Archive for May, 2012

My 58th Favorite Song of All-Time

Posted in 100 Favorite Songs on May 28, 2012 by sethdellinger


“Machine Head” by Bush

This song has never gotten old to me.  Despite what seem (to me) to be pretty nonsense lyrics, it just always gets me super-pumped up and basically makes me want to fight somebody.  I’ll never forget the first time I heard it.  I was in the back of a friend’s Jeep, in the middle of the summer on a pitch black, steamy night, speeding down back country roads, while we all were doing something that is illegal, and wind whipped through the jeep.  The opening chords of “Machine Head” came on, and I thought it might be possible I’d be young forever.

The Carer’s Manifesto

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2012 by sethdellinger

1.  I’m a Carer

Why should anyone care nowadays, of course, is a question hardly answerable by anyone.  There is much too much to be distracted by, and why not?  Why not just allow oneself the mindless pleasure of being mindless, the comfortable comfort of being comfortable, the lazy unwinding everlasting shindig of evil television, handheld gadgets, and central air conditioning?  Why not?  We all just make a bee-line from the womb to the grave anyway (who was it…Twain?…who said life might as well be a pregnant woman squatting over an open grave, and that glimpse of light the dropping infant would get a sense of on its fall…well, that is life) so why bother with all this drudgery of learning things about political candidates, or taking sunshiny walks in historic landmarks, or vacuuming your living room?  Why, in essence, should anyone care?  Well, smarter men and women than I have tried answering that one in various ways, none of which have ever really satisfied anyone, so far be it from me to really make a serious attempt at it.  As far as I can tell, the best argument on the side of caring is simply that it is there to be done.  One can either care or not care (do or not do).  Once the essential brevity of our own individual existences has been established (once you have answered the question: do you have faith in the unseen?), there is only one decision to make during our lives: do you care, or do you not care?  I choose to care because it is the only decision that seems interesting to me, and a life of boredom seems like the only way to waste anything.  I want to be interested, hence I decide to care.  But, you may ask, why should I care whether or not you choose to care?  Because the less people that care, the less interesting existence is to those of us who do care.  Less interesting stuff is made, less interesting things are discussed, more people look at us Carers like we are pompous frauds.  (how to tell if you are a Non-Carer is discussed later in this Manifesto).  I simply wish for more people to care, to be interested, to remain engaged, for the selfish reason that it will make my life more interesting.  This little glimmer of light that we get, this brief moment of actualization, this spontaneous intelligence reaches out for us from across vast distances of chance and ridiculous chaos.  I don’t argue against using this opportunity to engage in frivolous entertainment or carnal satisfactions; really, anything at all that you could do boils down to being frivolous entertainment or carnal satisfactions.  But once you become a Carer, your interests and hobbies become automatically elevated, given more pressing meaning by the mere act of your caring, of seeing things in a larger perspective, of your desire to function as a more Advanced person.  Your desire to be interested is the only thing that I find interesting.

2.  The All-In Doctrine

There is no doubt in my mind that the only pure and true way to play baseball—even at the professional level—is for all nine fielded players to draw their positions for that day’s game out of the hat.  Every player needs to be able to be passably good at each position and prepared to play it that day.  Likewise, each player needs to bat.  That’s right.  If the concept of every team using a designated hitter is one end of baseball’s “political spectrum”, then my philosophy—what I will call the “All-In Doctrine”—is the is the other end of the spectrum (I’m sure this philosophy already exists, so please tell me if it does and if it has a name).  There are sports where both teams constantly play offense and defense (basketball, hockey, pretty much all field sports such as soccer, field hockey, etc) and then there’s American Football–a sport where offense and defense happen separately and by completely different squads of a team.  Baseball is largely unique (maybe Cricket?) in that offense and defense happen separately, but by the same fielded players.  This, to my mind, is the element of baseball that makes it truly the best sport.  (when I say “baseball”, I am also referring to “softball”, or any other form of this game, regardless of gender or age group)  All the players are supposed to be able to play all of the game, and it is, in essence, two different games.  Now the game has become so hi-tech, so specialized, that we have pitchers who can only pitch, outfielders who have no idea how to play first base.  Catchers can never run.  Middle-relievers never get a chance to bat, and closers can’t throw more than 30 pitches.  Right-fielders are signed because they can hit home runs.  Designated hitters never have to field at all.  These people aren’t playing baseball.  They’re playing a part of it.  Is this what is wrong with our country, our society, right now?  No.  You know what IS wrong with it?  Nothing.  Everyone’s just really fucking boring.

