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  • Friday, September 28, 2007


    Random 10 Songs: "Placebo of Human Sexual Response" Edition

    Songs of interest but perhaps more interesting is the title of the post. No, I don't know what it means but it's provocative, n'est pas? (Don't bother trying to talk me in French; my French is atrocious and very limited.)
    1. "Blow Up" by Human Sexual Response
    2. "Lookout [Studio Version]" by Cheap Trick
    3. "My Friends Have" by Marianne Faithfull
    4. "Got to Be This Way" by John Mayall
    5. "A Small Package of Value Will Come to You, Shortly" by Jefferson Airplane
    6. "Something New" by Traffic
    7. "Cleanhead's Blues" by Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson
    8. "I Stand Accused [Alternate Version]" by Elvis Costello & the Attractions
    9. "Perfect Example" by Hüsker Dü
    10. "Centrefolds" by Placebo
    Bonus track: "Test Pilot Blues" by Black Francis

    Friday, September 21, 2007


    Random 10 Songs: "Hot Eyes on Mr. Self Destruct" Edition

    In the fine ongoing tradition I've recently established of avoiding posts of substance, here is another Random Ten Songs, spewed from my hard drive for your amusement. Readers should applaud my bravery in admitting to having the Lovin' Spoonful on my computer. This is only partially redeemed by Nine Inch Nails. Some types of cheery and cloying pop music are better left to specialized soft rock radio stations. (Then he went mad with bolded phrases...)
    1. "Walk on Hot Coals" by Rory Gallagher
    2. "Getting in Tune" by The Who
    3. "Marlene" by Todd Rundgren
    4. "What You Want" by The Flys
    5. "Dear Chicago" by Ryan Adams
    6. "Showbiz Blues" by Fleetwood Mac
    7. "Who's Gonna Save The World" by The A's
    8. "Star Witness" by Neko Case
    9. "4 Eyes" by The Lovin' Spoonful
    10. "Mr Self Destruct" by Nine Inch Nails
    Bonus track: "Hitchhiking" by Willie Alexander and the Boom Boom Band

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    Sunday, September 16, 2007


    Condoleezza: Is She or Isn't She?

    Nothing definitive here but I'm as susceptible as the next blogger to rumors, particularly if the circumstantial evidence seems suggestive.

    Via Pam's House Blend:
    I'm posting on the Blend today from Birmingham, Alabama -- the birthplace of Condi Rice. I wonder if folks here are buzzing about this news about her. Via Mike Signorile, who spoke with Glenn Kessler, whose new book is The Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush Legacy:
    In the book and on the show, Kessler described how Rice's "closest male friend" is openly gay, a man by the name of Coit D. Blacker, a Stanford professor (Rice served as the provost as Stanford in the late 1990s for six years) and a Democrat who served in the Clinton administration. Blacker, whose partner is also mentioned, advised Al Gore's campaign in 2000, while his close friend Rice served as a chief confidante for a president who has tried to make gays into second class citizens in the U.S. Constitution. But wait, it gets better.

    Rice's "closest female friend" is a woman named Randy Bean (pictured here), who is unmarried and whose sexual orientation is not stated. She is described as a "liberal progressive;" she's a documentary filmmaker who works at Standford University and once worked for Bill Moyers. She and Rice and Blacker (again, who has a partner) are discussed as a "second family," a term Bean uses, also saying that, "on friends, [Rice] goes narrow and deep."
    There's much more, including the fact that Rice owns a home with Bean and shares a line of credit with her. Not that this means anything, right? Go read the rest.

    What if Condi was a lesbian -- and came out? Would that quell the right wing "Draft Condi in 2008" movement driven by the Freeper set?

    If it weren't for Ms. Rice's support of an administration that has consistently opposed any gay equal rights, I wouldn't bother to spread this. But I sorrowfully admit to a little bit of malicious glee at the prospect of her having to face conservatives if it is true. I am not always a charitable and forgiving person. Still, guiltily gleeful.
    Listening to: "Last Song" by Marianne Faithfull

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    Tuesday, September 11, 2007


    Trauma Reinforcement as Political Tactic

    One small segment of psychology posits that some conventional and widely accepted therapies may actually worsen the effects of trauma and neurosis, providing reinforcement rather than understanding and resolving of the issues involved. In other words, etching the trauma deeper and deeper and making it more difficult to heal.

