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!

Friday, November 28, 2014

"are you gonna eat that? it has like 1154832 calories"


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Day Perigourdine Style

Voila, here it is, ma recette for my version of a traditional Perigourdine Gateau au Noix! I think it is as good as the ones I first had from the patisserie in Thenon. This is the land of walnuts. the hills are covered with groves of walnut trees and it is one of the major crops of this region. My village, Badefols d'Ans is located on a road named Le Route de la Noix. So this was my Thanksgiving Day culinary extravaganza. I use a traditional metal tarte mold with a removable bottom. They seem to be harder and harder to find in the shops, but I have a collection of them I have gotten from Flea markets.
The hardest part is cracking the walnuts and this year, because of the weather, the shells were thick and hard and the meats were small and hard to get out. Once you get past that, the rest is pretty simple. I make the crust out of 30 grams of powdered walnuts, 60 grams of powdered sugar, 250 grams of flour, 125 grams sweet butter (I melt it and then let it cool down) and an egg yolk.
I mix the ingredients and form a ball and put it in the fridge for an hour or so.
Them I press it into the tart mold to make a crust with my I used a glass to roll over it in the mold.
Prick the crust with a fork and prebake it 15 minutes in an180 degree centigrade oven.
Then, the filling:
250 grams of powdered walnuts, 200 grams of regular sugar, 50 grams of corn starch and 200 grams of thick creme fraiche....I have made this with fromage blanc in the past and it worked just as well. I suppose you could use greek style thick yoghurt. My secret ingredient at this point is a shot glass of walnut liquor...but, I have used brandy in the past. If you don't want to use alcohol, then thin the mixture with a little milk.
Spread the mixture in the crust. It's pretty substantial stuff. Then put it in the oven. I started it at 200 degrees centigrade then after 15 minutes turned it down to 180. It will brown and puff up. After another 15 minutes, I turn the oven off and let it sit in the cooling oven for another 10 minutes...
Take it out and let it cool.
When it is cool enough, I break up 100 grams of dark chocolate and melt it with 20 grams of butter. Spread that over the top and then decorate it with the walnuts you managed not to smash when you were cracking them! The filled gateau should pop right out of the mold! Mine did! My wife is in Perigueux getting the stitches removed from her eye as I write this. Tonight we will have something to be really thankful for!
To all of my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving 2014!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Public Service Announcement (With Guitars)

The Clash/1982
from the album, Combat Rock

Night Of The Living Lieberman #2

Ted Cruz offered his advice to Obama regarding his appointee for Secretary of Defense after Hagel resigned.

'Cause They're Cuzzins!

They Laugh Alike
They Walk Alike
At Times They Even Talk Alike
You Could Lose Your Mind!
Here's the draft of a letter, now in the Truman Library, that Harry S. Truman actually sent to Senator Joseph McCarthy.
If only President Obama would just copy and resend it to Ted Cruz. As relevant today as it was back in the days when Truman rocked!

C'mon, you have to admit, the physical resemblance is a little more than just kinda freeky,
but the ugly isn't only skin deep!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Needless To Say, The Party Broke Up.....

