Sunday, March 30, 2003

Malady, of epidemic proportions

Something about March really maddens. First the buzzer sounds not once but invariably and inevitably way too often. Followed by a dark horse whinnying. A persistent noise that signals an interstice disrupting the natural syntax of to and fro. Even time falls apart, remeasured by the hour into fifteen minute halves. Suddenly the nation transfixes on those long young limbs doing a very big dance. But who is to say who remains an ugly duckling and who becomes the beautiful swan. Yet, in spite of Eliot, fanatics do come and go speaking not of Michaelango but his elbow.

And in a blink of the eye that very cruel month arrives.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Another Grace Kelly

Finally a biography worth its weight in salt. Hollywood, its usual culture of narcissism and fictionalized history rebuked to recount how Queen Noor of Jordan came to be. Another Cinderella story about an American blonde who marries a foreign king, typical fairy tale stuff except for the blunt timing of the current war.

Her world centers on a leap of faith, for love which begat her conversion by law to Islam. It is about a charmed life absent of the trivialized, intent on sincere altruism and committed to honest causes. The twenty and some years of being in the public eye which mirrored the uncertain and unstable times of a holy land where so much blood has been spilled, bore witness to, if not shaped, latter twentieth century history. Real substantive material instead of the fluff of manufactured Warholian celebrity afflicting popular cultural consciousness.

No wonder that her adopted countrymen so adore and treasure their queen, wife of the beloved and belated king and the mother of the Crown Prince.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Upon visiting the Milwaukee Art Museum

To see it is divine, poised as if awaiting christening. Indeed two years after the fact and HAL does speak very loud and clear. No postpunk entropy, no nuclear winterland, no dire visions of machine subjugating man, only good old-fashioned modernism, science fiction to construct a better tomorrow. Immediately any delusional Orwellian dystopia fades.

It is a magnificently futuristic structure, this winged ship built of glass and steel, antiseptically white like sand-blown whale bone. Yet as monument to the sea, or specifically the lake, nothing alien or unnatural can be discerned from its presence, its being. Ready to set sail, ready to soar, it seems to say, because our mission is to honor, secure and defend that which will come. And the power of its radial geometry only reiterates its symmetry.

Inside the belly of the architect though runs elongated floating white spaces, distorted fisheye-lensed corridors, impossibly curving away to unknown vanishing points. Only the constant intervals of the concrete rib cage supporting these marbled veins offer any sort of three-point perpective. Otherwise travellers lose bearing, any sense of directional logic. Still a comfortable warmth borne of deja vu, forged by the forbidden planet emanates from the cool precision and sterility that comprises its barren skeleton.

Tarkovsky never dreamt of such a pedestrian place where bonneted attendants walk upside down on the ceiling in gravity boots, where abstract purity collides with figurative reality, where right angles bend anthropomorphically.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Notes almost straight out of right field

Just covering the floor in itself changes the space. So is it overkill to include the walls as well? If so, then minimize. Wainscot walls partway to manufacture fake horizon line.

Or extend long runner from entryway to door. Place strike zone parallel to white foul line.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Aboard a Sinking Ship

The importance of timing is ironic. Especially given how a certain anxiety permeates the state of which things now exist. First a subtle but somewhat innocuous leak that inexorably gushes buckets full followed by the proverbial geyser. So it does pour when it rains and with cats and dogs too. But even as department heads push the panic button repeatedly, no amount of magic can avert the inevitable pink slips. Such happens hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly only the collateral damage inflicts a deeper psychic wound. Lame ducks wittingly or not abound.

Useless talk of inverted pyramids to complicate rather simple strategies of tried and true known quantities temporarily buoys the punctured dinghy only long enough for all hands on deck to abandon ship. Consequently the rudderless skipper dependent on a proliferation of extraneous prerequisites paddles single-oared around in circles. His lieutenants obviously failed: one from obsessive-compulsive disorder, the other of caveat emptor.

Never mind the ramifications of not shooting a dying horse on the ground. At least our Custer will die with his shining patent black leather boots on. Live and let live to a nauseatingly indifferent conclusion, he pronounces. Crying wolf over so little a running balance is creative accounting. Think the bluff of Enron and Sherman marches on, burning torch aflame.

And April Fool's Day surprises the jester and his court. Out of the blue, blue left field comes an avenging angel in the guise of a second chance. For the evicted executive surreptiously breaks union picket lines. Unbeknownst even to the annointed, another game is afoot. Offer him a deal not to be refused. Switch places officially and lead the apostate astray. Once again it is a wonderful life.

A bell rings.