Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Once upon a time, the shenanigans of lumpen fascism were amusing. They were so extreme they couldn’t be taken seriously, but after discovering the congressman who spent his weekends in a Nazi uniform playing out Waffen SS reactments, I started to feel a little skittish, like some evil was on the air. Our very good pal Richard Metzger just crystallized the same feeling, I think, on Dangerous Minds… “And where is this mess headed when the stupidest people in the country are the only ones reliably voting? It’s really getting frustrating to read the news these days. I feel like there is a new low reached almost daily. The dumbness used to be a little more spread out. I can’t help but to feel we’re about to reach a tipping point towards some SERIOUS BAD CRAZINESS. If you can convince a man that dinosaurs and unicorns were on Noah’s Ark, you can convince this man of ANY darned thing (like millionaires and billionaires pay too much in taxes or that Sarah Palin is qualified to be president)."
Or try this news report for size…
“Kentucky's state-backed $150 million creationist theme park, The Ark Encounter, will allow visitors to explore a literal interpretation of the Bible's story of Noah and the ark. But pseudonymous liberal Kentucky blogger Media Czech raises two important questions about that interpretation and how it will be manifest in theme park form. First, were there dinosaurs on the original ark? Second, what about unicorns? Now, the blogger has found answers to both questions at Answers In Genesis, the official blog of the group behind The Ark Encounter. The group says "yes," to both, which implies that their creationist theme park will include dinosaurs and unicorns on the Ark. Here's Answers In Genesis explaining why dinosaurs were on the Ark, although the group prefers to call them ‘dragons’” (Click here for more)
Or this one…
“First Lady Michelle Obama's push against child obesity, which mostly calls for reforming school lunch programs, is either nanny state big government "run amok," as Sarah Palin put it, or, as some conservatives concede, a relatively unoffensive effort to make kids healthier. The issue has exposed a slight but interesting divide in the conservative commentariat, which cannot seem to agree on whether they should let the first lady's effort slide or oppose it with all their might. The split reveals a difference of opinion on just how "laissez faire" school lunchrooms should be as well as the limits of anti-Obama opposition just for opposition's sake.” (Click here for more including Palin’s response.)
Click here for (what else?) Sex Pistols
The secret word is Porcine
Posted by Mick at 12/30/2010 08:46:00 AM
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
In recent times, Doc40 has run a bunch of stuff by our pal Chris Hedges, and this essay in which he mashes Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984 as two parts of the same evolution to tyranny is well worth passing along. It took our good friend Aeswiren to provide a heads up for this post. Over the last few weeks I have rather been ignoring US politics as I sorted out my bearings here in the UK. I would note, though, if things were really as bad as Hedges assumes, we’d both would have been hauled away in the black helicopters of the Though Police months ago.
“The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second. We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from “Brave New World” to “1984.” The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley’s feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled. Orwell warned of a world where books were banned. Huxley warned of a world where no one wanted to read books. Orwell warned of a state of permanent war and fear. Huxley warned of a culture diverted by mindless pleasure.” Click here for the whole thing.
Click here for the complete 1954 BBC TV production of 1984
The secret word is Pessimism
Posted by Mick at 12/29/2010 09:11:00 AM
Our pal Jon alerted me to how Alternet had posted a lengthy excerpt from my recent book Speed-Speed-Speedfreak. It was news to me, but I link it here because I figure it’s a good read. (Although you could actually buy the book, which would contribute to my survival.)
“In the fullness of history, all the different varieties of speed may have been products of the twentieth century, even though they are still around nearly a decade into the twenty-first, and show no sign of waning. Speed is too much of a reflection of its time. The twentieth century was an era of acceleration. Humanity went from its first powered flight to a moon landing in less than 70 years. Two atomic weapons were deliberately detonated over inhabited cities, while other cities were turned into unstoppable firestorms by tons of conventional explosives dropped from high-flying aircraft. Millions died in two devastating world wars, and millions more in smaller wars, insurrections, and ethnic cleansings. We have seen the computer grow from a mechanical adding machine to an entity so powerful and omnipresent that speculation is now possible about the likelihood of machines merging identities with humanity.
