Each night before I go to bed, I thank the Lord for keeping hidden from me the number of forms in which I will have owned my favorite recorded music by the moment of my death. In the case of R.E.M., for instance, I have all of the band's albums and EPs from 1982 through 1996 on cassette tape, and have purchased duplicates of many of those on CD over the past decade, not to mention the R.E.M. vinyl I have accumulated over the years. Thank you, Lord, for your mercy in hiding that number from me. I know what you're thinking: that I do not want to know the number because, like the speaker in "Catullus 7" ("Quaeris quot mihi basiationes," etc.), I am afraid that if a bad person knew that number, he or she could use it to cast spells on me. But that is not the case! For, unlike Lesbia's kisses, recorded media do not give love to a poor and lonely poet, but accumulate on his shelves and in his closets and fall on his head and break on his floor and terrify soft animals and remind potential mates of the meaning of the word "hebephrenia," and so their number would not be particularly useful in unspeakable occult practices. No, I don't want to know the number because I think that, if I were to read in the Almighty's ledger that when I die I will have owned the same recording of "Driver 8" imprinted on 23 distinct official products, it would force me to re-examine my faith in global capitalism, the greatest and most perfect system ever to have strangled... More >>>