Was (not Was)
The Party Broke Up / 1983 
Featuring Wayne Kramer on Guitar

A Bitter Harvest of Strange Fruit

The world noticed the history of the events in Ferguson. Even Palestinians, accustomed to surviving under military occupation, tweeted advice to Ferguson protesters about how to deal with tear gas, even as Israeli air strikes were demolishing Gaza and killing thousands of Palestinian civilians. Hong Kong protesters, who began their pro-democracy demonstrations more than a month after Brown's killing, adopted the " hands up, don't shoot" as a tactic in homage to the Ferguson protesters.
Countries that the US has often accused of human rights abuses seized on what seemed to be a moment of glaring hypocrisy. North Korea called the US “a graveyard of human rights” where “people are subject to discrimination and humiliation due to their race, and are in constant fear that they may get shot at any moment."
China’s state news agency Xinhua published an editorial saying the US had “much room for improvement at home” and that it should “concentrate on solving its own problems rather than always pointing fingers at others.” And Egypt, sounding more like the United Nations than like a country that routinely kills protesters, called on the US to respect demonstrators' rights of assembly.
As the world reacted to the grand jury announcement not to indict Darren Wilson, people all over the planet reacted and tried to express why it matters to them. I admit, I am one of the cynics who never expected anything other than this verdict from the grand jury. The process was rigged from the start.
The trouble is that the United States, for far longer than it has been a “nation of laws”, has been a nation of injustice. And in the absence of basic justice such laws can amount to little more than codified tyranny. When a white cop, Darren Wilson, shoots an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, dead and then is not indicted, the contradiction is glaring. For a world where it is not only legal for people to shoot you dead while you walk down the street, but where they can do so in the name of the law, is one in which some feel they have nothing to lose. And, in the words of James Baldwin: “There is nothing so dangerous as a man who has nothing to lose. You do not need 10 men. Only one will do.”From Israel, Elizabeth Tsurkov sees parallels in law enforcement tactics and the treatment of Palestinians and African Americans:
So about Ferguson, in Israel we're going through something very similar. People focus on the occupation when they think of Israel, but we have other problems too. Israeli police has been caught on tape assaulting unarmed civilians who had angered them. A lot of that violence and even torture in detention is directed toward Palestinian citizens of Israel. Recently, a video surfaced of police shooting a Palestinian-Israeli man who attempted to assault their vehicle with a knife, but he was shot when he was walking away from the car and posed no danger. This caused a huge uproar among Palestinians in Israel and Israel witnessed riots and protests just like after Ferguson. Just like in the U.S., police brutality and racism intertwine and in both countries, cops get away with violence against minorities. I think that unless racism is addressed in the general society, nothing will change.

From Greece, Asteris Masouras recalls crackdowns on Greek protesters:
Police killings of unarmed youths everywhere reverberate with Greek audiences, because of the killing of Alexandros Grigoropoulos in December 2008, which sparked month-long protests and riots, and resulted in the life imprisonment in the officer who fired the lethal shot. Militarized policing and police brutality, especially, as well as the "limited" curtailment of constitutional rights over protests, as seen in Ferguson in the past few months are also familiar, recalling scenes from Keratea, Skouries, and most recently Athens' Exarchia district. Greek youths see the same tactics deployed by "their" state against them propagated around the world, and no prospect of justice without protest, no prospect of peace without justice. 

Yiannis Baboulias, also from Greece, now living in London, sees Ferguson as part of a larger global story of state repression:
What really shocked me and many others abroad were the images of the police, when they decided to show up in military gear and point sniper rifles and automatic weapons at people simply protesting. It points to a great lesson about inequality and poverty: that not only it is the main drive of how policing impacts on the everyday life of poor people (in this case, murder), but also the lengths to which they will now go to make sure dissent out in the streets is not tolerated. Militarisation of the police to such an extent, would not be tolerated in a society in which an underclass hasn't been accepted as a permanent feature, which is unfortunately the case with the US and other Western democracies.

Shireen Ahmed, from Canada, forcefully argues that that Ferguson pulls back a veil of hypocrisy in the United States when it comes to human rights, law, and equality.
Beginning with the senseless death of Mike Brown, it has been angering to watch the events unfold in Ferguson. Protestors are villified; groups in solidarity are being accused of co-opting the calls for truth and justice, and gun sales in the region have risen dramatically ahead of Grand Jury decision warning of imminent violence. America claims to hold "freedom" in the highest regard. Yet, it stomps through much of the world, under the guise of protecting said freedoms, while exploiting resources and turning a blind eye to humanity that doesn't profit. Meanwhile, at home it allows the killings of innocent black men and continuing systems of institutionalized racism through police brutality is almost laughable. American "freedom" is laughable.

