*I've got a real fondness for Philip Glass's soundtrack to Koyaanisqatsi, but whenever I play it with someone else in the room, I worry that I'm driving them bats.  To me the interplay of triplets and sixes is hypnotic and fascinating--I could literally listen to it for hours--but I know how bored I sometimes get with long repetitive tunes by other artists (example: Dylan's "Positively Fourth Street," which is a single lovely melodic line driven relentlessly into the ground), so surely there's no way a normal human being could handle all this three-against-two-into-six-against-four organ-choir-brass thing.  Right?

*I remain optimistic about an Obama victory in November.  My main hope, aside from that basic non-negotiable hope, is that the margin of victory is large enough to give the Republicans a Moment of Clarity.  That would force them to acknowledge that the neocons, greedheads, and religious extremists who seized control of the party some years back no longer provide viable options for governing.  I'm also hoping that the Democrats are inspired by this victory to work on governing the country, rather than on simply blaming the Republicans for their failure to do so.  And while I'm at it, I'd like a pony.

*Thing One's fall whirl continues unabated, much like my own.  Marching band is eating his afternoons and weekends, calculus is eating his brain, and he's left with little more to do than issue occasional book reviews (on Wuthering Heights: "It was really interesting, but really boring at the same time.") and power down frightening amounts of cereal.  (The current favorite: Honey Bunches of Oats Just Bunches!, which he seems unwilling to admit is really just granola.)

*The big dogwood in our back yard is kicking ASS in the berry production department this fall; yes, the leaves are turning red, but the majority of the scarlet out back is coming from berries.  If the damn things were edible, we'd be set for the entire winter.

*Word is that Berke Breathed is retiring his third and latest vehicle for his favorite penguin, the Sunday-only strip Opus.  I can't say I'll miss it, though it does appear in the WashPost.  But I'm sad to say that I'm not really following ANY comic strip in the newspaper at the moment--I'm not reading the newspaper.  I flirted with it for a while over the summer, but now that we've got broadband at the house, I'm back to getting most of my news online, and there are only three strips I feel the need to download regularly: Doonesbury, which I check out just about daily at ; This Modern World, created by the brilliantly snarky Tom Tomorrow, every week; and Tim Kreider's hilarious and inimitable weekly strip The Pain--When Will It End?, which is like a bracing dip in the river of pure bile spewing from the zombie-gnawed corpse of Jonathan Swift.  All in all, though, I don't really miss the gag-a-day strips on which I cut my cultural teeth.  Maybe it's age.  Maybe it's the general decline of the newspaper strip.  Maybe it's the fact that most papers print them at roughly the size of a fortune cookie slip.  But wherever Breathed goes with Opus now, I can't help but wish he'd been satisfied with the first ending he wrote for his strip: the lovely, haunting image of Opus walking into the emptiness of the comics page with the colors of Bloom County fading into nothingness.

*Speaking of Tim Kreider, I should note that, in addition to being a mean cross-hatching fool when it comes to the pen-and-ink marvels of his strip, he's also a ridiculously nice guy.  Last January, longtime fan Thing Two decided to write him an email praising his work, admitting in it that he was only fourteen, but that he still enjoyed Kreider's black humor and choice use of profanity; I believe his exact words were "You have fucked up my life in the greatest way possible." Kreider responded not only with a gracious note of encouragement (you can see it in the January letters archive at ) but with an original drawing--which I promise I will someday scan, once I learn how to use a scanner, so that the world can enjoy the hilarity.  Regardless, Tim K is proven thrice over to be one of the good ones.  Buy his stuff.

*We're going to a concert!  At least we're PLANNING to go to one, assuming we can get tickets to Billy Bragg's upcoming Charlottesville show.  I haven't seen BB since the Worker's Playtime tour back in '89, and it was a delightful experience.  The three highlights:  1) Billy calling his cohort Wiggy onto the stage by bashing out a huge G-major power chord and intoning a la Bowie: "Wiggy plaaaaaaayed... guiiiiiiii-taaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!" 2) Billy demonstrating how much wasteful packaging there was in the then-relatively-new CD longbox package by tearing one apart (first shrink wrap, then cardboard longbox, then shrink wrap around the jewel box, then the jewel box itself, and finally the actual disc on which the music was recorded) and leaving a small mountain of consumer waste at his feet, and 3) Billy reminiscing about a recent gig in West Virginia, when he'd played with Robyn Hitchcock and R.E.M. on the state's official "R.E.M. Day"; said Billy, "It's a good thing it wasn't Robyn Hitchcock Day, or there would probably have been a rain of lobsters or something."

*North Carolina's football team is ranked #22 and plays Notre Dame on Saturday.  I simply don't know how to handle these concepts.  Are the end times upon us?

*On Saturday morning, well before the crack of dawn, Thing Two will make his way south along with his entire high-school class for a four-day Outward Bound course in North Carolina's Linville Gorge.  He's got gloves, long underwear, a woolly hat, and a fleece jacket if the weather's cold, as well as a non-cotton t-shirt and shorts if the weather's warm.  And boots--broken in by hiking around campus and up Old Rag. I had a blast on my OB course back in the summer of '05--here's hoping his is half as good for him.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on October 9, 2008 8:02 PM.

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