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Sunday, March 31, 2002

Autobahn (eine fixe Idee)
Die Autobahn ist die Metapher für das Leben nach dem 2. Weltkrieg. Die Autobahn ist der Ort, an dem wir uns jetzt befinden, der Ort, den wir hinter uns lassen, ein Nicht-Ort. Die schnellste Überlandverbindung von A nach B (in anderen Ländern ist dies die Zugstrecke). Durch die Autobahn wird alles zwischen A und B genichtet, zur Fassade degradiert. Wie die Landschaftselemente in einem Videogame. Die Wiesen, die Natur, die Städte am Rande der Autobahn sind völlig virtuell. Je schneller wir über die Autobahn fahren, desto mehr werden wir eins mit der Autobahn. Wenn man die Autobahn ernstnehmen will, muss man mit einem schnellen Auto über sie hinwegrasen.
Und wenn man genau das versucht, dann stösst man auf Widerstand. Auf andere Autofahrer, die einem den Weg versperren, die z.B. plötzlich nach links ausscheren und einen zum Bremsen zwingen. Was würde Gott in so einer Situation tun? Ganz klar. Gott würde das nicht passieren. Er würde alle anderen Autofahrer ganz einfach fernlenken wie Spielzeugautos auf einer Wohnzimmer-Carrerarennbahn. Er ist allmächtig und würde nicht nur sein superschnelles Auto lenken sondern auch alle anderen Autos, die auf der Autobahn herumkurven. Er hätte freie Fahrt, da er die Autos aller Fahrer, die versuchen würden sich vor ihn zu setzen, sofort aus seiner Bahn weglenken würde. Er wäre immer der erste am Ziel.
Andererseits wäre es Gott wahrscheinlich ziemlich egal, ob er fünf Minuten eher an seinem Ziel wäre als die anderen. Gott hat Geduld. Zeit spielt keine Rolle für ihn. Er steht über der Zeit. Gott würde nicht auf der Autobahn fahren. Er würde den Feldweg nehmen, zu Fuß. Den Weg, der das Ziel ist, nicht den Weg, der nur weg von hier ist.

Friday, March 29, 2002

Oh! Life is terrible. It rules us, we do not rule it.
We went to see Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde at the English Theater in Frankfurt (website not really up-to-date) last night. They had some financial problems recently which is not surprising considering that they solely live on sponsors and entrance fees and do not receive any public funding. Like Holzmann, the tumbling Frankfurt construction giant they somehow raised the funds but unlike Holzmann they used the money for something that pleased me a lot. A great performance of a great piece on a woman who succeeds in preventing her daughter from sharing the same unlucky fate as herself without telling her the truth.

Thursday, March 28, 2002

The Best Meals of My Life (Joseph Duemer)
"When I crack an egg
I usually think
of the French girl
who lived downstairs
in the boarding house
where I endured
the winter following
my first marriage.
She would never
go to bed with me
but showed me instead
in her generosity
how to slip my finger
in a circle inside
the two halves of
a freshly broken
egg shell to extract
the last slick white
to dribble it into
the skillet. Her parents
had lived through
Nazi poverty & she
lectured me—profligate
& depraved—on thrift
& virtue. Out of kindness
she gave me instead
of what I wanted
meals of potatoes
& eggs & that is
the way, isn’t it, of virtue—
to give not pleasure
but what is necessary
to sustain life: eggs
& potatoes & salt
over which it becomes
possible to talk
& even to think.
Life of the body,
life of the mind."

[Spud Songs, Helicon 9 Editions, 1999]

Joseph Duemer is also responsible for the excellent reflective weblog reading & writing and blogs about reading the Philosophical Investigations by Wittgenstein together with Christopher Robinson (via douze lunes).
P.S. I feel a little guilty of posting a long poem which is not by myself but it could have been. Or to be less presumptuous it spoke of things I can relate to. About the preciousness of small things. I do the same with the white of the egg but I don't exactly remember from whom I learnt this. Probably from my parents I guess.

Literatur-Archiv Gutenberg-DE ab sofort bei Spiegel Online
Der Spiegel hat die Gebete der Weblogger und anderer surffreudiger Literaturfreunde erhört. Ab sofort findet man Gutenberg-DE im Kulturressort des Onlineangebots des renommierten deutschen Nachrichtenmagazins. 250.000 Seiten große deutsche Literatur vor dem Verlöschen im digitalen Nirvana gerettet. Bravo Herr Augstein, so sie denn für diese literarische publizistische Glanztat verantwortlich zeichnen. Die neue Internetseite ist momentan vom Farbeinsatz noch nicht so ganz das ästhetisch Optimale, aber das wird sich bestimmt noch ändern.

