Slam, slam — oh, hot damn. I love the confidence of this li’l Unlikely G.
Posts Tagged ‘art’
Okay, that’s a decent diner joke, but I have another: you hold up the saltshaker.
“What’s this?” you ask your dining companion.
“Salt,” they say.
You hold up the saltshaker with one hand and, using the other, hold the knife from your place setting against its side. “What’s this?” you ask.
They don’t guess. You say:
“A salt with a deadly weapon.”
This entry originally appeared on October 20, 2010 at 9:19 am.
Photographed by mjagiellicz on the d.a.
Now the leaves are falling fast,
Nurse’s flowers will not last,
Nurses to their graves are gone,
But the prams go rolling on.
Photographed by bittersea on the d.a.
Whispering neighbors left and right
Daunt us from our true delight,
Able hands are forced to freeze
Derelict on lonely knees.
Photographed by leenaraven on the d.a.
Close behind us on our track,
Dead in hundreds cry Alack,
Arms raised stiffly to reprove
In false attitudes of love.
Photographed by cookiemonstah on the d.a.
Scrawny through a plundered wood,
Trolls run scolding for their food,
Owl and nightingale are dumb,
And the angel will not come.
Photographed by redribboninyourhair on the d.a.
Clear, unscalable, ahead
Rise the Mountains of Instead,
From whose cold, cascading streams
None may drink except in dreams.
(Auden, W.H. “VI.:Autumn Song.” Twelve Songs. March 1936.)
If ever there were a view on which to turn your back à la Gertrude Stein, a sweeping vista of the Mountains of Instead would be the one. No going back. Too late. Prams rolling on. Breathtaking strong tide of inevitability that takes all the water with it and leaves you and your petty fears and dreams dragging in the dust.
Time is stolen from us in such tiny ways — although I guess it is scarcely a theft when you never lock the door or look out the window to see if there is a shadow waiting for you to turn your back, as if all you possess are invincible by dint of being yours — and we use landmark occasions to mark the loss, but we only once in a while really look at what momentous and yet totally miniscule shit comprises what is destined to be our one and only, short history.
This Autumn was already weighing as heavily on me as last year. Now all I feel like I can handle doing is to take a hot bath and climb back beneath the covers (you see what I mean about aiding in our own robbery by time?). Thanks a lot, Auden. I guess what scares me most about it is does it always steal up on you? Does it just sneak up and you turn around and cry out, “Oh, not yet. It can’t be time yet. I’m not finished. I thought I would have more time.”
Photographed by disco_ball on the d.a.
Is there any way to escape that, that moment of realization, that punch in the gut when the waste, all the time you wasted suddenly comes rushing up around you so you can’t even breathe? Your life is over and you’re not ready because you thought you could always keep backsliding, that there would be special accounting for prodigal, last minute, golden you, who always slid in under the wire, who always got a second chance if you smiled big enough when you asked. There is no talking or charming or dodging your way out of final reckoning, and no method by which I can imagine escaping the horror of that realization, and you finally turn around and see the Mountains of Instead. You made them that tall. What do you do about the regret which will follow. Is there a way to soften that blow?
I don’t think there is. I can make vows about viewing this poem as a cautionary tale, and shine you on about how I plan on avoiding such a fate by making every moment count, and on and on until the sun goes supernova, but a plucky attitude does not lower the Mountains of Instead even an inch. No changing the past. No erasing regrets. That is just some fucked up shit right there.
A terrible day to forget the utility belt.
“Batman and Cthulu” by Scott Vanden Bosch.
The other gods! The other gods! The gods of the outer hells that guard the feeble gods of earth!… Look away… Go back… Do not see! Do not see! The vengeance of the infinite abysses!”
(H.P. Lovecraft. “The Other Gods.” Weird Tales. 1948. )
But, my dear man, reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.
(Alan Watts, The Nature of Consciousness.)
“Lady Writing a Letter With Her Maid.” Jan Vermeer, 1677.
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position;
how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
“A Youth Making a Face.” Adriaen Brouwer, 1635.
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
“Landscape With the Fall of Icarus”. Pieter Brueghel*, 1558.
