Three Electronic Messages

The spam I’ve been getting recently has been getting really interesting for some reason. I’m fascinated with the poetics of three emails in particular and I refuse to delete these three in particular from my Junk inbox.
The first one has a subject line which I adore. “Brandy Mcneill” writes:
“purl candlestick disastrous.” This is gorgeous.
The second begins with the following message and is written by “Jeremy Conrad“:
“clubhouse fredholm spellbound handclasp viceroy hedonist edward acquaint haw death fanfold batchelder amber hutchins wrought
adoptive juncture chenille demurrer jubilate burial chariot prothonotary pollux heel plebeian boric paramagnetic par polarography immobile promulgate autistic allegiant teat bloodstream baldy boutique dihedral tungstate arise price cytolysis canna array thrust prohibition allison cocklebur suffolk trapezoid
questionnaireJust a way to CANCEL your DEBT.defrock
abolition congregate versailles presentational bosom bstj bayesian lin worm antoinette cheesecloth declaratory cowan dreary cayley explosive cycle icy contravene brent wiggly windbag oneida abed downstate stardom contention acclimate alpheratz fruition consist cox affinity basket battalion freemen hillbilly cortical rebelled consort” I have never seen these worrds in this order except for the finest poetry.
The third message is from “Mohammedan E. Coastlines“:
Good morning.
muscle relaxers
Your way to more info
Qil xin
online medication its easy to use
no waiting in line for your meds
relax easy today


I’m probably the last person to review the new Grandaddy album, Sumday, but I’m so awed by the band’s range of influences — and the fact that they’re very willing to wear them on their sonic sleeves — that I’m compelled to write. Sumday is an excellent album, in part because it stitches together some of the best bands of the past three + thirty years but also because the gentlemen who play in the band are truly talented instrumentalists that clearly leverage their individual talents and interests in British and American pop for the sake of the overall sound.
Here are their overt influences, in order of importance, off the top of my little head.
– The Beatles
– Flaming Lips
– Luna
– Galaxy 500
– New Pornographers
– The Beach Boys
– The Cars
– Pavement
– Simple Minds
– The Waterboys
– Night Ranger
– Foreigner
– Moby
– Big Country
– Velvet Underground
– The Psychedelic Furs
– Cheap Trick
– Thomas Dolby
There’s also one other band from the 80s that I cannot for the life of me recall — their initials was like INXS but they sung high-pitched, sad-sweet songs; not Soft Cell, not OMD, not Tears for Fears but British nonethelesss.

E.S. P.S.

In my haunted quest to own every album of the late Elliott Smith, I acquired his Roman Candle and Mic City Sons, the latter of which is technically by Heatmiser, his 1996 Portland band. Both are pretty great after about 30 listens each.
That skating guitar plucking, melancholic, gravel-up and gravel-down voice, and troubador melodies appear throughout both albums. I was wondering when Spin would cover this artist’s life and they do so in this months’ issue. And, if you’re a fan, take a look at’s special feature on Smith, replete with a rare interview and live tracks. Caution: The hated RealAudio Player is needed to listen to these. And here is one of his last interviews ever.

Why Mac is Cool

In case one is sitting around thinking that Mac still doesn’t deserve it’s measley 5% market share, here’s an article, posted on Friday, called BYOB: Build Your Own Browser by Andrew Anderson. Using Mac tools called WebKit that are built into the OS, Mac folks can actually create a customized, simple website browser, not unlike Netscape 4, which probably took 500,000 project hours to complete and still causes me and clients mad headaches.


