Monday, March 1, 2010

Do Not Wish List

I do not wish to buy anything at a pavilion, outlet, source, factory, barn, warehouse, or shoppe.
I do not wish to watch an event, especially if it's an event I'm told all of America has been waiting for.
And, most important, I do not wish to attend a webinar.

Thank you very much.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Does Audiophile Stuff Sound Better?

Speaker-maker Jim Salk is a very reasonable and practical guy, and he has a very interesting post about How the Brain Influences What We Hear. It's a reminder that we don't really hear with our ears, we hear with our brain.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Me Decade, Part Two

A few weeks ago we visited the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. It's an excellent museum, with a very interesting collection that is curated very well. I really enjoyed walking the galleries--they've done a great job at making it all fit together.

They had one or two Andy Warhols on view. Warhol is enjoying a surge in popularity right now, which might just be money-related (that is, collectors desire art because other collectors desire it). It seems to me that Warhol is the ultimate self-referential artist.

Warhol did art that was about art. It was about itself. Look at me, I'm a soup can. That's all, a soup can. I'm on display in a gallery, so I must be art. Do you think I'm art? Maybe you think I'm art because other people think I'm art. Or maybe you've read a commentary that explains that I'm actually a symbol of how embedded mass consumerism has become, so we don't understand what art is anymore. But I remain just a soup can. Actually, a painting of a soup can. Not an impression of a soup can, but an actual soup can.

Looking at art that is about itself can be fun sometimes. But I suppose artists would have to watch themselves, because they wouldn't want their art to become about fun. Then it would risk not being about itself.

There was a painting of Annie--the actual word Annie--in exactly the logo from the stage musical. It was done in a medium brown on a field of yellow. I stood there looking at it, asking myself why this artist would paint the word Annie. Then I read the title. "Annie Done in Maple Syrup." And then I laughed. It's exactly what it was--a painting of Annie spelled out in maple syrup, including a few random drips. Why this was painted is still a mystery, but it doesn't matter. I enjoyed looking at it.

Sometimes artists dialogue with each other, or argue with each other, via their art.

It's perfectly fine for artists to speak to other artists via their work, but looking at the work can be tiresome. I suppose there can be entertainment value similar to watching pundits argue on television.

But mostly it's a high-class form of navel gazing. And why would I want to watch someone gaze at his or her navel?

Maybe if it was a very interesting navel.

Friday, January 22, 2010

In Praise of the Chordettes

Last September St. Mark's had a 50s party and I downloaded a few tunes to play at the event. One of them was "Mr. Sandman" by the Chordettes. What a GREAT song! Hearing the precision of the harmony and rhythm of these women is really a revelation. This tune went by thousands of times on scratchy AM radios, and people loved it. Listen to it now on CD in full fidelity and it's nothing short of amazing.

The Chordettes' other big hit was "Lollipop." Remember? "Lollipop, lollipop, oh, lolly, lolly, lolly...."

It Is What It Is

This morning I was thinking about the contemporary mantra "It Is What It Is," and I revisited my previous post about it.

As logically ridiculous as this expression is, I find myself using it from time to time. It usually comes cascading out of my mouth after I have worked myself into a near-frenzy while emphatically and conclusively demonstrating that somehow what is, isn't. Or what is, isn't really, though maybe sometimes.

It's as if I try to convince myself to not trust reality. Rather, I must shift reality somehow. The thing about trying to shift reality is that it never works. But I keep doing it. It must be entertaining.

The theological equivalent of the statement "it is what it is" is "is is." We should be able to say just "is." But we need to somehow fortify or clarify, and so we say "is is" or "God is." There is no blank to fill in after "God is." At least not logically. We do say things like "God is love" to help explain what God is like. But theologically, there is no word after "God is."

This why I say "I believe in God," rather than "I believe in a God" or "I believe in the God." God is not a being. God is being.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thumpa but No Bumpa

For some reason, lately I have little patience for radio yakking in the car. Even NPR, though I devoted 26 years of my life to it. I can't even take cool alternative-yaking on alternative radio stations. (Alternative to what, you may ask. Good question.)

So I listen to CDs. Different stuff, but lately I've become quite fond of dance music while driving. Lately it's a double CD of mixes by Benny Benassi. I'm going to get huge subwoofers so I can drive by your house and entertain you. Thumpa-thumpa-thumpa. thumpa, thumpa-thumpa.

It's fun music, kinesthetic. My mind is not taxed--I can think and enjoy the drive and the scenery on my way to work. I like driving. Especially after the car dealer informed my that my car could corner at 130 mph. Please understand that I'm not dangerous, though I do love leaving large speeding SUVs way behind around curves. With the dance-floor pulse surging through me.

In our confusing world, one must enjoy what one can. Mustn't one?