Friday, September 16, 2005

Boing Boing: Katrina: joke du jour

"Q: What's George Bush's position on Roe v. Wade?
A: He really doesn't care how people get out of New Orleans. "
No matter what Bush says, all Americans hear is "disaster"

"The rest of the federal bureaucracy may be slow off the dime, but not this Republican Congress: They practice spending hundreds of billions all year long so that when disaster hits, they'll be ready. "

Thursday, September 15, 2005

on "repeat" at the manse today Country Got Soul a collection of smooth 'n' gritty cookers from people like Charlie Rich, Dan Penn, Tony Joe White, including "Fancy" by Bobbie Gentry, as jaw-dropping a story song as you're ever likely to hear. And if you've never heard Eddie Hinton...
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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Decline of the West

"During my months in the Caribbean, I often asked myself why, when I was exhausted by the vitality of others, it was in the Afro-Cuban cults, of all places, that I regained my strength. Why, of all things, the sect-like rituals of the Santeria and Palo Monte gave me a sense of security whose effect even lasted a while on my return to everyday life. And the answer I reluctantly gave myself again and again was that besides giving us a great deal, Enlightenment finally takes away that which makes life easier and brings happiness closer--certainty beyond knowledge, steadfastness in spite of all trials and tribulations--and precisely this was rendered palpable by every practising Santero or Palero. It was only during these hours of ritual that I felt once again the cathartic trembling before the superhuman which in Christian churches has vanished in the programme of 'love thy neighbour as thyself'. Who wants bread and wine when they can have blood and (sacrificed) flesh? Who wants a benevolent god in some abstract realm who has withdrawn from his creation (with a shepherd-in-chief who always appears uncertain, in spite of the hype surrounding the Pope), when they can have priests who give clear instructions and certainty in life, when they can have communication with the dead, when they can have gods who violently possess their followers to dance, smoke and drink with them? Anyone who has experienced the undiminished, African intensity of religious belief in the Caribbean--with all its fear and horror, dread and terror, to the point of barbarity --knows that in the long term, our godless society cannot defend itself against this with a private brand of individualist esotericism."

via metafilter a great trove of mp3's by Enrico Caruso

Ben Watt "The Night I Heard Caruso Sing" (from EBTG "Idlewild")

The highlands and the lowlands
are the routes my father knows,
the holidays at Oban
and the towns around Montrose,
but even as he sleeps,
they're loading bombs into the hills,
and the waters in the lochs can run deep,
but never still.

I've thought of having children,
but I've gone and changed my mind.
It's hard enough to watch the news,
let alone explain it to a child,
to cast your eye cross nature,
over fields of rape and corn,
and tell him without flinching
not to fear where he's been born.

Then someone sat me down last night,
and I heard Caruso sing.
He's almost as good as Presley,
and if I only do one thing,
I'll sing songs to my father,
I'll sing songs to my child.
It's time to hold your loved ones
while the chains are loose,
and the world runs wild.

But even as we speak,
they're loading bombs
onto a white train.
How can we afford to ever sleep,
so sound again?

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Zak Smith's Illustrations for Each Page of Gravity's Rainbow

After telling someone I wasn't going to I find myself reading it again, in the golden Bantam paperback I first read it in, stretched in the back seat of Victor Bateman's one-door Ford in the parking lot of Nanaimo District Senior Secondary, 1975...

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No Direction Home

"Let's be clear about one thing. Nothing that happened last week -- the mass destruction in the Mississippi Delta, the obliteration of the city of New Orleans, the murderous abandonment of thousands of people to death, chaos and disease -- will change the Bush Administration or American politics at all. Not one whit. President George W. Bush will not reverse his brutal policies; his Congressional rubber-stamps will not revolt against the White House; the Democrats will not suddenly grow a spine. There will be no real change, and the bitter corrosion of injustice, indifference and inhumanity that is consuming American society will go on as before.

One indication of this can be found in the first polls coming out after the disaster, which show that some 45 percent of the American people approve of Bush's handling of the relief effort. It seems inconceivable that any sentient being could witness the agonizing results of the Bush team's dithering, dilatory response -- an agony played out in the full glare of non-stop media coverage -- and not come away with a sense of towering anger at this criminal incompetence. But it's obvious that nearly half the American people have now left the "reality-based community" altogether; they see only what they want to see, a world bathed in the hazy, golden nimbus of the Leader. The fact -- the undeniable truth -- that behind this carefully-concocted mirage lies nothing more than a steaming pile of rancid, rotting offal means nothing to these true believers. The Lie is better, the Lie is more comforting, the Lie lets them keep feeding on the suffering of others without guilt or shame.

This painful split between obvious reality and popular perception is nothing new, of course. Today we look at old footage of Adolf Hitler and wonder how on earth such a pathetic and ludicrous creature could ever have commanded the adoration and obedience of tens of millions of people. Yet he did. As T.S. Eliot once wrote, "Human kind cannot bear very much reality." "

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Glenn Gould's "The Search for Petula Clark" and Samuel Beckett's "Film" (with Buster Keaton) only some of the many goodies new and old on the thankfully revived U B U W E B
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Smoky Moon

Smoky Moon, originally uploaded by The Nature Lady.

Last night the Nanaimo moon was still pale orange around midnight. Delta only 20km not forty, the wind going the other way today though hazy.

Burns Bog, September 11 2005

Burns Bog, September 11 2005, originally uploaded by megarhyssa.

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Power to the victims of New Orleans

"Before the flood, this highly profitable vision was already displacing thousands of poor African-Americans: while their music and culture was for sale in an increasingly corporatised French Quarter (where only 4.3% of residents are black), their housing developments were being torn down. 'For white tourists and businesspeople, New Orleans's reputation means a great place to have a vacation, but don't leave the French Quarter or you'll get shot,' Jordan Flaherty, a New Orleans-based labour organiser told me the day after he left the city by boat. 'Now the developers have their big chance to disperse the obstacle to gentrification - poor people.'"
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Monday, September 12, 2005

great to see Robert Duvall's The Apostle again, though with some concern for the lovely bayou country in which its mostly set...
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Burns Bog: Fire outside of Vancouver (Sep. 11, 2005)

We're about 40km away, and this morning a pall of smoke started filling our valley.