Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.30.01

Am dating this wrong deliberately, because it was supposed to be up yesterday, and trying to force self to post today. There was a cold front coming through Thursday, and that triggered massive thunderstorms that had me using the computer very little yesterday. Friday, i managed to write most of this post, but began feeling maudlin, in part because the longer that Harrison’s body adapts to a new existence as ashes, the more blah i feel, and mostly because it’s been six weeks since I’ve seen Louise.

I have more written, but I have to reconsider whether i want to get that pointlessly mushy, when i cannot even get objective about Belle & Sebastian… never write about the goddamned Beatles… although i like what Josh wrote today.

I don’t have the link to the story, but Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is going to be on Nonesuch Records. According to the story, “The offices were the only ones bandleader Jeff Tweedy visited where the posters on the wall didn’t make him want to retch.” I dunno… There’s other cool labels out there (as i was rooting for Merge,) but as long as it gets out….

Also got in email a link from the KLSU listserv to a story on Zoot Horn Rollo’s new album.

So George Harrison really was that sick, and now he’s dead. I was going to make a crack about it being even more unlikely that there is going to be another Travelling Wilburys album, but i’ve already read some people make that, and i actually mean it. I have my deluxe reissue of All Things Must Pass (there was a man who was a pioneer in the garden gnome phenomenon) and battered tapes of the Wilburys’ Vol. 1 and Vol. 3. I cannot find my other nonBeatles albums Harrison-related, and it’s just as well, as i cannot think of any way to eulogize him, aside that “My Sweet Lord” comes on most of the times i go into thrift stores like the Goodwill, Salavation Army. or Red, White and Blue, and it’s a little surreal every time those Krishnas, Ramas, and Vishnus come on, as they are the Word of the Devil as far as many of the locals are concerned.

It’s a pretty nice album just for being the big statement from the Silent Beatle. I haven’t been able to listen to it too many times completely, as it’s too long for my short attention span, and there’s still a little of my lingering prejudice of this being ’70s AM radio. It’s probably something about the production that makes it seem a little too grandstanding, a little too fussy. NPR was playing some Harrison’s stripped-down demo versions this morning, and they sounded better than the studio versions. I blame Phil Spector and Delaney and Bonnie. If that myth-rumor about Phil Collins being on there is true, then i’d love to spread some blame to him as well…. even though he didn’t manage to fuck up Brian Eno when he was glam.

One of my favorite songs from the album is actually one of the most overblown, maudlin and sentimental…. “Isn’t It a Pity?” I don’t even have a special memory or connection to it to relate. It’s what i like to pretend is the best eulogy to the Beatles, even if it probably isn’t.

George being on his quests for spirituality (in theory anyway,) has always been more mortality obsessed than the usual pop star, so it’s not hard to accept that he’d dead. With titles like “All Things Must Pass” and “Art of Dying”, he’s given a lot of fodder for his obituaries. Sheesh… i think that I’m gonna listen to the Wilburys…. or Eno.

I’m more in the mood for fucked-up noises and absurd lyrics. In a way, he’s deader to me than Harrison, because i just don’t get his kinda recent affiliation with U2. His first few solo albums are some of my favorites, because i love a self-described nonmusician writing songs that are catchier than standard pop… at least for me. Everything that i liked about ’60s psych, before many of those guys decided that they wanted to be serious musicians and create prog, is on records like Here Come the Warm Jets, Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, and Before & After Science, which sometimes i read are experimental, and sometimes glam.

Whatever they are, they are a nerve-stretching mindfuck after seven cups of coffee. It’s hard to write when i try to surf along the guitar and synth lines like waves, and find them switching back and forth into a tense whirlpool, to catch glimpses of Eno laughing at me struggling to keep up. Some of Robert Fripp’s best work came when he relinquished his control and submitted to Eno’s treatments on “Baby’s on Fire” and “Blank Frank”. I feel adrenalized listening to even the slow songs, like my head’s being violently shoved underwater, I’m drowning… and i like it.

The poor folks who turn up their noses at Radiohead saying that Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin did it all first really need to get those first few Eno records. There’s as much dissonance and treatments on those Eno albums as Kid A and Amnesiac. I’ve said this before. It feels extremely familiar, and it feels backwards looking and obsessed witht he past to repeat it. Whoops. I’m in a rut lately, and it’s not a good thing.

Morpheus wasn’t working for me just because a quirk with the computer. It’s fine now, and now both Outkast “the Whole World” and Mystikal’s “Bouncin Back” are in my clutches. Hopefully i can listen to them more in peace today.

Damn it. I kept listening to the new Belle & Sebastian songs over and over, and i think that i do better understand the problems with them now. Damn it. I painted myself into a corner thinking of the people who fetishized it, as opposed the listening to the music on its own terms. I still like the way the songs sound, and don’t have a problem with the lyrics actually… until i think of all of the sly smiles and mutual congratulations of people who do get the references against the people who don’t. I still think that this element is something that has always been there with this band though, which is my main disagreement.

Chris wrote me last night to make certain that i knew that “These Days” was really written by Jackson Browne, which i did know, but I don’t believe that he released a version of the song before he gave it to Nico. It’s like Neil Diamond versus the Monkees. Who do you believe owns “I’m a Believer”? Unfortunaly, i cannot take this thought anywhere.

There’s a commercial on Cartoon Network and Fox lately of Gundam mobile suits, little figurines/ dolls. There’s one guy in the commerical who is rattling off the official imaginary history of the Gundam and i swear that he’s Julian Casablancas of the Strokes, with the same facial features and haircut. When there’s a zoom-out of his room, there’s even a guitar, and what i think are drums. I must know more about the Strokes and Gundam connection.