And Ana Zárraga from Venezuela:
"I have been following Ferguson since protests erupted in August. Couldn't believe that the country that wants to champion freedom of speech abroad, has allowed the excessive use of force by police against protesters.
People have the right to grieve and demand justice in a system that they perceive as unfair. They have the right to spark a long-overdue debate on race, policing and justice in America".

San Francisco-based Canadian Sana Saeed thinks Ferguson is a watershed moment when it comes to this race, policing, and justice:
Ferguson is a watershed moment; it's not just about the murder of Mike Brown but about a culture and system of brutality and violence towards people of color — especially Blacks, for whom the modern Us prison and police system was meant to enslave. Ferguson is about rising up against that and pushing towards real justice, real reconciliation and ending the silence on this violent pandemic.I'm following it because that very same system of enslavement and oppression of Black Americans is what also continues to churn the culture and system of Islamophobia in the United States.

There you have it. Many voices from many places with one message: Ferguson is about global justice, not just justice in the United States. The erosion of America's moral position to influence what goes on in other countries damages the rights of the rest of the world. We are not qualified to call ourselves a leader. Again, it emphasizes the corruption and the hacking of the Concept of a Democratic Republic. 200 years ago, America was a noble experiment. The Republic was a revolutionary idea founded on noble principles. It has survived many attacks from with out and within. The adage, "What ever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" seemed to be our motto...only, today, the attacks from with in, the multiple viruses of greed,  the exploitation of self righteous hate and our own inability to deal with our own tragic history seem to have combined to deliver a fatal blow. An endemic systemic disease from which we may never recover. 
Last Night In Ferguson. America, You Broke It, Now You Gonna Have To Buy It!
No Justice, No Peace!

People Like Us

I forgot how much I liked this. The Talking Heads with John Goodman
from  the 1986 movie, True Stories
written and directed by David Byrne

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mon Oncle / Jacques Tati

The American Health Don't Really Care System

I haven't been able to post or write as much as I'd like to lately. Sometimes, reality has a way of rudely interrupting. Since the middle of October, I have been dealing with the ongoing crisis of my wife's eye problems. I have been the caterer, cleaning staff, personal shopper, chauffeur and entertainment director as well as my regular menial labor schedule. She had been sort of ignoring that her vision had been deteriorating for a while and the real hint I had that there was a problem was when she tried to drive at night. For me, it was sheer terror and I started demanding to let me drive. I really knew there was a problem when she agreed and let me. She recently changed eye doctors and her new doctor is a real artist! On the first appointment, he informed her that she had rapidly advancing cataracts in both eyes and had to have corrective surgery. He then said, that this was actually good news, because it was relatively simple and he specialized in the procedure. He also told her that the cataract surgery would go very far in relieving the ongoing mild glaucoma she had been being treated for. He also informed her that he would be able to implant new lenses in her eyes and she would never need glasses again. My extremely beautiful and neurotic wife has had a life long phobia about eyes, so she kind of freaked, to say the least.
But after the initial shock, she stoically prepared for the procedure.  We thought a lot about how this would have impacted us if we still living in America. Both of us could only have the luxury of Health Insurance in the USA while we were working. When I was young, my family was literally destroyed by the American Health System. I was hounded by phony debt collectors until I was in my late 20's trying to get me to pay bills for my mothers hospitalization and treatments for MS. She died when I was 12. My father died in debt a few years later. We were guilty of being Middle Class Americans. I was lucky enough to have a friend who knew a lawyer who crusaded for victims of the American Health Care system. He wrote a few letters, performed some kind of legal juju and I never heard from the debt collection agency again. How those scam artists found me in New York City years later, I never knew. We had insurance. My father worked for Chrysler, but the insurance obviously wasn't enough.
I know people in the USA who use prescription drugs to treat conditions like asthma. Even with good insurance, for many people there is a cut off for the amount their insurance will cover. A yearly drug allowance. Then, you are on your own. One friend schedules a vacation to come here to France. Luckily he has friends in Paris and down here to stay with.  He has discovered that the cost of buying the drugs he must buy to maintain his health is only a third of the cost of the same drugs in the USA. So he figured that a cheap round trip to France would save him a few thousand dollars a year in prescription asthma drug costs above what his insurance will pay out. We introduced him to a French doctor who gave him the prescription for the medications he must take. He pays full price for the drugs and doctor as he is not in the French Health Care System, but, he still saves a few thousand dollars a year even after the price of a round trip flight to Paris from New York. In fact, the price Americans pay for the same drugs, made by the same company sold in Europe is roughly 8x!

