Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rape Isn't So Bad If You Just Relax And Let Yourself Enjoy It...

When Iran, under Mohammed Mossadegh nationalized Iran's oil production in March of 1951, it put a crimp in the relations between Iran and Britain, who had enjoyed massive profits from drilling operations going back to 1909 and who, by 1950 had come to rely (as did the U.S.) on Middle East oil for 70% of its consumption (even back then). After a hotly contested dispute, which brought in the League of Nations to re-negotiate in 1933, Iran got slightly more of a percentage and by 1946 had negotiated to get 30% profits to Britain's 70%.
After Mossadegh took over and nationalized Iran's oil production, Britain quickly attempted to negotiate a 50/50 split, but Mossadegh would have none of it. The dispute between Britain and Iran went on for two years. So on August 22, 1953, with the help of our very own CIA the Mossadegh government was overthrown and The Shah was reinstated. Shortly after, Britain and Iran were negotiating oil.
And shortly after, The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company became British Petroleum. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The history? With the assistance of the CIA, Mossadegh's democracy was overthrown and the brutal repressive reign of the Western Puppet Shah created the conditions that led to the present Fascist "Revolutionary" Islamic Republic of Iran. You want more history in the making thanks to the monstrous entity known today as BP? Sit back, do nothing and spread 'em. Because they will and are doing it to you.....

Friday, July 30, 2010

Who Does She Hope To Be?

The interface between music and emotion, between human feeling and art...the acuteness of what is the human "condition" and how to it can be expressed?
Two of my favorite jazz artists collaborated in the early 1990's and created a body of work that sends me over the edge, every damn time I listen to any of it. Pharoah Sanders, the saxophonist and Sonny Sharrock, the guitarist. This was a cut off of the recording, Ask The Ages by Sonny Sharrock.
Today I did a bike ride with my ipod loaded with live Sonny Sharrock and Pharoah Sanders....There's a piece called Japan, which is sort of like the cave rock classic WildThing...three chords of gory glory, by Sanders which provided the emotional energy to push me over the hills between St. Robert and Ayen and back again! With their help and inspiration, I have achieved actual thinocity.......

I Shudda Used A Chalkboard

This chart which is available for your inspection at is a fairly easy, well kinda easy flow chart of how our friend the rodeo clown works with Goldline to nightly shear the wool from his flock of sheep.
This week, Rep. Anthony Weiner (Dem. NYC) and House Commerce Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Rush (Dem. Chicago) formally announced a hearing to investigate the practices of Goldline International, a precious metals dealer that uses aggressive sales tactis which include the nightly drumbeat of immenent government takeover and financial collapse and and anarchy spewed  by The Rodeo Clown to sell overpriced gold coins to his brain dead viewers.

Among the Key Findings of Rep. Weiner’s Report: (Full Report CLICK HERE)
• Goldline Grossly Overcharges For Their Coins
The average Goldline markup was 90% above the melt value of the coin. The largest markup on any coin was 208% above the melt value. Furthermore, the average Goldline markup is 47% higher than better-priced competitors, with some of the company’s markups going as high as 102% compared to its competitors on one of the coins they offered.
• Goldline Falsely Claims To Offer “Good” Investments
By selling gold at twice the melt value, the price of gold would need to double for consumers to break even on their “investment.”
• Goldline Salespeople Misrepresent Their Ability To Give “Investment Advice”
Sales people imply that they are “investment advisors” or “financial advisers” by offering investment advice, which insinuates that they have some sort of fiduciary responsibility to get you the most return on your investment.
However, since they are not licensed investment advisors, they have no such responsibility. In 2006, the Missouri Secretary of States’ Office, Securities Division filed formal consent order against Goldline for exactly this reason and recovered over $200k for an elderly consumer that was ripped off.

After looking at the chart, I had to ask myself, why does The Rodeo Clown employ such a complicated scheme to get his viewers to part eith their hard earned cash? All he usually needs is a chalkboard and he could just tell his sheep that Obama was going to take all of their diamonds and their porn collections and they should just send them all to him.
At least he'd get a bunch of pretty wierd porn.........

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bring It On!

To quote the brain dead piece of detrius that was our last president, "Bring It On!"
It would be my fondest wish to have the Republicans nominate Sarah Palin for the 2012 Presidential Race.
As Americans begin to climb out of the narcotized vapors of the propaganda smoke screen that led to the Iraqi War Money Pit and Nightmare, as we struggle to cope with the ongoing reality of the Afghani Debacle in Progress....
A corporately funded political machine that wants to dismantle the Health Care Bill that was so bitterly fought over and wants to dismantle Social Security.
A party that wants to rob you of your money that you paid into Medicare, because they say "We Can't"...and that means they can't afford to coddle the very rich and be socially responsible at the same time. A party that proved over and over again, in deregulation, energy policies, apologizing to BP in spite of the fact they have destroyed the Gulf Of Mexico...A Party that has time and time again proven that their bottom line is 
A Party that supprted the policies that enabled the biggest financial crash in history.
A party that wants to rewrite history, turn back the clock on civil rights....
A party that could even fantasize that Sarah Palin could be the ticket to the 2012 Presidency...I say, "Bring It On!".


