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"It's all good!" "Everything'll be all right!" "What's the worst that could happen?" "Hey, I've got great news!" "We've got half the money raised to shoot, now all we gotta do is...." "You know that cute guy at that party? He asked about you." Shut up already!
Willard "Mitt" Romney scares me more than any of the other Republican candidates, not only in this year's crop but, to be frank, from every crop in my memory stretching back to 1972. The reason is simple. I have long believed he is a sociopath. And apparently I'm not alone in this. ( Read more...Collapse )
Tonight I planned things so that I would be in my car at 7PM to listen to Left Right and Center, the political talk show I often listen to on Friday nights on KCRW. Tony Blankley, the show's "Right" for the past 6 or 7 years, died earlier this week.
Robert Scheer, the show's "Left," former LA Times editor and long-time journalist (decades, he's in his 70s now), Matt Miller, the show's host and "Center," who used to be part of the Clinton administration, and Arianna Huffington of AOL and the Huffington Post, described for the show's purposes as "Beyond" the usual political spectrum, were all there tonight to pay tribute to him, along with right-wing political strategist Mary Matalin of the Bush (W) administration (who is in my opinion, a tool, and undeserving of being in their esteemed company, but that's beside the point).
I've said here before that Tony Blankley could often make me reconsider my thinking on numerous issues. At times I thought he was completely full of hooey, but for the most part he argued honestly and without the adherence to potshots and talking points so capably and shamelessly demonstrated by the likes of Mary Matalin. When Blankley and Scheer would debate from the extreme left and right of an issue, it might get heated, but they addressed each other's points. Where Matalin will just go back to scoring points for her side, Blankley would take questions and criticisms and disagreements seriously enough to try to answer them.
Blankley was a child star. He was born in London but his family moved first to New York then Los Angeles and he appeared on various shows in the 50s, including Lassie. According to Wikipedia, "He was briefly a child actor, appearing, most notably, as Rod Steiger's son in The Harder They Fall (1955). The movie was, as Blankley liked to joke, both his and his co-star Humphrey Bogart's last movie."
He was part of the Reagan administration and later worked with Newt Gingrich, helping to bring about the 1994 Republican takeover of the House.
By all accounts I should hate the man, given the destruction that the things he helped create have wrought upon my country and fellow citizens. I certainly disagreed with 90% of his opinions. But he was funny, sharp, articulate, and most importantly, thoughtful and intellectually honest in his arguments. I'll miss him.
I did appreciate him while he was alive and always looked forward to listening to that show, but when I discovered earlier this week that he'd died of complications due to liver cancer I was surprised at the weight of my mourning for him.
So here's to Tony Blankley. I'm heading over to NetFlix to put "The Harder They Fall" into my queue right now.
"Teen gets 21 years in gay classmate's death"
By Catherine Saillant | 11:22 a.m.
Brandon McInerney, 17, is expected to be sent to prison for 21 years under a plea deal reached last month.
Oxnard school still on edge 4 years after killing
"Killer of honors student gets 155 years"
By Sam Quinones | 10:54 a.m.
Tom Love Vinson was convicted of fatally shooting Wilson High School student Melody Ross outside a football game.
Well, there's another one of those "culture hasn't changed in twenty years" articles out again by yet another delusional cultural crony in a state of personal decay. This time it's Kurt Andersen at Vanity Fair, the January 2012 edition, in an article titled "So you say you want a devolution?"
Maria Russo easily and breezily refutes most of it at Salon.com.
And then the comments section dutifully "devolves" into a generational bash-up, with Boomers who seem to honestly believe that culture stopped when the Beatles broke up and Janis, Jim and Jimi died (They don't seem to feel Mama Cass's death had any relevance, but personally speaking I cried when she died.) railing against that good night and every subsequent generation, calling them bitter and jealous because they "weren't there," and younger people generally trying to assert that indeed there has been music after Woodstock, only to be called "Boomer bashers" for their polite trouble. A lot of hogwash.
Both are interesting reads in the ongoing 2011 yawner of a discussion about how we've lost ourselves in "nostalgia." I agree with Russo far, far, far more than I agree with Anderson, although I agree with some of his points. I just think that he doesn't get it. I mean, yes, he's talking about the surface of things, how things look, and then to a large degree he's asserting that innovation stopped in 1982 or so. She seems to understand that much of what he's talking about is terribly superficial, but she also agrees with some of his points in places I would not agree at all.
I don't care if people are wearing jeans today, jeans in 1992, jeans in 1972, and whether they'll be wearing jeans in 2032. I say bully for that! Jeans are comfortable. But I also am surrounded by a different world than poor myopic Kurt, I'm afraid, as I see a lot of people, kids, kids I tell you, who are not wearing jeans.
Also, although I can see the resemblances and the cultural borrowings, I don't think Lady Gaga is all that much like Madonna. The song Born This Way like Express Yourself? Sure, but who cares? ELO was a lot like one or two Beatles albums, while being wholly different as well, but who cares when you're bopping your head to the music? I recall when I was visiting my sister, who "came of teenage" in the late sixties hippie music era, and I introduced her (a Floridian) to fellow Floridian Tom Petty, whose hit "Refugee" was all over the airwaves. She dismissed him upon first listen. "Sounds like Dylan."
Well, sure, on the surface.
Now, unlike the stuck in amber Kurt Andersen, along with all the other stuck in amber "nostalgia catastrophists" of 2011, my sister got beyond that early, premature assessment of Petty. The knee-jerk Gaga/Madonna comparisons will continue forever, of course, for the bitter, negative naysayers because it's just so easy. I was a big Madonna fan back int he day and I loved her continuing array of new permutations, and I'm less of a Gaga fan than that; but I think Gaga's a different beast. While her lyrics stray into the annoying and cloying at times, I think she's a better songwriter, and she's braver and more adventurous musically than Madonna. She's kind of an anti-fame celebrity, and she is trying to say something.
