At Home He's a Tourist

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Robert Christgau Word of the Day

tintinnabulate v: ring or sound like a small bell. (

Sugar File Under: Easy Listening [Rykodisc, 1994]
Loud electric guitar metaphors fall into two basic categories: attack and transport. The buzzsaw, the jackhammer, and the machine gun versus the V-8, the midnight special, and the jet airliner. Bob Mould has always been a barrage man, but here he's in takeoff mode--whether embracing girl-group doo-doo-doos and blues readymades or simply lifting heavenward, his exhilaration doesn't show much downside. The blissful "Your Favorite Thing" (see below) suggests he's running on love sweet love, suffusing even side two's breakups and putdowns with kindness and good humor. It's that impossible dream, an interesting album about happy romance. Remember power pop, all those benighted Byrdsmaniacs and tintinnabulating Rickenbackers? Now imagine it with brains and muscles. A (

Poetess from the Panhandle hits the big time (as far as poetry goes, anyway).

Blaise Cronin, former dean of my lis alma mater, has a good column in the latest Library Journal. He points out that liberal academics' enthusiasm for "diversity" actually has very narrow boundaries, limited mostly to racial and sexual variation. But when it is pointed out how homogenous the political views are among faculty at elite and public universities, this is the reaction.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Boss says I need to keep D.B. busy. True, the latter is spending most of the day reading magazines and playing Yahoo! word scramble, but honestly there isn't much for her to work on. Makes me wonder if I'm supposed to be conceiving of new and exciting collection development projects on my own initiative.

I thought that by going into Le Divorce with low expectations I might be pleasantly surprised, but instead I was bored stiff. As the audience was leaving, a sorority gal (or someone who happened to have three greek letters on her butt) said to her companions, "That was a waste of two hours." Of course sorority girls would probably say the same thing about top of the line Merchant-Ivory product like Room With a View, but in this case their reaction was justified. Le Divorce was much more interested in making cross-cultural comparisons between France and America than in portraying complex characters or telling an engrossing story. And these comparisons were pretty trivial; I couldn't care less that French women like scarves or prefer their sugar in cubes. The ending was particularly clumsy, when the movie jolts suddenly from a comedy of manners to a thriller.

Later I saw on DVD another Miyazaki, Castle in the Sky. It's more exciting and clever than Kiki's Delivery Service, sort of like the anime Metropolis in its odd combination of futurism and 1920s nostalgia, with dirigibles, steam engines, and Model Ts occupying the same world as ray guns and floating cities. Like Mononoke and many other anime films, environmentalism is one of its prevalent themes, as a beautiful floating island is threatened by the military-industrial complex. Recommended.