Wednesday, December 31, 2008
This is my last post of 2008 and I have had a few songs in my head lately. For some reason, this riff...the funk beat of this piece keeps surfacing.
One of the artists who I really felt deserved wider recognition and should have had a bigger solo career was the youngest of the Isely Brothers, Ernie.
He grew up playing guitar for the Isely Brothers Band and was a great vocalist as well.
He was the distinctive silken distortion lead on the Isely Brothers classic "Who's That Lady?" from the late 70's and gave the band it's updated sound.
Ernie was a left handed Strat player. He claims his early teacher and inspiration was Jimi Hendrix, who played for the Iselys in the mid 60's. Though, Ernie is primaraly right handed, he learned everything backwards.
He record one great solo album, Ask The Ages, in 1989. He sang and played some great stuff including this piece "High Wire". Interestingly enough, he dedicated the record to Emily Dickenson and quoted her poetry.
Ernie is still playing studio work and tours with the latest version of his brothers as well as the artist R.Kelley.
Have a great New Years and my next post will be dated 2009!
In the last few weeks, I have had some drastic problems with my internet and phone service which are not resolved yet! Many aging connections are getting corroded as the line signal wends it way to and fro here at the end of the line in La Sechere.
In our attempt to communicate with the rest of the world and mainly, FranceTelecom, we were forced to finally break down and get a cell phone.
Yes, here it is the end of 2008 and I finally have to figure out how to program this rather simple cell phone. Because of the demands of the rest of the world, a cell phone became something I NEEDED!
The idea of what you need to be happy is an elusive one. Because of the rapid progress of technology and the constant drumbeat of marketing, for many people, as soon as they acquire one device, they NEED another.
Consider computers. In the 1980's, a personal computer was the cutting edge and in the 90's with the advent of the internet, it became a neccessity for most people.
I resisted computers and email...I was a graphic artist who was involved with the printing process. Until the mid 90's, I was convinced that all I needed was a sharp pencil, rulers, exacto knives and technical pens to rule the world. I was buying up end lots of press type and dot screens to do layouts.
Then, I grudgingly started to learn photoshop as the little company I worked for expanded and tried to compete in a modern market. I bought an iMac when they came out and learned I could work at home and email my work or save it on zip disks and work on it on another computer.
I still have the original iMac I bought in 1998 and I have somehow kept it running and upgraded. It made it possible for me to do freelance work here in France after I moved here.
I guess I NEED the internet and since this region of France has cheap high speed ADSL, well, I guess I NEED that as well.
As you can see, I am caught in the trap.
But, how much stuff do you own that needlessly consumes and wastes energy in the illusion that it is making your life more convenient and saving time?
Do you NEED Air Conditioning?
Do You NEED a Microwave Oven?
Do You NEED Car Air Conditioning?
Do You NEED an iPod?
Do You NEED wifi game set ups?
Do You NEED that Blackberry?
Do You NEED a Clothes Dryer?
Do You NEED to use your car as frequently as you do?
Kitchen Appliances? The Myriad of labor saving electronic devices you take for granted every day but 10 years ago, did not exist.
There is a series of surveys available on line from the PEW Research Center regarding Social and Demographic Trends and what we thing we NEED. It's interesting to see how things we considered luxuries only a few years ago are now considered neccessities and how fast the list of NEEDS has grown in the last decade.
I am happy to have a chainsaw. It gives me time to cut wood and have more time to waste at the computer. I don't have a clothes dryer, I have the sun. I never had a car with air conditioning or owned an air conditioner now that I think about it. I worry that being in an air conditioned environment will make me unable to tolerate heat.
I like to sweat.
When I was a kid, it was the cliche, the box the toy came in was more interesting that the toy. I realize we are all different, but at the end of this dizzying ride that was 2008, perhaps it is a good time to ask ourselves....
What do you really NEED?
Excuse me, but I seem to have a cockeroach problem here on the blog....you know how it is. You turn on the lights in the kitchen in the middle of the night and there's a little cockeroach scurrying across the counter...You'd probably say to yourself, "What's one little cockeroach?"...but you just know the next time you walk into that kitchen and turn on the lights you would find an entire cockeroach tropical island vacation resort booming with beach chairs, little umbrellas, water park rides going on right in your sink!
So I called in a cockeroach specialist, Mr. Jayne County, who has come out of retirement to perform his big punk hit from 1978, "If You Don't Wanna Fuck Me Baby, Baby Fuck Off" This is Jayne, what? almost 30 years later in 2005.
I'd call it a sound track for a cockeroach rapturing party........
Monday, December 29, 2008
These first appeared on this blog almost a year ago, on January 22 and they have only increased in value!
This should get the markets jumpin'!
Just click on the image to see it full size, download it to your computer and print it out!
They are not even worth the ink it takes to print them, but it's the thought that counts!
Regarding the ongoing attacks on the Gaza Strip by Israel which have so far as of this writing killed almost 500 civilians and uncounted injuries, the Conservative yes men of Israel are attempting to justify this crime against humanity with some pretty bizarre rhetoric. The Israeli Goverment itself explained last night on BBC that they are trying to change the reality on the ground in Gaza. When ever a nation starts talking about changing reality, it's time to start running! The Neo Cons used the line that America "Creates its own reality" as a justification for the Iraqi Invasion. The historical evidence is damning proof that when ever a nation tries to control or change reality for it's own purposes, it creates another reality which it could never have anticipated.
A very good example of the unreal rhetoric coming out of the neo conservative noise machines is this quote by NRO’s Andy McCarthy wonders whether the strikes will “demonstrate that terrorism is a loser for those who vote for it.”
The question is whether the Palestinian people are educable. Which brings me back to the first point: the Palestinians voted to put in power — i.e., vest with the power of a quasi-sovereign government — a terrorist organization which thinks legitimate governing consists of bringing about the annihilation of its sovereign neighbor and, meantime, targeting the said neighbor’s civilian population with bombing attacks. When you do that, you make yourself a target.
It’s one thing to defend Israel’s disproportionate attacks as a legitimate attempt to destroy Hamas’ capacity to launch rockets into Israel, but it’s quite another to defend them as an attempt to “educate” the Palestinian people. The former is debatable, the latter is a forthright embrace of terrorism, the use of force against civilians to achieve a political goal.
McCarthy’s advocacy of violence against people who vote the wrong way raises an obvious question. Granting, for the moment, McCarthy’s simplistic interpretation of Hamas’ election, (which was more a vote against Fatah’s incompetence and corruption than it was for Israel’s destruction) if Palestinian civilians have made themselves targets by voting into power a party that advocates the destruction of Israel, have Israeli civilians made themselves targets by voting into power successive governments that have continued a military occupation while expropriating Palestinian land? Have Americans made themselves targets by voting in governments that support that occupation? According to McCarthy’s reasoning, the answer to both questions is yes.
The American people are the ones who choose their government by way of their own free will; a choice which stems from their agreement to its policies. Thus the American people have chosen, consented to, and affirmed their support for the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, the occupation and usurpation of their land, and its continuous killing, torture, punishment and expulsion of the Palestinians. The American people have the ability and choice to refuse the policies of their Government and even to change it if they want.[…]
This is why the American people cannot be not innocent of all the crimes committed by the Americans and Jews against us.
