Saturday, August 16, 2003

"The old hunger, left in the old darkness,
Turned like a hanged knife." --Merwin
Kurt Nimmo explains the Blackout. (Me, i think
it was Mars.)

It's not about the Kitty.

...we are not yet to the point of being able
to use places, we are irremediably nomadic,
& our expectations of places far exceed the
sense of obligation we should bring. Therefore
at present, networks of short duration & high
velocity preferably serve the purpose of places.
[Note: dixit 1987] When friendship itself is
sacred, we will know we are ready to dwell upon
the land.

Ego is the ship's figurehead--not its motive power,
its steering or its buoyancy.

"The really important things in the world are the
huge silent inexorable things." --Diary of a Drug

"The first bomb that fell on Brighton actually
came through his roof while he was taking a cold
bath, and although it did not explode, he never
recovered from the shock." --Colin Wilson, intro
to The Violet Apple by David Lindsay

Listening to: The Ventures, "Harlem Nocturne",
from their second (?) album, on Dolton.

Melanie reviews:
 "I haven't sent out any mass movie reviews lately, but I'm doing
so now because I want to alert my fellow film fans to a pair of
the summer's biggest surprises.  Yes, the year is more than
halfway over and so far there has been precious little to recommend,
especially throughout this summer when there has just been so much
junk, although I did very much enjoy Paramount's The Italian Job (a
good old fashioned heist movie with lots of color and/or atmosphere)
and the New Zealand import, Whale Rider, as well as the very
entertaining box office blockbuster, Finding Nemo..and, okay, Bruce
.  I also confess that I have yet to see Seabiscuit, or even
28 Days Later.  

     Still, I do feel compelled to let everyone know that, even in the
dog days of summer, there are currently two performances generating
Oscar buzz (or Oscar worthy buzz), and they're both as close as your
neighborhood multiplex, courtesy of mainstream studio, Disney Pictures.
I'm referring to Johnny Depp in the unlikely blockbuster, Pirates of the
(based on a theme park ride), and Jamie Lee Curtis in Disney's
third version of Freaky Friday.  Depp first. Of course, this guy is one of
our most adventurous actors, and, lord knows, he's given some pretty
spectacular, award calibre performances.  I'm thinking specifically of
Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood, neither of which generated any favor
with Academy voters (though both were nominated for the Golden Globe
award, as was Depp's persuasive work in the gentle, sleeper romance,
Benny & Joon).  Anyway, Pirates is the first unqualified box office smash
with which Depp has ever been associated (runner-up: Sleepy Hollow), and
a lot of the credit belongs to him especially, for a performance that is as
shrewd as it is theatrical and over the top; no one else could've given this
same performance and made it such an utter delight.  Depp has been pretty
open about how he modeled his performance as whacked-out Captain Jack
Sparrow on no less than Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.   This one
has to be seen to be believed.  Is it truly Oscar worthy?   Hard to say, but
the buzz is there, and building, and the performance is certainly both inventive
and very watchable--and if Depp finally gets a nod, in a year of thus far
rampant mediocrity, then good for him.

     Next, Jamie Lee Curtis.  I'll be frank, ever since I first saw Curtis in
Halloween (the original and the only one in the long running series in which I've
actually invested my time), I've thought she  radiates a natural intelligence
that few producers/writers/directors have been fully able to work to her
advantage.  Why is it that she so often seems lost amid the swill?  Well, part
of that has to do with being able to sniff out better scripts (but it's hard to
sniff them out if they never come your way in the first place).  To be fair,
Curtis hasn't done so bad, witness her British Academy Award for Trading
, as well as her Golden Globe for True Lies. She also has 1988's zany
A Fish Called Wanda on her resume. (I  confess to being a big fan of her
late 80's/early 90's sitcom, Anything But Love...and, yes, I even liked her in
1985's notorious flop, the unfortunately titled Perfect.)  Anyway, in Freaky Friday Curtis has her best--and splashiest--movie role in years and years as a straitlaced
psychologist (psychiatrist???) who magically swaps bodies with her misfit (i.e.,
surly) 15 year old daughter, who also just happens to be an aspiring rock-n-roller,
for a single day--the day in question being the eve of Curtis's character's second
wedding.  Curtis' performance is gloriously dead-on funny, and free of vanity as well;
she is ably supported by Lindsay Lohan in the role of the daughter.  Again, there's
Oscar buzz already, in this case, according to USA Today, by no less than the New
York Times, whose reviewer, A.O. Scott, wrote: "It is unlikely that any other actress
this year will match the loose, energetic wit she brings to this delightful movie." (USA
Today reporter Susan Wloszczyna makes mention of Scott speculating about Curtis'
Oscar potential without actually including the specific "O-word" quote, in an article
dated Monday, August 11.) I'll be frank, when I saw Curtis in the movie, a day before
I read the USA Today piece, I myself had visions of an Oscar nomination dancing in my
head, so the subsequent article was a pleasant surprise, an affirmation, if you will.  
(I feel compelled to add that last summer [2002] I watched in awe as Diane Lane emoted
--in the best possible sense of the word--her way through the borderline sleazy
Unfaithful...I knew then I was watching something special, and I was hoping
that Academy members were paying attention; Lane's Oscar nomination earlier this
year was a joyous turn of didn't matter that she didn't win, at least she
was recognized by her peers.)

