Monday, December 31, 2007

What Country Is This?

This is description of the lack of protection in a country which was recently downgraded by the Privacy International Organization from being considered an "extensive surveillace society" to the most repressive classification, an "endemnic surveillance society".
These are some of the repressive conditions found in this country:
  • No right to privacy in constitution, though search and seizure protections exist in 4th Amendment; case law on government searches has considered new technology
  • No comprehensive privacy law, many sectoral laws; though tort of privacy
  • FTC continues to give inadequate attention to privacy issues, though issued self-regulating privacy guidelines on advertising in 2007
  • State-level data breach legislation has proven to be useful in identifying faults in security
  • REAL-ID and biometric identification programs continue to spread without adequate oversight, research, and funding structures
  • Extensive data-sharing programs across federal government and with private sector
  • Spreading use of CCTV
  • Congress approved presidential program of spying on foreign communications over U.S. networks, e.g. Gmail, Hotmail, etc.; and now considering immunity for telephone companies, while government claims secrecy, thus barring any legal action
  • No data retention law as yet, but equally no data protection law
  • World leading in border surveillance, mandating trans-border data flows
  • Weak protections of financial and medical privacy; plans spread for 'rings of steel' around cities to monitor movements of individuals
  • Democratic safeguards tend to be strong but new Congress and political dynamics show that immigration and terrorism continue to leave politicians scared and without principle
  • Lack of action on data breach legislation on the federal level while REAL-ID is still compelled upon states has shown that states can make informed decisions
  • Recent news regarding FBI biometric database raises particular concerns as this could lead to the largest database of biometrics around the world that is not protected by strong privacy law
The country being described has just entered into a class along with China, Russia, Great Britain and Indonesia yet the popular notion among the citizens is that they are the most free nation on earth.

Of course from the language of the above points, it's easy to deduce that the country I am referring to is The United States. From the information available on The Privacy International Organization website, it is easy to see how tragically and how fast personal freedoms and the right to privacy in America has been systematically dismantled.

This is a fascinating and chilling report which rates 47 countries on a number of points and makes some pretty interesting conclusions. It looks like the countries which have survived and recovered from repressive totalitarianism are the least repressive.
Who would have ever thought Greece would be rated the least repressive and surveillance free countries in Europe?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

More Holiday Cheer

Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests attacked each other with brooms and stones inside the Church of the Nativity as long-standing rivalries erupted in violence during holiday cleaning on Thursday..

The clean-up turned ugly after some of the Orthodox faithful stepped inside the Armenian church's section.

The basilica, built over the grotto in Bethlehem where Christians believe Jesus was born, is administered jointly by Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic authorities.

Any perceived encroachment on one group's turf can touch off vicious feuds.

On Thursday, dozens of priests and cleaners were scrubbing the church ahead of the Armenian and Orthodox Christmas, celebrated in early January. Thousands of tourists visited the church this week for Christmas celebrations.

But the clean-up turned ugly after some of the Orthodox faithful stepped inside the Armenian church's section, touching off a scuffle between about 50 Greek Orthodox and 30 Armenians.

Palestinian police, armed with batons and shields, quickly formed a human cordon to separate the two sides so the cleaning could continue, then ordered an Associated Press photographer out of the church.

Four people, some with blood running from their faces, were slightly wounded.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


I have been asked by a few fellow bloggers to try to show how America is percieved in France. It's too easy to to look at editorialists and academic writers to disssect the opinions. You have to go deeper, to the real thinkers, the brilliant young minds of the poets and the rappers, just as in America, to really get a grounds eye view of the shockwaves in American culture you have to go to the streets!
(United States=Etats-Unis=TAZUNIS!)
This is a brilliant rap by the artist Djama. It was sent to me by the minister of anti-propaganda from Torapomova, the relentless anti-sarko blog.
I have tried to provide a translation:

1st verse
Very crazy and a stroke of genius
I love Sioux and then also apaches
What we speak not it is not the Italy
You know what I like in the states ?
Leonard Peltier and public enemy
The new orleans and sauls williams also
The Comanche and then mississipi
Soul jazz and rock also(...)

Find a reasonable look at Bush is egal to found gold
In the seine, Aouch !
I love "les etats" the states TA
I love "les etats" the states TA
and even i like the idea of the united states
young pepople and young dumbs
We from the old continent we telling you :
we gonna take care of you because we love the states
and m & n &n &m &n &m"

2nd verse
I like the united states
I have something else to do
But this is a beautiful enemy
Microphone in the ocean, it is practical
Sub sailors atomic under the pole is practical
Satellites that receives fax mail is pratical
don't mix : colin powell donald rumsfeld petroleum pinochet panama oil heil
Ok for Tom sawyer and also star wars
Good for basketball
Ok for graffiti
Nike brand
Have to be "fucked"
You ve got nikes ? you wil stay my friend
But the next time keep your money and likes united states
No need to push us again it this time to "stop"
Global anarchy stop
International Police stop this time
steals massacre without valid reason :stop
Shoot first then ask questions stop
never look at and escape quick
Oh damn I love united states
Paris is not NY at all
NY is not so funny indeed you know
in the usa's eyes same fog you know
The power got his same demons you know
everywere we can see them with their flag
patriots until death !"""

We hope you enjoy the flight,
the tempature outside is hot :p
take a look !

Good Immigrant/Bad Immigrant?

I just read that Tom Tancredo, our most rabid anti immigrationist and most specifically the loudest anti illegal Mexican voice has just endorsed Mitt Romney.
Mitt Romney, in his across the board, trying to be everything to every Republican has done his part to pander to the illegal Mexican immigration hysteria being milked for votes.
Here's some very interesting history......
Mitt Romneys father, George, who went on to become the two term Republican governor of Michigan in the 1960's was born in Mexico and was an illegal immigrant to boot!
George was born in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1907, the son of Gaskell Romney and Anna Amelia Pratt. The Romneys had lived in Mexico since 1884, when Miles Park Romney moved the family there from Utah.
Miles Romney was a Morman polygamist who realized that as Utah approached State Hood, the United States Government would not tolerate thte Mormon Polygamist communities there. The 1882 Edmunds Act stripped polygamists of their rights of US citizenship, denying them the riught to vote, serve on juries or hold office.
Like today's immigration raids, polygamists were hunted down and arrested. They were asked to leave the country or risk jail.
Miles chose to renounce his US Citizenship and move to Mexico with his multiple wives and children. At that time, many Mormons were leaving the American territory to establish Mormon colonies near the border. The Mexican government also had laws declaring polygamy illegal and the Mormon polygamists were coming into Mexico in direct violation of Mexican immigrattion law.
Utah became a state in 1895 and as part of it's conditions for Statehood, it passed a state constitution forbidding polygamy.
The Romneys stayed in Mexico and there are still descendants of the original line living there. Gaskell and Anna Romney left in 1912 , at the hieght of the Mexican Revolution, when the rebels menanced the Mormon settlements. Their Relative, Junius Romney was able to negotiate a safe passage for many of the Mormons who wanted to leave, including Gaskell, Anna and their infant son, George.
They entered the United States illegally as citizens of nebulous status of Mexico with no formalities or border searches and ended up settling in New Mexico.
For an illegal Mexican immigrant, George did pretty well for himself. He rose up through the hierarchy at GM and entered politics and became a very successful governor of Michigan and led the state through some it's most traumatic years.
Perhaps the family history gave George some of the personal tools and morality that guided him through the dark days of the Detroit Race Riots. He embraced the principle of Dr. Martin Luther King and as his last political gesture, opposed Richard Nixon for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1968, publically breaking with the Party to oppose the Vietnam War.
Perhaps it's more than just Tom Tancredo who needs to be reminded of the Romney family history.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Last Miracles of Zappadan 2007!