Allah, the Almighty, legislated the permission and the option to take revenge. Thus, if we are attacked, then we have the right to attack back. Whoever has destroyed our villages and towns, then we have the right to destroy their villages and towns. Whoever has stolen our wealth, then we have the right to destroy their economy. And whoever has killed our civilians, then we have the right to kill theirs.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
History is very interesting to read and study. You can read accounts of the same events written from different viewpoints and find convenient omissions and radically varying interpretations, but usually, it is impossible to change the past.
I have read a lot of late medieval European history with an emphasis on The 100 Year War between England and France. If you read the basic history, it would seem that the events were predestined, but it's the wild cards that always determine the events.
The English War against France, viewed from our lenses, centuries in the future, seems obvious as a doomed venture. How could a little island kingdom that depended on a very specific trade ever expect to conquer and keep France?
We look at the Kings of England during this period and see the upheaval of dynasties as the fuedal system collapsed under its own weight. There were strong leaders who had the vision and management skills to inspire and lead during their lifetime, but then there were the tragic figures, Richard II, who ended up smothered while imprisoned after one ridiculous, insane conciet after another led to his downfall.
The Lancastrians seemed destined to suceed, Henry IV began to put it together until dying early and his son, Henry V is still regarded as the greatest English King who almost succeeded in his lifetime in suduing France, but at the apex of his victories, he died.
He was succeded by his infant son, Henry VI. Henry VI makes a pretty good case to be the worst English king ever, in a modern sense. The events of the Hundred Years War took place over the course of generations, but they took their toll on the concept of Royalty. The kings power was eroded constantly as he had to make concessions to his magnates to raise ever more money to govern and wage war. The concept of royalty changed as it became more of who could sieze power and hold it rather than the undeniable right of blood.
The Hundred Years War bankrupted England. It in effect ended the Middle Ages and the Feudal State. It had the opposite effect of uniting the French as a people in a way they had never experienced before. We see the roots of modern capitalism arise as merchants become upwardly mobile and break class barriers with created wealth.
Henry V in his success laid the traps that his weak son fell into and plunged England into the next brutal shock of emerging modern times, The War Of The Roses.
600 or so years later, America's once vital democracy was manipulated to choose a weak president, the son of another weak president, George Bush Jr. After his election, it seemed as if he would become a one term president, a footnote to the end of the 20th century. We all laughed at the affable idiot who claimed to have graduated from Yale on the grace of his family name.
Then the wild card...Osama Ben Laden and 9/11...again, this changed everything and suddenly America was in the hands of a group of men labled Neo Cons who were able to manipulate us into believing we were fighting a War On Terror, which history will show could never be won. The War On Terror mutated into the Iraqi Occupation which to many who supported it, was an attempt to establish American domination for control of petrochemical energy reserves.
The NeoCons, of course were really playing another game. They involved us in Iraq for the regional domination for the sake of Israel and when things didn't pan out they way it was sold to the American people, they walked away, leaving a world enmeshed in a snare that became an economic whirlpool, virtually destroying the American economy.
On the home front, this had its toll as a preoccupied, incompetent administration sat on its hands as Katrina hit, the infra structure of the country crumbled. The cronies of Bush, though, were able to use their connections to reap huge profits.
We have seen nothing more than the collapse of the so called deregulated market system. Capitalism as it evolved and mutated since the days of Reagan and the insanity of the "Trickle Down" theory imploded in an orgy of greed. The financial markets became an unregulated swamp of Ponzi schemes with as far as we know, Bernie Madoff as the ugly tip of the iceberg.
We are watching changes that once took generations occur in a matter of years and accelerate at a sickening rate, like the effects of global warming. This weak venal president allowed his cronies to fleece the planet while stalling research on all environmental issues.
He set us up all right for events should never have happened and a future that shouldn't be.
Now Karl Rove is hitting the airwaves claiming that history will be kind ot George Bush Jr. He claims we don't have the proper perspective to judge the wisdom of his judgement and acts.
George Bush leaves office with a country that has lost its moral and ethical compass, leaving behind a nation in ruin with little to show for at home and big loss over seas. No administration ever engaged in systematic destruction of our constitional rights and liberties like George Bush. His administration engaged in torture, illegal detentions, invasion of privacy and wiretaps without due process or constitutional restrictions, engaged in racial profiling not seen since slavery. I am certain he will not be missed by this nation or the world. he has done so much to damage America and the world that he should be tried for his failings, alone! His legacy is economic ruin, a middle class all but wiped out, failing wars on two fronts and the largest economic heist in history and over a million needless deaths!
This was a grandiously epic failure on all fronts, domestic and international. If anyone can think of anything that we should put in the history books that could negate the label "WORST FUCKING PRESIDENT EVER!" please, let me know.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Then nothing will, you are hopeless...
Everytime i see this video, I just want to pop another bottle of cheap New York State Champagne type beverage and finish off a vial of brightly holiday colored tranquilizers!
I'm thoroughly enjoying myself, dammit!
Friday, December 26, 2008
Well, my attempt at fixing the phone lines here only lasted so long...then it rained and it was the death knell...zilchorama...nada....so, I was without internet or phone for the last few days....
Not bad, but there were people who were trying to get in touch with us. We had invited a neighbor over for Christmas dinner and in between other chores, I made my traditional Buche de Noel. My wife did the dinner, a pintade with girolles....
The Buche truned out great, this year it was a white genoise with raspberry jam and dark chocolate ganache. The little green leaves are marzipan and the shiny things are non edible decorations...the little guy is the dwarf that I have had for many years and always sits on top the Buche!
So, I have some catching up to do, but in the meantime....
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Bill O'Reilly didn't invent the war on Christmas. It wasn't started by a bunch of Godless Liberal Atheist activists trying to shove their Santanic agenda down your throat. The war on Christmas has historical basis....It started in 1607 in Holland!
The creeps who were trying to destroy Christmas weren't godless atheists either, they were the Calvinist Protestant Leaders of the Dutch Republic, who in their zealous efforts to stamp out "papist idolitry" and "Baal Worship" tried to ban the Feast of St. Nicholas. The feast of St. Nicholas was a Dutch Tradition. They claimed a special affection for him and cookies and candy and special treats were very much a part of the culture. It was a childrens festival and children occupied a very special place in Dutch Culture.
In 1607, Delft banned the sale of gingerbread men and Dordrecht succeeded in banning the festival altogether in 1657. In Amsterdam, the officials made the sale of special gifts and candies and idolotrous dolls illegal in 1657. Finally on December 4th, 1663, the magistrate finally published a proclamation banning the festival and imposing a 3 guilder fine for any violation. They even banned the traditional Speculoos cookies because they had figures stamped into them.
This was the straw that broke the camels back! No Sinter Klas? No Speculoos? No presents? Suddenly, Amsterdam had a riot of enraged 11 year olds on its hands. The children were encouraged by their parents to riot because the authorities would never dream of lifting a finger to harm the most precious possession of the Republic!
The results? Next year Sinter Klaas was back handing out presents and everybody had ginger bread and a good time.
The irony is that the Religious Right saw Christmas as a sinful holiday that had to be suppressed. 350 years later? You can't make these people happy! They were born to make us miserable and impose their stupid rules on us!
The picture is of the traditional Sinter Klaas and his helpers...the ones who punish bad children, The Black Peters......
Monday, December 22, 2008
In 1979, the Parisian theatrical Troupe Splendide created a piece of Theater called La Pere Noel est une Ordure...I suppose to translate this into English with the same linguistic weight, you could say, Santa Claus is a disgusting asshole.
The Troupe Splendide gave france some of its best loved and popular comics and actors.
