Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Past the Blackset Noctilucent Clouds

More songs for long quiet solo drives over beautiful mountains.  Hey! is Rush the most hated band ever? Elric (who no longer reads this) played Rush and has praised Geddy Lee's bass-playing (Elric was a bass-player) as superlative, says Geddy Lee plays keyboards with his feet while singing and playing bass. I didn't mind hearing Rush though at parties I mostly heard the same few songs the Rush zealots always played so the songs got old. Every band has it's zealots, say Pere Ubu or Guided by Voices or XTC or Archers of Loaf or Roxy Music, those zealous fucks always annoy non-zealots to the respective bands' unfair detriment. I'd heard anti-Rush sentiment but not nearly as much as I've heard anti-Steely Dan sentiment. Dr Z loves Steely Dan, I really like some Steely Dan tunes, and the deep disdain for Steely Dan by some friends always surprises me. Other than Dr Z, I haven't talked with anyone about Steely Dan in more than a decade. Posed the most hated band question last night on twitter, responses there and by email, got real Rush hate, real Steely Dan hate, real Steely Dan love.

  • But no, I don't feel like posting a Steely Dan cascade, it's just been awhile since I thought about black licorice bands.
  • Just to clarify, I don't believe Elizabeth Warren is a progressive savior - there are no progressive saviors - I think she plays one on TV. I'd like to be wrong, I bet you any number of pints you specify I'm not. I'd love to see, for my selfish entertainment, her piss off senior Democratic Party leaders and freak out the Party establishment as the apparently and avowedly sincere progressive savior she plays on TV with a deep run into the 2016 primaries (and even then the freakout wouldn't be about her policies but about the Party's rites of succession), but it's not going to happen, I'm betting pints it won't. It's the progressive savior thingee I'm noting, having been infected with it before myself.
  • Pissing off friends is a doomed strategy.
  • Sharing science is a crime.
  • The Toobin Principle.
  • Petulant fuck confirmed. Not that it needed confirming.
  • Petulant fuck goes on Leno?
  • Fred Hiatt's views on the Purple Line, which will never be built. 
  • Arguing over Jesus.
  • This week in water.
  • Hey! I have tickets for Bonnie Prince Billy in Annapolis at Rams Head for late November, a week before Thanksgiving. Looked at Rams Head ticketing this morning, looks like I didn't need to pounce the minute the tickets went on sale yesterday.
  • Hey! Some new sites added to the blogrolls, check them out. I may do some maintenance on them over the next few days, consolidating a few to make my browsing easier. I may not. As always, if there's someone you think I would enjoy reading please let me know, as always if you're Kinding me but me not you please let me know.

  • O'Donnell's closes. Haven't eaten at O'Donnell's in decades but remember when it was a mainstay on Wisconsin in Bethesda. There was a competitor seafood place in Bethesda, they were near if not directly next to each other, I can't remember it's name.
  • UPDATE! Bish Thompson's.
  • Corridor City Transitway!
  • A British take on Dempsey's move to Seattle: 1. American footballer fights from a tough upbringing to become one of the best 50 footballers in one of the top leagues in the world. 2. He battles for playing time each season and proves himself to new coaches and new teams. 3. Told for the sixth consecutive time that his services are surplus to requirements, he finally says: "Fuck it, I'm the star. I'm not getting a Champions League shot, except as a squad guy at a discount. I don't need to prove anything else. Why should I go down or make a move across to Sunderland or Everton for less money? To prove what?" 4. An MLS club wiggles a massive paycheck, four-year security and a chance to settle his family back in the States. And validate him – more than Europe could or would at this point – telling him that he is the star.
  • Philosophy and its double.
  • Blockbuster movies will still suck in 2015. (h/t Walter)
  • Americans turning against beer?
  • Geilivable!
  • Reflection.
  • RIP George Duke.
  • Cat-whisperer!


A.R. Ammons

I know if I find you I will have to leave the earth
and go on out
     over the sea marshes and the brant in bays
and over the hills of tall hickory
and over the crater lakes and canyons
and on up through the spheres of diminishing air
past the blackset noctilucent clouds
           where one wants to stop and look
way past all the light diffusions and bombardments
up farther than the loss of sight
    into the unseasonal undifferentiated empty stark
And I know if I find you I will have to stay with the earth
inspecting with thin tools and ground eyes
trusting the microvilli sporangia and simplest
and praying for a nerve cell
with all the soul of my chemical reactions
and going right on down where the eye sees only traces
You are everywhere partial and entire
You are on the inside of everything and on the outside
I walk down the path down the hill where the sweetgum
has begun to ooze spring sap at the cut
and I see how the bark cracks and winds like no other bark
chasmal to my ant-soul running up and down
and if I find you I must go out deep into your
    far resolutions
and if I find you I must stay here with the separate leaves


  1. re senator warren - from the letters column of today's financial times:


    The fact that some bankers have a grudging respect for Senator Sherrod Brown is nice (“Ohio senator grapples with finance sector ‘octopus’”, August 5). However, when Massachusetts sent Elizabeth Warren to the Senate, we were not concerned about the “feelings” of bankers – except in the negative sense. I’m sure the boys will be fine.