    I'm reminded of this as we witness the spectacle of 9/11 mourning. Anger, sorrow and reliving the event all mingle together, often topped by the cherry of jingoistic militarism and righteous desire to make someone, anyone, pay for the tragedy and lost lives.

    It should be superfluous for me to mention that more American soldier's lives have been lost in Iraq than were lost in the 9/11 attack. Iraq who had nothing to do with the event. And Osama bin Laden, who had a great deal to do with the attack, remains uncaught. And Saudi Arabia, whose nationals made up 16 of the 19 hijackers, remains a close ally of the USA. It should be superfluous to mention these facts, to gather them together as an indictment of the Bush Administration; sadly, it's not.

    Every year at this time I'm amazed, bemused, appalled, and disgusted at much of the rhetoric spewing forth around this event. I see reinforcement of trauma, revision of history, reinterpretation of events.

    One particular thing bothers me: Labeling all the people who died on 9/11 "heroes". It's a misapplication of the word, a form of pseudo-canonization intended to feed and foster feelings of revenge. Against who? Apparently not the real architects behind the event.

    Let me be clear: to be a hero, one has to have done something heroic. Look it up in a dictionary. Were some of the people who died on 9/11 heroic? Undoubtedly. Many of the emergency responders in particular come to mind. And I'm sure there were many acts of heroism performed by ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, acts we'll never know. I'm not trying to deny or degrade those actions. I'm just saying that indiscriminately calling everyone there a hero is, in effect, a lie.

    Yet inflating the lives lost into national heroes serves certain purposes and groups. There's an advantage to goading the public into expecting action and demanding retaliation. And perhaps the public won't look too closely at the actual effectiveness and appropriateness of the actions taken. A little preemptive war in Iraq, a 72 hour bombing run on Iran, whatever. Oops, the Iran thing hasn't happened yet. My mistake.

    The deaths of 9/11 are tragic. Yet I feel it would be smart to keep our eyes clear and not be misdirected by those who would use them to mask ulterior motivations.

    And in closing, just one last thought: Where's Osama?

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    Monday, September 10, 2007


    Shiny, Shiny White House News

    I get the White House rss news feed though I rarely look at it. When I do, I'm mostly looking for humor and satire fodder. Because the view consistently presented in these press releases is so sunny it could cause blindness, I have to be cautious. If one believed these items, the world would appear to be the USA's oyster and every citizen should bow down in gratitude to the wisdom and beneficence of the Bush administration. There are no problems just wonderfully effective solutions by the heroic and glorious Team Bush. Is this markedly different from any other administration? I don't know.

    Of course the White House isn't going to be eager to list problems but it still overpoweringly reeks of PR rather than any remotely accurate reality. Try these recent stories:

    Fact Sheet: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2007 Bonus quote from the page: "Our challenge is to strengthen the forces of freedom and prosperity in this region. One of the most important ways we can do so is through the expansion of trade and investment." - President George W. Bush, Remarks at APEC Business Summit, 9/7/07

    Fact Sheet: More Than 8.2 Million Jobs Created Since August 2003 Including this factoid: "Real After-Tax Per Capita Personal Income Has Risen By 11.9 Percent – An Average Of Over $3,500 Per Person – Since President Bush Took Office." The question is whether "average" is used here to mean average or median, two very different things. "For example, in the odd series 1, 4, 9, 12 and 33, 9 is the median. In the even series 1, 4, 10, 12, 33 and 88, 11 is the median (halfway between 9 and 12). Note, the median is not necessarily the same as the AVERAGE (or mean). For example, the median of 2, 6, 10, 22 and 40 is 10 but the average is 18." (Source for "median") In other words, with the number of US billionaires skyrocketing the average probably moves up but the median might actually be declining. (Note: I'm not a economist, just speculating here.)

