Monday, December 31, 2007
Auld Lang Syne - Duke Ellington
At this time, I wish to peremptorily wish you all the best for 2008, wherever you might find yourself in the world.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow
The year is going, let him go
Ring out the false, ring in the true - Tennyson
...May you all shine on.
As we get ready to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another...
Please, party people, avoid emulating the poor examples of President George Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney...
DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE.
Everybody needs to get home safely...Thank you.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
"What I really need to ask myself is: do I give up, do I let the militants determine the agenda?" - Benazir Bhutto, Oct. 2007.
...But consider the wisdom of giving one's enemies advance notice of your intentions.
It can have consequences.
Image credit: John Moore/Getty Images
Thursday, December 27, 2007
These guys have had a strikingly long history on the scene...Formed from a 60's Vancouver band called The Collectors (of Lydia Purple fame), they evolved into Canadian stalwarts during the 1970's, and in time and after some personnel changes (including Brian 'Too Loud' McLeod on guitar) finally made the American hit parade in the early '80's with the above tune.
Now, in their current incarnation and fronted by original member Bill Henderson, they work the circuits reawakening tender memories within their loyal fans.
My personal favorite album of theirs is Dreams, Dreams, Dreams...Never released on CD, such a shame.
'...'cause we're the ones
Who get to steal the show
And I don't know
Perhaps you're right
But even so
If there's no audience there ain't no show'
Truer words never spoken.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Oh, how nice...A Christmas quiz from a pal. Unfortunately, I don't tag.
So, 'f*ck the rules', as it were...But I will respond, in the spirit of giving.
1. Wrapping or gift bags?
Either, with a preference to simplicity...And in an ideal world, neither.
2. Real or artificial tree?
Like my holiday spirit, artificial.
3. When do you put up the tree?
When I grow weary of being nagged about it.
4. When do you take the tree down?
The nanosecond that my meager holiday cheer expires of natural causes.
5. Do you like egg nog?
As a child, I practically lapped it from a bowl...But not as an adult.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
The Nasty Book For Boys And Girls, by Bert Fegg.
7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes...Nude, and suggestively posed.
8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
The presence of unwanted company.
9. Mail or email Christmas cards?
G*d bless the Internet, everyone.
10. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Trading Places, with Ackroyd and Murphy.
11. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Whenever I see a bargain...Strictly 'thrift for gifts'.
12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
13. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
This question certainly could be interpreted in a number of ways.
14. Favorite Christmas song(s)?
F*ck Christmas, by Fear.
15. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
I've done both...As the level of gibbering befuddlement rises, my interest in journeying through it and sharing the moment wanes.
16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Yes. And so can you.
17. Angel on the tree top or a star?
This year, a star...Santa on a crucifix tends to be somewhat misinterpreted.
18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
With a large Euro-American extended family, the orgy of greed never ends.
19. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The saturation level of advertising, and phony sentiments expressed oh so sincerely.
20. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color?
This year, yes...Black and red. Quite fetching - But I wasn't able to find suitable barbed wire.
21. What do you leave for Santa?
The dishes...But that lazy potlicker can't be bothered.
22. Least favorite holiday song?
Just about the entire thrice-damned pantheon.
23. Favorite ornament?
See answer 17.
24. Family tradition?
Drinking, and suggestive gossip leading to heated banter and fisticuffs.
25. Ever been to Midnight Mass or late-night Christmas Eve services?
If memory serves, at least once as a child. Did the church catch fire? I'll never tell.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Not exactly Karl's story, financially speaking...His publisher might be another tale, altogether.
Why would a post-literate populace deign to digest their diet of lies in hardback form when a mere push of a button brings the convenience of mendacity to the homespace in living color around the clock for pennies a day?
Still, I can't stand to see someone go without at this time of year...Here.
Make that paper extra absorbent, Mary...Pet accidents can be tedious without the right tools for cleanup.
And if you're looking for a saucy cover pic to stimulate sales, well...
Thursday, December 20, 2007
At last, a Canadian band that most Americans will be quite familiar with.
