Deflation

There is a wrestling ring on a grainy, UHF channel with two large men on the small screen.  They pick each other up and slam each other down.  They bounce loudly off the mat.  They pull themselves right back up and square off again.  An announcer is describing the match in a louder-than-life voice as they hold each other’s skulls with ‘The Claw’.  Their hands are big enough to crush a cantaloupe.  They fold their legs into a ‘Figure-4 Leglock’.  This is a submission hold.  This is just as good as a shoulder-pin in winning the match. 

Other matches take place.  The referee stoops to check for a clean fight, paces around the wrestlers.   The ‘manager’ of one of the wrestlers sneaks a metal folding chair into the ring and slams the opponent in the head.  The ref is being distracted by the wrestler after an illegal choke hold and has his back turned to the chair bashing.  The other  opponent, with a newly cracked skull (so it seems), who is now ‘unconscious’ on the mat, is pinned.  He is so groggy he has difficulty leaving the ring. Yet, somehow, he stands and hobbles away into the wings and despite the booing crowd, this part of the show is over. 

This was broadcast TV circa 1979. I was ten years old.  Pro wrestling was a real sport.  It was really serious.  It was something a kid really cared about.  Clearly, there were good guys – buff, athletes who greeted the crowd with enthusiasm and charm – and bad guys – evil men who were menacing and wore black spandex.  They had dark hair and maybe an evil moustache or a mask.  It was easy to tell who to root for, who was ‘supposed’ to win.  There was colossal disappointment when the bad guys prevailed, but it happened.   This heightened the sense of real danger that really existed in this real sport.  Sometimes the good guys, despite all their obvious virtue, did lose.  It was all part of ‘The Script’ that later in life I found made pro wrestling more ‘entertainment’ than sport.  It was clumsy ballet for burly macho men.

Super Bowl 49 (let’s dispense with the ridiculous roman numerals) had that pro wrestling feel.   The brawl at the end where nobody really got punched. The gold-shoed running back who has to be seen popping Skittles. The carefully crafted back-story: the officials looking the other way as the bad guys, the evil empire from the cold North, cheat their way into the game.  The outcome: these evil doers wind up triumphant despite the valiant efforts of the good guys from the West who made magic happen with a spectacular, gravity-defying circus catch in the dying breath of the 4th Quarter. 

The contest pitted a young champion with a strong arm and quick legs against a handsome but brooding Dark Lord who jealously guards his mighty legacy. 

Yet, somehow, knowing that this game, this ‘world’ championship is more pop culture touchstone than athletic event, the hi-def large screen TV broadcast more grand entertainment than a true example of American football, that these gladiators are the centerpiece of a Romanesque spectacle – from the opening odes of American pride, the contestants leaving the coliseum due to dire injuries, to the Super Bowl snacks and half-time entertainment complete with dancing sharks that would make Sid & Marty Krofft jealous, and a dash of actual sport thrown into the 4+ hour extravaganza of commercialism  – even knowing all of this, I cannot stop feeling that on this night, at this time, the good guys were really going to win.  And they blew it.

Vanderbilt’s Dilemma

In response to a commenter in the Atlantic article (link below) that executive pay is “none of anyone’s business” other than shareholders:

None of our business? I don’t think so. In any case, shareholders have been unwilling or, likelier, unable to prevent the boys at the top of the food chain from cutting themselves larger, and larger, and increasingly ever larger checks, eating up ALL of the productivity gains that the rest of us in the American economy have made possible. It is the rest of our business when, for example, the US tax code rewards corporations for offshoring American jobs, instead of penalizing them. Or taxes capital gains at a far lower rate than income through labor. Like Vanderbilt said, “Incidentally, we may benefit mankind; but the aim is to earn a dividend.” So far, so good. But when that dividend fails to benefit the rest of us, when the earning of it actually hurts the rest of us, Mr. Vanderbilt and his latter-day apologists, like yourself, will have to deal with the natural reaction. Sorry if that hurts your feelings.

–Disqus User BigOnion (not to be confused with or associated with the famous parody website)

Young Adults Poorer Less Employed and More Diverse Than Their Parents

Nine Inch Nails – Playlist 4 – 7

As in the previous setlists, each of the following fit onto a standard CD. All titles are album versions unless noted.

