Saturday, May 28, 2011

R I P: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

From BBC today. Do read on here; includes two good videos.

"US musician and poet Gil Scott-Heron, often called the Godfather of Rap, has died in a New York hospital aged 62.

The cause of his death is not clear, but he is believed to have become ill after returning from a visit to Europe.

Scott-Heron's material spanned soul, jazz, blues and the spoken word. His 1970s work heavily influenced the US hip-hop and rap scenes.

His work had a strong political element - one of his most famous pieces was The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." [ I recall someone quoting it to me on September 11, 2011, which Gil would have found ironic I think.]

I remember, What's the word? Johannesburg! (watch this live vid) and In the Bottle as being truly revolutionary musical artforms that altered the way I perceived music, the despair of his Winter In America words we felt and heeded in the godhelpus-madison-avenue-co-opted 70s, and am grateful to the friends I knew who were diehard Scott-Heron devotees for turning me on to his work. You still out there, Foss? Percy Uptight? But his work wasn't all politics; there were songs of deep affection and love as well. I wonder what the circle of hip hop artists will do to honor this man's passing. Surely something.

It's a sad day. Feels like a good friend is gone.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised performed by Gil here. Check out other videos by him at youtube.

Also via BBC, in an irony I've no doubt Gil would have appreciated even as we mourn his loss, the US congress, aware of our Memorial weekend distractions, and under cover of, literally, darkness, was busy renewing expiring unconstitutional features of the US Patriot Act, as in:

"The US Congress has voted to renew three expiring provisions of the anti-terrorism Patriot Act which increase surveillance powers."

NOTE: "The four-year extension was approved in the Senate just hours before the deadline at midnight ."

The bill was then sent to the House of Representatives, where it passed by a 250-153 vote. Check out the Senate voters here.

"The provisions enable law-enforcement officials to conduct continued surveillance on suspects who switch phones [??], monitor "lone-wolf" suspects who are not linked to known terrorist groups [are you one?], and gain access to suspects' business transactions." [FYI, and lest you're under some illusion, the govt. is and has been doing this for years according to this man who helped invent the software the NSA uses to monitor all of our calls, emails and other coms. We haven't heard the last of his story.]

Oblimey will be signing it with an autopen as he's busy in France and doesn't want to get his hands dirty with Bush's law – coward.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pensee du jour ......

All that glitters is not gold; / Often have you heard that told: / Many a man his life hath sold / But my outside to behold: / Gilded tombs do worms enfold. -William Shakespeare, playwright and poet (1564-1616)

“I call that man rich,” Henry James’s Ralph Touchett observes in “Portrait of a Lady,” “who can satisfy the requirements of his imagination.” Great criterion, non?

And for all you MI-5 fans out there, guess what's on instant view on Netflix now. Yup, season 9.

Now the bad news:

Born Under a Bad Sign?

There's this latest from the CBO, in case you didn't realize you weren't one of the 1% or were still operating under the misconception that the best thing for the middle class was Reagan's trickle down theory of unregulated capitalism.

I mean, that's just pathetic... And I can't help but notice that the "have-mores" as Mr. Bush dubbed them, his "base", seem to suffer fewer setbacks in life than the have nots. Maybe it's because such a small percentage of them actually go to work every day, to a job of any sort. Why do bad things happen to unequal people? Read the link and find out.

And Mr. Darwin might be a little miffed to learn that his theory of adaptation/mutation has some dissenters in the science world. It appears that our evolution may have been from defects in evolution rather than " genetically adaptive natural strategies" I'll call them. We may, in fact, just be a protein error!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

O M G .... thank you, BBC
New Zealand trucker 'blown up like balloon' by air hose
Steven McCormack in hospital in Whakatane, New Zealand (21 May 2011)Mr McCormack said his skin now felt "like a pork roast"

A New Zealand truck driver who fell on a compressed air hose that pierced his buttock has survived being blown up like a balloon.

Steven McCormack had fallen between the cab and the trailer of his truck, breaking the air hose.

The nozzle pierced his buttock and began pumping air into his body, which expanded dramatically.

As he screamed, Mr McCormack's colleagues turned the air off and laid him on his side, saving his life.

The accident happened at Opotiki on the North Island on Saturday.

Mr McCormack, who is 48, is still in hospital in the nearest town, Whakatane.

He said that doctors had told him they were surprised that his skin had not burst, as the compressed air - pumping into his body at 100lb/sq in - had separated fat from muscle.

Start Quote

I was blowing up like a football... I had no choice but just to lay there, blowing up like a balloon”

Steven McCormack

"I felt the air rush into my body and I felt like it was going to explode from my foot.

"I was blowing up like a football... it felt like I had the bends, like in diving. I had no choice but just to lay there, blowing up like a balloon," he told the local newspaper, the Whakatane Beacon.