I was weirdly disappointed by the Big News in astronomy this week, in part because of problematic reading comprehension in the past. I though that an extra-solar planet with an atmosphere was discovered a couple of years ago. The new planet is supposed to be a gas giant with a sodium rich atmosphere… but i thought that virtually all extrasolar planets were gas giants…. which are all mostly atmosphere anyway. The real news was still important though, because it was really about, “The first direct detection of the chemical composition (sodium) of the atmosphere of a planet.” Aha.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.28.01

Now i’ve heard the Belle & Sebastian single “I’m Waking Up to Us.” From what Tom was writing, i was expecting “Jonanthan David” redux, which was a little precious, and seemingly written for a small select audience, perhaps only for themselves. I liked that one well enough, but it seemed like a lesser effort from them. Their Peel Session even seemed more exciting.

However, with the new single, these songs sound big in production, and Murdoch seems to have the reins in songwriting on all three songs on this single. Yesterday I actually wrote something about how Belle & Sebastian has always seemed like a band in retreat from a high profile since the success of If You’re Feeling Sinister, taking deliberately misteps to sabotage their reputation…. then deleted it. I don’t believe it with this single. It’s as sincere and unmuddied as an effort that I’ve heard from them since the first three EPs. I truly believe Murdoch when he says I haven’t changed. This is the same guy who nicked a riff from Nico’s “These Days” off Chelsea Girl for the title song of IYFS, so if he’s building bottled ships of matchsticks, it’s not a new hobby. Aside from the Velvet Underground and Nick Drake, the Left Banke has always been one of the primary elements to the B&S formula, possibly the primary element instrumentally.

It’s a bewildering for me that I just don’t get what Tom’s writing about at all this time. I do have huge blind spots to my own favorite bands and artists. Belle & Sebastian is probably one of them, to my embarrassment. I’m a little curious whether he saw the lyrics about the dissolution of a relationship as one between the band and its listeners. He convinced me of the value of Britney Spears but i can get a handle on this single being a failure. I can understand someone hating it somewhat, even expect it, but the band has not changed except with the proficiency of their instruments, something that does not affects my appreciation of the music at all.

This ILM thread only convinces further convinces me that it’s the listeners who have changed, not the band, and identification of the music through the fandom. Also, i confess that while i have a couple fo Smiths albums, i’ve had them only since this spring, have barely listened to them, and know fuck-all about the mythology of the band, aside from they were just another thing that a select number of people listened to in the ’80s at my high school, and it seemed that they liked the posters and shirts better than the albums, as i don’t actually remember anyone playing them. As a non-British, Smiths-ignorant bastard, i feel more comfortable insisting that it is a criticism of the thought perceived behind the craft, not the actual music.

I must also confess that i did belong to the Sinister mailing list for a few week a few years ago. It was a listserv that i didn’t belong on at all, yet it didn’t change my identification with the music at all. Not to tread on anyone’s toes, a lot of it seemed more like role-playing than an extension of a lifestyle, and much of the affected tokens seemed to have little relation with the lyrics of any songs that i know. The music puts on clever ways to laugh at being miserable and too self-aware, but at oneself, not to form another clique to fetishize the observations and tools. Yeah, i know about the badges sold and worn. They probably even have secret handshakes too. The music has a life of its own, and a privacy that no exclusive club could rival.

I don’t know how to use Morpheus properly, as i can log in, but cannot connect, and i want that new Mystikal song NOW. I think that I’m also fiending for that new Outkast, song unheard.

I was getting upset that no one seemed to be posting for awhile, but now many of my favorite blogs and a couple i weirdly missed are all linking back and forth with great bits, so now i must be redundant, if anyone already reads the sites faithfully. Bleeding Ears is affected by the odd song “I Am Music”, the final collaboration of Aaliyah and Timbaland, which i remembered not liking when i heard it, but now he has it available on Filepile, and i must reassess. (I like the word “poppy” though.)

Josh Blog went to a Dismemberment Plan show. (They’re playing here December 4th, and i’m too broke to drive down there, free red beans and rice or no.)

I lost track of Rebellious Jukebox, although i’m reading Let’s Build a Car, and it turns out that Jess has listed 50 favorite songs of the ’90s, and is writing substantially and convincingly about each and every one of them. Quite a project that is almost certainly going to be fufilled in just just a couple of weeks, if that much, at this rate.

A group called Public Citizen has filed suit against the Bush administration, to overturn that sneaky attempt to hide presidential records, regardless of sensitivity to national secrets. More power to them. I hope more people can join the suit.

Cockfarmer Ashcroft says 600 are detained. Really? Then are 100 of them in the Tangipahoa Parish jail, one sixth of those being detained? Pretty unbelievable, if everyone knew what a backwater this is. More likely, Cockfarmer Ashcroft is a filthy liar. The Village Voice is pitting him against the Constitution (mostly just the Bill of Rights.)

It’s gettign weirder still with spooky Arlen Specter (come on. i just wanna call him that. I don’t like most Republicans, but he has a cartoon name.) comes out against Bush too, for grabbing too much power for the executive branch, and ignoring the legislative branch, the branch that has not declared an official war to date, so wartime powers are not legal

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.27.01

Quite unexpectedly, I had yet another root canal today, so I’m feeling mighty low right now.

