19 June 2008

The Creative Juices

04 June 2008

Obama Wins the Democratic Nomination

By any measure, this is a historic event. And historic events deserve songs.

Here are two:




02 June 2008

Is the Sky Falling?

A refreshingly sober and yet utterly unnerving Atlantic article by Greg Easterbrook, complete with video supplement ...



My sense is that Easterbrook overstates the case for immediate action, but that his question -- Why the hell isn't this even a topic of conversation at NASA or in the relevant Congressional committees?! -- is well taken.

05 May 2008

PEHDTSCKJMBA

STOP THE PRESS!


STOP THE PRESS!

Highlights from the Press Conference:



(Be sure to watch all the way through to the end.)

Glitter and Doom Tour
2008 US Concert Dates

June 17- Phoenix, Orpheum
June 18 - Phoenix, Orpheum
June 20 - El Paso, Plaza Theatre
June 22 - Houston, Jones Hall
June 23 - Dallas, Palladium
June 25 - Tulsa, Brady Theatre
June 26 - Saint Louis, Fox Theatre
June 28 - Columbus, Ohio Theatre
June 29 - Knoxville, Civic Theatre
July 1 - Jacksonville, Moran Theatre
July 2 - Mobile, Saenger Theatre
July 3 - Birmingham, Alabama Theatre
July 5 - Atlanta, Fox Theatre

Confirmation at Anti-, from Eyeball Kid, from Pollstar, and from tomwaits.com.

And just to get you in the mood ...


01 May 2008

Happy May Day

Happy May Day ... from Oxford.



PS. It's 'Magdalen', not 'Magdalene'. Magdalene College is in Cambridge.

30 April 2008

The Earth Died Screaming

I'm not usually a fan of Waits covers -- and the clips I've heard from Scarlett Johansson's forthcoming album haven't done anything to dissuade me from this bias, frankly -- but this guy is pretty good.

Here's his version of "The Earth Died Screaming":

27 April 2008

Sartre's Cookbook

The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook
We have recently been lucky enough to discover several previously lost diaries of French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre stuck in between the cushions of our office sofa. These diaries reveal a young Sartre obsessed not with the void, but with food. Aparently Sartre, before discovering philosophy, had hoped to write "a cookbook that will put to rest all notions of flavor forever.'' The diaries are excerpted here for your perusal.


October 3
Spoke with Camus today about my cookbook. Though he has never actually eaten, he gave me much encouragement. I rushed home immediately to begin work. How excited I am! I have begun my formula for a Denver omelet.

October 4
Still working on the omelet. There have been stumbling blocks. I keep creating omelets one after another, like soldiers marching into the sea, but each one seems empty, hollow, like stone. I want to create an omelet that expresses the meaninglessness of existence, and instead they taste like cheese. I look at them on the plate, but they do not look back. Tried eating them with the lights off. It did not help. Malraux suggested paprika.

October 6
I have realized that the traditional omelet form (eggs and cheese) is bourgeois. Today I tried making one out of a cigarette, some coffee, and four tiny stones. I fed it to Malraux, who puked. I am encouraged, but my journey is still long.

October 7
Today I agian modified my omelet recipe. While my previous attempts had expressed my own bitterness, they communicated only illness to the eater. In an attempt to reach the bourgeoisie, I taped two fried eggs over my eyes and walked the streets of Paris for an hour. I ran into Camus at the Select. He called me a "pathetic dork" and told me to "go home and wash my face." Angered, I poured a bowl of bouillabaisse into his lap. He became enraged, and, seizing a straw wrapped in paper, tore off one end of the wrapper and blew through the straw. propelleing the wrapper into my eye. "Ow! You dick!" I cried. I leaped up, cursing and holding my eye, and fled.

October 10
I find myself trying ever more radical interpretations of traditional dishes, in an effort to somehow express the void I feel so acutely. Today I tried this recipe:

Tuna Casserole
Ingredients: 1 large casserole dish

Place the casserole dish in a cold oven. Place a chair facing the oven and sit in it forever. Think about how hungry you are. When night falls, do not turn on the light.

While a void is expressed in this recipe, I am struck by its inapplicability to the bourgeois lifestyle. How can the eater recognize that the food denied him is a tuna casserole and not some other dish? I am becoming more and more frustated.

October 12
My eye has become inflamed. I hate Camus.

October 25
I have been forced to abandon the project of producing an entire cookbook. Rather, I now seek a single recipe which will, by itself, embody the plight of man in a world ruled by an unfeeling God, as well as providing the eater with at least one ingredient from each of the four basic food groups. To this end, I purchased six hundred pounds of foodstuffs from the corner grocery and locked myself in the kitchen, refusing to admit anyone. After several weeks of work, I produced a recipe calling for two eggs, half a cup of flour, four tons of beef, and a leek. While this is a start, I am afraid I still have much work ahead.

November 15
I feel that I may be very close to a great breakthrough. I had been creating meal after meal, but none seemed to express the futility of existence any better than would ordering a pizza. I left the house this morning in a most depressed state, and wandered aimlessly through the streets. Suddenly, it was aif the heavens had opened. My brain was electrified with an influx of new ideas. "Juice, toast, milk.." I muttered aloud. I realized with a start that I was one ingredient away from creating the nutritious breakfast. Loathsome, true, but filled with existential authenticity. I rushed home to begin work anew.

