The question has been asked
how long has the hanged man
been hiding in the hen house?
Is he the ghost of David
Foster Wallace come last spring?
And what of words read too late,
is there expiration,
though the charts be wronged?
But of course, the hanged man
haunting November’s child.
On the Ides of March, please see
Infinite Jest, page 44
though the charts be wronged.
A few days hence the bird dropped
three feet forth the artist,
it headless and twitching,
blood bathing south city soil
later to anoint the birth
of Atticus, states South,
though the charts be wronged.
A wedding day, on Gravois,
Johnnie Cash slipped and fell
directly into traffic,
then rolled over in the gutter.
Now the CD skips and sticks
on “Jackson” eternally,
though the charts be wronged.
Late summer flew the falcon
to a house blocks west where hangs
canvas in the dining room,
November’s child, parting gift.
Some seers have been peering
through microscopes; they
ought consult constellations,
though the charts be wronged.
As October’s sun waned,
enter David Clewell.
His words twisting in the wind,
a stripper born of paper
hung on a gallery wall.
Don’t take your guns to town, boys.
She’s warning you. Remember,
though the charts be wronged.
Have you seen how falcons hunt?
Speed and strength, they dive, plunging
to strike the little bird stunned,
then circle back, catching prey.
The riddle of falling birds,
slicing tops off paper cranes,
landing like shoes on the rug,
may still be solved for y,
though the charts be wronged.
Karen Green is half alive,
painting this autumn pictures
pieced with pillow cases.
Go ahead now, look her up.
She attempted Orpheus,
losing her head down there, yet
inhabits House of Leaves,
though the charts be wronged.
On the Ides of March, please write
to send word of the stabbing
and the state of your new gun.
The moon is full tonight; there’s
an Ouija app for iPhone,
and all the girls are reading
blank tarot cards at the bar,
though the charts be wronged.
I know I said I was going to tell you about Don, and I’m not breaking my promise yet, but the conversation has faded in my mind and I can’t just dash it off anymore. That’s what happens when you procrastinate. Now I’ll have to reconstruct it and dream up the particular turns of phrase I don’t remember. Bah. Sounds like work to me! (This might be why I don’t write fiction, yeah?)
This is just a quick one, in honor of being back on my morning schedule. I’m not even going to proofread, so there. I don’t know what happened to my sleep for a while; I was under the weather. It’s still a bit off, thanks to last night’s hurricane force winds, but I’m up. Also, I know I tend to overuse the semi-colon, but it’s my favorite punctuation mark, so, you know. Anyway, I have been writing lately, just not to you (I mean, unless it was), and not to the wind, and not yet to be self-published. Night-time writing is different than day-time writing, let’s just be clear.
Let’s see, what else? Bread Co appears to have been fine in my absence. Guy-who-stands-up-to-work is dressed much more casually than usual. I hope he’s feeling all right. Maybe he has a cold, but probably he just woke up late. Maybe he went to the gym first, that being a thing that people do who are not me. I never go to the gym before doing something. Or after doing something. I mean, if “managing by walking around” is an accepted strategy, why not exercising by walking around? Which is what I am doing this morning. Without an umbrella. Ha! Does your gym have RAIN? I thought not.
Best tee-shirt of the morning thus far? “Pastor Carl’s Painting With Love (314) 555-1212.”
In recent events, October needs to just settle down and stop being so wily. It appears to be a month of change everyone, or at any rate, urgent texting, phone calling, emailing, messaging, and drinking coffee and wine about potential or impending or desired or unwanted change, which, in our current environment, is very nearly indicative of actual change itself. Oh, little electronic devices. No, I’m not telling you the details of other people’s lives! Are you crazy? Do you want everyone to stop talking to me? Sigh.
I’ve done some stuff – school projects, went to a concert, and a comedy show taping – but I’m bored of talking about it? There was an aging teacher on stage participating in an old school dance contest, which I could describe to you for an hour, but I just don’t have it in me. I mean, I just used the word “participating” there. Sorry. I got a sweet card from my mom yesterday, which I’m mentioning in case I forget to mention it to her personally in a timely fashion and she reads this first. Thanks Mom!
