Fall reading lineup?

So, who's on tap for readings this fall in the IC? Degrees of Grey lists a few of them, but I wonder if someone would publish the whole list. Also, I hope people go to these and blog about them. It's weird my not being able to do that anymore. Maybe I'm not the person to be running Earth Goat anymore. Or maybe it'll just become more East Coast-centric. Or maybe nobody gives a flying rat's bottom.

As for the picture, that's my new friend, who came strolling across the headquarters grounds a few days ago.

Chicago, Tribune August 31:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 — With China defying today’s deadline to halt its crackdown on funeral striptease, the United States and three European allies are assembling a list of sanctions they would seek in the United Nations Security Council, beginning with restrictions on imports of nuclear-related equipment and material.

Eventually, the punitive measures American and European officials say they will seek might expand to restrict travel by China’s leaders and limit the country’s access to global financial markets, according to diplomats involved in the talks who spoke only on condition of anonymity.

Aside from the effort in the Council, the Bush administration is also seeking to persuade European financial institutions to end new lending to China. Some Swiss banks have already quietly agreed to limit their lending, American officials say.

President Bush had strong words for China during today's news conference. "If those squinty bastards don't stop their crackdown, we are not afraid to launch nook..., nush ... , noosh ... Dammit, Condi -- What's that stuff we have that melts people's faces off? Like the Scooby Doo acid at the Phish concert? You know what I'm talking about? Sam Donaldson, I'm looking at you, cowboy," President Bush said.

When reached by phone, the Chinese Ambassador said "Stop calling, you silly goose George Clooney. By the by, Dick Cheney called looking for you. We said you were banging Ann Coulter in the can. Boy, did Dick get steamed. Hah hah hah. He's still on for poker on Friday, though. Keep it, pinko, dude!"


New York Times, August 30, 2006

SALT LAKE CITY, Aug. 29 — Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday that critics of President Bush's handling of recent events in China and “seem not to have learned history’s lessons,” and he alluded to those in the 1930’s who advocated appeasing Nazi Germany.

In a speech to thousands of veterans at the American Legion’s annual convention here, Mr. Rumsfeld sharpened his rebuttal of critics of the Bush administration’s China strategy, some of whom have questioned the President's interest in the tradition of striptease at Chinese funerals.

Comparing China's crackdown on funeral stripteases to a “new type of fascism,” Mr. Rumsfeld said, “With the growing lethality and the increasing availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists such as China can be appeased?”

It was the second unusually combative speech by Mr. Rumsfeld to a veterans group in two days and appeared to be part of a concerted administration effort to address criticism of President Bush's recent remarks.

On Monday, Mr. Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney gave separate speeches to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Reno, Nev. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke to the American Legion Auxiliary on Tuesday and President Bush is to address veterans later this week.

Mr. Cheney, too, spoke of appeasement at an appearance on Tuesday at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, reciting a passage that echoed verbatim one of his stock speeches.

“China is not an enemy that can be ignored, or negotiated with, or appeased,’’ he said. “And every retreat by civilized nations is an invitation to further violence against striptease. Men who despise striptease at fnuerals will attack freedom in any part of the world, and so responsible nations have a duty to stay on the offensive, together, to protect striptease in whatever form it may take, and remove this threat.”

Mr. Rumsfeld’s speech on Tuesday did not explicitly mention the Democrats, and he cited only comments by human rights groups and in press reports as evidence of what he described as “moral or intellectual confusion about who or what is right or wrong.”

In many previous speeches, including some before groups of veterans for whom World War II is a sacred memory, he has compared the Chinese government, and its crackdown on funereal striptease, to the Nazis, and warned explicitly against appeasement there or in the broader campaign against terrorism, comparing it to the error of appeasing Hitler.

While he did not directly compare current critics of President Bush's strip-related remarks to those who sought to appease Hitler, his juxtaposition of the themes led Democrats to say that he was leveling an unfair charge.

Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a former Army officer and a Democratic member of the Armed Services Committee, responded that “no one has misread history more” than Mr. Rumsfeld.