Ahem, tonight is the last night of the festival of Zappadan and we have had a miracle!
The appearance of two incredible archival appearances of Frank and the Mothers. The first, above is not exactly an appearance, but a 1966 live club recording of the piece that evolved into Plastic People on the Absolutely Free Record. The music starts about 1 and a half minutes into the recording, you have to listen to Frank ask people to move their cars so they don't get towed and push the clubs rancid hamburgers.
Then we have:

Our second miracle of the evening. A video of a live appearance from 1967 at the Village Gate in New York. The Mothers perform Suzy Creamcheese from the We're Only In It For The Money album and then they , uhh.....perform.
A few minutes of disciplined anarchy that could never occur on stage again!
Today is Franks birthday, Happy Birthday Frank!
This stuff, for me is better than fire works!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


On the almost last day of Zappadan, I am posting a video, not of Frank Zappa, but Franks teenage friend, Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart. This is a rather brilliant live performance of 2 songs, Electricity and Sure Nuff and Yes I Do! Performed on the Beach at Cannes. Dan was and is a painter and tried to do the same thing wiith music..

Frank and Don hung out together at Dons house and listened to Rythmn and Blues and Blues for which they both had a passion. Living in the suburban wilderness of the desert outside of Los Angeles in the early 50's must have had a real effect on the collective esthetic that evolved.

I saw an interview with Zappa in which he talks of hanging out listening to music eating the left overs from Don's fathers bakery delivery truck...pineapple buns.
There is evidence of the early collaborations between them. On "The Lost Episodes" CD, there is a piece recorded on a school tape recorder wiith Frank, his brother, Bob and Don performing a spontaneous composition called Lost In A Whirlpool. You can hear the amazing preaged well seasoned Beefheart larnyx creating it's ageless ancient howl even at 16!

There is another performance called Tiger Roach from a few years later recorded at Franks legendary Studio Z in Cucamonga. Another piece with Frank playing guitar with the Trout Mask Replica version of the Magic Band called Alley Cat is on the record.
There are 2 spoken word pieces, I'm A Band Leader and the story of the Grand Wazoo.
They seem to be from the period of the Mothers/Beefheart touring band which resulted in the brilliant Bongo Fury record. Of course, there is Franks second solo record, Hot Rats which contained the classic Beefheart/Zappa collaboration, Willy The Pimp.

Frank produced Beefhearts most notorious record, Trout Mask Replica and released it on his own label in 1969, a year that must have been a high water mark for sheer eccentricity in American culture, thanks to the efforts of Mr. Zappa. He also produced records for Alice Cooper, Wildman Fischer and Grand Funk Railroad around the same time.

Frank Zappa and Don Van Vliet, both great American original artists who exerted a major influence on the music of today, pop and classical all over the world.
Why were these guys so great?
They both followed their own uncompromising vision and created their own esthetic that others can only build on.
Sure nuff and Electricity are both from the 1966 Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band record, Safe As Milk.

Independance Day!!

"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five state area that encompasses our country are free to join in!"
This was a statement made today by Indian activist, Russell Means at a press confernence in Washington, DC to reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian Embassy.

This was after a delegation of Lakota Nation leaders delivered a message to the State Department on Monday announcing that they were unilaterily withdrawing from all treaties made with the United States over the last 150 years.

They visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezualan Embassies and plan to start an over seas mission to establish formal ties with foreign countries.
The Lakota Indian Nation encompasses portions of Five States: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming. The new country will issue it's own passports and drivers licenses. Living there would be tax free, providing residents renounce their US Citizenship.

Means said,"The treaties are merely worthless words on worthless paper. they have been repeatedly violated over and over again in order to steal from our culture, our land and our ability to maintain our way of life."

"Withdrawing from the United States was entirely legal" he said, "This is in accordance to the laws of the United States, specifically article six of the Constitution. Article Six states that treaties are part of the supreme law of the land."
"It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and approved by the USA and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independant."

There have been 33 treaties with the Lakotas. They are the last tribe who were officially at war with Ameica. They are the tribe of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull..
Now these proud people have been reduced to an oppressed society whose males have one of the shortest life expectancies in the world...44 years average.

Lakota teen suicides are 150 times above the national average and the infant mortality rate is 5 times more than the rest of America. Unemployemnt is rife..

Phyllis Young, a spokes person for the tribe said, "Our people want to live, not just survive and crawl and be mascots..
We are not trying to embarrass the United States. We are here to continue the struggle for our children and grandchildren," she said, predicting the battle would not be won in her lifetime.

Before You Were Probably Born!

Just in case you were wondering about the "Pop Music" that your parents were listening to before you were born, this clip sums it up. You see, Led Zepplin are rather recent history and they were just a very good cover band. These guys, The Beatnix wrote most of the great music of the 70's and the 80's during the early 60's. It took great cover bands like Toto, Led Zepplin and latter day Pink Floyd to rediscover and reinterpret the zany pop energy of the Beatnix and bring their great songs to a deserving public.
Unfortunately, The Beatnix disappeared mysteriously one night after a meeting with their record company and were never able to collect any of the millions of dollars of royalties that are mounting up in a numbered off shore bank account in the Cayman Islands set up by their manager Maury Silverfish.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Deaprtment of Paranoid Hysteria

Click on this to enlarge it. This is a real flyer and it's posted on the City of Chicago website. While some of the precautions seem like common sense, you might send the entire city into a mindless hysterical terrorist magenta alert by asking the wrong person for directions to a public restroom!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


As the vile foaming broth of Zappadan whips itself up into a frenzy of can feel it, can't you?...I want to take a moment to dedicate a clip to Valerie. You know who you are!
There are only 3 days left to this years wild celebration and we have to grab the gusto and go with it!
Valerie was originally released on 1968's Cruisin With Rueben and The Jets.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Special Holiday Message From The Vice President of The United States, Dick Cheney

Errr, it's that special time of the year again...lots of down time for employers, but then again, American Public has to have time to shop! Err, So, Me and Mrs. Cheney would like to wish all Americans of whatever uuhhhh, persuasion uhhh....a very special holiday greeting.
You know, errr, it takes a hell of a lot oil to light Americas Christmas Trees. That's why we are in Iraq, well uhhh, errr...part of the reason. Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, in their war against your security also were part of the Global War on Christmas.
Nothing would make them happier than to see the Christmas lights of America go dark!
Liberals and Democrats who scoff at the war on Christmas are actually putting out, one light bulb at a time, the Christmas lights of hope in the Malls and homes of America! errrr......
And remember, here's one of Lynn Cheneys helpful household hints!
The next time a Liberal Tree Hugging Islamofascist ecologist weirdo starts ragging about so called "Global Warming", just remind them that global warming will go a long way towards cutting down on those rising heating bills. Then you can tell them them go fuck themselves! Grrrrrr.........

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Live At The Filmore East

1971 and covered with grunge....welly, welly, welllll...who is this cute couple up on stage making a little guest appearance with Frank Zappa and the Mothers?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

O'Reilly's Oratorio

Yes, I know it's still officially Zappadan, but sometimes there is something that is just to good to be ignored. So tonight, here on thebrainpolice, I am bringing some high culture... well, actually what do you think?
These are excerpts from Igor Kellers Opera, Mackris vs, O'Reilly based on the actual transcripts of the Bill O'Reilly sexual harrasment case brought by his staffer, Andrea Mackris.
It contains all of the memorable moments from the original complaints and paranoid rants, clumsy sexual innuendos, the Falefel fantasy and more in a concert legnth baroque oratorio, in the style of an updated Handel's Messiah for a 28 piece chamber orchestra, 26 voice chorus and 3 soloists.
An oratorio for the 21st century.
Listener discretion! This gets a little creepy, Barb? are you out there? Barb?

Made In Denmark

The dust is settling in Bali. They are cleaning up the room where the United Nations Climate Change Conference was held. Nothing really happened, except once again, the two biggest sources of Greenhouse gas emissions proved that they are incapable of doing anything positive. The biggest, The United States proved again that nothing will happen until there is a regime change. Both countries are using the others behaviour as an excuse for doing nothing.

