Songs that start with V. Songs that start with W. Songs that start with X. Songs that start with Y. Sign up for our Newsletter today and be among the first to know when they're ready to go. Can You Dance Hulla-Baloney? Did You Ever See a Lassie? Ding Dong! Do Your Ears Hang Low? Good Morning! Have You Ever Been to the Zoo? Have You Heard the Wind? How Far is it to Bethlehem? Ducking quite literally, though only slightly, so I guestimated him to be six-nine or six-ten. The inside of the house was even more impressive, spacious and airy with plaster everywhere, including a number of Arabesques and Mexicali roses done as frescoes in red and metallic gold.
There was tilework on all the floors, laid with inexpensive Persian rugs—the type mass-produced in China despite the name , but still not cheap—and whoever had done the original decor had obviously gotten a special on wrought iron, though all the fixtures had the faint rust patina that came from the salt air.
We went up a landing and down a hall and came upon the larger of my steamer trunks, sitting beside a heavy oak door which looked like it had been salvaged from a Spanish monastery—as did a great deal of fixtures inside the house.
Instead, she just pulled out a key ring that would be the envy of half the lesbians in Berkeley and selected a large iron key that dated back at least a century and bespoke a lock that could be picked with a screwdriver no challenge, except for noise factor.
She then inserted it into the expected lock, there was a click, and the door opened with the silent glide of well oiled hinges.
A spare quilt lay folded atop the tole-painted Pennsyl- vania Dutch hope chest at the foot. And on the far side, taking up most of the wall, was a picture window framed with stained glass poppies and lupines, dying the. Lancets to either side of the panorama window held more wildflowers, as did the carvings on the seat below.
Entranced, I walked in and over, looking out at the gardens and the cliffs. I did not expect this room to be used for some time.
I glanced around the room, eyes coming to rest on the hope chest, my curiosity prickling, and I reminded myself to be careful what I wished for—I might get it. Especially in my line of business. For that matter, Alexander has also picked the right chauffeur, or at least central casting did pretty well for voice and body type. Or maybe not. And lawn mower parts. Probably the moment he left the room. I decided that I liked Roland, who was as relaxed as men that big usually are i. Eat human flesh, B.
Eat bugs like Renfield in Dracula, or C. Really big, really long legs, yes, with really big shiny black boots, but nothing that outlandish, so I just guessed he might be a bug-eater like Renfield or the one in Fright Night II. Are you like the nanny on teevee? She dresses a lot prettier. Melanie is six, Malory is four. Roland, come with me. We have matters to attend to.
And a much healthier color as you might expect as well. At least not yet. Malory wandered over to the rocking chair and reached out his hand. Or at very least to ask permission before he reaches out and grabs. Malory then looked gravely at my cat.
If you do it nicely. Melanie looked at me, her eyes round. Instead, I just sat down on the edge of the bed, letting the quilt bounce with the mattress. Either case, I was still in for it. You know what that is? A governess is sort of like a teacher and a nanny rolled into one.
After all, anyone my cat chooses to talk in front of either believes in magick already or else is something supernatural to begin with.
Let me show you something. It rolled up with a ratcheting clatter, and my familiar leapt from my shoulder to the top of the hutch while I took down my Book of Shadows and placed it in the far corner. Bag of Tricks, and showed it off. I reached down to the bottom and felt around until I came up with a cellophane package filled with gold foil squares. Thank the gods for Hello Kitty, Bast in particular. But it works. The last person I know of who did it was a girl about your age.
She wished for an end to nuclear war, and, well, look what happened to the arms race. That flies. I took out another sheet, a pale blue one this time, and did a slightly simpler folding of the crane pattern, leaving a thicker neck and tail. The wings flexed and flapped with each tug. Malory looked as unimpressed as only a child who has grown up around vampires and just discovered a talking cat can be. Not for real. Mister Mistoffelees had already tipped my hand, and both kids were looking at me with a look that said, Alright, magick lady.
Show us the good stuff. I took the blue crane down onto the desk, inverted it, then carefully unfolded the head. Then, carefully, and with great ceremony, I took it out of its case and showed the Gorian children how to refill a fountain pen. If you know anything about the arcane arts, you already know the importance of virgin parchment and fresh quills and so on.
If not, let me explain it in terms of science—sterile imple- ments. Likewise, if you know any Hebrew mysticism, then you know the tale of the Golem of Prague, upon which the Frankenstein legend is based. And his golem got up and made itself useful until, like Frankenstein, it went berserk and ran around Prague, and the rabbi had to whack it on the forehead with an eraser to stop it before they both got burned by the angry villagers.
Ever since then, wizards have written The Word on little slips of paper and stuck them under the tongues of statues or in their ears when they wanted to cause trouble, but the theory is still the same.
And if I could swallow transubstantiation of the Host, then I could handle animation of the origami. I carefully penned in the Latin name for Jesus, and then, just for a little bit of extra heresy and sympathetic magick, flaked off a spot of blood from the inside of my lunch pail and sprinkled it over the ink. Malory squeezed his teddy bear till it umphed, and even Melanie looked suitably impressed.
And this pride in my mystic powers lasted until I noticed my fountain pen bleeding all over my fingers. Bleeding quite literally, I should add, because the miracle of transubstantiation had gotten a little carried away, and the ink was now transfigured into bright red blood and my pen was fountaining like a severed artery, with far more liquid than a Mont Blanc should reasonably be expected to hold.
In other words, most wizards are subtle, not because they are quick to anger or because it makes them soggy and hard to light , but because, in the end, it causes a lot less grief.
Let me explain. Witchcraft is the art of bending the way of the world to your will. Like if I try to fix my car and throw in a few minor charms and a prayer to Hephaestus, worst thing that can happen is an engine fire.
And this was the tableau when my new boss walked into the room: me with my fountain pen spurting blood onto the wall, while an origami bird flew circles around the room unable to land, since. Then he began to lean forward like it was a drinking fountain, which, in a sense, it was , so I handed him my Mont Blanc. Alexander sat down on the edge of the bed, color coming back into his cheeks as he nursed from my fountain pen. This lasted about a minute until either God chose to be merciful, or Heaven decided that enough was enough, and their Divine object lesson was not meant to be a Slurpee for the Damned.
Whatever the case, my pen stopped impersonating the Vial of Hastings. I set the pen down on the desk, wondering what I was supposed to do for an encore and what Mary Poppins would do in the same situation. Duarte keeps the cleaning supplies? Melanie grinned, accepting the hairpin, and dashed out of the room. I came over next to Alexander. And then, for the third time in two nights, I played Lady Macbeth and washed blood off of my hands while in close proximity to a vampire. And you wonder why I believe in Fate?
Or it might just be that God has a sense of humor, and a fondness for running gags in particular. By the time I came out, Melanie had returned with an arsenal of cleansers. I took them, grateful, then filled the bucket in the bathtub clawfooted, circa nineteen twenties and set to work. And children need to know how to clean up after themselves.
