April 5, 2013
There is something grotesque to me about there being this wonderful steakhouse St Elmó, and then just up the street the linguistically repellant chain steakhouse “Ruth’s Chris,” whatever that means, opens up shop. I feel like the people should take to the streets with pitchforks to protest that shit. Similarly, we need to shut down the TGI Fridays in Union Square; let’s take a tactic from the anti-abortion protestors and make people need an escort to get a mudslide fifteen paces from the greenmarket.
Angie Heisl‘s performance art piece ‘x-mal Mensch Stuhl‘ caught my attention. The project features senior citizens sitting in white chairs bolted to the sides of buildings. There they sit, several meters off the ground, as they go about everyday tasks like knitting or reading the paper.
Via: Jessica Walsh
April 4, 2013
We’re planning to have a barbecue at our house this Sunday. You’re not invited but I can’t stop you from coming. I’ll smoke pork shoulder, beef brisket, and chicken legs all day on Saturday in preparation for the party. You can’t have any of them. The meat will be accompanied by three different kinds of homemade barbecue sauce: hickory & molasses, brown sugar & cayenne, and Carolina mustard. You’ll never taste any of my condiments. My wife is making her famous vegetable slaw, three kinds of potato salad, and that thing she does with fresh fruit and pecans. None for you, though. I soak dried beans myself and bake them in a tangy sauce that’s loaded with bacon and sweet onions. You can have some of that. Only baked beans for you.
To create each intriguing scene, Taras identified and photographed locations where the many memorable events took place. Using photo manipulation, he blended the past with the present, bringing the old to the surface with the new.
The good soldier of cinema. I kept calling him that and he kept calling me that. He saw in me a good soldier in cinema. I said you are even more. He was a wounded soldier. He was ill and struggled and was still plowing on relentlessly. And that was completely and utterly admirable and I love him for that.
April 3, 2013
“Herr Dr Feld now brought a new magazine into existence. It was richly endowed and appeared irregularly, not because it lacked money but, rather, because its publisher and creator considered irregularity a quintessential characteristic of refinement.”
Perlefter, Joseph Roth
April 2, 2013
In 1992, Russia generously gave the already crumbling buildings and polluted, explosive-riddled land to the Czech government, claiming that the value of this piece of real estate would make up for the cost of cleaning it. It seems the Czechs had little choice but to accept.
I’m about 2/3 through Perlefter, and it’s kind of reading more like notes for a novel than a novel itself. But there is some clever writing in it, and some funny stuff. How about this?:
“…and as a result one saw that she had a high, pale, arched mathematical brow and small, pretty earlobes whose delicacy was lost in consideration of this significant forehead. Every young man grew afraid of this head.”
“After [Fredy] had definitely decided on the female sex he slept with one of the servant girls and earned himself his first sexually transmitted disease, of which he was quite proud and of which the entire family knew but about which nobody spoke.”
But seriously, try The Radetzky March, Right and Left, or The Silent Prophet, for your introduction to Roth. Silent... is a novel inspired by Trotsky, was written before his murder, and includes an already chilling fictional version of Stalin. Right… deals with two brothers divided by the advent of the Nazis, likewise written while things were still unfolding.
On the other side of the ledger, I have been trying to read Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus, but at not quite halfway, I have given up. It’s so much a novel of ideas, of the discussion of ideas, that I just don’t see any reason to continue. I hate theory and abstraction.
April 1, 2013
Okay, I missed OK Go’s “Needing/Getting” when it played during the 2012 Super Bowl, and I’m one of the last eight or ten people in the world who had not seen it before this evening.
Be sure to view the video for “This Too Shall Pass.” It’s within the linked article.