Never compromising their musicality to suit changing fashions, but instead molding the changing times to themselves in a successful career spanning over 3 decades. Darn nice fellas, too.
Please welcome Lerxst, Dirk, and Pratt, the Big Smoke's own...RUSH.
OK, take off, eh?
At this moment in time, I would like to wish my family, friends, and the world a most joyous holiday filled with the treasures of love and fellowship.
Like many of you, I will be reducing posting for the holidays to let the demands of real life take precedence...Thus, watch this space for further developments.
As some of you who know me might be aware, I occasionally express myself in musical terms...As my gift to you, should you wish it, here are some examples of same.
Very Early, Ruby My Dear, and Fluerette Africaine representing a quieter side, and Dragonfly to show a harder edge.
'Me and my bass against the world...The world better call for backup'
Peace on Earth for you all...Even you, George.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
My American friends might think they have 'problems with government', and indeed the mounting evidence points to that being somewhat true.
But we plucky denizens of the chilly wastes beyond the 49th parallel are not immune to the sort of blatant insults to intelligence that mes amis Americains have come to take for granted in the modern world of politainment.
Indeed, the fellow who once dragged our nation around by its frozen nose has been back in the news again, and if he's breathing, he's prevaricating:
Brian Mulroney is surely sincere in regretting what he described to the committee as the first-and second-biggest mistakes of his life: agreeing to be introduced to Mr. Schreiber and receiving what he says were three cash payments of $75,000 from him.
According to the former prime minister, Mr. Schreiber insisted on paying cash for legitimate international lobbying work and described this as standard practice for "European businessmen."
He says that he was never asked to file written reports with Schreiber or anyone else at Thyssen in exchange for this lucrative work, nor asked for details of his expenses.
He never deposited the three $75,000 payments in any bank or other credit account, supposedly choosing to stick bundles of thousand-dollar bills in safety deposit boxes and drawing upon them as needed. He says that when he received the third and final payment in New York, he put the money in a safety deposit box there, instead of bringing it back with him to Canada where it would be close at hand.
And he claims he kept a record of how much he had drawn down from these various stashes, but that the ledger has long since been discarded or destroyed, along with any other records relating to the $225,000.
There are apparently no surviving notes or diaries on the meetings for which he was paid, either.
It seems almost equally odd that in 1999, after Schreiber was charged with bribery and corruption in Germany, Mr. Mulroney unilaterally decided that the remainder of the money was only now formally "his" and that it was finally time to report the existence of the $225,000 to Revenue Canada.
He paid taxes on the entire sum, even the deductible portion he apparently had used up in meeting his lobbying expenses.
Well, isn't that nice. Pardon me while the excess I.Q leaks out of my ears, I didn't need it anyway.
This guy was balls deep in the pockets of corporate America before he ever ran for office, thought nothing of telling a voter to 'go fuck yourself' during an election, and now swans about Palm Beach with his benefactors in the winter season...His just reward for lining the pockets of the privileged at the expense of the many.
To be fair, he has won compensation from the Canadian government for impugning his 'good name' in the above referenced affair, as with no hard evidence at the time to support charges of corruption prosecution could not go forward...Of course, the fact that Lyin' Brian actually took the loot and ran was somewhat obscure at the time.
And thus the taint will never go away as he might hope for, for in his own words 'there's no whore like an old whore'...And the corner streetlight apparently needs propping up again.
For those with a further interest, Warren Kinsella has rounded up some of the relevant headlines.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Well now, if you were 'twixt teen and twenty in the latter part of the bellbottoms and pukka shells era, you may have heard these fellows leaking out of a car stereo or two...Ottawa's own Pat Travers, who caught a break early on in the guitar chair of Rompin' Ronnie Hawkins, one of the godfathers of Canadian Rock and Roll.
Here he is around '76 or so, ably backed by Nicko McBrain (who now mans the skins for Iron Maiden), and one of the most criminally unknown bassists to ever pluck the boomstick, Mr. Peter 'Mars' Cowling.
