Today's musical themes: "Hard Work and Horseplay" from Richard Rogers' "Victory At Sea", the first side of the Stones' "Tatoo You" <1>, and (as ever) Phillip Glass' "Anthem" from "Powaqqatsi" and "The Truman Show".
While running on the treadmill this morning I was thinking about the way a lot of people seem to be able to live life only in the moment. They're like the cursor on a slide rule, in that events in the recent past are all they retain. Music, films, and events experienced, even friends from ages older than a certain period disappear as their personal hairline slides along the index of their days. Myself, I feel more like a graduated cylinder, getting taller all the time as my memories accumulate.
Today I checked this new Modern Library 100 Best list of books that's getting discussion in the more cerebral media. Slate's Summary Judgement column says "it celebrates impenetrable highbrow books, such as Joyce's Ulysses, which critics admit to never having read." Naturally I must tally my own familiarity with the list - my score is 26. U read Ulysses, which is number 1 - he also liked Finnegan's Wake - but everyone else I know who's tried has also found James Joyce to be "impenetrable". The Modern Library's page has a "Readers' 100 Best" list side-by-side with their board's list; Atlas Shrugged is ichiban there, but I think that list's dynamic since you can vote for your favorite on the spot. An indicator of ballot-box stuffing in the latter list, to me, is William Shatner's Tek Lords coming in at #63. (My tally in the Readers' list, as of this morning, was 36.) A curious inclusion to both lists is Walker Percy's The Moviegoer, a book I found quite dull except for "This I Believe":
Being a creature of habit, as regular as a monk, and taking pleasure in the homeliest repetitions, I listen every night at ten to a program called This I Believe. Monks have their compline, I have This I Believe. On the program the highest-minded people in our country, thoughtful and intelligent people, people with mature inquiring minds, state their personal credos. The two or three hundred I have heard so far were without exception admirable people. I doubt if any other country or any other time in history has produced such thoughtful and high-minded people, especially the women. And especially the South. I do believe the South has produced more high-minded women, women of universal sentiments, than any other section of the country except possibly New England in the last century. Of my six living aunts, five are women of the loftiest theosophical panBrahman sentiments. The sixth is still a Presbyterian.After finishing the novel I tore out this page to save, and discarded the book. Why Percy's fascinating The Second Coming was ignored in the lists is beyond me. (Thanks to O for making me read that.)
ichiban - number one
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<1>Although I replaced my vinyl with a CD way back, the old nomenclature persists. This was a their last great record, in my opinion, produced after a long fallow period for the band, and followed since by nothing worthwhile (except their last good hit single, "She Was Hot", in 1984). Back