Sunday, January 24, 2010

such romance

Centipede sex does not involve copulation. Males deposit a spermatophore for the female to take up. In one clade, this spermatophore is deposited in a web, and the male undertakes a courtship dance to encourage the female to engulf his sperm.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Taken Under Advisement, Variously

It has come to my attention that my flagrant disdain for web log-related capitalization has perhaps become detrimental to my message, which is a Very Important Message, and one I ought to treat with more respect and capital letters.


In other news, this is on the internet today, and forever:


Man, oh man (check out that comma!). I love this place.

CROSSWORD RELATED BONUS: From New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle Book Friend: 4 letters, ends with "t." Hint: "Slatern."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

a veritable cabinet! a cabinet!

for no reason i or anyone else will be able to discern, this pops into my brain this afternoon.

i was 19 and spending the summer working in venice beach at a job the radness of which i'll likely never again experience on a paid basis.

an afternoon to be spent at the museum of jurassic technology and me without an idea of what that could possibly in all the world mean. i love surprises/I HATE SURPRISES.

this was surely one to love. an afternoon spent drinking tea and the strange whimsy of the arcane and the erudite. recalling, this afternoon, that afternoon, i come across the word "superfiction." i am amused.

more so because several winters ago i traveled to california with a heavy thing in tow, hoping to demonstrate to maybe my family but mostly myself that this was a Real Thing, because lord knows only Real type Things share cigars with your father, sleep on the bed your mother made, make you feel this fucking exhausted. it was my damndest intention if ever i had one to make sure i shared this bizarre little macarthur genius-funded corner of los angeles with him who i desperately wanted to pretend was a Real Thing. he, as we know, was not, in the end, and i never shared it with him. probably because we were too busy fighting over the finer points of the fine line between being crazy and being in love. here's a fun interlude:

haha! yeah right beyonce. JK BEYONCE. <3 u gurl.

i was overjoyed this afternoon to recall that afternoon and the failure of some of my weakest intentions because i then came across, some time after superfiction, the very exhibit i struggled to hold onto as close as i'd always hoped i would (and it's funny, you'll see, it's so incredibly funny, you'll see!). somewhat dubious geoffrey sonnabend and his crazy cone of obliscence, which is i think some fancy frenchified way of spelling several other words we do know all related to forgetting. this is where it becomes slightly funny, i think. maybe you don't think. why don't you think some time you?! geez!

something to get you started, maybe.

obliscence, theories of forgetting 

the point is, anyway or so i think, forgetting is inevitable and on occasion a mercy and no matter how furious the effort there are blessed boundaries between real and imagined. but i recall now in a new year everything i think i ought, and with that i think a better year, and still chances to share this little corner with some other kind of thing. maybe real. maybe not. but new and interesting as all get out, at the very, very least.  

Monday, January 11, 2010

14. Don’t be cool.
Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

from incomplete manifesto


Saturday, January 9, 2010

be careful what you put on your naan

Poisoning by eating Lathyrus sativus Indian Pea or khesari dhal will lead to emaciation of Buttock muscles (Neurolathyrism).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

a new beginning

this is a tale from the only one who really knows that when you say best friends it means friends forever:

New Years Day: I woke up still drunk from the night before and proceeded to start drinking again cause i wanted 2010 to be the year I kept the buzz going. I get a call from Chris to go to the Mummers parade so I of course shower and when they show up we head down. I get to South Philly and again realize it is it's own ...little fantasy world where the normal laws of nature do not apply as people begin yelling in a mixture of italian, english, and drunk and find Bones and his crew at the parade drinking on Broad St with about seven cops looking on approvingly. I quickly run out of beer and Phil and I go find this little corner bar to buy more only to realize they only take cash so forty minutes later I return (realizing in the process Phil is geographically challenged and his ideas as to where an ATM would be blow) and I buy as many $5 (yes, $5) beers as I can and we head back. Over the course of the next two hours I am sure I managed to drink four beers and ten pound of glitter. We go to Michelle's house where thankfully the are italian and thus have mass quantities of food which I use to stave off the inevitable blackout for a few more hours while Chris makes friends. We then decide to leave and go back to the mummer's parade as it is now night and the parade has ended and south philly has turned into the scene from the second matrix movie where the people have a huge danceparty/orgy in the cave. I somehow get lost from everyone and walk into a random house because I am convinced I know people that live there (a fact I use to argue with the person I think actually lived there) and hole up against the cold. I proceed to call Phil who is only one block away. One hour, five phone calls, and fifty texts later Phil has still not found me. I decide to walk home....from South Philly. I get lost. Real lost. I find myself in one of those rapeville areas of philly dominated by abandonded buildings and tepid water. I can sense the crackwhores closing in. I panic. I start running and screaming out how I am too young to be butt raped and there are better options. I see a light in the distance and I run towards it like an african child toward a Red Cross food distribution center. It is a cab! I do not question why the cab is in rapeville nor why the cab driver is standing outside of it smoking something (clearly not a cigarette). I scream incoherently at him to drive me to my apt and after his initial lunge towards what I can only assume is his unregistered firearm he accepted my money and brought me home. I get home. Steve calls me and comes over (unsure where he was or why he chose 1 AM to call) and tells me I should drink more. I bask in Steve's wisdom and agree. Phil finds his way to my apt. He is alone. Chris stumbles in by himself later with blood gushing from his mouth mumbling incoherently. Caroline dropped him off and bolted. End result: My body is shaking so bad I could barely type this out, there is blood covering my bathroom and chris passed out on my very, very white comforter, and I woke up spooning with Phil on my couch.