While driving down to Hammond, I decided to skip tapes, as the radio seemed like it deserved a chance. I got onto another WWOZ jag, but because it was fading out again, and what i could hear was conversation about Christmas music, i had to hit seek. It was obvious that it landed on a hip-hop station, as the beats of the music were hip-hop. However, the song had crazy horn samples that sounded virtually Dixieland, with clarinets that sounded nearly demented. The vocals were manic shouting, so I was pretty sure it was Mystikal… and it was. I love patting myself on the back for obvious things liek that, as it’s such a new area of music for me. The name of the song turns out to be “Bouncing Back” and there was something weird and wild about it, as it sounded as much like the Weird Americana as modern hip-hop in a way. The Neptunes are supposed to be on this one too, but i didn’t hear that today. They invoke futurism for me, and this wasn’t futurism. It was an direct inheritor of funky New Orleans jazz and the field holler. If Greil Marcus doesn’t cream himself over this, he’s a stodgy fool (oh, wait. That’s not conditional, is it?) as this is as vital as a proudly mainstream progeny of Weird Americana as might ever appear. I love this fucking song.

I don’t believe that bin Laden bullshit though. Silly hype is all it is. It was cool to hear something like “Jump back Satan” or however i messed it up. As i wrote on my WWOZ jag a couple of weeks ago, i love songs that drag the devil into the mix.

Anyway, that was the last decent music i heard for a long time. I was tanked up on nitrous oxide, and the soft rock hits of the past three decades. The only two things that came on that i liked were Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (and i nearly drooled out a mumbled threat that they need to play more EJ now, even though it was impossible, as it was a satellite feed) and Madonna “Secret” (and it truly pains me to have enjoyed Madonna, as i hate her on principles too petty and irrational to explain.) Everything else was the solo projects of people from bands that i never liked in the first place, Foreigner, the Eagles, Chicago (well, somewhat. I aactually enjoy the occasional Chicago song,)… and i did get confused as for some reason, in my addled state, it was a certainty that Stanley Clarke was an ex-member of KISS. At least i wasn’t so messed up tht i didn’t think that Eric Carmen was in KISS too…

What was so horrible is that every so often, i could hear the briefest fragment of what could have been a good song. Yeah, it was probably the nitrous oxide, but i think that was is so horrible about these songs is how much they waste by going by rote, and whatever originality springs from the song might actually be a fault or weakness on the part of the songwwriter. They are so homogenous that exceptional badness only makes them better. The best warped moment was a Linda Rondstadt song, “Accelerating Heartbeats” or something like that. I had no doubts about hating it, but it could easily be recast as an electro indiepop 7″ with just the right packaging, and a lot of indie people would love it, even though it was indeed music for a dentist’s chair.

Fuck it. I’m too low to chase whatever point i thought i had when i was on nitrous.

So how on earth is the ultra-conservative Wall Street Journal going against military tribunals? First it was Safire, and now WSJ? I just caught the local news, and they are trying to spin the story as if only extremists disagree with the tribunals. Television news sucks.

Why is starting new stem cell lines immoral, but dosing humans with pesticides to test the side effects and toxicity just dandy?

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.26.01

Music video day! Why? I dunno… but it’s uninspired. I cannot figure out the problem. I’m enjoying reading and writing, but i’m not enjoying much music lately. Maybe part of the reason is the videos i saw today. Anyway…

Busta Rhymes must be in bad shape if he’s calling in P Diddy and Dr. Dre to appear in his video “Break Ya Neck”. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the song for me, as it still has his sig delivery, but to use a Red Hot Chili Pepper’s reference as a hook is lame. Hype Williams is looking tapped out too, with that horrid break in the middle that uses that green screen of Busta butting a ram’s head and winning, like that recent beer commercial.

The new Limp Bizkit video. I wasn’t fooled like I was with that P Diddy song last summer. Even without the video, i would have known that whine anywhere. I don’t enjoy violence, but if they make a new Faces of Death, i hope Fred Durst has a starring role in it. However, whatever sample they are using, and music that they use to drive it sort of works for me. I’m a sucker for that funky fuzz organ sound. If the instrumental track was given to someone else to cut up and Frankenstein into something interesting, as it still lacks dynamics, it would be worthwhile. However, Limp Bizkit is Fred Durst as far as i’m concerned, as the song deserves to be consigned to a nonexistent hell.

Wow. I just checked it out online and it says Timbaland was involved. I feel kinda justified for thinking that there was something salvagable about the song, but that’s pretty low for Timbaland to sink.

There was another video by some guy calling himself Fabolous doing “Young’n”, and i swear that i saw a Neptune in the video, singing the chorus in the subway train. I was thinking of ways to trash this guy, with all of his empty sexist boasts and what seemed to me limp shit, until i saw that, and then i started trying to rationalize how it sounded good, as i’m still stuck wanting to believe even more in the Neptunes that Timbaland. I still don’t know who the hell he is, but after a quick Google, i was tickled to find someone else who hates ‘im. (or this one.) Whether he’s justified or not, i haven’t a clue, but angry music writing is often entertaining music writing. Damn. I hate being so behind on most everything right now.

Tantric had me confused. I thought that Creed had decided that look like the Allman Brothers and stop the singer from doing that yawr yawr yawr vocal shit. It still sucked of course, as it looked like they should all get crewcuts, slap cowboy hats atop their heads, maybe stick a steel guitar in the mix, and play the video on TNN. It certainly wasn’t going to fly on the merit of its own music, as the only thing i remember is the guys’ ’70s haircuts and the beer bottle slide guitar cliche. I couldn’t even work myself up to hate it. Indigestible tripe.