November 18
Today I tried yet another variation: Juice, toast, milk and Chee-tos. Again, a dismal failure. I have tried everything. Juice, toast, milk and whiskey, juice, toast, milk and chicken fat, juice, toast, milk and someone else's spit. Nothing helps. I am in agony. Juice, toast, milk, they race about my fevered brain like fire, like an unholy trinity of cruel denial. And the fourth ingredient! What could it be? It eludes me like the lost chord, the Holy Grail. I must see the completion of my task, but I have no more money to spend on food. Perhaps man is not meant to know.

November 21
Camus came into the restaurant today. He did not know I was in the kitchen, and before I sent out his meal I loogied in his soup. Sic semper tyrannis.

November 23
Ran into some opposition at the restaurant. Some of the patrons complained that my breakfast special (a page out of Remembrance of Things Past and a blowtorch with which to set it on fire) did not satisfy their hunger. As if their hunger was of any consequence! "But we're starving," they say. So what? They're going to die eventually anyway. They make me want to puke. I have quit the job. It is stupid for Jean- Paul Sartre to sling hash. I have enough money to continue my work for a little while.

November 24
Last night I had a dream. In it, I am standing, alone, on a beach. A great storm is raging all about me. It begins to rain. Night falls. I am struck by how small and insignificant I am, how the entire race of Man is but a speck in the eye of God, and I am but a speck of humanity. Suddenly, a red Cadillac convertible pulls up beside me, In it are these two beautiful girls named Jojo and Wendy. I get in and the take me to their mansion in Hollywood and give me a pound of cocaine and make mad, passionate love to me for the rest of my life.

November 26
Today I made a Black Forest cake out of five pounds of cherries and a live beaver, challenging the very definition of the word "cake." I was very pleased. Malraux said he admired it greatly, but could not stay for dessert. Still, I feel that this may be my most profound achievement yet, and have resolved to enter it in the Betty Crocker Bake-Off.

November 30
Today was the day of the Bake-Off. Alas, things did not go as I had hoped. During the judging, the beaver became agitated and bit Betty Crocker on the wrist. The beaver's powerful jaws are capable of felling blue spruce in less than ten minutes and proved, needless to say, more than a match for the tender limbs of America's favorite homemaker. I only got third place. Moreover, I am now the subject of a rather nasty lawsuit.

December 1
I have been gaining twenty-five pounds a week for two months, and I am now experiencing light tides. It is stupid to be so fat. My pain and ultimate solitude are still as authentic as they were when I was thin, but seem to impress girls far less. From now on, I will live on cigarettes and black coffee.

Sartre died in Paris in 1981. [NOTE: He did not. He died on April 15, 1980.] His last word is reputed to have been, simply, "Trix."
_____________________________________

by Marty Smith
The Free Agent (a Portland, OR alternative newspaper)
March 1987

23 April 2008

Hillary's Campaign IS History

Even after her victory in Pennsylvania last night (contrary to what the news outlets will tell you, it wasn't a 10% margin, but a 9.2% margin!), you might've thought that Hillary's campaign was destined to failure. Turns out, not so much ...

11 April 2008

Wood Hits One Outa The Park

Ah, to be tenured and able to write such things ...

"This book was written mainly in the United States, between 2004 and 2006. The history of this period is a disgraceful one. It feels as if we have been living under a malignant alien occupation. An unelected political regime, representing everything that is worst about American culture, compiled a record of injustice, corruption, and gross incompetence at home, and of numerous and aggravated war crimes abroad. Then it was confirmed in office by another election of dubious legitimacy so that it might continue unrelentingly its monstrous wrongfulness and stupidity. Those with the power to oppose its crimes instead acquiesced in them, or else resisted too late, and too feebly. The very ideas of democracy, community, and human rights are in the process of dying in our civilization - or they are being willfully murdered by those in power and by that segment of the population which supports this regime. All they give us in place of these ideas is the empty words (and plenty of those). People have now perhaps begun to awaken to the situation, but the historical roots of what has happened are sunk deep in political trends of the previous century, and I fear these trends will not be reversed soon or easily. There are references here and there in the book to this dismal history, usually to illustrate arrogance, lying, and egregious violations of right. A few readers of my earlier work have told me they think this sort of thing is inappropriate in a scholarly book. But my worries about appearing "unscholarly" pale next to my shame, which all Americans should feel at having failed to prevent the disastrous course of events."

-- From the preface to Kantian Ethics by Prof. Allen Wood (Stanford University).

10 April 2008

Hillary's Inner Tracy Flick

Now, if only her campaign were as good as the film ...

08 April 2008

Satisfaction

PJ Harvey and Björk sing the Stones ... Fabulous!

30 March 2008

Dick to the Dock to the PhD!

You don't have to be a believer to think that this is hilarious!


"If I was dyslexic, I’d even hate 'dog' too."

29 March 2008

Earth Hour ... Today

24 March 2008

"A(nother) Whopper!"

16 March 2008

The Best of All Games?

The state of this blog is best described as moribund. It’s been an interesting experiment, but I’m undecided whether I’ll keep it going. While I’m deciding, though, a charming letter by John Rawls recently surfaced. Here it is. (Click here [.pdf] to read the letter in its original typescript.)

03 February 2008

Freezing in Grand Central Station



More info about Improv Everywhere is here. Not a terribly deep project, but certainly fun.

18 January 2008

The American Civil War in Four Minutes

Did You Hear the One About the Logician Who ...?

Too busy to write much these days, but Jo Wolff's recent Guardian column is very funny.

Check it out here.