Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I hope this clears up next week. We are supposed to be back in the high 70's this weekend, but I am waiting for a phone call to go and work for 2 weeks at Chateau Vieux Chevrol performing l'empaphrage and l'embourgeonage on 20 hectares of grape vines.
I expect to be out of touch again for the duration. I just had to share this photo......
Monday, April 28, 2008
22 years ago today, a deadly cloud rose up from the heart of the Ukraine from Unit 4 at the Chernobyl reactor site. For the next few hundred generations, life on our planet will be affected by this man made radioacxtive fallout which was much worse than the fallout from Nagasaki or Hiroshima.
Conservative estimates of oc this disater's cost are in the $500 billion range. Down wind of the plant, there are still regions to dangerous to live in and the ultimate death toll from cancer and birth-defects is impossible to estimate.
If another Chernobyl type of disaster hit today, you are already slated to pay for it.
We are experiencing a "Reactor Renaissance" and it is being sold to you with lies and public liability.
There are 104 Reactors in the United States and many on line to be built and not one of them has or can get insurance from private sources.
For the last 50 years, since 1957, your tax dollars have protected reactor owners with the Price-Anderson Act.
Look at your homeowners policy for it's specific exclusions against liability for nuclear reactor-related radiation. If there was a Chernobyl type accident in the United States, like Three Mile Island almost became, it would bankrupt the government and you.
The real place our future energy investments should be made is in the renewable technologies. Wind, solar, hydro....there are new breakthroughs and discoveries weekly, but if they are not promoted and they are suppressed, the progress is slow and will never happen. These are the solutions to Global warming.
Every dollar invested in increased energy efficiency saves seven times the energy a dollar invested in nuclear can produce.
Now nuke pushers want to load the Lieberman-Warner “Global Warming” Bill with still more taxpayer subsidies.
But from the start of the fuel cycle to plant decommissioning and waste management, reactor technology is a serious greenhouse gas emitter. The final “bootprint” is unclear because there’s no actual solution to the waste problem, and no firm price for final reactor decommissioning.
A French “new generation” project in Finland is already two years and $2 billion over budget. French nukes are gargantuan tax pits, Europe’s most notorious radioactive polluter, and an ecological and public health nightmare.
In Florida, ratepayers may be gouged for up to $24 billion for two new reactors that would destroy the Everglades, and still more billions for two more north of Tampa. The utilities involved don’t know what kind of reactors they want to build, can’t guarantee when they would come on line, or what they’ll ultimately cost.
All that money should be going to renewables,but renewables don't return the immediate investment and generate the construction revenue that the heavily subsidized Nuclear Industry does. The Gulf Emirates are now putting their oil billions into renewable energy research. They will be at the forefront of this new industry as we are still fighting for the last drops of Iraqi oil.
22 years after the biggest nuclear disaster on our planet and we are still playing with the dragon.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
In my continuing attempt to document my favorite female rock artists, I found a clip that isa a double treat for me. This is the piece, Do You Take This Man? by Diamanda Galas, an incredible vocalist and performance artist who teamed up with John Paul Jones, the ex bass player for Led Zepplin for the 1994 Recording, The Sportting Life.
Madame Galas is a Greek born singer who can sing anything. Together with Jones, they constructed a minimalisst record full of violence and powerful imagery.
I saw them perform in New York at this time and walked away thinking that Jones was one of the greatest musicians I had ever seen.
I thought Galas was one of the most poweerful emotional vocalists I had ever seen.
They performed as a trio, Jones playing assorted bass guitars , Pete Thomas on drums and Galas, vocals and keyboards on some songs. When they performed just bass, drums and vocals, Galas would perform violent scat that took the place of any twenty great rock guitarists. This was definitive!
John Paul Jonews was one of the great arrangers of early British Pop, he has alsso been contributing to contemporary music as a producer and arranger. He has done orchestral strings for REM and Ben Harper among others.
His 1999 album, Zooma is one of the greatest rock bass records I have ever heard...
Thursday, April 24, 2008
When France to the Germans in the early days of World War Two, it was divided into 2 zones and the Southern Zone was a French State that collaborated with the Germans.
It was ruled by Marshall Petain, an aging hero of World War One who was able to embody the fantasy that there was still an independant French State. Of course it was nothing of the sort, but the Germans allowed life to continue in Vichy France as long as it cooperated and they did..
