Friday, November 30, 2012
Q: [400 word question about views on music and it having a metaphysical essence, other than merely being a sound calculus, governed by vertical and linear rules of coherence]

Kurt Rosenwinkel (with a Miles-y voice): It's just licks and grooves, dude…Next question?

"I was terrified beyond terror: the faces, the voices, the colors and the flags and the banners, the gold and silver and music, and all I knew was you -- in the whole world all I knew was you, there by me as we walked..."

(Ursula K. Le Guin, Tehanu)
Thursday, November 29, 2012


Young Hearts Run Free

"The orchestral sound relies heavily on strings and horns playing linear phrases, in unison with the soaring, often reverberated vocals or playing instrumental fills, while electric pianos and chicken-scratch guitars create the background 'pad' sound defining the harmony progression."
"The kind of learning ordinary people get from talking in the kitchen on winter evenings..."  (Ursula K. Le Guin, "Afterword to Tehanu")

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Screen grab.  Forensic analysis; foreshadowing.  Or, as L. would say, only half-joking, three of my five topics of conversation on display simultaneously.  Thanks to L., Steven Tong, and Keith Freeman for their kind assistance with this particular game of solitaire/close reading, about a "NYT Sunday Times Crossword" level of difficulty.  For the record: YVR; lane behind secondary north/south street; mixed neighborhood of older and more modern homes.  Next step is to drop by and have a look around, to see what else I might find there.

I like that decrepit shelf; it makes me wonder what it once supported, and reminds me of the handmade, gently run-down mailboxes and newspaper tubes that line the rail leading down to the public dock at Eagle Harbour.  Maybe a good photograph would overlap, or reflect on, those otherwise disparate things.
This guy, on an NYT comments thread, speaks my language:

"Amazon pricing is based on analytics and not set individually. The base is a percentage of retail with additional math based on margin from individual publishers. Pricing is also dependent on metadata and has been subject to major errors such as 2010's comic fiasco ( On top of that you have publisher initiated price promotions funded by coop. Lastly and the Octavio Paz example may also have been impacted by some stock balancing by in place markdown.

Amazon is pricing to manage the cash flow of its book sales as a total aggregate rather than individual sales. On average Amazon purchases are more than one book. If they sell an Octavio Paz book for less than cost the likelihood that that same reader will add a second title and a better higher retail and better margin that they wouldn't have bought otherwise. Looking at individual titles cost or discount means little here. Amazon is looking at the total volume of transactions and constantly tweaking the formula to manipulate transaction completion rates and average skus per order. Individual book margin is a print publishing metric and not really pertinent to high volume online retailing.

Pricing to Amazon is like mortgage derivatives to a Hedge Fund manager."

Relevant to my interests from 1:35-on.  The organic connections between place-finding, Street View, photocollage and rephotography seem obvious.  Also the question of bringing pets along on a shoot, though Rose T. and Scat are definitively less trouble than Hockney's dachshunds.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kato Cat asleep on his mom's lap.  Peace.

Red Canoe, 2012
Not a legitimate subject by the strict rules of this odd game of solitaire-cum-close reading, but distinctive enough to make me curious.

Probably, but not definitively, Vancouver.  (The catalog raisonne lists a 1989 work as being photographed in "Vancouver" -- actually Burnaby -- and Jean-Francois Chevrier, in an essay in the same volume, refers to Vancouver as the "capital of British Columbia," so I take European geographical attributions with a shaker of salt).

Overhead wires.

An older neighborhood into which "new balloon homes" were inserted c. 1986-2000, or an older neighborhood on the periphery of a subdivision.

A paved lane behind a secondary north-south street.  Lane because of the architectural subject; the back yards; the distinctive shift in blacktop in the foreground.

Big conifers.

A certain elevation, just below the crest of a ridge or hill.

(My colleague Steven Tong sez, "South Vancouver." L. sez, "I can't believe I'm wasting time on this," but caught the overhead wires, too).
Monday, November 26, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Shuffle Diplomacy," Steely Dan, July 22, 2011, Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto, ON

One of the best live recordings of the modern Duke Ellington Orchestra incarnation of the band, and I've heard a lot of them.

