Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Les Voeux de Mini-Sarko

The Mini-hyper president tries to upstage Hollande...before the traditional Prsidential New Years Message ce soir!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

30 Decembre 1888

Local newspaper report dated 30 December 1888 recording Vincent’s self-mutilation. ”Last Sunday night at half past eleven a painter named Vincent Vangogh, appeared at the maison de tolĂ©rance No 1, asked for a girl called Rachel, and handed her … his ear with these words: ‘Keep this object like a treasure.’ Then he disappeared. The police, informed of these events, which could only be the work of an unfortunate madman, looked the next morning for this individual, whom they found in bed with scarcely a sign of life.
The poor man was taken to hospital without delay.”

Monday, December 29, 2014


In the early 1990's there once was a French band named Mano Negra...The Black Hand....
They never managed to cross over into the English speaking market but fora few years they were the one of the best rap/rock/ska punk/fusion units on the planet. The core of the band was Manu Chao, his brother Antoine and their cousin, Santiago Casariego. They were originally from Barcelona and they were totally, passionately and radically political. Totally out of the mainstream, they managed to sell millions of records and embarked on epic adventures through out Latin and South America. There last tour was chronicled by Ramon Chao,  Antoine and Mano's father, in his book, Train of Ice and Fire. You might have seen a few posts on this blog about Manu Chao, who has continued his career as a political activist and musician to this day. He is currently in Argentina organising against Monsanto and working with South American artists. The video above is from a tour of Central America in 1992 and the location is Havana, Cuba! Great song and the performance stands alone. They were one of the best bands anywhere at the time. Manu Chao was and is a great performer. The lyrics of this song, Killin Rats are more relevant today even than they were in 1992!

There's a place in the city
Just down by the River
All the Rats went crazy
Got fangs made of Silver

They're cruisin downtown
Their eyes full of anger
If they can't hurt you
They will find another

They will shotdown your father
They will spit on your mother
Rape browny girl
& slaughter your brother
Killin' Rats
Thoses Rats need a SCRATCH!

All you Real cool cats
Put yourself together
Got them Back to their
Before they make you surrender
Old cats they quiver!!
Cause it makes them remember
About a long time ago
When they fought Rats father

Was a Rat called Hitler
Set the world on fire
This is no fare game
They wanna do it again

Here's a video Manu made in 2007 with the brilliant Serbian director Emir Kustarica.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

meanwhile...back on planet earth

Kaboom Karavan/Omsk

McLuhan & Keaton

Video: Buster Keaton in a scene from 

Most people…still cling to what I call the rearview-mirror view of their world. By this I mean to say that because of the invisibility of any environment during the period of its innovation, man is only consciously aware of the environment that has preceded it; in other words, an environment becomes fully visible only when it has been superseded by a new environment; thus we are always one step behind in our view of the world.

(an aside, when the front of the building falls on Keaton, if you look close, the window brushes his elbow. He doesn't even flinch...)

Know Your Rights!

The Clash/Know Your Rights/Combat Rock/1982
Just another big reason The Clash will always be one of the greatest bands ever!
Really, these guys practiced what they preached. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Surrender Dorothy

I have such mixed feelings about the need we have for a police force and the way we police ourselves in a supposedly free society. I have had a few friends who were in the police force in Detroit. Sad to say, all three left disillusioned and deeply disturbed. I have a very good friend who I admire who is presently a career cop in The Netherlands. He rose up through the ranks and is now in charge of an arbitration unit. He sees his role as keeping people out of jail and resolving conflicts with out criminalising the accused. It is virtually impossible to imagine a society that could exist with out a police force. But who is attracted to the profession and why? What is the criteria? In many cases there is a very fine line between a cop and a criminal. 
New York City has had a long, troubled and violently corrupt history of law enforcement. You could go back to 1857, when the force was so corrupt that the New York State Government had to step in and disband the Municipal Force and create an alternative Metropolitan Police Force. The Municipal Force was loyal to the corrupt Mayor, Fernando Wood who was accused of selling city government positions for $50,000 apiece. When the Metro Police Force tried to enforce an arrest warrant against Wood, a battle royal erupted between the two forces and the State Militia had to come in and intervene. The two forces existed for months and interfered with each other. When a Metro Cop arrested someone, Municipal Cops often would appear and let the criminal go free, especially if the criminal was in their "club".
In 1992, Rudy Giuliani was the presumed Republican Mayoral candidate opposing David Dinkins, New York's first black mayor. Giuliani was the prosecutor who had made a name for himself prosecuting the Mafia. He was a Law and Order candidate in an era in which the City was deeply divided economically and racially. He tried to portray himself as the New Sheriff in town who was going to clean up New York. He used his influence with the police to destroy Dinkins. Dinkins was trying to do the same thing that present day New York Mayor, Bill De Blasio is trying to do. Dinkins proposed to create an independent civilian agency to monitor police misconduct. Giuliani saw his opportunity. He worked with the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and the Police Union to organise a "rally" at City Hall. They succeeded in getting a crowd of 10,000 protestors and whipped them into an emotional frenzy with his rhetoric. They accused the Mayor of not supporting them by among other things, not giving them semi automatic weapons.