Nine Inch Nails 4:

    1. Memorabilia
    2. Physical
    3. Complications of the Flesh
    4. Demon Seed
    5. The Greater Good
    6. The Beauty of Being Numb
    7. The Great Collapse
    8. Disappointed
    9. Help Me I Am In Hell
    10. Metal
    11. Eraser (Polite)
    12. Home
    13. Sanctified
    14. Something I Can Never Have
    15. Just Like You Imagined
    16. All The Love In The World

Nine Inch Nails 5:

  1. Head Like A Hole (Slate)
  2. Heresy (Blind)
  3. Starfuckers, Inc. (Version 2)
  4. Capital G (Epworth Phones Remix)
  5. Happiness In Slavery (Fixed Remix)
  6. Sin (Short)
  7. The Hand That Feeds (DFA Mix)
  8. Survivalism Tardusted
  9. Ghosts III – 19
  10. Gave Up (Fixed Remix)
  11. The Beginning of the End (Ladytron Remix)
  12. The Perfect Drug (The Orb)
  13. Zero Sum (Other Two Remix)
  14. The Great Destroyer (Modwheelmood Remix)
  15. Down In It (Demo)

Nine Inch Nails 6:

  1. The Perfect Drug (Plug Remix)
  2. All Time Low (Todd Rungren Remix)
  3. 10 Miles High (Version)
  4. Down In It (Singe)
  5. Throw This Away
  6. Closer (Precursor)
  7. The New Flesh
  8. A Warm Place
  9. Every Day Is Exactly The Same (Sam Fog vs. Carlos D Mix)
  10. Terrible Lie (Empathetic Mix)
  11. The Hand That Feeds (Photek Straight Mix)
  12. Starfuckers Inc. (Version 3)
  13. Various Methods of Escape
  14. Head Like A Hole (Soil)

Nine Inch Nails 7:

  1. The Becoming (Still Version)
  2. Terrible Lie (Sympathetic Mix)
  3. Self Destruction, Part Two
  4. The Great Destroyer
  5. Ruiner (Version)
  6. Head Like A Hole (Clay)
  7. Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)
  8. In Two (Cut, Fused)
  9. Reptile (Edit)
  10. Down In It (Skin)
  11. Closer To God
  12. Supernaut
  13. Only (El-P Mix)
  14. Where Is Everybody?
  15. In This Twilight
  16. While I’m Still Here
  17. Black Noise

Nine Inch Nails – Playlist 1, 2 & 3

Each of the following playlists fit onto a standard CD. All titles are album versions unless noted.

Nine Inch Nails 1:

  1. The Hand That Feeds
  2. The Good Soldier
  3. Maybe Just Once (Edit) (Purest Feeling Version)
  4. Pinion
  5. Wish
  6. Piggy
  7. Complication
  8. Terrible Lie
  9. Heresy
  10. God Given
  11. Head Down (Live at Rehearsal)
  12. Satellite
  13. Intro (Sin Video)
  14. Sin
  15. Closer
  16. Down In It
  17. The Perfect Drug (Long Version)
  18. A Violet Fluid
  19. Head Like A Hole
  20. We’re In This Together (Radio Edit)

Nine Inch Nails 2:

  1. Pinion
  2. Mr. Self-Destruct (Edit)
  3. Echoplex (Live at Rehearsal)
  4. Starfuckers, Inc. (Long Version)
  5. Capital G
  6. Into The Void
  7. Dead Souls
  8. Came Back Haunted
  9. Discipline (Live at Rehearsal)
  10. Happiness In Slavery
  11. Meet Your Master
  12. Head Like A Hole (Opal)
  13. Find My Way
  14. Deep
  15. Sanctified (Purest Feeling Version)
  16. Get Down, Make Love
  17. Last
  18. The Frail (Version)

Nine Inch Nails 3:

  1. That’s What I Get (Purest Feeling Version)
  2. Hurt (Live with David Bowie)
  3. Videodrones: Questions
  4. Every Day Is Exactly The Same
  5. 1,000,000 (Live at Rehearsal)
  6. Copy of A
  7. Only
  8. Burn
  9. Survivalism
  10. Purest Feeling
  11. Suck
  12. Love Is Not Enough (Live at Rehearsal)
  13. The Wretched (version)
  14. Leaving Hope
  15. The Day The World Went Away
  16. Driver Down
  17. Gave Up

