Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we’ve been enjoying this week.
“Time Is On My Side.” Irma Thomas, the soul queen of New Orleans, did this in early 1964, ahead of the Rolling Stones’ hit, and it’s still my favorite version. Yes it is, to quote Irma. It was one of a stellar lineup on her “Wish Someone Would Care” album, its grooves worn smooth by lovesick teenagers all over Southwest Louisiana back in the mid- to late-1960s. And still.
My favorite movie about time travel is “Primer.” “Primer” was made for $7,000 by a regular dude, a mathematician, Shane Carruth. He was just some guy who decided to make a movie. What he ended up making is one of the most disturbing, influential, and relevant time travel movies of all time.
And my new favorite factoid about time… There is an area of the universe known as the “CMB cold spot.” It is a void in space (missing approximately 10,000 galaxies, on average, compared with the rest of the universe) and it measures 1.8 billion light years across! If enough time elapsed for life to form on any of the planets located in one of the very few galaxies within this void, there would have been a loooong period of time when a person (or glip glorp, as it were) would look into the sky at night, and see only darkness. Then, over time, all the stars in the universe would have slowly appeared. I bet that was nice for them.
Oh, and if you wanted my opinion about Daylight Savings Time, I think it’s ridiculous. We should pick a stopping point, and split the difference. Like in October, we should move the clocks back thirty minutes and be done with this nonsense.
Time? It’s a fraught topic for me at the moment, poised to dive off a life-change precipice with no idea of what I’m doing next. Time feels synonymous with death. It makes me think of Fun Home, comic artist Alison Bechdel’s melancholy masterpiece of loss, memory, family and cloistered sexuality. It makes me think of this one song by Gillian Welch, which makes me remember there was a time, ten years ago, when that album was new and exciting to me and not worn into near-meaninglessness with brute force repetition. Time is the revelator and the donut of the heart. Time makes me think of my favorite poem I’ve read in the past few months, Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Elegy Before Death” — a gorgeous rebuke to the desire to be immortalized in the memories of the living:
Spring will not ail, nor autumn falter,
Nothing will know that you are gone,
Saving alone some sullen plowland
None but yourself sets foot upon
Saving the mayweed and the pigweed
Nothing will know that you are dead—
These, and perhaps a useless wagon
Standing beside some tumbled shed.
But, as we all trudge toward our respective graves, we must be outfitted with good consumer products. Which is why I want to recommend the Casio Men’s MQ24-7B2 Analog Watch! (I’m not sure what makes it a man’s watch, as it seems pretty androgynous to me. Is it soaked in testosterone?) I recommend this watch because it costs $10, it’s not ostentatiously ugly, and it works. It’s as bare-bones and no-frills as a watch can be, with no light and no date and no alarm; it is nothing but a tiny analog machine that straps to your arm and keeps accurate time. It works well without disputing, which I’ve been told is the only way to render life tolerable.
My young children don’t have anything against knowing what time it is. However, I would like to have inspired them a little earlier to know how to read an analog clock. They pretty much know how to read one these days, but still struggle to care to even gaze upon a clock. So I made these. They are my illustrations featuring a number of characters my kids and I created together, so they’re kid-approved, if that is still a thing to say. Collectively, they’re called Bash-O-Bash. Go to bashobash.com to find out more. Don’t be late.
Inspired by: a) this New York Times article about the timed photographic studies of William Christenberry, Zoe Leonard and Jem Southam, as well as b) Austin-based musical collective Montopolis’ “Time Machine” project earlier this year, I’ve set out on an experiment to document a few fixed points in the Central Arkansas area over time by shooting photos of them at various points in 2017 (and maybe even in subsequent years, should I be so disciplined). I’d recommend you do, so too – in photographic form, if you’re so inclined, or through a line drawing or written description of a fixed location. If that sounds like fun to you, or if you’ve already embarked on such a project and would be interested in sharing it with the Arkansas Times, drop me a line at email@example.com.