30 April 2007

Aristotle + Mimesis + Gisele

[The cracked lookingglass of a servant.]

From a Southern Oregon University English department page:

For Aristotle, mimesis comes from a fundamental "desire to know." Human learning is inherently mimetic. People derive a pleasure of "learning and inference" from mimesis.
Mimesis = Mirror. The connection's too obvious. Etc.

Aristotle + Mimesis + Gisele

[The cracked lookingglass of a servant.]

From a Southern Oregon University English department page:

For Aristotle, mimesis comes from a fundamental "desire to know." Human learning is inherently mimetic. People derive a pleasure of "learning and inference" from mimesis.
Mimesis = Mirror. The connection's too obvious. Etc.

The Last Novel

[We judge books by their covers. This one's sexy.]

We love David Markson here. Ever since Wittgenstein's Mistress and title character's crazy thinking about Clytemnestra's vacation plans with Helen, and Cassandra lurking at windows; shooting out galleries and kiteskating with canvases; and asking Heidegger to name her cat (which reply is Argos--LOL!). We've been hooked. So when we were at the bookstore the other day and we saw the pretty new cover to Markson's latest novel, The Last Novel, well, we just had to get it. For our friend, from whom we promptly borrowed it. The style is. Well, the page looks something this,

The sections in The Last Novel are a little longer. Here are some of our faves.

No further martinis after dinner, Conrad Aiken's physician once commanded.
Following which Aiken frequently refused to eat until practically bedtime.

Stephen Dedalus, at Sandymount, in 1904.
Is he aware that Yeats was born there?

A quirky new impulse of Novelist's, at news of several recent deaths--
Dialing the deceased, in the likelihood that no one would have yet disconnected their answering machines--and contemplating their voices on final eerie time.

Novelist does not own a cat, and thus most certainly could not have thrown one out a window.
Nonetheless he would lay odds that more than one hopscotching reviewer will be reading carelessly enough here to never notice these two sentences and announce that he did so.

Only this tardily realizing--that if he had not made use of his middle name, among the better-known twentieth-century American poets would be a William Williams.

Act. Then call upon the gods.
Says another Euripides fragment.

A heart attack while swimming, Theodore Roethke died of.

For no reason whatsoever, Novelist has just flung his cat out one of his four-flights0up front windows.

It may be essential to Harold Bloom that his audience not know quite what he is talking about.
Commenteth Alfred Kazin--pointing out other immortal phrasings altogether.

It was Beckett's wife who took the call informing them that Beckett had won the Nobel Prize. Her first reaction, even as she turned to tell him:
Quel catastrophe!

The writer Bret Easton Ellis, who imparted to a New York Times reporter that he had been reading the Bible--but then seemed uncertain as to whether in the Old Testament or the New.
Were the stories about Moses or Jesus?
Jesus. I think.

Of no significance whatsoever. But the hospital where Dylan Thomas would die, sixty-one years after the fact, was the one after which Edna Millay had been named.

Old. Tired. Sick. Alone. Broke.

Losing her sight in later life, Constance Garnett arranged to have Russian books read aloud--and then dictated her translations.

1922. Ulysses.
1922. The Waste Land.

1922. Reader's Digest.

A seminonfictional semifiction.
And with its interspersed unattributed quotations at roughest count adding up to a hundred or more.

Theodore Dreiser's general preference for the word kike, rather than Jew.

You have but two topics, yourself and me, and I'm sick of both.
Johnson once told Boswell.

Baseball is what we were, football is what we have become.
Said Mary McGrory.

27 April 2007

Ian McEwan

[The Best British Writer of his Generation.]

Read Ian McEwan. You know that we're Foster Wallace people, but still, this McEwan is an infinitely more talented writer qua writer of characters, fear, anxiety, and breaking loss. DFW is moving in this direction (indeed, has been moving in this direction since the last 200 pages of Infinite Jest) but McEwan seems to have been born with the ability to pull those strings we call psychological by mere movement of his pen on paper. That is, he's very very talented and makes us gasp at times, and we just know that he meant to make us gasp right there, and we're really jealous of him for his doing this. This part here is the beginning of The Cement Garden, surely one of the best books written, and it should be read by all children, as soon as possible, so they can learn about sex and self-starting.
I did not kill my father, but I sometimes felt I had helped him on his way. And but for the fact that it coincided with a landmark in my own physical growth, his death seemed insignificant compared to what followed. My sisters and I talked about him the week after he died, and Sue certainly cried when the ambulance men tucked him in a bright red blanket and carried him away. He was a frail, irascible, obsessive man with yellowish hands and face. I am only including the little story of his death to explain how my sisters and I came to have such a large quantity of cement at our disposal.
That has to be the finest last line of an opening paragraph--ever. "I am only including the little story of his death to explain how my sisters and I came to have such a large quantity of cement at our disposal." Ian McEwan is the truth, and that there is the fucking poise and balance of the period itself.

