A friend of mine has a cold, and I suggested that she go out and buy a vaporizer. I have cured many colds by staying in bed under a mountain of blankets, hanging over the side with a towel funneling the hot steam into my sinuses for hours. I know you’re not supposed to do it that way, but that’s just the risk management lawyers talking.
I thought I’d email her a photograph of these cold-curing appliances, so I googled “vaporizer” and came up with nothing but devices for smoking pot. So I tried adding negative search terms: -marijuana… -smoke … -cannabis… -volcano -herbal… -pyramid…. but I still couldn’t find one photo on the internet of a vaporizer like the kind you allow a child to sit in front of. And this is how language changes.
In related news, Tom Ammiano introduced a marijuana decriminalization bill to the Assembly today. In addition for all the usual arguments for decriminalization, he wants to legalize it so that we can tax it. $1 billion more tax dollars for California. Maybe this will work this time. Fresno Bee editorial writer Dan Walters, who I remember as being a pretty conservative guy, supports the bill. The Chron and Merc haven’t published any stories on it yet.
And to think what it would do for tourism! The Santa Cruz chamber should really jump on this. If we could get gay marriage, and taxed, legal pot in California, maybe we could fund education like we did when we taxed property.
Tags: art, obama
My friend Andrew paints events plein air. On January 20, he painted the Inauguration. On his blog you can see a video of him painting there. And his partner Scotty posted a photostream of Andrew painting, and the people watching him paint. I love how people took photos of Andrew painting, as a momento of something memorable for them at the Inauguration. As for me, I liked the photos of the women in fur coats. I never felt out of place in Washington in a fur coat.
First, everyone knew that a cafe specializing in cereal was a bad idea. Even pot heads can make their own cereal.
Second, the Rittenhouse building. Perhaps he picked out one too many items from the gewgaw catalog.
It has rams.
It has laurels.
It has columns and eagles.
And…. a clock.
No tenants yet.
Rittenhouse waited so long to rebuild after the post-earthquake recession that he ran into another one twenty years later. oops.
I am a little torn though. As silly as it is, I like the Rittenhouse building better than the post-modern effort that houses Paper Vision next door. This one was one of the early replacements, where Lily Marlene’s ice cream and Shockly’s jeweler’s was.
Sorry, if you’re not into them, but I’m not done with Two Nice Girls. I kept watching more of their videos last night. Here’s Money, performed by the original line-up with Laurie Freelove.
The recorded version sounds so much better, especially Gretchen’s lead guitar. But I just love this performance’s simple innocence.
We actually rode a relatively folky wave, all my punk aspirations aside. We just really loved melody and harmony and wanted to sound pretty while saying radical things. I don’t think that just telling the truth about your life should be viewed as radical, but unfortunately it often is. Why shouldn’t we be out as lesbians? What did we have to lose? We weren’t really in the music business to get rich. We wanted to create anthems for people to come out to. We wanted to put on shows where hot, single babes could hook up. We wanted to provide an unmistakably queer soundtrack for them to fall in love to. We wanted to show men what lesbians were up to. We wanted to paint a picture of a world that was bigger and brighter than the one we were living in. We wanted to say that the emperor had no clothes. We wanted to give everyone a glimpse of our record collections. We wanted to make everyone have a good time with the lesbians, which was perhaps something you’d never experienced before. Those were our dreams of being mainstream. We just wanted to be in the middle of the mix, and not in the margins.
Last night I did that thing that I say I need to do more of and went to a live-music concert at Don Quioxte’s. I happened to be looking on that club’s web page and saw the ad. Do you remember Gretchen Phillips? She founded two bands in the late-80s, “Two Nice Girls” and “Girls in the Nose.” The concert was so fun: Her intellect, her guitar skills, her beautiful voice, her clever and explicit lyrics. She put out so much and the fifteen of us in the audience loved it.
I bought her new CD, and a release of the first Two Nice Girls LP. I think it was the last LP I ever bought, back then. Gretchen writes in the CD booklet:
The Two Nice Girls years, 1985 to 1992, were a special time in the UC Gay liberation movement. Before there was lesbian chic, there was lesbian weird. We were that. But we were also beautiful in some ways that were new to the mainstream culture. I’m proud of any role we played in making it easier for other queers to come out and be themselves and to know tht they’re not alone and isolated. All we ever wanted in Two Nice Girls was to “Make Lesbianism As Attractive As Possible.” I like to think we did our part.
That’s for sure. I don’t think that two straight girls could have seen the Two Nice Girls concert I saw at the Kuumbwa in 1991 and not gone home and tried something. They would have, at the least, not been curious anymore. This music video sort of gives a hint of what those concerts were like.