Johnny Marr Playlist 1 & 2

1

  • People As Places As People – Modest Mouse
  • Vivid (Radio Edit) – Electronic
  • Run in the Dust – 7 Worlds Collide
  • Helpline Operator – The The
  • European Me – Johnny Marr
  • Sodium Light Baby – The The
  • King Rat – Modest Mouse
  • We Share The Same Skies – The Shins
  • Long Gone – Johnny Marr & The Healers
  • Red Wine Bottle – 7 Worlds Collide
  • Dashboard – Modest Mouse
  • Atom Rock (Remix) – Quando Quango
  • (Nothing But) Flowers – Talking Heads
  • Slow Emotion Replay – The The
  • Lockdown – Johnny Marr
  • Can’t Find My Way Home – Electronic
  • Windows of the World – The Pretenders
  • Love Is Stronger Than Death – The The

2

  • Bangin’ On – Johnny Marr & The Healers
  • Learn To Crawl – 7 Worlds Collide
  • The Messenger – Johnny Marr
  • We’ve Got Everything – Modest Mouse
  • The Patience of a Saint – Electronic
  • Say Demesne – Johnny Marr
  • Some Distant Memory – Electronic
  • The Whale Song – Modest Mouse
  • Long Time Gone – Johnny Marr & The Healers
  • Invisible – Modest Mouse
  • Reality – Electronic
  • City of Bugs – The Cribs
  • Something To Shout About – Johnny Marr & The Healers
  • Tighten Up – Electronic
  • The Last Ride – Johnny Marr & The Healers
  • Disappointed (Stephen Hague 7″ Remix) – Electronic
  • Don’t Forget Me – 7 Worlds Collide

Oh I Am Such A Fickle Mess

I Am Such A Fickle Mess

On again and off again. 
Running away and then headlong in.
I hate you.
I love you.
No stop. Please never go away.
I am such a fickle mess
I would never undress
Unless you told me
You would never like to see me again
I would pretend to hate you
Then despise you
Then we would be back in bed again
Yes I am such a fickle mess.

… something like that anyway.  That’s my attempt at Morrissey lyrics to the tune of me getting back on Twitter because I realize now that, while terrible for truly social interactions, it’s wonderful for sending random, snarky messages into the ether. 

Still, I need to not settle for the instant gratification of the 120-character message.  I need to exercise my abilities in the longer form.  Writing on Twitter is just the echoes of a flash in the brain where a sentiment is formed, crystallized and then shed into the electronic sphere.  Who reads this stuff?  Ugh.  Who knows?

Morrissey

S – T – E – V – E – N has to cancel a show that I couldn’t get tickets to at The National, over in the city.  So what?  I have his voice captured on plastic in the form of discs that are read by a laser.  With that in mind, I have compiled what I consider a comprehensive collection – the very best of the man who’s heart is full… (Note: the album of origin is included in parentheses)

Disc 1

Sing Your Life (Kill Uncle)
That’s How People Grow Up (Years of Refusal)
Glamorous Glue (Your Arsenal)
Hairdresser on Fire (Bona Drag)
I Like You (You Are The Quarry)
My Dearest Love (Swords)
I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday (Your Arsenal)
Alsatian Cousin (Viva Hate)
Shame Is The Name (Swords)
The Last of the International Playboys (Bona Drag)
Jack The Ripper (B-Side Single to Certain People I Know)
November Spawned A Monster (Bona Drag)
Do Your Best and Don’t Worry (Southpaw Grammar)
I Have Forgiven Jesus (You Are The Quarry)
There’s A Place In Hell For Me And My Friends (Live At KROQ)
Let Me Kiss You (You Are The Quarry)
Everyday Is Like Sunday (Viva Hate)
You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Side (Your Arsenal)
Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself (Vauxhall and I)
The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get (Vauxhall and I)
One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell (Years of Refusal)
Tomorrow (Your Arsenal)

