Saturday, June 30, 2007

Super Man (R. E. M.)

Language: Dutch

Part 2 of the Superman trilogy. The song here isn't terribly interesting, because the original repeats itself so much, but oh well.

I have yet to hear anything official, but I think it's safe to assume that I didn't get the job I interviewed for, and it probably has been safe to assume this for some time. I have mixed feelings about this, many of which are depression.


- - - - - - - - - - - -

I'm a super man, I am, (Am I?) and I know what I happened.
I'm a super man, I am, and I can do, no matter what.

Do you make love with that guy? Now it's not really you.
I know that guy loves you, 'cause I see it exactly; you cannot.


I will trust you, little girl, if you leave me a million miles below, on
the way to your heart. Follow when I say I know.


[a] [a]

Friday, June 29, 2007

Superman (Sister 7)

Language: French

It's been such a long time since we had a good trilogy around here, don't you think? So here you go, the first (and most obscure) in a Superman trilogy. Why Superman? Because people name songs after him.

Sister 7 is an Austin, TX band, now split up, that a co-worker of mine a few jobs ago liked and introduced to the rest of us. This isn't their best song by a long shot1, but you know how these things are. The lead singer, Patrice Pike, has gone on to have a solo career; I couldn't tell you what the other members of the band have done, not being a big follower of the Austin music scene. In any event, the CDs are still out there, though they're not easy to find and apparently never were.

This is the only video footage of the band I could find on YouTube. They do a little bit of "Superman" from about 7:55 to 6:55 remaining, but I'm pretty sure the whole song isn't in there. It's hard to tell for sure: it's been a long time since I actually heard the whole song myself. I'm not even 100% sure that the lyrics I used here are all the lyrics the song has. Call me irresponsible.

1I liked "Nobody's Home," myself. "Bottle Rocket" was pretty awesome also.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I feel that, then.
To roll you up around me,
to note that I'm still awake.
The devil's laughing at me, counting each hour:
I only said that I loved you since you were leaving.
Then I speak a prayer in favor of
Mary: with the cause of anything, there's
Superman on the left, saying
"What I made could never save me!
Suffer with my twisted head!"
(You said that!)
You would run one defect above.

I guess your notification didn't
please, but – remain!
The heat of summer is surplus,
but I always need your chocolate jolt.
(Which I like it when you seem amused.)
I call you a word that you always liked,
but all your softness was employed, and I leave.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Energy is on Your Mind (That Which is Pure) (Information Society)

Language: Italian

My parents were fans of Christian rock music when I was a kid, though they, like many other Christians of the time (and probably many Christians now, for all I know), considered ordinary secular pop music a tool of the devil which would lead to abortions and homosexuality and devil worship (or atheism, which was plausibly worse), all things they were afraid of.1 This led to certain in-retrospect funny moments, like when I was traumatized in grade school by a classmate playing a single of Toni Basil's "Mickey" at 45 rpm.2

This wasn't the first secular song to be interesting to the 16-year-old me, but it's pretty close. It wasn't even the song I liked best on this album (that was "Tomorrow," which apparently Insoc and/or Tommy Boy Records never cared for enough to try to market it as a single, though that probably wasn't a bad call -- I'm not sure what I liked about it so). But it was still a song that happened to be in the right place at the right time, I guess, and sparked many years' appreciation for tinkly-boop electronic dance music (e.g. Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys3).

I don't necessarily still like the song, though it still sounds to me like an improvement over the band it's clearly trying to rip off, the Human League.

Decide for yourself. Here is the video:

1Some of these did subsequently happen, though I'm not sure that Mom and Dad were right to be afraid of them. My life hasn't really turned out how I'd envisioned it, but I hardly consider it ruined.

2If I remember right, I cried and everything. Very scary stuff, to have the devil attempting to brainwash you when you're nine years old and there's nothing you can do about it.

3Pet Shop Boys songs are, in general, Paula-Abdul-like in difficulty, though I did manage to do one, once.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

(spoken:) It's worked up now, but we're still not outside.

I desire to know what that's been thinking.
There are some things that you cannot hide.
I wish to know what that's been thinking.
What that says to me is, it's on your mind.

(spoken:) The pure energy. The pure energy.

