Friday Random Ten – the painkillers and muscle relaxers edition

I have somehow managed to injure my shoulder/neck badly enough where I can barely move my head. I spent three weeks in physical therapy for this a few months ago, and now it’s back. Just in time for finals. So if my posts are a little cloudy, blame the drugs. And if my songs this week suck, blame the drugs for that too.

1. Aphex Twin – Rhubarb
2. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Cocks n’ Asses
3. Tom Waits – Way Down in the Hole (live)
4. Kaki King – All The Landslides Birds Have Seen Since The Beginning Of The World
5. Timbaland and Magoo – Luv 2 Luv U
6. The Mountain Goats – You or Your Memory
7. Spoon – The Delicate Place
8. NERD – Lapdance
9. Neko Case – Lion’s Jaws
10. Jill Scott – Free

And a Friday Random Question, stolen from the New York Times: What’s your favorite Kurt Vonnegut novel, and why?

21 comments for “Friday Random Ten – the painkillers and muscle relaxers edition

  1. April 13, 2007 at 9:01 am

    Slaughterhouse-Five, which isn’t to say that I don’t love them all dearly. The words he uses in that book especially, however, are so eloquent and so s dkjabwetn,awr that it really stands above the rest.

    Other highlights/more interesting answers are Slapstick, Galapagos, and Mother Night.

  2. April 13, 2007 at 9:12 am

    I’m going to second William – It’s Slaughterhouse Five for me as well. It has stayed with me for many years.

  3. Daniel
    April 13, 2007 at 9:25 am

    Breakfast of Champions: My first Vonnegut book (sentimental value). It will always make me smile thinking about his illustrations of “beavers” and assholes (*) supplementing his social commentary. Consolation prize: Slapstick and Sirens of Titan.

    What hasn’t been getting enough credit is his short fiction. He could tell a mindblowing story in 4 pages or less.

  4. April 13, 2007 at 9:40 am

    Physiotherapist nagging mode: (((on)))

    This time you will keep up with the isometric exercises and maybe get a book on the Alexander Method out of the library, won’t you?

    Seriously, keep the blood flowing to the spasming muscles (which are locking your joints) with isometric exercises every moment you can.


    I’ve only ever read Vonnegut’s short fiction, never a full length novel. What a storyteller.

  5. April 13, 2007 at 9:48 am

    What hasn’t been getting enough credit is his short fiction. He could tell a mindblowing story in 4 pages or less.

    Oh, man. “Report on the Barnhouse Effect”, “Deer in the Works”, “The Euphio Question”, “Welcome to the Monkey House”. They are so good.

    I have a question, though. The leader of the “free” society in “Welcome to the Monkey House”, Billy the Poet, essentially recruits women to his cause by raping them. I realize everything sucks in a dystopia… but what exactly does Vonnegut want us to take from that?

  6. jenn
    April 13, 2007 at 9:56 am

    Kurt Vonnegut’s writing has had a profund effect on me. I love everything he’s written, but my favorite is definitely Bluebeard. I’ve found that it’s certainly not his most popular book, but I’ve had some great conversations with those who’ve read it and appreciate it: The life and work of an artist damaged by the defective Sateen Dura-Luxe paint; the interesting relationship and crazy exchanges between the one-eyed Rabo Karabekian and Circe Berman (like when she meets him for the very first time on the beach, C: “Tell me how your parents died?” R: “I beg your pardon?” C: “What good is ‘Hello’?”); the kooky references to Capote, Rothko, Pollack and others; Rabo’s memories of working as an apprentice under the loathesome but much heralded illustrator Dan Gregory; the beautifully crafted descriptions of scenery; the tales of his family’s immigration from Armenia. It’s such a great story and like so many of his others, you feel you’ve gotten to know just a little bit more about Kurt’s own life, however abstractly.

    I will certainly miss him. No one made me laugh so hard and maintain such hope in the face of daily, human-made despair as he did. RIP, KV.

