Saturday, February 21, 2004

I said when Huun-Huur-Tu covers the "Internationale", it's like Jimi Hendrix doing "The Star Spangled Banner" to them.

A Brief History of the Yo-Yo.

Have saxophone, will gallumph. (via Overlap)

The Whuffie Blog.

The True History of Blogging. (scroll down)

"Kurt Cobain" lunch box.
   "Sothic Escapade"

The populace, aroused by a growing awareness of deception, triumphantly refused the continuance of their usurper's reign. Many of his previous supporters had already changed sides, but bitter dissension still marked the unruly transfer of power. Bankrupt, disliked far & wide, & embroiled in fruitless conquest, the unfortunate empire soon required rescuing by its neighbors.

02 10 04

A poet is an atavism, no doubt. Or a prefiguration.

"I had driven up with some friends to an esthetic tea at Mr Emerson's. ...There were various men and women of note assembled, and I, who listened attentively to all the fine things that were said, was for some time scarcely aware of a man who sat upon the edge of the circle, a little withdrawn, his head slightly thrown forward upon his breast, and his bright eyes clearly burning under his black brow. ...He rose and walked to the window, and stood quietly there for a long time, watching the dead white landscape. No appeal was made to him, nobody looked after him, the conversation flowed steadily on as if everyone understood that his silence was to be respected. It was the same thing at table. ...But there was a light in his eye which assured me that nothing was lost. So supreme was his silence that it prsently engrossed me... There was very brilliant discourse, but this silence was much more poetic and fascinating... When he presently rose and went, Emerson, with the 'slow, wise smile' that breaks over his face, like day over the sky, said: 'Hawthorne rides well his horse of the night'. " --The Oxford Book of American Literary Anecdotes

Closure takes the same part in a neurotic person's life, as exploration does in a healthy person's. Their expression is the language of risks, or the language of possibilities.

'The intoxication of the irrational and the vocation of rapture turn a lucid mind away from the absurd. To Chestov [Shestov] reason is useless but there is something beyond reason. To an absurd mind reason is useless and there is nothing beyond reason.' --Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus (1940) tr Justin O'Brien

"Artist" nowadays means someone who feels that being ignored is a kind of persecution. American in a hundred calls themselves Professional Artist on the census (1980). I guess that makes the other 99%--amateurs.

Art is an impatient mysticism. And so it is always incomplete, and repeating.

I used to not mind the Square-Wheelers. They would sit there making growling noises as real cars sped by. I would wave. But now more & more of them are clogging the streets, claiming round-wheeled cars are the Devil's spawn; & i only marvel they can think they're rolling when they're obviously not.

02 16 04

   Karl Kraus, Selected Aphorisms (tr Harry Zohn 1976)

'Satires which the censor understands are rightly prohibited.'

'Hate must make a person productive; otherwise, one might as well love.'

'Progress celebrates Pyrrhic victories over nature.'

'The ugliness of our time has retroactive force.'

'The real end of the world is the destruction of the human spirit; the other kind depends on the insignificant attempt to see whether after such a destruction the world can go on.'

Friday, February 20, 2004

Affirmative action.

French intelligentsia protests anti-intellectual tendency. (via Literary Saloon)
[They're only about fifty years behind us in that slide... Anybody ever read Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons"?]

Pasternak to be published in Russia, at last. (via Bookslut)

The Literary Saloon reviews the first novel.

Twelfth Planet Found. 2004 DW is about 880 miles in diameter, according to Yahoo News. More. I vote we call it Yuggoth.

A Hindi film star's head on Schwarzenegger's body.

Two Daughters of Bilitis.

Notice my new link to the Bush Eviction Countdown.

   "The Passion of the Dubya"

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02 19 04
Diderot: '...We pass three quarters of our lives at willing without doing. ...And at doing without willing.'

   "A Fable of Zubenelg"

A foggy, cramped, introverted town, far from centers of power, & long left to its own devices, evolved a noisy music that harked back to a minor offshoot of a prior golden era. This style so charmed the wider world that it became new orthodoxy, only to succumb to its innate lack of subject matter.

02 10 04

"...the mineral forms were an everlasting source of wonder; feldspar, for instance, was admirable, and his own name a crystal in his mouth. If he were to leave that name on the land, irrevocably, his material body swallowed up by what it had named, it would be rather on some desert place, a perfect abstraction, that would rouse no feeling of tenderness in posterity." --Patrick White, Voss (1957)

My words will not carry. They are not words. They are not words such as you are ready to receive. They will fall from the air & perish, unlike those words that people want to hear & will repeat to each other endlessly, like the sound of raindrops. My words are dry, like the desert.

02 18 04

...honesty isn't a conscious virtue: it is a matter of good relations between a person's conscious and unconscious.

Not memory but forgetfulness is the single proof of time.

