Friday, June 30, 2006

Understanding Postmodernism, #24.


This project is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Paragraph 4, Sentence 6:

Second, the poets develop collage techniques for intensifying that sense of productive immediacy: it becomes the spaces between images that offer the audience its access to the mode of spirit defined by the work.

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Lumas 8, 29.


- TOMORROW - is Canada Day.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Yesterday - Reinhardt! Today - Aashish. Tomorrow - Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Dan Aykroyd, Missy Elliott, Sufjan Stevens, Liv Tyler. It's a big day for people Connor admires...

Davey D's Hip-Hop Corner: The New Source for the Hip-Hop Generation.


What was the last thing you threw into a trashcan?


Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Squid and the Whale.


Gah! I hated this move! I hate it. Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.

As in, I want to wash my eyes with soap for having taken the dumb thing in.

Spoiler: If the movie had just been the final shot of the kid, then it would've been a decent flick. The other hour-and-twenty-odd minutes were a loss of time I could've spent, I don't know, flossing. Or carrying a broom up and down the stairs repeatedly. Or seeing which of my toes I can wiggle the fastest. Or watching a fly climb along a wall. Or seeing how long I can hold my breath. Or...

Maybe more tomorrow. Maybe not.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

General Motors buyout tally.


At the beginning of 2006, General Motors employed 10,400 workers in Flint (it's all time high was around 80,000 in the 1970s).
At the end of 2006, that number will be 7,222.
Likewise, Delphi will fall from 2,550 to 1,050.

I wonder if the next decade will see Flint's municipal government supass GM as the largest local employer.

Anyway, the story is here: Buyout tally brings mix of emotions.

I'd like to suggest, openly and uncritically, that Flint is ending the end of an era. Conventional logic would interpret this as the end of the "General Motors era," but I disagree. The General Motors era ended in the late 1970s. The current era, the era of disinvestment, has been a troubled attempted transition. From what to what? Pretty much everything: one large automaker to itself, to another large automaker, to small manufacturing, to education, to commerce, to transportation hub, to tourism even. Surprisingly, most of these efforts have been modestly successful; Flint has built an infrastructure in almost all of these media far beyond what an appraisal of the city in, say, 1980 might suggest was possible. Why, then, has the place fallen apart?

Well, it's easiest, and perhaps fairest to blame an abundance of corporate greed, an incompetant and corrupt city government, and a union that achieved the worst compromise between under- and over- agressiveness. While there are human errors all over this mess, and I could point to a dozen in any of those categories, I think that in my interactions with friends and family the desire to rationalize what has happened with some sort of justification (ie. a cause-and-effect with a villain or culprit), we miss a much more basic cause-and-effect.

The fact is that any community of 400,000, any city of 170,000 (1980. I mean 140,000; 1990. I mean 125,000; 2000) that loses 80,000 jobs cannot possibly absorb that sort of loss under the very best of circumstances. Such a shift would badly hurt cities as large as Chicago, LA, and New York. By extension, Gary, Youngstown, and East St. Louis were essentially obliterated when similar changes occurred without an extended period of transition. They, at least, benefited by closer ties to large metropolitan area.

Flint's transition, then, has been a double-edged sword. It has allowed us to respond, granted with insufficient resources, to the crisis over an entire generation; we now have a cultural and commercial infrastructure that would frankly be the envy of Highland Park or Gary. It has allowed us to keep our own, unique identity... to keep us from being the devastated suburb. At the same time, it has encouraged false hopes. Just two years ago the Journal was filled with breathless speculation of renewed investment.

I want to be clear here; I'm making a nuanced point that isn't about hope or the lack of hope. Whether or not there is hope, not for individuals or families, but for Flint on a large scale, a long-term scale, is perhaps beyond our control. One can be too self-empowered.

All I'm saying is, for the last thirty years, the question is "How much of GM can we keep, and for how long?" Very soon, the question will be irrelevant: they'll be gone.

Let's take the good with the bad, and disencumber ourselves of any illusions to which we've clung.

PS. Unrelated: Jess and I used to live a couple blocks from this. Great.


The latest change... no more DIARY.


As you may have noticed, I haven't been posting about personal life stuff this week (even though it's been an above-average interesting week). So here's the deal: Jess was understandably concerned that the minutae of our daily routine was floating around on the web, and I was understandably concerned that I had to edit out all the juicy stuff.

Clearly, there had to be a compromise...

I've created a "friends-only" Live Journal account solely for the purpose of "personal life" posts. I'll be posting all the DIARY entries over there from now on, including recollections and daily events, things of general interest, and things that nobody but me could possibly care about. If you want to read this you'll 1) need a Live Journal account (though they're free and easy to set up, so this shouldn't cause anyone a headache), and 2) need to email me and let me know your username. I'll send you a friend request.

While I'm posting all entries as "friend-only," this is a private account, so I'd request that you not share the account name with others.

As for Blue Skies Falling, things will continue pretty much as normal. I'll continue to post links, pictures, quotes, questions, weather, and sports stuff each day as I've done for the last year-and-a-half. I'll also continue the BODY, CONCEPT, and EVENT posts as usual. If anything, the Live Journal site will be informal and cozy, and Blue Skies Falling will be a bit more professional looking, in content if not in appearance.

Let me know if you have any suggestions, especially since I'm new to Live Journal.

~ Connor


Understanding Postmodernism, check in.


Hey guys.

So as you've probably guessed, I don't have my encyclopedia with me today, meaning I am unable to post a sentence. Sorry that this has been more of a problem recently, and I'm also sorry that I haven't posted a link to the full article yet. (I actually want to contact Mr. Alteiri for permission before doing that. I'll be trying to get to that this weekend.)

But just to check in, what do people think of this exercise so far? Is it useful? Do you feel like you're learning things? Are some things more clear? What are your major problems with the article as lain out so far? What do you think are its most solid points?

And finally, is there anything else I can do to make this a more productive/exciting/useful activity?

Let me know.


Lumas 6, 28.


- TODAY - is Stonewall day?
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - The comic Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the political theorist Mel Brooks. And, why not?: John Cusack.

Finland Holiday Cottages - Sunset at Midsummer.

What is your story of excruciating physical pain?


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Understanding Postmodernism, #23.


This project is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Paragraph 4, Sentence 5:

Images like Rilke's "Der Panther" or Williams' "black eyed Susan" combine the fluit, attentive sensibility of impressionism with a symbolist concern top place the object in a site where one senses its participation in a play of permanent energies given reality by the poem's dense formal patternings.

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Lumas 5, 29.


- JUNE - is the month of entrepreneurs.
- TODAY - is Stonewall Day.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Helen Keller and Tobey Maguire (who is thirty years old).

"As the eagle was killed by the arrow winged with his own feather, so the hand of the world is wounded by its own skill."
- Helen Keller

Ninja, Pirate, Cowboy, Lumberjack, Zombie, or Robot (that shoots lasers from its eyes). Which are you going with?


Monday, June 26, 2006

Letter I wrote to Flint Journal columnist Andrew Heller, with regards to mayor Don Williamson.


Mr. Heller wrote the following column: Redemption still eludes The Don.


I enjoyed your column today on the Don and his antics.

On the one hand, I think you're a little bit too easy on the guy. Whether or not Don Williamson is able to make sound policy decisions is of central importance, but it's not the entirety of the issue. It's important for a municipal government (as much as a national government) to function as a democracy; there are checks-and-balances like rungs and gears to keep the whole thing from spinning out of control. But the more they strain against each other, the less the whole machinery turns. The fact is that the Don, Stanley, and many council members have been too coercive and exploitative (think of Williamson's casino plans, his city seal advertising for Patsy Lou, and his purcharse of the recent city council).

