Friday, March 28, 2003 ::: oh, it's been a long week. lot of work. speaking of which, in my april 2003 harper's which arrived some time ago, there is an excerpt of a wonderful little diatribe that I remember hearing about a while ago, by one Fletcher Vredenburgh who had been in charge of the Mayor's Action Center in NYC until his screed had been brought to everyone's attention:
"Recently I took a new position. I was promoted to director of the Mayor's Action Center. That means I am responsible for overseeing practically any call, letter, fax, or email mad by griping, often whining, often stupid New Yorkers, and that they to the right person/agency, whatever, to be addressed.
"If you look up the mayor's phone number in the telephone book you get mine.
"I you get cut off by a city truck that has a sticker blaring HOW'S MY DRIVING? the number it shows is mine.
"Yesterday I personally took several calls from people with enough time to call up pitch a fit at the mayor for honoring the Bronx Little League team before anyone knew the pitcher was a ringer. One dumb fuck called to let me know all of Seattle (that's right, the whole city) was mad at the mayor.
"All that valuable writing time has been taken up with dealing with dumb fucks from the public ro dumber fucks that work for the city. I've had two cases where cops took in cars that had been stolen and then were at a loss to even give a hint to their owners about where they might be. Every day someone gets thrown off welfare improperly because an imbecilic caseworker can't tell her ass from a hole in the wall..."
the screed then goes on to catalogue the writer's health problems, which are myriad, and then concludes:
"So I take painkillers, sleep a lot, and think about killing every citizen and employee of New York City every minute I'm awake."
Monday, March 24, 2003 ::: So all this war and the like: It makes me ambivalent and uneasy and I find it disturbing. There is a certain injustice in sitting comfortably in one's apartment in one capital city watching another go up in smoke and flames. I really don't know what to think of it all and consequently haven't been saying too much on the matter here.
So the Oscars:
-That Michael Moore loves to stir things up, doesn't he?
-Poor Kathy Bates and her followup scripted teleprompter musings about what people say when they get their Oscar.
-Halle Berry is suprisingly composed when unexpectedly confronted with long, sloppy kisses from Adrien Brody. She was obviously seething privately.
Wednesday, March 19, 2003 ::: The latest of my history books have arrived, and they are much more nineteenth century than the last bunch, which makes me very happy. Walt Whitman's America is what I'm reading right now. I don't have an opinion on it yet. I'm getting there. I also got City of Eros, a scholarly study of prostitution in nineteenth century New York. I haven't started it yet, but it's more of a historical reference than anything truly salacious, which is what I was looking for anyway. Browsing on Amazon, I also happened to notice that Last Days of Disco DVDs are going for fifty bucks! I was hoping they'd be dirt cheap like the videos.
Sunday, March 09, 2003 ::: I went to go see supergrass and the coral on thursday. I was pretty disappointed with supergrass - I think most of the people there were, especially the british guy next to us who declared their performance "an embarrassment to english music" although I wouldn't quite go that far. The opening act, however, was another story entirely - I hadn't really been listening to them at first, mostly just chatting with my friend mark but once I did I really really liked the songs and their was good rapport with the audience. I went and bought the coral's album the next day and it's pretty good, sort of doors-esque which normally isn't my sort of thing but it appeals to me nonetheless even though the lyrics are kind of soso. It is the sort of album that you can put on and listen to the whole way through without disliking a single song.
I just bought both dvd player and a digital camera. I went all over dupont taking pictures and took a stroll over to georgetown to snap a few more. Once I figure out how to upload everything I'll be putting up a few pictures.
Thursday, March 06, 2003 ::: I recently finished reading edie, which is all about warhol hanger-on edie sedgwick and her larger-than-life headed-for-destruction persona. The whole warhol scene is one that is very interesting to read about but I think would be very unpleasant to experience personally - too much backstabbing, dishonesty and betrayal to deal with on a daily basis. The book is put together is an interweaving of oral histories, which I think makes for an excellent way to get to know a biographical subject - a personal and intimate portayal on one hand, and on the other, the complex multifaceted person that appears from the numerous perspectives given by each friend, acquaintance or enemy who has something to say. Another Plimpton-edited biography of Truman Capote is done in the same style and makes for a fascinating read as well.
sharpeworld links to the museum of hoaxes, which has a section on spirit photography. It really was a very popular phenomenon in its time, and here is a letter from the abolitionist lydia maria child who had a certain skepticism on the matter, although she was still fascinated nonetheless:
June 11, 1875.
Finding Robert F. Wallcut very desirous of a photograph of me, and having none to give him, I went to have some taken. A neighbor here told me wonderful stories about a spirit-photographer. So I thought I would go to him to have my photograph taken, and, without saying anything, see what would happen. When he showed me the negative, I said, "There is no other figure than my own on the plate." "Did you wish for any other?" he asked. I thought to myself, "So they don't come unless they are bargained for!" But I merely said, "If any departed friends had been reflected on the plate, it would have been gratifying, of course."
"It takes a longer time to procure the photographs of spirits," he replied, "and therefore I charge as much for six as I do for twelve of the common kind." I told him I would like to have him try, on condition that I neither took them, nor paid for them, unless there came the likeness of somebody I had known. He demurred, and said people must take their chance. A young clerk in the establishment looked at me twice and smiled very significantly during our conversation. The photographer seemed embarrassed and impatient; but he finally consented to my terms. He took the second plate out and carried it into another room, where he remained three times as long as he had done with the negative of my first photograph. When he brought it to me, at last, there were two heads behind my own; one of them a vulgar-looking man, the other a fat-faced girl with fluffy hair; neither of them faces had I ever seen before, or ever desired to see again. The whole proceeding indicated trickery. Still, notwithstanding the great amount of trickery practised, and the unsatisfactory nature of all the communications, there are real phenomona connected with the subject which are to me inexplicable, and which indicate some laws of the universe at present unknown to us.
Sunday, March 02, 2003 ::: So my wisdom teeth came out on friday. The whole weekend has been a little surreal in consequence. The painkillers seem to inhibit my ability to carry on a normal conversation as I discovered at a party last night - which was the first real washington party I've been to in ages - one where everyone works for the govt doing interesting things, or works for nonprofits doing interesting things.