morning 05.31.16

Mike Mignola: Why I’m ending Hellboy to go paint watercolors instead. Tomorrow I’ll buy the last Hellboy in Hell comic. I still don’t own most of the Hellboy run in floppies or trades, although I’ve read most of them. However, it’s one of my all-time favorites comics. There’s even a signed Mignola print on the wall, the only one I own. It’s easy to see why he wants to move on and he’s welcome to do it. A well-done completion to a story is better than one dragged out into perpetuity. It’s going to take years to acquire all of the Hellboy, BPRD, and assorted off-shoots anyway. The Joe Golem comic is pretty good, but it’s no Hellboy.

The Velvet Underground – IV. Brian Eno posted the link last night. The zip file had already been sitting in my hard drive for a few years. Plus, I already have all of the songs from a CD boxed set and bootlegs. Nonetheless, I don’t ever recall bothering to listen to these in this sequence. Quite a nice little album.

Neurons Constantly Rewrite Their DNA. “They use minor ‘DNA surgeries’ to toggle their activity levels all day, every day.”

Guardian piece on Indonesian literature. On Eka Kurniawan’s Man Tiger:

Man Tiger, with its main character possessed by the spirit of a white tiger, has elements that UK readers will most readily recognise from Latin American magical realism; indeed, it is common for Indonesian writers to be compared to Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez or even Italo Calvino.

I’ve grown snobby about García Márquez over the years and the Borges touchstone is clichè, but throw in Calvino? Yeah, This could work.

Villager dipped his fishing net in the river and caught a 4,000 year old pagan god. “Currently the theories are that the statuette belonged to the Okunev or Samus cultures.”

That alleged Neandertal “stone circle.” Bruniquel Cave, France. 176.5k year old. Arranged stalagmites.

Henri Cartier-Bresson. USA. Louisiana. New Orleans. 1947.

USA. Louisiana. New Orleans. 1947.
USA. Louisiana. New Orleans. 1947.

It seems that Henri Cartier-Bresson took a photo of my great-grandfather and great uncle in New Orleans in 1947. Cecil was exceedingly tall, so he’s distinctive to my family. It’s from the same set that has a relatively well-known photo of Truman Capote. My mother and cousins only recently figured this out when someone posted the photo on Facebook, just for New Orleans nostalgia purposes.

Memorial Day morning 05.30.16

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher has its own category now. There are so many broken links in those old posts. It’s easy to see that once the import gets wrapped up, that the next project will be idly cyberstalking to see whatever happened to a generation of music bloggers and writers. Some of them are on Twitter, but I’ve procrastinated following them.

Awhile back, when I got a new turntable, I went through a phase of diving into “new” music… Tame Impala, King Tuff, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, etc. Finances got tight and I became complacent being happy with those new artists. It was a good comfort zone. My toddler fixated on those bands, demanding they be played incessantly. Now I crave new sounds.

Car Seat Headrest isn’t doing it for me. It’s all the rage on certain “indie” forums. It’s not bad obviously. It’s too familiar. Nah, that’s not it. Familiarity has never been too great a turnoff. He’s prolific, but this doesn’t sound anything like Guided by Voices. This is sad Beck fronting Summerteeth era Wilco.  Pass for now.

I’m two-thirds of the way through Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal. It’s an easy read that’s correcting some of my misremembered bullshit and filling in some blanks. Once upon a time, I identified as liberal, but that feels so long ago. The word liberal acquired the same nebulous, flaccid quality that indie did.

summer of 2002

Importing 2002 blog posts from Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher seems pointless.

  • Hearing LCD Soundsystem for the first time.
  • Creeping boredom with the elevation of Wilco to mythic status.
  • Fascination with mash-ups.
  • The use of the phrase cockfarmer.
  • The Bayou on Chime Street in Baton Rouge burning down.
  • George W. Bush expressing surprise that there are black people in Brazil.
  • Obsessing on John Ashcroft flying on charter jets before 9/11 because unspecified “threats.”
  • Irritation with KLSU’s programming as opposed to how WTUL used to be.
  • Opposition to the push for the invasion of Iraq.
  • The serial killer that was terrorizing Baton Rouge at the time.
  • The urge to purge the Democratic Party of all DLC elements, prompted by Joe Lieberman.
  • A raging post about a rude bookstore clerk who later turned into a coworker and a favorite person.
  • Worldcom bankruptcy.

