Thursday, May 31, 2007

Early Warning: Glossophagia on Tour



I'm giving you fair warning, people. You may want to leave town on the day of June 16, 2007 because I'm taking this egomania live and loud.

Yes, that's right. They've given me the microphone.

Stark Reading Series
At the Times Square Arts Center
Mini-Theatre Room 507 (back at the old venue)
EVERY SATURDAY
3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Poets/Musicians/Performing Artists
3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
$5 contribution
HOSTED BY
VIVIANA


Reading poems of love, loss, lust and lunacy. Heard from the audience the last time:

"Ha! That's pretty cool!"
"What did he just say????"
"Nice ass!"

So you've all got fair warning.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Odd News of the Day

I have to hand it to Yahoo--they have been a steady source of news stories that offer my first morning chuckle and/or raised eyebrow. It doesn't get any better than MAN CLAD IN UNDERWEAR PINS LEOPARD. My family was alarmed years ago when I said I'd be moving to Brooklyn to raise my newborn son--and since coming here I've seen a few things--but nothing that equals waking up to a large predatory feline in my bed. I believe they left out the part of the story though, where the protagonist says, "Fucking hell! I left leopard spots in my shorts!"

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Heavy Metal Umlaut

Would that I could remember the keystroke, but alas... As the saying goes, if God is in the details, then in the venerable UMLAUT lives Satan himself.

For the record, not only is Lemmy God (and that would mean Lemmy is in the details), but he is also THE GREATEST LIVING ENGLISHMAN

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Collateral Damage Day

I've a wee idea--Since we're on Memorial Day Eve and the news is filled with tales and statistics of men and women from the armed forces who have died in the line of duty--and their memory is in no imminent danger--perhaps we need a Memorial Day for civilians. I mean specifically the basically non-partisan sorts who are murdered while caught in the middle of armed conflicts that are not of their making and clearly not in the best interest of anybody but the power-hungry, zealots, idealogues and profiteers. This specific group of victims, clearly in the majority, can be from any part of the world--The Middle East, South Asia, Asia, Eastern Europe, any number of places in Africa, and even here in the United States when you consider the civilian victims of the World Trade Center attack, or Oklahoma City etc. These people, despite different nationalities, faiths, colors, languages--have essentially one thing in common--just the desire to have a good life, work hard, raise children, love, laugh, grow old... yes, they are being denied even that very basic right. The fact is, the majority of the victims would be doing the same things under the same conditions no matter who wins these conflicts. I think it's time for a day of remembrance for them.

The title of this post is of course a lame attempt at very black humor, but really, that's all any of these victims, or potential victims (read potentially any or all of us) are to the people waging the wars. Just numbers... gruesome numbers that they will justify to be in the name of something or another, while they plan how to most effectively raise those numbers.

There is no such day honoring these people and that's just wrong. I'd be curious to know just how many people fit this category, if you tally every civilian victim of every armed conflict around the globe in the last twelve months. The figures they do actually show us are staggering, but they're false. They only tell a tiny part of the story.

Birds do it.

One might think if FLAMINGOS can get over it, humans should be able to get beyond their prejudices and bigotry. It's time to ask, who are the real birdbrains? It's gotten tiresome listening to weirdos and bible thumpers talking about what is and isn't "natural."

Bees do it

Catch a buzz!

Had this happened on this side of the pond with an American plane, I'm quite certain that Congress would have already convened a special anti-terror panel and planned a new Surge Against Beehives.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Shame

Shame on war opponents for voting for a war funding bill with NO PROVISION FOR TROOP WITHDRAWAL!!! And right before Memorial Day weekend too... It's truly disgusting.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

God and the State

"If god really existed it would be necessary to abolish him."

MIKHAIL BAKUNIN

I've spent the last several years slowly digging through the canon of classic literature and philosophy. It's an increasingly difficult task as my understanding of the sheer size of the canon was fairly limited when I began; and of course because despite what classicists may say, new "classics" are written yearly. Some of the more recent authors and their works are also more applicable to this Millenium, having the benefit of history to learn from, so it's easy to bypass some of the paleo-Classics in favor of new information. But that's another story.