Happy New Year

*note that the corporation does not actually condone this kind of behavior,
nor does it in any way vouch for the veracity of this narrative.

in the meantime, art

i've some retorting to do with regard to a previous post by a guest contributor whose clear purpose one bourbon soaked evening was to denigrate most things that i love. but that will come later.

for now, i want to share with you art, because culture.

surrealism. mimesis.
also, we have to discuss artistic intention and surrender. interpretive freedom.
a menacing finger or a weapon?
art by lindsay m.

metaphor. friendship. compound words.
commissioned october 2009.

get better.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

and overrated

*again, courtesy of davis. note that the views expressed below are not necessarily endorsed by the LLC (e.g., oliver is a fan of sufjan stevens and will probably never like davis again).

Lists and assholes, continued

January 2010

This is a list of 7 things that aren’t very good but ended up on a bunch of lists anyway. I don’t know why people like these bands or the albums they make. Mostly they are terrible. I have not listed all of the things that suck because in attempt to reshape my myopic worldview I have decided to only write or speak about things that I like – it’s going pretty well so I wouldn’t want to interrupt that by dwelling on the banality Kanye West or by providing 500 words detailing why Coldplay’s A Rush of Blood to the Head is actually better than Illinois. Nonetheless, I felt compelled to remind the Internet of my generally negative outlook on these artists.


If I may borrow some text from a review of Spinal Tap’s Intravenous Demilo: “The musical growth rate of this band cannot even be charted. They are treading water in a sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry."

“Hey Ya!” and “B.O.B.” are the clear exceptions to this review. Both of these songs are awesome.

Vampire Weekend

I mean, it’s fine. I guess. I don’t know. This album shows some promise but it is inconsistent at best. I want this band to put out a great album but remain skeptical.

Sufjan Stevens


Animal Collective

It was once a shitty noise rock band; somehow by writing songs it got worse.

Grizzly Bear

Who really cares about these guys? Seriously. Boring. Here’s a tip for aspiring bands: reverb doesn’t make you interesting.

Of Montreal

If I were to make a list of which bands could be the zaniest and most inconsistent, this band would be on it. Because it is those things: zany and inconsistent.

Rufus Wainwright

I thought there could be nothing more saccharine than Mandy Moore’s cover of “Drop the Pilot” but I was wrong. Wainwright’s cover of Jeff Buckley’s cover of “Hallelujah” is the Coldplay of covers.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


*this post brought to you by a good friend of the corporation. call him davis.

Lists are like assholes: people are always cramming into them things that don’t belong

January 2010

"I like lists for the same reason other people like football or pedophilia."

– Umberto Eco

The decade is over. I can’t say I miss it, but I’m not particularly glad to see it go either. I rather enjoyed parts of it. To celebrate the passing of the 10 most important years of my life, I made a list containing my 76 favorite albums of the decade. Rather than send that out to the world, I have instead provided a list of my favorite albums that are most likely to be ignored. I did this mostly because the last thing the Internet needs is another nerd raving about the genius of Radiohead or the White Stripes. No one wants to read my pithy remarks about bands that everyone likes. Instead, I’ve provided an alphabetical list of 20 bands whose albums were either completely overlooked or relegated to marginal positions on some website’s “Top 2 Billion of the 2000s” list.