An indication is around here in the hush: without observing,
I still find myself all alone. Is it the same with you?
I can see your things; I don't know that, behind the eyes,
our love can be developed. You hide from me, as if . . . .


So I could break it off in order to drain it,
but would that make it good?
I couldn't know for sure
what you align. That is to say,
they're here in the hush;
I must play that game. It's
you in the hush, and
the others, with nothing to say.


(spoken:) The pure energy. The pure energy.

Destruction. The pure energy.
Destruction. The pure energy.
Destruction. The pure energy.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Joy to the World (Three Dog Night)

Language: Spanish

Another placeholdery post. I could come up with something to say, probably, under normal circumstances, but I just got back from riding my bike not too long ago and my body and brain haven't entirely recovered from the heat and exertion yet. I will say that although I'm not, as a rule, fond of music written between about 1963 and 19831, I actually like this one okay. Frogs are nice.


1(I don't know why.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Jeremiah was a frog, a bullfrog,
was my good friend:
he never said a single word.
I helped him to drink, but who understood his wine?
(He always had a certain and
powerful singing of the fine wine.)

Joy to the world!
All the joy of the boys and the girls is
into the blue depths now. The fish
from the sea are joy to you and me.

If the king of the world were outside,
what would he do? Say it to me:
the cars would send the bars and the war far away, and
the sweet love does that to him. It sings
to him now.


You know that love of the ladies? That's for me.
My diversion has a love
of life; I'm the high aviator.
I threw the rider and a son-of-one-weapon straight to that rainbow; I
said, a son-of-one-weapon threw that straight.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Friends in Low Places (Garth Brooks)

Language: German

Nothing much going on at the moment: the weekend kind of went by without anything getting accomplished (or even attempted), so this is just kind of a placeholder song.

On the more positive side, for a placeholder song, it's a really good one. A few very nice lines scattered around in there. Especially toward the ending.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

He blames it all on my roots,
which I showed. In the loadings above,
I ruined your last affair of the black latch-plate.
In order to know
the latter, show me over to
the latter. Your thought was that
you'd see it.
And I saw the surprise:
his eyes can be in fear.
When I took his glass of champagne
and I roasted you, I said, "Honey, through
the weight, you heard me, but never myself."

Because friends of mine are in the low places,
in which the whisky and beer
drown my blue pursuits away.
I'm okay, and have
handled forms. I'm not social;
I thrash to Oasis. (Think on that!) The large are to slide
in low places. Oh, I have friends.

I estimated properties. I
wasn't wrong then; however, I belonged. As straight
as I was then, before, with
everything in order,
I didn't mean that. Good night, straight legend;
point me to the door. I and
he, I, a large fair
to cause a scene --
give me one hour and then
I'm as highly well as
this ivory essay, and
you live in that.


I'm not straight. I estimate I belong,
however. I was wrong then;
I've been there before.
I say everything straight, and am
completely good, right? That night has the facts,
and I point myself to the door.
I didn't mean for a large scene to cause
me to terminate this waiting period. Until the fair,
sweet, small glass lady
precedes me, then, I'm back to the staff.
And, I mean, you can kiss donkeys.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It Really Makes Me Want to Wound It (Culture Club)

Language: Portuguese

Moderately upset right now, because I just found out that the ongoing indoor pest problem I've been having since February or so, which had been limited to a small set of about six plants, has moved on to two new ones, a couple gigantic cacti that I've had for over three years and am kind of attached to.

The pests in question are called mealybugs, for those of you who aren't into indoor gardening. I thought that I had them more or less under control -- in fact, I hadn't even seen any of them get big enough to be positively identifiable; I only knew that gray-white oval spots appeared on my plants sometimes and that they were way too symmetrical not to be insects of some kind. Now, there are some bigger ones, big enough that I can see some details.

The problem doesn't seem to be serious yet, but the gigantic cacti in question are big enough that they're hard to move -- over six five feet tall, with, of course, spines, so you can't just grab them and move them, you have to do it really carefully, and sooner or later the spines get you anyway, which is generally surprising, which if you're me often results in reflexively jerking away from whatever caused the pain, which if it's a six five-foot cactus is just going to result in more problems. No serious injuries yet.