Give a listen to the bass line underpinning the more well-known version of this tune found on Live! Go For What You Know, and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
'And one more time'
I'm a devotee of the Weekly World News, a fine publication that features among its many charms an ersatz columnist by the name of Ed Anger, whose argumentative approach is to spew a Vesuvius of vindictive vitriol at anyone who fails to conform to the rigid 'American' behavioral norms he deems
Hippies, foreigners, non-Republicans, various traitors-to-be-named, and any other unwashed rabbled riffraff that failed to recognize their rightful place holding down the bottom rung of the Great Experiment's socioeconomic ladder.
Top-notch character spoof writing due to the comic effect of seeing such poltroons taken to their logical extremes, and good for a chuckle unless you failed to see the tongue firmly planted in cheek.
However, more and more I'm finding it hard to differentiate between Mssr. Anger's rythyms and the sort of overheated jingo-holler proffered by Bill O'Reilly and his fellow honkers on the Bullshit Bullhorn.
One cannot cast aspersions on the patriotism or loyalties of others, merely because their politics differ, unless you're prepared to adopt a rather narrow definition of 'loyalty' that precludes any criticism whatsoever of all American initiatives or policies, period.
I view this as an intellectually vapid reaction to contrary data, and typical of those who seek to ignore all the inconvenient contradictions in favor of a cozily self-righteous sleep.
Such mental circus tricks leave little room for interpretation of other aspects of the individual's character, as well.
On September 12th,2001 (that's 12th, Rudy) a dominant majority of the Western world (and a goodly proportion of the remainder of our planet) stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States...America had but to ask, to point a finger at those who brought terror to U.S. soil, and using factual information with clear objectives we would have achieved the impossible together.
It would have been glorious.
That is what was thrown away...Discarded as needless goodwill, regarded as the undesirable effluents of disdained foreign affairs...A tragic, cheap, and unnecessary waste.
Of course, there are many 'America haters' abroad, and only an unacceptably blinkered view cannot see that reality, or the menace it portends.
But anyone capable of rational adult thought needs to acknowledge that this hatred has many faces, some of who have acquired it commensurate with the number of trips they have taken to the local morgue to identify family members and friends.
Women and children non-combatants, people who posed no threat to any established order have perished so that citizens of a faraway land can feel safe at home...And these passages have left hearts filled with hate in their wake.
To me, an identification appears to be regularly fabricated by these sophistic pundits between the idealized state of 'America', which many could justifiably take pride in, and those titled and private individuals and concerns who specialize in malfeasance, cronyism, and lying like a bloodstained shag carpet when accused of crimes against the public.
If that is this sacrosanct 'America' that dare not be criticized...To Hell with it.
Give me back the better America. And give it back now.
Crossposted at SteveAudio.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Fallen media mogul Conrad Black was today sentenced to six and a half years in a US jail, following his conviction earlier this year for embezzling millions of dollars from his Hollinger media empire.
Black, who arrived at court accompanied by his wife Barbara Amiel, and his daughter Alana, could have faced 24 years in prison.
Chicago judge Amy St Eve also fined former media tycoon $125,000.
Black will spend Christmas at home - he has been given 12 weeks to put his affairs in order and report to prison in March.
125 grand...Oh, I'm sure that'll put a crimp in Christmas.
One hopes that this raffish foreigner will put his idle time to good use by learning a trade, or perhaps bettering himself through education...Thus, enabling him to put his ill-mannered thuggery behind him and rejoin society as a changed man, free of his criminal compulsions.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
"A proper school should teach nothing but bookkeeping, agriculture, geometry, dead languages made deader by leaving out all the amusing literature, and the Hebrew Bible as interpreted by men superbly trained to ignore contradictions, men technically called 'Fundamentalists.'" - Sinclair Lewis, Elmer Gantry, XXIX-9, p. 375.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
...when the reality began to take hold.
If Hunter S. Thompson were alive and bearing witness to the current struggle for Republican primacy, this carny pavane of rainbow-tinted carrion, it would take three bottles of Wild Turkey, some fresh-ground pineal gland, two lemons and a sprinkle of Ibogaine just to wrap his head around how decayed the entire electoral parade of political whores has become.