While I still hope to move home to Flint someday, this is something I think I have learned from living in other cities; Chicago and New York both have their share of corruption, but nothing as pervasive, blatant, and paralyzing as what I've seen in Flint over the years (at least not recently). I think, perhaps, that the mindset of Flint is so accustomed to being beaten down, economically, fiscally, even culturally in our relationship to both Detroit and the suburbs, that citizens take for granted that their leadership must be equally shoddy. In fact, most of our most capable potential leaders are probably alienated more by the infighting Flint government is notorious for than because of the substandard pay. And yet one round of motivated candidates and one decisive election could sweep all that away.

And (to be candid, but just with you) I have mixed feelings about a lot of the Journal's strategies; toward what is important to report, toward how to report it, and I'm skeptical of many editorial positions. But one thing I've always respected in the Journal (pretty much across-the-board) is your unceasing efforts to engage our leaders in dialogue. Even after mayor's boycot and the recent suit, you are persistant (and persistantly courteous) in your efforts to have a dialogue with the man. Of course, in a democracy nothing works without compromise, and any compromise requires a conversation.

In this way, I often think that the Journal, and especially its columnists and editorial staff, are the only ones bringing something worthwhile and openminded to the table.

So that's that! :)


Connor Coyne

Of course, I posted the whole thing here, meaning I'm also being candid with anyone reading this, but the readership is sufficiently modest (does anyone even read my Flint posts?) that I don't think it'll hurt anyone's feelings. Ah, the glories of being a small-time blogger.


Encouraging Parallels?


Tom posted this over the weekend:

All of this is transparent, and all of this is part of a historic pattern among Republicans. In fact, the last time the country fought a battle over "traditional marriage" -- racists attempting to uphold state bans on interracial marriage during the civil rights era -- the political landscape was strikingly similar to the political landscape today.

At that time, sixteen states had laws on the books outlawing interracial marriage and 70& of Americans opposed interracial marriage.

As the President unwittingly observed, it is deja vu, all over again: "Nineteen states have held referendums to amend their state constitutions to protect the traditional definition of marriage, In every case, the amendments were approved by decisive majorities, with an average of seventy-one percent."


Understanding Postmodernism, #22.


This project is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Paragraph 4, Sentence 4:

The poem defines what Hugh Kenner calls "the gestalt of what it could assimilate" because the conditions of imaginative visibility become part of the constructed object.

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Lumas 4, 29.


- WHAT IS VERY GOOD, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT IT IS GOTHIC FUNK - Brokeback Mountain. (It sticks with you. It's also a little unfair and oblitatory... but in a good way.)

- WEATHER - The weather has conspired (at this moment) to endorse Al Gore's movie. That is, there's a block of rain (with flooding) caused by Atlantic tropical and temperate lows running all the way from Florida to around Nova Scotia, thunderstorms along frontal boundaries in the northern great plains and Mississippi (for once Iowa is surrounded instead of being the hub). Out west, on the other hand, heat records are being broken all the way north along the coast. Death Valley tops 125 degrees, California's central valley is at 110, and Portland is expected to beat its '87 record of 94. There are no imminent hurricanes, but remember it's very early in the season, and the African coast is already unusually active.

- TIGERS - We're now approaching the halfway mark. The Tigers still have the best record at 51-25. The Tigers just swept the Cardinals in their last series. The Cardinals are not a shoddy team. Moreover, they won two of those three games with late rallies, inclinding a second game rally that tied the game at the bottom of the ninth and allowed the Tigers to go on to win in extra innings. 7-6. Their first game? 10-6. Yesterday's game was 1-1 until the eighth when the Vance Wilson allowed Alexic Gomez and Curtis Granderson put him across home. From there, Placido and Pudge scored two more. Comerica took in 125,417 fans; that is, their largest three-game number or the entire population of Flint, depending on how you'd like to look at it.

- JUNE - is the month of vision research.
- TODAY - is Romanian Flag Day.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Lord William Thomson Kelvin.

- NEWS OF THE WEEK -'s freakin' obnoxious website): Hirricanes loft Stanley Cup after blowing away Oilers in Game 7.
Herald Sun: Gay love OK with God [Episcopal]. 4th soldier charged in detainee deaths.
Sudan Tribune: Sudan accuses Jewish groups of pushing for UN troops in Darfur.
Reuters: Chad accuses Sudan of cross-border attacks.
Associated Press: FBI Raids Alleged Terror Cells in Miami.
National Geographic News: Pluto's New Moons Names Nix, Hydra. Rights group: Sudanese militias kill hundreds in Chad.
Sun.Star: Death penalty law abolished [in the Philippines].
New York Times: Buffett to Give Bulk of His Fortune to Gates Charity.
Reuters: Casualties in big Palestinian attack on Israeli post.

The Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines. You have to choose one. Which one?


Friday, June 23, 2006

The Sacred Heart of Jesus


Today is the feast of the Sacred Heart. This image, more than any other religious rendering I've ever seen, is a large part of the reason for my conversion. The reason is because if you find an authentic rendering, and buy "authentic" I mean one sufficiently charged that it would feel a little unsettling to be looking down on you at dinner time from its framed place above the mantle, it absolutely shakes with passion.

The sacred heart is the most emphatic declaration of "like us in all ways except sin." The heat is cut and aflame with passion, with jealousy, with mourning, with fury, and with despair. This very visceral moment interacts with the love it represents [since, after all, real human hearts (Even Jesus') do not glow in one's chest or spout flames]... without love, there is no point in rendering a heart at all.

If it doesn't seek to provide the theological justifications for resurrection that most scriptural sources focus upon, there is an implicit justification and legitimacy in the sacred heart that I find to be just as regorous and perhaps even more persuasive:


Lumas 1, 29.


- YESTERDAY - I promised I wouldn't fall behind anymore, but I've fallen behind, and for those of you who know anything about my personal life you'll understand that when I say I haven't had time, it isn't just for blogging, but for work or sleep or sanity either. Anyway, things will be provisionally back to normal by sometime next week, and (hopefully) completely back to normal by the second week of July.

- JUNE - is Blessing-a-Child month.
- TODAY - is the Feast of the Sacred Heart and Midsummers Eve.
- TOMORROW - is St. John the Baptist's Feast Day.
- SUNDAY - is National Catfish Day.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Yesterday: Octavia Butler. Tomorrow: Ambrose Bierce, Mick Fleetwood. Sunday: George Orwell.


How many hearts have you broken?


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Understanding Postmodernism, #21.


This "project" is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Paragraph 4, Sentence 3:

First, "realization" had to replace description, so that instead of copying the external world the work could render it an image insisting on its own distinctive form of reality.

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Eventime: Dawn


- YESTERDAY - Sent out a comprehensive GF email. After work, I walked to a Barnes & Noble and worked on reading and "to do" lists for the next year. Beginning next Monday. I went home and put off dealing with the bedbugs for another night, though I was able to relay a message to the landlady about contacting an exterminator. Went to bed earlier than usual; not early enough.

- JUNE - is Turkey lovers month. (Which means, I guess, that November is "eating Turkey lovers month.")
- TODAY - is the First Day of Summer, the Summer Solstice (at 8:26 AM), International Gnome Day, Litha, International Surfing Day, and Go Skateboarding Day. As well as Greenland's National Day. Go Greenland!
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Jean-Paul Sartre.

NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day - Sunrise Solstice at Stonehenge.