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

There is no genius without a mixture of madness (Seneca)
Or more precise: genius and madness are brothers and sisters.
Simon Singh writes a very interesting short essay on John Nash's achievements in game theory in the New Statesman. Apparently the rules for the auctions for the telephone frequencies which raised about 50 billion euro in Germany alone can be derived from Nash's equations. The article ends with a scene from the opening page of Sylvia Nasar's biography A Beautiful Mind which served as the basis for the Oscar awarded movie: a friend visits Nash in the hospital and asks him how he could believe that aliens were recruiting him to save the world and Nash replies: "Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way that my mathematical ideas did. So I took them seriously" (via arts & letters daily).
P.S. The comments are back but I am still seriously thinking of moving. I have reserved the Antville name ignorant already. For the time being that address is just used as a clipboard for thoughts and links.

Silence #1
"Men fear silence as they fear solitude, because both give them a glimpse of the terror of life's nothingness" (André Maurois).
The comments are gone. Don't ask me why. I think I am going to move soon.

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

I like the word "snoozefest" though I can't find it in my dictionaries. Does it really exist? Google finds only 1,180 occurences which makes this word a little dubious. Or is it new? I am heading for a snoozefest in the positive sense right now.

Monday, March 25, 2002

There is a direction, even if the map's lost (Spin ARG on Giant Sand)
In my case it is more like: I have got the key but I can't find the lock.
I have been asking myself for a while if I am addicted to the internet. I spend most time online reading weblogs and discussing on music at ILM. According to this interesting article (via troubled diva) a good question to ask is: "First of all, can somebody not accurately predict how much time they're going to spend online, prior to getting online?". Often I set myself a limit of half an hour or one hour and then I break it. So I know of the problem and try counter-measures which don't always work. I feel that my online behaviour is still ok if I look at the ILM statistics page (attention loads very slowly) with my 600 or so posts in about 8 months compared to other people who posted almost 4,000 times in less than 2 years. That is still not a lot compared to a German student in Munich who submitted more than 10,000 posts to a forum in about the same time. I still have a real life. But sometimes when I ask a new question at ILM I can watch myself hitting the reload button twenty or thirty times in a row to see if there are new answers. What a stupid waste of time. I am so bloody impatient. And to be honest these discussions are often not on a very high level and don't always answer the questions. A little bit of a waste of time. So I know that something is going wrong (have the key) but I don't know how to get out of it (find the lock).

I listened to three tracks from the forthcoming Breeders album Title TK on the 4AD site. The single Off You which came out today is amazingly calm. Kim Deal almost covers Nick Drake terrain here. A beautiful slow gloomy guitar ballad. Son of Three rocks harder and sounds more like the 1993 Breeders but without having the punch, the hooks and the freshness. Forced to Drive starts slow and does not really gain momentum. A little bit of a bore. Altogether the 2002 Breeders sound very weary and Kim Deal sings as if she were on sleeping pills. The album will be released May 20th.

Sunday, March 24, 2002

Three unreleased Lambchop tracks
Another good review of Lambchop's latest by Tangents

Do you want to contribute to science?
The guys from Google had another great idea (via Google weblog). Everybody who has a computer and an internet connection can participate in solving scientific problems. Most of the time when you use your computer it is actually idle, doing nothing. Why not let it perform some calculations for a good cause? The thing is called Google Compute and is activated in the toolbar which I advise you to install in case you haven't done so yet. The Google toolbar is a small application which lets you enter Google search queries immediately, gives you information (backlinks, link popularity, related pages, Google directory category, cached page, translation into English) on the current site you visit and lets you perform searches which go directly to the first result (four-leaf clover) or searches of the current site only. It is the most useful surfing tool I know. The current nonprofit project your computer could support concerns the geometric structure of proteins. The detailed FAQ on Google Compute should answer all questions.

P.S. The Google toolbar four-leaf clover search which goes directly to the first result without opening the Google result page is extremely helpful. It is the equivalent to the "I'm feeling lucky" button on the Google homepage.Instead of typing long URLs or navigating in my complex favourites categories I now often type one or two search words which have the page I want to surf to as first result. Example: to go to josh blog I just type "kortbein" and then hit the clover button. This brings me directly to the site. Embarrassing but true: the fastest way I know to arrive on my weblog is to search for "sex blog" but "alex fritz" works as well.

Saturday, March 23, 2002

- David Raposa does not like the new Neil Young either and even started a new thread on ILM. The first six songs I listened to (see post further below) were embarrassing enough not to delve any further.
- Which rock chick are you? Catherine (me too BTW) is

Which Rock Chick Are You?

