Saturday, February 28, 2009

An exercise in futility...

...or maybe not. In any case, I have created another blog to deal with one subject alone. Ok, let me rephrase that: in my view, it is ONE subject, even if I am not 100% certain what that subject is.

So, let's say it is about the human brain, the mind, consciousness, the "soul" (immortal or not), evolution, and language & philosophy. What it boils down to is a sequence of essays which attempts to explain all the above in one continuous extrapolation.


Exactly. Nothing more than pure curiosity started me on this kick and...well, ending it? I had thought it was sheer vanity to think that I had anything to say on such lofty matters but I had second thoughts after reading a lot of Darwin (and Steven Jay Gould, his ultimate popularizer for this generation. Darwin wasn't a trained anything; he was a Naturalist. There's nothing wrong with being a Naturalist, a person who uses what they know and what they have found to draw conclusions based solely in their understanding of things. All the opinions expressed below are solely the author's and reflect only a few intersections with Wikipedia. Here's the link:

The title I was "of two minds" on. The reason for the quotation marks is that it is just that tricky. I called it "recent trends in cognative research" but it could just as easily be "recent trends in cognitive research"; one is referring to language, the other to sentience (etc.) and it is about both! But the MS Word dictionary didn't flag it as incorrect so I will let it stand.

When I finish, I may change the name to the other spelling

Saturday, February 14, 2009



First, a little couplet:

Forget the grape gripe
(viz, no whine before its time)
about the taste of the unripe
or cerveza without lime

addicted to the rush
but crashing, all because
after bush has got the push
hey!--what happened to my buzz?

There is a natural tendency to denigrate one's experience in the light of subsequent developments which detract from the whole and reduce it to a series of logical propositions that all things borne of Man are destined for dust and decay. And you can get your mind out of the gutter right now: there aren't going to be any libido euphemisms here. That was strictly a teaser head.

Participatory democracy only works when you participate. Just as there are no atheists in foxholes (or at least, whoever is in there is just as scared as you, irrespective of pieties), there are no cynics knocking on doors. There may be some professionals at the top who are pretty jaded, but, again, THAT'S NOT A TRENCH ON THE MARNE, ok?

Our president has been in office a little less than a month, yet the number of active detractor's has shot through the roof. Should any creedence be given to the divisionists and revisionists who seem to work less by concrete facts based in the authority of comprehensive investigation and appreciation of a subject than misleading interrogatories, sly innuendo and scripts tailored to climax at 6.8 minutes into a 7-minute segment peaking with, "I'm sorry but that's all the time we have right now..." before the commercial?

So much for the romance, eh? (Ok. One bumper ref.)

Over standard coffee morning conversation with the Elf herself, in discussion of this lamentable phenomenon, she mentioned what the Obama election meant to her: "The return of common sense." And it struck me that, yes, I did learn something way back when in American History; this was also the name of the pamphlet (their "blogs") by Thomas Paine that was the most widely-read piece of literature in "the colonies." This was a truly revolutionary bit of wisdom in that it spoke in plain speech about subjects that everyone could understand. Just to be able to hear a chief executive say something like, "We screwed up," is so precious and honest that we tend to undervalue it just because it was over something fairly trivial. (Mistakes on two nominee's tax returns vs. One Trillion Dollar Bailout Plan? Don't see the logic in putting them on the same plate, nope!) In the relatively short continuum of the United States, the amount of disunion has always been pretty big. Why should the present be any exception? Perhaps it just seems worse because of the aforementioned professional gainsayers. The other day, Colbert is putting up a new "on notice" warning to another of his pet peeves, amusing as always, when I notice, right at the top, the one put there by the Man himself when making a late stage televised appearance via satellite: "DISTRACTIONS." During the Civil Rights Era (hard to conceive that we actually had eras of social concerns), there was a saying, either out of the gospel churches themselves or the SCLC itself: "Keep your eyes on the prize." And despite modern interpretation of it as some sort of "get your game on" exhortation to win the big bucks, this usage was more about focussing on an ideal and not being swayed from belief that the true path was there, even when, at times, it was hard to see, obscured by brush or rubbish or the dark.

I had fallen prey to this very malady. It is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans: Life.

Over past week, however, I had been re-encouraged, shall we say, by two "better angels of my nature." One was a serendipitous Saturday afternoon stroll through Chelsea with a friend that stumbled upon this group exhibition. As art goes, not exactly thrilling (or even as art propaganda--for that, better to cross the same street to the Robert Miller gallery to see the DJ Spooky (Paul Miller, no relation, far as I can tell) show satirizing Soviet revolutionary posters for the rebel state of Antarctica), but as signs of the times, nothing short of exemplary.

