Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An open letter to Victoria Taft:

Shut up.

Are those fangs I see, or... um, canines?

Really. Walk away from the microphone. Go back to your other job... what was it again? Oh, that's right. There is scant information on you on the Internet. All I could find out is that you attended the University of Washington. I don't know what you studied nor if you graduated. Linkedin says you are in "entertainment." Really? Baiting morons to spew hatred is entertaining? Inciting the unwashed masses to foment and call "them" Marxist, Socialists and... yes, Nazis. That's entertainment? Today, I heard you railing against the "enviros" because they want to cease coal production and export. You made it sound like it would be okay for China to continue to burn coal, and hell, why shouldn't we? You seem to believe that climate change is "junk science." Do you really believe that, or is that just you being entertaining? Facts don't seem to matter to you. But, in that you aren't alone. Your tricorn wearing idiots cast off facts that don't jibe with their twisted agenda. Does it matter to you that China is now ahead of the United States in developing renewable and sustainable energy resources? You advocate the continuation of coal mining because it gives people jobs. Developing alternate energy wouldn't? Have you ever heard of black lung? I'm not sure if people get cancer from working on wave technology or wind power. I do know mining kills people... a lot of people. Those that mine it and those that breathe in the emissions. It's funny, when I went to Google images to find a picture of you, there are posters of President Obama positioned with Stalin and Lenin. Really? I am not sure if riling up the idiots is entertaining, but in other countries you and your ilk would be arrested and charged with treason. You abuse freedom, not espouse it. Go home. Join a book club. Learn to knit. Find a hobby. Do the right thing. Tell KPAM you are done and tell them to take the other "entertainers" off the air. Montovani would be preferable to the extremist haranguing you and your cohorts spew. Oddly, I wish you had a National audience, so more people could hear the bile you spit, in the name of "entertainment" and expose the verbal ugliness you deal in. I actually do think you are fundamentally unhappy. And, what if you got your way? What would you do if Sarah or Newt or whoever you stand behind got into office? Would you be satisfied or would you find something else to rail against? Maybe you'd turn leftie and complain about the right. You'd be like Salk without polio. Who would need you? You are either very bright and know how to manipulate the morons out there with their guns loaded, their hatred against anyone not lilly-white or right-wing crazy, or you are a complete idiot. Personally, I am a bit tired of trying to figure out which you are. It doesn't matter. The message has gotten garbled. Whether a genius or a moron, just go away... or just shut up.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Piece, on earth.

This originally meant "ban the bomb" when that was fashionable and necessary. I don't know how much it helped or who decided to co-opt it to be the "peace" symbol. Maybe it needs to revert to the original meaning. True peace will never occur with the constant threat of militarization. Banning the bomb and the START treaty are all well an good, but as Ncholas Kristof wrote in yesterday's New York Times ("The Big (Military) Taboo"), the United States spends nearly as much on military power as every other country in the world combined. That's insane.

Not only is Kristof a compassionate journalist. He is also a gifted writer. This line popped out at me: "...if you're carrying an armload of hammers, every problem looks like a nail."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I don't know much about art...

Of course, I'm laughing.

( from the Sunday New York Times, December 19, 2010--"Big Bucks and Been-There Fare")
... "food artist" Jennifer Rubell, daughter of big-deal collectors Don and Mera Rubell, continued to draw big art crowds to her eatable installations. Slaughterhouse-worth of animals have been tortured and killed to enable Ms. Rubell's career, and everyone smiles and digs in. The Brooklyn Museum, which these days snaps up any bones it's tossed, recently hosted one of these things.

* * *

So many ribs, so few assholes.

Is that Mario Batali in the orange shirt?

Okay. My first reaction is, "are you shittin' me?" My second reaction is wondering why Ms. Rubell hasn't been arrested and why hasn't the Brooklyn Museum been shut down for inhumane treatment to animals?