He said his skin feels "like a pork roast", hard and crackly on the outside but soft underneath.

He credits his colleagues, especially Jason Wenham who put him on his side, with saving his life.

Mr Wenham, Ross Hustler and Robbie Petersen had lifted Mr McCormack off the brass nozzle which was still stuck in his body, and packed ice around his swollen neck until an ambulance arrived.

Doctors inserted a tube into his lungs to drain the fluid and cleared the wound in his buttock using what felt to him like a drill.

"That was the most painful part," he said.

"It's fair to say he's lucky to be alive, it was a potentially life-threatening situation," a hospital spokeswoman told AFP on Wednesday.

Mr McCormack confided that the air was gradually escaping his body in the way that air usually does.

what can i say?
Can't stop!

You just can't stop taking pictures in Charleston as every few feet some scene, some turn of wood or metal, some color against color, is just so perfect, so cunning, so completely enchanting, you have to capture the image.

shady meeting st.

Above a wander along the allees of Meeting Street, Church and Broad where I had a convivial lunch at the place the locals call Fast and French... and always the sweet tea, more sweet tea, you never have to ask for refills in the south.

Discovered great thrift shops yesterday on Savannah Highway on the way back from the Volvo dealer (tire balancing, recharge the AC). I mean it's 95 in the shade here and I needed something cooler to wear than capris. I got two pairs of nice shorts and three cotton shifts for 20 bucks. Noice! And a little thin red belt to go with the tiny black and white checked shift for 99 cents. Major score. Thrift stores in the south are much better than up north, (and they seem to be independent, so you're not supporting right wing agendas as you are with Goodwill and the like). Lots of what we used to call sheath dresses. Just the chic ticket in hot weather, ones you can't find in regular stores, not that are cut right, not nice ones like the one I scored in Montreal last summer for ten times what I paid for these. Of course that one was new and had a little spandex in it.

Pictured above is D from Staten Island and her pal Rocky in the allee next to the flat two blocks from the Battery. Am looking forward to a days long semi-methodical wander through the quiet of Charleston below Broad and all the historical sites there. Today it's the Gibbes museum of art with T.

Watching the President on tv this morning sharing the talkstage with Mr. Cameron I was reminded of a scene, similar in politely adversarial tone, only with the role of the stingy guy reversed, from Love Actually. You know the one. And as to the "special relationship"? I'm sorry, but doesn't that just smack of something a pedophile would say to a child? Yes, Hugh Grant as PM of Britain. Ahh, If wishes were horses...

Oh, and two wonderful books read recently thanks to recs from Cousin M:

Jewel, I believe I actually wept reading this one, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Both excellent reads. Esp, the first one, a fine Charleston writer, Lott, really fine.

Bye ya'll...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"Sail away, sail away...
We will cross the mighty ocean into Charleston Bay..."
- Randy Newman

Thought for the day: Only the good doubt their own goodness, which is what makes them good in the first place. The bad know they are good, but the good know nothing. They spend their lives forgiving others, but they can't forgive themselves. -Paul Auster, novelist and poet (b. 1947)

seagrass basket weaver
on market st

Well, I guess Mr. Camping is mighty disappointed in his Lord just now for not showing up as promised. You gotta feel for the guy. Here are some photos of downtown Charleston below Broad St, where I am headed in a few hours to see an apartment I may repair to for the weekend, thanks to the generosity of new friends. It's along the breezy Battery (pictured above, me and cousin Marion there) so promises to be quiet on what would otherwise be a noisy Memorial Day weekend (I recall a memorable one sixteen years ago) here at the coast. I'm looking foward to wandering the charming back allees and gardens of this gorgeous place, so european in flavor, and finding a good cafe au lait if there's one to be found and some sympa fellow writers at the City Lights cafe. No doubt some good southern food awaits me as well. I had a pulled pork barbeque (could NOT resist) "egg" roll (sans egg) with avocado/corn sauce the other day at Blossom's and thought I'd died and gone to heaven as I sipped my sweet tea and tried to stuff in another mouthful. I am talking guuuuuood!

I see the French Open has started on the tv. Espn2 and tennis channel for now, but regular channels for the quarterfinals, and some matches before that. TV schedule here.

In other news, they are selling houses in Sicily for a dollar I hear. I might want to get in on that. Yet another real estate success story to add to my list. (LOL)

I hear folks say it's impossible to switch off the internet, the main source of real news for many of us. Well, apparently this isn't so, sez the BBC guest here. Furthermore, this guy, who invented the World Wide Web (NOT Gore), Tim Berners-Lee, sez there are things about the present Internet we should be concerned with, at least he is, in this brief video interview with a really energetic guy just brimming with ideas. Reminds me of a musician I know...

