Thursday, May 31, 2007

This is what a Christian looks like

This is the last speech Martin Luther King Jr. gave before he was killed. I think it his best. It bowls me over. Listen to it.

...

"It's true. You look stupid in contacts." - Kevin Arnold

Nota bene

The reason there is no writing on the page is everything has yet to be learned. How is one to write when all is not known? That's why Socrates talked so god damned much. He knew everything there is to know. But that's no good and I could do without Socrates. Books are to be read, not consulted. Do not consult your bookshelf! Stop reading books for information. They're so many gears and levers. The only question is: does it work? Does The Brothers Karamazov work? Does Das Kapital work? When you feed a big helping of pork chops and apple sauce to Kant does the resulting shit hold your attention? Hog maw and chitlins for Vico? Ho cakes and broccoli greens for Aristotle? What about when you feed yourself? Well, that's scary say we all. Yes, you me us most likely don't work too smoothly and our shit just reeks of shit. Horrible gas, you say, palms aimed outwards, sheepish grin. Rebuilding the machine takes so much effort and I'm so tired and I just want to be left alone to be tired and alone boo hoo hoo. And how can one write when there are Wonder Years re-runs on the boob tube...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Music for the day after Tuesday: Lo-fi oddity edition

Say hello to...

R. Stevie Moore - Little Man (1976)


I've had this next song in my head for a few months now.

R. Stevie Moore - Girl Go (1978)


R. Stevie Moore - Who Killed Davey Moore (1989)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday morning dance party

This morning around 8:00 I went to the grocery store to buy some breakfast ingredients. As expected, I found a pretty deserted store. What I didn't expect, though, was the late 80s/early 90s dance music blasting throughout the store. It was like a dance club dressed up as a grocery store! Quelle bonne idée!

When I arrived, the speakers were pumping out Rick Astley's "She Wants To Dance With Me."
(watch out - it's loud)


And when I left, it was Black Box's "Strike it Up."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Transit strike - day 4


Today is the fourth day of the transit worker strike. The government has given the worker's union and the transit bosses until today to work out a deal, or else. No one seems to know what the 'or else' might mean, though we may just find out today, as the strike is still in action this morning.

And Montreal is certainly seeing the effects of the strike. Since the trains and buses are only running for a few hours of 'essential services' every day, more people are driving their cars to, from, and within the city. As a result, smog is out in full force. It looks disgusting outside. From our balcony I can barely see the buildings that are a mere mile or so away. And it smells terrible outside, too. Kind of like burnt garlic. All of this is exacerbated by the near 90 degree weather.

In short, it is nasty out there. I hope they can strike a deal today.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Amazon.com book review of Joshua Harris's 'I Kissed Dating Goodbye' which I found to be a humorous read and decided to share with you, kind reader

Would Anyone Mind Stabbing Me In The Eye With A Cattle Prod?, November 8, 2005
Reviewer: Tristan Rholl "Tristan Rholl"

I heard about this book from Thomas Landrus, a junior at Augsburg College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Now let me tell you all a little something about Tom Landrus. He is a great guy, if it's opposite day. Once, when Tom and I were eating in the cafeteria together, I was enjoying a freshly made Greek gyro. He promptly spat out his peanut butter and jelly sandwich and declared that no food native to a country that possesses a majority of Eastern Orthodox Christians should be suitable for consumption. He then went on a fifteen minute diatribe about how Protestantism is the only "real" faith. After I had finally survived the onslaught, I further informed him that the gyro had been prepared by a woman. He ran to the bathroom, where I was later told he was heard vomiting blood into the sink.