My most recent endeavor was the seminal "separation of Church and State" thesis, GOD AND THE STATE. It's a relatively short work but by the very nature of it's disjointed and often stream of conscious structure (or lack thereof) it was a tad more difficult than I would have expected. Bakunin was certainly passionate if nothing else, but not a great writer. His lack of skill aside, this is still a very important work, and an interesting read.

A person possessed of any strength doesn't need to search very hard to find examples of how the yoke of the Church and various Religions/Government entities are the single most malevolent catalyst of strife and oppression around the world today. Nineteenth Century Europe was apparently as bad and therefore a logical target for driven, passionate revolutionists of the time. That's essentially the gist of God And The State, and if you have any knowledge of what men like Bakunin were railing against back then--the structure of aristocracy, government, serfdom and slavery--and how it was not only supported but mandated by the Church--you can excuse any deficiencies he showed as an essayist. And he certainly payed his dues, relentlessly organizing against oppression, persecuted, hunted, jailed and driven to an early death.

There is a definite connection to the present. Very little has changed and the world still suffers under the boot of churches, synagogues, mosques and various temples, in some places more cleverly disguised under the mandates of so-called secular governments. When push comes to shove, however, you don't have to dig too deeply to find the connections...

I'm not an atheist, by the way... if pressed to define myself I'd say I'm a very curious agnostic... but it's not about me. My point is that when you look at the past and present connection between God and Government, all that an intelligent person could come up with is greed and control. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, there is no doubt that the ATHEISTS make some very good points and that God and State need to be separated for the benefit of both.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Immaculate Conception

If human females ever learn HOW TO DO THIS, men are going to be shit out of luck.

Talk about being made redundant...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tribute to e.e. cummings

To e.e. cummings

my shift key

is

broken

and


my space

b a rrrrrrr

is
up

f ucked

my shift key

is

broken

and


my space

b a rrrrrrr

is
up

f ucked

Monday, May 21, 2007

Pervez Walnuts



General Pervez Musharraf has been having his troubles, for sure, and the question everybody wants answered: Will he step down as leader of Pakistan?

In an exclusive interview, the ever elusive Pervez answers:

No, certainly not! Well... maybe. Who knows? What's it to you?

When further questioned about what he will do next should he be forced to resign:

Hard call. I was thinking about pitching an idea to HBO for a new series. A spin-off of the Sopranos. I mean, really... I've got the hair, don't I?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Five Year Mission Aborted

THESE are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Scotty's last mission lasted about 4 minutes when apparently they all said, "Screw this, let's go home and take a nap."

Friday, May 18, 2007

I'm an artist, damn it!

I mean, after all, just look at me! Can't you tell???

From the Czech poet Miroslav Holub

"I have stated repeatedly that a person is an artist only when he is actually creating his little piece of work, his small artistic performance. The rest of the time, as a rule he only pretends to be an artist, or displays certain associated artistic characteristics such as restlessness, hypochondria, sloppy dress, unbridled temperament, clumsiness, and sentimentality.".

I think that's a drawn out way of identifying poseurs. Someone sent this quote to me a couple days ago and it sort of struck home, as it describes so many people I've encountered, and at times, me. It's a pretty clever aphorism/observation and I suspect he was at least partly describing himself, but his poetry (as much as I've read so far because I'd never heard his name before 2 days ago) surpasses the glaring interrogation room light of this short statement.

It seems to me to be a good rule of thumb also for any person who aspires to be called "artist" by oneself or others. It's something to keep you between the ditches and on the straight and narrow.

For today though, I am not an artist. I'm a salesman and it's time to shave, shower and be just that.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

DNA Evidence and the Death Penalty

If THIS STORY doesn't convince you that the death penalty is horrible and wrong, then you really need to examine your conscience.

Quote of the Day: James Baldwin

Today's quote of the day is from James Baldwin, and carries perhaps more resonance today than it did 45 years ago when he said it.

Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have.
-- James Baldwin, "Letter from a Region in My Mind," in New Yorker (17 Nov. 1962; repr. in The Fire Next Time, 1963)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell Dead at 73

I've spent several hours since this news came in trying to summon up anything even approximating sympathy for this man, and those who cared about him. About the best I can come up with, is that if there is a judge on the other side, that he is not judged as harshly as he judged others, and taught others to judge. Nobody deserves that sort of hate. He and his Immoral Minority have turned American politics upside down over the last 30 years, injecting their hatred into nearly every angle of legislation. They set back womens' rights, not just reproductive rights. They set back AIDS research, stem cell research. They injected themselves into foreign policy issues, world aid issues. Their interference is at least partly the cause of the loss of countless lives.

And now we're left with the promise that his sons will drive the flock harder.

Yet, I'm still a wee bit ashamed of my feelings when I heard the news

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mencken

It's probable that nobody will notice, but I've removed a link to an H.L. Mencken page from my blog roll over there. It's nothing against Mencken, whom I respect as having been at the forefront of a lot of libertarian ideals, BUT, lets face it: The Libertarian Party in this country has been coopted by a bunch of greedy, selfish, self-centered, crypto-fascist dickheads. It seems that the person running the Mencken site was one of these. Ugh! I'm ashamed.

Oh Sweet Jesus

Who cares what else is going on in the world? Who really cares? When I see a headline that reads NUDISTS TRY TO ATTRACT YOUNGER FOLLOWING, that's the story I'm clicking on first.

The part that took me by surprise: The median age of the resort in question is 55!

Now... does anybody have any ideas of why a bunch of AARP members are more comfortable hanging out (no pun intended) in the buff than younger folks? I can't fathom it. I've been to nude beaches and such and don't have much of a problem with it, despite that parts of my body that were toned and taut 20 years ago now sag and flap like a windless sail in the Sargasso Sea. Are younger people not getting naked or are they just doing it somewhere else? Are there places they just do it where they don't have to have a membership (snicker--nudist *member*ship--get it?) to take their clothes off? Could it be that the idea of being free to cavort about nude has lost its novelty and is somehow less liberating?

Is there anybody sitting around naked reading my blog?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers Day

M is for the mudflaps you give me for my pickup truck
O is for the Oil I put on my hair
T is for T-bird
H is for Haggard
E is for eggs, and
R is for REDNECK.

Thanks to Jerry Jeff Walker

Sunday Papers

Two hours into the Sunday morning routine, chugging coffee, doing laundry and reading the "news." I don't know why I hold onto the hope that I'll pick up the Sunday Times and find something encouraging... something that isn't bullshit. Fact is, it's the best and most honest of the NYC papers. That's not saying much though. Some 20 years ago the journalist Les Payne said to me, "Objectivity? Are you kidding me? If you want objectivity you're stuck with the box scores in the sports section." So in tribute to the men and women who bring us the news:

It Says Here, by Billy Bragg

It says here that the Unions will never learn
It says here that the economy is on the upturn
And it says here we should be proud
That we are free
And our free press reflects our democracy

Those braying voices on the right of the House
Are echoed down the Street of Shame
Where politics mix with bingo and tits
In a strictly money and numbers game

Where they offer you a feature
On stockings and suspenders
Next to a call for stiffer penalties for sex offenders

It says here that this year's prince is born
It says here do you ever wish
That you were better informed
And it says here that we can only stop the rot
With a large dose of Law and Order
And a touch of the short sharp shock

If this does not reflect you view you should understand
That those who own the papers also own this land
And they'd rather you believe
In Coronation Street capers
In the war of circulation, it sells newspapers
Could it be an infringement
Of the freedom of the press
To print pictures of women in states of undress

When you wake up to the fact
That you paper is Tory
Just remember, there are two sides to every story