Disc 2

You Have Killed Me (Ringleader of the Tormentors)
Satan Rejected My Soul (Maladjusted)
That’s Entertainment (B-Side Single to Sing Your Life)
Such A Little Thing Makes A Big Difference (Bona Drag)
Journalists Who Lie (B-Side Single to Our Frank)
Certain People I Know (The World of Morrissey)
Piccadilly Palare (Bona Drag)
Sister I’m A Poet (My Early Burglary Years)
Girl Least Likely To (My Early Burglary Years)
We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful (Single)
Spring-Heeled Jim (The World of Morrissey)
Interesting Drug (Bona Drag)
The Boy Racer (Southpaw Grammar)
The Loop (World of Morrissey)
Will Never Marry (Bona Drag)
My Love Life (The World of Morrissey)
All You Need Is Me (Years of Refusal)
Black Cloud (Years of Refusal)
Now My Heart Is Full (Vauxhall and I)
We’ll Let You Know (The World of Morrissey)
Irish Blood, English Heart (You Are The Quarry)
Speedway (Vauxhall and I)

After I compiled the second disc, I kept thinking that there was no way Suedehead doesn’t make the cut for the second CD. For some reason, though it’s a classic, I have never really thought it was that great musically and lyrically. Yet is haunted me. So, I rethought the order of the tracks and replaced six of the songs with six others and so I made…

Disc 2 (v. 2)

I Don’t Mind If you Forget Me (Viva Hate)
The Loop (World Of Morrissey)
You Have Killed Me (Ringleader of the Tormentors)
Journalists Who Lie (B-Side Single to Our Frank)
Sister I’m A Poet (My Early Burglary Years)
We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful (Single)
Yes, I Am Blind (B-Side Single to Oija Board, Oija Board)
Piccaddily Palare (Bona Drug)
Spring-Heeled Jim (The World of Morrissey)
My Love Life (The World of Morrissey)
Interlude w/ Siouxsie Sioux (Single)
Will Never Marry (Bona Drag)
That’s Entertainment (B-Side Single to Sing Your Life)
Moon River (Single)
Suedehead (Viva Hate)
We’ll Let You Know (The World of Morrissey)
Irish Blood, English Heart (You Are The Quarry)
Speedway (Vauxhall and I)
Black Cloud (Years of Refusal)
The Boy Racer (Southpaw Grammar)
Disappointed (Bona Drag)
Now My Heart Is Full (Vauxhall and I)

 

Recent Releases

It’s an exciting time for music enthusiasts. There are new releases from:

The Flaming Lips
David Bowie
Depeche Mode
How To Destroy Angels
Atoms For Peace (Thom Yorke)

Watch this blog for links to my reviews of each of these. So far the Atoms for Peace and HTDA reviews are now up on Amazon. Those links will follow first.

Twitter Experiment Over

I tried. I really did. To be ‘social’ that is. Truth be told, it is not possible to be social to any personal extent when you are limited to… (wait for it) … written words.

Yes, I said it. The delivery of a message, no matter how short and the ensuing exchange does not make for a social interaction in any real sense.

There is no nuance of non-verbal cues, no tone, no expression.  And written words are immensely inefficient at facilitating a true dialogue.

So, the social media experiment that is Twitter is dead for me. It’s good to check emergency closings and link to news. But it’s not much of a social tool.

You need to meet people in real life for that.

10-Year Retrospective Review – Worthington’s “micro/meta/cosm/ology, 2003”

Melissa Zieziula Worthington’s ten collected photographs presented for her 2003 M. F. A. Thesis Exhibition @ Anderson Gallery are black & white collages rendered in aluminum and acrylic and finished with a process dubbed ‘Giclee transparency print,’ a kind of digital printing process.

Worthington’s central thesis in these works seems to be that women have an innate presence that somehow exists inherently within the natural world while man’s intervention tends to interrupt this ideal state.  Worthington’s
subject is herself, in various nude poses.  The content of her works convey a grasp for the far-reaching.  She has big ideas and tackles no less a subject than ‘truth vs. Truth’ establishing a cosmology that borrows from
Catholic, Wiccan, and astrological symbols vs. man-made developments – the written word, architecture, cryptology, mathematics, and measurements.  In all of these ten works, her nude form emphasizes the earthy female (meta)
themes that spring forth.  Water, fire, birth, and growth are dominant. Meanwhile, she depicts male (micro) creations in an overlaid fashion, presenting them as somehow strange and unnecessary.

