Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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December 14, 2014

"Is it because I'm nappy? Why yu suh trigger happy?"‏

Steel Pulse's brand new "Hands Up I Can't Breathe": here

Hit the very same day as these events.

SP's most topical tune in 30 + years?

Not necessarily.

See, e.g:.

"No Justice No Peace" (1994)  


"Put Your Hoodies On (4 Trayvon)" (2013).

November 23, 2014

CW, + / vs. BA (from A to B and back again)

complete video here

highlights of talk by "ovakian" (as west pronounced it a couple times):

min. 38 -- comes out as pro-salad bar
min. 45 --  addresses the question: 'why not kill off all the white people?'
min. 104 -- addresses the question: 'is Ebola just a 'narrative'?'
min. 107 -- addresses the question: 'can ba outrace usain bolt?'
min. 133 -- digression regarding james brown's 'raggedy-ass' politics
min. 149 -- bkgd of bpp executive mandate # 3 (3.1.68)
min. 207 -- ba sings!!

generally funnier and more self-deprecating than expected

west on the other hand was 1st or only to mention (roughly in order) all of the following:

Harry Belafonte
Pamela Frank ("Sister Pam")
W.E.B. DuBois
Nat Turner
Harriet Tubman
Frederick Douglass
Fannie Lou Hamer
Sojourner Truth
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Marcus Garvey
Alice Walker
Sly Stone
George Santayana
Michelle Alexander (author of "a kind of secular Bible")
Iris [Noche?] Diaz
Nina Simone
Mahalia Jackson
Aretha Franklin
Luther Vandross
Donny Hathaway
Carmen McRae
Mary Lou Williams
[tho not Billie Holiday??]
John Coltrane
Frantz Fanon
Reverend James Cleveland
Thelonious Monk
Edward Snowden
Chelsea Manning
Rosa Parks
David Ruffin
Otis Redding
The Delfonics
Ohio Players
the late Big Bank Hank
Wu-Tang Clan
Malcolm X
Elijah Muhammad
bell hooks
The O'Jays
Gamble and Huff
Rev. Dr. Amy K. Butler
Emma Goldman
Sinclair Lewis
Bernard Butler (Urban Diary TV)
Rev. William Wilson Blair

ok tho incomplete discussion of event  =  here

October 15, 2014
through confusion wisdom

Mary the maid, in Ionesco's The Bald Soprano:

Who has any interest in prolonging [faire durer] this confusion? I don't know.  Let's not try to know. Let's leave things as they are.

[above rendering taken from this]

Later in the play:

Mr. Smith: Take a circle, caress it, and it will turn vicious.

one of the most observant or at least funniest works of art inspired by the attempt (and often failure) to learn a new language.

September 30, 2014

On Nerval's mad library

This is TiR's very favorite passage from Aurélia, written around 1853-4:

My books, an odd assortment [amas bizarre] of the knowledge of all ages, history, travels, religion, the cabala, astrology . . . the Tower of Babel in two hundred volumes . . . They were enough to drive a wise man mad [rendre fou un sage]; let us try to ensure that there is enough to make a madman sane [rendre sage un fou].  

(above translation taken from this)

Mind you, Nerval is describing the decor of his room in a lunatic asylum.  He claims his possessions in this chamber -- "an odd interior composed of palace and hovel" -- to include also a canopy bed, ornate 17th and 18th century furnishings with porcelain inlays, a crystal vase, a hookah pipe, wood paneling from his former home, oil paintings, a huge map of Cairo, and twenty years worth of various other personal momentos.  

The reader at first may assume with some justification that the writer is madly hallucinating it all, as he has so much already throughout his book-journal.  

Not so, however.  The progressive-minded Dr. Esprit Blanche allowed his patient -- more of a houseguest, really -- to move in all of these items.

Arthur Symons, in his The Symbolist Movement in Literature (1899), laid into Nerval and his library:

The madness of Gerard de Nerval . . . I take to have been essentially due to the weakness and not the excess of his visionary quality, to the insufficiency of his imaginative energy, and to his lack of spiritual discipline. He was an unsystematic mystic . . . precisely because it was this amas bizarre, this jumble of the perilous secrets in which wisdom is so often folly, and folly so often wisdom. . . Wavering among intuitions, ignorances, half-truths, shadows of falsehood, now audacious, now hesitating, he was blown hither and thither by conflicting winds, a prey to the indefinite. 

(Symon's whole book as .txt file = here)

Symons says this like it's a bad thing?

