1. Anybody's Blues - Amos Milburn 2. Suki - Unrest 3. Me & Mary - Asobi Seksu 4. Jake Summers (BBC6 session) - Fight Like Apes 5. Inni Mer Syngur Vitleysingur - Sigur Ros 6. Barstool Blues - Neil Young 7. Billy 4 - Bob Dylan 8. Linstead Market Lord Messam & his Calypsonians 9. Get 'Er Done (ft. MF Doom) - Jake One 10 . Birds - Menahan Street Band 11. Acid Tongue - Jenny Lewis 12. I Don't Want No Stranger Sleeping In My Bed - Ray Charles 13. Jailhouse Tears (ft. Elvis Costello)- Lucinda Williams 14. Illya Kuryakin - Ike Bennett & the Crystallites 15. Rafiki (ft. Black Thought) - Zap Mama 16. They Were Doin' the Mambo - Tex Williams 17. Time Has Been Going By So Fast - Jonathan Richman 18. Start All Over Again (live) - J. Geil's Band
Lots of old songs on this one, mostly because I've been listening to old songs lately. Some fo these I've had in a folder for awhile to throw on a mix, some I scrounged up from here and there, and some I was just recently reminded of and felt like sharing. Anyway, I'm thankful for them.
Conversely, I also know that there were probably several dozen people trying to outdo each other with the most caustic, devastating comments that they could think of encouraging to do it. It bothers me that there are people -no- kids, really, that take pride in how utterly despicable they can act towards someone who clearly is crying out for help. I think that the internet, where you can safely say things that society should rightly slap the face off of you for saying, is conducive to behavior like this and it truly frightens me what the social implications might be.
I think we've all experienced the scadenfreude of seeing someone slip on ice, or get hit in the face with something, or whatever. Of course, if you have a soul, you follow this up by running over and making sure they're not hurt. On the internet you can spend whole days finding examples of this, and never even have to think about the consequences. They can't see you, or hear you. Besides, it already happened. You can watch for weeks on end people slipping, falling, cringing, etc... (youtube search for "hit in the nuts": 25,600) and quite possibly laugh yourself to death. It's an easy laugh, sure, but it can be funny as hell. But this is different. When it's taking place in real time, and there is a living, breathing person on the recieving end of the taunts, it's no longer guilty pleasure, it's just torture. These sadistic fucks taunted this kid into killing himself.
This reminds me of those really dark experiments that they perform (I can't remember the name of the one in particular I'm reminded of, but the Milgram and Stanford Prison Experiments will do in a pinch) that reveal all of these terrifying undertones in human nature and the outright cruelty that's always lurking right beneath it. It's frightening that these experiments are taking place all the time in the living rooms and bedrooms of our homes every day.
I don't know, it's no really the kind of thing I want to write about at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon, an I'm positive it's not the sort of thing you want to read. It's just something that caught my eye and really made me sick to my stomach and I had to mention it. I'll try to scrounge up that picture of the baby hippo to help make up for it.
Above is half of the British artist William Hogarth's engraving titled "Beer Street and Gin Lane", a commentary on the gin craze that overtook England in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The first of the series, Beer Lane, depicts a thriving and merry functioning town, while the picture above shows a prostituted mother dropping her baby, a soldier who was hired to pass out anti-gin pamphlets starved to death, a dead baby on a spike, beggars trying to kill each other, tradesmen trying to sell their tools for gin... go check out the wiki page for more details, but it's like a Where's Waldo of drunken insanity and recklessness. It's pretty frightening, actually, especially compared to the idyllic (on the surface, at least) revelry of Beer Street. The craze itself is pretty astonishing, and I had no idea of some of its ramifications until I stumbled actoss this work. I came across Hogarth after doing some research on Goya's later works, and as a fan of totally effed up lithographs and depictions of old-time insanity, of course I was drawn to it. I mean, seriously, feast your eyes on this. or this! Niiiice. I wonder if Hogarth would print a "Joint Avenue and Crack Blvd" were he to look at the most recent drug outbreaks. Better yet, "Rural Route Meth".
Daschle for Secretary of Health (did Tommy Thompson's head just droop a little?), Eric Holder for Atty General... Sure, the big ones don't come until next week at the earliest, but it's fun to watch this administration form. I'm wondering how much Daschle wanted that position, though. You figure it's going to be a key role in the healthcare reformation, and it's a huge amount of work with a potential sword over your head. Well, I wish him the best.