This is the story of a snake, a bear, and a little girl. Three great friends living together on the forested slopes beneath a mountain. There is a glade within the forest. Evergreens surround the meadow-grass, fireweed, and bee balm. The mountain’s snowcap is visible on clear days. Warmed by the sun, the three friends lay in a lazy pile near a broad, flat boulder. The bear licks the bottoms of the girl’s bare feet. The coiled snake dozes on the boulder. Summer is over but the days remain pleasant.
This is an April Fools’ prank from those wacky knuckleheads at Procter & Gamble, but with an enduring appeal. Maybe we shouldn’t joke about bacon?
but that’s me all over.
“The bees make it,” noted Andrew. He knew I’d dig the bees.
Also, the upright rabbit kind of reminds me of Andrew.
March 31, 2013
I’ve just begun Roth’s Perlefter, a novel he abandoned several years before he died (a state I see as categorically different from a novel unfinished because of death…) So I can’t say if I will like it or not, but I already love this from the (apparently) unfinished first chapter: “Professor Tobias was the only man in our town with a top hat. As he had holes in his pockets he needed to wear such a hat. On his head he comfortably hid an inkwell and a feather. This had the disadvantage that he could not offer greetings to anyone.”
If you’re new to Roth, go for Rebellion or Hotel Savoy for early work with an absurdist bent, or Right and Left or Radetzky March for the later realism.
I’m late in wishing Deron a happy 44th on the 29th! (I get distracted and I’m rarely on the Internet except at night.) I wanted to make a post on the 25th saying “Deron will be 44 in 4 days,” but things got away from me. Happy birthday, Deron.
Happy Easter, happy spring, everyone!
The origin of belief in prayer:
when crying alone—the faint wish that some other could see us
The origin of belief in hell:
the suspicion that nobody will ever see our tears
The origin of gods:
mothers who scoop up their weeping children and rock them
March 30, 2013
I started prepping the Iowan early. “We’ll hug him, then walk away.”
Mr. Boudreaux’s dad had cried at the end of his high school graduation, I mean really cried. This was after the Iowan spent parts of the evening trying to get me to leave early. “You can’t be interested in hearing all of this,” he said.
Then, the 90 seniors climbed the stage steps for last pictures. Our only child Mr. B. was bunched in back with his boy pack, arms thrown over shoulders. It was beautiful and wrenching. While taking photos, I noticed his dad’s tears. “This is the very last time they will ever do this. It just hit me.”
The Iowan was losing it. He is tall and hard to miss. Internal mother alarms shrieked: Warning, teenager humiliation. I took the Iowan’s hand and joined the slow line to the exit. For the last time, we read Mr. B.’s senior quote, painted on the wall just outside the gym. “When things get too heavy, just call me helium, the lightest known gas to man.” Jimi Hendrix.
Then, too fast, it was college move-in day. We got up at O-dark-30 and headed south. Several hours later, we were moving Mr. B. into the dorm. The roommates put clothes away while parents sweated and wrestled gear. The helpful RA from North Carolina kept referring to me as “Miss Alabama.” A graduate student dropped by to check laptop connections. He told us the weather was terrible during his first move-in day and his parents got into a huge fight so he couldn’t wait for them to leave.
When we couldn’t think of anything else to do, we took the boys to dinner. Then we dropped them off, back at the dorm.
It was time. I hugged Mr. B. tight and whispered, “Fly high, free bird,” my version of a goodbye joke. Dad and son hugged, shook hands and exchanged I love you’s. The Iowan and I turned and retreated, crisply. We were holding it together. All business.
A few heartbeats later, I looked back. Mr. B. had turned around and was watching us walk away, a little smile on his face. His eyes were shiny with tears.
March 29, 2013
Cradle Rock (Montreux 1975)
This was on my mind today, although I’m not sure what made it jump out of my memory.
One of the most influential guitarists of the Seventies, Irish-born Rory Gallagher passed away at the age of 47 in 1995, of complications from a liver transplant. Although he remains relatively unknown, Gallagher is remembered by a devoted fan base, and listed as an inspiration by other, more famous guitar heroes.