Let's read the vile scorecard, shall we?
A filthy rich second generation ward-heeler with the ethical firmness of a marshmallow who wants to buy the election before the others can steal it.
A filthy and richly shaded ex-mayor, equipped with hot and cold running accomplices who regards it as a droit de seigneur that his city's police force should act as his mistresses's personal limo service.
A religious zealot who beseeches God to vote Republican, on his prop cel phone...That's a mockery. From a man of faith.
...And not that this sort of conspicuously worshipful behavior is an unusual public display in a crew that panders to the Christian power brokers as much as these characters do, but this one appears comfortable with freeing rape-murderers to strike back at his ideological opponents politically, and then lying about it...
A shallow, low-climbing Hollywood hack who's hoping that all the voters who can pull the lever for nostalgia will mistake him in a critically dimly-lit moment for that other Hollywood hack who managed to remember his cues for 8 years.
Some sort of schismatic Libertarian hybrid who would love to teach the world to sing themselves back in time to oh, say about 1931, on a magic carpet of negative charisma... just in time for the new dust bowl.
An ex-POW wartime flier who has let the evildoers treat him like a passed out crack whore in the back of Daddy's station wagon on a darkened street in the dirty part of town, for reasons one could only speculate are Manchurian in nature.
...And two low-hanging demagogues looking to squeeze as much juice for their pet hate and their clubby little wallets as they can before the curtain comes down.
In short, every bit of cast-off battle damage and detritus of the mid to late 20th century, wrapped up in a big bow by privileged white men whose only thought is how to finish the looting incurred by almost 8 years of incompetent imperial corporate rule to get their rancid piece of the American dream-turned-nightmare....and all of them running like hell from the mother of all bad report cards.
As my fourth grade math teacher once said...What a bunch of prizes.
These are the native choices available to the sincere non-criminal elements of conservatism, and frankly, to such adherents of that philosophy as can extricate themselves from the Bush-Cheney 'death cult for profit' morass you have my sympathies, for whatever you may think they are worth.
It must not be a pleasant prospect to cast a vote knowing that, regardless of whom it is cast for, the chosen one who scampers past the post first will be the executioner, undertaker...and final burnt offering of one's own ideology.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
" Ketchup? What ketchup? "
A new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released today concludes with “high confidence” that “in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.”
And, predictably, this NIE has been:
...held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear programme, and thus make the document more supportive of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's militarily aggressive policy toward Iran...
Let the prevaricatory obfuscateratin' begin.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Zappadan is imminent. In fact, it's downright encroaching.
The M.O.I. at the Roxy...The first Zappa album I ever owned, almost brand new. Heavy bizness for ten-year-old me.
and the Omega:
The track that was playing when I heard of his passing, late at night while on tour in Toronto.
A void in the realm that cannot be filled with mere words.
'Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty.
Beauty is not love.
Love is not music.
Music is THE BEST.' - FZ
Sunday, December 02, 2007
My pal SteveAudio (who makes the bad sound good and the good sound better) has a thought-provoking post up about the oft-repeated 'liberal media' meme that gets trotted out whenever the heat gets hot for conservative thought.
Now, I'm an obsessive news troller...Partly for fueling my little pastiche hobby, and partly out of deeply ingrained habit, being a newsie's kid wanting to keep up my end of the table talk.
And ever since this meme began circulating about 'liberal media', I have looked for data that would support or enhance such a conclusion, to expand upon my own subjective experience.
I wasn't interested in demographic studies that purported to show reporters being 'liberal' in their personal lives, because those same charts showed that editorial and media ownership groups trended just as sharply to the conservative end of the spectrum in executive and business affairs, creating a rather obvious offset.
And anyone with even a minor understanding of news reportage knows that reporters don't just plop out a completed screed on their hapless editor's desk and scamper off to their socialist glee club meetings astride a rainbow colored unicorn with no expectation of revision or spiking.
