Friday, October 24, 2014

Whiskey Man's Man

I'm writing a song that I hope nobody's done yet, about a bartender named Whiskey at a gay tavern on the Interstate  -

And he works, laying brandy down, &c.

The tear-jerking plot involves a truck driver who, in the minutes after the advent of same-sex marriage in his state, tells Whiskey what a good husband he would be, but for the fact that

My life, my top and my bottom

Is the road ...

[Truck-horn choral mimicry](dooda-dit-dooda), (dit-dooda-dit-dooda-dit)

I'm hoping to sign for its recording a group of androgynous session players under the nom de tune "Google Glass" ...

The Mary McCarthy Hearings, Hitch-84, &c.

Lillian Hellman holding a cigarette

What a drag it is getting old with more than a little helper from Mother's shopping carton. 

​Bring Out the Hellman and Bring Out the Bitch​

​She looks like W.H. Auden in drag -- on a good day. - Mary McCarthy on Lillian Hellman, as dramatized in Hellman v. McCarthy (2014) by Brian Richard Mori, in which Dick Cavett played Dick Cavett.

Charles Isherwood, NY Times:
Unlike Mr. Cavett, who looks spry and much as he did back when he was a familiar television personality, Hellman and McCarthy are, of course, dead, and are capably portrayed here by Roberta Maxwell and Marcia Rodd. The play opens on the evening the interview is telecast, as Hellman abandons a glum game of Scrabble with her nurse, Ryan (the perky Rowan Michael Meyer), to find something palatable on the tube.

Scorning such worthy alternatives as "The Waltons," "Benson" and the "People's Choice Awards" (would literary history have taken a different turn if she wasn't quite so high-minded in her tastes?), Hellman orders Ryan to tune in to McCarthy on Cavett. "Let's hear what the bitch has to say for herself," she says. "She's probably plugging her new book, which got terrible reviews, thank God."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mal à droite

From the uncorrected version of "Bush Derangement Syndrome" by W. James Antle III:

It is easy to forget in the daily back-and-forth of partisan politics, but some issues are bigger than the (often ephemeral) success or failure of any particular administration. A movement that cannot see beyond the immediate political prospects of its most prominent officeholders will lose the credulity it needs to accomplish its longer-term goals.

Scott Lahti says:

"A movement that cannot see beyond the immediate political prospects of its most prominent officeholders will lose the credulity it needs to accomplish its longer-term goals."

The discernment of any loss whatever of, of all things, *credulity* among the vast sea of cognitive blanks calling itself movement conservatism is left as an exercise for that reader whose nightstand stack admits, on fugitive occasion, of imprints other than Regnery, Crown Forum and Threshold Editions.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Intercoursal Waterway

First: The Microbrachius dicki were copulating 385 million years ago

So the lady announcer on our local oldies station says that a new study reports that "sex is 385 million years old."

"They had to have a study to tell us that?" she says.

So I look up "385 million" the better to grab the five-star final from the tweed-capped newsboys of The Google News.

The penile Prometheus, the Edison of eros turns out to have been a bony Scottish fish.

Called ... Microbrachius dicki.

The Economist calls the name "perhaps unfortunate in context."

Via the august scientific tribune the Daily Mirror:

Lead scientist Professor John Long, from Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, said: "Microbrachius means little arms but scientists have been baffled for centuries by what these bony paired arms were actually there for.

"We've solved this great mystery because they were there for mating, so that the male could position his claspers into the female genital area."

Although heralding the finding, researchers said the act of intercourse would look very different – as the fish "did it" sideways, like a square dance.

Prof Long said: "With their arms interlocked, these fish looked more like they are square dancing the do-se-do rather than mating."

In Search of Lost Time Signals

Wikipedia on the Interval signal,
or tuning signal ... a characteristic sound or musical phrase used in international broadcasting and by some domestic broadcasters. Played before commencement or during breaks in transmission, or (most commonly) between programmes in different languages it serves several purposes:
It assists a listener to tune his or her radio to the correct frequency for the station.
It informs other stations that the frequency is in use.
It serves as a station identifier even if the language used in the subsequent broadcast is not one the listener understands.
The practice began in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s and was carried over into shortwave broadcasts. The use of interval signals has declined with the advent of digital tuning systems, but has not vanished.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Jan Hooks, *Requiescat in pace*

Saturday Night Live
NBC—NBC via Getty Image
Kevin Nealon as Tom Selleck, Jan Hooks as Barbara Mandrell during the 'All Star Celebrity Tribute' skit on April 20, 1991.
Kevin Nealon remembers his SNL castmate Jan Hooks.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Walt and the Wit Man

On January 31, 1882, a partially paralyzed man living with his brother and sister-in-law in a row house in Camden, New Jersey, wrote to a friend to tell him of a recent visitor to that home. "He is a fine large handsome youngster," the man wrote of that guest. And "he had the good sense to take a great fancy to me."

Thus Walt Whitman described the day he spent with Oscar Wilde. This meeting between the self-described "old rough" who revolutionized American poetry with his masterpiece Leaves of Grass and the self-anointed "Professor of Aesthetics" who was touring America with a lecture praising sconces and embroidered pillows, has been examined often in the intervening years, usually through the lens of what is now called queer history, or as an interesting, if not particularly consequential, moment in the history of literature.