When France fell, hundreds of thousands of French soldiers were taken prisoner. One of those soldiers was a young Francois Mitterand, who later went on to become the first post war Socialist President and was truly loved for the 12 years he ruled in the 1980's..
In the 1990's a book came out that spoke of his life during the war, a subject he had never publically commented on. There were photos of him with Marshall Petain and wearing a lapel pin that identified him as a supporter of the Vichy Government.
The book detailed his life as a functionary with the department that provided aid to French Soldiers imprisoned in Germany.
Mitterand had escaped and made it back to France and through his family connections got the post.
This knowlege was used to create a huge scandal. France was outraged that their beloved ex President had been a collaborationist. The opposition party created a huge wave of propaganda against Mitterand and tried to portray him as a Crypto-Nazi..
By this time, Francois Mitterand was dying of the cancer that would kill him, but he publically came forward and provided the details of the period of his life of which he hadn't spoken of. The details his friends kept quiet according to his wishes, but were easy to verify.
While Mitterand worked for Vichy as a valued functionary, he was recruited by the French Anti German Resistance. He was able to forge thousands of false papers for Jews and provide inside information to those on the outside fighting. He played the part well and wore his Vichy lapel pin!
In 1943, he disappeared and ended up under an assumed name in Algeria with General DeGaulle. Then his publically acknowleged history begins, as a coordinator of the Resistance in Paris and his heroic involvement of the Liberation of Paris.
But, to me, the way his past was used in an attempt to destroy him, using the outward display of political affiliation, which was a disguise, is very ironic in the context of America today and it's obsession with another Lapel Pin in an attempt to smear the patriotism of Barack Obama.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Here is another video, but I'd like to dedicate this to Barack Obama and affirm my belief that he will prevail against Hillary. The Pennsylvania Primary is over and I am reading a few different numbers as far as her "win" goes. Between 8 and 10%, which doesn't mean anything in the big picture and Barack has narrowed her touted Superdelegate lead to 26 with the declaration of the Governor of Oklahoma as a Barack committed super delegate. The New York Times in an editorial just as much as diss endorsed her this morning. he has picked up almost 85 super delegates in the last 2 weeks, he leads in the overall delegate count and the popular vote.
Last night was the last primary that Hillary will win. With her bizarre pandering statements about obliterating Iran and the clumsy attempt to spin the damage, it's more apparent that she has become more like John McCain in her attempt to be everything to every one in her shameless performance to get votes.
We've heard her repeat the name of Reverend Jeremiah Wright like a litany in her attempt to play the race fear card over and over again.
To Barack Obama's credit, he has never mentioned that Reverend Jeremiah Wright was the spititual advisor that the Clintons turned to in the aftermath of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
So here is a great song by a great writer, God On Our Side by Bob Dylan.
The interpretation by Aaron Neville is spine chilling and raises it to another dimension. Aaron Neville is a national monument, a great original American artist as Edith Piaf is to the French.
The arrangement and accompaniment by Daniel Lanois is absolutely spiritual!
Keep On Keepin' On!
Here's a video from a concert given last year by John Cale in Amsterdam. The song is Paris 1919 from the 1972 album of the same name. It was a magnificent work and has remained one of my favorite works since then.
I first saw John Cale playing with The Velvet Underground. I saw them at the Michigan State fairgrounds in 1966. At that time Nico was performing with them and they were an entire experience called The Exploding Plastic Inevitable, a collaboration with Andy Warhol. It was quite an experience for a 15 year old kid, at the time, with the very bad accoustics, the effect was like an Arab woman screaming in fear over an air raid siren with a beat. John Cale played Viola, Lou Reed played guitar, Sterling Hayden bass and Mo Tucker as the primitive percussionist and of course, Nico wailing away.
There were strobe lights, smoke and dancers with whips. I enjoyed it immensely.
I really was a fan of John Cales post Velvet work and have been discovering his pre Velvet work as a composer and film maker with Lamonte Young.
Here he is in 2007 looking rather good and voice still intact recreating one of the great lost records of all time.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Over the objections of the Bush Administration and after 8 years of its failure to make any headway and losing any sense of direction towards real peace with their famous "roadmap", Jimmy Carter visited Israel and Syria this week.