From the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, July 27, 2010 (PDF):
Weaknesses in DoD's financial and management controls left it unable to properly account for $8.7 billion of the $9.1 billion in DFI funds it received for reconstruction activities in Iraq. This situation occurred because most DoD organizations receiving DFI funds did not establish the required Department of the Treasury accounts and no DoD organization was designated as the executive agent for managing the use of DFI funds. The breakdown in controls left the funds vulnerable to inappropriate uses and undetected loss.
 Inappropriate Uses? $8.7 Billion of UNDETECTED LOSS? There's lame and then there is LAME! This goes beyond any previous known definition of LAME!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Wedge

It's hot as hell and it's 1963...We're goin to the beach with Dick Dale and His Deltones to listen to some real cool ass surf guitar!
What's up with the dancers? Well, they're on crack!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Really, Truly Bad Idea

As part of a set of major cuts to police budgets, the UK government has floated the idea of supplementing police with volunteer militias of "community police" who will get to tell their neighbours what to do:
The scheme was first raised in a Conservative pre-election policy document which talked of creating a "new cadre of police reserves". The consultation paper says that neighbourhood policing is key to David Cameron's "big society ... we want more active citizens taking part in joint patrols with the police, looking out for their neighbours and passing on safety tips as part of neighbourhood watch groups or as community crime fighters," it says. May said she wanted to see more special constables, whose numbers have plummeted from 67,000 in the 1950s to 15,000 today.
But the paper adds that they want to go further and explore new ideas to "unlock the potential of police volunteers in the workforce, for example, as police "reservists".
Cameron's answer to budget cuts: get public involved in 'DIY' policing

Percival Dovetonsils Encore!

I've said it before, just about the only other person I would have liked to have been is Ernie Kovacs. Here is another episode of Pervival Dovetonsils, Poet Laureate.
1954, this is beyond comedy, this was performance art before there was anything called ...uhhh...performance art....

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Cross Over

If we could only do what was in our best interests, this would have happened a long time ago. But, An item in todays NY Times Business News announced that a historic cross over point had been reached. The cost of photvoltaic, or solar power has finally declined to the point where it is now cheaper than nuclear. The cross over occurred when the cost of solar power dropped to 16 cents per kilowatt hour.

"Solar photovotaics have joined the ranks of lower-cost alternatives to new nuclear plants," John O. Blackburn, a professor of economics at Duke Universtiy, in North carolina, a graduate student, wrote in the paper, "Solar and Nuclear Costs-The Historic Crossover."
Read the entire article here.....

Remember My Forgotten Men

The GoldDiggers of 1933 /Joan Blondell
This might have been Busby Berkeleys finest moment!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Now Everybody's Gonna Want One

I live in France and for months now, the government has used the issue of the wearing in public of burquas by a very small minority of moslem women to, change the subject and coddle the extreme right.
It is officially against the law to wear a burqa in public in France now and Britains new Conservative Governement is jumping on the band wagon.

The dialogue is reduced to the extreme positions of respect and out right banning. What ever happened to tolerance? The middle?
Let's face it, it has not been that long since we had this discussion about tattooing. It was a an anti social act. Psychiatrists wrote books about the pathology of tattoos. The very discussion of tattoos made them cool enough to the point that they are totally banal now. One in every 5 of us has a tattoo and the usual discussion is "Cool, who does your work? Geez, that must have cost...."
It's hard to believe that we are having this debate. Governments and legislatures shouldn't be telling us what wew can or cannot wear. We've got the right to wear exactly what the hell we want. I guess I draw the line at crotchless jeans out side of primary schools or exploding top hats with sparklers while you are at a gas station filling your 4x4.
Perhaps there are tattooed people who wear burqas. Who would ever know? Not that I could ever find anything good about wearing a burqa. Any belief system that insists that half the population go about constantly covered from head to toe in black cloth, whether out of modesty, humility, tradition or stealth has a massive flaw.
But, then, I also believe that it is ridiculous to believe in transubstantiation, considering the bible to be the literal word of god reduces that supposedly omnipotent being to a muddle headed maniac. The Hindu caste system and the Roman Catholic rules against contraception are evil enough to have been invented by Satan, who was invented by....
Well, there, Now if something happens to me, no one could ever guess who's killed me.
It's not bigoted to disagree with peoples choices as long as you are defending their right to make them. If people do things I don't agree with, altering their appearance in ways that I think look awful or silly, then I am allowed to say so. Which brings me back to tattoos.

Tattoos on most people are horrible and never come off. Walking around with a bad tattoo is like perpetually screaming, "I should never have done this!" at the top of your lungs.  It isw foolishness made permanent. Most people can extricate themselves from a bad marriage with less pain. The fashion for tattoos, this fad for the indelible, shows an outbreak of mass imprudence comparable with Easter Island at its giant head-carving  peak. Will it lead to thousands of years of collecticve regret?
But that's liberty for you: gladly or not, it's all about suffering fools.

Why I Like Roosevelt

Little Willie Eason and His Talkin Gospel Guitar.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Medieval History In The Making

The year? 1241. The site is the Chateau de Guedelon, which is under construction in the department of Yvonne, France.
The picture is a computer simulation of the finished structure. It was begun 11 years ago and will not be finished until the present time year, 2024, or in the daing of the reality of the world of the Chateau, 1255 ad.
The Chateau has been constructed with volunteer labor, using medieval methods. I have been watching updates of the construction for a few years now, but if you are planning a trip to France, this is a place whrer you can truly leave the 21st century and exist in a time before the Black Plague, When the king was Louis XI and it was a relatively prosperous period.....More here from the Independant.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Look Around You/Music

Another segment of the BBC program, Look Around You. I keep watching this over and over again to hear the song, Little Mouse. Remember to turn in you copy books at the end of the segment, please.

Racism And The USDA

Right now, if you do a web search of the words "racism" and "USDA," the majority of links will steer you to coverage of this week's Shirley Sherrod affair, in which the African-American U.S. Department of Agriculture staffer based in Georgia resigned after a conservative website reversed the meaning of a speech she gave last year to imply she would deny farm loans to whites.

It's an astonishing development given the history of race relations at the USDA, an agency whose own Commission on Small Farms admitted in 1998 that "the history of discrimination at the U.S. Department of Agriculture ... is well-documented" -- not against white farmers, but African-American, Native American and other minorities who were pushed off their land by decades of racially-biased laws and practices.