Instead, I taught Melanie the important skill of removing bloodstains warm water, not cold, mild soap and a stiff brush while Malory and their father looked on. Regardless, I finished showing Melanie how to dispose of evidence—an excellent skill which every child should learn, and that not enough parents, in my.
Sister Mary Innocent taught me a lot. Sister Mary lived in even more absolute dread of Mother Superior than we girls did, and honestly, Sister Mary knew a lot more about child psychology than Mary Poppins. Or at least a step ahead of Mother Catherine Claire. Alexander glanced around with a bittersweet smile. Before we were married, I mean. Alexander leaned over and placed a hand on it, lovingly caress- ing the wood.
Like I said before, I like helping people. Only the blood of the good and the innocent? Probably nothing to do with it, but, like I said, I like helping people, and, as Sister Mary continually reminded me, the Lord works in mysterious ways. Even for vampires, heretics, and witches. An origami crane fluttered past the window, and Alexander stood up. Mister Mistoffelees jumped up atop the windowsill, glancing out at the moon and the ocean below.
Also, a subsequent shopping trip, where Brent joins the outing and Mister Mistoffelees plunders the dairy case; a rendezvous with Alexander, with mutual confessions and apolo- gies; the obscene rites which may be enacted with butter knives; and blood and roses, and a matter of broken mirrors. Let me be blunt—There is nothing so inane and silly as black magick. But I have documentable proof that at least one witch in the middle ages was doing all of the nasty things the church said witches did back then, not to mention a few bits of malicious maleficia that she came up with herself.
Let me give you some examples. Witches shoplifting butter! What depravity will they stoop to next? Okay, ready? Here goes: One day a man woke up and his penis was missing. It was gone. Your penis is in the nest at the top. At last, he settled down on the top of the desk. Stuff like that is a prescription for getting funny looks, if not eviction notices, or at very least the loss of your cleaning deposit.
And if you cross-reference that with Dr. Consequently, all those geometric designs and flowering ara- besques, besides looking pretty and not shocking Islamic sensibilities by depicting a living creature, which might become an object of worship and thereby idolatry , are also something that will make the spirits sit up and take notice. Assuming, of course, that I already had the Hand of Glory doused and locked away in its little ebony case, and most of my other blatant paraphernalia was also tucked out of sight.
But let me tell you a little more about books and magick so you can see why this sort of thing is necessary. Anyone ever watch H. Puff-n-Stuff, if just reruns?
Remember Witchy-Poo and her lab? Remember the talking books? Unless, of course, you take precautions. Let those who are awake stay awake! Let those who are asleep stay asleep! The books were still a little fussy as it was, or at least badly organized with no index to speak of not that I should talk, since you can see the state of my own Book of Shadows , and I was getting a little annoyed.
Usually, when I go browsing through books, what I call my Serendipity Overdrive kicks in and leads me to the passage I need. Hand of Glory! Reveal to me the passage which I seek! All except for the index, which pointed a Fu Manchu nail of blue flame to the left side of the book. I paused, then flipped back a page, but the Hand continued to point so I flipped back another. Go back. Go back further. Point right, snap. Too far, forward a couple pages.
Peace sign, right finger-point. Two more pages. Hand spread, light flaring. Yes, right there. Now all that was necessary was the stolen butter. Magickally stolen butter, to be specific.
I glanced up from the book. But since it seems that dairy products sour on contact with witchcraft, or at least became prone to oozing blood, I could see where the symbolism of milk-white innocence quenching the fires of Hell might get a little messed up if said milk-white innocence were being vomited forth by your black cat. I briefly considered the possibility of updating the rite and substituting steel wool, making something that could siphon gas tanks, but honestly, I had a full tank and was flush for money, and what I really needed was the butter.
We were going to go to the City to steal butter. Plus it would let Alexander spend more time with his kids, which is what he really needed. The cabinets were a testimony to the advertising power of Chef Boyardee, and the freezer to the long fingers of Jenny Craig. Or perhaps Gone With the Wind? I plan on taking Melanie and Malory into the City today, get them a proper breakfast, and go shopping for the rest of the afternoon. Gorian might as well come along with me, so I can introduce him to my fellow mages and we can get that out of the way.
I will tell him myself. Just leave it on the table in the front room when you are ready. My familiar sat up from his cushion, yawned and blinked, then cocked his head. From my own experience and confirmation from Mister Mistoffelees , dear Jodi had milk curdle in her presence making her butter-theft spell even more useless, in my humble opinion and candles burnt blue around her, not to mention flaring whenever she swore.
I let Mister Mistoffelees lick the nib of my pen, then sat down, wondering if life had given me lemons or lemonade and whether or not my errand to the City had suddenly become superfluous, and also whether I could actually get enough blood to feed a vampire from multiple signatures. I sat down and experimented a bit:.
Penny Dreadful. Penelope Drizkowski. Penelope Anne Drizkowski. I will not take the name of The Lord in vain. Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, Superstar. I also experimented with a couple ballpoints, only to find that they were doing the same trick.
I do not intend to go through life signing everything in blood, including checks, and the only way I could conceivably milk the curse for enough blood to make the lemon into lemonade would be to stand in front of a plate glass window with a squeegee in one hand and can of spray paint in the other. And if you think Heaven has nasty punishments for blasphemers, well, wait till you see what they have reserved for smart-alecks.
Then I tried my signature. Regardless, I got Malory back to his room and got him washed and dressed, and likewise with Melanie. Though to give her credit, that morning the woman did a very efficient job as housekeeper, having an envelope ready for me with more than sufficient cash, as well having Roland bring my car round from the carriage house. My Stutz was freshly washed and polished, gleaming silver in the light of noon remember, the kids and I had been up the majority of the night , and purring a treat as Roland drove up.
Malory ran forward, enchanted, and put his hands right on the freshly polished fender. The Stutz. I smiled. If people wanted music, they sang. But I was grateful for my repertoire of Turn-of-the-Century through twenties popular songs, since while borderline scandalous for their own day, most are perfectly tame by modern standards, and just the thing to keep kids amused on car trips.
My familiar gave me a look, and I nodded back, making a mental note to get him an extra bowl of fresh cream and sushi. A— A year ago. But not like daddy. I just smiled for her to continue. He knows much more about this sort of thing than I do. Gorian What had Alexander said her name was? There are very few places with free parking anywhere in the City, but the Palace is one of them.
The prayers to Marduk were also paying off, or maybe the ones to Hermes and Hephaestus, but in any case, the phone was in working order, and not only that, but I also got Peter on the third ring. And they only serve one thing, but they do it very well, and they have more of it than anybody else. Melanie and Malory looked perplexed and somewhat frightened by the strange array of food on all the little one-to-two-dollar plates, especially the sushi and the shrimp sui ma, but I gave them pork buns, which are generally a safe bet with anyone save vegetarians, Muslims and Orthodox Jews , and they both seemed to enjoy them, along with the cans of warm Seven-Up from the stacks beside the kitchen door, offset by glasses of ice.