     Of course, Depp and Curtis have a few strikes against them, mainly being in
comedies, especially mainstream, Disney family-fare.  Further, all this goodwill could
fade the instant the fall's big prestige items begin to hit the screens (Cold Mountain,
The Last Samari, Big Fish, etc.).  Still, right off the top of my head, I know for sure
that Julie Andrews, who reinvented herself, in more ways than one, in Victor/Victoria,
and Tom Hanks, who enjoyed a comeback (after  a series of uneven films in the years
following his initial success in Splash), with Big, were both nominated for Oscars--and for movies that were not only variations of "switcheroo" comedy, but were
also early starters.  Victor/Victoria was released late winter/early spring of 1982,
while Big was released in the summer of '88, so maybe there's hope.  (Okay, neither
Andrews or Hanks won for those particular films, but please, please, always remember:
just because comic performances are longshots, doesn?t make them any less worthy...
we just have to keep crossing our fingers and hoping for the best.)  Depp and Curtis
also have the strategic advantage of having been around for a few years, paying their
dues as it were.

     Will I be rooting for these two stars in three or four months, when the awards
season begins in earnest?  I honestly can't say, but for now I'm quite happy to sing
their praises and encourage others to see what all the fuss is about for themselves,
especially when the films in question are so readily accessible.

Thank you,

Friday, August 15, 2003

The more intuitive you are, the spookier your world is.
Not more frightening--but more mysterious: & more

Suffering corrupts; unavoidable suffering corrupts
unavoidably... After i am dead, where will be the pain i
endured? Nowhere. Only the crippled work will remain.
Do i want that? I wouldn't want it done to my children.
I would want them beautiful & complete. (I would send
them to a better place if i could. Art as that better

If ideas are tools, we choose ours by the picturesqueness
of the rust encrusting them.

Is not fashion, propaganda without content?

The child makes the ritual, the child disbelieves the ritual
(unmakes it)--two powers denied to normal adults.

Initiation is to discipline. Even ego-death is an initiation
into the mysteries of ego crafting. Techniques are
natural initiations. Tests are artificial initiations. ...Love
is a mixture of the two.
There's a peculiar & very American desire to do
without psychology
, which is akin to the desire to
eat what you want & dispense with all knowledge of
nutrition. And the results are not that different. In
the name of a specious "freedom", we have the unedifying
spectacle of a nation wholly given over to the tyranny
of its appetites.

Emotional states should be named with verbs, not nouns.

The virtue of storying our lives is that, since there are
only story-consolations, our sorrows become amenable
as they fit the outlines of story-sorrows. The depth of
grief yield but to death: it is necessary, except for very
tranquil interludes, to live on the surface--a facade of
artificial continuity. Artists must know this, & also heed
it. Where they give up storying, they come face to face
with ultimate destruction.

"If immeasurable love were perfect wisdom, one human
being might almost impersonate Providence to another."
--George Meredith, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel

Thursday, August 14, 2003

All about the Voynich Manuscript--the most mysterious
book in the world.

Silk is a notoriously difficult medium to paint on. Here's an
amazing webpage by a talented dallas artist...

A website devoted to the earliest recorded music, with

Insane Clown Posse responds to their being named Worst Band
of All Time:

"Once again, Insane Clown Posse is proven yet again
to be the most player-hated band of all time. Blender
Magazine decided to have a review of the Top 50 Worst
Band of All Time. And, naturally, ICP made nothing
short of #1 on their list, with The Wraith as their
worst album.