If I may, I have one last story about Tom Landrus before I get to the crux of this lengthy entry: The degree of fury this book incited in my bloodstream. But, I digress. Last spring, when our choir (The Choir of Christ Chapel) from Gustavus Adolphus College was touring in Northern Minnesota, we were in the third hour of a lengthy bus ride up to Grand Marais, Minnesota. We passed by a modest, quaint residential home near the shore of Lake Superior. In the front yard stood a man in his early fifties, along with this wife. They were discussing what to do with the pile of logs the man had obviously just split to be stored for use in the wintertime. The woman was wearing a red turtleneck with a large cross stitched onto the front right breast. I remarked to my chums Evan Wilcox and Joel Beachey how heartening I found it that the man and wife cared so much for each other, and were Christians to boot. They agreed, and a smile passed my lips. Just then, Tom, who was sitting in the seat in front of me, turned rather suddenly to face me and spat out such a hate filled remark that I still recall it in my dreams to this day. He said 'They aren't Christian. No Christian would wear such a blasphemous color outdoors within the sight of neighbors and the public. In any truly Christian society we would be within our rights, nay, our duty as Christians, to stop this bus and stone her to death. It's what God would want done...'

Now, back to the real matter at hand. This book is exactly the mightier-than-thou drivel that I would expect someone who sleeps with his pants on to read. Just as he places a bedrock belief in the idea that sleeping with his pants on will protect him from a life of sin, this book only perpetuates that same idea that he-who-lives-in-a-stone-house-without-windows-surrounded-by-a-moat will never know nor experience temptation or 'Ungodly' thoughts and feelings. To this I pose just one question; What is wrong with people like Tom, honestly?? Much like the chapter in Harris' book entitled 'What you'll remember at 50' I would like to turn right around and thrust that statement as a question back at these same self-proclaimed 'servants' of God. So, I will ask it. To everyone like Tom Landrus and Joshua Harris, What will you remember when you are fifty? Will you remember how you proclaimed the message that God frowns upon love? Is your intention to cast guilt and shame upon the souls who have found something better, something brighter in themselves by sharing themselves with another human being through the 'satanic' process known as dating?

Let me share a personal story. I daresay that this is a daring offering on my part, considering that there may be child molesters, terrorists, ex-convicts, and other such bottom feeders reading all of these reviews (for a living). When I was in my freshman year of high school, I was fighting severe (crippling, as some of my friends maintain) depression in lieu of my father's death in a tragic car wreck. My friends, not knowing how to handle me, kept me at arm's length, and my mother numbed herself with grossly excessive amounts of Lexipro. I felt utterly alone, and the only person that confronted me in earnest to help me process my feelings and offer a shoulder to cry on was my childhood friend Sarah, whom I had known since the age of 4. Sarah stuck by my side. She made sure she was there to eat every meal of the day with me, she set up 'movie nights' for just the two of us for 2 straight months, and she often would send me mail to cheer me up (I love mail) even though she lived only two houses away. Several years after my father's death, Sarah and I were still close, and still maintained a healthy friendship. One day, in the summer of 2003, just after our high school graduation, we were talking at lookout point about what had become of our lives and how many memories we would carry with us that included one another when we would go our seperate ways in the fall. I was off to attend Gustavus, while she began undergraduate studies in biochemistry at Stanford. I decided to seize the moment and tell her just how much she had come to mean to me over the years. All I said was, 'You know, I wouldn't even be sitting here with you today if you hadn't sat with me all those years ago. I've known you for so long; you mean more to me than any other person in the entire universe. I'm going to miss you.' She stared back at me with her big brown eyes and then, without a word, she kissed me. 'I wish I knew how to quit you.' she said as a tear ran down here cheek. 'You don't have to.'

We've been dating ever since then, as she chose not to go to Stanford and now attends Gustavus as well, even though it wasn't her academic institution of choice. My life has been blessed beyond belief by Sarah's presence in my life, and I firmly believe that that presence is a gift from God Himself. The notion that dating is unnecessary, or even 'morally reprehensible,' as Harris maintains on page 58 of this 'book' is in itself morally reprehensible. His opinions have motivated me to write a book entitled 'People Who Will Be Slaving Away In A Tar-Pit In Hell After They Die: A New Attitude Toward Joshua Harris.' It has achieved pre-released status and is currently in printing with the reputable publisher Harper and Collins.

