The Intermittent

Why Are You Still Here?

Thursday, September 21, 2006


With all the Black Dahlia talk, it occurs to me to finally mention that what Miller is doing in All Star Batman and Robin could appropriatly be coined Pop-Ellroy. He's taking Ellroy's prose style--the staccato, repeated bursts of narration--and compulsive, worshipful misogny and playing them for comedy.

Really. Dip into, say, White Jazz, read three or four pages, and go back to the first issue of ASTB&R. The narrative rythymns are very similiar. Conversely, rent the Ellroy biopic; you can easily picture him writing the comic as lark, a way to blow off steam, barking all the while.

Incidentally, if you asked me to pick actors who should never appear in a film version of an Ellroy book, Josh Hartnett would be way high on the list. He's entirely too blank to carry the weight of Ellroy's obsessions.

A follow up to Bleg! You might remember that I needed a wedding reading. Then again, you might not. It's been awhile, and the sound of electronic crickets will only keep people coming round for so long, and its been longer than that. Anyway. I needed a reading for a non-religious wedding, though one appropriate for the usual wedding crowd, only with the added pressure of friends in attendance with the usual pretensions; it was to be a schmaltz free zone.

I got nothing from the spirit of the age, here; the internet, again, let me down.

I went through my shelves. And: success. Maybe. Larkin's First Sight, The Whitsun Weddings. A nice metaphor for change, growth, and hope, while at the same time having an undercurrent of cold-bloodedness; an acknowledgment that life can be good, but only for those that survive the indifference of the world. Shocking, I know, given Larkin. Possible downside: that I might get a whole wedding wondering why I'm reading a poem about baby sheep suffering in the snow. But it was the best option I had, so I went with it.

At least as far as Minneapolis.

Flying into the Cities, I finally got a chance to try the reading out on selected persons. The reception I got was...let's be polite and call it mixed. And when the best reaction comes from somebody who WANTS there to be a ruckus at the wedding, we have a problem. Plan B. I steal my brothers big book of wedding readings, and find The Master Speed, by Robert Frost. Which is a good poem, albeit one that I totally overlooked when I went through my Frost collection, and also one that, I think, has very little to do with weddings, though I guess the wing-to-wing language at the end is what people seize on. So Frost it was, and it was well-received, though perhaps without the bit of impromptu vaudeville the presiding judge and I did it would have gone over flatter (Judge: remember to speak up, we're outside. Me: I'll speak up AND enunciate. Judge: just don't vacillate. Me: If you make me hesitate, you're going to make my reading late. Crowd: Groan).

The wedding itself was nice. At the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden, but tucked away, just a group of people happening to get married there; not the typical occupying army of coordinators and ushers and white tenting. Then dinner, then hanging out with my family in Minneapolis, which is a damn hard thing to screw up; I never come away either from the Cities or from my family without wondering why I live so far from both.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Bush: "One way to put it is, I believe mothers around the world want to raise their
children in a peaceful world. That’s what I believe."

Left unsaid: that mothers around the world envision this peaceful world coming about through killing all the other, different mothers in the world. Yeah, everyone wants peace; they just want different wars to get them there.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


This is pretty much the greatest blog post ever, narrowly edging ahead of the previous title holder, "blog". Though I'll freely admit that I'm a biased judge; after all, I didn't spend a goodly portion of my undergraduate experience making fun of blog comment threads, but I did spend a goodly portion of it telling the "Fuck You, Clown!" joke while hanging out at the Duke of Perth on the northside of Chicago. Nostalgia beats innovation anyday.

What I can't figure out, though, is why I've always like the clown joke and yet found the Aristocrats so tedious; both are long winded anti-punch line kind of jokes. Though perhaps clowns are funny in a way vaudville isn't.

Also, unless my bleg down below gets some more help coming this way, it's entirely possible that my wedding reading will taken from that comment thread.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


The U.S. Olympic Basketball team was announced yesterday. I'm not thrilled by it. A step, in the right direction, yes. Better than the atrocity that went to Athens, yes. But still not what I would have chosen. And I have a blog, and people are supposed to respect and treasure my opinions; I feel very hurt. Call me, Coach K. We can still be friends.


