Quo Vadimus

Saturday, June 14, 2003


The Genius List. #033: Rev. Thomas J. Regan, S.J.

[I'm sure Regan is thrilled to have: "It sucks that he's leaving, because I heard he was going to replace APK* and bring back football. Father Regan cares about the students and interacts with them, and he was genuinely upset at the cutting of football and hockey," said Liz Collins, '05. as the lead reaction quote on his departure/legacy.]
*Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., Fairfield University President.

You know what Tom Regan is? Well, I had this guy for Modern Philosphy circa 1994, a course anchored by must-reads like A Sickness Unto Death, The Geneology of Morals, No Exit, and The Trial. Fun stuff. Regan's much more laid-back then a Walter Petry, but still prone to taunt, especially when his film references were largely met with blank stares, the kind of stares you only see on 19-year-olds in a morning class, not so much disinterest and/or hungoverness, but more a blankness unto death. One example I recall is a diatribe after getting no reaction to a riff he did on Shakespearean references in Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho.

Speaking of films, a standard late-semester wrap-up to this course was a film night at Regan's house, which was on the outskirts of the campus. The film was Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors, a nifty existential expose and the subject of a published Regan essay exploring Woody's use of Nietzsche's and Kierkegaard's philosophy.

When approaching the house, a memorable scene came into view: Regan, lounging on his porch, gently swirling a snifter of brandy, puffing on his trademark cigar. For a moment, everything seemed to coalesce around this man of the cloth -- the sweetness of smoldering tobacco and the whiff of liquor floating around in the crisp breeze of a New England autumn. It was classic professor imagery, something that seemed to convey "college" in the way of old novels and films.

Regan's dedication to the craft of teaching was a magnificent thing to see three times a week for a semester, and it was in this class that I constructed what, in retrospect, was a kind of primitive, handwritten blog. A percentage (like 30%?) of the final grade was determined by a journal. The content was pretty straighforward - pull some stuff from whatever we were reading that week and just riff on it. Sort it out. Dive in to, say, Sartre's "The Respectful Prostitute" and try to make some sense of it. There was a minimum number of entries that had to be completed each week, and the progress was checked from time to time throughout the semester to make sure people were not just filling pages with Phish guitar tablatures or other errant scribblings.

Needless to say, I dove in pretty hardcore. It didn't really seem like "work" to me, and, when asked by classmates how many entries I had done, I would usually have to subtract at least 15 before answering to avoid being called names. When the muse struck, I would riff. I have this journal somewhere and plan to review it, but I do recall doing an entry in which I somehow linked the antics of the mentally-handicapped son of my dad's cousin to Nietzschean notions of free will (I'm sure this had something to do with the time he rode his Big Wheel onto a N.J. highway, or maybe the time he dumped the contents of a kitchen garbage receptacle on the head of my sister.)

So anyway, when I got this thing back at the various checkpoints, Regan would write a few comments here and there ("an auspicious beginning!"), but it was unclear as to how much of this stuff he was actually reading, although he made it known that the quantity and quality of the entries was a factor in the grading. When I got back the notebook with the final grade, this was clear: the guy devoured it. Comments, exclamation points, corrections, expressions of bafflement, questions, answers, all of it. Nice. The would-be-blogger had an audience, and the question was answered: Tom Regan is an enthusiast.

posted by Linus | 3:38 PM

Friday, June 13, 2003


You Forgot it in MTV People.

In the second example of blog--Pitchfork synergy this week (see Esselle--Fork on June 9th), I was trying to concoct a Broken Social Scene post this morning and then saw they had the lead news story. So there you go. Anyway, I got this BSS record and my first listen did not go well, which is not unusual. My first runs through, say, Kid A and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot were semi-disasters (the latter producing the now-legendary IM declaration: Yankee Hotel S**trot. Ha ha.) So after one listen of this one, I thought mabye BSS was one "S" too many. Ha ha. In other words, I thought I had been Fork'd.

Disappointed, yet inspired, I immediately called MTV to pitch a new show idea (who is working at this joint these days? I asked for all kinds of people and they are like all gone: Adam Curry, Kevin Seal, that guy who hosted Oddville, Dave Kendall, Pinfield, Kenny Ober, Jimmy the Cab Driver, Riki Rachtman*, D.T. Julie Brown. Nobody. I even tried China Kantner. Not there. As a last attempt, I asked for "Randee of the Redwoods" and was treated to 5 minutes of laughter and demands that I repeat said request so others could hear it. Loder loved it.). I eventually got through to Gideon Yago, claiming that I had an iPod he left in Kuwaiti City.