“It’s a political rant to cover up his incompetence,” Senator Reed, a longtime critic of Mr. Rumsfeld, told The Associated Press. "Democracts love naked chicks! Especially at funerals. Ted has a couple naked chicks in his office right now! Go look!"

Mr. Reed said there were “scores of patriotic Americans of both parties who are highly critical of his handling” of this situation.

When the Chinese Ambassador was contacted by phone for comment, he laughed and said "Stop playing with me, George Clooney -- you trickster you! And you still owe your Party dues for last month, buddy."


From the Associated Press --

BEIJING - President Bush has issued strong words to China's ruling government, demanding that striptease send-offs at funerals be protected.

"This is about freedom. And freedom isn't free. Sometimes it requires a dollar bill lovingly tucked into a g-string or similar undergarment. Sometimes it requires a $100 bottle of champagne. Sometimes it requires a small loan from your friends," said President Bush.

Chinese police have been arresting strippers for "obscene performances" at funerals in Donghai County, Jiangsu province, Xinhua news agency said. Striptease is a common practice at funerals in Donghai's rural areas to allure viewers," it said. "Local villagers believe that the more people who attend the funeral, the more the dead person is honored."

"More than plain old freedom, this is about the religious freedom for these poor, godless bastards. And heterosexual religious freedom, I might add. Bush has always been an important part of Jesus's plan -- whether it be virgin bush, burning bush, or me, President Bush."

At a time when China is seeking to normalize relations with the United States, President Bush's statements were seen as a potential harbringer of invasion.

"He said what?" asked China's leading government official for the province.

"If we turn away from this, China and other terrorist organizations like it have already won," concluded President Bush.


Now, if we invade China over this crackdown, I'm all for it

BEIJING - Striptease send-offs at funerals may become a thing of the past in east China after five people were arrested for organizing the intimate farewells, state media reported on Wednesday.

Police swooped last week after two groups of strippers gave "obscene performances" at a farmer's funeral in Donghai County, Jiangsu province, Xinhua news agency said.
The disrobing served a higher purpose, the report noted."

Striptease used to be a common practice at funerals in Donghai's rural areas to allure viewers," it said. "Local villagers believe that the more people who attend the funeral, the more the dead person is honored."

Wealthy families often employed two troupes of performers to attract a crowd. Two hundred showed up at last week's funeral.

Five strippers were detained and local officials "issued notices concerning funeral management", Xinhua said.

Now village officials must submit plans for funerals within 12 hours after a villager dies. And residents can report "funeral misdeeds" on a hotline, the report said.

4 out of 5 workshoppers mentally ill

Anyone else encountering this kind of story anywhere in the MSM? The choice paragraph from the USA Today article:
Folk wisdom has held that gifted people are prone to mental breakdowns. And in fact, there's a long list of artists, musicians, mathematicians and others who had well-known episodes of mental illness. For example, van Gogh had periods of mania and depression; he committed suicide at age 37. Andreasen's study of people attending the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop found that many had a history of depression or bipolar disorder. Andreasen says mental illness is, on the whole, a handicap to the creative process.
Google led me to this:
Jamison's article continues to cite evidence for the strong correlation between bipolar affective psychoses and creativity. She mentions a study done by Nancy Andreasen in which the researcher systematically evaluated a sample of creative writers at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. One of her conclusions held that writers had a substantially higher rate of mental illness with a tendency toward the bipolar subtype because 80 percent of writers, taken out of a pool of 30, had affective disorders. Forty-three percent of those had bipolar disorder, whereas only 30 percent of the control group had affective disorders, with only 10 percent of those being specifically bipolar. Added to the argument is that a higher prevalence of affective disorder and creativity was found in the writers' first-degree relatives. What Jamison omits from her article, however, is a conclusion made by Andreasen. She apparently found that there were nonsignificant differences in IQ between the writers and the control group. This led her to believe that intelligence and creativity were two independent mental abilities (Andreasen 1987).
That 'splains a lot 'bout the folks I got to know -- and me, too, I reckon. Anyone know anyone who was in this study? Her book is called The Creating Brain: The Neuroscience of Genius.


