My Not So Real Estate

We have been trying, my wife and I, to sell our house and buy another, which is, as anyone who has been through it knows, just about the most fun you can have without losing a limb. I suppose if one is stinking rich, it’s another easy thing floating by on a river of ease, but if you are stinking rich, you probably aren’t reading this. Actually, if you are not a bot tasked with dumping phishing links cleverly disguised as ads for fake Ray-Bans in the comment section of this site, you probably aren’t reading this, but in any case: we are trying to do the sell-buy two-step and it is not much like fun.

The selling part is probably worse, since it involves keeping our current home as much like a hotel as possible, except a hotel where the sparse furnishings are your own, except that the furnishings are not really yours, inasmuch as you cannot treat, say, your coffee table with anything like the casual abandon that you did before, putting things like coffee cups on it, lest they spill, or books, lest they remind potential buyers of your disgusting presence in their dream home. Buying a house is slightly less stressful because you get to look at other people’s meticulously arranged stuff, realize they are far more obsessively tidy than you, and feel sympathy for their condition, which surely must get in the way of leading a richer, fuller life.

There is other stress associated with buying a house, of course—bidding wars, house inspections, the sense that no one really has your best interest at heart—but what bothers me most is going to see houses that are rental properties, and where the tenants have chosen to stay as you walk through, apologizing for your role as a threat to their continued happiness. A few days ago, we went to see a home occupied by refugees from Burma, a fact I discerned by the large, prominent posters of activist Aung San Suu Kyi displayed throughout, along with an understanding that the city of Buffalo, where my wife and I plan to move, has seen a strong influx of refugees from Burma in the last decade. They were more welcoming than most tenants are when you walk through their home, but I still could not shake loose from the fact that if we bought this house, they would be displaced yet again.

We thanked them and went to look at the attic, then came down a set of front stairs that led out of the house. I was overwhelmed with a desire to go back and tell the folks living there that I knew who Aung San Suu Kyi was, and that I respected her work. I know many people would simply chalk this up to guilt, at having to interrupt (and potentially disrupt) their lives, at recognizing what a comparatively privileged life I was living, compared to theirs, but it wasn’t guilt at all, feeling bad for being a chaotic force in a stranger’s life is not the same as feeling one is to blame for the situation that brought us together. It is comparable to the argument that a person cannot do good for another without thinking of the good it will do themselves, that we are always selfishly motivated, even when being altruistic, which is something selfish people often bring up to justify their own selfishness. Both arguments rest on an idea of the self as the most dominant, active figure in an individual’s psychic and spiritual landscape, a figure that casts a shadow over everything else in the world. It is not easy to resist this notion of identity, especially within a culture like we have in the United States, which encourages it, even institutionalizes it, because it is this sense of self that makes us more desperate consumers. And, of course, resisting this idea of self does not mean giving up all material possessions and living as itinerant monks, but rather that the material conditions of one’s life are simply one aspect of the path to a meaningful existence, important but not nearly as important as the recognition of other lives, of social contact, of saying to another person, “I see what is important to you, and that your life is as valuable as mine.”

I say this social aspect is more important because identity is not fixed thing, but a shimmering nexus of events, influences, and attitudes constantly formed and re-formed by our interactions with other people. To say we are more other people than we are ourselves is not inaccurate, I think, much like our bodies are made up of “our” cells, but also of bacteria, fungi, viruses, archea, and everything that goes into making up the microbiome. We can thus think of the human body as being partially our own and partially something alien to that body, or we can recognize that our bodies are part of a fluid system of interactions with our environment. And so it is with the self, and so it is that I wanted to go back and tell the folks in the house we looked at that I recognized that face of a woman they held in great esteem, because I recognized both the gulf between our experiences and the commonality of our humanity and found it fascinating and worth sharing. Then a car drove by blasting music so loud it caused the windows of neighboring cars to vibrate, and I forgot all about my desire to communicate with the tenants, until I woke last night and remembered, and remembered why my plan had gotten derailed, and decided to write it all down instead.

compassion towards the wicked

compassion towards the wicked – is cruelty to all beings.

