Friday, March 30, 2007

An Oral Disquisition on Polymorphous Perversity

From an interview with Andy Partridge at MAGNET, where he's the current Featured Artist:

...Right, although the nearest I could get was my rubber shark story. That was my notorious way of not being unfaithful when I was on tour.

Come again?

It was the best blow job I ever had! I bought it at a Woolworth’s in Melbourne, Australia, on tour. I was thinking, “How am I gonna be good?” I had an afternoon off, wandering around, and was amazed that they had a load of stuff in this store that you just couldn’t get anymore, like a time capsule or something. I saw this soft, rubber shark about a foot long and I thought, “Wow, if I stuck my dick in that, it’d feel really good, and I could be faithful and not tempted by all these women now that I’m married!” So I thought, “I’m gonna buy this rubber shark and fuck it!” I bought the shark, and it felt great. You’d get some suction going, a vacuum effect, just terrific. I used to wedge it under a cushion or a chair and I’d fuck this rubber shark. My suitcase was full at the time, so I had to buy an extra box to take it around. I had this blue fiber-board suitcase, and I’d keep this rubber shark in there. I remember going through New Zealand with it and the customs agent asking me, “What’s in the case, mate?” And I said, “Well, it’s a rubber shark.” “Wise guy.” Then he’d open it up and it’d be a rubber shark! It was great.

Did it have a name, this shark?

Not really a name. Sharky. [Laughs] Although after a while that stopped because then I’d think of Feargal Sharkey, and the last thing—literally—you want to be thinking of when you’re blowing your wad is the lead singer of the Undertones.

This is all the more amusing because I've lined up an interview with this guy next week. Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Usage Notes

The proper plural of MILF is "milves."

Oh, and: by the strictest rules of all reputable style books, "Not Safe for Work" should be rendered "NSW" rather than the nearly universal "NSFW." I've sent out a mass mailing, on some of Mr. Safire's New York Times letterhead that I managed to pilfer on my last tour of those august offices, to purveyors of alternative amusements that may fall into this category. That should get their attention.

There is no time -- or, indeed, medium -- in which proper orthography is inappropriate. Unlettered cocksuckers.

Mr. William Safire, Contributing Editor
The New York Times Magazine

The Editors

March 29, 2007

Dear sirs;

It has come to my attention....

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Those Terrible Triplets Sixteenth Notes

I did a bit of research preparing for my previous post about the song "A Hard Day's Night," and now I think I've uncovered something pretty strange:

I don't believe George Harrison played the solo on "A Hard Day's Night" on a Rickenbacker 360-12. I think it's quite possible -- likely, even -- that George Harrison didn't play that solo at all -- or at least not by himself, and not without resort to studio jiggery-pokery.

My first piece of evidence, entirely circumstantial, I admit, is this. The version recorded live at the BBC, which you can find on "The Beatles at the BBC," has one of the funniest edits I've ever heard: when the lads get to the solo, the BBC simply edits in the solo from the record. No attempt to hide it or anything -- I guess they thought it wouldn't be remarked by the unsophisticated audience listening over the radio.

Here it is:

The BBC Edit.

So why wouldn't they use the solo as George played it? Maybe because he clammed it so badly --repeatedly, because it wasn't a true live broadcast and George could have taken as many mulligans as he needed -- that it was unusable.

Mark Lewisohn, in The Complete Beatles Chronicle (a true anal-retentive fan's book -- a recounting of every day of the Beatles' career) says that on Tuesday, 14 July 1964, the Beatles recorded "A Hard Day's Night" for radio broadcast at the Beeb; "because they had trouble playing the instrumental middle eight the EMI disc [i.e., the record we know and love] was dubbed in here."

I'd say that was a pretty good evidence of repeated Harrisonian clams, wouldn't you?

The song was in their live repertoire for the summer tour of 1964, and Harrison does a pretty workmanlike job on the solo on the "Live at the Hollywood Bowl" set recorded 23 August, so I'm guessing that he worked very hard to perfect it before the tour started.

