Even In His Heart The Devil Has To Know The Water Level

So, hey, remember that time I was sick and then I felt better and I didn’t write very much except to whine about being sick, and then I said I was back like a heart attack and then I called you all bitches and then I didn’t write for five days?

HA HA HA! Wasn’t that a great trick?

But no really, what’s really been happening is that I’ve been busy doing things like working a million hours a day and floating around in the pool and lying on the couch like a slug watching TiVoed episodes of Supernanny and subsisting on bagels and Edy’s Fruit Bars. And then Dreamhost had a bunch of extremely classified and ultra-high-level technical problems that were maybe neither classified nor ultra-high-level, but honestly I just was too lazy to spend too much time looking into them. The point is that it seemed like every time I decided to check out my own damn website, or check my own website email, I couldn’t get to it because that’s when the servers were crapping their pants again, but every time I emailed a friend or family member and asked them to take a look at the site, they had no problems. I could just be making all of that up but I swear I’m not.

Anyway! I was now going to direct you to check out some pictures of Max, the best and cutest puppy in the whole world, but I just went to upload them and it appears Flickr is having some downtime. DAMMIT, TECHNOLOGY! Quit phunking with my heart.

Yeah, I totally just went there. I am such a loser.

And no, by the way, I did not go get a puppy sometime in the last five days and neglect to tell you about it. Max belongs to my friends Bud and Elizabeth.

Let us now examine how I am hopelessly behind the times, if the phunking with one’s heart thing didn’t tip you all off. Exhibit A: as referenced in the post title, I happened to finally discover Sufjan Stevens long after everyone else is probably completely over him, but whatever. I’m never cool. I think Illinois is a beautiful and quirky and insanely addictive album, and every time I try to take it out of the CD changer in my car, my fingers accidentally fall off and roll under the gas pedal and chaos ensues. So I decided to stop tempting fate and now I just listen to it every day.

Exhibit B: I also recently bought Snow Patrol’s Eyes Open based on incessant recommendations from the iTunes “Just For You” feature. I like it a lot. Please don’t kick my ass when I confess that I finally went ahead and bought the Sufjan Stevens album because Snow Patrol namechecks him in “Hands Open,” which reminded me that I’d been meaning to check him out.

Exhibit C: I bought The Fray’s How To Save A Life on a whim. Because I haven’t listened to the radio for several months, I was completely unaware that one of the songs from the album has been completely overplayed and as a result, I am a gigantic mainstream loser idiot for buying the album. I’m actually kind of annoyed about that, because I DIDN’T KNOW! Because I haven’t been listening to the radio! Anyway, isn’t claiming not to listen to the radio, like, one of the Top Ten Signs You’re A Hipster Asshole? So how come all the hipster assholes know that it’s not cool to like The Fray because they’re on the radio all the time?

In other news, I’m finally – FINALLY! – beginning to get why people like Wilco. Perhaps that’s a point in my favor.

Final thought: I’ve been trying to read Good Books. It occurred to me that I’ve made it through twenty-six and a half years on this earth without ever cracking open a Toni Morrison book, so upon a few recommendations, I picked up The Bluest Eye and Song of Solomon during my last visit to the library. I decided to start with Song of Solomon, and I am just really struggling with it. I’m halfway through it, and that’s only because I’ve tried really hard to read at least a few pages every night before I go to sleep. Did I start with the wrong book? Should I have read something else instead? Or am I just hopeless?

19 Replies to “Even In His Heart The Devil Has To Know The Water Level”

  1. That Sufjan album is magical. Fucking magical. Phunking wonderful.

    Just don’t listen to the John Wayne Gacy song in the morning, because it will haunt you all day and ruin your lunch break, no matter how many times you’ve heard it.

  2. I do like the Snow Patrol album a lot. It took me a few spins to start to get into it, but once I did I found that the songs were sticking with me for days. Definitely check it out!

  3. Ya know, I just really listened to Wilco last week for the first time and they actually were pretty good. So now I’ll be Itunes’ bitch.

    Also, I read the Bluest Eye first, when I was 10 or 11. Which was encouraged by my mother and why I have no idea. But I read it and hated it and then read it again years later and enjoyed it. I would suggest reading the Bluest Eye or even Beloved and then Song of Solomon.

  4. all the music is good stuff here.

    Bluest Eye is a futher mukin’ torturous read – I mean, it’s heavy. -and great.

  5. Song of Solomon, when I read it at 16, was a huge eye-opener. It had more of an influence on me than just about any other book I’d read up to that point. I fell in love with magical realism, and I’ve never really fallen out of love with it. I just bought a copy at the Printers Row book fair a month ago and I’m gonna’ read it again to see if it holds up after all these years.

  6. Is it bad that the only band (besides Wilco) mentioned in this post that I’ve heard of is The Fray and that I had the overplayed song you reference on my Myspace page just yesterday? Well, yeah, but what do you know about The Wiggles? I bet I know more lyrics than you. Shoot though, they’re definitely mainstream.