In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure;
the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
(W.H. Auden, “Musee des Beaux Artes.” 1938).
*It has been discovered through radiocarbon dating that Landscape With the Fall of Icarus is not by Brueghel the Elder, though it is thought to be based on a lost painting of his, and that association lead to the centuries-long misattribution of the painting’s provenance.
Part of a series of posters by Laura Pittman on the behance.
This post originally appeared on at October 27, 2010 at 8:45 a.m.
Photographed by Mieke Willems.
Prohibit sharply the rehearsed response
And gradually correct the coward’s stance. …
Harrow the house of the dead; look shining at
New styles of architecture, a change of heart.
(W.H. Auden, “Petition.”)
Like that bird, for instance — do you think he woke up knowing he’d get to perch on a pert ass today? I expect not: I expect he thought it would be just another day, the same as all the others he has lived.
I guess what I’m suggesting is that, as Auden petitions, it is worthwhile to defy the lessons of experience, throw caution to the wind, and look with a hopeful heart for the unexpected and unpredictable new. How to completely go about doing that I am less certain of, but I know that it must be worth trying.
Schulz had a long association with ice sports, and both figure skating and ice hockey featured prominently in his cartoons. In Santa Rosa, he was the owner of the Redwood Empire Ice Arena, which opened in 1969 and featured a snack bar called “The Warm Puppy”.
Ice-skating is the only sport other than baseball at which I’ve ever instantly demonstrated amazing prowess on the first try. For this reason, I try to talk it up big to everyone I know, but, in a region of California that seldom ever sees temperatures dip below 25 degrees, fahrenheit, it’s an uphill battle.
Just Another Auden October: Composed of Eros and of dust, show an affirming flame — ft. photography by Andre de DienesOctober 20, 2011
All photographs by Andre de Dienes.
The date in the poem’s title refers, of course, to the invasion of Poland by Hitler’s Wehrmacht … or does it refer with remarkably prescient precedence to my birthday?
No. It refers to the other thing.
This entry originally appeared on June 22, 2010 at 1:44pm.
Late post, am I right? I’ve been invovled in some deep bookfoolery which I will explain below. The heading of each of the chapters in a book I read last night/today is followed by a quote, and one such quote was from this poem of Blake’s.
Thy summer’s play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.
Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?
Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.
(William Blake, “The Fly.”)
So — the lateness in the day. Yes. Sorry, but I am not even firing on four let alone six cyllinders today. See, I went against all my usual instincts and quickly finished my yearly series last night wayyy ahead of time and I refuse to let that happen with my other obligations, so when I dropped the last in the series to the floor, I dug in to my pile and instead of snatching up The Tommyknockers (absolutely not touching it until July 2nd or 3rd or I will not be where I need to be for the 4th and I cannot afford any more Bad Days), I started this book my cousin Mary loaned me called The Descent.
I was initially skeptical and, at points, flirting with grogginess from the overabundance of sleep-inducing substances I pour down my throat every night in an effort to quiet the seven-headed rock dragon of my insomnia which makes the Balrog look like a Pound Puppy, but it was amazing shit, full of caves and sci-fi creatures and anthropology and linguistics and religious themes and Hell and mountaineers and Jesuits and everything else that rings my bell, and before I knew it I was completely sucked in to the throat of it. I powered through the layers of tylenol pm, Miller, and a slug of Ny-Quil I’d taken earlier, ignoring my sandy eyelids because I Couldn’t Stop Reading, and, having finally shook off any need for sleep and finished the last sentence and closed the book thoughtfully at around nine this morning, I can confidently say I’m a believer.
I slid it under my bed and lay reflecting on what I’d read for a few minutes, because I felt like there had been some unresolved plot points, then I suddenly did this herky jerky twitch and thought, “How many standalone science fiction novels are that long? Plus … it was set in ’99, but the cover was new. No dog-eared pages. Mary would’ve loaned it to me years ago if she hadn’t just recently bought and read it. It’s a new book.” Reprint. Why?