In short, the resemblances to Madonna are intentional, but also quite superficial.
But, while she's certainly a big star right now, she's hardly representative of all "culture," or all music, or all anything.
I'm damned glad I don't live in Kurt Anderson's dull world. I'm especially glad I don't live in the world many of the commentators live in either. The world may have stopped for THEM, but how can anyone be so blind to the rather obvious fact that for OTHER PEOPLE life goes on? Life hasn't stopped at all. For some of these commentators Brian Eno did it all in the mid seventies, and everything anyone does these days he did. (Or name another artist from that period.) I'm sure if I keep checking back in I'll eventually learn that Mumford & Sons are completely irrelevant and untalented. They are merely the Starland Vocal Band of 2011.
One of the more hilarious points Andersen makes in comparing 1992 to 2011, and deciding they are the same, when wrapping it all up with what he believes to be the wittiest of witticisms, he states, "Lady Gaga has replaced Madonna, Adele has replaced Mariah Carey—both distinctions without a real difference—and Jay-Z and Wilco are still Jay-Z and Wilco."
Russo and some of her commentators point out that, of course, Wilco didn't exist in 1992. Jay Z also didn't really hit the scene until 1995.
But reading this essay-light, it's obvious that facts are not important to Kurt Andersen. Some of his facts are correct, but his befuddled view of the world is a little sad to me. And to Russo, too. "Andersen might also be the only critic who would argue that Douglas Coupland’s “Generation X” is “in no way dated,” or confuse a Josh Ritter song with a Bob Dylan tune." Throughout his piece he asserts that "we" could not tell the difference between 2011 and any point in the 90s, and even the late 80s, if we were plunked back into time suddenly. I can refute that by offering up a viewing of the Melanie Griffith film "Working Girl."
He also sadly challenges anyone, (anyone!), who has not heard a series of musical pieces from the past five years before, upon hearing them for the first time, to be able to tell whether the music came from today, or the 90s, or earlier. He seems confident that such a person would not be able to tell.
Well, ironically, I agree. If someone hasn't heard any of this music from the past five years, then you'd probably be as stuck in amber as Anderson, who believes cultures stopped moving forward in 1982, or these Boomer commentators who believe culture ended in 1971, and no, you wouldn't be able to tell.
It's funny to me. My life is stagnant. My life is stuck in amber. I am not moving forward. I'm sure Kurt Andersen's life is far more fast-moving than mine. But I'm here, in 2011, surrounded by people moving forward in time, and while I see how some things are not changing, some fashion, some music, etc., thankfully I can also hear the exciting new things going on. (I never cared about fashion.)
Anyway, both articles are worth reading, together, as yet another round in this yawner of a fashionable "argument" for 2011. Listen to Yeasayer, or Animal Collective, Skrillex, Bjork, or even Carolina Chocolate Drops while you're at it.
I wish that Amazon would begin complying with all state and Federal laws.
No, I didn't fall into some orange dye or eat a lot of carrots turning my round midsection orange. For the first time since the 1970s (!) I'm watching It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Fun memories. The great WWI Snoopy as flying ace sequence is coming up. A revelation: I had a crush on Linus. Mostly it was his voice.
(Which I'm sure was voiced by an adult woman.)
I continued moving my bank today. By tomorrow I will have initiated all the requests to change the auto payments. Then I just have to monitor it and change my direct deposit amount once they switch over. Then I have to switch over the rest of my checks and bills. I should be finished by December or January and I can close my account.
The guy from the credit union didn't call today about whether he can consolidate my car and personal loans. I'll call tomorrow to see whether he's forgotten me already.
Here comes Snoopy's heroic flying adventure....
For example, yesterday when I woke up I discovered my cat had thrown up on the rug I just laundered last week.
This morning when I woke up he'd thrown up on the hard wood floor, which was much easier to clean.
It's too bad Herman Cain didn't wait until after he'd won the Republican nomination to let people know that he's pro-choice (except when he's not pro-choice). He could have split the vote like he split his decision.
I mentioned the other day that I had to work in glue fumes for the first hour of my day. YESTERDAY it got worse. I came to work and the smell was back. Or so I thought. Turns out they'd painted over night. Only by my cubicle, though. (Well, there are just three cubes that share this wall, but the other people are in and out of the cubicles all day. Only I had to sit there the whole time.)
I spent three hours working in paint fumes before they finally brought some fans by. I would get away and deep breathe whenever I could, but fro about the last hour and a half I couldn't move.
It did get better after that, with a small fan in my cubicle and two larger fans out in the hallway.
I told one of my co-workers I expected to show up today with my cubicle just filled up with toxic sludge.
(That didn't actually happen.)
Here are some pictures of some of four of the six lovely creatures that survived yesterday's tragic slaughter in Ohio.
Pretty leopard, monkeys, and little grizzly. I hope it gets better for you.
I've enjoyed a few shows this season now spread out over a few networks. I doubt I'll watch all of them regularly lest roots grow out of my ass into my couch, but it's nice to know there are some alternatives out there on the regular networks.
I caught up on ABC's Revenge Friday night. (It runs Wednesday nights at 10, but I was watching L&O:SVU, the first episode without Christopher Meloni.) I liked it. It may not be my style of show, though. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of revenge, but it's set in a world I'm not typically drawn to. Sure, those are the people (extraordinarily rich people in the Hamptons) upon whom the revenge will be carried out, but I only have so much time in the week. And it seems this one will require weekly participation to keep up. But the pilot intrigued me, and Emily Van Camp is a pleasure as the central character. Plus there are some supporting roles that have my interest. Plus there is a cute puppy who grew into a cute dog. And some other cute puppies who will likely be somewhat naked from time to time. So, Revenge may suck me in.