So we return now to the formerly proposed question; What IS wrong with people like Joshua Harris and Tom Landrus? Barring any mental development syndrome, what exactly has to take place in these people's lives as far as nature and nurture is concerned to produce people so blatantly hypocritical and shockingly infantile? My guess is that the very first day they were capable of remembering it, both of their mothers got their children's attention with bright acrylic paint colors, stripped them naked in front of their elementary school classmates, and proceeded to paint over all the areas of 'sin' that were present in their children. The trauma incurred upon these two individuals is understandable, what with the shrieking, maniacal howl of their classmates' taunts and laughter echoing in their ears to this day. Sadly, it is still nothing more than an excuse for their classless, insightless views regarding love, friendship, and the human experience. Should either of these individuals ever dare to 'sleep without pants' in a metaphorical sense, they just might build a window up in their ivory towers of moral righteousness, maybe then Harris and Landrus gain some real perspective on the human condition. Perhaps then they would open their eyes to our aching need for love and companionship as human beings and human SOULS, in a world so many of us so often see as abandoned by the very God we pray will rescue us. Love is not the enemy here, dating is an irrevelent issue in this entire debate, and a school of thought that views either as a worthy recipient of our moral indignation does not deserve a place at the table of moral debate in this post 9/11 world. These are the same people that scream about the vulgarity of same-sex relationships when bombs are exploding at Iraqi security checkpoints on an almost hourly basis. These are the same people that vote against affirmative action while they spend their Sunday mornings using their second tongue. These are the same people that contribute vast sums of money to their own children's private educations, while they protest in the street against proposed increases in spending on public schools in lower-income neighborhoods.

God does not (nay, cannot) endorse an abstract moral viewpoint while ignoring the social reality on the other end. The issue of love and dating is absolutely no exception. It may be all well and good to present an abstract argument on how sinful dating is in order to justify deep-rooted personal insecurities and fears about romance and committed relationships, but the second Harris' ideas move into the real world and cease to become theory, they become treasonous against the very God they worship without fail. If Harris is looking to stir the pot, he could start by knocking the dust off of his outdated opinions, which wouldn't pass for contemporary in the early 1800's, let alone in today's society. If he is looking to change some imagined oppressive social institution, he would be well served to turn around and reevaluate the fear-mongering Evangelical Christian church that he so firmly stands by. If he is looking to help others in emotional turmoil about love and relationships, he might do well to first tackle his own emotional anxieties about love and dating, or, to put it in language that Harris might understand, he would do well to worry about the log in his own eye before pointing out the splinter in his neighbor's.

What are we to draw from all this? That the world is divided into two types of people? Daters and those who recoil at the very word 'dating'? I choose to set this gross generalization aside. I think our true duty as believers is to draw on each other for support and for understanding. Understanding of where we come from as individuals in a world run morally amock. It's no secret that sex, promiscuity and true sin have become so rampant in our society that in many cases the best thing we can think of to do is to hide from them. But we can't. Harris' suggestion of retreating from this societal phenomenon into a world of personal seclusion and introversion is nothing more than a guarantee of a brief calm before the storm. As Merry so aptly puts it in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 'We can't go home, Pip. The forests of Brandybuck will burn, and before we know it, there won't BE a shire anymore.' Simply put, retreating from a life of love will accomplish nothing in the war against infatuation. It will buy time, but it will not buy redemption, nor immunity. Our cause is to rally an army of individual human beings who see love for what it is: not as a contractual agreement to mutual procreaton set forth by God and His divine plan, but as an entity in and of itself, to be experienced, felt, and above all, cherished as a gift of His divine plan.

This too shall pass


"The falseness of a judgment is for us not necessarily an objection to a judgment. . . . The question is to what extent it is life-promoting, life-preserving, species-preserving, perhaps even species cultivating . . . renouncing false judgments would mean renouncing life and a denial of life."¹

In the Middle Ages roses held especial significance for Christians. The red petals signified for some the life-giving blood that Christ shed on the cross. As time passed it came to be understood that the reason why roses were red was to point to the blood of Christ.

I had a philosophy teacher who used this as an example of the heights the anti-intellectualism of Christianity could reach, which he made sure we understood was the cause of all the darkness of the Dark Ages. It is through science that we can find out the truth of the redness of a rose. A rose is red in order to attract certain flying insects. In this way the plant uses the insects it attracts to pollinate other flowers, in an attempt to reproduce itself. This is the Truth of the rose.

