Monday, March 26, 2007

Bouvard et Pécuchet et Spinoza (et Swanson aussi)

Bouvard and Pécuchet after reading Spinoza's Ethics:

"They felt as if they were in a balloon, at night, in the glacial cold, carried along in an endless rush toward a bottomless abyss-with nothing around them but the ungraspable, the immobile, the eternal. It was too much. They gave up."

-Gustave Flaubert, Bouvard et Pécuchet (trans. Mark Polizzotti, pg. 193).

Friday, March 23, 2007

Beyond Human

Sorries to all for the lack of updatation, but my school work and reading is leaving me no time for twaddle, which includes this blog. I hope to return soon after the thawing and warming Minnesota air rejuvenates me.

For now I send you to a fascinating article about the Heaven's Gate cult, and one of their wacko survivors. It's a long piece from the LA Weekly, but well worth it.

You might also check out my piece from July of last year, about my own experience with a local cult.

My blog used to be quite weird. More twaddle then, really.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Some Kind of Hilarity

I am enjoying the hell out of Some Kind of Monster, the hilarious Metallica documentary that documents the heavy metal legends as they record a new album and go through group therapy. That the movie is a fine documentary on its own is no surprise, the directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky being behind Brother's Keeper, one of the greatest documentaries of the last 20 years. Monster really can be enjoyed on many levels, even a little sympathetically. You can't always have a ironic little smirk on your mug. It's hard not to chuckle at all the scenes of these servants of Satan getting in touch with their feelings. We are truly still awash in the Self-Help age.
My favorite scene is still the one where all the guys are writing lyrics together.
The slightly fey and stringy-haired guitarist guy:
"How bout this one guys: 'My life style determines my death style.?'"

Heavy, dude...
Postmodern Postmortem

"Jean" "Baudrillard" "is" "dead". (As Edward G. Robinson in "The Ten Commandments"): "Where's your hyper-reality now?"

All kidding aside, rest in peace big guy.
You Care What I'm Watching, Reading and Listening to ("Didn't he just do this edition?")



(I still am demanding that the great Daniel Wolf set this, my favorite poem, to music. I imagine a vast percussion section complete with bundles of sticks, with detuned harps and lutes, vibraphones, prepared piano and worker's choir etc. Maybe I'll save up a nice commission fee...).


*Interestingly, the Penguin edition of The Georgics above is the L.P. Wilkinson translation; Wilkinson provided the words for Britten's rarely heard Cantata Misericordium.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Proust Questionnaire

I demand you all fill this out. Don't make me call the Secret Police. (That knocking on the door is not the Freemasons.)

I will try to answer somewhat seriously, as too few blog surveys are actually written by hyper-sensitive homosexual Frenchmen who happen to be the greatest novelist of the 20th century:

