Friday, August 31, 2007
02) Diane DiPrima - Ave
03) Michael Franti and Spearhead - I Know I'm Not Alone
04) Cabaret Voltaire - Warm
05) Laura Veirs - Cool Water (live)
06) Aretha Franklin - Chain of Fools (unedited version)
07) Alka Yagnik & Hema Sardesi - San Sanana
08) Sun City Girls - It's Ours
09) Mott the Hoople - Bastard
10) Carbon/Silicon - Psychofish
Notes: Track 2 is poetry from Giorno Poetry Systems, Track 3 is just a damn fine spiritually uplifting tune, Track 4 is an oldie electronic tune from a very influential band, Track 5 is taken from the NPR broadcast, Track 6 is available on the CD re-release and it is better, Track 10 is Mick Jones (The Clash) and Tony James' (Generation X) new band whose album will be out later this year.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
I'm troubled by the thought that the former head of Fatherland Security would now be in charge of the agency that oversees the merits of Fatherland Security's intrusions into the lives of Americans.
On the other hand, we're talking about the same incompetent person who "oversaw" Katrina efforts and instigated bans on liquids at airports.
His one qualification: he's more skilled at political theater than the great Gonzo.
(sorry to sully a Muppets name...that really is uncalled for)
Thursday, August 23, 2007
The administration continues it's obsession with censorship. For the record, Mr. President, we own the government. We own the agencies which you censor. We pay for them. We pay their research costs and we pay the salaries of the people who do the research. We deserve unfettered access to them and that "we" includes the free press, one of the democratic watch dogs in a functional republic. You seem to prefer a dysfunctional and undemocratic republic to which I say sir, "We own your ass, too."
So, I will end the suspense about the boss’s identity. The administrator is Nicole R. Nason, who took over on May 31, 2006, after she was appointed to the post by President Bush.
And it is she who put the big hush on one of the government’s most important safety agencies. I found this out recently when I asked to talk to an N.H.T.S.A. researcher about some technical safety issues in which he had a great deal of expertise. Agency officials told me I could talk to the expert on a background basis, but if I wanted to use any information or quotes from him, that would have to be worked out later with a N.H.T.S.A. official. The arrangement struck me as manipulative, and I declined to agree to it.
It seems that Ms. Nason has adopted a policy that has blocked virtually all of her staff — including the communications office — from providing any information to reporters on the record, which means that it can be attributed.
As an alternative I was told I could interview Ms. Nason on the record (instead of the expert on the subject of my article). I declined, failing to see how her appointment as administrator — she was trained as a lawyer — made her a expert in that subject.
When I said I would like to talk to Ms. Nason on the record about her no-attribution policy, she was not available.
The agency’s new policy effectively means that some of the world’s top safety researchers are no longer allowed to talk to reporters or to be freely quoted about automotive safety issues that affect pretty much everybody.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
While the co-signer dealt with the pickles, I was asked to come up with a chowder recipe for some crab we had in the refrigerator. We bought a 1 pound can of crab meat at Trader Joe's in Issaquah about a week before and had used some of it in salads last week. We still had about three fourths of the pound left. Cooking it a little in soup seemed prudent since it was a little old.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
2 pounds of potatoes, skinned (if larger; not if baby) and sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 quart stock
2 cups corn (we used a can from Trader Joe's)
3 cups milk
three fourths a pound of crab meat
Brother Bru Bru's hot sauce
Melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. When hot add the onion, celery, potatoes, and cumin seeds. Cook until the onions begin to soften. Keep an eye on the pan and stir as necessary so as not to get anything stuck on the bottom. Add the stock, bring to a boil, then turn to low and put a lid on it. Cook until the potatoes are just softened. Add the corn, milk, crab, and a couple of dashes each of Worcester and Brother Bru Bru's. Next, add salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne. Heat on medium low until just heated through - about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of sweet paprika and ladle into bowls.
This turned out very well. The one thing that the co-signer would change is to mash some of the potatoes up in the soup to make it thicker. Another method to thicken it would be to add flour after the onions have softened, cook for a couple of three minutes, then add the stock.
For a side dish, the co-signer toasted some bread with garlic powder and butter. Once toasted slightly, she topped each slice with basil, tomato, and mozzarella (fresh). She then put that back into the oven until the mozzarella melted. Yummy!