Gerard Depardieu, Josianne Belasko, Thierry l'Hermitte, Anenome, and Gerard Jugnot among others rose up in 70's, as well as one of Frances most beloved comedians, The incomparable Coluche.
The play was a controversial smash hit. If there ever was an anti It's A Wonderful Life, this is it. The play was filmed with the original cast and is presented occasionally on French television, but in 1982, a full length movie version was made by Jean-Marie Poire with the original cast.
It is my favorite Christmas movie of all time!
In fact, it seems to be Frances biggest modern Christmans tradition. Two years ago, the networks didn't show it and they were innundated with complaints. Maybe some of the bigwigs were embarrassed by the film?
If you saw the smash French international hit movie a few years ago, The Chorists, you will recall the mild sweet choir master, who was played by Gerard Jugnot. As Pere Noel (Felix, a psychotic wino to say the least)Gerard shows the true range of his comic talent.
The movie takes place in a few sets, slightly enlarged from the stage version, the action is breakneck as the dialogue. It is a Christmas Eve set in a SOS Rescue Suicide Prevention Hotline office. The cast includes, the deranged Pere Noel, his very pregnant wife, the hotline workers, a trashy transvestite with a broken high heel and the lonely upstairs neighbor of some unidentified eastern European origin who wants to share the Christmas customs of his country....Strange artisanally made sweets, which the women traditionally roll in their armpits, a Christmas cake that emits a foul gas when cut, his traditional Christmas music and in the stage version, a toast of his countries native drink, with a large preserved toad in the bottle.
After a drug overdose, escape from a mental ward, the transvestite being shot in the foot and the death and dismemberment of the elevator repairman, destruction caused by Eastern European Pastrys....well, there really isn't a happy ending.....
The clip above is the scence culminating in Felix's (pere noel) drug overdose, then the pregnant, homeless wife of Felix and Chazette, the transvestite alone in the office.
Every time I see it, I undwerstand the dialogue a little better.
This evening, I experienced the last and final miracle of the festival of Zappadan.
After almost 2 days without phones and internet, it was miraculously restored....
Well, the miracle involved me climbing up on a ladder on the side of the barn and jamming France Telecoms 4 year old temporary line splices back together by hand....
It was an inspration that occured to me about 5 pm, as the sun was going down. I said to my self, the chances are fifty/fifty......
So in thanks, I am posting the recording of Fifty/Fifty from the Overnight Sensation Record with the manic warbling of Ricky Lancelotti. I love the violin solo by Jean-Luc Ponty, but my favorite part is when Franks guitar comes blasting in after Ponty's solo.
As I said, the chances were 50/50 and it worked..........
Friday, December 19, 2008
A.C. Thompson has a devastating piece in The Nation this week describing the all-white militia that took up arms to defend one of the few neighborhoods in New Orleans to stay dry after Hurricane Katrina broke the levees in 2005:
Facing an influx of refugees, the residents of Algiers Point could have pulled together food, water and medical supplies for the flood victims. Instead, a group of white residents, convinced that crime would arrive with the human exodus, sought to seal off the area, blocking the roads in and out of the neighborhood by dragging lumber and downed trees into the streets. They stockpiled handguns, assault rifles, shotguns and at least one Uzi and began patrolling the streets in pickup trucks and SUVs. The newly formed militia, a loose band of about fifteen to thirty residents, most of them men, all of them white, was looking for thieves, outlaws or, as one member put it, anyone who simply "didn't belong."
It started out as a classic case of white paranoiac overreaction to fears of looting and rioting and whatever else it is those black people do -- rather like the reaction you saw in sundown towns in the 1920s, which were similar in being "defended communities," to supposed threats of black depredations -- but quickly morphed into something else altogether:
Fellow militia member Wayne Janak, 60, a carpenter and contractor, is more forthcoming with me. "Three people got shot in just one day!" he tells me, laughing. We're sitting in his home, a boxy beige-and-pink structure on a corner about five blocks from Daigle's Grocery. "Three of them got hit right here in this intersection with a riot gun," he says, motioning toward the streets outside his home. Janak tells me he assumed the shooting victims, who were African-American, were looters because they were carrying sneakers and baseball caps with them. He guessed that the property had been stolen from a nearby shopping mall. According to Janak, a neighbor "unloaded a riot gun"--a shotgun--"on them. We chased them down."
Janak, who was carrying a pistol, says he grabbed one of the suspected looters and considered killing him, but decided to be merciful. "I rolled him over in the grass and saw that he'd been hit in the back with the riot gun," he tells me. "I thought that was good enough. I said, 'Go back to your neighborhood so people will know Algiers Point is not a place you go for a vacation. We're not doing tours right now.'"
He's equally blunt in Welcome to New Orleans, an hourlong documentary produced by the Danish video team, who captured Janak, beer in hand, gloating about hunting humans. Surrounded by a crowd of sunburned white Algiers Point locals at a barbeque held not long after the hurricane, he smiles and tells the camera, "It was great! It was like pheasant season in South Dakota. If it moved, you shot it." A native of Chicago, Janak also boasts of becoming a true Southerner, saying, "I am no longer a Yankee. I earned my wings." A white woman standing next to him adds, "He understands the N-word now." In this neighborhood, she continues, "we take care of our own."
Janak, who says he'd been armed with two .38s and a shotgun, brags about keeping the bloody shirt worn by a shooting victim as a trophy. When "looters" showed up in the neighborhood, "they left full of buckshot," he brags, adding, "You know what? Algiers Point is not a pussy community."
... Some of the gunmen prowling Algiers Point were out to wage a race war, says one woman whose uncle and two cousins joined the cause. A former New Orleanian, this source spoke to me anonymously because she fears her relatives could be prosecuted for their crimes. "My uncle was very excited that it was a free-for-all--white against black--that he could participate in," says the woman. "For him, the opportunity to hunt black people was a joy."
"They didn't want any of the 'ghetto niggers' coming over" from the east side of the river, she says, adding that her relatives viewed African-Americans who wandered into Algiers Point as "fair game." One of her cousins, a young man in his 20s, sent an e-mail to her and several other family members describing his adventures with the militia. He had attached a photo in which he posed next to an African-American man who'd been fatally shot. The tone of the e-mail, she says, was "gleeful"--her cousin was happy that "they were shooting niggers."
The ugliest part is that these people talk of this as if what's done is done. It's over. They are clean and free of prosecution, because, as any Conservative will tell you now, "Racism is dead in America since we elected Obama!"
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Can you believe it? We have journied together, trudging across the tundra in our musical muckalucks, it is the fabled Fifteenth Night of Zappadan!
The fifteenth night where time becomes an unproven concept, we have no frame of temporal reference because, well frankly, the tape loop of our conceptual continuity has snapped....The video above is the Original line up of the Mothers of Invention, with Ian Underwood with the Royal Festival Hall Orchestra, performing a piece which evolved into "This Town Is A Sealed Tuna Sandwich" in 200 Motels, but this performance from 1968 is captured on the CD "Ahead Of Their Time" which is the performance of a "Play" called Progress.
Then a double treat, a 2 in 1, so to speak. A Video from the BBC from 1993. It has a very strangely disturbing but wonderful clay figure animation set to Frank's 1986 composition "Night School" from his Grammy Award Album, Jazz from Hell. Frank plays all the parts on the Synclavier.
The second part is a video made in 1979 for the song from the record of the same name, You Are What You Is. Frank has a great band, but the record is less pyrotechnical display of musicianship, than an attempt to package political and social commentary in the form of pop songs.