Why? Why bother?

2016 presidential election 05.28.16

The 2016 presidential election baffles me. I keep most of my political bullshit on Twitter these days. It doesn’t warrant deeper discussion from me. Apparently I read more news than the average person, but I lack the wit and depth to write much with original insight. This is more a diary entry than a blog post, but my hands ache too badly this morning to write.

I was certain the Republicans were going to continue to resist Trump until the end, knowing that he’s a fraud. Now they’ve all knuckled under to fall in line behind him. There’s part of me that still suspects that there might be rule changes at the convention. Cruz, Romney, and Ryan all made too much noise about their plans to snatch the nomination away from Trump at the last minute. Trump outmaneuvered them at every turn.

Trump still seems like he could be a Clinton stooge to me anyway. He’s so cartoonishly foul and abrasive that it’s hard to accept that he’s doing anything other than stirring up the rabble, not trying to win an election. However, many of the locals have rallied to him. Originally Ben Carson was most popular around here, then Ted Cruz. It’s creepy now to hear people speak of Trump with reverence, eager to see him destroy Hillary. It’s a broad spectrum of white people, from professionals to underclass.

Hillary Clinton herself is easy to understand. She “won” weeks ago, probably before the New York primary. Not for a moment do I believe that she won fairly. Her margin of victory was inflated by purges of certain registered Democrats, closed and limited polling places in certain precincts, rampant abuse of absentee ballots, hacked voting machines, and other shenanigans. She truly did win most of the places that she won, but not by so great of margins. She did this to push her inevitability, nudging the later voters who need to vote for a winner against the terror of Trump.

What confuses me is Clinton’s hardcore supporters. The Bernie Bro meme is boring at this point. I get it. It’s a misdirect for hippypunching, slapping a young white misogynist male mask on anyone who finds Clinton’s policy and past repulsive. It’s this week that the State Department OIG report was leaked, confirming what many were able to infer from the sparse news on Clinton’s private email server. Allegedly sane adults are still ignoring that Clinton is in serious danger from what is now clearly a FBI investigation (not a security review.) A relatively sympathetic agency with less access to the full evidence as the FBI has written a report that suggests that Clinton could already be charged with perjury, obstruction of justice, and probably gross negligence. Still, Clinton’s supporters chant, Sanders has no path to victory and he needs to drop out.

Aside from that State Dept OIG report:

Isn’t it becoming clear that there is a very strong possibility that the FBI investigation is about a lot more than the mishandling of classified information?

If these Hillary supporters hate Sanders so much, fine. He has no conventional path to the nomination now. As as Sanders supporter I knew that weeks ago. However, sticking their fingers and shouting loudly about how arrogant and foolish Sanders is does not change that their candidate of preference is connected to an FBI investigation that could destroy her as a viable candidate. Sanders may never be president, but Hillary might not either.

An aside- The Democrat doofuses who hate Sanders most seem to be the same fucking sheep who buy into the myth that Nader is the reason Gore “lost.”

Another aside- Trump agreeing to debate Sanders, then backing out twice, while the media cycle was high on the growing implications of the FBI investigation into Clinton’s private email server? A dumb blunder by Trump or a way to take heat off of Clinton?

some anthropology links 05.16.16

2,300 year old Heckelman site in Ohio. No burials or preparations for the dead. Early Woodland.

Evidence of human butchered mastodon in Florida 14,550 years ago. Page-Ladson site near Tallahassee. Clovis First has been dead for years. Why is this obsolete theory still being paraded around? Link to actual paper.

13,000- to 14,000-year-old ancient, extinct species of bison at the Old Vero Man Site in Vero Beach, FLBison antiquus. Hm. This might be worth keeping eye out for in case signs of butchering are identified.

In the Caucasus, a Bronze Age site hints at embalming with honey. Ananauri 3. Martkopi and Bedeni. Araxes-Kura culture. 4,300 years ago. Caucasus Mountains. Georgia. Mellification? Embalming is old hat, but i genuinely forgot about the self-sacrifice aspect.

