Monday, February 28, 2011

Destroy All Monsters

Where I come from, nobody knows
Where I'm goin', everybody goes

(From their 1979 song, "Nobody Knows."  Destroy All Monsters was a punk/psychedelic/metal band based in Ann Arbor that had direct or indirect ties to four of the greatest bands in history -- MC5, the Stooges, Mission of Burma, and Sonic Youth.  I recently re-discovered this song on a cassette tape I made in 1980.)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Karin Fossum

We're not really afraid to die.  We're only afraid of being forgotten. 

We know that we'll be forgotten, and the idea is unbearable, don't you agree?  As time passes we become infrequent visitors in the minds of those left behind.  The ones who clear out the house and divide up the belongings. Throw away the rubbish.  And forget.  

If we knew that every evening someone lit a candle and sat down to think – thought about us, if only for a few seconds – then we could depart this earth in peace. 

(From her 1998 novel, When the Devil Holds the Candle, which was published in the United States in 2007.)

Saturday, February 26, 2011


And when the morning of the warning's passed, 
The gassed and flaccid kids
Are flung across the stars
The psychodramas and the traumas gone
The songs are left unsung 
And hung upon the scars
And then along comes Mary

The "Tandyn Slave-Master"
(From their 1966 hit, "Along Came Mary," which was written by Tandyn Almer, who invented the "Tandyn Slave-Master," which was described in  one marijuana reference book as "the perfect bong.")

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ian Frazier

Now, inside every one of us is a center that contains the essence of everything we are. . . . O.K., so we imagine this inner central thing, whatever it is, to be a glowing coal, and every time we breathe in our breath causes the coal to glow more brightly, and when we exhale our whole being and the entire universe itself is gently warmed by the coal.  Let's hold that image in our minds.
Now, there are steps you must take to get in touch with your inner self, and the essential first step, as we know, is to dump your f*cking husband.

(From one of Frazier's occasional "Cursing Mommy" pieces for the New Yorker.)

"Oh, what a f*cking horrible day this has been"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Martha and the Muffins

From nine to five I have to spend my time at work
My job is very boring -- I'm an office clerk
The only thing that helps me pass the time away
Is knowing I'll be back at Echo Beach some day

(This 1980 song was this Toronto band's biggest hit.  There is no such place as "Echo Beach.")

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mark Kingwell

Procrastination most often arises from a sense that there is too much to do . . . . Underneath this rather antic form of action-as-inaction is the much more unsettling question whether anything is worth doing at all.
(Kingwell, who was born in 1963, is a Canadian author and professor of philosophy.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Marnie Stern

"This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That"

(This is the title of virtuosic finger-tapping guitarist Marnie Stern's second album, which was released in 2008.  It is taken from a quote by Zen philosopher Alan Watts, who apparently took it from a poem by San Francisco poet and filmmaker James Broughton.)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dennis Lehane

After drinking his weight in Crown Royal one night, he'd flipped his Dodge Viper coming back from Foxwoods with his girlfriend riding shotgun.  She'd only been his girlfriend two weeks, but it was unlikely she'd be anyone's girlfriend ever again.  Her name was Ashten Mayles and she'd been in a persistent vegetative state ever since the top of the car compacted against the top of her skull.  One of the last acts she'd attempted to perform while she'd still had use of her arms and legs was to try and take Brandon's keys from him in the casino parking lot.  According to witnesses, Brandon had rewarded her concern by flicking a lit cigarette at her.

(From his 2010 novel, Moonlight Mile, which is a sequel to his 1998 book, Gone Baby Gone -- if you haven't seen the movie, go rent it NOW.)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Kinks

Where did my teeth go? 
Where did my muscles go? 
Where did the spring go? 
Where did my hormones go? 
Where did my energy go? 
Where did my go go? 
[From their 1969 song, "Where Did My Spring Go?"]

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Crosby, Stills & Nash

Forty-nine reasons all in a line
All of them good ones
All of them lies.
(From their 1969 song, "49 Bye-Byes."  Yesterday was the 49th day of the year.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Joyce Carol Oates

That I was sleeping at a time when my husband was dying is so horrible a thought that I can't confront it.

(Raymond Smith, the husband of Joyce Carol Oates for 46 years, died on this date in 2008.  He had been admitted to a Princeton hospital because he had pneumonia, and seemed to be recovering after several days of treatment.  Oates had gone home after visiting him on February 17 and was asleep when she got a call a little after midnight.  By the time she got back to the hospital, he was dead.) 

Raymond Smith and Joyce Carol Oates (1972)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jefferson Airplane

The summer had inhaled 
     and held its breath too long
The winter looked the same, 
     as if it never had gone 
And through an open window 
     where no curtain hung 
I saw you
I saw you
Comin' back to me 

(From their 2nd album, Surrealistic Pillow -- Marty Balin's "Comin' Back To Me" is a very relaxing and exquisitely beautiful song.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Frank Zappa

Watch out where the huskies go
Don't you eat that yellow snow!