Today's philosophical quotation
"America is Rome reincarnate. Like the Roman empire, the American empire is vastly powerful and unfathomably corrupt. Like Rome, America imposes her civilisation upon an ungrateful world. Like Rome, America needs bread, circuses and philosopher-statesmen to forestall and yet to hasten her demise."
Lou Marinoff
--The Philosophers' Magazine, Summer 1998

Let's hope that America won't finish like Rome. Or would you be looking forward to the Middle Ages?

Friday, March 22, 2002

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen. I am going to bed now.
- Giant Sand: Cover Magazine. Metacritic comprises seven reviews to a disappointing score of 59/100. Adding up album ratings by many reviewers always favours the mainstream, the average, the established. The top two albums last year according to Metacritic were the latest release by Bob Dylan and the Strokes album. That's ridiculous. Who cares about these scores?
- Nowadays it's all about new words for the same old shit: Electroclash is the synth-pop for the zero years (via stevie nixed).
- Rinôçérôse: "Imagine Joy Division set to a disco beat..." (NME). "People waiting for a new My Bloody Valentine album might want to check out Rinoceros" (Request). Hype or not? Just an average French electronic band I suppose.
- Great Bob Dylan resource and linklog by fans: Expecting Rain: Love and Theft review #234. Oh God who reads all these reviews? (long MeFi thread)
- Music is a virus. The English speaking Blogger CD Swap Burn, Baby Burn! is closed due to overwhelming participation (210 music swappers) but there is a German one now: CD-Tauschring. The theme is summer music again but you only have to burn three copies of your summer faves and you obviously only receive three different summer CDs burnt by other participants. I think it's worth it. Other burning communities: CD mix of the month club and Midsummernight's Burn.
- Inofficial Google weblog with interesting news and infos concerning our favourite search engine. Latest entry on the advanced Google search operators like "cache:", "link:", "related:", "spell:", "site:" and "inurl:".
Google started with this research paper: The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine (Mefi thread)

Thursday, March 21, 2002

Are you jealous?
If you have some spare time (25-30 minutes if you are fast) and stamina you can answer the 65 multiple-choice questions (sorry but this is a serious maybe even scientific exercise) of the Jealousy test. In fact some of those questions consist of several sub-questions so that there are probably close to a 100 questions altogether! My lowest score was a 16/100 in jealous behaviour and my highest was 28/100 concerning dependency issues. I am not really a jealous guy.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Lost in cyberspace
- Sonic Youth article in the LA New Times on their status as indie rock's foremost band (via stevie nixed blog). On their site they announce that they have finished their new album with Jim O'Rourke which is due June 6th. I am less excited than ten years ago but I feel that they can still have a surprise in store.
- Great long artist-by-artist account by Jeff LeVine from lost for life on the four days of the All Tomorrow's Parties stretch at UCLA. Sonic Youth had chosen the bands and closed the festival on Sunday. Cat Power was out of herself again.
- Music blog by Mike with a wide spectrum from prog to indie via troubled diva. Mike wrote on 40 episodes of his life during the last 40 days before his 40th birthday, a great feat I'd like to repeat. Luckily I have another year to think about it: 40 in 40 days project
- Hydragenic is a very well written relatively new blog by someone who fights with nicotine as well and who choose "what doesn't destroy me, makes me stronger" as motto (all three via wherever you are)
- Stevie Nixed succinct listening log
- Another fine music blog oriented towards indie: e-moo-la-tion
- Tiny mixtapes like the latest A Silver Mt Zion... (8.9)
- Ryan Adams the ingenious rock'n roll chamaelon in a short interview with the NME (via badger). What to think of this: he just covered the Strokes album as a blues record. Soon Ryan will have more albums in his drawer than will ever be released during his lifetime. At least he is not too full of himself: he labelled his output to date as "a bunch of singer/songwriter crap".
- Encyclopedia of Percussion via ILM

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Neil Young: Are You Passionate?
Neil Young's new album is coming out in Germany April 8th but you can already listen to it here at the buzztone site (via stevie nixed). You can skip the first song. With my slow connection at home I only had the time to listen to five more songs. The second is ok but not great, the third one rubbish again, number four is a nice bluesy ballad, number five is "Let's Roll", the famous 9/11 tribute song on the flight which crashed near Philadelphia. The last song I listened to was the title song which is noodling into no man's land. I hope the title of the record is not meant in the way that you have to be passionate to buy this Neil Young album. I have got most of them.
Obviously I really did not appreciate someone who wrote on the ILM thread Neil not so Young that the lyrics of "Cortez the Killer", which is one of my favourite rock songs of all-time were dumb. I'd say they are naive which was quite normal in those utopian times in between the hippies and the punks. Though as Ned pointed out in the thread the starting line "He came dancing across the water" is probably one of the most powerful beginnings of a song in pop history.