Al Gore spoke and expressed his shame and got called a traitor back home. A traitor to whom?

The United States is hosting it's own Climate Change Conference early next year, which looks to be boycotted already because of the bull headed attempts by the Bush Administration to systematically manipulate any real research done in America.
That seems to be the gist of a Congressional Report to be released on Monday..
The report, prepared by the Democrats after a 16 month investigation states:

"The Bush Administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policy makers and the public about the dangers of global warming."
The report contains allegations going back to 2002 and demonstrates a systematic pattern of conduct.

Of course the Republicans are saying that it is pure politics and trying to shout over the facts the way the administration did when it was publically rebuked for its efforts to sabotage the Bali Conference.

Across the USA, more than 700 mayors, representing 75 million of Americans , have pledge to do what the administration is incapable of...Support the Kyoto Protocols!
What does the Bush Administration hope to accomplish by its negative subversive stance? Little by little, faster and faster, the logic for their action, supposedly favoring the American economy and business is crumbling.

Already, the state of Texas has become the worlds greatest supplier of wind generated power. In the Northwest section of the state which suffers from dryness and wind, a climate which has become more hostile to the traditional cotton industry in recent years, thousands of acres of wind generators have sprouted up..
But who is reaping the benefits of this booming energy source of the future?
Who has the technology and expertise to manufacture and install these systems?


Thursday, December 13, 2007


1968, live at the BBC, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention take it away with the snappy little ditty King Kong!

Sarkozy le Grand?

"Il ne reste pas un momente tranquile; il sent autour de lui avec effroi
la solitude et les tenebres; ceux qui ont peur la nuit chantent,
lui il se remue.
Il fait rage, il touche a tout, il court apres les projets;
ne pouvant creer, il decrete; il cherche a donner le change sur
la nullite; ce mouvement perpetuel; mais helas!
Cette roue tourne a vide."

Victor Hugo

France reeled in collective embarassment yesterday evening as the
tiny hyper president ran after and grabbed Angela Merkle's arm
after the signing of the new
EU Treaty in Lisbon and shouted in English, "Honeymoon? Honeymoon?"
Angela shrank in disgust and looked into the camera and coldly said, in English,
"We only cooperate!"
Meanwhile, Kahdafy is destroying the lawn at the Palais de l'Elysee and
it is suddenly dawning on the country that instead of a president,
country is being run by a very embarrassing hyperactive appliance salesman.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'm Not There

If you've been wondering about the Todd Haynes film, I'm Not Here, please take my advice and go see it immediately...Today, we drove to Brive la Gaillarde to see it in the little Rex Cinema. I am still recovering from my encounter with a gastero intestinal virus and burped all through the showing, fortunately we were the only people in the theater.
I have been a fan of Todd Haynes since his now banned early film, The Karen Carpenter Story. A bizarre history of 70's soft rock icon Karen Carpenter's death from anorexia as told by a child using Barbie and Ken Dolls. The film was banned by the Mattel Toy Corporation for copy write infringement. I guess they could never get over the fact that the child told the story by whittling away at the Barbie doll with a pen knife.
Since then Haynes found audience acceptance with mvies like Velvet Goldmine and more recently, the brilliant Far From Paradise. In each movie he was able to depict the eras he used in his stories with emotional imagery that went beyond mere styling. He had the look, the feel, the iconic images down to the last detail. Color, lighting and frame shots did as much to tell his stories as the narrative line..
In I'm Not There, he goes beyond any attempt of literal story telling. He presents a multidimensional biography of Bob Dylan played by 6 different actors. He interweaves archival footage with reconstructed imagined footage, fact with sheer hallucinatory fantasy. Imaginary characters who play different aspects of the artist.
Of note is the actress Cate Blanchette who plays Dylan or the character "Jude" during the Highway 61/Blonde on Blonde period. She nails him, a performance that could only have been achieved by actually living inside the skin of the character.
The young Dylan is a character named Woody played by a young black actor named Marcus Carl Franklin. Another brilliant performance. The scenes of the young Woody playing and a particularly great performance with Richie Havens are hair raisingly great! I have to mention the composite feminine relationship aspect of the film embodied in the character that Charlotte Gainsbourg, Miss Gainsbourg is the daughter of the legendary Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin and is a powerful actress and somehow morphs between the mysterious Suze Rotolo and Dylans first wife continuously. She really evokes the look of Suze.
This film in its Felliniesque leaps into poetic fantasy could tell you a lot about Bob Dylan but if you know anything about Bob Dylan, you will learn nothing new, in fact as far as facts go, you will learn nothing.. That is the sheer success of this film. It is a painting, a poem, it's a piece of art about another artist. If I was Bob Dylan, I would approve!

Monday, December 10, 2007


There we have it, 1968 in Paris, layers of grungy distortion, a very bad video, but a great documentary of a legendary ensemble!
This piece is Sleeping In A Jar which was released on the Uncle Meat Double Album. The soundtrack for the movie that was made but never finished. There are snippets of Uncle Meat footage lurking here on YouTube.
I also believe that the performance segues inot an adaptation of Octavia by Edgar Varese. This is the stuff I have been looking for, real footage of the Mothers before 1969. There must be stuff hiding out there, lurking in closets. Get out and find it fast before the video tape disintegrates!
Now I will surrender to my virus who I have named Bennie.

A Teeny Tiny Little Virus

This is a picture of your common garden variety gastro-intestinal virus. Every year around this time, there are maps of the danger zones for all of France. The Dordogne always seems to be a hot orange danger zone every year.
Ten years of living here and I seem to have always lucked out.
....Uhhhh...not this year. There is a storm raging outside and a storm raging in my stomach. Keep away, if you know what's good for you! Maybe I will be more coherent later, Glabba blghhh kpphlyzzz............Must find Zappadan post for tonight!

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Here's a piece I have been waiting all year to post. This a video of Frank Zappa conducting the Ensemble Modern in Berlin in 1992. The performances were released on the Yellow Shark CD.
This piece, G-Spot Tornado was originally performed as a synthesizer piece on his Grammy Winning 1986 recording, Jazz From Hell. When the Ensemble Modern Concerts were being planned, it was the musicians who wanted to play the piece. When he wrote it, Frank considered it to be unplayable by mere humans.
He came up with an orchestral score and voila! The Ensemble performs a super human feat, but perhaps the most super human part of this performance is the two dancers!
This was Franks last appearance. He was dead soon after and the music and videos were released posthumously.


Today it was announced that the official Vatican discount airline
service was inaugarating a new frequent flyer program.
During 2008, if you fly to Lourdes or any of six other favorite pilrimage sites,
on Air Vatican, you will recieve a plenary indulgence worth up to 5 years off
your stay in Purgatory!
Fly often enough and you will go straight to heaven!
This is reassuring news to those travelers who worry about the qualifications
of the Air Vatican flight staff.
Flyers returning from Lourdes are warned to only bring the
approved 15 ounce flight sized Lourdes Water bottles, now available
at the airport gift shop, in their carry on baggage.
Air Vatican still doesn't have approval for flights to and from the USA.
The Federal Transportation Commission has yet to approve
God as a certified copilot.

Friday, December 07, 2007

BABY SNAKES (What Evangelical Fanatics Really Think)

Below is a lengthy screed by a famous Evangelical Christian Fanatic who posts here occasionally, but more often posts on The Man with The Muck Rake..
In case you wondering just what do Evangeliicals really think or thought you knew what they really wanted, well, here's a direct link into the pit!
Stand back, this gets rather messy.
(I thought that the Baby Snakes claymation was a good way to illustrate this piece and celebrate the continuing festival of Zappadan at the same time! I'm sure Frank would have approved!)

Madame B wrote:

"Laugh in derision if you want, but most of the states are red --it's the city dwellers who tend to make the blue states blue, because they see the democratic party as making promises to their entitlement programs and their licentious lifestyles.

