Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Freewheelin' Time

I just finished this new book by Suze Rotolo. She is the woman in the picture. An iconic image that opened the door to a new era in American music. The album cover was Freewheelin' by Bob Dylan and there has been much written, mostly speculation over the last 40 years about the blond woman with Dylan.
Suze finally broke her silence regarding her relationship with Bob Dylan when she was interviewed by Martin Scorcese for his Dylan documentary, No Direction Home.
In the book, we learn that Suze Rotolo is a force to be reckoned with. A daughter of an Italian Family from Queens, she grew up in a politically radical house hold. She is an artist and has always been involved with theater. She met Bob Dylan when she was 17 and was involved with him as he was learning the craft and becoming the performer and cultural force he is known as today.
In the book, she sets the record straight and gives many insights into the relationship and speculations which have swirled around her for years. The real craft of her writing is to say enough, but know when to close the door. She reveals herself with out embarrassing the reader.
She gives a unique history of a special time and place. The evolving folk music scene in Greenwich Village in the early 60's. She introduces you to the characters and the places and gives a good taste of what it was really like.
She really seems to have struggled with the very idea of breaking her silence and relinquishing her privacy after living a life and raising her own family in the same neighborhood as much of the book takes place. She makes us appreciate her decision to do so.
More over, though the focus of the book is the relationship, the story is really about Suze and her remarkable life at that time. She travels to Italy and lives there for a while, she protests the travel embargo on Cuba by actually going there and having her passport revoked as an act of protest. She tells all of this from a heart felt personal point of view. She tells of herself at an age when so much can be packed into such a little time.
Above all, this is not a celebrity "tell all" book.
This book is really about change. Living with it, making it and accepting it.
A truly impressive book by a very impressive woman.

A Freewheelin' Time
Written by Suze Rotolo


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Thursday, May 29, 2008

N'issi N'issi

I mentioned this piece in earlier. This is N'issi N'issi by Khaled, produced by Don Was. This is horn driven funk bassed propelled Algerian Funk that will make your camel get up on his four feet and get down on his good foot!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What We Believe

In my post, yesterday, I wrote of the technique of delegitimazation in destroying a candidate or politician. One of the biggest examples of how it has been used against Barack Obama by the Conservative Noise Machine is the use of the lie about his attendance in a Madrassah Islam School in Indonesia as a child. This also was expanded to infer that he is a secret Muslim, an Islamic Manchurian Candidate as it were.
When asked about this, Hillary Clinton refused to give a straight answer and responded ambiguously saying "Not to my knowlege."

I have been amazed and appalled when I look at blogs and news sites with items about Obama and find that there are always hysterical trolls frantically posting their dire warnings that Obama is a Muslim. I have a hard time believing that the people posting can actually believe what they are writing. I have a hard time concieving that they actually think that their dire warnings could actually sway an intelligent reader.
I wonder about the validity of polls that state that a full 10% of Americans actually say they believe that Obama is a Muslim, yet that is the finding of a vary recent PEW Poll.
Other polls give even higher numbers.

But, perhaps I can take solace with the findings of recent polls that state:
22% of Americans still believe that President Bush knew of the 9/11 attacks in advance.
30% still believe that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.
23% firmly believe that they have been in the presence of a ghost.
18% believe that the sun revolves around the earth.

I'm not quite sure if I am reassured to know that 7% more American believe the sun revolves around the earth than the percentage of Americans who believe that Barack Obama went to a Muslim Madrassah in Indonesia.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

We Can Over Come

Beginning in 1994, we began to see the general technique of delegitimization and contempt as a polictical tactic by the "Contract With America" Republican Conservatives led by Newt Gingrich. It was a deliberate attempt with directives given to use specific language to deny Bill Clinton the right to his office as President.
Instructions went out in memorandums as to which words to use and they were sent to conservative talk radio hosts. They cooly decided which words to use and to characterize the Clintons and their policies as "sick".
This story was documented in the disillusioned Conservative insider, David Brock's book, Blinded By The Right.

The delegitimization of Clinton led to the fruitless Whitewater investigation, the Paula Jones case, the interrogation of Monica Lewinsky and the attempt to impeach him.
What ever the Clintons felt at this time is hard to imagine and they have taken great pains to avoid this period during Hillary's present campaign.

We have already seen a predictable return to the politics of delegitamacy by the extreme Republican Right. The most surprising development, though, is the use of the technique by Hillary Clinton. We knew race was going to be an unavoidable theme of this campaign, but to hear Bill Clinton compare the victory of Barack Obama in South Carolina to Jesse Jackson's marginal candidacy was shocking.

Then, after Hillary's victory in Ohio, she made the comments about the "Commander-In-Chief" Test, which she said both John McCain and herself had mysteriously "passed", but Obama had mysteriously failed to "pass". This was a second attempt to deligitimatize Barack Obama. There was no criteria to her comment, it's success could opnly be shown by its success or failure.

Now we are dealing with the aftermath of her assassination rational as to why she is staying in the race. This is a tactic as wierd as anything the Clintons had pitched against them during the impeachment attempt.

The most disturbing element of her remark was this: that it chose to treat assassination as just one more political possibility, one of the things that happen in our politics, like hecklers, lobbyists, and forced resignations. The slovenly morale and callousness of such a released fantasy is catching. So when, a few days later, the Fox News contributor Liz Trotta was asked her opinion of Senator Clinton's statement, Trotta said: "some are reading [it] as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama...Obama. Well...both if we could!" Liz Trotta laughed as she said that. Later, she apologized, as Senator Clinton also has apologized.

Let's face it, race is never too far from the surface in discussions about Barack Obama.
There is a still fresh, still glowing ember of race fear and bigotry ready to be ignited...
If you listen, you will hear, "I am afraid of him" or "He could never win the white vote, the white working class just aren't ready for him."

William Jones wrote on the hope of democracy after the Civil War:

"The deadliest enemies of nations are not their foreign foes; they always dwell within their borders. And from these internal enemies civilization is always in need of being saved. The nation blest above all nations is she in whom the civic genius of the people does the saving day by day, by acts without external picturesqueness; by speaking, writing, voting reasonably; by smiting corruption swiftly; by good temper between parties; by the people knowing true men when they see them, and preferring them as leaders to rabid partisans or empty quacks. Such nations have no need of wars to save them."

"We shall overcome" doesn't mean: We will win equal rights for all people. It means:
We will overcome our savage impulses to settle our disputes with violence.

The acceptance of political violence, apparent in the recent casual chatter of assasination, shows a despair of overcoming that is monstrous as violence itself.

Algerian Cuban Bliss

Here's a true cultural mash up...this is incredible. Compay Segundo, the 96 year old Cuban singer who died just 2 years ago and the incomparable Algerian King of Rai Music, Cheb Khaled.
If you saw Buena Vista Social Club, you will remember Compay. He has been a Cuban music legend for many yers.
Khaled is one of the greatest artists in Algerian Rai. If you haven't heard him before, perhaps you should check out his 1996 CD, N'issi N'issi. A lot of the material was produced by Don Was and he plays bass on a few cuts including the title track which is a very danceable hybrid Rai-funk big band piece.
One of Khaleds most famous songs is called Aiysha and it is worth finding...
I will post a version on YouTube in the near future.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Omelette aux Girolles

So, it has been raining and raining here in Southwestern France for weeks. There have been some days of heat and sun and last week things almost began to dry out enough for us to plant our vegetable garden, but then the rain started again..
Yesterday was a day long deluge with storms that brought power outages twice. I realized that we were setting records when I was out in front of the barn and water was spouting from a mole hill, like a little fountain! Luckily, we are on high ground and the water flows down into the valleys surrounding us. The valley below was flooded and the little stream had widened into a raging torrent.
Today on the news, there were reports of the worst flooding in 42 years in some areas.
So the rain let up for a while and the sun came out. I took the dog for a walk in the forest, bringing a plastic bag. We waded into the entrance and down the trail which was gouged out by the torrent which had roared down hill yesterday.
Light rain started to fall, but in the forest, we were perfectly dry. I knew where I was going and soon, I started to see points of apricot golden yellow glowing in the leaf litter.
With in 15 minutes, I had collected over a kilo and a half of nice golden Girolles. Girolles are chantrelles. The name is used interchangeably, but there are a few varieties of chantrelles. The name girolle refers to the fragrant apricot golden mushrooms. They are impossible to mistake for anything else. The color, form and fragrance are unique. They do not have gills or pores, but ridges under the cap and they give off a heady scent which for me is very like apricots. I have seen them for sale in markets in the USA and I have found them in Michigan, Ohio and the Palisades on the Hudson River above New York City.
They are extremely delicious and there are many ways to enjoy them. They are quickly cooked, in fact they suffer from over cooking. I have found that they freeze well. I put them on a flat surface in the freezer and when theyy are frozen, I put them in a plastic bag.
Here is a very satisfying, classic and easy way to enjoy fresh girolles:
Omelette aux Girolles
For 4 persons

Take 500 grams of Girolles and clean them and make sure there is no sand.
You need a large frying pan or skillet. Put in a little, perhaps a soup spoon of oil and 20 grams of butter.
When the butter is melted and hot, add the girolles and a clove of garlic cut in two.
Let the girolles cook until the water they give off is evaporated, this does not take long.
Add some chopped parsley.

You need to break 10 eggs into a bowl and mix them with 20 grams of cream...creme fraiche if possible.
Pour the egg mixture into the pan and make your omelette. I always lift up the edges and let the uncooked egg flow under the omelette. Then it's a matter of letting it cook until it's set. For me, there is the moment when it "lets go" and slides around in the pan. If you have experience with omelettes, the smell changes when the eggs are just beginning to get brown on the bottom.
When the omelette is set to your taste, some people like them runny, some like them puffy...a hint, for a truly puffy omelette, finish it in a hot oven...
Slide the omelette out of the pan and fold it onto a serving plate and enjoy it hot!
Bon appetit, bien sur!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Nuclear Garbage Crisis?

In case you haven't heard about it, the city of Naples, Italy is still suffering from a garbage crisis. In fact all of Italy is suffering from a garbage crisis. They can't get rid of it and the garbage industry is controlled by the Mafia. The Berlusconi Government was elected on a pledge to do domething about the garbage. After a month in office, nothing is happening. There were demonstations Friday in Naples and what did the government do? They sent in the police and army to break up the demonstrations and old people, women and children were beaten by the good old Berlusconi law and order fascists.
Huge portions of Northern Italy have been polluted by indiscriminate dumping by the Mafia trash collectors. The region where buffalo mozzarella is made is so polluted by dioxins that the very famous cheese cannot be exported anymore.
The preferred method of trash disposal by the Mafia is to load it onto a big rotting freighter, insure the boat, then, you get the picture, stuff happens...the boat is tragically lost at sea and they make a big profit off the insurance.
Which leads me to my main point: If a country wants to run nuclear power plants, shouldn't there be some kind of basic competency test? Like at least a drivers license exam and road test?
Last week, Italy announced it intended to start its nuclear power program again and Berlusconi's good buddy, Nicolas Sarkozy is all to willing to supply French technology and get more billion dollar contracts to build the plants.
I have a simple question. Who is going to be responsible for taking out the trash?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mr. Alice Doesn't Live Here Any More

Okay, okay, alright...
A live performance from Was Not Was in their current reincarnation. They were playing in London in April. This is a cut from their new album, BOO on Rykodisc and it's a piece called "Mr. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore".
It seems it was a collaboration by Don and Dave and Bob Dylan for Paula Abdul...but she didn't want it....does this seem like the beginning of a joke?
It's great to have more music from Don and David Was after so many years.
I may post more of this stuff in the next few days if they don't try to stop me....

Friday, May 23, 2008

What's Death Got To Do With It?

You know, I really don't want to write about Hillary Clinton anymore. It's almost as if I feel that by even mentioning her name, I am giving her power, but this item is beyond the pale.
Today in an interview with the Argus Leader, Hillary actually cites in a rambling train of thought, the idea that she isn't dropping out of the race because it's only May and uhh..Bobby Kennedy was assasinated in June.
The quote occurs about 50 seconds into the interview.
Now please, someone tell me that there is another trail of logic here rather than the obvious.

America does not need this woman as president. She is destroying the chances of the Democratic party in what should be a true opportunity to win the presidency. Each day she proves herself to be less and less noble and more and more DESPARATE!
This quote is the sound of Hillary pounding the nails in the coffin of her candidacy with her own mouth!

Thanks to Americablog for breaking this story!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Here I am back home in La Sechere after 2 weeks slogging in the mud...there were a few hours of sunshine, but rain episodes nearly every day!
I worked with any where from 2 to 8 people every day trimming and cleaning 20 hectares of grape vines for the Chateau Vieux Chevrol with my trusty empamphrette. It was an interesting group. A Dutch friend who is a professional bee keeper, a Frenchman from Plazac near here, a group of 3 Moroccans and a few other of the Chateau regular crew and this year, there was a young Chinese girl from Canton who was doing a stage in France, learning about Gastronomy and Culture.
She lived at the Chateau and got to learn up close about the care and cleaning of grapevines, thousands of them!
While we were there, the 2006 wine was bottled. It has been maturing in oak casks for a year. That was pretty neat, as the bottling is done by a company that has a mobile bottling plant on a truck which can turn out 22,000 bottles a day!
We also sampled the 2005 Vieux Chevrol which already is proving to be a marvelous wine.
At the harvest, the producers in Lalande Pomerol raved about the quality of the grapes and perhaps it would be one of the great vintages.
As I am learning about the Bordeaux appellations, the true character really appears after 6 years, but the 2005 is off to a great start. If you invest in wine, take heed!
While I was working, I was literally out of touch with all media. I had no access to the internet and I had a small personal radio, but reception with BBC was touchy and usually I would start to listen and then fall asleep with the earphones in my ears...

I heard about the Burmese Typhoon and the subsequent horror and then the Sezchaun Chinese Earthquake, but details were sketchy. American politics were commented on briefly and I was able to get more from the French stations from Libourne and Bordeaux.

I am just catching up with reality. When I arrived back here, we were having grave problems with the phone lines which only got resolved yesterday afternoon. Now I am catching up with the realities of French politics as well. We filled up the car today as diesel fuel hit a record high and the fishermen threatened to blockade ships delivering fuel and the refineries! The government made some kind of concession to the fishermen...the fishermen were rightly pissed off because the government had promised to help them last year and then had done absolutely zilch!

Today, the trains are on strike...alors?

Sunday, May 04, 2008


One last post beofre I go. Teflon John by Max and The Marginalized!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Call Of The Grapes

Here I am again, the 7th year....
I am leaving to morrow for approximately 14 days for a trip back to the middle ages.
It's time for l'embourgeonage et l'empamphrage! Me and 20 hectares of grape vines armed only with my medieval empamphrette. Actually, I will be working with a team of 7 others. We take the extra buds off the vines and clean the base of the plants so hopefully, the Fine Lalande Pomerol wine from Chateau Vieux Chevrol we be as good as it can be from the 2008 harvest!
I will go back in July for the Vendenge Vert...we take off the excess leaves and grapes to insure against mold and mildew and so the grapes on each vine are fully developed and full of concentrated flavor.
Then, at the end of September, the Vendenge. The grapes are harvested and pressed and a new wine will be created!
A bientot!


This is pretty good and extremely accurate!
I guess I'm posting this mainly in response to the borderline hysterical anonymous post I received on the Hillary vs The Coffee Machine clip I posted under the title "I Wanna Be Like Common People".
Anonymous told me "Leave Hillary alone, you Nerd!" and "She's an awesome candidate!"
It was kind of like the viral Brittany Spears video that was going around a few months ago....LEAVE HILLARY ALONE!

I don't think so..................

Friday, May 02, 2008

Science Makes You Kill

Ben Stein, a former Nixon aide and game-show host, probably best known for his role as a monotone teacher in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” released an anti-evolution documentary recently called, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” The premise, as I understand it, is that those who reject modern biology struggle professionally in the sciences.

Kevin Drum recently saw the movie, and reported back that towards the end, the documentary veered into the insane: “Stein spends the final half hour wandering around Dachau and telling us outright that his real motivation for attacking evolution isn’t any real flaw in the theory, but his belief that Darwinism leads directly to Nazi-ism, eugenics, atheism, the breakdown of morals, and mass slaughter. Can’t have that, so evolution needs to go too.”

Regrettably, Kevin wasn’t exaggerating. Stein recently chatted with Paul Crouch, Jr. about his film.

Stein: When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. Myers [i.e. biologist P.Z. Myers], talking about how great scientists were, I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed … that was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science — in my opinion, this is just an opinion — that’s where science leads you.

Crouch: That’s right.

Stein: …Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.

Crouch: Good word, good word.

I vaguely recall the point, not too long ago, when Stein was considered something of a mainstream figure at the intersection of politics and entertainment. He’d show up on Fox News, and then make a cameo on “Married with Children.” He seemed quirky, conservative, and harmless.

And now he’s going on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, telling a crazed televangelist that science kills, and that modern biology led to the Nazi Holocaust. It’s breathtaking.

This one's for the Doodle!

Why waste your time on John McCain? Small potatoes! Cthulu 2008! Destroy all the humans! Fast, efficient! Make your vote count!


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Mystic Eyes

1965 live performance in Paris by Van Morrison and Them.
This song was a Top Ten Hit for a few weeks in 1965. Hearing it was enough to make you realize that nothing would ever be the same again.

I Wanna Be Like Common People....

This is what we refer to a blown photo op....
Today in South Carolina, at a gas station, Hillary tries to convince us that she is just like "common people" but obviously, she has never had to get her own coffee before.