May 06

Golden

It is really quite cool to be living through the golden age of one type of art – and I am referring to that of the TV show.

I’d date the start of the belle epoque of TV being around 1993, with the airing of the The X-Files, and it is continuing even today though I think we’re in the declining period of the golden age. In art, such periods generally last 20-30 years.

And if making a TV show is not art, and if no TV show is art, then neither is any music, nor cinema, nor painting.

The best season of any TV show ever is in my opinion Season 2 of Battlestar Galactica. Unbelievably gripping – and the best portrayal of utter desperation I’ve seen in any artistic medium.

And whatever its flaws, there will never be another show like Lost again. The show was sui generis – it “tricked” millions of people who believe they hate sf and fantasy into watching just that! – and its like will not be seen again.

These shows and others like them so raised the bar that mediocre shows now are better than the best shows that would’ve been aired 30 years ago.

Seeing an artistic medium pushed to its absolute limit is a really fun thing to to live through. It doesn’t happen all that often in human history.

Of course people who hate TV will not believe a word of this, but history will prove them wrong as so often happens.

May 06

Hypo

I wonder how many of the same men who are virulently homophobic and against the idea of gay marriage have happily watched lesbian porn? I bet it’s a very large percentage.

The problem with being born a man is you are associated by women (for understandable reasons) with all the bullshit that other men believe and do.

The problem with being born a woman or a gay man, though, is even worse – you must then directly experience all of the bullshit that all too many men believe and do.

Raw deal either way, really.

May 04

R&J

Lisa Mitchell performing Dire Straits’ “Romeo and Juliet.”

I think the Dire Straits version is better, but she really makes it her own.

The camera operators and editor, however, should be thrown down a well. Axis shifts? Terrible angles? Jumping all over the place? Stupid vignetting?

I just want to see the woman play the damn song. Just leave the camera in one place for a bit, ok? And the vignetting — always a terrible idea.

May 03

On getting old

Turns out I’m not very good at it. I don’t, to quote someone’s Twitter update on men aging, want to talk about the state of the world and taxes. How damn boring.

I want to keep exploring, keep learning.

I want to rock the mic like a vandal.

I want to listen to new music, walk new paths. Learn new languages. Find new art. Take more photos.

I want to seek out new life and new civilizations.

To boldly go do cool shit all day long.

Being dead will be plenty boring. No reason to act dead before I am dead. Why do that? Why do so many people do that?

May 03

Rap

For those folks who don’t like rap and hip hop, are you, like, alive?

Those cats have about the best flow I’ve ever heard. Amazing. Anyone who says that’s not art is simply wrong.

May 01

Not of this world

And now for something old, a band I used to listen to nearly-obsessively — and the singer most chronically in need of a hug, Hope Sandoval.

If that doesn’t make you bring out the pills, razors and look for a high cliff to jump from, you have a harder heart than I do.

Can’t someone, anyone, just give Hope a hug? Please? I mean, come on.

Mazzy Star is the first band I recall hearing that blended blues, country and goth like that. And I love the small ribbons braided through a bit of her absolute mass of hair.

My then- and still-favorite Mazzy Star song is the one below. I saw the performance below live (on TV) when it aired, way back in 1994.

Hope seemed always not of this world. As haunting as her voice is and as obviously beautiful as she is, even as a young man I never had a crush on her – that’d be like having a crush on the air, or on a half-remembered dream. She seems elemental and at the same time completely removed, someone visiting from a fey land, and soon to return there. She could blow away like the wind, disappear when you turn your back, converge once again with the chthonian realm that lays its eternal true claim on her.

I watched about a dozen covers of “Into Dust” tonight. It’s a simple song. I could probably figure out how to play it on piano in about half an hour if I still played. All of the covers are terrible. Amazing how much that voice of hers matters.

The “happiest” Mazzy Star song.

I’ve never once seen Hope Sandoval smile, or talk to the audience. Not ever. Not that I mind – she still has huge stage presence, and it adds to her mystery. Sometimes mysteries should stay mysteries, as J.J. Abrams knows.

May 01

SJ

The custom banjo Sarah Jarosz uses sounds unfuckingbelievable.

Know how many hours you have to practice to be able to play like that?

Apr 30

YG

I have a good instinct about idiots. I always seem to despise them before the cool people start to hate them. Like Matt Yglesias. And Jonah Lehrer.

The first time I read a Jonah Lehrer piece I said, “This sounds like complete horseshit” and I vowed never to read anything by Lehrer again.

On my previous blog several years ago, I posted something about how I’d never read Yglesias again, and I haven’t.

Yglesias is the epitome of the Ivy League-educated idiot. College makes some people smarter and is necessary in some fields, mostly STEM ones. For most people it is worthless other than as a piece of paper to get a job. It could be different, but it’s not.

To quote Good Will Hunting, “You blew 150k on an education you could have gotten in $1.50 in late fees from the library.” Always been my philosophy. I read more textbooks in a year than most college students do their whole lives.

And now I’m rambling – this really should be two posts. But I am also lazy, so it won’t be.

Yglesias seems to have embodied the opposite of the GWH quote – education, as with Obama, seems to have made him dumber as it overlaid his mind with neo-liberal swill.

Glad there is a backlash now, though.

Apr 27

NZM

The economy – contrary to popular belief and even the belief of some economists – is absolutely not zero sum.

Many people want you to believe that as it is in their best interests that you do so. That would be mostly members of the 1%, large banks, etc. Certain parts of the economy are indeed zero sum, but these parts are very small and are shrinking more every day.

I don’t really feel like going into long explanations here, but this is the most common misconception I see out there about how a large economy works – that value creation always by necessity causes value destruction elsewhere.

However, if I write a computer program for which you pay me, both of us are objectively better off.

If a famer creates a better method for rotating crops for which people pay him to consult on for their own farms, he is better off and so is everyone else. No one loses anything – and this is true if the farmer never personally profits monetarily from the work.

If a researcher creates a clever algorithm to optimize encoding of digital information for which she receives the Fields Medal, again, everyone is better off.

That the economy is a zero sum game is actually completely the opposite of how economies work. An economy can’t work that way and function. Just can not. In an economy that is in fact a zero sum game, everyone would do only the bare minimum to obtain food and water and that’s about all.

I realize that as one my teachers once put it that I am jumping from mountaintop to mountaintop here and not exploring the valleys below, but smart people read this blog. I am sure you can handle it.

Apr 26

Won’t be going that way again

Not that we should expect every woman to do this, but damn, this is awesome.

The bus driver tried to kiss her, then when she spurned his advances he allegedly said he would rape her. She knocked a knife from his grasp, broke it in two, bit his hand, wrestled him to the ground and put him in a stranglehold between her thighs, before leaving the bus and reporting the attack.

Funny what a little military training can do for you.