Archive for the ‘Gordon Grice’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: THE FLAMING LIPS-Due to High Expectations…The Flaming Lips are Providing Needles for Your Balloons EP (1994).

This EP came after the success of Transmissions from the Satellite Heart and the single “She Don’t Use Jelly.”  Naturally that is not the single here, rather it is “Bad Days,” a new song tha sounds of the period.  As does “Jets Part 2 (My Two Days As An Ambulance Driver)” a fuzzed out trip.

“Ice Drummer” is a primarily acoustic but still distorted song.  It’s kind of boppy and light which is odd since it is a cover of a Suicide song.   “Put the Waterbug in the Policeman’s Ear’ is a demo with strings and piano.  It also has a very lengthy introduction in which Wayne explains his brother’s proclivity for drugs and his belief that he can control bugs (and have them attack the policeman who is trying to arrest him).  It was recorded on a boombox.

“Chewin’ the Apple of Yer Eye” is a live version recorded at a record studio.  It has nice guitars with scritchy violins.  “Chosen One” is a cover of a Bill Callahan song at the same venue.  There’s a lengthy introduction explaining that it’s a cover and why he likes it so much.  It’s a nice version, very stripped down.  “Little Drummer Boy” is a travesty, but a good one (and is 1,000 times better than their version of “White Christmas.)”

“Slow-Nerve-Action” is a live version apparently broadcast on a Top 40 radio station.  The squall of noise as the song opens would frighten off anyone listening to Top 40, but the middle of the song’s acoustic section is rather pleasant (if not a little scratchy and staticky).  Although this EP racks in at 44 minutes long, it’s really not that essential (although the live versions are nice).

[READ: May-July 2012] Deadly Kingdom

If you have any kind of animal phobias–literally any kind: snakes, sharks, spider, rodents, bugs, stay away from this book.  Indeed, even if you don’t have this kind of phobia, you may after reading this book.  As the title says, this book tells you every single conceivable way that an animal can kill you–from biting to clawing to stomping to crushing to infections to diseases to parasites to long lingering diseases to numbness to elephantiasis (and that’s just chapter 1).  Somehow the author is not afraid of everything that moves, and is even a collector (with his wee son) of all manner of unusual creepy crawlies–tarantulas, hissing cockroaches and the like.

Sarah bought me this book for my birthday because David Sedaris recommended it when we saw him speak.  When Sedaris read from it, it was funny but dark.  Sedaris’ comment that “Monkeys are such assholes “was certainly borne out by the book.  Sedaris’ other comment–if you ever feel bad about eating meat, just read this book–is also completely accurate.  Even cows can be assholes.  This book is hard to digest in large doses.  I found that I had to put the book down after a section or two because there’s only so much you-will-die-if-you-do-this reading that I could take.

Grice has done a ton of research–he has looked into all manner of medical and death records and talked to lots of scientists around the world.  And he breaks the book into five major categories: The Carnivorids, Aquatic Dangers, The Reptiles and Birds, The Arthropods and Worms and Other Mammals.  The introduction more or less explains his origin story for being interested in deadly animals–a cougar was on his Oklahoma panhandle property when he was six years old.  His grandfather dispatched it, but he had to stay safely in the car during the ordeal.  And he has been curious ever since.

The introduction also contextualizes the violence that animals do to humans.  Is it all defensive (as we take over more and more land, it’s hard to know exactly what is defensive) or is it straight out aggressive. But he says the hardest part about this kind of descriptor is that “besides our usual biased views of all the parties involved, is that violence rouses strong emotions.  We are almost forced to take sides with the injured humans or the slandered animals….  Many writers depict virtually all animal attacks as “provoked” by the victim.  On the other side, some writers are at pains to paint dangerous animals as monsters of cruelty.  All of these views are simplistic.” (xxiii). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 11, 2012] David Sedaris

I have enjoyed David Sedaris for a number of years now.  When our friend Melissa went to see him a few years ago, she said he was hilarious.  I’ve heard several readings done by him and had to agree with her–he’s very funny live.

I find that he’s much funnier when I hear him read his stuff than when I read it myself.  Indeed, when I read his stories I try to imagine it in his voice, just so it will be funnier.  Turns out he does a much better David Sedaris than I do.  Each of the stories was very funny (tear-inducingly funny) and very typically Sedaris.

This show was him on stage reading from a number of his pieces and from his diary.  I didn’t know the first piece, called “Understanding Owls,” which was about Owls and taxidermy.  It was also about trying to find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for his boyfriend of 20 years (wow!), Hugh.  He wanted to buy a stuffed owl because of a long running joke about all of the owl tchotchkes in their house.  The setup alone was hilarious and the sequence in the taxidermist was very funny and rather uncomfortable. (more…)

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