I will say this: That solo is not easy to play -- and I'm a pretty fair guitar player. The first phrase is rudimentary, but those triplets sixteenth notes in the second phrase are very hard to play crisply -- and on the "Hollywood Bowl" version (which I have only on cassette, curses curses) the triplets are still far from perfect.

Now, as to the solo on the record:

Ian MacDonald, in Revolution in the Head, says that it was recorded at half-speed an octave lower -- but this is clearly impossible because the guitar is being played on its lowest strings; you can't play an octave lower.

Wikipedia theorizes that it wasn't a guitar at all, but George Martin playing a harpsichord. I don't buy this one either, because there's a very clear slide up two frets on the sixth note of the solo -- impossible with any keyboard.

But Wikipedia does get one thing right, and this is the most damning detail: the paired notes in the solo are two octaves apart, not one, as the 12-string guitar is tuned.

This hints very strongly that the thing was played by two guitars, or by one guitar and a harpsichord, or by a solo harpsichord, and perhaps at half-speed. But not a Rick 12-string.

My last piece of evidence is Take One from the 16 April, 1964, session. This comes from the "Anthology, Volume 1":

A Hard Day's Night, Take 1.

That's...just...awful, isn't it....

In his defense, this is really not an attempt at a guitar solo -- he's really not trying on this one. It's a placeholder: "Guitar Solo Goes Here." But the bones of the solo are there: You can hear him take two stabs at those triplets, quick notes and doing very badly both times. (I'm telling you, they're a bitch to play.) But you're never going to convince me that Harrison got from that terrible attempt to the version on the record in three hours, which is how long it took them to get to Take 9, the released take.

The thing that I really can't get over is how completely different the timbre of the guitar is between the Take 1 and the released recording. Listen to Take 9 now -- the released version:

A Hard Day's Night, Take 9

Does that guitar sound anything even remotely like the guitar in Take 1? Even taking into account careful equalization and compression, how does a 12-string guitar go from having its paired strings one octave apart (Take 1) to having them two octaves apart (in Take 9)?

No, I'll never be convinced that George Harrison stood in Studio Two at the EMI Studios on 16 April 1964 and played those notes.

A Reason to Go On Living: That Chord

(#2 in a series -- crossposted at NewCritics)

Recently, a dear friend lent me a guitar he wasn't using.

Not just any guitar. He lent me a Rickenbacker 360-12:

Rickenbacker 360-12

You can be forgiven if the words "Rickenbacker 360-12" don't send shivers up your spine. Guitar fetishes quickly grow tiresome to the uninitiated, and it's hilarious to me that adult men (I've never met a truly committed gearhead of the female persuasion) can be led to believe that ownership of one ax or another will automatically confer on the owner the mojo, the swagger, of the rock star who made it famous. Two minutes spent with Musician's Friend catalog sales-copy will show how silly gearheads can be.

But this -- this is a Rickenbacker 360-12, man! It played that chord!

What chord?

That chord, man! You gotta know the one I mean!

That chord!

Rickenbacker 360-12, another viewIn our overstimulated time, our computerized, synthesized, digitized, 500-channels-and-nothing-worth watching time, when even the word radical has been drained of its meaning, it's impossible -- we're so burnt! -- to know how brain-meltingly radical, how charged with promise, how laden with possibility, was that one overtone-soaked BLANNNNNG when it was first heard in 1964. Think about it: Was there ever a single noise, a single sonorous crashing KLANNNNG, that more totally changed everything that anyone knew? It was modern! But like all harbingers of change, this single electric crash, joyously, orgasmically received by its audience, was not unambiguously benign.

You could get badly lost -- and many, many people did indeed get lost -- in the universes that that one monstrous chord opens. Those overtones -- those ululating frequencies bashing violently against each other as the chord decays -- scream an unmistakable warning of twisted confusion dead ahead. When did the Sixties begin? Was it when Oswald's bullet hit Kennedy's cranium? When Johnson proffered the Great Society? When troop levels rose in Vietnam? I submit my own candidate for your consideration: That chord.