Confessions of a Side Man

"Since Steely Dan’s (and Donald’s) records always sound so perfectly recorded, I assumed the session would be at a top studio like Avatar or MSR or perhaps some secret, exclusive facility known only to the musical Illuminati.  But when I rode my bike up to the address I had been given, I found myself in front of [a] non-descript brownstone on a side street of the Upper Westside.

I tentatively buzzed the apartment number and was let into a crowded, messy law office in the first floor apartment where a bearded man sat busily shuffling through a sea of papers.

'Uhm… I’m here for the recording session?….' I ventured.

'Right down stairs,' he replied, hardly looking up. It turns out that the studio belonged to this lawyer, an old friend of Donald. This was clearly not a conventional 'professional recording studio,' and I’m certain it hadn’t being used for any other projects for quite a while. Since I assume Donald could afford to record at any top studio, I suspect he chose this alternative in order to have access to the studio any time of day or night, without the hassles of reserving time and all the other formalities involved with pro studios.

Down the narrow staircase was a long, windowless basement room. Picture an Egyptian burial chamber, filled not with sarcophagi, royal hardware and statues of gods, but with dust-covered synth keyboards from the 70’s and 80’s, old PA equipment, and semi-dismantled marching band instruments — a sort of a musical 'Island of Unloved Toys.' At one end, nearly buried in electronic musical relics, was an impressive 9’ grand piano. (I’m sure that the quality of the piano also figured in Donald’s choice of the place).

At the opposite side of the room from the piano was a very compact but well-appointed control room. I wish I could remember the gear that was used, but… I can’t. I do know that Michael brought in his own board, gear and monitors for the session.

In a clearing among the DX 7s, Oberheims and Prophets was Michael Leonhart, diligently setting up a sweet vintage Neumann for the harp, I believe it was U67 or a U47; both great mics for chromatic harmonica. As Michael and I were greeting each other, the door opened and Donald entered, somehow holding Michael’s Dachshund Normyn in his arms, while balancing two Grande Lattes, various bagels and other goodies and holding the door open with his shoulder."
Thursday, November 22, 2012

"So what I started to do on my time off was to hitchhike a ride down to the little town of Buxton. This was in the early April of 1977, the snow just starting to melt off the fields, the air just beginning to be warm, the baseball teams coming north to start a new season playing the only game I'm sure God approves of. When I went on these trips, I carried a Silva compass in my pocket.

There's a big hayfield in Buxton, Andy had said, and at the north end of that hayfield there's a rock wall, right out of a Robert Frost poem. And somewhere along the base of that wall is a rock that has no earthly business in a Maine hayfield.

A fool's errand, you say. How many hayfields are there in a small rural town like Buxton? Fifty? A hundred? Speaking from personal experience, I'd put it at even higher than that, if you add in the fields now cultivated which might have been haygrass when Andy went in. And if I did find the right one, I might never know it because I might overlook that black piece of volcanic glass, or, much more likely, Andy put it into his pocket and took it with him.

So I'd agree with you. A fool's errand, no doubt about it. Worse, a dangerous one for a man on parole, because some of those fields were clearly marked with NO TRESPASSING signs. And, as I've said, they're more than happy to slam your ass back inside if you get out of line. A fool's errand ... but so is chipping at a blank concrete wall for twenty-eight years. And when you're no longer the man who can get it for you and just an old bag-boy, it's nice to have a hobby to take your mind off your new life. My hobby was looking for Andy's rock.

So I'd hitchhike to Buxton and walk the roads. I'd listen to the birds, to the spring runoff in the culverts, examine the bottles the retreating snows had revealed - all useless non-returnables, I am sorry to say; the world seems to have gotten awfully spendthrift since I went into the slam - and looking for hayfields.

Most of them could be eliminated right off. No rock walls. Others had rock walls, but my compass told me they were facing the wrong direction. I walked these wrong ones anyway. It was a comfortable thing to be doing, and on those outings I really felt free, at peace. An old dog walked with me one Saturday. And one day I saw a winter-skinny deer.

