Saturday, March 04, 2006

"I’m Bettie Page. How do you think I feel?"

I don’t quite know why I find myself defending Madonna except that Munz sent over the following from Rickie Lee Jones...

"We live in a time where people allow marketing devises to take the place of real events, of real spirits. We allow vacant pop stars to harm the credibility of concepts, to reap the rewards of deeper, more meaningful artists, simply because some publicist evoked images that we identify with greatness. I saw this really flourish with Madonna, and spread like Ebola through the jungle land. I am still stunned, I don't understand why the pretender is just as meaningful to the consumer now and the citizen as the real thing. Is it because the real thing is so hard to come by, we want to feel like we're part of a real thing, too? Finally Madonna's real meaning is the virtue of being the one who forged the way for all pretenders. I am confused in these times. I am glad I stand outside looking in. George Bush, Madonna, the whole show of second best."– Rickie Lee Jones

Okay, so the woman is 47 pretending to be 25, she’s really fucking irritating, and redefines narcissism in the worst way since Norma Desmond, but she actually did invent herself, fully formed like Venus on the half-shell, and should be given whatever credit that deserves. Back in Lower Manhattan in the early eighties, in a world of 12" dance mixes, and with Karen Finley just down the block , pushing produce into her orifices, Ms. Ciccone labored long and hard in some pretty grubby salt mines to make herself a pop-goddess. At the time, she provided a freestanding role model for a lot of young women, and cannot be wholly blamed for the corporate annexation of her act as a marking plan for all the wholly depressing Britneys and Jessicas and multi-national pretteen nymphet-pop that would follow. Back in the day, although I didn’t buy the act (except maybe for her cover of "Love Don’t Live Here Any More") I did feel that she and Patti Smith bookended a weird liberation in the pop culture when all else was Stevie Nicks.

The secret word is Virgin

My true fine novel Kindling is now out in paperback so hie thee to the bookstore or Amazon of thy choice and pick-up a copy. And pay for it! I need the money.

CRYPTIQUEKilts are not pants.




(sent by valerie)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Amid all the other stuff that’s going – like Bush’s efforts to convince us he’s busy negotiating some kind of nuclear peace between India and Pakistan – Bill O"Reilly has been in a pissing contest with our pal Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. After Olbermann voted O’Reilly "Worst Person In The World" three days in a row, O’Reilly entered dementia. He screamed for Olbermann to be fired and then, when a call-in caller (admittedly a known troublemaker) mentioned Olbermann’s name, the following ensued...

From the March 2 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: Orlando, Florida, Mike, go.
CALLER: Hey Bill, I appreciate you taking my call.
CALLER: I like to listen to you during the day, I think Keith Olbermann's show --
O'REILLY: There ya go, Mike is -- he's a gone guy. You know, we have his -- we have your phone numbers, by the way. So, if you're listening, Mike, we have your phone number, and we're going to turn it over to Fox security, and you'll be getting a little visit.
HILL: Maybe Mike is from the mothership.
O'REILLY: No, Maybe Mike is going to get into big trouble, because we're not going to play around. When you call us, ladies and gentleman, just so you know, we do have your phone number, and if you say anything untoward, obscene, or anything like that, Fox security then will contact your local authorities, and you will be held accountable. Fair?

And O’Reilly wasn’t kidding or doing a bit. The lunatic really feels he has the juice to dime out any caller he doesn’t idelogically cotton to. Weird shit, neighbors. Stories are now being bandied around of O"Reilly callers who have been subsequently threatened by some phone heavy claiming to be from Fox Security. Which, if real, really do mean that Roger Ailes thinks he’s running the Ministry of Truth.

For more...

CRYPTIQUE -- Ashlee Simpson was born in 1984

In whatever free time (there’s a laugh) I find for myself, I’ve been working on a poetry piece about Nicola Tesla for a special event. (More about that at a later date.) And work on Tesla has, of course, involved staring in awe at pictures of his energy engines. Then Valerie sent me this pic of the new Barcelona Water Company building (right), designed by Jean Nouvel, (in which, she says, she "has fallen hopelessly in love") and I couldn’t help thinking how it could so easily hide Tesla’s Wardenclyffe communication tower (left)

The secret word is Power

"Collins...Joan Collins."