    Fact Sheet: Strengthening the Forces of Freedom and Prosperity in the Asia Pacific ties in nicely to the quote in the first example I listed.

    All of this does nothing to inspire confidence in me. I'm so used to the Bushies lying and misrepresenting... well, everything, I would revise my view of the world if they said water was wet.

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    Sunday, September 09, 2007


    Blogs of Interest 1

    As I was reminded when Skippy the Bush Kangaroo mentioned me in a post, part of blogging is passing on the love to other blogs. Although I just did a post scouting some other blogs, I am compelled to do it again.

    Today, we are all bloggers. Or something like that.

    Cruising through Feministing's blogroll, I rounded up the following blogs of interest: (Er, um, not cruising... uh, not like that, really. Oh, no! My recurring foot-in-mouth disease!)

    Feminista! A Journal of Feminist Construction appears to be an online journal with articles such as Who's Co-opting Feminism? by Christy Burbidge and A Challenge to the Feminist Community by Laura Kamienski.

    Feminist Law Professors is a mix of stuff, from news stories to conference announcements to letters.

    Radical Doula says "Let’s start with a list of things that I identify with which led me to use this classification: doula, pro-choice, lesbian, latina, birth activist, progressive, gender non-conformist." She posts on all these issues.

    Racialicious is a group blog concerned with stories on race and racism.

    Pseudo-Adrienne's Liberal-Feminist Bias will entertain you and drive you to tears. (Hyperbolic? Me? Never!) She has an extensive blogroll which I'm itching to explore.

    Our Bodies, Our Blog is focused on birth control and health info. From their About Us page:
    Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS), also known as the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective (BWHBC), is a nonprofit, public interest women’s health education, advocacy, and consulting organization. Beginning in 1970 with the publication of the first edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, OBOS has inspired the women’s health movement by:
    * Producing books that makes accurate health and medical information accessible to a broad audience by weaving women’s stories into a framework of practical, clearly written text;
    * Identifying and collaborating with exemplary individuals and organizations that provide services, generate research and policy analysis, and organize for social change;
    * Inspiring and empowering women to become engaged in the political aspects of sustaining good health for themselves and their communities.
    Dru Blood is a blog with a little of this and that, environmental concerns, personal stuff, parenting. Check her out.

    And if any of the above bloggers are unhappy with my characterizations of their blogs, I plead laziness and ADD. It's a tough world for bloggers.

    Listening to: "Must Have More" by L7

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    Saturday, September 08, 2007


    Ululating Lament of the Blogroll

    I recently took a hard look at my blogroll and culled the deadwood out. Deadwood means blogs which haven't had posts for months, either on hiatus or obviously abandoned. I was embarrassed to find quite a few of these, some dead since 2006. I've obviously not being keeping up on my blog reading.

    Time to do a little exploration and begin adding some fun new links.

    The Wild Hunt is a sort of Neopagan newswire and commentary blog. "A modern Pagan perspective" is the subtitle. The reporting and links seem to be of high quality. Recommended. The blogroll on it led me to the following.

    A Heathen Blog which hasn't been updated since April 2007 but has lots of links. "The purpose of this project is to provide visibility and exposure for Heathen/Asatru perspectives. In this regard, it is meant to inform and even entertain people from all walks - from the ‘old-school’ Heathens, to those who are getting their first real look at this religious path."

    Blog o' Gnosis has long posts, thoughful and expansive.

    Letter from Hardscrabble Creek - A Pagan Writer's Blog by Chas S. Clifton ruminates on The Occult Experience, a documentary from the late 1980s here.

    That's enough for now. Go now and blog-hop in peace.

    Listening to: "I Don't Need No Doctor" by Humble Pie

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    Friday, September 07, 2007


    Push Bush Back: An Illustrated Screed

    Prez. Bush:

    I hate you.

    Perhaps you know this already, with the powers assigned to many government law enforcement agencies under your watch. Then again, you might not since you seem both blissfully ignorant and viciously arrogant in your isolated White House perch.

