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31 Dec 2003

No end-of-year wrap-ups or 2004 predictions here. Instead, blind taste testing. First up, some results from a few months back, when Barb and I ranked the four bourbons Kelly gave me for my birthday:


  1. Blanton's
  2. Woodford Reserve
  3. Booker's
  4. Baker's


  1. Woodford Reserve
  2. Booker's
  3. Blanton's
  4. Baker's

19 Dec 2003

"All the Dude ever wanted was his rug back..."

17 Dec 2003

"Progress, progress/pleasant myth that makes my life worthwhile..." —Mission of Burma

On the anniversary of the Wright Brothers' flights: Concorde no longer flies, the JFK Moon promise is remembered but the SST promise is all but forgotten (e.g., Boeing 2707), Saarinen's brilliant terminal architecture is constantly threatened with teardown, 747s no longer have piano lounges, airlines no longer hire designers of the Alexander Girard caliber, and in general the brand name Airbus is an all-too-apt description of jet travel.

9 Dec 2003

Rocket from the Tombs was amazing. Could say a lot of things about them, the show, the whole idea of a band that only existed in 74/75 reuniting in 2003. Instead I'll just quote from Lester Bangs' obituary of Peter Laughner, because I couldn't agree more:

"If I let myself get started I will only begin to rant and threaten those who glamorize death, but there is a death in the balance and you better look long and hard at it you stupid fuckheads, you who treat life as a camp joke, you who have lost your sense of wonder about the state of being alive itself, I AM OUT FOR YOU, I know who you are and I'll shoot you down with weapons at my command and I don't mean guns."

7 Dec 2003

Discovered Things Magazine while searching for information on Richard Rotenberg, the greedhead who tore down the Maslon house. Thank you, Things.

30 Nov 2003

Not the real trip report: Interstate 77, George T. Stagg, Fayette Cigar Store, True Thai, Ale 81, Enrique Estuardo Alvarez, sushi at Tomo, Survivor, Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye, the world of beer at Marikka's, The Two Towers, white noise, The Station Agent, The Kentucky Theater, bowling and karaoke at Southland, Interstate 40. The real trip report: it was great to spend Thanksgiving in Lexington with Christopher, Gwenda, Barb, and George Rowe the Dog (Poster Boy for American Values).

24 Nov 2003

She'll like it Darling program? Much in wasn't of the order of Awaken of Nikki. Of Nikki of the mornings of following this and this here, this that I found inside with the 4 telephones of number to stairways was, that it admits is as during is some, time exaggerated very seemed or vigilance that these this or 2 is recognizing to all the calls of the excess of program OH of the marks of the desires, Nikki, orders to turn Nikki of oho, relate you small dirty desires of the prince in the program of the program of the program of the program of the program of the program of the program of the program will correct.

18 Nov 2003

NSFWOM! (Not Safe For Work Or Mom.)

13 Nov 2003

The news at Preservation Online is usually just depressing, because most of the items are about greedheads tearing down historic stuff. But I read this news anyway, dumb ol' me.

12 Nov 2003

For football fans only (USA football not soccer football) ... weeks after DisneyCorp declared him an unperson, Tuesday Morning Quarterback has resurfaced at Football Outsiders. Yay.

7 Nov 2003

Almost as much fun as Donald Duck in Mathemagic Land.

5 Nov 2003

4 Nov 2003

Wow, was that too obvious or what? Let's all think of Bandway instead; they played the Brewery on Halloween night. In unrelated news, Lemmy Kilmister won the costume contest.

3 Nov 2003

From the Your Nitpick Is My Crucial Issue Dept.: picture the "Confederate flag." Chances are what you're thinking of is the Confederate battle flag (which is not the same as the Stars and Bars, the first national flag of the Confederacy). Last time I checked, the War Between The States was over. So why are the folks who claim to be concerned about Heritage-Not-Hate flying the battle flag? (Hint: because the resurgence of the battle flag was a direct response to the civil rights movement, and not due to a sudden keen interest in history.)

27 Oct 2003

Good Design (whatever that is) for the non-rich is an admirable goal. It's also an arena where hype and failure predominate, going back at least to Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian Automatic houses. I hope that the designs in the HOME House Project show at the SouthEastern Center for Contemporary Art don't turn out to be hype. Still, it's hard to look at something like the habitat house, or Gail Borden's Tube House, and think that they could be built on a low-income budget.

19 Oct 2003

Why spellcheckers suck: because the Pope did not "beautify" Mother Teresa, even though the CBSNews.com headline states exactly that.

17 Oct 2003

Kill Bill, while the director is no great shakes, is the Feel Good Movie of the Year!