3.  The Gaping Maw

Memory is inherently sad and this is one of the basic tenets of being alive.  Remembering sad events is sad by nature and the memory of positive events creates a sadness by the virtue of the happy event being over.  This does not mean that any being with a memory must by automatic virtue be sad, but it is more like a sadness residue; memory leaves sadness on us like hard water stains on a clear drinking glass.  We don’t always see it or feel it.  It lurks.

Some memory creates a gaping maw in the fabric of the universe.  Of this I am certain.  We each have them.  A few for each of us.  Memories so laden with a dismal, hopeless sadness that, when we dare to contemplate upon them, the weight of them is so heavy it pulls through space-time like the dense remnant of a supernova star.  We are each of us blessed and cursed with these powerful moments.  Most of them come from childhood, no matter how happy your childhood was: the child’s psyche is so open to experiencing pure joy and pure sadness that we can’t help but get short glimpses of each as we grow.  As adults the memories of the pure emotions are like black holes we are fortunate to ever escape from.

In second or third grade my class was told to draw pictures of moments when we were happiest.  I drew a somewhat complicated picture of my mother gardening in the backyard while I played in a kiddie pool and our Cocker Spaniel, Cocoa, looked on.  I drew one conspicuous, large tear dropping from my eye.  I had picked up the idea, somewhere, that grown-ups sometimes cried because they were happy, although as a child I had only experienced the sad kind of crying.  I assumed my teacher would understand, since she was a grown-up, that it was a tear of happiness.

A little while later, my mother attended a parent-teacher conference, and afterward she asked me why I had drawn the tear.  My teacher had discreetly asked my mother what was going on at home that I would depict my home life in this manner.  As young as I was, I immediately grasped the colossal nature of the miscommunication and was deeply saddened  by causing my mother even one cursory moment of embarrassment or regret.  As an adult, a simple reading of this event seems too far removed to be consequential.  My mother claims to not even remember it.  But in the few moments of my life which I have allowed myself to dwell on it, the memory causes such an abyss within me that I fear I may never climb out of it.  And if you think that this event is a long time ago, that little shock-blonde Seth is not still drawing that picture right this instant, that the parent-teacher conference isn’t still as fresh in the air as the breath of a goddamned spring dandelion, then you don’t understand time or memory, or really, any damned thing at all.

4.  After the Unconditional Love for Nuclear Family, the Only Pure Love is Unrequited Romantic Obsession

There is nothing I want in the world more than you—there never has been and there never will be.  I want you more than anything you have ever wanted, multiplied times two.  There is virtue in this, more virtue than anything earned, or worked for, or denied oneself.  Even when the woman in question changes, even when your face is different, your smells brand new, your address a mystery, the play remains the same: to chase, to love, to never give up. It’s like this:  Sunday morning. I awaken fresh as a daisy.  The world lies before me, unconquered, unsullied, virgin as the Arctic zones.  I swallow a little coffee froth and taurine to drive away the last leaden fumes of inertia.  I will go directly to your home, ring the bell, and walk in.  Here I am, take me—or stab me to death.  Stab the heart, stab the brain, stab the lungs, the kidneys, the guts in general, the eyes, the ears.  If even one organ be left alive, you are doomed—doomed to be mine, forever, in this world and the next and all the worlds to come, if there be any.  I’m a desperado of love, a scalper, a slayer.  I’m insatiable.  I eat old buttons off your shirts, hairpins, your lipstick remnants from napkins, anything and everything you call yours.  Show me your father, with his kites, his race horses, his free passes for the opera: I will eat them all, swallow them alive.  Where is the chair you sit in, your favorite comb, your toothbrush, your nail file?  Trot them out so that I may devour them at one gulp.  You have a sister more beautiful than yourself, you say.  Show her to me—I want to lick the flesh from her bones.  I believe in so many things for you.  I believe.  I believe in cadmium, in chrome nickel, the oxides and the mercurochromes, in waterfowls and water cress, in epileptic seizures, in bubonic plagues, in planetary conjunctions, in chicken-tracks and stick throwing, in revolutions, in stock crashes, in wars, in earthquakes, cyclones.  I believe, I believe.  I believe because not to believe is to become as lead, to lie prone and rigid, forever inert, to waste away.  I write you mad dashed-off letters.  I write the maddest letters ever penned.  I have said to myself over and over that if a man, a sincere and desperate man like myself, loves a woman with all his heart, if he is ready to cut off his ears and mail them to her, if he will take his heart’s blood and pump it out on paper, saturate her with his need and longing, besiege her everlastingly, she cannot possibly refuse him.  The homeliest man, the weakest man, the most undeserving man must triumph if he is willing to surrender his last drop of blood.  No woman can hold out against the gift of absolute love.  Such is the purest quest of love known to all of humankind.