The event of rock & roll added a frenetic thrashing drive to the world's entertainment, and television warped the world's perception. The twentieth century was an era of massive overreaching that culminated in us pushing our planet to the very edge of environmental catastrophe, as melting icecaps change the course of the ocean tides. The twentieth century was also a time of scarcely believable greed and all too grandiose dreams. The developed nations of the West demanded more and more, and we grew furious if TV commercials reneged on their promises and we couldn't instantly have it all. The West grew fat even as famines decimated developing nations. We burned energy as if there was no tomorrow, and in so doing, made tomorrow considerably more problematic.” Click here for more
Posted by Mick at 12/29/2010 08:59:00 AM
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
As Europe and North America are beset by unusually extreme weather, word comes that meteorological anomalies are not wholly confined to the planet Earth. Saturn (above) is currently experiencing the reemergence of the Great White Spot, a massive storm system in the planet's southern hemisphere several thousand kilometers across. The Great White Spot is Saturn’s the lesser known equivalent of Jupiter's Great Red Spot. A periodic storm that flares up about every 28.5 years. It previously appeared in 1876, 1903, 1933, 1960, and 1990. As such, we shouldn't be expecting another appearance until around 2018, although huge, Spot-like storms do occasionally show up at times that don't fit the cycle, including 1994 and 2006. Click here for the story
Click here for The Doors (at risk of being repetitious)
The secret word is Interplanetary
Posted by Mick at 12/28/2010 02:35:00 PM
Doubtless some – fools, facile charlatans, and oil industry hirelings – will use the current storms and plunging temperatures to claim that global warming is either a deception or a fallacy. Such dangerous nonsense really needs to be challenged wherever it appears. The weather conditions right now causing such havoc are, if anything, just one more piece of evidence that global thermodynamics are seriously out of whack and any spurious denials can only exacerbate an already precarious situation. If I sound a little grim about this it’s because gambling for greedy short-term corporate gain when the gamble is with possible human survival, plus that of hundreds of other forms of life, simply has to stop. Now.
Posted by Mick at 12/28/2010 02:25:00 PM
Monday, December 27, 2010
I am not so overweeningly egocentric that I take seismic events as a personal affront but it did strike me as a tad heavy on the synchronicity when, within hours of having posted on Facebook how, after leaving California, “although England freezes, I no longer need concern myself about the next earthquake” our pal Joli sends me this report of a quake in the north of England.
“People described hearing and feeling the earth moving for "well over a minute" just after 2300 GMT on Tuesday. The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 3.6, was felt in locations across Cumbria and in Lancashire, south-west Scotland, parts of Yorkshire, Northumberland and the Isle of Man. Police say there are no reports of injury or damage. The tremor was picked up by the British Geological Survey. People have contacted the BBC to say they felt the tremor in places including Barrow, Sellafield, Cockermouth, Windermere and Penrith. Cumbria Fire and Rescue service has also confirmed the quake. A spokesman said: "We have had no requests from members of the public. At the moment, we don't believe there is any structural damage." Click here for more
Click here for mean ol’ Chuck
The secret word is Fault
Posted by Mick at 12/27/2010 12:56:00 PM
Click here for the whole thesis.
Click here for The Byrds
Click here for The Byrds
Posted by Mick at 12/27/2010 12:48:00 PM
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Click here for Dowd’s column
Click here Patti
The secret word is Silver
Posted by Mick at 12/26/2010 02:50:00 PM
Friday, December 24, 2010
I lifted this image from our pals at Dangerous Minds because it seemed such a perfect summation of the corporate, TV commercial, here-comes-Santa Claus, Xmas miasma that engulfs December and almost makes us forget there ain’t no sanity clause, and what we are really doing is dancing and excessing in the pagan darkness to invoke the return of the light. And, here in the 21st century, heaven only knows we need all the light we can get. I don’t think we have ever been more on our own. No trust can be put in leaders and no hope placed in solutions other than those we devise for ourselves. The contempt of the power elite is revealed and palpable. All decency has been bent to pay of plutocrats and invested in solutions that risk the health of the planet, and all higher aspirations of humanity, in pursuit of goals that are no longer rational even in the contexts of greed and self-interest. And yet, friends and neighbours, we have a power of our own, a radical potential so strong we can surprise ourselves, if we only reach for it with a collective will and a universal mind, so we all walk out of this hard winter of discontent and make to the light united. Now let’s go get loaded and make the Mad Santas go away.
Click here for Jim, he’s always good at times like this.