Yesterday, I read that the Versace Palace Hotel in Dubai was going to
climatize there beach front. That means running a refrigeration system
under the sand so Russian mobsters and American Wall Street Criminal escapees
don't scorch their feet. This would be one of the most wasteful anti ecological
conveniences for some of the most useless humans on the planet ever built.
Can you imagine vacationing in Dubai, or buying a property on one of their coral reef destroying fake islands? Having to actually associate with the other low lifes
desparately trying to prove their self worth by participating in this
planetary destructive festival of bling-bling?
First thing you know,
Ol Jed's a billionaire
The kinfolks said,
Jed, move away from there,
Dubai is where you oughta be
So they loaded up the truck
yada, yada, yada, yada........
Pastor Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church, where Barack Obama was sandbagged by John McCain, will deliver the invocation at President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20. While he is a recognizable celebrity and best-selling author, Warren also advocates a number of deeply anti-progressive views. He supported California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 and has likened gay marriage to polygamy and incest. He is strongly anti-choice, and has equated abortion to the Holocaust. Warren also supports the assassination of foreign leaders. Appearing on Fox’s Hannity and Colmes on December 3, Warren agreed with Sean Hannity’s assertion that “we need to take him [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] out,” saying that stopping evil “is the legitimate role of government.” He added, “The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers.” Watch the above video to hear Warrens own words.
Remember, this is the same Pastor Rick Warren who lied about the "Cone of Silence" that McCain was supposedly subjected to before his appearance. With in days of the Saddleback Conference, it was a proven fact that McCain was not in isolation and had access to Obama's answers to the same questions he would be asked.
I really wonder exactly what message Obama is trying to send by chooding this Anti-choice, anti-gay, pro-assassination pastor to give inaugural invocation?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
As we celebrate Eve of SLIME, the fabled 12th night of the Festival of Zappadan, I would like to present Franks Piece, I Am The Slime from the 1972 Record, Overnight Sensation. This version of his band was a classic, with Jean-Luc Ponty, George Duke, the Fowlers and Ruth Underwood. This band, performing the percussion oriented music that frank was composing at the time was technically one of the most advanced percussion ensembles of its time.
With Ponty and Zappa trading violin and guitar licks, they created a big band jazz rock ensemble that were influenced by and influenced the great Jazz rock groups like Eleventh House and Mahavishnu...as well as being able to fill auditoriums with Franks surreal social commentary and humor.
The Slime was a recitation about the insidious effect of media and those who control it. In 1972, the influence of television was already apparent. It was used as the most aggressive marketing tool for commercial products for goverment influenced propaganda.
The techniques we take for granted today were fledgling ideas being used to soften the cranial caveties of the masses.
Here in France, today, we are seeing an aggressive attempt by the goverment of Nicolas Sarkozy to coopt independant media. There are privately owned channels which use advertising and subscription as revenue. We have TF1 which is very sympathetic to the goverment in their reporting and editorial stance. They are supported by advertising and broadcast a lot of American Prime Time Series.
Then there is Canal+, which is cable. For the most part it is payed by subscription and they do advertise. They have much more independant programming and are major contributors to Frances' cinema.
Then there are the goverment subsidized free network stations, available as terrestrial, digital terrestrial and satellite signals. They are bound by strict rules as far as advertising. Sarkozy has proposed a reorganization of the system which would put it under very strict goverment guidelines. They would change the schedualing of news broadcasts and force them to take more commercials.
The director of the network is under direct authority of the president. In effect, even though, Silvio Berlusconi in Italy owns media, Sarkozy's reforms would give him much more direct control over the media than Berlusconi has in Italy.
The only real independant station left on the terrestial networks would be ARTE, which is an arts and documentary channel co managed by a French and German corporation.
The majority of Franch people, the media employees, executives and members of the goverment oppose this legislation. It is highly unpopular. The Socialists have rallied to fight it but undaunted, Sarkozy is determined to see this project through.
Because if he does, he will be able to control much of the editorial spin on the news and tighten his dynastic dreams of power. We are already being bombarded witrh non stop appearances of his wife, Carla Bruni as she tries to push her vapid cd down the throats of a scoffing public.
I believe, that this is beginning to backfire. This, along with the growing dicontent of the unemployed, the rising cost of living as wages disappear, the relentless projects to roll back benefits and public services, the attempts to cut back on education and repressive new law enforcement projects are becoming too much for many people to bear.
The goverment tries to spin the discontent in the media with its spokespersons and they believe that if they control the television editorial spin, half tEverything he battle is won.
Again, this is coming to a head. On January 29, the entire country is going to come to a standstill. France is not America, people still know that they have power and exercise it. Everything, everywhere will be on strike. If you plan to be in France on that date, plan to watch the spectacle in the streets.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
For your white trash moment of the week. This just in from the LeHigh Valley, Pennsylvania News...
JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell and Adolf Hitler Campbell.
Good names for a trio of toddlers? Heath and Deborah Campbell think so. The Holland Township couple has picked those names and the oldest child, Adolf Hitler Campbell, turns 3 today.
"We believe the request ... to inscribe a birthday wish to Adolf Hitler is inappropriate," said Karen Meleta, a ShopRite spokeswoman.
The Campbells turned down the market's offer to make a cake with enough room for them to write their own inscription and can't understand what all of the fuss is about.
- Young Adolph Hitler Campbell, frankly, did these folks gove him a "mullet" hair cut? You know, I don't care what you name your kids, Lil' Anus, Porkbut, Philomena, Clorox...It's your kid, your life, but when I see trash with a capital "T"...This is Trash O Rama!
"ShopRite can't even make a cake for a 3-year-old," said Deborah Campbell, 25, who is Heath's wife of three years and the mother of the children. "That's sad."
Others, such as Anti-Defamation League director Barry Morrison, applauded Shop Rite's decision.
"Might as well put a sign around their (the children's) neck that says bigot, racist, hatemonger," said Morrison. "What's the difference?"Also, check out a photo gallery
Let's face it, the fact that ShopRite wouldn't inscribe the cake for young Adolph and his attention starved lawsuit hungry habitually unemployed parents is not the case here...
This is a pinnacle of trashdom, a zenith in the annals of racist idiocy, and Debbie and Heath, we search far and wide for Trash that upholds the high standards we have established to exhibit here at thebrainpolice, and you folks take the cake, unfortunately, you'll have to ice it yourself.
Remember kids, as a token of your extreme appreciation, the address to send your old shoes is
George W. Bush
6425 Boaz Lane
Dallas, Texas 74204
Perhaps if we send enough, they will be able to fill up the shelfs next to
My Pet Goat
Monday, December 15, 2008
This is a video made from footage of television news reports of street riots. It coulds be live footage from Athens or another Greek city in the last week. On December 6th, a 15 year old teen age boy, Alexandros Andrea Grigoropoulos was shot to death by the police who were responding to violence after a sports match in the Exarchia distict of Central Athens.
The police claim the shot was in self defense and it ricocheted and Grigoropoulos death was accidental. Of course witnesses gave totally diferent versions of the story and it was just another in a series of accidental deaths from a ricochet in the last few months as the conservative goverment tries to crack down on the rising discontent among the youth of Greece.
The shooting sparked a protest, the protest, when countered by aggressive police action grew fast and more than spontaneously into the biggest riots in Greece and Europe in decades.
Obviously, Athens is like a tinder box and it was ready to blow.
The Interior Minister tendsered his resignation and promised exemplary punishment against the police officers involved. This had no effect as the riots grew and spread to other cities.