Then came 23 April, a day I'll not forget even if I live another fifty-eight years. It was a balmy Saturday afternoon, and I was walking up what a little boy fishing from a bridge told me was called The Old Smith Road. I had taken a lunch in a brown FoodWay bag, and had eaten it sitting on a rock by the road. When I was done I carefully buried my leavings, as my dad had taught me before he died, when I was a sprat no older than the fisherman who had named the road for me.

Around two o'clock I came to a big field on my left. There was a stone wall at the far end of it, running roughly northwest. I walked back to it, squelching over the wet ground, and began to walk the wall. A squirrel scolded me from an oak tree.

Three-quarters of the way to the end, I saw the rock. No mistake. Black glass and as smooth as silk. A rock with no earthly business in a Maine hayfield. For a long time I just looked at it, feeling that I might cry, for whatever reason. The squirrel had followed me, and it was still chattering away. My heart was beating madly.

When I felt I had myself under control, I went to the rock, squatted beside it - the joints in my knees went off like a double-barrelled shotgun - and let my hand touch it. It was real. I didn't pick it up because I thought there would be anything under it; I could just as easily have walked away without finding what was beneath. I certainly had no plans to take it away with me, because I didn't feel it was mine to take - I had a feeling that taking that rock from the field would have been the worst kind of theft. No, I only picked it up to feel it better, to get the heft of the thing, and, I suppose, to prove its reality by feeling its satiny texture against my skin."

"Are things so great that they couldn’t use a little tweak, you know? And another thing that I would say is that perhaps being fatalistic about things or being cynical about them in a way expresses the deepest kind of optimism: that you’re still disappointed that things are the way they are."


"Now, I’d like to see the situation evolve in such a way that people can have careers as professional musicians or professional artists, because we need that; we need people to know that they can afford to live lives and have families and live in a particular place doing art, doing music, and writing and so on. And so to the extent that that’s threatened by people just not paying for things—basically, I think we’re in an aberrant situation, which was created by the record companies charging too much and providing an inferior product. And when you charge too much, and when the quality doesn’t justify that price, especially, then you get a black market, and people start to sell it. So I think eventually the price of the thing will find a place where it’s cheap enough that you don’t think much of buying it and it’s not worth—I don’t even know what people go through to download music anymore illegally; I just never have been into that. I’m just too old for that. But I think that’s the important thing: Whatever shape it takes, it should be such that artists can live the lives of artists and be primarily concerned with writing. Whether they’re being sponsored by corporate barons or borrowing money from the bank or getting grants or fellowships or whatever it is, it doesn’t matter that much—the least interference and the most possible creative energy that can be unleashed and harnessed I think is very important."

A great, thoughtful, wide-ranging interview.
This is interesting:

"The central question about [Amazon] has always been: How will it choose to make money? It has invested for the future for 18 years now, in the process demolishing much of the competition while giving it one of the priciest stocks on Wall Street. But at some point, somehow, it will have to become a normal business, which means selling things for more than it paid. One way to do that: erase discounts on books that readers cannot easily get anywhere else.

Another possibility: Amazon is intentionally pricing its books higher so buyers will instead purchase from the cheaper third-party sellers, which are more profitable for Amazon. In other words, Amazon would rather run a mall or bazaar than try and be Wal-Mart."
Repeat quickly after me: anatomically correct animatronic rabbits.  #trickysyllables
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
"Our guest this week on Art of the Song is Donald Fagen. Together with college mate Walter Becker they founded perhaps the most successful jazz-derivative rock band [sic] of the last century... Steely Dan. After the band broke up in 1981 [sic], Donald began a successful solo career. He’s known for his use of close vocal harmonies, elaborate arrangements, and attention to detail. Viv spoke with Donald at length following the release of his fourth solo album, Sunken Condos. Joined by co-producer - collaborator, Michael Leonhart, they discussed a wide range of topics including songwriting, stage fright, writers block and moleskin journals."
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
There are an awful lot of old sheds carports garages in Burquitlam.  Or, possibly, south Vancouver.  Or maybe North Vancouver.  Or Capitol Hill. 

The European source is captioned "Vancouver," but I've had Europeans identify the Salish Sea off Nanaimo to me as "Vancouver harbor," so who knows?  As you were.
Our Readers Write

Dear Anodyne Inc.,

As of late, your blog has failed to engage readers as it used to. It's [sic] aesthetic judgment, stock prognostications, photographic and moving pictures are well and good, but it lacks the former... well, as the French would say, 'I don't know what'.