I had a video to post for you today, but I failed to scan something before leaving the house, and now I can’t show you how this one Regina Spektor video relates to strange loops, or at least not as well, so you’ll have to wait. This would have been a much better blog post had I gone that route though.
The dude at the table near me finds his newspaper so very funny that I’m going to have to move to MoKaBe’s.
That is all.
Video Caption: I like this experimental film inspired by the Harlem Shakes song “Sunlight.” “I had a coat of many colors, sold it off online.”
“The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them.
But why should you keep your head over your shoulder? Why drag about this corpse of your memory, lest you contradict somewhat you have stated in this or that public place? Suppose you should contradict yourself; what then? It seems to be a rule of wisdom never to rely on your memory alone, scarcely even in acts of pure memory, but to bring the past for judgment into the thousand-eyed present, and live ever in a new day. In your metaphysics you have denied personality to the Deity: yet when the devout motions of the soul come, yield to them heart and life, though they should clothe God with shape and color. Leave your theory, as Joseph his coat in the hand of the harlot, and flee.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood?”
- Emerson, Self-Reliance (full text here)
“He’s always operated
on the notion that what’s outside makes or breaks a person
in this world. What’s inside may be an entirely different story,
and even that one changes a little every time it’s told.”
That’s from the “Jack Ruby’s America,” by David Clewell, current poet laureate for the state of Missouri. I’ve read it several times because it’s the selection for this year’s Poetry Scores Art Invitational. And it’s stunning, and with teeth. Those lines aren’t what I chose to title my piece, but they were certainly in the running.
You can read more about Poetry Scores and the art invitational via their blog. The event this year is November 12 at Mad Art Gallery. I think I always rather have a soft spot for it because it marks my birthday?
Video caption: Yeah, there’s a Johnny Cash thing lately, courtesy of the universe. Also, I was thinking over the summer that I should make a rather large stencil saying “don’t take your guns to town, son,” but I haven’t done it, so I hereby give it up to the idea machine in the sky.
So I’m on the coffee shop circuit these days. It’s been several years since I spent significant amounts of time working alone in a public place. What is it about that tradition? It makes me all blogging-compulsive, you see. I will not blog on Facebook. I will not blog on Facebook. I will not blog on Facebook. I bought my name for a domain, like a true child of the nineties, and so should use it, whether I have naught to say or otherwise? Truth be know, blogging keeps Chester at bay. What’s that? Oh, Chester? Yeah, we’ll talk about him at some point. Or not. All you need to know right now is that he’s pretty much responsible for my choices here, although only stylistically speaking, you understand. Also, I think that my mom is the only one really reading this site, which is good, because I owe her letters anyway? Hi mom!
If it’s before eight in the morning, I’m usually at the Panera on Grand, then later MoKaBe’s or Hartford, with apologies to the fine establishments on Cherokee. It’s a proximity to workplace thing. Also, Panera has a tasty granola parfait with low-fat organic yogurt, maple butter pecan granola, whole grain oats and fresh strawberries, and I’m OK with being the person who eats that. It’s pretty healthy. I know, it’s a franchise, probably one step removed from Starbucks (where I also go in an emergency, can’t be helped), but Panera has offices in St. Louis and I know people who work in them, so that’s practically buying local, right? And so to such mental dialogs I am reduced each morning, but Panera it is! MoKaBe’s doesn’t even open until 8:00AM, and the last thing I need is to be chain smoking at such an early hour. (If you’re not familiar with South St. Louis, MoKaBe’s is the last of the rare breed of coffee shops that permit smoking. Even I was baffled upon my first visit there, and that was probably ten years ago.)
I think it was last week the sacrosanct Panera peace was disturbed by the hammering and stapling of chairs being reupholstered on site. Turns out this was due to an early morning fight in the back corner of the dining area between some students of Roosevelt High School. There’s a girl from Roosevelt (you can tell because the students who attend public school have to wear uniforms) who sits at the same booth mornings and texts for a while, and there’s also usually one homeless-seeming guy or another dozing at the far back table, but that’s no trouble. I think today he’s actually job hunting, circling ads in the paper. By far the most disturbing morning was an accidental placement by a group of people who had been lately been reading Ayn Rand. Now there’s an aged gentleman on his cell phone telling a story involving the line, “He said he had a gun, and I said, yeah, I’ve got one too, whaderwegonnadoaboutit?” Oh, South side.
