Friday, November 23, 2007

In the Days of Running Water and Easy Transportation

Today's quote again comes from Marshall Frady's Wallace. It entails a necessary question: Can this be considered something other than caricature, parody, or satire today? Among other things, are these verities still true in the Sun Belt South? More literary-speaking, can these periodic sentences stand on their own merit?
"More than anything else, he is a consummate political and curtural articulation of the South, where life is simply more glandular than it is in the rest of the nation. Southerners temd to belong and believe through blood and weather and common earth and common enemy and common travail, rather than belonging, believing, cerebrally [....] Any politician like Eugene McCarthy, with his diaphonous abstractions, would be impossible in the South. The region is ruled by humid passion, and a fine old-fashioned sense of sin. There is a lingering romance of violence, a congenital love of quick and final physical showdowns. Not just the filling-station attendants, the cabdrivers and deputy sheriffs and beauticians and tabernacle evangelists, but also Rotarians, bankers, teachers, the urbanites of Atlanta and Charlotte, stockbrokers and reporters who have moved away to the cities of the North—virtually all those born in the South have about them, to a certain degree, that air of an immediate and casual familiarity with violence, a quality of loosely leashed readiness for mayhem. Even those Southerners who come from large cities—although, say, having martinis in some expensive New York restaurant, surrounded by Continental waiters and chandeliers—seem to have emerged from another dimension where the days are fevered and dreaming with honeysuckle and wisteria, from a different and more passionate play of life, a slow, sensuous, easy, lyrical, savage marriage of man and earth. They carry with them the sense of another landscape—primeval mountains, scruffy pine hills populated with mules and moonshiners, cottonland as level and limitless as the sea, fierce skies—a land where winters are only a dull and sullen hiatus with a pale ghost of a sun passing through vague chill rains."
In addition to this picture being totally irrelevant to the matter of this post, I--frankly--don't have any idea what it is. But Vimala sent it to me, so it's clearly important. Maybe an allegory? Code? A social aphrodisiac? Special prize for the first one to identify the super-smooth and solitary subject.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Eschatological Glee

I had good weekend of watching football on the television, and I have to tell you I'm feeling better than ever before about the major questions facing the world in the fifty years. We can all rest easy. Based on viewing countless Toyota and Ford commercials, I'm confident that the automobile industry will not only save the environment but also execute a revolution in social conscious that leads to lasting peace and comfort. Problems solved.

Before I get to the article, I want to say that, yes, I believe that Global Warming is real, that even if the globe isn't warming, we're doing things to it that are detrimental. Human beings have flunked ecology, miserably. However, there's also a fulsome tone of self-righteous in the fusillade accounts of environmental crisis. It's as if the Liberals are finally revenging themselves for all those years of Conservative vituperation and emasculation by doing a little fear-mongering of their own. You can see the I-told-you-so vindication and smugness every time Al Gore's wide owlish countenance appears on screen.

The following is from a Washington Post article about the effect of climate change on global agriculture. The earth has undergone climatological permutations before; the difference is this time we're teeming over its surface.
To the extent that plants cannot adapt to change, farmers will have to. In Uganda, where coffee is an important cash crop but where temperature increases are expected to devastate the plants, researchers are hoping that by planting shade trees, growers can preserve the industry while perhaps even increasing biodiversity.

In other parts of Africa, farmers are being taught to add fruit trees to their subsistence farms. The trees can survive droughts and waterlogging better than crops planted annually, and so can serve as an economic
bridge across hard times.

Farmers in developed countries must also prepare, experts say.

A recent study by researchers at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico concluded that wheat growers in North America will have to give up some of their southernmost fields in the next few decades. But they will be able to farm a full 10 degrees north of their current limit, which extends from Ketchikan, Alaska to Cape Harrison, Labrador.

That means amber waves of grain will be growing less than 2 degrees south of the Arctic Circle, and Siberia will become a major notch in the wheat belt.

By changing their practices, and not just their crops, farmers can also temper the buildup of greenhouse gases. New technologies that measure soil nutrient levels are allowing farmers to add only as much fertilizer as is really needed -- important because the excess nitrogen in those chemicals gets converted in the soil into nitrous oxide, which has 300 times the greenhouse activity of carbon dioxide.
If I'm not mistaken, the Farm Bill here in the U.S. is still in the Senate; in other words, there's still time to contact your Congressman.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Dead Horse

This officially is overkill, but I swear I'm moving on from the past (resplendent) weekend after today. Enjoy more UGA videos than you can stomach.

I've decided that technology can't accurately capture the amplified mood and unprecedented emotional spikes of the game. Notice the "camera" becomes extremely unsteady at the end. That's when everybody "lost their shit."

You can actually hear the decibel level rise here; still, I swear, it doesn't do the experience justice. At that point in time, we were all keeping each other from falling out of the stands.

