(These ideas are explicated in this sloppy manifesto)

Thursday, January 12, 2006
My secret vice...

Here's what I love in art: Joy, delight, elation, exaltation, ecstasy, Splendor. I have hugely high standards for art. In consequence I hate almost everything. I want for any art, not just my kind of art, to enflame and inspire and edify and improve. I want for art to be vastly important, and I am almost always disgusted when it isn't.

So I am almost chagrined to reveal that I am a Tom Waits fanatic. I've listened to Tom since I was a kid, since he was practically a kid, and I've gone along with him through every one of his ever-more-weird self-reinventions. At his Bone Machine worst he was hard to take, but even then I could find things to like in his work.

I find my affection for his work hard to explain in my own terms. He certainly never walks my side of the street, or almost never. His work can be important even when dour, but most often it's not. He can be a very revealing observer, but there is much in Tom Waits that is just very cleverly rythmic scat.

He has an encyclopedic knowledge of pop musical styles, and just about everything he does is a wry take on a sound that is almost familiar to you. He's a better poet than any of the vaunted Rock poets, but that may just be because he refuses to take himself seriously as a vaunted Rock poet.

What I'm left with is an art I can't escape. I said, "Art is the stuff that sticks with you, art is the thing that won't turn you loose." Tom Waits has made a lot of awful art, but he's also made an awful lot of art that won't turn loose of me. He'll be with me until I die.

Amazon has a nice catalog. Appended below are lyrics to songs I love a lot, although you may have to puzzle out what makes them loveable.
The Part You Throw Away

You dance real slow
You wreck it down
You walk away, then you
Turn around
What did that old blonde
Gal say?
That is the part...
You throw away

I want that beggars eyes
A winning horse
A tidy Mexican divorce
St. Mary's prayers
Houdini's Hands
And a Barman who always

Will you loose the flowers
Hold on to the vase
Will you wipe all those teardrops
Away from your fase
I can't help thinking
As I close the door
I have done all of this
Many times before

The bone must go
The wish can stay
The kiss don't know
What the lips will say
Forget I've hurt you
Put stones in your bed
And remember to never
Mind instead

Well all of your letters
Burned up in the fire
Time is just memory
Mixed in with Desire
That's not the road it is
Only the map...I say
Gone just like matches
From a closed down cabaret

In a Portuguese Saloon
A fly is a circling around
The room
You'll soon forget the
Tune that you play
For that is the part
You throw away

Ah, that is the part
You throw away

Invitation To The Blues

Well she's up against the register with an apron and a spatula,
Yesterday's deliveries, tickets for the bachelors
She's a moving violation from her conk down to her shoes,
Well, it's just an invitation to the blues

And you feel just like Cagney, she looks like Rita Hayworth
At the counter of the Schwab's drugstore
You wonder if she might be single, she's a loner and likes to mingle
Got to be patient, try and pick up a clue

She said "How you gonna like 'em, over medium or scrambled?",
You say "Anyway's the only way", be careful not to gamble
On a guy with a suitcase and a ticket getting out of here
It's a tired bus station and an old pair of shoes
This ain't nothing but an invitation to the blues

But you can't take your eyes off her, get another cup of java,
It's just the way she pours it for you, joking with the customers
Mercy mercy, Mr. Percy, there ain't nothing back in Jersey
But a broken-down jalopy of a man I left behind
And the dream that I was chasing, and a battle with booze
And an open invitation to the blues

But she used to have a sugar daddy and a candy-apple Caddy,
And a bank account and everything, accustomed to the finer things
He probably left her for a socialite, and he didn't 'cept at night,
And then he's drunk and never even told her that her cared
So they took the registration, and the car-keys and her shoes
And left her with an invitation to the blues

'Cause there's a Continental Trailways leaving local bus tonight, good evening
You can have my seat, I'm sticking round here for a while
Get me a room at the Squire, the filling station's hiring,
And I can eat here every night, what the hell have I got to lose?
Got a crazy sensation, go or stay? now I gotta choose,
And I'll accept your invitation to the blues


Well he came home from the war
with a party in his head
and modified Brougham DeVille
and a pair of legs that opened up
like butterfly wings
and a mad dog that wouldn't
sit still
he went and took up with a Salvation Army
Band girl
who played dirty water
on a swordfishtrombone
he went to sleep at the bottom of
Tenkiller lake
and he said "gee, but it's
great to be home."

Well he came home from the war
with a party in his head
and an idea for a fireworks display
and he knew that he'd be ready with
a stainless steel machete
and a half a pint of Ballentine's
each day
and he holed up in room above a hardware store
cryin' nothing there but Hollywood tears
and he put a spell on some
poor little Crutchfield girl
and stayed like that for 27 years

Well he packed up all his
expectations he lit out for California
with a flyswatter banjo on his knee
with a lucky tiger in his angel hair
and benzedrine for getting there
they found him in a eucalyptus tree
lieutenant got him a canary bird
and shaked her head with every word
and Chesterfielded moonbeams in a song
and he got 20 years for lovin' her
from some Oklahoma governor
said everything this Doughboy
does is wrong

Now some say he's doing
the obituary mambo
and some say he's hanging on the wall
perhaps this yarn's the only thing
that holds this man together
some say he was never here at all

Some say they saw him down in
Birmingham, sleeping in a
boxcar going by
and if you think that you can tell a bigger tale
I swear to God you'd have to tell a lie...