The proclaimed goal of the protestors and rioters now is the resignation of the repressive goverment. The Police claim that they have run out of tear gas.
The Greek goverment has sunk into a malaise of ineptness and corruption. This became evident to the rest of the world in their useless response to the huge fires that swept Greece two years ago. Much of the Grecian country was destroyed and they were unable to provide relief to thousands of victims.
At the same time, the middle and lower classes are squeezed by inflation. A cup of expresso costs 3 Euros in a cafe and most middle class wage earners with college degrees must work two jobs to keep up. Greece is an extreme example of what is happening in tthe rest of Europe and America. The widening gap between the rich and the poor coupled with goverment economic policies that do not begin to address the issue.
The Greek response has to increase the repressive actions by the police. Protests have been violently squelched which of course leads to a more militant attitude by the opposition.
The rest of Europe watches nervously. There have been sympathy protests here in France and in Italy and Spain. Here, of course, the first thing the conservatives think of is May 1968, when student protests over education escalated into full fledged street battles. Then the labor unions gave their support and brought down DeGaulles goverment. This was one of the driving forces behind Nicolas Sarkozy, he has stated many times that he wants to bury the history of May'68.
This week, the students and teachers in France are demonstrating over proposed educational reforms. Today, The Minister of Education, Xavier D'Arcos backed down on his time line for the reforms, expecting to buy time with the Christmas holidays.
But the iron is in the fire, the fuse is lit, after vacation, thousands more French workers will be layed off, more of Sarkozy's reforms will fail, every day will bring a frsh wave of protests and strikes, you know what? I really see Trouble Comin' Everyday....
play yer harmonica, son....
Travel ALERT ORANGE! If you are going to be in France on January 29th...think twice.........
The soundtrack is "Trouble Comin' Everyday" by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention from the 1965 record, Freak Out. Frank was writing about watching the Watts Riots on Television.
It is one of the nastiest social protest songs ever written...
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Bush makes a surprise visit to Iraq to hightlight the recent security agreement between the US and Iraq. Bush ahs made 4 clandestine trips to the country he destroyed with lies under intense secrecy and security. This time it was Bush who was surprised during a press conference with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki when an Iraqi journalist, Muntadar al-Zeidi who reports for Al-Baghdadia, an Iraqi owned television station, threw two shoes at Bush.
The tosser screamed in Arabic, "This is a farewell kiss, dog!". He was wrestled to the ground and Dana Perino got hit in the eye with a mike boom.
As al-Zeidi was being hustled away, he managed to yell, This is the end!"
Both shoes missed Bush, but shoe throwing in Arabic culture is a grave sign of disrespect as it probably is in any culture!
al-Zeidi obviously knew that he would pay a price for his act, but a theatrical gesture on a world stage like this spoke for all Iraqis who have seen their country destroyed and lost their loved ones. He spoke for all of us who have seen our nations values trashed, our constitution tossed aside like a soiled napkin, and unwillingly involved in the depravity of torture. al-Zeidi was brave enough to do what many would have loved to do. Maybe if enough people speak out, he won't end up on a meat cart in Guantanamo. He in his own way became a hero.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Yesterday in response to the Republican Senators rejection of the Auto Industry Emergency Bail Out Bill, General Motors Corp. said Friday it will temporarily close 20 factories across North America and make sweeping cuts to its vehicle production as it tries to adjust to dramatically weaker automobile demand.
GM said it will cut 250,000 vehicles from its production schedule for the first quarter of 2009, which includes a cut of 60,000 vehicles announced last week. Normal production would be around 750,000 cars and trucks for the quarter, spokesman Tony Sapienza said.
Many plants will be shut down for the whole month of January, he said, and all told, the factories will be closed for 30 percent of the quarter.
"We're adjusting pretty dramatically," spokesman Chris Lee said.
The move affects most of GM's plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. During the shutdowns, employees will be temporarily laid off and receive a portion of their normal pay from the company. They can also apply for state unemployment benefits, Lee said.
In effect, Detroit has been tied to the whipping post while the Republican Senators take their parting shot across the bow of the new administration. The reasons I have heard in the last few weeks for Republican opposition range from the alleged $70/hr the UAW workers recieve to the allegedly robust economy of the New Industrial South.
In effect is the old "us against them" strategy of the Republicans. The balkanization of America for pure political manipulative gains. They saw this as a "2 fer". A chance to shoot a parting shot over the bow of the new administration and to bust the Unions, one of the long time goals of the party.
The utter economic destruction and chaos which will ensue if the Auto Companies are allowed to go bust will deliver a crushing body blow to the economy. The purely political motives are made pretty clear in a memo the was circulated the night before the vote. It was leaked to the LA Times:
The Los Angeles Times reported that it was circulated among Senate Republicans. The brief memo outlines internal political strategy on the bailout, including the view that defeating the bailout represents a "first shot against organized labor." Senate Republicans blocked passage of the bailout late Thursday night, over its insistence on an immediate union pay cut.
From: Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 9:12 AM
To: Subject: Action Alert -- Auto Bailout
Today at noon, Senators Ensign, Shelby, Coburn and DeMint will hold a press conference in the Senate Radio/TV Gallery. They would appreciate our support through messaging and attending the press conference, if possible. The message they want us to deliver is:
1. This is the democrats first opportunity to payoff organized labor after the election. This is a precursor to card check and other items. Republicans should stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor, instead of taking their first blow from it.
2. This rush to judgment is the same thing that happened with the TARP. Members did not have an opportunity to read or digest the legislation and therefore could not understand the consequences of it. We should not rush to pass this because Detroit says the sky is falling.
The sooner you can have press releases and documents like this in the hands of members and the press, the better. Please contact me if you need additional information. Again, the hardest thing for the democrats to do is get 60 votes. If we can hold the Republicans, we can beat this.
Well, the boys stuck together, like a gang of unruly jerks who have been thrown out of a party, they decide the best way to get revenge is to burn the damn house down....
The video is from Zappa and the Mothers playing in NYC at Pier 81 in 1980. They are covering the Allman Brothers Song "The Whipping Post". I was at this concert and it was the last time I saw Frank play live! The concert is available as a video entitled "Does Humor Belong In Music?" Sure........
Friday, December 12, 2008
In 1969, Frank Zappa and The Mothers released Cruisin With Rueben and the Jets. It was a record that made life difficult for some of the regular listeners ans they tried to figure out why Frank had issued a collection of pretty good covers of greasy doo wop from the 50's and 60's. Most reviewers tried to explain it as parody. Through out Zappas music, in all genres, doo wop was one of the tools he used.
Rather than parody, it was a music he grew up with and it was lampooning something he loved. In his early career producing and working in bands, he was responsible for a number of 45's of fairly greasy doo wop. Groups like The Heartbreakers, featuring the earsplitting asthmatic falsetto of Ray Estrada and the Pauls were oddities, but aimed straight at the heart of early 60's grease culture.
In 1969, he heard The Persuasions, a New York City black doo wop group who had been singing together for years already. They were straight classic doo wop and used no instrumental back up. Frank offered to produce them and released their records on the Straight Label, which was a part of his newly formed Bizarre.....
I couldn't find the Persuasions from 1969. I had this idea while working up on a roof top today in the cold and got back and started to look...nothing is on video from that time but here is a video of the group from 1972 performing the Everly Brothers song, Dream.