My favorite Panera citizen is the dude who, every morning without fail, works standing up, coffee in a china mug, wearing headphones, pen hanging out of his mouth, surrounded by well-worn legal pads, occasionally humming a few bars of something before catching himself. He’s intense. I secretly hope he’s crafting a novel or writing some software that will change my life, but he’s probably just earning his black belt in Six Sigma or something.* He’s pretty preppy and has a Dell laptop, so you know, whatever, it’s cool. His shoes don’t have duct tape on them or anything, but I don’t know what kind they are yet. I haven’t been able to catch a glimpse of his watch, because he typically wears a sweater.**
Pause: The elderly man with a red cordury blazer AND a large walking stick AND a flowered messenger bag has just sat down across from me. This requires my brief attention.
Back! I think I should definitely get a large walking staff. I need that in my life. But I don’t think I’d be able to pull it off very well. Also, update, Mr. I’ve-Got-A-Gun-Too-Son is now, predictably, discussing the Rams.
Anyway, about intensely-works-while-standing-up-dude. When I was younger and single-ish, I would have just asked him what his deal is, but chatting up strange men these days is a total hassle. Maybe he’s writing a blog about the people who hang out at the South Grand Panera. Ha, I’m rusty at this stuff, huh? Meta! Ugh.
Speaking of chatting up strange men, did I tell you about Don? I didn’t chat him up, ’twas the other way ’round, but the story, such as it is, bears repeating from a colloquial perspective. Tomorrow.
*Please note that these comments are not meant to disparage or otherwise mock any of the lovely Six Sigma wielding fellows of my acquaintance. I have a tone to maintain here, and it worked, sorry. However, if I’m going to make fun of you, we’ll do that properly, over cocktails.
**What? These are CLUES. They teach us this stuff in girl school. Or in business school, I forget. No, definitely girl school.
“If you already know what recursion is, just remember the answer. Otherwise, find someone who is standing closer to Douglas Hofstadter than you are; then ask him or her what recursion is.”
Filed under “I’m in the mood lately to comment publicly about random things more frequently than usual, and was only going to update my Facebook status, but, fortunately for the neglected blog, I’m long winded:”
So in all the back and forth between the “genius, of course” and “obviously overrated, why do these male authors keep getting all the attention when women have been writing equally eloquent and relevant novels about the contemporary family right along” camps regarding Freedom, I was thinking I’d ignore it for the moment. But the first two chapters are on The New Yorker, so of course I took a peek instead of doing the two hundred and sixteen other things I should. The first two paragraphs seem quite relevant, very specifically, at least to my little life, and induce that self-conscious shifting around on the sofa of the reader – this reader- that, in my experience, indicates that either the author or I is going to suggest we meet up for coffee sometime because there are things to be said, and heaven knows that can’t be tackled without shelling out our collective last $6.18 to consume caffeine concoctions in a public place.
Go ahead, give it a go:
Walter and Patty Berglund were the young pioneers of Ramsey Hill—the first college grads to buy a house on Barrier Street since the old heart of St. Paul had fallen on hard times three decades earlier. The Berglunds paid nothing for their Victorian and then killed themselves for ten years renovating it. Early on, some very determined person torched their garage and twice broke into their car before they got the garage rebuilt. Sunburned bikers descended on the vacant lot across the alley to drink Schlitz and grill knockwurst and rev engines at small hours until Patty went outside in sweatclothes and said, “Hey, you guys, you know what?” Patty frightened nobody, but she’d been a standout athlete in high school and college and possessed a jock sort of fearlessness. From her first day in the neighborhood, she was helplessly conspicuous. Tall, ponytailed, absurdly young, pushing a stroller past stripped cars and broken beer bottles and barfed-upon old snow, she might have been carrying all the hours of her day in the string bags that hung from her stroller. Behind her you could see the baby-encumbered preparations for a morning of baby-encumbered errands; ahead of her, an afternoon of public radio, “The Silver Palate Cookbook,” cloth diapers, drywall compound, and latex paint, and then “Goodnight Moon,” then Zinfandel. She was already fully the thing that was just starting to happen to the rest of the street.