26 April 2007

We Drank So Much Caffeine Today That It IS HArd to Contain This Thing

[The metaphysics of presence make this picture the telos of sexy.]

Been reading freedarko lately. Don't care about basketball, etc. Well, kind of care. But we don't know anything about basketball. But we do know things about awesome pictures, a category to which that there picture above belongs.

Update Re: Dan Stafford

Fuck Praise be Dan Stafford! Just moments ago, which you should realize means just moments after I sent two emails, Mr. Stafford replied,

Payne -

Holy goodness! All praise be to the highest, you sir, have been REMOVED
from the EA list.

Jumpin' Jehoshaphat, your long nightmare of receiving email from me, Dan
Stafford, is finally over. But you made it friend, you got to the other
side, hopefully preventing you from climbing the myriad skyscrapers next
to the ocean in which you would have dumped countless gallons of oil
(which according to my records would be quite a feat, since you live in
Albuquerque). Thankfully, you can forsake Libertarianism, and return to
being a liberal.

Enjoy your half-second of freedom sir, which, by my count adds up to
about a minute of your time I've wasted over the last year, ironically
that minute is significantly less time than it took for you to compose
your email to me, prompting my longer-than-a-minute email back.

Which reminds me - I do need to devote more of my time today to creating
yet another 'miserable excuse for a call to action', so I shall bid you


We like this guy! But we have to wonder, why does the environmental action or whatever it's called website lie about its forwarding these emails to people? Mr. Stafford??

Fuck Dan Stafford, whoever he Is

We sent this email out just now.


I've been receiving these emails for a while now, and I've tried to unsubscribe. I get this page,

We could not find that e-mail address in our records. This is probably because you get e-mail at another e-mail address that forwards to this one. Click here to try another e-mail address or reply to the original message you were sent for more help.

I want to unsubscribe. This email is not forwarded to me by another address (I suspect). And even if it is, I want you to remove "Brian M." from your database. I don't care how you do it, but you are making me want to burn down forests, spill oil from skyscrapers into the sea (don't ask about the logistics of that act), and discover a process that transmutes endangered species into harmful CO2 and radon, which I would then pump directly into every environmentalist's home and place of work. I am sick of receiving these emails, which I never read and promptly delete. I shall not stand for receiving these emails. I had been a liberal, but now I'm leaning more and more toward crazy, right wing Libertarianism. If you fail to cease immediately to send me; to place this practice in abeyance; to put a moratorium on my receiving these messages; to grind down wearily in a timewise, aged fashion this abuse of my half second it takes to click the delete button as soon as my eyes see the name "Dan Stafford;" end like apartheid; end this miserable excuse for a call to action (at least a call to my action); etc etc etc etc etc, I will be forced to contact my local authorities, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the NSA, the Secret Service, the Joint Chiefs etc and tell them that a very bad, very liberal-seeming man might be harassing me and endangering the security of the nation by trying to engender (unsuccessfully, may'st I add) within my very soul a dissenting and anti-authoritarian spirit, which calls for the preservation of our environment, which preservation you and I both know is at odds with the government's agenda, which, QED, makes you a terrorist. Please please please remove me from this list.



I've read in a David Markson's latest novel (The Last Novel, which, by the by, is very good) that that is how (viz., surname only) some famous writer thought nobles signed their letters. So have at you, Mister Stafford!

On 4/26/07, Dan Stafford, Environmental Action Organizer wrote:
Hi Brian M.,

As gas prices nuzzle up to the three dollar mark again, Ford Motors made a startling announcement that global warming is real. Of course, for us, that's not really news, and in fact seems more like a company playing catch up.

The problem is that their announcement reeks of cynicism. The reality is that of Ford's 68 different 2007 models, only 2 get better than 30mpg in city driving. In fact, the average fuel economy for Ford vehicles is 18.2mpg in city driving, and 23.6mpg on the highway.

So we're sending Ford a message - if you're going to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk. We're calling on Ford to set a goal for doubling the gas mileage for their entire fleet.

To send Ford the message, click the link below, or paste it into your browser:


A couple years ago, Ford CEO Bill Ford Jr. announced a bold new plan to put 250,000 hybrid vehicles on the road annually by 2010. Then, they quietly reneged on their commitment, and have since continued with business as usual.

