Saturday, September 30, 2006
Menendez Jumps the Shark
I could go into other reasons Senator Menendez is struggling. He was not a clear popular choice for Senator when Governor Corzine needed to appoint his own replacement; it was an open field. Many of us wanted some kind of primary campaign, with another candidate running to the left or right of Menendez to test him in debates, on current issues. His 13th Congressional district is urban, geographically small, controled by three of this state's strongest county machines, including the two that allied & conspired to give us former Gov. Jim "Parkway Rest Stop" McGreevey. Menendez was practically unknown to voters outside of a narrow zone bordering the rivers that divide Jersey from New York City. & he was associated, fairly or unfairly, with the Hudson County Democratic organization, the nastiest & historically most notorious in the state. So there you have it. Given one clear, beautiful & obvious opportunity to inspire & solidify his support from Democratic voters throughout New Jersey, who are already united in opposition to the current adminstration in the White House, but many of whom felt some other congressman or state legislator would have been a better pick for the senate seat Menendez is trying to keep, & he managed to blow it. He proved us correct. There were better choices.
Friday, September 29, 2006
His "yea" earns my "nay"
I had a terrible dream last night. Not about S. 3930 or Sgt. Howard or national politics. But it was a narrative & not entirely irrational dream, & in it, a pet lamb that I had been charged with protecting was butchered & roasted on a backyard grill by a family I'd invited over. A barbecue party from hell. It was a fascinating dream, but I was not amused by it as I am by some of my dreamtime encounters with scary, demonic characters.
Over in the bloglist on the right there are websites with names like Street Prophets, Sojourners, The Revealer, Preemptive Karma, Talk to Action, Public Christian. There's more in my browser bookmarks. I am not a religious person, but I visit these religion-oriented websites because I have to remind myself on a daily basis that many matters involve morality in ways that transcend American politics; that often it's about humanity, or sentient life itself. There are moments when I do not have, nor do I even want to consider, the flexible ethics & rationales of political partisans
I know history; struggles & movements seen in context,over years, decades & centuries, through eras of progression & regression. I was raised in a religious tradition that says emphatically: The lamb dies now but it wins anyway. That hardly diminishes the horror of witnessing the slaughter. The President keeps repeating the mantra that our enemies "hate everything America stands for." But what happens when we, because of fear or political expediency, no longer stand for what we supposedly stand for?
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Sgt. 1st Class Merideth Howard
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Don't say milk say Brennan's
There's no clear border between my prose & poems. In fact, the poems aren't clearly separated from anything else I do except where I've decided or been forced to categorize creative output. I've embedded poems in prose, prose in poems, mixed both within radio programs, newspaper columns & webpages. I've made visual poems using collage, photograpy, & animated gifs. I've done aural poems with tape & warped records, limited only by lack of technological resources or training. My long poem "Boardwalk" is also a libretto & a boardwalk. None of this was "experimental." I have no original ideas.
As a child I was fascinated by the way language was presented:
The break in Brennan's was caused by the seam in the waxy cardboard milk carton. I recited it aloud over & over while eating KIX before going to school, then I read the cramped side of the cereal box the same way. At school I was flabbergasted not to say really annoyed by burned-out teachers who filled the blackboards (which as I advanced through the grades became green, then wipe-off white) with notes they copied from their notebooks & expected students to copy in turn into our notebooks. This was both stupid teaching & bad blackboard art. On the other hand, I liked when kids had to stay after school & write "I will not talk in class" 100 times on the board as punishment. The finished work was always there the next morning, then poof, was erased like words in the sand after a wave washed over them; you could still see something, a design, but you couldn't literally read it.
I was intrigued by news scrolling in one endless line across a sign in Times Square comprised of hundreds of small lightbulbs, even turning a corner. I could focus on a single moving word & not read anything following it. Or I raced ahead of the moving script, which took me, in a sense, into the past (or was it the future?). A ball bouncing from syllable to syllable on song lyrics in sing-a-long cartoons. Taken one syllable at a time, spoken or sung language is just sound. When written, there's the visual component, one's handwriting, the typography, line breaks, or how words fit into a larger visual scheme, like a roadside sign or a magazine advertisement. Some of the favorite lines of poetry I've written are the most plainly prosaic, which is exactly the effect I want them to have in the context of the poem, like the eye wandering across the detailed facade of a church & stopping on the neon-lit phrase, "Jesus saves." In the midst of the confusing pastiche of Shakespearian paraphrases & B movie references that comprise "The Orson Welles Guide," there's the line,"If Dick Clark gives you money, take it immediately to a gypsy!" The entire sentence is supposed to have the effect of the exclamation point concluding it: You can rest here for a moment but that doesn't mean you'll understand where the hell you are. Like the mysterious break between Bren & nan's.
