January 29, 2003

coming soon.....pig lib

for those interested: -- Kasparov forced a draw in the second match vs. deep junior. next match, thursday.

move over dave eggers, james frey, with his tattoo that reads F.T.B.S.I.T.T.T.D. (for "fuck the bullshit, its time to throw down"), is the new you, according to this joe hagen piece in the new york observer.

a few excerpts:

"The Eggers book pissed me off," said Mr. Frey, referring to the best-selling and critically beloved A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, published in 2000. He was sitting in a black leather Eames chair in his 1,800-square-foot Tribeca loft on a recent afternoon, dressed in a pale blue T-shirt and green medical scrub pants. "Because a book that I thought was mediocre was being hailed as the best book written by the best writer of my generation," he said. "Fuck that. And fuck him and fuck anybody that says that. I don't give a fuck what they think of me. I'm going to try to write the best book of my generation and I'm going to try to be the best writer."

Mr. Frey (pronounced "fry") wasn't drunk when he said all this. In fact, he's a recovering crackhead, glue-sniffer, gas-huffer and alcoholic whose forthcoming memoir begins with the writer having fallen, well, flat on his fucking face-in this case, off a fire escape. After a two-week crack bender (the culmination of a three-year addiction), Mr. Frey is scraped off the pavement by some friends and sent by plane to his clueless parents, who then deliver the ravaged carcass of their son to the famous Minnesota rehab clinic, Hazelden. Thus begins A Million Little Pieces, the gripping raw story of a then 23-year-old Mr. Frey, who cobbles his life back together while angrily rejecting the 12-step program in favor of his own style of Taoism.

Mr. Frey attended Denison University in Ohio, where he dealt drugs, and did some heroic partying while majoring in English and film.

"He didn't get into Harvard, so he said, 'Fuck Yale'-even though he got in there-'I'm going to go have some fucking fun,'" said Mark Hyatt, a former college friend and Mr. Frey's onetime business partner in a production company in Los Angeles. The way Mr. Frey partied, said Mr. Hyatt, "he made everybody else look like they were Christian Scientists."

His book will be published in April.

January 28, 2003

Freedom, Revolt, and Love
by: Frank Stanford

They caught them.
They were sitting at a table in the kitchen.
It was early.
They had on bathrobes.
They were drinking coffee and smiling.
She had one of his cigarillos in her fingers.
She had her legs tucked up under her in the chair.
They saw them through the window.
She thought of them stepping out of a bath
And him wrapping cloth around her.
He thought of her walking up in a small white building,
He thought of stones settling into the ground.
Then they were gone.
Then they came in through the back.
Her cat ran out.
The house was near the road.
She didn't like the cat going out.
They stayed at the table.
The others were out of breath.
The man and the woman reached across the table.
They were afraid, they smiled.
The other poured themselves the last of the coffee.
Burning their tongues.
The man and the woman looked at them.
They didn't say anything.
The man and the woman moved closer to each other,
The round table between them.
The stove was still on and burned the empty pot.
She started to get up.
One of them shot her.
She leaned over the table like a schoolgirl doing her lessons.
She thought about being beside him, being asleep.
They took her long gray socks
Put them over the barrel of a rifle
And shot him.
He went back in his chair, holding himself.
She told him hers didn't hurt much,
Like in the fall when everything you touch
Makes a spark.
He thought about her getting up in the dark
Wrapping a quilt around herself.
And standing in the doorway.
She asked the men if they shot them again
Not to hurt their faces.
One of them lit him one of his cigarettes.
He thought what it would be like
Being children together.
He was dead before he finished it.
She asked them could she take it out of his mouth.
So it wouldn't burn his lips.
She reached over and touched his hair.
She thought about him walking through the dark singing.
She died on the table like that,
Smoke coming out of his mouth.

From The Light the Dead See: Selected Poems of Frank Stanford, edited by Leon Stokesbury. Reprinted by permission of the University of Arkansas Press.

helen thomas calls president bush "the worst president in all of american history."

paul krugman on last years state of the union address. guess what? most of last years promises have barely been addressed, can you believe it?

on the slightly less painful side, we have mr. a and the angry inch

January 27, 2003

best legal typo ever!?


see the fifth line in the second paragraph. the things lawyers can bill for!!!

this piece on bob dylan meeting the beatles for "a larf," has some insightful details and is pretty interesting if you can get past the many paragraphs in which the author talks about himself.

an excerpt that clearly shows ringo as the guinea pig for things lennon wasn't quite comfortable with:

"Bob handed the joint to John, who immediately handed it to Ringo.

'You try it!' John commanded.