In the earliest years, when you could still drive a Volvo 240 without feeling self-conscious, the collective task in Ramsey Hill was to relearn certain life skills that your own parents had fled to the suburbs specifically to unlearn, like how to interest the local cops in actually doing their job, and how to protect a bike from a highly motivated thief, and when to bother rousting a drunk from your lawn furniture, and how to encourage feral cats to shit in somebody else’s children’s sandbox, and how to determine whether a public school sucked too much to bother trying to fix it. There were also more contemporary questions, like: What about those cloth diapers? Worth the bother? And was it true that you could still get milk delivered in glass bottles? Were the Boy Scouts O.K. politically? Was bulgur really necessary? Where to recycle batteries? How to respond when a poor person of color accused you of destroying her neighborhood? Was it true that the glaze of old Fiestaware contained dangerous amounts of lead? How elaborate did a kitchen water filter actually need to be? Did your 240 sometimes not go into overdrive when you pushed the overdrive button? Was it better to offer panhandlers food or nothing? Was it possible to raise unprecedentedly confident, happy, brilliant kids while working full time? Could coffee beans be ground the night before you used them, or did this have to be done in the morning? Had anybody in the history of St. Paul ever had a positive experience with a roofer? What about a good Volvo mechanic? Did your 240 have that problem with the sticky parking-brake cable? And that enigmatically labelled dashboard switch that made such a satisfying Swedish click but seemed not to be connected to anything: what was that?
I suppose some questions could be, “Am I so stereotypically aligned with the experience of my culture, the very same culture that Mr. Franzen, according to the gushing of one faction of literary critics and commentators, has his finger tip consistently pressing on the pulse of?” and/or “Are St. Paul and St. Louis quite similar, perhaps, to be completely absurd at three in the morning, due to their corresponding prefixes?” and/or “Is Jonathan Franzen such a St. Louis boy, or what?” Background: The only work of his I’ve read is How to Be Alone, which I remember liking very much, but nothing else about it without out pulling it down from the highest shelf in this room, and why bother when I could just Google it, which I’m not going to do either right this minute. This just means that I have not read The Twenty-Seventh City, his novel that is officially set in St. Louis. (Should I?)
Also, did I mention that I will soon be in the market for a Volvo wagon? Honestly, a 240, if it’s in good shape. No, really. I’ve been talking about it for a couple of weeks now. It was my first car, and I loved it, and would now like another. But it must be cheap, and in decent shape, and pass inspection. Seriously, let me know if you know of anyone who would like to sell me such a vehicle, know-it-all Franzen be damned. I’ll take him for a drive, in the new car, maybe, see what all this fuss is about.
These are some photos from the opening of This Page Intentionally Left Blank. The artwork is by Bryan Walsh, Jeremy Rabus, and Amy VanDonsel, and the photography is by Drew Jones.
All new work by Jeremy Rabus, Amy VanDonsel, and Brian Walsh
Opening reception: April 23, 2010 6 – 10 PM
2646 Cherokee Street, St. Louis, Missouri 63118
Exhibition on view:
Saturday, April 24 & Saturday, May 1, Noon – 4 PM
Seen more frequently in the past, the phrase “This page intentionally left blank” sometimes still appears on official or
published documents. Consequently, one is usually struck with a natural curiosity about this phrase and it’s purpose.
In the exhibition, This Page Intentionally Left Blank, the new work of Jeremy Rabus, Amy VanDonsel and Bryan Walsh will
address and investigate the visual and psychological effects of the appearance of this phrase on some printed materials.