I poured cream over a shrimp sui ma for Mister Mistoffelees— patently ignored by the management—and Peter walked in, pulled out a chair and sat down. He looked disgruntled for a moment, then pulled out the chair next to him and poured a cup of tea, slamming it down in front of the empty place.
Hello, Thaddeus. Peter, let me introduce Melanie and Malory Gorian. Is there any magick in the things she does, or is love, the only magick thing, that Penny brings? Penny, is it love? Not the other chopstick! I will never betray Dr. Fu Manchu again! She pulled him back into a chair, then grabbed a tray of Dim Sum from a passing waitress and set it before him.
Baron obediently chewed and swallowed, then licked the chop- stick still in his nose, which is a sexual come-on in Japan licking your chopsticks, I mean—I have no idea what the variant of licking the chopstick in your nose might imply , but in response Sasha only did her Jewish grandmother dominatrix routine and forced his mouth open again, feeding him another pork bo.
We San Franciscans are weird enough on our own. Just a matter of whether it knows it. The Velveteen Rabbit, the idea that toys became real if, and only if, you loved them enough. Talking to cars and teddy bears and books is one thing. Everybody does that at some time in their lives, and I could even deal with it in a limited fashion. But for the moment, it had very little to do with the price of tea in China.
Peter gave a dark laugh. But regardless, it ended and we went shopping. Peter paired off with Baron and left, while Sasha and I did Chinatown, the children in tow. Increase loveliness. Quite often lately, I simply beg for distractions.
Likeminded readers will know why. Nightmarish state and national political scenarios have us almost constantly either shaking or scratching our heads in painfully confused and irritated wonder.
So it is a welcome distraction to enjoy the anticipation of new work from two of my musical favorites: Alison Goldfrapp my very English Queen! Looking back at it, that post contained some thoughts on loveliness that seem timely and still very relevant. Resistance in not futile; differences are not to be feared, but treasured. Here are a few of the words from that post:.
Sometimes being just exactly who you are is an act of defiance. Tales of Us is made up of ten songs, each a distinctive journey of self-expression. All of them quietly, defiantly, courageously being exactly who they are…. Simple acoustic guitar songs trade time with hugely wrought symphonic pieces, slow jazz, and tripped out electronica.
The binding element of Tales of Us is her exquisite voice. Breathily playing out through the dreamy range of the songs, she draws me in absolutely. Alison Goldfrapp does not merely sing, she occupies her songs, and she transports her listeners. She is delivering her art from a castle on a cloud, and I want to be where she is. Clearly, I am enthralled by this artist and her group, I still listen to Tales of Us regularly, and had hoped that when Goldfrapp returned with new music that it would be in the same intrepid vein of introspection and emotion.
If the first single is an indication, it appears that will not be the case. The band dislikes repeating themselves, though they may have elected to go back a bit further in their career to investigate and mine some fresh ideas from dancier periods. However , Goldfrapp is forgiven — I think this single is thoroughly excellent. This music, my friends, is about urgency. Queen Alison can do whatever she wants. I have also written on this page about Real Estate , most recently about the jangly observations that they made on the terrific album Atlas that ranked as my number one selection for I wrote:.
Along with the rest of their catalogue I will continue to enjoy it for years. What it is: That feeling that something wonderful is happening, and you have not processed how important it will be to you in the future. You know that something wonderful is going to end — soon — and that the freedom that comes with that something wonderful is evaporating.
The band has released a single and it indicates that Real Estate will be building on their fine ideas of low key, richly examined, and, yes, summery , guitar driven pop.
Since everything is moving so fast, thank goodness for Missy Elliott. She has the sense to slow it down a little here, giving us some blessed space and a delicious taste of her special flow.
As ever, sick. Run the Jewels 3 , this link leads to a free download of what is easily the best record of so far. It has been on the old headphones about four times a week, and each time I listen I marvel anew at the lyrical genius, the brilliance of the music, and especially the strong personal bond shared by the insanely gifted musicians and rappers Killer Mike and El-P.
While others are compiling their year-end lists, I have been looking for some music that is completely out of the ordinary and also reflecting on a musical year that has left me mostly cold.
But I have not been inspired to recap Are there times in your life during which only something new and unusual will satisfy you? A craving for a cuisine you have never tasted? I get that way about music, and I had mostly been in a droughty season — listening to lots of music but finding nothing to latch onto.
Until something happened at a recent concert at Kimball Recital Hall on the campus of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Since then, I have been giving a lot of thought to the creation of art that is truly original. Behind the creation of difficult artistic work there is massive toil. The ability to mask that toil by making it all look effortless is a form of sorcery.
O, Jackson Pollock, the wizard who, with his energetically flung and dripped liquid paint on canvas, created an entirely new way to make art — something original and wildly innovative — a form often imitated and never matched.
But , in addition to being a master of abstraction, Jackson Pollock was also an amazing realistic draftsman who could draw expertly from life. He developed under the mentorship of the artist Thomas Hart Benton, and for years before Pollock conceived his groundbreaking drip methods for merging color-and-light chaos with the nuances of shadow-and-balance, he worked to perfect his ability to simply draw.
You must learn to crawl before being able to walk, run, and dance. Take just a small analogous leap from visual art to music — consider and compare the countless hours of pencil-and-paper work of drawing to the hours of repeating passages and scales in the rehearsal room. Such witchcraft was recently on display at Kimball Recital Hall in Lincoln. I mean to directly compare the talents of these musicians with the talent of Pollock — they are all artists who devote themselves to increasing loveliness in the world.
I really wish I could show you, because the performance mainly defies my ability to describe it. I contacted the members of The Chiara Quartet and Dave Hall to ask for any video or audio they may have to share on this page from their extremely jarring recent concert.
The piece was so complex and even bizarre. The players appeared to be equally riveted by their own duties and to be having a blast.
It would be best to just let it speak for itself. The musicians contacted me to say that no video or audio from the concert is available yet. For now I have picked a couple of pieces to share of each act performing separately with the hope and intention of turning you on to them, and a dear hope that sometime soon I may be able to supplement the links below with something from that special night.
There is such a depth of feeling in their playing, and it is always evident. I think this is about perfect, and there is something very stirring about the performances Chiara does from memory and instinct, with no sheet music:. Athletic and cerebral — second-to-second excitement and mystery:. DisArchitecture by Dave Hall. More on this soon, I do hope! There is something liberating about listening to so much music and so many artists with whom I am unfamiliar.
The context is limited. For one thing, all, or very nearly all of the artists on Radio 3 are Canadian, so while there are some acts I am familiar with like Grimes , The New Pornographers , Arcade Fire sprinkled in the mix, most of the acts are new to me. The band names themselves often bring a little smile to my face, like His Clancyness below. Here are two super inventive songs from a group of Canadian ex-pats who are now living in Italy. These have really grabbed me during repeated listens:.