It's also a black eye for President Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who signaled a desire to atone for the USDA's checkered past, including pushing for funding of a historic $1.15 billion settlement that would help thousands of African American farmers but now faces bitter resistance from Senate Republicans.


Any discussion about race and the USDA has to start with the crisis of black land loss. Although the U.S. government never followed through on its promise to freed slaves of "40 acres and a mule," African-Americans were able to establish a foothold in Southern agriculture. Black land ownership peaked in 1910, when 218,000 African-American farmers had an ownership stake in 15 million acres of land.

By 1992, those numbers had dwindled to 2.3 million acres held by 18,000 black farmers. And that wasn't just because farming was declining as a way of life: Blacks were being pushed off the land in vastly disproportionate numbers. In 1920, one of out seven U.S. farms were black-run; by 1992, African-Americans operated one out of 100 farms.

The USDA isn't to blame for all of that decline, but the agency created by President Lincoln in 1862 as the "people's department" did little to stem the tide  -- and in many cases, made the situation worse.

After decades of criticism and an upsurge in activism by African-American farmers, the USDA hosted a series of "listening sessions" in the 1990s, which added to a growing body of evidence of systematic discrimination:
Black farmers tell stories of USDA officials -- especially local loan authorities in all-white county committees in the South -- spitting on them, throwing their loan applications in the trash and illegally denying them loans. This happened for decades, through at least the 1990s. When the USDA's local offices did approve loans to Black farmers, they were often supervised (farmers couldn't spend the borrowed money without receiving item-by-item authorization from the USDA) or late (and in farming, timing is everything). Meanwhile, white farmers were receiving unsupervised, on-time loans. Many say egregious discrimination by local loan officials persists today.

Among those concluding that such racial bias persisted were the USDA's own researchers: In the mid-1990s, they released a report [pdf] which, analyzing data from 1990 to 1995, found "minorities received less than their fair share of USDA money for crop payments, disaster payments, and loans."

Adding insult to injury, when African-American and other minority farmers filed complaints, the USDA did little to address them. In 1983, President Reagan pushed through budget cuts that eliminated the USDA Office of Civil Rights -- and officials admitted they "simply threw discrimination complaints in the trash without ever responding to or investigating them" until 1996, when the office re-opened. Even when there were findings of discrimination, they often went unpaid -- and those that did often came too late, since the farm had already been foreclosed.

In 1997, a USDA Civil Rights Team found the agency's system for handling civil rights complaints was still in shambles [pdf]: the agency was disorganized, the process for handling complaints about program benefits was "a failure," and the process for handling employment discrimination claims was "untimely and unresponsive."

A follow-up report [pdf] by the GAO in 1999 found 44 percent of program discrimination cases, and 64 percent of employment discrimination cases, had been backclogged for over a year.


It was against this backdrop that in 1997, a group of black farmers led by Tim Pigford of North Carolina filed a class action lawsuit against the USDA. In all 22,000 farmers were granted access to the lawsuit, and in 1999 the government admitted wrongdoing and agreed to a $2.3 billion settlement -- the largest civil rights settlement in history.

But African-American farmers had misgivings with the Pigford settlement. For one, only farmers discriminated against between 1981 and 1996 could join the lawsuit. Second, the settlement forced farmers to take one of two options: Track A, to receive an immediate $50,000 cash payout, or Track B, the promise of a larger amount if more extensive documentation was provided -- a challenge given that many farmers didn't keep records.

Many farmers who joined the lawsuit were also denied payment: By one estimate, nine out of 10 farmers who sought restitution under Pigford were denied. The Bush Department of Justice spent 56,000 office hours and $12 million contesting farmers' claims; many farmers feel their cases were dismissed on technicalities.


Shortly after coming into office, President Obama and his chief at the Department of Agriculture, Iowa's Tom Vilsack, signaled a change in direction at USDA. Vilsack declared "A New Civil Rights Era at USDA," and stepped-up handling of civil rights claims in the agency.

This year, Vilsack and the USDA also responded to concerns over handling of the Pigford case, agreeing to a historic second settlement -- known as Pigford II -- in April that would deliver another $1.25 billion to farmers who were excluded from the first case. As Vilsack declared:
We have worked hard to address USDA's checkered past so we can get to the business of helping farmers succeed. The agreement reached today is an important milestone in putting these discriminatory claims behind us for good.

But the Pigford II case was very much still alive when right-wing media outlets went after Shirley Sherrod this week. Sherrod herself had received $150,000 from the USDA last year as part of the original Pigford lawsuit, which has been bitterly opposed by Republicans and conservative media.

The settlement is also now a major political battle in Congress: President Obama had put aside $1.15 billion in May to cover Pigford II cases, which the House later approved. But Republicans stripped the money out of their bills, leaving the supplemental spending now being debated in the Senate as the final option to appropriate the funding.

Given the stakes of the Pigford II decision -- which again affirms the present-day consequences of decades of racial discrimination -- and the sharp partisan battle over spending in Congress, black farmer advocates don't think the attacks on Sherrod this week are a coincidence.

And given the history of racial discrimination at USDA, they can't help but note the hypocrisy. As Gary Grant, president of the 20,000-strong Black Farmers & Agriculturalists Association, said in a statement [pdf]:
The statement from Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, that USDA does not "tolerate" racial discrimination is a complete lie. Talk to almost any family member of a black farmer or check out ... the government's documentation of how USDA employees, on the local and federal level discriminated against black farmers, in particular. And nothing was ever done to penalize the all white officials bent on destroying a society of black farmers across the nation: not one firing, not one charge brought, and not one pension lost. Yet at the first erroneous offering by a conservative blogger that a black woman from USDA might have discriminated, she is immediately forced to resign.