–Maimonides

Like most people, I was very surprised when Donald Trump won the US Presidential election. I trusted that the number of frightened, hateful, motivated citizens was smaller than it was, that the number of people who thought his election would bring about chaos or even the apocalypse was smaller, that there were not enough people to collaborate in giving a craven infant of a man access to nuclear weapons. And I was right, there were more people who thought he should not be President than thought he should, many more, but I also did not count on the assistance of the FBI director and the Russian government and voter suppression in gaming the system for him. All of which is old hat at this point, as Trump’s first week is over and he seems bent on provoking a constitutional crisis, and I am pretty well sick of hearing about the son of a bitch.

But being sick of him matters not a bit, as there are people already suffering because of the decisions he has made, people who do not have the same advantages that I do, and so I have to fight as best I can.

I am a believer in discourse, and in Democracy, so I intended—still intend, somehow—for part of my fight to involve communicating with Trump supporters, trying to find some common ground, to appeal to their humanity, since I also believe that compassion is an essential universal human quality, an evolutionary adaption, even. For Aristotle, compassion occurred when we saw someone suffering undeserved pain, and also felt fear because we, too, might soon suffer the same pain. Rousseau, Lessing, and others removed the fear from the equation—not that fear we might be next does not increase our compassion, but we can feel compassion without such fear. I think it also a matter of biology because we evolved as necessarily social animals, for whom the opposite of compassion—cruelty—does not serve as an advantage in evolutionary terms. Cruelty might work in the short term, but it cannot hold, since people do not want to suffer.

So, I have explored various discussion forums and other social media, and have spoken in person to the few Trump supporters I know, and have found many of them to be far more cruel than I anticipated, and more importantly, unable to recognize that cruelty. Some of them are simply frightened and confused by a world they don’t understand but feel it excludes them, and see in Trump a strong leader, where the rest of us see a cowardly little man desperate for approval. Others simply revel in the cruelty, taking great pleasure in the pain he is causing others, and the chaos. All of these are commonly characteristics of children, of course. Infantilism binds them to the infantile man now occupying the White House.

So, how do I feel compassion for them? I can feel compassion for a child, and forgive them even as I chastise them and try to help them learn, but these are grown ups. Could I find it in my heart to feel compassion for Trump? For Steve Bannon? I would like think I could, just as I like to think I could forgive anyone who did something awful to me or my loved ones, after a time. In Hannah Arendt’s essay on Lessing, she highlights a distinction he makes between fraternity and friendship, in differentiation from someone like Rousseau: fraternity, the recognition that we are all one species and bound together, and that everyone is, in the abstract, worthy of compassion, is not the same as friendship, which begins with a recognition of fraternity but grows toward a mutual respect and dialogue and public involvement with the world, a public expression of friendship. I can disagree with friends, and through this struggle reach something like consensus. I can also feel compassion for someone I find reprehensible. I can feel compassion for someone I fight against, someone for whom friendship—and thus respect and dialog—is not an option. I can defend myself against someone who threatens me, while still feeling compassion, and once the struggle is over, if the necessary preconditions for friendship arise, we might even become friends.

This is the only way for our species to stay alive. The minute we dehumanize those we struggle against, we become them, we divide and conquer ourselves. Even those who wish only for the human race to be extinguished must be granted this essential compassion, even as we fight to keep them from killing us all. Only through compassion can we survive, and become something more. John Dewey said it better, of course:

Universal suffrage, recurring elections, responsibility of those who are in political power to the voters, and the other factors of democratic government are means that have been found expedient for realizing democracy as the truly human way of living. They are not a final end and a final value. They are to be judged on the basis of their contribution to end. It is a form of idolatry to erect means into the end which they serve. Democratic political forms are simply the best means that human wit has devised up to a special time in history. But they rest back upon the idea that no man or limited set of men is wise enough or good enough to rule others without their consent; the positive meaning of this statement is that all those who are affected by social institutions must have a share in producing and managing them. The two facts that each one is influenced in what he does and enjoys and in what he becomes by the institutions under which he lives, and that therefore he shall have, in a democracy, a voice in shaping them, are the passive and active sides of the same fact.

The dichotomy proposed by Maimonides at the start of this page, then, is false. We must struggle, and overcome evil, and punish evil persons, but that does not mean we must lose our compassion for them, which is as simple as recognition of our common humanity. Of course we must resist, but not at the cost of becoming demons ourselves.

You do unbend your noble strength to think so brainsickly of things

From last year’s model…

 

Pieces of Silver

On the fifty-seventh Thursday of the month, we host

a flotilla of sad-eyed immigrant children from the next township over

and inculcate them with the values of the merchant class,

the evolutionary principles under-girding the sort of life

 

they want, as their parents have not attained it and never will, hence

the sad eyes. Each gets a gift bag stamped “share, with love,”

containing a single, sturdy, high thread count oatmeal cookie,

a scratch-off ticket, and a small note: “sharing is for pussies.”

 

Laugh at your own risk, sneer to drown the sound of your craving,

we know better. We know where the profit fairy flutters to nest,

we know how to look slim and golden, even after the hunt, even after

your little Bakunins have done their sloppy best and delivered you to us.

(From Kindness in Never Small, 2015)

Another poem from my next book

Another suddenly topical poem, from my next collection. Please join me at Rust Belt Books this Saturday at 3pm for beer and cupcakes and books books books!

I Can Hear Her Bones Growing, or Cracking

America always tries too hard, chewing
with her mouth open,
walking her huge, stupid dogs
right down the middle of the street,
letting them shit just anywhere.

Like a trumpet solo in C sharp
when C would do just as fine, thank you,
like the idea of soloing in the first place,
like Miles Fucking Davis, trying
way too hard, trying to be cool

while the veins in his neck and head
swole up like a garden hose
after the tap gets flipped and the water
flows. She tries too hard and then
says things like, “better to have tried too hard

than not tried at all,” as though she
was Caesar, prescribing the bounds
of logic with a sweep of the hand. Laughing
too loud, snorting, the guffaw
is an American invention. I can’t do much more

than say I love you, you big, goofy,
toothsome girl, and how strange it is
to feel older than one’s parent. I only hope
that yours are the pains of adolescence
and not the onset of early dementia.

Poem from upcoming book….

I have a new book launching Nov 19, and will have parties in Buffalo (Nov 19th) and Rochester (Dec 3rd) to celebrate. Here is a sample that seems relevant:

Now It’s Personal

The streets were rivers of stars and lovers
and the rain came and cooled the hearts of both.
Cafes and doorways flooded as the streets jumped their banks.
Skulls shrunk, mouths swelled, the chatter was all of angels:
angels of marginalia, angels of the engine infernal,
angels of my first time, all the cherubim and seraphim
of a world bone-drenched by heaven after heaven,
heavens plastered on warehouse walls,
heavens honking from passing cabs and radios perched
on hot dog carts, heavens crackling through the space
between satellites.
     And as the streets turned to steam
the chatter turned and spun itself into a husk
the shape of a body, and a man rose from the crowd
and donned the husk, showed his teeth, then spoke
to the stars and lovers
gathered below:
     This is my shape, this is my skin,
you called and I am here.
       The ones who believed
believed it was always thus, while the skeptics
were not invited to return.
       Rooks along the roofline
counted the crumbs that fell as the lovers squabbled
and waved their arms like they were falling through the sky.

The savior swelled and shone like a boil. No one could think
of anything but him, those that loved him, those who wished
his flesh would turn to jelly and fall away, when the lovers
went to bed, they thought of him, when they dreamed,
he rode their dreams until they were tired and wet and ready
for the stall and the feedbag.
       Mothers pinched babies to make them
rosier, that he might kiss them. Sisters shoved brothers
under trains, the better to see his glistening head. And then,
as the sun bleated from behind a cloud, he burst–

I wish there were more to the story. I wish a drunken crone
was bribing urchins with moldy sweets to listen:
how they came while we slept and scrubbed the pavement clean
so the streets could be rivers of stars and lovers,
so the rain could come and cool the hearts of both.