    OH, I called my readers bitches while requesting they leave me birthday wishes. Does one catch flies with vinegar? Or bees? No, sir; it’s SUGAR. Once does not catch flies with vinegar nor bees.

    I debated on deleting “bitches” for days but then opted just to go with it, realizing I analyze things WAY too much.

  7. Oh, good god. Sufjan Stevens. I adore the ILLINOIS album, and not just because that’s my home state. His song “Chicago” destroys me.

    This line you wrote: “… every time I try to take it out of the CD changer in my car, my fingers accidentally fall off and roll under the gas pedal and chaos ensues.” That’s just lovely, not for its leprous suggestion, no, I don’t wish that upon you, but for the adventure of it. Well done.

    All things go,

  8. for some reason i can’t connect with the sufjan, and have no idea why everyone craps thieir pants about him. the mountain goats album shoulda toppped everyone’s 2005 list instead. i think i might just not like that falsetto thing he does. or the fact that flutes are involved, i dunno. ah well. it took me until this year to like the pixies, so whatever.

    what finally did it for you, as far as wilco? i’m excited to hear you say that. yknow, even though i really like them, it took me a LOOOOONG TIME to get into summerteeth, and now it’s my second favorite album of theirs.

  9. The Wilco thing wasn’t an overnight revelation by any means. For years, the only song I liked was Far, Far Away – and I adore that song. But I only own YHF and I have it on iTunes and my iPod, so songs come up sometimes and they just eventually crawled under my skin.

    Some of Sufjan’s lyrics remind me of poems I wrote in second grade, but I adore the music and I like his voice. I will say, though, that John Wayne Gacy Jr. is probably one of my least favorite tracks even though I know most people like it best or close to best.

    I can’t stand the Mountain Goats because Josh Darnielle’s voice makes me want to slam my head in my car door, and I think the musical arrangements are weak and don’t redeem Darnielle’s lousy voice, and the lyrics do very little for me.

  10. Toni Morrison is tough tough tough. My first of her books was Paradise and damn, I’m still not sure who the white woman was. Check out Beloved first. It’s an amazing story with amazing writing that you won’t have to dig too deep to understand. That or The Bluest Eye. Skip Love altogether. Beloved, yeah, start there.

  11. Oh damn…Toni Morrison. I took a senior seminar in college on her books, and found them all PAINFUL. Basically, if you like this whole magical, ghostly, supernatural bent then read on. But if, like me, you tend to think that supernatural endings are merely copouts and quick fixes to complicated plot lines (oh! The ghost did it! Solomon really could fly!), then I suspect you also will not like her books. I did think that The Bluest Eye was the best of the bunch. There are a billion other Good Books out there; don’t torture yourself with these. How about reading Milan Kundera, or Vonnegut, or Austen, or Dickens?

  12. I totally said out loud… You did not get a puppy! Right before you confirmed it.

    And also… The Fray… If I’ve heard of a band, you’re definitely too cool to like them…

    Oh and everyone go see Lady in the Water, and Clerks 2, good times to be had

  13. MsJ, I thought Morrison’s magical realism came across more as a cultural reference than as a copout. Flying is a pretty heavy-handed metaphor—I’ll give you that. But Morrison doesn’t twist reality in service to her plot the way truly bad authors do. The magical realism in Solomon crops up throughout the book. It’s a part of the story. It doesn’t serve as a convoluted segue into some trite, moralistic ending she already had in mind and needed to fly to. It’s a natural extension of the rules Morrison plays by for the entire book. That can disappoint you, but I’d stop way short of calling it a quick fix.

  14. Shame about The Fray. I too hate it when something you really like ends up EVERYWHERE and the morons who raised an eyebrow and said “you’re listening to who….???” are suddenly like “I’ve discovered the best band EVER!!!” I’m waiting for this to happen to my beloved Bloc Party. Unfortunately their song “So Here We Are” is now background music for a car commercial. I’m hoping no one will notice.

    Also, Toni Morrison? Difficult to read at times but worth it if you manage to muddle through. The Bluest Eye took me the longest to read, well over a month because I just couldln’t get into it.

  15. “I can’t stand the Mountain Goats because Josh Darnielle’s voice makes me want to slam my head in my car door, and I think the musical arrangements are weak and don’t redeem Darnielle’s lousy voice, and the lyrics do very little for me.”


    I understand the voice thing, but his lyrics are amazing.

    “When you punish a person for dreaming his dream/ Don’t expect him to thank or forgive you.”


    What have you heard by them?

  16. I don’t think his lyrics are amazing, and I’ve listened to every track on The Sunset Tree.

    You may think they’re amazing, but that doesn’t mean everyone else does – or should. That’s the magic of differing tastes.

  17. Amen to Ms. J on the Austen and Dickens, but if it’s magical realism you’re going for, why not try a little Gabriel Garcia Marquez? If you haven’t read him already, go for “…Cholera” first. I’m going to check out this Sufjan Stevens guy, I guess i’m way out of it, since I haven’t heard of him and I just heard Snow Patrol for the first time last night as I was flipping channels and stopped on their video because I thought to myself “hm, he has a pretty voice”.

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