Which begs the question: Where was the Republican and conservative concern over USDA "racism" before this week's swiftboating of Shirley Sherrod?

What If Breitbart Had Edited It?

Check out this Twitter Feed! Here's a few creative examples: 
 • Huckleberry Finn: Affirmative action sends ungrateful black man on river cruise, using lib-approved child labor. (via)
2001: An intelligent computer heroically stops wasteful government spending on space exploration. (via)
Little Rascals: Juvenile delinquency caused by having black friends. Also, where's Buckwheat's birth certificate? (via)
Aladdin: Swarthy thief flees jail, abducts princess, kills trusted advisor & performs coup d'etat. (via)
• Black men stole the rock and roll sound from Marty McFly!!! (via)
• MLK's famous speech: "I have a dream that my nation will not be judged by character." (via)
Inglorious Basterds: Deranged Jewish woman murders innocent moviegoers (via)
The Lord of the Rings: Through grit, working class Hobbits take back 'their' Middle America from colored Orcs (via)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Look Around You/Computer Games

I've posted a few segments from the BBC program, Look Around You. Sometimes I see episodes on my television when I can pick it up from the satellite. It is the perfect parody of the nerdy science and tech info shows. This isn't a plug for them...but finally, episodes are going to be available in the USA. They are releasing a DVD.
Great stuff and all the better because the cast is always perfectly in character.

The Flying School

A few weeks ago, I posted a segment from Jean Cocteau's 1930 film, Le Sang d'un Poet, Blood of a Poet. I have been a captive of its imagery since I was a teen.
There is something so effortless in its surrealism, images that make me feel that
my attempts with paint and photoshop are so contrived. Yet, Cocteau, working in a media that he had to invent as he created made something so fresh and compelling that it loses none of its power after 80 years.
This scene, which was in the clip I posted, is The Flying School. To achieve the special "effect",  a floor becomes a wall. The instructress is laying on her side, posed to look as if she is standing besides the fireplace. The lighting completes the effect.
The little girl is laying on her back. The effect in the film is totally convincing in a very disturbingly bizarre way. What an incredible image.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Jerry Was A Race Car Driver

Well, yes, I liked Primus a whole lot...I saw them in NYC back in the early 90's and they performed this song. Well, yes, I think Les Claypool is one of the nastiest bass players on the planet. I'm trying to find some of his live performances by his band, Colonel Claypools Bucket of Bernie Brains. That was a project earlier in this decade with the guitarist known as Buckethead, The Drummer, Brain and Bernie Worrell, the keyboard genius from Funkadelic and everyone else cool on the planet...

Don't Touch That Wall

The recently-applied work of street artist Banksy at an abandoned Packard auto plant in Detroit, Michigan. A local gallery promptly dug up and relocated the wall to their space, sparking controversy.
Read the article, tell me what you think. I think the wall should have been left in place.
Of course, that is the nature of Banksy's work, the very site specificity is what creates its inherent meaning. It is essentially graffitti and many of his works have been destroyed by other graffitti artists and public employees, just doing their job....
Even though the value of the work by one who percieves it as a form of valuable art...could be as high as $100,000......

Monday, July 19, 2010

Practikal Republikan Alkemy

Alchemy is not dead. The discipline of the Middle Ages lives on in the arcane economic magic being preached by modern alchemists like Mitch McConnell, Jon Kyl, Tom Coburn, John Boehner, John McCain who claim that they can turn Donkey Shit into Gold!
With their super secret formula, they claim that cutting taxes actually increases government revenue and decreases the deficit!
They must be on to something, because if their claimes were false, then they would have been just giving more money to rich people!
They claim with their formulae, that they can prove that the Bush Tax Cuts did not contribute a single drop of the red ink swamping the treasury. As their chief high alchemist, John Boehner, said last week:
"It's not the marginal tax rates ... that's not what led to the budget deficit. The revenue problem we have today is a result of what happened in the economic collapse some 18 months ago."
"We've seen over the last 30 years that lower marginal tax rates have led to a growing economy, more employment and more people paying taxes."
 Last Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell explained how tax cuts magically turn red ink black:
 And on"There's no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. "
In February 2009, Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison offered the purest expression of the tried and untrue Republican gambit:
"I think we get revenue the way we've done it in the past that has been so successful in the past and that is tax cuts...Every major tax cut we've had in history has created more revenue."
As his 2008 presidential election neared, John McCain, too, experienced a just-in-time supply-side conversion. In 2001, McCain had opposed the $1.4 trillion Bush tax cuts because, "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief." But with the Republican primaries approaching, McCain renounced his heresy: In 2006, he added Laffer to his economic team and by 2007, proclaimed his support for making the Bush tax cut windfall for the wealthy permanent:
"Tax cuts, starting with Kennedy, as we all know, increase revenues."
Of course, just because Republicans claim it, doesn't make it so.
Ezra Klein was quick to sum up the "evidence" Mitch McConnell pretended was non-existent:
But how about the Congressional Budget Office's estimations? "The new CBO data show that changes in law enacted since January 2001 increased the deficit by $539 billion in 2005. In the absence of such legislation, the nation would have a surplus this year. Tax cuts account for almost half -- 48 percent -- of this $539 billion in increased costs." How about the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget? Their budget calculator shows that the tax cuts will cost $3.28 trillion between 2011 and 2018. How about George W. Bush's CEA chair, Greg Mankiw, who used the term "charlatans and cranks" for people who believed that "broad-based income tax cuts would have such large supply-side effects that the tax cuts would raise tax revenue." He continued: "I did not find such a claim credible, based on the available evidence. I never have, and I still don't."
Or, of course, as His exalted magikal excellency, President Bush explained in 2004 why his tax cuts for the wealthy should stay in place:
"The really rich people figure out how to dodge taxes anyway."
Now, perhaps we can begin to understand the magikal formula that the Republicans are trying to use to convince us with, that we really miss George Bush and history will turn his legacy of donkey shit into gold!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Octet Electronico