So there has been a pretty hard-core shower (blasting them with water from a detachable shower head will physically knock off a good portion of the problem), followed by insecticide (which may or may not have given me a slight headache), and we'll see how well that worked. Even if it does, it was kind of a bummer to find out about this. Mealybugs are not supposed to be among the easier pests to get rid of, and it'll be some time before I know if they're gone or not.

This seemed like an obvious enough song to choose, given the circumstances, and it only got more appropriate after being run through Portuguese.


(Edited: the cacti are five feet tall, not six.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

It gives me to the hour
to carry my crime through to itself.
Left me to love and steal,
its eyes had danced inside of me; they
can be as real as I.

It really makes me want to wound it;
it really makes me want to make a shout.
The precious words
of the kisses that burn me
never ask the loving ones that.
Because in my heart, if the fire is burning
(my choice),
finding the color of a star
is a stage. The precious people always say to me that it
is the stage of the much-too-distant one.

It really makes me want to wound it;
it really makes me want to make a shout.
It really makes me want to wound it;
it really makes me want to make a shout.

The few words
that I have said myself
could waste a thousand years.
I'm involved in symbolic words of sorrow.
Come inside, and stop my rips: I'm to
believe you have spoken, but to me,
you will be yourself. True,
you didn't know that
this boy loves without a reason.
Are you prepared to leave it? I'll go.

If you want love of me, it will be
moved away. Then the examination makes
everything. That's not what
you saw that on today.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

You and Your Hand Control (Pink)

Language: Italian

This is the 200th Babelpop! post that's a reworking of song lyrics1, so I wanted to do something special. And this is special, to the extent that it's a song that's even kind of contemporary -- unlike some of these, they actually play this on the radio sometimes -- and it's one I really like. Which I couldn't even tell you what the last song I heard on the radio that I actually liked was. It's pretty few and far, these days. You might disagree that this is a good song, and that's fine. I don't blog for your entertainment2, muppetfucker.

How did it turn out? Well, I like the idea of being "sweeping drunk." I'm picturing the kind of drunk where you decide to start cleaning the house and rearranging the furniture and shit. This has actually happened to me before, so I'm pleased to have a term for it now.

I also kind of like "you turned your drinks upside down to me," which seems like one of those obscure cultural signals that get American tourists accidentally committed to duels and stuff. In the movies. ("But it was an accident! How was I supposed to know what it meant?")

The video:


1The awkward phrasing is because two of the posts are for the same song, "American Cake (Don McLean)," parts I and II. So I can't actually say that this is the 200th song, though for all practical purposes it is. There's also one post that doesn't count, because it's just an index.

2(Mostly, it seems, I blog for my own entertainment. For other people to be entertained, other people would have to visit the blog, and almost everyone who does so, sad to say, is a non-English speaker who's hoping to find a translation of either "I'm Too Sexy," by Right Said Fred, or "Comfortably Numb," by Pink Floyd. Seriously. Those two get a completely unreasonable number of hits. The rest, not so much. Which for the record -- I do feel a little guilty about all the non-English speakers I'm confusing. It's mostly accidental.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

To indent it, towards the outside,
to exit the late night, that
tight sensibility seems pleasant.
I can fight it, tap that area.
This evening, as soon as I know that he's going,
we go down to the hatch. They don't attend because we know
the bar blows. Hardly six of them had begun,
when the dickhead put its hands on me. It's that,
but you see --

Your entertainment's not here.
The disorder this evening isn't with me; I really wished to
arrest the just, and be necessary a second.
I walked very well before you were in my life.
Knowing that before that ended,
the conservation began.
Your drink just gave me money! It's
you and your hand this evening, right?

Midnight: I'm sweeping drunk.
I do not wish to dance.
Fotune touched the support; the conjectures are from me.
Not to happen, not to listen -- is it just "bye-bye?"
You can say that that's hardly what your boyfriends wished to have;
you want to have my diversion this evening?


The breach of the breach
of the breach of the --
it's down.

In the angle with your boys, five bucks bet on
the girl: they sucked, but in order to obtain. She's walked in, hardly thinks that
you see -- you've hardly obtained the entire order. You're not that dressed up,
so who renounces you? You turned your drinks upside down to me, yeah --

You're high fiving, know shit,
not talking, but you've been going to the house alone.