I love everything about the song and video linked below. There are the unfakeable smiles on the faces of the players, never calling attention to the complicated rhythms and the sustained, freaky time signatures, and there is the super cool atmosphere of the room, check out the smoky audience surrounding the Quartet. This can make a fellow feel born out of his time:.
This seems simple, and it is not:. You think things came easily for Merle? It is not as easy as we imagine sometimes to just say a thing plainly. This cat could do that and he was so cool doing it he made it look effortless:.
For some today brings feelings of elation. For many, the day brings feelings of almost total devastation. Individual matters of perspective are at work. For me, on this exquisite autumn morning, walking in a neighborhood I love, in a city I love, things were just somehow less beautiful — and for the time being, loveliness is diminished. But perspective is hard at work.
I thought of President Obama on my walk, and of how differently people have viewed him. How beloved he has been by many — a distinguished, dignified, intelligent, and reasoned man. Others have despised and vilified him. The story is very short and filled with violence. There are three characters — a young man and young woman are traveling through a wood where they meet another man who abducts them.
The young woman is raped, and the young man dies. There is a trial, and each of the three characters retells the story from their own perspective, none of which agree. Again, objectively, there occur abduction, multiple assaults, theft, and the story in the wood ends with a death. But what is the truth about how the events played out? Each story is different. For instance, the death is retold variously as a brutal murder, a matter of honor, and a suicide. Matters of perspective are at work, but there is objective truth.
Fall is great for finding new songs. Song 36 by Alexia Avina And for perspective, she reminds me of this artist who was an enormous favorite from over thirty years ago.
Here is another pair of similar songs I love that are thirty years apart. Bottoms up. Be good to one another. Take deep breaths. Jude and I were recent guests of the gifted hosts, and our very dear friends, Diane and Howard Coffin. Inside, we were greeted with hugs, Chambord Kir-Royales, and the spectacle of an exquisitely decorated and ornate wonder of marble, dark wood, porcelain, silver, crystal, and silk.
Standing in lamplight before an intricately carved, giant fireplace mantle, Howard announced that he would draw our names to perform at random. In between our individual parlor entertainments, Howard kept things moving along by giving us a few of the spooky traditions and interesting histories of a variety of cultural festivals of the fall and harvest seasons.
These traditions have evolved into what we celebrate now as Halloween. Our friend Steve brought passion to E. New friends Rod and John donned top hats for their fun soft-shoe version of Dem Bones.
Friends Gary and Diane filled the parlor with violent tension while adapting Stephen King. And it was probably as scary as anything else during the night to hear me attempt singing. To introduce the song, we remarked that it was a tune neither publicly performed nor requested in some thirty years.
Since we live in different cities, it was a tune that we had not rehearsed, either. It was a blast. I love Tom Waits , and it is challenging to try improving on his great writing. I was crazy about the seed of the idea, but really needed to change the context of the piece, and to re-set it in autumn for the occasion of the dinner party. Here is my finished adaptation from…. It was the best party! We are so grateful for our creative friends and the cool idea that our dear Coffins conceived of and ….
Happy Halloween…. Vincent from Actor 4AD. We are struck stupidly silent by our own fascination. We are so close to some things we love that describing them, well — our ability to communicate effectively is nearly defied.
Perhaps it is time for another technical graph to help explain this obsession:. Got that? Are you with me so far? Well, I will make this brief, but here goes at least a bit more to try and explain something that I may love too much.
The members of the group Radiohead have dipped into their bottomless pouch of tricks to compose and record the transcendent A Moon Shaped Pool. The new record is as rooted in musical traditions as it is innovative. And if you checked it out only briefly, please give it another listen. Or ten. This is Art. A best comparison to absorbing the meaning and pleasure of this music comes from the times when I was taught to read and tease out the mysteries of McCullers, Joyce, and Faulkner; to understand Sylvia Plath and T.
Eliot; or when I finally cracked the code on the abstract works of some twentieth century painters like Rothko. Somehow the very spare can sound lush and full. And vice versa, big, complicated sections of songs are somehow distilled into simple messages of feeling.
Minor chords. Whole-tone scales. Modes of limited transposition. Things we cannot explain, but are willing to stab at. Or maybe it taps a feeling of resolutions — is that more accurate? I guess you just need to listen for yourself.
These are songs full of wonder. Present Tense live version. Desert Island Disk live version. Radiohead has received and acknowledged influence from plenty of sources. One rich source of influence was the twentieth century French master, Olivier Messiaen , who was synesthetic — he perceived music as color — and he was also a bird lover who, fascinated by birdsong, transposed birdsongs into composed music.
Their angles start to sharpen keenly around the middle of August, and they are deeply ingrained as portents from childhood. In their way, shadows provide a natural warning while light holds a natural promise, oh, delicious anticipation! Thank you for smiling back at me. I always have loved summer, but I loved school too, especially the beginning of a new grade, except the second grade — that can be another story.
The experimental music of the band Stereolab is perfect for this time of year, accentuating the electrifying assimilation of sounds that come from combining restraint and abandon. And for me, they also captured the sound of the beginning of something. It is art approached with urgency and patience — structure, discipline, and improvisation, think of an aerialist running at full speed on a tightrope across a mountain chasm. The result is music for the beginning of something at any season and for many occasions.
It is surprising to find how little has been written about them on this page, and how few of their great songs have been featured here. But Stereolab has been back in heavy rotation through speakers and headphones recently. Ideal music for a late summer walk. They managed somehow to make original rock that was hugely referential and incorporated broad influences across multiple genres and eras.
They strived to constantly refresh their music, to sound new and different from anyone else. In doing so, they amassed an ambitious list of collaborators. These collaborations along with a wealth of ideas led to a prolific outpouring of music, not only from their main project as Stereolab , but also from a fantastic bunch of guest artist appearances with Atlas Sound , Blur , and Mouse on Mars , to name a few, side projects like Monade and Cavern of Anti-Matter , and offshoots the tremendous High Llamas.
Guitarist Tim Gane was instrumental in developing and pushing their innovations forward, but stayed in the background when they played their explosive, sometimes deafening live shows. One of the great rock concert thrills in my memory is watching Gane break a couple of his guitar strings during a feverish ascent into white noise. The strings cut open a gash on his hand, yet he never hesitated and continued to play at max effort and volume with a bloodied paw.
So here we are, at the beginning of something. Among their many great releases, the LP Dots and Loops especially always sounded to me like the beginning of something…. Brakhage from Dots and Loops Elektra. Orgiastic from Peng! Percolator from Emperor Tomato Ketchup Elektra. Avant Garde M. Stereolab has been on an indefinite hiatus for years. Meanwhile, the members pursue their various other projects.
Of course, some of his music was unavoidable and it kind of registers as familiar because it permeated the mainstream. And I was also familiar with many of the sounds that came from the subcultures that fed the genre he was working in. But still — I missed a big moment.