After having followed the ILM thread Portishead - are we fickle or did they deserve to become dated so quickly? and having read Josh's recent post on them I relistened to "Dummy" as well. I was sure that the record would not have the same impact as in 1994 when I heard "Roads" on MTV and was completely overwhelmed by the tristesse and Verlorenheit (forlornness) emanating from that voice, the trembling synthesizer and the slow beats. I hadn't listened to it for a long time and back in 1994 I definitely had listened to it too often so that it had become one of those loved-to-death records. But I had a nice surprise. Especially the first track "Mysterons" with the extremely addictive slow drum machine rhythm which has a drum roll at the end did it for me. Already the start of that song is gorgeous. A guitar plays some ascending notes and the synthie sounds like a quacking duck. First the duck is quite shy and not too loud and then it bursts into some serious quacking which comes from scratching I guess. The song is then dominated by a low synthie sound layer. After a while the theremin (apparently only a patch on a minimoog according to this thread) joins in and produces some long beautiful sounds. They seem to come from the sky and remind me of the whoosh of a fast-blowing wind. Absolutely otherworldly. At the end of that song the drumming becomes very shaky and rolls like a thunder in slow motion. The less poetic technical term for this is reverb I think.

Give me a reason to love you. Give me a reason to be a woman. (Portishead - Glory Box)
- A German weblog update tracker: Blogscout. You can register your German weblog there.
- Another weblog tracker: Blogtracker
- Automatic classification and summary of news: Columbia Newsblaster (via perlentaucher)
- On average we laugh 18 times per day. Want to know more about the repeated emission of 75 milliseconds long vowel-like notes? Telegraph: Laughter? It's a funny business (via a&l daily)
- On the worldly aberrations of a zen roshi. The passage I liked most was about the purchase of a 7 series BMW for the roshi: "A smaller car, wouldn't allow him to sit in zazen posture while driving." New York Review of Books: Zen & the Art of Success (via a&l daily)

Monday, March 18, 2002

Blogger resources
Blogger is the most widespread tool to write weblogs on the net. Some useful less known resources concerning the use of and news on Blogger are:
- the Blogger FAQ blog. A Blogger FAQ must be a blog. That makes sense. The syntax of Blogger is explained in detail by Phil Ringnalda. The last post on template tags is from Sunday.
- Status.Blogger.Com is a blog by Evan Williams on the latest news and developments at Blogger. If something is going wrong the answer why is usually posted there.
- is on more general weblog subjects like PHP, pinging, CSS, weblog hosting etc. On the site there is also another less often updated blog bloggertech with more technical posts on javascript, archives, comments etc. Phil Ringnalda is always worth a read.
- the Blogger Pro FAQ is on Blogger's premium blog service. Phil Ringnalda is the author once again.
- Evhead is Evan Williams' (Ev.), who is the CEO of Pyra Labs (the creators of Blogger) personal weblog. Occasionally he writes about weblogging issues. A must read.

Sunday, March 17, 2002

Deutsche Literatur
Ende von Project Gutenberg. Hauptsponsor AOL zieht den Stecker. Noch ein weiterer Grund AOL alle CD-ROMs zurückzuschicken. Die knapp 10.000 Texte (Romane, Märchen, Gedichte) von 350 deutschsprachigen Autoren jetzt nur noch für 25,46€ auf CD-ROM (via netbib).