Put some more kittehs on your blog, plz.

Thank you,
Marilyn Hagerty
Grand Forks, ND

Monday, November 19, 2012

Another kindred spirit hard at work, esp. 6:26-9:45.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
The Weak Universalism, by Boris Groys.  Deeply relevant to my interests, esp. paragraph #2, below.

"Of course the question arises of what has happened historically to transcendentalist, universalist avant-garde art. In the 1920s, this art was used by the second wave of avant-garde movements as an allegedly stable foundation for building a new world. This late avant-garde’s secular fundamentalism was developed in the 1920s by Constructivism, Bauhaus, Vkhutemas, and so forth, even if Kandinsky, Malevich, Hugo Ball, and some other leading figures of the early avant-garde wave rejected this fundamentalism. But even if the early generation of the avant-garde did not believe in the possibility of building a concrete new world on the weak foundation of their universalist art, they still believed that they effectuated the most radical reduction, and produced works of the most radical weakness. But meanwhile we know that this was also an illusion. It was an illusion not because these images could be made weaker than they were, but because their weakness was forgotten by the culture. Accordingly, from a historical distance they seem to us to be either strong (for the art world) or irrelevant (for everyone else).

That means that the weak, transcendental artistic gesture could not be produced once and for all times. Rather, it must be repeated time and again to keep the distance between the transcendental and the empirical visible—and to resist the strong images of change, the ideology of progress, and promises of economic growth. It is not enough to reveal the repetitive patterns that transcend historical change. It is necessary to constantly repeat the revelation of these patterns—this repetition itself should be made repetitive, because every such repetition of the weak, transcendental gesture simultaneously produces clarification and confusion. Thus we need further clarification that again produces further confusion, and so forth. That is why the avant-garde cannot take place once and for all times, but must be permanently repeated to resist permanent historical change and chronic lack of time."

"What made commercial projects like Raiders of the Lost Ark so enjoyable was the flamboyant eccentricity of Spielberg’s visual imagination—especially his imagination of action, which was fresh, free-wheeling, surprising. But Lincoln avoids flamboyance. Most of it is very somber. Lincoln’s office and the cabinet room are small and dark. The city of Washington is smoky and gray, as if the filth of battle had drifted over the city. The only brilliant light is at the windows: Many of the most important indoor scenes are shot in silhouette, with just the smallest amount of fill (equal to a candle or a lantern) coming from the foreground."

"Where can we find other examples of nonironic living? What does it look like? Nonironic models include very young children, elderly people, deeply religious people, people with severe mental or physical disabilities, people who have suffered, and those from economically or politically challenged places where seriousness is the governing state of mind. My friend Robert Pogue Harrison put it this way in a recent conversation: 'Wherever the real imposes itself, it tends to dissipate the fogs of irony.'"
Saturday, November 17, 2012
"Observed within performance arts, repetition oscillates between the always same notation (a drama or a lyrical text, a musical or choreographic score, etc.) and the always new performance. The performance complies with the notation, but it also interprets, disputes, reinvents it. If we perceive the notation as some sort of original and the performance as its copy, then the usual dynamic between copy and original will be reversed: The performance is unique and lives in the present, whereas the notation is a remote and rather abstract idea of it. The copy reinforces the notion of originality by altering the original. While in a sense 'repeating' the notation, the performance asserts its difference. It is different, or new, not only in terms of concept and medium, but in terms of temporality - it is different because always situated in a different moment."

Dad Loves His Work, 2013 (aka American Pictures)

Haddonfield, 2012-3

Harvey, 2011-3

Bayview, 2012

Pearblossom, 2013

Lahaina Banyen, 2012-3

I am also hot on the trail of a motif in the Okanagan Valley, but those pictures -- foreshadowing -- won't be presented in this exhibition.
Friday, November 16, 2012
The Shape Behind the Hedge - 1978 & Dramatic 2009 Recreation

Halloween, a screenplay by John Carpenter and Debra Hill

"Just try to understand what we're dealing with here. Don't underestimate it."