"He never supports us on anything," said Officer Tara Fanning of the Midtown South Precinct, echoing the view of many in the crowd. "A cop shoots someone with a gun who's a drug dealer, and he goes and visits the family."
Mayor Dinkins, who was not at City Hall during the demonstration, denounced the protest as "bordering on hooliganism" and said he held the P.B.A. president, Phil Caruso, responsible for what happened. He accused Mr. Caruso of inciting his members' passions and suggested the union leader was motivated in part by contract negotiations.
Fast forward to the present, The banner in the illustration above few over Manhattan yesterday morning. Nobody will admit exactly who paid for it. Giuliani is back on FOX news doubling up his racist rhetoric and leading the pack demanding that De Blasio resign, because he doesn't support the cops and coincidentally, it's contract negotiation time again in New York. I am cynical enough to say that this round of hate directed at de Blasio isn't about the killings of two police officers. It's pure politics, intended to soften up the mayor and slam progressive policies. Leverage. After all, they're in the middle of contract negotiations right now, so it's to the union's benefit to put de Blasio in as vulnerable a position as possible in order to keep him from instituting policy and wage decisions they don't like. I know that this issue has many sides and nuances, but the loudest voices aren't the protestors of police violence. It's those with the billy clubs and the bully pulpit of conservative media who see this as a divisive issue to be exploited. 
If the NYPD runs a slow-motion coup against the freely elected mayor of New York, then it is running a slow-motion coup against all the people of New York. There is no exemption from this fundamental truth about the way this country and its system is supposed to work.
It's dangerous that we're losing sight of the basic notion that these people work for us, not the other way around. But we're also surrendering to the notion that we get by in America (or fail to) at the whim of Wall Street and corporate chieftains -- the misnamed "job creators" -- rather than the other way around. The rich don't like regulation, don't like taxation, and don't want us questioning those preferences. Generally, we don't. Remember who Rudy Giuliani really is, his history, his unleashed police force sodomising
Abner Louima with a toilet plunger in a precinct basement howling "It's Giuliani Time!"
In each case, we fearfully defer to the powerful because we think the powerful have the power of life and death over us. And the powerful take it as their due.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.

Purple Snowflakes

Marvin Gaye,1964, Simply Awesome!

Santa Baby

I know I've been bad, but to make up for it, here's one of the greatest Christmas songs ever recorded by one of the sexiest women on the planet. Earth Kitt...Santa Baby!
I was off line for a day to celebrate with friends...and I gave my computer a Christmas present! I upgraded the operating system to the latest Apple OS...Yosemite OS 10.10!
Lots of nail biting and long downloads, but it seems to have been a success. It's like a new machine! Things that were not quite working before are working like a charm now! Hmm...I seem to have a bottle of St. Croix du Mont left over from yesterday...and it's almost l'heure de l'apero!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Santa's Got A Bomb For Whitey

The ultimate anti xmas song of all time by Bootsey X and The Love Masters.
Bootsey X was an unsung hero of Detroit rock. A true original, the best live show in town.
Bootsey X was sort of the bastard love child of Iggy Pop and James Brown.
He died of a brain tumor last year.

I Am The Night

I have been reading conservative blogs and the out of control comments and attempts to politicize and manipulate the feelings of Americans after the execution of 2 NYC Police officers in Brooklyn. Rudy Giuliani is particularly disgusting in his senile attempt to reignite the racial hate and fear in NYC that got him elected Mayor after he incited a police riot in his race against David Dinkins. I kept thinking about this Twilight Zone episode from 1964, I Am The Night. Color Me Black, and the ending remarks by Serling. Hate, the disease that is destroying America. If you don't have time to view the full episode, here it is:
A sickness known as hate; not a virus, not a microbe, not a germ--but a sickness nonetheless, highly contagious, deadly in its effects. Don't look for it in the Twilight Zone--look for it in a mirror. Look for it before the light goes out altogether.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The German and Soviet pavilions at the 1937 Paris International Exposition.

Punch A Monet
This silly brief browser game lets you virtually punch a certain piece of fine art.
Try it out for yourself here

Friday, December 19, 2014

Texas Hotel Beatles Medley....

The Mothers of Invention destroy the Beatles in a live performance that was never officially released. Listening to the crowd singing "Louisiana Hooker with Herpes" along with the band only reaffirmed my belief in Frank Zappa's utter genius.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Manana me chanto

My niece and her family have been having a family reunion in Chile. The younger son is living in Santiago. She sent me this link to a band, Manana me chanto, she has seen a few times on the street in Santiago. I thought they were great. They are politically involved in the anti Monsanto movement which is gaining support and momentum in Argentina and Chile! I've posted a few videos by the Spanish musician, Manu Chao who is very involved in this movement now. 
Glifosato...Anti Monsanto!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


2 ounces white rum
1 lime(s)

Glass Type: Collins glass
Squeeze a lime into a Collins glass, add 2 or 3 ice cubes, and pour in the rum (we like the golden type and really like a darker, more flavorful riserva). Drop in one of the spent lime shells and fill with cold Coca-Cola. Stir briefly.