The Word “Broken” is Broken

After the recent DDOS attack that launched via the “internet of things,” I read that Anonymous might have been responsible. Turns out they were not, but it did remind me that Anonymous existed, and led me to their web page. The first item on that page was titled “The American Political System is BROKEN,” and to a screed about how the US should get rid of the “two-party system” and change to instant run-off voting. This led me to 3 conclusions:

It is the third item that concerns me most. I’m sure many of us have sat with a child and tried to show them how the toy they believe is broken actually works; I’m sure most of us have been that child. It is this meaning of the word—that is, the wrong one—that pervades the media universe these days. At the very least, people use “broken” to mean “a very complicated problem,” which is another way of saying the author either does not understand the problem, cannot be bothered to explain it, or expects the audience will not understand it, all of which are symptoms of the infantilization of our culture. The US political system Is not, in fact, broken, nor is the education system, nor is the Affordable Care Act, or Arkansas, or the NFL, or any other system with deep, complicated problems that require work and dialogue to run more effectively. Saying something is broken is the opposite of work and dialogue, it is a throwing up of the hands based on an inability to recognize complexity and affect change within a complex system.

I’m not the only one to protest the infantilization of our culture, of course (A. O. Scott, Bernardini, on and on.. Ariel Dorfman, Baudrillard, so many others…) though unlike some folks, I don’t think this is part of some intentional program those in power subscribe to in order to keep us pliant—those in charge are just as infantilized, it seems—but that doesn’t mean that the effect is not the same, we are kept pliant and childlike and ignorant, and complex problems get puerile solutions pasted over them, again and again. The regular misuse of “broken” is just more evidence of this situation. Apparently Susan Neiman wrote a book last year tracing it back to Rousseau and Kant, so I guess reading that will be my next step.

Linen and such

The metaphor of human life as a fabric, a woven thing, is a bit worn, if I might be allowed the pun. The Moirai of ancient Greese were not weavers but spinners, as one spun the thread, one measured, and one cut the thread of a life, leading to the idea that social life is something like a tapestry made up of many threads. It is hoary enough to be a cliché, really, but I nonetheless found myself dwelling on it after reading William Davies’ The Happiness Industry, which is about, among other things, the fact that our current capitalist moment makes people so unhappy that their lack of desire to work is causing corporations concern, hence the push to sell us various forms of happiness and well-being. Of course, this only makes matters worse, for a variety of reasons that Davies nails pretty well, and among the solutions he offers is that we talk to one another more, and listen, and argue, and not get everything through a branded media stream (which is hard, given that many of us speak and think using the terms and concepts of that stream to define ourselves). So, I have been thinking about the fact that I don’t consider myself a particularly social person, I really like my solitude, but I also recognize that what he is saying is dead on. I guess I am fairly social: I teach, I have parties, I go to parties, I speak to people in a more than perfunctory manner on the street, in shops, and so forth—but part of me wants to cling to the solitude as well. And I don’t think Davies is suggesting we lose that, at all, but rather that many of us feel very isolated, and need help, and talking to another person is the only best way to do that.

All of which led me to the life is a tapestry metaphor, but rather than each person being a thread, I imagined each thread as every experience a person has, because our experiences do not happen in isolation. Even someone alone in the woods who has an experience, then dies without communicating it, had the experience as an individual made up of countless other threads. And we exercise agency upon them, we are not passively being woven from different threads: we take what we experience and judge it, value it, change it, color the threads and make knots and so on. So: every person is made up of these threads of social experiences, is connected to every other person by those threads, and is altering the threads as they find them. If you pull back, then, from the tapestry, you can begin to make out forms, borders, delineations between person and person, where I and you, made up of separate strands, become different people. In other words, a person can be alone, but can never be apart from the rest of humanity. The fabric is social life, and our identities are imprinted upon it by the way we act upon those threads we come in contact with.