It didn't occur to this teacher, or else it didn't bother him, that all art and all science are built upon myth or at least presuppose myth for their foundation. The judgments of scientists are ultimately just as arbitrary as those of nuns, monks and laymen regarding the color of rose petals.

Today, if we want to find out why something is the way it is, we look to science. We cannot go back in time. We can't erase the legacy of science. Roses are not red because of Jesus' blood.

I hope to disrupt the monopoly of scientific judgments as much as I can in my short life, as they don't seem to me to be as life-giving and life-preserving as the countless specialists have claimed. In fact I very often see them as downright destructive and coercive, and the line between scientific technique and capitalism is much too blurry for my liking. I can't say the same about the judgments of a monk or a nun seeing the world as infused with meaning.

¹Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Random House, 1966), pp. 11-12.

And now for the sun


Some billions of years ago the sun graced us with its presence by some cosmic force or other in order to send down some rays of light through millions of miles of space, groping to make it through the apartment window, spreading out a square blanket of orange warmth on the wood floor under which two cats lie stretched out on their backs. Or could it be that the cats lie there on the floor creating the sun?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Music for Tuesday - Transit Worker Strike Edition

I can't stop listening to folk music, especially of the Finnish acid variety, of which the first and last videos are examples.

Islaja - Rohkaisulaulu



Larkin Grimm - The Last Tree



Sibylle Baier - The End



Judee Sill - The Kiss (live)



Elis Regina - Águas de Março



Paavoharju - Valo tihkuu kaiken läpi

Monday, May 21, 2007

So says Jon Darnielle

"There are a lot of ways to make money in this world, but I can't recommend insurance fraud."

--Insurance Fraud #2 by The Mountain Goats

Friday, May 18, 2007

?

"What war is not a private affair, and, inversely, what wound is not a war that comes from society as whole?"

- Gilles Deleuze, Logique du Sens

Thursday, May 17, 2007

An ambitious reading list

Someone should bet me money so I'll stick with it.

Agamben, Giorgio. The Coming Community. Trans. Michael Hardt. Minneapolis: University of Minessota Press, 1993.

- Potentialities: Collected Essays in Philosophy. Trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999.

Althusser, Louis. Reading Capital. Trans. Ben Brewster. Verso, 1998.

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Verso, 1991.

Anscombre, J.C. L’Argumentation dans la langue (Philosophie et langage). P. Mardaga, 1983.

Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition. Garden City: Doubleday & Co., 1958.

Austin, J.L. How To Do Things With Words: Second Edition. Harvard University Press, 1975.

Bachelard, Gaston. La Formation de l’Esprit Scientifique. European Schoolbooks, 1999.

Balibar, Etienne. Masses, Classes, Ideas: Studies on Politics and Philosophy Before and After Marx. Routledge, 1994.

Barthes, Roland. Elements of Semiology. Hill and Wang, 1977.

- Mythologies. Hill and Wang, 1972.

Bataille, Georges. The Tears of Eros. Trans. Peter Connor. San Francisco: City Light Books, 1989.

Baudrillard, Jean. For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign. Trans. Charles Levin. St. Louis: Telos Press, 1981.

- Simulations. Trans. Paul Foss, Paul Patton, and Philip Beitchman. New York: Semiotext(e), 1983.

- Fatal Strategies: Crystal Revenge. New York: Semiotext(e), 1990.

Benjamin, Walter. Illuminations. Trans. Harry Zohn. Ed. Hanna Arendt. London: Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1970.

Berger, Peter L. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Anchor, 1967.

Bergson, Henri. Creative Evolution. New York: H. Holt and Co., 1911.

- Matter and Memory. Trans. Nancy Margaret Paul and W. Scott Palmer. New York: Zone Books, 1988.

- Mind-energy, lectures and essays. Trans. H. Wildon Carr. London: Macmillan, 1920.

- Time and Free Will: An essay on the immediate data of consciousness. Trans. F.L. Pogson. London: Allen & Unwin, 1959.

Blanchot, Maurice. The Work of Fire. Trans. Charlotte Mandell. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995.

Bronner, Stephen. Critical Theory and Society: A Reader. Routledge, 1989.

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. Routledge, 1999.