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
So, what to make of Fatherland Security's Chertoff blackmailing states over their objections to RealID? From the CNN article linked:
Americans may need passports to board domestic flights or to picnic in a national park next year if they live in one of the states defying the federal Real ID Act.Not a mandate, but there are repercussions such as citizens of those states who, in a federal system, do not wish to comply with the idiotic mandate of Congress and the Executive branch having to carry passports in order to enter their national parks, their federal buildings, or board airlines?!!? Fuck that; it's blackmail. This shit really needs to end.
...The cards would be mandatory for all "federal purposes," which include boarding an airplane or walking into a federal building, nuclear facility or national park, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the National Conference of State Legislatures last week. Citizens in states that don't comply with the new rules will have to use passports for federal purposes.
"For terrorists, travel documents are like weapons," Chertoff said. "We do have a right and an obligation to see that those licenses reflect the identity of the person who's presenting it."...Many states have revolted. The governors of Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Washington have signed bills refusing to comply with the act. Six others have passed bills and/or resolutions expressing opposition, and 15 have similar legislation pending.
...Chertoff said there would be repercussions for states choosing not to comply. "This is not a mandate," Chertoff said. "A state doesn't have to do this, but if the state doesn't have -- at the end of the day, at the end of the deadline -- Real ID-compliant licenses then the state cannot expect that those licenses will be accepted for federal purposes."
01) Chicks on Speed - Wordy Rappinghood
02) Oum Kalthoum - Nasra Avite We Farha Haniya
03) The Meters - Dry Spell
04) Johnnie Taylor - Little Bluebird
05) Das Primeiro - Mana Maria
06) Carbon Silicon - Mystery
07) Rufus Thomas - Sophisticated Sissy
08) Gotan Project - Notas
09) Bjork - Oll Birtan
10) The Meters - People Say
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
However, we find ourselves in strange times in this world. These times are not without precedent, of course, and we have failed to fully learn the lessons. Yet, I hope we are moving forward. Still, I read a fair number of people in the United States and parts of Europe raging against the Islamic fundamentalists. While these people also rail against fundamentalists in their own country, there seems to be a certain outrage beyond the norm reserved for Islamic fundamentalists. It's almost as if the Islamic or Muslim fundamentalist is worse than the Christian one. As I stated - this is a fool's game.
There are often cries coming forth about why the liberal or moderate members of Islam are not speaking out against the fundamentalists within their community. The assumption of such commentators is that there is no debate within those communities just because they haven't seen one posted by their mainstream media. However, these commentators rarely, if ever, stop to consider that their media services do Islam a disservice. After all, this is the same mainstream media that presents Israeli public opinion as shades of gray in the forms presented by the government there when, in fact, if one reads a variety of newspapers there one can see a broad array of opinions available to it's citizens. Do we really expect the mainstream media to represent Islamic communities any better?
The problem with all of this bashing and focus on one community rather than on fundamentalism in general is that it is perceived as racist. When that happens potential discussion with allies within the targeted community and the ability to combat fundamentalism altogether is thwarted. The same could be said about terrorists and terrorism, as we have learned from the Iraq war - terrorists just being fundamentalists of a different sort - but that is not my focus here. Rather than engaging the moderates within a community by targeting the community's fundamentalists as being especially vile that community will tend to band together to protect it's own instead of standing against the fundamentalists within it's ranks.
