I’m particularly pleased with this one for some reason…I just like the way the songs fall together. Maybe you will too. Happy Thanksgiving, turkeys.
It was Cecil who broke the news to me yesterday that Stephen Jackson had departed for the East, leaving behind the flaming mass of writhing agony that is Your Golden State Warriors Basketball Team. Hard to believe that it was only two and a half years ago that I was writing giddy little love poems to Don Nelson and his ragtag bunch of small-w warriors as they shocked the world by upending the mighty Dallas Mavericks.
Where are they now? Jason Richardson, unceremoniously dumped for salary cap room. Baron Davis wearing a Clippers jersey, the most shameful item of clothing in all of basketball, possibly all of sports. Al Harrington keeping LeBron’s seat warm in New York, in between launching up threes. And now Captain Jack, that lovable lunatic, gone in a cloud of bitterness and recrimination. The only ones left are Nellie himself — increasingly embattled, looking more and more like Captain Ahab or Colonel Kurtz — and moped enthusiast Monta Ellis, who is no doubt on the phone to his agent right this minute looking to follow Jackson out of town.
It’s an ugly scene, and there’s no comfort to be had from watching the Raiders, who are a mortal lock to lose pretty much every game they play. (Though there is money to be made betting on their opponents.) As a matter of fact it’s hard to say which organization is more dysfunctional these days. And, honestly, why bother? I’m going to take a nap now; wake me up when either Chris Cohan or Al Davis drops dead.
Water. NASA found water on the moon.
I was a little groggy when I was reading the paper this morning, so I may have this wrong, but I’m pretty sure NASA found whitey on the moon. That Gil-Scott Heron is a prophet!
Got to spend some quality time last night with my old friends Dan and Bob, and also with our other friends Charles, Kim, Joey, and David, who play together in a band called the Pixies. The Pixies were in town to play some shows marking the 20th anniversary of their album Doolittle, an album which, like the first Velvet Underground record, launched a thousand bands—including Nirvana, who launched ten thousand more.
It’s hard to get too sentimental about Pixies music, which is loud and aggressive and full of death imagery, though I suppose you could shed a tear over “Monkey Gone to Heaven” or “Silver.” (Speaking of the latter, can I rant for a minute? Why is it that a minute a band plays anything less than punishingly loud, a hundred conversations start up? You have the rest of your goddamn life to yammer on about whatever you please. Can’t you just shut up for a minute so we can hear the music we all paid to hear? OK, thanks, I feel better now.) The highlight for me was probably “Hey,” which triggers some vivid memories of my 20th and 21st years. Aided by lyrics on the video screen—although I think they knew the words anyway—most of the crowd sang along, and it was surreal to hear a thousand people singing
Been trying to meet you
Must be a devil between us, or whores in my head
Whore, door, whores in my bed
But hey, where have you been?
If you go, I will surely die
It gave me the chills, actually, but the good kind. Worth the price of admission alone, right there.
To get your FDA-recommended dose of laughs today, I recommend you check out this trailer created by Cecil Vortex and friends. Tell Cecil I sent you.
Today’s musical treat includes visits from an old favorite (David Bowie), a new favorite (The Decemberists), an old favorite that I didn’t know about until recently (Kevin Ayers), and three-quarters of the Beatles. Enjoy.
Doing research for yesterday’s post, I came across an amazing piece in Wired (from whence I stole the gorgeous picture at the top of this page, which I honestly believe in every legal sense to be in the public domain, as most NASA photos are). It’s called “Baby Neutron Star Found Inside Supernova Remnant,” and it starts like this:
Scientists have finally identified the mysterious source of X-ray emissions at the center of our galaxy’s youngest supernova: Inside the remains of Cassiopeia A sits a baby neutron star surrounded by a thin layer of carbon dioxide.
That’s right: A new star is born from the remains of a dead star. It’s just too metaphorically precise, isn’t it? Some might see this as evidence of a benevolent deity, or intelligent design, or some such thing; but it reminds me of the Babel fish:
The Babel fish, said The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quietly, is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy not from its carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.
Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindboggingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
The argument goes something like this: ‘I refuse to prove that I exist,’ says God, ‘for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.
‘But,’ says Man, ‘The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.’
‘Oh dear,’ says God, ‘I hadn’t thought of that,’ and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
The mutation from terrestrial to interstellar life must be made, because the womb planet itself is going to blow up in a few billion years…. Planet Earth is a stepping stone on our time-trip through the galaxy. Life has to get its seed-self off the planet to survive….
There are also some among us who are bored with the amniotic level of mentation on this planet and look up in hopes of finding someone entertaining to talk to.
–Timothy Leary and L. Wayne Brenner
Last night’s viewing was Werner Herzog’s The Wild Blue Yonder, a bizarre mindfuck of a movie combining found footage, video of scuba diving in Antarctica and a space shuttle mission, and Brad Dourif playing an alien whose narration ties the whole thing together. Herzog calls this science fiction, though he claims his previous exposure to sci-fi consisted of one of the “Star War” movies and one of the movies with “Dr. Spock” in it. Read more »
There seems to be a bit of kerfluffle going about the fact that music may have been used as an instrument of torture at Guantanamo Bay and other American detention camps. According to the Washington Post,
A high-profile coalition of artists — including the members of Pearl Jam, R.E.M. and the Roots — demanded last week that the government release the names of all the songs that, since 2002, were blasted at prisoners for hours, even days, on end, to try to coerce cooperation or as a method of punishment.
Certainly one can understand why an artist would not want their work either classified as torture or used for that purpose, although James Hetfield of Metallica seems to take it as a perverse sort of compliment: “We’ve been punishing our parents, our wives, our loved ones with this music for ever. Why should the Iraqis be any different?”