August 31, 2014

moi, global village idiot

          Like the village idiot [l'innocent du village], I see the vision, I hear the mode
          And the instrument, but the words like a herd of stumbling buffaloes  [un troupeau de buffles confus] 
          Bump against my teeth and my voice opens on the void.
          The last chord hushed, and I must begin again at zero,
          Learn once again this language so strange and ambiguous [si étrangère et double] . . . 

from Léopold Sédar Senghor's "Elegy for Martin Luther King (for jazz orchestra)"

(found here)

(orig. here)

methinks TiR often feels this way, this summer / year, esp. whenever after reading the daily newspapers

July 31, 2014

current dastardly undislodgeable brainloop







June 12, 2014

from Brazuca to Banzhaf

Below is TiR's current favorite World Cup factoid, about 2014's official soccer ball, the Brazuca, which replaces the little loved Jabulani from last time around:

"To stem criticism this time, Adidas showed the ball to more than 600 of the world's top players, a third of whom were not Adidas-contracted players."

                             (from USA Today)

Emphasis supplied.

Adidas seems to be a believer in weighted voting -- if not in its  shareholders meetings (TiR is too lazy to figure that one out),  at least with regard to footballs.

We glean that the Banzhaf power index might be what one resorts to, to make sense of these things.


The great Dave Zirin, here, describes the World Cup's FIFA as a great "Trojan Horse" of global neoliberalism . . . but one whose " product is irresistible."

A quite good Sports Illustrated profile of the factory  where the ball is manufactured, in Sialkot, Pakistan, is here.

Though, as stated therein, four-fifths of all of its raw materials come from China.

Basic monthly salary at the factory?  10,000 rupees, per here.

Current US dollar equiv.? $102.90, per here.

Current price of an official Brazuca on Amazon?  $144

Yes, TiR knows that you saw the last link coming a mile away.

May 31, 2014

recent dream:

discussion with B. Eno in which he recalled that for a time in early 70s he experimented w/ painting random letters onto his eyelids as part of his  everyday makeup.

TiR asked him if he began with the easiest letters to paint whilst looking in a mirror, i.e., those with vertical line symmetry

e.g., A, H, I, M, O, T, U, V, W, X, Y

he replied that, yes, that's exactly what he did


2 posts here w/in 4 mos. that relate dreams?  involving musicians?

are these indeed the depths to which this blog has sunk?  

oh yess

April 30, 2014
"the last"

Hopefully, it won't be, in the case of issue # 12, the latest, spring 2014 edition of Or, the "literary tabloid," edited by Paul Vangelisti, of the Graduate Writing program at Otis College of Art & Design.

Nevertheless, the ominous phrase above is emblazoned, unexplained, on the cover of #12.

TiR's glimpsing it caused us to put the new issue aside and leave it unread for days, then weeks, until a moment when we felt greater fortitude to open it and read the likely announcement of the death of yet another terrific print publication.

However: no such announcement!  we are happy to (not) find, apparently, behind the cover and within the contents.  Or on-line.

What a scare.

Would be a greater shame than ever to lose Or, given that, only last month, it published in # 11 a poem that TiR believes might be the most wonderful that we have ever read about a library:

It's downtown but it's in the mountains. It has no computers but there's a full bar (the bartenders double as librarians). The walls are solid books except for the plate glass facing the redwood groves. Late last night, or was it early this morning, they were serving Akhmatova gimlets while a chanteuse was scatting a remarkably long riff of Dewey decimals. . . . This place is a refuge at all hours, a shelter for those with no place else to go, and there's always entertainment, dead or alive. . . The barkeeps recommend books -- no bestsellers . . . These nights and days on the last barricades before paper is obsolete have the intense flavor of our final kiss, when we could savor Paradise disappearing. . . .

The above is approximately half of  "My Dream Library" by Stephen Kessler.

[The latest issue, meanwhile, features Amiri Baraka's* fashion this, from the irony of the world (2003):

                                                 . . .      Each night I fill my notebooks with formula

And instructions to myself and others on what to do of what to study of where to 

Go who to talk to and when. I make lists of words, names, events, processes,

necessary stages of what we have come to realize is protracted. And what we do we 

will do.

(We can relate to some of the above)


*now "lift[ed] into the outer waygonsphere"?

TiR often wonders whether the true ur- or sous-texte of this blog is the death, and survival, of print culture.

April 29, 2014

April's top dozen 


Peter Trawny on Heidegger's Denktagebuch: "This is a point that we can't contextualize any more. No hermeneutics can save this."

Piketty on how le passé dévore l'avenir; S. Durlauf on abolition as "the most important anti-inequality movement in the history of the country"


Lola Beltrán's "Te Traigo Estas Flores"
Francis Francine's ritualistic transformation in "Lonesome Cowboys"
          ["Lonesome Cowboys" filming location today]

the great Fran Lebowitz:  "I’m sick of looking at Andy’s work, and even sicker of his disciples."

Blind Summit Theater's astonishing puppetry contributions to "Madame Butterfly"

Frankie Faison's "the Doppler Effect joke," Jarmusch's "Permanent Vacation"

Orson Welles as valliant attempter at sneakily infiltrating the techniques of European surrealism into American mass culture?  (but also too: of Eisenstein)

 Dali, Boiffard and Lacan on the "paranoiac-critical method"


Chuito el de Bayamón's "El Niño Campesino"