Ok, more of listening to all the CDs in my collection. So close to being done, it only took 9 years:

872) Tom Waits: The Early Years; 873) The Art of the Japanese Koto, Shakuhachi, and Shamisen: A Selection of Old and New Chamber Music; 874) Paul Simon: Graceland; 875) Vas: Feast of Silence; 876) Tony! Toni! Tone!: The Revival; 877) Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Party: Shahbaaz; 878) Lee Chabowski: Drinky-Poo; 879) Youssou N’Dour: Egypt; 880) Rosie Flores: Rockabilly Filly; 881) Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight; 882) Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Party: The Last Prophet; 883) Professor Longhair: Crawfish Fiesta; 884) ZZ Top: Tres Hombres; 885) Shootyz Groove: Live Jive; 886) Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88’s: Mr. Boogie’s Back in Town; 887) Blue Meanies: Peace Love Groove; 888) DJ Shadow: The Private Press.

Of course, it might be the Vril Society

I need to get back into the groove of daily writing, I have gotten away from the habit and was working more in spurts, which did produce some good work, but not enough. Writing every day helps mollify the obsession in ways that bursts of creativity cannot, though I should not avoid such bursts, of course, and must ride them wherever they lead. Daily writing also helps me sort my mind differently, since I do not approach the page with a pre-existing idea, project to work on, or even formal structure in mind. It is a bit like doing tai chi or yoga, in that it helps my mind be more supple, and stronger, though I don’t think “mind” is actually the right word here. Suite of ideas? Cognitive flow? Mind will have to do for now.

The problem now is that I have too many things to say, they all want to come spilling out at once. So, I will choose one: I have been meaning to go back and read Hofstader’s “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” for a while, first when Donald Trump used said style to win the Republican nomination for President, and then even more so when Bernie Sanders also started ratcheting up the conspiratorial rhetoric in his campaign for the Democratic side. In terms of policy, it seems Clinton and Sanders are not that far apart, certainly much closer in their proposals to each other than to Trump, and Sanders had been unable to get much traction emphasizing the distinctions between, say, free college for everyone versus free community college, lower loan rates, and a progressive tuition structure. It was when his campaign started encouraging the paranoid style—the process is rigged for Clinton, we are being denied our rights—that he actually started to do better in primaries. So, to keep going, he has to fan the flames of paranoia. Anyone who buys this message will not believe, no matter what evidence is offered, that Clinton and the DNC are not somehow stealing the election, because said evidence must, of course, being manufactured as part of the conspiracy. It’s a neat little self-justifying loop, much like the way insular Christian groups can blame everything on the devil. Unfortunately, it makes those who do not buy the message, who have not bought into the cult of personality at the heart of it, uncomfortable, and ultimately pushes them away, as it has me.

Perhaps I am paranoid too, of the worship of media constructs. When I hear people praise any candidate for office, or in fact any public figure, from Mickey Mouse to Noam Chomsky to Beyoncé, in terms they use for people they actually know (I love them, they are so honest, or trustworthy, or smart), I am instantly on my guard. I do not love or admire Clinton or Sanders or Muhammed Ali or Adrienne Rich, though I do admire things they have said or done or written. To say that I love them would be like looking at a cloud and saying, “I love that cloud for the inner life that it’s shape tells me must exist.” They are real people, but we do not have access to that reality; what we do have access to is constructed by the person, in concert with mass media. What this public image does indicate, especially in politicians, is that they are good at manipulating people, using that public image.

I certainly understand the allure of the paranoid style. It is somehow more comforting to assume the existence of a conspiracy than to reach the conclusion that most of us have no idea what we are doing, that daily life is ruled by chaos and incompetence, at the least, and violent expressions of individual power, at the worst. As Hofstader put it, “the paranoid mind is far more coherent than the real world.” Which is not to say that conspiracies do not exist, that power is not also institutional, only that the habit of mind that allows us to see conspiracy everywhere is much easier to bring into being than an actual conspiracy is. People are sloppy. Conspiratorial thinking makes them seem more orderly. As does, not coincidentally, the way we learn to think of media constructs as people—Sanders’ carefully disordered hair is a deliberate signal sent to his supporters just as much as Clinton playing dominos with old folks in Harlem or Trump’s poll-tested “gaffes.” Then again, most of us do not learn to judge policy or political acumen, we judge performance, which makes this election just another version of American Idol, whereby we judge a performance and think the performers people we actually know and trust. I wonder, after reading Hofstader again, if we are now, as a people, more or less susceptible to the paranoid style. I hope not, since “we are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well.”

