Mercredi, avril 27, 2011

tetw a dit: Tetw - a Tumblr dedicated to classic journalism and narrative non-fiction - would like to know: What are your favourite articles, features or essays?

I can’t apologize enough for getting back to you so late. If you are in fact still interested in my answering your question, I’ll list a few of the many literary items I hold dear:

— I’m sure it’s been cited by the majority of those whom you’ve asked, but I cannot refrain from lauding “Authority and American Usage”, from DFW’s Consider the Lobster.

— I’ve also found to be absolutely indispensable “Garner’s Modern American Usage”, the usage guide that serves as the focal point in DFW’s aforementioned essay. Garner exhibits, through the entire book, an uncanny ability to provide useful and concise information while managing to come across as being neither overly prescriptive nor merely dry and descriptive.

— I also feel I’d be remiss not to propose to you the work of William S. Burroughs as probably the most thorough and surprisingly detached firsthand exploration and description of the sordid but fascinating world in which opiate and other drug addicts lived during the forties and fifties. (And did you know that Steely Dan named their group after the name of a dildo in Naked Lunch!?)

Jeudi, avril 21, 2011

dostoevskyanddebauchery a dit: I noticed in your bookshelf on the side of your tumblr that you like Infinite Jest and War and Peace. These are two of my favorite books in existence! so refreshing to come upon another who is interested in genuinely great literature. Just wondering, what are your top 10 favorite books?

Hi there! I just wanted to let you know that I haven’t been ignoring you, but rather have been racking my brains over your question. My top ten? That’s a tough one. I can confidently say that Infinite Jest and Proust’s In Search of Lost Time are tied for number 1 (they are the only two books I’ve read that display both an uncanny level of cerebration as well as an all too refreshing fearlessness in attending to the emotionally crushing aspects of daily life [which too many highbrow writers cravenly evade lest they be accused of indulging in sentimentalism!]), but as for the rest, allow me some more time to think it over and expect another message from me soon!

Jeudi, janvier 6, 2011

locomotivehootenanny-deactivate a dit: Um, so, welcome back. I think. Right? You've been darting on and off this thing, maybe? I am glad you are back. I'm not sure why I am glad, but I really feel like I needed to tell you that I'm over the moon to see you are back. There we go. And with that, now you're going to leave Tumblr again, aren't you?

Sorry for taking so long to respond. I’m so glad that you’re glad at my being back! I think I only wrote one message to you at the time I started following you, but you should know that I’ve continually enjoyed reading your posts since then (I dig your interview of yourself). So, I’m going to try my hardest to really, truly, be “back,” and to post as frequently as I can!

Lundi, décembre 27, 2010
"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree…”
—S. T. C.
Indeed,  we can’t help but stand in awe before this euphorigenic dome of pleasure; for it is this pleasure dome that wields the power to send us floating tranquilly through a type of transcendental fog, in which the crippling anxieties and fears that torment us during our waking hours, dissolve, immediately and entirely. The dome induces in us a state in which we are so comfortably and blissfully numb—such that nothing seems more in order than for us to bow in reverence before the Papaver Somniferum.

"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree…”

—S. T. C.

Indeed,  we can’t help but stand in awe before this euphorigenic dome of pleasure; for it is this pleasure dome that wields the power to send us floating tranquilly through a type of transcendental fog, in which the crippling anxieties and fears that torment us during our waking hours, dissolve, immediately and entirely. The dome induces in us a state in which we are so comfortably and blissfully numb—such that nothing seems more in order than for us to bow in reverence before the Papaver Somniferum.

Jeudi, juin 10, 2010

Gold Almighty, the man must be music incarnate!

I implore any one of you who scrolls by this video to make it occasion for a brief pit stop.

If you do in indeed stop to enjoy the video (it’s only about two minutes long), your intellectual and aural faculties won’t be able to help but surrender themselves to a privileged meeting with the euphonious sonorities issuing from the voice box of the always redoubtable Bobby McFerrin—that unfathomably musical human, who hums and whistles, and gloriously demonstrates for us how the legendary and ineffable quality— which many folks often refer to rather drably as “swing”—might, in fact, be more easily understood as a type of essential or vital force that has effectively launched the wonderful music from around our globe upward on what feels like a path of infinite ascension—the peak of which we’ll never reach, the peak’s existence really being a matter of no importance; but our climbing will be continue, and, as no peoples in the past had ever proved successful, neither shall any among their present ranks succeed in thwarting those who wish to partake in this wondrous and amaranthine musical ascension!

Mercredi, juin 9, 2010

No matter how abhorrent the opinions held by the man, most would find it extremely difficult to shield their ears and heart from the magnificence of the composer’s music.

Wagner’s music can often be stirring and sublime.

And, as most everyone one knows, for quite unfortunate reasons, it can inspire and buttress some of the most extreme and repulsive ideologies.

Although this music’s force has likewise the ability to propel more eminently noble spirits to such fervor—W.E.B Dubois, to name one.

Somewhat astonishingly, Dubois culled from the music much the same ideological message as would certain mid-twentieth century fascistic leaders—namely, that “art could inflame national and racial spirit.”

Anyway, I merely decided to post this ouverture to Wagner’s Tannhäuser after recently re-listening to it and being no less affected by its beauty than I was the day I first heard it.

So, as interesting and controversial as the the music’s intellectual history may be—a history that should by all means continue to be discussed and debated—when I’m actually listening I try, to the best of my ability, to forget about it all, and to just listen.

Mardi, juin 1, 2010
"I consume libraries. I wear out spines and ROM-drives. I do things like get in a taxi and say, ‘the library, and step on it.’"
—DFW, IJ.

"I consume libraries. I wear out spines and ROM-drives. I do things like get in a taxi and say, ‘the library, and step on it.’"