I have been a life long chronic asthma victim, but my condition is no where as serious as my friend's is. I have to take medication as well. It was never properly diagnosed in America, but I did have a prescription for medication. I take medication now for the condition and I figured that if I lived in the USA, I would be paying almost $2,000 a year or more. Here? As a French resident and enrolled in the Health Care System, my cost comes to around 70 Euros a year, much of which is reimbursed into my bank account. A regular doctors visit costs me 2 Euros. I do pay for a supplementary insurance, Mutual de Perigord of less than 20 Euros a month. This upgrades the quality of any hospitalization I might ever need ( I am guaranteed a private room with a TV, magazines and phone among other things), most of my prescriptions and covers much of the cost of glasses and my dentist as well.
A few years ago, when I began to discover the world of blogging on the internet, I contributed to a blog that seemed to have a very eclectic readership. French, American, Australian and Eastern European! Dome of the Americans were extremely conservative. When we ever discussed health care, they became enraged. A lot of nastiness directed at me as an opportunist who left America only because I could "suckle from the teat of Socialism". That was a direct quote from a crazy lady in Kansas who bragged that she was privileged to live in the Good Ol' USA and pay 700 dollars a month for rip off health insurance. I could never figure out why Americans felt that this was an indicator of their Freedoms. I feel the decent Health Care is every one's right and that is what insures a higher level of Freedom. Freedom from being made indentured servants to an out of control greed driven system that preys on your very life. What was all that shit from Sarah Fucking Palin and her Death Panels about again? Tell me how that applies to my buddy who came to visit from Chicago and ended up being checked into the Hospital in Perigueux on the verge of a heart attack with no money and no insurance? He was in the hospital for a week and got the very best care and no one asked him for a centime in spite of the fact that he told them he was a poor American artist with no health insurance. He walked out of the hospital with a very affordable bill and only the promise to pay them back as he could.
Or, in contrast, the bizarre but all too real story just last week ,of the Canadian couple who decided to take a vacation in Hawaii. At the time, the wife was 6 months pregnant and they purchased Blue Cross Insurance in case there were any problems. The problem? There was a problem and the wife gave birth to a baby 3 months prematurely in a Honolulu Hospital. The baby was healthy but they were presented with a bill for almost 1 Million Dollars! Blue Cross refused to pay it claiming the pregnancy, which they had purchased the insurance specifically for, was "pre existing condition". This is a Health Care System?
The thread of this particular rant began with my wife's cataract/lens implantation surgery and wondering how much money it would cost us. The reality, I spent more on vet bills this year. The specialist eye surgeon and the office consultations were the most expensive outlay and we are being almost totally reimbursed. The trips to the Eye Clinic, for 3 surgical procedures were provided by a medical taxi service which was free. The surgeries were totally covered under the Medical System. The medications my wife is taking in her recovery are almost totally reimbursed. If we needed a nurse to come to our home from the local medical center in Hautefort, it would be free. The doctor in Perigueux is a true artist. His clinic is state of the art. My dentist has a facility that is beyond anything I ever saw in the States. The level of care and kindness we get from the medical staff is personal.
I know that there is great health care in the USA, but you get what you can afford. Good health care is considered a privilege. Excellent health care is based on what you can afford. Insurance guarantees very little. You get what your provider is willing to pay for.
This is the lack of empathy that flavors so much of the American character. When you don't have anything, it's easy to find someone lower than yourself contemptible and self serving to make yourself feel better by denying them access to what little you have. This degrades the quality of life for the entire society. Improving the quality of life for those who have less than you is the way to enrich and make an entire society more humane and healthy. I know I am only saying what you have read before, but by discussing it and acting positively, instead of passively scrambling for the paltry sheckels that are thrown to you from the limos of the gods and demanding quality, the affordable Health care that is your right, not a privilege will be yours. America is the only Western democracy that doesn't provide it for their citizens. The ACA is a beginning, but fighting the lobbies of the drug companies and health care providers and the billions of dollars in lobby graft slipped into the pockets of their puppets, is out and out war. The Republicans have no alternative plan and they seem to think that they can use this as a divisive issue and destroy it piece by piece. Decent affordable, quality health care is your right, but you are going to have to positively fight for it!
By the way, the stitches come out on Thursday...being my very unusual beautiful wife, she had a very complicated problem that required a third operation. We know that it will be totally successful...the right eye is perfect! What really worries me is that she is going to be able to see too well! Already, she noticed the color she chose when we repainted the first floor of the house last summer is not at all what she thought it was. Damn if I'm going to repaint it again!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