I'm not an animal nut. Honest. Well, I didn't use to be. My wife is and well, stuff rubs off. But this? This is so fucking obvious. Which reminds me of what Henry Chinaski hated about Eddie the bartender in Barfly; his obviousness. Here is this spoiled ├╝berliberal Jewish girl, the daughter of art collectors, no less. Can you say 'privilege'? Of course you can. Unfortunately, Jennifer has not artistic talent or ability, so she reverts to the age-old desire to shock. Sadly, her second sin is that what she is doing is ultimately boring. Her first sin, of course, is her amateur butchering in the name of art. It kind of makes you want to retire the word, or come up with another that one must qualify to use. A "food artist" is someone who works on the set of commercials or a movie. A "food artist" is not someone who "tortures and kills" animals for her own and those of her lofty strata amusement. There isn't much difference between her and Michael Vick, other than he's black and watched by millions on Sundays and she's a white Jewish girl, (yet another one giving Jewish girls a bad name), with every advantage in life, but one. Lenny Bruce danced around the idea in his Thank You Masked Man bit when he said that "without polio, Salk was a putz." I don't know. To me, it strikes me that every disease needs a host, or hostess. Whether it's Jennifer Rubell or Mitch McConnell... there's enough illness to go 'round. Can you say ‘ Emperors' New Clothes'?

Hang on while I Photoshop the Brooklyn Museum in flames.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Out of Our Heads

The clamor seems to be subsiding a bit. "Life," by Keith Richards is now on the decline on the bestsellers' list, being unseated by George Bush's memoir. It's hard to figure who is the bigger fabricator. I imagine Bushie comes off more flatteringly in his "autobiography." I quote it because, really, someone else wrote the book, just as Keith's book would not be nearly as readable without the input by Robert Fox. I bought "Life" when it first came out and read it soon after. I wanted to like it. Keith has been to me, as with so many of my generation and those that frustratingly pick at an electric guitar, unconsciously striking a Keith pose, up-striking a chord, a little too loud for my tinnitus tinged ears. I won't find out how Bushie comes across in his book. I do have to admit, Keith did not come out all that well. Most reviews of the book have been positive. The preview in the December issue of Uncut, the British music magazine was not so generous. Evidently, a lot of the revelatory info has been known to the rabid followers of Keith and the Stones. For me, what came across as a bad little boy, who grew up into an isolated, coddled and ultimately damaged adulthood. Keith turned 67 today. He was just 21 when the Stones hit the big time. He went from very little to luxury hotels, country manors, blue Bentleys and everything else that went with untold wealth, including any and all drugs available. He speaks warmly of Gram Parsons, who, for all we know, died as much from hero worship as heroin. Brian Jones and Mick Jagger do not fare as well. Brian, who he credits as the impetus behind the band was a thoroughly loathsome creature, who practically asked that Keith steal the affections (and oral expertise) of Anita Pallenberg. The fact that Keith refers to Mick as a superficial prima-donna is overwhelmed by Keith's cattiness. You get the sense that there is not a remorseful bone in Keith's ravaged body. Nor, for that matter is there any sense of consequence. The gun and knife play just isn't all that amusing. Neither is his referring to women as "bitches." He admits to his heroin addiction but never goes near the core of it, describing the feeling and the coming off it. He makes it sound both inevitable and somehow not horrible. After all, he reasons, he shot up in his muscles, he didn't mainline. He makes it sound like he fell off the wagon as many times as he went cold turkey. Nowhere does he bring up his drinking. That evidently isn't a problem. Knowing what I know about Ry Cooder and his influence on Keith's "self-discovered" alternate guitar tunings is, at best disingenuous. And, for all I know, he has taken off the 6th string of his trademark Telecaster(s) to make playing easier, with no significance to musicality. Whatever. After reading "Life," I came away knowing more and like less of Keith Richard.