What got me thinking about this? Well, Moby wrote a memoir called Porcelain that details mostly his pre-fame life, feelings, and surroundings leading up to the release of his monstrously successful album, Play. Especially because he spoke so well and plainly about certain themes that are explored on this page, and that often recur here. Me especially. We look past the disadvantages and the downright grime of them to savor memories of days that seemed supercharged with possibility and creativity and even simplicity.
Commenting on his happiness and excitement during youthful days in New York City, when he was part of a deep underground musical movement that integrated house music and hip hop to propel a new and larger rave culture, he was just scraping by and the atmosphere of the city was gritty, dangerous, and sometimes squalid.
On Relevancy and Success — Moby seemed to be genuinely delighted and surprised to have sold over twenty million records, and to have come to define what was known for a while as electronic dance music EDM. But mass appeal was emphatically not his standard for success, and he had some particularly heartening things to say about what should be a standard of success. He said, more or less, that success should not be measured by the size of an audience.
He stated the obvious — that there are billions of [works of art] available to investigate, and it is amazing that even one person will take the time and energy to check out and appreciate something that you have created.
It is unhealthy and kind of sick to think that a musician or a writer could only have legitimacy if he or she is reaching mass numbers of people. I loved this…. He said that through scientific research at the Institute it has been shown that music affects the brain and the endocrine system and changes people, not just anecdotally , it actually alters neurochemistry, promotes neurogenesis, decreases stress hormones, and promotes growth hormones.
It is ethereal. Music and sound are just weird air molecules — nitrogen and oxygen — hitting the eardrum a little differently. A person with a jackhammer, and YoYo Ma with his cello, are creating essentially the same thing — just pushing air molecules a little differently — but one makes you weep and the other annoys you. The power of music that is ineffable and makes people do things: dance, march into war, cut their hair, move across the country, have sex — it does all this profoundly and it does this over and over again.
How is it that something with no clear evolutionary consequences can be so powerful and make us cry or make us joyful? And then he discussed, in his own way, how the subculture fringes become the mainstream.
There is some disappointment and wistfulness in his voice that his movement, EDM and rave culture, are firmly in the mainstream now. What was born in warehouses and small sweaty nightclubs, what was once being invented as it went along — was once secret and conspiratorial, now attracts festival crowds of 50, people to stadiums.
Long-timers and oldsters remember the days when the industrial, funk, and hip hop music samples that nourished their beat-driven bacchanals were obscure outside of their scene — so when they hear the DJ play Katy Perry remixes or insert other such Top 40 uniformity into their sets instead of playing some obscure musician, they feel a natural ruing. I think about this all the time — how the fringes of creative [sub]cultures sometimes blaze for a bit, sending a warm and promising light flickering toward a bland, homogeneous center.
Then, these fringe movements, they mainly fizzle and die. Sometimes though, they evolve and find the fuel they need for their fires to feed the popular mainstream. Usually though, if some fringe phenomenon catches and burns toward the middle, the results form a tepid, diluted, and ashy slurry, barely recognizable to the original early adopters of a cultural sensation. It is just one example among many that you are welcome to insert.
The thing to remember though is that the fringes are still out there on fire. He does his work neatly and has good manners He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken. He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class. By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself.
She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's.
His present which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs.
Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets.
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then and wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors.
He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life. Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer -- the letter was signed, Theodore F.
Stoddard, M. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing.
And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you, Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference.
I didn't know how to teach until I met you. Tom Peter's Slides Rant: Talent! See past and present U. He says, "So what would you like, Julie?
A Jaguar? A sable coat? She says, "Bernie, I want a divorce. He says, "I wasn't planning on spending that much. Sure to confuse those who haven't had your fill of caffeine! Forwarded by an engineer friend I like the Take Two module. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want.
To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be. The engineer fumed, "What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes! Let's have a word with him. Say, what's with that group ahead of us?
They're rather slow, aren't they? They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime. The pastor said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight.
And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them. Mechanical Engineers build weapons. Civil Engineers build targets. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet. He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.
The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week. Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess that I'll stay with you for a week and do anything you want.
Why won't you kiss me? I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool. And that's the way it was on September 20, with a little help from my friends. September 12, Author unknown. Happiness is a thing to be practiced, like the violin. Experience comes from bad judgment what I should have put as a header on some of my FAS cases. One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks. Some people change their ways when they see the light Others when they feel the heat Author unknown.
Be nice to your kids They'll choose your nursing home Author unknown. And if you believe this, I've got some ocean front property in Arizona for sale. There may be other corrections and additions after the rest of you give me feedback. One reason I really love the Internet is that people using my cases point out their flaws and shortcomings.
Robert Steeindl pointed out that in my Case A1 the spot and forward prices did not converge at maturity for Nation 2 foreign currency. I fixed this. I added commentaries and made some corrections. Case B7 features a hedge effectiveness test based upon DELTA t defined as the absolute value of the change in futures prices divided by the change in spot prices of corn.
Case A7 features a hedge effectiveness test based upon DELTA t defined as the absolute value of the change in forward prices of Columbian coffee divided by the change in forward prices of Brazilian coffee. Case A1 features a hedge effectiveness test based upon DELTA t defined as the absolute value of the change spot prices of Nation 2 currency divided by the change spot prices of Nation 1 currency.
Since spot prices are used, Paragraph 63 c is invoked where effectiveness testing excludes the difference between forward and spot prices. Case A1 also adds a test for hedge ineffectiveness materiality.
Hedge accounting in Case A1 is denied only when the hedge ineffectiveness is material in dollar amount as well as violates the 0.
You can proceed directly to those short cases by downloading the Excel Workbook ex07a. In that same workbook, I extended a KPMG example on foreign currency hedging of an equipment purchase.
Whereas KPMG assumed perfect hedge effectiveness, I added examples of both immaterial and material hedge ineffectiveness. Go to my ex07a. These are in files ex The ex10a. The ex09a. Any thoughts on this last period problem? Nobody likes paying taxes, but some tech companies apparently like reporting them to their shareholders even less. What a concept! In today's stock market, the companies are under heavy pressure to look as profitable as they can.
By stressing an earnings figure that excludes the expense of the payroll taxes, they do look more profitable. How are the companies able to do this? Thank Silicon Valley's brilliant innovations in the field of pro-forma earnings. At the top of the earnings releases that technology companies publish, they announce their pro-forma earnings.
In the pro-forma number, companies get to include -- or exclude -- just about any revenue or expense that they want. The huge body of accounting rules only applies to the dreary official-income figure that shows up later in the news releases.
Inevitably, pro-forma earnings are higher than this "generally accepted accounting principles" number reported lower. Some expenses excluded from pro-forma earnings, such as costs associated with acquisitions, seem reasonable to exclude. They arguably aren't recurring, so their exclusion gives investors a better idea of how the day-to-day business is faring.
