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1. Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution In Music by Marisa Meltzer. This book is perhaps more sociology than music criticism, a series of snapshots of feminism from the early nineties to present day; as such it touches on the tension between second- and third-wave feminists, the shifting terminologies/identities and mainstream appropriations thereof (e.g. grrrl to grrl to princess to lady), wardrobe as signifier, etc.--primarily from the context of the riot grrrl movement and the female-centered artists and trends that latched onto that energy. That sounds like a lot because it is, and it's covered in a pretty short book; I think I would have liked a bit more depth on some of the artists (like Bikini Kill, Liz Phair, Sleater-Kinney). But it's a smart, thought-provoking book with a lot of passion behind it.
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To give you Five Norwegian Chaps Singing a Parody Version of Wham!'s "Last Christmas" in nonsensical German:

(Via [ profile] justinhowe.)

Happy Glockenspielen' Holidays.
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Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
Books 41-50.
Books 51-60.
Books 61-70.
Books 71-80.
81. Elektra: Assassin by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz.

82. Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes From the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 by Michael Azerrad. Another loaner from [ profile] janradder. (I am a terrible book borrower, so I'm trying to get some of this stuff back to him.) Azerrad profiles thirteen bands that were alternative before "alternative" became a marketing category; some of these bands were hugely important for me (Dinosaur Jr, the Replacements), while others I know only by reputation (Beat Happening, Mission of Burma). This is, I think it's fair to say, something of a hagiography; much of the book is nakedly reverent, and even when talking about the foibles of various musicians and label runners it mostly has a tone of fond amusement. I can't say I minded, though. One thing that nagged at me throughout, though, was how many of these stories are boy's stories, and white boys specifically; granted, Azerrad has no control over the nature of indie rock or the timing of when punk broke, but it'd be nice to see someone profile the Runaways, Hole, Babes in Toyland, L7, Sleater-Kinney, etc. in a similar fashion. (Perhaps someone has and I'm not aware of it?) Despite that reservation, this is one hell of an inspiring book--the defiant trailblazing of Black Flag, the DIY ethics of the Minutemen and Fugazi, are humbling, since I feel like I still haven't figured out how to get most of my energy into my art. Punk rock, despite its anyone-can-do-it credo, is as prone to myth-making as the rest of rock 'n roll, and this (along with, say, Please Kill Me) is a sort of Prose Edda of the pantheon. Highly recommended for fans of the era and genre of music.
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I seem to have no capacity to write anything interesting or clever today, so I am stealing links from my f-list.

Via [ profile] warren_ellis: Scientists may have located the seat of free will in the human brain. I don't know about you, but I am getting ready to exercise that part of my brain in order to run and hide from the scientists who are currently making plans to remove it.

Via [ profile] glvalentine: Keanu Reeves to star in an adaptation of "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." This will only be good if Alex Winter plays Hyde.

Via [ profile] matt_ruff: Artificial Owl, a blog of structures humans made and then abandoned. See also [ profile] urban_decay and [ profile] rural_ruin right here on LJ. (Also: They made a SERIES out of Life After People?!? And me having gotten rid of the History Channel, too. Sigh.)

Via [ profile] tanaise: The makers of the (extremely awesome) Samorost games are coming out with a full-length game called Machinarium.

Finally, because it makes me happy:

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Pantera's "Walk" and Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" are essentially the same song.

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Jan and Haddayr tagged me, so you all get to suffer.

Think of 15 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world. Get the idea now? Good.

1. The Mary Poppins Soundtrack, Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, et. al. I could have picked any of the Disney LPs, but this is one that I still love, so. Someone gave our family all that stuff when I was young, and it all had my name on it because I was the oldest. "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" taught me to love absurdity.

2. "I Love Trash" b/w "Goin' For a Ride," Oscar the Grouch & Anything People. Later in life I had friends who referred to me as Eeyore, but my true role model was always Oscar.

3. The Muppet Movie Soundtrack. The Muppets were my first fandom, I guess. I don't think I've seen this movie more than once or twice but I was obsessed with the LP. I did all the voices and dreamed of becoming a Muppeteer. Once I brought this in to my 4th grade class, and years later classmates remembered that I had sung along with every word of it.