I painted many dots and though i tried very hard i couldn't quite keep my attention focussed for this thousandfold repetition: from time to time, i'd realize i had gone into automatic (i wanted a particular texture)--thus the conscious mind flees banality. But the earth is seldom banal (unless you try crossing it for great distances without stopping) and its banal places have enough micro-variations. Banality is man-made. How can consciousness produce its nemesis??

'Chance' means, really, accepting the limits of your reason. It is equally wrong to say the universe is random or determined.
--To apply this to psychology.
--To apply this to politics.
The myth of the image, the myth of the myth. Chance rules for casual encounters. Unless you become obsessed with an image, with a myth, it acts merely as a filler for your absence of real knowledge. It does not control your actions because your actions do not really connect with the concepts that a false analysis could unfold from those images and mythologies. (The myth that everyone is brainwashed. Match this to the myth of genetic predeterminism. Two opposite figments, pseudosciences,--like politics & psychology themselves--thus self-destruct.) Personality is the realm of chance. Not only formed by chance experiences, but also giving rise to others, in the sense that you react with accidental preferences which are far stronger than your ideas (most of the time) or even your feelings... Well then, what limits the realm of chance? What might be called Necessity--if this is understood without reference to objective/subjective quibbles about "freewill"--rather, those universal processes (like feedback) which cause irreversible (if not permanent) personalities, in national histories... And there is the matter of scale, which is actually, defining the Individual, the Nation, so that chance does not always predominate--so that there can be some "freedom" at all.

   "Toad Enliven"

Riddles that tear a soul asunder
Sable camisole
Is lifted
The decline & fall of the love goddesses
Pyre of fifty promises
And the place that they go is where they come from
Riddles that teach a soul to need one

02 19 04

Say it with flowers.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Another Quiz:

(1) What book have you owned longest—the actual copy, I mean? A botany textbook with line drawings--my father let me take it before i could even read.

(2) If you could wish a famous painting out of existence, what would it be? Dali's "The Persistence of Memory".

(3) If you had to live in a film, what would it be? "Steppenwolf".

(4) If you had to live in a song, what would it be? "Concierto de Aranjuez".

(5) What’s the saddest work of art you know? "Central Station" (movie). And does experiencing it make you similarly sad? Not necessarily.
"The notion, so crucial to the visual arts throughout its history, of the artist's mind driving the artist's hand, is here abandoned."

Howard Dean Moriarty.

"...he first heard the poetry of Baudelaire recited around a campfire by his scoutmaster, Pierre Trudeau." --Davenport on Kenner (via fluss)

   "Under the Ash Mounds"

Art unperturbed by the times. Like in an earthquake, all your books fall on the floor & this person just goes on pontificating, while you crawl into a closet & wonder if they are imperviously dense, a congenital disdainer of subway handles, superhumanly calm, or something else--& they're not telling this all-important thing.

02 09 04

"The shadows of Hiroshima are very disturbing. I would say that it is entirely appropriate, in this sense, that Yasusada's form, a faint shadow of shadows, has proven disturbing in its own small way." --Kent Johnson, interview

So there will be civil war--the Reds against the Blues. Are there a million handguns in this country? Watch them be used. And what do we produce anymore, really, except anger & hatred & thrashing despair? And what a relief it would be, to finally have an enemy we can get our hands on.

02 17 04
Listening to: "Bohemian Rhapsody" cover by The Braids.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

We go back to the burnt-out hulk. The trunk has been jimmied, & the radio is gone.
Somebody came in asking about the album Black Mass/Lucifer by Mort Garson. Well! It was a good excuse to talk about the thing, but we're never going to see it. (It was reissued on CD a couple years back, & now the CD itself is out of print, i believe.) Ah, psychedelia...the good old days.

Listening to- No Talking Just Heads: "Damage I've Done."

   "Who Wants to Be Me"

I have my fame & all I ever deal with is other famous people, & lackeys. We do not have to wait; that defines who we are, at doors or at the ear of power. We think of suffering as somehow the fault of those who were not found worthy of being made household names.

02 18 04

I much enjoy the writing at this blog.

Bob Denver has a webpage...
"a chacun son infini" --Villiers de l'Isle-Adam

I glanced at the clock on the wall with this question in mind: is it time for the mail to have come yet? I saw that it was about 11 and thought, No. Then i wondered, having made some tea, what minute it had been (so i could let it steep for 10 minutes), and found that though i looked at the clock before, i didn't know the minute--yet i had seen and noticed it, without understanding it in that way. The question precluded any other answer than the one i'd sought. So it is that too strenuous purposefulness creates blind spots: concentration leaves its shadow. Proving again, its special usefulness lies in infrequent application.
   --Is it that everyone needs glasses, for instance? (Ask an optometrist) Or rather that we proliferate details past their natural occurrence?
   Banality: the atomization of matter. Reduction of experience to facts & things & structured context (e.g. time schedule, space coordinates).