I have a better appreciation for Tenacious D now, even though it’s still a one-shot joke, with “Wonder Boy”. It’s hard to tell whether he’s going for the Meatloaf genre or he’s taking shots at Creed, and Wonder Boy is Jesus. It wasn’t as low budget from Spike Jonze as i expect, and it doesn’t work in its favor. It’s too Monty Python and the Holy Grail for me.

The video for Lenny Kravitz “Dig In” is abysmal. It’s eye-strainingly dark, and vaguely militaristic (as opposed to militant) in tone. Sadly, i heard some of the same elements in this song that i like when i hear the Dandy Warhols do it. It reminded me a bit more of stuff from Lenny’s first album somehow, but even for me to tolerate it to an extent, it’s a minute and a half too long. It’ll be a great commercial for an anthrax detection kit.

Tom’s take on the new Belle & Sebastian single. I dunno. I haven’t heard it yet, and suspect that the little club notion will not change my opinion at all. I have my own little club of one to fetishize the music anyway.

Wow. Almost two weeks ago, i did the same thing as Darnielle in trying to find some tapes, some of which are unlabelled, and separating the ones i promised to listen to again soon from the masses that must remain in storage, only to turn up the music of a friend that i believe in. No intelligent comments, just overwhelming identification. Everytone writes about rediscovered tapes, but i breathed the dust recently.

Some loons are listing what they think the possible intern camps within the U.S. are going to be. Insanity, but it’s a relief that it’s not going to be a long drive, since the closest one to me is in Livingston Parish. Whew.

With everything that has happened, i forgot that Cockfarmer Ashcroft has a journalist in prison after five months, basically, as blackmail.

And why the hell did the Secret Service go after this poor student, just because she had an anti-death penalty poster? They told her that she had anti-American material. As far as i know, the death penalty isn’t even legal in all fifty states. The Secret Service agents seemed to be nice enough, but they should have been able to read the situation far better than they did, and they never shoudl have been sent down there in the first place. Even if they cannot reveal who maliciously reported her, the Secret Service should be able to hold the person who reported her responsible for the time and money wasted on that investigation.

I gotta pull my act together.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.25.01

Too drunk to post Thursday, and new computer problems on Friday. It seems that even my brother cannot repair my real computer, and in a way, i feel comforted that it was not a problem concerning my incompetence. Then the mouse broke on this spare. Saturday was spent reading.

Still not any music to mention, as all of the people in the house has me want quiet in any of my spare time.

Scary observations in trends of album cover design

I watched “O Brother, Where Art Thou!” again, and it did two things. First, i realized that as much as i love this movie, “The Man Who Wasn’t There” is pretty damned fantastic, no matter how heavy hearted i was when i saw it. Two different movies, but I could feel how i feel differently right now. I cannot wait to see the second movie again now. Second, “O Brother” started me reading books on relatively local American history.

“Pistols & Politics” was the first one that I picked up. I read it before when i was bombed out of my mind, so while passges of words looked familiar, i retained no useful information from it. It’s about the interwoven tradition of politics and violence in the Florida Parishes of Louisiana, if the title doesn’t make that obvious enough. It’s an okay book. It has some nice details o fhistory that i didn’t know, setting up the imbalance of power between the planters to the west and the piney hills people to the east. More interestly, it showed how certain individuals managed to get themselves elected, and then passed over private contracts to roads and bridges to themselves. Then they forced legislation to stop public roads from connecting, and what public roads remained open were funneled into the toll areas. It didn’t help that the poor farmers sometimes could not afford to get to market, and had to sell their crop at a price that was less than market to these same planters as brokers. Crooked as hell, as reminding me how things have not changed much.

The book had some interesting Civil War antecdotes as well, as i wasn’t aware that the Florida Parishes had so much raiding by both sides going on. It grew a bit tiresome though, when it began to feel that despite all of the scholarly work and documentation, that it seemed to focus more on the writer’s ancestors and their allies. Considering that he even mentions my relatives (who have been in this area for two hundred years) were in one of the bloodiest and most documented feuds of the times, yet only covers the feud in a couple of sparse paragraphs, without revealing the cause (no, i don’t know either,) for all of his attempts to look scholarly, it comes across someone trying to pass off family embellishment as hard hsitory. I would have liked it better if he ended the book early, or written about his own family in morepersonal, blatantly partisan terms. Instead, it feels like he’s trying to write certain groups out of history. In any case, it gave me the clue on where to start looking for the others sides of the stories, since he was diligent about nothing which accounts came from which newspapers, some of which i never knew existed.

The other book was one that i never got around to at the bookstore, “Rising Tide The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America. Pop history is just so much better for casual reading anyway, but… I just wanted to read something vaguely Southern, but instead this guy talks a lot more than a flooding Mississippi River, but weaves in engineering, politics, farming, racism, Social Darwinism, nationalism, economics, and hydraulics. The book is amazingly comprehensive, and the author pulls in the oddest bits of trivia to emphasize how everything that happens has meaning in another context, like the offhand mention that Ho Chi Minh kept clippings of the lynchings of blacks in Mississippi when he was a French news correspondent. He manages to grab flawed heroes to pit them against true villains. Even if it’s not properly scholarly, it’s compelling, and i cannot wait to read the next page. (yeah, i took a break.)