Neuer deutscher Literaturkanon (Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung)
Von den 25 ausgewählten Büchern der letzten 20 Jahre leider nur zwei online besprochen (Erscheinungsjahr, Auflage):
- Jakob Arjouni: Happy Birthday, Türke! (1987, ?)
- Feridun Zaimoglu: Abschaum (1997, 10.000)
Die anderen 23 modernen Klassiker:
- Marcel Beyer: Flughunde (1995, 40.000)
- Maxim Biller: Wenn ich einmal reich und tot bin (1990, 14.000)
- Jenny Erpenbeck: Geschichte vom alten Kind (1999, 20.000)
- Jörg Fauser: Rohstoff (1984, 7.000)
- Wilhelm Genazino: Der Fleck, die Jacke, die Zimmer, der Schmerz (1989, 5.000)
- Gabriele Goettle: Deutsche Sitten (1991, 30.000)
- Rainald Goetz: Irre (1983, 65.000)
- Max Goldt: Okay Mutter, ich nehme die Mittagsmaschine (1999, ?)
- Judith Hermann: Sommerhaus, später (1998, 250.000)
- Wolfgang Hilbig: "Ich" (1993, 50.000)
- Elfriede Jelinek: Lust (1989, 30.000)
- Michael Kleeberg: Der saubere Tod (1987, 3.000)
- Christian Kracht: Faserland (1996, 30.000)
- Helmut Krausser: Fette Welt (1992, 15.000 nur TB)
- Thor Kunkel: Das Schwarzlicht-Terrarium (2000, 15.000)
- Joachim Lottmann: Mai, Juni, Juli (1987, 3.000)
- Thomas Meinecke: The Church of John F. Kennedy (1996, 10.000)
- Sten Nadolny: Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit (1983, 1.500.000)
- Ingo Schulze: Simple Storys (1998, 200.000)
- W. G. Sebald: Die Ausgewanderten (1992, 35.000)
- Peter Stamm: Blitzeis (1999, 30.000)
- Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre: Livealbum (1999, 75.000)
- Patrick Süskind: Das Parfüm (1985, 3.000.000)

Muss zu meiner Schande gestehen, dass ich nur den Kracht (mit Vergnügen) und den Nadolny (etwas enttäuschend, Netzkarte hat mich mehr angesprochen) gelesen habe. Den Schulze und den Süskind habe ich angefangen, aber nie zu Ende gelesen. Wäre dankbar für Tips, mit welchem Buch der Liste ich nun weitermachen sollte.

Serious stuff
- A paper on how to use compression algorithms like the one used in the famous zip program for author recognition and other classification problems. Claude Shannon's concept of (information) entropy plays a role here. According to Chaitin-Kolmogorov "the entropy of a string of characters is the length (in bits) of the smallest program which produces as output the string" . Zipping programs usually replace often repeated strings of characters, e.g. "the" by a pointer to the last/first occurence of the string. In this way English texts can usually be compressed from 8 bits (one byte) per character to 2 bits per character. The authors (Benedetto, Caglioti and Loreto) of the paper basically suggest to add a part of the unknown text X to several texts T(i) of known authors. The probable author of the unknown text is obtained by minimising the difference in size of the zipped text T(i)+X and the zipped text T(i): Language trees and zipping (via ZEIT-Artikel). And On J. Goodman's comment to "Language trees and zipping".
- ILM: Metal Machine Music - the symphonic tribute on the first live performance of Lou Reed's infamous guitar feedback orgy by the German avant-garde classical ensemble Zeitkratzer at the Berlin MärzMusik festival. I listened to four 20 seconds snippets from this site and was surprised that it did not sound as white noise at all but quite varied. This record must have had a strong influence on anything that Sonic Youth did in the eighties. Another good review here.

Saturday, March 16, 2002

Are we just ghosts here waiting to hatch? (Howe Gelb)
- Oligarchist Home Journal on The Mountain Goats All Hail West Texas (6.5/10)
- MP3's: Rare Slowdive and live in Oslo 1993
- Momus, The Elder Statesman (11th March performance review)
- New pop-oriented music blog october's musings. Thanks for the link DJ Oktober.
- Pitchfork on Giant Sand's Cover Magazine: 7.3/10
- Globe of blogs, a new blog directory by location, title, name, sex and birthday (via wannabe girl)
- US bureaucracy not so fit: Terrorist Pilots' Student Visas Arrive
- Paint your photofit picture (Phantombild in German): Ultimate Flash Face via netbib. I did not succeed. Couldn't find my eyes.
- The New Yorker on a book on Poker (via a&l daily)
- A library like in paradise. The books are sent to your place for free. You can keep them as long as you like. Even the return postage is already paid. There are still nice people out there. Booklend: A Lending Library By Post (via netbib)
- An unbelievable conspiracy theory by a frog: 11 Septembre : le grand mensonge des Etats-Unis (discussion at mefi)
- Businesshessisch (via wortmetz)
- My current blogdex stats. Rank: 1,695 (of 14,690), i.e. top 11.5%. Relative link popularity: 33 links to site / 833 links from site = 3,96% (in comparison evhead has 621/604>100%). I am not sure how to call this ratio. The inverse ratio could be called link popularity price as it measures the average no. of links you have to put on your site to receive an external link in return.