The same can't be said for the two most recent books on Dylan. I don't necessarily know any more about Bob than I knew before I read Sean Wilentz's book, "Bob Dylan in America," and Greil Marcus's "Bob Dylan." Mr. Wilentz's book reminded me of the predominant problem with most books I have read about Dylan. The adoration gets in the way of clear, informational writing. I did find it interesting, though that "They're coming to take me away (ha-ha)" and "Rainy Day Women 12 and 35" have the same drumbeat.

Mr. Marcus, on the other hand, reveals himself as a sort of navel-gazing throwback to early rock journalism, always treading the fine line of taking itself too seriously. But then again, Marcus isn't a throwback. He's the real deal. His book is subtitled, "Writings 1968-2010." Suffice to say, the early stuff doesn't hold up. What passed for journalism in Creem Magazine over forty years ago is both naive, and out of date. He recalls the joy of coming home with a new album, tearing off the shrink wrap and putting it on the turntable... and listening to it, over and over again. He doesn't acknowledge accessorizing his listening experience with cannabis, but the passages in the book reek of it.

There are a lot of Dylan songs that frankly, I don't know what he is talking about. The songs have unfolded for me over time. Some have made me work a little to get it. And, honestly, I can't be objective about Dylan. He is, to me, an artist of such tremendous output and impact on those around him and on the planet in general. He has no equal and he never fails to amaze, impress and provoke. The first installment of what has been reported to be an eventual trilogy, "Chronicles, Volume One," reveals some of the intricacy, multiplicity and origins of its author. It may yet be the best book about Dylan.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Let 'em Eat Cake

Senator McConnell as Marie Antoinette

I could say it. But I've already said it. So has damned near everyone else. On one side or the other. Everyone in America believes the country is going to hell in a handbasket, for (at least) two different reasons. My posts have grown more infrequent and I either need to write about other things, they will pretty much end. Politics in this country are, for the time being, a lot like the dungeness crabs I shelled the other day; they smell bad and can make you sick. Oh, and one more thing, they can kill you. No one has talked about the suicide rate lately, but you might find it interesting. Oh, and watch it rise as Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor and John Boehner cut unemployment benefits and cater to the ├╝ber-rich. Entertainment is only one reason why The Walking Dead, on AMC is/was such a huge hit. Sure, zombies are big, but so is fear of an apocalyptic breakdown. To quote David Byrne, "this ain't no party/this ain't no disco/thgis ain't no foolin' around." It's the end of the world as you know it. I feel somewhat consoled by the Oregon darkness and the rural semi-isolation, but I won't be safe for long. The politics will become like an organism growing out of control in a really big Petri dish. It will no longer be a case of the players. Senators and congressmen won't matter. It will be the will of the people. Of the thing. The "dittoheads" as Rush calls them. They're already like zombies, buying into Mrs. Palin's mavericky gibberish... and, for chrissake, really... what does McConnell look like if not the undead? John Kyl is straight out of Central Casting and Boehner belongs on an ad for Chesterfield. Chicken crap, indeed.

The Marshall Islands are disappearing into the ocean (really). The government is trying to wrest the control of Alaska from the Alaskans in order to preserve some of the ice for the polar bears, whose habitat is literally melting away. It's so far beyond America... or any contrived borders. It's more than the retirement age in France or the tuitions in England. And it's more than the malignant disease and devastation in Haiti. It's more than the raped women and children in Africa or the starvation throughout regions of Africa and Asia. It's the earth. I usually misquote her, but one of the most memorable things my wife ever said to me was that man fucks up the earth a little every day he lives on it, or something to that effect.

I am really glad that I am as old as I am, and don't have children. This is an insane world to grow up in, let alone, grow old in.

As it is, I have found myself turning away from television news. I am in a self-induced 12-step program to wean myself away from Keith Olbermann and even Jon Stewart. It's relentless and unfunny. Better I should wax on about the weather, photography or guitar porn.

Guitar porn. Hmmm... stay tuned.