Walking Spanish

He's got himself a homemade special
You know his glass is full of sand
And it feels just like a jaybird
The way it fits into his hand
He rolled a blade up in his trick towel
They slap their hands against the wall
You never trip, you never stumble
He's walking spanish down the hall

Slim him a picture of our Jesus
Or give him a spoon to dig a hole
What all he done ain't no one's business
But he'll need blankets for the cold
They dim the lights over on Broadway
Even the king has bowed his head
Every face looks right up at Mason
He's walking spanish down the hall

Latella's screeching for a blind pig
Punk Sander's carved it out of wood
He never sang when he got hoodwinked
They tried it all but he never would
Tomorrow morning there'll be laundry
But he'll be somewhere else to hear the call
Don't say goodbye he's just leaving early
He's walking spanish down the hall

All St. Barthelemew said was whispered
Into the ear of Blind Jack Dawes
All Baker told the machine
Was that he never broke the law
Go on and tip your hat up to the Pilate
Take off your watch, your rings and all
Even Jesus wanted just a little more time
He's walking spanish down the hall

On the Nickel

sticks and stones will break my bones,
but i always will be true, and when
your mama is dead and gone,
i'll sing this lullabye just for you,
and what becomes of all the little boys,
who never comb their hair,
well they're lined up all around the block,
on the nickel over there.

so you better bring a bucket,
there is a hole in the pail,
and if you don't get my letter,
then you'll know that i'm in jail,
and what becomes of all the little boys,
who never say their prayers,
well they're sleepin' like a baby,
on the nickel over there.

and if you chew tobacco, and wish upon a star,
well you'll find out where the scarecrows sit,
just like punchlines between the cars,
and i know a place where a royal flush,
can never beat a pair, and even thomas jefferson,
is on the nickel over there.

so ring around the rosie, you're sleepin' in the rain,
and you're always late for supper,
and man you let me down again,
i thought i heard a mockingbird, roosevelt knows where,
you can skip the light, with grady tuck,
on the nickel over there.

so what becomes of all the little boys,
who run away from home,
well the world just keeps gettin' bigger,
once you get out on your own,
so here's to all the little boys,
the sandman takes you where,
you'll be sleepin' with a pillowman,
on the nickel over there.

so let's climb up through that button hole,
and we'll fall right up the stairs,
and i'll show you where the short dogs grow,
on the nickel over there.


Well, the smart money's on Harlow
And the moon is in the street
The shadow boys are breaking all the laws
And you're east of East St. Louis
And the wind is making speeches
And the rain sounds like a round of applause
Napoleon is weeping in the Carnival saloon
His invisible fiance is in the mirror
The band is going home
It's raining hammers, it's raining nails
Yes, it's true, there's nothing left for him down here

And it's Time Time Time
And it's Time Time Time
And it's Time Time Time
That you love
And it's Time Time Time

And they all pretend they're Orphans
And their memory's like a train
You can see it getting smaller as it pulls away
And the things you can't remember
Tell the things you can't forget that
History puts a saint in every dream
Well she said she'd stick around
Until the bandages came off
But these mamas boys just don't know when to quit
And Matida asks the sailors are those dreams
Or are those prayers
So just close your eyes, son
And this won't hurt a bit

And it's Time Time Time
And it's Time Time Time
And it's Time Time Time
That you love
And it's Time Time Time

Well, things are pretty lousy for a calendar girl
The boys just dive right off the cars
And splash into the street
And when they're on a roll she pulls a razor
From her boot and a thousand
Pigeons fall around her feet
So put a candle in the window
And a kiss upon his lips
As the dish outside the window fills with rain
Just like a stranger with the weeds in your heart
And play the fiddler off till I come back again

And it's Time Time Time
And it's Time Time Time
And it's Time Time Time
That you love
And it's Time Time Time

Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Wintel - Win = Winner!

As of today, there is finally a decent computer running on Intel hardware. We'll find out in the coming weeks how well the new Macs run Windoze natively, but, in the long run, it really doesn't matter.

Sunday, January 08, 2006
BetterVegas: At last, a no-fan-of-the-Nowhere-Train

Here's the real problem of inner-city boondoggles: Newspaper reporters, the only people who could fink out these insane wastes of tax-dollars are almost always too busy fawning over them. It's a crisis in Phoenix, where our media never met a Marxist idea they didn't love, but, if anything, the problem is even worse in Las Vegas. Sin City is one of the few cities in America still served by a real newspaper. Reporters actually check up on the things they are told. They do simple calculator math and discover - O, horrors! - they are being lied to. They follow up, astoundingly enough.

Except when it comes to inner-city boondoggles, alas. Presented with an ornately-detailed elevation drawing and an elaborate set of completely transparent lies, even normally cynical reporters in Las Vegas will trip over themselves racing to repeat - or even embellish - the lies, without one second spent in fact-checking.

Here, at last, years late, is the first discouraging word published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal about the idiotic Nowhere Train, which only loses $50,000 a day:
If the private endeavor doesn't improve ridership, boost its junk bond status and pay off its construction debt - even with its tax-exempt status - it's more than likely the public sector will be asked to bail it out.
Who'da thunk it...?

No, the better question is, who could have not foreseen this easily foreseen outcome?

No, the best question is, when reporters seem to be gulled again and again by these idiotic so-called 'investments' - are they dupes - or accomplices?