    Jeff Tyrakowski, Partner, Ernst Tyrakowski Benefits, Quincy, MA, US

  2. Replies
    1. What just closed was the Gaithersburg branch of O'Donnells, which provided indifferently cooked seafood through breathtakingly indifferent service and essentially provided a meet market for Kentlands dwellers, not that anyone would live in the Kentlands. I am told by a friend of a friend of a friend of an insider that the space will be better used, for a brasserie or bistro or some such. Which will be an improvement even if it sucks, although there are no particularly decent seafood places in Gophershole or Capital City. Do not speak to me of Bonefish. I mean, I know, you will, because it's more or less edible and I won't eat Punjabi, but still.

      The Bethesda branch of O'Donnells closed years ago. After Bish Thompson's, which I couldn't think of either. There has to be a decent seafood place in Bethesda that isn't wrapped in Italian, but I'm damned if I know what it is. Not particularly fond of Black's. The restaurant, not the humans.

      The relationship between science, intellectual property, and capital is not nearly as simple as Charles Davis wants it to be. Which I suppose does not detract from the point that a failure to provide adequate government funding for basic research is a poverty and a sin. But if that's the environment, capital is how research happens. And that is, most assuredly, the environment.

      This problem of not recognizing reality is pretty fundamental. Recognizing reality is very different from liking it or accepting it as a permanent state. But it's not acceptable to suspend progress while we reach an idealized consensus about what the permanent state should be.

      And frankly, taking scientific intellectual property acquire in the US under questionable circumstances to China is pretty fucking stupid. Again: failure to recognize reality.

    2. Bonefish, which sucks, is the only restaurant we can get your second mother to eat at any more (other than Carrabas or whatever that chain is called). But we are in complete agreement - Bonefish sucks, and the service is worse than the food. And, um, your second mother's youngest son lives in Kentlands.

      But yes, and I have this problem too as you often point out, separating the diagnostic from the prescriptive creates dissonance that solves nothing most of the time.

    3. I know where seatsix lives. It was yet another supportively lame troll.

      And yeah, I'll eat at Bonefish for the company, but not for the food.

      The phrase you seek is "Beppo de Schtick."

    4. I figured, added it for his sake. And though the inside of Beppo is freaking creepy, I've had better food there than Bonefish by a wide margin, which speaks more to Bonefish.

      Let's eat someplace other than either this weekend if you all can make it. Either night could work. Your niece goes back Tuesday.

  3. As zealots go, Rush fans (amongst whom I count myself still) are worse than most (amongst whom I count myself no longer). They go on & on about how each of the band members is the best at his craft(s), how they are a fave amongst the super-intelligent - implying, of course, that if you don't like them, it's probably above your head, or something - all the while sounding like The Simpson's Jimbo Jones dictating an angry letter to Creem magazine.

    Most-hated declarations I've heard have coupled them with Jethro Tull quite a lot; but one time a woman shared with me that she hated nothing more than Rush, Jethro Tull, and, believe it or not, Steely Dan.

    Thanks, as always for the linkin'love.

  4. re jethro tull - ian anderson's entire demeanor drips arrogance, and it seems to have intensified over time - i no longer enjoy watching video clips, but still like the music qua music

    and speaking of 60's stuff on video - the beatles "and i love her" from hard day's night - COLOURIZED!

  5. Oh, and I'm sorry, I do believe you forgot Journey, although I'm not sure I could articulate a difference between Journey and Rush. Which I'm sure is my poverty.

    Who the fuck hates Steely Dan? That's...well, shit, it's just bizarre. Not nearly as bizarre as actually hating the Beatles (speaking of lame trolls), but really, pretty fucking bizarre.

  6. Sorry, but there's furthermore, as I dig into the Gazette article:

    -CCT is my fucking nightmare. Hans Riemer and Craig Rice want me to have one fucking lane on Route 28 from QO to Shady Grove, because there's no fucking way they're taking away the bicycle lane. That project is going to be a fucking goat-rope.

    -Interchange at Watkins Mill Road? I guess that's how they're going to connect the right and wrong sides of the tracks, although I'm damned if I know which side is which.

    -Widening MD 97 to bypass the center of WHAT? Brookeville has a center? Wonders never cease.

    Okay, that is all. Except:

    Dr. mistah charley: Snot running down his nose!

  7. You're lame trolling me where?

    The Beatles suck. They wrecked rock and roll and shall never be forgiven.

    Also. That 97/Brookeville thing is where 97 comes to a "t" and takes a hard left at the top of a teeny shaky hill, then a hardish right. It is truly execreble. It is hard to imagine that more people don't die there.

    I'll lame troll my way out of here by arguing that Bish Thompson's was by far the superior restaurant. I don't set foot in seafood chains, including Bonefish. And Crisfield still has decent local food even though Mama Crisfield is dead.

    (I thought I was done but I am reminded that Hans Reimer is interested in MoCo folks having lovely places to eat and drink and walk around in MoCo. Apparently he has no idea where he lives or who he represents.)

