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Tuesday, November 14, 2006
oh, by the way
There's no tinyblog for the moment... but I do photoblog over on the flickr.
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 01:14 AM
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Okay, I'm just taking an official tinyblog break. I'm working on some back end changes for the tinyblog and I'll let you know when I'm ready to get it going again. Plus, I need a break.
If you subscribe to the tinyblog, then you'll see the next time I post. If you don't, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know you'd like to know when it comes back.
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 11:19 AM
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 10:22 AM
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
it's as funny as real love, and it's as real as true love
I've been exposed to this hyper-evangelical view of popular music before.
In this discussion, I'm just going to put aside the fact that I don't think Satanism is a real threat, and that I basically consider it a fetishistic and harmless reaction to Christianity. I think that the actual religeon of satanism is largely populated by clever athiests / loser teenagers / silly confused pagan wannabes, and that the truly powerful and effective damagers of the world and souls are just selfish beings of every other major religion. A real player in the damage and power of the world would never choose a rhetorical vehicle as pathetic as Church of Satan-style satanism.
So, for the purposes of this discussion, we're going to pretend that satanism itself, the worship of satan, is actually the fundamental damaging force in the world, and that music that glorifies satan is to be cast aside as a real agent of personal destruction. Okay?
I remember when I was a teenager, and a friend of mine played me a video his mom had exposed him to, about subtle satanic themes in modern pop music. I don't remember many of the examples, but I do remember one quite clearly. In the video, they mentioned it's often less threatening pop music that is the most likely to sway people to the devil. The example given?
Huey Lewis. I shit you not. The song specifically mentioned was Huey's masterpiece of satanic self-reliance: Jacob's Ladder. Parse the following:
"I met a fan dancer down in southside Birmingham
Satanic. This lyric encourages people not to rely on Christ, our true salvation, and instead to seek it humbly themselves. Never mind the other connotations of this, or the reliability of this particular fat man's brand of salvation, this is clearly a rejection of salvation itself.
Okay, evangelical types are not known for their subtlety of humor, so let me say this plainly. I don't think this can be called by any realm satanic. I do not think Mr. Lewis is rejecting Christ here in this passage. I think he's telling a story. Do I think self-reliance is the theme of the story. Yes. Do I think cynical rejection of sources of real salvation is a theme as well? No, I don't. I don't think the fat man selling salvation in this song is meant to represent true spirituality, and I think someone making such a case is... childish.
However, this is not the point of my analysis today. The other day, SJ pointed me at an article accusing the lovely Neko Case of a clear satanic message in a song on her recent album "Hold On, Hold On".
So, let's cut to the crux with this quote about the song:
Neko case states, "Now it's the Devil I love." I have no doubt that she has some cute excuse for her praise of Satan, and I'm sure I'll receive some letters from her fans telling me that I don't understand her intent. Whatever her excuse, it is evil (from a Biblical perspective) for anyone to state that they "love the Devil."- David J. Stewart
You think you might get such letters, eh David?
Let's just start with the idea, David, that there are different ways of expressing oneself through music, other than straightforwardly singing your opinion, just like you'd say it...but in rhyme. This is common in Christian music, I'll admit, but in other forms of artistic expression, the obvious has already been said, and people who create art in the modern world often employ a number of storytelling devices in order to point at ideas or feelings more complex or conflicted than can be said plainly.
Like for instance. Let's say I'm sitting in a chair watching a beautiful sunset, and thinking of my dead grandmother. Perhaps I wrote a poem about said moment, and it went like this:
I am sitting in a chair. I am watching a beautiful sunset.
Okay, that's actually not that bad as far a poems go... but really that's only one way I could express my feelings. I might try telling a story about my grandmother, and subtly weave in my observations about the sunset. Or... perhaps I don't mention my grandmother or the sunset at all.
One of these methods is to create a fictional character, and tell a story about that character's feelings. This is quite a popular method, for instance when Alice Cooper sang about being 18, in his song, 18, Alice Cooper was not in fact 18. Now Cooper's song is not a particularly subtle expression. He's making a pretty ham-handed point about youth that both his fans, and evangelical christians STILL took at face value.
It still cracks me up when I think about a Pink Floyd documentary where Roger Waters is telling how they still get letters complaining about the song "Money" as if the song were a real tribute to money and not, in fact, actually verifiably ironic.
So now the song, Hold On, Hold On. First of all, I'm going to offer the song in mp3 in case you'd like to listen to it, and you can read the lyrics over at the article in question. I actually love this song, which must be why I'm so confounded at this dunderheaded response.
So, I'll just come right out and say it. I don't think that Neko Case is literally saying that she loves the Devil. I think this is the story of a troubled woman who has a drug and alcohol problem. Neko Case tends to always sing in character, and usually about dark and murderous themes. Is it because she is a murderer? Probably not.
