Thursday, February 18, 2010


The Magnetic Fields - Realism (lala)
Big Love, Season 3 (HBO)
Jonathon Lethem - Chronic City Kindle Edition (Amazon)
Adam Green - Minor Love (lala)
Chris O'Riley's From the Top Show 138, Omaha (NPR)

So many things are so good. I never really got in Big Love when it started, but I should always defer to my wife's excellent taste in TV because Season 3 is The Thing. Nikki, played by my Internet girlfriend Chloë Sevigny, is maybe television's greatest character since Tony Soprano. She is wretched and pious and embodies the conflict that the rest of the polygamous marriage - read: society - glosses over because somebody else always handily embodies the conflict. And the deal is, she actually believes the rhetoric that the rest merely utilize.

Bounce that against Jonathon Lethem's Chronic City where nobody believes what they are saying. I'm on Chapter Four. I'm a little uncertain how good this book is - I'm having trouble tearing into it but that may be a Kindle iPhone problem more than one with the writing - but I know it is how I would want to write a novel were I to do so: pit yourself as a once-was drifter (former child actor) between impossible story lines, one around an idolized personal hero (the exact Lester Bangs character that I would probably interject) the other an intangible tangible (his fiancee the astronaut stranded in space, whose letters he compiled in the superb 2008 New Yorker story "Lostronaut") and loosely bind them in a mortar of weed and heady internalized discourse. Big Love is the mechanism of game players while Chronic City is that of the bleachers.

On the above mentioned episode of From the Top, Chris O'Riley asks a young cellist "Are you a rock or a feather?" I missed the context of the question. Does he ask everybody this? The kid was decisive about being a rock, and I guess that is what it takes to be a concert pianist at 17 that gets asked questions on NPR. I feel markedly more feathery, and only partially the "float in the breeze" sense. Feathers are the evolution of dinosaur scales, the bright colors that get you laid, and the coat that keeps the rain and the cold out. I'm still thinking about the feathers on the drunken chicken from Tuesday, but haven't given a thought to the trillions of tons of rock on which the two of us stood. A rock will sit in that stream and takes what-may until it erodes off while the one with the feathers skips from rock to rock without even getting its feet wet. The feather needs the rock, and the rock gets along for a million billion years just fine without the feather. One might strive to be a rock, but I think the feather might be the way to go.

I think the tree out in front of our house looks like feathers against the dusk. Lots to think about. As Stephin Merritt and crew so drolly claim, we are havin' a hootenanny now!

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