Perhaps this is why I like conspiracy theory fiction–Pynchon, Dick, Shea/Anton Wilson–and movies, and even games like Illuminati! It lessens my suffering for a few hours by cranking up my paranoia to a ridiculous, though manageable, and thereby cathartic, degree, allowing me to then re-renter the messy, puzzling world refreshed, my need to see order where there is none exhausted.

Because where else.

I got interested in obscure Catholic saints a while back, so I wrote this ring of sonnets, then forgot about it. This seems like a good place, and time, for it:

From the Periphery (Lesser-Known Saints)

Saint Brioc

“Please remember: dawn came, and we were freed,

freed from the devils that stir up the sea,

and we were grateful. Grace hid us a while

from their strange eyes and teeth; grace is not guile,

however, and so we beg the Lord’s mercy

for those brethren swallowed by the beast

before reaching Rome. Their souls will surely

ascend, and they will go join in the feast

of light. The King’s feast, here, is also fine,

and so we give thanks, but these earthly fruits

are but shadows of divine sustenance.

And though we made not Rome, Cornwall does shine

upon a kind of hill… so end your disputes.

Pure hearts do not bicker with providence.”

Saint Ludmilla

“Pure hearts do not bicker with providence,

nor swear allegiance to the methods of man;

providence is a mountain of fire,

and method but a cave in that mountain.

So, though I cannot decide who loves me,

I can give birth, and force, at least, that debt

upon another. Who loves me, loves me,

no matter, I love the Lord above all

and in all things, none shall come between us.

Ah, your men are here. Their choice? Release me–

and themselves from the bondage of their deed–

or put hands on my neck and sacrifice

their souls. Scoundrels! Let me pray, at the least;

no, let me sit and watch the falling snow.”

Bl. Edward Oldcorne

“No, let me sit and watch the falling snow;

you have put the iron to my feet, torn

my flesh with hooks, I have no desire

save witness to God’s creation. Undone?

To the contrary, my heart is aglow

and certain of its home, and of your scorn,

my frail abuser. You are a liar:

you hold the whip, the brand, but truth you shun;

what other kind of man could do this work?

It saddens me, that you will never trust

or be trusted. Once more: I acquired

no powder, nor schemed, nor claimed murder just,

as you soon will, when I dangle and jerk;

Enough! The sun arrives, and the flesh tires.”

St. Shenute

“Enough! The sun arrives, and the flesh tires.

The best intentions will not make a wall;

prayers do not eat, nor fill the empty mouth,

even with fingers of pure light, even

when bringing word to the eye, the heart fired

with silent bellows… the flesh is not all,

but it can build and harvest and smelt ore

from a vanishing spark. Work, and heaven

will welcome you; flesh is a plow, grieving

a harness, spirit an ox. We adore

He who steers our furrows straight; we appal

our crooked eyes, what the flesh still desires.

What do the descendants of Pharoahs own?

Their bodies are wooden, of fire their thrones.”

St. Seraphim of Sarov

“Their bodies are wooden, of fire their thrones,

these sons of men, the lost, the misleading.

As a child, I knew fevers, as a man,

I spent three years a-bed; after visions,

the Virgin descended and healed me.

The Son of God came, and I lost all words,

thieves came and beat my flesh and I smiled;

for a thousand nights I prayed, arms upraised,

and the Virgin came once more to bless me.

My joy! The Holy Spirit surrounds us!

Why do you stand in front of your own eyes

like a soldier? I am no thaumaturge,

I do nothing but the work of the Lord,

and the Lord renders all work meaningless…”

St. Emma of Lesum

“And the Lord renders all work meaningless,

and I have done no work but spent myself,

and my right hand, that which spent most freely,

is a holy thing, at least, I beg you.

