everybody in this room is wearing a uniform

Frank Zappa, style icon? (found here)

Trendsetters are rushing to buy the “261 top” – with the latest star to wear it being American Idol judge Randy Jackson.

He wore it next to Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul on the hit show at the weekend.

The unlikely fashion trend goes back to 1980 and an equally unlikely source – the late rock legend Frank Zappa.

It should also be noted that, as far as I can tell, Frank Zappa invented the concept of the ironic T-shirt, and the ironically blue-collar T-shirt, circa 1967. (I don’t think he should be held responsible for subsequent developments of that trend any more than Nirvana should be held responsible for Pearl Jam.) He also presaged hip-hop fashion.

update: I just remembered, I should link to this Zappa interview on fashion:

Before we left, Frank and I were pals and he wanted very much to give tips on what he’d like to see as jewelry. Since jewelry catches onto the instruments, he would like to have it ingrown into the skin, like, let’s say, a watch transplanted into your wrist with phosphorescent digits so that you could see it through the skin, and in the dark. Not very practical? Well, Frank is a genius, and geniuses aren’t always practical.

Bush administration confesses torture

“We tortured Qahtani. His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case [for prosecution].”

Speaking of torture, if you want to get a sense of the state of human rights in the US, you only need to check out our prison rape statistics.

Also, can someone tell me: is there really life on Mars, or is the Sun full of shit?

what did you expect?

Obama Unlikely To Quickly Close Gitmo
Obama Signals His Reluctance to Look Into Bush Policies
(but John Conyers has a better idea)
EDIT: DEVELOPING… (as Drudge would say)

I don’t really feel like writing about the above, because a) I already did, and b) this is like the septillionth post in a row that I’ve made on political subjects. I promise I’ll start writing more about other things that interest me, like filter design, hussar tunics, or the amazing drum fills in “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” (the best one is at 3:44, segueing from the four-on-the-floor kick drum back to the standard pattern).

I was also going to write a post on apologists for economic oppression who hide behind a veneer of medical respectability, and said post was going to cite Adorno‘s observations about the “bourgeois whose existence is split into a business life and a private life, whose private life is split into keeping up his public image and intimacy, whose intimacy is split into the surly partnership of marriage and the bitter comfort of being quite alone, at odds with himself and everybody else,” and also Václav Havel’s social auto-totality, and also some stuff about the unholy marriage between universal surveillance and the atomization of the individual under late capitalism, but seriously, fuck it.

das übelste der Übel

Probably the only inaugural poem you’ll need to read this year:

history is torn and blistery
the future’s sutures are a mystery
wooed by healing thoughts, we swooned
and thus forgot to clean the wound

(also, I decided to try putting poems in block quotes)

another one bites the dust

So last week Claiborne Pell died. This Providence Journal article from 1995 is a good summary of the career of the former US Senator from Rhode Island (surprising, given what a shit publication it is). A relevant quote:

“It’s very fundamental in politics to be what you are,” says Sen. John H. Chafee. “‘To thine own self be true.’ Don’t be out there dropping your g’s and trying to get into a ‘dese and dose’ way of speaking to be one of the guys.”

But perhaps more germane to Poetariat’s interests was Pell’s suitably Lovecraftian interest in the paranormal. From this Discover article on the reverse speech phenomenon:

A couple of years ago Oates met with C. B. Scott Jones, a former Navy fighter pilot who was on the staff of Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island. Thanks to a demonstration using his own speech, Scott Jones was convinced that Oates has really got something here. A few months later, during the Gulf crisis, Oates told him that press conferences and speeches of high U.S. officials, when played backward, kept yielding the name Simone. Scott Jones wrote Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, warning him that if Simone was a code word, the cat was out of the bag (or, at least, the tac was out of the gab).

One thing that was soon playing backward in Washington was Scott Jones’s career on Capitol Hill. Pell, a Democrat facing a fight for reelection, dropped him. Now Scott Jones heads the Human Potential Foundation, whose mission, he says, is to fund research that is not being funded anywhere else. Continue reading “another one bites the dust”

apes that eat figs

Did you know that our President-elect is not only a master craftsman of abdominal muscles, hand-rolled cigarettes, and bullshit, but of poetry as well? It’s true!

What do you think Obama’s cave-ape poem is really about? I think it’s about the Yetinsyny. Maybe he was listening to Devo at the time.

Also, the NY Times had an interesting article on the clusterfuck that is inaugural poetry.

Jólnir vs. White Christ-mas

To mark today’s ancient festival, I’d like to remind our readership that the poems on this blog are not meant for effete postmodern snobs.  No, they belong to TIME-HONORED VIKING TRADITION: the tradition of men like Egill Skallagrímsson who, after vomiting in their enemies’ faces and biting through berserkers’ throats, would record their valiant deeds for posterity in extemporaneous verse.  They also dressed really spiffy.  The best Vikings were, like Mike Gravel and Frank Zappa, UTTERLY COMPLETE HUMAN BEINGS.

Unfortunately, if the Vikings had any fault, it was their Scandinavian open-mindedness and tolerance.  This made them easy prey to Christian missionaries, resulting in five centuries of Catholicism and another five centuries of Lutheranism.  LET THAT BE A LESSON TO YOU.  So, as penance for the sins of my ancestors*, I present to you the lyrics of my Viking metal “Christmas” song which I’m probably never going to get around to recording because I don’t really give a shit.  I dedicate it to pagans everywhere.

Oh yeah, and I decided to put it in all caps to UNLEASH THE FURY.  THERE IS NO ROOM FOR SUBTLETY IN METAL.

BRING BACK YULE Continue reading “Jólnir vs. White Christ-mas”

the violence of the sun

[I should note that a) after I scanned this, I realized that some parts were unfinished and changed them, so now it looks different, but I’m not fucking scanning it again, and b) you can see that I spilled ink in a couple of places.

Also, I was going to put some music here too so you could have a synaesthetic experience, but I’m saving most of it for later. And then I was going to put some of my over-15-minute ambient explorations, but who wants to waste bandwidth on that shit? And I didn’t make them for you; I MADE THEM FOR MY DOG. She is very aesthetically evolved.]