So Wonkette’s looking for an intern

“Read about it here.”:

But, of course, I don’t live in DC at the moment, and I’m not in a

position to work for free.

But I am in a position to compose haikus about Al Gore. How long do

you think I can draw this sick joke out?

Concrete Blonde’s Mojave

It is still true that I will occasionally pull out Concrete Blonde’s ??Free??, play along with the first half straight through, and then contemplate playing the second half, too. I can do that with the first album, too, and much of ??Bloodletting?? (Chet and Joy and Michelle and I saw them open for Sting in New Orleans after this album, as well as Vinx).

And then came ??Walking in London??, and ??Mexican Moon?? (on which tour I saw them play in a half-empty club in Boston during a blizzard) and then last years ??Group Therapy??, none of which did much for me.

Well, when ??Group Therapy?? came out, Chet made a comment about how he never showed so much optimism as at the record store. I decided to indulge in a bit myself, and bought ??Mojave?? last week, very shortly after it came out.

The executive summary is that I like it. It doesn’t feel as leaden as the last few albums, which, to me, have tended to make Black Sabbath look like a swing band. Now this isn’t a different band, mind you; it’s still a three piece, and Jim Mankey is still less about rhythm guitar and more about atmospheric additions, and Johnette’s lyrics still sometimes clang, etc. In other words, if they annoyed you in the good old days, they’ll annoy you now.

But it’s a lot more like the good old days than I ever expected. The track-by-track rundown is:

h4. The ‘A’ Road

A big distorted bass dominates this track, with Jim providing a wash of near white-noise in the background. Perhaps a bit by-the-book, but not bad.

h4. Because I Can

A less prominent bass line is the underpinning for this track–none of this should be a big surprise, Johnette’s bass has always played a prominent roll–with Jim adding a little texture and emphasis.

h4. True to This

I think it’s reasonable to say that this may be “True IV”–there’s something about the delivery that reminds one of “True, Pt III” (incidentally, the only track from ??Group Therapy?? that I remember really liking) and both versions of “True” on ??Concrete Blonde??. I like it.

h4. Ghost Riders In The Sky

Does this qualify as an old chestnut? Not that it matters, there’s something about the arrangement that seems to elevate it above a mundane cover.

h4. Hey Coyote

You might think, if you’ve ever been to a Concrete Blonde show, or listened to a live Concrete Blonde track, that a track with a lot of topical narration from Johnette would be, um, not a lot of fun to listen to. You’d be wrong, though, as I was. For some reason this works, and it’s actually one of the tracks I like quite a bit.

h4. Himalayan Motorcycles

This is kind of hard to describe. I don’t dislike it, but I find it somewhat forgettable.

h4. Mojave

This is another fairly ethereal track. There’s a strange sort of intensity to it that somehow makes it seem like the product of some desert fever-dream.

h4. Snakes

Nope, doesn’t do anything for me. To slow and plodding.

h4. Jim Needs An Animal

Apparently something happened to Jim’s cat. Most people wouldn’t think this was subject material for a song, but Johnette did. It’s fun, if not a masterpiece.

h4. Someone’s Calling Me

It doesn’t start off in a way that makes one confident–it sounds more like some odd outtake from Hooverphonic–but once the drums kick in, it finds its feet. A bridge comes out of nowhere.

h4. My Tornado At Rest

The first minute or two is a kind of interesting instrumental, and then it takes a left turn into another related-but-different instrumental. A nice way to finish the album.

Yes, I think he’s nuts, this is just further proof

From Neil Gaiman’s journal:

bq.. If you’d like to read one of the Sandman parody issues of Cerebus, Dave [Sim] will send you one. He’ll send it to you very happily, free of charge. He will sign it for you, too. And he won’t charge you a thing. Not even postage.

And if you’re wondering what the catch is, it’s this: Dave wants to know (as, I have to admit, do I) how many of the people out there in internet-land will actually go and do things that don’t involve passively clicking on a link and going somewhere interesting. So what you have to do is write Dave a letter (not an e-mail. Dave doesn’t have e-mail) telling him that you read that he’ll send you a signed Cerebus, and telling him why you’d like him to send you a copy. It’s as easy as that. And, quite possibly as difficult.

The address to write to is:

Aardvark Vanaheim, Inc

P.O. Box 1674 Station C

Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 4R2

p. I just finished reading the last collection the other day. Like Neil, if I have anything significant to say, it won’t be just now (I’ll probably be mentioning why in a day or two, when things are finalized).

I do think Dave Sim is really around the bend, and I know it’ll be at least a year or two before I’ll be able to sit down and read ??Cerebus??, every word from beginning to end (and Chet, if you think that John Galt speech is long, boy, you ain’t seen nothing yet).

But here’s the thing: _I want to_. As difficult and nuts as I may think Dave Sim to be, there is a part of me that wants to start re-reading *right now*, because for all its flaws, ??Cerebus?? is a mighty artistic achievement. Even right to the very end, Dave Sim’s visual storytelling abilities amaze me. Even as ??Cerebus?? became this wierd Dave Sim monolog, I _always_ wanted to know what happened in the end.

I don’t know what higher praise I can give ??Cerebus??: I think its creator is a delusional idiot, and wild horses could not keep me from recommending it.

Me, I’m writing to Dave tomorrow. Maybe I’ll even tell him I think he’s nuts.

Further updates on the ancients

So, in a fashion not unlike ??Canterbury Tales??, a huge part of the ??The Golden Ass?? is actually Lucius telling tales that he hears while he’s stuck in the form of an ass.

One of the tales he hears is a retelling of ??Cupid and Psyche??. I’ll leave you to google it if you’re not familiar with the story. The part that amuses me is towards the end, when Cupid begs Jupiter to get Venus leave off tormenting the poor girl. In my incredibly ancient copy of ??Bullfinch’s Mythology?? (I literally cannot remember when I got this book–I was _maybe_) twelve), this is recounted so:

bq. Then Cupid, as swift as lightning penetrating the heights of heaven, presented himself before Jupiter with his supplication. Jupiter lent a favoring ear, and pleaded the cause of the lovers so earnestly with Venus that he won her consent.

The Jupiter of Lucius Apuleius, however, is much more the randy bastard we’ve all heard of that will fuck anything that moves, and probably some things that don’t. Upon hearing Cupid’s entreaty, he says:

bq. Nevertheless, I can’t forget how often I’ve nursed you on my knees and how soft-hearted I can be, so I’ll do whatever you ask. But please realize that you must protect yourself against a Certain Person who might envy you your beautiful wife, and at the same time reward him for what he’s going to do for you; so I advise you to introduce me to whatever other girl of really outstanding beauty happens to be about on the earth today.

Yep, Jupiter agrees to help him, and as long as he finds him some other girl, he won’t fuck Psyche once she’s installed in Olympus.

You have to laugh.

Go to your local bookstore

Look in the current events section, for Eric Alterman’s book ??The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America??. Flip to the index. Look up “Klinefelter, Anne”.

My favorite subversive.