Christopher Hitchens is one such commentator who has gone on about the Islamic fundamentalists. To be fair Mr. Hitchens has also railed against Christian fundamentalists - his latest book is about the dangers imposed on this world by religion - but he has set aside a particular screed against Islamic fundamentalists. Others, also well meaning, have taken up this line of thought as well, including Andrew Sullivan and Dan Savage. I don't have a problem with the majority of their criticisms and I know that all three of these people (indeed, I admire all 3) oppose fundamentalists of all stripes. However, they do tend these days to focus on the followers of Islam rather than fundamentalists all around. The result of which can lead to stir up racist tendencies within some readers (racism, ironically, also being a fundamentalist screed). Take, for instance, commenter number 3 to a recent post by Dan Savage in The Stranger Slog:
I'm sorry, but I can't accept the notion that Christian and Islamic fundamentalists are exactly the same in terms of their danger to civil society.This same person goes on to argue in comment number 9:
@6 - oh, please. No, you don't have to list the outrageous things Christians do. But if you do, then please, make another list of the outrageous things Islamic fundamentalists have done throughout the world, and compare and contrast. I maintain that there is a difference in their nature - insane though Christian fundies may be, in recent times they have largely resorted to civil means of achieving the insane ends they seek. How often do you hear of American TV preachers putting a literal bounty on their political opponents' heads, or mobs of Southern Baptists stoning a 17-year-old to death in the streets and cheerfully taping the whole thing on a cell phone, as happened in Iraq recently?For the record, I countered this post by pointing out the bounty posters for abortion clinic doctors posted by Christian fundamentalists. I could have also noted the bombings of clinics, the protests at funerals of homosexuals and military personnel by Westboro Baptist Church members, any number of hate crimes against homosexuals, blacks, and women committed by people who describe themselves as Christian fundamentalists, and so on. I also mentioned Pat Robertson asking for the assassination of Hugo Chavez. All of which was dismissed by the commenter in a later post.
One of the dangers of flaming up these latent racist tendencies is how they feed on ignorance and get perpetuated. Take, for instance, that last bit quoted above about the stoning of the 17 year old girl. The commenter is implying that it was Islamic fundamentalists who were behind the stoning. As others have noted, including today's Seattle Times, it was a different religion behind the stoning. In fact, recent bombings and killing in Iraq have been thought to have been followers of Islam retaliating for the actions of Yazidis in stoning the girl.
Unfortunately, the commenter doesn't apparently know or understand the distinction between the 2 religions. No, s/he only knows that its those people in Iraq (or India, as in Savage's original post) that's doing it and apparently they are more backward than our own backwards-assed folks in America. I don't blame Savage, et al, for bringing up incidents like these and I cannot blame them for the ignorance that their readers sometimes spew in their comments, but I'd like to see more people discussing the opposition to fundamentalism as a whole and less focusing on fundamentalism coming from another part of the world. Moderates can and will win the debate, but only if they tone down the pointing of the finger at other cultures and work with activists within those cultures to foster change throughout the world.
People have probably heard the Dap Kings though they may not have heard of them. The musicians serve as the backing band on Amy Winehouse's popular album, Back To Black, with the hit song, Rehab. As fine a song as that one is and as decent a singer as Winehouse is, she doesn't hold a candle to Sharon Jones. Sharon is the real deal with better chops, more experience and more soul. When she sings with the Dap Kings you can feel the notes wrap around the horn section, urge the guitar licks to new heights, and groove with the bass player. Sharon's first 2 albums were a revelation. With the current popularity of Ms. Winehouse, there is hope that the next album will explode in sales and Jones will get the recognition she so rightly deserves.
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings have released their first single from the new album for download for free from their MySpace page. After the release in October the band will be touring the U.S. For my Seattle friends, they'll be appearing at Neumo's on December 8th and, yes, I have purchased tickets already. It will be a helluva show. Check out some live video action on YouTube.
Administration and military officials acknowledge that the September report will not show any significant progress on the political benchmarks laid out by Congress. How to deal in the report with the lack of national reconciliation between Iraq's warring sects has created some tension within the White House.
Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.
Friday, August 10, 2007
01) Chains of Love - Erasure (12" Mix)
02) Those Dancing Days Are Gone - Carla Bruni
03) Uh-Oh Plutonium - Anne Waldman
04) Before Today - Everything But The Girl (Adam F Remix)
05) Plane That Draws A White Line - Alias & Tarsier
06) Stoned Soul Picnic - Jill Sobule
07) Boul N'Bai - Sida
08) Masikulu - Konono No.1
09) Mera Man Tera Pyasa - Mohammed Rafi
10) Come Close (J-Dilla's Closer Remix) - Common feat. Erykah Badu, Q-Tip, and Pharell Williams
Bonus: Chains of Love - Joe Turner
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
In 1974, Aaron was still among the few black players playing baseball. While the league had been integrated for a long time and many had come before him, it was dominated by white players. Also, in 1974 we were in the middle of a black cultural rise. Sure, there were plenty of black artists, intellectuals, and sports heroes before the civil rights movement of the 60s, but after the laws were passed and law enforcement went into action, after the death of King, Jr., after the rise of the Black Panthers, after Jimi Hendryx, Marvyn Gaye, Bill Cosby, Aretha Franklin, and many more too numerous to name, black culture was not only being promoted, but celebrated.