It also started the wheels whirring in my head about how while things are very scary for the United States right now, with a corrupt administration in office, and abusing the Contitution while the majority of the American people rail at foreigners and anyone they think is remotely leftleaning, things are not nearly as badnow asthey were then…. i think. I mentioned the Alien and Sedition Acts recently, but i forgot about the Sedition Act after World War I, and how the Wobblies were beaten, imprisoned, and murdered, the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. I really need to read that Howard Zinn that i browsed and never finished.

The only flaw in Rising Tide might be that i have not seen a single mention of the environmental impact of all of the meddling with the flow of the Mississippi. For anyone who doesn’t know, coastal Louisiana is being eroded away by saltwater intrusion. All of that silt that they wanted funnelled out into the Gulf for 150 years (the same stuff that made the Delta so rich,) the silt that built up the sandbars that made the river nearly impossible to navigate, kept Louisiana’s freshwater ecosystems through at least half of the state alive, and now everything is dying and the idiots cannot figure out why, and call the people who want to rethink the importance of New Orleans as a port city a Luddite.

LA Times points out the possibly bright future of progressivism. It surprised me a bitto see those post WWI connections that the writer made as well. Points like this: “On Sept. 11 the public saw terrorists flying into buildings to kill innocents–most of them ordinary workers, many of them foreign-born. It saw public servants running in to save them, freely sacrificing their own lives in doing so. It was not private corporations that lined up afterward to find the dead and comfort the families, but volunteer workers, more public servants, and nonprofits of all kinds.”

The oil lackey Gale Norton is not doing the job of a Secretary of Interior. Tha LA Times (i really like them today) points out, “The secretary says it is her ‘responsibility’ and that of her department ‘to show that [Arctic refuge oil development] can be done in an environmentally responsible way.’ True, if she were employed by the oil industry. But she’s not. As Interior secretary, her responsibility is to provide the best scientific information on whether or not drilling is compatible with the Arctic environment.” Oil drilling cannot be done in an environmentally responsible way in any case, because if being environmentally responsible was important, she’d protect her charge, and call upon the president to press the Department of Energy to pursue alternate forms of energy more doggedly, because if arctic drilling is America’s last best hope, then something’s very wrong, as the nation needs to have more foresight than this.

I wonder if Leahy is going to force Cockfarmer Ashcroft to sit down long enough to answer some questions. The white belted cockfarmer says that he’s too busy towaste time answering questions right now, but since he has so many people detained, for no other reason to ask questions that they have asked yet apparently, i think that he has the responsibility to answer questions himself. After all, their whole lives are on hold, and someone needs to be accountable.

So the Bush administration is corrupt, but i thought that the military had more sense. We don’t need a Homeland CINC. I remember that nonsense about soldiers “assisting” in the fictitious War on Drugs back in the ’80s, and thought it was a bad idea. My fears never materialized, but it’s still reasonable to say NO. Soldiers are great in some cases, but the world doesn’t need to become permanently militarized.

So why did this ebola expert go missing? I don’t like this at all, considering that

And why the hell aren’t women being included in the future of Afghanistan? According to this article, they are 60% of the population after all of the killing through the years.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.21.01

…i stowed away yesterday, and the Idle Race found its way into the stereo by virtue of being the one that I had not listened to in the longest time. They are a little more precious and studied than what I’m used to, as i need a little chaos and dementia to keep me going. The Idle Race’s vision of psych is poppy and pretty. Even the Beatles sound like dangerous wildmen next to the Idle Race. I want to dismiss them and state the obvious in that I prefer the sober perversity of Roy Wood’s Move, but the Idle Race is just so damned cute. Maybe it’s that cuteness that makes me want to drag Jeff Lynne around by the roots of his curly hair.

I’ve spent the rest of the time that i can listen to music playing T-Rex and Amon Duul 2. Why this combo? I dunno. They really don’t go together. There’s something cool and vaguely pagan about the collective of Amon Duul 2, but i think that T-Rex is not nearly as bubblegum as it’s portrayed to be. On headphones, the layers (oh, the layers!) just blow my mind. It crunches and bubbles and grinds and squelches… who cares if it’s “just” three chords? How many layers are in there? The Neptunes would not exist without T-Rex! Let the words “teenage” be thrown up as slander. It sounds incredible.

ILM people are fucking with my head again. First there’s the Mud versus Leonard Cohen thread, which i find quite funny, but before anyone mentioned it, i was already wondering what side i would take if it was the Sweet instead? All i have of Sweet is a 20 track Best of, and i have most of Cohen’s albums, but lately, i rarely playing those, and get far, far more into “Ballroom Blitz” than i probably should.

Second, both Skykicking and In Review have given preliminary thumbs up on the new Pink material. I’ve never liked Pink. I didn’t like the way she looked. I didn’t like the way she sings. I didn’t like how she was always, always on MTV. I was watching videos Saturday night (yes, i filled a few pages with notes, but most of it was picking on poor old sad Pete Yorn running and rabid loathing of P.O.D. so it’s not worth much) and caught her new one, the party one, and liked the music. I felt dirty. Now i feel kinda justified, but i feel more like a consumer at the moment, and i don’t like that either. I gotta hear the song again, and it better be even better to assuage the contempt for my consumer self.

Should i be surprised that anthrax has been found in the offices of two more liberal Democrats? Cross-contamination my foot. It doesn’t look good at all.

Instead of looking for the right-wing native American freak who is doing this, instead the FBI wants to locate and detain 5000 more people that they find suspicious because of their ethnicity. They still have not released the identities or whereabouts of the 1,182 that are already detained. The language used to defend this decision is very “patriotic,” as if they are doing these detainees a favor by keeping them anonymous and hidden. Leahy wants answers. If Leahy was running for president, i’d have to campaign for the man, as he’s taking a high profile of trying to do what i believe is right. I hope my belief in his integrity is not misguided.

