Shot Of Rhythm

[ Saturday, February 12, 2005 ]


I sing all the songs about Texas

In the past two days, I saw performances by 5 of the best songwriters in the world, 4 of them Texans. The Lone Star Staters: Guy Clark, Joe Ely, Lyle Lovett and James McMurtry. (The one non-Texan is John Hiatt, who's certainly spiritually at home in this company.) Clark/Ely/Hiatt/Lovett played a joint acoustic gig, trading songs and generally demonstrating the awesome power of magnificent songwriting. Guy Clark, in particular, was on fire, investing unbelievable levels of emotion in his selections (which included a new song, "Move With Me, Magdalene," that is as good a Clark-er as I've heard). The quartet also did two songs as a group, "Goin' Down That Old Dusty Road" and a particularly memorable "This Land Is Your Land." Fantastic.

The next night (a.ka. last night), James McMurtry (Larry's son and one of the best-kept musical secrets in the world) led his band - the aptly named Heartless Bastards - through a blistering set at a local club. For those unfortunates who haven't heard McMurtry, he's kind of like Lou Reed and Crazy Horse hanging out at Billy Joe Shaver's house, with the occasional visit from Keith Richards or Woody Guthrie. Not a bad group, eh? He's written the best song about the midwest I've ever heard - "Out Here In The Middle" - and proved last night that he's as great a guitarist (as in like OHMYGODWHATAGREATFUCKINGGUITARPLAYER) as he is a songwriter. Fantastic.

So it's been a good couple days; part of me wants to go write songs and part of me wants to stop writing songs forever. These were nice diversions for me, especially since I'm knee-deep in a sloggy book about the construction of "whiteness." (This is the "vicissitudes" book I spoke of earlier. By the way, his new favorite word is "consanguine.")

I'm still gonna talk about Flavor Flav, but not now...

On the box right now: Lee Ann Womack, THERE'S MORE WHERE THAT CAME FROM. The best album so far this year, a mature and nicely retro collection of country heart music from a woman I'd never really given much attention to.


Dove With Claws [8:33 AM]

[ Thursday, February 10, 2005 ]


Thesaurus majorus

I'm currently reading a book for a seminar (the same seminar with the whole "other" thing I related below) that - in the first 60 pages - has seen the author use the word "vicissitudes" - get ready for it - 24 times. I counted. Also, he uses "salience"/"salient" almost as much, at least 15 times. It's not that it's a terrible book, in fact it's pretty good, but isn't this why they invent copy editing? I'd hope the author - who published this as an academic monograph and who thanks several people in the acknowledgments for helping him edit the book - had someone at some point suggest that he might want to change this. Or did he? Is it a vast conspiracy to lull us to sleep, or the actions of a lone vocabulary gunman? (This would be the point where a lesser smart-ass would say something like "Paging Oliver Stone," but I shan't sink to that level.)

For the record, I've never said, written or even really thought about the word "vicissitudes."

One more thing. Here's my new favorite quote from the Asshole-In-Chief:

BUSH: You work three jobs?
MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.
BUSH: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)

I think the salient comment on this remark would be "fuck you," or at least one of its near vicissitudes. Nah..."fuck you" works.

On the box right now: Public Enemy, IT TAKES A NATION OF MILLIONS TO HOLD US BACK. By the way, I got some thoughts on Flavor Flav's recent TV career. More on that later...


Dove With Claws [7:55 AM]

[ Tuesday, February 08, 2005 ]


This, that, and the...oh never mind

Here's an actual quote from a grad seminar I had earlier today:

"I'm not just talking in terms of 'othering' others, but also the "othering" of themselves. Because other than the 'othering' of others, I think the way they 'other' themselves could change the way we understand 'othering' and the process of becoming an 'other'."

The really scary part is that, in the context of the discussion, this statement made absolutely perfect sense. I'm not kidding, either.

On the box right now: Steely Dan, SHOWBIZ KIDS: THE STEELY DAN STORY, Disc 1. Oh, shut up...


Dove With Claws [7:08 PM]

[ Monday, February 07, 2005 ]


Chemical imbalance

I don't know if it was because I was tired from a weekend of being sick, or if it was because of the oddly Spring-like weather we've had in Madison lately, or because of a particularly bizarre and humorous dream I had last night, but I was totally silly for most of the day today. It was one of those days when I was laughing, or on the verge of laughing, pretty much all day. I kept it together most of the times I needed to - like when I was sitting in class - but there were definitely moments when I didn't think I'd be able to continue.

I'd try to relate what I thought was so funny, but none of it - and I mean none of it - will be even the slightest bit amusing to anybody but me, and most of it isn't even funny to me anymore. I definitely have these periods, usually for a couple hours, when one thing or another will strike me as the single funniest thing I've ever heard. (One time, for example, I suddenly decided that the SPINAL TAP line "You can't do heavy metal in Doubly" was the single funniest line in film history...and this was 8 or 10 years after I first saw the film.) Still, even for me, this was a particularly bad/good laughing spell. Hopefully it will have passed by tomorrow. I can't live long like this. Hee hee.

On the box right now: Curtis Mayfield, PEOPLE GET READY: THE CURTIS MAYFIELD STORY, Disc 2. Preach, brother Mayfield, preach...


Dove With Claws [7:54 PM]