Look! A Cathedral! A meadow for thee!

All my riches given in the Lord’s name,

though, to be fair, not given all at once;

which of the meek could stomach my riches,

they would wretch and vomit and great evil

would fix itself like a leech upon such

simple souls… so I have worked, after all,

at saving my flock from worldly wealth,

at marrying charity with prudence.

I worked, Lord, and found no miracles”

St Dismas

“I worked, Lord, and found no miracles.

I stole, Lord, and found more hunger, more thirst.

I went to the desert and learned to kill.

I killed for pleasure, for the smell of it,

and to dance in their blood. Once, I met a child

and could not kill him, his mother, father;

I paid forty drachmas to vile Gestas

and let them go. My soul burst, I lost years

to the vine, to purse slitting, to Gestas

again, the only partner I deserved,

then found myself here, upon Golgotha,

the place of the skull, nailed to a gibbet,

and Gestas still yammering in my ear!

Please remember. Dawn comes… and I am free.”

Some housekeeping

I started this blog in 2008, after we moved from Atlanta, GA to Lockport, NY, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. A few months later, my wife challenged me to listen to all the CDs I owned (well, all the store-bought ones, not copies) and post them to the blog, and I seem to have lost track of that divine purpose, though I have been listening away. So, since the last time I posted CDs (July 2014! damn.), I have listened to:

822) Delicious Vinyl: Waxing Off: The First Decade; 823) Pedro the Lion: Control; 824) Bob Dylan: Desire; 825) Harry Nilsson: A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night; 826) Ladytron: Witching Hour; 827) Orb: u.f.orb; 828) Noi Albinoi: Slow Blow; 829) Dillinger: Cocaine; 830) Various: Quiet About It: A Tribute to Jesse Winchester; 831) Executive Slacks: The Complete Recordings; 832) Dntel: Life is Full of Possibilities; 833) Honky Hoppers: Standing Room Only; 834) Kermit Ruffins: Kermit Ruffins; 834) Brian Setzer Orchestra: The Dirty Boogie; 835) Space’n’Bass: Disc 9 and 10; 836) Swap Dogg: Cuffed, Collared, and Tagged/Doing a Party Tonite; 837) Das FX: Dead Serious; 838) Sue Foley: Without a Warning; 839) Howlin’ Wolf: Two for One; 840) John Coltrane: Lush Life; 841) Sweetback: Sweetback; 842) Youssou N’Dour: Set; 843) Scritti Politti: White Bread, Black Beer; 844) Incredible String Band: The 5000 Spirits or Layers of the Onion; 845) Rembetica: Historic Urban Folk Songs From Greece; 846) Alejandro Escovedo: The Boxing Mirror; 847) Mogwai: Rock Action; 848) The Abyssinia Baptist Gospel Choir: Shaking the Rafters; 848) Eddy Arnold: Eddy’s Song; 849) Weapon of Choice: Nutmeg Fantasy; 850) Ben Folds Five: Ben Folds Five; 851) Willie Nelson: Milk Cow Blues; 852) Tangerine Dream: Lily on the Beach; 853) The B-52s: Party Mix!; 854) Wussy: Strawberry; 855) Harry Nilsson: Son of Schmilsson; 856) Mekons: The Edge of the World; 857) Aisha Kandisha’s Jarring Effects: Shabeestation; 858) Rokia Traore: Beautiful Africa; 859) Various: Beginner’s Guide to Arabia; 860) Blackalicious: Blazing Arrow; 861) The Clash: London Calling; 862) UB40: The UB40 File; 863) The Polyphonic Spree: The Beginning Stages of… 864) Quasi: Featuring “Birds”; 865) Brick: Super Hits; 866) The Carter Family: 1927-1934; 867) Martha Wainwright: I Know You’re Married but I’ve Got Feelings Too; 868) Mum: Summer Make Good; 869) Bob Wills: Encore (box set); 870): Roger Miller: The Genius of Roger Miller (box set); 871) Wussy: Attica.

Well, there are more still in the pile, but I’m tired of cataloging. I’d have made a terrible librarian.