That act instantly revealed the Beatles' pecking order. Obviously, Ringo was the low man on the totem pole. When Ringo hesitated, John made some sort of wisecrack about Ringo being his royal taster.

'Inhale with a lot of oxygen,' I instructed. 'Take a deep breath of air together with smoke and hold it in your lungs for as long as you can.'

As Ringo kept taking hits, Victor, Bob and I waited for him to pass the joint to John, who was sitting right next to Ringo. But the Beatles were unacquainted with the rituals of pot smoking. Pot smokers share joints because it's precious stuff. It's illegal, expensive and not easy to get. Pot smokers don't waste any smoke letting the joint burn idly like a cigarette. That's what's known as 'Bogarting' a joint, in honor of the way Humphrey Bogart held a lit cigarette in his fingers until the long ash would fall from its own weight. I neglected to instruct Ringo about passing the joint and it was obvious that he was going to hold onto it as if he were smoking a cigarette filled with tobacco. I didn't want to risk the possibility that Brian and the Beatles might recoil from the idea of passing a joint from lips to lips like a bottle shared by winos on a street corner. I asked Victor to roll more joints. Victor was an expert roller whose joints looked like regular cigarettes."

In other sports news, gary kasparov has beaten the IBM computer chess machine, deep junior, in the first game of a six game match. kasparov, through agressive manuvering, won the game in only 3 hours and 40 minutes.

Kudos and congratulations to dan and maria for organizing a danielle howle show as the premier of their "live at the deej," a basement concert series in upper nw, dc. between the organizers zeal, and the jaw-dropping talent of ms. howle, the evenings success was inevitable. danielle even played a song just for me! if she comes to your town, check her out. she will put a smile on your face.

January 24, 2003

old bob lookin' a little rough

20 cheap beers, reviewed. via the new webmag, the black table.

lucid, logical rant on the Office of National Drug Policy's anti-pot advertisements.

A Brautigan Friday

the following three poems are from Richard Brautigan's 1978 book, June 30 June 30. All poems were written while Brautigan was in Japan in June 1976.

The American Fool

a few weeks ago a middle-aged taxi driver
started talking to me in english. his english
was very good.
I asked him if he had ever been to america.
wordlessly, poignantly he made a motion
with his hand that was not driving the streets
of tokyo
at his face that suddenly looked very sad.
the gesture meant that he was a poor man
and would never be able to afford to go to america.
we didn't talk much after that.

A Short Study in Gone

When dreams wake
life ends.
Then dreams are gone.
Life is gone.

A Mystery Story

Every time I leave my hotel room
here in tokyo
I do the same four things:
I make sure I have my passport
my notebook
a pen
and my English --
Japanese dictionary.
The rest of life is a total mystery.

January 23, 2003

more from the "I can't believe this guy is president" department

by now, i suppose we should not be shocked by news such as this. bush has appointed Jerry Thacker, a bob jones university graduate, who has called AIDS the "gay plague," and has described homosexuality as a "deathstyle rather than a lifestyle," to serve on the Presidential Commission on AIDS and HIV.

It took a while, but I finally found a bookstore in DC that had tina brown celona's book of poems the real moon of poetry and other poems in stock. So, here's a tina brown celona poem:

jade rabbit

i consider writing about something
i have written about before
but am interrupted by something outside
very wet because of the rain
and it occurs to me i will never
say convincingly "lets go swimming"
because you know i dont like swimming
though we go often but because
i always say "so should we go
swimming" doubtfully
looking at my jade rabbit
his humid posture and placid posture
as he nibbles the orange ground
of a book by john ashbury
rivers and mountains

tina brown celona will be reading at housing works in nyc on January 30.

January 22, 2003

Necessary Government Spending?

According to this article found at reason.com, during the fall election season (and on in to December), the White House funded some $48 million nationally in anti-marijuana ads.

And drudge, always looking for a scoop, reports that John Edwards was chewing gum during a diner marking the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Isn't there anything more important to report, mr. drudge?

January 21, 2003

Blues for Dante Alighieri

....without hope we live on in desire....

Our room was too small, the sheets scratchy and hot—
Our room was a kind of hell, we thought,
and killed a half-liter of Drambuie we'd bought.

We walked over the Arno and back across.
We walked all day, and in the evening, lost,
argued and wandered in circles. At last

we found our hotel. The next day we left for Rome.
We found the Intercontinental, and a church full of bones,
and ate takeout Chinese in our suite, alone.

It wasn't a great journey, only a side trip.
It wasn't love for eternity, or any such crap;
it was just something that happened....

