Friday, November 30, 2007
Robert Craig Knievel, 1938 - 2007
"Anybody can jump a motorcycle. The trouble begins when you try to land it."
And who indeed among us would know that better?
Via con Dios, Evel. Every kid in my neighborhood tried to jump a higher dirt ramp because of you, and I'll not hold you to account for my various motorcycle accidents.
"May the whiskey flow like water in Heaven"
CanCon Friday - Max Webster
No cigarettes, no matches...and no one in the band named Max.
This fine body of men blazed their way into Canadian hearts through the late '70's and early '80's before internal tensions over direction imploded the unit, with vocalist/guitarist extraordinaire Kim Mitchell carrying on a multi-decade solo career.
Of all their albums, I would most heartily recommend to the rockingly inclined their final release Universal Juveniles, not least for the duet between Max and Canadian legends Rush, a tandem which almost defied the ability of the studio to record it - One of my personal anthems...Battlescar*.
'Bust the busters
screw the feeders
make the healers
feel the way i feel'
*Be kind - -Right click and save
In Wartime You Have To Substitute For Eeeverything
Via the NYT:
Rudolph W. Giuliani last night called a Web site’s account of his spending a “political hit job” as his campaign struggled to explain why hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel expenses for his mayoral security detail were billed to obscure city offices instead of the Police Department.
The Web site report focused largely on the security detail’s expenses for trips that Mr. Giuliani took to Southampton, N.Y., at a time when he was beginning an extramarital affair with Judith Nathan, who is now his third wife.
Bernard B. Kerik, who was Mr. Giuliani’s police commissioner when some of the charges were billed, said in an interview yesterday that the security detail’s travel expenses would normally come out of the Police Department’s budget.
“There would be no need for anyone to conceal his detail’s travel expenses,” said Mr. Kerik, who was indicted earlier this month on unrelated federal tax fraud and corruption charges. “And I think It’s ridiculous for anyone to suggest that the mayor or his staff attempted to do so.”
Nothing to see here, disgraced law enforcement has spoken...Shut up and shop, America.
As my pal Watertiger so succinctly put it:
Rudy. Giuliani. Stole. From. Crippled. People. To. Go. Visit. His. Mistress. In. Southampton, NY.
NOW how do you like this motherf*cker?
Apparently Rudy likes to make money doing business with terrorists, also.
And he wants to be President.
Imagine what he'll dream up tomorrow.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
2 Churls, 1 Cup
In the words of Scott Evil...
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I would like to thank my recent influx of visitors profusely (through the kind auspices of Crooks & Liars), for helping to drive one of my latest creations to a solid second on my personal Flickr 'greatest hits' chart.
Sadly, however, although your wings have lifted it far and fast, first place stands triumphantly alone, by a ratio of nearly 5 to 1...Telling, that.
The name says it all
Monday, November 26, 2007
I'll Meet You In The Next One
Tomorrow would have been Jimi Hendrix's 65th birthday.
He's a permanent touchstone for me, musically and in a spiritual way also.
Much like Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane, demonstrating what one can do to transcend the boundaries of one's instrument and oneself, by extension.
And like all who had so much more to give...he left too soon.
One of my mother's most potentially traumatic memories was being forced to endure the obnoxious teenage (and is there any other) version of darkblack incessantly playing a cassette of The Essential Jimi Hendrix, Volume One on the car stereo during a 950 mile trip...
No doubt, (and not for the last time) she considered me to be a punishment from a vengeful god for that, and aeolian cadences be damned.
It ain't nothin' without the sound:
'You'll never hear surf music again'...No, sir.
Thanks, Jimi. I won't be late.
The Last Bar-B-Que
'One Of You Shall Betray Conservatism'
For my pal Blue Gal.
All praises to Philippe de Champaigne.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
J.S. Bach, Die Kunst der Fuge, Contrapunctus XV, performed by maestro Glenn Gould.
Friday, November 23, 2007
CanCon Friday - The Stampeders
And today, a Canadian act that some Americans might be familiar with due to their hitmaking ways:
Kim Berly, Ronnie King, and Rich Dodson - The Stampeders.
These guys were huge north of the 49th in the early 1970's, and their song Sweet City Woman went to the Top Ten stateside in 1971.