Like almost everything about that decade, that chord still sows dissension. The Sixties will forever be fought over; the chief, nearly defining characteristic of that decade's history is the hellish ambiguity of the changes it wrought. I confess my own ambivalence over things that I once considered unarguably positive; I can't help but intuit that I might have loathed the self-congratulation of the Woodstock Notion, or the gibbering stupidity of someone under the impression that an idea conceived on LSD deserves particular validity. I have, I suppose, grown up to that extent.

The iconic noise of that chord, as I say, is still fought over. Nothing that large, that explosively clangorous, can be pinned down and defined. Those attempting to do so will find themselves at odds with others in the field -- as this page at Wikipedia will attest. At that page, I count five musicologists -- at least three known to me as excellent scholars of the Beatles' musical output -- who cannot actually agree about the component notes or the harmonic function of that chord! In researching this post, I've found that even the magisterial Ian MacDonald, in my opinion the best and most sympathetic critic of the Beatles' recorded work, gets the component notes of the chord quite wrong, as do the authors of The Beatles: The Complete Scores (and not for the first time!).

What can we say about something so huge and yet so strangely ambiguous, both in composition and in meaning? What is it even possible to say? Best just to let the thing reverberate around in your head, speaking for itself. And speak it will.

Now hand me that guitar!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'd Love Me For It

This afternoon, I managed to lock myself out of the building at work. I'd stepped out to my truck in the parking lot to fetch something (it was ensconced comfortably in the Handicapped spot -- thanks, Medical Science!). When I tried the front door I realized I'd left my little magnetic key-card in my jacket pocket back at my desk.

There is a little subterfuge one can employ in this situation, but it involves walking about 100 yards to the parking garage and waiting for someone to use that door. For a man in my sore condition, this is not a minor undertaking.

I did what any red-blooded man in my situation would do: I screwed up my eyes, threw my head violently backward and then forward, and uttered one single extremely obscene syllable.

As I eructed this syllable from my mouth, a small pool of saliva went along with it. I'm not talking about a droplet or two, I mean a good quarter-teaspoon's worth. I really hadn't been anticipating cursing with such ferocity, and I didn't rearrange the buccal contents in anticipation. Clumsy of me, I know. With the accompanying vehement forward head-fling, the small blob (gobbet? loogie? lunger?) of spit splashed rather forcefully directly into my left eye.

Yes, that's right. I'd actually managed to spit in my own eye.

Ruefully wiping the goo out of my eye and off my nose with a sleeve, and gratefully noting that I hadn't been observed by anyone, I realized I'd actually been lucky, in a way. There are worse bodily fluids you can accidentally slosh into your own peepers.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Because I'm a Lazy Git...

...And because I'm swamped at work, y'all can just watch The Coolest Man in Rock-n-Roll History instead.

Or I'll entertain your candidates for C.M.I.R-n-R.H in Comments. But be warned, you're gonna have to search long and hard (oooh! That's what she said!) to find somebody cooler than Bo Diddley.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Memphis, Tennessee

Lord almighty, how fast they grow!

Young Freddie Jingo, aged 13 going on approximately 24, contributes the rhythm guitar to this loose little studio jam on Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee," one of my most favorite songs of all time. He's playing the sweet little Squier Strat we gave him for Christmas, and we knocked out his part in a couple of hours. I tried to get him to sing an Everly Brothers–style harmony vocal, but he wasn't having any of it. Singing, apparently, is for buttmunches.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you for the very first time ever on the international stage, Freddie Jingo!

Memphis, Tennessee (pops).

(Freddie's on the left of your radio dial.)

You can keep your Dylans and your Springsteens and your Davieses; for my money the premiere rock lyricist is Chuck Berry. In four brief verses in this tune, a simple one-sided telephone conversation, he sketches an entire short story, a whole open-ended drama. His genius in this song is to fool our conventional expectations of a narrative like this one; we believe, because we've heard hundreds of other love-songs, that the Marie he's trying to call is an absent girlfriend. Only through details dropped through the lyric do we find out the truth of who Marie really is, and why Chuck needs to speak to her so badly.