Leonard Bernstein!

Today, an NBC/ WSJ poll claimed Americans think Race Relations in America are at an over 10 year low.

DEVO originated at Kent State University and started with the Mothersbaugh brothers. Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casales met as Art Majors at Kent. The band was and is an incredibly successful art project. Mark never claimed to be a musician, though the band really developed amzing chops quickly and a totally unique approach to music which set them apart from the beginning and attracted the attention of John Cale and Brian Eno. Mark has had a totally independent career as an artist. His work represents a unique, unbroken personal esthetic that has spanned almost a half century. He states that his non musical, visual approach to composition and technology freed him to make the synthesizers he used do some thing other than what they were intended. He composed the soundtrack for a few of Wes Anderson's films including Moonrise Kingdom. For the film, he said he finally found a use for the collection of antique birdcalls he had collected for years. Mark has had a few retrospective shows in major museums recently and finally a great book, Myopia, spanning his career as an artist has been produced with a forward by Wes Anderson. Wes claims that Mark has created his own Mutant Magic Kingdom and it is Akron, Ohio! Here's a link to sample pages of the book at WINKBOOKS.
If you have never seen the collaboration between Neil Young and DEVO from Youngs film, Human Highway, check this out!

Cho za Huinya?

We are still officially celebrating the joyous Festival of Zappadan and my offering today is a remembrance of the brief window of sanity, when Vlacav Havel was the first democratically elected president of The Czech Republic after it regained it's independence when the Soviet Union crumbled.  Havel was a great poet, playwright and political dissident who spent years in prison for his words and ideas. He was a great admirer of Frank Zappa and offered Frank an official appointment as trade ambassador in his government. Zappa was amazed at how popular he really was in The Czech Republic. Indeed, one of Czechoslavakia's most popular underground bands was a band called Plastic People of The Universe, which had been inspired by Zappa's work and music. The Plastic People have been very popular, since 1976.  Havel was a supporter and fan and they are still active today.
What happened to Zappa's career in international diplomacy?
When a Texan like Secretary of State James Baker defends the honor of his wife, it doesn't matter how long he has to wait or how far he has to go to do it.
In this case , Baker diplomatically used his surrogates to ace Zappa out of a job as the trade representative from Czechoslovakia because the rocker had publicly insulted Baker's wife Susan.
President Vaclav Havel did offer the job of special ambassador to the West on trade, culture and tourism to Frank Zappa. That is the Frank Zappa--the man who has produced more than 50 albums including "Freak Out," "Burnt Weeny Sandwich," "Uncle Meat," and "Weasels Ripped My Flesh," the same Frank Zappa who named his children Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet, and Diva; the same Frank Zappa whose performance once featured a stuffed giraffe that squirted whipped cream out of it's asshole on the audience.
He is many things, but diplomat is not among them, thanks to Baker. Havel, a playwright known for absurd satire, met Zappa in Prague in January 1990, and the two men hit it off immediately. Havel had long been a fan of Zappa's music genius and even credited his music as part of the inspiration for the anti-communist revolution. A Czech group, "The Plastic People of the Universe," named after one of Zappa's songs, copied his style and became an underground sensation in Czechoslovakia. Their revolutionary lyrics so irritated the communist government that the group was thrown behind bars for disturbing the peace.
That mobilized Havel and other artists to form a dissident group that led the opposition and, after communism was toppled, formed the nucleus of the current Czech government.
So Havel had plenty to thank Zappa for. He was so grateful, in fact, that he impetuously created the special ambassadorship for Zappa. The musician left town with Havel's praise in his ears and the adulation of hundreds of fans who treated him as a Czech national hero. He was even talking about applying for citizenship.
Two weeks later, Baker came to town carrying an old grudge. It dated from 1985, when Susan Baker and other well-connected Washington wives, including Tipper Gore, wife of Sen. Albert Gore, D-Tenn., formed Parents Music Resource Center. The group's objective was a music ratings system similar to the movie ratings, based on sex, obscenity and violence.
Zappa, the purveyor of all three in his lyrics, came to Washington for a showdown before the Senate Commerce Committee. He was unrelenting in his criticism of the ratings idea. He ridiculed Susan Baker and the others, calling them "a group of bored Washington housewives," and said they wanted to "housebreak all composers and performers because of the lyrics of a few."
Zappa even mimicked Susan Baker's Southern accent. This was too much for Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., who snapped at Zappa during the hearing, calling him "boorish, incredibly and insensibly insulting."
James Baker remembered the insult. When he arrived in Prague, on the heels of Zappa's appointment as trade representative, Baker had his surrogates convey his displeasure to Havel. It was delicately phrased as "advice," suggesting that "an American should not serve as a trade representative for Czechoslovakia." Baker's real objection was apparently twofold--he was still piqued over the insult to his wife, and he thought the appointment made Havel look amateurish.

So the Czechs, anxious to please the foreign minister of the world's biggest superpower, cooled on the Zappa appointment. They dragged their feet, explaining to Zappa that bureaucratic red tape was getting in the way. Several months later, Zappa was appointed unofficial cultural ambassador and the video I found illustrates the way a real ambassador of culture gets his job done.....