Prime Suspect stars Maria Bello in an Americanized version of the great Helen Mirren role of Jane. Just Jane, since their last names are different. In fact, the whole look and feel of the show is different, thank goodness. I loved the original entirely because of the elements that made it viable for it's time, as well as for the slow building quality of it. Bello's Jane is less vulnerable than Mirren's, and plots that took several episodes in the original are telescoped into one episode here.
The original show dealt with sexism as it's primary theme (in the first series at least, and less so after that as it took on other isms). This show did so as well, yet oddly the success in TV-world of tough, independent female detectives, from SVU, to The Closer and beyond, made Jane Timoney's glass ceiling less believable, even though it's obviously entirely believable in real life I'm sure. Odd that. The makers have promised to back off on the glass ceiling as the central theme and just go about making a strong, weekly procedural. I liked the vibe, and Maria Bello, and there are elements about the show that do seem to promise a few steps forward.
Prime Suspect airs Thursday nights at 10 on NBC, directly after Person of Interest starring Michael Emerson from Lost and Jim Caviezal from many movies airs on CBS, another show I liked quite a bit, so that's convenient.
Person of Interest is creepy in ways that could prove interesting down the line. It's a procedural, too, but set within the world of post-9/11 surveillance. Emerson plays a billionaire who invented a machine for the US government that allows it to pick through and find patterns among the vast array of data bits being collected from cameras, emails, cell phones, etc., and --- and here there are giant holes in the explained version of things --- through a back door Emerson's character left in tact sends him a social security number of someone who may be about to be involved in a crime.
Okay, this is JJ Abrams, he of Lost and other such drawn out nonsense that none-the-less proves to be entertaining, so I'm giving this particular rampaging polar bear of illogic a little room to run.
Caviezal plays a super agent with super agent training who is supposed to be dead. They both carry around huge open wounds that they won't speak about that indicate there's plenty of backstory and motive to be good.
Tonight I watched Pan Am. I enjoyed it a great deal. It isn't perfect, but the pilot introduced the world and the characters in a way that made me want to keep coming back. A few review headlines over the past few days have characterized it as rich, compelling fluff. I agree. And halleluyah for a a little fluff.
Tomorrow night is Terra Nova. To escape a Bladerunner-like world a family goes back 85 million years to Jurassic Park. The 20 year old and the 5 year old stuck inside the couch potato-year old are already worried that there'll be some kind of problem with traffic tomorrow that'll prevent me from getting home by 8.
Oh, Obama's in LA tomorrow. So there just may be.
He better not get in between me and my dinosaurs.
I went on a late night book hunt on my shelves last night. I have hundred and hundreds of books, including many paperbacks I picked up at garage sales. As I've said before, I have too much stuff, junk piled on junk, and a few of my bookshelves are completely buried, and many of the shelves are double-stacked, with books behind books. I've long since become bored with the surface selection, so last night I went reaching and searching.
I grabbed some old Fantasy and Science Fiction magazines, although I think I've probably read through many of those by now. The five that I pulled out to read in the coming months are:
Gregory Benford's Artifact. I know nothing about this book or the writer, so it could be fascist crap for all I know (one of many hazards of reading science fiction without pre-filtering). The blurb: "A black rock cube topped with an amber horn, found in the long buried ruins of a 3500-year old tomb. It's discovery triggered a global storm of intrigue and espionage, international theft and hijacking, diplomacy and war--even before it's mystery became known: The artifact should not have been in a Myccinaean tomb. And what was inside the artifact should not have been on Earth at all." Ooooooo! We'll see.
William Goldman's Brothers, a sequel to Marathon Man, which I haven't read. But I've seen the movie!
Dean R. Koontz' The Servants of Twilight. I've never read Koontz. Not sure why. Something always turns me away. But this blurb sounds promising: "An ordinary parking lot in southern California. Christine Scavello and her six-year old son are accosted by a strange old woman. `I know who you are,' she snaps at the boy. `I know what you are.' A scream, a threat-and then a grotesque act of violence. Suddenly Christine's pride and joy, her only son, is targeted by a group of religious fantatics. They've branded him the Antichrist. They want to kill him. And they are everywhere..."
Joan Didion A Book of Common Prayer. It's a Joan Didion book I haven't read. I love Joan Didion.
And the one I started last night: Alexander Solzhenitsyn's August 1914. Of course, I think I need a month of Sundays to read this big, thick Russian novel about the beginnings of the first world war; therefore, I'm tempted to gobble up a few of the other books first. But I started reading and I think I may already be hooked.
I stayed up until 3AM watching Goodfellas on Ion Television. I'm not sure what it is about that film but I can't seem to resist watching it. It's all the more strange because I don't think it's one of Scorcese's better films, judging by what exactly I'm not sure. I mean, if I keep wanting to watch it over and over again, then it must be good right?
And it is exciting, but it isn't all that "moving," at least compared to his other films. It's fun, though, in the same way watching a train wreck may be fun if the train were full of sociopathic serial killers who deserve to be mangled in metal. That's not to say you don't feel for the characters. You watch De Nero's character order hits on half a dozen people who (by their own code) really don't "deserve" it, and then when someone important to him gets whacked, you feel his pain. How the hell does Scorcese do that?