There were calls in Congress by some to revoke his passport for daring to talk directly with the leadership of Hamas. You see, George W. Bush doesn't deal with terrorists or governments who sponsor terrorism, unless it is terrorism that we support or terrorists that we can use to terrorize the terrorists or...uhh...
So the reactionary yahoos in Congress condemn Jimmy Carter for ignoring their prejudiced half formed ideas and forging ahead and trying to build bridges..
He was denied security in Israel because they were so upset that he would perhaps actually talk to Syria. Carter thinks that the American Administration influenced Israels decision.
He was not empowered to broker any type of deal, but he walked away from his meetings with Assad and the leaders of Hamas with much more than any negotiation team has done since his days in office.
He actually got Hamas to say that if The Palestinian Authority and Israel can agree on a two state solution and it is ratified by the Palestinians, then Hamas will go alog with it and officially recognize Israel. That is much more than they have have ever given and he has it on paper.
Carter also believes that Syria would like to have good relations with America and the present attitude of the Administration is what is driving them towards Iran. It's a matter of praticality. Assad wants peace with Israel.
Israeli Officials opposed Carters meeting with Hamas leaders saying that doing so legitimatizes a group they consider to be a terrorist organization. Mr. Carter said, "The problem is not that I met with Hamas in Syria, the problem is that the Israelis and the Americans refuse to meet with these people."
Of course, this is far from a simple solution. There are many problems, one of the biggest stumbling blocks is in Palestine. Hamas and Fatah would have to be able to come to some sort of agreement about governing Palestine and resolve their differences before any kind of agreement could begin.
But in 72 hours, one committed man made more real progress in opening doors and building bridges than all of the beligerent posturing and false poses of the last 7 years!
This is why Carter deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.
"Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks.
Analysts have been wooed in hundreds of private briefings with senior military leaders, including officials with significant influence over contracting and budget matters, records show. They have been taken on tours of Iraq and given access to classified intelligence. They have been briefed by officials from the White House, State Department and Justice Department, including Mr. Cheney, Alberto R. Gonzales and Stephen J. Hadley.
In turn, members of this group have echoed administration talking points, sometimes even when they suspected the information was false or inflated. Some analysts acknowledge they suppressed doubts because they feared jeopardizing their access.
A few expressed regret for participating in what they regarded as an effort to dupe the American public with propaganda dressed as independent military analysis.
“It was them saying, ‘We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you,’ ” Robert S. Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and former Fox News analyst, said.
Kenneth Allard, a former NBC military analyst who has taught information warfare at the National Defense University, said the campaign amounted to a sophisticated information operation. “This was a coherent, active policy,” he said."
But you knew all this anyway, Didn't you?
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Well, as I am too emotionally charged to write about politics and it's raining, raining, raining here in La Sechere, I am cruising the internet.
In the last week and in the last year, I have presented a number of videos featuring the Bonzo Dog Band, and their rather unique, ahem, influence they had on humor, music and well, blurring the lines between idiocy and art.
Here is their biggest appearance ever! In the Beatles film, Magical Mystery Tour, the bus stops for a bit of entertainment at a rather low music hall. The passengers come in for a drink, some chips and a chance to see a sequined covered Vivian Stanshall warble the now legenday song, Death Cab For Cutie!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Behold the new Theodora, Queen and Empress, chosen of God, Autocrat, a woman not to be defied, or taken lightly. From a bear-tamers daughter from the circus, she now rules at the center of the known earth at her husbands side. Co-ruler in effect, she now demands coins, doucments and acclaimation as ruler in her own right.. And frozen in time, her image, in golden and rich-colored mosaic survives for nearly 1500 years because to look at her and the matching image of her husband, no shrinking violet in terms of his own megalomania, is to look at raw power and sacred majesty.
This is what Hillary has become as her democratic candidacy has spun out of control into an entirely different reallm of ambition, delusion, and re-creation of self and mission.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
In 1961, a young African-American man, after hearing President John F. Kennedy's challenge to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," gave up his student deferment, left college in Virginia and voluntarily joined the Marines.
In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines, volunteered again to become a Navy corpsman. (They provide medical assistance to the Marines as well as to Navy personnel.)