So while current Ford CEO Alan Mulally announces that global warming exists, their policies do nothing to actually solve the problem. Please take a moment right now, and send Ford a message - ask them to walk the walk.


And then please, pass this along to your friends and family - and thanks for your work.


Dan Stafford
Environmental Action Organizer

P.S. Thanks again for your support. Please feel free to share this e-mail with your family and friends.


This message was sent to R E D A C T E D@GMAIL.COM. If you want to change your e-mail address or are getting e-mail at multiple e-mail addresses then follow this link - http://www.environmental-action.org/enviroaction.asp?id2=32484&id6=change - to a web page where you can change your e-mail address.

If you want us to stop sending you e-mail then follow this link - http://www.environmental-action.org/enviroaction.asp?id2=32484&id6=remove&id9=73 - to a web page where you can remove yourself.

Philosophers are like Butterflies...

[Peter Paul Rubens, Justus Lipsius, Philip Rubens, and Jan Wowerius, i.e., the Four Philosophers... nah right]

The difference between analytic philosophers and continental philosophers seems to us to be like the difference between auto mechanics (who fix specific problems as they occur) and automobile designers [not engineers] (who try to construct [almost goes without saying, a priori] a problem-less automobile).

Lots of posts today. Tomorrow we're going to make a post concerning our favorite five or ten hip-hop songs, with mp3s or m4as.

OK, Brilliant piece on Iraq Here

[And... boom goes the dynamite.]

This article sums up perfectly the situation in the Middle East, which situation qua Western media coverage constitutes in our minds daily.

Locals are calling for an investigation into excessive force or outright corruption by military or political officials on one of the 15 sides of the various conflicts, although the implicated party has categorically denied wrongdoing, just like they always do, without fail, every time this happens, which is daily, it seems.

And in Afghanistan, the Taliban.

Argh, Argh, Argh, Argh! More Power!

This has got to be the most interesting story I've read all week. It's about the youngest brother on Home Improvement, Mark Taylor (né Taran Noah Smith, pictured right) falling in love with a crazy-ass Midwestern-turned-Northwestern artist/born again vegan woman, named Heidi Van Pelt. Which all, in itself, we hardly find unbelievable. But there are pools and layers of scorn accruing and settling, exerting a pressure on the base level that will almost assuredly fail to make diamonds.

The poor woman should have read her Aeschylus and pulled a Clytie on her man. Or something. Because it sounds (from the admiteddly homer-ish Kansas City Pitch's account) like she got fucked sideways with a funnel. Actually, there may be something to all this. We're constantly reminded of Absolom, Absolom!—reminded of it by every story of self-starting, family betrayal, questioned/questionable origins, and viscous, dreamy decline. This piece is very possibly the highest form qua apotheosis of, (the chef d'oeuvre, if you will) stories involving a) child television stars; b) vegan foods; and c) women who have had aspirations of joining the CIA.

It all starts so innocently,

So when Zachary Ty Bryant and Taran Noah Smith — both young stars of the hit sitcom Home Improvement — showed up at her house for a raw-food dinner party in 1998, it was hardly anything to write home about. Smith was just some 14-year-old, meat-eating kid; Van Pelt didn't pay him much attention.

25 April 2007

Do the Dishes

[This is what our house fucking looks like, and, can you tell, it pisses us off some times.]

Sometimes we have parties, or we cook lots of food, or we just don't do the dishes for a while. Some of our roommates don't really cook. (We have no idea how they afford to "eat out" at Whole Foods every night.) And all this means that there are sometimes lots of dishes, and often there's no way to tell who should have washed what, which was used by whom, etc.

And sometimes we get bored at work, and we're just chillin reading the Internets, and looking at back issues of VICE. We like to read VICE, even if they only brag (obliquely, by the mere mention--don't you hate people that brag about doing something by making a nonchalant mentioning or indication of an act done, which, you just know they're making so little a deal about because they think it's cooler (more hip and aloof), but really it shows a way firmer, more insidious grasp on the (apparent) importance of the thing it is they're doing, a way firmer and more insidious grasp, that is, than just being really amped and excited and directly talking about what it is) about doing coke and heroin in the bathroom at work, which is actually just gross.

Well, our frustration with our roommates apparent lack of aptitude for doing dishes (we're the only ones that do the dishes in the house if you couldn't tell) has intersected with our boredom at work and said boredom's catalyzing our reading VICE, in order for us to re-read the following and be really touched by its simplicity and elegance. And we're not saying VICE is good for anything. But this is probably the best advice they've ever given us. (So, in the last analysis, we are saying VICE is good for something.)