Because it's not for your entertainment.
I'd really not wished for disorder this evening:
take a second to arrest the just, and
(just to arrest and be necessary a second)
walk here. My life's cause was very well before you were in that;
you know you're surplus.
(knows that ended)
Before the conservation began, that
drink of yours just gave money to me.
Are you and yours "of the right hand" this evening?
(are you and your right hand)

I'm not for your entertainment,
(No, no, not here)
I really wished to disorder this evening with myself, not
to arrest the just and take it to a second
(just return for a second)
life. You walked in very well, that was my thing.
Because, you know, that ends
before that begins.
Your drink just gave me money to conserve!
Are you and your hand right this evening?
Oh, yeah.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I Love Rock 'n Roles (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)

Language: German

I think this one came out better than most. Something about the way "another dime comes into the jukebox" works out rhythmically appeals to me.

I don't really have any news or anything much to talk about. Still waiting to hear back about the job, though I think I'm hoping I didn't get it.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Seventeen: I saw him dancing by the record machine. I was to have been there.
(I could approximate it, which I did.)
The impact must go strongly.
My favourites were playing a song,
and I couldn't explain that to him
until he was with me. Yeah, I was singing, and you were longing.

I love rock, and roles;
therefore, another dime comes into the jukebox. You set a
rock in, and love rolls
the baby; thus, your time lasts, and I dance with myself.

He smiled, so I rose and asked for his name,
which he said doesn't constitute
the same thing (because he is a whole).

I mentioned your house, in which we could be alone.

And we shifted to following
it. Yeah, I was with myself.

First, we shifted to
it and sang. Yeah, I was with myself.

I love rock, and roles;
therefore, another dime comes into the jukebox. You used
the rock to roll your baby, and I love time,
so dance with me to the last.


We moved on
to sing the same old song.
Yeah, sing that with me:


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Cube Makes Me Wanna (Tricky)

Language: Greek

This is probably one of my top ten favorite songs. I am crazy about this song. I don't really know why. One thing I can point to that I like about it is the structure -- it's kind of weirdly put together. But beyond that, who knows why people like things. I just do.

Which seems like as good a time as any to note that I'm disappointed in the new Bjork album. I like Bjork, rather a lot, which should be obvious. I think "Earth Intruders" is magnificent, and "Innocence" is a rocking good time, but the album as a whole -- I dunno. She lost me somewhere around Homogenic.

On the other hand, the new Tori Amos, American Doll Posse (warning: sound / graphics intensive) is the best in many years. So I suppose these things even out.

Anyway. Behold the video for "She Makes Me Wanna Die:"


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The cube makes me wanna
follow Mary, where she does it, and
go worship the things she does.
She says if I change my stride,
then I'll fly.
The cubes wanna change me.
I make my stride of this,
then I fly.
The sun looked in,
mental: "I see myself in the pollution!"
I walk in the moon.
How could you dare?
Who do you think that you are?
You are insignificant!
A piece of smallism,
the least, from no other, no.
The world does try, you'll learn. It does!
(Even the world can't discuss it.)
Smoking hydroponic is ironic, you know.
The cube makes me wanna
change my stride, and you
will fly this. Then I'll
wanna make the cube
follow Mary. Where does
it go to worship? Do the things know?
She says if I change my stride,
then I'll fly,
and change my stride.
Then I'll fly
in the sun's look.
I see myself in the mental pollution,
where I walk in the moon.
How could you dare?
You are insignificant!
A piece of smallism,
the least, from no other, no.
The world tries to learn from you;
even in the world cannot discuss it.
You know.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Would I Find Myself in You? (Eurythmics)

Language: Greek

Part of the application process for the job I interviewed for on Thursday is a personality test. This makes me really nervous (in some respects, more so than the interview itself): among other things, I prefer it when my personality is a surprise to people.

A lot of the questions were about the sorts of things you'd expect: whether or not it's okay to steal from an employer (even if they're really, really mean to you), whether or not it's good to be nice to people, etc. The strangest part was a series of items sprinkled in among the other ones about accidents, whether they were preventable, whose fault they were, etc. It struck me as an odd thing to be asking questions about.