8 Oct 2003

The unanimous declaration of a group of 10-11 year-old boys, when asked if the pink color of strawberry pudding made it "too girlish" to take to school: "There's no such thing as boy colors; there's no such thing as girl colors." Maybe there is hope for humanity.

2 Oct 2003

Many things suck. One of them is greyhound racing.

26 Sep 2003

Butnertronix Infosystems HQ has been pretty busy lately, so no updates. A few random highlights from real life, though: Michael Salter at Lump, The Fortress of Solitude by Dylan^H^H^H^H^H Jonathan Lethem, workouts with Randy, Violette and Mirto Rosso courtesy of Wilton "Professor" Barnhardt.

13 Sep 2003

Clyde was talkin' 'bout cycles back in 1986, but were you listening?

1 Sep 2003

"Straight Shooter" is the best one minute and thirty-three second song ever written (probably). From Reigning Sound, from Time Bomb High School, from Memphis.

29 Aug 2003

We interrupt the cryptogoofism to bring you this special report: in November 2003 Small Beer Press will release Christopher Rowe's first chapbook, Bittersweet Creek. Maybe you need something to read, maybe you have friends who need things to read, maybe you should all buy this chapbook of fantastic stories from the Bluegrass State and points beyond. Not maybe, but definitely.

28 Aug 2003

Attention, Raleighites: if you want someone who actually cares about Raleigh on your City Council (as opposed to shysters on their way to bigger political ponds or rich folks who think of local politics as a hobby) then you could do a lot worse (in fact, you could do no better) than to vote for Dani Nation for City Council at Large.

18 Aug 2003

It shouldn't have been a surprise, but of course it was a complete surprise ... I have a great bunch of loved ones, friends and family, yes I do. The greatest.

17 Aug 2003

Make sure to put "buy Rosebuds CD" on your calendar for 7 Oct 2003. In pen, not pencil. It sounds great, and does what pop's supposed to.

13 Aug 2003

A bunch of new Trampoline content is up on the Small Beer Press mainframe, including author interviews and a story.

10 Aug 2003

Back from God's Country, or more accurately, the land of kudzu, waterfalls, and no wireless telephone service. Saw many waterfalls and much kudzu, also saw the Judaculla Rock.

4 Aug 2003

Argh. My ISP is having email server problems. If you sent me an electronical message at the end of July or the beginning of August, and you haven't had a response, please re-send. THX.

29 Jul 2003

My address book is a mess. I rarely bother to try and keep it current, and when I do I invariably run across entries of folks who are no longer with us, and I start thinking about those folks, and I stop trying to deal with my address book. For instance, Charles Sheffield, sf writer. Eight years ago today I met Charles, at the beginning of Sycamore Hill 1995. He sandbagged and goofed on us supposedly literary types: "At my workshop, we just argue about where to put the comma!" Plus he made really good Sidecars. Cheers, Charles.

25 Jul 2003

Chan was on CNN.

17 Jul 2003

Ray Davis, he of much smartness, recently sent a bottle of orange bitters. Orange bitters is a key ingredient in many cocktails, and increasingly hard to find, esp. for us hix in the stix. I can now construct, per his suggestion, the Fancy-Free Cocktail. Not too shabby. Thank you, Ray.

15 Jul 2003

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." —Will Rogers

12 Jul 2003

Eileen Gunn challenged all of this year's Sycamore Hill attendees to write a short-short. The first one is up at the Infinite Matrix, from Christopher Rowe. Happy Birthday, Gwenda!

5 Jul 2003

Here's an easy one to decode—I like Mozilla. I'm sure 99.999% of the people who read this thing (think of yourselves as an elite tactical team) have already checked it out and decided yay or nay, but just in case...

3 Jul 2003

For those keeping score at home: Leo Sun, Leo Moon, Scorpio Rising. But, like the drunk guy said, "I think it's a bunch of bullshit, myself."

30 Jun 2003

Sycamore Hill 2003 from Jim Kelly's POV.

29 Jun 2003

Snapshots from SycHill are up.

28 Jun 2003

Back from SycHill: seven days on a mountaintop (Pompey's Knob, 3,300 feet). I survived. Pix to come. Also, I am a villager. No, really.

18 Jun 2003

Best mash-up I've heard since "No Fun/Push It": "Ray of Gob" by Go Home Productions. High bandwidth customers should definitely watch the video. (Thanks to Geoff and Lather for the link.)

