Wednesday, January 05, 2005

That Beard Thing? I Started It

"He (deKooning) already knew, viscerally, what it meant to fail and become truly marginal--not marginal in the manner of an avant-garde intellectual who rues his alienation; marginal like a bum." --from the new bio of Willem DeKooning, by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan.

"The most serious threat to modern man, it would seem, is not physical annihilation but the alleged meaninglessness of life. This latent vacuum becomes manifest in a state of boredom. Automation will lead to more and more free time and many will not know how to use their leisure hours. This is evidenced today by what Dr. Frankl refers to as Sunday Neurosis, the depression that afflicts people who become conscious of the lack of content in their lives when the rush of the busy week stops. Nothing in the world helps keep man to keep healthy so much as the knowledge of a life task. Nietzsche wisely said, "He who knows a Why of living surmounts every How." --from the Barron book of LSAT practice exams, unknown source.

Ah, productivity! Ol Doc Frankl got some learnin'! Sunday Neurosis is the fire under my ass, I'm tellin you what.

Alternate titles for this day's essay:

Quinoa: Blessedly Free of Taste!


On That Laughing Cow "Cheese" One Often Finds in European Hotels


Contemporary Pop Fashion: Thanks, Hip-Hop!

Is there any more bogus and silly music in the world than contemporary bluegrass? I've tried to be Zen and accepting and positive about all music, tried to honor those fellow primates who are damned with the impulse to make music for a living, tried, oh allah have I tried, to NOT be a critic--and I count myself no great fan of hip-hop, scandinavian black metal, twee pop or new jazz--but no music makes my skin crawl more than that slicker'n pig shit bloo-grass you hear on, oh, NPR, for example. Never the ironists, the Anomoanon has given this music a literal and (supposing I've already showed my hand on this one) obvious nickname: NPR bluegrass. Fact is, we've all done time as bluegrass fans. We all lived in the types of idyllic mountain towns that contemporary bluegrass fans idealize, where the air is clean, the ridge is blue, responsibilities are few, the beer is cold and the people are white: a sort of billowy cotton dress and cowboy boot utopia where the sounds of galloping horses are always pounding away in the near distance, that is when the wind isn't whistling through the pines. I own a banjo. I can sort of play it (anyone who's twiddled with instruments for much of their lives can make a banjo sound okay); I'm not a big hater; I've got a passel of Stanley Brothers records that I like, even though they get an awful lot of mileage out of that one melody they use in every song on that Revenant record . There's just something grotesque and sentimental about so much new bloograss, something so....*Colorado* about it. I feel my gorge rise whenever I hear the annoying strains of the dobro. I loathe the dobro. Even the name is stupid.

waitasecunt: I forgot about House Rocking Bloos!

* * *

M- is the only person I know who wears a cape regularly and without self-consciousness. In fact, he looks quite dashing in his red satin one with the low collar. He's not so great at knot-tying; "Do this," he asks, fingering the ribbons. I'm not at all embarassed when we are walking through our neighborhood and he, seeing that our shadows are cast longways across the ground, breaks into a run and flips the cape up so the air will catch it, running while looking back at his shadow just to see the shape of the cape as it flows behind him. I think he'd admit to a weird sort of narcissism if he could. You'd think he might get tired of it: no, the cape has been a part of his wardrobe, I mean a solid part, for just about a third of his life.

"I'm pretty sensitive," T- said to me today. I'm not used to people unloading themselves on me but, truth be told, I like it.

"How so?" I asked.

"You know," he said. "Sensitive."

"Like you get your feelings hurt easy?"

"Well, maybe. That's part of it."

"A lot of people aren't real fond of getting their feelings hurt, you know. Anyway, it's good to be sensitive, to feel things."

"It is? Why?"

"Better than not feeling anything, I suppose."

"Yeah. Yeah. You're right."

* * *

Somebody please send in a report on the advantages of DEVONthink versus Sticky Brain . SB does, after all, cost 40 frogskins (as does DEVONthink), but the DEVON folks are running a deal on DEVONnote , sort of DT-lyte (click on the gift icon). Merlin's all in a tizzy over at 43 Folders as per productivity and whatnot; seems he mighta got bit by the same New Year Sunday Neurosis bug that got me...Could all these efficiency apps just be convenient tools for some other kind of psychological displacement or insecurity about my/your/his/her place in the world? As long as we're tippy-tapping away and convincing ourselves that we're *doing something* then the wolves go see what might be in our kitchen trash...I can hear 'em gnawing on the leftover pizza from supper now!


  1. T- gets it. He's the man. So is M. in his own way.

  2. Chattanoogason... Good wordsmithy you are. I enjoy the scrambling ambling smartstuff. You know, being an NPR habitué, I have always been kind of embarassed to say that I cannot get my singer lickin ears around Bela Fleck and his ilk. I do like plenty of bluegrass but occasionally the Leftover salmon gives me an intestinal bug.

    How's your dream life?