So let's go back to David's canonical example, Sympathy for the Devil. I guess it never even occurred to me that this actually was a kind of satanic expression. Or, the Grateful Dead singing, "A friend of the devil is a friend of mine." It always struck me as a kind of jaded weariness. In character.
The same here in Hold On, Hold On. I'm not 100% sure what her character means, but I just don't see how a case can be made that this song is an unvarnished praise to satan. These are rich songs based on a dark tradition of country and rockabilly and I think they have more to say than that.
So, David, I don't mind you saying the Bible should be interpreted as a literal word of God, no matter how complex or conflicting the overall message, but must we take pop music lyrics at the same kind of literal face value? Especially from musicians known for their complex storytelling?
What if one wrote a play about a man struggling with Satan. What if the actor had a line where he states that he loves the Devil, but is then later in the play redeemed? Is the actor who says such a line in a play acting by some satanic expression by being in this Christian play? Is the playwright? Even if his purpose is ultimately to tell a salvation story?
Please tell me there's still a little room for complex exploration of how difficult and multifaceted it is to be a citizen of this planet. Please David, I know there's a lot of people out there thinking about music and culture this way, but I ask you to reconsider Neko Case.
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 12:04 PM
Monday, August 07, 2006
just for marged
And on the adore list we have:
SJ, Shauna, Sarah, Rachel and Nate... no one else who wishes adoration?
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 02:01 PM
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Normally I avoid such memes because I don't like to obligate myself to clutter the tinyblog with them... but this one I like.
Make your desire known in the comments and if I know anything, I will say something I adore about you. You can, but don't have to pass it on.
I have actually two sets of comments, so I will wait a week or so and then do a big post commending each commentor for their adorable acts or qualities. This comes from saltcellar, who said something very nice about me indeed.
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 03:12 AM
Thursday, July 27, 2006
of meandering interest
Also, I sat down at the bus stop on The Ave to read a little. Right next to me this skinny bearded guy lay a few soggy tortillas on the cement near the post office railing. He had a squeeze bottle of some kind of sauce and he squirted it all over the tortillas and all over the ground.
Then he started vigourously tossing other foodstuffs onto the cement. He said then, (maybe to me, maybe to no one, but I was the only one within earshot) "It's a sacrifice offering. Just like a lamb." Or something like that.
Then he laid the final few pickle slices and stalked off. I finally recovered my senses and took a couple of pictures as my bus went off. I left my book at the bus stop and had to run back to the site of the sacrifice to get it from the next bus stop.
Also, I've been loving these time attacks. This is vintage video game playing at the olympic level. I played these games and my jaw (almost literally) dropped by watching this guy beat the NES version of Arkanoid in 16 and a half minutes. Sounds kinda dumb, I know, but this dude never loses a ball playing one level right after another. If you've ever played this game you won't believe it.
Then, watching this man do his beautiful and unholy dance through Super Mario Bros. 3 in 11 minutes. He just glides around like a god in a world he built himself. He almost never stops for any reason. When he's in the final levels where you can't go fast, he just entertains himself by seeing how many consecutive cannonballs he can stomp without ever hitting the ground.
Also, Miss Megaparsec wrote several anagrams for my name...a thing never before done, to my knowlege. I present to you, a dozen anagrams for Daniel David Talsky:
1. did a veiny stalk lad
Also, this is my favorite self-portrait in a while:
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 12:57 AM
Friday, July 21, 2006
we can bring about great change for this country
The article is safe for work / mixed company. The song isn't, and it's by The Party Party.
the bougieman's cliches
The comments are worth reading as much as this blogger's list of Movie cliches that bug him.
The commenters really jump on him for never having seen Chinese Food actually come in paper boxes with wire handles.
Some of them, I could hardly remember any movies where that happened, like "Chess players are always always brilliant, charming, upper class people, while card players are always sneaky, foul mouthed, and prone to cheating." I mean really, how many Chess movies have there even been!
Some I thought, who the hell cares? "That every helicopter shutting down emits the chirp-chirp-chirp sound, in spite of the fact that only the Bell 47G (the chopper on MASH) actually makes this noise."
I thought, "Oh yeah, that just sets my teeth on edge every time." (???)
This would have been my number one cliche of madness though:
When someone yells “You never backed away from everything in your life, now fight!!” while giving someone CPR or working to resuscitate a stopped heart.
Oh my god. I just lose all trust for a movie when that happens.
Holy crap, and I just realized it was written by Robin Bougie, who writes the craziest porn and comix Livejournal ever. He's a good kid.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
I never thought I'd see the day when there was a positive article about psilocybe cubensis in the Wall Street Journal.
The thrust of the article was that they found the mushroom to have potential to be clinically useful, since it gave 2/3 of the people who took it in this study an experience they rated as "among the top five most meaningful experiences in their lives". The other one third, unfortunately, said they experienced pretty serious anxiety and depression.
I have from time to time, encountered this fungal psychadelic, sold as a fairly common street drug, and I can testify that I have had both experiences. In spite of that, I have to say that the experiences I had with this innocent looking fungus influenced my life and the way that I see the planet in a positive and...spiritually accurate way.