But neither approach takes the true measure of the meeting's importance...

Viva Lost Vages, or You Ain't Nothin' as a Horndog

"Elvis didn't know how to screw." - Natalie Wood, quoted in "12 Worst Hollywood Lovers", at the august CelebRomance.

But is not the success in the getting of Wood
Whether or not the plainstiff is Natalie undress'd
Exhibitionist A at The Penile's Court as a good
Nine inches of ten of the Law of Love Possess'd? 

Monday, October 13, 2014

In the Nicks of Haim

Nicks with Haim, to whom she gave matching gold moon necklaces.
Tierney Gearon

From "Sisters of the Moon: Stevie Nicks and Haim" by Sheila Heti:

The rock icon Stevie Nicks invites the band Haim to her Los Angeles home for an intimate conversation about the life behind the music.

.. After the shoot, I suggested we speak in the library, which appeared private and subdued, but Nicks directed us to the living room, furnished with recording equipment, red sofas, a fireplace, photographs and knickknacks, including a fairy doll lolling in a crystal goblet. Nicks's long career — punctuated by high-profile, tumultuous romances, set in amber by her songs — began in California, with the bands Fritz and Buckingham Nicks, which she and Lindsey Buckingham formed in 1970, when Nicks was 22. When Mick Fleetwood heard their album, he invited Buckingham to join Fleetwood Mac; Buckingham agreed on the condition that Nicks, who was by then his girlfriend, could join, too. Their second release, "Rumours," written during Nicks's breakup with Buckingham, is a rock classic. A Fleetwood Mac tour this fall will see Nicks reunited with her sister-in-arms Christine McVie. The lineup — which also includes Fleetwood, Buckingham and John McVie — hasn't played together in 16 years, not since Christine decided to retire to be an English country gentlewoman, a detour Nicks never made.

... Although Nicks appeared topless (in an artfully shaded way) on the cover of her first album with Buckingham Nicks, she often expresses regret about this choice, and since that time has only been photographed in her draperies. In "Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams and Rumors," one of two biographies to be released in the United States next year, the author Zoë Howe recounts a conversation between Nicks and Prince in which he tried to get her to write more directly about sex in her lyrics. She retorts, "You have to write about sex, so you must not be intrinsically sexy. I don't have to write about sex because I am intrinsically sexy."

The sisters began talking about their post-tour plans — they were going to relax for a month, and begin writing their new album. "Do you guys keep a journal?" Nicks asked. Este replied that she kept notes on her phone. Nicks asked Lori to bring down her most recent red-leather journal, with its pages edged in gold, which she keeps beside her bed and writes in nightly. So began a lesson in journaling: On the right-hand side of the page you write what happened that day, and on the left-hand side you write poems, so when you have an evening where you're like, "I'm gonna light all the candles and I'm gonna put the fire on, and I'm gonna go sit at the piano and write," you can dip into your diaries and instantly find a poem and begin. "You want your journals written by hand in a book, because someday, if you have daughters — I don't have daughters, but I have fairy goddaughters, thousands of them — all of these books are gonna go to them, and they're gonna sit around just like we are now, and they're gonna read them out loud, and they're going to be able to know what my life was." Then, pointedly, to Este: "And they're not gonna find it in your phone."

... Like many artists, Nicks has a singular well from which she draws — apparently from the time before she was famous, when she was the same age as the Haim girls are now. In Nicks's world, lovers and love stories recur; fame is a dark certainty and paradoxical emotions are layered on top of each other. There is a sense that one's destiny is a mix of pleasure and pain and cannot be avoided. One wonders if she continued so long with Fleetwood Mac not only out of loyalty to the band or a desire to make music with them, but to remain in proximity to her first love, Lindsey Buckingham — to forever stir that well.

Robert Christgau, reviewing Rumours (1977), on Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie: "Why is this easy-listening rock different from all other easy-listening rock, give or take an ancient harmony or two? ... Because the cute-voiced woman writes and sings the tough lyrics and the husky-voiced woman the vulnerable ones?" As I type this, my local oldies station is playing, I kid not, "Say You Love Me", the Christine McVie song off Fleetwood Mac (1975) - DSL.@NYT.

And as days after submitting it to the NYT web site I here append my comment above, the same station is playing "You Make Loving Fun", the Christine McVie song off Rumours (1977): I get the sense that, in veteran Mary-Ann-over-Ginger and Janet-over-Chrissy and Bailey-over-Jennifer fashion, Christine, who with Chicken Shack and then solo, before joining the early Fleetwood Mac in 1970 after marrying its bassist John McVie two years earlier, started under her birth name Christine Perfect, is trying to remind me of her pride of place within the, and my, 'Shack/'Mac henhouse pecking order. Ease up, songbirds, both of you:*
*What's that, Haim? All right, then, all five of you - though in taking a number you younguns had best, given my almost-your-gramps-in-age birth certificate, make that a bingo number
as in its battery-propelled robo-voice my talking scale reminds me for the latest time

Optic Phall

"Give them an inch and a magnifier big enough, and in taking it for a yard they'll see it through - or at least see through it - thick and thin." 

Whether or not these are in point of definitive fact The 10 most deliciously ironic news stories of all time they will do for now: