Archive for December, 2008

… / Try to go out with David Watts

December 31, 2008

oh a bun a big fat bun

a big fat yellow bun

for Mr Man and a bun

for Mrs Man and a bun

for Master Man and a bun

for Miss Man and a bun

a big fat bun

for everyone

four two eight seven one

four two eight seven one

till all the buns are done

and everyone is gone

home to oblivion


Then the singing ended.

Of these two verses Watt thought he preferred the former. Bun is such a sad word, is it not? And man is not much better, is it?


[Second and final verse of the song from Beckett’s novel Watt (1953/1968).  WordPress’s limited & inflexible formatting options won’t let you type any old way you’d like. Would you have preferred the song to have been single-spaced? I sure would.]


There are many things to consider

December 17, 2008

The freakishly large pages of the most recent NYRB have within them an essay discussing the publication of a study of what seems to be  a spiritual/psychogeographical map painted in the 16th century by a Nahuatl-speaking resident of New Spain. This is just my kind of thing, given my truly insatiable appetite for real Understanding of the transformation and extermination of first peoples/first knowing cultures during the periods of their conquest by the long spears and guns of Imperial, technocratic societies. Something I found particularly interesting about the painting discussed was that it apparently is itself a document describing the “civilization” of certain pre-Columbian populations by another pre-Columbian society, the Toltecs. Seeking aid for their besieged city, Toltec shamans embark on a spiritual (and physical) journey, during which their spirit guides help them recruit tribes of hunter/gatherers, which are then folded into Toltec culture via a series of rituals performed during the return journey.

Ably incorporated into the essay is a broader discussion of “Indian-ness” and contemporary indigenous/technocratic relationships. An accompanying photograph stunned me, a picture taken last spring that somehow escaped my knowledge-trawling until now:


Taken from a helicopter above the Amazon, these are members of an “uncontacted” people who likely know of the existence of a culture beyond their borders but assiduously avoid it. Brazil’s Supreme Court last week upheld the establishment of an ecological/indigenous reserve , so perhaps these fellows won’t be forced to put on t-shirts and get work cutting down their homeland just yet.

Humans!  WTF.

“this is the farewell kiss, you dog!”

December 15, 2008

When I, like fifteen hundred others, sit down in 2025 to write the story of Bush’s reign in the mode of a Greek tragedy, remind me to include yesterday’s shoe-throwing incident as a central scene to give the era some of its color.  To a new level, the whole incident effectively cut out the middle man in the news cycle and works the meta-stacking dolls-echo chamber to a new level. The news conference isthe news event and then (the crucial part) takes questions and offers comments on itself (i.e. becomes a news conference about itself (i.e. a news conference)) and then doubles back to offers meta-commentary on the propaganda aspect of showmanship at news conferences and how news spreads. In general, Bush does such a good job propping up the fourth wall that in some ways this might have cracked his psyche. (I also like how he’s like, “I don’t know what that guy’s cause is”… take a wiiiiilllld guess dude!

Video evidence.

Undertones of Übermensch-ism?

December 9, 2008

What’s up with the expression “more power to you”?

It’s kind of sinister. And good fodder for the empty bubble captions in my new political cartoon series about Donald Rumsfeld & Ayn Rand’s honeymoon in the Congo.

Social Psychology Quarterly, LV, pp. 70-77

December 6, 2008

“Oddly, when a male chess-player is easily defeated by a manifestly more powerful opponent his testosterone level is unaltered, but when he is narrowly defeated after a struggle in which he has performed with significantly greater boldness and subtlety, his testosterone level falls sharply and that of his opponent rises equally sharply.”

This is a reverse caption contest. Please submit a picture that best suits the above “caption” (scientific wisdom). Self-portraits will not be considered eligible.

The Gay Science, §40

December 6, 2008

“Oddly, submission to powerful, frightening, even terrible persons, like tyrants and generals, is not experienced as nearly so painful as is submission to unknown and uninteresting persons, which is what all captains of industry are”

This is a reverse caption contest. Please submit a picture that best suits the above “caption” (aphorism). Self-portraits will not be considered eligible.

First submission:

Economy Plan

December 3, 2008

What if, instead of giving $1,000,000,000,000 to banks and car companies, the government gave $300,000 or so to every citizen in the United States? I think that might have a stimulating effect on the economy.

Whose poem

December 3, 2008

She was in a tumult of it Never Was
Our Expedition In More Imminent. Smell nice, like Ms. Lydia
Donnithorne’s when while at a distance loitered the forests
in why, mother, dear, do you suppose that i don’t

Keep your mouth shut. Moving to the hall door, and poured
out in deep silence all the passionate attitude and color.
the furniture was antique, a fatal sense of superiority
to the north. The was when we found ourselves confronted
by another.

Skirmishes in a War with the Age

December 2, 2008

What then in the last resort are the truths of mankind? They are the irrefutable errors of mankind.

The second layer in there will make your brain wobble.