5.  Why it’s OK to Hate the Mainstream

There are some hipsters who hate everything that’s mainstream in our culture just because they want to appear to be counter-culture.  They don’t want to admit that anything “the masses” are enjoying could be at all worth their time or have any artistic merit.  I know that, to some people, I appear to be one such hipster.  The people that see me this way are idiots.

I quite obviously enjoy plenty of mainstream things.  I’m passionate about “LOST”, Kurt Vonnegut (hey hipsters: he’s mainstream, deal with it), I purchase every comic book film adaptation on DVD regardless of how horrible it is.  We can enjoy some of the things produced by the mainstream and still hate it.

The “mainstream” consists of product designed solely to appeal to the largest amount of people in order to make money.  There is fundamentally nothing wrong with designing product to make money.  That’s how more product gets made.  But when product is designed to fool you into thinking it’s art, and is tweaked and coddled by corporate entities until they are certain it will be liked by as many people as possible, it might still be enjoyable product, but it is just product.  It was not made by people with fires in their bellies and an intense desire to communicate their humanity to an unseen audience.  Almost every single song on the radio is an example of this.  I don’t hate it just because it’s mainstream or because everyone else likes it.  I hate it because it’s been designed to fool me into thinking it has a genuine human spark.  I don’t like huge companies thinking they can fool me.  I don’t like shitty artists thinking I’ll give them my money because twenty people more talented than them helped them make an effective product.  I will not be their chump.  I will not be their bewildered herd.

Great art does get made “in the mainstream”.  Like I said, it’s not all bad.  But if you start thinking about the things you like, I think you’ll find it’s easy to tell which ones have you fooled and which ones are genuine.  It’s OK to hate the phoney ones.  It doesn’t make you a pompous hipster.  It makes you not a stooge.  It’s the beginning of being a Carer.

6.  Sunlight

Did you know it takes sunlight 8.3 minutes to reach the Earth from the sun?  Is it just me, or does this seem longer than you expected?  It is traveling at the speed of light and still takes eight minutes to get here.  But did you know, once it is generated inside the sun’s core, it takes each individual particle of light over a hundred thousand years (100,000!) to escape from the sun’s surface?  It’s true.  And after spending a hundred thousand years to get out of the sun, some of that light travels roughly eight minutes and expires here on the surface of this planet.  Makes you think.

7.  Gliding

It is nearly impossible, of course, to enjoy life on what I would call an elemental scale; that is, enjoyed the way a human might enjoy life if it weren’t for modern technology, democracy, the Euro, and all that.  But when I hear someone say something like, “You have got to ride a motorcycle; you haven’t lived until you have!” I wonder what they think happened before 1910.  I wonder if they pity every single human being who ever lived before the invention of the internal combustion engine.  Certainly, much of our modern life and our enjoyment of it is derived from our technological advances; even my bicycle is manufactured from modern synthetic materials and shipped here from China on a terrifyingly enormous boat.  But it is important, in our quietest moments and during our sweetest triumphs, to remember we are flesh and bone crawling over the skin of this planet.  At any moment we can be swept away from all of our plastic and nylon and into our most basic animal selves: scared out of our minds of an advancing fireball, hungrily devouring the food we need for fuel, running in out of a drenching rain.  When I’m riding my bike, I often like to stand on the pedals while coasting downhill and chuckle aloud about what my ancient forebears might think, or even George Washington, about this hairless ape gliding through the world aboard such an alien artifact.

8.  What if You’re Not a Carer?

Maybe you don’t care.  I guess that’s OK.  Maybe the world to you is just a place where the streets have always been paved and been named, where the vaccines were plopped down alongside Noah’s flood, where people whose names you don’t know have always just made beautiful things you don’t understand, in countries you know nothing about.  That’s OK.  Maybe to you the world is just a place with airports and beaches, calendars and alarm clocks, and that’s all it will ever be to you.  Maybe to you the world is just a place where you’re trying to keep yourself fed, stay ahead of the curve just a little bit, like you’re always walking fast across the hot coals.  That’s OK.  You’re human, after all.  It just means you’re not a Carer.  And while it means you’ll never know much about Louis Pasteur, it also means you know next to nothing about what is buried deep inside yourself, and even less about what’s beating the heart of the person next to you.