—DFW, IJ.

Vendredi, avril 2, 2010
If only antipsychotics and mood stabilizers had been available and at the disposition of Count Tolstoy in the days of yore; we’d have no war, only peace; poor Anna might never have felt so inclined to fling herself under that onrushing locomotive; and the sorry Pozdnyshev’s attempt to exonerate himself from the murdering of his wife might have altogether been obviated, along with the wonderfully bizarre tale that is The Kreutzer Sonata, which relates to us the aforenamed gentelman’s lamentable degeneration into delirium.

If only antipsychotics and mood stabilizers had been available and at the disposition of Count Tolstoy in the days of yore; we’d have no war, only peace; poor Anna might never have felt so inclined to fling herself under that onrushing locomotive; and the sorry Pozdnyshev’s attempt to exonerate himself from the murdering of his wife might have altogether been obviated, along with the wonderfully bizarre tale that is The Kreutzer Sonata, which relates to us the aforenamed gentelman’s lamentable degeneration into delirium.

If your child gets nervous around the doctor, hates swallowing noxious horse pills, but nonetheless grows disquieted when the day is done and the creatures of the night slink out of their digs and into the little one’s bedroom, well, then, why not try cramming some pentobarbital up that kiddie’s caboose, and drive those demonic pests back to their diabolical dwellings.

If your child gets nervous around the doctor, hates swallowing noxious horse pills, but nonetheless grows disquieted when the day is done and the creatures of the night slink out of their digs and into the little one’s bedroom, well, then, why not try cramming some pentobarbital up that kiddie’s caboose, and drive those demonic pests back to their diabolical dwellings.

Jeudi, avril 1, 2010

My last post was a recording of Glenn Gould playing the third movement from Liszt’s piano transcription of Beethoven’s Pastoral symphony.

Here’s Herbert von Karajan with the Berlin Philharmonic conducting the same movement Gould was playing (it actually begins with the end of the second movement and ends with the beginning of the fourth; the third movement starts at exactly 1:35, if I’m not mistaken).

This is Glenn Gould playing the third movement of Liszt’s piano transcription of Beethoven’s Pastoral symphony.

There’s something about the force of Gould’s playing that, at least for me, captures everything present in the orchestral version of the movement. But, at the same time, the extreme baldness and austerity of his style don’t at all capture, but rather imply the song’s orchestral backdrop. It’s as if the symphonic idea had been grasped and transposed onto the piano, at the same time containing it in its entirety and containing nothing of it, but powerfully suggesting the whole of it.

Jeudi, mars 25, 2010

This is Gonzales playing a solo piano version of the song, “One Evening,” which he wrote with Leslie Feist.

I would very much recommend checking out his solo piano stuff. He tickles those ivories with astonishing dexterity and finesse, has a phenomenally tight command of all things rhythmic, and writes some of the most beautiful tunes I’ve ever heard.

Mercredi, mars 24, 2010
GPOYW
During my family’s recent trip to Italy my dad would often berate me for always having my nose stuck in a book, and for depriving myself of the glorious and bucolic scenery that surrounded us. Needless to say I did not pay him much heed, and comforted myself with my firmly held belief that certain settings and environments always provide me with different and unique reading experiences.
As for walking while reading, I don’t plan on abandoning this habit. Yes, I have taken my fair share of spills, but none so bad that I’d dream of subtracting such valuable reading time from my day.

GPOYW

During my family’s recent trip to Italy my dad would often berate me for always having my nose stuck in a book, and for depriving myself of the glorious and bucolic scenery that surrounded us. Needless to say I did not pay him much heed, and comforted myself with my firmly held belief that certain settings and environments always provide me with different and unique reading experiences.

As for walking while reading, I don’t plan on abandoning this habit. Yes, I have taken my fair share of spills, but none so bad that I’d dream of subtracting such valuable reading time from my day.

Mercredi, mars 17, 2010
GPWMD
Hanging with my dad. People say we look alike, and that’s cool with me. Though I’m not all that eager for my hair to start falling out (not that my dad’s depilated dome in any way detracts from the projection of his thoroughly urbane and gentlemanly air).

GPWMD

Hanging with my dad. People say we look alike, and that’s cool with me. Though I’m not all that eager for my hair to start falling out (not that my dad’s depilated dome in any way detracts from the projection of his thoroughly urbane and gentlemanly air).

Some enlightening news from Harper’s latest Findings:
Depressed people tend to feel gray rather than blue, whereas people who are not depressed generally feel yellow.
The saltmarsh sparrow was found to be the world’s most promiscuous bird.
It was discovered that if a mouse is promiscuous, its spermatozoa will sometimes cooperate with one another in order to defeat those of other males.
The universe was determined to be thirty times more entropic than previously thought.
There was never any primordial soup.
Neuroscientists engineered fruit flies with shorter attention spans; they then fed some of the flies Ritalin.
Sick ants leave the nest, voluntarily, in order to die alone.
Bees can remember human faces, but only if they are tricked into thinking that we are strange flowers.

Some enlightening news from Harper’s latest Findings:

  • Depressed people tend to feel gray rather than blue, whereas people who are not depressed generally feel yellow.
  • The saltmarsh sparrow was found to be the world’s most promiscuous bird.
  • It was discovered that if a mouse is promiscuous, its spermatozoa will sometimes cooperate with one another in order to defeat those of other males.
  • The universe was determined to be thirty times more entropic than previously thought.
  • There was never any primordial soup.
  • Neuroscientists engineered fruit flies with shorter attention spans; they then fed some of the flies Ritalin.
  • Sick ants leave the nest, voluntarily, in order to die alone.
  • Bees can remember human faces, but only if they are tricked into thinking that we are strange flowers.