But then, the whole thing was kind of screwy, frankly. Any halfway intelligent person could easily figure out the answers that the test was angling for, especially if you know, going in, that there's a scale built in to catch people who are trying to give the most socially correct answer. I suspect I could get into some trouble if I posted one of the exact questions, word for word, but there were things in there like, "I've gone out of my way to be mean to people before." Well, duh. So clearly questions like that are checking to see if you're being honest.

I had initially been toying with the idea of e-mailing and asking to be removed from consideration, because of the personality test thing. It really bothered me, seemed like a weird kind of asymmetric invasion of privacy (and still kind of does). In the end, I decided not to, and went ahead and took the test, and told the truth, because 1) I figure actually getting the job is kind of a long shot anyway1, and 2) I can't imagine that they're getting any usable, real information out of these things, so to the extent that the test counts for anything, I'm thinking it's just an extra randomizing device, a wild card if you will. So there's no particular reason not to take it if you think, as I do, that I was not especially impressive in the interview: it could only help my chances of getting the job.

This song seemed like the only sensible song choice, given the aforementioned situation.


1The husband would actually prefer that I not get the job, for reasons which are specific to the job and which I don't want to address at the moment, but which are very possibly valid and which I have some concerns about myself.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Would I find it in you?
Would I find it in you, honey?
Would I say something now that wasn't genuine?
I ask you that, sugar: would I find it in you?

My friends know what's in the shop.
I won't be here otherwise.
I've packed my bags,
I've cleaned the floor.
You're careful with me.
Walk outside the door.

(You consider me: I'll make him, I will make him)

You fall in a straight line - no intervention.
No deceit in your person.
You are the bigger imitation, but
A lot of him is genuine.
I had all of it I can take;
Now I leave it to you.

(You consider me: I will make him, I will make him)

(You are careful with me – you are careful! Ooh, yeah)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I'll be Its Shelter (Taylor Dayne)

Language: Portuguese

Well. The interview was better than I expected, though I was expecting there to be some twitching and drooling, so that doesn't say as much as it might. I have no idea how I did, and even less idea whether I want the job or not than I did going into the interview. But it's over.

Meanwhile, Iowa City expects to have weather later on today. Damaging 75 mph winds, maybe some large hail, possibly a tornado or two (there have already been some tornadoes to the west and north). I wouldn't mind a tornado. The last one was entertaining, and almost nobody1 died. And I do, after all, need something to take my mind off of the employment thing for a little bit. I guess we'll see how it goes. Nothing visible going on at the moment.


1Mobile homes really are, when there's a tornado about. Consequently, there was one death in Muscatine County, to the east of Iowa City.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

When I have one, hanging clouds in its sky of
light, and I'm not leaving, no, right inside,
and you'd like to give it that sensation, as inside yourself
(above?), don't give so soon.
You're in a friend. What you need to count
(what started somebody, baby) is yourself. It starts
when rain is falling, and will remain that way.
And you're not leaving it to fall in
completely; I'll see that you
cover it with a love. Thus, I'll be deep and warm and true;
oh, I will be there.

Honey, I'll be its shelter, that's
always this to you. I'll make an examination of the night, with
the shelter that you need.
I'll make everything all right to you,
yes. Everything to everyone! Make in the one, of the one, in the one,
of the nana, of the one, in the one, of the one, in the right one.

I arrested you. You sufficiently started the strong arms.
Anything that you cross with it starts to
move away; any thing that you need, it's only a touch, you know.
When a heart needs a heart from the side, it
must be mine, in keeping with the times (if that's
the inside of love). So I started
it. I stroke for you each day, cousin.
I'll be giving this to it for the love.
Oh, when mine just isn't sufficiently there, it'll be as it seems.


I'll see that you completely
cover me with a love. So, that'll be deep and warm
and true: oh, I'll be there.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Sky is a Place on the Earth (Belinda Carlisle)

Language: Italian

This song has absolutely nothing to do with what's going on. They don't actually write very many songs about dealing with the Iowa unemployment office, it turns out.

So here's the sitch: I'm still unemployed. That might change soonish, because, like I've mentioned, I have an interview tomorrow1. But nevertheless. And part of collecting unemployment in the state of Iowa is that one has to call a 1-800 number every week and report how many potential employers one has contacted, and whether or not one turned down any offers, and etc.