The question i've always been dying to ask some guru: how does a person meditate with Post-Nasal Drip??? [focus on the snot]

Heidegger & the Nazis: "I didn't know I was compromising myself with absolute evil, I thought I was just working within the system."

What you steal from the night, you return to the day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

A poetics of waterfalls & weeping. (via Language Hat)
I'm tired of writing out "fiftyfive-word paragraph stories", so i'm going to name them zaccos.

  Skull lures
Soft blurry gaze

02 16 04

Xenon Mercurism is to write so as to obliterate the distinction between original & appropriated, computer & human generated; to paint so as to obliterate the distinction between human & animal* painted. We embrace the arbitrary as revelation.

To know that every 'I' is an imposture & an impasse. The pseudonym points away, toward freedom. Here blooms the soft green plum of poetry attained. Leave it alone.

*cf "The Author of the Acacia Seeds" by LeGuin.
'The spirit appears so poor that, like a wanderer in the desert who languishes for a simple drink of water, it seems to crave for its refreshment merely the bare feeling of the divine in general. By that which suffices the spirit one can measure the extent of its loss.' --Hegel, Preface to Phenomenology of the Spirit, 3.

'How many more decades/ America baby/ Before/ you baste with honey your infernal barbecue?' --Kazuko Shiraishi (tr)

"amore qui cadit tanquam blatta in pelvim" --Laberius (quoted by Rolfe)

"O miseras hominum mentis, o pectora caeca!" --De Rerum Natura II, 14

A critic today is just a drug purity inspector.

Our real definition of "sanity": the ability to make small talk.

Rebirthing. Others kill themselves because they have no metaphors for it. Poets kill themselves because their metaphors are real to them.

Intellectuals beware: groupthink reaches beyond the grave.

Introverts don't have more self knowledge than extraverts--they just have a different definition of the self, no less erroneous.

Gary Snyder, The Real Work (interviews 64-79):

"The true poem is walking that edge between what can be said and that which cannot be said. That's the real razor's edge. The poem that falls all the way over into what can be said can still be very exciting, but the farther it is from the razor's edge the less it has of the real magic. ...And then some of them fall too much in the realm of what can't be said. Then they are no longer poems, they are meditation themes like the koan, or they are magical incantations, or they are mantras."

"An education is only valuable if you're willing to give as much time to de-educating yourself as you gave to educating yourself."

Chowka: "You once mentioned an inuitive feeling that hunting might be the origin of zazen..."
Snyder: "...ask why primitive hunters didn't have better tools than they did. The bow of the American Indians didn't draw more than forty pounds; it looked like a toy. ...they hunted with their minds."

Monday, February 16, 2004

Timeline. (via Orcinus)

Voynich news. (via Metafilter)

Obligatory President's Day Message. (via Tom Tomorrow)

An early scientist from Ragusa.

A few images by the fantastic Peruvian painter Gerardo Chavez.

Thought for the day.

Listening to- Arthur Lyman: Taboo Vol. 2

Terrific entry today from Baghdad Burning.

Sara Brightman did a very nice cover of "Whiter Shade of Pale", but being able to understand the lyrics didn't help...

The Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial library is for sale.

A bunch of anti-circumcision links. (via Peter O.)

A Cometbus Omnibus.

A reasonably objective view of the ULA-Believer feud.

Artist pictures non-Artist: himself with a block. Himself in an invisible medium. --One is too proud, one is too humble.; Non-Artist pictures Artist--as nothing? as how Artists used to picture Artist??--no: himself without a job. Or, himself but that can do every job. (how many artists would swallow that? as many as the former?)

Entertainment in which the quasi-militaristic heroes have such a good time doing everything that soldiers do--except get killed.

'It is ironical that very nearly everyone glorifies Rome and admires her as the civilizer of the human race, while at the same time very nearly everyone is filled with horror by the thought that a similar phenomenon [Hitler] might appear in our day.' --Simone Weil (1939)

   "Paint Evil

Cat don't like it, says
Nooo, Wrooong, 's
Evil: EVIL ! take--!
but i bend & find out &
you're just sore

back to my canvas, i
have ever been painting evil
and i painted it with love
and i ended painting love
till the pain went away...

now there is no evil
but what i paint, and i paint for love.
i understand;
you can't say Pain--
you either lie or let the paint paint Evil.

12 12 83

Possessiveness is like a crack running down the middle of your glasses--the line is always there, and everything is on one side of it or the other.

   "WITHNESS [Poem Ending in a Snap of the Fingers]

this with:
 hid not
 look in the grass for it
  greengold and deep shadowed
but what you want to
 put palm around,
  by a late or early sun, is
   palm's palm
  already you

12 12 83