(More on Ned Sublette – see Thursday Feb16th. )
The following comes from our old pal Rob Patterson

Mickey, my lad,
I'm now a regular guzzler of Doc 40. And I knew Ned pretty well in my NY days, still do.
You write: "Can't say I knew the guy beyond being drunk in the same joint, but I was aware that he was putting a post-punk, country cowboy hat on gay, just like Kinky Friedman had put one on Jewish." It implies that he is/might be gay... not that there's anything wrong with that.
In my note back from Ned yesterday after I wrote him with congrats, he noted that he celebrated 25 years of marriage last summer to the lovely and talented Constance Ash, a fantasy author whose "Horsegirl" trilogy I enjoyed reading as much as those Mick Farren sci-fi books (and where's another one ya lazy sod!? I want more!). And I know both you and I were soused at those downtown/Loisada joints but can't recall a single time that Ned ever was. And he never once hit on me. Neither did you as I recall (although I did once get the eye from Seymour Stein and on another occasion his ex-wife Linda tried to pick up my friend Maryann and I one night at The Ritz). Ned is a man of many talents. Lubbock born and New Mexico reared, he's done all kinds of cool stuff. Cribbing from the bio for his wickedly cool album in 1999, Cowboy Rumba, which intersticed C&W and Latin music: 'In the downtown New York new music scene of the 70s and 80s, he worked with artists ranging from John Cage to La Monte Young to Glenn Branca to Peter Gordon's Love of Life Orchestra. In 1982, he started The Ned Sublette Band ("It wasn't country punk," he recalls, "because all the musicians could really play") with a gig at CBGBs.'
I think the "it wasn't country punk" line was in part from my including him in a Musician story I did in '82 where I spent a good part of the intro saying "Don't call it country punk..." and then what did the dink editing it do but headline it "Country Punk." Duh.... He also winced when I suggested he call his music "Salsa Ranchero," which I still think fits well. Next time I visit my storage space I'm gonna have to pull out my old Ned tapes of way cool unreleased stuff, especially to hear my Sublette fave, "Cattle Mutilations." More bio: 'By the mid-80s he gravitated toward the salsa scene ("It was the best music in town," he says) and his inspirations grew increasingly Latin. In January 1990, he traveled to Cuba for the first time and was inspired to co-found Qbadisc, the first American record label dedicated to marketing contemporary Cuban music in the U.S. He was soon recognized as a major U.S. advocate for Cuban music, introducing American audiences to Cuban artists as diverse as Los MuZequitos De Matanzas and NG La Banda as well as Celina González, Issac Delgado, Carlos Varela and Orlando "Maraca" Valle. In 1998,he also produced the outstanding debut album by the New York-based Puerto Rican group Viento De Agua, and for seven years, he served as senior co-producer of Afropop Worldwide, heard over Public Radio International.' He also recently published "Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo" (Chicago Review Press), which the NY Times gave a rave review to, calling it as essential as Hugh Thomas's epic history "Cuba." And if my memory serves me correct - I'm cc'ing Ned here so he can correct me - Willie had either been rumored to record or had recorded "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly..." as far back as the late '80s. And yes, few more deserving of some mailbox money than Ned.
Back to work.

I also had a riff in last week's LA CityBeat on cyber comments...
And also a introduction to a band called the Wicked Tinkers...

The secret word is Petard

Thursday, March 02, 2006

DETROIT -- A 12-year-old visitor to the Detroit Institute of Arts stuck a wad of gum to a $1.5 million painting, leaving a stain the size of a quarter, officials say. The boy was part of a school group that visited the museum on Friday, officials say. They say he took a piece of Wrigley's Extra Polar Ice gum out of his mouth and stuck it on Helen Frankenthaler's "The Bay," an abstract painting from 1963. "Our expectation is that the painting is going to be fine," said Becky Hart, assistant curator of contemporary art. Holly Academy director Julie Kildee said the boy had been suspended from the charter school and says his parents also have disciplined him.


"Like someone asked the other day, where, on an MP3 download, do you hide the coded messages from Satan?"

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

This guy and his kitty live in Nigeria. In all probability they have less than 1% of the material stuff you have. And they are pissed off.

Easing back into gear after what has been a very gruelling couple of weeks, Doc40 kicks off with a dull but scarey report from Yahoo News sent over by Doug the Bass that more than confirms how our lame-ass President, currently hiding in India, really is running the country into the ground. More catching up to come as my hands and arms recover from typing marathons.

As GWB tells us the US economy is doing fine...