The telling details are revealed slowly. First we get the fact that our caller's living with his uncle (who writes phone messages "on the wall"! -- what kind of house does he run?). Then the delicious, nutty, and wonderfully comedic description of the physical location of Marie's house in Memphis -- as though knowing that Marie lives "on the south side, high up on a ridge" is going to help the operator find the phone number. Picture the desperation of this poor man -- it's both hilarious and quite sad.

Next, we get the detail that "we were pulled apart because her Mom did not agree"; since we're still laboring under the delusion that this is a conventional love song, it's still possible that this is a Romeo-and-Juliet situation, that cruel parents disapprove of the liaison and have acted to forbid it.

Then Chuck hits us with the kicker, "Marie is only six years old!" and suddenly the entire song has to be reevaluated. We realize that the Mom who "did not agree" is a divorced wife, that Chuck's so completely estranged from her that he doesn't even know her phone number in Memphis, he's living with his uncle in the sort of hovel where nobody cares if you write on the walls, and in his loneliness and desperation he's pouring out his heart to a completely anonymous telephone operator who is extremely unlikely to be able to help him -- or even care.

It's perhaps the saddest little rock-n-roll shuffle ever written.

Chuck Berry: Here's to you, man.

And to you, Freddie. I hope there's lots more of these in the future. Maybe I'll even convince you you're not a buttmunch if you sing.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Thoughts on St. Patrick's Day

"Ireland is a great country. It is called the Emerald Isle. The metropolitan government, after centuries of strangling it, has laid it waste. It's now an untilled field. The government has sowed hunger, syphilis, superstition, and alcoholism there; puritans, Jesuits, and bigots have sprung up.

"Proverbially and by nature our peasants walk in their sleep, closely resembling fakirs in their froglike and renunciatory sterility. I think they are the one people who, when they are hungry, eat symbolically. Do you know what it means to eat symbolically? I'll clear it up for you in no time; the peasant family, a big roomful of them, sit around a rustic table as if it were an altar. In the middle of the table, suspended on a string from the ceiling, is a herring which could feed the lot of them. The headman arms himself with a potato. Then with it he makes the sign of the cross (my Tuscan friends say 'He makes the big cross') high up on the back of the fish instead of just rubbing it as any hypocrite would do. This is the signal, and after him, hieratically, each member of the family performs this same trick so that at the end the members, that is to say the diners, find themselves contemplating a potato in their hands, and the herring, if it doesn't get eaten by the cat, or rot, is destined to be mummified for posterity. This dish is called the indicated herring. The peasants are gluttons for it, and stuff their bellies full."

– from James Joyce’s course material, used while teaching English to Berlitz students in Trieste, in 1906. From Richard Ellman’s James Joyce, p. 217.

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Reason to Go On Living

(Cross-posted at NewCritics)

Brett as HolmesIt was with a hearty whinny of joy that I stumbled quite by accident recently upon a rebroadcast on The Biography Channel of "The Adventure of the Empty House," one of the Sherlock Holmes series made by Granada Television between 1984 and 1994. The prospect of spending even the merest hour with Jeremy Brett's unspeakably wonderful portrayal of the great detective was a delicious one, and when, through the magic of TiVo, I discovered that the whole series was being rebroadcast, I mashed the "Season Pass" button, poured myself a glass of medicinal brandy (the Seven-Percent Solution being no longer an avenue of pleasure open to me), lit a fire in the grate and prepared to bask in the glow of Brett's portrayal -- an unalloyed pleasure I had missed for a decade.

The intervening years had done nothing to dim Brett's light. He is magnificent.