10 Jun 2003

I think I just experienced one of the ten best gigs in my life, said gig arriving as a 20kbps stream from WFMU to the crappy speakers in my Thinkpad. Rocket from the Tombs (the band which among other things spawned the Dead Boys and Pere Ubu), reformed after 27 years for a six-show tour. High points included Cheetah changing the lyrics in "Ain't It Fun" to "Ain't it fun when you know it's too late to die young?" Ain't it? They closed with, appropriately, "Final Solution":

I don't need a cure,
don't need a cure,
don't need a cure,
need a final solution

29 May 2003

Got pre-release copies of Trampoline a few days ago. The book looks beautiful. I can't say it's the best story in there yet, because I haven't read them all ... but, I was very happy to read (for probably the tenth or twelfth time, but the first time I've read it aloud) Christopher Rowe's "The Force Acting on the Displaced Body."

27 May 2003

A supplementary truth, courtesy of Frederick Hibbert: Pressure gonna drop on you; when it drops, you're gonna feel it.

23 May 2003

Was very glad when Julien Temple corrected his earlier McLaren-centric view of the Sex Pistols by shooting The Filth and the Fury. One thing that always stuck with me from Swindle, though, was Lesson Four: "Do not play. Don't give the game away." Cut loose from their specific meaning in that film, those two sentences make a lot of sense to me.

22 May 2003

What do atomic weapons, Buckminster Fuller, and soccer (some call it football) have in common? Truncated icosahedrons.

21 May 2003

Had lunch w/ Doc yesterday. Y'all New Yorkers should go see him read at KGB tonight; he's off to Wiscon after that (for a hot date w/ a tiara). Me, I'm just lucky to have met the guy when I signed up for a free elective in creative writing, oh so very long ago.

20 May 2003

The Fisher AG7 might've been handy on the Apollo missions, but on Earth it tends just to emit glops of pressurized ink (on any surface, while upside-down and underwater and all that). The Cross Ion looked promising, and I usually carry one, but the rubber grip flakes off. Phil Agre, organizer of the Red Rock Eater mailing list, collected some useful thoughts on good cheap pens, and thanks to that info, I've now switched to the Pilot V-Ball Grip as my cheap pen of choice.

19 May 2003

If you're going to quote Emerson in an attempt to defend your hypocrisy, you might as well get it right. It's "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" and not "Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds" (Google sez about a third of the would-be quoters drop the key word foolish) and certainly not "Consistency is the sign of a small mind." Of course, I never cared much for Emerson.

18 May 2003

Barb's already covered her recent visit in detail (other highlights included hanging w/ Wilton, eating dim sum, watching Happy Accidents, drinking Lemon Drops and spotting Scarlet Tanagers). This past weekend I was at Sunset Beach w/ various gentlemen; there was poker, food, liquid refreshment, and the MC5.

15 May 2003

Carnivore Preservation Trust: go for the tigers, stay for the binturongs. Now there's a two-way tie for my favorite non-extinct wild animal. (P.S.—The worthy folks at CPT could really use your donations.)

2 May 2003

"In this part of the world a chief will commonly ring a bell at each draught of beer which he swallows, and at the same moment a lad stationed in front of him brandishes a spear 'to keep at bay the spirits which might try to sneak into the old chief's body by the same road as the beer.'" —Frazer, The Golden Bough

30 Apr 2003

The Rosebuds and The Oranges Band played Kings last Sunday night. Did The Oranges Band need three guitars (plus bass and drums)? Yeah, I think so. Did the one dude need to hang a cig from his lips in certified Rock Guy™ fashion? Probably not.

27 Apr 2003

Good Guy (and good writer) Stan Robinson was in town this past weekend for a conference at Duke (The Future of Utopia, in honor of Frederic Jameson). He read from his own work, from Jameson's, and from other interesting related matter.

26 Apr 2003

Anyone with an interest (professional or otherwise) in the process of writing should read all of Sallis's columns on Writing and Life.

24 Apr 2003

Recently I learned that not everyone knows the default protest chant: "Good things, yes! Bad things, no!" Now, let's all learn a new one: "Left lane must turn left! Right lane must turn right!" It helps if you march around near a traffic intersection while you chant.

21 Apr 2003

Jim Kelly posted more Sycamore Hill snapshots.

20 Apr 2003

No one is innocent, but some are guiltier than others.

5 Apr 2003

Impress your friends; use Paypal to pre-order the Trampoline anthology from Small Beer Press.

A mere seventeen bucks

2 Apr 2003

Web Bunny on the road: Kathy's Diner, Jake's (an eatery), JavaNet, Ye Ol' Watering Hole, Barb, Kelly, Gavin, Centipede, Survivor, La Cazuela, Champion Juicer, Red-headed Stepchild and Maggie's Wee Heavy, Book Ends, Arts & Industry, Kat Ran Press, Bizen, Karen, Miss Florence Diner, Trampoline, bowling, canned custard, Settlers of Catan, Quorn, homemade Irish oatmeal cake, and the all-important etc.