Honestly, how much do these 12-year vets-of-the-game
have to accomplish to get recognized by mainstream
media? They've got 2 Platinum Records, 4 Gold Records,
1 Gold Home Video (from their own feature-length movie
Big Money Hustlas), another Gold DVD right around the
corner (Bootlegged in LA), their own merchandise line
(HatchetGear), their own record label (Psychopathic
Records) with offices in the USA and Europe, an annual
fan convention (The Gathering of the Juggalos), the #2
wrestling league (JCW), an upcoming video game (Backyard
Wrestling), their own comic book series, and, of course,
legions of dedicated, diehard, worldwide fans (The
Juggalos). They've brought themselves up from nothing
to become an international musical phenomena, and yet,
somehow, they still get no respect from fine mainstream
publications such as Blender Magazine."
[I've heard them, & in the immortal words of J R
Compton, they "suck great green donkey dicks'.]

Listening to: Wanda Jackson--
"I've been to Nagasaki
Hiroshima too
the thing I did to them baby
I can do to you" ("Fujiyama Mama")

It is less wrong to dress up to write a poem
than to dress up for readings. At least that marks
the real occasion.

Better to write down bare metaphors than force a
poem where the first line hasn't spoken itself.

It will be real progress (for us!) when as much
of human knowledge is in people's heads as it was
in the 18th century.

Looking at someone, i can pretty much imagine that
they are what i would be if born into their conditions
& circumstance. But the moment they begin to speak,
my imagining fails.

Why do we poets fear a future without criticism when
all the best poems were written when there was none?

Why is it harder to forget my art ambitions than
my chess ambitions? Because art never humiliated me--
my failures i kept secret even from myself.

Rimbaud gave us a formula--an easy formula--for
making art. "Live excessively, & your art will be
intense." But excessively-living sheep merely
produce mediocre art that is messy.

Perhaps the most entertaining artist to emerge from the
90's Swing Revival.

Sayings of Asmodeus: Human inefficiency is all that
preserves life on this planet, so don't kvetch about it.

Stingy poets: if it has one thing worth saving, save it.
Greedy readers: who want all the fruit without climbing
the tree.

Admit every day: you do not know how to write. You only
know ways that sometimes work. (There are others.)

Writing bad is a symptom. Look elsewhere than your papers
for the disease.

What only is not denied me is the dubious elaboration of an
obsession. Is there light past the gnawing at the duodenum?
Perhaps the only honesty left to poets anymore is the
furtiveness with which they begin in adolescence. That is
timeless & sincere. The shamelessness of later on allows
them any amount of lying, unfortunately. Therefore the worst
amateurs strike me as more poetic in their practice than our
professional poets.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

After one of my co-workers became an avid
proselytizer for Matthew Stokoe's Cows, i
coined the phrase "Extreme Literature" for this &,
say, Poppy Z Brite's Exquisite Corpse. Lately i
ran across a book i'd read long ago, Memoirs of a
Gnostic Dwarf
--& this is another one to add.
"* TAWNYA H. (Female, age 31) from NEBRASKA*
.....[ ].....
53. "LOVE: Poems by Danielle Steel".. by Danielle Steele (*****)
Danielle Steel pours her heart out in this great book of poetry. She dedicates this book to John, the love of her life. She touches upon and writes about all the different aspects of love; laughter, smiles, pain, misunderstanding, confusion and heartbreak. She puts great feeling into her writings with such style and elegance. Her poetry is as unique as her novels. Her poetry is easy to read and very enjoyable. Some of my favorite poems are: 'From Opposite Ends', 'Peeling Away', 'Silence', 'No One There', 'Lies', 'Trying to Pretend', 'Carved In Stone', 'Year of the Bears', 'Dread', 'Peekaboo', 'Cold', 'I Go', 'Desperation', 'Fragile Moments', 'Fear Not, Farewell', 'Bereft', 'Crash Into My Life', 'Sketch', 'Someday', 'If I Can', 'Fingering Our Land', 'Couples', 'Are You Still There', 'Pretend Forever', 'Snow In Your Hair', 'Only Close', 'The Inside of Your Arm', 'No Man, Our Man', 'Come Back', 'First Hello', 'Now I Want the Have', 'Hurray for the Leagalized Lover', 'Are You Comfortable', 'Champagne In My Shoe', 'Attic', 'Cool', 'Too Much', 'Nary a Care', 'Sunshine Dancing', 'Friend', 'Comfortable', 'The Gift of Love', & 'Each of Us'. So, as you can see, there are a LOT of good ones in this book! I highly reccomend it for any poetry lover!"

