weekend items

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Saturday, November 08, 2008
I love this picture of Bessie Smith! She looks so joyful, yet was obviously bedeviled by the blues. A quick iTunes survey reveals following flavors of blue:
graveyard dream
far away
any woman's
chicago bound
frosty morning
haunted house
easy come, easy go
rocking chair
bo weavil
down hearted
gulf coast
oh daddy
mama's got the
bleeding hearted
lady luck
yodling (!!)
sam jones

That's a lot of blues! (some with a delightfully macabre tilt.) Any good men in this collection are dead or absent; the ones left are mean or otherwise unsatisfactory, but somehow unavoidable. But I do believe she enjoyed herself, or at least found her art in expression of suffering -- look at that smile, that dress, that pose! She is so buoyant and full of life; her hands won't stay by her side.

ELECTION METHADONE: Like many election junkies, I am having a hard time adjusting to life without polls to check every fifteen minutes. As curious as I am about what kind of dog the Obama girls will get, it doesn't drive compulsive browser refreshing in quite the same way. ANYWAY. I found this seven part series of behind the scenes election reporting at Newsweek to be very interesting and even more illuminating of the stark differences between the two campaigns. Highly recommended! It's worth it to read the whole thing. Speaking of behind the scenes, I love this flickr photoset of the Obama family on election night.

I very much enjoy Thomas Frank's column in the Wall Street Journal. (I just picked up his latest book, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule from the library -- woo hoo! What's the Matter With Kansas? is really good, too.) Ooh -- his Powell's page has a video --

As I was saying: His latest column is titled Conservatism Isn't Finished. In it, he describes the great culture wars and how we'll never see the end of them because the GOP manipulates this conflict to their benefit. "The reason those wars have raged ever since 1968 was because they help Republicans win elections. For Democrats to wish that they would please stop was about as useful as asking Genghis Khan to a tea party." Here's one of my favorite quotes: "John McCain's campaign was not just another culture-war offensive; it was a flamboyant pantomime, grotesquely exaggerated in each of its parts, and, ultimately, separated from the life of the everyday Americans it claimed so extravagantly to revere. It was "overripe," to borrow the term Johan Huizinga used to describe late Medieval culture. The campaign's vision of America was like a Norman Rockwell painting in which all the figures wear flag pins and weep swollen, steaming tears for their betrayed homeland."

WORDSTOCK is this weekend. I would link to the website, but it is WRETCHED and makes me mad every time I try to get to the schedule -- there's automatic video (with sound) and the menus are hard to navigate. ARGH! it is enraging. But I am still very much looking forward to attending! Off the top of my head (since the schedule is not easily accessible) I can tell you that Aimee Bender, Lynda Barry and John Hodgman will be there. And a lot of other people. Exciting/excruciating details to follow.
4 comments on "weekend items"
  1. okay so i'm ordering mr. frank (this is how i help the economy: more debt!)

  2. oh, yes. Anything to save the economy!! hee hee.

    I'm reading the wrecking crew right now. He's really got a flair for description. For example: "air of swaggering truculence" to describe the College Republicans. Perfect!

  3. In the way that life often twists and intertwines, the book I got today from my holds at the library is Kevin Young's Blues Poems with that picture of Bessie on the cover. My choice from a while back, not a nudge from your blog. Saw a film of her once, dancing. That was fine.

  4. That's so funny, Patty! How is the book?


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