The show would, of course, be called Fork'd and would star me (and girlfriend Kim Basinger - thanks, Sean!**), a team of Pitchfork writers, and Wee-Man. This collective would prowl L.A. for young, popular stars of film, television, and music and attempt to get them to buy various records. After the transaction is finalized at Tower, the targeted celeb would then be shown, via hidden camera, listening to the record. "What the hell, this isn't that good?!" they'll say. And we'll laugh. Hard. And then we'll do lines of wasabi with Steve-O.

Yago said the idea was "interesting" and claimed he would run it by Iann Robinson, who was busy working on a news story about the newly-revived Ukrainian death metal scene.

And so I listened to that BSS thing again and I'm starting to dig it. I even got a second opinon. At least half of it is pretty solid. Whatever. It gave me an excuse to reference China Kantner in a blog post.

*Riki will be back this Saturday night - he's co-hosting Headbanger's Ball on M2.

**Los Angeles, Friday 13th June 2003: Rap mogul SEAN 'P DIDDY' COMBS claims he started today's trend of celebrities dating each other.

The New York native, 32, romanced Latina stunner JENNIFER LOPEZ for three years before their relationship ended in 2001, and she is now engaged to DAREDEVIL hunk BEN AFFLECK.

And Combs believes he's the one who kickstarted many of today's celebrity pairings - despite the fact that the likes of ELIZABETH TAYLOR and RICHARD BURTON first got together years before he was even born.

The BAD BOY boss, currently dating on-off belle KIM PORTER, says, "The new trend of dating another celebrity - I basically started that. Right now in Hollywood, what it's about is which celebrity's dating which celebrity. That is so corny man."

Combs has been credited with introducing new pal ASHTON KUTCHER to screen siren DEMI MOORE, sparking one of Hollywood's hottest celebrity pairings.

(from wenn.com)

posted by Linus | 9:18 PM


People have ideas. Sometimes, they share them.

posted by Linus | 8:03 PM


WRAS DJ Crack-Ups, first in a series. #001:

This album title was pronounced as "Dansay Mackbray" and, seconds later, a band was described as being "rawshus", a woeful misreading of the promo copy's "raucous".

posted by Linus | 7:53 PM

Thursday, June 12, 2003


I Like These Films, Do You Like These Films? #003: Harold and Maude (1971, Hal Ashby).

Speaking of Bud Cort, check this.

posted by Linus | 3:15 PM


I Like These Records, Do You Like These Records? #004: Cinderella - Long Cold Winter (1988, Mercury).

posted by Linus | 2:55 PM


"I did good at the track last weekend. Go buy yourself something nice."

posted by Linus | 1:00 PM

Wednesday, June 11, 2003


Like I always say ...

posted by Linus | 8:43 PM


I Like These Records, Do You Like These Records? #003: Overwhelming Colorfast: Two Words (1994, Relativity).

posted by Linus | 2:29 PM

Tuesday, June 10, 2003


This band is good. Here's a track from their upcoming record.

posted by Linus | 9:50 PM


The Brown Bunny. #009:

"Get on. We're taking a little road trip to Chicago."

From today's Gawker stalker:

"Chloe Sevigny, just now (1pm) in front of the Chase at 18th & Park Ave. South, getting onto the back axle pedals of some grungy guy's bicycle. Looking pretty grungy herself: no makeup, feather stuck in her arm band, daisy dukes."

posted by Linus | 6:43 PM


Fell In Love With A Harpsichord.

posted by Linus | 1:40 PM


The Genius List. #032: Atul Gawande.

posted by Linus | 9:54 AM

Monday, June 09, 2003


The Genius List. #027-031: The Go-Go's: Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Kathy Valentine, Gina Schock, and Jane Wiedlin.

Finally, finally, finally got their 2001 record last week. I suggest you do the same.

posted by Linus | 7:03 PM


The Brown Bunny. #008:

The one-sheet.

[UPDATE: Two others. I prefer the second one - Fargoesque!]

posted by Linus | 11:54 AM

Sunday, June 08, 2003


Fun with Roth. #003:

[Yes, spoken sequentially.]

posted by Linus | 3:28 PM