Monday, April 30, 2007

Jon Stewart is my hero, too

Echoing Mita, I'd like to say that there are few people who understand what's actually going on in this country today as well as Jon Stewart does.
JON STEWART: And by the way, that was all just — that was a game, and he knew it, and the guys on the committee knew it. And for the President to come out after that and say, "Everything I saw there gave me more confidence in him," that solidified my notion that, "Oh, it's because what he expected of Gonzalez was" it's sort of like, do you remember in GOODFELLAS? When Henry Hill got arrested for the first time and Robert DeNiro met him at the courthouse and Henry Hill was really upset, 'cause he thought Robert DeNiro would be really mad at him. And DeNiro comes up to him and he gives him a $100 and he goes, "You got pinched. We all get pinched, but you did it right, you didn't say nothing."

BILL MOYERS: Gonzales said nothing.

JON STEWART: Right. And "you went up there and said nothing. You gave them no legal recourse against you, and you made yourself a smart man, a self-made man look like an utter pinhead on national television, and you did it for me."

(The transcript of the Bill Moyers interview)
Next: Whatever it is that comes next!

Thursday, April 26, 2007


My last book read was David Mitchell's Black Swan Green, which I completed whilst the Gadflies were on vacation a few weeks ago. Mitchell comes highly recommended from mtg these days, and BSG is certainly one of the best books I've read in quite a while. mtg, as everyone now knows, is a teacher and scholar of English, and her recommendation of this book came with a heavy emphasis on the brilliance of the author's use of language, which she mentioned roughly every other second while she was reading it.

I read the entire book and it did not once strike me that the language was beautiful. What struck me was that the book was awesome. All I noticed about the language it was written in was that it matched the narrator (who is a 13-year-old boy growing up in England in the early 80's). Anyway, I wasn't reading the language, I was reading the book.

These days I'm listening to the Shins' new album. It's brilliant--but much the way mtg reads a book through the language, I'm not really listening to the songs. I'm listening to the instrumentation: Fender panned right doubled with a synthesized marimba playing a simple scale, the bleed of the snare across drum mics, vocals with a vocoder effect, Leslie wheel and heavy compression on another guitar (Gibson?) doing arpeggios panned left, etc. In the same way that one can't look at a printed word without, microseconds later, reading it, and microseconds after that having Wernicke's Area translate it into meaning, I can't just hear a song as a song anymore. I miss this sometimes.

I've started going back and remixing the album I did in the month of February, and the first track appears at the top of the list to the left. For the n of you who end up hearing both versions (where n is an integer approximately equal to 4), you'll probably notice that the crunchy guitar sound has been replaced by a sort of dry echoy guitar, kind of an old-timey sound (it's spring reverb for those of you...uh...never mind. It's spring reverb, Sam), and that you can hear the vocals better. To me it sounds like a completely different song, except that to me it didn't really ever sound like a song at all, just a collection of instruments playing. I kind of have to take it on faith that there's a song in there.

Next: More "songs"!