"A morality code based on the Bible?" you ask, as though it were a new and dangerous concept.

Whoever heard of such a thing!? Just our founding fathers in numerous writings and quotations.

Liberals think we need a nation where anyone can adopt and make babies indiscriminately without any structural accommodations or expectations for parenting and get public support --where we can partner with anyone else for sex and parenting, without all those troublesome ceremonies and laws. We want households featuring "the daddy of the week" --and "my two (or three or four) dads" --and "It takes a harem to raise a child." We want drugs made cheap and legal so all can try them without fear of the law, just like legal and unlimited alcohol and nicotine which do us so much good. We want porn made by anyone, any age, for any one. Who is to say it would be immoral? After all, I hear from the psychology community that you can raise kids who enjoy sex and want to consent with adults they want to please.

We want sex ed that distributes condoms to our minor children without our knowledge and teaches sex ed as "value free" --just so you don't make a baby or get a disease. We want to throw more money into AIDS and research without also teaching unequivocally (and chaperoning youth and young singles for) ABSTINENCE for the unmarried and monogamy for the married. Even though if we practiced that, if HIV carriers would have sex only with each other, we could eliminate AIDS within a generation or two.

Without biblical morality, we seem to want prostitution legalized and sex clubs unrestrained --despite all the public health and crime issues that surround the sex trade.

In Foreign Policy, we want to keep ourselves and our money at home --no more foreign investment to raise the level of the poverty-stricken in other lands--no more opportunities to introduce western civ to the 3rd world. No more intervention where tyrants are murdering their own people and threatening their neighbors and our safety --and also our oil supply.

We want to protect pristine tiny plot of land in Alaska against oil wells and production --even though over 99 per cent of us are never going to see the unblemished beauty up there. (Mining is considered ugly in the landscape to environmentalists, and some of it is --but when we traveled west as a family, we enjoyed seeing the old abandoned mines and the oil wells --it didn't destroy the beauty for us. (I know, strip mining is devastating. Some of these areas are ugly and we certainly wouldn't want them to be EVERYwhere.)

We think we can radically stop our dependence on foreign oil without oil development at home --(meanwhile we have enemies who would exploit our time of weakness in this area. We can't switch our military and economy over to alternate power overnight, can we?)

Romney was right and crystal clear on two excellent points in his speech --that religion and freedom are interdependent. Tell us, O Mudrake, about the thoroughly atheistic countries who are both prosperous and free? and safe for all religions? Even Europe's peace and prosperity are tenuous -with all the unemployed Muslim youth and gov't-dependent citizens. Europe still enjoys their Christian heritage in terms of how they used to observe traditional morality--though Germany and Italy so recently ignored Biblical morality in WWII. I still think we have greater wealth and more comforts here for the educated "middle class" than Europe does --judging by the French bloggers and what they themselves describe as meagre living conditions.

His other great point was on how we religious folk value the equal worth of every single life. We are not the ones, who, like Planned Parenthood's founder, saw abortion as a panacea to poverty--and the elimination of people who perpetuate an "under class" of poor, uneducated people whose guaranteed activity seems to be indiscriminate breeding. The more we cultivate this idea of extra-marital sex through entertainment and education, the more we handicap our people who cannot sustain marriage for the sake of children. Who also choose more and more to be child free and to have sex with their own sex.

GOP has been accused of not wanting to support poor people and their babies --but the liberals think the answer is killing them before they are born.

Neither is right. Compasion, charity and education --including religious morality--are the keys to the good life. Including conservatives' Bible-based morality, which really is a boon to REAL family planning."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

God Helped Him Free That Rapist

Here is the most pressing reason why Mike Huckabee is not fit to be president and has to be stopped dead in the water. A lying hypocrite, yes just like the rest of them, but he's not at all beneath telling us that God wants him to be president!

Do you think God will tell him where Iran is?

Call Any Vegetable!

I haven't published any recipes for a while and since we are in the midst of the Festival of Zappadan, I thought I'd publish some vegetable dishes that I know and frequently make. The photo above is Endives au Jambon. The vegetable I want to summon tonight is the The Endive!
Endives are a form of chickory. Some types of chickory are allowed in the summer to fully grow like a lettuce. They have frizzy leaves and a pleasant bitter taste and crunch.

This variety is from Belgium and eaten in the winter. They are grown in sand and the root is forced to send up hardy shoots which are covered in sand and blanched.
They develop a more sweeter taste. They are good just as a braised vegetable or raw in winter salads. We often eat endive salad with apples and walnuts with a vinagrette for lunch.

The Endive au Jambon is pretty simple. I take one or two endives per person and parboil them. Meanwhile I make a simple bechamel sauce. Extremely simple.
Melt some butter in a saucepan and add some flour and cook them together until you have a shiny paste. Be careful not to burn it. Add milk until it is creamy....cook it a little to thicken it, salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg.

Take some slices of ham and wrap them around the endives, place in a baking dish, pour in the bechamel and just cover the endives.
Finish it off by a coating of grated gruyere or some kind of cheese. You could use cheddar. Pop it into the oven and let the cheese melt and brown a bit.
That's it.
You can praise Frank Zappa for this vegetable moment!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Soundtrack of My Blog

By the way, in case you were wondering just who were the Brain Police, this is the piece of music that started it all in 1966.
To celebrate the second day of Zappadan, I am providing you with a great link to a Hungarian Zappa site full of great stuff, 365 days of the year!

Okay, I Say Uncle! I'm Screaming Nancy! Help!

Yes, I am appealing for help. After 2 days of Computer Hell, I am asking any of youu wonderful kind hearted bloginistas out there for advice.
My old Canon bubble jet printer died, so being here in the absolute hinterlands, I ordered a nice new Canon PIXMA2500 from It showed up in just a few days and it sure looks nice.
I have an old school original iMac that has been hot wired to run OSX 10.3.9...I had to partition the hard drive. I didn't do it, a very cool friend of mine did it in NYC and I installed the loaded hard drive here.
It runs pretty good with a few burps every once in a while.
Soooo.......I have been trying to install the printer driver for 2 days. I first tried off the CD, then tonight, I downloaded the drivers from the Canon web site.
I go through the installation process and when I restart the computer, the printer utility tells me that there is no driver installed. It shows the printer, but after it searches for the drivers, NADA!
Any hints, good wishes or encouraging words will be appreciated. I have to go now and stick the screwdriver back into my ear.

Le Gros Fete A Commencer!

These things sneak up on you. I was so busy anticipating with bated breath that I hardly noticed that it was really true! The second annual nonstop festival of Zappadan has officially begun!
To ceremoniously start things off, I have posted the original 1969 video of Peaches in Regalia! (Peaches in Regalia from the Hot Rats Album) Let the festival commence with all due pomp....
Meanwhile, all across the planet, people are calling any vegetable, worshipping together in the church of their any vegetable, call one today, call any vegetable when you get off the train, call any vegetable and the chances are good
that the vegetable will respond to you...hooooo...rootahbayayagah, rootahbayayagahh, rutabaga! Thank you Frank!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Wazza War on Crishmush? Hah?

Pleesh, don gemmee wrong! I love Crishmush! Rilly!
I jus gotta nudda fruitcake in the mail an' I thing itz rum soaked.
Dee lishuzzz, lissen, you like egg nog? No? Wazz a fug, don'choo love Crizmush?
You sum kinna Commee jergoff?
Hey! Commandante Agi! Hey!
Lisshen, come over here I wanna show you sumthin......
Hah, Made joo look!
Here, have a martooni!
I love Chrizmush!
I thin I have a bottle of Pina Colada mish shumwhere...
Nahhhh, I musha drungit...
Waazza fug?