There's a way in which the film allows you to reserve judgment on these people. Perhaps it's the humor. Pesci, especially, plays an absolute sociopath who lives by no rules whatsoever. Don't cross him. Also, don't insult him while you're serving him drinks. Yet, in the scenes with his mother (played by Martin Scorcese's mother) in which she just seems to think he's such an angel, you feel for her.
The performances are fun. Ray Liotta, Lorraine Bracco, De Nero, Paul Sorvino, and Joe Pesci especially. There are also small, supporting performances by so many people, adding an almost horror-camp element to the proceedings.
Michael Imperioli, who later played Christopher in The Sopranos, gets his from Pesci's sociopath in a manner that, in a sort-of time travel/character switch way, makes me feel good because it gets "Christopher" back for what he did to poor Drea De Mateo's dog in that show.
Debi Mazar is terrific fun. If her first scene where she sniffs some perfume and casts immediate judgment on it happened to be the only scene she has in the whole film, I'd say hand her an honorary Oscar; but lucky for us she becomes a coke-head and we get to see a lot of these moments over the course of the film.
Kevin Corrigan, who I have to say played my all-time favorite pedophile character on Law and Order SVU recently, is here playing Liotta's brother. Frank Vincent is here, too, getting in Pesci's way. Vincent Gallo, Samuel Jackson, Illeanna Douglas (who has several delightfully funny/frightening small moments as poor, poor Pesci's girlfriend who lives in fear of getting whacked for looking at the wrong man), Frank Silvero, the list goes on and on.
Anyway, as I say, I stayed up to watch this film last night at midnight. I started getting sleepy around 2, turned out the lights, and wound up missing the ending because I fell asleep. (The ending really does build to something emotionally devastating, as I recall).
I really should just buy the DVD.
(And yes, I'm still reading Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog, hence the title. I'm a slow reader these days, probably because I re-watch too many old movies on Ion Television, but that's okay. I wouldn't mind extending the experience of reading this book out over a few more weeks. Alas, I'll probably finish this week.)
The Supremes are stopping in the name of love the rights of people to protect their private information from being sold to marketers. There were two egregious decisions yesterday that afforded even more power onto corporations, specifically the pharmaceutical industry, but it's this particular decision I find so chilling (especially in the light of the Citizens United case).
In one, people no longer have the right to sue the manufacturers of generic medications (which are cheaper exact copies of other medications) for known side effects that are not on the labels. Generic drugs only have to carry the exact same warning as the original. But what happens is that after generic drugs come out the original drug makers often discontinue the drugs. Years later NEW side effects (including major debilitating illnesses, as in the case before the court) are discovered. The court determined that the manufacturers who continue to make these medications have no obligation to warn anyone about them, and people who get these diseases have no right to sue.
In the second case, which to me is even more alarming in many ways, pharmaceutical companies were determined to have the right to sell for marketing purposes the private prescription information of patients (you and me) because, to quote Anthony Kennedy, "information is speech."
This means that nearly anyone can sell another person's private information, really. If I work in a pharmacy and get your private information, well, hell, information is speech and I have your information, so I can sell it.
This last ruling seems to me (and the lawyers on the losing side) to be a direct violation of the HIPPA law. I forget now what the letters in HIPPA stand for, but it's a law that prevents individuals and organizations from revealing personal information about people. When I was a teacher and testifying at a hearing I stated the last name of a student and was informed that I had just broken the HIPPA law but was "allowed" to go on. That's how strict it is on individuals who work with people with disabilities. But if a pharmaceutical company or some such needs to make an extra billion or two, selling your list of medications, well, that's free speech.
Sotomayor and Anthony Kennedy both ruled in favor of this. It was 6-3.
No wonder I had this dream last night. I went into a store, bought something, and left. Outside, the store owners were having a man and his daughter arrested on the sidewalk. For what? Walking on that (public) sidewalk but never buying anything inside their store.
In the dream the man and his daughter were ordered to walk on other sidewalks where there were no businesses, unless he chose to buy something now and then in each store. I was a passer-by but decided to try to help figure out how to fight it in the courts.
Then I woke up.
(And realized that there would never again be any way to fight such a thing in our courts. All is lost.)
1. Black Tables and For 12 by Other Lives. Other Lives' sound is a little like Coldplay meets Broken Bells and I'm falling in love with this album. I bought those two songs (or perhaps Black Tables was a free iTunes download). This week I bought their album Tamer Animals and I'm pretty much enjoying every song so far: Desert, Tamer Animals, and Dark Horse are closing in behind. I've only listened to about half the album so far.
2. Nina Simone's Best Of album. Sinner Man and See Line Woman are coming out on top.
3. Turning Tables, Rumour Has It, Someone Like You, Set Fire To The Rain, Hometown Glory, and Rolling in the Deep by Adele.
4. Silly Love Songs, Listen To What The Man Said, Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey, Band On The Run, Magneto and Titanium Man, and Picasso's Last Words (Drink To Me) by Paul McCartney and/or Paul & Linda McCartney and/or Wings.
5. Graves by Ravenna Woods.
6. Take Care of Yourself by Teddy Thompson (son of Richard and Linda Thompson).
7. Boys, Forsaken Cowboy, Tristesse Global, and What Else Is There? by Royksopp
8. Toy by Merz
9. Poetry Man by Phoebe Snow. (She died earlier this year. I always loved this song.)
10. Shine Like Stars by Glasvegas.
11. Zorba the Greek, A Taste of Honey, and Tijuana Taxi by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass.
12. Take It In, Holy Holy and Civilian by Wye Oak.
13. A Sign of the Times by Petula Clark.
14. Blue Tip and Sad Song by The Cars.
15. You Were Never There and Separate Lives by Diego Garcia.
16. Lost Weekend by Art Brut.
17. Dog Days Are Over by Florence + The Machine.
18. Kids by Maxence Cyrin. This is a instrumental piano version of MGMT's song. Last year an all ukelele band, The Ooks of Hazzard, released a version (with vocals) that I played to death. I know that MGMT has decided to run away from this song's beauty and poignancy, and I love all the rest of their music, too; but I wish they'd embrace these songwriting impulses again now and then. The song contains some of the best lyrics of any song in the past decade, but here, without the lyrics, the melody's beauty shines through.