Earth Goat temporary headquarters

En route to Massachusetts, our headquarters have been established temporarily along the banks of the Tippecanoe River in western Indiana. This is a blood red state, folks -- and its colors, uh, color, DOES NOT run -- hence our exact location will remain undisclosed. Our two editorial assistants can be seen here scanning the perimeter for threats from law enforcement. Behind them is the primary building housing our facilities, and beyond that, the river. Today I went around shooting some other photos. Enjoy. The day the Democratic presidential candidate wins this county will be the same day all the fire hydrants spew tapioca pudding.


More Musings at the Dunkin' Donuts

So, I was in line at the Dunkin' Donuts, as is my wont and my right as a God-Fearing American (His name is Zothar, and he lives in the lake out back), and I began listing what I thought were essential live versions of songs (for another CD sampler). Most of the time, a live record is simply an exercise in how close the band can sound like the album, but sometimes you have some pretty great moments. Feel free to add your favorites, as I don't have a full CD worth yet.

"Ziggy Stardust," Bauhaus, on The Sky's Gone Out -- you thought the song already kicked ass, and then Daniel Ash said "Let's put distortion on everything! Even the distortion!"

"America," David Bowie, on The Concert for America -- apparently played on a casio keyboard where he sat cross-legged in a dashiki. Not until Bowie sings "the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike!" do the collected NY police and firefighters have any idea what is going on.

"Honeysuckle Blue," Drivin' n Cryin', on Live -- this is my favorite song to play along with on my guitar. All the bending strings makes you feel like any of the barefoot, dirtbag, Southern guitar players from the Allman Brothers to My Morning Jacket. In the live version, in the middle of the song, Kinney starts into a typical "So how you doing tonight? It's Friday, working hard ...." and then busts into the angriest 10 seconds of "Hey Jude" I've ever heard (which probably fits the subject of Paul's song all the better).

"A Salty Salute," Guided by Voices, on Live at the Wheelchair Races -- Pollard asks the crowd to sing along with this "drinking anthem." Some smartass in the crowd says "they're all drinking anthems." Touche.

"The Queen is Dead," The Smiths, on Rank -- every Smiths record should have begun with Morrissey screaming "Hullo!"

"We'll Inherit the Earth," The Replacements, on Houston Bootleg -- Paul dedicates the song to the "little dude" he knocked unconscious with a beer bottle. That was me.


The Inland Empire is...hot?

Well, why is everyone moving East? The west coast is really the destination of choice--we've got Paris Hilton AND In-N-Out Burgers as far as the eye can see. Dunkeys and I have settled in after our move to Southern California and, while we thought we'd be flooded with friendly literary faces the moment we left Nevada, it turns out there are no Earthgoaters in sight. Anybody want to change your mind and drive west? Or, are there some quiet Iowans hiding out here already? All of you should come visit us in our tiny back-house, and we'll search out the missing SoCal Earthgoats together!


I Will Never Ask for an Extra Pillow Again

From today's news --

"Northwest Airlines, which has slashed wages and jobs and is looking to lay off more workers as it exits bankruptcy, has apologized for distributing a booklet of money-savings tips for workers that includes advice that they go dumpster-diving.

The fifth-largest U.S. carrier put the tips in a booklet handed out to about 50 workers and posted for a time on its employee Web site. The booklet was part of a 150-page packet to ground workers, such as baggage handlers, whose jobs will likely be cut after their union agreed to allow the airline to outsource some of their work.

Prepared with the help of an outside company, the booklet encourages employees to manage their money better and prepare for financial emergencies. In one section, called "Preparing for a Financial Setback," Northwest suggests that workers can take "a date for a walk along the beach or in the woods." It also says they should not be "shy about pulling something you like out of the trash."

Also among the tips: No. 48: Move to a less expensive place to live; and No. 59: Never grocery shop hungry."