Survivor art.

Mandarin speakers use both sides of the brain.

Limericks are called "therewazzas" in More Fun in Bed (1934).
A novelist & writer about geishas has an entertaining
& fact-filled page on the world of Murasaki Shikibu: "We do
not know what Murasaki Shikibu’s name was. She was a member
of the Fujiwara clan, as were a high percentage of courtly families.
"Shikibu" refers to her father’s position as Senior Secretary in the
Bureau of Ceremonial (shikibu-shô) early in his court career. "Murasaki"
(the word denotes the color purple) comes from the name of a
character in the Tale of Genji. But what did people call her before
she wrote the Tale? I give her the childhood nickname Fuji (wisteria)
because some Heian sources mention her as Tô Shikibu, "Tô" being
the Sino-Japanese reading of fuji. She undoubtedly had another
official personal name, which some scholars think may have been
Takako, written with the character meaning "incense" plus the
feminine ending -ko."

Interesting infrared photography page.

And here's one on pinhole photography.

A group blog for graffiti artists.

Or you can salvage "art" from thrift stores... (I suppose this
is the equivalent for the internet.) Vote on the newest candidate!

Although Somtow Sucharitkul helped write the screenplay
for "Burial of the Rats", the only witty thing about it is the
tiny rat-guillotine in the first scene or so.

I wonder how we got a xeroxed copy of "The Last Will and
Testament" of Myrna Loy

Line endings: you go to the store at regular intervals,
Sense endings: but you run out of this that, continually.

We cannot admit that the power of magic has no force,
for that would imply that the arena of its actions--the ego
--is not a real thing. Therefore magicians have always
resorted to force & trickery to keep from themselves this
damning knowledge.

Eye vs. Hand. Voice is Eye + Hand. Eye-poems, Hand-poems.
But no Voice-poems anymore. The poets are mute, why?
("dissociation of sensibility") --silent reading, television &
movies, decayed speech: broken paradigms only...

"The author of the Journal of a Pupil describes a meeting
between Gurdjieff and Crowley, but it is clear that they had
nothing to say to one another. He says, 'Crowley had magne-
tism, and the kind of charm that many charlatans have; he
also had a dead weight that was somehow impressive'-- that
is, Crowley was a 'man of power'. 'His attitude was fatherly
and benign, and a few years earlier I might have fallen for it.
Now I saw and sensed that I could have nothing to do with
him.' He does not describe the tea, except to say that Gurdjieff
kept a sharp watch on Crowley, and says, 'I got a strong impression
of two magicians, the white and the black--the one strong,
powerful, full of light; the other also powerful, but heavy, dull,
ignorant.'" --Colin Wilson, The Occult (1971)

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Experiences which repeat...until by some chance or
change we are able to recognize ourselves in a pattern:
only then, dreaming but lucidly, may we escape it...
and this is the truth that has been obscured by the
dogma of Reincarnation. It seemed such a secret--
to remember through whatever might come (even to
ego-death)--they took extraordinary precautions to
preserve this knowledge; what remains is but an
elaborate sarcophagus, & not even the dust of that
secret remains, in any living theology you can name,
among the very ones that discovered it. For an insight
really cannot be transmitted. Its idea can, but it has
to live in you by the fire of its spontaneous ignition. The
words alone won't do it. Worse, they put you to sleep more--
because you feel you're safe: the war has been won...
   Ah, but to keep a journal! You record
all your forgettings indelibly: you can never forget that you
forget, constantly & only relieved by intervals of clarity:
& not always those in which you write. Keeping a journal
is to realize the truth of reincarnation, & if you are of a
thoughtful disposition, it makes you more a philosopher
than any learned Ph.D. in its history, simply because you
interrogate yourself for the meaning of existence, not
on exceptional occasions, but habitually. I think i value this
more than the making of art, even if it is less perfect &
useless to others. That other is what i make of the flies
i catch; this is the very web of my spiderhood.
Genre pleasures are pleasures of recognition. But also:
of playfulness with the rules.
   That a writer has something personal to
say, is in genre an accessory; an overlay.
   The ideal reader's reaction when they have
finished a genre work is to rush out and buy another one,
not to reread the same book.
   A genre work that stands alone and is too
unique, would be a kind of BETRAYAL.