Lists are strange. When I really spend time thinking about the albums I consume, I am forced to acknowledge that I’m actually a terribly frightened person with only the narrowest understanding about even my limited interests and the world in which I live. I think this list is (in some ways) really about that.

Maybe it is really about how I don’t want to die. That’s what Umberto Eco says:,1518,659577,00.html

Art Brut

Bang Bang Rock & Roll (2005)

It’s a band of nerds who make punk music about being whipped into states of erotic madness by Matisse paintings. To write about Art Brut as though it is the most important band ever is ridiculous. For now.

British Sea Power

Do You Like Rock Music (2008)

Yes. Yes. I like rock music and I especially like it when hyper-literate bar bands from England make it. The second track, “Lights Out for Darker Skies” is an affirmation of the certainty we are all aware that we are killing ourselves and loving it: “There really is no reason that you need to ask why when you fall like sparks from a muzzle” we are reminded. In fact, the entire album seems deeply concerned with our (in)abilities to organize our recent history – from floods to football to right-wing nationalism, it’s all here for your nervous, rocking pleasure.

The Bound Stems

The Family Afloat (2008)

This album is resplendent with pop trickery, at every moment turning chaos into tidy hooks. At first glance, most of these numbers sound like they could use some tidying up: guitars are piled on top of one another, drums crash about while rogue percussion spills over the edges, and the vocals. though never shapeless, rarely approach precision. However, repeated listens reveal that some confident playing and clever arrangements anchor the chaos, allowing the excess to dazzle rather than detract. Really, the album’s heart is in these margins – when its guitars and drums reach louder toward the nostalgia that permeates so many of these songs.


Feast of Wire (2003)

Everything about this album is cinematic, channeling the dusty landscape of a southwestern dusk in all of its solitude and beauty. It reminds me of what may have happened had I hired Calexico to score the biopic of my first life, directed by John Ford Sam Peckinpah.


The Last Broadcast (2002)

I think I bought this album by accident. Maybe I heard it someplace first. I can’t remember. Regardless, I was blown away by it upon my first listen. Now, seven years after that initial listen, I’m still blown away by its richness. You could stick your arm up to your elbow into all those layers.

Elliott Smith

Figure 8 (2000)

Misery goes chamber pop with his follow up to XO. Though this album is often overlooked because of the strength of his early catalog and his tragic death, it has aged particularly well. The bright guitars and lilting melodies render the album more sonically relevant nine years after its release than it was on that miserable April afternoon when I bought it.

Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Elvis Perkins in Dearland (2009)

Death is rarely so mellifluous.

The Human Television

All Songs By (2004)

I don’t think The Human Television is even a band anymore. I hope I’m wrong. I know this album lacks the staying power of an album like YHF, but I love all 18 minutes of it. What isn’t to love about a band performing jangle pop as murky and hook-heavy as Reckoning-era R.E.M.? Show me the person who doesn’t love this album and I’ll show you a person who smacks puppies with hammers. Seriously.

Jarvis Cocker

Jarvis (2006)

His solo debut is wry, charming, satirical, and self-deprecating. Sonically, it is visceral, meticulous and cinematic. It is, without a doubt, everything one would expect from an album by the guy who penned “Common People” and “This is Hardcore”. And speaking of Jarvis Cocker as a class warrior, this album contains my track of the decade. No song came as close to capturing the feelings of futility that permeated the Aughts as “Running the World”:

Oh feed your children on Cray fish and Lobster tails

Find a school near the top of the league

In theory I respect your right to exist

I will kill you if you move in next to me

Ah it stinks, it sucks, it’s anthropologically unjust

But the takings are up by a third, Oh So

Cunts are still running the world

Your free market is perfectly natural

Or do you think that I’m some kind of dummy

It’s the ideal way to order the world

Fuck the morals, does it make any money?

And if you don’t like it? Then leave.

Or use your right to protest on the street

Yeah, use your rights but don’t imagine that it’s heard, Oh no

Cunts are still running the world


Jenny Lewis

Acid Tongue (2008)

Soulful blues and country and some great guitars. Just great guitars. It wasn’t what I expected when I bought this album. Frankly, I was expecting a slightly worse version of Rabbit Fur Coat, which would have been fine. But this? This is something. There’s passion in every swaggering hum of this album.