What are you going to do this summer that will make it transcend all other summers?


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Understanding Postmodernism, #20.


This "project" is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Paragraph 4, Sentence 2:

In poetry, that constitutive project relied on two fundamental principles.

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Lunas 32, 28.


- YESTERDAY - EDIT: Sorry, kids. Yesterday was a frustrating day, although I'm in a very good mood about it. If you're curious, email me for more info.

- JUNE - Is skin cancer awareness month.
- TODAY - Is Vegan World Day. It's also West Virginia Day.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Lillian Hellman.

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
- Mark Twain (as quoted in An Inconvenient Truth)

Describe a place you liked to hide when you were a child?


Monday, June 19, 2006

Innovative Military Personnel Invent Nicknames, Alienate Allies.


Well, the word is out.
In the past we've have "krauts" and "japs" and "gooks." Now the Iraq war has defined its own ethnic "nickname" for the people we're over there "helping."

So much for all of us being created equal, yada yada.


Understanding Postmodernism, #18 and #19.


This "project" is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Two sentences today, to make up Friday.

Paragraph 3, Sentence 9:

Ultimately, writing characterized by such intricate internal relations might even establish principles of individual self-creation that writers like Wilde dreamed would provide new cultural ideals.

Paragraph 4, Sentence 1:

But the most acclaimed instances of high modernist art are not content with ironic gestures.

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Lunas 31, 28.


- WEEKEND - Friday was relatively quiet. I read the Wolf Baron's script (after spending over a week trying to convert it from Word Perfect), and then Jess and I walked out to a Diner over in the Heights - Happy Days - and had the Usual. We got back a little after one.
- Saturday was relatively quiet. Jess has been tearing up on Final Fantasy IV Easytype. But I finished the Wolf Baron's script, did some cleaning, and then Jess and I watched a movie, The Bright Sunshine of the Blemishless Brain. Or something like that. I can't recall the exact title. But it starred John Kerry and it was really good.
- Sunday was relatively quiet. It was hot as blazes. Which was appropriate from the day's main activity; going to see an Inconvenient Truth. I had expected the film to be convincing, but I was surprised at how poetic it turned out being. While I never thought Al Gore was as chronically boring as every late-night talk show accuses him of boring, I never thought I'd be sitting through a two hour power-point montage on his behalf. But it was actually really, really good. And, just as the trailers promised, scary. Matt came along, and afterwards we stopped at Habana Outpost, one of my very favorite spots in Brooklyn, for their famous Mexican corn.
Back home I did some cleaning. Jess and I called our parents to wish a Happy Father's Day. Nobody showed up to the Gothic Funk meeting. Nothing new there. (I may have to rethink the GF plan for this summer). And onto the bad news:
We're afraid we have bedbugs. Given that the little beasies can hide in cracks in a wall (which we have) or travel via luggage cross-country (which we've done) or just down the street from your stanky ghetto laundromat (which there is), and that New York City in particular has had a troubling time with infestations lately, and that Jess has been getting persistant mosquitolike bites during the night with an uncanny absence of mosquitos, it's unfortunately looking like the most likely of possibilities.
So, we opened up the futon and slept in the living room. We moved the TV in there, and it took a couple hours to fall asleep, but at least we had reruns of Frasier and Cheers.
Despite all this, I had a really good feeling about the weekend in general.

- WHAT IS VERY GOTHIC FUNK - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

- WEATHER - While it (the weather) is definitely going on, I don't feel like there's all that much to talk about. A cold front will move into the Northeast, mitigate the heat and bring rain. Florida is receiving daily bouts of precipitation typical of this time of year. The most unusual news is that heavy storms are moving across the northern rockies, with the eventual result of flooding in Texas. But that's all for now.

- TIGERS - "He reaches a milestone on Father's Day in Wrigley Field," said first baseman Chris Shelton. "Come on -- it's almost storybook."
After sweeping the CUbs (you wouldn't have heard that a couple years ago) the Tigers are once again #1 in baseball. On the way, Kenny Rogers won his 200th game. The score was 12-3. This all makes me very happy.

- JUNE - Is dairy month.
- TODAY - Is Juneteenth.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Blaise Pascal.

CBC News: Catalonia chooses semi-autonomy in binding Spanish vote.
Los Angeles Times: Acerbic GOP Resolution on Iraq Passes 256-153. Police don't have to knock, justices say.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune: U.S. Catholic bishops approve new Mass translation.
MSNBC: Bill Gates plans to step back from Microsoft.
New York Times: Marine Calls Song About Killings a Joke.

Is there any kind of insect that squicks you in particular? What kind?


Friday, June 16, 2006

Funk. The early sixties to the early seventies.


I won't go into the "master plan" updates just yet... I'll be ready to do that in a week, and if I do so now not only will I be somewhat disorganized about it, but it would be a very long ramble. Suffice it to say that there are a number of kinds of music I want to familiarize myself with for artistic, political, and yes, personal reasons, and I finally realized if I wasn't systematic about it, I would miss out on a lot. So for the last month I've been listening to a lot of Funk.

At first I was going to write about each and every thing I listened to. But I ran up against three barriers:

  1. While I get some thirty-odd hours of listening in each week at Facts-on-File, my concentration is patchy, and I lack the formal understanding necessary to make nuanced points.

  2. It takes a long time to write about music in an intelligible way.

  3. People do not seem particularly interested in these posts.

At the same time, a lot of effort has gone into this, and I feel like I have acquired a better understanding of some things; so I'm going to try to consider them as a group and talk about them here.

Over the last month, I've listened to seven artists, five of whom were considered to be "founders" or Funk and two generally considered to be significant influences. I was looking almost exclusively at the trends that influenced the style, meaning that almost everything was from the early sixties through the early seventies (no P-Funk or Curtis Mayfield yet), and in many-cases, it was more along the lines of funk-inflected soul, that is, soul music with complex rhythmic variation and a heavy emphasis on bass, etc.

All that said, here's who and what I've listened to:

  • James Brown:

    1. 20 All-Time Greatest Hits

    2. Live at the Apollo, 1963

    3. Foundations of Funk: A Brand New Bag (2 disks)

    4. Sex Machine

  • Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band:

    1. Express Yourself: The Best of Charles Wright and the Watts

  • Dyke and the Blazers:

    1. Funky Broadway: The Best of Dyke and the Blazers

  • The Meters:

    1. Funkify Your Life: The Meters Anthology (2 disks)

  • The Isley Brothers:

    1. It's Your Thing: The Story of the Isley Brothers (3 disks)

  • Sly and the Family Stone:

    1. Sly and the Family Stone Greatest Hits

    2. There's a Riot Goin' On

  • Jimi Hendrix:

    1. Are You Experienced?

    2. Axis: Bold as Love

    3. Electric Ladyland

    4. Live at Woodstock

Clearly one month is not enough time to "master" even one of these very prolific musicians; by "master" I guess I mean a level of familiarity and comfort that would allow me to speak with confidence and without reservation, despite my limited musical vocabulary (say, as with the Pumpkins). Anyway, I spent a disproportionate amount of time on James Brown, which was probably necessary and worthwhile, and also Jimi Hendrix, which I regret... not because he isn't deserving of the attention, but because he's first-and-foremost a rock musician (with Blues roots), and if my goal is to learn about Funk, then I should have given this time to the others.

As such, I was kind of limited in my approach to the rest, and I feel like I really missed out in particular on the Isley Brothers and Dyke and the Blazers. Still, I listened to them all and caught a few common threads.


Formal descriptions of funk typically point out its somewhat anomalous, involuted, unconventional form... Its contributions were much longer lasting than its actual "moment," but there are few "hard and fast" rules one can apply to funk music. That said, what's described as a rhythmic vs. melodic emphasis, in most of these cases, seemed to break down to several technical variations on earlier soul. Most notably, the expression, the guitar was played like a bass and the bass was played like a guitar.

At first I didn't know what this meant. I now think it has to do with another quality, usually presented as distinct, which is an emphasis on ramps or riffs. That is, when the guitar is repeating a rhythmically complex riff, over and over, throughout a whole song, it has that string percussion thing going for it. This is basslike. It's lighter sounding than a bass, however, so the texture of the sound is different.

Similarly, while the bass is as constrained to a rhythmic effect as ever, because the rhythm itself is more complex and nuanced, it gives the bass a more varied and distinct place in the composition. This is guitarlike. It's heavier sounding than a guitar, however, so again, the texture of the sound is different.


More, however, then the two instruments swapping their roles, however, I think an important effect of this is that it brings the instruments together.

And (as the Pomo discussion will presumably engage sometime later this summer) this may be a postmodern moment for music. That is, if the rhythm of a song comprises its "structure"; its theoretical and musical bounds, its peaks and crests, what is allowed to happen when and in succession to what, and if the melody of a song comprises its "content"; its atmospheric signature and its degrees of variation, then instrumental and compositional choices that bring the rhythm and the melody together have the effect of blurring form and content. It involves each in the production of the other, diminishes the importance and determinability of causality and distinctive elements in the music, and essentially gives rise to the same issues that postmodernist theory was uncovering in architecture, literature, and so on.


This also has interesting implications as applies to Gothic Funk.
I've remarked to several people that I didn't think "Funk music" in the accepted sense -- a subgenre of soul that peaked in the seventies -- was actually the most applicable to "gothic funk." Funk in the latter case is intended to draw upon a three-hundred year history of the word, of which the music is one of the more recent interpretations. That said, the two do have a relationship, and it also comes to bear in another conversation in which I had mentioned that I thought popular music had turned the corner from postmodernism sooner and more effectively than other areas of the arts (this may be a great example of architecture leading the second wave, not the first).

In this sense: If funk enables through its collusion of rhythm and melody (in ways that other forms of music enabled through other means) a blurring of form and content, and a subsequent ambiguity; a haunting, problematic ambiguity that corresponded both explicitly and implicitly to social turmoil and political frustrations, and if the music that followed during the eighties and nineties drew upon funk's tradition in terms of hip hop (or drew upon punk, metal, and new wave in the form of grunge and "alternative") by extending the recombinative potentials of funk (punk/New Wave/metal) music... and if this was, furthermore, extended in the extreme recombinatory opportunities afforded by electronic music which, despite this, presents itself as an organic, non-disillusioned, undifferentiated whole, is not electronic music specifically suggestive of gothic funk?

This possibility is exciting to me, because it is the first time I have been able to chock up such statements to more than just an impression.

As such, I hope people will correct/amend/adjust/comment upon this.

On another notes...

I really loved this music. Some of it (the James Brown) I already had a familiarity with, and probably would've come to anyway. I can honestly say that There was a Time is maybe one of my new favorite songs ever.

But if I hadn't decided to approach early funk as a project and consulted books on the subject and decided how and where to apply my energies, I might have never heard Charles Wright and the Watts, Dyke and the Blazers, or the Meters. Sly Stone in Riot is a slippery, messy thing with all sorts of buried codes and catchphrases that I'll only begin to get in hook in with another year of listening. Stormy by the Meters is soothing and wonderful, like a carnival closing down for a sleepy night with rain. The Watts, also, while I still don't know the names of many of the songs, they all were catchy and resonant. And most frustratingly, while most of this is "thinking" music (as opposed to, say, most modern R&B I could name) most of it made we want to dance, which is one of the frustrating things about listening at a computer while at work.

I can't think of a single one of these albums I did not like or would not recommend.

I might write more on this. I might not. I guess it depends on the sort of response I get.

Next month: old-school hip hop.


Pomo? Pomo.


No pomo today, kids. I forgot to send myself the sentence. I'll do a twofer on Monday.


Lunas 28, 28.


- I FORGOT TO MENTION - The Tonight Show on Wednesday night: guests George Carlin and Ann Coulter. Who, now that I've seen in screen and in the flesh, I'm convinced is actually the manifestation of an all-too-real Skeletor. No, it was interesting and entertaining. The musical guest had masking tap on her guitar reading "this machine kills fascists," whic she beat at the beginning of her song. After the song she put her hands in her pockets when the guests all came over to shake hands. Ann, meanwhile, continues to describe liberals as she might "baboons" or "worms," like its a genetic defect. Which is fine with me: the more she talks, the happier I am. I can't think of anyone else as effective at getting people to vote Democrat.

- YESTERDAY - Some highs and lows. I'll talk about the highs. I rode out to Coney Island to pick up a few things, and while I was there I took a walk up and down the beach and boardwalk, and took a ride on the Cyclone, (one of the oldest and woodenest roller coasters). I like Coney Island; it's kind of a cross between a Six Flags and an ancient flea market.
I spent most of the day reading about aggression in Jess' Social Psychology book; I'd been hoping to find something to help with Adrift and while there was a lot of useful stuff in there, not much addressed pathological behavior. I may have to stop at the Strand. I also got my lumberjack book in the mail, so that was a plus.
In the evening, Jess and I had Tuna Helper for dinner and her great Strawberry Shortcake for dessert, and we watched a Nova special on sharks. I've been exhausted all week, so I didn't make it a late night.

- JUNE - is National Dairy Month.
- TODAY - is Bloomsday!
- SUNDAY - is Fathers Day! (Happy Fathers Day, dad!)
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Today: Geronimo, Joyce Carol Oates, and Tupac. Tomorrow: Igor Stravinsky, M.C. Escher. Sunday: My sister, Caitlin!


What's your favorite kind of ice cream?


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Understanding Postmodernism, #17.


This "project" is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Paragraph 3, Sentence 8:

The composed meditative voice of the romantic lyric then yields to a theatricalized yet overrefined nervous sensibility seeking an ironic distance which will both give vent to its alienation and free desires to dwell in the alternative world produced by the work's formal structures.

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Lunas 27, 28.


- WHAT IS COOL, BUT NOT GOTHIC FUNK - The film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

- YESTERDAY - Exhausted. But not bad. But very very tired all day. Made spaghetti. Watched aforementioned movie. Slept.

- JUNE - is the month of Roses.
- TODAY - is Corpus Christi.

Official Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle Movie Site.
(Complete with frustrating and addictive Flash video game.)

what song are you most willing to listen to for an extended period of time?


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Rest in Peace...


This past Sunday was the Feast of the Holy Trinity.

Meanwhile, back in Flint, the school year has just wrapped up.



A number of my friends went here; particularly Sarah and Lindsay.


I didn't know many people at McKinley, but back when I wanted to teach Junior High,
I thought this would be a fun place. It has a gorgeous wide field, perched on the edge of the city.


To Be or Not To Be [a Slave].


A story in today's Flint Journal: 'Slave' label gets village re-enactor ousted.

I am genuinely curious how others respond to this article.

At first, I thought it was an open-and-shut issue for me; that Mr. VanRaemdonck was acting like a tool and that was that. And part of that impression still stands; he is both posturing and playing to the lowest common denominator in demanding an apology. If his desire to teach and share history is as rigorous and well-intentioned as he thinks, and if he is consciously breaking from the definition of his assignment to prove a point (which he is, inasmuch as slavery was a social status, not a profession), then the emphasis should be on the students. That is, if VanRaemdonck was as noble-minded as he claims, whether or not he is owed an apology is ultimately beside the point, and shouldn't be his point of contention.

From there, however, I find things murkier than I expected.

At first, I am inclined to agree with Ms. McMillan who is paraphrased as saying that "there were better choices than labeling the young boy a 'slave'- even if the label was designed to share history." Certainly interacting with a stranger in this way, and presumably someone young who may have any number of questions of concerns that VanRaemdonck is unaware of and unable to address, seems limiting at best and arrogant at worst. Moreover, as McMillan went on to say that "there were also free people of color in the southern states during this time period," it is as assumptive for VanRaemdonck to describe any participant as a slave as it is for him to describe any wight child as a "slave owner." Clearly, he did not do this.

I agree with all this.

And yet, there's something compelling, something both direct and true in VanRaemdonck's initial defense of his action:

"I told him, 'This is the 1860s, and we're in Georgia. ... In that time period, you probably would have been a slave,'" said VanRaemdonck, 44, a Flint firefighter. "I told him the historical fact."

Which makes me wonder if all of the earlier comments aren't somehow passing the buck. That is: While VanRaemdonck was asked to leave because he upset an African American child, does this have just as much to do with a sense of white comfort? It would ease my mind, surely, to be able to enact a Civil War period drama without having to consider the South's reprehensible and the North's extremely compromised positions on the issue. I don't know that I should be permitted that luxury. As I like to say, I don't feel obliged to feel guilty for a situation beyond my control (I've never bought into the "white male guilt" thing), but only so long as I undertake to understand the implications and effects of my social status and to ameliorate them as best as I can. Among Americans at large, one of the most reprehensible attitudes I can name is the thought that just because one has avoided using the word "nigger" they are not racist nor do they contribute to racial strife; in fact, in the last fifty years, if not all along, I am inclined to think that the most damage (by almost any measurement; economic, cultural prerogative, biased dispensation of opportunities and resources) has been caused by people who do not consider themselves to be racist.

And so I am forced to deal with the issue again, from the opposite side.

What would be the right answer for children at Crossroad's village?
Should one just answer farmer for everyone, black and white, since 90% plus of the Southern population was living by agriculture. Somehow that takes all the fun out of the activity, while missing the point entirely.

Should the activity be discarded?

Is it too controversial and problematic to assign children a fictitious profession they might have held in a different time?

If that was the reason for discard, then what is lost?

What is gained by keeping the activity?

What changes might be made?

It's hard to escape the logistics of the problem, and their intractability is part of what makes it almost hard to wrestle with. But if we set aside VanRaemdonck and whatever silly beef he has with the park district:

What would we do?

* * * * *

I hope I hear back from a lot of people on this.

I suspect this is an issue that will draw an above-average spread of opinions among my friends and readers, and some, perhaps unexpected.


Understanding Postmodernism, #16.


This "project" is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Paragraph 3, Sentence 7:

Where romantic art sought to harmonize mind and nature, these writers would exacerbate the differences between productive mind and passive nature in the hope that the spirit would be enabled to appreciate its own energies and the needs they generate.

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Lunas 26, 28.


- YESTERDAY - I'm having a good week at work, although the server keeps going down for repairs. The evening was good and bad; good because another seven or eight people joined the Gothic Funk listhost and also because I had a nice long chat (as in, in a chat room) with Lisa. Bad because by the time all that was over, and given my five-hours-of-sleep night the night before, I was too exhausted to get anything else done. I've been dreaming crazy. I wish I could remember.

- WEATHER - I'm generally only giving the weather on Monday's now, but I'll make an exception when there's something interesting to share. Although the most thrilling thing this moment is the storms in New England that will be (indirectly) caused due to Alberto's traffic directing, here's some grim news from

Tropical Storm Alberto may be a harbinger of things to come. All too often a meteorologist has to be the voice of doom and gloom, but our goal is to save lives and protect property. In order to do that sometimes we have to paint an ugly picture. The Hurricane Center led by Chief Forecaster Joe Bastardi is predicting another bad hurricane season with significant impact along the Atlantic Coast. Six storms from the tropics are predicted to make landfall either in the Gulf or along the Eastern Seaboard with 5 of those storms coming ashore as hurricanes. Of those, 3 are forecast to be major hurricanes.

There are, for example, at this moment four sites in the Atlantic that could develop into a tropical depression; this is very sobering to be happening so early in the season.

- JUNE - Is Student Safety month.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Harriet Beecher Stowe and Boy George.

Florida Crystals: Moss as the Okefenokee Swamp in Florida.

This is a copout, but it never fails to be interesting:
What is the first complete sentence on the thirteenth page of the book nearest at hand?


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

In June, 1984.


I remember essentially nothing. I know that this was around the time I stopped attending the Valley School, and began to be home schooled, but I don't remember any actual events from this month.

It is very likely I went on some field trips; the Saginaw Zoo was a fun destination, as was Impressions 5 museum in East Lansing. But of course, I was still far too young to do much without supervision, and most of my memories of friends and activities during this period are distinctly further along. I don't know that at this point we had even started doing things with other home-schooled families...


Understanding Postmodernism, #15.


This "project" is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Paragraph 3, Sentence 7:

Irony would free the mind from both the scenic and the narrative continuities of romantic art, and the self-reflexive features would allow the full legislative energies of the work of art to serve as direct testimony to spiritual powers irreconcilable with the realm of appearances.

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Lunas 25, 28.


- WHAT IS SOMEWHAT GOTHIC FUNK - Harold and Kumar go to White Castle.

- YESTERDAY - Work went really well; I enjoyed myself. I took a break from the Encylopedia of Mathematics to work on html tables and illustration captions for The Cell. It's written at an early high-school level, but it's still nice to let my mind unglue after a few weeks of matrices, group theory, and differentiation (things of which I have a limited knowledge at best).
Back home, I got a lot of work done, both on my play and my zombie story. I did some more makeup reading from the workshop. And I also exercised and cleaned. So something is coming of the whole "summer routine." Later that night, Jess and I watched Proof. I've never seen Gwynith Paltrow quite so emo, and the story was a bit to vicious in its down cutting of the Big Apple and a bit too efflusive in the Chicago-love. (For those of you who know my affection for my second home and my ambivalence toward my three, this is not a comment I would casually make).
I went to bed around three. I would've gone to sleep at two, but I discovered the flash video game on the Harold and Kumar website. Very gothic funk.

- JUNE - Is Rebuilding Your Life month.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Billy Yeats, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

"Immature artists imitate. Mature artists steal."
- Lionel Trilling.

What are your five favorite bands or musicians, each of their names beginning with a different vowel?


Monday, June 12, 2006

The United Auto Workers and the long run.


The Detroit Free-Press: UAW boss: The worst is upon us.

The article is less than a page long; you should read it.

My mind is flooded with figures of speech.

  • First, I think back to Clinton's post on our discussion of postmodernism:

    The phrasing of "normative projection" is fairly typical language for a structure resembling an ego-ideal (for instance, Lacan describes the ideal self-image of mirroring as "the statue in which man projects himself"). This is to say that the definitions, whatever their content, will function as either the ideal to which art aspires or the frame from which particular works witness themselves departing.

    I might analagously say, then, that the phrasing that "the challenges... need farsighted solutions" is also typical language in a statement meant to prepare a membership already burdened with several decades of cutbacks for the fact that these will accelerate and continue.