  8. j., of past... clouds,and road trips and birds falling,not whales, i don't remember if i've mentioned ..christine fellows .. to you ,have a listen ..and tell me what you think -type in christine fellows -migration, and.. paints the cherry r'd find .\
    ./ i'm playing my disc of a few years ago today because it is calming me in some way .. . of needed .(maybe you should make some clips of.. for your earth girl and planet to listen to on their .. .)

    1. I just surfed WFMU's archives for Fellows and THANKS! I didn't know her music, will explore, THANKS!

    2. i forgot to say ..that her tellings song and of words to go with that in song of the flow of the rhythm being so perfect to the telling ..are lovely bits of story telling ,said the girl that reviewed child lit for many years ..of my knowing , parlor rollers will make you teary, and i meant make not paint of cherry ..,

  9. The Eagles. End of discussion.

  10. Can't hate Steely Dan, any band named after a phrase from Wm. Burroughs deserves some credit. Also too, lost my virginity listening to 'Can't Buy a Thrill'. There's that.

    Me, I'm not a hater. I listen to songs. If a song's good, it's good. If it sucks, it sucks. I don't care if Ian Anderson is an arrogant git or Geddy Lee is king of the geeks. There are moments of surpassing sublime on, e.g. Thick as a Brick, even if it's pretentious prog rock. Some Rush songs even have real song structures! It's true. Hell, even 'Boys of Summer' proves a despicable, hateful gang of fame whores can craft a really nice pop song.

    Sorry, Sasha, there's plenty to hate about the Beatles, but 'Rubber Soul', 'Revolver', 'White Album' are sufficiently redemptive for a lifetime of suck.

    Now, re: E. Warren: How're you gonna' moderate that bet? I'm willing to go for a pint or two (I forget where we are historically in terms of who owes whom how many), but you've got to venture some sort of verifiable/falsifiable 'progressive savior' criteria. Otherwise, you're just trolling—not that that's not what you're doing; I'm just calling 'bullshit'.

    1. Yeah, the Eagles are the free bingo square of rock hate.

      If Warren (a) runs for POTUS - I don't think she will, I think she will be pressured not to because it's either Biden's or Clinton's turn - and (b) continues her anti-financier/banker policies onto the trail and (c) then into the general election should she win the nomination then (d) proposes and fights to enact those policies as POTUS..... but yes, since I don't think we'll get to (a) much less (b) (c) and (d) mostly rhetorical pints. Like I said, it's the phenomenon - not just of progressives, but all stripes - of searching for saviors that don't exist even as the last one claimed betrays believers that interests me.

    2. I'm not sure what qualifies as "proposes and fights". Obama's done that for Health Care, and even enacted at least a semblance of the thing progressives have been trying to do practically our entire lifetime. Pre-emptively redemptive? Hell, no way. What's he done for us lately? What about drones? What about war on drugs? What about spying? What about war on terra'? What about global warning? What about the banksters? ect.

      All that's fair game. But a great progressive victory, however incremental and early in the game, is still something in which to take heart and upon which to build. Changing the frame in which those other issues are viewed and approached is, likewise, worthy. That's, I believe, happening. But the guy is not a Putin or a Kim. He can't just take off his shirt and fix/end/change these institutional bugs/features overnight. And yes, four years is overnight when we're talking entrenched trillion dollar interests.

      And it's fair to be cynical. [You're welcome.] Question his heart, his motives, his motivation, even his ability. To keep pulling him ever leftward. But I think the Office will never allow us to have an occupant who can accomplish everything we might believe we want to see accomplished. The same goes for the other team. And, at base, that's not a bad thing.

      re: Warren. I agree, we won't get to (a), unless it's only a token staking of a claim for more clout in the Senate. In which case, Booyeah!

    3. We fundamentally disagree that Obama and the Democratic Party, on matters of the economy, law, war, my standard litany etc, wants to move the country to the left, but we have for a few years now. And I think Warren will be allowed to play her fundraising/left-flank protecting role as progressive savior until the benefits it provides are outweighed by the pains-in-the-ass it causes.

  11. Oh, yeah, almost forgot: thanks for noticing! (quoting and intoned like, of course, Eeyore)

  12. Jim's way nicer and more level than I am*, so: what Jim said.

    *It's a feature, not a bug.

  13. "it's not acceptable to suspend progress while we reach an idealized consensus about what the permanent state should be"

    why not?

    or, more to the point, sure it is - though your invocation of an extreme "idealized consensus" is of course designed to make an answer impossible. Rather, it's perfectly acceptable to suspend "progress" while we try to make any inroads towards a halfway acceptable way of doing things

    1. I respectfully disagree with your characterization of my characterization of the larger discussion, with your seeming assertion that there's an immediate enough solution to the problem of government funding of basic and applied research, with your failure to accept that my comment was made in good faith and with (for me, and please recognize) a minimum of sarcasm, and with your mocking of the outcome or utility of research that is occurring.

      None of which, I also submit with respect, should surprise either of us.