The Cannes Film Festival is over, and for you film fans, not movie fan, film fans, check this article for films to watch out for coming to select, and i do mean select (i.e., rare) theatres in your state... if you're lucky.

And in my humble opinion, Chris Hedges can't get too much attention, a truly moral man who has something to say in this 15 minute interview with Laura Flanders (and I much prefer her to the strident monotone of Rachel) on GRITtv about the mindless militarism of the US and its effect on us as a people.

The Times asks if Sitting is a Lethal Activity. My response? Duh. I can vouch for the hazards of sitting passively for the better part of the day and so can my waistline. It's amazing to me that such an obvious question even needs asking. People who sit all day wondering why they're fat, while they consume the calories of an ancient Greek stone mason. A must read for those of us watching ourselves go pearshaped. I've started back with yoga and 3 mile walks, but it's gonna take time to regroup from a former lifestyle of 10 hour days digging in a garden to now driving around in a car eating fried chicken (not really, but almost).

I saved the worst news for last... But it's also fascinating. For those of you wondering why FOX NOT News has such a loyal following, and why facts don't seem to change many people's minds about issues, there's this new study that lays the reasons out, explaining why facts actually backfire when you're trying to make a point, and it's enough to make you wanna cry. I recently got into a conversation with a self-styled liberal who resisted every fact I offered as though it weren't true, defending her right to see reality any way she chose and still call herself progressive. She ended up ranting in print and using the abusive language of panic that she'd been called on her ignorance and loose talk. She was old enough to know better too. Really distressing. And here's another bit of info political junkies need to know: Apparently those precious Independent Voters, the ones who decide elections these days, aren't all they're cracked up to be, not much in the brain power department either. No surprise to me, I've always felt so called Independents were just slovenly citizens, too lazy to figure out where they stood who based their vote on last minute impressions. We really are a nation of reactionary dumdums, and we're proud of it! Sometimes that scares the bejesus out of me. I could offer links to a history of fascism and naziism here, but why ruin a perfectly nice day.

Get out there and find some sun.. Soak it into your bones.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Today's the Big Day!

Here's Harold to tell you all about it...nice sideburns, Har!

(at the BBC's website, I read)

"Harold Camping, 89, predicts that Jesus Christ will return to earth on Saturday and true believers will be swept up, or "raptured", to heaven."

Well, I want to know of Jesus will be taking questions, cause I have some I've been saving up.

Harold says biblical texts indicate that a giant earthquake on Saturday will mark the start of the world's destruction, and that by 21 October all non-believers will be dead..[Muslims call them infidels]

"US atheists are to hold parties in response to an evangelical broadcaster's prediction that Saturday will be "judgement day".The Rapture After Party in North Carolina - "the best damned party in NC" - is among the planned events."

North Carolina!? Why that's just up the road! What should I wear? What are you wearing? (Finger to temple, tilted head) Maybe my new pure white capris! Does this mean I don't have to pay my phone bill? What about those Pradas I have on layaway?

Harold sez he plans to spend the day watching events unfold on TV. Well I say, Party on, Harold!

(It's WJWD, no doubt)

What might Harold have to say about the new science on "dark energy" I wonder? I can't help but doubt he's a big science fan.

BBC sez,

"First results from a major astronomical survey using a cutting-edge technique appear to have confirmed the existence of mysterious dark energy.

Dark energy makes up some 74% of the Universe and its existence would explain why the Universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating rate.... "The action of dark energy is as if you threw a ball up in the air, and it kept speeding upward into the sky faster and faster," said co-author Dr Chris Blake of the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia....

While dark energy makes up about 74% of the Universe, dark matter - which does not reflect or emit detectable light - accounts for 22%. Ordinary matter - gas, stars, planets and galaxies - makes up just 4% of the cosmos. [Now that'll give one pause!]

However, despite scientists being able to infer the existence of dark energy and dark matter, these phenomena still elude a full explanation."

(wull no shyte...)

Oh my God, and then there's this...

"An American woman is being questioned in California for allegedly trying to sell a moon rock for $1.7m (£1.05m).

The woman, whose identity has not been revealed, was held in a sting operation [??? Your tax dollars, hard at work!] when she showed the rock to a Nasa investigator in Lake Elsinore.

Moon rocks are considered national treasure in the United States and their sale is illegal."

Finally, there's this from Joshua Brown, The reformed Broker

Somali Pirates Raise a Venture Fund

"It's nice to see the spirit of venture capitalism take root all over the world, even on the war-torn coasts of Somalia. But on the Arabian Sea and in the Gulf of Eden, we're not so much talking about social media startups - in this case we're talking kidnapping and theft...but fine, it's a start."