4. One of Barry Manilow's Greatest Hits Albums. No idea which one, but if I made an effort I could probably name all the songs on it. Mom was a Manilow fan, and this was how us kids spent a lot of our afternoons, listening to her LP of this. It had big hits like "Copacabana" and less-big-hits like "Bermuda Triangle," but we listened to it over and over until I, at least, had it memorized.

5. One of K-Tel's compilation cassettes. I wish I could remember it and find it, but it had Eddie Rabbit's "I Love a Rainy Night," which I thought was the coolest song ever, and something by Rick Springfield, maybe. This marked my first, tentative, movement towards something like rock and roll, which having been raised on AM pop and hippie church music was still a bit frightening to me as a kid.

6. The Police, Ghost in the Machine. I've written about the Police elsewhere, but as an adolescent it was the darker parts of this cassette, about death wishes and alienation, that first hooked me into music in a serious way; first it was because I felt like Sting was describing my life, later it was because I began really listening to the lyrics and the parts -- more Andy's weird un-guitary guitar parts and Stewart's frenetic-but-precise drumming than Sting's I-could-play-that bass parts. I was a band kid, so I was sort of a musician, but I had never really been serious about listening before this.

7. R.E.M., Document. First album by any band that I bought the day it came out. My friend Steve Lang had introduced me to R.E.M., as well as The Cure and Talking Heads; those three and the Police were my favorite bands for a long while to come. Document is where R.E.M. plateaued, in my opinion, but they didn't start down the cliff until sometime on Green. I memorized "It's the End of the World As We Know It" but my favorite song was probably "Oddfellows Local 151" because it was odd and so was I. It was twenty years before I realized that "Strange" was a cover of a Wire song. R.E.M. set me on the indie/college rock track that was my primary musical course for the next decade.

8. Prince, Sign O' the Times. The first album on this list that I still unreservedly love. I'd grown up in the Cities, so I knew Prince, but I knew Radio Prince, which meant "1999" and "Little Red Corvette" and "Raspberry Beret." I knew he was supposed to be a weirdo pervert but not why, really. Sign was not only my true introduction to Prince, but retroactively to James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, Parliament, Hendrix, Dorothy Parker, Gospel, and Autogynephilia. There are moments on any Prince album that are transcendent, but this one kills me back to front. My favorite stretch starts with "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man" -- with its out-of-body guitar solo and its "One, two, one, whoo!" -- winds through the spare gospel harmony of "The Cross," and climaxes in the What-a-fucking-party! glee of the live "It's Gonna Be a Beautiful Night." Sheila E.'s Transmississippirap kills me every time.

9. The Beatles, The Beatles (AKA The White Album). Reasonable people disagree on this, but early Beatles does little for me; at the time it may have been groundbreaking, but nowadays it mostly comes across as shallow pop. This album, though, made me laugh ("Rocky Raccoon"), rocked me ("Helter Skelter"), and probably most memorably, scared the shit out of me. I'm thinking of "Revolution 9," which was unlike anything I'd heard to that point and which, listening to it after dark in the basement of my friend Joe's parents' house, had my Catholicism-warped mind half-convinced that some kind of devil shit was going on. Yeah, I was a sheltered kid. But without that track I don't think I'd have been open to, say, Can, or Tom Waits, or the Liars down the road.

10. A Tribe Called Quest, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. I could add more of the Native Tongues posse here, but this is the album that hooked into me the most. Fuzzy-funky with a lazy, almost nerdy feel to the lyrics, and some hilarious shit going on in nearly every song. "I Left My Wallet In El Segundo" is still one of my favorite tracks ever; in some ways it maps onto DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince's "Parents Just Don't Understand," but instead of being bland and cliched and subtly moralistic it's surreal and spacious and funky. Sometimes I think that, if not for these guys and De La Soul and the Beastie Boys, hip-hop might have missed me altogether.