I also think that Oregon is pretty tough for refusing to collaborate with Cockfarmer Ashcroft on the racial profiling with no probable cause that is being used. It’s a nice turnaround after Cockfarmer Ashcroft pulled that stunt with his interference on assisted suicides. It’s a good cop that asks how the list is made, refusing to be a blind tool.

Can you say police state? So can the U.S. military. they want to designate a “homeland command” that will further blur the distinction between domestic crime and foreign war. If military tribunals with no jurys are to be the future, why not? It’s efficient. Pretty damned silly for an administration that keeps giving lip service to state’s rights, and a decentralization of federal government.

Of course Rumsfeld prefers Osama bin Laden dead. The truth is that if he ever went to trial, bin Laden would spill the beans on all of the U.S. complicity in his terrorism over the year, making the U.S. as guilty as the nations it accuses of being terrorist state sponsors.

And it’s patriotic to destroy the environment. Nevermind that all of this was stuff that the Bush administration planned to do 9/11. Now they push it through more easily by playing on fear and the desire to sacrifice what is not understood. Bastards.

NASA is going to investigate a relatively unexplored portion of the atmosphere, which is where those freaky electrical atmospheric sprites probably live.I couldn’t remember who Of Montreal reminded me of until today… the Idle Race. In beginning to get into a bit of a psych discussion on a listserv, i dug out some of the ones

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.20.01

It’s quite difficult to read sites, let alone post, with a house full of people. this week’s shaping into a week of short posts.

Still in a relatively unmusical mood. This morning i tried sorting my CDs into imaginary genres, so that i could find them more easily. It didn’t quite work like that. There’s still that bin full of CDs that keeps too many discs out of circulation. Then there’s some problems like this morning, power pop, post-punk, alt-country, indiepop and folk rock all seemed like even stupider pigeonoles than usual. They just didn’t seem worth believing in. I cannot wait for Louise to get over here so that we can set up house, and for the first tiem in my life, i can do something rational, like put them all alphabetical by artist. Then again, i might never think to look under P for Prudy, that Czech psych band, because they are just not a band that i think about unless i want a psych comp, or Roscoe Holcolmb, a great high lonesome sound kinda guy that i forgot from last spring. There’s no happy ending to organizing records.

Listened to Pavement Wowee Zowee, but there’s nothing much to say about that, other than the harmonica and guitar solo in “Rattled by the Rush” is a Great Moment for me, nad almost wasted on Pavement, as i’d rather such slovenly cacophony be slapped in my face without a knowing wink. There’s something of that feel of too much is not enough, like the Frippery of Brian Eno’s “Baby’s on Fire” in there.

Saw “Harry Potter” today with my parents. I’m more than happy with it. I still have to figure out what to say about it, other than i didn’t believe that a movie could be so faithful to a book…. (which i’ll get to later.) I also refuse to believe that Harry Potter is overhyped, as it has more kids reading than i’ve seen in ages. I was/ am pro-Pokemon, and Harry Potter leaves Pokemon in the dust, as i’ve watched the kids into Harry Potter go on to read for the sake of reading, and striving to be a good student. Maybe it’s propaganda, but i like it better than flagwaving.

The only actor that didn’t quite fit my vision of what the character looked like was perghaps Hermione, but she was how she acted. It also seemed that they left out some fo the demerit scenes from the book as well as classroom instruction, but it probably would have added another 30 minutes to the film if they were left in. It feels strange to have a vision that so completely lives up to what was painted int he imagination with just words.

Except that i’m nearly as excited over the previews before “Harry Potter.” One of them was for “Star Wars Episode 2,” and it seems that the fan fiction i’ve read online was indeed the summary of the script. Whoops. At this point, i’m more excited about “The Fellowship of the Ring.” It nearly brought tears to my eyes, embarrassingly enough, as it start pulling out all kinds of weird adolescent feelings that have been buried for fifteen years. My parents thought it looked good, but i didn’t dare tell them how doomladen it really is going to be. Nonetheless, the glimpses i saw easily topped the fufillment of Harry Potter, despite all of its weighty baggage of expectations. Only another month….

So Bush closed the White House to visitors, yet is still promoting tourism… Jackass. The day that the White House is reopened to the general public, as it once was, i will devote a whole day to sincere praise of John Denver and how he affected my life. Incidentally, i don’t think it’s going to be reopened. Ever. I can only hope that we have another election.

Oh, and more explanation on why Lynne Cheney is a hypocrite and would-be fascist for denouncing university professors for being less than patriots. It sucks that the word “fascist” has been thrown around as an insult all ofthese years, and now it’s actually a necessity to use it as less than hyperbole.

As for the FBI and mystery anthrax mailer, forget about it. They are more interested in investigating anti-American activity at art museums. The FBI’s defense of their absurd investigation is just as disturbing as the actual investigation, as they refused to acknowledge that they made a mistake.

I felt awful reading a sincere piece arguing for democracy for Muslims in the NYT, because while i want them to be better represented, and have control over their own destiny, i don’t see how this nation can help them right now, since Mr. American Eagle is shitting in its own nest.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.19.01

No music today. No chance to turn on the radio or put on a record. It’s mostly the Leonids and politics today, and will get back to music tomorrow… maybe.