I know haven't been around lately. I had to get ready for a test, take said test, receive less than savory scores of the test, wallow in misery over said scores, etc... Plus, I've been outside most of the day for the past few days. But the truth of the matter may be that I've been listening to audio books lately. Namely Stephen King audio books. Which really make no sense, since I can divide the mans work into books I love and books I loathe into a 1:3 ratio or so. But there are a few of his books I've never bothered with (The Stand and It) that I never even bothered with, mostly because they were so large and I knew if I spend the time reading them and didn't like them, I'd never forgive myself. At 10:30 last night, I finished listening to all 34.4 hours of The Stand. I'm still not certain what I think of it. I've always thought King's writing lends itself best to short stories. Sure, books like The Shining and 'Salem's Lot and even The Green Mile all hold a special place with me, and it's true that many of the movies made from his works make them seem much, much worse than they actually are. But his longer form work always tended to start with an amazing first act and then sort of peter out towards the end of the second. This is especially true of the Dark Tower books, which I absolutely loved until maybe the fourth or fifth book and then I was wasn't interested in finishing the story. I did, of course, but only because I'd already gotten that far into it and kept thinking "It's gonna get better than this, right? It's got to." But it didn't. I just got madder. and madder. and madder. You can see my apprehension to start something so voluminous as The Stand. If I start it... It's the short stories and novellas that have always hit me the hardest. It might be that as a format it's more suited to someone of my...attention span. Or that I tend to lose interest when the story begins to drift towards the same macabre interests or worse, characters*. His first three books of short stories are among my favorites ever opened. I mean, Night Shift has at least 5 or 6 stories that are still capable of scaring the crap out of me. I mean, even if you discount all of the really bad ones, you get what, 5 or 6 good movies made out of the stories in this. No, I'm not counting Maximum Overdrive here. Or the Lawnmower Man, which is possibly the worst adaptation of any story I've ever read. Both of those stories were really good by me, though. So here I am, just having finished The Stand. It performed a lot like the way I described Kings other long work, and yet I have no regret of listening it through to the end. In fact, I'm sure I'll start listening to the apparently longer It sooner than later. And I'm sure somewhere towards the end I'll just wondering when he'll get it over with. But I guess in this case, the first half or so is compelling enough for me to have to continue on to the end. I think if I'd been reading The Stand rather than listen to it, I'm sure I would have a bigger chip on my shoulder here. So, I just realized that this is the longest, most useless excuse for my lack of recent posts that I've ever comitted to this site. Which says a lot. I'll be around, and I should have a mix up in the next week, although how I've pieced one together in the mess of my listening lately is beyond me. We'll see if it's any good.
*There are a number of recurring characters in his body of work, and while I really like this idea -forming your own little universe between a number of seemingly interrelated stories- sometimes it results in SK bending the premises of his stories a bit to far to link them all together. Hearts in Atlantis, which I liked, seems a bit tied too closely to the bleed between his stories and really just sort of hindered what was an interesting story on its own. It's fun, to see these people making strange cameos in other books, and as a comic book reader, I know this better than anyone. But I'm prone to believe that in this instance, as it all too often is in comics, that many of Stephen King's superfans really just read through these stories oohing and aahing and feeling smart because they recognize a name or two.
Obviously I'm not a superfan of his. And it's obvious that I really like some of his work. I don't know why I feel the need to reiterate this now, but there it is...
Edit: It's been pointed out to me that stories about isolation madness, doomsday flus, and post-apocalyptic societies might not be the best material for someone who doesn't see many people and talks to even less. I think it makes perfect sense. Besides, now all I have to worry about is homocidal dream clowns.
So, the secret service's secret code names get leaked before the President takes office? that's.... huh.
I'm trying to think of what kind of awesome code name I'd get. While sure, I'd love it to be something awesome like "Mr. Big" or "Fly Guy" (pretty much any character from I'm Gonna Git You Sucka works here). Sadly, I'm sure I'd get something a bit less heroic: "Recliner". "Batroc the Leaper". "Beastmaster II" Or my personal favorite: "Sourdough"
Lest you think this thing is devolving into some sort of baby animal museum, I just found the website for the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at the Cornell University Library, and it's ripe with weirdness and backwards scientific and spiritual beliefs of past eras. Pictures of werewolves and gorgons? check. Crazy elephant people? check. creepy witchcraft stuff? You better believe it. ummmm, yeah. I wish I could recommend a section, but they're all pretty fun and odd. Make sure you read the captions, because there's some cool stuff in there. My favorite would probably be the danse macabre stuff, but really, there's enough crazy to go around.
okay, so I'm not going to be posting for the next few days because I have a lot of studying to do, but I'll try to put up some things now since it's already been almost a week and I'm starting to feel neglectful.
I just dropped by a puppy cam and I couldn't help it. So comforting. It sucked me in for a full ten minutes. One of those little guys is a jerk. Try to guess which one!
Thinking about my earlier post, and hoping to God that this isn't as optimistic I'll be towards the U.S. political landscape in my lifetime. I don't want to think of this as the swing of the pendulum. I don't want to consider the West Bank and how that won't change. I don't want to think about whether or not the Kyoto Accord will be a priority. I don't want to think about how easy it might be to satiate the American public without really changing anything. It might be my fault. As a person who never gave a rat's ass until the 2000 election (or worse, the 2001 Horror), I can't help but hold a somewhat cynical attitude to any sort of proposed change. I think of our shitty neoliberal policies in South America. Or how the Clinton administration might be considered a save, despite bombing the shit out of various foreign countries while we celebrated our financial prosperity. On a personal level, I am one of the most blindly optimistic people I know. so why can't I convey that into genuine optimism. Obama won. We have the House, and an almost filibuster-prof majority in the Senate. and here I am, whining before it even begins. At this point I can only hope we don't fuck things up. This can't be true. Tell me that we won. Tell me that at least for now we need to see what happens. I'm tired. I haven't slept in over 42 hours, and I'm hoping I'm just being stupid and paranoiac. Maybe my listening to The Shining for the past 3 days has made me anxious and wan. I can only hope so. I'm listening to old Dylan albums now and wondering what he might have to say. Not the Victoria's Secret ad Dylan, in case you're wondering. We won. that should be enough for now. And who knows, maybe it is. Oh, God of enthusiasm, lords of righteousness and stability, help us to figure out the new order of things. Or what we think might be the new order. Or at least what's best for us next.