11. Fishbone, Truth and Soul. Like I said, I was a band kid; one of the things I took from that experience was a love of brass. '80s pop has much to answer for in what it did to the saxophone, but as far as I'm concerned a nice balanced horn section is an automatic win. That, and this album, made me an easy target for ska in all its forms, but most especially aggressive, fast, and slightly unbalanced. Without Fishbone I may not have learned to love the Mighty Mighty Bosstones or the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, and I damn sure wouldn't have bothered to check out the Skatalites. Besides, I can't listen to "Bonin' In the Boneyard" and be in a bad mood.

12. Old 97s, Wreck Your Life. I was aware of the Old 97s through my friends in the band Junior High, who opened for them in Madison and semi-worshipped them. The first two songs of this album remind me why. It's Ken Bethea's guitar work, yeah, and it's the young-n-earnest of Murry and Rhett's vocals, with their hearts breaking on just about every note, but really it's the lyrics. "Victoria": "This is the story of Victoria's heart/ You might think it's stupid, but I still think it's art./ She lost her lover to an accident at sea/ She pushed him overboard and ended up with me." Then there's murder ballad "The Other Shoe": "One old brown shoe falls in slow motion/ and the bedsprings hover right above your head/ as bedsprings do when you're beneath them/ someone else just climbed into your bed." At the time, I loved this album despite the twang, but it was the first step on a long road to re-discovering country.

13. Johnny Cash, Live at Folsom Prison and San Quentin. Even though I was one of those kids who claimed to like all music "except country and classical," I knew Johnny Cash was cool. I had loved "A Boy Named Sue" as a kid, and, hell, the Beastie Boys had sampled him. When I made the decision to Learn Country Music, Johnny was the first place I went. At first it was the mean edge of songs like "Cocaine Blues" that I loved, but Johnny's sincerity got through to me, too, even on songs that I might otherwise sneer at, like "Greystone Chapel." And of course there's "Jackson" with June, still one of the greatest duets of all time. Like many converts, I became a fanatic and an evangelist, and Johnny led me to other artists; it took a while before I could admit to myself liking, say, Dolly Parton or the Dixie Chicks, but after Johnny it was inevitable.

14. Sarah Harmer, You Were Here. It gets tricky, at this point in the list, to pick out individual albums, because perspective begins to break down. But I don't think I really came out of my indie-kid phase, in terms of that being my primary musical focus, until I learned to love singer-songwriters. My vitriol at Paul Westerberg's early solo stuff, for example, was as much motivated by feeling like he had abandoned some "gang" ethos as it was dislike for his new direction. But partly because of the Man in Black, and maybe because I was learning to be OK with the fact that I was myself a loner, I was becoming more attracted to solo artists. So this could have been Neko Case or Kelly Hogan or Lyle Lovett or Dwight Yoakam, but it's Harmer, because this CD didn't leave my car stereo for months, literally.

15. The New Pornographers, Electric Version. Nowadays when it comes to the indie music I am, by most yardsticks, out of touch. I have never heard a song by Death Cab for Cutie or Arcade Fire, I don't know the Killers from the Strokes, and I didn't even realize the Mendoza Line had broken up. Much like with fiction, I've decided I'm more interested in understanding where things are coming from than in keeping track of the new to figure out where they're going. It pleases me, though, that I have at least one hip "new" band to devote myself to, one that changes keys and time signatures like it changes lanes, one that loves harmony and smart lyrics and doesn't make much of an effort to explain itself. I'm speaking of the band as an entity, which is weird, but their super-group sound is oddly more unified than that of many conventional bands, where the members feel more of a need to assert their own musical thoughts without the release valve of a solo career. The New Pornographers turn the cliche of the rock-star ego on its head in a satisfying way.


Feb. 26th, 2009 03:27 pm
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This meme is pretty apt because I am kind of obsessing over music right now in a weird way, like where I am sick of a lot of it and have a craving for songs that smell of smoke and dust and blood. I am feeling reticent about telling you which songs these are because I think they are trying to tell me a story and it's been a while and I don't want to jinx it. Anyway since I am ascribing oracular qualities to these songs I might as well let them describe my life while I'm at it.

My Life in iTunes


1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.

2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.


4&5. Who even tags anymore, come on now.

6. Have Fun!


"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," Michael Jackson

I like to offer unsolicited hedonistic advice.