This is a Scopitone video of a live performance by Astor Piazzolla and his early 70's ensemble, Octet Electronico. Piazolla died a few years ago, he was born in New York City of Italian Immigrant Parents. They moved to Argentina. Piazzolla went on to become a master of the bandoneon or the button accordion and compose. He revolutionized the idea of Tango and composed for symphonies as well as seamlessly merging the tango style with jazz. In this group, he uses electric guitars and effects as part of his orchestration. The piece is compelling in its mutilayered time signatures and how it seems to be lush romantically traditional tango and angular avant garde at the same time.

note: I have obviously survived my barn door building and hanging experience. One side is built and hung and beautiful. No tractor was needed, just two crazy guys who figured out how to make gravity obey. The most satisfying sound I have heard in a long time was the sond of the bottom post clicking into place and the door swinging freely.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

These Boots Was made For Stompin'

1973, Ann Arbor, MI...The Band, Destroy All Monsters does a pretty good job of wreaking terror, havoc and destruction with Nancy Sinatra's 60's Kitsch Classic.
The Musicians include the Asheton Brothers and the Painter Niagra on vocals. I have some of their 45's, but not this! Simply Smashing!
My mind is out to lunch today...I just put 16 bales of hay in my barn and the 50 year old doors are self destructing. We have to rebuild them now!
Update: did I say rebuild the doors?...nay, not so simple. I am building new doors.
The metal hinge anchor thingy on the bottom of one came out of the stone completely. The door fell over and it is severely damaged...the other one is ready to go as well...
These are huge! each side is 2,85m by 1,58m. I'm recycling all the hardware, but I had to cut the rusted bolts off and buy new ones. I got 2 huge pine beams and I'm using recycled poplar planks with an oak frame. I reset the iron post holder with quick set cement. I think I got the hinges correctly aligned...tomorrow, we will assemble them. Can any of you guys come over and help me lift these suckers into place?
Actually, we are going to use a tractor. Maybe if I don't severely injure myself, I will take some pictures.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pope In The Bubble

I am kind of wondering just what message the Roman Catholic Church was trying to send when it issued, on Thursday, a set of revisions to its internal laws. They did seem to make it easier to discipline sex-abuser priests, but then made the ordination of women priests as grave offense as pedophilia.
"A new set of directives from the Vatican marginally increase the Church's vigilance against paedophile priests (Bishops are now encouraged, but not required, to report rapist priests to civil authorities); however, the same document includes a list of "more grave delicts" that are on par with raping children. On that list are "heresy, apostasy, schism" and ordaining woman priests."
Will they issue a new set of penances that include dunking or and the revival of the good old auto-de-fe?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Post-Oil Economy? Whaaa?

Maybe most Americans aren't willing to look ahead into the future, but you can be thankful that somebody is doing it for you!
An interesting and troubling piece in the Washingtonian today about one of those recently-nabbed Russian spies, who passed as a corporate consultant. The Russian who went by the alias "Donald Heathfield" wanted to know how US companies were preparing for a post-oil economy. "He wasn't terribly curious about domestic political issues," a source says. "Not 'What does this bill include?' or 'What's in these energy regulations?' But potentially 'Where in five years will a company be looking to get funding for clean and green energy?'


Joyeux Quatorze de Juillet, tout le monde!
Unfortuneately, I can't really express my feelings about the present French Government and the cesspool of corruption that is exploding in our faces. The present administration has learned a lot from the American Republican party...I will add that when I have commented on French politics lately, I have noticed many hits on my blog counter from an untraceable ip address here. Let's just say, the internet is monitored. I am not a French citizen, so I really don't want to make my or my loved ones lives difficult.....

Meanwhile, here are two pieces of music by the singer, Renaud. He began his career in the 60's. He sang folk and rock. He recorded celtic songs of Ireland and Breton as well as his own compositions. In 2002, he recorded a song with the Belgian singer, Axell Red called Manhattan/Kaboul which portrayed two parrellel lives, one in Manhattan and one in Kaboul shattered by violence. I found a version with an english translation. The second piece is Dr. Renaud/Mr. Reynard. A dark autobiographical song about Renaud...his two sides. The self destructive Mr. Reynard and the person who he wants to be, Dr. Renaud. Great Music by a great artist.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kill, Kill, Kill For Peace

Naftali Kupferberg was born in Brooklyn on September 28, 1923. In the early 1950's he lept off of the Manhattan Bridge, an event immortalized in Alan Ginsberg's epic poem, Howl.
In Ginsberg'ss poem, he says it was the Brooklyn Bridge, but in the words of Kupferberg, "When I realized I wasn't dead, I went home, took a bath and went to bed. Nobody even noticed."
In 1966, I heard the Fugs first record. It was in a basement in Detroit and my friend had gotten it away from his brother who was home from college. Of course, we hardly realized what we were hearing. A bunch of maniacs who could barely play their instruments, howling really stupid sounding poetry over a crude beat...but the songs became classics to our 16 year old ears...We sang the nihilistic chant of Nothing! and of course, we loved Boobs A Lot.....
The Fugs were the collaboration of Ed Sanders and Tuli (Naftali) Kupferberg. Proto Punk, Beat Poets who created a new kind of performance art. Tuli was in his 40's at the time, a pacifist anarchist cartoonist, poet and publisher, whose 1958 magazine, Birth, featured Ginsberg, Leroi Jones and the beat notables of the 50's. They were already the nucleus of the Fertile Lower East Side Arts Community that lasted almost 50 years.
After the Fugs, Kupferberg kept performing and writing and inspiring generations of neo beats and punks. These guys were never "Hippies".
Indeed in a recent interview, Ed Saunders stated that he and Kupferberg were actually working on another Fugs record. The last performance of "The Fugs" was in 2004.
Recently, Tuli suffered from a series of heart attacks and finally died yesterday. He was 84 years old.