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bill Bonds

I sort of ran into this video a few days ago. The editorialist is a Detroit media journalist named Bill Bonds. Bonds was a passionate, charismatic fixture in Detroit jounalism. I grew up with his voice as a  prime time local news anchor man for years. He was intelligent and compassionate and perhaps his personal flaws kept him from going beyond the confines of local news. Bonds, an alcoholic who once tried to physically assault Detroit mayor Coleman Young during an interview, is a throwback to a time – one long since passed – when one could be a "Man's Man" or a Tough Guy without waving around a gun like a surrogate dick. Such comments would never make it on the air today – especially not on the wasteland local TV news has become – despite the fact that they are as true right now as they were when first spoken. This editorial comment was delivered the night after John Lennon was assassinated and it might be, without exaggeration, one of the finest the finest moments of American television journalism.  I tried to find a transcript of his commentary on the internet, without success so I have tried to transcribe it myself:

I suppose like you I am depressed and saddened by this mad, senseless act. I don’t think John Lennon ever hurt anyone; he wrote and he sang songs. He brought pleasure and he brought entertainment to hundreds of millions of people all over the world. And at 40 when a man’s or a woman’s life really begins to "Come Together," he is gone forever. Murdered by some insignificant nobody with insanity and a pistol for his companions. It is not fair and it is certainly not right.
I wonder when America will finally control its guns, how many of us will have to be murdered before that will happen. John Kennedy. Bob Kennedy. Martin Luther King Jr. All murdered, all gone. Vernon Jordan, gunned down earlier this year. George Wallace, paralyzed, his life and career ruined. People, critics, newspapers all over the world today are looking at America and Americans and saying, "That is a brutal, barbaric place."
As I say control the guns and ban them, collect them all and melt them down, I know we are not going to do that. We are again left with painful, senseless trauma and the responsibility of feeding and clothing the Sirhan Sirhans, the Charles Mansons, the David Berkowitzes, and now the Mark David Chapmans of the world. How much better the world might be with Dr. King, Bobby Kennedy, John Kennedy, John Lennon, still alive, still with us.
But…no, Americans must have their guns. We know there is no shortage of good, strong, sensitive, talented men and women; we can afford to kill them. Our guns are signs of our freedom. Someday maybe all 220 million of us will own a weapon. Perhaps then we will appear as barbaric to ourselves as we must appear to the rest of the world. 

We have so much. Why do we Americans need these damn guns.
Leonard Bernstein would have approved of this, so I'm doing it for him!
Ever have one of those kind of days? I feel better now....
I feel better than James Brown!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

What A Way To Die

Here's a proto punk klassik from 1966 by the Pleasure Seekers. One of Detroit's finest bands! I saw them many times. The last time, they opened for the Yardbirds when both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page were in the band at the same time! The bass player is Suzi Quatro who went on to have a few massive hits in the UK and Australia in the 1970's....Hmmm, wasn't she Leather Tuscadero on the American Classic sit come Happy Days? 

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Eric Garner/Police Brutality Protest
Live Stream

And it's really almost too late to do anything about the 6th Great Extinction event.
This time, it isn't glaciation, geologic or a cosmic event.
We are doing it to ourselves.
Will that be man kinds greatest achievement?
I dreamed I was raptured in my Maidenform Bra...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cheese is not an artificially flavored and colored product made from synthetic ingredients to be sold in individually wrapped slices for your protection! It is a real, living thing and it is SEXY!
J'ai toujours commandez  mon calendrier pour 2015!
Miss Forme d'Ambert! MIAMMMM!
I have to apologize for the cranky political posts I wrote yesterday. Today, to make up for it, here's a bit of yuletime holiday cheer with the inimitable seasonal pop stylings of Iggy Pop.
On the other hand, this memo might just sum up the entire George Bush Jr. Presidency in a few short lines.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Full Of Crap

A very interesting piece in todays Guardian Observer only affirms and reinforces what most of us have always know since we learned of the origins of Al Qaeda and the American support of the Taliban in Afghanistan back in the days of the good old Soviet evil empire. We aided and abetted Al Qaeda and helped it to grow beyond the tunnel vision of our desire to thwart the Soviets.  In 2007, I published a post that proved that Dick Cheney was right to state that there was a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, but his chain of evidence was fatally flawed because in my piece, I established the fact that the connecting dots actually had George Bush Jr.s' failed Arbusto Energy Co. directly in the center. It's a messy trail, involving Enron, George Bush Sr. when he was head of the CIA. It may be a messy trail, but the mess they left behind firmly establishes the basis of the funding and support Al Qaeda received until the mid 1990's! Google the BCCI bank collapse for more interesting background info.