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Prayer and thoughts

I've been following THIS NEWS FROM PAKISTAN all day, hoping for the best for our one and only BLOGISTANI and the people of Karachi in general. It's a terrible situation, and I won't cheapen the horror with hand-wringing and words. I can only pray in my own confused and religiously challenged way, you know? But it makes me think of what's been going on here in a very similar situation with the dismissal of federal judges whom the Bush administration deemed out of step with their agenda. Certainly some degree of outrage is merited, but how much outrage have we shown for the way our courts have been manipulated--seriously, right down to Antonin Scalia fixing the 2000 election. We've mostly sat passively and allowed our rights to be stripped away. And while I would never wish the fear and violence that was visited upon Karachi today to be experienced by anybody, I wonder if perhaps there is some greater degree of action we should be taking to prevent conditions from becoming desperate and explosive... conditions similar to that which we see in other parts of the world. How bad do things have to get before people do make a stronger stand? If we don't then it's pretty certain that it will get to the point where the fight goes beyond the rhetoric and news spin.

I can't begin to speak on the complexities of Pakistani politics. I can't say whether Musharref was acting on the best interests of his country in sacking this Chaudry fellow... I'm just speaking on the response to the events. Chaudry seems to have quite a populist following and from a western perspective, populist = democracy. I've sat here for nearly a decade now watching hostile forces within our own borders chiseling away at democracy and they haven't even had to use force. I don't know if it's too late now to take these rights back without force. I'm wondering daily how much more we will take before fighting back in any meaningful way. I'm watching the events in Pakistan unfold and I'm afraid for my friend there, and I wish I could say that it couldn't happen here, but that's not possible.

Strange times...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007

MUSIC IS DANGEROUS!!!

CLASSICAL-LITE INSPIRES VIOLENCE

Quote me on this.

It's not that I want my blog to become a Yahoo Newswire, but I've had precious little to say lately anyway. This article is more interesting than anything that's been going through my head these past few days. It presents a rather humorous truth about the internet--that its uses for entertainment pretty much outweigh its uses for education. It's not a lot different than when your local cable provider went from 50 channels to 250.

And I'm totally guilty--a world of information at my fingertips and no lack of opinions and questions but I find myself wallowing in the sewer of trivia. Maybe this kind of shit just smells better than real news.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Safety First

Another creep alert: SCREW YOU CHRISTIE TODD WHITMAN! You told us it was safe.

Plop Benedict

When are people of conscience going to tell THIS OLD CREEP once and for all, to go sit on his pointy hat???

Boob Tube

I wish I could read and truly comprehend THIS ARTICLE but I watched a shitload of television in the 70s.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Stephen Marley--Mind Control



Music Recommendation of the Week: I will readily admit that I became fairly well tired of a lot of newer reggae when dancehall took over some 15 years ago. With the exception of old standbys like Burning Spear and Bunny Wailer, and a few newer artists like Luciano and Buju Banton... Seriously, not counting re-releases and collections of old singles I've probably bought less than a dozen reggae albums in as many years. I was also beginning to think that of all Bob Marley's children (and there are quite a few), none of them was blessed with a lick of his talent. Damian proved me wrong first and now Stephen has released his first solo album and it's pretty damn good. I was even reluctant to plug it, because I wanted to make sure that it wasn't the novelty of not sucking badly that made me keep hitting repeat on the CD player. It's definitely not novelty. So, cheers to Stephen for continuing on in the tradition of the rockers of old. Most of the songs are originals and well done... my favorite track though is his cover of the Doc Pomus jewel Lonely Avenue. There are a few interesting guest appearances also--Mos Def, Damian (naturally), Spragga Benz and Ben Harper to name a few. The bouncing beatbox of Traffic Jam with Stephen and Damian is my official spring anthem for 2007.

On an unrelated note, today is 5, 6, 7. 2007 also brings the 30th anniversary of the earth-shattering Culture album, Two Sevens Clash. It would have been nice if Joseph Hill had been alive for 7/7/07, but alas...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Testing the limits of human compassion

Somebody please tell me that The Empathy Belly is just some kind of a weird joke.