The man did so well in corpsman school that he was the valedictorian and became a cardiopulmonary technician. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy's premier medical facility, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of the commander in chief's medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B. Johnson after his 1966 surgery. For his service on the team, which he left in 1967, the White House awarded him three letters of commendation.
What is even more remarkable is that this man entered the Marines and Navy not many years after the two branches began to become integrated.
While this young man was serving six years on active duty, Vice President Dick Cheney, who was born the same year as the Marine/sailor, received five deferments, four for being an undergraduate and graduate student and one for being a prospective father. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both five years younger than the African-American youth, used their student deferments to stay in college until 1968. Both then avoided going on active duty through family connections.
Who is the real patriot? The young man who interrupted his studies to serve his country for six years or our three political leaders who beat the system? Are the patriots the people who actually sacrifice something or those who merely talk about their love of the country?
After leaving the service of his country, the young African-American finished his final year of college, entered the seminary, was ordained as a minister, and eventually became pastor of a large church in one of America's biggest cities.
This man is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the retiring pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, who has been in the news for comments he made over the last three decades.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I am posting this because there seems to be on a thread here. I have posted a few videos by the Bonzo Dog Band. Truly unique mix of DaDa Humor and Music, they lived in a world that has very little relationship to the world we live in today.
I just posted a few pieces with John Cleese and Graham Chapman in their pre Monty Python days. I posted a piece last year called Love Is A Cylindrical Piano by the Bonzo Dog Band and Eric Idle from the 1966 BBC Program called Do Not Adjust Your Set.
This is another Bonzo Performance of Beautiful Zelda, a poppy 60's Sci-Fi Romance number sung by Neil Innes, from the same television series, Do Not Adjust Your Set.
Monday, April 14, 2008
You don't call a black man a "boy" when you're from the south, unless you're intending to harken back to the racist language of slavery, and then segregation, when all black men were called "boy" as a prejudiced pejorative. Even worse, the GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell was there when it happened. Here's what Rep. Geoff Davis (that's really his name, talk about irony) R-KY had to say about Obama:
"I'm going to tell you something: That boy's finger does not need to be on the button," Davis said.Again, in southern speak, everyone knows what "boy" means when it's said about a black man
I would hope you go to the link and read the entire post and I hope you are able to see inot the mind set of the reportage. If you don't believe that the specter of a Barack Obama candidacy has not sent the fear of death into the very spines of the entrenched racist establishment in America after reading this, then you must be "one of them". I hope Barack has a crack security team guarding him because he is dealing with sheer naked hate and a few hundred years of organized insanity and they are crazy mad!
Thank you Americablog for this item!
I have been watching the increasingly frantic movement in the Clinton campaign and the attempts to take out Barack Obama at any cost including deriously damaging the Party.
I watched her try to spin Obama's comments on the bitterness of Middle America and embracing gun owners rights, in her attempt to pander on a level that is beginning to equal John McCain.
I have always said that I would support the Democrat candidate, who ever he or she was, but I admit, Barack Obamna captured my imagination as soon as I realized what an inspirational orator he was. He has convinced me at least that he represents a real chance to do business dfferently.
The pile on by the McCain cmapaign, Hillary and the media in an attempt to portray his remarks in the most negative way they can possibly be spun seems to indicate to me that this is the candidate the white, entrenched establishment is in total fear of.
I was depressed as I watched and read one piece after another that analyzed why Baracks attempt to portray reality was going to hurt him.
I think the mere fact that McCain called him "Elitist" is beginning to back fire on him already. Suddenly the marriage to the Beer Heiress is under scrutiny, his 10 homes and attempts to waffle on any economic issue is too obvious.
Hillary, is another thing altogether and I think this is the beginning of the end for her. She is misfiring more and more often. She is obviously vunerable on so many points.
Watch this speech by Barack Obama in Steeltown, PA on Saturday. He shows how to attack and defend himself in a way Hillary would never be capable of.
He shows why, for Hillary, it's over.
Here is the closing scene from the Movie, The Magic Christian. It was written by Terry Southern with additional material by John Cleese and Graham Chapman who make their first film appeances in great small roles,
The film stars Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr, with among others, Raman Polanski, Raquel Welch, Spike Milligan, Christopher Lee...you could no assemble a cast like this today.
