Monday, January 31, 2005

Bloc Party, Wilco poster, Mirrormask, WWII horrors, my grandfather's "password," P&P, Ginsberg's syllabus, 24

Listening to Bloc Party's The Answer. Actually, I'm streaming it off their site, where you can listen to a few of their new mp3's. They are GREAT--I can't believe I haven't heard them till now--it seems post-punk for the most part but the vocals on Tulips sound really Morrissey-esque. I think their new CD, Silent Alarm (?), is coming out in March.

Speaking of music, I just came across this great Wilco poster with the chrome devil (from Ghost) on it:

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And in other news (let me clarify: in Neil Gaiman news), Mirrormask has been getting great reviews at Sundance and I just watched its new trailer. This trailer is much better than the teaser they had before and man, does this movie look trippy. It's full of nightmarish-gothic-weirdness, which, coming from Gaiman and McKean, frankly doesn't surprise me at all. Take Coraline, for instance.

On a completely different front, we're really getting into WWII in History now, and I find myself perversely fascinated by all the German indoctrination tricks and that sort of thing. Here, for instance, is an excerpt from one of the Germans' school math textbooks:

"A bomber aircraft on take-off carries twelve dozen bombs, each weighing ten kilos. The aircraft takes off for Warsaw, international centre of Jews. It bombs the town. On take-off with all bombs on board and a fuel tank containing 100 kilos of fuel, the aircraft weighed about eight tons. When it returns from the crusade, there are still 230 kilos of fuel left. What is the weight of the aircraft when empty?"

Can you BELIEVE that? It's so casual... Then, there's also this mandate meant to increase the number of kids born under Hitler's reign:

"All single and married women...should be obliged to produce four children by racially pure German men. Whether these men are married is without significance. Every family that already has four children must set the husband free for this action."

Uh. God, this stuff seems like fiction. But the thing that really made me shudder was this passage from MY textbook:

"They [the Nazis at concentration camps] extracted the gold from the teeth of the corpses to buy armaments and used human ashes to fertilize their fields."

That, without a doubt, is the scariest thing I've ever heard in my life. Everything about it is the most inhuman, most malicious, most impossible. It rather reminds me of The Crying of Lot 49, where the cigarette filters were made from human bones--horribly, not as outlandish (even silly) a thought as I had initially thought when I read the book. Ugh.

On a brighter note, a funny email from my grandfather made me laugh today. You see, he's always been computer-illiterate, but now that his Alzheimer's is getting worse, computers seem to baffle him more than ever. (Yes, this is a laughing-at-Alzheimer's joke, but believe me, I've tried laughing and I've tried crying, and laughing is much better.) So, my dad (his son) went down to visit him a few days ago, and he helped him install Mac OSX. One part of the process could not be completed, however, because my grandfather couldn't remember his password to a certain account; he tried all his usual passwords and combinations, but to no avail. Today, the email:

"Hello-hello, Halleluiah -- Would you believe my secret word turned out to be "password"!! By the way, I have already accumulated about six new items on the right hand tower and having trouble disposing of them. I drag to basket but they do not want to make the leap. Two of them have cooperated, but the remainder are tough..."

Oh, Papa. He's so sweet but completely bewildered by technology--his password was "password"! You cannot imagine how long I was laughing about that. Oh my.

And let's see...since I'm quoting things left and write today, I think I'll finish up with the latest brilliance from Jane Austen. Upon hearing of the Lydia debacle, Mr. Collins sends a letter to the Bennets containing the sentiment, "The death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison of this." Ah, chuckle chuckle.

Before I forget, I've decided to tackle Allen Ginsberg's summer syllabus along with Shakeer (and some of the other Portlanders, I think). We're going in the order they were originally assigned (click on the document to the left) but for me that may mean "roughly in the order" because I have to request and then wait for my library to get Mexico City Blues and Kaddish, grr. Anyway, if anyone else is interested, we're going to see how far we can get by June. Any takers?

Now, I'm off to watch 24 in a few minutes--or, as I like to call it, Jack Bauer: Saving the World, One Hour at a Time. (But they'd better get Chloe back this episode; I think she's going to team up with that bike kid--the one who saw the internet code--who FOX hopes we've all forgotten about by now. But not me, no way, I'm much too intrepid.) I've also taken to calling my little dog--whose name is actually Jack--Jack Bow-wow-er. Heh.


Blogger Shakeer said...

ONE OF THE SISTERS DIES?! Oh man, I sure hope I'm interpreting that letter wrong! I haven't arrived at that part yet.

9:55 PM  
Blogger T.C. said...

Hah. Yeah, you are interpreting the letter wrong, sorry for the confusion. It's, "The death of your daughter WOULD HAVE BEEN A BLESSING IN COMPARISON," as in, this event is worse than your daughter dying. Hm, you must be very curious now.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Steve Silberman said...

We're going in the order they were originally assigned (click on the document to the left) but for me that may mean "roughly in the order" VERY roughly, I imagine, since the texts were not assigned in any order. The mysterious numbers to the left of the author's names on the original handout was the number of people in the class who were already familiar with the text; i.e., the authors get more obscure as the list goes on, which is no reflection on their quality. Herbert Huncke's writings, for instance, were out of print when the class was held.

That's great that you guys are doing this. There's no need to grudgingly plow through it all; note Allen's note that the list is for a "quick check-out & taste."

11:05 PM  
Blogger T.C. said...

I think we'll still probably do it in that order, because then at the very least we'll be able to get ahold of most of the books at the beginning. I'm really excited too--I'll update you.


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Blogger Carol Anne said...

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