Both CDs are on iTunes if you want to hear them, but the snippets don’t give enough of the songs to appreciate them, especially the humor of the seduction in “Swimming.” The title of this post is the first line of “Honey, I Feel So Good,” which she introduced as “a song about some great sex I had at NYU” so I’m going to be a gossip detective and guess that this song is about her and Kay Turner, the other founder of “Girls in the Nose” who is a professor there. But what do I know?
Oh, and the NAME of this blog? that’s a title of a Girls in the Nose song. Here’s their myspace. And, (hint hint) many of my passwords are based on their lyrics too.
Update: I remember when I saw Girls in the Nose at “Rhythmfest” in Georgia, I was astounded that band members included go-go dancers. Why doesn’t EVERY women’s band have go-go dancers! This video of one of Gretchen’s other bands, Lord Douglas Phillips, in 1998 gives a flavor of what that performance was like.
And here’s what you missed last night. Except. um. None of the 15 of us had ever heard this song before. We weren’t Brittany Spears fans and couldn’t sing along.
People rarely write nasty reviews about poets and their poetry. But when I read one in N+1, about the poet who delivered the inaugural poem on January 20th, and about the the other inaugural poems, I got excited. A poem and a poet that someone cares enough about to criticize? Maybe poetry does matter.
I remember thinking that Maya Angelu’s poem at Clinton’s inaugural would bring poetry back into every-day life again too. It didn’t. Why am I always thinking that? Better that I just keep with my story that my job as a manager has been a better venue for my skills as a poet than any darkened coffeeshop.
It’s better because Rudolph Delson, the author of the N+1 essay is right. The poem at Obama’s inauguration proved that Elizabeth Alexander is a master of American singsong, and writing a poem worth of the occasion and audience was beyond her.
She seemed to me a master of the American poetic singsong.
By this I mean the elocutionary convention of delivering verse with preciousness and with rapture, so that the audience can hear how profoundly the poet loves the English language, how badly the poet wants to give the English language a deep tongue-kiss. In the singsong, speech occurs at an even volume, no syllable spoken much more loudly or softly than any other; in the singsong, the only way to emphasize a word is to say it slowly, or to pause after it. The singsong ignores both the syntactic beat of vernacular English and the rhythm of syllabically metered lines, giving every poem the cadence of an automobile engine that (precious thing!) can’t quite turn over. If a poem introduces no startling vocabulary, summons no puzzling imagery, and contemplates no troubling thoughts—in other words, if a poem is prosaic enough that the audience needs no time to take it in—then the singsong sounds like self-satisfaction.
And then he writes a hilariously sarcastic review of her website, and then digs into her “puzzling indifference to mathematics and natural science.” He admits, however, that while writing a poem for Obama may be beyond her, it has been beyond everyone who tried it.
The New York Times published a transcript of the poem Alexander ended up writing. . It’s not the usual word-salad of a modern poem, undiscernible and silly. I can follow each sentence as a coherent thought, but the construction of them does not rise to poetry. And together they are a jumble of ideas, each one not developed enough to leave me with a new or resonating connection with her, or other people, which is what I look for in poetry I like.
Linked to xkcd’s site is a list of his favorite comics. That’s how I discovered this gem, a collaborative effort of a talented photographer and writer. Here’s one I liked today. They are all wonderful. I love the internet.
We’re having a very nice storm this afternoon, so I thought I’d go out and take a look at the river. I like to do this during storms, not because I’m afraid that it will flood (it might, but I’m not afraid of that) but because sometimes interesting stuff is floating down it. All kinds of things come down that river. This one morning several years ago, on my way to work, I saw an elephant. I literally could not believe my eyes, but there was an elephant floating in the river. I could clearly see the trunk, head, and ear. It was several hundred yards up stream, so I ran closer to it as it came toward me. As it came closer and closer I thought it looked more an more like an elephant, but it could not, COULD NOT be an elephant, a baby elephant, in the San Lorenzo river. Finally, it floated past me, and I saw that it was a giant stuffed toy elephant, indeed.
I’ve kept a link to the n+1 story “Kickstart My Heart,” by Molly Young for more than a year now. I’m not sure what I want to say about so I’ll just describe it and offer it to you. It is an essay written in a clear and intelligent voice, describing her experiences in college with a cognition-enhancing drug (Adderal). It how it helped her academic performance and enjoyment, and nothing bad happened. At the end of the essay she explores briefly the ethical issue raised by performance enhancement of the mind, but then understandably is unable to resolve it.
xkcd wrote my favorite joke. I’m not sure why–you know how it works–but yesterday I remembered that I haven’t read this comic in a few years, so I thought I’d catch up: On troubleshooting. On metric conversion. On the kind of books one reads on airplanes. On how geeks wish they could fix social problems. On how sexism works.