Monday, May 31, 2010

Dulce et Decorum Est

Dulce et Decorum est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! -- An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime. --
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

- Wilfred Owen, 1917

summer reading

I have mentioned before that I'm only reading women authors this year. Actually, my Year of Women Authors was supposed to start in January 09 (it was a rare New Years' Resolution), but at the time I was in the middle of a half-dozen books by dude authors. So I finished those up and commenced in June of last year. Just yesterday I was looking around the house for something to read, and found I was fresh out of new stuff by women, so I picked up one of my abandoned books by male authors. "The Art Thief" by Mansplainy Mansplainerson is what I picked up, and it's like reading an Art History 101 lecture, only without pictures. Criminy. Have I mentioned that I've been teaching Art History 101 since the mid-90s? Yeah, I don't need a lecture on van Eyck's Arnolfini portrait, which by the way is no longer called the Marriage Contract. Just, FYI. 30 pages in and I'm already skipping entire pages. Coincidentally, The Rejectionist, over at Tiger Beatdown, just posted about ManFiction and how tedious it is. For example:

"What’s a manfiction book, exactly? It is indeed, almost but not entirely exclusively, a book by a man; but it is a particular kind of book by a particular kind of man, a Real Man, a virile, manly man, who gallops around on horses in between penning great works."

Go, read the whole thing.

Now, just as I finished THAT, what appears in my google reader but this little gem:

Hot Summer Reads from 12 Literary Stars

Let's do a Guerrilla Girls style breakdown:

all 12 literary stars appear to be white, though one has a Hispanic name**
4 of them are female
10 recommended books by men
1 of the books by women was about getting your baby to sleep through the night
so! only ONE of the books recommended was a narrative work by a woman about something besides traditional lady-business*

In conclusion, well, you know: it's all about the white people. I note with interest that Mother Jones is supposed to be a progressive publication.

*I kind of want to give the one narrative book by a woman bonus points for being about teen Latinas, but then again it's a book by a nice white lady sociologist about teen Latinas, so, you know, that could go either way, right?

**Vendela Vida, whose wikipedia entry mentions her husband, a pretentious author whose name rhymes with Wave Weggers (whose first big deal famous bestseller book was so loathesomely self-absorbed I couldn't finish it) almost immediately, and then constantly, throughout her bio.

Friday, May 21, 2010

everything comes around again

The Futureheads sure sound a lot like XTC.

Rand Paul

I suspect there will be many more opportunities to hate Rand Paul. Here's just one:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Paul never answers a question he is asked. NEVER. He just blathers on, man-splaining, diverting, evading, and telling unrelated stories.

Paul believes freedom of speech encompasses the freedom to discriminate. This is patently false.

Paul also believes that the right of businesses to profit is more important than human rights. Fuck you, Rand Paul.

He also throws in bullshit "examples" about how the ADA is intrusive and unreasonable, like "hundred thousand dollar elevators". Adding an elevator to a two-story building is not going to cost $100,000.

In the gross-out category, he is surely named after Ayn Rand, which just makes me want to hurl.

In conclusion, I hate libertarians.


To: The Cats
From: The Can Opener

Stop putting your butt on me.

Get your snout out of my glass of water. You have your own water!

Don't try to put your feet in my food, either. You may use it like a hand, but I know perfectly well it's a *foot*. And it does not belong in my glass, or in my food.

No, you really do not have to lay on top of the keyboard while I'm at my desk. Really. Although putting your wee little paw on my hand while I have it on the mouse is kind of cute.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Jazz Fest 2010

Went to Jazz Fest this past Saturday, where I got a wicked sunburn on the spots I missed with sunblock. Back of the arms, edge of the tank-top, ouchy. Made for uncomfortable sleeping last night.

Started the day with a little bossa nova tune from Russell Batiste and friends, but didn't stay long as we needed some margaritas and my compadre needed some Crawfish Monica.

Charmaine Neville was next; she is always funky and fresh. She's got this violinist these days who throws a sometimes fiddly, sometimes classical, groove into her usual mix. I remember seeing her at Benny's Blues Bar back in the 90s, tiny little joint, the woman just owns any room she plays, whether it's a dirty little blues dive or an outdoor crowd of thousands.

Next up was Dirty Dozen Brass Band, who make me want to JUMP. High energy. Never thought I'd be into this, but there was a baritone sax solo near the end of the set that was a wackaloon psychedelic jazz freakout, and it kind of made me feel like I was high, the way poetry and music and art sometimes do.

Moved on to the Fais Do Do stage for a little Cajun music by the Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band. Didn't stay too long, as we were kind of on the outer rim and when Rebirth started, I could hear both bands. Hearing two kinds of music at once makes me crazy.

So, next up: Rebirth Brass Band. I freakin LOVE a brass band. So good. Always tight, fierce, and powerful. I could go see them every week.

Back to the Fais Do Do stage for Beausoleil and Michael Doucet. Despite the presence of a murderous ligustrum in my orbit, it was a great set. Love me some Cajun music, everybody was dancing the Cajun two-step, and the Fais Do Do stage is the epicenter of wacky hats on men and women alike.

After Beausoleil we walked over to the Gospel Tent for the Aaron Neville Quintet. Couldn't get in - it was packed - so we sat outside and listened. His voice is sweet like syrup, I just can't get enough of it. I'm surprised he was at the Gospel Tent, though, that's usually the venue for traditional stomping-and-shouting gospel with a choir backing. I ain't complaining, though

Stopped by Economy Hall for twenty minutes or so of traditional Dixieland from Pete Fountain. He's an institution, and my traveling podner had never heard him, so it was kind of a must-see.

Onward: Pearl Jam. (one of these things is not like the other, eh? it's jazz and "heritage" and heritage covers a lot of stuff, including grunge, yo)

The old guys still have it, y'all. They fucking rocked it. I thought I had seen them at Lollapalooza years ago, but was kind of fuzzy about it, because, you know, *Lollapalooza*....but a woman I was in line with for the potty confirmed my vague and aged memory. I remembered Vedder climbing up in the scaffolding and singing from way up high. Boy, was *I* in a different place the last time I saw them live. 1992, eighteen freakin years ago. I'm sure they were in a way different place then, too. We were all in our twenties, for one thing. Anyway, absolute pros, Vedder is in fantastic shape, the band was tight and looked like they were having a good time and I am SO glad I went.