Evidence that Soulja Boy has infiltrated the Bulldog psyche: This one's titled "Soulja Boy-GA White Girls." You start circulating videos of Georgia co-eds, and you're bound to attract some views. I don't believe any of these girls was the one at the game whose sign read, "Knowshon is on my to-do list!" I also am not sure the ordinary Georgia fan has listened to the words of "Crank Dat."

The Georgia running backs are really close. Also, the Georgia sideline is all madcap antics. Coaches have decided it's an "all-charade" zone: "Son, if you don't start shaking those hips, you're doing up-downs all week."

And finally, the best highlight package on the game. Breathe it in one last time.

I said a couple weeks ago that success hinged on beating Florida. Check. Now the past month has made this a special season no matter what. Let's get ready for Kentucky.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Graceful Gallimaufry

Sigur Ros and George Wallace in the same week? That's why you love me. And I'm reinforcing my door to keep the hungry, slavering crowds at bay. Look at 'em all--lining up around the block. I'm going need a couple more continents of bandwidth at this rate.

There's more about Wallace from American Experience. Coincidentally, his would-be assassin, Arthur Bremer, was released from prison three days ago, paroled for good behavior. Bremer intended "to do SOMETHING BOLD AND DRAMATIC, FORCEFULL & DYNAMIC, A STATEMENT of my manhood for the world to see." He was CRAZY. He still is, just a sweeter, gentler kind.

This Berserk Season of Assassination

I'm bringing back the weeklies feature that I had negligently discarded during the course of the past six months. If nothing else, my favorite element is resurfacing: the quote of the week, which could easily evolve into the quote of the day or, if my typing and memory improve substantially, quote of the nanosecond.

Today's selection comes from Marshall Frady's Wallace, billed as the "Classic Portrait of Alabama Governor George Wallace." It's a purchase from my high journalism/rabble-rouser phase, including A.J. Liebling's The Earl of Louisiana, Bob Short's Everything Is Pickrick: The Life of Lester Maddox (my father guarded him in the governor's mansion), Tyler Bridges' Bad Bet on the Bayou: The Rise of Gambling in Louisiana and The Fall of Governor Edwin Edwards, and Hendrik Hertzberg's Politics. I can't recommend Liebling and Bridges enough; I have yet to plow through the others.

Forthwith the quote:
"It was true that, as he proceeded on in 1968 as a third-party political outrider, his candidacy began to be regarded as a rough approximation of the potential for American fascism—a strictly indigenous and generic American variety, ferociously respectable and righteous and patriotic, totally blank of the operatic Visigoth glares and blusters of the German precedent, having far more to do here with the Up With People Chorus and Jaycee luncheons on Wednesday afternoons at the local Holiday Inn, and so unrecognizable to the vast majority of citizens right on until its final consolidation."
Elizabeth Hardwick's blurb about Wallace is that it has a "palpable Faulknerian mood to the reporting." I'm not sure she's being entirely complimentary, as Frady seems implacably fustian, steadily suppurating a kind of transparent reduction of Absalom! Absalom! But he's good at it, and Hardwick's a Northeastern snob, and the Southern writers who matured after WWII, like William Styron, had ceased being Christ-haunted because they had become Compson-haunted. Flannery O'Connor got her ass of the tracks thanks to her sex and a host of personal complications.

As far as the portrayal of Wallace the man goes, he comes off as a catfish-lipped diminution of Edward G. Robinson, without a lick of the urbanity, or chameleon ability to transcend himself. He is the boyish imp, a folk tale, the savvy bumpkin playing up his twangy callowness among the sophisticates to his quick advantage. He is the Populist upstart who went dazzingly awry: smart, playful, terrifically wrong-headed, and irresistible.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Summa Khan's Vices and The Farrago of Crush

According to Orson Swindle at EDSBS, Josh McNeil's been discovered with three girls in his bed, possibly propelling himself to the front of the Thighsman contest. Folks, it's all about attitude; looks are academic. And being the starting center for a major SEC football school makes attitude.

Smile, you prodigious plier of women.

(I love Orson. Despite his sinister Gator allegiances, he's smart and he's an English major. And whether he realizes it or not, he's making a concerted effort to redefine crapulous onomatopoetically. Which is the way it should be.)

In other news, MaconDawg has just articulated the abstract for the entire UGA season:
After the game, Coach Richt was asked if Knowshon has continued to "get better and better". Coach Richt replied "yeah, and we're blocking better and better." That pretty much sums this team up. Like most of us thought back in July, they started as a mediocre team, progressed to maddeningly inconsistent, and are now teetering on the verge of "pretty good". How fast they get there will make the difference between 10-2 and 7-5.
Finally, David Ching has evidence that UGA defensive tackle Jeff Owens is no fool. Brandon Cox, like Chris Leak, is a pouty, average-armed quarterback who doesn't "respond well" to three-hundred pound men flying at his kneecaps. S-I-S-S-Y.
On Ray Gant's sack on Auburn's first play, that appeared to hurt Cox's knee:
"That set the tone. That was a big momentum shift for the whole game. Right there we thought we put fear in their hearts. We knew that we could just keep jabbing, keep jabbing till they fall. That’s what happened last year. That locker room celebration was big."