  • Second, this leads me to reflect on a moment in Roger and Me (far from my favorite film) when an autoworker complains that the Union has gotten weak.

    I think, well, yes and no.

    No, because any organization with a half-million (generally well-informed and voting) members - you could say the entire population of Denver, has an amount of political clout. No, because the United Auto Workers has expanded in a way that has come to take in numerous locations, enhancing their influence abroad. And more importantly, because the union has expanded to take in disparate industries, from freelance writers to academic workers.

    Additionally, one must consider that Roger and Me was filmed between 1986 and 1989, in the middle of the first "drastic" round of GM cutbacks. Moore was presumably asking questions about his response to the sit-down strike (they seem directed to ask whether another would be a good idea). Comparing those two Unions; the compact, aggressive, and single-minded entity of the late thirties with the complex, tentacled creature of today is not quite fair. The UAW has had to change in order to remain relevant; had it not done so, other unions would've made up the difference and the UAW itself would remain significant as the Union that gave the others the nudge they needed.

    But these qualifications cannot account for what probably prompted his complaint in the first place: then, and now, the UAW is essentially besieged. It has given ground on most of the issues that called for its formation in the first place, and if has gained one kind of versatility by expanding into other fields, or "legislative credibility" by taking a more negotiated stance with in its industries, it has sacrificed the versatility of acting unencumbered.

    Quite simply, the quote from Roger and Me suggests a union on the retreat, and while Gettelfinger may speak of longterm changes (and the union isn't so docile that it will pass up a strike against a too-greedy Delphi, if the latter refuses to give sufficient ground), but the address itself, if sincere enough, seems like well stamped-out ground.

To suggest what I'm hinting at, the article on Gettelfinger's report concludes with: "There's only one way to avoid a destructive, downward spiral from taking hold -- and that's to organize."

Organization has been the Union's charter from the beginning; or specifically, using organization and consensus among workers as a way of exerting influence on their common companies and policies.

If, as Gettelfinger says, "the challenges we face aren't the kind that can be ridden out" (and I believe the he is correct) and if as he says, organization is key, no statement can be anything but a stump statement that does not propose what changes, what farsighted solutions to resort to.

The UAW leadership and rank-and-file need their imaginations and ingenuity now as desperately as any organizational vigor.


Understanding Postmodernism, #13 and #14.


This "project" is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Two sentences today, to make up Friday.

Paragraph 3, Sentence 5:

But no romantic artist could sufficiently break from those appearances, despite the cult of genius.

Paragraph 3, Sentence 6:

Thus figures like Flaubert and Baudelaire would make the critique of romantic natural symbolism sanctioned by Christian interpretive allegories their rationale for insisting on a much more overtly ironic and self-reflexive art.

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Lunas 24, 28.


- WEEKEND - Mel from Salisbury came over on Friday night and we stayed up for awhile and talked. I hadn't seen her since summer 2003 when Jess and I rendezvoused (sp?) with her in Toledo of all places.
- On Saturday we went out to eat at the solar powered Habana Cafe on Fulton Street, where I also ran into Michelle from Facts on File, and her family. I think I'm going to like this place a lot; it seems like a great possibility for Thursday reading. For $6, I got a beer, some Mexican corn and a hot dog. It's not the cheapest deal in New York, but it's distinctly below average. The real exchange is in the atmosphere; electricity is conserved to enable to solar array. As such, one places an order at the register, pays, and the order is served up from a trailer parked outside. There are picnic tables, but vendors ahve also set up a sort of market, with paintings, jewely, and so forth. And there's great music, too. After we ate, Mel headed off into Manhattan, and Jess and I went home, stopping at the Farmers Market on the way for an Apple Pie. I was going to clean and write; and while I did, in fact, clean, the writing gave way to watching Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. Later, I met Mel, Chris (from Mathews House) and his girlfriend Summer at a restaurant, Zen Palate in Union Square. It's not my typical far (being high on concentrate soy product and accoutrements) but was actually pretty good and the bowl I came away with was as big as my head. I also liked catching up with Chris, who I haven't seen in a very-eventful five years. Both Chris and summer are studying paleontology on Long Island. Mel is living in Providence, doing work for an architecture firm. So they're all productive and, best, accessible. We stopped at whole foods to get beer for a party thrown by U of C alums, and headed out toward Park Slope, but I stopped at home to meet with Jessica. We took the R train and arrived at elevenish. At the party I also saw Pam and Galeet, and we stayed and hung out until two-ish, then took the train back.
- Sunday was somewhat more relaxed. I decided to skip church (meaning I'll be making that up sometime during the week this week). I got some cleaning done, wrote another chapter of the Zombie story, and fired off one of the critiques I'm behind on from my Gates' workshop. Only eight to go... Jess and I had Little Louie's for dinner.

- WEATHER - While there's record heat over the Southwest and unusual thunderstorms over the Pacific Northwest, the big story this week is Alberto, the first hurricane of the 2006 season (though I believe it's now been downgraded to a tropical storm). Interestingly, all three of these events interact quite explicitly.
First, it is impossible for hurricanes to form over the Atlantic this early in the season. Hurricanes require a surface water temperature of close to eighty degrees, and it will take months for the cold Canary currents off the west coast of Africa to warm sufficiently. The Gulf Stream, on the other hand, is a warm tropical current able to build a tropical depression from early June on. But since any hurricanes will be forming over the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, they don't have the space of water to build over. While this means weaker storms, it is somewhat counteracted by the unpredictable wind patterns that come with such an uneven patchwork of land and islands, continental shelves and inland ranges.
As it happens, the record heat in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona is being caused by a huge anticyclone that has been funneling dry winds and blocking cold fronts. Moreover the jet stream is buckling around the northwest, causing the aforementioned storms, before accelerating to the south. The combined effects of these two patterns is that Alberto could actually be split from its low pressure center; after landfall, the main cyclone would cut across Florida and out over the Atlantic while the associate storm clouds would be carried up along the East Coast in very un-tropical style. As a modest-sized storm, the damage should be moderate at worst (though storm surges along the Florida panhandle are a concern) but the behavior of the storm itself is unusual.

- TIGERS - 40 wins. 23 losses. Still the best record in the major leagues. And this has been a difficult run; when the Tigers went up for the last time in their series against the Blue Jay, they were without Polanco, Ordonez, and Monroe. Still with Pudge reminding us (for the moment) why exactly we paid so much for him and Infante (the lynchpin, by Leyland's prediction) scoring two runs, the Tigers were able to claim a 5-8 record in recent games against the other American League Playoff Contenders. Specifically, that's 1-3 vs. the Yankees, 1-2 vs. the Red Sox, 1-2 vs. the White Sox, and 2-1 vs. the Blue Jays. Not great, but no patented losing streak either. Next up, the Devil Rays, who aren't AL East's Kansas City this year.

- JUNE - Is accordion month.
- TODAY - Is World Day against Child Labor.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Djuna Barnes and Anne Frank.

CBC News: Suspect accused of wanting to behead [Canadian] Prime Minister, lawyer claims.
ABC News: Gay marriage amendment fails in Senate.
The Register: Scientists probe 2,000-year-old Greek computer.
ZDNet: House rejects Net neutrality rules.
Reuters UK: Three detainees kill themselves at Guantanamo. Tropical storm set to soak Florida.

What are your three favorite song covers?


Friday, June 09, 2006

Lunas 21, 28.


- YESTERDAY - I didn't get a whole lot accomplished. For those of you reading the zombie novel, remember, you have to let me know if you want me to send you chapter two.