The other was more personal, having actually received two e-mails, quite unexpectedly, from former campaign staffers with whom I worked in Pennsylvania. It was so touching and unexpected, I had to haul out the video diaries and have another look. And so, I offer here...another look. What you will see below is how the campaign looked from the skirmishes, the hand-to-hand combat. It is not comprehensive, merely the infantry perspective.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lux has left the building: The Interior is now Exterior

Primordial. That's the way I and a few of my like-minded schizicens felt about the Cramps. The funeral oration of Pericles will probably resound from some of the pulpits, but it won't be here. Never met the man, only saw the band twice, yet the connection was formed before I even knew how deep the twisted and gnarled roots entwined below the surface of the culture. So, instead of going on to Lester Bangs length (as I am wont to do), a few brief remarks.

The first hint of that was the ep, with liner notes about how they gestated, fairly festered, in the blue glow of b&w monster movies (language that evoked the mysteries of radiation and mutation so dear to those sci-fi pioneers), reading EC comics (my first love before rock and roll) in a Cleveland suburb. The whole impact of the prose was to herald a sound as a supporating lesion, the open wound that art seeks to heal but never can. (Ok. Maybe a little Greek tragedy, like Philoctetes, if you want.) And it was all red too. I now know that "Human Fly" was not an original, nor "Goo-Goo Muck", but it belonged to them after that point.

Even the name, Lux Interior--it was like a joke that was raving before you heard it. The punchline was a voice like a hyena's laugh in the Serengetti: giggles, whispers, moans and gurgles. The rest of it were feral glints in the night...don't wander far from the campfire.

While still rusticating in the Midwest, a friend wrote me about the new club opening up on Halloween on Second Avenue called CBGBs Theater. It was only open for a couple of shows, I guess, but that one found the band in full glory. Brian was still with them and glowering. Ivy lifted her legs to reveal what most males wanted to see. Lux gnawed on a raw bone--either cow or pig--and threw it into the throng. Then repeatedly stabbed stuffed animals until the front rows were covered in kapock. Then a roadie brought out a box under a tarp...and Lux opened the cage and released the rats onto the audience.

Uh. That's Dada, folks.

Smack dab in the center of the "New Wave" was this band who had totally escaped the distancing of Cool. They never bothered with Existential Dread; they were too busy running from zombies, and pumping out a lurching rhythm on so much echoplex and reverb you'd have thought you'd fallen into the Cavestomp Dimension, where "The Mole People" were ruled by Rocky Horror, dictating his fiats through a Ventures amp on 11. No matter how alienated you got, all it would take is some of that throbble to thrombosis your neurosis and get you to wriggle-wiggle with the worms.

A friend tipped me to the tape called "The Purple Knif Show" wherein Lux went on a radio station in LA in 1984 and DJ'ed a 90-minute set of favorite tunes. What made it more impressive was that he was using the code words known only to ex-North Ohioans of a very particular period. He had stepped very forcefully, in his fishnet hose and stiletto heels, right out of the closet and opened declared himself a f.o.g.--Friend of Ghoulardi. If you have to ask, don't look at me--I can't tell you. Not in a million years. And I've tried, elsewhere. But that's another reason they endured through the years; the Lux/Ivy unit made for this astonishing enigma. Not that they wouldn't speak to the press, but nothing they ever said went beyond this space-out of childlike naivete to abstract terror; the sincere innocence necessary to generate the core of jibbering madness that opens the door to escape. And from what? To where? Remember the Doc's dying breath to Captain Leslie Nielsen in "Forbidden Planet" on what killed the Krell? "Monsters, John! Monsters...from the ID!"

On every Labor Day Lobster Bake we'd join in with other psychempaths on the rockbound coast of Portland, Maine's Thousand Islands and they were always near to top of the playlist in heavy rotation. The booze cruise on the ferry would resemble a batch of drunken sailors on shore leave, but I can't forget stomping with my avowedly hetreosexual male companions into a collective high kick on "Bikini Girls With Machine Guns." Some people wait their entire lives for such liberation.

The last time was the 25th Anniversary celebration of CBGBs. I made sure to see at least the Ramones and the Cramps...which was apt, as it was so cramped breathing was difficult. Still, you don't get any better moshing than when there is no room for independent motion. Whenever I moved, you moved, and whenever Lux lunged, we caromed. But despite the close quarters, it was without friction because no one there would rather be anywhere else with anyone else for that time. Was it similar to the aforementioned Ghoulardi cult? Perhaps. Who can answer the Sphinx?

Shall we see his like again?

...monsters from the ID...

[post scriptum...the music upload thang is done far better by far more than i, so for that, i suggest you try the mediafunhouse link to the right. it may not be your oedipus-type riddle-buster, but i guarantee everything there will be a lot more fun than sticking hot pokers in your eyes...]