The secret word is Future
Posted by Mick at 12/24/2010 04:46:00 PM
Thursday, December 23, 2010
England freezes, Calfornia drowns, Yule looms, North and South Korea threatens all-out nuke rumble, both the Captain and the Judge leave the planet, Doc40 takes a couples of days off to reconfigure the wares – both hard and soft – plus the coming holiday supension of services and, if that wasn’t enough, just prior to the Solstice, some folks were suggesting that maybe the popular calculations of the End of Everything based on the Mayan Calendar stone were out by some two years and Reality As We Know it would totally cease last Tuesday lunchtime. But it didn’t, and here we are with little choice but to get on with it.
Click here for Penguin Whacking. Longtime readers will know it’s a Doc40 midwinter tradition.
Click here for an Xmas Edition of Simon’s cat.
Click here for a Dixie fried Elvis
The secret word is Pudding
Posted by Mick at 12/23/2010 06:34:00 AM
The moral of the tale would seem to be “never lust after a plastic pipe.”
"REMOVAL OF A LONG PVC PIPE STRANGULATED IN THE PENIS BY HOT-MELT METHOD.
Penile incarceration for erotic or autoerotic purposes has “Introduction. been reported in a wide range of age groups, and often presents a significant challenge to urologic surgeons. No ready method has been reported for removing a polyvinylchloride (PVC) pipe entrapped on the penis. We present our experience in using hot-melt method to remove a constricted PVC pipe on the penis. A long melting split was made on the Methods. PVC pipe entrapped on the penis by using the long narrow branch of forceps heated on a gas stove. The heated forceps was able to make a split on the PVC pipe. The PVC pipe was removed by pulling the edges of the pipe apart without much difficulty. The total operation time was 20 Penile incarceration is a urologic emergency, and resourcefulness is required in some unexpected cases. Hot-melting has proved to be an easy and effective method for removing penile strangulation by a PVC pipe. To our knowledge, it is the first report about the removal of PVC pipe entrapped on a penis.”
Posted by Mick at 12/23/2010 06:20:00 AM
Monday, December 20, 2010
Seemingly a new generation of airport security devices is almost upon us, and these would appear to be a first set towards electronic mind-reading devices. I idly ask myself what other questions, over and above “are you a terrorist”, their operators might take it on themselves to ask.
“Suspect Detection Systems is essentially an automatic polygraph. It consists of a booth in which the passenger sits, wearing headphones and responds to questions that are both spoken and appear on a screen. Sensors record data ranging from the skin's electrical conductivity to movement, both from the eyes and from the subject's left hand, which rests in a special cradle. The subject facing automatic interrogation doesn't even have to answer the machine's yes/no questions in order to record a response, and some of those questions will be very basic: 'Are you involved in terrorist activity?' or, 'Are you carrying explosives?' 'Suicide terrorists aren't scared of dying,' says Drukman, 'but they are scared of being caught. That gives us the hook.' SDS's detector depends on the fact that physical responses to such questions, aggregated and analysed by a computerised algorithm, are involuntary. Most subjects will be cleared after just one minute. A small minority will face more questions lasting a further five to seven minutes, following which the machine will decide whether they should be cleared or be interrogated by humans. The booths also record passport and other ID information, which can be stored.” (Click here for the full story)
Click here for Tapper Zukie
The secret word is Abject
Posted by Mick at 12/20/2010 04:11:00 AM
Sunday, December 19, 2010
The picture by Lee Sobell reminded me that I’ve known a lot of diners but there never was a diner like Dave’s Luncheonette on Canal Street in Lower Manhattan. Just around the corner from the punk and post-punk Mudd Club, its 24 hour red Rexene and stainless steel could play host to one weirdass selection of clientele around six am on any given Sunday – well beyond the imaginings of Edward Hopper (or maybe even Dennis Hopper.) Cops and junkies, all night girls a long way from the D Train, boys in smeared lipstick, debutantes in torn skirts, drunks eating off the alcohol or early hangovers, hungry freaks, sanitation workers on a break, mailmen on the way to work, alien lifeforms, and characters you wouldn’t even want to categorize, all consuming strong coffee, spigot Coke, and greasy heart-stopping fare as through their lives depended on it. Which was sometimes the literal truth.
Click here for Big Eyed Beans From Venus
The secret words are Egg Cream
Posted by Mick at 12/19/2010 07:38:00 AM
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Our pal Pat at Bomp sent the following this morning. What can I say? Such good advice is now missing from this planet.
1. Listen to the birds.
That's where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren't going anywhere.
2. Your guitar is not really a guitar Your guitar is a divining rod.
Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you're good, you'll land a big one.