My 59th Favorite Song of All-Time

Posted in 100 Favorite Songs with tags , , on May 21, 2012 by sethdellinger

Click here to learn about this list, or click here to see all previous entries in the list.

…and my 59th favorite song of all-time is:

“Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel

It’s a shame that this song is more well-known for it’s groundbreaking video (which I admit is pretty neato) than it is for the pure fantasitcness of the song itself.  Gabriel crafted a catchy, pop-ready tune that features some of the more bold, challenging lyrics you’ll hear on the radio, in any era.  He opens with the line “You could have a steam train if you’d just lay down your tracks”, which is, frankly, one of the most foreceful and gutsy sexual innuendos I’ve ever heard.  And the simple line “I want to be your sledgehammer” is ridiculously ballsy.  Folks, he is really, REALLY talking about some sex here! 


My 60th Favorite Song of All-Time

Posted in 100 Favorite Songs with tags , , , on May 19, 2012 by sethdellinger

Click here to see all previous entries.

…and my 60th favorite song of all-time is:

“Cumbersome” by Seven Mary Three

Slightly prior to my life-changing introduction to Pearl Jam, I was introduced to 7m3 my freshman year in college.  And their signature song, “Cumbersome”, while far from their best, is undeniably powerful, and no conversation about the band can ignore the song’s influence.  Below you’ll find a link to the original, official video, and then an embedded live version that is an example of how they play the song nowadays.

Watch the original video on YouTube by clicking here.



Posted in Photography with tags , , on May 14, 2012 by sethdellinger

My 61st Favorite Song of All-Time

Posted in 100 Favorite Songs with tags , on May 12, 2012 by sethdellinger

First, let’s recap the songs up until now:

100.  “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something
99.  “Jack & Diane” by John Mellencamp
98.  “Hotel California” by The Eagles
97.  “American Pie” by Don McLean
96.  “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson
95.  “Nuthin’ but a G Thang” by Dr. Dre
94.  “Bushwick Blues” by Delta Spirit
93.  “For the Workforce, Drowning” by Thursday
92.  “Fish Heads” by Barnes and Barnes
91.  “Shimmer” by Fuel
90.  “Rubber Biscuit” by the Blues Brothers
89.  “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals
88.  “Asleep at the Wheel” by Working For a Nuclear-Free City
87.  “There’s an Arc” by Hey Rosetta!
86.  “Steam Engine” by My Morning Jacket
85.  “Scenario” by A Tribe Called Quest
84.  “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane
83.  “Fits” by Stone Gossard
82.  “Spring Flight to the Land of Fire” by The Cape May
81.  “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” by The Postal Service
80.  “Sober” by Tool
79.  “Dream is Collapsing” by Hans Zimmer
78.  “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road?” by The Beatles
77.  “In This Light and on This Evening” by Editors
76.  “Lemonworld” by The National
75.  “Twin Peaks Theme” by Angelo Badalamente
74.  “A Comet Appears” by The Shins
73.  “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” by The Decemberists
72.  “Pepper” by Butthole Surfers
71.  “Life Wasted” by Pearl Jam
70.  “Jetstream” by Doves
69.  “Trieste” by Gifts From Enola
68.  “Oh My God” by Kaiser Chiefs
67.  “Last Exit” by Pearl Jam
66.  “Innocence” by The Airborne Toxic Event
65.  “There, There” by Radiohead
64.  “Ants Marching” by Dave Matthews Band
63.  “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen
62.  “The Best of What’s Around” by Dave Matthews Band

You can see the entries for all previous songs by clicking here.
“Old Man” by Neil Young

While I certainly don’t personally identify with the narrator of the song, his rocky relationship with his father and his admittance that he’s “a lot like” him, and that he “needs someone to love me the whole day through”, is incredibly touching.  It always strikes me as a painfully honest song, which is honestly painful.

My 62nd Favorite Song of All-Time

Posted in 100 Favorite Songs with tags , on May 12, 2012 by sethdellinger

“The Best of What’s Around” by Dave Matthews Band

Young Seth was highly affected and influenced by the concepts in this song, and it laid the groundwork for many of the philosophies I still strongly abide by.  I still chide people who complain about where they live; there’s no more convenient excuse for being a boring person than blaming a “boring area”.  You make your own fun, you make friends with who’s at hand, and you make the best of what you’ve got.  And that refrain at the end…hey life, hold on…it just doesn’t get much better than that.


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