When Mystery is banished, knowledge & ignorance alike become
something other.

Why theorize? --a question not contained in most theories!

Sense is pre-existent; meaning is a relationship of ego to

No symbol is a symbol unless it causes a change in
consciousness. Symbols are more akin to drugs than to
nonsymbolic pictures & phrases.
This society. The discrepancy between the path you would take
as defined by the lines, & the path you have to make around
potholes & road debris, grows ever wider; now, if you save your
tires, you run th risk of being stopped as a drunk driver. All our
social forms approach this pitch of absurdity. But it's been
happening so gradually no one laughs.

Monday, August 11, 2003

A nice elegy for the death of the seven-inch
single. But cheer up, there's still lots of vinyl knocking
around on the secondhand market--! Every once in a
while, i'll play one on my Sony-Japan portable record
player (that cost me $170 on the internet a couple
years ago, & weighs almost nothing it's so completely
made of plastic)...& it sounds better than the same
recording from a CD.

The color of numbers. (via Metafilter)

"I put a spell on you..." (via Rebecca Blood)

Arnie looks like a "condom stuffed with walnuts". --Clive James (via Bart Cop)

A Metaphor. I shower with scalp hotter than
hands; shampooing, feel two waters: cold on
head, warm on hands--in the same place.

Academia: burrowers deeper & deeper into the
semi-meaningful, in flight from noise. --An
attitude college graduates must graduate out of.

Quantitative verse: using a fist for a sieve.

Headline: "Blind Sailor Challenges the Ocean".
The story of my life.

"Descartes was all wrong about animals. It isn't
the animals who are robots; it's us." --Colin

N.B. the term metaphor means nothing more than
to showcase the focussing power of a name. It is
self-referential but not infinite or basic on that
account. There are different kinds of focus a name
can aid. --But i use 'metaphor' rather than 'name'
because the other seems to cover only those opaque
arbitrary coins we feed our data-machines with. If you
imagine Shakespeare's "a name to conjure with" --or
one of your childhood idols-- you will not need to be
limited to the word 'metaphor'. To name is to create
& destroy at once. This is clearest when someone
renames something better than it was named before &
the old name drops out of circulation. (At present
this process is distorted by propaganda. The real
namers are carefully excluded from the name-factory's
controls.) A poet today, then, is confronted with a
double conundrum. There seems to be "nothing new to
say" (nor any new way to say it), & no one will listen
anyway. Both of these are half-truths. If a poet really
does exercise his power of naming (& most of us i
suspect refrain, from whatever reason), it does get
heard. And that is new for the context enough, & all
that any other breakthrough was, too, before it became
mythologized... --Anyway, this for me demonstrates
the inherently political context of our poetry. But
how unpoetical our politics are! Indeed Magic seems
a more promising career...even to have to reinvent
it entirely, than to struggle against two centuries'
accumulation of dead poetry--these "ideologies"--
names that hide.

We name emotions like languages have
conventionalized names for the sound that
a dog or cat makes.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

'In the second unspeakable hour love makes the heart
taste a violent death, and the heart goes through death,
but it does not die. And yet the soul has not known
love for long, and has barely moved from the first to
the second hour.' --Hadewijch, in Medieval Woman
, ed. Katharina Wilson, 1984

Arrogance: how others judge my work, judges them.
Not arrogance: how others judge me, judges them.
(I tend to want to have it the other way.)

Nothing has done me more harm than the will to
believe. It always perverts my devotion.

Publishing poetry--like trying to guess the combination
of a safe, but most of your guesses aren't even
considered numbers.

I don't remember my dreams, i don't even remember
that i dream. Only, sometimes, i belatedly infer it--
by a thought that i could not have had, waking.

Of all the reasons for a musician to cover a song or a
critic to write about a book, doing justice must be the
The Impossible Object Principle. Keep a reality
& a fiction simultaneously in mind. Write in such
an ambiguous way that it applies to both. Then
periodically describe either unmistakeably, &
later the other too. Thus is created in the mind
an Impossible Object.