So about a week ago, I got a semi-threatening letter in the mail telling me that I had reported, a few weeks ago, that I was not "able and available for work," and that someone would be calling me on June 6 between the hours of 10 and 11 AM to discuss this. This is a sort of serious issue, because, apparently, they don't have to give me money if I in fact wasn't available to work.2

So, long story slightly less long, I was here this morning, and they didn't call on-time. Nor did they call late, either. The actual notice they sent doesn't have a phone number on it for contacting them (there was a letter that came with the notice, but I had apparently thrown that part away last weekend, because I can't find it anymore). So I called the local office. The guy I spoke with wasn't even sure that there was supposed to have been a call in the first place; he said that there was nothing in the computer that he could find that indicated anything was going on. He was then going to give me the number of the person at the State office who was dealing specifically with my case, but his computer cut off the last two digits of the phone number, so he gave me a different number, of someone who is in the general dealing-with-problems department, at which point I thanked him and called that number. Which is how I found out that said person is on vacation until next Monday.

So, to summarize: I didn't get the call they said I'd get. I couldn't do anything about this by calling someone at the local office directly, but that's okay because I may or may not have a problem in the first place. Furthermore, the local office can't give me the number of someone who actually has anything to do with my case, but they can give me a different number, for someone who may or may not be able to help, who isn't there, and who may or may not call me back on Monday.

And round and round we go.


1I remain almost incapacitatingly nervous about this.

2For what it's worth, I was available that week. I suspect computer error or typo.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

When the night falls down,
you and an aspect of them come around,
and the world is alive
with the sound of kidskin
on the way outside.

When the room walks in,
and the pulled ones begin to move that close,
and they're spinning with stars here,
and a wave of love is rising --

Ooh, child, you know what the value of that one is?
Ooh, the sky is a place on earth
that says, "in the sky, love comes in the first place."
We'll make the sky a place of the earth,
Ooh, the sky is a place on earth

When I think alone, it
centers my capacities, and catches up to you.
When they're lost in that sea,
I feel your voice, and transport it [to them].

This world was just the beginning!
In understanding the miracle of the child,
I was frightened: living before that
frightened me, but not that pit.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sensuality of Big Times (Bjork)

Language: Greek

I have a job interview on Thursday. This is, in theory, a good thing. The job itself looks pretty craptacular, but it's only 20 hours a week, and pays as well as my last two jobs did at 40 hours. Which helps.

The problem is, I am a terrible interview. Which some of you will be saying at this point, Geez, Jessi, way to give up ahead of time. But: you don't understand. You couldn't.

I've tried going into interviews with the idea that I'll be glib and charismatic and likeable and corporate and witty, and I inevitably wind up being myself regardless1. And I've tried going with the idea that I'll just be myself, and if they don't like that then fine, it probably wouldn't have worked out anyway. That is an even worse interviewing strategy. I should, it seems, never be encouraged to be myself.

It doesn't help that this is a job nobody in his/r right mind could possibly actually want. I mean, it's not the sort of thing kids dream about becoming.2 Which makes faking enthusiasm hard. (And, in truth, I'm not good at projecting enthusiasm even when it would be appropriate. I'm not, fundamentally, a person prone to enthusiasm. On me it looks wrong.) And it involves some dealing with the public, which I would really like to never have to do that again. But of course I still need a job. Unemployment's going to be over within a month or so, I think.

This song wouldn't seem to have anything to do with the situation I've just described, but I have trouble finding a Babelpopped line that doesn't relate, in some fashion. Though one wouldn't know it from the original song, of course.


1(who is, often if not always, witty. But I've never done charismatic well, or corporate. And, as the cartoon above points out, I don't look very good on paper, either.)

2I'm not sure I should say anything about what the job actually is, publicly. At least not yet, not this publicly. You understand.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I can feel that something important is ready, is scheduled to happen:

The gentle and noble sensuality of big times takes courage.

I know that I'm a little too familiar, but
I was included also. The two meet, and much is presented,
and something is precisely itself.

The gentle and noble sensuality of big times takes courage.