World’s oldest axe fragment found in Australia. 45,000 to 49,000 years old. Suspect that it didn’t develop in Australia.

how vulnerable was Hillary Clinton’s private email server?

Pretty damned vulnerable. Lifting from a comment on Reddit:

This is what has been confirmed so far:

This is now further demonstrated as a complete and total act of negligence based off this linked article from Judicial Watch which shows that in 2009, Cheryl Mills met with the NSA regarding acquiring a secure Blackberry:

In meeting with the NSA person today ([Redacted] NSA’s rep to DOS) – she indicated they could address our BB so that BB could work in the sciff [Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility] and be secure based upon some modifications that could be done to each BB (more below).

In other words, she was aware, to at least a certain degree, of requirements for properly implementing something like Exchange ActiveSync (mobile access to the e-mail server) and simply ignored them.

How did AV Club let such a clueless piece on Neutral Milk Hotel get published?

How did the Neutral Milk Hotel legend get so out of hand?

I’m going to make a wild guess here. The writer of this piece is too young to remember the ’90s. He explored the pathetic written record preserved and has no memory of long dead message boards and personal websites that worshiped Neutral Milk Hotel. Back then, I bristled and groused at the cult of Mangum springing up. There was a fierce fandom even then, despite the sparse modest reviews that remain. There is not so much revisionism as mainstream music criticism catching up with what was word of mouth. History wasn’t being written by mainstream publications. Pitchfork wasn’t a site of record but one of several start-ups… the one that happened to survive and reinvent itself.

I don’t know shit about the creation of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. However, I know just a little about On Avery Island, which is mentioned just once in that AV Club piece. This bit from the piece is especially annoying:

There is no scandal burbling around In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, no tragedy or darkness, nothing lost or unconsummated, no imprisoned brooding genius.

Yeahhhhhh… bullshit. I never met or spoke to Mangum. I cannot presume to know his heart or mind, although I’ve tossed out some ugly stuff many years ago. (Pure spite from loss.) However, there can be no doubt that the motherfucker rended himself and spilled his guts into some intensely personal art. His songs are not just some commercial pieces churned out to earn a little coin and recognition. If the song “Three Peaches” from On Avery Island is who I continue to believe it’s about, Mangum has had his share of loss, tragedy, darkness, scandal… hell… unconsumated… Winkie needs to stop reading lousy old Rolling Stone reviews of albums they never understood. Listen to Mangum’s voice and read his lyrics.

Jonathan Cahoon? I don’t know him. He’s seen the band. I never had the chance. However, I did have bootleg tapes in the winter of 1994. I did visit the old house in Ruston, LA. I went to a show up there at an old caboose featuring bright, enthusiastic people who once played in projects with Elephant 6 members. There was definitely a mythology coalescing well before the first actual NMH album was released. It was spreading like a web early. Apparently his East Coast social network was in isolation.

Accusing Neutral Milk Hotel of a cash-in is absolute bullshit. Brandon Stosuy doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about. The man-child works for Condé Nast now. No one wants to hear his bitch ass giving props to Ian Mackaye. Knowing what little I do about Mangum, as nice as it would be for him to earn a few dollars on a reunion tour, that last tour was probably more about putting that era of his life away. It was a retrospective and an outreach to the generation that Mangum may have felt he owed something to. I’m sorry that a former record store clerk/ music writer and a Pitchfork employee, both of which that I’m probably at least ten years older than, don’t grasp that obvious fucking fact. They’re jealous kids pissed at the next generation. Fuck ’em and their faux indie spirit scenester nonsense. Do they not recall that much of Elephant 6 essentially dropped out to form a commune, Orange Twin? Probably not.

Jeff Mangum is no sell-out.

An aside: would In The Aeroplane Over The Sea have grow in to the stature it has had it been released in 1992? I absolutely guarantee it would have been even huger. In 1992 the still very much alive Kurt Cobain would have been all over the record like a fly on shit. It might not have acquired the cultural currency, but it would have sold quite a few records. It still mystifies me that Cobain didn’t obviously latch onto the Tall Dwarfs. Cobain championed the Raincoats, the Vaselines, the Meat Puppets, and Os Mutantes. Cobain would have fallen over himself trying to push Neutral Milk Hotel. Mangum almost certainly have been mortified by the attention and quit music instantly and permanently.