Monday, July 28, 2003

magazine -- model worker
m - pop muzik
glenn branca - light field - the ascension
franciscan hobbies - the animal performers
barzin - morning doubts
the hong kong - freerider pants
fred frith - romanische cafe
cex - not working
kevin blechtom/adult rodeo - jelly donuts
dwayn sodajerk - partying without inhibition or dignity
matmos - pelt & holler - new matador cd
eastside sinfonetta - surabaya johnny
young people - born to die
the cardiacs - big ship
giardini in miro - rene? this is a melancholic hip-wop
owen maercks - sleeping w/ great works of art - some guy who played with chadbourne
kill me tomorrow - i require chocolate
the natural history - broken language
!!! - me and guilliani down by the school yard (9 min!)
babyland - rgb
cause for applause - latest
spring heel jack - part ii - live with shipp/bennink/parker/parker/j spaceman?

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Singers die; first their physical equipment decays, and they die. (As L. Cohen says, "A singer must die...") Bands break up; interpretations of songs become dates. But songs....they live on, beyond performances, performers, and performance styles. I can think of few endeavors more valuable, more permanent, that putting *songs* into the world. (Depending on the songs, of course!)

I don't know if I believe the above, and I know it's not well-expressed, but I'm trying it out.

It seems that for the past few days the only email I've gotten is either spam or Friendster-related.

Sort of back on track with work, but it's burdensome -- finally finished the Eitzel/Birkin piece and transcribed the ES interview, which would be plenty of work for one day normally, but I have to write the latter tomorrow. Can I be done in time to go to noir Westerns at UCLA? Also class prep -- with my luck, students -will- come to office hours tomorrow; I'd better go in early. I like it, but thank god I only have to hold it together for one more week -- also have to find time to learn those Chris Lee songs. And jeez, I feel the urge to work on some music, but it's really become the very, very last priority.

To do tonight: email piece to Matt Ashare, respond to several students, resolve some stray grading matters. Call Padgett? Better check in w/ Erica/Baxter SOON about getting the ES on my show. Turn over the Teresa Stratas record on my turntable. This is ridiculous. Book room in Tucson...

Last note -- Jenny's finally interested in doing 2 weeks of touring in Oct., booked/opened for by this Michael Zapruder guy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

-Exit Smiling-. (1926?) Silent MGM comedy w/ Bea Lillie both funny and touching as Cinderella-ish maid for traveling theater troupe (-Flaming Women-) who doesn't get the guy. Marvelous, Chaplinesque ironing scene. So much of the movie is about overacting that you're watching for it in the actual performances, which makes Lillie's understatement that much more effective. I think of her as a comic singer 'Get Yourself A Geisha,' but this was very impressive. Franklin Pangborn, the youngest I've seen him, as the gayest character I've yet seen in a movie of that area -- of course, he plays the actor who plays the he-men!

-Ermine and Orchids-. Another silent, with kewpie-ish Colleen Moore, as a wannabee gold-digger who unwillingly falls for the guy who isn't rich, except of course he turns out to be. Too cute, too many intertitles (though some were funny -- "Park Avenue, where good little minks go to die"), weird scene with Mickey Rooney, age 9 in one of his first films, as a lecherous midget -- see also Billy Barty in the Powell/Keeler backstagers. As Bree likes to say, it'll all be 'over' -- i.e. the last important ties to Golden Age Hollywood will be cut -- when Mickey Rooney finally dies.

-Accent On Youth- (1935). Just barely post-code Paramount comedy based on a play by Lubitsch's fave screenwriter. Herbert Marshall playing older than he was at the time, Sylvia Sidney, marvelous character actor as the butler (already forgot his name, dammit). Poorly directed by Wesley Ruggles -- not that I mind a filmed play, but the juvenile male lead was a piece of wood, led through rooms statically to flop on SS's bed, drunk. Completely unbelievable moment: A playwright telling one of his actors to have 'the boys at the tennis club' look his new script over. Great line, to some college boys who want to search an apartment: 'Remember you're in the United States of America -- not Princeton.'

