Sweet Spot #5

I’m not sure what it says about me that none of the nine songs in this mix were recorded after 1980, and many of them were recorded in 1970 or earlier. Wait, yes I do: It says that I’m getting to be an old coot and I like the old-timey music. Well, like the man says, old-timey is not a crimey.



Won’t you please hire the discouraged?

Interesting article in the Chronicle today about “underemployment,” a phenomenon with which I am intimately familiar. According to Tom Abata,

The state Employment Development Department estimates that [the] underemployment rate hit 21.9 percent in September. That figure includes 1.9 million jobless Californians, 1.4 million people who had to work part time, and 865,000 adults loosely described as discouraged.

This struck me as odd incursion of emotion into the world of statistics. That’s a lot of discouraged people, and it doesn’t even account for the disillusioned, the disinterested, the disoriented, the distraught, the distracted, the dissipated, or the disquieted; although, to be fair, there’s a lot of overlap in those categories.

Capitalist Zombie Nightmare

The marquee at the Grand Lake Theater today—two complete movie titles and two partial—was like a little poem. Actually, now that I examine it, it’s a haiku with one superfluous syllable:


Zombieland Nightmare

Before Where the Wild Things Are

Things Not to Do (Sweet Spot #4)

Hiking near Tomales Point recently, I happened to think of the Neil Young song “Don’t Let It Bring You Down.” Conveniently enough, I had my faithful Monkeypod with me and was able to dial it up in a matter of seconds. The songs that followed it, all beginning with the word “Don’t,” seemed to fall together rather fortuitously….



On the Wrong Train

A particularly striking paragraph from my current reading project, Werner Herzog’s Conquest of the Useless, representative of Herzog’s peculiar combination of detached observation and visionary mysticism:

A man was walking down the dusty road to the Rio Nanay, shuffling a deck of cards as he went. On the plane a woman began to sing litanies, and then, her eyes growing wilder and wilder, to rail at evil spirits. Not until we had landed and taxied to a stop did she calm down. Am I in the wrong place here, or in the wrong life? Did I not recognize, as I sat in a train that raced past a station and did not stop, that I was on the wrong train, and did I not learn from the conductor that the train would not stop at the next station, either, a hundred kilometers away, and did he not also admit to me, whispering with his hand shielding his mouth, that the train would not stop again at all? Drastic measures, he whispered to me, were appropriate only for someone who had not set foot on this continent yet. To fail to embrace my dreams now would be a disgrace so great that sin itself would not be able to find a name for it.