Cheneys ReactionTo New Iranian Intelligence Report

Okay, so now we get the news that Iran has not been involved with the
development of Nuclear Weaponry since 2003. When asked about this yesterday, George Bush said that it was the first he had heard of it.
For the last 4 years, we have heard that Dick Cheney has been pushing
for a pre-emptive strike on Iran to stop their imminent nuclear attack capability.
A month ago, George Bush made a speech telling the American people that we were on the verge of World War 3 because of Iran.
The NeoCon rhetoric is nonstop, casting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the modern
Hitler. There are provacative military exercises in the Strates of Hormouz by our ever growing fleet. The saner heads in the Pentagon and in the State Department have constantly warned that any such action would be a monumental disaster.
And we are to believe that George Bush knew nothing of the reality of Irans nuclear program? Are we to belive that it is because he gets all of his information spoon fed to him by Dick Cheney? Before the Iraq war, Cheney was personally involved on an unprecedented level cherry picking and manipulating intelligence to further the impresssion that Saddam Hussein did have weapons of mass destruction and "gasp" nuclear technology that was almost ready to be unleashed.
Is this what happened this time? Are Cheney and his cabal guilty of stirring up the American public into a frenzy of hate and fear against Iran.
Is Cheney guilty of trying again to drag America into a bigger disaster because if it works, it will benefit him and his corporate buddies?
If this is true, then, shouldn't the nation and the world be outraged at the insane
pretense of this maniacal act? Shouldn't a maniac like Cheney, who has never been right, lies blatantly and callously to manipulate reality, be behind bars and institutionalized?
I can't find anything humorous to this, it makes me sick.
No matter what the facts are, the lies and hate they created will live on and take on a life of it's own.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Only A Pawn In Their Game

Two weeks ago, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was in France and met with the family of Ingrid Betancourt, the French/Colombian politician who was kidnapped by the revolutionary army FARC during her presidential campaign, 5 years ago.
Mr. Chavez offered to use his connections with FARC to personally negotiate her release. Chavez, when he makes personal appearances, is able to impress the public with his charisma. The Betancourts were really encouraged by his concern and statements.
President Nicolas Sarkozy, at the time, gave Mr. Chavez his support in this initiative. During his presidential campaign, Sarkozy made a lot of statements and promises regarding Ingrid Betancourt. After his election, nothing was heard from him again on this matter.
Chavez went back to Venezuela and contacted the Colombians to begin the process.
The next day, Colombian President, Alvaro Uribe issued a strongly worded denial of assistance to Chavez. He inferred that Mr. Chavez was only interested in undermining the Colombian Government and helping FARC in their decades long civil war with Colombia. The American hands were seen all over this as a blatant attempt to to prevent Chavez from scoring any points on this matter.
Chavez, the next day, severed relationships with Colombia. Back in France, the Betancourts were crestfallen and issued a statement saying that they trusted Chavez and believed that he could really get the job done.
Stranger still, on the very next day, the Colombian government issues a statement that they have conveniently just "captured" a FARC soldier who happened to have a new video tape and letter from Ingrid to her children giving the first real proof since 2003 that she was still alive.
You have to ask, how many levels of manipulation are going on here?
Earlier this year I wrote a piece explaining the links between FARC and the various players as well as a profile of Madame Betancourt.
You have to look at the relationship of Colombia and America. You have to look at the very complex cocaine trade. You have to look at the relationship between FARC and American Corporations such as Chiquita Banana and how they have been able to do business with no problems in huge areas of FARC controlled Colombia.
You have to ask, is President Sarkozy playing a double game here?
Somebody has to make their move fast, because Ingrid has been living as a hostage in the jungle for 5 years now and I don't think from her letter and the tape that it can go on much longer. These cynical chess players will have lost their pawn..

All Been Planned

Where did this come from? I have to find out if it is out on cd, because it is very new. I just ran across this on YouTube and it blew my little brain out. This is a piece by David Was, the other half of Was/Not Was, a brilliant writer and producer in his own right and one of my very favorite guitarists and all around revolutionary artists, Mr. Wayne Kramer, the lead guitarist of the MC5. Let's just say that the MC5 were extremely important to my teen years in Detroit.
Kramer is a rock guitarist just as influenced by Chuck Berry as Sun Ra and Pharoah Saunders!
Kramer has been collaborating with the Was Bros for years and David produced the brilliant Wayne Kramer solo record, Citizen Wayne. Kramer made an amazing series of skull splitting rock records in the 90's after a resurrection from 8 years in prison and then started to perform with the amazing Belrays from LA and Hellacopter, a Swedish Band that is inspired by the energy of 60's Detroit Revolutionary rock.
He recently put together a massive tour of a band called MC5/DKT which was the surviving members of the MC5 and an ever changing cast of guests artists.
They shared the bill with the eternal Sun Ra Arkestra who gave them so much inspiration in the 60's.

This piece is a meditation on the unexplained "friendly fire" death of former football star Sgt. Pat Tillman in Afghanistan and the totally bungled cover up by the Administration in their attempt to cast him as a fallen hero. Pretty damn interesting if you ask me!

Saturday, December 01, 2007


The votes are in and it's unanimous, the judges and the viewers at home over whelmingly chose, Rudy "Spicey G" Giuliani as the winner of
last nights thrill packed competition.
So here we are back tonight, forget the issues, who cares about debates?
Our challenger is Mitt "Discoboy" Romney!
It looks like Spicey G has met his match, or has he?
Get ready to cast your vote for your favorite dancer on tonights
very special presentation of

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Our first contestants on tonights special presentations of
are the exciting duo, John "flip floppin" McCain and Rudi "Spicey G" Guiliani!We want the audience at home to sit back, and get ready for some real
dancing around the real issues.
Our contestants have been training hard for this special moment
and it's up to you, the American viewing audience to let them know
who is your favorite.
You can vote in the comments box in this blog.
Tune in tomorrow as our next contestants
dance their little hearts out for your approval rating!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Lack of Trust

Most of my perceptions as to what is really happening in America is limited
to the media: The news and the internet.
I read about the Presidential Election and get information from the various candidates emails and the blogs. I have a few favorites, and I hear the constant drumbeat of the polls telling us that the Republicans cannot win this time.
Then I spend a few weeks in America. I speak to lots of Americans. I read editorials and how the news is not really reported, how the issues are not really discussed.
Who cares what anyone really thinks? Let Bill O'Reilly and Rush spin it for you.
Hey, did you hear that Kuchinich's wife was blind? No? She married him, didn't she?
Do you really think that America will elect a woman president, especially if she is Hillary? How much mud could a Republican sling, if a Republican could sling mud?
I think Edwards could be a great President but will the pundits ever get past his hair?
A lot of Americans could vote for Obama if he's change his name and his skin color.
There are a lot of Americans who deep down are sick of the Iraq War, but even deeper down are just plain afraid.
Lightning strikes and the flock of sheep stampede.
Nothing is certain. I have no faith in a nation that lets itself be led and lied to...
This is getting to be uncomfortable, isn't it?
Let's talk about the candidates favorite television shows.
Guiliani could win if he would only be a contestant on Dancing With The Stars.

The Middle Ages Now!

I got an email today from my friend The Engineer of Knowlege. In it he compared the present situation of America, rapidly sinking into a sea of debt, dragged into a mad war by a deranged leader to England and it's pursuit of an impossible goal in the 1300's.
One of my favorite areas of history is the middle ages and I have read much on the Hundred Years War and the quest of the English Monarchy for the French Crown.
The Engineer took the events and transposed them them to the War in Iraq and here's what happened:

The Middle Ages version:

“In the early years of the war, Edward III allied with the nobles of the Low Countries and the burghers of Flanders, but after two campaigns where nothing was achieved, the alliance fell apart in 1340. The payments of subsidies to the German princes and the costs of maintaining an army abroad dragged the English government into bankruptcy, heavily damaging Edward’s prestige. At sea, France enjoyed supremacy for some time, through the use of Genoese ships and crews. Several towns on the English coast were sacked, some repeatedly. This caused fear and disruption along the English coast.”