When, as a stripling of twelve summers, I first came across the Sherlock Holmes stories, my first impression of Holmes was this was one hurting mamma-jamma. Those miraculous feats of near-psychic deduction near the beginning of many of the stories, where Holmes divines a visitor's profession, marital status, and military service within three minutes of his entry in the room, seemed to me to speak of a rather tortured soul -- who would ever want to be cursed with such acute powers, if they came attended by such heartache?

Brett's Holmes is a marvelously twitchy bundle of neuroses, a clearly tormented man. The episode I happened upon is (as any fule kno) the triumphant return of Holmes to London after the absence occasioned by his encounter with Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls; Watson (played with consummate aplomb by Edward Hardwicke) has believed Holmes to be dead for three years. What struck one about their reunion was both the tenderness of the affection between the two men -- evinced by Brett with brilliantly acted fleeting moments of warmth breaking through his otherwise austere face -- but also a deep sadness at Holmes' imprisonment inside his genius, which leaves him strangely immune to ordinary human happiness.

It's perhaps difficult to see through the filter of 100 years, but Holmes would have been seen by his contemporary audience as a profoundly eccentric man. Brett understands this to the core of his actor's soul, and imbues Holmes' every movement with revealing quirks. When interested by a new development, he doesn't merely sit in a chair, he leaps into it with feline quickness, folds his legs under himself, and glares with attention. When a sofa blocks his path to Watson, he flings himself onto his knees on the cushions, leans over the back, and continues talking -- a caprice perhaps forgivable in a child, but terribly gauche in a Victorian gentleman.

Yet in other ways, he is urbanity itself. He wears the proper clothes for the occasion and location (the archetypal deerstalker cap and Inverness cape being ridiculous on a gentleman in the city). His diction is perfect. His manners are, if brusque, never misdirected. He gives an ineluctable impression of a man steeped in, yet immune to, the infinite variety of human evil. Tiny movements of the muscles of his face betray compassion, empathy, identity with the plight of his supplicants, the blameless victims of fortune (except, of course, when they're not). He often tests Watson's patience by withholding information, but it's a measure of both Watson's trust and Holmes' gentlemanliness that the relationship survives without recrimination.

I detested the Basil Rathbone Holmes films. Rathbone himself was not to blame; his Holmes was as good as the script could allow. What I hated was the fact that the filmmakers didn't trust their audience to follow Conan Doyle's plots or his dialog, and revised both to the point of complete unrecognizability. It was a point of some pride in my youth that I could (admittedly, with some difficulty) track with Doyle's late-Victorian prose; the howling 1940's anachronisms that would emit from Rathbone's mouth made me cringe. Holmes fighting Nazis, for all love!

Of course, editing the Holmes canon down to a one-hour television format necessitates some telescoping and elisions, but the job done by director John Hawkesworth and his team of writers is skilled and sympathetic. At no time have I been irritated by the redactions to Doyle's immortal stories. I now keep my well-worn copy of the Complete Stories on the coffee table in the den, and amuse myself by following along in the text as the show plays. I'm fascinated by the differences between the two, the decisions the writers made in trying to keep faith with Doyle's blueprints. I followed with great interest during "The Adventure of the Naval Treaty"; a speech by Holmes that begins, "There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion," marks, as far as I remember, the only time that Holmes ever seriously discusses God except in passing, or ever conflates mystery with Mystery. Doyle's version of the dialog fizzles a bit -- it opens a parenthesis in the story that has no real corresponding closing parenthesis. The Hawkesworth passage ends with a bang, leaving no doubt as to the subtext under discussion; Brett's Holmes replaces the rose that has sparked his reverie in its vase and pronounces with great import, "...and I am no magician!" It is, by God, an improvement, and I'll fight anyone who says it ain't.

It's a monumental shame that Brett died in 1994, before the whole Holmes canon could be completed. But Brett's Holmes will forever be the definitive one in my mind. He is precisely the character that Arthur Conan Doyle wrote, the man who enslaved this twelve-year-old boy forever.

Friday, March 09, 2007

I Can Never Remember: Is It Libel or Slander if You Do It in a Blog?