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The last several days have been the kind that make one wonder what is wrong with oneself. It started, I guess, when I drank a fair bit at Kristi's party Saturday night -- but not really, b/c I'd been lazy (procrastinating about writing my Phx piece) Thurs. and Fri. as well. Sunday's hangover (more stomach than head) proved I can't really drink -- weirdly, the main task I accomplished was physical labor, moving crates of records into roughly alphabetical order. Also culled about 200 pieces of vinyl to sell, very little of it eBay material. I guess that was useful, but it wasn't exactly 'what I should be doing.' I did manage to read -The Ugly American- over the course of the weekend.

[Oh yes, Brand Library book sale Saturday, spend about 50 bucks on books and records, about a third of which I immediately sold to Amoeba, maybe turned a slight profit but not much. Best finds were a one-sided LP by The Function (Free Designish pop from out of nowhere), a John Cale/Patti Smith bootleg, -Collected Lyrics of Ira Gershwin- for $4, and a bag of decent litmags for a quarter a piece.)

Monday's class went well (introduced quantifiers), but I needed another nap when I got home, and woke up to email from The Voice about my piece -- grammatical problem with the opening sentence, which took a while to fix to my satisfaction. That was all I accomplished nothing between coming home at 3 and leaving for radio at 6:45. Mark & Berit Givens, who have just moved back to Claremont, showed up at the station, and I went for one drink w/ them afterwards. I don't really know why I didn't have coffee -- one Manhattan and I wasn't drunk but did want a burrito. (Playlist in previous post.) Played The Lucksmiths' "There Is A Boy Who Never Goes Out" repeatedly on drive home.

Today has been even more useless; woke up at a decent hour, but dorked around on Friendster and started, unwisely, another Patricia Highsmith novel that I couldn't put down. (-Edith's Diary-; 'arms of Murphy' for 'arms of Morpheus'; interesting metaphor set up between pulling out of Vietnam and a marriage.) Rael dropped by -- as soon as someone comes in, I notice the untidiness I live in much more vividly. I assume if my physical surroundings were better-ordered, so would my work be. Now I feel -really- behind, as I need to do the Senor Coconut review, the Phx column and the Eastside Sinfonetta piece before the weekend. Nonetheless, meeting Bree for pre-Code flick w/ Herbert Marshall at 7.

Just not feeling right. Will have to prep class in a.m. again.

song title: Plate Discipline. Oh, I was wrong -- on Kid A, Yorke's vocals do get screwed with. But I still don't like them (the vocals).

Monday, July 21, 2003

Magazine - Model Worker
The Sick Lipstick - Thighmaster, I'm Your Master
Swirlies - Give Us Moonrocks
Les Baton Rouge - To Dead Ahead
Orchestra del Oro - Lolita Ya-Ya (arr. Don Costa)
TV on the Radio - Mr. Greaves (a capella Pixies cover)
Jon & Spencer Booze Explosion - Boxing (Ben Folds/Bette Midler cover)
John Miur - The Moon Men (song-poem anthology)
The Orphans - Chinatown
Eastside Sinfonetta - Ballad of the Lily of Hell
The Slits - Instant Hit/Or What Is It?
Essential Logic - Fanfare in the Garden
Scrawl - Green Beer
Black Eyes - Have Been Murdered Again
Joseph Hammer - Dynasty Suite 1 (long excerpt, mixed with next-named track)
Sigma 7 - A Man's Reach Must Exceed His Grasp, Or What's a Heaven For
The Function - The Words Are Still The Same
Lucio Burbano - La Burrita
Momus - Ice King (for ticket giveaway - no one called)
William Harper - Banjo of Death Sleeping
Ui - Banjo
Henry Townsend - I Asked Her If She Loved Me (Smithsonian blues comp)
Consonant - Are You Done?
Supercharger - (missed title, in Von Bondies case)
Deerhoof - Apple Bomb
Distractions - Time Goes By So Slow (bought on e-Bay)
Wckr Spgt - Howard's Sores
Tangiers - Red Stone Rocks

Friday, July 18, 2003

Thurs --

After struggling with the Worst Post Office In The World (Wilcox & Selma), edited Ess. Logic piece on the phone w/ Chuck Eddy, first I'd talked to him. Killed one or two of my babies, but no major structural issues. Interviewed Weba & Joseph, at some point during the day realized I hadn't done a Clientele review for TONY, so I did it. If anything other than music writing happened today, I've already forgotten. Oh yes, stopped by Sea Level, picked up two Julie London LPs and a Lloyd Cole 12" I've picked up and put down many a time.