Labels: about writing
Monday, September 25, 2006
Took a few days to prepare the street outside for paving, but once the paving machine & steamroller moved in late this afternoon, half the road for a long block was covered & packed down within minutes. I hardly had time to grab the camera.
Yipes. Right now, if the Mets had to play the Phillies for 3 out of 5 next week, I'd pick the Phillies in 5. Fortunately for the Mets, the Phillies will be playing elsewhere or not at all.
Noxious gas cloud sickens dozens in Elizabeth N.J.
This occurred several miles east & downwind of where I live, over by the Jersey Turnpike, a localized event. Heard about it on the radio. It was near a big shopping mall & the airport. The closest manufacturing industries to me are pharmaceuticals with excellent safety reps. The only really strong noxious fumes here today were awful cooking odors coming from the apartment beneath me, I had two fans running. I try not to imagine goat's head soup.
Sir Malcolm Arnold, composer
Every obituary puts a slightly different spin on his life, & opinion on his worth remains divided; Arnold is controversial. That's not a bad place for an artist to be at the end. He suffered from manic-depressive disease at the least - perhaps schizophrenia. Broken marriages, alcoholism, womanizing, lengthy hospitalizations, finally deemed by a court of law unfit to take care of himself. In the decade after that 1984 court ruling he went on the wagon, finished his 9th Symphony & was knighted. Go figure. His "serious" music was wildly out-of-fashion most of his life, since it was tonal & melodic, often very personal, & occasionally goofy (I've never heard his Grand Grand Overture (1956), scored for three vacuum cleaners, a floor polisher, four rifles and an orchestra). He also dabbled in "art rock" back in the 70s. He was an insecure yet stubborn artist. But as symphonies & tonality came back into style, Arnold's reputation rose. I'm partial to a series of orchestral dances inspired by traditional British, Irish, Scottish & French music. I haven't really warmed up to his symphonies, though I'm convinced they're worth some effort & keep trying. Some of his film scores have been reissued, including better ones than "Kwai."
Malcolm Arnold's last two decades were apparently pretty contented ones. He had a devoted caretaker & friend. Two cycles were recorded of his complete symphonies. Two lengthy book biographies published, plus a film documentary. His death made front page headline on BBC World Edition on Sunday.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving
But how can they know it's time for them to go?
Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming
I have no thought of time
For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?
from "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" by Sandy Denny
Hear it performed by Susanna Hoffs & Matthew Sweet
Friday, September 22, 2006
Banning torture does not ensure justice
1) induced hypothermia
2) long periods of forced standing
3) sleep deprivation
4) the "attention grab" (forcefully seizing the suspect's shirt)
5) the "attention slap"
6) the "belly slap"
7) sound and light manipulation.
I can say that 1, 2, 4, & 6 were used by coaches & gym teachers in my public high school. I didn't attend a tough high school. I know that certain teachers, male & female, from Catholic religious orders in that era went far beyond beyond an "attention slap." I associate 2, 3, & 7 with the Boy Scouts. Hypothermia was always voluntary. Neither my high school nor my Boy Scout Troop were covered by the Geneva Conventions. They should have been, because I witnessed unacceptable behavior masquerading as discipline & group initiation.
But there's more to President Bush's power grabs than what constitutes torture. Still, let us remind ourselves that torture as defined under the Geneva Conventions is a war crime no matter who does it or to whom or why. It is a crime by those who commit it & by those who order it. The Associated Press story on the agreement between Bush & the so-called "GOP Rebels" quotes Elisa Massimino, Washington director of Human Rights First: "Today's agreement makes clear that the president cannot unilaterally downgrade the humane treatment standards of the Geneva Conventions." So I wandered over to the HRF website to see what kind of organization they are - a lot of high-priced lawyers on the various boards, but it doesn't look like a neocon front group, & to their credit they haven't given up investigating the collusion between British government security agencies & the notorious Ulster Defense Association, a little-known story on this side of the Atlantic. There I found the rest of Ms. Massimino's statement, in an HRF press release, which concludes with this paragraph:
While the deal does not redefine the Geneva standards, concerns remain. The question whether the Administration’s interpretation of Geneva standards comports with the law is still open. The agreement would also make it more difficult to ensure that those whose Geneva Convention rights are violated can get justice in the courts. "Secret detentions without judicial oversight invite abuses. And if there is no forum in which abuses can be exposed, then the force of the clear prohibition against inhumane treatment will be undermined," Ms. Massimino said.Sounds to me like she has serious reservations. If Human Rights First does, so do I.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Actually, I did write but it was over at Street Prophets.