A certain someone turned two recently and I can’t help but reflect not only on these past few years but upon the nature of the past and its reflection on the lives we lead now. There is a deep part of me that believes that the past never existed and the future will never be here — but as I approach my later years, I know this is not true.
Further, it’s this complex of suspicions, arrogance, and insecurity that makes me question the past and how it is and how it lives in our lives. Afterall, I look at the photos of this certain someone and note the change in expressions, in bodily form, in composition, and in personhood, all of which are either communicated through photography or have accomodated our drive for having those things communited to us. But I’m less interested in how someone like Susan Sontag would describe the perception of the world through these images than I am in the way that I now interpret the past through the scrim of these photos and how that veil is more or less a distant shadow of me.
Let me try to be more clear. I see an image from the past. I know that person and that time of my life inherently, coherently. It moves me and I then see the world as someone would after my death, through my eyes, without them being me and perhaps never knowing me. It’s as if the photos are personal and profoundly apart from me and the shadows they cast are that of death, which is both personal and profoundly apart from me as well.


Netflix has been calling, unconsciously, for some time now as the DVD rental company represents itself as having nearly very film title that you’d ever want to see. There are so many films I’d like to have the opportunity to see and re-see, including many from the American Avant Garde, who I used to dote over. In a search of works by Maya Deren on Netflix, they do have one title that would satisfy my urges. But if you look up someone like Kenneth Anger, probably my most favorite film auteur of the genre, you get zilch.
A search for him on Amazon shows why — Anger’s work, though prime candidates for the supposed lushness of DVD, are still on VHS. Which brings up the question: Are film aesthetes a dying breed? Or do they prefer tape the way some audiophiles still prefer vinyl over CD?


When I worked at OVEN, we proudly talked about having been the company that launched the Museum of Modern Art on the Web.
I just learned that, with the museums’ moving and shaking lately, they’ve hired Matthew Carter (who designed the Web typefaces Verdana and Georgia) to redesign and redigitize the classic Franklin Gothic No.2 typeface. Carter is going to literally rescan the original Morris Fuller Benton type and recraft it in Fontographer. MoMA has used this typeface since 1964 and it’s very cool that it has chosen to continue using this face under the sign and blessing of the original.

Blood Art

It’s gotten little coverage, but a few days ago the Israeli ambassador to Sweden literally pulled the plug on a piece of artwork called “Snow White and The Madness of Truth.” The piece was shown in Stockholm and featured an oddly rendered image of a female suicide-bomber floating on a white boat in a sea of blood.
The work almost sounds kind of powerful but the context of the work, as provided by the artist, mockingly glorifies innocent death. It was wrong of the ambassador to deface the artwork, despite its pretenses. But it’s also a sad commentary of contemporary art that this is all we get anymore. Needless to say, I’m pretty down on art this year.
(In writing this, I realize critics may point out that my last post makes comparisons between films and the Holocaust. But in “The Women,” or in “The Wizard of Oz,” the texts of the films were not subject-specific and each devised its own language to speak about the world’s complexities, including issues of race and violence. In the “Snow White” piece, artist Dror Feller does the opposite.)

The Women

The 1939 comedy, The Women, whose tagline is “It’s all about men!” was on last night on PBS. I watched almost all of it with a feeling of morosity throughout. Before knowing the date of the film, I recognized that the black and white film, with its stylish color footage of a fashion show, was much like The Wizard of Oz, in that it also showed a fictional world utterly at peace while the world was preparing for self-immolation.
The film was achingly well-acted by Joan Crawford and Norman Shearer, who played women in the world of supreme wealth and huge class and race transitions. But what I felt while watching the film was not the American social politics behind it but the weight of Europe, a few thousand miles away, preparing for the deaths of millions. The fine clothes, the light switches, the telephones, the sense of privilege throughout, were not unlike what much of Europe had experienced before they were wrenched under war’s grip and when some were thrown in gas chambers. Some of the folks who watched that movie in 1939 died only a few years later despite its charms, or perhaps, because of them.
Tomorrow, on MLK day, The Aerial Reconnaissance Archives (TARA) at Keele University, England, will be releasing hundreds of aerial photos on the Web that were taken during World War II, including those of Auschwitz, in which smoke can be seen flying up from the chimneys.