3. Practice in front of a bush
Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn't shake, eat another piece of bread.
4. Walk with the devil
Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the "devil box." And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you're bringing over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.
5. If you're guilty of thinking, you're out.
If your brain is part of the process, you're missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.
6. Never point your guitar at anyone.
Your instrument has more clout than lightning. Just hit a big chord then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.
7. Always carry a church key
That's your key-man clause. Like One String Sam. He's one. He was Detroit street musician who played in the fifties on a homemade instrument. His song "I Need a Hundred Dollars" is warm pie. Another key to the church is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin' Wolf's guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty-making you want to look up her dress the whole time to see how he's doing it.
8. Don't wipe the sweat off your instrument
You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.
9. Keep your guitar in a dark place
When you're not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don't play your guitar for more than a day, be sure you put a saucer of water in with it.
10. You gotta have a hood for your engine
Keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house, the hot air can't escape. Even a lima bean has to have a piece of wet paper around it to make it grow.
Compiled by Will Harris from the words of the Captain
Click here for Willie the Pimp
The secret word is Moanin’
Posted by Mick at 12/18/2010 05:07:00 AM
Friday, December 17, 2010
When I stumbled across this on the web, it looked vaguely familiar. Then I realised why. Back in Detroit in the 1970s, in a bar with Boss Goodman and Brother Wayne Kramer, I accidently took far too much really bad PCP thinking it was cocaine. In a subsequent dream/hallucination/nightmare, I found myself in a pod very like this. I assumed I’d died and reverted to the basic DNA helix. Later I woke up and everyone was very pissed off with me. Seemingly I had not been a quiet corpse.
“Environmentalists might just approve of this cheap housing, a mobile egg-shaped home covered in bamboo and grass seed-filled burlap sacks. But will it catch on as a real living space? Dai Haifei, a 24-year-old Beijing architect who developed the egg home, had been living in it on a sidewalk in the high-rent Chinese city for almost two months, until it was ordered removed by city managers who said it didn't conform to housing standards, according to the Beijing Review. The 6-foot-high, solar-powered home is just big enough for a small bed and a tiny dresser. Pegs hanging on the wall can hold books and articles of clothing. Although there's no kitchen, a water pump system stored under the bed can keep water for basic washing for about three days. There doesn't seem to be signs of a toilet, but perhaps a pot works just fine.” Click here for more."
The secret word is Encapsulate
Blake Edwards – RIP
Posted by Mick at 12/17/2010 07:16:00 AM
Thursday, December 16, 2010
The following was supplied by our pal Heathcote. We should give Comrade Hudson a rebel medal.
“Gaining access to a maintenance control room, Lloyd Hudson, 35, from Ilford, Essex, was able to locate the chart and corresponding switches for Harrods’ 10,000 external lights. Barricading himself in, Hudson disabled the correct lights until he could spell out his feelings to Harrods bosses and Christmas shoppers alike. He was removed by security guards after an hour-long stand-off, then handed over to police. “He had drunk the best part of two bottles of whisky,” said a spokesperson for the iconic London store, “and it’s that kind of behaviour that got him the sack in the first place.” Hudson has since been released on police bail. Knightsbridge visitors were stunned and sensitive Americans became quite bent out of shape. “Honestly, I am disgusted, ” said Irene Rider, 59, from Gary, Indiana. “I was with my grandchildren. We had just gotten off the bus. I said ‘look everybody’ and pointed up to the lights – but you know what the lights said? They said fuck off. And that is not an appropriate message for a child. At least not at Christmas time.”
Click here for Jayne County
The secret word is Brilliant
Posted by Mick at 12/16/2010 03:12:00 AM
Tomorrow night (Friday) I’ll be on TV in the UK. The show is called Festival Britannia, and it airs on BBC4 at 9.00 pm. According to the advance promo it’s a study of the evolution of open air rock festivals from the chaotic tribal gatherings of the 1960s and 1970s, to the consumer, music industry garden parties they are today, used as some kind of microcosmic metaphor for changes in society. I missed the advanced screening so I can’t comment, but those who saw it say I’m all over the allotted time space. Which, aside from my ego basking in the all screen radiation and facetime, might actually be interesting. Back in the day I gave a lot of though to the festival as a metaphor, especially after organizing Phun City. And those thoughts, and possible metaphors were, of course, the foundations of my first novel…
Posted by Mick at 12/16/2010 03:06:00 AM