After calling it quits for a while, they reunited in the '90's and occasionally tour today.
Bonus: If you look closely at the video for Sweet City Woman, you might see a much younger version of myself...I was in the parade and the grandstand that long ago day - Ah, the innocence of prairie youth.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
"...And Gosh Darn It, I'm Not A Neocon."
Keep those daily affirmations up, John.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Cash In Your Face
In all the hoopla regarding the latest issue of Scott McClellan and what did he know about what did they know prior to his lying about it anyway, by allegedly unenlightened proxy...
One point of contrast strikes me as a poignant signpost on the road to whatever fresh Hell awaits.
In the 1970's America, investigative reporters and concerned citizens coalesced, and prompted officials to begin a forensic bipartisan look at how the process of government was abused by the highest powers in the land, leading to a resignation in disgrace of the President of the United States, some short steps ahead of his impeachment.
Afterward, came the book deals, the movie options, and all the rest of the mass media merchandizing as players and commentators alike jockeyed for position on the totem pole of relative truth, whether to reap the benefits of their investigative sweat equity or pay their legal bills.
And now, here we are, over thirty years later, arguably having learned little in the way of prudent oversight in such matters despite repeated reminders of the criminals and architects of Empire in our midst...
And the difference between now and there is...
Everybody's doing the book and movie deals first.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Dear David Brooks,
Normally, I would be content to observe brother driftglass dismantling your political playhouse in the digital square from afar, with pipe and a frosty beverage close at hand...But evidently you have chosen to step into a domain of mine, perhaps seeking shelter from that unforgiving storm in vain.
Frankly, upon first reading, I can't determine how much of this opinion piece is your own, and how much comprises the thoughts of Steven Van Zandt...The ancient scribes trick of paraphrasing the interviewee obliquely seems to be in effect.
Nevertheless, 'one goes to war with the quotes they have', so to speak.
"It’s considered inappropriate or even immoral for white musicians to appropriate African-American styles."
Where, and by whom, exactly?
Some emo kid who thinks System Of A Down is an oldies act?
The history of American music is 'African-American styles' wrapped like a big pink bow with the white folks (among others) who emulate them for love or money.
Perhaps some teen-something brain, ravaged by TRL can pretend otherwise while Carson Daly whispers sweet nothings into their wallet, but certainly not anyone with more than a passing glance toward sophistication.
Without African-American styles, you've got no Jazz, no Blues, no Funk, no R & B Soul, no Hip Hop, no New Country and about one quarter tank of Rock and Roll...That leaves hillbilly hollers, Doris Day, and Classical Gas.
Not exactly the Sound of Young America, now is it?
And indeed, inferring that the creator of Sun City is 'inappropriate or even immoral' (as you have surely done) shows a certain offhandedness toward the purported source of your information.
Then that loaded statement is bookended with, "And there’s the rise of the mass educated class.People who have built up cultural capital and pride themselves on their superior discernment are naturally going to cultivate ever more obscure musical tastes."
Is this snootspeak for 'they done got themselves broadened', or what?
What exactly constitutes 'cultural capital' in the dog's breakfast of North American entertainment pursuits?
And does this mean that hifalutin' edumacated types can turn up their nose at that dirty old Rock & Roll upon drinking from the sacred chalice of higher learning?
Sadly, I don't see an uptick in sales of chamber music or Urdu throat-singing commensurate with this assumption.
Yet grimy Rock artists celebrating their fourth decade in the marketplace soldier on, gamely cashing royalty cheques from their third and fourth generation fans.
Then we get to a strong declarative, indeed.
"He argues that if the Rolling Stones came along now, they wouldn’t be able to get mass airtime because there is no broadcast vehicle for all-purpose rock."
Now, now, pay no attention to Clear Channel outlets, for one, playing Nickelback and other current AOR fare into the ground - that might cause an upset.
Oh, and that classic-rock radio thing spinning Mr. Van Zandt's erstwhile employer hourly, among other moldy goldie oldies? Just a fad.