19. Tomorrow Never Knows in versions by Herbie Hancock and The Beatles.
20. Waste by Foster the People.
And Paul Simon's So Beautiful or So What album is in heavy rotation as well.
Again, the numbers above are not necessarily in any sort of order.
I love mp3s for one simple reason. I love programming my own endless radio station in iTunes. I have a few specific playlists to the side, but I rarely listen to them any longer. I have one playlist simply called "Radio" that could play for 24.1 days, contains 8621 items, and takes up a whopping 58.6 GB.
I keep the next 250 songs pretty much well cared for, carefully selected for balance and compatibility. The next 3000 songs are also like this because when I've played 10 or a 100 songs I often move huge chunks of songs I don't want to listen to again (at the moment) down as near complete programmed pods, as it were.
Anyway, it changes so often, my current playlist. So I'm going to make a list every week or so of the songs that have dominated my listening this past week. The songs I keep playing over and over. The hits. Not necessarily in this order, but the number one song is definitely my favorite newly discovered song of this week.
1. Sinner Man - Nina Simone
2. Mississippi Goddam, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, I Put A Spell On You, See-Line Woman, Ne me quitte pas and others - Nina Simone (from The Best of Nina Simone)
3. 12 and Black Tables - Other Lives (after I check my budget, I'm rushing out to get their new album)
4. Set Fire To the Rain, Someone Like You, Rolling in the Deep - Adele
5. Black Water and Woman - Timbre Timber
6. Five-O and Skindiving - James (from the 1993 album Laid but I'm just discovering this album this year)
7. Sad Song and Blue Tip - The Cars (new!)
8. Warpath - Esben & The Witch (indescribably trippy)
9. Dog Days Are Over - Florence and the Machine
10. Tuareg Dancehall - Highlife
11. The Edge of Glory and others from Born This Way - Lady Gaga alongside Born To Run, Jungleland, and Backstreets - Bruce Springsteen
12. The Longest Road and Strange Condition - Morgan Page with Lissie
13. In Sleep, Bully, Oh, Mississippi, Here Before and many others - Lissie (favorite new artist of the past year)
14. Face in the Crowd - Cat's Eye (and I plan to buy some of this singer's main band's music, The Horrors. This is an incredibly fun piece of music, firmly 2011 sound but reminiscent of 1960s gogo/beat music in a way. When I hear this song I think of James Bond for some reason)
15. So Beautiful or So What, Rewrite, The Afterlife, Amulet, Love is Eternal Sacred Light, Questions for the Angels, - Paul Simon
16. Yes We Can Can and Fairytale - The Pointer Sisters
17. Talking To The Moon, Liquor Store Blues, Runaway Baby, Grenade, Just The Way You Are - Bruno Mars (guilty pleasure. Sue me.)
18. Dancing Days, Over the Hills and Faraway, Misty Mountain Hop, When the Levee Breaks, The Ocean - Led Zeppelin and Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down, Angel Dance and Central Two-O-Nine - Robert Plant and Nothin' and Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson - Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
19. Record Collection - Mark Ronson & The Business International featuring Simon LeBon and Somebody To Love Me - Mark Ronson & The Business International featuring Boy George
20. A Change Is Gonna Come, Tomorrow Never Knows, The Times They Are A Changing, Imagine, Timilant Tallay/Exodus, La Tierra and Space Captain - Herbie Hancock and Tomorrow Never Knows - The Beatles
21. Swim - DJ Cam
22. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, No Knock, Whitey's On The Moon, Lady Jane and John Coltraine, Me and the Devil - Gil Scott Heron (RIP)
23. I Got A Line On You - Spirit
24. Dave Clark Five's Greatest Hits
25. You Were Never There and Separate Lives - Diego Garcia
And heapings and tastes of:
Wye Oak, Mumford & Sons, Cage the Elephant, David Bowie, Leon Russell, Bat For Lashes, Carolina Chocolate Drops, MGMT, Broken Bells, Monsters of Folk, Bright Eyes, My Morning Jacket, Wanda Jackson, Loretta Lynn, Vieux Farka Toure, Paul McCartney/Wings, The Beatles, Damien Marley, Midlake, The Civil Wars, Corey Chisel and the Wandering Sons
I owe a large part of my vast library to the free podcasts and downloads of KCRW, KEXP, Minnesota Public Radio, iTunes, and Spin magazine.
That's this week's tendencies. I'll check in again next week or so.
Can I just say how much I love, love, love, love, love the flock of tropical birds that seems to have taken up permanent residence in the trees all around my house?
I am ignorant of the types of tropical birds, and I need to rectify that. I don't know if these are parrots or parakeets or a combination of various birds or what. But for the most part they're green and loud as all get out. Seriously, it's like having Lady Gaga giving a concert sometimes outside my apartment.
I know the noise should be bothering me, but it's not. They live right outside my windows. Most times when I'm standing at my toilet I'm staring at at least one or two beautiful green birds.
They screech and holler pretty much all the time. Doesn't bother me a bit. And it keeps Frank entertained.
