Red Wednesday In Lalish

Watching the celebration of the Yazidi New Year.

New York City, May 1, 2016

weather review sky 050116★ The rain filled the morning with dull rain noise. The sunscreen would sit unused again; it took a lamp to chase the dimness from the bedroom in midafternoon. At some point, maybe multiple points, the rain stopped falling. It was possible to run errands on the half-dry pavement. Ghastly feathery leaves were sprouting directly from the trunk of a street tree. A drizzle gathered. Unable to settle on raining further or not raining further, the dampness gathered into a blurry fog.

A revision to the equation which calculates the possibility of the existence of intelligent life in the universe “implies that other intelligent, technology-producing species very likely have evolved before us,” although given the popularity of angioplasty-induction repository Allrecipes.com, it might be more appropriate to debate whether or not intelligent life existed thereafter. #

Islands, "No Milk, No Sugar"


Nicholas Thorburn, of the lamented Unicorns and whose City of Quartz (as Nick Diamonds; Jesus, guy, pick a brand and sit on it) was one of 2015’s best records, has two new albums out with his Google-unfriendly band Islands. I am normally averse to double-album syndrome, especially when it presents as a Lucky Town/Whatever The Other Record That Wasn’t Called Lucky Town Was symptom, but I listened to both of them over the weekend and they are definitely very good. I guess one is more electronic and one is more “natural”? Whatever, here are tracks from both, enjoy.

If I were the one telling people what words not to use I would choose “late capitalism,” “gendered,” “liminal,” “bonkers,” and especially “performative” or any other jackoff Judith Butler bullshit people put out when they want to preempt an argument but sound like they went to college while doing it. Still, some UNC History professor thinks we should stop saying “I feel like,” and as the man who wrote the law establishing that the worst thing is knowing what everyone thinks about anything, I cannot but nod in agreement. Seriously, though, get the fuck out of here with “performative,” you empty-headed fraud. We’re all laughing at you every time you say it.#

Pop Culture

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“Order Matters,” the eighty-first story in Adam Ehrlich Sachs’s debut collection, Inherited Disorders, tweaks a familiar tale of paternal disappointment in filial underachievement. Less than a hundred words long, the narrative focuses so narrowly on the son’s perception of his contextual failure that the father at once looms enormously large and disappears completely. “His great-great-grandfather was a Belarusian shoemaker,” Sachs begins. “His great-grandfather was a music teacher. His grandfather was a respected attorney. His father reached the very pinnacle of the medical profession, and just days ago was named director of the National Institutes of Health. He himself, like his great-grandfather, was a music teacher. But it is one thing to teach music when your father is a Belarusian shoemaker, and quite another to do so when your father runs the NIH. Order,” Sachs concludes, “as he put it in his suicide note, matters.”

If A Surprise Radiohead Album Drops In A Cleared Forest

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Over the weekend the Internet started noticing that Radiohead was deleting its web presence. Its Twitter and Facebook pages went blank (which is to say all-white) and so did its website. All of Thom Yorke’s tweets disappeared. Concurrently, some fans received PAPER MAIL with cryptic references to “Burn The Witch,” and a few months ago, others noticed the creation of a new company, Dawn Chorus LLP. All signs point to: Radiohead is about to release a new album!!!1

Look, I’m sure this album will be great. Thom Yorke Jonny Greenwood is a musical genius, but a PR genius he is not. Getting taken by this act is like tickling yourself—if it works on you, you must possess some incredible strain of denial that should be bottled and sold in pill form as an anti-anxiety medication. Deleting yourself from the Internet is the oldest look-at-me trick in the book. Also this isn’t even really disappearing themselves completely, so PLEASE STOP MAKING THAT JOKE—the accounts are still there! All of my most self-conscious ex-boyfriends do this shit all the time, and it only has the effect of making me wonder about them more. Gravity works! Don’t act surprised.

Try and tell me we don’t live in a sick society: An event organizer is going to make a bunch of guys in their seventies spend hours in the harsh conditions of the California desert this October. Even more disgustingly, thousands of people will pay top dollar to watch these old men contort their bodies into positions untenable for those of vastly advanced years, perhaps doing irreversible damage to their frail, arthritic bodies. This macabre audience will probably film the cruelty with their phones instead of rushing to the aid of these unfortunate geriatrics. It’s inhumane. Andrew Sullivan is right, we don’t deserve democracy. #

The Broadway Show That Changed Everything

rentOh my God you guys, did you know there was a musical before Hamilton? Like, a long time before. People who are old now loved it. If they had social media back then they totally would have put the playbill on Instagram just to show everyone else that they had gone and seen it. It was, like, a “raw, spontaneous, organic explosion of a show.” But how come no one has ever heard of it? Probably because it happened a million years ago and then nobody ever tried to do a musical that spoke to young people again until now? I don’t know. But one of the guys from the cast of that musical, who is somehow still alive, says, “It started to become a little bit of a machine toward the end, and the cult around the show was in some ways not super-pleasant. The energy had shifted.” So maybe that had something to do with it? That is definitely not something that will ever happen to Hamilton, so there’s no need to worry. I promise you, nothing that so many people are so deeply engaged in letting people know they are into right now could ever fade into memory or lose even a little bit of relevance. Anyway, if reading about things that happened way before your parents were born is something that sounds like fun to you, here is an oral history of that musical that people liked so long ago. It’s funny to think that anyone could get that worked up about a Broadway show, but they did things differently back then.

If he’s as concerned as he says he is by all the “people that are from all over and they’re killers and rapists and they’re coming into this country,” he might consider building a wall around his pants. . .

He didn’t make it to Raka, where her maternal grandfather accidentally cross-bred a Ptuj and an Egyptian, creating the famed Raka red onion. . .

She has taken on her husband’s signature pout, in a connubial version of people who grow to look like their dogs. . .

These are just a few of the best lines from Lauren Collins’s Melania Trump profile, if you can call it that—as Collins writes, “Her story is so vacuous as to almost require the imagination to spackle its holes.”#

Keep Shelly in Athens, "Bright Morning"


Welcome to May. Back in the Before Times we would celebrate the changing of the calendar with pleasured anticipation at the coming of summer, but now that each different day is its own separate season, sometimes several, it is hard to know what May means anymore. The National Weather Service says we won’t see the sun again until Saturday at least, so maybe May is the new early April? I don’t know what to tell you, sorry. Have some music, maybe that will distract you. ENJOY!