Today --

No one came to office hours, so I prepped my class. Triple threat: Button on shirt came off (fortunately found safety pin)/AC leak in ceiling panels of classroom, hence huge puddles in buckets of built in desk-seats/left power-supply for laptop at home, so ran on batteries during class, ran out just as it was ending. Too many loose ends/special cases among students that I have to deal with one way or another. Checked out "The Ugly American," so I can write about the Eitzel disc of the same title -- I'd always thought it was a piece of sociology or reportage, not a political novel.

Listened to 'Amnesiac' in the car -- am I playa hater, or is it just something I don't dig? It's the self-importance that gets me, esp. in the vocals. In one way they're modeled after Talking Heads, even after taking their name from a song -- but Yorke isn't Byrne, what humanity there is the voice is always preening about it self -- I'm falling apart! (And the voice is more often kept integral/non-treated than other elements.) Electronics (and to a lesser extent jazz) is their funk -- I do seem to like the couple of songs w/ horns on this and 'Kid A' best. It's -calculated- in a way that saps its life, and I don't just mean 'carefully produced/recorded.'

When the late Rogers Albritton heard I was a poet, he asked, suspiciously, "Are you a -language- poet?" I don't remember what I said -- he and Cavell had been teachers of Charles Bernstein. Then he asked if I could recommend any poets who would give him the 'rush' (maybe it was 'thrill') that Stevens had done when he (Rogers) was young. Again, I don't remember what I said, but I later found out that his undergraduate thesis was a defense of poetry against logical positivism!!

NB: Susan Wheeler piece in Denver Quarterly on Dylan's humor, w/ small section on similarities to Gershwin/Porter. Copy, or find edited volume -Do You Mr. Jones- (Chatto & Windus).

I doubt I'll get a chance to blog tomorrow, so: Brand lib. booksale in a.m., possibly meet Rael and/or Ted/Janice/Dave there, lunch, then Kristi's graduation party. Present?

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Nightbeat: 'What's natural about killing yourself with a scrub brush?'

'I don't know his mother, unless watching someone die is an introduction.'

Full moon.

topsoil/taproot (Crapshoot, cf. -Lolita Nation-.)

Hard day; worked myself up to writing until 5 or so, then worked until 9:20*, realized Fridge/Herman Dune show was tonight. One good new song in Fridge set, almost nothing from last album. Herman Dune -- weird to see French musicians influenced by the scene you were part of 10 years ago. Unusually good English, though a song named after 'Farewell, My Lovely' was taking it too far. Is that Freedom Rock? Well, turn it up man. Both brothers friendly. A guy who recently moved here from SF called me out, more or less, on not knowing more local music (Lisa Marr; Katie The Pest; Cowboy Nation, apparently the Kinman Bros. newest band).

*Meaning that I now have something resembling a full draft of Ch. 3 of my dissertation, the thing I've been dreading writing for a year or more. I'm sure Tyler will tear it apart, but it's certainly farther along than I've been. I should state my goal here: Ph.D. in hand by my 35th b-day (12/29/03).

Tomorrow will be hard as well; probably have to get up at 7 to do grading that I promised the class would get done. And -- I can't find the power adapter to the course laptop; might have to find a Circuit City or something before 11:30....

Tuesday, July 15, 2003


Gave exam, tore through Highsmith's -A Suspension Of Mercy-, mainly interesting for the way the protagonist (a mystery writer) projects his own failings onto his wife's unsupportiveness. Fell asleep at LACMA showing of shorts from French Cinematheque; they were fine, it was just so hot in there. "Dedicated to the infinite crowd." Strangely, a structuralist documentary by Rene Clair of the Eiffel Tower got the biggest hand.


Bookstore, lunch w/ Darnielle, in town for a couple days -- tried to remember which 'new novelists' he should read after Robbe-Grillet. A little diss work & 2 CMJ reviews in afternoon (unspectacular recs -- Jeff Lewis, Pinebender). Ran into Rael in B. Pig. Puppet Terror show in evening: How did LA old-school punk get inextricably bound up in strip-club/Betty Page schtick? Too much of this reminded me of mid-'90s 'edgy' sideshows (Jim Rose, Lollapalooza kinda thing). Dispiriting. Kissed on cheek by very drunk girl I barely know in Girl Scout uniform.