The song to this scene is Something In the Air by Thunderclap Newman...I profiled this band last year. The 50 something barrel house style Pianist and the 15 year old Jimmy McCoulough with drummer Speedy Keene, Produced by Peter Townsend made some music that was of no other time or place.
I thought it was an oddly apt clip to watch...
because, THE REVOLUUTION'S HERE! AND YOU KNOW IT'S RIGHT!
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Here is a classic sketch which I had seen performed by the Monty Python Group, but this is the original version from a British Television show called the 1948 Show produced by David Frost..
It was written by Grahamn Chapman and John Cleese who perform it with Tim Brook-Taylor and Marty Feldman. This must have been from 1966. Very Funny Stuff!!!!
Saturday, April 12, 2008
This is a skit by the great Ernie Kovacs from 1956.
I'm a little burnt from physical reality today. Home alone and it's spring.
I also have spent too muuch time ranting and raving on other peoples blogs and I want to be entertained!
Ernie Kovacs was the technical and intellectual innovator of early television. He was a great comedian who died too young but the amount of work he accomplished in the media in a short amount of time is only now being unraveled and truly appreciated!
Friday, April 11, 2008
Screw the war....America might not be happy about or want to know what is going on in the Middle East and as the Republicans have demonstrated, fear is the soft underbelly of the majority of voters...so,
Let's just say America isn't very impressed with Republican economics. Surely the public will be impressed with McCain's lack of understanding on all economic matters except "reading Greenspan's book", "more tax cuts and less regulation" and of course, the Keating Five. What a record...please run with that and let us know how it all works out.
If there was an issue that can inspire real and immediate fear and it touches each and every American personally, it is the economy and the absolute anarchy that Republican policies have produced. Americans get Hallmark Card Happy Meal Media Messages 20 times a day or more about the war, but nobody but George Bush is trying to put a Happy Face on the economy and McCain has done nothing to demonstrate that even grasps the complexity or seriousnesss of the problem.
Some personal perspective: 26 years ago, in 1982, I lived in an apartment in NYC that cost $175.00 a month and I thought it was too much. Now that same apartment would rent for at least $1800.00 a month. This was an unrehabilatated railroad tenement apartment with the bath tub in the kitchen. If people were pissed off then, how pissed off should they be now?
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
I am forging ahead with my commitment to present the feminine side of Rock and Roll.
And here is an artist who defied any attempt to classify her...She was beyond any concept of what a rock artist is supposed to be. Another performer who created her own Medium.
Wendy O Williams of the Plasmatics! A girl with a chainsaw who knew how to use it, she fronted a band that played berserkoid tight yet sloppy as shit punk metal and used high explosives on stage to boot!
I saw them blow up a Cadillac over at 33rd Street and the East River......I saw them dismember cars during performances on stage at the old Palladium on 14th Street. A woman who's idea of style ran to the very creative use of black electricians tape.
The Plasmatics were in their own class. The lead guitarist was over 6 feet tall guy with a huge turquoise blue Mohawk and sometimes wandered about the East Village in a dress.
Today is thge 10th Anniversary of Wendy's Death. She actually went on to lead a life as a veternarians assistant in Up State NY. Ther people who worked with this gentle animal lover had a hard time accepting that she was the same person who fronted the Legendary Band that pushed all limits into the abyss and then went on to find new ones!
WENDY O WILLIAMS!
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
During today’s hearing with Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) questioned Petraeus on what he called “the major threat” of al Qaeda in Iraq. Coming on the heels of his recent confusion over the nature of al Qaeda, McCain today seemed to refer to al Qaeda as a “sect of Shi’ites”:
MCCAIN: Do you still view al Qaeda in Iraq as a major threat?
PETRAEUS: It is still a major threat, though it is certainly not as major a threat as it was say 15 months ago.
MCCAIN: Certainly not an obscure sect of the Shi’ites overall?
MCCAIN: Or Sunnis or anybody else.
You have to wonder, is it McCain, who seems to need cue cards to get through a simple reality check on the actual facts abouit Sunni/Shi'itte Islam and it's relationship to al Qaeda or is it his attempt at Rovian political strategy? Keep repeating a lie over and over again and it becomes a factoid.
In any case.....