The Present Version:

“In the early years of the war, George W allied with the nobles of Texas Oil and the burghers the Arms’ Industry, but after two campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan where nothing was achieved, the alliance fell apart in 2006. The payments of subsidies to the Saudi princes and the costs of maintaining an army abroad dragged the American government into bankruptcy, heavily damaging George’s prestige. The re-emergence of the Russian Empire enjoyed supremacy for some time, through the use of their own oil reserves being marketed around the world along with their own military hardware sales. Several cities and towns in the U.S. were feeling the economic depression as the real-estate values and stock markets dropped drastically along with the basic value of the U.S. dollar on the world market. This caused fear and disruption with the population in the United States for many years as they tried to work out and pay off the massive debt.”

How will this play out in the history books of the future?

Thanks again Mr. Engineer!

The Fire This Time

In America, we tend to put our public housing projects in our decaying inner cities. In fact, the trend in America is away from massive public housing. In France, starting in the mid 50's until the 70's, massive cities were built outside the big cities. They are called banlieus...literally lost places.
They started as a utopian solution for the influx of immigrants and the poor and middle class. Gradually these places became more accessible as public transportation systems reached farther out. But for most people who live there, it is an isolated world.
As most Utopian modern ideas start, they always look good on paper. Let people live there for 10 or 20 years with out government reinvestment in the maintenence of infrastructure and things fall apart.
Raise a few generations of kids without adequate recreational and social services, in a country with out enough jobs for the white "French" population and you have institutionalized delinquency. Throw in a repressive police system and you have a huge festering problem.
In 2005, almost exactly 2 years ago, the banlieus outside of Paris erupted in 6 nights of riots which almost brought down the Chirac government. Nicolas Sarkozy was the Interior Minister at the time and reacted by throwing gasoline on the fire with he Karcher comment. A Karcher is a high pressure water hose and he said he was going to clean the banlieus with one..
As the riots died down, there was a lot of discussion about the causes and a lot of ideas publicly bandied about by the government. 2 years later, for the most part, the ideas never got past the talking stage. For the most part, it was a holding action, a good show for the concerned public.
Earlier this year, France went through a Presidential Election which was won by Sarkozy by pandering to the fears of an aging conservative base. He played to their fears of immigrants and constantly used the threat of insecurity to great advantage.
By doing this, he really established his image as a repressive fascist to a big portion of the the population who are more militant.
So, there you have it. A fire that was never really dealt with, a situation that is more volatile in fact. A police force arrogant with power stopping kids for no reason usually.
Demanding to see papers....
It took one incident. A police car collided with a motor scooter killing two kids. Did the police try to get away with out assisting the kids? That's what the witnesses say.
That's all it took. They have guns this time. There have been over 80 cops hurt in the last 2 nights. Countless cars torched, libraries, schools and businesses burnt.
It's been quiet so far tonight in Paris, but the action is just starting in Toulouse.
If the government thinks they can solve this by throwing more cops and CRS at the kids, they are as irreponsible as monkeys in an oil refinery with flame throwers...
Because the fire this time........................

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What's going on, here?

A good question! It's been 22 days since I last posted! In that period, I spent 5 days in Toledo, Ohio and then 8 days in New York City. It took me a few days to recover from Toledo alone! It was the first time I have set foot in the USA in almost 18 months.
I suppose that I want to write about my impressions of The USA, but my mind is swirling.
I walked through neighborhoods in Toledo and realized that the normal block had at least 7 houses with at least one American flag. Some houses had multiple flags. On one block I stopped and counted over 24 flags of various sizes, standard size, miniatures, decales...little plastic ones...I am sure i missed a few.
When I was a boy in Detroit, we had a neighbor who displayed a flag every day of the year. He was regarded as the neighborhood nut case and in reality, he was.
I also noticed that usually, I was the only person on the street. Nobody walks. One day I took a walk that was about 5 miles and when I got back to my sisters house, my brother in law asked me where I had gone. I told him and he said, "That's crazy! If you asked, I would have driven you!"
I was happy to get to New York. There, everyone walks. The level of street noise was more than I had ever experienced in my 25 years of living there. The juxtaposition of sheer poverty and obscene displays of wealth were mind boggling. CBGB was just another place for rent on the Bowery. There was an expensive CBGB Boutique on St. Marks Place marketing the aura of something that will never happen again.
I saw a Hummer fitted out like a family woody style station wagon from the 50's parked on my block in the East Village. There was more garbage on the street, but the quality was so much higher than I remembered it!
One of the strangest sights was on the Bowery, as I walked past the shell of CBGB, I saw that the Bowery Mission was still there with derelicts staggering out the doors and then the next building had a red carpet and a doorman and limos...The new Bowery Hotel! I stopped in disbelief.......what's going on here?
I was finally happy to get back here to La Sechere. I arrived in the midst of the strikes, not knowing if I could make it easily into Bordeaux from the airport, let alone get a train that evening to Perigueux.
Finally back here, utter silence. It's hard to get started again.
The picture is another friendly reminder that we are getting ready for the joyous gala celebration of Zappadan starting the 6th of December...o joy........

Monday, November 05, 2007

Zappadan Draws Nigh

This is just a reminder that the feast of Zappadan is drawing closer. I posted this video in joyous anticipatation of the joyous yearly event. This piece does not actually feature Frank Zappa, it has Ringo Starr portraying a character who resembles him named Larry the Dwarf. It also features Theodore Bikel and Keith Moon as a harp playing nun and members of the London Symphony Orchestra. They are being forced to perform in this depraved farce for your enjoyment!

I leave you with this as I am about to go to the USA for 2 weeks. Discuss.....

See You!
I will try to post from the USA!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Vendange 2007

It took a little while, but I got some pictures from this years grape harvest at Chateau Vieux Chevrol in the Lalande Pomerol. It was a very long harvest this year with extraordinarily adverse weather.
It rained, it was downright cold. We had to stop the harvest after the first week because the cold weather prevented the grapes from fully ripening on schedule.
Inspite of it all, the growing conditions this year made the grapes we harvested full of sugar, flavor with nice thick skins. All the ingredients for a very good vintage. This was not the case at many other Chateaux, the moist cool summer created the conditions perfect for mildew and other maladies of the vines.
One thing that made it a successful harvest for us, was the fact that the same core group has been working together now for quite a few years. We all know each other and get along like any dysfunctional family speaking multiple languages from different parts of the world.
This was my 6th year working and as usual, I was a porter. I also worked earlier this year doing the empamphrage (trimming of the pied, the base of the vine) in the late spring and then the Vendange Verte (the cutting of the excess green grapes and the extra leaves) in the late summer.
Consequently, for me it was very satisfying to see the condition of the vines and the quality and quantity of the harvest this year!
One important quality of the Chateau Vieux Chevrol technique is the fact that everything is done in in a very traditional manner. All cultivation is by hand.. The harvest is by hand. There is no fertilizer used and pesticides and fungicides are all natural.
The wines are fermented in traditional vats, then in oak casks. After a year, they are bottled. They are not offered on the market for 2 years. The optimal aging of a Lalande Pomerol is 6 years. After that, they often get better, but it is unpredictable. They are a rich, oaky, complex dark red wine with a mix of fruit hints, framboise, cassiss...each year offers a slightly different mystery of flavors to unravel.
We ate well as usual at the table of the old Chateau. Great meals every night and one night we had a grand paella feast accompanied by a tasting of a variety of Rose Wines of various techniques.
When the Vendange was halted, I went home for a few days, but many of the workers come from Holland and they had a chance to visit the Dordogne and see the part of France I am most familiar with. They visited Sarlat, Beynac and Domme all incredibly beautiful sites. Beynac on the Dordogne River has one of the most impressive medieval fortress castles perched on a high cliff I have ever seen.
On the way back, they followed the valley of the Vezere River, where the Lascaux Cave is hidden and under the impressive Roche St. Cristophe, a massive palisade in the cliff which was continually inhabited from 18,000 bc up to the 20th century. This Valley is truly considered the birthplace of paleontology as two of the sites contributed their names to the ages of the neolithic cromagnon eras, The Madelinian and the Mousterian.
We took a visit to Libourne one night to visit Jackie who has a private collection of
antique autos in a big garage in back of his house. He is a passionate collector of Peugots and has a 1911 Motobloc, the first car with with the modern "drive train" which was made in Bordeaux until the 1930's.
It was hard work but rewarding for all and we look forward to to tasting the fruits of our labors next year!
We all want to thank the Champseix family for making this experience so full of good fellowship and the care they take to make sure we are entertained and well fed!
Click on the pictures if you want to enlarge them, but be careful, this last picture is Grapezilla 2007, and he bites!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Larry Coryell