Amy VanDonsel combines mediums – including acrylic, pastel, and found paper – to explore the perception of figure versus ground. Her work for “This Page Intentionally Left Blank” examines spacial boundaries by playing hide and seek with layers of objects and mediums. By exposing the supports of stained wood panels, the negative space is highlighted, and what is missing is revealed. “This page intentionally left blank” is an everyday kōan – a statement which is not understood by rational thinking, but rather by intuition. Curiosity about this familiar phrase, and its effects on discursive thought, leads to an exploration of pictorial counterparts to language phenomenon, such as “visual palindromes.” Further imagery is inspired by hazy memories of number two pencils and ditto sheets, the smell of chalk dust, or pink-beige paint peeling from a row of lockers. Subverted maps, graphs and grids, blurring text, and forgotten love notes ask: “What really happened in your third grade mind when page six referred to itself?”
I’m so excited to be doing Wall Ball again in 2010. Coming up this Saturday, it’s one of my favorite things to do in St. Louis. For information, check the events page, or see photos from last year here.
What I meant was stars: lots of them.
What was in the bag: a hundred other bags,
each filled with a star. What came after the world:
silence, lots of it. Like being in a bag for a year,
a portable hole, losing the sensation of sound.
After only two nights stars appear
where there were none. So: I’m sorry. I’m here,
not the star of this poem, nor are you. Nor beauties
in bags draped down by the river in books about bodies
and necks stretching upwards to sky. What comes after beauty
is water, just water, nothing reflecting in it, not even the song
of water. Drink. Take this. It’s yours. There’s no one at work
in the world. No dogs rambling the park.
Nothing in darkness or pressure arising by depth.
What was in the works but ears, ears everywhere,
on the land like leaves, caught up in updrafts like silk,
like slick maps written on it and worn on a body.
You know it’s a beauty. Even seen from a mile,
at which point it’s only a dot, it stretches and grows.
Comes closer. She’s coming for you. She walks like a star.
Towards you. In her bag is a book. Each page
draped with stars. You’ll know her
when she arrives. You’ve seen her breathing before.
A while back, superBadGirl wrote “It’s OK to like Lady Gaga un-ironically. I can like whatever the fuck I want, as I am a grown-ass woman.” And I really liked that. And I remembered it when tonight I was reading a rant that Dave Eggers wrote back in 2000 as a portion of an interview. Really, it’s one of those things that would just be easier to post in its entirety, so you can just read the whole thing here (and the full interview is here.)
But some things that stood out:
“I bought R.E.M.’s first EP, Chronic Town, when it came out and thought I had found God. I loved Murmur, Reckoning, but then watched, with greater and greater dismay, as this obscure little band’s audience grew, grew beyond obsessed people like myself, grew to encompass casual fans, people who had heard a song on the radio and picked up Green and listened for the hits. Old people liked them, and stupid people, and my moron neighbor who had sex with truck drivers. I wanted these phony R.E.M.-lovers dead.”
Kinda like when you’ve been raving about Passion Pit for months and then you’re deflated when it shows up on a car commercial… and why shouldn’t it? S’good.
“Now, at that concert the night before, Wayne Coyne, the lead singer, had himself addressed this issue, and to great effect. After playing much of their new album, the band paused and he spoke to the audience. I will paraphrase what he said:
“Hi. Well, some people get all bitter when some song of theirs gets popular, and they refuse to play it. But we’re not like that. We’re happy that people like this song. So here it goes.”
Then they played the song. (You know the song.) “She Don’t Use Jelly” is the song, and it is a silly song, and it was their most popular song. But to highlight their enthusiasm for playing the song, the band released, from the stage and from the balconies, about 200 balloons. (Some of the balloons, it should be noted, were released by two grown men in bunny suits.) Then while playing the song, Wayne sang with a puppet on his hand, who also sang into the microphone. It was fun. It was good.
But was it a sellout? Probably. By some standards, yes. Can a good band play their hit song? Should we hate them for this? Probably, probably. First 90210, now they go playing the song every stupid night. Everyone knows that 90210 is not cutting edge, and that a cutting edge alternarock band should not appear on such a show. That rule is clearly stated in the obligatory engrained computer-chip sellout manual that we were all given when we hit adolescence.”
The obligatory engrained computer-chip sellout manual reminds me of that South Park episode when one of the characters (I don’t really watch SP, forgive my lack of specificity) gets his heartbroken by a Hooter’s girl and learns that he too can be a non-conformist with all the other goth kids if he just starts dressing and acting exactly as they do.