**Breakfast w/ JD, Tim Kirk, Bree. Beginnings of song for a Christian puppet musical: Lots of people have thought about Jesus/Some have thought quite a lot about Jesus/But the notions they've got about Jesus/are -not- about Jesus/at al....

Wrote Consonant album review, and Puppet Terror live review. Thought about hooking it on Bree's family's private word 'chaddy' (ex. Mrs. Havisham, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane) but just went straight in.


Spent a.m. fooling w/ Logic program, gave class -- tired, not on, couldn't finish proving one of the theorems I started!! This happens. Went back to office and did derivations for that one and 20 others as penance. Worse-than-usual traffic on Hwd, Sunset, and Franklin on the way home, took more than an hour. Did little reviews of 3 recs for KSPC bins; drove out and did show (as per yesterday). Junior, the reggae DJ ahead of me, was dropping it old school for once -- "Pressure Drop," "Johnny Too Bad" -- so insanely better than the current dancehall he's usually got on when I show up.

Also some back and forth with SFJ and others about both Ross' piece and the fate of the 'consumer goods' list. Tangent: Darnielle keeps talking about the I Love Music boards, but nothing he or anyone has said has made it sound less than insufferable. Momus is on it, for God's sake.

OK: Critical pieces currently rolling around in my head.

Consonant interview (Seattle Weekly?)
Manny Farber (in assoc w/ SD art show; Believer?)
Malzberg (???)
rev new Johnny Mercer bio (Los Angeles?)
[next year/post diss]
watt (Weekly)
L.A. microtonal scene (Weekly)
Musicals and death [3P Opera/Pennies From Heaven/Dancer In The Dark] (The New Review)

Monday, July 14, 2003

KSPC 8-10 p.m.

Magazine - Model Worker
Wobbly/People Like Us/Matmos - Dolly Pardon
Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra - Adagio Asiago
Detroit Illharmonic Symphony - Hey You
Jackie Mittoo - Death Trap
LB (aka Atom Heart) - Jealous Guy
Los Samplers - El Nuevo New Looks
Senor Coconut - Smooth Operator
Larval - When Bullet Meets Flesh
Maggie Nichols & Peter Nu - After The Storm I Could Write
Smog -- A Hit/Truth Serum
Lucksmiths - Camera Shy
Single Frame Ashtray - Been To A Party At This House (AVX Mix)
King Of The Slums - Ardent Swains
Kit - How To Break This
Miracle Chosuke - Vallejo
All Girl Summer Fun Band - Parallel Park
Supercharger - Take A Hint
Fatal Flying Guillotines - Get Knifed
Greg Oblivian - Pretty Baby
Megan Reilly - Evergreen (Roy Orbison cover)
Eastern Dark - Julie Is A Junkie
Tangiers - Anxiety
Young People - Swan Lee 'Silas Lang'
The High Strung - Cocksure
Goa! - Biyah
Comets On Fire - Days Of Vapors
Black Flag - No Values
Monsieur Mo Rio - Douze Petit Chats
Toog - Douze L'echec Perec

Friday, July 11, 2003


Office hours at school, various errands, worked 3 hrs at B. Pig, ran into Rael. Mentioned in Alex Ross' NYer article about EMP conference, about 4 people let me know they'd seen it during the day. Excellent Marion Davies movies (-The Patsy- and -Show People-, both dir. King Vidor) at UCLA, plus strange short -The Wife Tamers- w/ Lionel Barrymore.

Marion Davies' father pitching her to a casting director: "She will now impersonate the various moods."


At school all freaking day; Godard's -A Woman Is A Woman- in eve. Stopped by the odd bookstore near the Nuart -- once pretty poor, recently taken over by a pair of Dutch brothers who are getting some good things in -- eyed a stack of A.E. Van Vogt paperbacks (left over from previous owner) and Eric Bentley's -Brecht Memoir-, but settled for cheap copies of Graham Greene's -A Burnt-Out Case- and a Patricia Highsmith novel (my first).