The Guardian article is an insiders account of the genesis of the ISIS Caliphate by one of it's senior commanders. He details how the concept was born in 2004 in the  Camp Bucca Prison complex in Iraq. One of the inmates of the American prison complex was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the emir of the ISIS Caliphate. You should read the entire piece, because it gives a fascinating insight into how we created the very fertile ground that ISIS sprang from.
I have believed that the enhanced interrogation techniques the Americans desperately employed after 9/11 were much more than the simple medieval waterboarding and sleep deprivation techniques the American government would reluctantly allude to. After the Abu Ghraib revelations, it was apparent that this was not an aberration. This was a descent into medieval madness. As demented as anything dreamed up in our Sadistic Nazi War Fantasies.This was the Inquisition gone amok.
It's no surprise that the sociopathic chief enabler of this demented policy, Dick Cheney is in full offensive/defensive mode trying to justify and deny the reality that his policies had no positive effect and proved that he is another demented sociopath, who learned nothing from history. He repeated the most horrific mistakes of the past and in the corse of events created a future for us all beyond his worst nightmares. But then again, psychologists say sociopathic psychos don't dream.
Hey Dick, the report is full of crap? Maybe we should just play your cranky whiny interview with the volume turned off and listen to the great Cleveland proto punk band, The Electric Eels instead!
And if that isn''t lame enough. 
"Look guys, I'm the Decider, and this time I'm deciding not to know this. Next."
That's right, the guy Americans elected twice even though they knew he wasn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but he was smart enough to surround himself with a bunch of manipulative sociopathic psychos tried to worm his way out of this by stating that he was kept out of the loop of detailed info because he felt he was too dumb to keep secrets.
Bush's self-awareness of his own idiocy was revealed in May 2004, during a presentation about the CIA's torture program. Via Mother Jones (a full summary of the presentation is available onpage 98 of the report):

I dunno, Dick said he did and George said he didn't. Who cares? They both full of crap!

Looking At You

MC5, more live than you'll ever be. 
1970, WSU Tartar Field on the edge of the John Lodge Expressway in Detroit.
I just saw myself in the crowd! Cool. I always knew I would eventually be in two places at the same time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wrong? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

The Flying Mistletoe Drone! What could go wrong in a bar room full of drunken crazy potentially litigatious white folks?
It's a low flying remote controlled device being used in a room full of people desperately trying to get drunk to deall with their  collective pre holiday depressive syndrome , bringing holiday cheer and a little bit of...uhhh...pick up possibilities to a bunch of losers who really don't care about anything but who's paying for the next round, cause I can't. TGIF seems to think that this is a great idea even though the FAA might advise otherwise. Here's a photo of Reporter Georgine Benvenuto who was injured in the Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn TGIF when the flying mistletoe drone landed its load of Christmas Cheer on the hand of a woman at another table. The woman freaked and swatted the drone which flew into the face of Benvenuto, slicing her nose and chin.  TGIF seems to think this is not a problem because drunk people get on air planes all the time and sometimes, well shit just happens. So go ahead and sue! They've got lawyers.
I think drones are evil to begin with. They are the deadly off spring of high tech military technology and the casual fascination of these little devices for recreational use is already causing entirely new safety and security nightmares for all of us. Idiots are using them as sports toys. France is freaked because unidentified idiots are using them to fly over nuclear plants here. Why? Well nobody is saying or admitting anything.  At least once a day, there is a safety incident in the USA involving a drone and an aircraft. You can spy on neighbors, you can buy a drone for under 100 bucks that will carry a  surveillance camera. Then, of course, you can use it to fly mistletoe over a bunch of drunken jerks in a crowded room and not worry about the consequences

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Frankie & Johnny

I have participated in the annual Festival of Zappadan every year since it's humble inception in 2006. Yesterday was the anniversary of John Lennon's assassination so, here's a great video of John Lennon and Frank Zappa live on stage at the Fillmore East from 1971 performing Baby Please Don't Go!

Monday, December 08, 2014

C'est La Tradition

So the funky old truck and the shack with the canvas walls and smokestack is back in it's usual spot by the old lavoir. The lavoir is the traditional communal spring fed basin where people in small villages would go to do their laundry. People still use it for big rugs...and there is a continual source of clean, clear running water.
The lavoir in Badefols d'Ans. In the background on the right side
 is an ancientpressoir for grapes which I donated to the village....

 But the truck and the tent is another old tradition. The Bouilleur de Cru Ambulant is back in business for another few months. There is a lot of traffic in and out of the shack. There is the scent of wood smoke hanging over the place...and another much more heady sweet scent permeating the crisp clear air. What goes on behind the canvas walls? Why are there always a few old geezers hanging out suspiciously waiting for the next tractor with a trailer load of mysterious blue plastic barrels...Eh Oui, the panel of professional tasters! Quality control!
A Bouilleur de Cru is a distiller. There are perhaps 40 mobil alambics in operation in the Dordogne. The licenses are passed down in families. It's virtually impossible to get a new license anymore. The Bouilleur sets up in a village near a fresh water source and all winter long, farmers pull up with tractors pulling trailers of barrels of fermenting fruit, usually plums. Some of the alambics are quite ornate antique polished installations. In October, I had a great visit to a farm in the Charente where cognac is produced. There, the alambic was an ornate ancient mechanism, lovingly polished and preserved for generations.