[From Forbes] The first quarter of 2011 has seen piracy-at-sea hit an all time high with 142 attacks worldwide and 97 of the East coast of Somalia, up from 35 a year ago, a report by the IMB Piracy Reporting Center says. As ransom-payouts increase exponentially, more sophisticated piracy syndicates are even selling shares in planned attacks to villagers in order to finance their operations, according to the head of the U.S. Navy.

"There's always a bull market somewhere. In this case, it's in jacking vessels and ransoming their crews and contents. It's nice to see that the villagers are able to get in on the action [ love this guy's sense of humor]. I wonder if the pirates first verify whether or not they're accredited before taking their funds. "
For more read original Forbes article. Unbelievable...

I guess today can't be the day I kill myself cause there's just too much to laugh at out there. Maybe tomorrow will be more promising.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Abu Dhabi Doo! ( Love that hat!)

erik prique?

That little phoquer Erik Prince is at it again. This time he's arming the UAE, Iran's unfriendly neighbor. You remember him and his Blackwater pals screwing things up after Katrina, raiding legal medical maryjane joints in LA (and likely smoking up the proceeds), murdering innocent civilians in Iraq, refusing to testify forthrightly when Congress called. You remember! Ol' Erik, yeah... FOB, big donor to the GOP, the guy who put together an army to illegally invade anyplace the US president thinks needs invading and at twice the price we'd pay our own soldiers? Composed of guys who can't jump the lowered bar of psyche tests the regular army administers? I can't help but wonder... why do we need to hire half an invasion force through private companies? Is it because there aren't enough normal American boys willing to go along with this nonsense? I'd like to think so...

This from the article in Sunday's NY Times: "He is hoping to build an empire in the desert, far from the trial lawyers, Congressional investigators and Justice Department officials he is convinced worked in league to portray Blackwater as reckless. " Poor baby. My daughter has the perfect response to whiny white boys like Prince: Waanh.

Read it and weep, folks. There is just no stopping the male's determination to arm the world; this guy Prince is seriously dangerous. Odds are the real goal in hiring him is to suppress any opposition in the UAE and whatever middle eastern strongmen in those wussy soft flowing robes and gentle faces (don't be fooled) remain in power. The Saudis have him on speed dial.

I say Carl Levin for president. At least the guy has balls enough to go after Goldman like a junkyard dog.

Quand venons-nous aux armes, citoyens?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kinda sez it all, don't it?

Chapel Hill window...

market st, wilmington

magnolia blossom

The French House porch

nice bath

Duke U


Let's just take a little break and enjoy the scenery, shall we? I mean, despite the US corporate coup d'etat, we have to go on living, non?

Here are some scenes of mostly Wilmington, North Carolina, with a few of Durham thrown in, that caught my eye. I tell you one thing, the people here are warm and inviting as fresh baked bread, even though it's already hot and steamy out. I love the ceiling fans everywhere, the sleepy loll of naptime, the brick, yes brick, streets that pitter when you drive on them, the sidewalk cafes, the Cape Fear River with its alligators, and the old downtown streets lined with nineteenth century architecture Tony Soprano's mason ancestors could appreciate, the eighteenth century gracious homes. It's so nice, and the leisurely attitude suits the climate - conversation that has all the time in the world. Not bad for the Younatted Stets.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

All that wealth floating to the top while the rest of us starve is no mystery. From the Economist Obama and his Cronies Have Repeatedly Refused to Listen to, Joseph Stiglitz in the recent Vanity Fair:

"But one big part of the reason we have so much inequality is that the top 1 percent want it that way. The most obvious example involves tax policy. Lowering tax rates on capital gains, which is how the rich receive a large portion of their income, has given the wealthiest Americans close to a free ride. "

Pass this along to any whiny white boys you know who complain about taxes.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Confused about what's happening in the world? This guy takes all the disparate pieces of the crazy puzzle and puts it together to create a big picture that's refreshingly honest and may point the way to solutions. 'Cuz to solve a problem you first have to identify it.

that oughta give everyone something to talk about...

From that link, this:

"Global inequalities and the impoverishment of broad majorities mean that transnational capitals cannot find productive outlets to unload the enormous amounts of surplus it has accumulated. By the 21st century, the TCC turned to several mechanisms to sustain global accumulation, or profit making, in the face of this crisis.
One is militarised accumulation; waging wars and interventions that unleash cycles of destruction and reconstruction and generate enormous profits for an ever-expanding military-prison-industrial-security-financial complex. We are now living in a global war economy that goes well beyond such "hot wars" in Iraq or Afghanistan.
For instance, the war on immigrants in the United States and elsewhere, and more generally, repression of social movements and vulnerable populations, is an accumulation strategy independent of any political objectives. This war on immigrants is extremely profitable for transnational corporations. In the United States, the private immigrant prison-industrial complex is a boom industry. Undocumented immigrants constitute the fastest growing sector of the US prison population and are detained in private detention centres and deported by private companies contracted out by the US state."