"The Legend of John Henry's Hammer," Johnny Cash

I just can't think of any way to comment on this that isn't dirty.


"Blues For Dixie," Bob Wills

I'm in the market for a clinically depressed Southern Belle. LINE FORMS TO THE LEFT LADIES.


"Pink Triangle," Weezer

This is far more apt for the previous question. Today I feel like a lesbian? That's pretty much every day, I guess.


"After Dark," Jon McEuen

I don't think I've even ever listened to this song. It's an acoustic instrumental. iPod, you are enigmatic to me.


"Keep On the Sunny Side," The Whites

This is a very apt answer for someone who is not me. Also wow with the folk 'n country for this meme.


"How's It Gonna End?" Tom Waits

That . . . that sounds ominous. Are all y'all just waiting for me to self-destruct or something?


"1952 Vincent Black Lightning," The Del McCoury Band



"Glad Girls," Guided By Voices

Robert Pollard you are not wrong.


"Planet Earth," Poster Children

This is, in fact, Planet Earth, and you are not an alien.


"You Couldn't Get the Picture," George Jones

That is so fucking depressing, iPod. You suck.


"Jack Armstrong Blues," Louis Armstrong

So I would like to be named Jack Armstrong? I'm not even sure which Jack Armstrong this refers to.


"Na Laetha Geal M'Óige," Enya

Oh My God. I am so embarrassed.


"René," Michael Nesmith

This song is a 1:44 long instrumental, and fifteen seconds of that is dead silence. The Oracle of Delphi this is not.


"Always True To You (In My Fashion)," Amy Spanger

That'd be the song from Kiss Me, Kate. I fear being run around on, then? Makes sense.


"Big House," Michael Penn

All I've ever been able to figure about this song is that it's about Ding-Dong-Ditch. Which I don't believe I've ever played. You fail, iPod.


"Where the Mighty Fall," Waco Brothers

I want a really depressing song about alcoholism?


"If You're Not Gone Too Long," Loretta Lynn

"I'll be true to you, honey, while you're gone/ If you're not gone too long." My iPod thinks I am a fickle friend.


"Catapult," R.E.M.
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Books 1-10.
11. Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares.
12. Standing Fast: The Autobiography of Roy Wilkins by Roy Wilkins and Tom Mathews.
13. Women, Culture & Politics by Angela Y. Davis.
14. Everyone in Silico by Jim Munroe.
15. Daughters of the North (AKA The Carhullan Army) by Sarah Hall.

16. Petal Pusher: A Rock and Roll Cinderella Story by Laurie Lindeen. So I am the ideal audience for this book: a Midwesterner who has spent the bulk of his life in Madison and the Twin Cities, and spent a significant percentage of the '90s in dirty bars watching underappreciated bands play until my ears rang. Laurie Lindeen grew up in Madison and launched her music career right here in Minneapolis. Zuzu's Petals was a female rock trio that put out two albums but never broke big, partly because it was the Age of Grunge and they weren't grunge--their stuff was by turns jazzy, poppy, even harmonic. Lindeen chronicles other challenges the band had, from casual (at times malicious) sexism to slimy promoters to a label that pushed the band to follow up their first album before the band was really ready. Oh, and there's the matter of Lindeen's multiple sclerosis, diagnosed in her early twenties and always lurking. As a chronicle of bands on the road, it's a sort of expansion of the snapshot song "Range Life" by Pavement, only more reflective. Lindeen is brutally funny and brutally honest, and she's particularly tough on herself. And as a story of an artist who ends up wondering whether it's all actually worth it, I found it thoughtful and sobering.
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The vid so good it had to be reposted. Via [ profile] fengi, PJ Harvey and Bjork covering "Satisfaction."

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One idea here at Mumble Herder that I never managed to get together was "Ernie and the Elephant Review Albums That Were Never Made," in which Ernie (of Bert and Ernie) and an African elephant (of Loxodonta Africana) would expound at length on collaborations by unlikely artists, à la Kot and DeRogatis on "Sound Opinions." The first feature was always going to be the never-released ('cause it was never made, get it? Am I overexplaining this yet?) Ramones Jones, in which George Jones shared lead vocals with Joey on covers of various hillbilly classics, show tunes, and an original called "Drunk Tank." The joke would be that since the recording happened during one of Jones's alcoholic binges, he claimed to have no memory whatsoever of the event, and blocked the album's release.