  • Michael Burgess, of 2348 Pine Meadows Drive in Bethesda, MD, a low-ranking aide to Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), personally rounded up 400,000 Jews, Gypsies, Communists and homosexuals at gunpoint and delivered them to the Nazi occupiers of Holland in 1941. Mr. Burgess now claims that he was not yet born in 1941, but has so far failed to produce his birth certificate.

  • Angelina Rodriguez, of 456 Palatine Terrace in Racine, WI, regularly beats her dog Zip, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, with a leather strap she hides in a toolchest in the garage. The dog is despondent over Ms. Rodriguez' frequent capricious and sudden reversals of opinion that he is a "good dog" or a "bad dog." Zip has not urinated on the carpet in over three years, although he does occasionally dig in the azalea bed.

  • Jimmy Twistleton, a six-year-old boy living at 12 Overton Road in Charing Cross in the United Kingdom, is a frequent bedwetter. His parents, Bob and Lila, who regularly practice anal sex, are pondering giving him up for adoption, but doubt anyone would take in a "stupid leaky little git like that."

  • José Maria Pérez de Galindo, of 77 Calle de los Leones in Montevideo, Uruguay, will blow anybody for cigarette money.

  • Abdi Abdullah bin Hossein, of 14 Kafr Hanut Road in Port Said, Egypt, is a gun-runner for Al-Qaeda. He is also a coprophile.

  • Jeanne d'Amboise, of 11 Rue de la Paix in Lyons, France, divorced mother of Charles, 12, and Angelique, 10: Had her.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

This I Believe

I believe that the only honorable option left us in this evil old world is to stand onstage on Ted Mack's Amateur Hour Alan Freed's "The Big Beat" in 1956 with Bry[l]creemed hair, bowtie, zoot jacket with velvet lapels, white bucks, whanging on a dreadnought guitar, legs spread, back foot beating a frantic tattoo on the floor while you howl "Lonesome Train."

I also believe that all our voices should come equipped with 1956-vintage slapback reverb. From birth.

Ladies and gentlemen, Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio!

Jesus Christ, look at that geezer with the Tele! (Paul Burlison, if Wikipedia is to be believed; Johnny's brother Dorsey is on bass) He's HUGE! As far as I can tell that's a standard-sized Fender Telecaster (probably worth as much as my house, if it still exists). It looks like a goddamned ukelele on the guy!

(Wow: Apparently, Burlison accidentally discovered amp distortion in 1956 when he dropped his Fender Deluxe and a tube came loose...)

A Note on Branding

Damn. I just thought of the greatest name for a blog ever:

Shemp the Penman.

You want it, it's yours.

(Update: That wacky Kevin Wolf!)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Joke That Will Be Understood By Approximately Four People

It's really funny how many Kenyon people find their way to these Friendly Confines. An old pal, an alum, nudged me in the ribs recently about Walker's Pond (a popular off-campus destination for class-skippers, dopers and trysting couples), and up pops another, somewhat more mysterious, entity with a comment that clearly also betrayed an intimate familiarity with that dear old mud-puddle.

It's occurred to me:

I am become the Host of Lords!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Metro Section, p. B04

Buried deep inside this morning's WashPost Metro section was a rather unprepossessing little piece, tucked up next to the obituaries and the local-crime roundup:
Expert on Soviet Intelligence Shot in Adelphi

...Paul Joyal, 53, was shot Thursday, four days after he alleged in a television broadcast that the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin was involved in the fatal poisoning of a former KGB agent in London.

Law enforcement sources and sources close to Joyal, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said the motive for the shooting was unclear. But several sources confirmed that FBI investigators are looking into the incident because of Joyal's background as an intelligence expert and his comments about the Alexander Litvinenko case....
So let's see, here... Two mysterious men walk up to a man who just happens have been interviewed on "Dateline" this past Sunday saying that "A message has been communicated to anyone who wants to speak out against the Kremlin: 'If you do, no matter who you are, where you are, we will find you, and we will silence you -- in the most horrible way possible.' " The men shoot him in the nuts and disappear. The police are unwilling to part with any informative detail.

