Monday, April 24, 2017

It's not plagiarism; it's sampling.

I don’t know why I bother. All the good writing has already been done, creating a rich natural resource. It’s just a matter of judicious harvesting. Like I found 58 percent of today’s rant on Wikipedia, ripe for the cutting and pasting: “Handfeeding or touching large barracudas in general is to be avoided. Spearfishing around barracudas can also be dangerous, as they are quite capable of ripping a chunk from a wounded fish thrashing on a spear, or out of the arm which is holding the spear. Humans are not on their preferred menu, but haste can lead to confusion.”

Monday, April 17, 2017

Because expired meds might be dangerous

Imagine you have your head in the refrigerator and notice that the cottage cheese is about to pass its sell-by date so you grab a spoon and some celery salt and sit down and eat that stuff until you feel soggy and morose. Arkansas was going through something like that with their death penalty drugs; they needed to hurry up and kill eight people in 11 days before their poison expired. I’m picturing Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson sitting on the edge of his bed reading the Viagra bottle and saying, “Honey, we need to have intercourse seven times before May.”

Monday, April 10, 2017

Stravinsky! Gandhi!

Here’s an experiment you can conduct in the privacy of your own head. Find a photo of Pablo Picasso as a young man, an early picture of George Szell, and one of 30-year-old Henry Miller. Okay, now compare what they looked like as old men. Holy crap! They’re like, um, triplegangers. I call this MFC (Male Facial Convergence) and it strikes an alarming percentage of us. Beyond a certain age there’s just three basic models: Geezer, like the previous examples, codger (Mao, Churchill) and coot (George Burns, Amiri Baraka). Of course, there’s also a strong family resemblance between all newborns.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Finally, an actual rant.

Leaf blowers are a great way to create a market for small engines and gasoline. They’re perfect from the seller’s point of view – a solution that creates its own problem. You blow leaves and other garden detritus over your property line, and your neighbor has to fire up his own leaf blower. You could always use a broom and rake, but that would be cheaper and quieter, plus those are food-fueled technologies which improve the user’s health and reduce gym expenditures. Better to buy something to address the sense of need created by the previous purchase. Like I said. Perfect.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Retroactive advice

Saturday was voting day, a small election to choose between three lawyers who want to be civil court judge. Nobody shows up for these; probably the candidate with the biggest family has the edge. I voted for the one whose campaign invoked Faith the least. The next day I saw a Vermont license plate, pretty rare down here. The motto was “Green Mountain State,” which is sort of silly, because that’s what “Vermont” means. Like if Pennsylvania’s said “Penn’s Woods State.” Then I passed a leftover sign that said “Vote Today.” And I thought, “Actually that should say ‘Vote Yesterday.’”

Monday, March 20, 2017

You finally lay your burden down

The first LP I ever bought was called The Beatles' Second Album. I must have recently turned 10. Took it home, put it on the turntable. My dad’s stereo was, as we used to say, bitchin’. A McIntosh 240 into a pair of AR 2a speakers, which if you had that stuff today you could sell it a collector and use the money to buy it back. Anyway, the first song started with this great guitar intro and then George Harrison’s reedy double tracked voice came in and that was it. “Roll Over Beethoven” is still my favorite Beatles’ song.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Oh, ick.

Look, you don’t have to like anything about Steve Bannon and his ideas to concede that he is an educated, intelligent, accomplished, and imaginative creature. Yeah, he’s some kind of monster. He’s also a working-class guy who’s managed to earn a couple of master’s degrees and had successful careers as a naval officer, an investment banker, a media executive – before becoming maybe the most powerful grownup in the entire world. He gets paid to tell a rich kid what to do. Tough gig. I’m guessing probably the hardest part of the job is concealing his utter contempt for Donald Trump.