I am thinking about this today because there are certain artistic juxtapositions that seem so natural (like, say, Emmylou Harris and Tom Waits) or so perfect (how about Missy Elliott and the Pixies?) that it makes me sad to think they have never happened and likely never will. Forget fantasy baseball, I want fantasy super-groups. In a world where Bing and Bowie got it together, why can't PJ Harvey and Can?

Since this entry is less than a complete thought, I put it to all y'all: what artists, living or dead, real or fictional, would you lock in a studio together if you ruled the world?
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I only have four things. But since I have fancied them up with Roman numerals I expect to hear no complaints.

I. I am informed that my story, "Bear In Contradicting Landscape," will appear in Polyphony 7, which will be out in the fall. W00t! This is a story that I am both proud of and self-conscious of, so I will be interested to see the response.

II. Hayden tagged me for this, and since Hayden is much cooler than me (and I haven't acquired any new music in months), I have no expectations that my list will be as interesting as his. But I do what I'm told. Here's the sitch:

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they're listening to.

Music geekery behind the cut . . . )

I have to tag people? OK. Alice, Celia, Hecubus, Jan, Karen, Meghan, and Richard. Play along if you like.

III. A Norwegian Zoo has put a 24-hour live webfeed in the pen of a lioness who recently had three cubs. WARNING: Cuteness ahead! (Right now they're all sleeping.)

IV. I don't usually subject y'all to political spots, but I like this one, where John Cusack asks if you can tell the difference between McCain and Bush.

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Did any of y'all see the movie Elf? Even if you don't like Will Ferrell (and I do, at least sometimes), Zooey Deschanel did a smoky rendition of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" (while in the shower, no less) that blew me away. Now she's got an album coming out from Merge Records, made with M. Ward, and it's streaming over at the Merge Records site. I nearly quit listening during the first track, but the second ("Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?", which I know I've heard somewhere--I'm thinking it was a soundtrack, since I never listen to the radio) is wonderful, and the rest is likable if a bit uneven. (This link especially for [ profile] mrdankelly.)

Am so far spending my vacation struggling with a story that I started back in January. It's at 8700 words and I can't see the end yet. AGH. Despite my frustration at the slooow progress, I'm liking where it's going. Recently my short stories have mostly been very contained, almost entirely thought out beforehand. It's like I've known the dimensions of the story-box even if I wasn't certain of the contents--I think they're good stories, but they're also complete thoughts, or nearly so. This story has tentacles, and it keeps on moving between states, so there's really no point in trying to assemble the box. Every time I think I know what it's about, it changes. And I'm thinking that maybe that's what I need right now, because I've been feeling a little constricted by outlines and word counts and marketability and those sorts of things that I have never been very comfortable with. I'm going to try not to worry about where the hell I'm going to sell something like this once it's finished.

In other news, I can't stand the news anymore. Whether it's random talking heads informing me that prostitution is a victimless crime or once-sensible people claiming that people who think they are racist are SEKRITLY racists themselves, I am officially tired of everyone. Shut up shut up shut up.
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When I was working at the Rathskeller on the UW-Madison campus, my co-worker Chris Johanowicz told me that he used to have spiritual revelations while listening to "Jane Says."

Took me fifteen years, but I think I finally get it.
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The highlight of my holiday weekend had to be seeing Exene at the Hideout. Knuckel Drager opened; I'd not heard them before, but they were pretty entertaining for a surf metal band. Had to be the monster masks. But Exene rocked the house and got me off my ass. Some X tunes in the mix, a lot of solo stuff, and some covers. ("Ghost On the Highway"!!! Awesome!) I may have to start wearing earplugs, but I hope I never get too old to go to shows.
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I've never been a fan of Alanis Morissette. Until now, because she just did a cover of "My Humps."