If you have been reading this blog over it's year or so of existance, you can tell I like a lot of different guitarists and styles of music. In the early 70's, I became a fan of the Jazz guitarist, Larry Coryell. He was originally a rock guitarist from the Seattle area, but had a real background in classical music and started to play jazz at an early age. His first serious Jazz gig was with the Drummer, Chico Hamilton who at that time also had the Hungarian guitarist, Gabor Szabo in his band. They made an interesting pair, Gabors sparse European accoustic sound and Coryells more electric rock and blues oriented sound. He went on to Record with Herbie Mann on the extremely popular Jazz breakthrough record, Memphis Underground. That was another amazing 2 guitarist band, but this time it was a pre free jazz version of Sonny Sharrock, another of my all time very favorite players.
Coryell recorded with a lot of different players and began to issue his own solo albums. He briefly formed a band called Free Spirits with Jack Bruce after the break up of Cream. His work on Offering, Gypsy Queen, and the brilliant Spaces album forged the basis of the Fusion Jazz/Rock of the 70's.
Spaces would be a great album to listen to if you ever have the opportunity. He became friends with John McGlauglin and introduced him to an American audience. The members of the band are McGlauglin (soon to be Mahavishnu Orchestra), Billy Cobham on drums, Mirslav Vitous(Weather Report) on Bass, Chick Corea on Keyboards and of course Coryell. For all the heavy weight musicians who later went on to create earthquakes of their own, this is a light almost accoustic record that truly lives up to its title!
He formed the very influential band The Eleventh House with Michael Brecker and Alphonse Mouzon...a really great ground breaking fusion band that played constantly for 5 years. I know because I saw them many times in that period!
During the 80's, Coryell went back ot accoustic music and more traditional jazz forms. He has two sons which carry on the the tradition. Julian is a superstar in Japan!
He's still making music and the piece I have chosen for this post is an accoustic solo version of Ravels Bolero, a great feat of arranging and technique.
I think Coryell is one of Americas greatest contemporary musicians and one of its best kept secrets!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Who Was George Sand?

My wife and I recently took a short vacation to Dijon and on the way back, we drove straight across France
to a little village named Nohant-Vic to visit the home of the French writer of the 19th Century, George Sand. It was a trip into the beautiful soft landscapes of a region called The Berry and the valley of the Indre River. A region that is still very agricultural and dotted with small towns, chateaus and ruins. Nohant-Vic is still almost the way it was back in the beginning of the 19th Century. George Sands grandmother was a French Noble woman named Aurore de Saxe who barely escaped the Terror of the French Revolution and fled from Paris with her son Maurice and used the remains of her fortunes to buy the modest chateau and lands of Nohant-Vic.
Maurice, who had the last name, Dupin married a common woman, Sophie and they had a daughter named Aurore Dupin. Maurice was an aide to Napoleon who rose in the ranks but was killed in a freak accident one night riding from La Chatre to Nohant. The young Aurore was raised by her grand mother at Nohant and educated by her grandmothers friend, Deschartres. She recieved a very eclectic education from the jack of all trades, Deschartres, even learning the rudiments of medicine and helped him pilfer graves for material to do research on.
She also ended up spending a few years in a very strict convent school for girls in Paris where she went from being an unruly rebel to one of the most admired of the classmates. After she left, as her grandmother grew older, the concern was to get her a proper husband and she was married at age 17 to Casimir Dudevant. Her grandmother died and she inherited the title of Baroness and Nohant.
While she was in the convent, she began to write. It grew into a passion. She also began to look for true love which her husband, Casmir was not able to give her.
Gradually, she assumed a more independant life. She began to write with a younger writer Jules Sandeau, who was a local lad. They began a torrid affair under the nose of her husband and moved to Paris to clandestinely live together and write in a true bohemian existance in the heady atmosphere of Post Napoleonic political life.
Soon she was publishing her own work, but ended up taking the name George Sand, an Anglicized male name. Her first major work, Indiana was a sensation which unlocked the gates of a torrent of novels, essays and plays that lasted a lifetime.
The work was radical and romantic. A truly liberated womans voice writing about love and the human condition. Much of her work had to do with the tragedy of relationships between classes.
She became a major star of the art world and dressed in her own eccentric style, sometime as a man and lived a life of one affair after another finally obtaining a separation from Casimir.
She was connected with Franz Lizt and lived with Frederic Chopin for 10 years. Chopin lived at Nohant and composed much of his work there in a beautiful room with double sound proofed doors that are still there today.
Meanwhile, France was going through the turbulence of the Restoration, the rule of Louis Phillipe and then the Revolution of 1848 and the proclamation of the Republic which lasted a few years until the seizure of power by Napoleons nephew, Louis Napoleon, who proclaimed himself Emperor. During this backdrop, Communism began to develop as a system of ideas. George Sands was a powerful political writer whose championing of the rights of the people put her in great peril!
On the other hand, she was the most read and admired woman writer in the world at the time and the esteem and admiration that Louis Napoleon had for her allowed her to intercede for many of her friends who were imprisoned under his initially repressive rule.
Meanwhile, life at Nohant pursued it's singularly eccentric artisitc course, with the painter Delacroix, Chopin in residence and a house full of writers like Dumas and Flaubert and their friends as well as her own children, Maurice and Sophie. Maurice was an eccentric eclectic young man who painted and wrote, but his passion at home was marionettes and for years he made and performed incredible plays and the entire household was part of an acting troup which put on performaces in the little theater in the house at Nohant!

So much of this can be experienced by touring the house. The table is set, the theater is still ready for its next performance. Maurices puppets are on display. The decor is basically unchanged from the time of George Sand due to the fact that her grand daughter lived in the house until she was in her 90's and willed it to the Beaux Arts in the 1960's. There are some nice tours you can take which take you through the beautiful country side past a lot of the places mentioned in her books. We stayed for 2 nights in a little village nearby in a hotel/bar-tabac/bakery and taxi service all under on roof which offered meals extra as well for around 30 Euros a night.
The site is easily reached by car from Paris, just a few hours. For us it would be a simple drive up past Limoges. It is not far from Bourges. The town of La Chatre is very close and offers a range of hotels and B&B accomodations. La Chatre has a George Sand Museum and few other sites as wel as being a charming place which is very well preserved on the banks of the Indre.
Now, I want to start reading some of her work in French. I have only read a few english translated novels and I have to do a lot of work if I am to enjoy the flavor in which they were originally written!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mystery Box

"In the intelligence community, a disinformation operation is a calculated attempt to convince an audience that falsehoods about an adversary are true, either to discredit him or, in an extreme case, to justify military action. When such a campaign is properly conducted, information is leaked to numerous outlets over a period of time, creating the impression of a media consensus that the story is true, as each new report validates earlier ones.
The [news] pieces [on the target of the Israeli air attack in Syria] have a common thread: they rely entirely on information provided by Israeli sources without independent corroboration. And the ongoing play they are getting in the international media, without much critical commentary and without direct attribution to Israel, mark them as classic disinformation."