One of the most striking examples of Worthington’s idealization of the female is found in  ‘Evolution,’ which depicts the artist in the womb itself, a womb also populated by simply drawn ‘Christian-symbol’ fish.  She is subtly being penetrated by a single sperm as she swims.  It has its head only partly lodged inside her.  Meanwhile, more intricate renderings of
equations and DNA strands spiral over and around her.  She is happy to accommodate the true male presence, the sperm, but she is literally overrun by the science.  The complexity of the man-made scientific serves to obscure the raw power of the female human form.  Man falls just short.

Worthington’s obvious penchant for symbol play comes full force in ‘Encryption,’ a twist on a very Catholic sensibility.  Naked, she holds a chalice, while wearing a crucifix.  Her bare form is unobstructed accept by a layer of some indistinct rubric, a code system of some sort, a man-made scribbling.  Her lips are obviously painted with lipstick.  The link is
subtle – lipstick, a kind of sexual code – the mere act of hiding the lips reveals the true intention of using them.  Females have codes of their own, but they are far more effective.  It is lost to the man, who is too busy hiding his own true intentions behind the science of cryptography.  And so it goes…

It is clear from these ten works that Worthington uses prevalent symbols of our recent era to effectively regress the post-modern dialectic, boiling the discussion down to ‘He vs. She’ with the She being the true ‘Truth’.  The symbols themselves serve their purpose in context, but she merrily discards them from work to work, assimilating whatever will prove her point without much regard for the traditions she borrows from.  The use of her own nude form is a strong indication that she does means for the conversation to be a personal one.  Women viewers can feel empowered by her boldness.  Because of her obvious personal revelation and investment into her work, she is obviously inviting male and female alike to buy into her claims.  However, all of us already tend to believe in this separation of male vs. female
because we have all been oppressed by it.  We know it well.  She is serving more to amplify it so that we can happily rebel.

The rebellion is no more spelled out than in ‘Consumption,’ her boldest statement. In this piece, she stares directly at the camera, her hair down. She is seated, her feet tight against her body.  She reveals nothing of herself, but she is clearly nude.  She holds an Apple outstretched, which is rendered glowing, with little helpful arrows superimposed pointing towards it.  She is saying – ‘look here at the apple – not me.’  The assumed male observer must be instructed to see the real substance of the piece – the famous Apple of Temptation.  Liberated Women are already in on the joke and
can take the piece as camp mockery.  It’s as if her sexuality is there in her hand, in a true symbolic form, while her naked body itself is a ruse, merely part of nature itself.  Her black & white, austere nudity makes a joke of the full-color, ‘come-hither’ spreads of the likes of Playboy, Penthouse, etc.  The man’s mere gaze is not what’s wanted – is the message –
but the actualy shared consumption that comes with True Union.  It’s a Truth all True women already know, Worthington seems to convey.  It is a revelation of the True nature of Humankind – for both Woman and Man.

Worthington’s website, sadly, is no longer online, but a subset of this collection can still be found, as of this writing, at http://academic.shu.edu/libraries/gallery/gender-exhibits.htm#Worthington.

Chromebook

I am giving in to technology.  I am learning what it is to be an uber-geek.  I am beyond Windows.  I am out of the reach of Apple.  I am working with a Chromebook.  So far so good.

Actually, I’m loving it.

Out of the box, the only challenge was fitting the U.S. outlet adapter onto the strangely clunky power adapter.  After that, just waiting for Chrome to update was the only challenge.

Maybe twenty minutes later, I’m taking a profile picture with the built-in camera.  I’m checking my Twitter on HootSuite.  I’m blogging in this here blog.

The machine is quiet.  It barely makes a low hum.  Tiny fans are cooling the insides.  From what I understand, it has a solid state hard drive.  No moving parts.  It’s almost as light as a frisbee.

Some things I have yet to discover – how to find Google Chat.  How to access the hard drive.  How to start a new document (a ‘real’ document like the MS Word variety).  I know you can do these things.