His lack of knowledge of the political dynamics of a war we're now five years (and 4,000 lives) into is embarrassing, especially considering he's running on that as his main strength. I mean, even if he didn't know it before, shouldn't he, y'know, take the time to learn it now?? And if not, shouldn't the press occasionally mention the fact that he appears to have no idea what he's talking about?
Why does this guy get a free ride from the press. Who in their right mind, and I know I am asking a ridiculous question in regards to the voting record of the fear crazed American public, would vote for this volatile, egoistical maniac to lead their nation.....
Why do I feel like I am asking a stupid question?
Here's a real good quote from Phil Donahue who produced the Body Of War film, today on MSNBC which gives a good perspective of how the War is percieved by the Majority Of Americans!
"This war is not fair to the American troops. This war is a massive blunder and we still have people like John McCain who want to throw more young people on the sword because “we have to win, my friends.” What…you know, the way he talks, he’s going to find that last terrorist and go [points finger like a gun] bang! [blows on finger] Boy, I’m glad that’s over! That’s the way they’re talking. This is a nightmare. It is a (sic) endless quagmire that is going to cost more and more American blood while the American people are losing this. They have no focus on Iraq any more and our economy is tanking."
That's right folks, The American Economy is tanking. Deal with it.
Later...Here is a quote from Joe Lieberman, you know, the guy who is supposed to be McCains Brain? Regarding al Qaeda in Iraq......
"Liebermann: …we can do it on conditions on the ground, but if we just pull out there will be chaos, maybe genocide and al-Qaeda and Iran will win."
So the Rovian playbook seems to be operating in full swing here. Any number of responsible analysists will tell you that al-Qaeda is a very minor player in Iraq. Most of the violence is sectarian and the biggest target of rage is the American occupiers and those who are regarded as representatives of them. Iran has been the power broker for sectarian violence and Lieberman just takes up the Cheney strategy book of throwing them all together with the insane belief that Iran is actually plottting to obliterate Israel....but Lieberman has never been anything more than a point man for Israel.
As the Beijing 2008 Olympic flame is carried across America to the Eternal shame of the Chinese Regime suppressing human rights and destroying Tibetan and other ethnic cultures in the Eastern Asia, I would like to present this video which describes the design theory and process used in creating the official Beijing 2008 Olympic Logo.
Will America roll on its back and let the flame proceed without a protest? We will see.
I belive that the flame will not be allowed to makes its journey around the world.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Since I have written about the struggle in Tibet for their fight to be recognized as an autonomous culture and have their traditions respected, I have recieved over 348 "comments" from anonymous bloggers. I have left a few up, but most were extremely beligerrent and obnoxious.
There seems to be an organized attempt by the Chinese to monitor any mention of protest abouut Tibet on the internet and mobilize "blogswarms" to aggressivley deal with it. The comments range from just plain stupid to attempts to force a rewriting of history by directing to websites that tell the history of Tibet from a purely Chinese 20th Century ideological perspective.
I am just one little blogger and I am sure what I write is pretty low profile when it comes to Google, but I still have managed to attract quite a bit of attention from the Chinese internet army.
China is learning a fact of life.. They may be ready to be a major world power, but being a world power means they have to be ready to exist in the real world.
They can rewrite history and control the internet in China, but that all ends at the borders of China. We are the rest of the world, we have access to real knowlege and we will not be suppressed!
Boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics!
Why can't the rest of the world organize an alternate Olympics with events held in different countries? It might take a little while to organize, but it could easily be done.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
This is a segment from the Fleischer Brothers Animated film, Gullivers Travels from 1939. The visual look of the film and the plotting is really brilliant! I have the video and it is one of those pieces I can watch over and over again. The Fleischer Brothers, Max and Dave, were pioneers of animation. They were responsible for Betty Boop and Koko the Klown and Tales from the Inkwell. They occupied a studio over looking Time Square in Manhattan. I recorded with the Rock Band, Belle Starr there, many years later when it was Angel Sound.
This film was very innovative in its use of the Technique of Rotoscoping. If you look at the figure of Gulliver, you are immediately struck by the natural feel and flow of his movement. This was achieved by the painstaking process of filming a live actor performing the movements, then the artists would painstakingly trace the frame by frame course of the actions into the animated segments. It was quite startling at the time, a technique that was rarely used. Warner Brothers used it for some of its propaganda cartoons from WW2, notably Gremlins from the Kremlin where they rotoscoped an animated Adolph Hitler to quite humorous ends.