DOs & DON'Ts—Dishes
If you live in a house with a bunch of people, you need a nail in the wall by the kitchen sink that has all your names stuck to it. Like, if there's five of you then you write everyone's name on a separate piece of paper, punch a hole in the top and hang the papers on the nail. If your name is on the top, you do whatever dishes are in the sink, then you can move your name to the back. You have to do whatever dishes are in the sink whenever your name is at the front, whether it's one bowl or a whole sinkful. Of course, if you're really tenacious, you will do your turn the second your name makes it to the front. That's not cheating. That's how the rule was designed. If all five of you acted the same way, the sink would always be empty and the roaches would be bummed.

The full VICE Guide to Everything is here.

Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers are the NFL's only community-owned, not-for-profit franchise. Right? They are a not-for-profit. As in, not for Aaron Rodgers' profit; not for its fans' slowly hardening veins' profit; not for making the playoffs profit; etc. Good for them. The only person they do profit, we think, is Bill Simmons. (This post was a thinly veiled excuse for our posting the picture above--the first cause, if you will.)

24 April 2007

Pitchfork: Two Things

Two things about Pitchfork's Arctic Monkeys review.

The opening sentence
No longer can Arctic Monkeys be considered underdogs; given the notoriously fickle English music scene, perhaps that means they should be.

need something: a "though," "but," or "however" we think. After the semicolon. And, were the Arctic Monkeys ever considered underdogs? Seeing as how the next sentence, the very next sentence, says,

Last year, the Sheffield quartet's Whatever They Say I Am, That's What I'm Not became the fastest-selling debut album in UK music history, spawning two #1 singles and winning the Mercury Prize.

we think not. Call it "created mythology," "straw man," or "unimaginative 'journalistic' tack." No matter.

We think more strange is this ad:

Coors? Not even Coors Light (with the frost blue can liner)?? If marketeers think Coors is going to usurp PBR for cheap hipster beer of choice, then they've got another thing coming. Fool us once shame on you; fool us twice shame on us.

Coors has no cheap-but-funny slogan (c.f., Champagne of Beers); no Dennis Hopper endorsement (Heineken? Fuck that shit! PABST BLUE RIBBON!!); there are no great debates surrounding it (More taste? Less filling?); etc. And that can. The rich, creamy color of the can just serves to illustrate the watery, urea coloring of the beer it conceals. Coors? Fuck that shit!

23 April 2007

Katherine Mansfield's Spirit was Awesome

Thanks to bookslut for pointing out this meme. We just simply positively very strangely but most pleasingly, like as in for instance when you have a very private memory that might be just like a point, a memory-point pure position with no extension about which a feeling lingers and your mind kind of reaches out to this point every now and then, or bumps up against it, and it makes you feel the feeling that lays around it--that's how this picture makes me feel. We printed it out and pinned it to our cubicle.

Katherine Mansfield's spirit was awesome

The picture is from the article (where the blog post-eponymous caption is). You can find her stories here. (I <3 Project Gutenberg.) We believe we've found a zeitgeist, a movement behind which to get. Get behind us or get run over by us.

20 April 2007

Cowboy Boots

Blues hasn't influenced* rock & roll music as much as country & western has:

-Few black rock bands
-Cowboy boots always look badass
-Tight Jeans
-The open C chord
-Telecasters > Gibson 335
-Slide guitar is stupid

*Style, of course, is everything in music.

19 April 2007

Let's Make a (New) Deal

Is it just me, or does Blogger hate IE? I could never get the fucking photo tool to work with IE, and now that I use FireFox it works just fine thanks very much.


My snot is bright green, with a viscosity similar to Elmer's Glue.


CocoRosie was overrated, until their newest album got savaged by Stylus, Pfork et alia: now they're just rated. (And served, they got served!)


You could say the Brits have a more fastidious sense of style and usage; but then again, you could say that that belongs to the Midwest.


Grammar, what's the big deal anyway?


We've always enjoyed the thrill of filling up inventively a white page with black lines, like building fabulous Lego castles with a pen.


Name that film: "Do you still pick your feet in Poughkeepsie?"

Every day I'm going to post one idea. That's the hook. (And as John Popper intoned famously: The hook brings you back, I ain't tellin' you no lie.) I'll level, dig. I've been sick for the last two and a half weeks; like, really, really sick. So now I feel a little better and I figured out something to do and my job has calmed down and everything has settled into a little groove and this is going to be fun for me again to do that is to post one thing per day but only one thing, and it will probably be brief.