More to come…

Update:  Hours later and I’ve been listening to the new Johnny Marr on Rhapsody, playing around in a music creation app called AudioTool, writing a document, starting a spreadsheet. I’m syncing my Catch notes and I’m downloading news apps.

So far, I can’t think of anything I can’t do with this little machine.  It’s been on my lap for over an hour now and I’m not feeling like I need some ice for my groin.

The only glitch so far is that it takes some time to calculate the battery left.

 

 

New Twitter Approach

What if you had to use Twitter to simply provide an update of your status? No opinions on the ‘news’ of the day. No links to other media.  No didactic renderings of philosophical thoughts. No commentary on religious and spiritual conundrums.  Just actual things happening to you personally, pertaining to you.

Well, that has been my new approach for Twitter in 2013. I am decluttering my mind, focusing on what I am personally able to report about me, myself, and I.

Selfish? Hardly. Factual? Yes. 

I am not entirely ignoring the world around me. But 2012 brought a sort of fatigue for all things contentious. I realized that getting sucked into the news, the twittersphere, the media hypnotism which frames the crisis du jour and the whatever it is we’re all supposed to be harking to is counterproductive to my own creativity.

So if self-preservation is selfish, I guess there’s some of that. But mostly it’s a weariness of the self-serving agendas, the cons, the manipulations, the real lack of substance to anything being peddled as content.

It’s a wasteland out there. News, TV, movies… all have fallen into a miasma of what might be the most appealing thing to the most people who are being forced into one of a few molds.

This blog post, for example, has been market-tested. It is targeted to those 30-40 somethings who see themselves as aware of current affairs but outside the mainstream. They are rebels but follow the rules. They work a job but their career is life itself. They have a family, but like to have time a carved-out for esoteric hobbies, such as large-scale origami or vintage refrigerator racing or competitive haiku. They live in small towns but shop in the city. They deposit with the big banks but micro-invest in efforts such as Small-Scale Methane Farming or Elastic Recycling or Non-Compressed Vegetation Re-Growth and Rehabilitation. All of these are hot, bleeding-edge, though-leader type of technologies . And this blog will capitalize on those types of… blase-blase ergo yadda-yadda mea culpa viacom viagra may be immersed in water shark-bait malleable trussle knobbed fortune’s club foot.

We apologize for the technical difficulties. We have spun into a psuedo-post-modern vortex of random surrealism. But that’s really nothing new.

New Year Time

Time is expansive.  So much so that we chop it up into parts to more easily digest.  Mostly, we base this on observable phenomenon – the cycles of the sun or the moon. Our current calendar system has been in place since 1582.  Of course, without that calendar, how would we know that?

A calendar helps us keep time and we keep time in order to help us keep order in our own lives.  The Byzantines put our current calendar year between 7521 and 7522.  But there are dozens of calendar systems, reference points for the lives of the 7.062 Billion people on the planet.  The French Revolutionary Calendar makes this year 223 of the ‘Era of Liberty’.  But ‘liberty’ means many things to many people.

Time is elastic.  A moment spent with a loved one can last the rest of our lives.  Some hours can go by staring at a TV screen without one memory being made.  Yet there is a tendency in our culture to make a fetish of time – to obsess over the time it take to accomplish things, to make time the most important aspect of an event.  To operate like clockwork.  To become machine-like.

Our perception of time is more important than time itself.  Time, turns out, is a fiction we create to measure our lives.  The ‘end of time’ would mean we have given up measuring, given up taking in the moments, given up the reference points that give us the common language we need to make plans, to meet up, to celebrate and restart.

The way we mark time is a tool, a common reference point that happens to coincide with the way our planet circles the sun, the way the planet rotates providing us with seasons and days.  Yet when we find ourselves losing track of time, we tend to be enjoying ourselves more, to be consumed by activity, by fun.  Time, it turns out, is a paradox.  We must be intimately aware of time in order to forget about it.

In this year 2013, I hope to use time as a tool – to meet up with friends, to organize my life, to accomplish the things I want to get done.   But not get bogged down by time, not to mark the days for their own sake.  I plan to use time as a tool to enjoy each day.  That is my resolution.