(via [ profile] bartle_by)

EDIT: [ profile] rnb points to Nina Gordon's cover of "Straight Outta Compton."
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I just saw "Little Miss Sunshine" last night, and when they flashed to Alan Arkin during the ceremony I had a moment of shock, because I was thinking he was still dead.

Things which it would be hard to believe have ever happened to anyone else: last night I had my headphones on, listening to iTunes while I wrote, and I started air-drumming to the Poster Children, pen in hand. I was into it, head bobbing, eyes closed. I opened my eyes to find that the pen had begun to leak ink, and droplets of black ink were all over the wall, blinds, and futon.

Also, I was nearly run over on my way home, and I wasn't even jaywalking. Stupid right-turning Chicago drivers. I think I may have hurt my hand banging on the guy's hood. Typing with two fingers in an improvised splint? Not so very easy.

I downloaded some "Ugly Betty" and it may be my new favorite show. (I still love you, Veronica, but it's not as easy as it once was.)
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Grammys: The Police sounded good (hearing Stewart's drums really makes it seem like everything is going to be all right with the world, somehow) but played for such a short time that I kept the TV on in case they came back. I typed up novel stuff and listened to iTunes, mostly. Was momentarily distracted by Shakira (guh) and my love Christina (DAMN that girl can sing. And she was rockin' the white suit) but mostly I missed it. Not sure how I feel about the Dixie Chicks stormin' the castle like that; I'm a big fan of theirs, but this album is a big upswing on the self-righteous scale, and the music suffers. One of the first things I noticed was that they'd written ALL of the songs. This is a problem because in past albums they did songs by folks like Jim Lauderdale and Lloyd Maines (yeah, Natalie's dad) and Patty effin' Griffin. Great songs, interspersed with the Chicks' own compositions, which were earnest if not as interesting. Which was what the new album turned out to be, sadly. It's good to see some props given for not keeping one's mouth shut, true, and I don't even know who else was nommed, really--I know that they're better than Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts, at least.

Yesterday there was a crazy dude at the coffee shop. Actually, I've seen him there before several times, but never with the crazy cranked up all the way. He kept insisting on engaging people in conversation; he had sort of a polite approach, and most people are polite by default, so he had a lot of victims available. He'd take an interest in them ("Oh, are you in school? Oh, where did you get your degree?") until he could relate it back to his fixation with how Jesus is our savior and Ronald Reagan was his prophet. He would keep on until his audience either ignored him or walked away, and then he wandered around drinking his cold coffee, with his hands trembling, scribbling stuff into a notebook. (Incidentally, a woman who visits the coffee shop just about every day spent this entire time snoring in one of the chairs, just as she does every evening. I'm not sure what her story is, but her odor is such that the spaces around her are usually deserted even when the rest of the place is packed.) It occurred to me, between snippets of overheard craziness (One guy asked him where he lived, and he replied "I live in the trees, I always have.") that most people don't have much experience dealing with crazy people. Like, maybe a weird aunt, but not genuinely mentally ill people. Another point in favor of my time spent working at the Rathskeller, where I dealt with deeply disturbed people every day. One woman--one of the harmless ones--spent ten minutes at the cashier stand telling us that her hands were on backwards. Some were just homeless guys who liked to wander the Terrace picking up "dead soldiers" i.e. unfinished beers. Most weren't actually dangerous, although the Fisher King (so-called for the fishing pole he always carried) did shove me once as we were escorting him off the premises. But it occurs to me that maybe most people are insulated from these sorts of folks, so don't notice them or know how to deal with them.

New Secret City excerpt up. Garbage gangs, this time. Enjoy.
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According to yesterday's poll happiness is "Something to do with food," with "A warm puppy" and "A chemical imbalance in the brain" rounding out the top three. Please adjust your expectations accordingly.

On the way to work I saw a woman doing perhaps the weirdest walk I've ever seen in a non-physically challenged person. She would walk normally for a quarter-block or so, then hunker down and sort of lope forward (in the lupine sense, not the equine), taking really long strides and staying low to the ground like she was stalking prey. It was like running, only really slow so I can't figure out any benefit as far as speeding up her commute. I was fascinated and also freaked out. Keep on keepin' on, weird lady! Rock on with your weird self!