The technique was rarely used until the 70's, when Ralph Bakshi used it for his version of The Lord Of The Rings. I am in complete admiration of the skill and the labor involved in this technique. I think that it still is able to convey a sense of naturalism in the motion that computer techniques still haven't quite achieved.
The entire film is available in segmants from YouTube, but if youu are interested, seek out a video version to appreciate the real effect of this animation technique.
This is the speech that Martin Luther King gave 41 years ago. Change just a few words and it is a speech he could have made today. At least America had a soul which could be reached in 1967, do we even have a soul now?
"I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.
Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don't mix, they say. Aren't you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.
Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.
This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words:
"Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."
If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. It will become clear that our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony and men will not refrain from thinking that our maximum hope is to goad China into a war so that we may bomb her nuclear installations. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horribly clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play.
The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.
In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war."
Friday, April 04, 2008
Since the Chinese Government recieved the worlds approval to hold the 2008 Beijing Olympics, they have gone back on every pledge and assurance they made to the rest of the world regarding human rights.
Right now, today, we are staring in the pit of genocide.
The Chinese, blinded by their pride and aging ideology are engaged in a ritualistic tragic display. Unless the rest of the world can somehow intervene, Tibetan culture will be erased.
This is a report from Tibet, dated April 4th.......The momentum of the international communtiy to speak up and intervene is only as powerful as the voices of the masses that make it concious of it's moral imperative.. You are the conciousness, your voice is the power. The time is now, if you do not act, tomorrow will never come......
Chinese paramilitary police have killed eight people after opening fire on several hundred Tibetan monks and villagers in bloody violence that will fuel human rights protests as London prepares to host its leg of the Olympic torch relay this weekend.
Witnesses said the clash – in which dozens were wounded – erupted late last night after a government inspection team entered a monastery in the Chinese province of Sichuan trying to confiscate pictures of the Dalai Lama.
Officials searched the room of every monk in the Donggu monastery, a sprawling 15th century edifice in Ganzi, southwestern Sichuan, confiscating all mobile phones as well as the pictures.
When the inspectors tore up the photographs and threw them on the floor, a 74-year-old monk, identified as Cicheng Danzeng, tried to stop an act seen as a desecration by Tibetans who revere the Dalai Lama as their god king.
A young man working in the monastery, identified as Cicheng Pingcuo, 25, also made a stand and both were arrested.
The team then demanded that all the monks denounce the Dalai Lama, who fled China after a failed uprising in 1959. One monk, Yixi Lima, stood up and voiced his opposition, prompting the other monks to add their voices.
At about 6.30 p.m., the entire monastic body marched down to a nearby river where paramilitary police were encamped and demanded the release of the two men.
They were joined by several hundred local villagers, many of them enraged at the detention of the 74-year-old monk Cicheng Danzeng, who locals say is well respected in the area for his learning and piety.
Shouting “Long Live the Dalai Lama,” “Let the Dalai Lama come back” and “We want freedom”, the crowd demonstrated until about nine in the evening.
Witnesses said that at around that time, as many as 1,000 paramilitary police used force to try to end the protest and opened fire on the crowd. It was not known if the demonstrators had been throwing stones at the police.
In the gunfire, eight people died, according to a local resident in direct contact with the monastery. These included a 27-year-old monk identified as Cangdan and two women named as Zhulongcuo and Danluo.
Witnesses said a 30-year-old villager, Pupu Deley, was killed, along with the son of a villager named Cangdan, and the daughter of villager Cuogu. Two other people, whose identities were not available, were also killed and dozens were wounded, the witnesses said.
They said about ten people were still missing today, including another monk, identified as Ciwang Renzhen.
Armed paramilitary police patrolled the streets of the village today and surrounded the monastery. All communications had been cut.
The latest upsurge of violence highlights the difficulties the Chinese authorities are facing in trying to end nearly a month of protests across the Tibetan region and the depth of anti-Chinese sentiment among a deeply Buddhist minority loyal to the exiled Dalai Lama.
It comes just as the issue of unrest has become a magnet for activists around the world who are criticising China’s human rights record as it prepares to host the Olympic Games in Beijing in August.