- The Judith Butler Reader. Blackwell Publishing Limited, 2004.

- Undoing Gender. Routledge, 2004.

Darwin, Charles. The origin of species by means of natural selection, or, The preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. London: Oxford University Press, 1963.

Deleuze, Gilles. Bergsonism. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. New York: Zone Books, 1988.

- Cinema 1 & 2. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. New York: Continuum, 2005.

- Difference and Repetition. Trans. Paul Patton. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.

- The Logic of Sense. Trans. Mark Lester with Charles Stivale. Ed. Constantin V. Boundas. New York: Continuum, 2004.

Derrida, Jacques. Archive Fever: a Freudian Impression. Trans. Eric Prenowitz. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

- Of Grammatology. Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976.

- Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question. Trans. Geoffrey Bennington and Rachael Bowlby. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989.

- Margins of Philosophy. Trans. Alan Boss. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.

- Writing and Difference. Trans. Alan Bass. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

Descartes, René. Descartes: Selected Philosophical Writings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

Durkheim, Emile. Selected Writings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972.

Feyerabend, Paul. Against Method. Verso, 1993.

Fish, Stanley. Is There a Text In This Class? The Authority of Interpretive Communities. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980.

Foucault, Michel. Fearless Speech. Ed. Joseph Pearson. New York: Semiotext(e), 2003.

- Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Vintage, 1988.

- The Order of Things: An archaeology of the human sciences. New York: Routledge, 2004.

- Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977. Pantheon, 1980.

Frank, Andre Gunder. ReORIENT: Global Economy in the Asian Age. University of California Press, 1988.

Freud, Sigmund. The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud (Psychopathology of Everyday Life, the Interpretation of Dreams, and Three Contributions To the Theory of Sex). Modern Library, 1995.

- Beyond the Pleasure Principle. Trans. James Strachey. New York: Liveright Pub. Corp., 1961.

- Civilization and Its Discontents. Trans. Peter Gay. W.W. Norton & Company, 1989.

Galilei, Galileo. Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences.
Dover Publications, 1954.

Geertz, Clifford. Interpretation of Cultures. Basic Books, 2000.

Gramsci, Antonio. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. International Publishers, 1971.

Habermas, Jürgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Trans. Thomas Burger. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989.

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. Hegel, the Essential Writings. Ed. Freidrich G. Weiss. New York: Harper & Row, 1974.

- Phenomenology of Spirit. Trans. A.V. Miller. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979.

Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. Trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. New York: Harper & Row, 1962.

- Early Greek Thinking. Trans. David Farrell Krell and Frank A. Capuzzi. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1984.

- The Question Concerning Technology, and other essays. Trans. William Lovitt. New York: Harper & Row, 1977.

- What is Called Thinking? New York: Harper & Row, 1968.

Irigaray, Luce. Marine Lover of Friedrich Nietzsche. Trans. Gillian C. Gill. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.

Jameson, Fredric.
Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Duke University Press, 1991.

Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. Trans. Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Kaplan, E. Anne. The Althusserian Legacy. Verso, 1992.

Kojève, Alexandre. Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: lectures on the phenomenology of spirit assembled by Raymond Queneau. Ed. Allan Bloom. Trans. James H. Nichols, Jr. New York: Basic Books, 1969.

Koyre, Alexandre. From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe (Hideyo Noguchi Lecture). Johns Hopkins University Press, 1968.

Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Trans. Bruce Fink. W.W. Norton and Company, 2007.

- The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan , Book 11). Trans. Alan Sheridan. W.W. Norton & Company, 1998.

Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich. Essential Works of Lenin: "What Is to Be Done?" and Other Writings. Dover Publications, 1987.

Levi-Strauss, Claude. Introduction to the Work of Marcel Mauss. Routledge, 1987.

- Structural Anthropology, Volume 2. Trans. Monique Layton. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.

Lukács, Georg. History and Class Consciousness. UK: Merlin Press, 1971.

Lyotard, Jean François. The Differend: Phrases in Dispute. Trans. Georges Van Den Abbeele. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988.

- Libidinal Economy. Trans. Ian Hamilton Grant. Bloomington: Indiana University Press 1993.