The Persualsions have been performing since 1962. Since their recording debut in 1969, they have sang continuously and have recorded over 25 records. They appeared in Spike Lees documentary, "Do It Acapella" and have recorded an amazing variety of music adapted to their tight harmony acapella style. They have been performing Franks music for years and have recorded acapella tributes to U2, The Beatles and bizarrely enough, The Grateful Dead? Uh, okay....
Recently they released theior tribute to Frank, a cd's worth of Zappa covvers called "Frankly, a Capella".
Thursday, December 11, 2008
This is for real, The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity has produced a flash video of Christmas Carol singing lumps of coal singing familiar cheery holiday melodies with words extolling the use of coal to produce energy.
The interactive site which involves dressing up the coal lumps for wintry weather is, how can I say this, uhmmm, awesome.
Granted, the coal industry is an American way of life for thousands of miners. The processing and shipping of coal, the burning of the coal to produce energy are all intrinsicaly entwined in our nations economic life. There are legions of lobbyists who work hard to keep it that way. Just like the tobacco lobby, but heck, we broke the tobacco habit. The cultivation of tobacco is slowly being phased out because the demand just isn't there and the export markets are beginning to wise up as well.
It's true that much progress has been made in scrubbing coal...and producing less dangerous emissions when it is burnt, but don't let the propaganda fool you. The reduction in emissions is pretty small compared to what is still poured into the atmosphere when it is burnt as a fuel.
Coal is a finite resource and the mining becomes more and more invasive as the easliy obtained resources run out.
That is why I am excited about Barack Obama's appointment of Dr.Steven Chu as the head of the Department of Energy. Chu is a Nobel Prize winning physicist and Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where he ahs been involved in pushing breakthrough research in atomic, solar and biofuel technology.
This past summer, Dr. Chu spoke at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, convened by the Center for American Progress, UNLV, and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). In one of the lighter moments during his remarks, Chu claimed that efficiency gains and lowered costs have been shown to be possible when the jobs were assigned to engineers, not lobbyists. Chu also laid out in stark terms the climate crisis that we now face:
"Consider this. There’s about a 50 percent chance, the climate experts tell us, that in this century we will go up in temperature by three degrees Centigrade. Now, three degrees Centigrade doesn’t seem a lot to you, that’s 11° F. Chicago changes by 30° F in half a day. But 5° C means that … it’s the difference between where we are today and where we were in the last ice age. What did that mean? Canada, the United States down to Ohio and Pennsylvania, was covered in ice year round.
Five degrees Centigrade.
So think about what 5° C will mean going the other way. A very different world. So if you’d want that for your kids and grandkids, we can continue what we’re doing. Climate change of that scale will cause enormous resource wars, over water, arable land, and massive population displacements. We’re not talking about ten thousand people. We’re not talking about ten million people, we’re talking about hundreds of millions to billions of people being flooded out, permanently."
It's pretty refreshing at this late date to see a reality based serious proponent of enviromently safe energy alternatives in a major goverment position. maybe this is the last encore for the caroling coal lumps.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
On the 7th Day of Zappadan, we zealots must proslytize the ignorant, we must go amongst the unknowing and make believers out of them. This performace of G Spot Tornado by the German Ensemble Modern goes out to my friend, Mudrake, who was wondering what a Latex Solar Beef was....
The performace and dance piece is from the 1993 Yellow Shark concerts. Frank scored and directed the pieces shortly before he died.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Yesterday, I wrote of the Baby Jesus saucisson...the mini jesus air dried sausage and recieved this bit of info. It was named because of the string web that it is wrapped in, like the swaddling clothes of the infant jesus. That's very nice and if it so, what is the string wrapping of the larger, maxi jesus supposed to resemble?
The playful use fo religious names in French cuisine really comes into full play in the wonderful world of patisserie. There are Jesuits, which are triangles of crispy puff pastry with sugar crystals, sacristans, which means "altar boys", they are little sticks of puff pastry glazed with sugar and sometimes dipped in chocolate. There are the classic favorite, found in every patisserie in France, Les Religeuses...or the proper name for nuns. They are composed of 2 balls of cream puff (chou), the smaller one sitting on a larger one like a little head. The larger ball is filled with a chocolate or coffee flavored pastry cream and iced with a chocolate or coffee glaze.
Then there are the classic, Pets-de-nonnes, or Nun Farts.
First a little history of the name:
Fulbert-Dumonteil in his France-Gourmand states the birth of the Nun Fart took place at the Abbey of Marmoutier in the 1400's. The archbishop of Tours had come for a ceremony to bless a relic of the mantle of St. Martin and a great dinner was being prepared. The nuns were in the kitchen busy at the stoves when,
"Suddenly a strange, extended rhythmic noise, like the dying groaning notes of an organ was heard and as the dying breeze it produced was heard with amazed outrage by all the good sisters"
The author of this noise was a young novice nun, named Agnes and embarrassed she accidentally dropped a spoonful of Chou dough in a pot of hot grease.
Of course the dough puffed up and turned deliciously light brown and when it was eaten, they all felt it was as light as a nuns fart.
They are pretty simple to make, a lot easier if you have a deep fryer, which seems to be more of a standard item in a French kitchen than an American, but if you are brave, heat up a pot of oil, peanut or sunflower.
Pour 1/4 liter of water in a pot, heat it and add 50 grams of butter and 40 grams of sugar and a pince of salt. When the butter has melted, take it off the fire and add 150 grams of flour. Put the pot back on the heat and stir the mixture until the dough begins to detach from the sides and bottom of the pot.
Take it off the fire and add 3 eggs and any aroma you would like, such as a tablespoon of rum or orange flower water.
Then in the fryer, drop spoonfuls of the dough, about the size of a walnut. When they are golden brown, they are done. Sprinkle powdered sugar or regular sugar and cinnamon, as you please. Think of embarrassed Sister Agnes when you enjoy them.
We must do something completely different. I have published a few different opinions on this, but this looks like the ad we'll be seeing for the 2009 season!
That's right, this should have been my post last night, on Day 5 of Zappadan.
A few of the Zappadan b;loggers have written very interesting pieces regarding the connections that Frank Zappa has had with various other artists and the degrees of separation....
Here is a video shot originally on 16mm film of Frank Zappa during his stint at the Filmore East in 1971 which resulted in the Mothers Live At The Filmore Album.
Two of the guest performers were newly arrived New york residents, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Ther is a recorded performance of Yoko with Frank and John called Scumbag, which is classic Yoko.
This, though didn't make it on any record, John performing an old Rock song which he claims he hadn't sung since he was on stage at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, Baby Please Don't Go.
I want to post this because yesterday was the 28th anniversary of John Lennon's assasination in New York. The song is pretty cool and John is pretty fresh on stage playiong impromptu with out a net!
Monday, December 08, 2008
A Zappadan Miracle...Look what I found for you! A 1968 Live on the BBC performance of King Kong by the Mothers of Invention. This is basically the same band I wrote about in my Case History Post a few years later. This also features Jimmy Carl Black...the Indian of the Group as well as Motorhead Sherwood, Don Preston, Bunk Gardner, Roy Estrada, Ian Underwood and of course, Frank. They had evolved into a small disciplined orchestral group capable of playing complex time signatures and musical ideas as well as the greasiest rock on the planet.
This is arrangement of King Kong that appears on Uncle Meat.
So the Supreme Court turned down the emergency appeal by Leo Donofrio of East Brunswick, New Jersey over the claim that Barack Obama was actually a British subject because hiis father was a Kenyan. He claimed that Obama held dual nationality and was ineligible under his interpretation of the wording of the 14th amendment of the Constitution.
Donofrio also claimed that John McCain and Roger Calero of the Socialist party were ineligible tro be elected president over his interpretaion of the amendment.
Mr. Donofrio and Philip Berg who is also suing to try to prove that Barack Obama is not a citizen are class a con men. In Bergs case, he already has a track record in phony 9/11 conspiracy lawsuits. He takes the cases, makes huge fees, loses, but goes on to minor celebrity status writing books that conspiracy wing nuts buy up. In othre words it's sort of like the plot of Mel Brooks "The Producers" but instead of sweet little old ladies underwriting Max Bialys's production of Springtime For Hitler, they are paying to see their insane fantasies brought to life, if only to be dashed by the reality of law.
In the above video from last week, a small group of supporters of the suit hold a rally and pray for the success of their suit. They can't even agree on what the suit is about and when asked why something as important as the illegal election of a president isn't bigger news, one supporter contends that, "The media cannot speak about this because they are being held hostage by terrorists on the ground iin the USA with nuclear weapons that they will use if they speak!"
In Donofrio's case, it has been stated over and over again that, though, Barack Obama's father was born in Kenya and the children of Kenyans born while Kenya was a British Protectorate were able to claim British citizenship, this right ended in 1963, before Barack Obama was born...but hope springs eternal and the supporters of the lawsuit will say that even so, because his father was Kenyan, then he was able to claim Kenyan citizenship. Perhaps he could as a child, but Kenyan law states that a person would lose this right at the age of 21 unless they renounce any non Kenyan citizenship and swear an oath of allegiance to Kenya.
Berg, on the other hand, keeps taking money and promising action based on claims that Obama was either born in Kenya or Hawaii before it was a State and that he even could possibly be a citizen of Indonesia. He has filed cases in court after court and the cases are dismisssed again and again. Obama has provided birth certificates, records and all neccessary paperwork to authenticate to any legal authority that he is undeniably an American citizen, but.......
What drives the right wing nuts? Racial Hate? Xenophobic Fear? What would they do if in fact their claims were true? Riot? Go Home? Name John McCain as President? Would Biden automatically become president? It's pretty obvious that this band of wing nuts has absolutely no clue!
The only outcome for them that is absolutely certain is that Donofrio and Berg are going to write books, get paid to file bogus court cases and continue taking speaking fees and making a bundle off of this pathetic band of losers!
Partially due to my own indisgression, but more by my cultural curiosity and well, the tendency to want to poke the wasps nest to see what happens...
I have had a series of obnoxious interactions with members of the Fundalmetalist Christian persuasion.
Basically, I am not a christian and I believe that organized religion is one of the most dangerous forces which holds mankind back and keeps us as a specie locked in an ever deadlier cycle of dangerous behavior. Maybe, historically and in the evolution of our consciousness, it played an important role in helping man cope with his relationship to the universe and enforcing a moral code but for myself, personally, the play is over, and I have moved on.
I believe for our own sake, it is time to move on.
So today, I bought this great saucisson...at the Mutant Supermarche in Terrasson. It is a pure pork mini jesus....It's a mini jesus because it's only 300 grams. I'm not sure what a maxi jesus would weigh. The saucisson is made in the Auvergne and has a great mellow flavor, there is no nitrate taste. It is not smoked, but totally air dried. It is a speciality in the late fall and winter. I had a few slices with bread from our bakery in Villac and some mi vache/mi chevre cheese that had liquified...and a glass of bergerac rouge. The cheese is one made from both goat and cow milk and sold in the same form as a camembert, but as a ripe camemebert gets runny, these seem to become almost liquid! Delicious.
I couldnt resist the saucisson, they were on sale for 3 Euros with a sign that said, "Baby Jesus Pur Porc" as it says on the back label. I ate it thinking of my fundamentalist friends who haunt this blog. What a great country I live in! The French state threw off the bounds of religion over 200 years ago officially and has struggled to keep the boundary of church and state defined. If this sausage was sold in the United States, it would cause riots. Bill O'Reilly's head would actually explode live on television. Fat crazy women would get down on their knees and pray for vengeance....
Too fucking bad!
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Zappadan always creates serious problems with my personal time/space continuum. The planetary alignment, the stars seem to be affected by forces beyond my senses. I tumble forward and backward on a loop that is connected and disconnected.
It all begins in a Catholic Elementary School basement in Detroit. I was 15 years old? A Teen Club for the neighborhood kids to bring records, drink soft drinks and hang out while the nuns looked on in fear. I was not a regular. My friends and I hung out and listened to the Yardbirds and our ultimate ambition at the time was to form a rock band, have an actual sexual experience with another person and to grow cool side burns.
The kids were hanging out listening to Jan and Dean, The Beach Boys and dancing to The Bird. The nuns thought that Freddie and The dreamers were a nice influence.
The it happened. Over the tinny cheap PA speakers in the hall, a noise like two giant balloons rubbing together at high volume with a beat blasted everyone into stunned silence...There was a voice, "Suzy? Suzy Creamcheese?" And they said it couldn't happen here......
This went on for a few minutes. The nuns were too stunned to react. Then Sister mary Tehonella, the thake charge authoritarian of the group strode into the back room and ripped the record off the turntable. She reappeared dragging my buddy George by the arm nd up the stairs and out the door. He was clutching a record jacket.
So we followed George and he told us that he was officially banned from the teen club.
We were impressed. I offered him one of my Chesterfields which I smoked because I felt for some reason had an aura of sophistication. I looked at Georges record. It was freak Out by The Mothers of Invention and I had never seen anything like it before.
The next day, since I had the most unsupervised existence, George and my buddies came over to my house and played the record.
Things changed fast in my life. I went to an inner city high school, Cass Tech which specialized in the Arts and had a very diverse group of friends. It was the dawning of the Age of Aquariums...The Age of Aquarius never really happened in Detroit. There were "hippies" and hippie hang outs, but most of us knew that we were really freaks and mutants. Living in Detroit only helped to foster that realization, every day.
Freak Out became the soundtrack of my life. I liked lots of other music, but my tastes had been fatally influenced already.
My buddies, Larry and Rudy started one of the first high school "underground" papers in the USA, Yellow. We got to work on it in the offices of the still publishing Revolutionary Paper, The Fifth Estate in an office on the John C. Lodge Expressway below Canfield Ave. One cold afternoon, I was in the office with Larry and found myself creating the ad for the first Mothers of Invention performance in Detroit at The ford Auditorium. I wish I had a copy of that ad. I was doing proto psychedelic lettering and created a collage of giant pigs attacking the skyline of Detroit.
We were able to get free tickets to the show. Also while we were working in the Fifth Estate office, we checked out the want ads for the next issue and saw an ad recruiting "hippie types" to hang out at the opening of an art gallery. An artist had painted the flower children in San Francisco and needed sopme livehippes for atmosphere.
We showed up. I was wearing a double breasted Salvation Army jacket and a wide tie with jeans and was barefoot. I ended up on television and in the newspaper and appropriate quotes were attributed to me like, "Groovy" and "They really make it!".
The next day, when the paper came out and television footage was shown most of my living relatives disowned me, except for an uncle who died recently and my sister told me that the cutting from the paper was in his wallet.
I saw the Mothers at The Ford Auditorium. They abused the rising stage and played a program of covers of sleazy R&B and greasy Rock songs. Frank would announce the song, the artist and the label and the recording serial number. Then theyy launched into an extended version of the early proto King Kong! It was great! I was never the same...the syndrome had truly set in.
This was the beginning of my 43 year obsession with frank Zappa and his work and the world revolving around it. My esthetic was profoundly twisted and I had become a teenage dada monster. Happy Day 3 of Zappadan!
Friday, December 05, 2008
Another Senator Kennedy? The crazy speculation about Hillary Clinton's Senate seat may not be so crazy after all. A Democrat who would know tells ABC News that New York governor David Paterson has talked to Caroline Kennedy about taking the seat, which was once held by her uncle, Robert F. Kennedy. It’s not exactly shocking that Paterson would reach out to one of the most highly respected public figures in New York, but this is: Sources say Kennedy is considering it, and has not ruled out coming to Washington to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate.
A few years ago, the famously private Caroline Kennedy would be the last Kennedy expected to serve in Congress, but of course, she took on a much more high-profile role during the presidential campaign and, if she does it, would be more than New York’s junior Senator; she’d have closer ties to the Obama White House than any of her colleagues, a direct line to the East Wing.
When Robert Kennedy, Jr. took himself out of the running for the seat earlier this week, he told Jonathan Hicks of the New York Times, “Caroline Kennedy would be the perfect choice if she would agree to it.” And one more thing: We hear that President-elect Obama has made it clear that he thinks Caroline Kennedy would be a great choice.
This seems real and it would be a very smart move for Governor Paterson. Robert Kennedy Jr. and Rep. Nita Lowey have already removed themselves from consideration and Andrew Cuomo seems to have his eye on being the next Governor of NY State, so a senate seat would be a detour. My self? I think it is a great idea if she wants it! Heck, when she was doing the vetting for vice president for Barack Obama, Michael Moore suggested that she pull a Dick Cheney and nominate herself.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
On the first official day of the flamboyant festival of Zappadan, before the mad celebration sweeps us all up in its frantic pace of ritual joyous vegetable abuse, lets stop and remember, The Indian of The Group, Jimmy Carl Black, who died this last November 2, 2008 at age 70.
Jimmy was born James Inkanish Jr. in El Paso, Texas in 1938. After a stint in the Air Force, he became a Rock and Roll drummer, playing verious bands starting in 1962 with "The Keys" in Wichita, Kansas. he moved to California in 1964 and met Roy Estrada and Ray Collins and started a band called The Soul Giants. In 1965, the guitarist of The Soul Giants was drafted into the Army and Ray Collins said he knew a guitar player named Frank Zappa. A few months later, Frank was the leader of the band and the name was changed to The Mothers.
Jimmy Carl Black was the drummer of the Mothers until 1969, when Frank disbanded the unit. That was the end of one of the greatest bands ever. Great musicians, but not the greatest that Zappa would ever work with, but as a unit of memorable personalities at odds with each other but in the end working to the utmost of their abilities to play muusic that no one had imagined before. They mixed humor and performance art.
Jimmy never made a lot of money as a musician. At one time he actually formed a house painting company with British musician, Arthur Brown. But he never stopped playing and recording. His own band Geronimo Black and a few others...he continued playing the classic Mothers of Invention music after Franks death with the Grandmothers, which were most of the original members and later as The Muffin Men.
He recorded and played with Eugene Chadbourn in the 90's and a few other projects which he released on his own Inkanish Record lable. The Muffin Men kept playing until earlier this year. In 2004, Jimmy was diagnosed with lung cancer and kept it at bay for a while, but finally died on November 2.
The above clip is his classic performance from the 1971 movie, 200 Motels as Lonesome Cowboy Burt!
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
The sound track for my version of George Bush's interview last weekend, where he admits to having a few regrets at the end of his terms and his convcern for his legacy, courtesy of Sid Vicious..........
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,GEORGE'S WAY...THE FAREWELL TOUR!
.And now, my term is up
And so I face the final curtain
My friends, Let’s make it clear
It’s not my choice, and that is certain
I lived a life that was charmed
I never worked, it all was given
I took it all, much more than all
I did it my way.
Regrets, Ive had a few;
But then again, I can’t remember.
I did what I wanted to do
I bombed, tortured and dismembered
I always did what Karl said
Each sleazy trick and bit of foulplay
But more,much more than that,
I did it my way.
Yes, there were times, Im sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
Lied and decieved,out and out connived
I gave them all my goofy grin and...
I did it my way\
I’ve cheated, laughed and lied a lot....
I never ever thought of losing
And now as the giggles die
I still find it all so amusing
To imagine I did all of that
And walk away, trashing the economy
Oh no no, not my legacy.....
And I did it my way...
For what is a man, if he gets caught?
If he’s impeached, then he has naught.
I said only what you want
I pandered to your basest thoughts
It felt so nice, you elected me twice
And....YOU DID IT MY WAY.......
Let's hear it for George W. Bush....THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER!
Keep applauding until George has left the auditorium!
I'm been trying to write for at least 15 hours...but our internet service is getting knocked out by the weather! So, I'm back on and taking a chance!
I am sure you have heard by now about the reopening of the Bangkok Airports after the protest and occupation by hundreds of thousands of PAD (People Alliance for Democracy) supporters.
I am posting a video that was aired on Al Jazeera earlier this week which shows the peaceful nonviolent atmosphere of the demonstrations. The violence that occurred which resulted in the death of a few demonstrators was caused by goverment supporters who randomly lobbed a few grenades into the peaceful crowd.
The PAD was protesting the corrupt coalition goverment which has controlled Thailand in one way or another for quite a few years. The goverment was overturned 2 years ago by the army in a bloodless coup which ousted Prime Minister,Thaksin Shinawatra, banned him from Thai politics and sent him into exile.
His ally, Somchai Wongsawat, became the new Prime Minister. the Ruling parties have become very rich due to corruption which became the standard way of doing business in Thailand. There was an attempt to force them out of office earlier this year, using the claim against the prime minister, that his television cooking show was illegal.
The PPP and it's coalition parties have a popular base in the poverty stricken North where they use propaganda against the more wealthy urban south to create a class system...the country folks against the urban elite.
During the crisis, the Prime Minister stayed out of Bangkok and traveled in the North.
The Courts, at the urging of the very popular Thai king, ruled that the PPP and it's allied parties were guilty of electoral corruption and forced the Prime Minister to resign and barred them from political activity for the next 5 years.
A victory on paper, because of the innate flaws of the Thai parliamentary system and the parties will reform under another name and many of their deputies still control the Thai Parliament.
The world watched as the Thai people staged their non violent protest and paralysed the nations commerce. The western goverments stood back and instead of offering support made guarded statements regarding the dangers of mass protest.
The worlds news featured irate travelers railing against the idiots who wouldn't let them get to Phuket for their vacations. The Thais responded with their usual courtesy and put stranded travelers up in empty luxury hotels, free of charge.
There is an innate sense of courtesy in the Thai character. Good manners and graciousness are a hallmark of the national identity. Losing your temper and getting angry triggers a non aggressive wall of passive non compliance. You can get nowhere fast by yelling in Thailand, but a smile will open most doors and get you a good deal.
We have seen the biggest non violent demonstration in recent history succeed in Thailand. The demostrators may not have gotten all they wished for, but they know they have the approval of their king, the vocal support of the queen, the protection of the police and possibly the involvement of the army as an ally should this be neccessary.
The west sat silent watching, hoping that this would be a lessson unlearned by the public...in other words: It's okay for the Thais, but Kids, Don't Try This At Home!