I remember watching live as Hank Aaron hit his home run that broke Babe Ruth's record. Ruth's legend stood, as it should, but here was a black man in an America that had just come through a decade of pushing for civil rights for black folks and people were cheering him. Aaron not only represented himself, his team, and baseball, but also how many in this nation felt about moving on and having a future together. Aaron's record felt like a small part of us had healed. At least, that's the way it felt to me when I was 10 years old. Of course, it was a very small part and there would be much to test that feeling in years to come.
Bonds, whose achievement is great, is not Aaron and will never have that moment. For one thing, Bonds isn't as approachable as Aaron. He's not as friendly and likable. But also, the times have changed. That's not to say that the healing is over or that there aren't more challenges ahead. But we have come a long way. While Aaron's feat felt like a major cultural moment, Bonds feat felt like just another sports record broken. The asterisk should be focused on the possible steroids use. Rather, the asterisk should be focused on the cultural impact in an era. That great impact belongs to Aaron and no one - not Bonds, nor A-Rod - can take that away.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Before we left I was cleaning out my backpack when I noticed that I had some Emergen-C packets in there that I had forgotten about. Those came in handy. We poured them into our water bottles at the halfway point and drank it on the way back.
Once home we set about using up the flat of blueberries I had purchased. The co-signer made a blueberry buckle. I made blueberry vodka. I've got to finish with those this morning. I'm going to freeze a bunch of them and might set aside a few for more buckle later in the week.
We made a simple dinner of creamed corn flavored with fresh basil, vegetarian baked beans, and Boca burgers. We watched Ice Age 2 - a rental that we picked up - and went to bed where I read 2 more chapters of the latest Harry Potter book to her.
All in all, a lovely day. Back to the mine today. Tomorrow I'm going to can apricot jam.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
That afternoon I met the co-signer and we headed across the lake to meet with Miss Sophiakitty. (I'm sorry for the pseudonyms, but neither wish to have their names mentioned online). We went down to the Zig Zag Cafe where I met Murray, the bartender, for the first time. He made a drink for us using some Estonian bitters that a friend brought back from Europe as a present. It was quite good, as are all of Murray's drinks.
After drinks and appetizers we wandered the Market looking for a place to dine. Several spots had long lines, which is to be expected at the height of tourist season. Surprisingly, Etta's Seafood was able to sit us as a walk in right away. Well, "surprisingly" until we saw their prices. Etta's has raised their prices to the level of Anthony's Homeport. That's too bad as it will make me think twice before dining there again. However, I should note that the meal was wonderful. Miss Sophiakitty and I each enjoyed the basil ravioli with lovely cherry tomatoes and chevre (though, there weren't many raviolis on the dishes). The co-signer enjoyed the pork loin with carrot succotash (quite tasty, that). We shared a bottle of Chinook Rose with dinner and it turned out to be a delightful match for the meals. For dessert we enjoyed a piece of the banana cream pie (which I had never had before), split 3 ways - which was perfect. As lush and tasty as this pie is, it's just too rich and too large a serving to be enjoyed by one person.
The co-signer and I dropped off Miss Sophiakitty at her place, then headed back across the lake. We stopped in Bellevue at the Lincoln Square Cinemas. I wanted to spend some time on my day off alone with my love and this would be it. The movie I wanted to see, Talk To Me, didn't begin until 10:25. Usually that's a really late show/night for me, but I decided to go for it. The thing is, if I have a reason to be entertained and awake, then I have no problems staying up. I bought the tickets and we headed over to The Parlor to kill the hour before the film. In order to stay awake, I had a coffee drink.
Talk To Me was well worth the time. Don Cheadles turns in a terrific performance as Petey Green, an ex-con from Washington, D.C. who pursues a career as a DJ in the 60s and 70s and goes on to become a city institution. In fact, the entire cast does a great job. It's a wonderful mixture of comedy and drama. The early part of the film is much comedy based on an odd character attempting to work within a straight laced community. The film takes a turn when, in 1968, Martin Luther King is shot and riots break out in D.C. Petey Green (this is based on a real story) took to the airwaves to argue for anger without destruction. It was a turning point in the man's life and his career.