Your Most Marked Characteristic?
-Amateurishness in all endeavor.
The Quality You Most Like in a Man?
The Quality You Most Like in a Woman?
What Do You Most Value in Friends?
-Well-rounded calf muscles.
What is Your Principal Defect?
-Nervousness, laziness, pompousness, amateurishness.
What is Your Favorite Occupation?
What is Your Dream of Happiness?
-In love with a lovely lady. Animals. Perhaps open up an animal shelter. Surrounded by books. Children. Music. Friends. Nice house. This is really fascinating so far. I am fascinating.
What to Your Mind Would Be the Greatest of Misfortunes?
-If life is indeed an accident that has spawned from meaningless exchanges of atoms after a big bang, and the explosions of stars which collect in swirling galaxies and collide to make planets and gravitational fields, planets who's chemical composition over time creates more complex molecules and compounds which eventually become organic and evolve through chance genetic mutation and natural selection beings with consciousness that are conscious of their own mortality, and indeed their own ensnared-ness in time and space and on a planet of death and war and love and hate and creativity on one planet of trillions in a galaxy of trillions in a universe headed ultimately for collapse. That would be a great misfortune.
What Would You Like to Be?
In What Country Would You Like to Live?
What is Your Favorite Color?
-Pine green.
What is Your Favorite Flower?
-What can I say? I'm a wild tulip kinda guy!
What is Your Favorite Bird?
-Resplendent quetzal.
Who Are Your Favorite Prose Writers?
-James Joyce, Marcel Proust and Herman Melville.
Who Are Your Favorite Poets?
-William Shakespeare, Virgil and Horace.
Who is Your Favorite Hero of Fiction?
-Leopold Bloom from James Joyce's "Ulysses".
Who is Your Favorite Heroine of Fiction?
-Rosalind from Shakespeare's "As You Like It".
Who Are Your Favorite Composers?
-Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Igor Stravinsky, Alban Berg and Claude Debussy.
Who Are Your Favorite Painters?
-Piero della Francesca, Albrect Dürer and Paul Cezanne.
Who Are Your Heroes in Real Life?
-My mother and father and Harold Bloom.
Who Are Your Favorite Heroines in History?
-Gotta give it up for Saint Elisabeth of Hungary.
What Are Your Favorite Names?
-Daphne, Penelope, Efah, Gabriel. I like Greek and Hebrew names.
What is it You Most Dislike?
-Baseness, cruelty, violence, ignorance.
What Historical Figures Do You Most Despise?
-Chairman Mao, Che Guevara, Joseph Stalin, Hitler and Titus Flavius Domitianus.
What Event in Military History Do You Most Admire?
-The one where the least amount of people were killed, and also the Battle of Cannae.
What Reform Do You Most Admire?
-What? (note: Even Proust left this one blank.)
What Natural Gift Would You Most Like to Possess?
-Total, Radiating Buddha compassion.
How Would You Like to Die?
What is Your Present State of Mind?
-Invigorated but tortured.
To What Faults Do You Feel Most Indulgent?
-Laziness, anxiety, depression.
What is Your Motto?
-"Desire for nothing but desirelessness. Hope for nothing except to rise above all hopes. Want nothing and you have everything." (Krishna Meher Baba).

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Conservatives on Science
Did you know that Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Neil Cavuto, John Gibson and Sean Hannity, all have degrees in Biology and Climatology? It's true. Beck alone has authored 9 peer-reviewed papers on Stratopheric Ozone Depletion in between eating Big Macs and reading the Book of Mormon. They've done the research, and although they disagree with the entire Scientific Community on Evolution and Global Warming, they have the facts to prove it. For example-if we evolved, how come there are still monkeys? Also-if the Earth is warming, how come it snowed yesterday? Haha. Answer that one, smarty head. What's that? Eh. Nah. I still am going to believe what I want to believe. I'm going to home-school my children. Bye.
Give Us a Tune

I've been finding some hidden gold in the YouTube video mines. This is a fascinating clip from one of those great BBC documentaries that airs once and dissapears into the ether to us on the other side of the ocean (meanwhile our American idea of quality, educational/cultural/artistic programming is "Curses of the Mummy's Tomb: The DaVinci Connection" on the History Channel, and an 8 hour PBS marathon on Chinese foot-binding). The clip makes me happy in many ways. Haitnik bemoaning production of the Ring with aeroplanes and naked Rhinemaidens, young Brits arguing in front of the Opera House about...Opera, the protester's shouts of "Heckle for Harmony!"...

I again will admit my fondness for the music and person of Harrison Birtwistle, the premiere of his Gawain being the object of the protest in the footage. I love a tune as much as any body, and Birtwistle's music is extremely melodic. He's a master of endless, snake-like melodic lines. Gawain is actually a great opera, and a perfect example of his hyper-modern, primal power. It's like Aeschylus in a steel factory.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

03/01/2007: Minneapolis Minnesota

I wish I had a digital camera to show you what it looks like outside my door...
The Greatest Songs of All-Time (a YouTube Funferall)

Elvis Costello-"God's Comic" (this fan-made video is somewhat lame, but the song is an absolute masterpiece from one of Costello's lesser records, Spike. So look at something else while listening.)