But payroll taxes? Aren't they a cost of doing business? To be sure, the payroll tax represents only a small portion of income for the companies that exclude it from the pro-forma figure. Still, nowadays, a penny in per-share income can have a big effect on a stock price. And some accounting experts and investors say the disappearing payroll tax is yet another example of the kind of wacky accounting that shows up in pro -forma income. You, and your bookmarks' readers, might be interested to know that the final report of the Panel on Audit Effectiveness is now available by going to:.
Also, the SEC has posted the entire transcript of the first day of public hearings on its independence proposal on the SEC web site. It makes for very interesting reading. These pressures on management, in turn, translate into pressures on how auditors conduct audits and in their relationship with audit clients.
It also has caused firms to reconsider their audit methods and techniques in an effort to harness technology to improve audit efficiency and effectiveness. Some have questioned, however, whether the increased efficiency may have come at the cost of reduced, not enhanced, effectiveness. This shift has led to concerns about the relative importance of the audit practice to firms and about auditor independence when significant non-audit services are performed for audit clients.
These concerns come at a time when the importance of public confidence in auditing has never been greater. Accordingly, the Panel studied not only how audits are conducted but also whether non-audit services provided to audit clients pose a threat to auditor independence and whether the system of governance of the auditing profession is adequate or in need of change.
Of course in our case the help may need to flow in the other direction. The site contains thousands of pages of information to help health-care providers diagnose and test for a variety of diseases. Because printed medical sources become outdated so quickly, a consortium directed by the departments of pathology and laboratory medicine from six universities contracted with about medical experts around the country to review and update the information on the site.
The service, available through annual subscription, allows physicians to type in the name of a disease and obtain within seconds a description of the condition, its clinical characteristics, several recent newspaper articles about it, and information about tests to confirm the diagnosis.
This is a very good source for a variety of references on knowledge management classified into topic areas. Return on Investment, Cost Justification, Economics. Another section is on "Knowledge Management Technologies. Knowledge Management Technologies. There is nothing given about accounting firms, but there is a section entitled "Law Firm Knowledge Management Articles.
You could be paid for putting your extra disk space and network bandwidth to work? Mojo Nation creates a digital marketplace for the exchange of idle disk space, bandwidth, and CPU cycles.
By providing services and resources to other Mojo Nation peers you earn credit that can be used to consume content or sold for cash. Freeloaders cannot consume more than they contribute to the system; they must purchase more resources from you.
You could participate in a peer to peer network, knowing your security and privacy were protected? Strong cryptography protects messages within Mojo Nation.
Pseudonymous access and relay agents protect your privacy while browsing or providing content. Simple cost recovery prevents most denial of service attacks. You could publish your web pages without worrying about their sudden popularity?
Mojo Nation distributes published content widely across all participating peers, using market-based mechanisms to control flash crowds and efficiently cache data. When a user downloads content from Mojo Nation he compensates the peer providing the data with credits for the resources consumed; popularity does not increase the cost to the publisher.
You didn't have to worry about the sudden unpopularity of your web pages, either? Mojo Nation is de-centralized and secure, once data is published it cannot be deleted or controlled. Publishers have their identities hidden with pseudonyms and can publish without fear of reprisal. Content consumers can retrieve data with as much anonymity as they desire, privacy is a simple economic decision. My threads of Napster etc.
CyberU strives to increase access to education by delivering best-of-breed online corporate education directly to company intranets, online training directly to small businesses, and online personal and professional development resources directly to individuals through CyberU. For large corporations, CyberU has developed an ASP-based Corporate Education System, providing training managers with a single interface to administer and track employee training across the entire enterprise, while delivering top online corporate training and executive education.
Through the system, Employee Knowledge Portals are built and customized for each employee in the corporation. Because the Corporate Education System is extranet-based, the service is continually improved and updated as new content becomes available.
Small businesses will benefit most from CyberU's Online Training Center, which helps small companies to grow their most valuable assets-their employees. CyberU brings together online business, technical, and skills training, which means that employees can learn everything from Microsoft Office to public speaking to accounting without leaving the office. CyberU reaches small businesses through its network of distribution partners and has launched an affiliate program with Commission Junction.
Over 40 colleges thus far are using Academic. With academic. Administrators get an easy-to-use, scalable, and fully supported eLearning platform. Campus IT professionals get a fully supported Internet-based solution that's easy to integrate within their existing infrastructure. Best of all, students get anytime, anywhere access to high-quality instruction even when they are on their own. Sloan Foundation. Specialized certification courses, corporate training and certificates are also offered to students at a distance.
Most distance learning courses are delivered through the World Wide Web, any time, any place in a wide range of disciplines. Distance learners typically experience instructor-led courses and classes are about the same size as campus lecture classes. Distance Education classes are structured to encourage interaction among students using a variety of technologies. Because these classes permit learning at anytime or anyplace, they are referred to as "asynchronous.
Who are the online educating members of Sloan-C? What is ALN? Distance Education course structure. Sloan-C invites you to experience the convenience and quality found in distance education programs from our consortium institutions.
Click here to view the Army RFP. To learn more about the Sloan Consortium and to register your on-line programs, please visit the Sloan Consortium catalog.
Looks like Active Development is another Blackboard wannbe! Active Development, Inc. Would you like to offer classes, testing and labs online? Create rich, dynamic content for your students easily Active Academic 1. Active Academic 1. In association with Sociosite, the International Consortium for the Advancement of Academic Publication ICAAP offers a database of "full text, freely available, peer reviewed and clearly identified scholarly journals.
Relevant subject headings include environmental studies, history, humanities, philosophy, political science, religious studies, and sociology. Each listing features a basic and expanded entry that includes information such as the type of periodical journal, newsletter, magazine, etc. In point of fact, many of the titles listed are not refereed journals, but magazines on scholarly topics with editorial, rather than peer, review.
And, as is so often the case with Internet publications, some are updated more frequently than others. Nonetheless, there is much here to take advantage of, and perhaps as the field of electronic scholarly publishing evolves, this ambitious Website will evolve along with it.
ICAAP "is a research and development laboratory and standards organization devoted to the advancement of electronic scholarly communication. The Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics NCES has found that 44 percent of all higher education institutions offered distance learning courses in the academic year.
That figure does not include the growing number of private, for-profit entities that are tapping the expanding market for adult education. The center estimated that 1. Still, despite the rapid growth, distance learning executives say they do not expect to supplant traditional campus-based universities.
Instead, they said they will focus on serving those people for whom a traditional educational program does not work.
The typical student for us is aged , employed with an over full life. The University of Phoenix has 48 campuses in 14 states in addition to its online offerings. The institution is not cutting into demand at traditional universities, Mueller says. Then it swells up and itches worse than anything else in the world. Insect bite remedies probably are right behind sunburn cream.
Sometime around late September to mid-October, fall arrives. The mountains turn wheat gold and luminous scarlet, with swaths of deep evergreen where the pine and balsam grow.
