The tour following the release of My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky was one of the most brain-shattering1 live-music experiences I’ve ever had, but for reasons too boring to go into here, when the special-edition, hand-numbered, wooden-box-enclosed live album was released to fund the eventual release of the next studio record, I was unable to grab one of the thousand extant copies2. Since the announcement was this week, this counts as something that doesn’t suck this week. Expect a follow-up item when I actually have the thing in my hot little hands. Given that there’s only been somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen truly interesting releases on my radar so far this year, I think you’re probably going to hear about it a lot.
2. We’re allowed to start sentences with “hopefully”
This is important for two reasons, actually. The first of them is that the argument against starting sentences with “hopefully” – which was to be treated as a standard adverb, like “quickly” or “lasciviously” – was that it was meant to describe the verb – I ogle quickly, I ogle lasciviously, and I ogle hopefully – unfortunately, decade upon decade upon decade of usage has given “hopefully” another meaning. Compare: “I ogle hopefully” with “Hopefully, I ogle.” That’s not the same thing. So on the one hand, it makes me happy to see a change entrenched in the language. But the added benefit is the amount of handwringing and headless-chicken style complaining that happens any time any previously-established grammatical rule is changed. The fact that even modern English has gone through almost five hundred years of changes means nothing to these people. No, allowing “hopefully” to be used as people already use it is yet another heavy, heavy straw on the camel of the language. It’s two of my favorite things – documenting the change of the language and watching people flap their arms like morons.
3. Pretending Calvin Johnson is Calvin Johnson
I am not a football fan. Like, at all. Everything I know about football comes from my youthful flirtation with Tecmo Bowl, and periodically watching a Super Bowl because everyone I know is watching the Super Bowl. But I never really know what’s going on – I’m dimly aware that the idea is to charge through the people that are trying to keep you from running around, and cross the line at the end for some points3. So the only off-season football news I’ve had any exposure to is Kotaku (and other video game-type sources) talking about Madden, and specifically who gets to be on the cover. Luckily for me, I know a great deal about Beat Happening, and the person who won the honor this year happens to share the same name with Beat Happening’s (and K Records’) resident baritone macher. And really, I think it’s pretty worth it to imagine The Wimpiest Man Ever to Rock charging over steroidal giants on his way to another touchdown. Portland needs a football team like Ohio needs a train, folks.
4. This ATM
I wonder if you get your money in the official language of the church, if that somehow makes it more sanctified? Furthermore, I wonder how all of this works vis a vis keeping the money changers out of the temple, given that it’s probably an official incursion by the church upon the money-changers. Still and all, it’s good to see that some people won’t take their inability to function in something so common as Italian in a place literally surrounded by Italy as a sign to do different things with their time. They want their cash, and they want it now. Of course, the only things I use cash for are going to the bar and going to the laundromat, so now I think that maybe they are trying to lower the register of their activities. And I support them. Plus, it gives me the excuse to wonder about the Holy Roman Laundry. Sure, all the robes and stuff have got to be dry clean only, but I’m sure they were drawers, right? And undershirts and stuff? I bet they get the good laundry carts, with wheels that all work together in tandem and hanger bars that aren’t bent into s-shapes by the abuses of the unwashed masses. Jesus hooks people up.
5.New conspiracy theories
I thought about writing an entire piece on this, got a few words into it, and then decided that there really isn’t anything to say. A dude who offers nothing to corroborate or back himself up claims that he was at a meeting of all of the important people to the music industry over twenty years ago, and they decided to promote gangsta rap as a way to encourage black youths to commit crimes and end up in private prisons. It does all of the great things that a conspiracy theory should do – “explain” something that really doesn’t require explanation, looking like it makes sense without actually making any sense, and presenting as firsthand information stuff that sounds like it came from the fever-dream of a middle-aged weirdo. Now, that’s nothing new. These things happen all the time. What makes this one worth your time is that the letter that was written4 reads like a goddamn Ed McBain novel. You just don’t see this kind of suspenseful prose in your average conspiracy theory lunacy. Most importantly, it passes the Patented Februarymakeup Conspiracy Theory Total Nonsense Test, which goes like this: can you legitimately imagine someone trying to talk about this article without saying, at some point “Dude, if you think about it…”? No. No you cannot. And that’s what separates the great conspiracy theories from the non-great.
1 Both in the sense that it improved my ability to live and the literal sense, which is that I’m pretty sure I suffered some damage.
2 I must say, however, that in the abstract, my disappointment over not being able to snag a copy for myself is more than mitigated by the fact that the entire project sold out in 24 hours, which points to a thriving and sustaining community of Swans fans, which is much more important than one semi-blogger in Ohio owning the record.
3 they are called “points,” right? I think so.
4 actually an email, and apparently a bunch of hip-hop media-type people got it all at once.