Consonant: Guitars as bodies.


Spend a huge part of the day designing first exam, various class cleanup. Frustrating. Finished reading that Jean Rhys novel, and quickly reread one of Barry Malzberg's assassination books (-The Destruction Of The Temple-). Talk about underrecognized -- according to a fansite, none of his 75(!) novels are in print (of course, this includes porn and 'Enforcer'-style series potboilers).

Ought to write a to-do list post.

Monday, July 07, 2003

KSPC, 8-10 p.m.

Magazine - A Song From Under The Floorboards [meant to play 'Model Worker']
Scientists - Frantic Romantic [new Aus singles comp]
Kaito - Try Me Out
The Wedding's Off - South On Fair Oaks [local -- I'd like to see them]
Q & Not U - Soft Pyramids
Ben Gibbard - Farmer Chords ['Home' split]
Comets On Fire - Let's Take It All
Oranges Band - OK Apartment [I played this song 7 times in a row in the car a few days ago]
Quintron - Crazy
Flying Luttenbachers - Death Metal Is Free Jazz
Space Streakings - Never Listen! For DiscoAttacker Only [Skin Graft set]
Death From Above - Do It
Califone - Million Dollar Funeral
King of France - Makeshift
Jackie Mittoo - Peace Treaty [Blood & Fire reissue]
Silkworm - Let's Kill Saturday Night [Robbie Fulks cover]
Ui - Boxer-Painter
Saturday People - Conditional Tense ['literate, quirky pop' that sucked]
Loincloth - Noise International [Pen Rollings' new band, from label comp]
American Standards - My Bathroom Is A Private Kind of Place ['Product Music' comp]
Erase Errata - Marathon (Adult remix)
Jad Fair & Daisy Cooper - Too Much Time [Beefheart tribute comp]
Peggy Lee - I Don't Want To Play In Your Yard ['Sea Shells,' backed only by harp/celeste]
Essential Logic - Albert
Forget Cassavetes - [didn't write down, pretty bad]
Antipop & Matthew Shipp - Places I've Never Been
Sonic Youth - Expressway To Your Skull [by request for 'slow, sad Sonic Youth']
Constantines - Beneath the Stop Signs [decent, play this again]
Refrigerator - Somehow/Freeway Close

A listener called asking me to "play something different." "Like what." "Anything."

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Yesterday: Some work, about 800 wds, slowed by casting-director conversation at the same cafe table. At least they were matter-of-fact; actually making a movie, apparently, instead of dreaming up some project to make themselves real.
Later, huge dinner at China Islamic for Bree's birthday. I wore what Bree called 'the Biarritz hat.'

Packing too much music-writing into today: Already finished a Fridge/Herman Dune show pick, currently procrastinating about starting my Phx column (reading a pleasant Jean Rhys novel instead of listening to Beth Gibbons). Later, seeing Califone/Brokeback/The Eternals and writing the review before bed. (Thanks to LA Weekly's production schedule, that's what happens when you cover a Sunday show.)

Style is tiring. I mean something by this, but I'll have to think just what on another day.

Friday, July 04, 2003

Better today: Started to write notes on Brandom's Making It Explicit, which actually turned into an argument. Good strategy -- something to write against.

"He was inured to a society in which almost any action of individuals could by construed as a crime, but in which any crime committed by organizations or groups could be justified six ways." --Fritz Leiber, The Silver Eggheads

Pursuant to yesterday's note: Just as what it is to be one proposition rather than another is to be related inferentially (both materially and logically) to others, what it is to be a nation is to enter in alliances and relations with others. As much is written into the Declaration of Independence; declaring ourselves a free and independent nation amounts to claiming the right to enter into such alliances, trade, etc. And wars.

How did we come to always refer to them as the 'framers' of the Constitution, anyway? Of course, it means constructors, makers, but the connotation is of the builders of something around a space, waiting for the space itself to be filled in.

Other recent reading: Graham Greene, The Heart of The Matter, Loser Take All, Brighton Rock; Edward Carey, Observatory Mansions, Peter Finch, Useful (short book by Welsh poet containing a disarrangement of a Shakespearean sonnet almost exactly like a work of Steve McCaffrey's), a poor book on moral relativism whose author I've already forgotten.