“We liked Guided by Voices until they let Ric Ocasek produce their latest album, and everyone knows Ocasek is a sellout, having written those mushy Cars songs in the late 80s, and then – gasp! – produced Weezer’s album, and of course Weezer’s no good, because that Sweater song was on the radio, right, and dorky teenage girls were singing it and we cannot have that and so Weezer is bad and Ocasek is bad and Guided by Voices are bad, even if Spike Jonze did direct that one Weezer video, and we like Spike Jonze, don’t we?
Oh. No. We don’t. We don’t like him anymore because he’s married to Sofia Coppola, and she is not cool. Not cool. So bad in Godfather 3, such nepotism. So let’s check off Spike Jonze – leaving room in our brains for… who??
Yes. Yes, we exhaust ourselves.
“And now, as far as McSweeney’s is concerned, The Advocate interviewer wants to know if we’re losing also our edge, if the magazine is selling out, hitting the mainstream, if we’re still committed to publishing unknowns, and pieces killed by other magazines.
And the fact is, I don’t give a fuck. When we did the last issue, this was my thought process: I saw a box. So I decided we’d do a box. We were given stories by some of our favorite writers – George Saunders, Rick Moody (who is uncool, uncool!), Haruki Murakami, Lydia Davis, others – and so we published them. Did I wonder if people would think we were selling out, that we were not fulfilling the mission they had assumed we had committed ourselves to?
No. I did not. Nor will I ever. We just don’t care. We care about doing what we want to do creatively. We want to be interested in it. We want it to challenge us. We want it to be difficult. We want to reinvent the stupid thing every time. Would I ever think, before I did something, of how those with sellout monitors would respond to this or that move? I would not. The second I sense a thought like that trickling into my brain, I will put my head under the tires of a bus.”
Ok, there I just like Dave Eggers talking about putting his head under a bus to prevent stupid thoughts…
“The thing is, I really like saying yes. I like new things, projects, plans, getting people together and doing something, trying something, even when it’s corny or stupid. I am not good at saying no. And I do not get along with people who say no. When you die, and it really could be this afternoon, under the same bus wheels I’ll stick my head if need be, you will not be happy about having said no. You will be kicking your ass about all the no’s you’ve said. No to that opportunity, or no to that trip to Nova Scotia or no to that night out, or no to that project or no to that person who wants to be naked with you but you worry about what your friends will say.
No is for wimps. No is for pussies. No is to live small and embittered, cherishing the opportunities you missed because they might have sent the wrong message.
There is a point in one’s life when one cares about selling out and not selling out. One worries whether or not wearing a certain shirt means that they are behind the curve or ahead of it, or that having certain music in one’s collection means that they are impressive, or unimpressive.”
The bus wheels again. And also encouraging thoughts about saying yes. Sometimes I feel like I say yes too much, like I’m trying to cram all this stuff in, and have no time for sitting at home eating chocolate and watching Netflix on Demand. But I am actually able to do that sometimes- the chocolate + Netflix- so I guess it’s all good. If I didn’t haphazardly commit to a bunch of crazy things all the time, I might have a little less stress and a little more Netflix time, but I’d miss out on so many things that I either end up enjoying or end up learning from, or at the very least, end up being able to without a doubt declare with confidence in the future that I do not ever want to do them again. In other words, less what if.
“Thankfully, for some, this all passes. I am here to tell you that I have, a few years ago, found my way out of that thicket of comparison and relentless suspicion and judgment. And it is a nice feeling. Because, in the end, no one will ever give a shit who has kept shit ‘real’ except the two or three people, sitting in their apartments, bitter and self-devouring, who take it upon themselves to wonder about such things. The keeping real of shit matters to some people, but it does not matter to me. It’s fashion, and I don’t like fashion, because fashion does not matter.”
He straight up just said “the keeping real of shit.”
“Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me, and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a fuckload of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, that is what matters”
And this, yeah, this. This digs up a whole big thing that’s been bugging me lately, but that I may not be ready to articulate, involving critique. It seems to me that there must be some easily available distinction to us between the sort of critique that seeks to discern the value, or lack thereof, in a meaningful and useful way through the demonstrable examination and attempted understanding of something, and the sort of critique that merely points out in clever ways that someone finds something lame. And if such a distinction does exist, I would like to order an auto-labeling device of said from the catalog please.