- The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.

- The Postmodern Explained: Correspondences, 1982-1985. Julian Pefanis and Morgan Thomas eds. Trans. Don Barry. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

- Toward the Postmodern. Robert Harvey and Mark S. Roberts eds. Amherst: Humanity Books, 1999.

Lyotard, Jean François & Eberhard Gruber. The Hyphen: Between Judaism and Christianity. Trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas. Amherst: Humanity Books, 1999.

Marx, Karl. Capital. Trans. Eden and Cedar Paul. London: Dent, 1930.

- Karl Marx: Selected Writings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Mauss, Marcel. The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. Trans. W.D. Halls. W.W. Norton & Company, 2000.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, and Other Writings. Arron Ridley and Judith Norman eds. Trans. Judith Norman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

- Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Trans. R.J. Hollingdale. London: Penguin Books, 2003.

- Untimely Meditations. Trans. R.J. Hollingdale. Ed. Daniel Breazeale. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

- The Will to Power. Trans. Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale. Ed. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Vintage Books, 1968.

Rougemont, Denis. Love in the Western World. Princeton University Press, 1983.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Social Contract. Penguin Classics, 1968.

Saussure, Ferdinand. Course in General Linguistics. Open Court, 1998.

Spinoza, Benedict. Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Veyne, Paul. Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths?: An Essay on the Constitutive Imagination. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Vico, Giambattista. The New Science of Giambattista Vico. Trans. Thomas Goddard Bergin and Max Harold Fisch. Cornell University Press, 1984.

Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Routledge, 2001.

Williams, Raymond. Culture and Society 1780-1950. Columbia University Press, 1983.

Wolf, Eric. Europe and the People Without History. University of California Press, 1982.

Zizek, Slavoj. The Sublime Object of Ideology. Verso, 1989.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fame and fortune

I just found myself quoted on two separate blogs. How exciting.

Here I'm the "Catholic anarchist" shivering his timbers.

Here (same quote) I am a "kindred spirit."

Word.

Monty Python - International Philosophy

Panhandler's sign on St. Catherine

"Les zombis viennent. J'ai besoin de l'argent pour des tronçonneuses et des casques."

("Zombies are coming. I need spare change for chainsaws and helmets.")

Rainy day


A Girl from Behind, Half Length, circa 1884
Vilhelm Hammershoi


The Sore Throat
Aaron Kunin

The throat is
sore for a
word. It is
sore with word-

desire, desire
for the word “she.”
The word "she": will
it appear? Will

she appear?
(Is the word
“she” a she?)
She is a

word I always,
without knowing,
had in my mind.
Once, to my shame,

I had no
idea
what to do
with the word

“she”; now it seems
like I don’t know
any other
word. It seems like

everything
is a she,
money is
a she (you’re

so complete you
don’t have to think
about money!
You have so much

money you
don’t know what
knowing is!),
knowing is

a she, and in
heaven, god is
a she. No more
Herr Gott, from now

on, no more
seigneur, no
more boy-god:
the end! But

won’t she start to
wonder: “If there’s
no word for ‘he,’
if everything

is a she,
why would we
have to have
a word for

it? If this word
appears every-
where, it won’t mean
anything." And

at last she
may say to
you: “You are
my own good

boy. For me
there’s no choice:
no other
boy will do.”



Sugar high

Yesterday afternoon, Miss Jackson took me to Juliette et Chocolat for some belated birthday hot chocolate. Ho. Lee. Shit. I think I slurped down three or four melted dark chocolate bars and got the sugar high to prove it. Talking too loud, walking too fast, hands all jittery. And then the stomach ache that lasted all night long. Ugh. Don't get me wrong. The chocolate was extremely tasty, but next time I'm going to have to have a shot or two instead of a big ol' mug full of it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dephlogisticated

Praise the Lord, Falwell's dead! I need to celebrate. Get me a beer!

Prediction

I just know I'm going to end up studying feminist theory. You just wait. It's inevitable.

Monday, May 14, 2007

"Music is feeling, babe."