Up The Bracket (2002)

Before the wheels came off, Libertines put together a fine punk record. This album is a filthy, smoke-filled, apathetic riot. There was no way that this band was going to last long. How could a band that signals its own demise on the final track of its debut hope to reproduce that magic on a second album? Libertines tried and released a pretty good follow up, but “Good Old Days” anticipates there would be no return to the salad days:

If you've lost your faith in love and music

Oh the end won't be long

Because if it's gone for you then I too may lose it

And that would be wrong

I've tried so hard to keep myself from falling

Back into my bad old ways

And it chars my heart to always hear you calling

Calling for the good old days

Because there were no good old days

These are the good old days

Okkervil River

Black Sheep Boy (2005)

If the album’s opener, Tim Hardin’s “Black Sheep Boy,” offers a loose sketch of failure and dysfunction to be fleshed out over the next ten tracks, the following track, “For Real” sets the album’s aesthetic tone: it is as oppressive as it is catchy and as beautiful as it is unsettling. “Sometimes the blood from real cuts feels real nice when it's really mine / And if you want it to be real, come over for a night, we can really, really climb” sings Sheff, offering a troubling vision of desire while syncopated guitars urgently build before exploding in a cacophonous fit behind him. The rest of the album follows suit, winding its way – lyrically and sonically – through the protagonist’s painful longing and the often-disturbing consequences of his desperation. It is a sad album bursting with emotive pleas and fits of anger. It also happens to be my second favorite album of the decade.

Richard Hawley

Low Edges (2003)

This album is intensely nostalgic in the best possible way. The easy melodies actually make me nostalgic for events in my life I am pretty sure never happened. Sometimes, when I listen to this album, I become nostalgic for a future in which I am nostalgic for the moments in my youth when I used to listen to this album. That is to say, this album is so good it introduces an ontological paradox into my life. The arrangements are really subtle and understated as well.

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals

Jacksonville City Nights (2005)

Ryan Adams carries his love affair with alcohol-soaked country ballads to its logical end. For the first time, he dropped the pretense (if that’s possible for him) and fully inhabited the country genre. It is all here: lost jobs, rural imagery, inherited failure, engines as metaphors, rainy nights, failed love affairs, ghosts, and (of course) a lot of whiskey.

Spinal Tap

Back From the Dead (2009)

Shit sandwich.

Sun Kil Moon

Ghosts of the Great Highway (2003)

Foremost an exercise in memory, this is a sepia-toned narrative of loss told through a barrage of imagery (Salvador Sanchez, Poncho Villa, and Judas Priest guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton,) and sparse accounts of friends and lovers past (Kozelak’s old man, a friend who ran a doughnut shop, and a couple of past lovers). His past, however, is never immediately accessible and

“Carry Me Ohio,” an account of Kozelak’s childhood, laments this loss: “riding back / where the highway met dead end tracks / the ground is now cement and glass / so far away.” Ultimately, Ghosts of the Great Highway is more a graceful account of what it feels like to remember than it is an account of remembering – throughout the album the essence of Kozelak’s longing remains just beyond his reach.


Lateralus (2001)

This is by far my favorite album by a band willing to write songs in the Fibonacci sequence. AND. Maynard’s twenty-eight second scream on “The Grudge” is one of my favorite things to happen in metal. Ever. There are just so many brilliant moments on this album. Spiral out.


Hotel Two-Way (2005)

This is another personal favorite that will no doubt be ignored. Maybe for good reason. Still, I love this album. It is earnest and playful and sort of twee, but not in an overly cute way. And the title track delivers one of my favorite lyrics of the last half of the decade: “I’m hoping for a holiday / whether it’s gray or it’s blue / even Columbus Day will do / So I can have a little sex with you.” It’s great. Trust me.

Tom Waits

Alice (2002)

Tom Waits forgoes the nightmarish clanging of his recent work for a tender collection of songs based on Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland stories and her…um, complicated relationship with the author. It is a heartbreakingly lovely work. Sort of. Often affection gives way to obsession and exaltation becomes a twisted form of Bukowskian worship whereby the narrator destroys the beauty in the object he desires most.

The Whigs

Give 'em All a Big Fat Lip (2005)

If I were inclined to rate things, this would likely rate in the decade’s top ten. I’m listening to it right now. Love it. Best-in-class garage rock. It is loud and catchy, vaguely danceable, and definitely bombastic. There’s nothing terribly original happening here but who cares? This is an infinitely listenable debut.

Friday, January 1, 2010

different strokes

me: we have a different relationship with drugs, me and you

Dylan: mine is a good one because they don't get jealous of each other when I sleep with different ones

me: mine is a bad one because when we're together, they just boss me around and make me the worst

Dylan: I know that they really care about me