Labels: Elizabeth NJ
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
a guitarist, a bodybuilder
Mickey Hargitay: Champion bodybuilder, actor husband of Jayne Mansfield, played Vegas with Mae West, starred in "Bloody Pit of Horror" (1965), father of Mariska Hargitay. He was spotted in the Vegas show by Jayne, who, when asked what she would like to have, reputedly answered, "I'll have a steak and the man on the left."
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Celebrity Short Guys & a CSI Summary
My cousin (5'5" & a Ph.D in something to do with the Renaissance) was married to a woman (also Ph.D) at least 5 inches taller, it was surely a meeting of the minds, but when she got pregnant we started calling him "Tiger."
I didn't feel short in 1971; I was dating a 5'2" nursing student who had to come up a few inches to nibble my ear. Strangely, women below that height would only be with men at least 5'10".
On CSI: Miami season premiere, Caine & Delko were in Brazil to revenge murder a guy who ordered the hit on Delko's sister & Caine's new wife, who had inoperable cancer, & it was just a matter of which of them would do the killing. But first Caine's sleazy cop brother, who was believed dead & then turned up alive, had to be whacked for certain in a particularly gruesome way by the drug dealers with whom he associated, which renewed the subplot concerning the erotic & incestuously-toned attraction between Caine & his anorexic sister-in-law. So it came down to a knife fight on a helicopter pad overlooking Rio de Janeiro, & Delko got in his licks, but top-billed David Caruso got to fatally stick the personification of evil who had vowed to Caine he would "take away everything you love." Standing over the dead body, Caine gazed upward at the gigantic Cristo Redentor statue on Corcovado mountain. Then our two crime scene investigators flew back to Miami & quickly busted up a Brazil-to-Florida smuggling operation that used boys, including Caine's nephew, as drug mules. Given that much of the episode was filmed using actual Brazil locations, the only real surprise was that it wasn't stretched out as a two-parter.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Most Played Artists at WFMU
- The Beatles 439
- Bob Dylan 405
- Beach Boys 397
- Ramones 391
- Johnny Cash 390
- the fall 355
- Elvis Presley 343
- NRBQ 330
- Ennio Morricone 317
- R. Stevie Moore 315
- The Clash 311
- James Brown 306
- The Kinks 304
- Rolling Stones 278
- Wire 274
- Neil Young 269
- John Lee Hooker 266
- Fatcat & Fishface 260
- Nina Simone 249
These plays are only since 2002, when many DJs were still not posting playlists. But it would be interesting to see a list that adds in all the online playlists from pre-archive years, which encompassed an era of major LP re-releases in single CDs & box sets. I suspect Velvet Underground, Elvis Costello, Sonic Youth, & pre-Dark Side Pink Floyd would crack top 20. The list doesn't show the popularity of songwriters or producers, where a DJ cites an artist but chose the cut for a Burt Bacharach tune or Lee "Scratch" Perry behind the board. & the search engine won't look for a single character li e X, another venerable group.
DJ William Berger once said that Led Zep are everyone's secret fav band at the station. I asked if he meant it in a symbolic sense, that is, we all loved some popular "classic rock" group (for me, say, The Doors). He said no, he meant Zep literally. With about 90 plays, Zep is popular by WFMU standards. But Black Sabbath beats them with 111.
[Ornette Coleman 125; John Cage 89; Skeeter Davis 60; John Coltrane 134; Willie Nelson 145; Love 120; Cowsills 37; Bruce Springsteen 22 (at least double that including Glen Jones' unlisted plays) ; Camper Van Beethoven 85: Ludwig van Beethoven 14.]
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Asbury Park NJ
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Friday, September 15, 2006
I like this late afternoon capture from Monmouth Beach cam.
Ranch Hand $50.00
Cow Boss $2,500.00
Ranch Boss $5,000.00
El Ranchero Grande $10,000.00
Well, a wrangler can get a "Ranch Hand" just about anywhere & conveniently without even getting off his horse. Nothing unusual about the "Buckaroo" price, yippi-i-oo. "Ranch Boss" is easy to imagine; the lady wears a ten gallon hat, brings out the spurs, whip, maybe even a branding iron. The "El Ranchero Grande" really must be something.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Tenants Run Apartment Radio (Jul, 1940)
If the Ramapo College of NJ campus-only "radio station" had a cool cat like Les Paul on the staff, I would've signed up.