I like to share things. Mostly this consists in food, but can often extend to music. I can't say that most people care much for the music I dig, but I share it regardless. That's what I'm doing now. These folks are favorites of mine. I'm going to start this off with someone I grew up with, as my mom was the queen of seventies folk rock. We'd often take rides together listening to this stuff in the beat up old Chevy diesel station wagon that eventually blew up. Here's Jackson Browne with 'The Pretender'



Next up is a woman whose folk music just blows me away. I got into her while scavenging through the Kansas City Public Library's music collection. She's one of the few musicians that Danica and I both can agree upon. The first clip is from 'No Direction Home', Martin Scorsese's documentary on Bob Dylan. Odetta was a big influence on him. I believe the song is entitled 'Waterboy'



Here's another short clip of Odetta playing live. I don't know the name of the song.


Here is an old-time legend from Kentucky, playing the high lonesome sound. I first heard his rendition of 'Man of Constant Sorrow' a while ago on the Florida State University student radio station. This is Roscoe Holcomb and he's playing his banjo on the porch.



And here he is playing my favorite song of his, 'Across the Rocky Mountain.' That's Pete Seeger beside him.



This last one is just a band that I've been getting into lately, mostly because they remind me of my mom's seventies folk rock. This is Lavender Diamond playing 'You Broke My Heart' live.



Fin.

As heard through the walls of the apartment

Around 3am, apartment above ours.
[lots of incoherent shouting and swearing]
Female voice: I thought you were my friend...
Male voice with ignorant-sounding thug-drawl: That's where you're fucking wrong. I'm not your fucking friend. I'll fuck you, but I'm not your fucking friend.


11pm, apartment sharing a wall with our bedroom
Toddler, wailing: I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice.
Mother: Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Are you gonna stop crying? Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying.
Toddler: I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice. I want my juice.


Midnight-ish, apartment sharing the south wall of our apartment, opera music blaring, glasses clinking
Male 1: Può cantare!
Male 2: No!
Male 1: Sì, può cantare!
Male 2: È allineare?!
Male 3: È una punta piccola allineare.
Male 1: Assurdità! È completamente allineare. Chieda alla sua madre! Denomini la sua madre!
Male 2: Perchè dovrei denominare la sua madre?
Male 1: Ha cantato la canzone più bella al funerale della sua madre. Cantici quella canzone per!



All fucking night long, apartment sharing the wall with our bedroom.
Female voice (the mother from above): I like it. I like it. I like it. I like it. I like it. I like it. I like it. I like it. I like it. I like it. I like it. I like it. I like it. I like it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. I'm gonna cum. I'm gonna cum. I'm gonna cum. I'm gonna cum. I'm gonna cum. I'm gonna cum. I'm gonna cum. I'm gonna cum. I'm gonna cum. I'm gonna cum. I'm gonna cum. I'm gonna cum. I'm gonna cum. I'm cumming. I'm cumming. I'm cumming. I'm cumming. I'm cumming. I'm cumming. I'm cumming. I'm cumming. I'm cumming. I'm cumming. I'm cumming. I'm cumming. I'm cumming. I'm cumming. I'm cumming. I'm cumming.


Some people outside in front of our building
Female voice, slurring heavily: Come over here.
Male voice: Why?
Female voice: Come over here and kiss me and pick me some flowers.
Male voice: What?
Female voice: Come here and kiss me. I want you to pick me some flowers.
Male voice: I'll kiss you, but I won't pick you any flowers 'cause you're drunk.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day Proclamation

Arise, then, women of this day!

Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,

"Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.

"Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience.

"We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, "Disarm, Disarm!"

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice! Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as the means whereby the great human family can live in peace,

And each bearing after her own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

- Julia Ward Howe, 1870

e.g. scooters, vacation, fall

My uncle-in-law and cousin-in-law-in-law are somewhere in Africa at the moment. I got an email telling of their "praises and prayer requests." They seem to be hanging around a village showing the Passion of the Christ to whomever will watch, trying to convert people. I know they feel that what they are doing is a very noble thing, spreading the "Good News" and all that. I can't help but think that the last thing Africans need is to be shown a disgusting movie that fetishizes violence (the glorification of Christ's physical suffering is a very recent phenomenon within Church history. Very little blood in Church art.) by some suburbanites from the Western world, being called upon to make some mental assent to bad theology. I hate proselytizing. I dig the Pope.