In this installation, the fermenting Charentais grapes are distilled 2 times and the results are aged 10 years. The white wines of the Charente usually have a low alcohol content, but the crisp clear, almost piney tang make them the perfect accompaniment to the seafood this region is famous for. The day I visited this farm distillerie, I had lunch in a fishing port called Marennes on the side of a canal filled with boats out of the water waiting for the next high tide. I had 12 of the fattest, freshest oysters I have ever tasted with the local bread and salted charentais butter and the local white wine. Then we visited the farm. They produce cognac and also the celebrated Pineau de Charentes. Pineau is an aperatif made from either white or red wine blended with cognac and aged. It is absolutely delicious and should be served chilled. Another special product of this region is a gassified version of white Pineau called l'Ecume Charentais. I don't know if there is a problem with transport of l'Ecume Charentais because I have never seen it for sale outside of this region. Needless to say, a visit to the farm entails a degustation of the products and a chance to buy direct. I bought a bottle each of red and white Pineau and 4 bottles of the Ecume. It's been very hard, but they are still sitting in my cellar.
Here in Badefols d'Ans, the Bouilleur is in operation every day until the end of April. As opposed to most of the Bouilleur de cru ambulants, Mr. Lajugie stays in one place. I usually buy 2 liters of eau de vie from him each year which I use for my alchemical operations. I use the eau de vie to make vin de noix by steeping walnut buds in the early spring in the alcohol. After 2 months, the eau de vie is black like ink and heavily flavored and perfumed with walnut essence. I add the liter of walnut

infused alcohol to 3 bottles of red wine and a kilo of sugar. Then, bottle it up and wait for three months. I also do this with peach leaves, but you have to wait until the end of the season to get the leaves when they turn yellow. When I macerate the leaves, I also add a bit of orange peel. I mix that with white wine and sugar. I've also made my own creme de cassis. I macerate crushed cassis (black currants) with red wine and let it sit over night. Then I reduce the strained berry infused wine and add sugar and make a simple syrup. Then add the eau de vie. If you are ever in Brive-la-Gaillarde,  my nearest big town, you should arrange a visit toThe Denoix Distillery in the old part of the city. They have been in continual operation since 1839 making their aperatifs and liqueurs. They are most famous for their walnut eau de noix, which I can recommend. The art and tradition of distilling goes back to the 12th century here. An art, interestingly enough, brought back from the middle east by the crusaders. It is an Arab invention. I know of a few farm families who have their illegal alambics out in the back of the old barn and when you arrive for a holiday visit,  Old Oncle Andre will always bring out a huge glass bottle and offer you a drink, winking, "This is illegal!" I have to admit,  Oncle Andre Clerjoux' eau de vie was crisp, lightly fruity, almost as if it was made with raspberries. He was an artist. The old pharmacies still sell phials of powders and potions to turn homemade eau de vie into brandy or anisette. Here's little video of the local Bouilleur de Cru Ambulant from Trelissac and his tractor pulled alambic carrying on this tradition that dates back to the middle ages here in the Dordogne. I discovered that the patron saint of Brouilleurs is St. Maurice. Sacre Maurice!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” 

 Nikola Tesla

Friday, December 05, 2014

It's that time of the year and I'm starting to get that very special tingley Leutonian feeling again!
Maybe I should ask my doctor to increase the dosage.


The opening salvo in the 2014 War on Christmas! 

You Were Born Color Blind

In the case of the American Negro, from the moment you are born every stick and stone, every face, is white. Since you have not yet seen a mirror, you suppose you are, too. It comes as a great shock around the age of 5, 6, or 7 to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance, along with everybody else, has not pledged allegiance to you. It comes as a great shock to see Gary Cooper killing off the Indians, and although you are rooting for Gary Cooper, that the Indians are you.

It comes as a great shock to discover that the country which is your birthplace and to which you owe your life and identity has not, in its whole system of reality, evolved any place for you. The disaffection and the gap between people, only on the basis of their skins, begins there and accelerates throughout your whole lifetime. You realize that you are 30 and you are having a terrible time. You have been through a certain kind of mill and the most serious effect is again not the catalogue of disaster—the policeman, the taxi driver, the waiters, the landlady, the banks, the insurance companies, the millions of details 24 hours of every day which spell out to you that you are a worthless human being. It is not that. By that time you have begun to see it happening in your daughter, your son or your niece or your nephew. You are 30 by now and nothing you have done has helped you escape the trap. But what is worse is that nothing you have done, and as far as you can tell nothing you can do, will save your son or your daughter from having the same disaster and from coming to the same end.

James Baldwin, The American Dream and the American Negro
March 7, 1965

Last words of Eric Garner as he died in a choke hold by NYC Police Officer, Daniel Pantaleo.
July 7, 2014
Sometimes when I stop and think, "Why am I still alive?" The best reason I can come up with is the fact that I was born white.  I lived in relatively black world during my late teen years. Most of my friends were black.  I found my self in situations that placed me outside the law and in some situations, if I had been black, I would be in prison or dead. Many of my black friends were cleverer, smarter, more talented and better looking than me. Many of the smartest, most talented ended up in prison, dead or channeled into no exit, no escape lives. You might say that life is what you make of it, but the hand you are dealt has a lot of power over the out come of any game. I got away with a lot because I was white. I accept that and I learned how to make it work for me. I found that I could make my mental bi raciality work as an asset. I can dance pretty good for a white guy and funk bass technique is the way I approach any musical or philosophical dilemma . Let me break it down for you and take it to the bridge!
That might go along way to explaining why this guy, Zachary Robinson is still alive.

