Indignity Vol. 2, No. 79: Guano gone-o.


Indignity Vol. 2, No. 79: Guano gone-o.

Recently Missing in America

THIRTY-SEVEN THOUSAND pounds of meat (from a stolen refrigerated trailer in York, Nebraska, in an ongoing rash of Nebraska meat-trailer thefts)

A 36-horsepower orange Kubota tractor "with a front-end loader and attached rotary cutter" (from a rural address in Jones County, Mississippi)

Three electric scooters and three bicycles (from various campus bicycle racks at Indiana University Bloomington)

An assortment of Victorian furniture, including "seven boxes of crystal candelabras" and three sofas (from a storage unit in Weld County, Colorado)

Some 40 or 50 yards of beach sand (from the shoreline by the Maui Eldorado resort  in West Maui, Hawaii, due to recent coastal erosion)

Tents, dutch ovens, and other camping equipment valued at $6,000 (from a trailer used by a Boy Scout troop in Wayne, Michigan)

A trailer containing between 500 and 700 pounds of bat guano (from the parking lot of a wildlife pest removal company in Lincoln, Nebraska)

Recently Found in America

An ATM (on the side of Route 8 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, after having been stolen from New Haven)

A white bull terrier (in Phoenix, Arizona, where it had reportedly been disguised with black dye on one ear and its belly)

Two new species of scorpions (in the dry alkaline basins of Soda Lake and Koehn Lake, of San Luis Obispo County and Kern County, California, respectively, by a pair of teenage naturalists)

A hidden camera (in Danville, Virginia, in a Walmart restroom)

Twenty thousand gallons of oil (in the marshes and open water by St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, after leaking from a disused power substation)

A weathered human skull (in a yard in Birmingham, Alabama, where dogs were playing with it)

A mobile bridal dressing suite (in the Fresno, California, area, after it was stolen from a business lot there)

President Clinton with members of the band "Pearl Jam" in the Oval Office in 1994. Band members (left to right) Mike McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Eddie Vedder, and Dave Krusen stand with the President (center). Photographer: Barbara Kinney via Wikipedia. Public Domain. Series: Photographs Relating to the Clinton Administration. Collection: Photographs of the White House Photograph Office.

The 10 Worst Songs in Pitchfork's 250 Best Songs of the 1990s

PITCHFORK, A PUBLICATION that did not exist until halfway through the 1990s, this week published new lists of its 250 Best Songs of the 1990s and its 150 Best Albums of the 1990s. There are some good entries in the lists, written by writers I admire and sometimes agree with, like Tommy Craggs, Emma Carmichael, and Andy Cush. But the 1990s icon I felt closest to while reading the list was probably Ted Kaczynski.

Musically, there was no such thing as "the 1990s." Making a list of "The Best Songs of the 1990s" is like making a list of "The Defining Political Moments of the 2010s"—the era broke right in the middle of the calendar decade, with a big, traumatic discontinuity. The 1990s began with commercial pop radio wholly dominant and utterly exhausted, the hit parade at its all-time aesthetic nadir, while underneath it, independent-label rock and hip hop were artistically flourishing, if you could find a way to hear them. Then the good and interesting stuff that had been squeezed out for so long came bursting through, in a short-lived revolution, which the industry solved the way it always had, by fairly quickly finding ways to make it dumb and lousy again.

Etc., etc., and blah blah blah. This story was pretty clear if you lived through it from beginning to end, but it gets murky through the lens of 21st century pop criticism. In the present day, it's good that things are popular. People who hate hits are surly reactionaries, the losers in an ideological argument between Rockism and Poptimism. But the ideology that conquered music in the '90s was more like Popportunism: making things worse, for the sake of mass-market appeal. The road to success, often enough, was to be a ripoff or a bore.

There is a lot to argue with in the Pitchfork lists, which is the goal of publishing such lists. The No. 1 song of the decade, according to the list, is 1995's “Fantasy (Remix)” by Mariah Carey, featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard—"a blueprint for a new kind of pop song that would be replicated for decades to come." I guess that checks out as a claim about present-day music, but it's also the track that gets me to hit the skip button on Ol' Dirty Bastard's greatest hits. And methodologically, the songs lists have a lot of '80s music that happened to be released in the year 1990.