Burger King is so desperate for novelties that the best it can do is keep adding on the meat patties + bacon & cheese like they're pancakes at IHOP (or razors). Now it's up to four, the "BK Stacker Quad." I estimate it to have over 1000 calories & 45g of saturated fat. There's even a buy one get one free coupon. Imagine a bunch of mooks washing 'em down with "Lite" beer. For cripes sake, if you wanna pig out just eat an entire box of 12 fudge pops, get 1200 empty but filling calories & almost no fat at all.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The Belmar NJ cam is showing a fine early fall day today, choppy gray ocean, when it's not cutting out. One of my favorite blogs has twice frozen my Firefox browser & another keeps going down for maintenance. The hot water here is off but I was warned about that yesterday.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
This is a cow.
On the first day of class, Mr.Holtaway held up an ordinary yellow #2 pencil & announced, "This is a cow!" The class laughed. So did I. But unlike most of them, I was intrigued. Mr. Holtaway decided to call this common thing a "cow." We called it a pencil. Why? For no reason other than he was tired of calling it a pencil & today he was saying it was a cow. But it's still a pencil. No, it's a writing instrument & it's a cow. A thing with a name. OK, let's take a vote. "Pencil" wins. so it's a pencil, not a lapiz, a crayon, a matita, or a cow. But "freedom" isn't even a thing. What does it signify?
The President also said we are in "the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century, and the calling of our generation." That may well come to be. But what was the decisive struggle of the 20th Century in 1906?
Monday, September 11, 2006
A poem, Martin of Tours, as the Burning Towers Fall.
A sermon, Principalities and Powers, by Paul Tillich. Remembered & re-read this chapter of The New Being the night of 9/11.
Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Toward the Unknown Region, based on a poem by Walt Whitman. Listened to this the night of 9/11. (Link is to a WFMU radio archive page, scroll down for music & poem. )
Complete 9/11 Timeline at the Center for Cooperative Research.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Atlantic City NJ
Saturday, September 09, 2006
"Obla Di Obla Da"
Friday, September 08, 2006
If I ran the 7-11 up the street I would immediately institute a new rule for the clerks. This rule works successfully everywhere from Amtrak ticket windows to Dunkin' Donuts to Louis Vuitton. The rule is: Take care of one customer at-a-time. Only anxious, unsmiling convenience store managers from Gujarat India don't believe in this rule. (& many doctors.) You don't really save time & keep the line moving by ringing up a second customer's Coke & potato chips in the five seconds it takes for my receipt to print, then moving on to a third customer at the Pick Six machine as you ask the second customer if she wants a bag, tearing off my receipt as the lottery tix print, then bagging the soda & chips.
Labels: Elizabeth NJ
Thursday, September 07, 2006
On the Gold Coast
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
This BBC headline tricked me: Canaries in record migrant influx
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
The buck is passed down
It's fitting that Bush should deliver his "Terrorism Strategy Update" to the Military Officers Association of America. Because in both his administration & the current military establishment, you can count on the buck always being passed down. The administration designs the strategy, starts the war, creates & encourages attitudes of fear, paranoia, the cheapness of human life, which it signals to the Pentagon & national security apparati. This is turned into the tactics of gulags, camps, torture, executions, & an acceptance by many in the officer ranks of lawless warfare. When the enlisted soldiers pick up on this & act upon it, perhaps by direct order, the buck stops with them. No one else need take the responsibility; not Bush, not Rumsfeld, not the Army brass in Washington, & not even the colonels & generals on the ground in Iraq.
Labels: George W. Bush
fill in show
Bil Kelly took vacation time all last week, & he got some crappy weather. I sympathized because the two weeks before & after Labor Day are excellent weather bets in Jersey, much better than July. Unless there's a tropical storm lurking about, the worst that usually occurs is a spell of prematurely autumnal temperatures.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Cape May NJ
Saturday, September 02, 2006
end of season drizzle
NPR featured a story on The Raskalz, a project musician Dave Soldier has going with Harlem grade school kids using a small, portable midi studio. Soldier is an excellent teacher. Although what he does with the kids is described as "hip hop," I hear something older than that: children's jumping rope rhymes, which used to be common form of creative expression in urban neighborhoods & hasn't completely disappeared if you've ever seen competitive rope jumping or come across kids playing double dutch on a city street.