January 5th, 2006

full life

(no subject)

1. David Letterman to Bill O'Reilly: "I'm not smart enough to debate with you point-to-point on this, but I have the feeling that 60% of what you say is crap."

2. Jon Stewart will host the Oscars this year.

3. Good Evening rehearsal last night was a surprising success - we spent all 4 hours working on 3 new songs, hoping to get them gig-ready, and for the most part we succeeded. We've got 2 more full-band rehearsals between now and Tuesday night, and I'm relatively optimistic that we'll be able to pull everything together. And even if we don't, even if they're just 80%-90% done, each song has at least one totally awesome part that's worth hearing, and I'd certainly feel comfortable playing them in front of a small-ish crowd.

4. When I got home I watched the last 5 minutes of the USC-Texas game, which was apparently all I needed to see. Sports Guy watched the whole thing for me, anyway.
    8:21 -- Our celebrity coin tosser tonight ... Judge Smails' wife from "Caddyshack." Whoops, that's Sandra Day O'Connor. Sorry about that, Sandy.

5. iTunes has this new "Just For You" feature, which sorta works like Amazon's recommendation system but it's sorta flawed for my purposes - I've got over 6000+ in my library, but this feature is only geared towards the 100 or so songs I've bought since August. In any event, I'd kept seeing My Morning Jacket's "Z" floating around, and I caved in and bought it - it's pretty good.
full life

(no subject)

I really ought to post this in my own dfw, but I'm posting it here because I feel like it: DFW's new "Consider The Lobster" is an astonishing return to form. I've already put away the first 3 essays (one about the porn industry awards show, one a review of an Updike novel and one about Kafka's sense of humor) and I'm starting the 4th ("Authority and American Usage", which (a) proves that Hal's mother's Militant Grammarians of MA. in Infinite Jest is actually sort-of based on his own family and (b) makes me even more self-aware of my mangling of the English language than I normally am, especially as DFW himself is self-aware as well) and I'm having a ball. While Infinite Jest remains my favorite book of all time and his follow-up collection of non-fic essays ("A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again", which I've maintained is a perfect companion to IJ) is one of the funniest books I've ever read, I've been rather off-put by his recent output - "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men" was pretty gimmicky and restless, and while "Everything And More" made set theory about as interesting to the layman as it posssibly could, I admit that I never finished reading "Oblivion" as his gimmicky-ness started to grate on my nerves. It should be noted, though, that this new collection of essays is arranged in chronological order, and what I've read so far is from 1998-99, which is right before I started getting annoyed with him.

Edit: Here's a footnote from the aforementioned "Authority and American Usage".

...I teach college English part-time. Mostly Lit, not Composition. But I am so pathologically obsessed with usage that every semester the same thing happens: once I've had to read my students' first set of papers, we immediately abandon the regular Lit syllabus and have a three-week Emergency Remedial Usage and Grammar Unit, during which my demeanor is basically that of somebody teaching HIV prevention to intravenous-drug users. When it emerges (as it does, every term) that 95 percent of these intelligent upscale college students have never been taught, e.g., what a clause is or why a misplaced only can make a sentence confusing or why you don't just automatically stick in a comma after a long noun phrase, I all but pound my head on the blackboard; I get angry and self-righteous; I tell them they should sue their hometown school boards, and mean it. The kids end up scared, both of me and for me. Every August I vow silently to chill about usage this year, and then by Labor Day there's foam on my chin...

Edit: And also a footnote from "Big Red Son", about the porn industry awards night:

...There is something deeply surreal about standing behind a female performer in hot-pink peau de soie, a woman whose clitoris and perineum you have priorly seen, and watching her try to get a microwaved egg roll onto her plate with a cocktail fork.
full life

On the notion of a private language

One more DFW footnote for the day, again from the essay "Authority and American Usage" and which seems right out of IJ, both of which my father ought to read right this very minute:

It is sometimes tempting to imagine that there can be such a thing as a private language. Many of us are prone to lay-philosophizing about the wierd privacy of our own mental states, for example; and from the fact that when my knee hurts only I can feel it, it's tempting to conclude that for me the word pain has a very subjective internal meaning that only I can truly understand. This line of thinking is sort of like the adolescent pot-smoker's terror that his own inner experience is both private and unverifiable, a syndrome that is technically known as Cannabic Solipsism. Eating Chips Ahoy! and staring very intently at the television network's PGA event, for instance, the adolescent pot-smoker is struck by the ghastly possibility that, e.g., what he sees as the color green and what other people call "the color green" may in fact not be the same color-experiences at all: the fact that both he and someone else call Pebble Beach's fairways green and a stoplight's GO signal green appears to guarantee only that there is a similar consistency in their color-experiences of fairways and GO lights, not that the actual subjective quality of those color-experiences is the same; it could be that what the ad. pot-smoker experiences as green everyone else actually experiences as blue, and that what we "mean" by the word blue is what he "means" by green, etc. etc., until the whole line of thinking gets so vexed and exhausting that the a. p.-s. ends up crumb-strewn and paralyzed in his chair.