Cyprus and You

by Ian McLeod

Welp, this is the beginning of the end of the end.

As you may or may not have heard, Cyprus is “exchanging” shares in their banks for cash in a forced transaction that might, in saner times, be called “theft” but in our day and age, is just a bailout.  All bailouts are theft–whether from taxpayers or, in an unprecedented move, the “customers” themselves.

While my Economics For Fun And (Not Much) Profit series exists only as a distant memory in ANF’s previous incarnation, I’m pretty sure somewhere back there I made it clear that bailouts were the work of the Devil.  Or Cthulhu.  I’ve slept since then. Continue reading

Interview with Bryan Small ( from The Hangmen)

The Hangmen were formed in 1984 when frontman Bryan Small moved to Los Angeles from Idaho after attending Boise State University. From 84 to 88 the band developed a strong local following which resulted in a deal with Capitol, who released the band’s, now out of print, eponymous named debut album.

the Hangmen cover of East goes Western

The Hangmen

Since then, the Hangmen have remained relatively intact, their latest album East of Western is out now on Acetate records.

American NonFiction (ANF): So, what’s new with the band?

Bryan: Well the latest thing happening, with the new record coming out, about six months ago, is that we’re starting to get some airplay, which we’ve never had before -maybe back in the late eighties we did, a little bit. Little Steven’s show picked it up, then a bunch of other shows after that.

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The Plural Rebellion Part 2

Last time in “The Politics of Words: The Plural Rebellion Part 1” we constructed a land filled with letters and numbers called Alphabet Land. We met a letter named S, who felt scorned and thought he was better than the other letters. He had the power to make things plural, as he could turn an apple into many apples, and, with the help of Apostrophe, he could help nouns claim ownership of things.

Well, the letter S became a bit drunk with his new found powers and his head swelled with a sense of superiority. He treated the other letters with arrogance and thought they should see him as the most important letter.

Yet, they greeted S’s snotty behavior with jokes and snickers. S feels scored from his peers and he devised a plan to take over Alphabet Land.

The Plural Rebellion Part 2

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Buried Under Dust and Time

Five long-forgotten Artists/Albums

For the last few months I’d been meaning to write a short essay documenting five albums that are on the lowest end of the spectrum of commercial success and yet have been listened to, by me, with a certain frequency over the last five years.

This list is to be distinguished from something like Weezer’s Pinkerton, which is a prime example of a cult album made by a mainstream band (not being a Weezer fan I’m unfamiliar with it). This phenomena is not unfamiliar; there are lots of cult/lost albums by mainstream artists: the Cure’s Pornography, Lou Reed’s Berlin.

These are tiny, personal little records that are a brief escalator-ride in an artist’s career (also see Neil Young’s Tonight’s the Night). They are often recommended (by ‘rock snobs’) in conjunction with an admonishment to: “forget the other stuff and listen to this…” Some artists make this injunction easier by dividing their catalog in half, Rod Stewart is a prime example, in that there is a definite, historically documented turning point in his career.

What I’m looking for here is something very different from the “cult” album, which is accessible to anyone who happens to already be aware of the aforementioned bands. You might say that I’m looking for Continue reading

The Plural Rebellion Part 1

In the opening post of The Politics of Words, We learned that Thomas Jefferson’s use of “more perfect” in the Declaration of Independence may or may not be a grammatical error. We learned that the rules and regulations of grammar are constantly in flux and tangible. And most of all we learned that to truly know anything about grammar we need to study the subject.

And so we begin our studies of English grammar in an imaginary location…

Welcome to Alphabet Land.

Alphabet land is a mental location very similar to our own. Yet instead of people there are letters and numbers that compose the citizen base. Each page, document, or sheet of paper is it’s own part of Alphabet land.
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Maybe, I AM

Maybe, the reason is I wasn’t born into money.
I was never what you would call poor.
But my family was not extravagantly rich.
However, I always had enough
and more than I needed.

I have no understanding of the Status Quo.
I have no understanding of Art.
I have no understanding of Televised Reality.
I have no understanding of life itself.
I could be a liar.

Maybe I’m the curse of a liberal generation.
My mother believes in doing the right thing.
Which includes all the stigmas held by society.
Yet the war rages on the outskirts of town.
Humans eat humans with greed stained silverware.