Thursday, November 15, 2012
For those in YVR: a very beautiful two-person exhibition guest curated by Aaron Peck is opening tonight @ CSA Space from 6-9pm.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sketches for Haddonfield, 2012-3

"The pale features of a human face."
Monday, November 12, 2012

Peter Doig, White Canoe, 1990-1
"Reproductions are approximate, and judgement of their accuracy always subjective." (@greatdismal on product manufacturing, though also broadly applicable to certain photographs that appear here from time to time)
Mike Turner sent me this.  I'm not sure about all of it, but the excellent first stanza and certain other phrases, eg.,  "generalized ache" & "the teeth of singing" feel about right.

I Am the Steely Dan of Poetry 
Evonne Acevedo
Consider soul: etched in the deft
contours of jazz, palpable with static, in black jungle
swinging with lichens and tongues; the feverish nap
latitudinal with ghosts. And in the degrees between or above, absolute space, squirming color, a
Southern dawn involving syncopation and rapture.

To own soul, consider it lacking,
in the act of lack; or acting god, of God.
Cite the sad practitioner, the admitted journeyman
leaning on the organ, counting to four.
Dull youth and their neo-rapture, not ascending.
Girls with dead eyes
chewing and chewing, legs wide apart.

The executors of soul have several fingers and generalized ache –
one articulates the wound’s perimeter;
one picks the flesh to bits.
This former, rattling with masonry,
exemplifies, doubts,
illustrates and kneels,
crawls in his tracks; and thus flagellated into excellence
wipes the table, arranges the fruit.

This is the teeth of singing,
the Jesus of holidays.
Sunday, November 11, 2012



Philip K. Dick's house at the north end of Point Reyes Station


Advice From The Ethicist: My Wife's Lover

Originally published in the NYT in July 2012, letter #2's quandry seems somewhat more relevant today.  (Via Lee Henderson, with thanks)
Saturday, November 10, 2012
"A picture contains the possibility of the situation it represents."  (Wittgenstein)
Friday, November 09, 2012

Heinrich Zille, Müllsammler, nd.
Wednesday, November 07, 2012



Check out this guy's fiery epic screed on the re-election of a centre-right Democrat president and a Republican congress. It's like looking at an ant farm, or one of those weird-ass Robert Heinlein alterna-futures, or the Onion article that it inevitably, sadly, isn't.

Comments thread is full of SOLID INTERNET GOLD, too.

Update: comments thread is now 3 pages and 369 posts long, and might qualify as the funniest thing I have ever accidentally stumbled across online.
Waste My Time, Please

This guy just came into the shop with a nicely printed business card to advise us of some important information that he had recently posted on the internet.  A representative sample:

"Through Proper Action, this the Wide Main road of Virtue, experience and a balancing of the books of the heart, we may approach 99 percent free will and 1% fate at which pointe, once we are prepared to go any distance, surrendoring our final desire for permanent wisdom itself; we receive by the grace of God, something improbable whereby we non-become, free from death, having realized ourselves as eternal Sons and daughters of the Lord.  Some Sons and Daughters, through Mistake or hatred, end up fating themself to Hell, pain and suffering .  It is by Wrong Action that our affirmative free will of Soul becomes clouded and we become a by-product of nature, sometimes the worst aspects.  As a Son or Daughter descends through [crime], or otherwise, the soul falls to as little as 10% free will and is 90% fated to HELLfire, haveing dug themself into a 0(Zero) gate, below their usual normal ones.  Some sons and daughters not only commit Mistake, but then final mistakes, (putting their negative pain karma) beyond normal repairable limits, and thus find ourself in a - 1 gate which is a dead still point below the 0 gate.  A criminal (mind) like this are reverted to false virginal “innocence”, non-difference and [nonsense]. It is a vampire, NAZI, “tarnation”, or zombie.  It is evil, it is illegal, and it is Enemey.  Enemey have no respecte nor honor (nor can they nor will they, This the Bright&morning star, Lucifer, being the only (legal) exception in God’s creation)."