If there are problems with the film they stem from 2 sources. First, it's a film and as such it cannot begin to tell the tale of a man's life the way a book can do that. As such, we get hints and shortcuts around stories rather than a full fleshed portrayal of a rounded human being. Glimpses are generally not acceptable when trying to view history. However, we're talking about distilling a man's life - 59 years - into 2 hours and therefore glimpses are what we're going to get. Secondly, the film does rely on some stereotypes. Petey's wife, for instance, while being magnificently played, is a character who relies more on stereotypes than depth (this is due to the script; not actress Traji P. Henson). Early on, Petey himself seems to rely primarily on his demeanor and outfit, though the writers drop a moment of self doubt in once in a while, we never really get to peel off the facade and understand the origins of that emotion. As the film develops, it gets better at dealing with this stuff, but only marginally so. Again, this is in part due to the limitations of film. Perhaps the writers should have limited the scope of the time line of Petey Green's life that they were going to focus on?
Having said all of that, Talk To Me is a thoroughly enjoyable movie. Don Cheadles performance is worth the price of admission. The fact that the other actors keep up with him is the payoff. Despite my misgivings laid out above, it's an entertaining piece of work filled with moments that will make you laugh and others that will induce tears. How good is this film? When was the last time outside of a children's film that you can recall audience members breaking out in applause at the end? That's how good it is.
One more complaint: Why is this film only playing in 3 theaters in the Seattle metro area? The co-signer and I are perplexed about this. If it is because the film is being perceived as a "black movie", then why isn't it playing in more theaters in areas with larger black populations? Because it's an east coast based story is the distributor worried that it won't have legs on the west coast? I don't know what the reasons are, but this film deserves to be seen by a larger audience and the distributor is shorting the people in Seattle. Sure, we're seeing ads for the flick, but it's not easily accessible and that's a damn shame.
After the film we met a nice couple outside of the theater. I was waiting for the co-signer and the wife in the couple was waiting for her husband, both emerging from the restrooms. She and I were reading the poster board, promoting the story in the theater hallway. We recognized each other because the 4 of us were the last ones to leave the theater (this is common for the co-signer and I as we tend to sit through all of the credits, if nothing else, to enjoy the music).
"Wonderful film" said the woman.
"Indeed. I liked it a whole lot. Great acting, good story."
"We lived on the east coast during that time and I never heard of the man."
"I'm from the Detroit area and I've never heard of him either."
Eventually, our spouses joined us. We spoke briefly and then went our separate ways. I suspect that if the evening had been younger, we might have joined each other for dinner and had a good time discussing the film and getting to know one another. Still, allowing that possibility was a lovely way to cap a good day off.
Friday, August 03, 2007
01. "Spring Arrives" - Azam Ali
02. "God Bless'd The Child" - Holly Figueroa
03. "Pablo Picasso" - Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
04. "Hold On, Hold On" - Neko Case
05. "Compensation" - Nina Simone
06. "Furthest Moment" - Quantic
07. "Declare Independence" - Bjork
08. "Johnny Harpoon" - Blaine Reininger
09. "Fade To Grey (Bassheads Mix)" - Visage
10. "Lowlife" - Front Line Assembly
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Jill Sobule was his opening act. Like Weller, hers was to be an acoustic, solo set. She won me over that night. Her songwriting is excellent. Her lyrics can be touching and poignant or just silly and fun. Her personality projected from the stage is endearing. At the end of the set I just wanted to buy her a drink and give her a hug. I settled for spending a couple of minutes talking with her, buying the 2 albums she had for sale, and having them autographed. I've been following her music ever since.
The video below is a new experiment for Jill. She recorded 2 tunes for producer Don Was (um, fellow Detroiter and somewhat of a legend). The idea was to record a song and produce a video within the same day. If you go to MyDamnChannel.com, where this video is hosted, you can download free mp3s of this song, San Francisco, and a B-Side, Mom. Both are excellent and might I say that we need more banjo in pop songs these days.
Oh, and before I forget, Jill is playing a really mini tour on the west coast, including a date (August 21st) at The Triple Door in Seattle.