And the Washington Post plays it on page B4 of the Metro section.

I suppose it could have been just a random mugging. Nobody slipped any Polonium into Joyal's Rice Crispies, or carved portentous Cyrillic warnings into his bleeding flesh, but what do you think the odds are of getting "randomly" shot within a week of your appearance on "Dateline" in which you accuse Vladimir Putin of murder?

I think this one bears watching, don't you?
Call a lawyer,
Let me will my ass to you forevermore!
(BTW, as of the article's date, Joyal is in critical condition at "a hospital.")

Later Edit (Monday, March 5): It turns out Joyal was robbed of his wallet and briefcase in the course of the attack, which, according to the Post (which has now elevated the story to p. 1 of the Metro section), "supports the theory that he was shot during a robbery rather than in retaliation for public criticism of the Kremlin, according to two sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing."

While I'm prepared to concede that this attack may actually have been a mindbendingly unlikely coincidence, I don't think that the fact that his effects were stolen proves anything one way or the other. I can quite easily imagine that the attackers' marching orders included the instruction, "And remyember, mek it look like a muggingk..."

The newer Post piece includes one sentence that's a real insight in to the Editorial Mindset: "Joyal was shot hours after meeting with a former KGB general, Oleg Kalugin, near the Spy Museum in Washington." It's a fascinating combination of the possibly relevant with the shriekingly immaterial: "Met with a former KGB general" -- a potentially useful fact, combined with "near the Spy Museum," a detail that's plainly included purely for the purpose of titillation. Other public places "near the Spy Museum" that might have been mentioned include the MCI Arena (thus inserting the all-important Basketball and Hockey Factor into the equation) and (frisson!) Chinatown, which would have suggested the involvement of Jake Giddes and/or the Tongs.

Come to think of it, the office of the Washington Post itself is only a few blocks away from the Spy Museum...

At any rate, this story is just deliciously weird.

Update to the Update (Tuesday, March 6): Joyal's son says his father's wallet wasn't stolen after all. Down the rabbit hole we go!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

So Happy It's Thursday

I've come to a stark realization: Postoperative Vicodin and my usual brand of thoughtful, carefully composed, measured, closely reasoned blogging...

Don't mix!

My powerful brain has turned, I find, into something with all the intellectual acuity and initiative of a bowl of six-day-old vanilla pudding. By way of illustration: It just took me fourteen minutes to come up with that lame-assed simile.

Physically, I improve daily. I can now walk short distances without a cane or a crutch, climb stairs foot-over-foot, and lift seven and a half whole pounds on the Nautilus machine using only the muscles of my thigh. (My preoperative record was a still impressive four pounds.)

I've come to the regrettable realization that my burgeoning career as a barnstorming professional pole-vaulter will have to go into cold storage until a great deal more healing has taken place, but this sad fact is more than offset by the fact that I'm stoned to the gills most of the time. Hey ho: God never closes a door without opening a window, dig? Which is good, because Jesus Christ has that deity got some evil farts.

Was going to say something else, but can't remember what it was. See? See?

Oh, yeah, I remember. A certain Dartmouth/Columbia Biz grad who just waved his little fucking magic wand and erased, nullified, annihilated, liquidated, obliterated (see note at DESTROY, 511.3) the product of the last fourteen months of my professional life needs to be Extraordinarily Renditioned to Turkmenistan and sliced into small pieces by an angry mob of Capuchin monkeys armed with plastic sporks. Fuck you, you piss-stained little MBA twat. Fuck you and your fucking sleek turtleneck sweaters and your $900 camelhair jackets and your fucking mousse-tousled, highlighted coiffure and your fucking BlackBerry and your ugly children and your frigid, neurotic courtesan -- here's a little food for thought, you revolting little business-school dog-turd: Are you really convinced she loves you for who you are?

There. Enough of that, eh? Let's just conclude that the Executive Class and I aren't going to grow old together and leave it at that.