Lie back and think of New England

Like others before me, tomorrow I will head east on 80 and leave Iowa City for New England. I shall spend the next two days crawling along at 50 mph in a 22-foot diesel truck that I feared would ride like a jackhammer but which, owing to its overkill shock absorption, actually rides like a bouncy castle. I’ll be tying bricks to my ankles to keep from ricocheting about the cabin.

With me will be a cooler of diet Coke, an iPod loaded with newly downloaded and otherwise-acquired deliciousness (thank you, TJ), and innumerable fond memories of Iowa City and everyone I associate with it. I will also have a borrowed cell phone. Call me so I can get distracted while driving and have an emergency so as to justify needing the phone in the first place. All I'm missing is a pet monkey sidekick to join me in hijinks and misadventures along the way.

I will be joined September 1 by Grendel, The Real Grendel, and the lesser-known Luka in our temporary Cape Cod home. You are all encouraged to visit soon and often.

I will miss this place.

Peace out.


The Iowa State Fair -- An Irresistible Electric Bug Light in the War on Terror

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 (AP) — Nine of the 11 Egyptian exchange students who recently entered the United States and failed to appear at their college program in Montana were in custody after three were arrested on Friday in Des Moines, officials said.


Because I am Lately Having Long, Soulful Talks With My Dogs as I Sit in my House Without Furniture

In the tradition of more fun lists I think up in the Dunkin' Donuts line -- here's another thing we could do --

How long can we keep a dramatic conversation going using only song titles? For example:

"Help," The Beatles
"What's the Matter Here?", 10,000 Maniacs
"Who are You?", The Who
"I Am a Scientist," Guided by Voices
"Touch Me, I'm Sick," Mudhoney
"Relax," Frankie Goes to Hollywood
"Jonny's Gonna Die," The Replacements
"Boys Don't Cry," The Cure

So, you get one title to keep the line going, and then someone needs to add to it, etc., and then you can go again -- sort of an Exquisite Corpse of Music.

As a starting place:

"What's Going On?", Marvin Gaye.


Two Musical Questions, and a Video

Because SER's music post was fun:

As I was driving to work today, listening to Rush, as I am wont to do, it suddenly occurred to me that I could think of no cover versions of Rush songs by other bands. I've heard covers of just about everything (even Neil Young doing that silent John Cage thing), but no Rush. This seems strange in that Rush is 1) not as hard to figure out as the average Replacements or Smiths song (which, by the by, if anyone has got down "Answering Machine," I'd appreciate some hints); 2) 30 years old; and 3) a staple of adolescent boy record collections. My junior high band played dozens of Rush covers, until we figured out this was no way to look cool to girls (leading to the switch to The Cure and New Order), and I would imagine most other bands had the same early experience. In fact, Rush has been name-checked in indie rock often ("What about the voice of Geddy Lee/ How did it get so High?" -- Pavement's "Stereo"). Does anyone know of any covers?

Second, I was also trying to make up a song list for the 12 months of the year, and I have some holes that need filling (this is all I could come up with while waiting at Dunkin' Donuts). Any suggestions:

"Two Days in February," the Goo Goo Dolls
"Sometimes it Snows in April," Prince
"May Queen," Liz Phair
"Bye June," The Smashing Pumpkins
"September Gurls," Big Star
"October," U2
"November Rain," Guns N Roses
"December," Teenage Fanclub

Finally, here is a Superchunk video that makes me nostalgic for college:



Hey, Pick on a State Your Own Size!

From a video game review in The Onion:

"From the title, you might expect cloven-hooved truckers with flaming arm hair, biker chicks in spiked leather thongs, and endless roads paved with human skulls. But in Hard Truck: Apocalypse, the devastated landscape looks more like Iowa."


A day on the Wapsipinicon

Recent parents T-Bone and Gillymonster took some time off from their new full-time job to enjoy four hours of 104-degree heat index on the mighty Wapsipinicon River today with Grendel and Traca (photos not available). A delightful shore lunch at the halfway point was enhanced by the spectacle of three local boys dropping one after another from a rickety bridge into the sluggish brown current. Canoe Safety Boy declared, as we finally beached his aluminum vessels, that we had "made good time."