the plane up at the last second on stage makes you feel invincible (at least until the next show starts.) Fail many times. Practice failing like a baseball player practices his swing. Make failing part of your muscle memory. Make processing failure something you know how to do without even thinking about it. You need to know failure like a musician know his scales, like a Marine knows how to disassemble and reassemble his rifle. It needs to be second nature. Fail until failure is your expected starting point, and you will be at a place where you are ready to start.
And know that the fear you’re feeling right now is what will get you to that failure. So when you ask me how to get the courage to perform - how to get to a place where you’re not terrified - you are asking me to do you a disservice. Any time I get to a point where I’m not terrified, I do something like write a book and send it out into the world with my ugly fucking face on the front, or sign up to do my show on an outdated, dying, and generally mocked broadcast medium. Those things are shit your pants level scary actions when you were supposed to be the next big TV star, when you were supposed to be the next proud representative of a legendary comedic institution. They don’t even feel like risks, they feel like suicide.
So pardon my rejection of your question, but I refuse to tell you how to find courage that overcomes being terrified. It will give you a false impression of the difficulties of this profession and lifestyle. Furthermore, it will be advice that guides you to - at best - a stale, boring place as an artist and creative mind.
....Sorry if this reads as discouraging. I guess it kind of is, but I hope under the surface it reads as I hope it does - as the most optimistic thing in the world. I am rooting for you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

YAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

'Know what must be known.'

Puritan Milton with his pagan muses. It is like a voice heard from another room, singing for the pleasure of the song, and then you know it, too, and through you it moves by accident and necessity down generations. Then, why singing? Why pleasure in it? And why the blessing of the moment when another voice is heard, dreaming to itself?....It was Keats in Cheapside, traveling his realms of gold.

- Marilynne Robinson, Home

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015

books read in July 2015

Fiction is in red. Date of first publication in (parentheses).

69. We Are All Completely Fine, Darryl Gregory (2014)
70. A Head Full of Ghosts, Paul Tremblay (2015)
71. 15 Gothic Street, Joe McGinniss (2012)
72. Before You Die, Samantha Hayes (2014) (mediocre)
73. Columbine, Jeff Kass (2009)
74. Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, Sarah Hepola (2015) (quite good)
75. Attempting Normal, Marc Maron (2013) (hilarious)
76. I'm Down, Mishna Wolff (2009)
77. A Bad Idea I'm About to Do: True Tales of Seriously Poor Judgment and Stunningly Awkward Adventure, Chris Gethard (2012) (too crass for me)
78. Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It, Gina Kolata (1999) (OK for pop sci)
79. Red Dragon, Thomas Harris (1981) (reread because of Red Dragon story arc on Hannibal)
80. The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia Journalism Review Books), Dean Starkman (2014)


all 2015 booklist posts
Who is your favorite writer of all time? 

Franz Kafka. I discovered his writing during my compulsory army service in the Israeli Army. I found “Metamorphosis and Other Stories” on a weekend in which I was confined to my army base. As someone who was seen by himself and by his commanders as the worst soldier in the history of the I.D.F., it was a great comfort to discover a writer who seemed to be even more stressed and screwed up than I was. Kafka’s work has remained a great source of inspiration for me as a writer, but even more so as a human being who is struggling to hang on to his empathy even at times when it is treated by others like an unnecessary luxury.

- Etgar Keret

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Sunday, July 5, 2015

As we two stood thus in sorrowful talk, weeping freely, up came the ghost of Achilles, son of Peleus, with Patroclus and gallant Antilochus. Also Aias, the handsomest man and goodliest figure of the Danaans —except for Achilles himself, that swift-footed descendant of Aeacus, whose spirit recognized me and gloomily flung out: 'Ingenious son of Laertes, Odysseus of the seed of Zeus, daring unhappy soul! How will you find some madder adventure to cap this coming down alive to Hades among the silly dead, the worn-out mockeries of men?' So he questioned, bitterly, and I replied, 'O Achilles, son of Peleus, mightiest man of valour among the Achaeans! Of dire necessity I came, to hear from Teiresias how best to arrive back in rocky Ithaca. In all this time I have not neared Achaea nor seen my country. Ill luck dogs me everywhere. How I envy your lot, Achilles, happiest of men who have been or will be! In your day all we Argives adored you with a God's honours: and now down here I find you a Prince among the dead. To you, Achilles, death can be no grief at all.' He took me up and said, 'Do not make light of Death before me, O shining Odysseus. Would that I were on earth a menial, bound to some insubstantial man who must pinch and scrape to keep alive ! Life so were better than King of Kings among these dead men who have had their day and died.

- T.E. Lawrence's translation of the Odyssey
We were so different and in our difference so dangerous to each other that if anyone had tried to calculate in advance how I, the slowly developing child, and you, the full-grown man, would stand to each other, he could have assumed that you would simply trample me underfoot so that nothing was left of me. Well, that did not happen. Nothing alive can be calculated. But perhaps something worse happened. And in saying this I would all the time beg of you not to forget that I never, and not even for a single moment, believe any guilt to be on your side. The effect you had on me was the effect you could not help having. But you should stop considering it some particular malice on my part that I succumbed to that effect.

- from Kafka's letter to his father