The incident, which will cast a shadow of Beijing plans to reopen the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, to tourists by May 1, came as the authorities appeared to have regained control of the vast parts of China that have large ethnic Tibetan populations.
In Lhasa, police issued their Number 13 most wanted list, bringing to 79 the number of people still sought for their roles in a deadly riot on March 14 when angry Tibetans rampaged through the streets of the Tibetan capital, stabbing and stoning ethnic Han Chinese and setting fire to hundreds of shops and offices. At least 18 people died in the violence.
Lhasa authorities today sent out a message by mobile phone to residents, offering a reward of 20,000 yuan (£1,300) to anyone who could offer information leading to the arrest of those wanted for the violence.
Two monks in the mountainous Sichuan province have committed suicide, according to Tibetan sources. A 32-year-old monk at Kirti monastery hanged himself in his room on March 27, leaving a signed suicide note.
A 72-year-old from Guomang temple, apparently upset after being detained while en route to a religious ceremony with his disciples, returned to his monastery and killed himself.
"The quality of his character is only more apparent. His good name will be honored as long as the creed of America is honored," McCain said in front of the balcony where King was shot in 1968.
All three of the presidential candidates marked the anniversary of King's death. Although McCain, who once voted against creating a national holiday on King's birthday, was the only one to accept an invitation to speak at an observance of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which King headed.
"We can be slow as well to give greatness its due," McCain said. "A mistake I myself made long ago. I myself made long ago when I voted against a federal holiday in remembrance of Dr. King. I was wrong. I was wrong."
McCain added, "We all make mistakes. We all make mistakes."
On Thursday, ABC's Jake Tapper wrote about "The Complicated History of John McCain and MLK Day," and observed that the Republican presidential candidate's "views on race in the 1980s do not stand up to the sunlight of America a quarter-century later."
Today isn't the first day McCain has apologized for first voting against the holiday.
As Tapper noted, "In December 1999 McCain told NBC's Tim Russert, 'on the Martin Luther King issue, we all learn, OK? We all learn. I will admit to learning, and I hope that the people that I represent appreciate that, too. I voted in 1983 against the recognition of Martin Luther King….I regret that vote.'"But, if it is an issue with the conservative electorate whose ass I have to kiss, I will reconsider my opinion.......
Spin, twist, swivel and turn....
You can try to be every thing to every body,
but you can only be who you really are,
Hire a PR firm to fix your image,
But they can't fix the man in the mirror....
The Justice Department memo released Thursday is a key link in the chain of evidence connecting the monstrous abuse of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere straight to the White House.
President Bush has described the torture and murder of prisoners by U.S. military personnel as the work of an aberrant few. But this 2003 memo opened the door to precisely the kinds of abuse so horrifically chronicled in the Abu Ghraib photographs.
And the memo’s author — John Yoo, then a deputy in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — was a longtime ally and notoriously pliant scribe for the radical legal views of Vice President Cheney and his chief enforcer, David S. Addington. Yoo’s memo is a historic document. It is the ultimate expression of Cheney’s belief that anything the president or his designates do — no matter how illegal, barbaric or un-American — is justifiable in the name of national self-defense.
It is also an example of how enabling zealots to disregard the rule of law and the customary boundaries of human conduct leads to madness.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Actually, this day is pretty crazy. My wife is going to the USA for 2 weeks and we are taking care of last minute details. I am going to be here in La Sechere. For me, nothing could be finer. Spring becomes more apparent with each hour. There is so much to do!
So, Here is the first half of my favorite French Television show, Groland from March 15th. Yes, it's pretty adolescent and sick, but if you want to get grossed out, these guys are experts.
The reason why this episode is so good is the sketch where the president of Groland, and I am official Grolandais, introduces his wife, the model, Carlita Brun Brun to a Saudi Prince. After Nicolas Sarkozy's trip to England last week, this isn't so far from reality!
So if you don't speak French, the humor is still pretty understandable, if you have any questions, I'd be happy to explain!
Also, here is a mp3 for a rap called Hillary In The House. I think the guy who did it is trying to support her, but the results are so unbelievably craptastic that you almost get the sneaky suspicion that this is sheer sabotage! I was rolling on the floor.