and help me get to sleep, because at this point I really goddamn need it. Love you all much. and hope to hear from you sooner than later. please take care of yourself. luv (hey, it's not like Ringo's gonna use that from now on...) cotton
Okay. So here we are. 200 years from now, school children will be taught about this. Think about that for a minute. Let it sink in. Good. Hold your head up high. That said, remember that this is not over. At all. Obviously, I support Barack Obama. I think he was the best choice we had and I want him to succeed more than anything. and I sincerely believe that he is the best man for the job. I also believe that he's more open to vocal opposition than McCain might have been. I trust that he will be more even handed in his choice of cabinet and yes, judges. I think that he's the voice of the future. But never forget that this could -and will- be looked at in the future as a sort of experiment in American Democracy. He is stil unproven. He still has hurdles. And even scarier, is that he (probably?) might have an utter majority to deal with. My biggest fear (and I've stated this here before) is that he will be stuck fighting his own anxious and overeager party for the next 5 years. We need to take this slow. Which might not be the most popular tone with the majority of America. We need to remember that he's got a couple hundred holes to dig himself out of. Having the Senate and House on his side will be huge, but this still won't solve all out problems for years and years. I guess I'm just terrified that in 4 years that this will be seen as some great folly of the American left and will be nixed for another 20 years. But enough of that. Enough of being a pessimist. At least until March or so, I can relax and not think about politics*. For tonight, put a smile on your face, and know that we're going to have a new president on the way. I don't mean to sound cynical. I spent an hour tonight talking to a 64 year old woman with tears in her eyes, saying she didn't think this was possible in her lifetime. Shit. I didn't think this was possible in my lifetime. We've made a huge leap forward. We just have to remember this so we don't end up taking a step back later. So here we are, and unless Philly has overturned more cars on Broad Street, I'm proud. But pay attention. Vote in your local elections. Write letters when things you don't like happen. We need to keep on top of things, because an out of control Dem government is just as bad as an out of control GOP Government. and frankly, as long as we're stuck with a 2 party system, we need to monitor this shit. That said, relax and enjoy the night. I'm gonna stay up and see what happens in these MN/OR/CO/CA elections and hopefully drift into a nice, peaceful sleep and dream of a content and well-liked America. Also, to the constant mention of the Bradlehy effect in the last months, fuck you. We did it. great speeches by all, gentlemanly behavior from everyone (after this morning, at least), and I'm happy to hear it.
*this isn't true. Remember we've got 3 more months of Bush. Don't act like you know what will happen with that.
*caution: photo 3 is probably the most depressing and devastating image I've ever seen, and may in fact make you very, very, very sad. Especially if you're familiar with the Philadelphia Zoo, circa Christmas Eve in 1995.
Time to get up. Now let's go vote us a new President.
(I'll update tomorrow when I can, but it won't get serious until after the polls close. Then I'm gonna stay up all night watching the Udalls and the other senate races (c'mon, Franken), as well as House hilarity and the Prop 8 stuff.
Studs Terkel is dead. And for the second time in the past few months I find myself shocked that an elderly gentleman whose health has been declining for decades has passed on. It's not that I imagined that he would just transubstantiate into a ghost, appearing alongside Mark Twain and H.L. Mencken at the shining moments of America a la Star Wars. It's just that because he was so old you just felt he was always gonna be here for a little while longer. It is true, though, that Studs was the embodiment of so much of what I love about this country. Sure, he was something of a popular sentimentalist. Sure, he was kind of folksy. But the people and struggles and music that he documented are more America than you will ever see on the network news. He wasn't one of these idiots that dominate the media now that project their leanings and ridiculous smarm into every interview and story and make grand assumptions about what people think and feel. Studs was almost never the story, but rather the only person that was going to talk to the steel worker or the farmer or the convict or the soldier for more than a sound byte. He wanted their stories, not en encapsulation of their feelings. And maybe that's why he seemed more genuine than most of his contemporaries. The America Studs Terkel followed and was a part of is the same America that I would point out, were I given the chance, to the parts of the world that hate us to show them what we're really like.
He wasn't the scholar that Chomsky is or the librarian that Zinn is, but Studs Terkel was one of the greats, and it's a shame that his death will not be covered to the degree that it should because of the election. But he will be missed here. If you've never read Working, I truly suggest that you pick it up.