What prompted me to write this now is that the whole damned flock, I'd say fifty or more birds, just lighted from the trees in front of me and flew toward and then over my building, squawking and screaming and chattering away. Since they fly just over my roof the most thrilling effect is that fifty or more green birds are flying right at me for a moment and then they're gone up over the roof. A wall of green birds.
Or So What.
1. Adele's 21.
I have a few tracks from her first album, 19, that I like, especially "Hometown Glory." I never bought the album, but after listening to 21 I think I'm regretting the years of pleasure I could have had but missed. (She names her albums after her present age.) From 21, in addition to her present Hot 100 number one song "Rolling in the Deep" that one can hear everywhere around here now, I'm loving "Someone Like You," "Turning Tables," "Rumor Has It," and especially "Set Fire To The Rain."
2. Terakaft and Tinariwen
These are two Tuareg groups from the Sarara Desert north of Mali. Two guitarists from Tinariwen, which has been around since 1979, formed Terakaft, and their sounds are very similar. Here, read from Wikipedia. I think this best describes the make up of Tinariwen well:
"Tinariwen has always been a collective of singers, songwriters, and musicians, who come together in different combinations to play concerts and to record. This is because of the nomadic lifestyle of the Tuareg people and the difficulties of transportation and communication in the Sahara region."
My sense is that Terakaft is more of a "concrete" band and less of a collective, but I could be wrong. At Last.fm they're described as "a gang of guitars." I also learned that Terakaft means "the caravan" there.
It's difficult to describe their music, but one of the tracks I have I found on an album called "The Rough Guide to Desert Blues." I have another album with similar music called Saraha: Blues of the Desert. So I'll call them Desert Blues. I can't understand the lyrics, of course, but I'm told that some of the songs I have deal with love and some of the songs I have deal with their experience in an ongoing civil war. You can feel love and war in every song, though.
3. Lady Gaga's Born This Way
Since it's new and all, I've been playing this all week just to discover what I like and what I can pass on for now. I can pass on "Bad Kids" and "Hair" for now. I think as a bald former teacher, I should get a pass on those.
I am enjoying "The Edge of Glory" the most, I'd say. It feels exciting in a way that some of the great pop of the early eighties felt at the time. I feel she is the granddaughter of the Wall of Sound. (Not the granddaughter of Phil Spector, I wouldn't wish that on her. Although I'd imagine she'd probably shoot him back.)
Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run album, and then again parts of his Born in the USA album, were the sons of the Wall of Sound, and in this odd way she's used that same style or technique on many of the cuts on this album. I truly don't think it's an accident that the word "born" is in the title of this album. (Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band contributes a sax solo to "The Edge of Glory.")
Next up are "Marry the Night," "Highway Unicorn," "You and I," and yes, thank you, "Bloody Mary."
4. Paul Simon's So Beautiful Or So What
There are some beautiful songs on this album, especially the title cut. He's tapping into a deeper mystery on this album. Every beautiful part of this album is fleeting and delicate, like a flower that cannot be touched.
He's drenched in mortality on the album, but often in truly fun ways. "The Afterlife" is an example of that. He imagines getting to heaven and having to stand in line. He describes basically being shuffled through the bureaucracy of heaven and the various souls he runs into along the way, suffering through it just like him.
Many of the songs feel like an honest attempt to sum it all up and pass something on to the people he cares about, presumably his children and maybe grandchildren, and really coming up with nothing. He knows everything he's going to know, but there's nothing he can really pass on. Whatever it is he sees cannot be described. (That's really my feelings about the title cut lyrically and the arrangements in general throughout the entire album musically.)
The same way he described the very experience of youth so well for Simon and Garfunkel, he's now presenting equally evocative music about being where he's at 70.
5. Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi Rome
I'm still trying to get a handle on this album. Danger Mouse has been a big part of several of my favorite albums of the past five years, as producer of Gorillaz' "Demon Days, as half of Gnarls Barkley for St. Elsewhere, and as half of Broken Bells for their album of the same name. At one point half of my top 25 most played songs on iTunes belonged to Broken Bells.
This time he's paired up with Italian composer Daniele Luppi, about whom I know nothing, and recorded a rather high concept album. It's an homage to Ennio Morriconi, the great composer who gave us the music to all those great "spaghetti westerns" of the sixties. They recorded it in Rome with many of the same musicians and singers who took part in those original recordings in the sixties.
Jack White sings on three songs and Norah Jones sings on three more; otherwise, the rest of the album is instrumental. The album is really worth checking out, but if you want to start with a song or two I'd recommend "Two Against One" featuring Jack White and "Season's Trees" featuring Norah Jones to start.
If it would make me young again, then, hell yeah, I'd keep it.
If it kept me here, where I am? Then, no, I'd find someone to give it to.
I'd probably just go outside and throw the magical stone at some random kid. Of course, I'd probably go to jail for the rest of my relatively short life. Meanwhile, this random kid will live forever and never realize he had me to thank or blame for it.
Here, for your enjoyment, is a headline from the Huffington Post today:
PHOTOS: Duchess Catherine Shops For Groceries, Pushes Her Own Cart
This is the sort of thing that makes me want to buy a cabin in the woods and go completely off the grid.
On the way home from work tonight there was a chihuahua running down the middle of the street in heavy traffic with a leash trailing behind him.
I stopped and tried to catch him. He was hit by two different cars. I was running down the middle of Figueroa, drivers honking at me (most couldn't see anything was going on).
He wound up on the sidewalk in front of a few stores. I went over to take him to the vet. He bit my middle finger (and would not let go). I finally pulled my finger out of his mouth. A woman gave me a towel. I picked him up. A man drove me the several blocks back to my car.
I spent an hour with him in my car. (Or her, I don't know.) Looking at me. I spoke to him in a soothing manner and he seemed to calm a little. (At first when he put his head down for a while I thought he had died.)