But let us accept for an argument the sub rosa conservative premise that liberal thought does indeed infest the news divisions and reporter's pools, and is stealthily manipulating an easily gulled public into substantial revision of their personally held beliefs.
What does this say about conservative attitudes toward that same public?
Does it imply, 'Fortunately, an enlightened populace seeking a balanced viewpoint rejects this sort of claptrap out of hand'?
Or, 'Luckily, sweet impartial reason, filled to bursting with informed oversight nips this communistic drivel in the bud'?
No, it does not.
It says...'You, the public, are too stupid and consumerly to analyze and filter anything past horoscopes and The Family Circus.
Thus, we must drive our talking point home before our opponents do, over and over, again and again, until you accept our filter on your subjective perception and adopt our viewpoint as your own - Because you are sheep in need of a shepherd, and we are shepherds in need of fleece and lambchops.'
'Let us think for you, since you are incapable of using your beautiful minds without being swayed by the siren song of the Left.
This is unacceptable to us, and we shall make it unacceptable to you.'
Over 50% of the registered voters in the United States, 62 million people, voted for George Bush in 2004 not because a 'liberal media's web of lies' were so easily seen through and reacted against.
All the facts as we know them today were on the table then...The corruption, the cronyism, the incompetence, the lies that led to war...It was all there, and it wasn't being reported on.
Who benefited from that lack of reportage... exactly?
Hey Karl, I've got a cherry-picked quote for you:
Remarks by the President in Photo Opportunity with Secretary of State Colin Powell, The Oval Office, September 19, 2002:
Q Mr. President, are you going to send Congress your proposed resolution today? And are you asking for a blank check, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: I am sending suggested language for a resolution. I want -- I've asked for Congress' support to enable the administration to keep the peace. And we look forward to a good, constructive debate in Congress.
I appreciate the fact that the leadership recognizes we've got to move before the elections.
Gosh, did the President really say that? He must have been under huge duress from that nasty Congress looking to get its war on all over his pretty face.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Former White House aide Karl Rove said yesterday it was Congress, not President Bush, who wanted to rush a vote on the looming war in Iraq in the fall of 2002, a version of events disputed by leading congressional Democrats and even some former Rove colleagues.
Rove said that the administration did not want lawmakers to vote on a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq that soon because it would "make things move too fast," before Bush could line up international allies, and politicize the issue ahead of midterm elections.
But Democrats and some Republicans involved with the issue at the time said yesterday that Bush wanted a quick vote.
News accounts and transcripts at the time show Bush arguing against delay. Asked on Sept. 13, 2002, about Democrats who did not want to vote until after the U.N. Security Council acted, Bush said, "If I were running for office, I'm not sure how I'd explain to the American people -- say, 'Vote for me, and, oh, by the way, on a matter of national security, I think I'm going to wait for somebody else to act.' "
Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary at the time, said Daschle had pressed Bush over the summer to bring the matter to Congress but for consultation, not necessarily a vote. Bush decided to seek a vote authorizing force, Fleischer said. "It was definitely the Bush administration that set it in motion and determined the timing, not the Congress," he said. "I think Karl in this instance just has his facts wrong."
Former White House chief of staff Andrew H. Card Jr. was asked on MSNBC yesterday about Rove's comments but told only that Rove asserted Democrats pushed Bush into war. Card laughed and said that "sometimes his mouth gets ahead of his brain."
A cursory look at the facts of history proves Rove either an opportunistic liar attempting to perform remote damage control on Bush's Good Ship Lollipop as the bow begins to rise for the final plunge...Or a sociopathic liar, whose only thought is to save his own miserable skin prior to a judgement he knows will be harsh and unforgiving.
As for the mass media which persists in spreading these self-serving mendacities in a credulous, breathy fashion tucked between commercials for laxatives and ED remedies...Thanks for once again demonstrating your looming irrelevance.
News flash, Karl...The judicious study of discernible reality has claws that catch and jaws that snatch...And you are in the cage with it now, wearing pork chop perfume and a come-hither smirk.
How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?