morning 11.27.15

Not much going on this week.

  • I read a few more chapters in Sante’s The Other Paris. I’ve never been to Paris and not even read that many books set there. David Beauchard has probably done more for me than Blaise Cendrars or even more importantly Georges Perec did little to flesh out the map in my head. Movies? A few, but I still have no sense of place. My sense of history there is weaker than it should be. It’s necessary to cross-reference a lot of things in order to appreciate the connections he’s making fully. It’s an easily approachable book, but I still feel inadequate. It’s also easy to come away ashamed of being as sedentary as I am now. That period when my friends and I were essentially flâneurs of Hammond and New Orleans were too brief… although in reality that period lasted over a decade.
  • Eco’s Numero Zero.  It’s funnier than I expected, but I’ve misplaced it.
  • No comics. I need to calm the fuck down with the comic books. I have no shame in reading them, but it’s an expensive habit that I cannot afford other than in small doses. I got sloppy there one week and I’m still kicking myself.
  • Jessica Jones. Eh… I’m going to keep watching it, but I feel a little manipulated. Some of the narrating and dialogue have lines that make me wince, being old noir detectives tropes. There’s too much telegraphing jaded and damaged there. I’ll stick it out to the end because I’m a comic book junky who dug Alias, but the breathless binge watchers on Twitter have me scratching my head.
  • The Man in the High Tower. Honestly this is more enjoyable to watch. I watched the second episode of this last night too. There’s more of that button pushing I feel more directly as a parent now. Fucking horror porn… the evil is just too evil, even though a quick peek at real news makes it more plausible. Fascism is lurking everywhere. Odd little world they have there. It’s been about 25 years or so since I read the book.

Off to work.

Under the Volcano essay in LARB

One of these days I’ll read Under the Volcano. Until then, I’ll stagger around it reading every essay and review concerning it that I’ll stumble across. Here’s Throw Away Your Mind by Colin Dayan.

Throw away your mind. Throw away the acquisition of knowledge, the tempting ballast of academic learning, the heavy quoting of past literary masters, the pile-up of clever echoes. Can a wanton leave-taking of self and an ultra-attentive look at the abhorrent be tolerated in the liberal compact of the university?


In Spectre, James Bond has entered the Lovecraftian universe.

Holy shit. I’m convinced.

He’s in Lovecraft territory; those trillion-tentacled monsters from outer space that intrude upon stately New Englanders were always a barely concealed metaphor for one man’s horror of black and brown bodies in their nameless shoals, leaking degradation over a world fissuring from imperial decline. But over and above that, they stand for a universe that is not required to make sense.

The Englishman and the Octopus. Sam Kriss also connects it to Thomas Pynchon and there’s an unspoken Bolaño reference.

new Monte Verde study

A new survey at the Monte Verde site in Chile suggests human habitation 18,000 years ago. Early habitation of the Americas and multiple waves of colonization is a theory I remain sympathetic to, just because I’m a silly bastard who clings to the notion that humans as a whole tend to move around a lot, and if one group finds a path, another group is likely to find it later. John Hawks makes some cool observations on the findings. I completely missed the inspiring detail that this Monte Verde survey was published as open source.

The Twin Peak Tarot

Benjamin Mackey created a Major Arcana from Twin Peaks and its truth is eerily accurate. Going through the images, I agree that Mackey is onto something. Lynch hit upon symbolic archetypes consciously or not.


Daily Grail posted this and has a short Youtube interview embedded of an interview with Mackey, on how he went about creating the deck. It seems like an excerpt from this 42 Minutes podcast interview which I might need to cough up the 99 cents for.

morning 11.23.15

I’m up listening to music before Elijah gets up and tries to make me play the same six King Tuff songs he’s apparently obsessed with. I played him so much music when he was an infant, but “Tuffy” is what he’s fixated on for now. It’s charming in small doses, but he needs to branch out. At least it’s not the Fresh Beats band or some equally vile Disney shit.

Cold November mornings can make me nostalgic for Syd Barrett and early Pink Floyd, eating oranges and drinking tea. Yep. I know that is more of a Leonard Cohen reference, but the people who hipped me to Barrett were Anglophiles, thus the tea, and the oranges in late November is a Louisiana thing. Hell, I first picked up Cohen from those same people.

Maybe I should find a purple paisley shirt.

No reading. Luc Sante and Umberto Eco await. I wrote a couple of rambling posts for the blog about the Louisiana gubernatorial election consumed with anxiety that Vitter would snatch victory at the last minute with his bigoted fearmongering. I’ve never liked Vitter, but the more I remembered what he’s gotten away with over the years, the clearer it became that he’s not just a corrupt asshole with an unsavory sexual appetite, but an amoral monster. Some of those posts might be salvaged, but now there’s Edwards, the conservative Democrat who plugged along solidly, running a campaign against the narcissistic policies of Jindal. I’m neither pro-life nor pro-gun like Edwards, but I believe he genuinely gives a damn about having a functioning state, and is not using the office of governor for a quixotic ambition to be president.