On whether he thought Cox got rattled (he finished 4-for-12 for 35 yards, 4 Ints):
"I think he got rattled the first play. We were confident because we went downfield and scored and he knew it was on his shoulders to try and make a comeback and he gets sacked on the first play – nearly blew his knee out. So I think he was timid the whole game."
For further proof, see Cox's crapulous—er, craptastic—first game against Georgia Tech. Of course, give him enough time and he'll sink a fourth-and-forever impossible dagger into your exposed, quivering heart.

Nice pinpoint throw, melancholic archer-boy. Yeah, you heard me.

What's That Pain? Your Hippocampus, Fool!

With the events of the past month, I'm eons behind. I'll be putting up an even less orderly mishmash of posts over the next day or two, clearing up old files, processing elliptical ruminations, and just sorting through cultural and personal detritus.

Beware, peons! Armor your flimsy minds! Henceforth the encephalitic randomness of bullets!
  • Guess what? Georgia beat Florida. And Troy. And Knowshon Moreno is good. He once made out with a girl I met. That makes me sort of famous.
  • Halloween came and went with much fanfare and potation here in Athens, GA. We all dressed up and headed to the 40 Watt for the show. MGMT was lackluster (embedded song to come). Of Montreal, I think, was good. The combo of PBR, Maker's Mark, and hot wine—along with total ignorance of any of their songs—made me a poor judge. If I recall correctly, they hammered "Purple Rain" in the encore. You can see my friend Elliot Smith over there. More pics as they come in.
  • The new Oxford American is out. I got bumped from the issue, but go out and buy it and read Derek Jenkins's piece and rave about it and develop a massive long-distance crush on him. You want to be immolated upon his supreme musical knowledge. You need to stroke his mustache. Go, do it now! Or a hellfire of uncoolness shall rain down upon you.
  • There's an attempt to have a blackout at the Georgia-Auburn game. This is unlike the blackout of Infernal Displeasure tried by the Arkansas fans or the more casual one perfected by underagers, the brokenhearted, and members of SAE--Tripp, Kit, Jonah, Ramsey, the dudemen from Thomasville--good guys, all of 'em. On Saturday, UGA fans have been asked to wear black tops. Apparently, the seniors approached Coach Richt with this inspiration. No certainty right now about alterations to the uniforms as well. Paul Westerdawg is in the Situation Room.
  • I had a long, unwinnable dispute last night over the better parts of the female anatomy. Apparently, I'm in the minority in my preference for the lower drawers. It's probably because really good ones are so difficult to come by, and I am in all things a snobby connosieur. The Chancellor of the Sexchequer and the ever rigorous Germans have made sure that I continue to refine my standards.
  • I've heard Paste magazine is following Radiohead's lead and offering year subscriptions at the affordable rate of you-name-the-price. Not sure if you can do the exceptionally intelligent/goldbrick thing and bottomline it at zero, like with In Rainbows. I hope this new trend in negative capitalism continues to its logical conclusion, and those sumbitches start paying me to read their awesome magazines or listen to their awesome music. I'm looking at you, Vanity Fair.
  • Mucho congrats to Sara for her new position at Paste. Huzzah, huzzah. Good things are on the burner for you this year.

We Are All Inwardly Viscid

Apologies first: My prolonged absence from the interweb has been the result of a devastating cold, filcher of my voice, that threatened to close my throat like a camera aperture. BUT—I'm back, with renewed vigor and a limpid sense of purpose....What Nietzsche said about killing and strength and Superman and all that. In the past month I've beaten back those dread hyper germs that tend to float inside the hothouse of a college town and treacherous fortuity. It may be quite a thing for person to shuffle off his or her mortal coil willfully, but the happenstance of living is ready to claim it always. As Jonathan Edwards said, God removes the prop beneath the world at His whim. Humility and experience confirm the one undergirding my individual life is far less substantial than the world's.

What the hell am I talking about? Pedestrians, barrels, concrete Jersey barriers, UPS tractor trailers, I-40 in downtown Memphis, and my fragile little carriage. Viz.

After the brakes locked, I crossed three lanes of the interstate, hit the outer railing, bounced back into the interstate, where I hit and then was hit by the eighteen-wheeled juggernaut. Blammo. Once my car stopped spinning and immobilized in the middle lane, I checked myself for blood and ran with the swiftness of angels to the shoulder, miraculously unhurt.

During my convalescence from the cold, I've reflected upon the significance of my apparent exception. Clearly, this is one blogger with a part still to play in Providence: Not before you master HTML, son. Hallelujah. On, on. Publish post. Click.

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