- TODAY - I only got four hours of sleep last night, so I'm in an ornery mood. Mel is coming to visit for the weekend, though, so that's cool.

- NO POSTMODERNISM DISCUSSION TODAY - Because I left the article at home...

- JUNE - Is National Rivers Month.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Michael J. Fox, Johnny Depp, Natalie Portman. It's a screen actor happy day.

Yesterday's link as more of a news story anyway. And this is too good to pass by:
How NOT to steal a Sidekick.


I've been such a slacker this week. Go ahead, answer a question of your own choice.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

(Un)profoundly Depressed.


In theory, I don't work on Thursday so I can get a bunch of writing done. But I consistantly get so depressed sitting alone in my apartment all day that I can rarely concentrate enough to be useful. Today is a very good example of this. I think in the future I will do my writing on other days so that on Thursday I can go out to a coffee shop or park or museum or library or pier somewhere and just read.



Understanding Postmodernism, #12.


This "project" is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Paragraph 3, Sentence 4:

Kant's scrupulous system would soon be invoked to justify a range of claims that artists could articulate dynamic energies of spirit which cannot be rendered within any mode of representation committed to appearances.

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Lunas 20, 28.


- YESTERDAY - Work went well, though I got soaked both coming and going. On the way back I stopped off at Barnes and Noble to do a little research for my next series of music purchases. For a month at least I'll be focusing on Hip Hop. When I got back, Jess had made us a steak dinner with homemade tomato soup and bread. It was very good. I cleaned up afterwards and then did some reading for some friends. (Except for one document, which I had mistakenly forgotten was written in Word Perfect, which my computer cannot handle. Fortunately, the computers are work (where I will be tomorrow) can). In other news

- JUNE - Is perennial gardening month.
- TODAY - Is World Ocean day.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Frank Lloyd Wright,

Special forces to use strap-on 'Batwings.'

What is your most underutilized talent?


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Places Where I Have Lived


2011 Gold Ave.
Flint MI 48503
1978 - 1990

Flushing MI
1990 - 1997

1005 E. 60th St. #610
Chicago IL 60637
1997 - 1998

Flushing MI

1005 E. 60th St. #629D
Chicago IL 60637
1998 - 1999

1025 N. Franklin Rd.
Flint MI 48506

1005 E. 60th St. #649
Chicago IL 60637
1999 - 2000

5470 S. Hyde Park Blvd. #1S
Chicago IL 60615
2000 - 2001

1710 N. Washtenaw, 3rd Floor
Chicago IL 60622
2001 - 2002

[Woodcroft Neighborhood]
Flint MI 48503

S. Ellis Ave.
Chicago IL 60615

Flushing MI
2002 - 2003

1010 E. 52nd St. #?
Chicago IL 60615

5517 S. Kimbark Ave.
Chicago IL 60615

1656 Maryland Ave.
Flint MI 48506

3613 S. Archer Ave. #3N
Chicago IL 60609
2003 - 2004

5820 N. Kenmore Ave. #801
Chicago IL 60660
2004 - 2005

[Adelphi St.]
Brooklyn NY 11205
2006 - Present

See For Yourself.


Sing in the Streets! (The Federal Marriage Amendment failed today).


Granted, its odds were never that great, even in this senate and political climate.
Still, my teeth have been clenched waiting for unpleasant surprised. Between this vote and the Tigers lead over the White Sox dependent on this weeks series against the White Sox, it looked like it could be a very unfortunate week.

(I care a million times more about the FMA failing, of course, than I do the Tigers at Comiskey, but allow me a little cheek.)

Here's the good new, as reported by the Times.

Now mosey on over to Tom's blog Purple Scarf, and see how your senators voted.


Understanding Postmodernism, #11.


This "project" is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Paragraph 3, Sentence 3:

Once such limits are cogently established, it becomes feasible to explore alternative accounts of mental powers capable of preserving the authority of philosophy for many of the values sustained by religious thought.

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Lunas 19, 28.


- YESTERDAY - For some reason, I was utterly exhausted when I got home from work. I beat Final Fantasy II (starting at the last save point near the Crystal Palace) and took a nap. Jess and I had gnocchi and salad for dinner (see was of greater use in putting this together than I was... I poured the drinks and did some of the dishes) and we watched Wallace and Grommit, the Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Which, incidentally, is filled with sex and violence. I admire. I also got Express Yourself: The Best of Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band and There's a Riot Goin' On by Sly and the Family Stone in the mail. No now I have some sweet new music to listen to!

- JUNE - Is people skills month.
- TODAY - Is Ice Cream day.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Paul Gauguin and Prince.

A morin surface

What are you irrationally afraid of? I mean something that evokes a physical reaction of aversion that you cannot rationally account for?


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Some pictures...


I'm feeling too drained at the moment to offer up any juicy bits of artistic flare and aesthetic diagnoses. I'm laden (leaden?) with early summer exhaustion.

Here are some cool pictures:

















Understanding Postmodernism, #10.


This "project" is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Paragraph 3, Sentence 2:

Kant provides the necessary ground by offering romanticism a model of mind that casts scientific rationality as merely a practical mode of understanding bound to appearances and unable to reflect upon the productive energies giving value to those appearances.

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Lunas 18, 28.


- YESTERDAY - Most eventfully, Jess completed her first day of her new job. She's working with a Myeloma study, and will be interacting with both patients, doctors, and other coordinators. It sounds like she pretty much jumped right in. It's great being a writer married to someone like this, because you can just sort of filter feed off their vast store of knowledge and perspectives; I've probably taken advantage of her work at the U of C hospitals and NKI more than I'm aware.
On a related note, I sent out the first installment on my zombie story about eight hours ago. Expect some more grumbling on that later tonight.
Otherwise, last night we ate Sloppy Joes and took a nap. I was up all hours working on my novel and play, but unfortunately didn't get around to much else. Jess finished watching Bottle Rocket... a well earned break.

- JUNE - Is Gay Pride month.
- TODAY - Is National Yoyo Day. Is also 6/6/06!
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Nathan Hale and my friend, Chris.

"I know indeed what evil I intend to do,
but stronger than all my afterthoughts is my fury,
fury that brings upon mortals the greatest evils."
- Medea, as written by Euripides.

- If you were the Devil, what would you be up to today?


Monday, June 05, 2006

Two courses of inquiry.


from Xylo, the Wolf Baron

*Freelance Editor
*Writing Tutor
*Medical Temp

*Man on the Moon
*Young Frankenstein
*Romeo and Juliet

*Brooklyn, NY 11205
*Chicago, IL 60660
*Chicago, IL 60609
*Flint, MI 48506

* Chicago, IL
* Flint, MI
* Zanesville, OH
* Placencia, Belize

* The O.C.
* American Idol
* Showtime at the Apollo

* Blogger
* The New York Times
* The Flint Journal
* Wikipedia

* Swedish Meatballs
* Quesadillas
* Coneys
* Deep-Dish Pizza

from Chronicle of:

A word association exercise:

Mote in filtered sunlight, crinkled newspapers, photographs, shadows, conspicuous silence, ash, brown, tattered paisley patterns, a television, a Manhattan, static, a seltzer, coffee that's been sitting out so old that it's spotted with mold.

Faces, clowns, grass, dryness, a rubber swimming pool, ancient monuments made of concrete, a hill listing down into the trees at a melodramatic angle, paths ringing down, a jungle gym, a gyroscope, red traffic lights, wooden benches where one waits for the bus.

Rain, except it's completely dry, poplar trees and stars, fear, yellow light, hot and hazy, hard to parse, billowing clouds, a hot wet smell of sparks, creaking, ghosts, running.

