16 August 2009

Destroy man!

How did I go nearly 40 years without ever discovering that this is an anagram of my name?

I must amend story to stay modern, in the steady norm--keep the stony dream alive--avoid the stray demon and damn oyster!

God bless the internet. It spares me the need to regret not having spent more time playing with the letters in my name.

This reminds me of my old friend, Anna, who could compose long form anagrams of full sentences or emails, if I recall correctly... Her email name was "apalindrome", which reminds me both of the sample sign Tauba put in the shop window, reading "palindrome is not a palindrome" (and which seems to provoke more commentary from bus stop patrons than any other in the window); and also my favorite failed palindrome:
Edna St. Vincent Millay, top bard, notes putrid tang emanating, is sad.
I'd assign it a name: gnat dirt upset on drab pot toilet.

09 August 2009

Narratives and the Narrating Narrators Who Narrate Them

I got up, and forced myself to start reading Errol Morris' Seven Lies About Lying (parts I and II), which have been sitting on two tabs of the browser for, I guess, a week now, waiting for me to get through every little thing that's crossed my sight line since. My interest in that article (besides being kindled by having enjoyed Mr. Morris' previous multi-part essays in the Times, largely about the relationship between truth and photography), was sparked--before laying dormant for a week--by the inclusion of an interview with Ricky Jay, who's a pretty fascinating bloke, enjoying a sort of renaissance, I think, here in the early 21st century. That is to say: I have the impression, based partly on faint memories from my childhood, but mostly on a pictorial of him using playing cards as darts, to pop balloons taped to an otherwise nude bunny, from a December 1977 issue of Playboy that used to live in the bathroom mag rack, that he reached the pinnacle of his celebrity some 30 odd years ago. Lately, he seems to be popping up more often on the pop radar--I was surprised to see him in a "dramatic" role in Gus Van Sant's pseudo-bio flick, Last Days, about the end of Kurt Cobain's life--but it may be only my radar on which he's blipping more frequently, since I was commissioned recently to paint his name on an old vintage magician poster, to be a birthday gift for Mr. Jay, himself (I hope, in posting it here, that the birthday has already come to pass):

I can't help but wonder if someone who collects such vintage posters, as does he, might not be a little appalled to have a perfectly good one defaced in such fashion... I mean, I'm fine with the lettering and all, I just feel like, if it were my name on there, I'd be saying, like, "Why did you have to go and do that to it?" But I don't know the first thing about assessing the value of such old posters; I'm not Ricky Jay, and I don't know him as well as does David Mamet, from whom the commission came (more celebrity name-dropping! Actually, it was just "his people", and they only talked to "my people", i.e. Scott).

The week I was working on that, I swear, I told at least a half dozen people what I was doing, and not one of them had heard of Ricky Jay. Just now, I had to tell Deb who he was, though I swear I must have told her then, too. And I think only one person even recognized David Mamet's name! I mean, c'mon, people! David Mamet?!? I feel like I should just be able to say, "What the fuck?!", and that would be a kinda weak inside joke about the coarse speech patterns of the Western Male, as commonly represented in Mamet scripts. But really: there's no excuse. You should just know this shit. Here, check his wiki. Jesus. Now, Jay, okay, I grant you, he's been a little under the radar for lo these many. You should just read the Errol Morris article, but here, you can check his wiki, too.

08 August 2009


I've been puttering around on the couch this morning, as is my way, using the interwebs in the fashion for which they are seemingly best suited: to reveal, in an ever-lengthening row of tabs, ever more info about whatever caught my passing interest in a previous tab. Thusly, have I increased my vocabulary to include menefreghismo, and its variants. I thought, for a while, maybe I wanted to read Nick Tosches' book, Dino, about Dean Martin. Then, as I was trying to find some online version of a Tosches magazine article I remember fondly (and, I swear, only just now, typing this sentence, long past having scoured New Yorker, Harper's, and McSweeney's archives in vain for a hint, does it dawn on me that it was in Vanity Fair, here, and I recommend it: a stellar description of the fullest use of one's skills and resources to feed a seemingly pointless obsession, as the seasons pass, concluding that "nobody with a decent map needs rainbows"...whatever that means), I somehow stumbled upon mention of a Jack Pendarvis, described as a "Southern Gothic David Sedaris". I thought of my friend, Huw, whom I've mentioned before in his capacity as priestly aspirant, and who, being Southern, and prolificly blogulous, has much to write and link to, of the South and of his experiences carrying it north in his heart. We've been chatting recently (and through him, and his Canadian proximity, I've begun watching some of Little Mosque on the Prairie), and I wonder if he'd be interested in Pendarvis. Then, I thought, I should just see if it's any good myself, before I go recommending it. The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure seems like a good place to start, being as it's a short story collection, and my ability to read actual book-length books has largely atrophied (help me find a less oxymoronic adjective for atrophied, please), despite some recent success with Reason, Faith, and Revolution (approaching halfway!).


I just learned a new word. Mark Dery, writing about Hannibal Lecter, quotes Nick Tosches describing Dean Martin as a menefreghista, one who embodies menefreghismo, who is, as such, a master of the fine art of not giving a fuck.

I'm old enough now to know that menefreghista is not a mantle to which I can aspire. It has to be a skill cultivated from an early age. There might be a lot of nature in with that nurture, too. I think the later in life one begins trying to manifest their menefreghismo, the more bitter a taste it leaves in the mouths of all those around. I s'pose I could try reading that Dino book, to see how Mr. Martinez' well-cultured menefreghismatic ways impacted his near and dear...

Anyway, it's only every so often, for better or worse, that I get a little taste of the menefreghista life, unspoilt by guilt or shame. I just wanted to post this so I could use it as a footnote link from the menefreghismo passage in my birthday post. Carefree livin', FTW! (so to speak).