One of the biggest reasons for an artist's lack of radio access is shared with Radio by the dinosaurs of major recording labels, stuck squarely in a tar pit of their own making...Rather than cultivating increased sales through prudently nurtured diversity, Radio and Majors gamble all their resources on overhyped pre-fab stars and familiar warhorses desiring continued relevancy, in a joint quest for the perfect storm of traffic building.
This their CEO tells them so from high atop their thrice-counted bean hills, while an artist-friendly internet thrives and expands beyond their skittering, petty reach.
Of late, a variant of the same paradigm is playing itself out in the current Hollywood labor difficulties and, (barring the greed and desperation of those who assume a union membership promises them employment without the responsibilities of safeguarding it) will likely come to the same eventual denouement.
To sum up...If the culture beat is your new assignment, Mr. Brooks, please...Quit your day job.
"Maybe you've found someone you like better..."
Former chief Bush political strategist Karl Rove is telling GOP Oval Office seekers in 2008 to keep a safe distance from the man he helped to twice elect, according to MSNBC host Dan Abrams' interpretation of a recent opinion column penned by Rove.
"It sounds to me like Karl Rove is giving the Republican candidates advice that says 'get away from my guy,'" Abrams said of Rove's Saturday column in Newsweek, in which the the former adviser warned that George Bush's lagging poll numbers would do no favors for GOP presidential hopefuls in 2008.
Always a shame when relationships come to a sticky end.
Nous Cousins Américains
Let's keep it in la famille.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Laughing, by David Crosby.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet
Costume flap imperils immigration post
WASHINGTON - Just when it appeared Julie Myers had cleared every hurdle in her quest to officially become the nation's top immigration official, a dreadlocked wig and a prisoner's outfit could cost her the job.
Myers, director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ran into trouble earlier this month after she and two other agency managers gave the "most original" costume award to a white employee who came to the agency's Halloween party dressed as an escaped prisoner with dreadlocks and darkened skin.
Some of my readers might note that I am no stranger to controversies of this type, and therefore I recuse myself from judging the actions of Myers or her chosen contestant, leaving that to others more worthy than I.
But something about this story troubles me...A disconnect seemingly unremarked upon, to wit:
Myers has apologized repeatedly for the costume incident, saying she was "shocked and horrified" to learn the employee had altered his skin color...
She was shocked that he 'had altered his skin color'...Yet she still awarded him the prize.
For a costume involving altered skin color. That the individual had worn to work in a government office all day.
And then, of course, an expert offers an opinion:
Some key lawmakers have rallied to her defense, including Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut independent who chairs the Senate Homeland Security committee, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, the panel's top Republican.
"Senator Lieberman regrets her lapse in judgment regarding the Halloween incident," spokeswoman Leslie Phillips said. "He is inclined to support her nomination, given the committee's review of her entire record, the fact that the union representing 7000 ICE employees supports her and her year's experience in office."
Bear in mind that this is the same Joe Lieberman who opined about another individual over a year ago:
Lieberman angrily demanded that Lamont denounce the action and sever all ties with Jane Hamsher, the founder of the Web log Firedoglake, who posted the photo on another blog, HuffingtonPost.com.
Lieberman called on Lamont to ban Hamsher from traveling with the campaign, refuse to take any money raised by Hamsher, and remove any links to her postings on his Web site.
But then, this wouldn't be the same Joe Lieberman who promised to investigate the U.S. Government's response to Hurricane Katrina while running for office last year, and quietly closed the door on such efforts this year in his role as head of the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs...Now would it?
Friday, November 16, 2007
CanCon Friday - Goddo
Now here's a band that toured to Hell and back, repeatedly.
Greg Godovitz, upon leaving the band Fludd (of Cousin Mary fame) in 1975, was looking for a hard rock ticket to dreamland...But he got Goddo instead.
Never as big as they coulda shoulda been south of the 49th, due to myriad reasons shared by many of the bands that you may read about here...But that detracts from their northern legend not one bit.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Karl Reaches The Pulp
Howard Kurtz - The Trail:
Less than three months after leaving the Bush White House,
Karl Rove is becoming a member of a community not all that popular with administration officials: the media.
Newsweek has signed the president's former deputy chief of staff as a commentator who will turn out several columns on the 2008 campaign through inauguration day.
