Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sibling Rivalry

For years both of my siblings have copied me in every way imaginable. While their relentless drive to imitate my every move, decision, or whim has been flattering, one flaw in their program of utter slavishness has stuck in my craw a little: their irritating failure to fail to develop artistic talent. So while clearly I--and I alone--inspired them both to take to the internet, instead of commenting on music and politics, they're posting the fruits of their annoyingly talented minds.

My sister Kathy has just started a Tumblr, The Hunt Domain, to share her photographs; see above for one topical example--there are also some great images from her trip to Thailand, feline portraits, and more. While Simon has uploaded some of his films, which include a charming animation, my film "acting" debut, and one of my favorite things that he's done, a hilarious and unsettling three-part collage of weird, old film strips. Here is part 1:

pt.1 I have been soiled from Simon Hunt on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Over at The Freeload, Chris Ruen picks up on an absolutely telling image from the Republican response to the passage of the health care bill:
Republican members of Congress egged on protesters (only a few hundred) from the balcony of the Capitol, holding signs which read "Kill The Bill." During a non-synchronized moment, only one of the Congressmen held up his particular sign.

There he stood in a symbolic moment, looking out before the treasures of the National Mall, waving a sign that simply read, "Kill."
That's pretty much perfect, isn't it?

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Excellent post by Nitsuh Abebe on shoegaze, the music that dominated my young life for a few years. I don't listen to much of this stuff anymore--mostly because it's so firmly entwined with memories of my adolescence that it pretty much immediately sends me into a nostalgic or melancholy reverie--but I'm glad it hasn't entirely dropped out of the musical discourse. For a while after its popularity waned, it was quite fashionable to be really contemptuous of this stuff--with My Bloody Valentine's Loveless always serving as the forward-thinking exception that made obvious the supposed shortcomings of similar groups. These attacks sometimes had a real aggro, masculine thrust to them, which I never quite understood.

But Abebe nails it in his piece and I think this explains the music's appeal to my teenage self: this is music about confusion
, a kind of confusion that is specifically resonant for young people who often feel powerful and powerless at the same time. Grand emotions; major rites of passage; life having an immediacy and beauty to it, qualities which for the first time you might realize can be fleeting--these are things shoegaze captures through sheer sonic force (which is good since it's mostly impossible to understand the lyrics) while also offering catharsis and comfort. It's music for and of a delicious but delirious kind of swooning. Here is an old favorite, Slowdive's "Catch the Breeze", the way this ends is still pretty stunning to me:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lies These Cretins in Texas Told Me

Friends who have recently procreated or plan to do so in the future, I hope you are following the Texas social studies textbook standards story, one of the more depressing indications that the religious right's stranglehold on this country hasn't completely relaxed and that their medieval* views still have the potential to harm future generations. Hopefully James Loewen can be called upon to publish a new edition of Lies My Teacher Told Me, so parents can at least try to counter this nonsense at home. Washington Monthly has a good story on the whole sad history of textbooks and Texas; the New York Times has the tragic ending. Read those for dispassionate analysis, I'm going to pull some choice quotes from both articles out of context so I can feel better about these people having so much power:
"This critical-thinking stuff is gobbledygook," grumbled David Bradley, an insurance salesman with no college degree.

"Let's face it, capitalism does have a negative connotation," said one conservative member, Terri Leo. "You know, 'capitalist pig!'"

"Remember Superman?" he asked me, as we sat sipping ice water in his dining room. "The never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way? Well, that fight is still going on. There are people out there who want to replace truth with political correctness. Instead of the American way they want multiculturalism."
You know what? I do remember Superman: he is a fucking alien from another planet you sad, sick little man.

*No offense to the people of the medieval period who embraced their ignorance with somewhat less erotic fervor.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm Cleaning My Brain

How come no one ever told me that The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads is a total monster, a serious masterpiece, like one of the best live albums ever made? Seriously, it makes Stop Making Sense look positively lightweight in comparison--and I love Stop Making Sense. I'm sure today's spring weather was a major factor too, but upon hearing this for the first time it took real strength not to run out of my office, hijack a car, and drive around playing it as loudly as possible.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Zero Tolerance

In an alternate universe this blog would focus exclusively on capital punishment and the war on drugs. (I am really fun to be around in that universe.) But in the interest of my own mental health, I try not to devote myself to cataloging stories like this one about how a middle school suspended a seventh-grader for a week for touching a pill--a pill that she had been offered and refused (found via). Even worse than the insanity of punishing people for doing exactly what they're constantly harangued to do is the infuriating illogic employed by the school's administrators who can do no wrong in the holy war against drugs:

"According to Greater Clark County Schools district policy, even a touch equals drug possession and a one week suspension. 'The fact of the matter is, there were drugs on school campus and it was handled, so there was a violation of our policy,' said Martin Bell, COO of Greater Clark County Schools. We wanted to know what would have happened if Rachael had told a teacher right away. Bell said the punishment would not have been any different. District officials say if they're not strict about drug policies no one will take them seriously."

Yes, I'm sure that now Rachael knows drug policies are applied without any sense of reason entering into the equation, she will take them much more seriously, especially the only good lesson to be learned here: don't snitch.

Pictured above: artist's rendering of the chain of evidence (taken from Wikipedia).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Random Juxtaposition

Weird life (via):

"Mono Lake, a basin with no outlet, has built up over many millennia one of the highest natural concentrations of arsenic on Earth. Dr Wolfe-Simon is investigating whether, in the mud around the lake or in the water, there exist microbes whose biological make-up is so fundamentally different from that of any known life on Earth that it may provide proof of a shadow biosphere, a second genesis for life on this planet."(full)

Purple life (via):

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fun For a Girl Or a Boy

I plan to post something more substantive soon (I think I wrote more in N.C.'s comment box for this post than I have here in a month), but here are a bunch of links I've been wanting to share.

A couple of my favorite comics artists have started blogs. Here is Renee French's simple, beautiful, super creepy blog; I've taken the image on the left from it. And here is John Porcellino's. As you can see if you click over there, JP will be on a panel at the Comic Symposium of Chicago on March 11. Surabhi Ghosh will also be on a panel for this event and you can read more details about it here.

My friend Stickyfingers (which may not be her real name) has finally given me permission to make her blog public. It's called Life in Boom City and it's a haunting tour of the underbelly of that notorious den of iniquity and haven for the insane, Minneapolis. From what I hear it's a lot like Renee French designed the place.