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January 9, 2009

Stooges Guitarist Ron Asheton Dies

He was found dead at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan this past Tuesday.

Up top, the Stooges performing "TV Eye" live in 1970 in Cincinnati.

The guy who does the introduction is just perfect.

Ben Ratliff's New York Times obituary follows.

    Ron Asheton, Guitarist in the Stooges, Dies at 60

    Ron Asheton, a guitarist of the Michigan proto-punk band the Stooges, and the guiding hand of some of the most simple, satisfying and copied riffs in rock ’n’ roll, including “TV Eye,” “Down on the Street” and “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” was found dead on Tuesday at his home in Ann Arbor, Mich. He was 60.

    Police officers found his body after a friend alerted them that Mr. Asheton had not been seen for several days, said the Stooges’ publicist, Angelica Cob-Baehler. A coroner’s report from the Washtenaw County Medical Examiner’s office was not yet available; Sgt. Brad Hill of the Ann Arbor police department said that foul play was not suspected.

    Mr. Asheton, whose friendly if sardonic personality seemed the opposite of his loud and dirty guitar playing, lived in the house he had originally moved to with his family in 1963, and where the Stooges had their first basement rehearsals.

    Three high school friends in Ann Arbor — Mr. Asheton; his drummer brother, Scott; and the singer James Osterberg, who later changed his name to Iggy Pop — formed the nucleus of what was first called the Psychedelic Stooges. Influenced by free jazz, garage rock and Chicago blues, the Stooges’ first two albums — “The Stooges” and “Fun House” — are the best showcase of Mr. Asheton’s sound: two- or three-chord riffs with an open, droning, low E string and solos filtered through distortion and wah-wah pedals.

    After the high point of “Fun House,” things became more complicated. The bassist, Dave Alexander, was fired, and the band was dropped by its label, Elektra. Iggy Pop, individually, was signed by David Bowie’s production company, MainMan. A new guitarist and songwriter, James Williamson, joined the group. On “Raw Power,” the band’s final studio album, Mr. Asheton was demoted to playing bass.

    The Stooges lasted from 1967 to 1974. Having progressed from a noisy, anarchic joke to a great, confrontational rock band and back to a joke, the members were broke and addicted to heroin, except for Mr. Asheton, who increasingly took responsibility for holding the band together from day to day.

    In 2003, after the Stooges’ music had become enshrined by the punk movement that followed, and more than 20 years since Iggy Pop and Mr. Asheton had seen each other, the band reunited. From then until last year, it played nearly 150 furious, quickening, age-defying concerts around the world, from Detroit to Moscow, and recorded a new album, “The Weirdness” (2007).

    Between stretches with the Stooges, Mr. Asheton played with a number of bands in Los Angeles and Michigan, including The New Order (not to be confused with the British group New Order), Destroy All Monsters, Dark Carnival and the Wylde Rattz. Wylde Rattz was a collaboration with some prominent younger musicians — Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., Mike Watt of the Minutemen and Mark Arm of Mudhoney — who had grown up learning the songs Mr. Asheton wrote with the Stooges.

    In addition to his brother Scott, Mr. Asheton is survived by a sister, Kathy.

    Pursuing a lifelong interest in films, Mr. Asheton played small roles in several 1990s horror films, including “Mosquito,” “Legion of the Night” and “Frostbiter.” In 2008 he created a signature electric guitar for the Reverend company.

    “For all that knew him behind the facade of Mr. Cool and Quirky,” read a statement issued by the Stooges, “he was a kind-hearted, genuine, warm person who always believed that people meant well even if they did not.”

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A great picture (below) by Mick Rock accompanied the Times obituary; its caption:

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"Ron Asheton, in glasses, with other Stooges members in 1972, from left, James Williamson, Iggy Pop and Scott Asheton."


January 9, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Anatomie-Socken (Anatomy Socks)

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Res ipsa loquitur.

And if it doesn't, well, I hope your German's better than mine.

From nerdcore: "Ich bin bekennender Tennissocken-Träger, aber für diese Anatomie-Socken würde ich garantiert eine Ausnahme machen, wenn es sie wirklich zu kaufen gäbe. Tatsächlich sind sie aber ein Einzelpaar von Anton Repponen, dessen restliches Portfolio sich auch sehen lassen kann."