If you do need music writing today, go read Permafrost, as Andy’s commenting on the mournful piece on the premature death of rock criticism on Neumu. There’s nothing intelligent that i can say on the matter that Andy already has not said, but i gotta confess a few things. First, i don’t even know who some of those Big Names on Goldberg’s list of Great Rock Writers are. Second, I don’t think that writing premature obituaries is Great Writing. Third, Goldberg oughta know better after the Strokes Incident. Sheesh, i hope the poor guy is not having a midlife crisis, because the offbeat has always been where it’s at, even if it’s the offbeat mainstream.

Goldberg doesn’t even mention one of hsi regular contributors that i’m most fond of, John Darnielle, who’s gotten around to “Knives Out.”

The Leonids! It was the real thing. we were out there for 3 am, bundled up in jackets and old sleeping bags. my mother even took a space heater out on an extension cord later on, but i spent most of the time away from the house, to be able to see the horizon better. At times there were three or four per second falling in one area of the sky. A few had arcs that went a third of the length of the sky. Had a couple of dozen of big flashes, and two with double flashes (one with white and pink.)

Some of my favorites had what appeared smoke trails. One hung the air for a few minutes, and actually curved into a wisp in the air currents until it blew apart entirely.

Saw ’em in just about every portion of the sky, north, south, east, west, right on top of us. We live in a rural area, and the only light pollution is low to the south, and the very few clouds that were up there were just light haze. (If anyone checks that linked light pollution map, we live in one of the blue areas, which will probably be green in a few years.) Fan-damn-tastic.

Since Saturday morning, am trying to relearn what i’ve forgotten about the constellations by drawing them all out in diagrams in a sketchbook, and writing down the name of the stars, as well as bits of trivia about each of them, like how far away they are, what spectral class, and whether they are binaries, triples of the rarest quadruple. Have NOTHING memorized yet though, except maybe the seven main stars fo Ursa Major. Dubhe, Merak, Phad, Meraz, Alioth, Mizar, and Alkaid… but no details on any of ’em.

Sunday morning, i could only get down Ursa Major, Orion, Bootes (as i’ve been watching Acturus rise each morning since returning from Cardiff,) Canis Major (Sirius is easy to pick out,) Cassiopea, and Taurus (the Pleiadies are easy to spot.) I was never even sure whch one was Leo, even though it was supposed to be the one that the meteor were supposed to have the illlusion of falling from. I knew Jupiter was near it, and i saw two bright stars right to its east, so i presume that was it.

Last night, i went out and became all confused, as i knew Perseus, Andromeda, Aries, Lyra, and a bunch of others were up there, but it just looked like a jumble of lights. Too tired.

Forgot to mention that we sat out Saturday evening too, and watched the stars come out, which isn’t unusual, but i rarely have mentioned it. Saw a few falling stars then too, but there were two that streaked as great or better as anything we saw this morning. Mars was out too, the red bastard. We saw a hoard of satellites roaming about, like every evening, but we were strining for early meteors so hard that we must have seen three times the usual number. The sliver of the moon that has been up has been great for stargazing.

Aw, to hell with it. I don’t want to write about world events and politics today. I felt a little burned out at the end of last week, and don’t know what to do with the need to do something to stop the slaughter in Afghanistan, the cynically distracting war brewing with Iraq, and the U.S. march towards a police state.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.17.01

Because i was feeling foolish for explaining to people that i learned many constellations back when i was a kid obsessed with mythology, but i forgot nearly everything, i’ve spent most of today trying to map out most of the ones that are going to be out early tomorrow morning, with the names of some of the prominent stars, and odd bits of trivia about them. I’ll never have any of this back down by this morning, but it’s as good as project as anything to keep from getting too down about unemployment and Louise being so far away.

And all i’ve found with listening to is Perfect Prescription by Spacemen 3. It’s a pretty good choice, although not as obvious as everyone else might think, as originally i was wrestling whether to put the soundtrack for Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, something i used to listen to a lot, which explains why i know more about Vangelis than i was ready to admit a few weeks ago. Then again, it exposed me to Shostakovich too, as the piece on there seemed quite strange in the way that it lumbered, in that peculiar spiral way.

But “Take Me to the Other Side”, that one track alone, is the soundtrack for the next 18 hours. The small oceanic crashes against the shoals of the mudane, yeah… tonight’s gonna be great.

After this, i might map out all of those damned carbon chains that i used to flip the hydrogens and hydroxides on because of my dyslexia and anxiety.

This NYT opinion piece has been one of my favorites of the past few days, stating that if the U.S. cannot try those alleged terrorists without bertaying the United States Constitution, then they need to be handed over the the World Court. If foreign citizens are to be treated so barbarically, no matter how babaric the crime that they have been accused of (and that at this point very few of the men detained right now are even accused of anything at all,) then there’s no reason why other nations cannot treat Americans abroad in such a fashion.

Not much else to post today, aside from another huge Told You So to the FBI when that anthrax letter to Leahy popped up. That threat is domestic. Why on earth would foreign terrorists target only Democratic senators?

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.16.01

The lyrics for eight of the eleven songs of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot are posted as promised. Forcing myself to listen to attentively also punched a lot of holes in my earlier ramblings, so i might have to re-write the whole page now.

I was going to sneak out to see the first showing of Harry Potter today, but realized that I’d be the only adult there not with a kid, and i’d be skipping out on that looming flood of responses to applications and calls that i’ve made. Damn it. It’s not like i’ve left the house since Monday anyway, even though I have yet to canvas Covington and have three packages to mail.