The wind, sleet or freezing rain, moans and echoes, wet clothes soaking and hanging them up to dry, huddling, studying the patterns on a blanket, on the bark of a tree, improvisation.


Understanding Postmodernism, #9.


This "project" is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Paragraph 3, Sentence 1:

If we begin our account with this project of resisting the Enlightenment in the name of Enlightenment ideals, we can see how romanticism could at once make the crucial break with traditional art and become the blocking force against which modernism in the arts would eventually define itself.

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Lunas 17, 28.


- JESSICA - Starts her new job at New York Presbyterian doing Cancer research today. Congratulations Jess!

- WEEKEND - On Friday after work I had a bit of time before having to meet Jess. I walked to the Union Square Barnes & Noble and spent a half-hour poring over glossy photos of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Big Book With Three Pages for Every Year of Rock History Since 1950.
At 6:30 I crossed the square to the Virgin Megastore (distinctive landmarks, or clever bloggy product placement -- you decide) to meet Jess. It was her last day of work at NKI. We met up and walked over to the Heartland Brewery, where we met up with Matt and Peter. After dinner, the three of them met up with Amy (and later, Bruce) and they all went clubbing. I went home, then headed out for a walk. Jess eventually got home and we went to sleep around four.
Saturday got off to a slow start; we slept in until four. I worked on my play and zombie story, and at four we headed back to (where else?) Union Square to meet up with Dan Clinton, who is in the area visiting his family. It was a meandering day; we started off for the East Village, stopped for dinner at Odessa's at Tompkin's Square Park, and continued on until we reached approximately Avenue C and 3rd Street. We stopped in at a couple more big conglomerate things looking for bathrooms, and ended up back in the Village, and amazingly, Spain of all places. (I didn't think I'd be seeing Spain again until at least September; I'll have to work harder. But it's the cheapest bar I know thereabouts, and it has the best free potatoes and sausage). We hung out until after nine, and talked primarily about scavhunt with a sprinkling of regional analysis and literary complaints. Back home, Jess was exhausted; she put on SNL and went to bed. I was up until two working on my zombie story.
Sunday was calm and wonderful. Church, cleaning, and zombies. That, as she wrote, was that.

- WEATHER - Interesting spread of weather over the nation today. High-pressure areas over the southwest and northeast are having opposite effects. The first, perched over the middle of Arizona is keeping both moisture and cooler winds from the Pacific out. Temperatures have soarted beyound 110 degrees in several places. On the other hand, the jet stream is to the south of a countercyclone over the Ohio valley, which is responsible for most of the chilliness and instability on the East Coast. The Plains States are being it by massive thunderstorms today. Of course.

- TIGERS - The Tigers played 1-2 against the Red Sox. Detroit's still the top team in baseball. Later this week, they're up against some runners up, the Chicago White Sox. These two teams, who not that long ago were only peacefully at odds, might shape up to be the major rivals this year. If their wins continue to hold, AL Central Division could become very contentious.

- JUNE - Is the month for adopting a shelter cat.
- TODAY - Is UN World Environment Day.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Adam Smith, Frederico Garcia Lorca, and Laurie Anderson.

Reuters: Ahmadinejad says Iran will consider atomic proposals.
BBC News: Canada charges 17 terror suspects.
New York Times: Security Cuts for New York and Washington.

Assuming speed, comfort, safety, and a guided tour, which planet would you most like to visit?


Friday, June 02, 2006

Zombies, anyone?


Well, I'm embarking on my next blitzkreig novel-writing project. This one will be a Zombie story, estimated length: 80,000 words, to be completed in the next month.

My research is not extensive... I've brushed up by reading Max Brooks' The Zombie Survival Guide and by watching or re-watching the four Romero Dead movies. I'm also relying on a vague, non-bullshit awareness of voudun, and the memories of other relevant flicks I've seen over the years, from Logosi's White Zombie to the Evil Dead series to Shaun of the Dead, and the oddly applicable Ice-Cream Man. Yes, I plan to watch/read more about zombies as I work on this. Yes, I think I am sufficiently prepared to take on this project.

I'm also trying to write this as a piece of "saturated gothic funk." That is, while I think 60-70% of what I write could safely be described as gothic funk, I intend this to be an illustrative example, in three ways. It will be 1) profoundly, or if you prefer, semiotically gothic funk (think the Great Conveyor -- implications of language and communication), 2) superficially gothic funk (think surface currents -- emphasis on rhythm and broods), and 3) conventionally gothic funk (think sea breezes -- Bacardi and Candles).

It's not digusting from beginning to end.
It does have disgusting parts.
It's probably more optimistic in spirit (if not in life expectancy of characters) than most of the movies I've seen.
It does take place in Flint. But this is an unrecognizeably otherwordly lively Flint of the Zombie-infested future.
On that note, it's an apocalypse scenario.
Major themes: Fate, Symbiosis, Communication, and Communion.

If anybody is interested in reading it, for fun or to give me feedback, I want to send it out serially -- that is, at least a chapter once every two or three days until the project is finished. If the idea grabs you, leave a comment or email me and I'll add you to the list.

~ Connor


Understanding Postmodernism, #8.


This "project" is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Paragraph 2, Sentence 7:

A century later, postmodernism would find itself obliged to posit various ways of undermining those ideals of self-legislation, forcing the arts back into their uncomfortable social contexts and foregrounding their intersections with "popular culture."

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Lunas 14, 28.


- YESTERDAY - I spent the morning cleaning and doing financial junk, and then most of the afternoon watching zombie movies. I've now seen the official George Romero canon, and feel more-or-less equipped to start my zombie novel. More on that soon. Anyway, Jess came home and I made us Sloppy Joes for dinner. We ate it while a gorgeous big storm swept in and hit us from across the river. We watched the Aristocrats before going to bed... which was interesting enough. And Detroit finally beat the Yankees!

- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Today - Martha Washington and the Marquis de Sade. Tomorrow - Curtis Mayfield. Sunday - Socrates.


- QUESTION OF THE DAY - Let's send it out with a bang:
What Professional Degree Should You Get?


You Should Get a PhD in Liberal Arts (like political science, literature, or philosophy)

You're a great thinker and a true philosopher.
You'd make a talented professor or writer.

Which makes some sense, I suppose. I don't think MFA was an option.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Understanding Postmodernism, #7.


This "project" is an informal discussion of modernism and postmodernism, ultimately to be applied to the larger Gothic Funk debate. A more detailed description of the project is available here. PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN THE DEBATE:

Paragraph 2, Sentence 5:

The noblest acts of mind would be those resisting the triumphant bourgeois order by positing forms of spiritual activity that neither fell back on religious superstition nor curried the favor of the newly dominant audiences.

Charles Altieri, "Modernism and Postmodernism," The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993), 792-796.


Lunas 13, 28.


- YESTERDAY - Got home from work, did some work, has a nice dinner with Jess (salad and tomato soup followed by wine and fondue) and watched Wes Anderson's Bottle Rocket.
On other fronts, it's supposed to rain across most of the northeast today, the Tigers lost (again) to the Yankees, but the Pistons are still barely holding on.


Birthstone: PEARL

Flower: ROSE


- TODAY - is the beginning of the North Atlantic Hurricane Season.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Brigham Young, Morgan Freeman, Alanis Morissette.

Jesus Pan.

This one is dumb, but funny.
Tomorrow will be the last.

I got:

You Are Not Scary

Everyone loves you. Isn't that sweet?

Well, shucks, folks.