Thursday, March 14, 2002

I'd rather be thin than famous (Kerouac)
- Lots of mp3 files of a band I have to check out: Hood
- Pitchfork did not like Brian Jonestown Massacre: Bravery, Repetition and Noise.
- Google News search (beta) of 100 sources which are scraped once per hour via researchbuzz
- Microcontent News: Weblogs, email digests, Webzines, personal publishing, content strategy, Microads. Corante. This site is getting very popular in weblogger circles. They write a lot about Google and how we can influence the search results with our little weblogs.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Lambchop - Is a Woman
From Nixon to Is a Woman Lambchop have covered about the same distance as the Buddha who was born a prince and became a beggar. The richness of the lush orchestral tone with wind and string section gives way to a stripped down piano and guitar dominated sound with hardly any drums above which Kurt Wagner's raspy tenor thrones. Though the number of participating band members has shrunk by one half compared to Nixon the texture of the music has become even more dense. Is a Woman proves that less can be more. The bass replaces the drums as rhythm section in most tracks. We are much closer to jazz than to here. It is all very open and relaxed. But the sound stays warm and intimate. The sustained keyboard play adds an ambient atmospheric component. Wagner does not sing in his slightly irritating falsetto anymore. The album has an amazing soothing flow, the first three tracks constitute about the most perfect start of any album I know. Track number 8 is the only weak song. Though I would have wished the album a stronger closer than the title song which turns halfway into a reggae very similar to No Woman, No Cry. Nevertheless this record is a miracle. So simple yet so profound. A perfect soundtrack for a winter night at the open fire. The first truly great record of the new millenium1. I am really very curious how Lambchop's next album will be. They already have attained a very high degree of maturity on Is a Woman.
1 On second thoughts maybe the second after last year's Amnesiac by Radiohead.

- Group Z, Belgium : LOVE in 49 variations (via sofa blogger)
- Phil Ringnalda on the unsatisfying free blog*spot webspace. Today up till the afternoon all blog*spot blogs (including mine) were not reachable. Maybe I will move soon. In case blog*spot does not respond check my Arcor webspace where there is a copy of the weblog already.
- The famous 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica edition online. Nice and simple user interface. Just click on the volume you want to browse (via robotwisdom).
- Which poet are you? (via wherever you are) I could have answered every question with yes. In the end I was four different poets, my favourite two of them are Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot.

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

"Whee. Sal, we gotta go and never stop going till we get there." "Where we going, man?" "I don't know but we gotta go."
I had problems with a 104 error, that's why this post published is one day late.
It would have been Jack Kerouac's 80th birthday today. Jack Kerouac is one of the heroes of my youth. The first book I got into was The Dharma Bums. Jack and Gary (Snyder) climbing mountains with some raisins and nuts (Studentenfutter in German) in their rucksacks. Zen it was.
On the Road was never my favourite book of his. Too many people, too chaotic, too much stream-of-consciousness. On the similar hobo travelling theme I preferred Jack London's more straightforward The Road. Big Sur was the book that really hit me. Jack in a cabin south of Monterey at the Pacific coast. An alcoholic experiencing the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome in one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. A true nightmare. Later on I discovered Tristessa where Jack writes on a junkie in Mexico City he falls in love with. A compassionate account of human weakness. Some more links:
- Random Jack Kerouac Quotes
- Pop! The Jack Kerouac Haiku Page
- Jack Kerouac Haiku

- Glorious Noise on a concert of John Darnielle's Mountain Goats in Chicago: "On Friday night at the Bottle, Darnielle’s self-effacing nature, chuckling anecdotes, and folksy delivery made for a sort of Prairie Home Companion for indie kids."
- ILM: I hate hippy music (i.e. the dead, phish, jam bands) do you and why?

Monday, March 11, 2002

"I loathe people who keep dogs. They are cowards who haven't got the guts to bite people themselves."
(August Strindberg via overly caffeinated)
- Ride concert at Milan, Sept. 30th 1992 with 15 songs as mp3 download
- 20 questions: The neural-net on the Internet. Think of an object and the artificially intelligent system will try to guess it with maximally 20 questions of which 19 are yes/no questions. With every game the system learns and becomes cleverer. Check it out.
- I have added an option to subscribe to my site (via bloglet) in the sidebar. You just input your email address and receive a daily (only if I post I think) email with the first 100 characters of all posts I have made that day and the link to access the full posts on my site.

For people who want to make me happy (this will go into the sidebar soon):
- wishlist
- wishlist for the stuff which is not available in the German branch
P.S. I have sort of forgiven Amazon for the one time they made me pay shipping when they shouldn't have. They more than quartered their limit for free shipping of CDs from 89 deutschmarks to 20 euro. But this limit is also valid for books now which were totally shipping-free before. I guess that is a fair deal.