If I were picking twelve--and limiting myself to people who might plausibly play, and who aren't injured, I'd load up my team this way: Paul, Wade, James, Battier, and Brand starting. Billups, Raja Bell, Joe Johnson, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Trajan Langdon, and Ike Igoudala coming off the bench. This is, I think, a better mix of stars and role players with at least one above average skill than that assembled by Team USA. You've got seven guys who are threats from the international three point line. You've got speed. At least four guys who can semi-credibly claim to be stoppers. Two players with international experience, two players used to the Phoenix offense, three players used to the Duke defensive scheme. And none of them are head cases, and none of them are going to be thirty nine years old come 2008, unlike Bruce Bowen (who looked old this year).

I'll take my team and take my chances.

Reading about plans like the yet another attempt to secure Baghdad--from which peace and prosperity will radiate outward towards the countryside on electric waves of love--it occurs to me that the basic premise of these plans is that the Iraqi people are functionally stupid. Or at least lacking in any semblance of long term memory.

Iraq is, by most credible estimations, in the grips of an ethnic civil wary. Iraqis are killing each other; and I think it does them a disservice to assume that there is no motive behind these killings. This civil war started for a reason: it's a contest for power, and, now, retribution. A great many people have died. And now they're supposed to forget what's happened, what they wanted to achieve? This strikes me as wildly unlikely. Forgetting would mean Iraqis are terribly stupid. Stupid people, having lied through a civil war that ended with neither side victorious, assume that it's over. Stupid people fail to notice that Americans will have to go home, someday. Stupid people don't take precautions to protect themselves from further violence once the Americans leave; stupid people don't form militias, stockpile weapons, and take whatever preemptive steps are necessary to ensure that, when the Americans leave, they aren't the ones who end up dead. Stupid people assume that the other side of the civil war will be equally stupid.

Stupid people forget that their neighbors had just recently been trying very hard to kill them.

I don't think that Iraqis are that stupid.

In the end, and with a massive commitment of resources we previously been unwilling to commit, we can maybe postpone a civil war. We can maybe manage it, maybe contain it for an election cycle or two. But we can't stop it. We can't make Iraqis stop rationally planning for the day the war will start again, or rationally taking steps in preparation of that day. We can't wave a magic wand and make everyone forget the past three years, no matter how much Bush squints and stomps and says the magic words. A civil war is largely unavoidable if the Iraqis are smart, because smart Iraqis will take stops to hedge against it coming back, or against the wrong side winning, and these steps will necessitate that the war continue.

But then again, we have an elected leadership stupid enough to premise a plan on Iraqi stupidity, so maybe there's hope still. A rallying cry for the future: let's hope the Iraqis are as dumb as us!

Monday, July 24, 2006


There are things out there which make Yngmie Malmsteen look like the height of cool.

Though on the other hand, were I eighteen years younger and jazzed on Mountain Dew and Dungeons and Dragons modules, you know: maybe.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Friends have asked me to read something at their wedding. The catch: they've left the actual text up to me. Not even a general sense of what they want. So. After wracking my feeble mind, I've decided to turn to the experts: you.

I'm looking for something maybe a minute or three in length, prose or verse. The celebrants aren't religious, nor are they overly sentimental; they do, though, aspire to a certain amount of sophistication. On the other hand, the crowd is fairly diverse in both education and background, so I'd like to keep things at least somewhat obvious. No overly involved metaphors, thanks, or things that will make me seem like a self-absorbed tool. I'll save that reveal for the reception.


Saturday, July 22, 2006


The worst part is the fear. People talk about the crying, about being up all night, about carrying the kid around; but really, when it comes down to it, that's just work. Tasks to get done. Stay awake until she falls asleep, then stay awake again at work: repeat. It's discomfitting but ultimatley endurable, because your ability to succeed at it is limited only by your ability to work at it.

No. The worst part is the fear; going to sleep after I've put her down and worrying about everything she hasn't done yet. All the things that could be wrong, that I'll never fix. And then being angry at myself for the paranoia, for the purely irrational fear that I feel, then feeling guilty at the knowledge that the fear is at heart a species of selfishness. Laying there under the covers scared and angry and guilty.

The Lass hasn't smiled yet. She's not cooing. She seems to be so sealed off emotionally. And I know I'm projecting my fear onto her, and magnifying the bits that terrify me. Patience, or so I've been told. And I understand that, in the rational part of my brain. I do, really. All babies at their own times; except for the ones who never do. I worry. Constantly, but more fervently at night. And I'll worry until she smiles at me, then I'll find something else to worry about.

The worst part is the fear.