  7. April 13, 2007 at 10:27 am

    I first read ‘Player Piano’ during the waning days of the Carter years. Written in the late forties/early fifties, it features a bizarro futurized world in which, among other things, an actor has been elected President of the United States. That just seemed so hahahaha funny!!! What kind of people would elect an actor to be President??!!! Imagine it!!!

    And then, of course, we elected Reagan, and it wasn’t so funny after that.

    Is that my favorite KV book? I couldn’t possibly say. But it holds up pretty well, I think, to re-readings. Breakfast of Champions might be my favorite. Maybe I’ll have to get back to you on that.

    Your question is a good one, William. I need to re-read that one while I’m at it. My recollection of it is that his acts comprise a rebellion against the established order, rather than a violation of the women themselves. But it reduces rather too neatly to the ‘I’m doing this for your own good, little lady’ paradigm.

    Jill, do take care of yourself. While I’m not a health care professional, I’ve had a few episodes of upper back/neck pain resulting, in part, from muscle spasms. One of my physical therapists used what was essentially a big, heated, Hitachi magic wand to relax the surrounding area before beginning massages and/or exercises. Helped a lot. I was able to approximate the procedure at home with, um, readily available equipment.

  8. red
    April 13, 2007 at 10:43 am

    rhubarb—what a track!

  9. Janie
    April 13, 2007 at 10:59 am

    My favorite is Cat’s Cradle (but also love them all, especially the stories in welcome to the monkey house)…
    I think Cat’s Cradle is my favorite because of Bokononism, you can’t go wrong with a religion that’s up front about being based on lies. The characters are also really great..

  10. Magis
    April 13, 2007 at 11:20 am

    Wabash Cannonball: Box Car Willie
    The Nightingale: The Clancy Brothers
    No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems : Kenny Chesney
    Golden Years: David Bowie
    Float On: Modest Mouse
    I’d Have to Be Crazy: Willie Nelson
    Do You Believe In Love: Huey Lewis & The News
    Phantom 309: Red Sovine
    I Am A Simple Man: Ricky Van Shelton
    Voices in the Sky: The Moody Blues

    Bonus? We don’t need no steeenking bonus!

    I was once in KV’s play “Happy Birthday, Wanda June!” If you ever have a chance to see it performed, don’t miss it.

  11. April 13, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    Cat’s Cradle is special to me because my dad has always told me about how important it was to him – it came out when he was fairly young and did a lot as far as getting him out of his sheltered Catholic-school lawyer’s-kid mindset. And when I read it I could totally see how it would have that effect on him. A literary time capsule of my father as a young person.

  12. April 13, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    I love them all, but Slaughterhouse-Five keeps me coming back. I also like Player Piano, which I think was his first, for its kind of lo-fi sci-fi.

    1. Foolin’ Yourself (The Angry Young Man) by Styx. Man, off to a rollicking start.
    2. FM by Steely Dan. I swear, I don’t normally read like a classic rock station.
    3. New Orleans by Wilson Pickett. That’s better.
    4. Round & Round by New Order.
    5. The Luckiest Girl by Holly Golightly.
    6. Munich Madness by Stereolab.
    7. Type by Living Colour
    8. Guns of Brixton by Nouvelle Vague.
    9. It’s my Thang by EPMD. If anyone knows what the synth-bass sample on this song is from, let me know. It’s also used on “Only When I’m Drunk” by Tha Alkaholiks.
    10. Do You Live in Fire? by Status Quo.

    Feel better soon, Jill, or at the very least see Joan Cusack in Sixteen Candles for the latest in neck-wear.

  13. Leeann
    April 13, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    I loved every little thing about Galapagos. He still has plenty I haven’t read, though.