This was a quote from a piece by former CIA Officer, Phillip Giraldi in the American Conservative. He believes that the Syrian Nuclear Reactor Story had all the hallmarks of a classic disinformation campaign.
The alleged Syrian reactor was noted for the last 4 years, it had been looked at by the intelligence community and it was old news. What was released as far as justification for the bombing was the original conjecture that it its shape resembles the North Korean Yongbyon reactor building, which was a larger box with smaller boxes stacked on it. The mysterious Syrian building had a faint square on the top where it was thought another structure was going to be built, but after 4 years, the faint square remained just that.
Global Security's John Pike refers the site as being in the middle of nowhere and the photos provided to the press reveal what looks to be a barren location, but you only have to look at Google Earth to see it is smack dab in the middle of Syrias most dense farm region.
This is stranger still, as photos show absolutely no defense or security perimeter around the building. The Syrians would have to be pretty layed back and lax about security to leave their "Nuclear Research Complex" in such an open and casual condition.
What do we know about the box at this point? We know in 2003 it appeared, visible from space. It disappeared last month. It's not there and we know the site was bombed by the Israelis and was probably cleaned after the bombing and the building was destroyed.
Do we have evidence that Syria was building a reactor? No. Were any reporters pursuing the story before the bombing? No.
The only evidence came from journalists schmoozing with John Bolton and his buddies.
The IAEA Director, Mohamed ElBaradei is angry about the bomb first, ask questions later approach of the Israelis because it only fosters suspicion and undermines the role of the IAEA inspectors and their role in investigating and verifying nuclear activity. He also stated that Bolton had been making comments for years about Syrias Nuclear Activity, but the IAEA had never had any evidence to back it up.
Perhaps then, the real target of the Israeli strike wasn't a clandestine nuclear program in Syria, it was the IAEA inspection process itself. A very troubling road block in the neo con march to Tehran!


This is a guest post by The Engineer of Knowlege!

One of the things I have been given some thought to of late is
Blackwater. At the turn of the 19th century the coal mines hired
private protection corporations to squelch miners taking efforts into
their own hands to break the "Owe Your Soul to the Company Store" type
of slavery through economic means.

One instance was a mine in southernWest Virginia. The miners walked out and made a tent city at the gatesof the mines. They were not on company property but when others came toanswer the ads for work they turned around because they saw what was
really going on and chose not to apply.

Well the company hired aprivate protection like the Pinkerton Guards, but a different companythat I cannot remember the name right now. Early in the morning before
everyone woke up, a box car came in with the company coal railroad
train. When the box car was in line with the tent city, the door opened
up and a 50 caliber tri-pod machine gun opened up on the ex-miners tents
that contained the women, children, and the miners. As luck would have
it, the cold weather was coming on and the miners had dug down into the
ground for the protection and warmth of the ground from the wind and
cold. The 50 caliber bullets tore through the tents but the sleeping
people were in the trenches that protected them. That is when the other
union coal miners in West Virginia picked up their guns, marched to the
aid of the miners on strike and their families. Well an all out war
broke out and Woodrow Wilson had to send in Federal Troops to get
between the coal companies with their hired protection and the miners
with the unionized miners that were shooting at each other.

So, in summation, Blackwater is a private company that will be losing a
major customer in Iraq. This corporation will have to replace this
customer loss with new customers to survive. I wonder how long it will
be before Blackwater, with state of the art weapons, will be turning
these guns, mortars, claymore mines, etc, on U.S. citizens by a company
hiring them to enforce their will on the population. Blackwater is even
building its own armored troop carriers based on the South African
design. This performs the same function like the Bradley fighting
vehicle.. but better.

I have given just one example where it has happen before and it will
happen again.

This Guest Post was submitted by The Engineer Of Knowlege
October 29, 2007
Thank you sir!

Monday, October 29, 2007


We now return to the continuing story of Nikolas Sarkozy, the tragically misunderstood mini president who just wanted to be uuuuuuh UNDISPUTED EMPEROR OF FRANCE AND THE COOLEST GUY IN THE WORLD!
But, he's been having a lot of bad days lately and today was one of them. I'm suure most of American has seen the aborted 60 Minutes interview with Diane Sawyer. He was busy, he didn't know the mike was on, OKAY? Why was she asking him stupid questions about his wife 2 weeks before he could use the info in an attempt to defuse the first big strikes of his presidency? He probably didn't realize how popular 60 Minutes was in America.

So, all America is laughing at the tiny hyper prez, making French lily livered surrender monkey jokes, it's sad. Don't worry, all of France is, too.
Meanwhile, his Minister of Justice today, defending her decision to eliminate regional courts all across France in a cost cutting measure that is predicted to only increase the cost of Justice and inconvenience Judges and Lawyers and people involved in the system had to endure a full fledged riot of lawyers and judges protesting this move. There was great TV footage of screaming judges and lawyers being forcefully manhandled by cops. Talk about great reality TV!

The real tragedy today, though, is the story of the Zoe's Arche Group being held in Chad. This is a complex tale of political intriguing and misguided charity and charlatans.
The Zoe's Arche Group is an organization led by a charimatic leader who has been involved in relief attempts in the Tsunami, and some earthquakes in the last few years. He has been able to raisse a lot of money and get volunteers through various religious affiliations. Because of the vagueness of what he has actually done with the money, he has had to move the group out of France to Australia.
This time, they raised a lot of money to save children from Darfur. The plan was to bring orphans in need of medical attention to France to be cared for sponsor families. They were able to find families and raise quite a bit of money.

Flags went up earlier this year and there were warnings about the reliability of this group and the wisdom of their paln to take Muslim children to France to be raised as Christians. They were able to go ahead, rent the planes and get clearance and assistance from the French governemnt in spite of everything.

Meanwhile, Sarkozy was elected and appointed Bernard Kuchner as Foreign Minister. Kuchner was the founder of Medicines sans Frontieres and was involved in a lot of great humanitarian relief work personally. He made the problem in Darfur his personal mission. France has worked hard to get the UN Peacekeepers into Darfur. Both Sudan and Chad have resisted the UN. Kuchner, though was on the verge of his personal project which was to negotiate a "Relief Corridor" into the region.
The last thing the Chadians wanted though, was a bunch of foreign relief workers seeing the child soldiers they use in violation of every human rights agreement to fight their war.

The backdrop for this debacle also includes the highjacking of the release of the Bulgarian Nurses, The Tripoli 7, by the Sarkozy government after he was elected. Sarkozy and his PR Machine was able to steal the credit for the release in a very calculated stunt. It gave the impression to the world that France had acted alone to pay the ransom. In reality, the EU had raised the money and had negotiated for years for the goal. Sarko was able to ride the coat tails to make some pretty sweet deals for the French Nuclear and Autoroute Industry.

So, last week, the Zoes Arche plane lands in Chad and they start to collect the children to be taken out of the country. Very strangely, most of the children are not orphans and are in pretty good health. the speculation being that the organization wanted to score a PR coup back in France with a plane load full of happy healthy good looking babies to help the organizers realize their grandiose dreams of more flights and more money..

Parents in villages start complaining and BINGO! The Chadian government scores big time. It is pretty easy for them to start to claim that the organization is really a front for a child trafficking slaves! It is easy for them to make a stink about children being stolen from parents to be forcibly converted to christianity!
The entire group is arrested. The Chadian government, who is guilty of real child exploitation charges, can take the high grouund and portray themselves as the protectors of the little innocents. They are, of course, going to extort as much money out of France as they can in ending this debacle.

Now it gets messier in France. First, the government denies any knowlege of the group and only hours later, the entire history of it's involvement comes out.The group is able to hire a high powered lawyer and there are 2 Associated Press Reporters in the group of arrestees, who came along to cover the story.

Yes, it's a tragedy for the French Government and Kuchner, who were really trying to negotiate a way to get needed aid into Darfur. It's a tragedy for the tiny hyper prez, who after a week of unrelenting bad press was about to score a real PR coup.
The aids workers and donors who really thought they were involved in a legitimate humanitarian effort.....
But the biggest tragedy is for the people of Darfur, who had a door begin to open for them and now tragically slam shut!