But mostly, it's just one last chance to say "No," before the internet's version of history and memory wipes away the real experience—and to point to some other songs that defined the decade, but which Pitchfork left off the list.

So, for the record, the following songs were not good.

Soundgarden, “Black Hole Sun” (1994)
The transition from alternative rock to the capital-A Alternative Rock format was basically a matter of closing the loop between 1990s post-punk rock and 1970's before-punk rock, so it could be as if punk never happened. Aimed for ponderousness, only ever achieved lugubriousness.

Remember instead: PJ Harvey, "Sheela-Na-Gig" (1992)

Veruca Salt, “Seether” (1994)
What if you precisely copied every sonic setting on the instruments from the Breeders' recording sessions for Last Splash, but your own songs were all bad?

Remember instead: "Do You Love Me Now?" the Breeders (1992)

Pearl Jam, “Corduroy” (1994)
Craggs has a very nice meditation on how Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder struggled with the omnipresent '90s tension between integrity and success, then wrote this song about it. He left out the one defining fact about Vedder's relationship with fame and acclaim, though, which was that Pearl Jam was extremely wack and no people with good taste enjoyed their music, and that they were in a scene with enough cool bands that they had to know it.

Remember instead: Dinosaur Jr., "Start Choppin'" (1993)

4 Non Blondes, “What’s Up?” (1992)
Strained band name, strained hooks. No fun.

Remember instead: R.L. Burnside, "Goin' Down South" (1996)

Alice in Chains, “Would?” (1992)
I'm not even going to listen to this to try to remember which one, specifically, it was.

Remember instead: 69 Boyz, "Tootsee Roll" (1994)

Temple of the Dog, “Hunger Strike” (1991)
There is no difference between this song and the Soundgarden one and the Alice in Chains one.

Remember instead: Black Box, "Everybody Everybody" (1990)

Hole, “Doll Parts” (1994)
Many people liked this song and all of them were wrong. "Someday, you will ache like I ache" is the ungainliest sequence of vowel sounds ever sung into a microphone.

Remember instead: The Magnetic Fields, "Papa Was a Rodeo" (1999)

Elastica: “Connection” (1994)
Pitchfork's gloss on this is "Swiping the electronic bop that fuels post-punk icons Wire’s 'Three Girl Rhumba'—an homage that eventually resulted in a lawsuit that was settled out of court." You know, the kind of homage you get sued for. Because you just ripped off the music of "Three Girl Rhumba." a better song by a better band, note for note.

Remember instead: Fatboy Slim, "The Rockafeller Skank" (1998)

Madonna: “Vogue” (1990)
Madonna: “Ray of Light” (1998)

Madonna was never interesting.

Remember instead: Sir Mix-a-Lot, "Baby Got Back" (1992)
White Town, "Your Woman" (1997)


End-of-Season Plants Closeout

More consciousness on Instagram.


WE PRESENT INSTRUCTIONS for the assembly of a select sandwich from Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes, Copyright 1916, now in the public domain for the delectation of all, written by Marion Harris Neil, M.C.A., former Cookery Editor, The Ladies’ Home Journal, author of How to Cook in Casserole Dishes, Candies and Bonbons and How to Make Them, Canning, Preserving and Pickling, and The Something-Different Dish.


1/2 lb. cooked beef, veal, or mutton
6 stoned olives
4 boned anchovies
1 tablespoonful capers
2 hard-cooked eggs
1 tablespoonful butter
1 tablespoonful chopped nut meats
8 picked shrimps
Lettuce or endive
Brown bread
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the meat through a food-chopper with the olives, anchovies, nuts, and capers. Rub the yolks of eggs through a sieve, mix thoroughly with the butter, salt, and pepper, and add to meat mixture.
Spread on thin slices of buttered brown bread, cover one with another, press together and stamp them with a round cutter; sprinkle the surface of sandwiches with the chopped whites of eggs.
Dish them up in a circular row; put the salad in the center, and ornament with the shrimps and parsley.

If you decide to prepare and enjoy this sandwich, kindly send a picture to us at