We packed suitcases, returned the rental car.
We packed souvenirs, and repaired to the airport bar
and talked about pornography, and movie stars.

Kim Addonizio

January 17, 2003

to stream the new bonnie prince billy album, click here

All In My Good Time
by Frank Stanford

He did not leave there
even for sermons
He ground his own meal
Watching the sun rise like a weed
in the ditch
and come down with the mange
One night a hub cap
jumped off a pickup and came on
coasting down that cleared path
running to his place
He thought it was running
away from the moon
He went out to his porch
as calm as you ever
silent as blue blazes
I bet a falling star wouldn't have made him
flinch There he was to see
if his wine was chilled
He breathed on his hard hands
and wandered out over his land
That is how I came to be

January 16, 2003

Review of new Bonnie Prince Billy album, which is set for release on January 28, 2003, the same day as his Black Cat performance.
Each day hundreds of newspapers across the world submit their front pages to the Newseum. You can view today's front pages here.

on a hot and humid day in nyc

click here

pay particular attention to the brown haired women with the brown sweater at the 14 second mark. and at the split screen, to katie couric's expression.
molly ivans on the "back-asswardness" of the Bush tax plan

January 15, 2003

In the January 20, 2003 edition of the new yorker Hendrik Hertzberg writes that the average $1,083 that Bush keeps telling us middle income Americans will hold on to under his tax plan is as the Financial Times wrote "completely bogus." In fact, according to Hertzberg the $1,083 number is true, "only in the sense that it is also true that if Bill Gates happened to drop by a homeless shelter....the average person in the room would have a net worth of a billion dollars." Hertzberg states that the average taxpayer in the middle of the income range will only receive a couple of hundred dollars.

On the other hand, he writes: "If his income this year is unchanged, [Bush] could get a windfall of as much as $44,500. Not bad -- more, in fact, than the total income, before taxes, of a substantial majority of American families. Dick Cheney does even better. His tax break comes to $327,000 -- more than the before-tax income of 98 percent of of his fellow-citizens."

Oh, and author John Le Carre believes America has "entered one of its periods of historical madness."

January 14, 2003

why can't monsters get along with other monsters?

david berman interview circa American Water.

by Laura Jensen

Like jewelry his bicycle
gleams on my porch,
attached to his hands,
carried a flight
before he even knocks
and it wheels its
majesty into my kitchen.
As we talk of the torch
I flick my lighter. Later
we fly to the park.
He wheels away down streets
and sometimes closer,
asking how far,
how far, but we get there—
wooden barriers marking
the route, the band,
the children given
yellow t-shirts, kazoos,
balloons. He leans
against a tree, the bicycle
leans against him, his
other arm
comes around
me, for a moment.
I say it is like
a cover from an old
Saturday Evening Post by
Norman Rockwell—the blue
sky roped by stars and stripes,
the old brick restaurant,
the green canopy over us,
old people in hats and mesh
chairs. After some serious
waiting, a number
of false here they ares,
the children release
their balloons as rehearsed,
and from back of the crowd
I see the runner dimly,
and clearly above him the torch.
He tells me each
keeps the torch he ran with.
And we walk and wheel
back to the ducks.
Where the shadows of a willow
reflect, he tells me
I'd become an alcoholic
if I had a glass like that
to drink from.

Copyright © Laura Jensen

January 13, 2003


Pete Townsend arrested for links to kiddie porn.

January 10, 2003

Dr. Bill Frist and his corporate vices.

January 9, 2003

Sea of Faith -- john brehm

Once when I was teaching "Dover Beach"
to a class of freshmen, a young woman
raised her hand and said, "I'm confused
about this 'Sea of Faith.' " "Well," I said,
"let's talk about it. We probably need
to talk a bit about figurative language.

What confuses you about it?"
"I mean, is it a real sea?" she asked.
"You mean, is it a real body of water
that you could point to on a map
or visit on a vacation?"

"Yes," she said. "Is it a real sea?"
Oh Christ, I thought, is this where we are?
Next year I'll be teaching them the alphabet
and how to sound words out.

I'll have to teach them geography, apparently,
before we can move on to poetry.
I'll have to teach them history, too--
a few weeks on the Dark Ages might be instructive.
"Yes," I wanted to say, "it is.
It is a real sea. In fact it flows
right into the Sea of Ignorance

Let me throw you a Rope of Salvation
before the Sharks of Desire gobble you up.
Let me hoist you back up onto this Ship of Fools
so that we might continue our search
for the Fountain of Youth. Here, take a drink
of this. It's fresh from the River of Forgetfulness."

But of course I didn't say any of that.
I tried to explain in such a way
as to protect her from humiliation,
tried to explain that poets
often speak of things that don't exist.