I have had several skeptical (straight-edge) intellectuals question me about the authenticity and quality of these experiences, and I can say that although they probably remained doubters, I certainly piqued their curiousity.
I certainly don't think one can reach enlightenment directly through any kind of food, drug, book or anything else but real spiritual work. I know there is potential, if one abuses something like this, to just spin oneself off into confusion, and not stay grounded in the real challenges and joys of this world.
However, sometimes the dull habitual nature of this modern world can dampen one's sense of wonder, and realization of our profound interdependance with each other. Sometimes a little shot in the arm, a reminder of the passion and turbulence, the depth and breadth of feeling and connection to other beings, really makes pressing on another day more bearable.
I don't think my spiritual teacher would really recommend it (in fact, I know he doesn't) but sometimes I still make myself a strong tea, light candles on the shrine, and climb into bed to connect with the profound teachers of the universe and take a 10,000 foot view of my own tiny life. It's not like a fun party for me. Sometimes it's pretty painful to see myself through such a lens. I might just still be doing it when I'm 60 though.
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 10:27 AM
Monday, July 10, 2006
come on and take a free ride
Jacob hadn't taken the Free Ride Taxi out for awhile, but he brought it along when we went out to get a bite to eat. Since it was with us, we decided we might as well see if we could pick up a fare or two.
On the way, Jacob told me a little about what the experience was like. You get a lot of visual attention. People aren't sure what to make of the taxi and whether or not they should hail it. People ask the same questions over and over: What kind of car is this, where did you get it, what are your hours, etc.
We hit Eastlake on the way to Cap Hill and got a fare (what do you call it if it's a free ride?). Three mellow Eastlakers on their way to Pioneer Square. Two of them were a couple, and there was a nice third-wheel guy with a humorous smirk.
The bewilderment is the fun part. As soon as they figure out you're not going to charge them then there's this intense curiousity where they're trying to figure out what's in it for you.
They were like, "No, really, we can give you some money!" or "We have some weed!"
Finally they settled down and the banter began. They were curious if we were planning to rape and pillage them. This was a major topic of conversation. You could tell they were kind of hoping we would. They suggested we had stopped primarily because the girl had a nice rack. She did, but we mainly stopped because they were trying to hail a cab.
In the back seat of the cab, the "oh shit!" handles are custom chrome jobs of buxom women that Jacob got out of a trucker catalog. The girl was rubbing them seductively and I thought to myself I should try and get a photo of that before they got out of the cab.
They kept trying to promote the show they were going to. Some silly rockabilly swing something or other. We were trying to be polite and not say we didn't like to go see generic-ass shows in Pioneer square thank you very much.
Finally we made it to their destination and they asked again if there was anything they could do for us. I thought, "Hey, now's the time for me to get a photo of the girl getting cosy with the buxom chrome lass."
I said, "Yeah, let me get a picture of you fondling the girl."
They got the wrong idea.
By the time I turned around and realized what was going on, I realized that the one guy had been kneading his girlfriend's nice rack for a good several seconds. Normally not one to blush, I found myself profoundly embarrassed that this was what they thought I had requested, and that the price of the ride was a sexual thrill. I was so stunned that I didn't even get a picture unfortunately. But I did clarify what I wanted, and got it.
That was our only fare that night. Perhaps I will ride with Jacob again.
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 06:54 PM
Sunday, July 02, 2006
you know, wherever I am, I'll come running
I think hearing the melancholy sounds of James Taylor as my mom drove me to daycare when I was a kid kind of scarred me. I could just feel the deep sadness in “You've Got a Friend” and all those easy listening singer-songwritery songs of the late 70's. I never recovered from it as a melodramatic malaise I think. Now I am sort of a drama queen. I can hear those songs in my head sometimes, and I don't think I have any of them. No, that's not true. I have some Carol King and Carly Simon. I read this interview with Carly Simon once and she was telling the interviewer that she has to be spanked to calm herself down sometimes. She said she's been in a position before she's about to go on TV or something where she has to get a stagehand or something to do it for her. That really made me laugh, but I actually kind of understood. I would totally spank Carly Simon. TMI, I know.
I feel like I have been living so heedlessly and now I am almost in an accidental place. It's like a hotel in the Dallas suburbs and I was here for a business meeting but it got canceled. And here I am...I'm already in the hotel room. I could order room service but I know it would be no comfort. The movie that's on is something horrible like Splash and I can't even stand to see Tom Hanks' stupid young face. There's no flights until morning. The hotel bar is depressing and the piano is broken. There's no place to buy a book and I know no one in this town. I'm sitting on the edge of the bed, like I could just open up a notebook and write a great play about a hotel in Dallas. But no. I decide perhaps Darryl Hannah will be offset Tom Hanks...just enough. Wow. That is really a train wreck of a metaphor. I'm just typing.