Part MCM: The cruelty is the point

Because I live in Florida (the state with the prettiest name!), the new surgeon general thinks COVID vaccines are ineffective and masks an example of lib tyranny. He also thinks senators dealing with cancer deserve not a modicum of compassion, including wearing a mask in their offices when asked.

‘The Velvet Underground’ is good, does what it should, alas

Warm, literate, and unexpectedly puckish, Jonathan Richman looks like a youngish older man or an aging younger one. In the late sixties he got the best education in rock guitar playing a fan could’ve had: he went to every Velvet Underground concert he could. “These people would understand me!” he says in a gosh-darn toneContinue reading “‘The Velvet Underground’ is good, does what it should, alas”

R.E.M’s ‘New Adventures in Hi-Fi’ twenty-five years later

I have no idea whether Michael Stipe reveres Joni Mitchell as much as Patti Smith. Maybe he doesn’t. Listening to New Adventures in Hi-Fi summons Hejira, Mitchell’s 1976 album about flight — what she called the refuge of the road. The wide-openness comes through in the arrangements. The percussive hardness of Mitchell’s guitar keeps theContinue reading “R.E.M’s ‘New Adventures in Hi-Fi’ twenty-five years later”

How modern conservative aikido works

A few months ago, before the delta-fueled COVID surge, the world learned about David and Leila Centner, the Republican grifters who of course found a home in Florida (the state with the prettiest name!) and opened a school whose principles prohibited teachers from getting the COVID vaccine.

I can’t seem to take these changes: Deon Estus — RIP

In the spring of 1989 America had not yet rid itself of its George Michael fascination. Barely three months after Faith‘s last single “Kissing a Fool” peaked at #5 the biggest act of 1988 announced himself, faintly, discreetly. Those are Michael’s backup vocals on “Heaven Help Me,” the only hit for the former Brainstorm memberContinue reading “I can’t seem to take these changes: Deon Estus — RIP”

The jobs are there, but who wants them?

Because Washington’s a dull town with opinions as malarial as the August temperatures, the surprise with which pundits greeted yesterday’s September jobs report didn’t surprise me. The delta variant made millions of Americans hesitate before returning to jobs that might sicken them: The key takeaway from the jobs report is that this is an unevenContinue reading “The jobs are there, but who wants them?”

September reading

Why I spent a week with two books about Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath my readers will need to ask on my deathbed. I admire Ariel as much as anyone, am mightily sick of Anne Sexton, John Berryman, Adrienne Rich, Theodore Roethke, and the rest of Plath’s death-haunted generation, and don’t much cop to HughesContinue reading “September reading”

‘We’re doing very poorly in taking care of each other’

Richard Butler, Psychedelic Furs’ resident sage, had a line for ever occasion. “It goes on, and then it goes around again” came to mind reading Article #28821 about the COVID travails in red states: Owner Randy Lee West, whose devotion to the Volunteers-inspired the decor, recently recovered from a punishing two-week bout of covid-19. HisContinue reading “‘We’re doing very poorly in taking care of each other’”