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb 27 (OneWorld) - The average American family has taken a financial tumble and millions in the country go hungry despite President George W. Bush's sunny assessment of the U.S. economy, say federal data and economists. Bush talked up the nation's wealth last week during a speech in Milwaukee. ''We're doing fine,'' he said and described the economy as ''strong and gaining steam.'' Economic growth had clocked a respectable 3.5 percent, unemployment had been held down to 4.7 percent with more than four million new jobs created in the past 30 months, and after-tax income had risen eight percent since 2001, he said.
Within days, however, the Federal Reserve reported that average incomes after adjusting for inflation actually had fallen between 2001 and 2004. At the same time, the number of Americans who need emergency food aid to survive had swollen to more than 25 million even before hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck, the nation's largest network of food banks said in a separate report. Many families continued to struggle in the wake of the 2000 stock market collapse and 2001 recession, the central bank said in its latest triennial ''Survey of Consumer Finances,'' released Thursday. Inflation helped to eat away at the average American family's income, reducing the total to $70,700 in 2004--a loss of 2.3 percent from 2001. That followed a 17.3 percent gain in average incomes between 1998 and 2001 and 12.3 percent in 1995-98, the Fed said. Median family income showed a slight increase of 1.6 percent to reach $43,200 in 2004, up from $42,500 in 2001. Half of all households are understood to stand above, and half to fall below, the median point, which is used to represent the ''typical'' rather than ''average'' family.
Economic analysts said the latest Fed's findings confirmed earlier research showing that the average American family's finances were deteriorating. ''Every American should be able to achieve middle class economic security, a hallmark of national and household stability in this country,'' said Tamara Draut, director of the economic opportunity program at research and advocacy group Demos. ''But the Federal Reserve's findings spotlight trends that are causing economic fragility in today's middle class and are closing the door on low-income Americans.'' The income situation appears to be worsening. Last year proved to be the worst one on record for inflation-adjusted income, said Jared Bernstein, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. ''Wages and compensation for the average worker are lagging inflation despite strong productivity growth,'' Bernstein said, citing figures from last month's ''Employment Cost Index'' report from the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics. ''Averaging over all of 2005, real wages fell 0.9 percent--the lowest annual result on record--while compensation's essentially unchanged rate from 2004 provides its worst year on record as well,'' Bernstein added in an analysis of the BLS report. The term ''compensation'' refers to wages plus benefits. Draut, at Demos, said she was worried by the latest Fed report's findings that ''growing numbers of American households face mounting debt and financial instability.''
In particular, more than 76 percent of households carry debt, up since 2001. Of households in debt, the median amount of debt, $55,300, amounts to 128 percent of the median household income. ''A greater number of people reported not saving money in 2004 than in 2001. Only 41 percent save regularly,'' Draut said, citing the Fed's figures. ''That's a foreboding number for a nation with 76 million people reaching retirement age over the next 25 years.'' The Fed found that four in 10 senior citizens older than 75 years shouldered debts in 2004, up from 29 percent in 2001. Americans also have been piling up credit card debt, which grew 10 percent in the median household and 15.9 percent in the average household. Most of the increase occurred in the ''middle class,'' which the Fed defined as the fifth of the population with a median income of $42,500. ''Stagnant wages and skyrocketing healthcare, education and housing costs, plus greater job instability has pushed America's families right to the limit, and they're borrowing on high-cost credit just to make ends meet,'' said Draut. Home equity loans also have become bigger and more common, with many homeowners using the cash-out refinancing to pay down their credit card debts and to recover expenses they can't cover with their earnings, she added. Rising household debt and stagnant real wages sapped median net worth, a tally of assets and liabilities. Median net worth grew by 1.5 percent in 2001-04, down from 10.3 percent in 1998-2001, the Fed report said. The gap between wealthy and poor also has widened, the Fed said. America's wealthiest 10 percent saw their net worth rise by 6.1 percent to an average of $3.1 million while the bottom 10 percent saw theirs fall from zero in 2001 to minus $1,400--meaning they owed this much more than the value of all their assets--in 2004. Data on net worth would have proven even more anemic were it not for big gains in the notional value of real estate--something that, at least hypothetically, boosted homeowners' financial standing, the Fed and analysts agreed.
''Americans are keeping their families afloat by putting their greatest asset at risk,'' said Draut.
Yet they appear to be among the fortunate, according to America's Second Harvest, which supports 50,000 food-aid charities nationwide. More than 25 million Americans were forced to resort to food donations from the organization's affiliates last year, an 8 percent increase over 2001, it said. Nine million children younger than 18 and three million senior citizens stood among the hungry, America's Second Harvest said in its ''Hunger in America 2006'' report. ''About 70 percent of the clients seeking emergency food assistance are living below the federal poverty line,'' the private philanthropy said. ''Nearly 40 percent have at least one adult working in their household,'' it added. Those figures suggest that increasing numbers of working Americans do not earn enough to feed their families.

The secret word is Betrayal

DFisherman (see the big comments board) and J are absolutely right. The kid on the bed is Leonard Nimoy in the 1952 movie Kid Monk Baroni.