November 25th, 2004 | Published in Uncategorized
Two years ago today I wrote about my efforts at pie diplomacy with the serial car rammer across the street. I also made mention of the neighbors across the side street, whom I suspected of calling my Volvo in to the cops for expired tags.
Since then, the car rammer has moved on, but we still see her because her daughter is in preschool at the other neighbors’ house (I suspect she’s the one who clipped the Volvo and tore part of its side front bumper off), and she occasionally turns up at the Laughing Planet on Belmont, just a few blocks from what I suspect is Michael Totten’s house. Someone should take Totten a pie, too. He seems to spend entirely too much time sitting around coffee shops listening to paranoiac hippies, and it has curdled him.
One of the neighbors I viewed with a mixture of suspicion and resentment for calling my car in came over and helped me rake leaves last week, then he offered to take several yard bags worth to the dump with his own load. So I think I should probably pull out the pie recipes and get to it again, because that was certainly nice of him and it’s surely worth a pie.
Via pk, here are a few links related to Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.” They affirm what a singular moment that album was… how things converged to make it then spun apart, never to reform again:
Wallace Stevens once said that the imagination is God. And if your world is filled with garbage, dead dogs, parents drinking, people dying and people wanting to die — as it is in Mangum’s songs — you’re going to need something to rise above it. Sex is one way, and there’s plenty of spit, semen, tongues and fingers in these songs. But Mangum doesn’t limit himself to the corporeal. His lyrics float above the trumpet’s complaint, into the ether of childhood fantasy: “When you were young you were the king of carrot flowers and how you built a tower tumbling through the trees.” With an inner life like Mangum’s, even death is robbed of its darkness. There is no moment, seen properly, that does not contain God, joy, beauty or whatever your particular name for that ecstasy is. In the universe contained within this album, rattlesnakes are holy, trailer homes are cathedrals and ordinary people are bursting with fruit and love and white light.
Regarding the clip from that Salon review, it seems useful to remember That Ecstasy in the midst of a read like Under the Banner of Heaven, which I’m not even sure I want to finish. It’s remarkable how much ugliness people discover in the name of finding the source of all that beauty.