'Skuze me, but I think I just had an "experience" all over the shag carpeting....

Saturday, November 22, 2014

What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?

Jimmy Ruffin...the little brother of David Ruffin of the Temptations recorded this song that was rejected by The Spinners and in the process gave MoTown one of it's most grand and eloquent moments. A piece of music that by any commercial gauge of what popular music was, would have been ignored and labeled as depressing. But instead, it became a classic that had a 10 year reign on the charts. The soundtrack of the tortured era it was born in. A song that seems as if it was written by Smokey Robinson after being locked in a basement and forced to read T.S. Eliot.
Of course it didn't hurt that MoTown had the benefit of The Detroit Symphony Orchestra's String Section as session musicians!
Jimmy Ruffin
May 7, 1939 / November 17, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

When It Blows, Its Stacks....

I once knew a woman who was OCD when it came to sex. She had to be banged very specifically. On first dates she’d give prospective mates the handbook. A beautiful leather-bound book. Over 700 pages long, full of explicit illustrations. That’s actually how I met her. We dated. I was totally into it. I mean, what a wonderful strange mind. I’m totally into weirdos, as long as they aren’t serious weirdos. Serious weirdos are the worst. Too serious about everything.

Anyway, I tried my damnedest to perform the complicated mating ritual and I’d failed her by page three. A lot of other people tried too. No one passed. Eventually all of us failures formed a big club. After a while, our club got too big and we got into boring philosophical arguments about the nature of fucking and etc. We split up into what are now the major religions of planet Earth.

I’ll be interested when someone figures out the right way to fuck the divine goddess. The legend states that when she comes her scream will eradicate reality in its entirety. I’m dying to know what happens after that.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Sillies

I just had to post this. Detroit punk rock from 1980! The Sillies featuring two MC5 members! ... An old friend and hero, Wayne Kramer on guitar ... Dennis "Machine Gun" Thompson on drums.Visit:
This little fish lives deep down in the ocean and spits that little glob of bio luminescent liquid to momentarily distract predators and escape being eaten.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

When Are You Comin' Home?

Slow Joe, 71, born in 1943, from Bombay is an up and coming rock star with his incredible band, The Ginger Accident. He met the guitarist, Cedric de La Chapelle on the beach in Goa. Slow Joe is a true survivor, he lived for years as a practically homeless con man/tour guide/street musician of sorts on the beach making a few rupees a day.  Slow Joe approached Cedric and tried to pick up his girlfriend.  Something clicked and together, they are doing something totally unique. A fusion of poetry, performance art, rock and Bollywood pop! Slow Joe is the catalyst for this fusion.
This was from their last record, Sunnyside Up. There is a new album, just released called Lost For Love. I heard a live concert on French radio last month and was totally intrigued. Check out his facebook page!
Damn! It's not just about bonking as many babes as you want?
Mormonism, the ultimate Pyramid scam!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The experiment was a success—though it appears irreversible. I’m afraid this will be my last entry…

The Little Girl In The Painting

54 years ago today, Ruby Bridges went to school.

