Kicking it with Eugene and Elif

mike and bob sounds like stage directions for raging bull

This is just a picture of a kick boxer from an article in The New Yorker by Elif Batuman and a picture of Eugene Robinson (Of Oxbow) posing with a famous or successful mixed martial arts dude, from Eugene’s book on fighting. My headline is a pun on “kicking” it (meaning relaxing) or ass (fighting).
I’m the only person who has read Eugene’s book and that of Elif.
They are both Stanford grad’s but different eras. Although it wouldn’t surprise me if Eugene can bs about Russian lit and Elif can talk about punk rock and indie.


Elif also has a great section in The Idiot her first novel. Maybe she is paraphrasing someone else but she says that math started as just a crude approximation of the real world and then it became more real than the world, that the world we live in is under-carriaged (?) by math and math is more real than the world we experience, and no one but her thinks this is weird or noteworthy.
I heard about Elif one day walking thru Stanford campus when I was living at Oak Creek but I could in theory still do this and in fact just yesterday despite feeling sick I walked around campus with Steve and Eric and Terry and Terry wanted to see the sculpture that is near Cecil Green Library that is dedicated to Dr. Shumway and donated I guess by his parents class of 1950 that is red and sometimes has a water feature but it has to do with the human heart — the doctor pioneered heart transplant surgery — I think Eric said he trapped a Pokeman Pichu — and we noted the building maybe in Munger but could not see in or enter than has I said Rauschenberg and Eric — who studied with Paul McCarthy — said De Kooning — anyhow it was a day like yesterday but 10 years ago and I was nearer the main quad or the engineering that is to say slighly east of yesterday – and notably by myself and a copy of the Stanford Dailt student newspaper blew by like a tumble weed and I stepped on it and picked it up — it was really a sheet, like four pages front and back plus a fold — and there was an article about Elif as a grad student having published a book of essays and I later noticed that they had spelled her book wrong or misidentified it. They said “The Possessed: Russian literature and the people who read team” instead of “the Possessed: Russian literature and the people who read them”.
And then I saw the book in the airport and eventually bought it otherwise I would not have remembered this or noticed it.

bw
weird segue other than Eugene’s band was same era as Stone Fox AND Dan Adams the bass player from Oxbow went to Duke with David Leftkowitz who either managed Stone Fox or merely shared his office with Trouz who did — plus they worked with Primus and on some level Metallica.

I would say a life-changing event for me was a benefit for Mia Zapata — to raise awareness about her murder, to hire a detective after the police gave up — in Cyclone Warehouse near The Ramp in San Francisco in spring 1994 organized my members of the Gits, the late great and dearly departed Lisa Fay Beatty of Mudwimin a guy named Rob Roy – – it was my first time seeing stone fox – they rode in on the top of an old converted school bus – their version of Furthr — maybe they called it “For Her” or ‘Fur Her” — I’m alluding to Ken Kesey’s bus a generation before. I’ve never worked in corporate America since then! Only punk and DIY and unemployment and depression. But seriously, civilization as we know it would have ceased without the intervention of dyke rockers in the 1990s, in SF.

lastly or and1:
I wrote privately and read or listened about CRISPR which is a type of gene-editing that could help us — we the people – -or some people — someday cure sickle cell anemia and I was going to first learn the acronym — the “P” is palindromic — a, t, c, g and I guess g, c, t, a et al — which made me think of Emily’s Sassy Lime one of the top palindromic bands of the 1990s with ties to stanford. I might contrast tho it sounds racist Emily Yao or Wendy Yao or both with the infamous twins made by mad scientist “JK” (He JianKui).

It’s 5 o’clock on a Saturday and I have totally ignored my goal to read all day Elif Batuman. Terry more sensibly is in the garden, reading Voltaire. She’s a stone fox in that she is moving stones, in the garden.

my a michael pena:
ELIF BATUMAN, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature, could give grad students who are tied to the Farm just the kick in the pants they need to venture off campus. Batuman braved regular jaunts past San Francisco’s “Bail Bond Row” along Bryant Street to study the not-so-sweet science of Thai boxing. She studied strenuously under three-time Muay Thai world champion BUNKERD FAPHIMAL at his gym, Fight and Fitness—as detailed in a long and graceful feature that Batuman wrote for the New Yorker (Jan. 16). Muay Thai also is known as the Science of Eight Limbs, which refers to a fighter’s use of his or her feet, fists, elbows and knees. (You might consider addressing the high-kicking freelancer by “Miss” when you first meet her.)

Ok here is my bottom line: Elif Batuman fights better than Eugene writes.
Also, I have no idea what it is but I spent 3 minutes on a suggestion from Eugene watching Robert Downey JR in 1999 Black and White harrass Mike Tyson playing himself and almost get beat up. With a character in the movie filming it, or pretending to.
There’s also a long list in NYT Elif mentioning films or books with neurological premises, like Motherless Brooklyn. And no mention on the internet save here of Elif Batuman plus Eugene Robinson nor Eugene Robinson plus Bunkerd Faphimai. Tho duly noted Eugene trains in muy thai.

Last time I spoke to Eugene, ok second to last time, I asked him if he would train me to take a punch from Jim Harbaugh, he said “sure”. Last time I spoke to Eugene was at a Gunn graduation (my god-son, his daughter) and he said he had gotten married. Not to get too personal – -and maybe having been in a rock band for 20 years or 30 years there is no off stage versus on stage but I said something like “are you planning to start another family” – -he’s 56, my age plus one or two – -and he said “it is inevitable” — he may have been paraphrasing Jeff Rosenbloom paraphrasing Michael Crichton, “nature will find a way”. I’m also flashing to re-watching Monty Pyton apropos of Easter and “every sperm is sacred”. And there’s a Eugene line in his book about some of the weird poses fighters and grapplers do: it’s only gay if you make eye contact.

No regrets but I should have read Elif Batuman “The Idiot” and not done so much internet screen time and my own lousy writing: yes, elif Batuman both write better than me and she likely could kick my ass, too. i think Terry can take her, however.

Mazel tov to eugene and his loved ones.

ok, wait a minute — I have a score to settle with ESR: years ago I lent him a copy of a two-work anthology by the guy who wrote both Wild Party and the long poem on which a boxing film The Set Up with Robert Ryan was based. And I wanted to adapt it to stage with, like the original, a black anti-hero, Pansy Jones.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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