I wasn’t really sure whether i was in a mood for music today, and put on If You’re Feeling Sinister because of that. That might not be a good thing to admit. I’ve always insisted that it’s because i love the music, and that it affects me somehow, but at this moment, it feels like a lifestyle reflection, because while I’m now happily married, I feel a bit disaffected from where I’m living and the burdening sense of personal history with Hammond that’s best left unsaid, but i’ll probably dwell on it anyway. At least Belle & Sebastian reminds me why i never fit in here… a silly thing to write at my age. It’s easier to cling to the emotional bruises of the past through music than try to estimate how far and how deep the gulf is between me and many of the locals is socially and politically right now.

Yeah, i’m in a bad mood today. I apologize for being so mopey. It’s really quite a nice day, with no clouds threatening to screw up the Leonid shower this year. Almost all music seems claustrophobic though, pressing thoughts, moods, and empty melodies that i don’t want in or around me at the moment.

…so it doesn’t help that i’ve put on Mogwai Young Team to write the rest of today’s post.

Great concept for new blog, to pick up on the legacy of a Thousand Songs. I see three music entries so far. Go, go, go!

Stephen Hawking ought to be so stoked. Now that nerves can be connected to semiconductors, we can build even better giant cyborgs to compete with computers and robots that he’s so fearful of.

Scalia ia a bad, bad man. Can anyone believe this jackass has the arrogance to say, “I do not believe in the ‘Living Constitution’ garbage. My Constitution is a dead Constitution. It means what it meant when it was adopted.” What about the decision in Bush vs. Gore that was one time only and never to be used as a precedent? Liar! His very stance of saying that what he believes is how he makes decisions is a paradox, as he’s interpreting. In other words, it’s his interpretation that there is no interpretation, and his interpretation that the words of the Constitution are his words…. No wonder why he say “My Constitution.”

It’s the words of authoritarian, self-righteous pig. I read all sorts of nonsense about his powerful intellect, but that’s the kind of logic worthy of someone with a radio talk show, not a judge sitting on the Supreme Court. It’s disheartening he gets a standing ovation from 500 people and only 12 protestors.

It doesn’t help that Cheney came out of his duck blind to mouth off about how the Democrats in Congress need to rubberstamp more blowhards like Scalia to sit on federal benches either. Although Ashcroft is no judge, but Attorney-General, i’ll bet that the Democrats are wishing that they thought a little harder before confirming that little tyrant. What do they need more civilian judges for anyway? Most likely they will insist that the caseloads are too much and hand even more stuff over the military tribunals, and then claim it’s all the Democrats’ fault… not that the Democrats have behaved with any spine at all so far.

Wound up reading the recent Maura post again because of another link to it, and it reminded me of that damned Le Tigre song that pissed me off last spring, the “Get Off the Internet” one. Maura’s right, although it disturbs me. If i didn’t have a blog or message boards, there’s only a couple of people that i could articulate any thoughts about what’s going in the world and especially the United States (something i can see firsthand) on right now. Like i mentioned last week, i see signs for “Justice Before Peace” everywhere. and mentioning the uncomfortably fascist tones that a lot of domestic legislation has been taking to anyone other than a select handful of people here is going to get me strung up. If i’m lucky, they’d only throw me over the walls of the prison up in Amite of those detained men who are suspected of being connected to terrorists somehow. Every time i see a poll that says 90% approval rating of Dumbo as president, i shudder, as most people online seems a little more rational.

I fear that the war might turn on Iraq now. It seems that everyone in the States has forgotten that while the Taliban is guilty of numerous human rights absues, that they were not directly responsible for the destruction fo the WTC. That tidily has been brushed under the table, because the “bad guys” are now on the run. Even if they accidentally kill Osama bin Laden, which is most certainly not a real objective, the Bush administration will find a way to keep the nation on alert, in a state of war, to keep up this wartinme powers that the executive branch has unwisely took upon themselves.

And just in case anyone wants to become really depressed on the kind of United States that might be “leading” the world next, here’s a horrid piece that covers most of the bases.

Killed the handful of dead sites that i kept waiting to reactivate, except Kathleen’s, which was updated just last week, in just a tiny blurb. No telling when that will happen again, but anyway, ha! I decided for soem reason or another that i wanted to find local blogs and read them, and there’s no other place to keep the bookmarks but on this page. Point me towards any blog in southern Louisiana or southern Mississippi, as i want to live vicariously on people who go see live music.

The sad thing is that i wanted to add some stuff that was really local, from Hammond, but the best site i’m aware of kinda sucks, as it loves to use foul language just for the sake of being offensive, like Buddyhead without the content. Besides, on their messageboard, they are mourning a guy that died of a methodone OD oddly enough a few weeks ago, a guy that i never liked who was a rapist and all-around thug. Yeah, i was complaining a couple of days ago about the rumors of my friends being cultists and satanists, but this is a lot more substantial. Anyway, i must remember never to look back at that hellhole, even if i’m living here again, as it made the one a lot smaller and uglier than it’s seemed in a very long time.

Something weird was going on here last Friday though. It was a partly cloudy morning, with some fog, no precipitation, and cleared up over the rest of the day, but the radar images were quite strange. So what the hell is it?

Ever do weird searches on your own page, hoping that it will turn up higher in the results? I was a little freaked out to find that Ari Fleischer nude left me at #3. I’m disappointed. National Lampoon apparently beat me to it…. or did they? I’m even lower on Ari Fleischer bondage, which i thought would shoot me straight to the top.