The Scientist of The Day!

Nicolas Desmarest, a French geologist and cartographer, was born Sep. 16, 1725. When Desmarest began his work, it was thought that basalt formations, such as the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland, were some sort of sedimentary deposits. In 1763, Desmarest began mapping the Auvergne region of central France, which contains most of that country’s mountains. He noticed that the mountains were not at all like the Alps, but had the shapes and features of volcanoes, even though no active eruptions had ever been recorded in France. And he found basalt formations everywhere, the source of which he was able to trace to the volcano-like craters.
In 1771, Desmarest presented a geological map of the Auvergne region to the Paris Academy of Sciences, locating all the craters and basalt formations, and in the accompanying memoir, he argued that the mountains of the region were once volcanic, and that basalt is a volcanic, or igneous, rock. Desmarest was really the first to suggest that volcanoes had been important forces in shaping the face of the earth in the deep past, and that wherever we see basalt, we are observing the remains of past volcanic action. Here is a link to Desmarest’s map from the 2004 exhibition, Vulcan’s Force and Fingal’s Cave; the online version shows a detail of the map. The complete map is shown above, as well as two other details. The last one shows the map legend, and indicates that Desmarest understood fully that one can distinguish ancient lava flows from more recent ones, and that the “prismes de basalt” (columnar basalts) were clearly related to the lava flows.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The future is open. Trust in the gods. Live for each moment.

That's The Way uh huh uh huh I Like It!

It's that time of the year again here in France! IT'S PROTEST SEASON! Yesterday, Nov. 13, in Paris there were 2 separate massive demonstrations.  One was a huge demonstrations of students protesting the over reaction of the police which caused the death of a protestor in in The Tarn last month over a controversial unneccessary dam project which will destroy thousands of hectares of forest. The other was by the police to protest the regulations that are being blamed for the plague of suicides by police who are pressured by the arrest quotas they are burdened with since the Sarkozy administration. But both protests combined paled in comparison to the protests by farmers all across France on November 7, last week, when they pelted the police with tonnes of rotten apples and sprayed government buildings with tractor pulled manure spreaders.

Life In America

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Nirvana's cover of  DEVO'S Turnaround

His Brainz Hurtz

I have been reading about Glenn Beck's  rather bizarre admission and sort of even more bizarre excuse for his "behaviour" over the last decade. He claims he has an unspecified, previously unidentified neurological disorder he claims his "chiropractic neurologist" calls adrenal fatigue. The symptoms of this rather rare and unrecognized (by qualified physicians) disorder cause him to lose his memory, suffer seizures, suffer from "vocal paralysis", insomnia, mental fogginess and emotional outbursts that he said, "quite honestly made me look crazy."...His doctor is treating him by charging him insane amounts of money to be strapped into a giant gyroscope and spun about. He thinks this treatment has made him ever so much better, but it just affirms my view of the losers who are addicted Becks ranting...You are what you eat.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Scene Of The Crime

So, I was out of here as the sun began to rise to drive up to Varaignes for the 49th  Annual Foire aux Dindons. Why? I'm not sure, but it was a memorable event as it didn't rain.
The turkeys were on parade, the kids did their turkey imitations and we had a great turkey lunch.
We were sort of returning to the scene of the crime, so to speak. Years ago, my wife went to the event to photograph it with her little white bichon, Bonnie. When Bonnie saw the turkey parade, she went bonkers and disrupted the entire event live on Radio Bleu Perigord! They still are talking about it almost 20 years later. We kept a very low profile......

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Hello. It's me......

