Such Light, Above Ground

Last week, I was assaulted by a group of 4, or 5, or 6, young men who knocked me off my bicycle and punched and kicked and stomped on me. I don’t know why they did it; in fact, while they were pummeling me, I kept asking them: “Why? Why are you doing this?” They had no answer for me. Then I blacked out, and shortly after that, two car loads of young men and women returning from the drive-in stopped and scared them off, then waited with me until the police and ambulance arrived. The damage tally, as is usual for such events, was weird: right ankle broken in three places, jaw broken in two, ribs severely bruised, but my glasses are still intact, internal organs are fine, and nothing was taken from my wallet. I lost a shoe and my bike helmet, but my wife found both the next day. A senseless act produced results difficult to make sense of, in other words. I am not sure I need to make sense of it, really, although the looks on the faces of everyone I tell the story to begs the same questions: how could anyone do such a…
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That’s interesting, I posted a link to a review David Blaine did of my 2nd book here, and the whole post appeared automatically as a comment under the review on the outsiderwriters website. They must also be using WordPress too, I guess? unhappy hipsters.

O, I’ve been extra-lax

Only 21 cds in January, and I haven’t posted my first Feb chunk until the 9th! So bad. But, it is the big slush season in Western NY, Jan/Feb/March have a way of sucking at your soul, grey skies and crusty black snow piles, sudden warm spells that tease one with sunlight, then back into snow… I like snow, but that’s a different story, I’m making excuses. 115-XXX) Once upon a time, a charming young sitarist named Ravi woke to find monsoon season had come early, and with much suddenness (Ravi Shankar: The Sounds of India). The rain beat at his roof relentlessly, and found its way through every hole in the thatch. In fact, Ravi woke, despite the fur that the previous evening’s party had stuffed into his skull, because one very fat raindrop landed exactly on the bridge of his nose. “Oh, bother,” Ravi thought; “I suppose I will have to go find someone to rethatch my roof, once the monsoon is over. In the meantime, I had better find somewhere else to live!” So Ravi took his sitar and an umbrella and set off on the path to the city, listening to the ragas that the rain…
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yappin at the antique store

I was in one of those rent-a-space collective antique stores the other day, this one in downtown Lockport, and a group of folks were yappin’ about McCain and Obama, about bailing out Wall street, and so forth. The group’s republican voice sounded totally disillusioned with his parties’ manic candidate, as well he should be, but what was most interesting to me was his characterization of Obama as “just a kid from the South Side of Chicago.” The Obama’s-too-young theme is pretty standard, and I hadn’t thought much about it till that moment, but it really is a striking blend of anti-intellectualism and racism. Obama sounds like what he is: a very smart man, one who doesn’t need to show off his intellect (folks who need to show off that way generally aren’t very smart, in my experience), and that manner of address is threatening to a fairly large portion of the population. Add his blackness to his intellectualism and the result is a theme that tries to infantilize him by calling him too young, lacking in wisdom, and so forth. I’m sure if he was white the theme would be similar (see JFK, for example), but it is double-edged when…
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Right Out Out Of Greek Tragedy

Though I feel bad for his wife, and even a bit for the man himself, I can’t help but feel a little giddy about the whole Spitzer fiasco. The epic rise and fall, the ridiculously obvious hypocrisy of an ethics reformer with an immoral habit; it couldn’t be better scripted. People who study the brain and how we pay attention to things often analyze how we separate foreground and background, and one way to make people focus and respond to something in the visual field is to have a stark contrast between an object in the foreground and those in the background. Same with sound, I would think, and smell and in fact all our sensory tools. The Spitzer case is intriguing because, like in Greek tragedy, the central character has a tragic flaw, a characteristic that creates an almost grotesque set of contrasts within the character, a set of contrasts that make observers both entranced and confused, since most of us will feel a need to try and resolve the contradictions: how could he think he would not get caught? Which leads, again to Greek tragedy: just as Oedipus had no choice, his fate was sealed, how much of…
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