The TV stations run foliage reports where the best color is and is going to be over the following weeks , and the new driving challenge is leaf-peepers. These are tourists who come up to drive slow, stop unexpectedly and hop out of their cars to take pictures. Fortunately, they leave money - lots of money. They are a mainstay of the state's tourist economy, so those of us who realize that try to be tolerant and not run the idiots over on the highways. The farmers are all out in the fields, trying to get the last hay crop in and harvest the cow corn to feed the herds through the winter.
Signs go up along the roadside for "pick your own pumpkins", and you drive past fields where the early frosts have killed the pumpkin vines and left big orange globes scattered all over the place. People are getting in winter wood, and you pass piles of log chunks waiting to be split and stacked in folks' yards. The squirrels are frantically trying to stash food stocks for the winter, and everything the has fur starts putting on their winter coats.
After the colors fade and the leaves fall, we have the sixth and final season of the year: depressing. Also called brown. Also called any number of names that won't make it through Michele's e-mail filter at work. Everything is brown, or grey, or greyish brown, with those dark streaks of evergreens on the mountains. It reminds me of "winter" in Florida. Everyone waits for the snows to start, so the mountains will be covered in white and sparkle in the sunlight.
This is the second of the suicide seasons the first is the end of winter, when cabin fever sets in. This season lasts, unfortunately, anywhere from a month to three months. Thank the Goddess for Prozac and all his little cousins! Every season has it's challenges, but I wouldn't give them up for anything. I've lived where there's no spring or fall, and I don't want to do it again.
I'm sure it has something to do with being a pagan and a witch. I'm attuned to those seasonal changes, deep in my body. I want to hibernate in the winter and fuck anything male that walks on two legs in the spring. I'm just a happy little pagan, and man, I love my seasons! Vermont Village Witch Archives. I took a little vacation this weekend. Every once in a while, we all gotta get away, yeah?
I headed to DC, met up with Kali for some hot, steamy What did you think I was going to say? More on that later. And lemme tell you, if you don't know about Five Guys, you betta axe somebody. Fantastic burgers, and the greatest menu ever.
There's only one item on it, served 8 ways. You can get a burger with one or two patties, with or without American cheese, with or without bacon. There are a buttload of toppings you can get and they're all free. Including hot sauce. God love burger joints in the ghetto. And the fries Their small was like a pound and a half of fries. Trust me. You need the fat, or the burgers will just kinda fall apart.
And nobody wants that. Make sure the beef is cold when you start working with it. Add 1 tsp salt and pepper to the meat and mix thoroughly. Portion the beef into 4 equal balls, and form them each into a patty about 4 inches in diameter. On two of the patties, place half of the cheese -- I suggest using blue cheese, but any good strong melting cheese like cheddar will work wonderfully.
Take the other two patties and place them on top of the cheesed patties, and seal them up. Make sure they're sealed really well. You shouldn't be able to tell there's anything inside the burger You've got a half pound burger with an awesome surprise inside.
On a plate, mix the spices together. Dredge the burgers in the spice--really rub them in good--and let them come to room temperature before cooking. It'll ensure even cooking. You want to cook these burgers to at least medium. If you cook them less than that, the cheese won't melt on the inside.
You want to cook at a lower temperature becauseyou want the spice to blacken on the outside, without completely burning. Let them sit for about 5 minutes before serving to let them rest a bit, to keep them nice and juicy. Serve on toasted buns with your favorite fixins. My favorite for this burger is big onion slices, bacon, tomatoes, and chipotle mayo.
No record review this week. Instead, I thought I would tell you about the concert Kali and I saw Monday night, and included a picture of us so y'all can be jealous of me. First up? Their latest album, From Mars to Sirius , is on Prosthetic Records and was recently reviewed in this very column.
We showed up towards the end of their set because neither she nor I, nor my buddy Ace that was with us, really cared about seeing them. Boy, were we wrong. They rocked. The fuck. Tight, crisp performance. The club, by the way, has amazing sound. For the two or so songs we heard of them, I think I can safely say that we were all pretty damned impressed. Next brought the mighty Machine Head , whose latest album on Roadrunner is called The Blackening and just came out a couple of days ago.
They had a short-ish set only 35 minutes , and stuck mostly to The Blackening , though they did play some older stuff too. Rob Flynn was drunk as hell, but he's still one of the best shredders out there.
Giddy the fuck up. It's the first time I'd seen them live, and I wanted more. Direct support for the headliners were Orlando boys Trivium. I was extremely disappointed. This is the fourth time I've seen them live, and every time I've seen them was worse than the time before.
I want to see them in a headlining role, because I've heard they're much better as headliners. They just seem to kind of phone it in as an opening act. And Kali thinks the bass player looks like Fabio and she coveted his hair. I don't blame her. His locks were flowing.
Made up for the subpar singing. The headliners were home for this show, and you could tell. It's the first time I'd ever seen them live and I was not disappointed. I think it took them a couple of songs to get their sound down right, and what I liked most of all about their set is that they actually mixed it up. They played a slight majority of their songs from their latest album, Sacrament , but they played a bunch of songs from Ashes of the Wake , including my favorite song of theirs, "Now You've Got Something to Die For.
They even played a song from their first album, when they were known as Burn the Priest. When they played their last song, "Black Label", the entire place went fucking insane, including the four guys behind us in the balcony who were a very obviously gay for each other and b very obviously going to run a train on the girl that was with them to prove they weren't gay for each other.
Baby Huey only posted this week so he could prove he'd actually met Kali and you hadn't. Dishful of Metal Archives. John Cleland, shall live in infamy for all subsequent times unless we, the English people, do what is necessary for the good of our Nation, and burn all extant copies of this most nefarious Book at the site of the nearest hangman. This vile Book, I daresay, is such an egregious Attack on the morals of our youth, that I found myself reading it twice in one sitting, in order to assure myself that not only had the filth that I had just read actually existed, but to mark and underline every offensive passage, which was not an undaunting task, I assure you.
Cleland has so clearly sought to do. The very fact that this Mr. Cleland would stoop to speak from the voice of an English woman is all the more loathsome, for to impute this kind of ill behaviour and rude manner of speech on one of our fairer sex is to tarnish the moral nature of both our Nation and her women. I must urge you, dear Reader, not to fall into the evil trap of Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. There has not been a greater Attack on our values, nay, on Christianity itself, in many a year.
Any editors who own trenchcoats are already off to the bookstore. Secular Monk Archives. I like my art to be sad. That's not to say that I deplore happiness or satisfaction, that I hate a good happy ending or anything like that.
It's just that I have no problem with the sad endings, the tragic ones, with the stories that dwell on misery and suffering and all the pain inherent in living on this planet.
It seems to me that existence is brutal, to varying degrees for various people, but universally painful on certain levels. Now, life is worth it, I believe.
For the pain and misery and suffering that seems always around the next corner, there is also joy and happiness and great elation. Life is pretty damn cool, when you get right down to it.