Since this weekend, I do not want to know my future, and

The gentle and noble sensuality of big times takes courage.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The People are People of People (Depeche Mode)

Language: French

Went to the Iowa City arts festival yesterday with the husband and some of his family. It was a lot like all the other years. If we had significant wall space, or a yard, or enormous amounts of money, then it might have been more interesting, but as it was, it was mostly just hot and crowded, and I was having a bad day anyway. And a lot of the art sucked (though this guy was there, and his stuff is kind of interesting in-person. I don't know that it translates well to the internet.), too, in all the predictable ways.

I told the husband after that we really did need to stop scheduling events with his family that involve going to big, crowded places. We had a bad experience in downtown Minneapolis at the end of March, going to Macy's with the same family group. It was advertised as a special show all about Africa, and especially plant life in Africa, but although there were in fact a lot of plants, the science was extremely superficial, when they made any kind of effort at all, and some of it was also just plain incorrect. (This is the sort of thing that makes me nervous when people say that the answer to our declining public school system is increased corporate involvement.)

The Minneapolis trip, at least, got better. Love love love the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. This visit in Iowa City, not so much: there wasn't all that much time to do anything with them, and they weren't having such a great time themselves; the three-year-old girl with the group apparently threw up all the way down from Minnesota, which may or may not have been motion sickness.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

People are people;
thus, why is it that
you and I should get the length
so terribly?

We're various colors
and different faiths,
and the different people
have various needs.
It's obvious you hate me,
although I did anything falsely;
I never even met you, so
what could I have made?

I cannot understand
what encourages a man
to hate another man:
help me to understand.


Help me to understand.

Now you punch and you give a kick and you shout with me.
I count on your common decency, that
has a gloss. Up to now it doesn't ,
but I'm sure that it exists.
It's taken them right there, to travel in a moment
from your head to your fist.





Saturday, June 02, 2007

Well (Morphine)

Language: Dutch

Many, many years ago (about ten), Stan and I would invite people over about once a week to . . . well, I'm not sure what we were inviting people over to do. Drink, I suppose. I mean, it wasn't like we were quilting. Though drunk quilting is fun by itself (ask the Amish). But I digress.

I guess the term is "hang out." And when, on those occasions when we'd extended lots of invitations that people accepted, and the apartment was full of people in varying states of sobriety, there was a spell where sooner or later someone would propose a game of Murder in the Dark.

Murder in the Dark is, for those of you who don't know, where one randomly assigns a person at the party to be a detective, and another person is the murderer. This is traditionally done by writing on slips of paper, though if memory serves we usually used playing cards (for the uniformity and opacity). If you drew a jack, I believe, you were the detective, and if you chose something else (ace of spades?), you were the murderer. Everybody else got 2s and 3s.

The lights are then turned off, and everyone mills around in the dark until the murderer kills somebody. This is achieved by either finding a way to whisper to the intended victim, "You're dead," or else a strong, unambiguous squeeze or something, at which point the victim counts to some number (three? five?) and then cries out and falls on the floor. Everyone is then supposed to freeze in place, the detective (or someone standing nearby) turns on the lights, and the detective tries to identify the murderer by asking questions of everyone (except the victim, who is dead -- being the victim was kind of the crappy assignment, because it meant that you had to just lay there on the floor and not move while everybody else got to do something). Everyone except the murderer has to tell the truth, whatever this might be.

Only the detective or the murderer could "win" any given round, but that was okay because we weren't ever really playing for points or anything anyway. It was all about the mind games, and the chance to work through your issues with whomever by "killing" them, or at least groping them briefly. Pretty much the perfect game for college students, really. But, shit, it was fun. I'd play it now, too, except that the occasion doesn't present itself anymore.

The reason why I go to the trouble to explain and describe all this is, there was a designated mix tape1 that went with the game, which we started and stopped when the lights went off and on, and this was the song that started it off. So now the song conjures up all these mental images of being totally dark, except for the orange streaks of people's cigarettes waving around randomly (sort of a hazard of the game: people did burn one another sometimes, accidentally) and the occasional faint outline of a window.

Booze! Cigarettes! Sublimated aggression! Whee!