Sunday, March 10, 2002

- Delusions of Adequacy on Xiu Xiu's debut Knife Play: "Although the band is dark in the vein of Joy Division or Pere Ubu's Dub Housing, the band's songs aren't as melodious or even listenable as were theirs'."
- The Oligarchist Home Journal on Giant Sand's latest album Cover Magazine (see music reviews recent - March 8th).
- Uncertainty About the Uncertainty Principle - Can't anybody get Heisenberg's big idea right? (via arts & letters daily)

Saturday, March 09, 2002

No surprise


You give your love and friendship unconditionaly. You enjoy long, thoughful conversations rich in philosophy and spirituality. You are very loyal and intuitive.

Find out your color at!

Surfin' till the end of the web
The Beatles White Album covered by blues musicians
I have been linked by Travelers Diagram, "a semi-daily digest/journal/appreciation of art, music, media, and other miracles of creation". They saw Lambchop live the day before yesterday and it was great apparently. Backlinked by Geoff Parkes from Logged Off and by Bellmas. Thank you Tim, Geoff and Armando.
And I got an e-mail from Delusions of Adequacy, an Australian zine on independent music and more (Geoff writes for it) if I'd be interested to join their staff and write about Germany. Mmm. I have to think about that one.

The book Zen and the Brain by James H. Austin really intrigues me: "A unique neurologist-Zen Buddhist has written a tome that is a map to all the mysteries of meditation and mind. Take breathing out, for example. We spend just over half of our breathing time exhaling. For meditating monks, it's a full three-quarters. EEGs show us that the act of exhaling helps physically quiet the brain."
I just found a website with a Google pagerank of 1. Informa. Bloody hell Andrew, Giovanni, Simon and friends. You have been doing some very efficient online marketing there. ;-(
By the way the easiest to find out about the Google pagerank of a website is via the Google toolbar, a small application you can download from the Google site.

Thursday, March 07, 2002

Surf's Up
- ILM threads: Pavement ,Classic or Dud? and Tindersticks - supper club tosh? and do you ever feel like you are getting too old to be a music obsessive? (that is a very relevant question for me, that's why I haven't answered yet)
- Beck Entering Studio To Work On Acoustic-Based LP
- Movie on Nick Drake announced: A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake
- Joel on Software - Nothing is as Simple as it Seems. Even apparently simple things like copying a file are complicated tasks for the programmer.
- Is there a website with a Google pagerank 10? (the Google pagerank of a website is a measure of its link popularity and is calculated from the number and importance of websites linking back to it) I found three (backward links): Yahoo (1,020,000), Google (354,000) and Adobe (116,000). Any more? What is with Microsoft which has 136,000 backlinks? It only has pagerank 8. Why? Could it be that most of those backlinks come from Microsoft itself? And that Google does not take interior links into account to calculate the pagerank? Concerning the weblogs my little blog has pagerank 5. The Schockwellenreiter has pagerank 6. Evhead and Metafilter have 7 and Kottke and Slashdot have 8. By the way I did not find a website with a pagerank smaller than 3 (sorry Henner).

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

- Tom Ewing likes the new Lambchop
- Une bibliothèque personnelle sur la toile: Et je tournais ma peine dans mes livres (Lamartine) (via sofa blogger)

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

I am so tired
The new Lambchop album is absolutely gorgeous but I am too tired to write on it now. Tomorrow. I promise. Just some links today:
- Another great music etc. blog by Geoff Parkes: One more cup of Blog for the road - Grumpier by the hour!
- The London Review of Books on William Carlos Williams poetry, my favourite poet of everyday life.
- The Atlantic on Atonement, Ian McEwan's new novel. I really liked his second last book with the wonderful ambiguous title Enduring Love.
- What sleeping postures reveal (via metafilter)
- Floating in cyber space: the man project. This man does exactly what you tell him to do.

Monday, March 04, 2002

- An essay on journal writing: The Journal as Art: "Impossible Text" by Victor Muñoz (via