"When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge." - Tuli Kupferberg (1923-2010)

Bobby Jindals Cunning Plan

In 1786, France was reeling economically from the crucial support Louis XVI had given to the Americans in their Revolution against Britain, but in those heady times, all things seemed possible. The Mongolfiers had floated over Versailles in theior hot air balloons, Benjamin Franklin had demonstrated the rational magic of electricity and Louis imagined a scheme to make France impregnable from the naval threat of Britain.

Against the advice of his wisest advisors, he and his Royal Engineer, M. de Cessart set about to transform the port of Cherbourg into a maritime fortress. Cherbourg had been victimized in a raid by The Infamous Captain Bligh in 1759 and Louis, having seen the trimming of Britains maritime might, decided to make Cherbourg into the crown of his defense against Britain.

His and de Cessarts plan was to create a chain of submersed forts, an undersea mountain range as it were, which could be defended and linked by huge chains. The forts were huge pine box cone structures which were filled with rocks and then sunk. It seemed like a cunning simple plan at the time, but in reality, the feat proved to be impossible and only a few of the huge cones were actually built at an astronomical cost. The few cones that were built disappeared rapidly, succumbing to the force of the sea and the myriad of organisms.
They disappeared almost as fast as the Old Regime which was bankrupted by the scheme.
The scandal caused by the cost of the failed idea is now seen as one of the major events that led to the French Revolution in 1789.

Today off the coast of Louisiana another cunning plan is fast eroding into the sea almost as fast as it is being built.  Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, against the advice of ecologist and scientists has gone ahead with his own cunning plan. Just a guess but maybe the scientists were right in saying they would not work. For yet another so-called fiscal conservative (whatever that's supposed to mean) it sounds like a bizarre way to waste hundreds of millions of dollars. The construction equipment is being submerged as this expensive, shoot-from-the-hip program sinks. Even if the islands weren't crumbling into the sea they still would severely disrupt fish who need access to the marshes. Do Republicans ever step back and think about consequences before they rush into massive plans? Click through to see the other photos of Jindal's expensive mistake.
A dramatic series of of aerial images show that plans to build artificial islands to block oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill from reaching Louisiana's sensitive marshland appear to be crumbling. Literally.

Two months ago, against the advice of many coastal scientists, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal began furiously campaigning for the construction of six artificial islands to hold back the advancing oil. The federal government quickly granted Jindal his wish, and construction on the islands has been continuing apace.

But images taken of one construction site near the northern edge of the Chandeleur islands appear to show the sea washing away a giant sand berm over the course of about two weeks.

The first image, at top, was taken on June 25. The second and third, below, were taken from roughly the same vantage point on July 2 and 7. All three images were first published yesterday by coastal scientist Leonard Bahr on his blog, LACoastPost.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Harvey Pekar

From Off the Streets Of Cleveland! American Splendor!
From 1976 until 2008, in spite of adversity, lack of money, lack of publishers....
Cleveland author, Harvey Pekar published a self written very individual example of the art form of comics. He was able to get some of the best artists in the business to illustrate his tales, including major contributions by Robert Crumb. 
Harvey died today. He was 70-years-old. Pekar's seminal autobiographical comic book series, American Splendor, will forever embody the genius and influence he brought to the form.

"The humor of everyday life is way funnier than what the comedians do on TV. It's the stuff that happens right in front of your face when there's no routine and everything is unexpected." - Harvey Pekar (1939-2010)

Harvey was a true character, he supported his writing by working in the Cleveland Veterans Hospital as an orderly until he retired. Much of his work was centered around his job and the people he knew everyday. In the 1980's he became a minor celebrity and a regular guest on David Lettermans Show, until he pissed off Dave. It was priceless television. Around 2003, his story actually became a real motion picture.
 n 2003 a movie adaptation featuring Paul Giamatti playing Pekar  was written and directed by documentarists Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. 
I occasionally wrote and drew comic art for about 30 years in Toledo and New York and had the opportunity to meet Mr. Pekar on a few occasions. He was truly a real life character! 

So Tired Of Being Alone

The Reverend Al Green, Live in Momphis 1973. There ain't enough of this good stuff and there won't never will be....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Angel Of Hearth And Home

A painting from 1939 by Max Ernst. A disturbing premonition of Europe as it slid nauseously towards its inevitable destruction.

A Tale Of Two Tarts

For me it is the end of raspberry season. I took the bird nets off the plants and Have a freezer with 67 pounds of raspberries. Listen, I gave them away, I eat them every day...
I have to admit, though, I can never get tired of raspberries. I really believe that they are a beneficial fruit. Frsh, they deliver  incredible amounts of Vitamin C.
They are full of anti oxidants. I really think that my skin has benefited from my raspberry cure....
Plus, I absolutely adore the taste. So as the daily harvest waned, my wife remembered that we hadn't really had a proper raspberry tart, which can only be made with fresh raspberries. So here are two in all of their glory. They are both variations of the classic recipe. A dessert pastry crust with a pastry creme base, covered with fresh raspberries. One is sprinkled with powdered sugar, the other is glazed with our own raspberry/cassis jam.
The glazed tart won hands down as the best raspberry tart I have ever tasted.
Last year, I published the recipe for this tart aux framboise, you can find it here. My only comment is that if you attempt it, you can make it easier by premelting the butter for the pastry. In my original recipe, I used softened butter, but make sure the melted butter cools down before you mix it with the flour. Hot butter will "cook" the flour and sugar and make a very hard crust. In my original post I used red currant jelly to glaze the tart, but obviously, you are the boss....
Bon apetit, bien sur!