1(the "Strychnine" tape: for reasons we will leave unexplored here, all my mix tapes were referred to by chemical name. "Estradiol" was another early favorite, though it didn't have a game that went with it.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

You're well, well, well,
(well you are),
well well, well .
You tell me something is well:
tell me something,
tell me something.
You can read my opinion: tell me something,
tell me something,
tell me something.
You can read my opinion; you're something to me.
Tell your brain to read my opinion one more time.
Your brain can call me,
your brain, your brain calls to me one more time.
Your brain calls,
your brain, your brain calls to me one more time.
You push, you push,
push this way.
Well, you push,
you push well, push well:
It's something to tell your brain one more time.
Something calls me: you?
My opinion is possible.
Tell your brain to read to me one more time,
to call your brain,
your brain,
call your brain to me one more time.
Your brain, your brain,
call your brain to me one more time.
Well, you're good
this way? Well, good.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Star-Star-Spangled Flag (Francis Scott Key)

Language: Spanish (obviously)

I am not, by nature, a big joiner of things. I've never had any "school spirit," never given a damn about any particular sports team (save for a brief period around kindergarden when I was fond of the Miami Dolphins football team, but that was bleed-over from being interested in dolphins; I never developed any comprehension of football because of it), and as an adult, don't belong to any organizations where the process for membership is any more arduous than donating money (and even then, I'm prone to let the membership lapse). I prefer the Democratic Party, but I don't consider myself a member (any political party I'd consider myself a member of wouldn't piss me off so damn often). I throw away the Baylor Alumni magazines when they arrive, and keep meaning to write and try to get the Alumni Association to stop sending them to me.

I am, consequently, not given to big displays of pride. I like Iowa, and am native to Iowa, but there's something kind of unseemly about being proud of Iowa.1 My ethnic heritage is, for all intents and purposes, meaningless to me, and I am endlessly baffled by the husband's level of identification with the Irish. In fact, as a general rule, I don't understand why anybody takes pride in anything that they themselves didn't have a pretty free hand in creating or shaping. I mean, I get that it's more emotional than rational, that I'm getting nonsensical answers because I'm asking the wrong questions, but still.

I can, however, be very easily embarrassed by groups that I have (even very loose) affiliations with. The most typical occasions for such embarrassment are Baylor University (my almometer2) or the Democratic Party, both of which are doing dumb things all the time, but the shame's not limited to those two by a long shot.

And lately, like for the last ten years3, being an American has been a first-class ticket to Shameville (with a six-hour layover in Disbelief City), though when I look back into the country's history, I'm not convinced that things haven't always been this bad. But even so: more people than just me have noted that we're going through an especially dark time in American history right now. I think I remember something about a record number of people (72%?) in some recent poll saying that the U.S. was "on the wrong track," which could just mean that people think gas prices are too high, or that the Pussycat Dolls are obviously inferior to the Spice Girls4 -- but there's more than that. Or at least I hope people are picking up on more than that.

If this makes me unpatriotic, then so be it, I guess. Though I'm at least not flying the Nazi or Confederate flags (which, let's remember, we've fought Nazis in a war somewhat recently, and they were the bad guys. And the Confederates wanted to rip the country in half. I mean, if you want to talk about lack of patriotism, then let's talk, motherfucker.). I worry about shit like that picture, what it means. Suppose 1993 is as good as the country's going to get, in my lifetime. What then?


1Feeling that it's unseemly to feel proud of Iowa is itself a very Iowan thing, as is feeling a certain smugness when comparative state statistics are released showing Iowa to be superior to some of the more self-aggrandizing states (Texas, I'm looking at you) in some way.

2(a David Foster Wallace coinage, as far as I know)

3(Roughly the beginning of my political awareness; previously I had been congenitally Republican.)

4(true. Destiny's Child also pales in comparison, though in fairness I would probably like DC better had I not been endlessly involuntarily exposed to it when it was popular. The Spice Girls, in turn, are inferior to TLC, Bananarama, En Vogue, Salt-n-Pepa, the Pointer Sisters, the Supremes, Wilson Phillips, and any number of other girl groups. In fact, I think the Spice Girls -only- beat out Destiny's Child and Pussycat Dolls, now that I think about it.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Can you see, by the early light of dawn or an opinion of yourself,
what we hailed in the last of the twilight, flashing so proudly
that ample rays and shining stars fought with the dangerous?
We watched on embankments, so we flowed gallantly.
And the red fulgor of the rockets, the pumps that exploded in air
gave the night a test: our flag was still there.
are you of the opinion that the star-spangled flag still shakes stars
on the home of the free, brave one and the Earth?