Archive for July, 2008

No Sanchu!

July 31, 2008

“Exxon Mobil on Thursday reported that second-quarter profit rose 14 percent, to $11.68 billion, the highest-ever profit by an American company. Exxon broke its own record.”


Tower of Power – Only So Much Oil in the Ground

Cocteau Twins – Oil of Angels


What the Hell?!

July 30, 2008

First this:

Meet Dave

And now, this (from The New Yorker)

GWINN: It’s called “Fat Guy Stuck in Internet.” John plays the main character who is a computer programmer who spills beer on the computer and gets sucked into the Internet. And I play a bounty hunter sent after him to stop him. Gemberling gets into adventures trying to save the Internet, and an evil C.E.O. has hired me to stop him. And Ryan directs it all. He takes the scripts, the visuals, and everything and makes it all look wonderful.

Someone must have bugged the rum shack, and I’m sure it wasn’t the brain spider.

Nit picking my way through life

July 29, 2008

“Namely” is such a stupid word.

Down and Out

July 29, 2008
From Down and Out in Paris and London, by George Orwell:
“Then the question arises, Why are beggars despised? – for they are despised, universally. I believe it is for the simple reason that they fail to earn a decent living. In practice nobody cares whether work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic; the sole thing demanded is that it shall be profitable. In all the modern talk about energy, effiency, social service, an the rest of it, what meaning is there except ‘Get money, get it legally*, and get a lot of it’? Money has become the grand test of virtue. By this test beggars fail, and for it they are despised. If one could earn even ten pounds a week at begging, it would become a respectable profession immediately. A beggar, looked at realistically, is simply a business man, getting his living, like other business men, in the way that comes to hand. He has not, more than most modern people, sold his honour; he has merely made the mistake of choosing a trade at which it is impossible to grow rich.”
* The “get it legally” qualifier strikes me as conspicuously off the mark, but perhaps boringly so.
This paragraph made an impression on me when I was reading Down and Out last Christmas. It was appealing for what I suppose to be obvious reasons (e.g., I resent capitalist culture because, first and foremost, I’m not as rich as I want to be – LOL!), but more specifically, I think this perspective speaks to my quasi-joke that wealth validates basically anything, including (perhaps especially) the “artist lifestyle.” Just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about:
SCENE: At a “bar” in a Washington, D.C.:

Attractive Adam: [politely conversating] So, what do you do?

Boho Bert: I’m an artist, a mixed-media visual artist.

Attractive Adam: [still polite]: Are you able to make a living off of art?

Boho Bert: I’m rich.

Attractive Adam: [very interested]: Ooohhhhhh!

This is similar to the other “joke” about the hard-nosed and successful steel tycoon, who, upon retirement, takes up watercolor painting. He is way into it, and spends the remaining of his twilight decades in a pastel reverie. He is an pedestrian painter, and maybe he even hated “art” until now, but his newly blossomed aesthetic inclinations elicit a certain astonishment and admiration from all who know him.

Contrast this with a young woman who spends the flower of her youth painting bad watercolors because she feels – no! no, no – knows – that she is an artist. This young woman’s commitment to beauty is not impressive. Without the pile of money, she is wasting her life.
I suppose it is the context of the old millionaire’s history that makes his desire to create so commendable. But I think that underscores the fact that the creation and appreciation of art is peripheral, perhaps vestigial, to material and social success.

After all this, reading the following anecdotes on Orwell’s Wikipedia entry made me wonder if Mr. Orwell doesn’t share my boiling sense of ressentiment at not being properly compensated by his culture, but then masking it with antiestablishmentarianism:

Shelden noted Orwell’s obsessive belief in his failure, and the deep inadequacy haunting him through his career:

Playing the loser was a form of revenge against the winners, a way of repudiating the corrupt nature of conventional success – the scheming, the greed, the sacrifice of principles. Yet, it was also a form of self-rebuke, a way of keeping one’s own pride and ambition in check.[26]

According to T.R. Fyvel:

His crucial experience … was his struggle to turn himself into a writer, one which led through long periods of poverty, failure and humiliation, and about which he has written almost nothing directly. The sweat and agony was less in the slum-life than in the effort to turn the experience into literature.[27]

David Ferry Two (draft)

July 23, 2008



The virtuous shades of the dead come back to play

Among the grasses the violets intersperse.