Newsweek (which is owned by The Washington Post Co.) will announce tomorrow that it is granting regular space to both Rove and Markos Moulitsas, the liberal firebrand who founded the Web site Daily Kos.
"I'm fully prepared for both the right-wing and left-wing blogosphere to be outraged, which means we're doing our job," (Newsweek Editor Jon) Meacham says.
Outraged?...Why, I'm delighted.
And his advocates may keep as many of his insights as they can swallow.
At least we know it won't be safe.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I used to have more of a 'fight in this dog' than I do now, working in the film industry and thus impacted financially by any labor actions that might occur.
At the time, I was not particularily content to accept the fraternal dictums proffered to provide cover for unenlightened selfishness - However, I liked and respected most of the people that I worked with and for.
But even if I were still so employed, there are some basic truths that need to be respected...Concepts like fairness, creative control, and the increasingly egregious concentration of vast power in the hands of a few.
In the words of one who knows...
Monday, November 12, 2007
Greetings People Of Earth
A laurel and hearty handshake to my visitors from Crooks & Liars, routed thus through the auspices of my pal Blue Gal.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
The Sheltering Sky, performed by King Crimson at Frejus, France, 1982.
Absolutely Fabulist Rudy
Des Moines Register:
Ames, Ia. -Republican Rudy Giuliani, campaigning in Iowa the same day that Bill Clinton was in the Hawkeye State, charged Thursday that the former president had weakened the American military and intelligence services through spending cuts during his administration.
"Bill Clinton cut our military and our intelligence budget by such a huge amount that we've never made up the difference," said the former New York mayor, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
It is not correct to say that the Clinton administration began to cut U.S. military forces.
No matter how you measure defense spending, President George H.W. Bush had significantly trimmed it by the time Clinton was sworn in.
...in testimony given January 31, 1992, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Bush's secretary of defense explained that “overall, since I've been secretary, we will have taken the five-year defense program down by well over $300 billion. That's the peace dividend.… And now we're adding to that another $50 billion … of so-called peace dividend.”
That defense secretary, of course, was Dick Cheney.
Eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
From For The Fallen, by Laurence Binyon
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Wake Up And Pay Attention
Harlan Ellison...Erudite, entertaining, insufferable.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Blogger Derangement Souffle, a la Rove
(At) a Yahoo-sponsored Citizen 2.0 event in Washington, DC, Karl Rove discussed the intersection of politics and the Internet.
Rove lamented the loss of civility in politics on the web, but then proceeded to use his speech as a partisan bashing of the netroots. According to Rove, bloggers are “nutty,” “vitriolic,” and “kooks.”
What's the matter, Karl?
Kitchen too hot?
And after all the spicy dishes you've prepared for America, too...with ingredients like John McCain, Max Cleland, Ann Richards, Valerie Plame, and 'free beer'.
One would have thought that such a gourmand of manufactured innuendo would have the stomach for the dishes of others...Better stick to quail eggs, then.
CanCon Friday - Streetheart
You want action? 'Stick 'em in the ground, six feet down' action? Well, then, welcome a seminal Canadian band, one who not only had hard-won success on their own, but whose members went on to further fame with such acts as Loverboy, Tom Cochrane, and others...Streetheart.
'If you can read, look at this...Hit it , boys'
Why Don't We Do It In Iran?
...with such smashes as Backed By The U.S.S.R., Imprudence, Bla-Bla-Bla Bla-Bla Bla, While My Oil Well Gently Seeps, Blackbird (Bombing In The Dead Of Night), Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Shredder...
And many, many more!
Thursday, November 08, 2007
A Little Travelling Music
One for my pal SteveAudio, who knows that here guitar.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
You've Earned Everything You Got
...Meanwhile, George Bush reached an unwelcome record. By 64%-31%, Americans disapprove of the job he is doing.
For the first time in the history of the Gallup Poll, 50% say they "strongly disapprove" of the president.
Richard Nixon had reached the previous high, 48%, just before an impeachment inquiry was launched in 1974.
"...Only if you've been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain."