Aim for the moon and beat the ruskies.
Aim for the freedom and blow up the world.
Aim for perfection and stick a fork in Utopia.
Aim for the heart and kill the beast.
Action remains the centerpiece of progression.

Maybe they will never give you a chance.
A planet spun in the vastness of space.
A race too nearsighted and stupid,
they miss the forest amongst the tress.
I remain indignant in my ignorance.

Mission statements gone unspoken.
Mission directive only derivative.
Mission airy confronts face front.
Mission impossible means improbable.
Messes left for future thought.

Maybe, We are in the land of the blind,
Where the one eyed man ponders his sight
and the blind lead the blind towards the cliff’s decent.
Conspiracies dance to a sold-out rube tune.
A subversive population left with no shoes to tap.

The Paino Man

From the crack of noon, my day started on the wrong foot. The sound of a new text bled chaos into calm silence.

Digital service is the last remaining present from the pre-war era. Our father’s father couldn’t see fit to give us a inhabitable world but gift wrapped all their toys.

Someday, the satellites will fall back to Earth on wax wings and the world will be thrown into savage darkness; yet as Janis says “I’d trade all of my tomorrows, for a single yesterday.”
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Zach Weinersmith’s Trial of the Clone

Zack Weinersmith, creator of “Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal,” revamps the choose-your-own-adventure shtick with a role playing edge in his release of “Trail of the Clone: an Interactive Adventure.”

Zach Weinersmith's Trial of the Clone

Zach Weinersmith’s Trail of the Clone an interactive Adventure

Many of us, generation X’ers, recall fond memories of our youth spent in the basements of our friend’s home. We were circled by books with monsters on the cover, threw odd shaped dice, and quenched our mighty thirst and hunger with endless streams of soda and convenience store snacks. (God, the yellow cheese at 7-11 still creeps me out!)

In those night long secessions, we took on evil enchantments and chatted with imagined gods. They were the days, when acne covered our faces and the only date we could get on Friday night was with a tree nymph, from a magical forest, controlled by one of our friends.

Yet the decades pass, Fight Club and Danny Darko have becomes classics, video game players have assumed the title of “Gamer,” and many of us won’t ever admit to owning a single Dungeon and Dragons or World of Darkness book, let alone the shelves full that once adored our bedrooms.
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Schrödinger’s Diet

Harcourt Underwood Norcroft was an unsuccessful man. To decrease the understatement, he was an abysmally dismal failure. That such a short man attained such stature as he did amongst the literati is attributable at least to serendipity, at the very most to an act of God; but his story tells all.

Norcroft – other faculty mockingly called him “the Hun” for his use of his three initials on inter-office memos – was not obnoxious, nor was he gifted with extreme ill-fortune. In main, he was uninteresting. The fact that he was a linguistics professor at a small Southern liberal-arts college only served to make him more so. Between the Sports and Science departments, there was little interest in linguistics, which firmly cemented his bankrupt social status. He was unpopular, not from sporting a negative personality – indeed, Norcroft had very little of that commodity, and that was likeable enough – but rather from lack of exposure. No one knew who he was. Some of the younger faculty members would stop him in the hall and confront him about leaky ceilings and lavatories, believing him to be with maintenance (he was not a snappy dresser, either). Ultimately, feeling the need for a draught – however small – of the Milk of Human Kindness, the Hun took to walking several steps behind the most popular professor at the college, a bearded and very with-it Marxist historian, in order to catch the waning waves and smiles of students adoring the other. As a chubby, squat man, he took what he could get.
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A Coffee Story

Morning abolition are infantile more pleasureful when the act ends with a cup of coffee. Even if the resulting mug of Joe is morning mud, there remains a mental picture of pleasure in the form of milk, coffee beans, and sugar spiked water.

Coffee Cravers

Java Jive

Caffeine visions danced like sugar plumbs in my wandering mind as I contemplated my current row with writer’s block. Wordless hours have turned into wordless days, turned into wordless months, and I turned to word filled pages of a writer’s workshop book.

Pressed between the covers of that book, I found a tale of many would-be writers who are not unlike myself. Strapped to the hilt with ideas but not a story to see. Plot lines not plotted and climaxes obscured. We can’t seem to see the story from the trees.
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