Related to the OK Go video I posted yesterday, the fantastic Brain Pickings posted today about other examples Rube Goldberg Machines. (These complex chain reactions are know as such named after an American cartoonist and inventor, and in 1931 “the Merriam–Webster dictionary adopted the word “Rube Goldberg” as an adjective defined as accomplishing something simple through complex means.”)
Brain Pickings says, “But where its use in visual storytelling really originated is a little-known Swiss film from 1987 by director duo Peter Fischli and David Weis, titled Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go). In it, an incredible chain reaction of common household objects — tea pots, tires, ladders, trash bags, shoes, soap — unfolds over 29 minutes and 45 seconds across 100 feet of meticulously arranged ramps, swings and surfaces.”
I was reading a Mark Danielewski interview that looks like it’s from 2008, but which I (miraculously) hadn’t seen before today, and he talks a little bit about St. Louis, in relation (kinda) to the city’s role in the book Only Revolutions.
Interviewer: One part I found interesting, from a personal standpoint, was their stop in St. Louis just because I’ve done my own road trip and me and my friend ended up stopping in St. Louis to do work also, it was just paving driveways. I’m curious of why you had them stop there at that time and what were the reasons or was it just coincidence?
MZD: Oh god yes, there were lots of things. St. Louis is such this rich history you know? There’s a centrality to the US and its not precise, but there’s a strange state that saw an enormous amount of violence during and after the civil war because of the mix of factions between North and South that lived there. It wasn’t just a Northern state; it wasn’t just a Southern state. You know, it’s been called the gateway to the west and you can look at the arch, the ark that finally rose out of its soil which could be looked at as a part of Sam and Hailey’s journey: through it and around it. Some of the literary figures that come from there; Elliot was from there. There are a lot of reasons that I’m sort of just giving you sign posts towards which I’m not going to totally divulge, but St. Louis has a very rich history in that respect.
Here is OK Go’s video for “This Too Shall Pass,” which I like very much. There is also a video about the video on their website.
[via bestweekever.tv via Lori White on the Google reader]
That teenager who prowled old books to find
Any argument with a whiff of the Holy Ghost—
I meet him again in his marginalia,
Which ignored the human sweat and stink and marked
Those passages that confirmed what he was hunting.
There was the milk white hart of evidence.
There was the hound of heaven, italicized bold,
Like an angry footnote chasing it off the page.
And there were the hunters, in pursuit themselves—
Plato, Lucretius, Virgil, Marcus Aurelius—
Who did not know he knew what they were after.
And so he missed a lot, all of it human,
Even while scribbling black and blue Eurekas!,
Bleeding through pages backwards—irrelevant notes.
It was all about something else, which he didn’t see,
As philosophers mounted their lovers from behind
And felt their limbs go dead from the toes upward,
And poets kissed a mouth that fastened tight
And locked tongues and tried to catch their breath.
“Sometimes one has to allow that great changes actually do occur, though I am strongly tempted to recommend that anyone who finds him- or herself about to write the word “revolutionary” first count to ten, and then find another word.”
-Willard McCarty, Professor of Humanities Computing, King’s College London
No, really, this short is a whole bunch of what I love all together now.
(All together now, all together now.)
This is pretty funny of itself, but apparently Lévy’s research issues were first blamed on Wikipedia, to which he responded: “My source of information is books, not Wikipedia.” Oops. So it appears that in this case, the problem could actually be not using Wikipedia, as if you search the name of said fictional philosopher (Jean-Baptiste Botul), you are redirected straight to the page of his creator, Frédéric Pagès. (Which rather does take the fun out of, doesn’t it? Ah, well.)
Anyway, the real point being that this reminds me of something awesome I found on Wikipedia recently: the “List of Fictional Books”. (Not works of fiction, but “non-existent book[s] created specifically for (i.e. within) a work of fiction.”
This website, “The Fictional World of Archives, Art Galleries, and Museums” looks pretty awesome too.