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Die Scheissmeister's Endlösung
Crooks And Liars, relaying Glenn Beck's latest remarks on global relations:
'But right now, I want to focus on one important one, and that is “You can’t make deals with Islamic extremists.” Pakistan has tried almost everything so far to stomp out the Islamicist threat. They’ve tried bringing them into the fold. They’ve tried to negotiate with them. They’ve even tried to co-exist with them by creating “no-go” zones. But despite all of that, along with all of the billions in aid, and all the intel that we’ve given them, everything they’ve tried has failed. There’s one thing in my book they haven’t tried yet and that is: Killing. Every. Single. One. Of the radicals.'
What a fiendishly clever solution, hired mouth. Some might say 'radical', even.
And, of course, those who espouse such radical opinions are often called radical themselves.
But, you might say, 'I never meant...', or some other bit of misdirection to cover your cognitive deficiencies. That would be irrelevant, of course.
The torturer never imagines their own tools used upon them.
Apparently, the American senate has initiated the process to quickly confirm a candidate for the top law enforcement official of the United States, an individual who has made promises to the Federalist society and other sponsors of the status quo that he won't trouble Junior's beautiful mind with any sort of questioning of the specious rationales devised to use torture in an extra-legal way while prosecuting the combat du jour.
How wonderful that a nation of laws is now on the fast track to becoming a nation of one man, and his quest to suspend reality by any means necessary.
Of course, the usual reasons are proffered...'time of war', etc., but these, ultimately, are non sequiturs.
After all, hiring someone to ignore broken laws and flout established principle in the support of a quest for blood, treasure, and vindication for long-failed policies, wrapped within the context of an illegitimate use of force hardly requires a 'by-your-leave' from someone as determined to subvert the nation as the current president.
Your country is being looted by career criminals who are using your own fears and your own laws against you, America.
If you don't like it, I suggest you do something about it. If you do like it, well...Meet you for root beers in the wasteland.
I'll be the one wearing a necklace of skulls.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Pat Metheny, playing Into The Dream on the Pikasso.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Run Rudolph's Mouth Run
Real Clear Politics:
Rudy Giuliani was on South Carolina's ETV's "The Big Picture on the Radio Show" and had some thoughts on vice presidential picks. From the ETV press release:
'I would want a vice president who was a partner. Someone who was in on everything that was going on, so that that person could take over if, God forbid, something happened. You know, I was working for President Reagan, in fact I had breakfast with him, with a lot of other people, the day he was shot. So, I have been very, very close to a possible presidential assassination and seen how that all worked out that day...
How do you pick a vice president? ... I think Vice President Cheney and President Bush's pick of Vice President Cheney is a good example of picking someone who is qualified to be president of the United States. That is number one -- it's paramount.'
Who picked Vice President Cheney, now?
DoJ Official Experienced Waterboarding, Told WH It Is Illegal, Was ‘Forced Out’
...in 2004 then-acting assistant attorney general Daniel Levin was so concerned about the administration’s use of waterboarding that he went to a military base near Washington and underwent the procedure himself.
ABC reported that after Levin personally experienced waterboarding, he told the White House that it could be considered torture:
After the experience, Levin told White House officials that even though he knew he wouldn’t die, he found the experience terrifying and thought that it clearly simulated drowning.
Levin, who refused to comment for this story, concluded waterboarding could be illegal torture unless performed in a highly limited way and with close supervision. And, sources told ABC News, he believed the Bush Administration had failed to offer clear guidelines for its use.
Levin was working on a second memo that would have imposed tighter controls on the use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding.
While working on that memo, ABC reported “Levin was forced out of the Justice Department when Alberto Gonzales became Attorney General.”
Let me see if I understand this correctly...
An acting assistant attorney general of the United States, someone with authority to determine for legal purposes whether this treatment was torture, underwent the process himself, determined that it was indeed a form of torture administered in a seemingly lawless fashion, and was fired by his superiors when his views were made known because he was viewed not to be '...endorse(ing) White House policies' enthusiastically enough.
Some people never know how close to the edge they are, until they step over it.
Friday, November 02, 2007
CanCon Friday - Mashmakhan
More of you have probably heard this band then heard of them...A little tune called As The Years Go By was somewhat popular in 1970.
Here, they are heard playing one of their more representative songs, Days When We Are Free.
'Hit it, boys'
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