- David Raposa does not join into the hype on ...Trail of Dead. In the Car he writes on the new Relative Ways EP. After having heard a couple of songs of them I must admit that my interest in them has decreased by close to 100%. "Alter Wein in neuen Schläuchen" (literal translation from German:"old wine in new tubes", don't know the idiom in English) again.
- Sounds like a great idea, but I doubt it has a future: a weblog consisting of speech audio files, it is called audioblog (via alvin). Main problem: How do you link from an audio file to a web site, to an image or to another audio file?
- British music etc. blog I missed up to now parallax view. An interesting interview of my favourite music zine from Amsterdam kindamuzik with some members of Lambchop (via parallax view).
- Another indication that most Pitchfork writers do not know apparently have problems to distinguish good from bad music (or should I have said relevant from irrelevant?). The newest Lambchop gets 5.8/10 ("average") from Rob Mitchum. Though he is not very sure of himself:"A small ass-covering caveat: Is a Woman sounds threateningly like a 'grower' album, ...If this is indeed the case, I'm sure I'll soon be run out of Criticsville by a torch-bearing mob, this embarrassingly short-sighted review preserved for all eternity in the Pitchfork archives". More on Lambchop's newest album tomorrow.
- Stevie Nixed on the Strokes/BRMC live. I have to agree 100%. Boards of Canada are much more exciting than those two boring retro bands.
- Giant Sand in New York. The line up at Joe's Pub was like an supergroup: Besides Howe Gelb, John Convertino and Joey Burns there were Kurt Wagner from Lambchop, Evan Dando from the Lemonheads, Will Oldham from diverse Palace incarnations and Vic Chesnutt. I wish I had been there...
- Pepys project: weblogs and journals by country and region with rating option
- 'What Drug Would You Be' Quiz: shit I was smack.

Saturday, March 02, 2002

On repeat today
I got hooked by the 5'51'' of We're Computerizing and We Just Don't Need You Anymore, the last track on the American Analog Set's 2001 release Know by Heart. Entangled into thick textures of acoustic guitars, brushed drums, xylophone, hushed vocals and synthetic humming. It felt like a slow descent deeper and deeper into the spiral of the snail-shell of the subconscious. After five minutes when the humming reaches its peak the song halts and turns into an enoesque synthesizer soundscape which fades out very slowly. The end could have been the wonderful start of a new album by My Bloody Valentine. This song is an addictive trip into psychedelic wonderland.

Two members of seminal punk-pop band reunite
- The Guardian on Howard Devoto's and Pete Shelley's first collaboration 25 years after the Buzzcocks' Spinal Scratch EP : "ShelleyDevoto, release an album of 14 determinedly experimental yet melodically infectious electronic pop songs called Buzzkunst"

Happy Birthday Lou Reed
"Her Life Was Saved by Rock 'n' Roll" is the first line coming to my mind when I think of you. Rock music as a saviour. Rockn' roll as a modern Jesus. That is brilliant and life-affirming. When I listen to the song I know it is true.
There would probably never have been punk without you and indie music neither. Thank you and keep on rockin' and rescuing Lou. 60, "it's the beginning of a new age."

Friday, March 01, 2002

- Some people are getting very excited about And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (they at least succeeded in overtaking GYBE! in terms of length of the band name). Matt LeMay from Pitchfork gives their album Source Tags and Codes a smashing rating of 10.0/10. Andrew Womack at neumu gives the top rating as well and they are on the latest SPEX cover. Never heard of them myself. "Mistakes and Regrets" from the older album Madonna at epitonic does not sound revolutionary but it is solid indie rock with a good noise factor. Discussion on them at ILM here.
- Soft music for stupid people on the Mountain Goats: "The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton"
- BeatBlogging: not so sure what this is about. Clips of electronic music can be downloaded as mp3s. Phil writes: "But what would happen if a culture did try to blog music, to create little fragments of rhythm and melody, to hyperlink through them?"
- Musicrag: good alternative music blog with many concert reviews
- Popshot Magazine says Punk Rock = Capitalism. I have only glanced over the article. It sounds interesting. The subtitle is: "the 'Anti-Capitalists' Have It All Wrong".

- Google loves blogs and here is why.
- I try to read as many weblogs as possible. The problem is that I usually do not know if a weblog has been updated or not. A good way to make sure to read only updated weblogs is a site like It lets you define a list of your favourite weblogs. Weblogs must have been pinged to for example to appear with a correct timestamp in the list. The weblogs which have been pinged (updated) the last appear as the first in the list. In this way I know which weblogs have been updated recently. I use the Weblogs ping bookmarklet constructor. You just have to give it the URL of your site and then you can put the bookmarklet into your "Links" bar (IE). After publishing a new post you just click on the bookmarklet to ping to Right now only 20-25% of the weblogs I read ping. It would be nice if more weblogs would use the pinging procedure. More infos either on or
- Budget traveller's guide to sleeping in airports (via DIE ZEIT Weblog): "For travellers who are REALLY on a budget and are looking for a way to skim a few bucks off their travel expenses, why not consider sleeping in an airport? " 1,388 personal accounts of people who have enjoyed one night in an airport.


Copyright 2001, 2002 Alexander Fritz
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