Today I am very excited about my book, specifically the new one I am still writing. This doesn't happen every day, so I thought I'd mention it.

Speaking of rocking on with your weird self, as we were before the commercial break, HOLY SHIT DUDE I KNOW EVERYONE ALREADY LINKED THIS BUT IT'S LIKE THAT "ASTRO-NUTS" SHOW COME TO LIFE IF IT WAS ABOUT CRAZY ASTRONAUTS. I think Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin need to give this woman a good talking to.

The Writers' Block has an interview with rockstar editor Ellen Datlow. Check it out. And Strange Horizons has a story from the talented Joey Comeau. It's kind of a meditation on the scary power of blood and words. Check that out as well.

I had this whole thought forming about how 24 is a workplace drama and the turnover is making it a less interesting show, but then last night's episode wasn't bad so I kinda lost interest in it. I was going to tie it into Studio 60 and how Sorkin's shows all pretty much reflect a worldview in which everyone loves their jobs and works all the time, which is pretty far from my own experience. The shows sort of work--Sports Night is a fun place to work, and The West Wing is about the most important place in the world you could work, but one of the problems with Studio 60 is that everyone is too caught up in their little dramas all the time, and they won't shut up about them, and pretty soon you just want to go get a nice quiet job as a parking lot attendant.

Prince at the Super Bowl. (Part Two is here.) Man, that makes me feel good.
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Archaeology! Ancient City Found in Mexico! Village Discovered Near Stonehenge! Police to Reunite! (At the f*&%ing Grammys. Now I have to watch the Grammys. Someone kill me.)

Warren Ellis subjects us all to shares an excerpt from Jeff Lint Steve Aylett's surreal parody comic "The Caterer." SMOOTHING THE CHEEK OF REALITY HAS ITS DANGERS!

Hannah links to the poem "Library" by Albert Goldbarth, which turns out to be awesome.

I have discovered that, along with those annoying ads along the side, I have been given the power of polls. Bwah-hah-hah-hah!

Here's the thing. I am, by most objective measures, a fairly geeky person. But I find that many things which are considered more or less core geek loves drive me up the wall. Perhaps you are also somewhat geeky, and encounter this same phenomenenonon. This poll is for you!

[Poll #917082]
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George Jones speaks.

AP: "He Stopped Loving Her Today" is considered one of the greatest country songs of all time. Why do you think that song was so special?

Jones: It may sound corny, but all my life I've wanted to write exactly that song, or I've hunted for it. I wanted to hear a song or write a song about how you could express your greatest love for someone. Bobby Braddock and Curly Putnam brought it over that day and that was the first thing I thought of-—"That's the song I've been looking for."

AP: What do you think about the state of country music today?

Jones: They say they're upgrading country music. I tell them they need to find a new title and let us have back our traditional country music. They've stolen our identity. I don't feel like the real thing will be back for quite a while. I'd like to see new artists recording traditional country music. Not for me. I just hate to see it not heard. I hate to see the new country artists not doing their thing because they're told what to do nowadays.

If you've never heard George, you're missing out on one of the greatest voices in all of music. The song referenced above, "He Stopped Loving Her Today," is gorgeously sad and heartfelt. You ought to give it a listen. And, of course, he's also a famous drunk, once widely known as "No-Show Jones" for his propensity for missing tour dates while on a binge:

AP: Is it true that you once took off on a riding mower to get a drink?

Jones: It happened in east Texas when I was married to my boy's mother, Shirley (his second of four wives, the former Shirley Ann Corlea). I had been on about a two-week binge. I came home and naturally nobody was there. All my vehicles were gone and the big tractor was gone. I couldn't find a thing that looked like wheels. It was a Sunday morning and I'm dying, you know. I am hurtin' and I need a drink bad. Finally, after I half-a-day suffered, I finally looked out my bedroom window and I saw this little Cub Cadet sitting there, a little 10 horsepower. I said, "There ain't no key in there. Surely they took that out." I went out there and sure enough the key was in it and it kicked right on. I headed to town as far as I could go on it.


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April 2011

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