Some thoughts on what happened last night, by David Simon

"America is different now, more so with every election cycle. Ronald Reagan won his mandate in an America in which 89 percent of the voters were white. That number is down to 72 percent and falling. Fifty thousand new Latino citizens achieve the voting age every month. America will soon belong to the men and women — white and black and Latino and Asian, Christian and Jew and Muslim and atheist, gay and straight — who can comfortably walk into a room and accept with real comfort the sensation that they are in a world of certain difference, that there are no real majorities, only pluralities and coalitions. The America in which it was otherwise is dying, thank god, and those who relied on entitlement and division to command power will either be obliged to accept the changes, or retreat to the gated communities from which they wish to wax nostalgic and brood on political irrelevance.

You want to lead in America? Find a way to be entirely utilitarian — to address the most problems on behalf of the most possible citizens. That works. That matters. Last night, it mattered just enough to overcome the calcified political calculations of men who think that 47 percent will vote against them because they are victims, or that 53 percent are with them because the rest of us vote only from self-interest and without regard for the republic as a whole. It was a closer contest than common sense and the spirit of a truly great nation should dictate. But unless these white guys who have peddled 'normal' for so long — normal as in racial majority, normal as in religious majority, normal as in sexual orientation — unless they have a hard moment of self-reflection and self-awareness, well, it will not be this close again.


This election marks a moment in which the racial and social hierarchy of America is upended forever. No longer will it mean more politically to be a white male than to be anything else. Evolve, or don’t. Swallow your resentments, or don’t. But the votes are going to be counted, more of them with each election. Arizona will soon be in play. And in a few cycles, even Texas. And those wishing to hold national office in these United States will find it increasingly useless to argue for normal, to attempt to play one minority against each other, to turn pluralities against the feared 'other' of gays, or blacks, or immigrants, or, incredibly in this election cycle, our very wives and lovers and daughters, fellow citizens who demand to control their own bodies."
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
So, belief in rationality & community after all. Thanks, America.
"Cutting firewood on a recent afternoon in the woods at the back of our farm, it occurred to me that the term conservative has lost all connection to its original meaning.

The root of the word comes from the Latin verb 'conservare,' which means 'to keep and preserve.' It’s interesting that the origin is a verb and not a noun, a term that implies action and duty, rather than merely a stance. Other meanings suggested by conservative have to do with frugality, modesty and the preservation of tradition."
Monday, November 05, 2012
An Australian Danfan observes the local wildlife:

"I wake up feeling like I'm on the set of The Three Amigos: there's always this pigeon in the bush calling, 'El Guapo!', 'El Guapo!' 'El Guapo!' 'El Guapo!' (not sure if guapos have double Ps) Then there's an unidentified bird that whistles the theme from Star Wars. But perhaps the local champ is a bird that whistles the first three notes of (appropriately) Birdland, but with the rhythm of Jaco's introduction to the descending section of A Remark You Made...."
Sunday, November 04, 2012

City of Subdued Excitement 

"Plato materialized gazing at a man sleeping in a bed in a mobile home in Bellingham.

The ghost of a lady with a plastic bag bound around her head was noticed in a convenience store in the Bellingham neighborhood. Many folks close at hand have had matching occurrences involving a very similar phantom.

A somewhat translucent guy dressed as the skipper of a oil tanker has often been made out trying on shoes in a Bellingham residence. A number of the residents claim this ghost is in all probability the tormented ghost of a resident who used to have a house here in Bellingham.

A gargantuan lemur is frequently made out ascending out of a storm drain on a Bellingham avenue late at night.

An alien from another world is known to have been spotted on one or two occasions looking at the water by Bullard Dam at the stroke of midnight.

A Yeti can repeatedly be distinguished nosing around in mailboxes around midnight in Bellingham.

A gigantic roebuck may be spotted frequently playing a harpsichord in a Bellingham flat."
Whatcom Falls Throwdown

"Join our athletes, Pro wakeskater Kyle Walton, Pro wakeboarders, Mikey Ennen, Bob Soven, and Nick Ennen as they destroy every aspect of this newly discovered wake mecca."
Friday, November 02, 2012

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Scott McFarland, View From St. Roch Chapel, New Orleans, 2012

The best of McFarland's photographs to date.  Probably some writing on this amazing picture here in a few days.

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