At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Yep, small town Texas bleeds red white and blue. At the faculty/staff awards luncheon today the ceremonies kicked off with someone singing "I'm Proud to Be an American" to a karaoke track; at the third stanza everyone stood up, as if saying the Pledge of Allegiance to an invisible flag. Later in the afternoon, the Faculty Senate meeting opened with a Powerpoint slide presentation of scenes from Operation Iraqi Freedom accompanied by a Christian rock song. The woman who gave the presentation said she had shown it to her church during Easter service. I gag on force-fed patriotism and hate the mingling of politics and religion. Maybe I've forgotten, but I don't remember the Creed saying "I believe in One Conservative Republican and Evangelical Church."

This evening I went with a gang of library student workers to see Bulletproof Monk, a mediocre imitation of Jackie Chan's recent buddy flicks with elements of The Matrix and Indiana Jones thrown in. Later we headed to a dorm room where we played "Halo" on the X-Box; those young guys with their nimble thumbs wiped me out. One of them pointed out that I don't talk much, to which I, of course, said nothing. This has happened numerous times before. For instance, at a dinner party in Taiwan one of the natives, pleased to learn that the common English word for extroverted was "outgoing," turned to me and said "So you must be ingoing." When I worked one summer on the assembly line at a CD factory the old-fashioned Southern chatterbox sitting next to me said, "I hate how quiet you are; it makes me nervous." I'm constantly surprised how rude people can be but I have made my peace, to some extent, with being unusual. And if silence is good enough for the Trappists, it's good enough for me.

Robert Christgau Word of the Day

lachrymal adj

  1. Of or relating to tears.
  2. Of, relating to, or constituting the glands that produce tears. (

The Eleventh House Featuring Larry Coryell [Vanguard, 1974]

In person, Coryell's restless imagination has held its own against Alphonse Mouzon's cute Latin funkisms and Randy Brecker's plasma, perspiration, and lachrymal secretions. In fact, I've found the synthesis hard and multilayered--but maybe it was just loud. Here the guitarist's straining electronicism is subsumed in neat melodic contrivances. Depressing--when somebody deserves better for as long as Coryell, you begin to wonder. B- (


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