27,000 Abandoned Ignored Oil Wells

More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk in the hard rock beneath the Gulf of Mexico, an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades. No one -- not industry, not government -- is checking to see if they are leaking.
The oldest of these wells dates from the 1940's.
According to records, 3,500 of these are listed as  "temporarily abandoned" which make them in a class not as regulated as an abandoned well. Many of these temporaty classed wells , though, date back to the 1960's.
It is important to note that the Deepwater Well which blew on April 20 was being sealed in accordance to the regulations for temporary abandonment. As we know, this well, has caused the gravest man made ecological disaster in the history of North America.
For further information as to the gravity of this threat and the irresponsible attitudwe of both the Federal Government and the Oil Industry, check out this link which is an AP Special report in the Louisiana Press regarding the immediacy of this threat.


Look, I was gonna post Martha and The Vandellas...J'adore Martha and The Vandellas, mais, cette truc, la,  Fuckin' Rocks!
The Who, Beat Club, German television 1966 

Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot

Before Jaws, Before Mr. Bean, There was Monsieur Hulot. 1953, at the beach, because everybody says it's just too damn hot today!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Misty Lane

1967, The Chocolate Watch Band...A San Jose, California band, to some they define the roots of American Garage rock, but they were one of the few bands that could give the Stones serious competition style wise. They blew the bands they opened for off the stage. Singer Dave Aguillar was a great American punk blues stylist. One of their first hits was a definitive cover of Dylan's, It's All Over Now Baby Blue. This version of the Watch Band released 2 albums in 1966 and 67. They appeared in the period classic movie, Riot On Sunset Strip. One of my very favorite songs of all time is the Ray Davies penned, Not Like Anybody Else. For quite a few years, the only version I was familiar with was The Chociolate Watch Bands, it wasn't until around 1990 that I discovered it was the B Side of a Kinks single! I like Davies Version, but for me Dave Aguillar defined the song.
The original line up reunited around 2000 and has been playing shows looking and sounding remarkably unaffected by an almost 40 year hiatus. The 1966-68 verion of the Watch Band is one of my all time favorite bands!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

$1,000,000 A Year Per Soldier/$400 A Gallon Gas/Your Tax Dollars At Work In Dubai

You already might have heard that it costs the United States $1 million for each solider per year in Afghanistan, to cover the cost of the soldiers' benefits, troop transports and other material. What you might not have heard is that your hard earned taxpayer dollars are also being used to buy well-connected Afghans posh villas in Dubai.
Der Spiegel remarks curtly, "Amid concerns that the money could be the result of corruption, American politicians have temporarily cut off aid to the Afghan government." The German daily adds:
...Huge amounts of money [are] regularly being secreted out of Afghanistan by plane in boxes and suitcases. According to some estimates, since 2007, at least $3 billion (€2.4 billion) in cash has left the country in this way. The preferred destination for these funds is Dubai, the tax haven in the Persian Gulf. And, given the fact that Afghanistan's total GDP amounts to the equivalent of $13.5 billion, there is no way that the funds involved in this exodus are merely the proceeds of legal business transactions...
It is clear that much more money is making its way out of Afghanistan through Kabul's airport than is being officially declared and logged. For example, important politicians and businesspeople can often board planes from the airport's special VIP area without being searched. And if customs officials do conduct a search and find a suitcase stuffed with millions of dollars in cash, people with powerful connections often step in to make sure that the luggage makes it out of the country with its owner -- no questions asked. "A couple phone calls are made," General Jabarkhel says with frustration in his voice, "and the person can carry on."
To where does this generous US foreign aid travel?
A number of Afghan businesspeople have purchased expensive villas in Dubai, once only attractive as a golfer's paradise. These include a brother and a cousin of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, one of Karzai's former vice presidents and the brother of Mohammad Qasim Fahim, one of the country's two current vice presidents. Asking prices for the stylish, Roman-style houses built along the beaches of the man-made island Palm Jumeirah, for example, start at $2 million. Until just a few years ago, many of their current inhabitants were far from wealthy.
As the Washington Post has discovered, these properties are often only registered under the names of the individuals issuing the loans, such as Sherkhan Farnood, the founder and chairman of Kabul Bank, Afghanistan's largest private bank, who was also a key supporter of President Karzai during his 2009 re-election campaign. Like many of his clients, Farnood now spends the majority of his time in Dubai. And among the 16 shareholders in his bank are Mahmoud Karzai, the president's business-minded older brother, and Haseen Fahim, the brother of Afghan Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim.
Most financial transactions in Afghanistan continue to be conducted through so-called "hawalas," traditional Islamic money-transferring outfits based more on honor and good faith than receipts, a fact that makes it more or less impossible for Western corruption investigators to trace the flow of money.
US taxpayers are also footing an enormous bill for the Pentagon's use of fuel in the landlocked nation. In 2008, the price of gasoline in the United States topped the $4 per gallon mark.
This year in Afghanistan, the price has topped $400.
The stunning revelation emerged in October 2009 in a report from the Pentagon to House officials. The information conveyed offers new insight into a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, which found that the US spends $1 million per year for each servicemember on the ground in Afghanistan.
Why so much? The cost includes shipping, which sometimes includes the pricetag of a helicopter flight. Sending fuel by helicopter is woefully inefficient, because it uses up almost as much fuel as it carries.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Republican Logic 101

Sharron Angle is the GOP candidate for the United States Senate seat in Nevada. During her primary campaign, she used a website chock full of extremist positions aimed at wooing the Republican party's extreme right (killing Social Security, eliminating the Departments of Education and Energy and shipping nuclear waste to Nevada, preparing for a "coming dictatorship"). After she took the nomination, her campaign took down the old site and put up a much more moderate one aimed at the regular electorate.
So her opponent, Dem Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, reposted the old site, under the title, "The Real Sharron Angle."
In response Angle's campaign sent a copyright takedown notice to the Reid campaign, alleging that reprinting her campaign materials was a copyright infringement and demanding that they cease reprinting her old materials as part of their effort to demonstrate the agenda espoused by Angle when she was in the less-public realm of the GOP nomination race.
The Reid campaign responded by posting highlights from the old site to a new URL,

So, Sharron, your crap is all over the web. Does that mean you are gonna sue every body? It's another case of "That's not what my lawyer said that I meant to say when I said it."