25 Mar 2003

The Vandermark 5 played last night in Carrboro. It was quiet and not-so-quiet, it was laid-back and it was frenetic, time dilated and space distorted without the use of any hippie accoutrements or pretentious costumes. No pyro, either.

20 Mar 2003

Tim talks about Townes.

16 Mar 2003

Spent all day Saturday revivifying my main computer (turns out that the motherboard, the processor, and the graphics board had all taken the Dirt Nap From Which There Is No Awakening). Got it working again just in time to go play poker with certain other gentlemen. We listened to Kebnekajse as well as some Led Zeppelin outtakes (which are better than the released tracks), we argued over whether Frank Beard is the best American rock drummer of all time, we discussed schizophrenia, we drank from the ol' fruit jar.

13 Mar 2003

"A man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the Devil can't fool a dog."

(From The Twilight Zone episode The Hunt, written by Earl Hamner, Jr.)

8 Mar 2003

From an email message I sent almost two years ago: "My recommended breakup music is Cat Power, Two Dollar Guitar, certain Nick Drake songs, certain Palace songs. And, if you're feeling mean, there's always the Dead Boys." In particular, I should point out track 3 of Young, Loud & Snotty and (if you're feeling slightly less mean) track 2 of Let Me Bring You Down.

7 Mar 2003

Y'all could do a lot worse than to download the MP3s available from Haley Bonar, esp. "Drinking Again."

1 Mar 2003

The fifth song on Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap is Problem Child.

28 Feb 2003

My quick, remarkably accurate (so far) personality test: who is your favorite member of the Velvet Underground?

19 Feb 2003

Only a fraction of David Larson's wonderful artwork is available for viewing at the Larson Gallery.

17 Feb 2003

The best way to spend Presidents' Day Weekend is with a couple of Kentucky Colonels (and I do mean couple) up in the Pines.

13 Feb 2003

John Dancy-Jones performs poetry, teaches people, loves turtles, makes paper (among many many other things). He's a Good Guy. He has an interesting set of obsessions.

6 Feb 2003

This is the solace that is mine (perhaps you understand, perhaps it's your solace too): "Pink moon gonna get ye all." All of you. Including me.

5 Feb 2003

On memorial services and symbols: I knew there would be a flag, and I knew they would hand it to my mother. What I did not know, or what I had forgotten, was that when they handed her the flag they would say, "On behalf of the President of the United States, and a grateful nation..." I don't care about the President of the United States (Clinton at that time) but the grateful nation part really got to me.

3 Feb 2003

By popular demand, or at least by demand of Gwenda and Christopher, the Princess Bride Quiz.

1 Feb 2003

As is true of so many good things and good people, there aren't any definitive Web pages on Karen Dalton. You should seek her out anyway. She is waiting for you.

24 Jan 2003

"Secretive and suspicious, loners by nature, the six Greenies would sometimes vanish for days at a time, or even weeks, then late in the night they would just as magically reappear, moving like shadows through the moonlight, filing in silently from the dense rain forest off to the west."

23 Jan 2003

Operation Selfish Jesus: the language machines are fun, and the rest of Ftrain.com is always worth a look.

18 Jan 2003

Discovered the goofy, happy enthusiasm of The Rosebuds last night at Kings. Yes, there are some pleasant surprises left in the world.

13 Jan 2003

I caught Armor of God, the documentary about Clang Quartet, at the Potluck Film Feast this past weekend; it was easily the best film of the festival.

9 Jan 2003

I talk about Sloth (and sloths) a lot; however, just because it's my favorite sin doesn't mean it's (necessarily) the one I exhibit to the greatest degree. That's not for me to judge—that's not for anyone to judge for themselves. I'd rather be thrown into the snake pit than broken on the wheel, though.

7 Jan 2003

Worth seeking out: The Rich Man's Table by Scott Spencer ... sadly (but not surprisingly) out of print. Ignore the bad reviews and purchase a copy at your local used bookstore. Much easier to find (again, not surprisingly): an odd batch of Dylan recordings.

1 Jan 2003

Spent much of the day riding around in a big black truck listening to Cypress Hill. Geoff flipped over to the radio and to my surprise out came the voice of my friend, fellow barbecue aficionado and erstwhile sparring partner Bruce Sterling. He was doing his futurist spiel on Talk of the Nation. To my even greater surprise, Kessel called in to the show and got on the air.