March 15, 2014

Playlist Week of 2014-03-15

Turkey Vulture 2014-03-15a

* Musica Baltica (Musica Antiqua Köln/Goebel) (Archiv Produktion CD)
* Kurtág: Játékok (ECM CD)
* Miles Davis: Live At The Fillmore East 3/7/70: It’s About That Time (Columbia/Legacy 2CD)
* Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd: Jazz Samba (Verve CD)
* Bill Evans: Trio 64 (Verve CD)
* Bobby Hutcherson: Patterns (Blue Note CD)
* Bobby Hutcherson: Components (Blue Note CD)
* Oregon: Out Of The Woods (Elektra LP)
* Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: Cosmologies (LP mix) (WAV)
* Miguel: Kaleidoscope World (RCA CD)
* Frank Ocean: Channel Orange (Island/Def Jam CD)†
* Jimi Hendrix Experience: Axis: Bold As Love (Columbia/Legacy LP)
* Grateful Dead: Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD 1985-06-30 (selections) (SBD 2CDR)
* Can: Ege Bamyasi (Spoon SACD)
* Conrad Schnitzler: Ballet Statique (Egg/m=minimal LP)
* Buckingham Nicks: Buckingham Nicks (Polydor LP)
* Stevie Nicks: Belladonna (Modern/Warner Bros. LP)
* Chrome: The Visitation (Siren/Cleopatra LP)
* Helios Creed: Boxing The Clown (Amphetamine Reptile LP)
* Helios Creed: Lactating Purple (Amphetamine Reptile LP)
* Helios Creed: Galactic Octopi (Transparency 2LP)
* The Dream Syndicate: The Days Of Wine & Roses (Slash/Warner Bros. LP)
* Revolting Cocks: Stainless Steel Providers (Wax Trax 12”)
* Buckethead: Colma (CyberOctave CD)
* Buckethead: Electric Tears (Meta CD)
* Wilco: Wilco (the album) (Nonesuch LP)
* The Mars Volta: De-Loused In The Comatorium (GSL/Universal CD)
* The Mars Volta: The Widow (selections) (GSL/Universal CDEP)
* The Mars Volta: Frances The Mute (GSL/Universal CD)
* The Mars Volta: Amuptecture (GSL/Universal CD)
* Isis: Celestial (Ipecac CD)
* Mastodon: Call Of The Mastodon (Relapse LP)
* YOB: The Unreal Never Lived (Metal Blade CD)
* Torche: Meanderthal (Robotic Empire/Hydra Head LP)
* Torche: Harmonicraft (Volcom LP)
* Pelican: Arktika (Live From Russia) (Southern Lord CD)
* Kvelertak: Meir (Roadrunner 2LP)
* True Widow: Circumambulation (Relapse LP)
* Windhand: Soma (Relapse 2LP)
* Nothing: Guilty of Everything (Relapse LP) (†)(‡)



So I'm sitting on the front porch this morning having a cup of coffee and I sleepily observe this car smash into a hapless grey squirrel, the impact registering with an awful, explosive “pop.” Jolted awake, I watch as the car continues on its way while the squirrel spasms and leaps—alarmingly, uncontrollably—down the road, leaving a trail of pinkish blood in its wake. I’m thinking, “Wow. What a terrible way to start the day.”

As I witness this horrible tableau unfold, a woman drives by from the opposite direction, stops her car, gets out and, grabbing the squirrel by its still twitching tail, throws it into our yard. "Thanks a lot," I thought to myself. But then I thought how strange it was for her to have done such a thing. I hope she went straight home and washed her hands—and her steering wheel.

I knew it wouldn't be long until the buzzards showed up, so I went inside and grabbed my Nikon, with my longest telephoto lens attached. Now, I know turkey vultures freak some people out—omens of death and all that—but I think they are magnificent birds, so big and slow it’s amazing they can get airborne. Yet they soar the skies with eyes so acute they can spot a bloodied varmint from a mile up. No, they won’t win any beauty contests, but they perform a valuable service, cleaning up road-kill—like the unfortunate squirrel in our front yard. Sure enough, a gaggle of vultures showed up in no time all. 

Here’s a fun fact: turkey vultures mate for life and can go for days and weeks or months without food. So while one dominant male aggressively tore into the fresh squirrel meat, an elder matron kept watch for circling red-tail hawks, only having a nibble after the others had flown into the trees, panicked by passing cars. I was simultaneously revolted and fascinated by what I was witnessing through the viewfinder, which blacked out momentarily as the shutter clicked open and closed. Minutes passed and I couldn’t help but get some pretty gruesome shots. Still, I kept shooting.

Later this afternoon, I opened the files on my computer and my jaw dropped—and my stomach turned. What I had barely been able to see while peering through the dim viewfinder glowed large and vivid on the screen, realer than real. I edited some of the simple “portraits,” like the serenely matriarchal lookout and some of the others (mostly sans carrion) and uploaded them to Flickr

There was one photograph that still haunts me: the buzzard has dragged the squirrel out into the street and I captured the moment where he lets the poor creature drop from his beak. In that split second, the dessicated squirrel, warm, wet guts protruding from his mouth, appears to stand one last time on his hind legs as the vulture looks down, mocking him with a gleefully open mouth. I call it “The Dance of Life and Death.”

But I prefer to keep this image to myself. 


Sam said...

Ugh. Yeah, I don't think I need to see those pictures. All this over coffee? Wow.

And who the hell was that woman?! President of the clean road vigilante club? Ick!

Sam said...

A little late, but here are my lists from last week:

Playlist 2014-03-17:

*Miles Davis: 1970-04-09 Fillmore West (CDR)
*Miles Davis: Black Beauty
*Dawn of Midi: Dysnomia
*Mary Halvorson: 2009-03-21 NYC (CDR)
*Mary Halvorson Septet: Illusionary Sea
*Ingrid Laubrock/Tom Rainey: 2009-01-07 The Stone, NYC (CDR)
*Ingrid Laubrock/Dan Peck/Tom Rainey: 2012-05-11 Moers (CDR)
*MAP (Tatsuya Nakatani, Mary Halvorson & Reuben Radding): 2009-05-21 NYC (CDR)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2014-02-24 “Allow Paper To Dry” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2014-03-15 Pyramid Atlantic, Silver Spring MD (wav)
*Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble: 2010-05-13 Koln (Break-Ups) (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor Unit: 1973-12-28 NYC (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor Trio: 1975-06-09 Village Gate (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor Trio: 1975 Philadelphia (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor: 3 Phasis (side 1)
*Sun Ra: Great Live Gilmore (cassette compilation)
*Beach Boys: Made in California (disc 5)
*Charles Bradley: No Time for Dreaming
*Bill Bruford: Feels Good to Me
*Elvis Costello: Trust
*Mike Elder/Harry Forrest/Greg Jordan/Sam Byrd: 2014-03-07 (wav)
*Tex Goldstein: Horse In The Teepee (Bandcamp)
*Guided By Voices: The Bears for Lunch
*High Llamas: Talahomi Way
*Jefferson Pilot: Hello Mississippi
*Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: Give the People What They Want
*King Crimson: The Road to Red (disc 16)
*Dan Penn: The Fame Recordings
*Stooges: Fun House

Reading List 2014-03-17:

*King, Stephen. The Dark Tower (Dark Tower VII) (reread/started)
*King, Stephen. Song of Susannah (Dark Tower VI) (reread/finished)
*Weldon, Michael J. Psychotronic Video Guide (in progress)