The United States of Strawberry Fields Forever

Optional soundtack for this rant....
It's More Like the United States of Too Fucking Bad
We cheer for cruelty and say that we are asking for personal responsibility among those people who are not us, because the people who are not us do not deserve the same benefits of the political commonwealth that we have. In our politics, we have become masters of camouflage. We practice fiscal cruelty and call it an economy. We practice legal cruelty and call it justice. We practice environmental cruelty and call it opportunity. We practice vicarious cruelty and call it entertainment. We practice rhetorical cruelty and call it debate. We set the best instincts of ourselves in conflict with each other until they tear each other to ribbons, and until they are no longer our best instincts but something dark and bitter and corroborate with itself. And then it fights all the institutions that our best instincts once supported, all the elements of the political commonwealth that we once thought permanent, all the arguments that we once thought settled -- until there is a terrible kind of moral self-destruction that touches those institutions and leaves them soft and fragile and, eventually, evanescent. We do all these things, cruelty running through them like hot blood, and we call it our politics.
I have read so many attempts to justify, to analyze, to rationalize last weeks election results. I sort of joked that it was either Howard Dean or Harry Truman who said, "Given the choice between a real Republican or a Republican-LITE, Americans will choose a Republican every time."  We like to think that we are good people, but this immature society wants to be patted on the head. They want to be rewarded for their good intentions and if they aren't? Well, it's just too bad. Our Puritanical protestant heritage states that it is either heaven or hell. We are good because we believe we will be rewarded for our goodness. This is not altruism. This is the opposite of altruistic behavior.  There is a real viral strain of immature nastiness in the American character. I think that I have seen and experienced the real impact of social responsibility that empowers so much of the rest of the world. In cultures and political climates much poorer than America. In political systems Americans would label as godless atheists. People do good for those less fortunate than themselves because it uplifts the entire society. Altruism is one of the realities of evolution. It isn't even a conscious thing. It is part of our life force. It is the biological impulse that empowers positive evolutionary changes in species.

I am an American, I can't deny, change or escape that. I know many, many noble, good Americans from all strata of American society. We fight, we believe, we try to understand how to make a better world, but it is undeniable that there are many people who cling to selfish, immature, denial rationalizations that create what we label as Conservative ideology. It's not an ideology. It's avoidance of reality. It's a way to not deal with the complex realities of responsibilities. Living is easy with eyes closed. Misunderstanding all you see. It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out. It doesn't matter much to me....Let me take you down.......................
It's not mark of strength, it never is, to barrel down on somebody smaller than you. If you're really the leader of the free world, if you're really the strongest and biggest badass the land has ever known, you aren't threatened by anybody. Least of all another American speaking his or her mind.
But they never were our leaders. They told us to be afraid, and they turned us on each other, and they gave away our money to their friends and killed our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives. They sniped and they snarled, but they never did lead us. They never brought us an inch above ourselves, or a millimeter closer together.
It's that I think he doesn't go far enough. Cruelty is the deliberate infliction of harm; I think there's something far more insidious at work here. I think it's fear. Hear me out.
You step out of line, in this country, for one second, you get goddamn flattened. You work all your life, you pay all your taxes, and your pension goes up in smoke. You work all your life, you pay all your taxes, and you get sick and you get fired and you get left in the dirt. You work all your life, you pay all your taxes, and that buys you nothing, because this isn't a vending machine, because thieves get rich and saints get shot and none of us ever, ever get what we deserve.
Generosity has always been a radical act. Opening your home to the stranger has always been a radical act. Opening yourself up to the idea of caring for others goes against our every defensive human instinct. It means giving others the ability to hurt you. It means baring your wrist and handing someone the knife. And we used to not understand just how much of that we had to do, in order to live.
And I think in the past two decades we've managed to convince ourselves that that's the reason we get screwed. We ARE screwed, by the way: There's no way to make sure you live a reasonably secure life anymore (there never really was, but ...) and being scared is a reasonable response.
So I think in order to protect ourselves, in order to defend ourselves from the howling horror that is the truth that we're all in danger and nobody's safe, we've perfected the shrug. We do not have the emotional energy, or so we tell ourselves, to give a shit about anybody else.
A toddler gets gravely wounded in a drug raid? Too bad.
A homeless woman gets arrested for leaving her kids in the car while she tries to get a job so she doesn't have to leave her kids in the car? Too bad.
People can't afford to pay their water bills? Too bad.
The war was a lie? Too bad.
It's all just become too much, and we've allowed ourselves to define "too much" downward so far that we're left caring out ourselves, and barely that. If we widen the circle any further, it might just blow us apart. I get it, I do, which makes it not one iota okay.
Because the circle widens anyway. If you think you can keep others' troubles away, you're kidding yourself. If you think you can keep the wolf from your door if he's already two houses down, good luck to you. We aren't that far from each other, and we never were. We just didn't, once upon a time, let ourselves think there was any other way to do this.