I brought him to an all night vet, but I had to take full financial responsibility for them to treat him. I had to make a decision right then right there. I can't put myself further back into debt. And the vet's assistant was describing his condition, estimating it could be several thousand dollars.
So I had to drive him about 30 blocks south to the shelter so they could take him back to that same vet. At the shelter they put him in a little cage. His entire back section was immobilized. I was told that in all likelihood he would be put to sleep tonight.
I started to cry for a moment. Teared up anyway. I kept trying to figure out how I could save this dog's life. They had to fill out a bite report since I was bitten and then they gave me the Animal ID # and the number to call to see what happens to him.
When I started this journey I meant to save his life, not bring him to his death. I wrestled with it all. In the end, I can't afford to pay his vet bills and I can't adopt him on 3/29/2011 when "if we can do anything for him, he'll be available for adoption," as the guy at the shelter told me. In the car earlier when I was speaking to him sing-songy like, I told him all kinds of things. I promised, basically, to reunite him with his family.
At the moment when they laid it out for me that he would probably be euthanized tonight, for a moment I fought it. "What if their owners are looking for him tonight? I'm going back to that store. What if they came?"
We went through it a bit, all my denial, my wishing, and finally to the woman in charge I said, "I cannot control everything." And I let go.
The whole time I'm standing there, he's down the hall all alone in a cage. I went over to him for a while, until they were through with me. We just stared into each other's eyes. He was so frightened, in pain, and I cannot control the universe. I couldn't tell him anymore the things I had said in the car. "Everything'll be all right."
I drove back to the store and spoke with Charlene, the woman who gave me the towel. They were closed, but the guy working there recognized me and she came out and unlocked the door. The guy who gave me the ride worked in the store next door, but he'd gone home already. He had told me he would try to help if anyone came by looking for their dog.
The fact that the dog was running with his leash made me suspect that the owners may have been up the street aways at the moment I took him to the vet. Through this whole experience I kept trying to figure out how I could reunite the owners with their dog, the dog with their owners.
Now I'm home. I'll have to go to the doctor for a tetanus shot, I think. (They're doing a rabies check and they'll call me if he has it, but I think I probably have to go anyway.)
The guy put his leash back in my car (for some reason).
I imagine myself seeing a poster, calling, bringing the leash, and telling someone what happened to their dog.
On January 1, the Los Angeles station KCET severed it's ties with PBS. It had been the flagship Southern California station, the main PBS station in the region. There are three other stations in the area, two of which I get; but in prime time they more or less showed the same things, only on different nights sometimes.
Anyway, in a dispute over fees, KCET announced late last year that they were giving up being a PBS station. Much was said about it online. The LA Times comments pages boiled over with rage at KCET's decision, with predictions of failure and threats to never watch again and to never give money again and to hold their breaths until their skin turned blue....
I was kind of hoping that the change would offer up some variety to us poor "over the airwaves" sorts, and now that the new station is here, my hopes seemed to have come true. Some nights their offerings don't look so hot, but tonight there's a documentary on Champlain's explorations of Canada and several other nature series that haven't been offered in years. So in addition to the regular Tuesday night PBS line up of Nova and Frontline, which I can still get from the Orange County PBS station, it looks like I'll have interesting options over here for once.
And their Wednesday night line up begins tomorrow night, the dramas "Hustle" and "Prime Suspect" begin with their pilot episodes. Perhaps I'll get myself hooked.
I for one am glad so far that KCET left the PBS network. They intend to step up their original programming. Now, it'll be difficult perhaps for them to raise money, but they'll save money in that they won't have to submit fees upward. We'll see. But things are looking good so far to me.
Now if I could only win the lottery so that I could give them some money...
Originally posted by neo_prodigy at Spirit Day
It’s been decided. On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the 6 gay boys who committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse in their homes at at their schools. Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality. Please wear purple on October 20th. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and schools.
RIP Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh (top)
RIP Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase (middle)
RIP Asher Brown and Billy Lucas. (bottom)
REBLOG to spread a message of love, unity and peace.
I won't survive when all the days are like this. In my area of LA the average day time temperature has been about 108 degrees the past several days, and in downtown LA they reached 113 degrees today--an all time record.
I think I killed my Aloe plant by leaving it outside through Sunday. When I stepped out yesterday to water the plants, I stepped out barefoot and this was a big mistake. It was like touching a frying pan. I leaped back inside, put my shoes on, and when I got outside I found the Aloe plant turning brownish.
I brought it inside. The other ones, a sort of round "succulent platter" I picked up a few weeks back, seem to be doing quite fine in this heat and direct sunlight. In the other pot I planted some seeds a while back--herbs mostly--but I have no idea how to properly germinate them so I can't tell how they're doing. I may just be baking them in the dirt for all I know, or they may be sprouting down under the dirt and soon I'll have a brood of green, wispy plants. I don't know.
Poor Frank is a hot little furry thing when I get home.
My electric bill came today. So high. This heat is frightening in more than merely physical ways. As this century wears on, days like this will become the norm here in the southwest U.S. I think it's time to move.
"How old are you?" a friend's six year old boy asked me today, while we were playing a game in which I would throw a paper plane toward him (roughly) and he would bat it back with a plastic sword.
"Forty-seven," I said.
"That's....." he began, then thought, produced a series of false-start half-syllables, then finally said, "That's old for that age."
Really, I don't need to wake up to headlines like that. It sounds like a children's early reading book. The Situation Buys A Bentley. The Situation Makes 5 Million A Year. The Situation Sandblasts His Cold Sore.