Republican Logic 101

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Beautiful Season

When I was young, I wanted to paint like Max Ernst. I still do.

Real Time Evolution

About 2,750 years ago, members of the ethnic group known as Han Chinese began to migrate to the Himalayas. They began to live at altitudes above 13,000 feet, where oxygen levels are 40% lower than sea level.
These are the people who became the Tibetans. They evolved an animistic religion called Bo and  in the process of aclimatazion, they evolved as a group faster than any other known population on earth.
In the short time they have lived at high altitudes, they have adapted to lower oxygen, atmospheric conditions and air pressure which would severely incapacitate most other humans.

Scientists have been abble to track the DNA mutation of over 30 genes which deal specifically with how the body uses oxygen.
They did this by comparing the samples from modern Tibetans with the present lowland Han population, which still share the common genotype.

"For such a very strong change, a lot of people would have had to die simply due to the fact that they had the wrong version of a gene," said Rasmus Nielsen, a professor of integrative biology at Berkeley who led the statistical analysis. This evolutionary history can also be related to the very unique religious beliefs of Bo, which has become a fusion religion, Modern Tibetan Bhudism. The meditative techniques which can be used to obtain an incredible amount of physical control over the human body, defying rational explanations by modern scientists as well, are another aspect of the evolution of the Tibetans.

Scientists believe that the knowlege gained by the study of Tibetan genetic mutation relating to oxygen use can be very beneficial in understanding how the body deals with decreased oxygen and diseases associated with oxygen deprivation in the womb according to the University of California-Berkeley website.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Rockets Red Glare

How many years? What percent of Americans could tell you how many years their country has been involved in a conflict they initiated by invading Afghanistan? Or, sadly, even where is Afghanistan.... It's been 8, making it the longest continous conflict our country has ever engaged in.
For the record, strictly speaking, Michael Steele is a total ass. Barack Obama did not initiate or choose to invade Afghanistan. But, in a sense, Steele raised a point, in the classic sense of thow a truth can be revealed by a gaffe in the worst way possible.
When he said that Afghanistan was "the graveyard of empires" he was correct in that Afghanistan went rather badly for the Russians. Of course, he didn't make any reference to the assistance of the American CIA in financing the Mujahidine Resistance with the brilliant opium poppy heroin export finance scheme, but historically, he was correct. Afghanistan was a disaster for the British as well and could very well another nail in the coffin  of the decline of the American Empire.
So, the nascent Peacenik, Steele, in referring to Obama could be considered correct because, Obama has chosen to remain in Afghanistan. Early on, Obama could have done a review of the situation and realized that there is almost no Al Qaeda left in Afghanistan, so we won...our presence in Afghanistan is seriously destabilizing Pakistan, which is far more important to US strategic interests than Afghanistan. If Al Qaeda has some camps set up in Afghanistan, we can bomb them. They will start camps in any failed state in the region and we can't occupy them all, so let's go home."
But he didn't. My point is that staying in Afghanistan was choice and Obama chose to stay. Not staying in Afghanistan will not create an existential threat to the US. But Steele is the leader of the republican Party, so he isn't allowed to say things that make sense and contradict Republican warmongering. He made a gaffe which might finally cost him his job. 
Now here's another truth that Steele didn't tell. Obama has to stay in Afghanistan because war spending is one of the only reliable forms of stimulus he has. The economy is in bad shape, and it needs that stimulus. Since he can't get a new large stimulus through Congress that means he MUST keep the Afghan war going if he doesn't want an economic disaster, which would then lead to an electoral disaster.
This is the sad truth of America: the only acceptable form of Keynesian spending is military Keynesianism. Instead of hiring tens of thousands of teachers, building a high speed rail network across the country, refitting every building to be energy efficient and doing a massive solar and wind build-out to reduce dependence on oil, well, the US would rather destroy Afghans and Pakistanis with their rockets red glare.
The Rockets Red Glare is what's keeping the American economy from going under entirely. And so, even if it's the wrong thing to do, we are blinded by it, even if it's the graveyard of America's Empire, we are blinded by it, the war will continue.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Too Damn Hot

That's right it's too damn hot. I was forced by crazy English people to bike ride in the heat today...

I rode almost 40 kilometers and now I can't think anymore, so here is the entire Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band set live from the Blitzen, Belgium Festival from 1969...
I had to burn my underwear.... 

Presented here in it's entirety for your extreme annoyance....Perhaps after viewing this, you'll feel like burning your underwear as well....

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Only An Expert....

I thought this was worth sharing:
I do think that we’re living in this culture that assumes that something’s wrong with you that has to be fixed. And, really, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s hard to live; we have problems.
Laurie Anderson
Laurie Anderson just released her first recording in over 8 years titled, Homeland.
This is a cut from it. Laurie recently gave a concert exclusively for dogs at the Sydney Opera House.


Give us brains, your brains...all the brains! Who needs brains? We want brains! 
Just work, shut up, become one of us! We need Brains...BRAINS! BRAINS!