Designed by Anton Repponen.

[via Electru and Design You Trust]

January 9, 2009 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: James Hillman's 'anima mundi'

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I'd never heard of Hillman until this past weekend, when I happened on the following in Harry Eyres's "Slow Lane" column in the Financial Times:

"In my view all sorts of aspects of contemporary life are rightly called soulless. Convenience food, the overuse of mobile phones, modern trains designed like aeroplanes (no carriages for conversations and Hitchcock film plots), hermetically sealed hotel rooms.

"The writer I find most illuminating on all this is the maverick American psychologist James Hillman. Hillman draws attention not just to the individual human soul, the locus of salvation or damnation for Christians, but to the world soul, 'anima mundi'. According to Hillman, psychotherapies will never work unless they 'take into account the sickness of the world ... you have to see that buildings are anorexic, that language is schizogenic, that normalcy is manic, and medicine and business is manic.'"

OK then, over to Amazon I went to find a book by Hillman.

There are a dozen available, and the sense I got from reading the reviews is that Hillman's difficult as a writer and compelling as a thinker.

Me being lazy as an individual, I wanted something not too long and not too hard.

I think I found the right combination in the title up top.

What sealed the deal for me was this blurb by Thomas Pynchon (Thomas Pynchon!): "Finally somebody has begun to talk out loud about what must change, and what must be left behind, if we are to navigate the perilous turn of this millennium and survive."

More praise from him on the book's cover.

If it's good enough for Thomas Pynchon, it's plenty good enough for me.

On another note completely: I found the illusion created by the book's cover (top) — that it isn't vertical on my computer screen but instead tilts to the left — impossible to overcome, no matter how much I reasoned with myself and used a straight edge to prove it was indeed plumb.

You too?

January 9, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Silicone Steamer

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From websites:
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Silicone Steamer Insert

Steaming in almost any size pan is easy with this steamer insert with a snap-apart handle made of flexible silicone.

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Heat resistant to 482ºF, it goes straight from pot to countertop and won’t mar pans.

Dishwasher and microwave safe.

9" diameter; 1"-high legs.

Pan not included.
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Red: $8.99.

Green: $17.99.

January 9, 2009 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'The Limits of Statistics' — by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Constant readers will recall I've featured him and his work on more than one occasion in the past.

No doubt I'll do so in the future as well.

See what he has to say about statistics here.

In the video up top Taleb — Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University — explains "What is a 'Black Swan?'"

January 9, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Giant Inflatable Remote-Controlled Joe-Bot

You knew it was only a matter of time.

From the website:

    Giant Inflatable Remote-Controlled Joe-Bot

    It's your very own robot friend.

    Standing over 3 feet tall, this inflatable buddy will fulfill your every robot need — because you can make him do it by remote control.

    That's right, this fabulous "Joe-Bot" can turn 360 degrees and move forward — at your command.

    You can even make him say things with the included walkie-talkie.

    You and your friends will have hours of fun with this little guy.

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$39.99.

[via Maureen]

January 9, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Spirit is too Blunt an Instrument — by Anne Stevenson

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The spirit is too blunt an instrument
to have made this baby.
Nothing so unskilful as human passions
could have managed the intricate
exacting particulars: the tiny
blind bones with their manipulating tendons,
the knee and the knucklebones, the resilient
fine meshings of ganglia and vertebrae
in the chain of the difficult spine.

Observe the distinct eyelashes and sharp crescent
fingernails, the shell-like complexity
of the ear with its firm involutions
concentric in miniature to the minute
ossicles. Imagine the
infinitesimal capillaries, the flawless connections
of the lungs, the invisible neural filaments
through which the completed body
already answers to the brain.

Then name any passion or sentiment
possessed of the simplest accuracy.
No. No desire or affection could have done
with practice what habit
has done perfectly, indifferently,
through the body's ignorant precision.
It is left to the vagaries of the mind to invent
love and despair and anxiety
and their pain.
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Job
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January 9, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Pause Stool

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Bright yellow water-based lacquer over corrugated cardboard with plastic snaps.

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17.75"W x 13.5"D x 17.75"H.

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Folds flat to store.

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$14.95.

January 9, 2009 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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