And now? Too bad. Just too fucking bad....................
Let me take you down
Cause I'm going 
to Strawberry Fields...
Where nothing is real
And there's nothing to get hung about...............

Saturday, November 08, 2014

I Believe In Miracles!

I can still get behind this jam! And I still believe in miracles!

Mr. Bitchin!

A great documentary about one of my favorite artists and a very big influence
on my own art, Robert Williams. He started working with Ed "Rat Fink" Roth back in the early 60's and went on to pioneer a truly American Art Movement.
A poster for a band I played in briefly in 1992 in NYC. Clear evidence of the influence of Williams on my work. I love Kustom Kulture!

Friday, November 07, 2014

My Resume

I ran across this clip on YouTube from Scorsese's remake of Cape Fear with Robert DeNiro as Max Cady. I had been looking for photos of the tattoo work on line, but here they are...I designed most of this stuff. The cross started on a paper napkin in the Mayflower Hotel Coffee Shop when I had a meeting with DeNiro's makeup artist, Ilona Hermann. Then it was a few crazy weeks of getting to work at 9 am on my bike and having DeNiro and Hermann ambush me as I was unlocking the door of the building on Hudson Street with their latest revisions of the designs...We had to resize the cross twice as DeNiro bulked out getting in shape for the film. The first time I was ambushed by Hermann and DeNiro, I freaked...two crazy people getting out of a beat up station wagon and a woman screaming in a Hungarian accent..."The Jesus! The Jesus! It is all wrong!"

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The Monsters

This little song might very well sum up my feelings about politics in general today.
In America, here in Europe, The Left, The Right!
Blah, Blah, Blah
 More you talk,  less I hear!

Goodbye America, Hello Reagan!

Ebola crazed, immigrant-hating, Fox News-loving voters made all the difference:
The nationwide total of nearly 20,000 respondents showed that Republicans led 56 percent to 43 percent among those 65 and older, and 52 percent to 46 percent among those ages 45 to 64. By contrast, Democrats led 55 percent to 43 percent among those 18 to 29, and 51 percent to 47 percent among those 30 to 44.
Similar exit polls were conducted in most states with a competitive campaign for a Senate seat. In at least four states where Republicans took what had been a Democratic-controlled seat, they performed best among the oldest voters.
Of those states, the age disparity was most pronounced in Iowa and North Carolina. Republican Joni Ernst won Iowa over Rep. Bruce Braley by 56 percent to 42 percent among those 65 and older, and 52 percent to 47 percent among those 45 to 64. Ernst lost 43 percent to 54 percent among those 18 to 29, and 48 percent to 49 percent among those 30 to 44. In North Carolina, Republican Thom Tillis’s contest with Sen. Kay Hagan had comparable margins.
Of course, I blame the media. The constant drumbeat of the horse race, the refusal to look at actual candidate positions. But let's not ignore the fact that we don't really have an economic recovery, and bragging about it when people don't see it in their lives was a bad move. It doesn't matter if it's Harry Truman or Howard Dean who said it best, but if "voters have a choice between a Republican candidate and a Republican-lite candidate, voters will choose a real Republican every time."
Voters -- especially those who turnout in presidential years for Democrats -- are looking for bold solutions to the income inequality crisis, not campaigns and candidates that look and sound like slightly better versions of Republicans.