  14. April 13, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    I would have to choose Slaughterhouse-5, with Sirens of Titan running a close second. Kurt Vonnegut expanded my mind with in so many ways.
    1. mona lisas and mad hatters – elton john
    2. the whole of the moon – the waterboys
    3. la guacamaya – los lobos
    4. big in japan – alphaville
    5. wake up time – tom petty
    6. never say never – romeo void
    7. speed trials – elliott smith
    8. girl sailor – the shins
    9. big yellow taxi – romeo void
    10. guns of brixton – the clash

    hope you’re shoulder feels better. :)

  15. Linnaeus
    April 13, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    FRT – The “Oxycodone rules” edition:

    1. “Thick As A Brick”, Jethro Tull
    2. “Conquistador”, Procol Harum
    3. “Let’s Go To Bed”, The Cure
    4. “Get Down Tonight”, K.C. & The Sunshine Band
    5. “Blue Jean”, David Bowie
    6. “Isn’t It A Pity”, George Harrison
    7. “What A Duke Should Be”, Ivor Novello
    8. “Hey Hey What Can I Do?”, Led Zeppelin
    9. “Children’s Story”, Slick Rick
    10. “Hungry Heart”, Bruce Springsteen

    Never read any novel by Kurt Vonnegut. Maybe I should check him out.

  16. Joe
    April 13, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    Vonnegut – cliche, but Slaughterhouse, certainly.

    Also, this story might be of a lot of interest to you:

    “Adding to Regent’s prominence, its course on “Human Rights, Civil Liberties, and National Security” is co taught by one of its newest professors: Ashcroft.”

  17. Henry
    April 13, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Friday top ten FTW!


    1. The Pixies – Here Comes Your Man
    2. Velvet Underground – Here She Comes Now
    3. Tenacious D – City Hall
    4. Mos Def – Oh No
    5. The Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant
    6. The Supersuckers – How To Maximize Your Kill Count
    7. My Bloody Valentine – Sometimes
    8. The Dwarves – Sit On My Face
    9. Handsome Boy Modeling School – Sunshine
    10. Juliana Hatfield – Universal Heartbeat

    After all these years, that Pixies song maybe puts me in a better mood than any other song I’ve ever heard. Well, except maybe “Clowns Are Experts” by the Vandals.

  18. JDC
    April 14, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Folks cop to listening to Styx and Huey Lewis on the blogs these days? I feel so much better about my own musical tastes now! (I was a Styx freak at 13, disowned them entirely a few years later, and just now, at 35, got the albums on CD for the first time.)

    My favorite Vonnegut novel is God Bless You, Mister Rosewater. I think it’s slightly funnier than most. I especially love Diana Moon Glampers and her “kiddleys”.

    The thing about Billy the Poet and the rape always kinda bothered me, but I took it as a reflective of the era in which women’s satisfaction wasn’t considered, and so few got any satisfaction out of sex. There was a time (and maybe it still is that time; I don’t know) when a woman having an unpleasant, if not painful, loss of virginity was considered normal.

  19. W. Kiernan
    April 14, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    The Sirens of Titan. Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five were probably better in some objective sense (the consensus of critics over the next five centuries, maybe), but when I read it thirty-five years ago The Sirens of Titan was exactly to my taste and perfectly pleasing.

  20. randomliberal
    April 15, 2007 at 12:47 am

    I’ve never read Vonnegut…I’m not much of a fiction person (not that i have time to read for pleasure these days even when i want to)…perhaps i should remedy that, soon.

    Artist — “Song”

    The Soggy Bottom Boys — “In the Jailhouse Now”
    John Coltrane — “Countdown”
    Benny Goodman — “Stompin’ at the Savoy”
    System of a Down — “Peephole”
    Chevelle — “Panic Prone”
    Cradle of Filth — “Babalon A.D. (So Glad for the Madness)”
    Led Zeppelin — “No Quarter”
    Public Enemy — “Can’t Truss It”
    Lacuna Coil — “Daylight Dancer”
    Public Enemy — “By the Time I Get to Arizona”

  21. houseofmayhem
    April 15, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    I love all kv’s books, but I gotta go with Player Piano.

    “Cheers in the wirehouse.”
    “Making order out of koze.”

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