On a hung-overcast Sunday morning an while back I bought a used book from the used bookstore up the hill from Buckinghammer in West Philadelphia, PA. According to the teen guide I read last night Boys: Are They Aliens? “Libra Boy” can be quite superficial, and I admit I often read books of criticism on famous topics [inset] to get a little learning on the cheap. But Ricks’ criticism engages subjects with such touch(?), and to such profitable ends, that I’m often led to go mining after the OG source material. Kay Sand Point: The final chapter of Allusion to the Poets, “David Ferry and the Shades of the Dead,” recommends Mr. Ferry’s collection Of no country I know so highly (or should I say allows Of no country I know to recommend itself so highly) that I bought the dang thing off Amazon and now I’m recommending the dang thing to you.


Of no country I know collects into sections selected original poems and translations from Ferry’s previous books. He is perhaps best known for his translations, and in this field he draws from a diversity of authors, languages and eras. In each section his original works find place naturally among others’, Horace, Virgil, Hölderlin, Baudelaire. With his capable pen the voices of the dead & distant return, and among these revived lines Ferry’s own poems intersperse.


This sense of the historical and the long weight of words running throughout Of no country I know can be found in “After Spotsylvania Court House”, originally published in Strangers: A Book of Poems. Ferry’s endnote for the poem reads: The battle took place between May 8 and 11, 1864. “A Charge to Keep” is no. 388 in The Methodist Hymnal. The quotations in this poem are from a letter of Joseph H. Knowles to his wife, Ellin J. Knowles, 23 May 1864.





(Oh drat, I wish these were visible and not just links — I’ll fix that tomorrow)

David Ferry

July 23, 2008













I’m going to put up a few posts on this book of poetry, new to me, that I’m into. I will be pushing it like Ooga Booga, so be prepared to either give in right away and tell me you like it, or cope with me pestering you about it until you give in and tell me you like it. I’m not bossy, I’m a psychedelic fascist.


To entice my two readers, I might add that:


(1)   The cover features a non-erotic ETRUSCAN MOSAIC.

(2)   The book was winner of the 2000 Rebekah Johnson BOBBITT National Prize for Poetry. (If you move  the N from National and the P from Prize and settle them astride the 0’s in 2000, it basically says Poon Bobbits, and we all have spoonerism these days like a Math Bat anyhoo.)

(3) The first poem to be posted will concern our beloved Spotsylvania (and remind me of that eerie scrap book Tristan found in his attic).

Boschian Gyre 2.0

July 22, 2008

It’s too late in the day for me to be seeing crap like this. Tristan, do you have anything to say about Thomas Friedman appropriating Bosch to illustrate his world view?

Forthcoming from Farrar, Blah and Blah in September

I will say I can relate to this goon in one respect: when I’m trying to sell a new joke I really dig, I’ll be foisting that bit onto heads from here to Huge Phils until everyone “appeases” and starts thinking that “Not Yet” is best punchline since sliced. Well this Friedman cat (no relation to Trish), really won’t give way on this whole flat world flat land flat thing. I honestly hate it! It’s the worst coinage since Charles I of Spain!

American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity Statement

July 21, 2008

“In the end, we do agree with Mr. Gore on one key point: meeting the climate challenge is going to require the commitment of government, business, and individual citizens. However, we believe we can and will meet the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale and still enjoy the benefits of affordable, reliable energy from domestic energy resources — especially our most abundant domestic fuel, coal.”

– Fox Business

Arcane Wisdom of Ancience

July 21, 2008

lest we forget any of humanity’s vast crimes

July 21, 2008

from an old Guy Davenport review of a book on the Maya:

“Their art is so distinctive that any small detail of it is recognizable … At least one eye capable of appreciating their art got to see some of it. Charles I of Spain summoned Albrecht Durer to show him Mayan and Aztec artifacts (an ear of maize perfectly rendered in gold was in this treasure). Durer marveled: Here was a culture that must have one hundred Cellinis for Italy’s one. Charles had wanted Durer to see these things before they went to his mint, to be melted and recast as coins.”

Takes All Kinds

July 19, 2008

…Commodius Vicus of Recirculation…

July 18, 2008