HIeronymus Bosch: Hear Music Straight from the Devil’s Hindquarters

Or the hindquarters of somebody being tormented by a devil, anyway: Another mark in the “why the Internet rules” column: an Oklahoma college student named Amelia has transcribed the music written on the ass of a figure from the “Hell” panel of Hieronymus Bosch’s famous triptych painting The Garden of Earthly Delights, and posted a recording of it to her Tumblr.Listen to it here.It’s not the most mind-blowing music you’ll hear in your life, I know, but it’s still wonderful that this was d … [Read more...]

From Saul Bellow, “Ravelstein”

Obviously, my purpose in mentioning the Crillon's valet service was to comfort Abe for spilling the Flore's strongest coffee on his brand-new jacket. But Abe didn't want me to console him for being what he was. He would have thought better of me for laughing at his sputtering reckless slobbering, his gauche eager tremors. He liked broad comedy, old vaudeville routines, wounding remarks, brashness, and raw fun. So he didn't think well of my weak, liberal, let's-make-it-all-better motive--my … [Read more...]

I Don’t Believe in Modern Love (But I Do Love “Modern Manners”)

Recently revisited Modern Manners: An Etiquette Guide for Rude People, my favorite PJ O'Rourke. I think what makes it work is the mix of elements. It's mostly corny humor, like the extended segment on food fights ("Use a raw oyster to show someone what a French kiss would be like if she'd married a reptile"). There's also a lot of witticism: a lot of peppy, preppy cynicism. But mixed into all that there is just enough genuine insight (the bit about how modern people have replaced love with … [Read more...]

From “Modern Manners”

A brief predivorce period is favored because it's best for final separation to take place before the romance is gone from a marriage. Otherwise the couple are likely to have no regrets. (Having no regrets is a common, even popular, modern condition. It is nevertheless to be avoided. Having no regrets is what robs modern alcoholism of its poignancy. It has also ruined modern verse.) … [Read more...]

Movie Must-Watch Notes: Abuse of Power Comes as a TOTAL Surprise!

OK, first of all I have to tell you that I saw Tickled and I want you to go see it without knowing much about it. I went in knowing that it was a documentary about "competitive endurance tickling" and the filmmaker uncovers... something? a weird thing? the story is weirder than it sounds? So I assumed it would be a story about a subculture, maybe about how we build community or identity off of inexplicable and sometimes sad things.NOPE. It starts out very, very funny, and the humor is … [Read more...]

From “Modern Manners”

The drug XTC had a brief vogue in the 80s but quickly went out of fashion because it made you love everybody. Loving even one 80s person was repulsive enough; loving more than one was actually medically dangerous. … [Read more...]

From PJ O’Rourke, “Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People”

Heroin and the other "downs," natural and synthetic, are not polite. These drugs effectively eliminate the painful aspect of existence, which, nowadays, is almost all of it. Pain, such as a pain in the ass, is the thing that commonly alerts us to the presence of other people. Interaction with others is what manners are all about. Don't take "downs." Try to be "down on life" instead. … [Read more...]