My poison pen post on money, perception, sycophant spiritual advisors, wholesome crackwhores, and "thriving" in the new economy follows. ( Read more...Collapse )
And what's with this stupid drop down tags thing? The old way I could just type a tag and it would complete it. I don't want to read a damned list every time I assign tags!
Yes, I'm cranky this evening.
I hate software updates. Sprint's software prompts me now and then to update. Typically I do and when I get through the whole process it informs me there's already a newer version of the same software on my computer. Then what are you bothering me about, Sprint?
So often I'll just click to decline the software update. About half the time it will come right back and insist I absolutely must download this software or some rich CEO will be offended or something terrible like that, so I go through the whole she-bang and then 90% of the time it again informs me that a newer version of the same software already exists on the computer.
Tonight I chose to read the terms of agreement and about half-way through I'm thinking, what the fuck am I agreeing to not sue, or not be part of a class action lawsuit for? Nowhere does it say what this upgrade will do. What am I agreeing to? What if the software creates a T-Rex that climbs out of my computer and rapes my neighbor? Can I sue then?
And I have to agree to a jury trial in Kansas? What?
So I just stopped and I know it'll prompt me again soon to update the software or run the risk of a billionaire banker crying or something truly unacceptable like that, but I don't care. Kansas? I'm going to let a jury in Kansas decide? I'll probably be sentenced to go to some pound-the-homosexual-out-of-you camps I hear they have there. I'll be compelled by the court to shoot an obstetrician before I can go free and get my Internet service back.
Thank God! A team won the world cup! It's over!
What Else Is There?
Ironically, this is the name of the only song I know by this group. So I'm asking, what else is there? Something about the song reminds me of Marianne Faithful's "Broken English." Both contain this driving, unrelentingly pushy, urgent beat. It's nearly martial music. Amazonian martial music, perhaps. And each woman has a weathered, cutting edge to her voice. You feel like they've done battle and come back to tell about it in these songs.
Although the woman in Royksopp (or is that her name?) isn't as graveled and rattly as Faithful's, you still get the feeling she could gut you like a pig if you mess with her.
In other ways, somewhat from her voice and somewhat from the instruments' arrangement, the artist reminds me of Bjork.
I know there must be more out there.
I take it from the explosions outside my window the Lakers won or something. Frank is freaking out.
I'm talking huge booming explosions. The people in my neighborhood are damned serious about their "fireworks."
This is why I don't shop. ( Read more...Collapse )
Here's the video of John Mayer apologizing earlier this year. Shannon, it was in Nashville!
A hallucination brought on by mushrooms, John Mayer's illness, and the Huffington Post. ( Read more...Collapse )
This song list works well together, if you have this stuff:
Lady Dada's Nightmare by MGMT (Congratulations)
The Beautiful Ones by Prince & the Revolution (Purple Rain)
Flash Delirium by MGMT (Congratulations)
Happening Ten Years Time Ago by Yardbirds (I took it from The Roots of Led Zeppelin LP on iTunes)
Congratulations by MGMT (Congratulations)
Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh by Say Hi
One downside of the internet is the preponderance of ignoramous opinions one encounters during a typical stroll around "your pages" in the morning. Reading the morning paper used to be a ritual for some of us and in my typical trek through its pages I'd see some ridiculous opinions. A great many, in fact.
But we couldn't just reply in real time with our own little skull rants back then, could we? No, now we can just purge whether we were ready to formulate the thought or not. We might produce a pretty pearl, communicating our point with pithy clarity, or we might leave vomit and rot and stain our reputations from this moment forth. The stakes couldn't be higher. Brilliance or the dunce hat, all in a few seconds of typing.
Well, today I resisted the urge and for that I'm proud.
An appreciation of Harvey Milk also follows the cut. ( Read more...Collapse )
Just go ahead and explode already.
Kicks just keep getting harder to find.... ( Read more...Collapse )
"I just have this feeling that Katyn is a sort of diabolical place in Polish history," said Tomasz Lis, a prominent Polish journalist and author. "It's just unimaginable; it's horrible."
The President of Poland, his wife, his main rival for the presidency in the upcoming election, and the nation's top military and political leaders were all killed today in a plane crash in Russia near Katyn, the location of the 1940 massacre of thousands of Polish prisoners of war at the hands of the Russian Secret Police.
After 70 years the two nations had only just begun to deal with this terrible event, with the Russian President recently attending a public commemoration of the event with Polish leaders. And now this happens.
A former President of Poland today called those woods a "damned place." The Russians attempted all those years ago to "cut the head off of Poland," and now years later the core of the contemporary nation's leadership dies there.
Unimaginable. Furthermore, Vladimir Putin, a former KGB man, has said that he will head up the investigation into the crash. The ironies and tragedies in this situation are like the roots of two trees growing together in those terrible woods, inextricably bound together in hearts and history.
I've gone off in a strange direction musically, filling in some country, western, and western rock holes in my iTunes collection. Cash, Campbell, Hank Williams, for God's sake, and The Eagles. ( Read more...Collapse )
So apparently the fine upstanding gentleman who called for the breaking of windows on his blog is living off the US government and his wife (a fork lift driver). I'm not sure if they intend to charge him in any way for inciting the violence, but here are two interesting articles about him:
These are each fairly short but highly interesting articles relating to the topic of my post yesterday.
Thank God for this man, or we would all be dead by now.
"A shirtless man who was waving a sword outside a Bainbridge Island business told police he was "hunting werewolves and C.H.U.D.s" because he was concerned about his safety."
And a note to a certain BEAR in Seattle, if you happen to be reading this. Watch out. Bears have been mistaken for Wolves before. Especially in some dark back section in Cuffs.