Totally excited by this chain of thought, I flipped my ass in the air, dove under my bed and grabbed the book back out of my piles and checked the front. HELL YES: among the author’s other books listed by the publisher is one titled The Ascent, which I think it is fair to conjecture can only be a sequel, so now that I’ve finished all the housework and cooking I’d planned previously to do in the hours of the morning I’d spent reading, I’m going to cruise out to the used book store by my house and see about scaring that bitch up for tonight — and see if there are more. Keep you posted. Don’t worry about the insomnia thing: I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.
I can’t believe that I’m even raising the issue of immunizations in this public venue, because I know it’s like setting a loaded pistol on the table, but I have been feeling very, very strong Ways about a Thing that happened to me recently and this is my journal, and other than posting up my old Playboy paraphernelia, venting is what my journal is here for. I need to share. If it makes you hate me, then, well … we must henceforth agree to disagree on this matter and remain friends in all other ways. Also, you’re an idiot.
Last week, I had a tuberculosis test and clearance performed by my doctor to satisfy the requirements of a new job. (Result: I am not consumptive. Huzzah.) During that same week, I had a training in a nearby city to which several of my new colleagues and I drove together. In the car, I innocently remarked that I was waiting for the results of my TB test but joked that I was probably in the clear since I hadn’t visited Dickensian London lately.
One of my new colleagues — let’s call her Annette, although that is not her name — then snorted, folded her arms, and said, “I haven’t done that. I don’t believe in immunizations. They can’t make us get them.”
I chuckled nervously and said, “Pretty sure you have to do it in order to work with kids in this state. And it’s not an immunization, technically; it’s just a test for tuberculosis.”
“Tom [not her husband's name] and I haven’t immunized any of the kids,” she said, because why should she respond to the logical thing I had just said? “You know that those shots cause autism, right?”
This was the wrong thing to say to me because I’m close to several children with autism spectrum disorders and their mothers, and I do not personally know a single well-informed parent or guardian of an autistic child who buys this. Yes. Yes, autism is caused. It can’t possibly be due to genetic and neurological factors that we simply don’t yet understand.
I love Jenny McCarthy as much as the next guy (more, probably), but, come on: like I said, this might make you hate me, but there is zero — zero — evidence, as the American Association of Pediatricians, the American Medical Association, and even the American Psychiatric Association have repeatedly reported, that there is a link between autism spectrum disorders and vaccines required by public schools in most developed nations — required because they’re intended to protect our children from the communicable diseases that have, in the past, devastated infant and child populations. Let’s be scientific for about half a second, all right?
And this is a test. For tuberculosis. Who objects to that? Realistically, who in the name of easter seals objects to being simply tested for freaking consumption, in order that you do not spread it to little children who will die of it?
At this stage of the conversation, I backed out, because when I’m offended, I freak out and shut down. However, another woman in the car said tentatively, “Annette, you know, whooping cough is really bad this year. There’ve been deaths.”
“I know, but I just don’t believe in immunizations.”
The driver and one of our immediate supervisors, who had minutely shook her head through most of the conversation, then said, “The school is actually asking for pertussis shot records during re-enrollment. Didn’t you get the kids their shots?”
“No. If everyone else has them, then it shouldn’t be a problem,” Annette snapped, and rolled her eyes. Because, you know, we’re the tiresome ones.
I don’t believe in immunizations.
That’s okay, Annette — smallpox believes in You. What a straight-up cunt.
People landing on this by searching the internet for blogs about links between autism and vaccines in order to start a fight or brag about your opinion, you may officially commence hateration.
… But please know that if we don’t know each other and you start talking a bunch of bullshit about obscure studies that no major, legitimate sources support, and acting like you for-sure know a speck of a jot of a modicum about what causes autism, which people who’ve gone to college for over half your life cannot yet figure out and are dedicated to trying to concretely discover rather than accept mediocre malarkey in order to feel like there is a satisfactory scapegoat to make it all better, I am going to probably make fun of you. Not even kidding. I’m at a stage in my life where I’ve grown sick of sugar-coating my opinion of other people’s ignorance. Especially when it might make a child, whether I know him or not, gravely sick. Get ready for a whole lot of “go fuck yourself.”