That's my thought. Therefore, I don't want this to be taken as some sort of downcast condemnation of existence, as a hopeless screed. But the suffering is there and I don't believe it will ever go away.
I do think the human race is capable of great gains and achievements, of righting wrongs and carrying out justice. I believe that we can make lives better and that we can improve the world. I do believe in progress.
But I also believe that pain is a constant, that it will always exist and that the only difference is in how it manifests. Pain changes and morphs and puts on new faces, but it never disappears.
It simply takes a different form, the same as energy. So I like my art to deal with that. I like my art to dwell on it, to tackle it head on, to exhibit and try to make sense of all the pain in the world. However, I don't want my art to try to provide me answers for the pain. I don't want to be told the details about why we suffer and I don't want people to tell me how to make it end.
I don't want a lecture or a grave explanation of just how humanity has gone wrong and how it can correct itself. Give me a break—we don't have the answers.
No one has the answers. If they existed, we would be a hell of a lot better off. We've tried, oh how we've tried to make the world right and perfect. We try governments and economies and religion, we proclaim the Golden Rule and talk to our neighbors, we put ourselves into therapy and make friends and find lovers and it never goes away.
The pain doesn't disappear. The best we get is a retreat—temporary—and then the return of pain in a different form. Or, hell, half the time it comes back in the same damn form. We thought we beat it; we didn't. Don't get me wrong. This isn't defeatism or misery, this isn't even a dark night of heavy thoughts. I've been in a good mood today. I just like to face up to the reality of pain in this world and I always have. I think it's one of the key reasons I consider Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be one of the greatest shows of all time.
It dealt with pain forthright, head on, without ever hesitating or pulling back to give the viewer a breather. The show—specifically, Joss Whedon —had no trouble dumping tragedy upon tragedy on the viewer, inundating them with pain and misery and heartbreak, great loss. Whedon said multiple times that his goal was to pile on the pain until the audience felt they couldn't take any more—and then hit them with something else.
He always wanted to see how far he could take it because he wanted to be honest about life, about what happens in this world. Because the pain is always there, it's ever-present. You don't get a breather, no one decides that your life needs to be made happier so as not to alienate the audience.
If there's any audience to this existence, then it's an audience with endless tolerance. Give me the misery. Give me the horror, the tragedies, the injustices. I want all of it, because that's what this life is. Give me the pain, let me feel it.
Rip my fucking heart out; this is what I want. I can take it. I'll have to take it, because how can I manage real life pain if I can't take the pain that artists feed me? How do you survive your own very real life if you can't even handle the imagined lives?
Yes, I know, for many people art is about entertainment. They want the movies that make them feel good, that distract them from the pain of their lives. But I've never been that way. I'll take the entertainment, mind you, and I'll enjoy it and won't have a problem with letting my mind wander for a couple hours. When you get right down to it, though, I could live without the mindless entertainment—I can create that on my own—but I would have a much harder time getting by without the vicarious pain and misery.
It's that kind of art that leaves me thoughtful and contemplative, that leaves me feeling just a bit closer to making sense of the world. I don't think I can ever have a true understanding of the scope of this life, of its purpose or meaning or why people suffer the way they do, but I do believe I can gain a better grasp of it.
I think that I can come to terms with it and I believe that examining pain and suffering through art is a crucial component of coming to accept life, to dealing with the intricacies of our existence. I think art can make the pain more bearable, but only if you're willing to experience the painful art. It just makes it easier when the real pain comes around and you realize that, yes, this all happens to you, too.
It's not just something you read or watch—it's how the world is. And it's how the world will always be. So if art can confront it and help you to handle it when it raises its head for real, then all the better. Then suddenly art is not just entertainment and escape, it's a crucial element of life. It becomes an integral part of existence, which makes it richer and fuller, much more visceral and emotional.
It enhances life, and that is something special. From The Between. Joel knows what he likes. Or doesn't like. Lo-Fi Archives. Due to a computer crash and server problems the list of the worst comic book movies has been delayed a week while I try to scrape together enough cash to get myself a new computer.
Until then enjoy this. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank one of the unsung heroes of today's society, so raise a shot glass because this one goes out to you: Dumb-Dumb The Hot Chick. We've met several times, in all of your various forms. You seemed to have complete understanding that the cash register would do all of the work for you, so I don't blame you for being dumb-founded when, after he paid and the computer told you what change to give, he found the exact change in his pocket.
Of course you could have just given him a dollar back and taken the change but that deer in the headlights look you gave us made it perfectly clear: You're hot, and no one should expect you to do math. Dumb-Dumb The Hot Bar Chick: As you were sipping your fruity alcoholic slushy you butted into the conversation my friends and I were having. It was forgiven because you were hot and one of my friends decided he wanted to poon you in the ass.
However, as the conversation progressed, and I got drunker and mouthier, I accused you of doing blow and clown porn. The most priceless moment of the night was when you looked at me and said, "I saw that Johnny Depp movie so I know that blow is cocaine, but what's a clown? B I was choking from stifling back laughter which, if let out, would ruin my friends' chances of abusing your naivete and face fucking you.
Dumb-Dumb The Hot Sorority Girl: It was girls like you that made living in Isla Vista completely worth it, even though you never spoke to me in public. If it weren't for your overt need to prove you could get anywhere in life that you wanted by simply mouth-a-fying an occassionaly wang no one would understand how you managed to muddle through your chemical engineering class, even though you still pronounced nuclear as NUKE-U-LER I have to say though, Dumb-Dumb the Sorrority Girl, my fondest memory of you is the weekend we would spend together.
Oh I was never invited to the parties you attended but I got a kick out of sitting on my darkened, second story, balcony, in all black, with a bottle of vodka, and shooting you, and your friends, with my airsoft guns.
What made it that much more special was when you would durnkenly stumble back hours later, and I could shoot you again. The combination of low cut shirts and low rise jeans completely counteracts the fact that you can't do long division, which isn't actually all that hard. But it's okay, because I can see a little nipple so I'll let that slide. That and the fact that the drunker you get the more likely it is you'll show me the tattoo that "daddy doesn't know about" which resides just inches above parts I'm not supposed to see on a bar patio.
I'm also For that I'll forgive that one of your life's goals is to have a sugar daddy. You'll believe anything I say as long as I don't get that look on my face that screams, "I can't believe she's buying this shit.
After all, if it weren't for you and your ilk, I'd miss out on some of my favorite things in life: Like Hooters, Girls Gone Wild, Strip Clubs and spring break stories that include phrases like,. And I promise that I will call you, that is of course unless I'm called away on a super secret spy mission.
In which case, if I see you in the same bar next weekend I'll pretend not to know you That has been the feeling going around here lately. And no, it isn't about sex or anything like that. This is about things you can purchase.View credits, reviews, tracks and shop for the Vinyl release of Dance-Along Zoo: Activity Songs For Jumping, Rocking, Stretching, Skipping on Discogs.