    I thought no one could surpass the blunderful Prez. Reagan, destructor of so much in my estimation. Your lack of compassion, your obvious contempt of just about everyone, your sullen swagger, and your posse of bullies all declare your basic predatory nature.

    I've never been sure whether to blame you or the people you surround yourself with. Now I realize it's all the same: They all act in your name and their loyalty carries out atrocities.

    The wide social, economic and ecological blight you've caused and set in motion will reverberate for years. Perhaps for decades. Yet I sense your arrogance and pride see a different picture, an illusion of creating a better world (at least for the powerful elites.) Still the multitudes fall to disease, famine and bombs, victims of your administration's visions.

    I long for the day I will be able to dance. Perhaps I will dance naked in the rain on your grave. I will not be alone.

    Listening to: "Double Dare" by Bauhaus

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    Tuesday, September 04, 2007


    Silencing Voices, Devouring Communities

    A recent Boston Phoenix editorial ("In praise of four-letter words") reminded me the depth of the FCC's chilling of speech:
    And now filmmaker Ken Burns, who tackles apple-pie subjects with uncommon grit and intelligence, is caught up in a controversy about whether four words — two “fucks,” one “shit,” and an “asshole” — in his 14-hour documentary about World War II, The War, will land broadcasters who air his work in trouble. That trouble could cost stations up to $1.3 million in fines each time they broadcast an uncut and uncensored version of Burns’s work.
    It's easy to say "who cares?" about these few rude words: Who cares whether they are cut out of the documentary and/or who cares whether these words are broadcast and heard? The answer, of course, is you should care.

    We are indoctrinated to believe that people who want to be heard and taken seriously should express themselves without using these verbal vulgarities and intensifiers. Yet this attitude is designed to exclude vast numbers of people, to ensure some voices are never heard widely, never reach the broadcast airwaves.

    "Oh, no one really wants to hear those people who can't be bothered to speak politely and with a civil tongue!" And that's the point: Using these words doesn't invalidate someone's humanity or ideas and concerns. I have a strong feeling this is the very point of not allowing certain language on broadcast TV and radio, to censor culture and expression. Much is made of protecting children from the influence of these words but it strikes me as a weak excuse to cover control of ideas and people.

    "The pigs keep fucking with us." Or "The police engage in constant harassment of our community." The first example lacks some specifics but I think the meaning is clearly parallel to the second example. (Yes, these are examples that I made up from whole cloth; it's my post and I'll fucking write it the way that makes sense to me.)

    It's obvious that I prefer a nuanced voice with a vocabulary that eschews vulgar words for the most part, particularly in the written form. But I also don't imagine myself as an arbiter of culture or a dictator of everyone else's public voice. That's what bothers me about the FCC's recent ramping up of fines and penalties for "obscenity" on the air, the sense that words used regularly in daily conversation and expression by vast numbers of people are taboo in broadcast public discourse. What it creates is a disconnect, a split between the language of everyday and the so-called "civilized" level of broadcast media. Does it create a better, more truthful and accurate presentation of our world in the media? Unsurprisingly, I think the bullshit still flies thick on TV and radio. Of course, no one can call it bullshit because that's a forbidden word.

    Umph. No strong ending here. Might I suggest you hie yourself over to this nice little article on the word "Fuck" at the Ireland Information Guide? It's fun and educational.

    Listening to: "Is This Where You Live" by Church, The

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    Monday, September 03, 2007


    Sketches Toward a Death Mask of George W. Bush

    I actually think my title is wittier than the realization of the subject matter. Still, there's a certain Warholesque homage to the repeated image processed in different ways.

    I'm glad I live in the USA where I have the freedom to express this particular vision, yet I feel obliged to state that I have no intent, plans or urge to assassinate the current President.

    Um, well, that's not strictly true: I do have urges. However, I also have many desires and urges that I recognize as (how to put it?) poor life choices for myself. Life in prison? Not the consequence or life plan I want to follow. And, as is sometimes said, how is putting Cheney in the Presidency much different from the current situation?

    Listening to: "In My Time of Dying" by Led Zeppelin

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