Presently listening to a so-so Lux Radio Theater -- Talk Of The Town, one of those late-thirties common-people things disguised as romantic comedy. Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Ronald Coleman -- still, second-drawer Capracorn at best.

Work more, now?

License plate frame: Protect America with guns -- not rocks.

Today: Tired, distracted -- difficult to concentrate. Still sleeping, eating badly; did get hair (them all) cut, though. Saw a great, great movie: Where Do We Go From Here?, 194?, dir. Gregory Ratoff, w/ songs by Weill & Ira Gershwin (which I've got the demo versions of) and incidental music by David Raskin. The kind of satire on American myth that, I'd bet, only immigrants (even extremely assimilationist ones like Weill) could come up with.

From Rosen's paper on Brandom: "Brandom suggests that the meaningful use of non-modal language presupposes the legitimacy of modal notions....To a first approximation, the word 'red' means what it does because claims of the form 'x is red' *exclude* claims of the form 'x is green' and *entail* claims of the form 'x is colored.' Doubts about the legitimacy of the modal idiom are therefore self-defeating." [According to Rosen, this argument has roots in Kant and Sellars.]

I'm not sure about 'exclude,' but the 'entails' clause suggests that to speak of logical consequence is to implicitly speak of necessity. ('A entails B' couldn't just 'happen' to be true.) I suppose that 'exclude' could be read as 'entails that claims of the form ... are false' or, if you don't want to include a semantic notion, 'x is not green.' (And why one would opt for one over the other is itself interesting.) What, then, to make of logical truths: "X is red if x is red." The non-logical terms in this don't seem to have much to do with its entailing or excluding other statements. Do the syntcategorematic terms? On some views, the special status of "x is red if x is red" has to do with the fact that its truth-grounds have little to do with 'red,' which we can see by the fact that we get something true (on the same grounds) whatever predicate we replace 'red' with. Modal claims might be made about this (e.g. *necessarily* we always get a truth by rotating in a diff. predicate), but that's not the same as saying that the 'meaning of the sentence' has to do with its entailments.

Although: It has looked to me, teaching elementary logic, that certain theorems just express something about our committment to what we take to be reasonable ways to argue. In fact, you don't even need the inference rules to prove the material conditional theorems (which embody features of the truth-functional reading we're to give to conditional assertions in the symbolic language), but only the acceptance of conditional derivation. It would be interesting to take this up with Kaplan.

Tomorrow: Groceries, trade in a few promos (buy Portishead, Brokeback, maybe something else?), get to work somewhere [finding the right cafe is a struggle], try to ignore various tiny tasks/distractions. Might not do anything in the evening. (Curiously uninterested in the fact that it's July 4.)

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Is one flake of snow white?

Less pithily: On a relational (dispositional) account of perception, x is white just in case x disposes an observer to have a certain kind of visual experience y. But say x is too small to see with the naked eye. So we train a magnifying glass on it, and the resulting image disposes me to have an experience of kind y. But what caused this experience? Proximally, the image, not the thing magnified. Of course, the item (plus the characteristics of the magnifying glass) caused the image to have its dispositional properties. So the image is white, but is the original object? The negative answer has counterintuitive consequences. If a thread is too fine for us to perceive its color, we magnify it to see what color it -- the thread -- is, not what color its image is. (Inspired, in a roundabout way, by Davidson's comments on mass nouns in "Truth and Meaning.")

Today -- taught logic (lecture and discussion section), got and deposited paycheck, went to Language Worshkop. Tonight -- Bree's birthday, dinner at Musso & Frank's.

poss song title -- Nuisance Suit.

Oranges Band "OK Apartment" -- a real puncher (song you start again right after it ends)

Relations have to be related to their relata by relations. (Bradley?)

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

It was going to be The Blog Of Disquiet, but I didn't think I was up to long descriptions of the sky. (Of course, this isn't exactly The Arcades Project either.)

If anyone ever reads this far back after I go public -- the subtitle is from The Go-Betweens' "The Power That I Now Have."

Libidinal economy: Lovely phrase, I don't know what it means either.

Today -- revised some pages of the central 'positive' chapter of diss, cancelled a plane reservation, failed to get a haircut or groceries. Still need to prep class for tomorrow.

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