Monday, May 28, 2007

Notes from a spasmodic Hercules.

[[From Writer’s Almanac, April 24—about the writer Anthony Trollope]]

For most of his writing life, he continued to work for the British postal service and even helped invent the street-corner mailbox. To turn out his novels, he woke up every morning at 4:00 a.m. and wrote for three hours, producing about a thousand words an hour. In less than 40 years, he published 47 novels, as well as many other books of essays and sketches. He said, “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.”

Fahrenheit 451 backfires.

[[Empathize, but not sure this is the way...]]

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tom Wayne has amassed thousands of books in a warehouse during the 10 years he has run his used book store, Prospero’s Books.

His collection ranges from best sellers, such as Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October and Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities, to obscure titles, like a bound report from the Fourth Pan-American Conference held in Buenos Aires in 1910. But when he wanted to thin out the collection, he found he couldn't even give away books to libraries or thrift shops; they said they were full.

So on Sunday, Wayne began burning his books in protest of what he sees as society’s diminishing support for the printed word.

“This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today,” Wayne told spectators outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Sitting outside at the Brawner’s, my new pretend-home. Drinking some nice tea that my mom brought me from a hotel called The Empress she stayed at in Victoria, BC, out of one of Becky’s beautiful Frankoma cups. Just me and my dog friend, Guinness, and the busy-ness of the birds.

Ah...simple pleasures.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Busted flat in Baton Rouge.

Last Monday we loaded a truck with Lexie’s remaining Nashville belongings. Tuesday helped Erin load a truck a little and then drove to Baton Rouge. Wednesday was truck unloading and distribution day.

No more moving for a while, OK? Anybody...I mean it...

Mike the Tiger the Fifth, beloved LSU mascot, died of renal failure while we were there. Same day or maybe next, Jerry Falwell, beloved mascot of the insane, teletubby slandering religious right, also died.

Would’ve been a neat trick if maybe Mike had swallowed Falwell whole...then died, so he could’ve been remembered for doing something useful in his last moments.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Went to a really lovely performance tonight by Alias at the Judy Turner Recital Hall at Blair.

Unfortunately, their final performance of this season! Check them out next season if you are unfamiliar. A rotating cast, mostly players with the Nashville Symphony, they do great smaller ensemble pieces of all descriptions.

They’ve been doing a series of second performances of the works of living composers—Double Take—which has been fabulous. There were two pieces tonight from that series by Michael Daugherty and Kevin Puts, the latter’s reminiscent of a happy love child of Philip Glass and Aaron Copland (and that is meant as a compliment). As a big fan of Gavin Bryars, I’m a little hard on pieces like Daugherty’s that loop audio components. The musical part was smashing however. The audio was Paul Robeson declaring his brotherhood with Communist Youth or Russian...hmm...

In addition to the Double Take pieces, there was an excellent Bach Cantata “Mein Herze schwimmt in blut” (My heart swims in blood) with soprano Barbi McCulloch, and an early 20th c. piano quintet by Amy Beach.

Alias performances are always incredibly satisfying, often stellar. They aways benefit a chosen charity partner, tonight Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee.

One of the truly great things going on in this city...Bravo!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Well, whaddya nose?

MERRILL, Wis. - Mark Krombholz had to look twice at his new calf, Lucy—one time for each nose. “I didn't notice anything too different about her until I got her in the barn,” Krombholz said, “and all of a sudden I went to feed her a bottle of milk, and I thought maybe she'd been kicked in the nose and there were two noses there.”

The second, smaller nose sits on top of the first.

“It’s a functioning nose because the middle of her second nose, the flap would go in and out when she drank out of the bottle like that,” Krombholz said. “It was kind of funny.”

Breeder Scott Grund said Lucy’s noses seem to be working fine.

“It looked like she was comfortable laying there in her bedding and breathing and spunky just like you want to see,” Grund said. “It’s just that she’s got two noses.”

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Things we like—Daniel Clowes

Hooray for more great blacksmiths, I say!

[[From Writer’s Almanac, April 14th]]

After college, Clowes tried to support himself as a freelance illustrator, but he said, “I felt like I had a set of talents that were of absolutely no use to the world. It was as if I were a great blacksmith or something.” So he started his own series of comic books called Eightball, which mixed elements of old-fashioned comics like Archie with surrealism, detective stories, and autobiography. His big breakthrough was Ghost World (1998) about two teenage girls named Enid and Becky who take great pleasure in hating almost everything about their suburban lives and the popular culture of their generation. It was made into a movie in 2001.

Daniel Clowes said, “[Comics] are in a sense the ultimate domain of the artist who seeks to wield absolute control over his imagery. Novels are the work of one individual but they require visual collaboration on the part of the reader. Film is by its nature a collaborative endeavor. Comics offer the creator a chance to control the specifics of his world in both abstract and literal terms.”

“Somehow,” says colleague Chris Ware, “he's able to blend satire and sympathy, two sensibilities which are generally mutually exclusive.”