"The Church does not engage in proselytizing. Instead, she grows by attraction."
Pope Benedict XVI

The "Good News" does not consist in formulas for some psychological and infinitely deferred salvation, but in a new way of living life now. "The Kingdom of God is at hand," we just have to live it. Doing so is dangerous, radical, and doing so runs you the risk of some sideways looks. When people live out the Kingdom of God, it is a beautiful thing, a very attractive thing. Not to say that I am living it, but I have met people who are, and it is an awesome sight. But if going around getting people to assent to some formula and "pray to invite Jesus into their hearts" or whatever is what being the Church amounts to, then count me out.

I'll take the Christian Peacemaker Teams or the Catholic Workers over that any day.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Smell the glove

Remember when you were a little kid and your shoelace would get caught in your bike pedal and it would get all wrapped around?

Today I vacuumed the vacuum.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Anthem for the already defeated

I haven't had anything of worth to say of late, so this is going to be a shit and garbage post. But isn't that what blogs are for? Thus commences the cockblocking of Danica's hair post.

Danica allowed me to go buy some beer last night, for which I say my thanks. We're poor lately so I haven't been drinking much. I wanted the biggest bang for the buck so I bought a six-pack of La fin du monde and bought Danica a four-pack of Newcastle. La Fin du Monde ("The end of the world") is certainly an acquired taste. How many beers do you know that have a shelf-life of eight years or more? None beers, mom. Drinking it always reminds me of the Bluebird Bistro in Kansas City, as I always drank La Fin du Monde or Duvel. The beer at the Bluebird Bistro is expensive, so I would order beer with high alcohol contents (LFDM is 9% alc./vol.) because I like being drunk.

All this to say that I was a bit drunk last night. When I'm drunk I love a lot of things, mostly things like music and poetry. Under the music heading, the thing I loved last night was "You broke my heart" by Lavender Diamond. For poetry, it was an untitled poem by E.E. Cummings. Here it is. Get drunk and read it like you're 'sposed to.

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of a flower here placing
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.

It is getting to be spring here. There are little tiny wrinkled green papers starting to peek out of the limbs of the maple tree outside our apartment window. The tree is diseased, but these leaves are too young to be aware of that yet. It is a bit deceptive, however, as it is still pretty chilly out.

I was listening to the CBC on the radio and the host was talking to two women and a man about infertility problems. I wanted to turn it off because it was bringing me down. I don't want to be down. I'm really joyful today. And for no apparent reason, which is the best kind of joy. Fuckin' A. Dude fuckin' A. No ontologically driven neurotic strings on me, thank you very much. This must be because I am so utterly confused about everything that I'm just allowing myself to be amazed with the world. I only know that I love my wife, that I confess the Nicene Creed, and that I feel beautifully awkward most of the time. I used to be very opinionated about politics and social structures and the like, but I'm so clueless about that stuff now. The more I learn about these things the more reticent I am to make any sort of claim whatsoever. This is dumb, of course, but probably a necessary phase. But do intellectual pursuits have to lead to some sort of praxis? Can't I just learn for the fun of it? At the moment I feel no calling to join or lead a group of revolutionaries, though I am certainly sympathetic to activism. I have little ambition in life other than to love and have a grand time learning things and observing things. I think napping is noble. I can't make myself believe that sloth is sin. I don't make a good Protestant.

S'il y aura se régalant et dansant à Jérusalem l'année prochaine, alors je veux commencer à pratiquer et me préparer à lui maintenant.

More hair nonsense

Thanks to all my lovely friends for voting on what i should do with my hair. It was a very tight race with the Joan of Arc hair barely beating out the blurry hair and the long hair with bangs, which tied for second. Unlike the Quebec government, there can only be one winner; all other candidates must be discarded. Photoshop to the rescue!

As it turns out, I don't look so very wonderful with bangs.



And as Joan of Arc, I look a little akward.



But this one's not so bad.



Right now, I am sold on that last one. Is it just because I did the best photoshopping job on that one? Ack! Must stop wavering and just get my hair cut!