(Good advice!  From Frank Zappa's 1974 song, "Don't You Eat That Yellow Snow.")

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ariel Levy

Ultimately, Gilbert is clear about what she, like most people, wants: everything.

We want intimacy and autonomy, security and stimulation, reassurance and novelty, coziness and thrills. But we can't have it.
(From her review of Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage.  How was your Valentine's Day?)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Joe Jackson

Fools in love
Gently hold each other's hands forever
Fools in love
Gently tear each other limb from limb
(From his 1979 song, "Fools in Love."  Happy Valentine's Day!)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

William Congreve

Heaven has no rage, like love to hatred turned,
Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorned.
(From his 1697 play, The Mourning Bride.  The second line is very familiar, but the first line should not be overlooked.  Tomorrow is Valentine's Day -- have you finished your shopping yet?)

"Love to hatred turned"?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Pretenders

Anger and lust
My senses running amok
Bewildered and deluded
Have I been hit by a truck? . . .
Lust turns to anger
A kiss to a slug
Something was sticky
On your shag rug
(From their 1980 song, "Up The Neck."  Don't forget -- Valentine's Day is just around the corner!)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Marcel Proust

What a profound significance small things assume when the woman we love conceals them from us.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ann-Marie MacDonald

(From her 2003 novel, The Way the Crow Flies.)

When a parent dies, a planet disappears, and the night sky will never look the same again . . . 

And when both are gone, it's as though we are permanently without a roof -- invisible shield, first line of defense between ourselves and mortality, gone.

Ann-Marie MacDonald

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Leonard Cohen

And then leaning on your window sill
He'll say one day 
You caused his will to weaken 
With your love and warmth and shelter
And then taking from his wallet
An old schedule of trains, he'll say
"I told you when I came I was a stranger"

(I was having trouble deciding which verse from "The Stranger Song" to use when it suddenly occurred to me that I didn't have to choose -- nothing was stopping me from using both of them in consecutive posts.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Leonard Cohen

And then sweeping up the jokers 
That he left behind
You find 
He did not leave you very much 
Not even laughter
Like any dealer 
He was watching for the card
That is so high and wild
He'll never need to deal another
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger

(Cohen's 1967 song, "The Stranger Song," was used in the opening credit sequence of Robert Altman's 1971 movie, McCabe and Mrs. Miller.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lil' Wayne

Yeah I'm from New Orleans, but I been a Packers fan
We knocked the Eagles and the Falcons and the Bears off
Now we 'bout to cut Troy Polamalu's hair off

I'm a cheesehead, y'all n*ggas Cheez Whiz 
Pittsburgh Steelers, that's nothin'
That Super Bowl ring, that's stuntin'

Green and yellow, green and yellow
Green and yellow, green and yellow
(Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers, winners of Super Bowl XLV.)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ronald Reagan

They tell us we must learn to live with less, and teach our children that their lives will be less full and prosperous than ours have been; that the America of the coming years will be a place where — because of our past excesses — it will be impossible to dream and make those dreams come true.  I don't believe that.
* * * * *

I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited.  There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.
* * * * *

In closing, let me thank you, the American people, for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your president.  When the Lord calls me home, whenever that day may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future.  I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life.  I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.

(The late Ronald Reagan was born 100 years ago today in Tampico, Illinois.  The first quote above is from his announcement on November 11, 1979, that he was running for president.  The second quote is from his farewell speech to the nation on January 11, 1989 -- just before he left the White House.  The final quote is from a November 5, 1994, letter in which he disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Black Eyed Peas

The boys they wanna sex me
They always standing next to me,
Always dancing next to me,
Tryin' to feel my hump, hump.
Lookin' at my lump, lump.
My lovely lady lumps
My lovely lady lumps
My lovely lady lumps
In the back and in the front

(From their 2005 hit single, "My Humps."  I'm guessing you won't hear this song when the Black Eye Peas perform at Super Bowl XLV tomorrow.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sonic Youth

I feel like I'm disappearing
Getting smaller every day
But I look in the mirror
I'm bigger in every way

(From the 1990 Sonic Youth song, "Tunic," which imagines the late Karen Carpenter speaking to her mother from heaven.  Karen Carpenter died on February 4, 1983 -- a month before her 33rd birthday -- of heart failure triggered by chemical imbalances associated with her chronic anorexia nervosa.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A. E. Housman

Morns abed and daylight slumber
Were not meant for man alive.
Clay lies still, but blood's a rover;
Breath's a ware that will not keep.
Up, lad: when the journey's over
There'll be time enough to sleep.
(From "Reveille," one of the 63 poems in his book,  A Shropshire Lad, which was published in 1896.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oscar Hammerstein

Who can explain it?
Who can tell you why?
Fools give you reasons,
Wise men never try
(The song "Some Enchanted Evening" is one of the best-known songs from the play, South Pacific.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fleetwood Mac

Don't ask me what I think of you, 
I might not give the answer that you want me to
(From their 1969 song, "Oh Well.")