It was only much later that I wished
I could have answered differently,
only after I'd betrayed myself
and been betrayed that I wished
it was true, wished there really was a Sea of Faith
that you could wade into,
dive under its blue and magic waters,
hold your breath, swim like a fish
down to the bottom, and then emerge again
able to believe in everything, faithful
and unafraid to ask even the simplest of questions,
happy to have them simply answered.

UK poet laureate Andrew Motion speaks out against war in Iraq via pen:


They read good books, and quote, but never learn
a language other than the scream of rocket-burn.
Our straighter talk is drowned but ironclad:
elections, money, empire, oil and Dad.

ian svenonious interviews howard zinn (2002). via index magazine

January 8, 2003

Bike Ride with Older Boys
Laura Kasischke

The one I didn't go on.

I was thirteen,
and they were older.
I'd met them at the public pool. I must

have given them my number. I'm sure

I'd given them my number,
knowing the girl I was. . .

It was summer. My afternoons
were made of time and vinyl.
My mother worked,
but I had a bike. They wanted

to go for a ride.
Just me and them. I said
okay fine, I'd
meet them at the Stop-n-Go
at four o'clock.
And then I didn't show.

I have been given a little gift—
something sweet
and inexpensive, something
I never worked or asked or said
thank you for, most
days not aware
of what I have been given, or what I missed—

because it's that, too, isn't it?
I never saw those boys again.
I'm not as dumb
as they think I am

but neither am I wise. Perhaps

it is the best
afternoon of my life. Two
cute and older boys
pedaling beside me—respectful, awed. When we

turn down my street, the other girls see me . . .

Everything as I imagined it would be.

Or, I am in a vacant field. When I
stand up again, there are bits of glass and gravel
ground into my knees.
I will never love myself again.
Who knew then
that someday I would be

thirty-seven, wiping
crumbs off the kitchen table with a sponge, remembering
them, thinking
of this—

those boys still waiting
outside the Stop-n-Go, smoking
cigarettes, growing older.

I found this poem at Poetry 180 a site set up by the library of congress for high school students -- a poem a day for each school day. Two david berman poems are included: Imagining Defeat and Snow.

words words words

alistair fitchett on the mountain goats. pretty sure tallahassee will be in my collection by the weekend.

January 7, 2003

up in the old hotel

a nice piece on joseph mitchell, and the decline of the profile. (via the morning news.)

January 6, 2003

Richard Yates at the Remainder Table

On a weekend trip to DC's finest bookstore, Politics & Prose, I found, in the remainder section, not only a hardcopy version of Yates' "Collected Stories," but also three paperback copies of "The Easter Parade." Needless to say, I bought them all (at $7 and $4 respectively, it was difficult not to grab them all -- they make great presents). But it is pretty disturbing that one of greatest authors of the last half of the 1900's finally gets his books back in print only to have them remaindered around a year later.

If you see one, pick it up.
silver palace

click on this and when prompted use "BPB" (must be in caps) as the password. if you scroll down the the 1999 Lis Ard Festival you will find a mp3 copy of will oldham and david berman together on stage. berman reads a bunch of poems, and they play songs, alone and together.

January 3, 2003

friday morning frank stanford

only one set in the singer's eyes
- frank stanford

He got drunk looking at a woman from his past
And this is what he wrote down on a paper sack
In the tavern one night while I watched him:
Your body is a plantation
I worked on for seven years, all of them solid,
Deep in summer it's uncleared timber, backwater
Ditch and slough, the years of the bad-assed
Sax, the years of bad cotton, nights and crops
I went shares on, evenings with gars,
Lord God Almighty didn't it rain,
So long, say love, say night honey, pull
A stump, court with your crowbar,
The bedrooms like trembling bridges,
Like women holding mirrors in the spring,
And here I am, the snow all around me,
A match in my mouth, like the high water,
Crazy, sad, and dangerous, a log
Chain on your floor, what love
There was, bee on the rose, buried in the year
Book in the attic, common and pretended sleep,
No one loses their shadow because no one
Is a boat on a river without wind,
And there are screws on the window sill
Never will be sunken to hold a pane,
You can listen to the rain, you can lie
Yourself back into bodies you never
Touched, cruelty, cruelty, cruelty,
That's what I told her.

so, you want to date a stripper?

I suppose if you get one thing from this article it would be: "DO remember this: strippers are more fucked up than The Who was during their 1973 U.K. "Quadrophenia" Tour. "

January 2, 2003

happy new year!!!

good, short piece on the bush administrations illogical foreign policy.