This is Robinson's mug shot taken November 25, 2014 by Middletown, Ohio Police after he was taken into arrested for attempted felonious assault, corrupting another with drugs, assaulting a police officer, assaulting a correction’s officer, drug abuse/methamphetamine, possession of a firearm in a liquor establishment, using weapons while intoxicated, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest. 

At 2 a.m, Middletown police were called to a disturbance at Lil Chicago Pub, 402 Charles St. that shots had been fired. A man told police he got into a disturbance with Robinson in the bar.
The man said Robinson tried to shoot him in the bar but his gun misfired. Robinson then followed the man into the parking lot, fired, but missed, the man told police. Robinson then left the parking lot in a Jeep, police said.
Police located the Jeep parked at Robinson’s residence in the 700 block of Charles Street. Officers saw Robinson snorting methamphetamine and he handed a plate with more meth to a 17-year-old female, police said. Officers entered the home, secured the residence, served a search warrant and confiscated pills and guns, they said.
Robinson allegedly assaulted a police office and correction’s officer in the police department.
To look at him, you might imagine that he could be a lot like Hulk Hogan while under the influence of methamphetamine. Yet, somehow he wasn't shot dead even though he assaulted a police officer.

Someone should try and explain this to Tamir Rice's family.

I found this really cool book at the thrift shop today!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Gare de Limoges

I've been pretty busy the last few days. I spent the day chainsawing more acacia wood...I am actually buying even more to last the winter. So, I neglect writing...and tonight my wife convinced me to watch a 2 hour TV Show called Les Racines et Des Ailes...a pretty good show about places in France that takes you where you never would get to go on your own. The show tonight was about the part of France I live in. This was an excerpt. A look at the Train Station, Le Gare de Limoges-Benedictins which is one of the most magnificent train stations I have ever seen. Perhaps you'd like to see it too? The last time I was in Limoges, I ate at the best bistro I have ever enjoyed in my life. 
If you let the video play through, it gives excerpts from the rest of tonights program. At one point we are just a few kilometers from my house!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Skatalites version of the James Bond Theme
Ska Style 1964!

We're Ever So Outraged!

The Communications Director for Tennessee GOP Congressman, Stephen Finder, Elizabeth Lauten was so disturbed by the appearance of Sasha and Malia Obama at the traditional Thanksgiving Day Presidential Turkey Pardon that she just had to vent her righteous Republican outrage immediately on her Twitter account!

This spontaneous expression of her outrage drew instant criticism from all sides. Elizabeth took the tweet  down after hours of prayer and personal reflection. She said she was very sorry, but somehow  it's impossible to get these pesky tweet things to just go away. It's still all over the internets, just like that pesky ring around the collar of your favorite shirt.... I don't know. I saw the video of the ceremony and the girls were fidgeting and not standing straight at attention. They made kind of disrespectful teenage type faces and they weren't wearing missionary school type Christian uniforms. What kind of role models are they supposed to be for the negro youths we let live in America? It makes me rather nostalgic for a simpler time. A time when the White House was a shrine to wholesome white traditional family values. I don't even want to know what kind of debased rap hippity hop type of music these girls pollute the pristine halls of Americas first home with. Remember, the White House isn't just a House, it's our home and these people are getting their stuff all over it. Remember back in 2006, when a simple plain speaking American family named Bush lived there? There were 2 generations of the Bush family. It was like a television series you could count on. In fact, wasn't there a FOX series about the Bushes? What ever happened to it? I think if I look in my imaginary files, I have an excerpt from one of those well loved episodes....Hmmmm, yes, here it is! A classic episode from Who's The Decider? Anyways?

(Cue theme music )
Scene opens with George Bush Jr. in front of mirror, practicing walking.
"Hmm, I need a little more space in the stride. I gotta watch High Noon again...there, I almost had it...(he takes three steps) Nah, somethings missing. Maybe if I stuff this autographed Astros baseball down the front of my pants....

(Door opens and in strides Genna Bush)

"God, Daddy, what are you doing?"

(George pulls hands out of pants, embarrassed)

"Oh, ummm, Hi Hon...uhhh, Genna? Babs? uhhh, I'll get it right eventually"

Genna: (Giving George the once over and staring at his crotch) Gee, Dad, If you want to make a statement, why don't you just stuff the autographed bat down there too?

(Laugh track)

Genna: Hey Mom! He's stuffing crap down his pants again!

(In walks Laura Bush, dressed in one of her many beige and tan plaid pant suits. She seems distracted)

Laura: George, you know you shouldn't be doing those things in front of the girls. Nobody thinks you're funny and it hasn't worked ever since the flight suit incident. Give it up!

George: Look, I was just practicing my walk in front of the mirror when little miss buttinsky waltzed in. Geez, don't I have any privacy around here?

