Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Apparently, baseball works like this: Your team is cursed if you trade away the wrong player, but not if your fans crush a college student in a victory celebration.


Note on ontology: So, copies of novels are tokens, but the novels 'themselves' are types, or some other kind of abstract entity, or so the story goes. Destroy this copy of Ulysses, you don't destroy Ulysses, and so on. Fine. On some similar views, words are the same way: There are the instances (utterances, inscriptions), and then there's the word. (Even on some contrasting views, there's a difference between the instance and the word, though the word's not abstract, but a set or a class or something.) Fine again. But what's the status of the linguistic items (words, sentences) that comprise the novel (as opposed to those found in a copy of it). They're not word-tokens or -instances, b/c that would be a category error (how could a particular be a constituent of an abstract object?). But the word-type the couldn't be among the consituents of Novel A, b/c it also has occurrences in Novel B, hence there are two distinct/non-identical (Leibniz' Law, or something like it) entities at hand. (Closely related argument: In a possible world where Novel A is written but Novel B is not, the does not fail to exist; sort of the destory-the-copy argument up a level.) So the lexical items appearing in novel-(types) would appear to be some sort of intermediate entity, mediating the words 'in the language,' as they say, and those on page. Tidy this up.


Attended the wedding of my friends Ben Schwarz and Brigitte Macdonald Sat. night, at the deco-est downtown building ever; a former department store, the penthouse of which was the owner's former home, now available for your private function. (Can't do the well-preserved decor justice, but there were personally autographed pictures from the likes of Ronald Colman, Adolphe Menjou, and Nelson Eddy on the walls. Bree was not displeased.)

I originally knew Ben through the still-extant chugchanga listserv, but neither of us has been on it in years, and since he moved to L.A. and S.F., I've known him as a non-music-snot friend, a screenwriter (one of the few with whom I willingly comport), and a comedy historian. (See his excellent "The Gag Man," which unearths the life and career of Bob Hope/Jack Benny/Burns & Allen writer Al Boasberg, in The Film Comedy Reader, ed. Gregg Rickman, Limelight, 2001.)

So I wasn't thinking of this as indie-rock old home week. But, who flew out from Chicago but ex-Nest of Ninnies editor/current Biblical languages scholar, taking notes on his current reading of Leviticus moments before the ceremony? Good to see him -- we mostly talked about semantics. Stranger still, Bree and I were seated at a table of apparent strangers, UCLA classmates of Ben who had moved north en masse after college. I'd noticed my neighbor's shoes earlier -- the kind of dadlike Floresheims with thin leather soles I'm always looking for (as opposed to rubber pretending to be leather on what otherwise would appear to be an acceptably adult wingtip). So he figures out my name, I figure out his -- he was the drummer for Beulah in exactly the period when I had written a tepid review of their second album for L.A. New Times, which had apparently struck their singer as an out-and-out slam. (I remember hearing that he took it personally; he had "not wanted to meet me," reported Brian MacPherson, when Beulah and OPB had opened for Superchunk on successive nights at the Roxy around that time, '96 or so.) The drummer, one Steve St. Cin, apparently no longer feels the sting of my pen acutely; he left Beulah soon after, flying home from London just before an NME showcase because his wife was having a complicated labor. He now lives in Chico, where he's playing casually in Barbara Manning. Said wife -- Gia, I think -- apparently had no great love for Beulah, or their singer, anyway; when she found out that I'd dissented from the then-going critical hype back in the day, she toasted me, in the now.

An extra twist, for me, came in remembering that I had first become aware of Seth Sanders when he, in turn, wrote some unflattering things about my music -- in my first month or so of grad school, with my first ever email account, I was forwarded, by the well-meaning Robin Edgerton, a post of his to a not-very-cricital indie-pop listserv (I think Seth was one of the few who ever managed to get kicked off chugchanga), entitled "Burn All Your Shrimper Tapes," and evincing, as I recall, a rather Conflict/FE-ish wish to stick sharp objects into my (Franklin Bruno's) ears. But now we all get along swimmingly. Took Steve's card in case I'm ever in Chico, and drove Seth home to his Dad's place in Park La Brea.


(...great height...)

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