Laura: George, Babs is upset. You promised that we could get Enrico a Green Card when she brought him back from Argentina last month. Now he's afraid to go out on the streets without his Green Card and they are invited to a party tonight.

George: When is that freeloader going to get a job? He tells us that he is an unemployed soccer star. I have the Secret Service doing security checks on him and all they can come up with is that Babs met him at a party and his father is a banker and laundering drug money for some cartel. They're probably good people, it's a good line of work...but hey, since the last election, it's getting harder for me to pull strings. All these Democrats and reporters asking questions all the time! He's not going to spend the rest of his life hiding in the Lincoln bedroom!

(Voice from outside the room) OOOOHHHH DADDY! I hate you! you promised, you don't understand Enrico. He has dreams, he has big plans!

(Babs enters room, wearing tight jeans, a short t shirt that reveals just a little too much baby fat)

Babs: All you do is criticize! You are making him feel so uptight! Please keep youur voice down because I think he's in the hall way now!

( The door opens and in walks a tall Latino good looking guy dressed in Armani leisure wear and sleazy sports sunglasses that give him a kind of insect look)

Enrico: Hey Mr. and Mrs. B! Talking about me? I gotta talk to you, cause I got a little problem...I need a few thousand dollars for a little deal this afternoon and a guy named Maxwell needs some kind of security clearance so he can get in here with out having his ...uhhh...bags searched. Don't worry, everythings cool, when I get my green card, I can go to an ATM and pay you back!

Babs and Genna: Daddy, give him the money! Let Maxwell in here! If you don't it will spoil the party...oh everything will be ruined and no one will like us anymore...wahhhh!

George: This sounds a little fishy! This isn't a drug deal? Hmmmm? Laura, what do you think?

Laura: (Looking really spacey) Huh? whaaaa? I didn't hear anything...who are you? don't touch me....(She gets a wild look on her face and stumbles out of the room)

Genna: Moms in one of her moods again....

Babs: Ahh, she's spaced out....those tranks she has to take for your stupid photo sessions. Then she has to get programmed by Uncle wonder she gets freaky every once in a while.

George: Never mind about you mother! You never answered me about what Enrico needs the money for! Who's this Maxwell guy?

Enrico: Hey Mr. B. I thought you were cool! The girls told me that you used to snort coke off the marble fireplace in the oval office when your dad was president. Babs even showed me the razor marks from where you layed out the lines! Man, if you ever want to like hang out....let me know....

(the presidents personal portable phone rings)

George: Uhhhh, Hello....
No, this isn't the Democratic Party National Headquarters....
What? A Pizza with pineapple ham topping?
No, I didn't order....uhhh...whaaaa???? I can go...what...myself? little jerk! When we find out who you are.....
Uhhh....they hung up.
Genna, it was those jokers who stole your cell phone again!
I am going to have to get my personal number changed all because of you and your irresponsible parties and flaky friends!
No one listens to me around here...I'm the decider and I'm deciding that you are all grounded!

The twins together: OHHH DADDY! You're nothing but a lame duck, but we still love you!
(The audience all makes sympathetic awwww noises then breaks into applause as the theme music begins)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Let Me Draw You A Picture

I've tried to graphically explain Darren Wilson's defense as his lawyer presented it to the Grand Jury which declined to press charges in his shooting of Michael Brown. I think this makes sense...and by the way.....

1,2,3 Musette!

Things are pretty slow here in La Sechere today. My wife had her stitches out from her eye operation on Thursday. The doctor says it was a success, but it's going to take a while to heal and the full vision to return. She was pretty depressed about that, but I am trying to keep her positive. Then last night, she broke a tooth on a walnut shell. We have a rendezvous with our dentist in a week and half. For me it's a simple cleaning, but for her, it's the beginning of the next ordeal of dental work. Meanwhile, yesterday, I started to feel pretty funky....I seem to have picked up a intestinal bug...I was in denial today. I can't afford to be sick...but reality set in and I spent the day running into the house and dashing up the stairs. I guess I picked it up on Wednesday in Objat. I felt like shit, literally, most of the day. So, not much got done here. It was grey, drizzly and windy. So, though it wasn't really cold, I made a fire in the burner and turned into a zombie this afternoon...What do French Zombies do on a drizzly afternoon? We veg out and watch the 2 hour accordion weekly extravaganza on Limoges TV!
What has happened to me? A punk rocker from Avenue B and East 5th Street listening to the toew tapping melodies and allowing myself to be overwhelmed by the flashy musettes and the skill of the superstars of the Village Musette circuit of France. Believe me, these guys sell cds and have groupies.
I live near Tulle in the Correze, which is the Accordion capital of France, maybe all of Europe! For a fascinating afternoon, Visit the Maugein Accordion Factory in Tulle. I have. My village, Badefols d'Ans has a very busy saw mill which specializes in making the little wooden parts for the Maugein Accordion Factory. S.A.R.L Vezine & Fils, where I get all of my custom cut wood for the right price. Msr.Vezine is 86 and still works everyday with his sons who now represent the 5th generation!
It might take 6 months to fill the order and another year or so before you get the bill, but that's how we do things here!