Saturday, September 24, 2005

Stinky la Bouche


You know how I know we're gay? Because we loved our little baby cat.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

This is Our President

By the way, this is during an active session at the U.N. His note reveals his deep thoughts on international diplomacy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Look Into His Eyes

Are these the eyes of a Chief Justice?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Katrina Brings Out Some Honest Reactions

You never hear people tell the truth in politics or on TV anymore. Politics is all about sticking to the message. Don't say anything off message or you will be shamed like Howard Dean was. TV is all about desperate, affluent white people or shoveling forward the politically expedient and patriotic news message of the moment. This state of media dialog could be called the new "politically correct." Just like the old, early-90s version it's about censoring what you are really thinking, now because of fear of other people's reaction caused by post-9/11 sensitivity--rechanneled into an unquestioning patriotism.

Here are three recent notable exceptions to the pattern:

The Mayor of New Orleans reveals some pretty harsh truths early on (click on the audio): BBC News covers the then live WWL-AM radio interview with Mayor Ray Nagin

Anderson Cooper freaks out at the pre-scripted, robotic Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu: CNN's Anderson Cooper

Kanye West gets some good punches in during the benefit concert last night. With Mike Meyers looking like he wants to go back to friendly Canada and Chris Tucker sticking to the script, Kanye says that George W Bush doesn't care about black people: Kanye West rocks the NBC Benefit Concert

Could these be the first cracks in the neo-PC armor? I love it!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

More Southern Sadness

I saw R.L. in NYC a few years ago. Must say I feel priviledged to have seen him play and owe a debt of thanks to Fat Possum for making him known to me.

From Billboard:

Blues Veteran R.L. Burnside Dies

By Chris Morris, L.A.

Blues veteran R.L. Burnside, who experienced a late career renaissance after being rediscovered by Fat Possum Records in the 1990s, died today in a Memphis hospital. He was 78. Fans wishing to make a donation can write the Freeland & Freeland Trust Account at P.O. Box 269, Oxford, MS 38655. All proceeds will benefit Burnside's widow, Alice Mae. Burnside is also survived by 12 children and numerous grandchildren.

Born in Oxford, Miss., on Nov. 21, 1926, Burnside worked as a farmer in nearby Coldwater, Miss. As a youth, he was exposed to the blues of such local masters as Fred McDowell and Joe Callicott and began playing in his late teens.

"I watched him," Burnside said of McDowell in a 1996 interview with Billboard. "We lived pretty close to him at one time. I watched him and picked up a lot of stuff from him (and guitarist) Ranie Barnett. They was guys that was all around, close. I watched them play, and I kinda put my style with it.'

In 1967, fife-and-drum bandleader Othar Turner led folklorist George Mitchell to Burnside, who recorded several performances released by Arhoolie Records in 1968. For many years thereafter, he performed regularly in local juke joints, including one run by bluesman (and future labelmate) Junior Kimbrough.

By the '70s, his notoriety had spread to the point that he toured in Europe and recorded for Swing Master in the Netherlands and Arion in France.

It wasn't until the '90s that Burnside gained fame in the U.S. He appeared in director Robert Mugge's 1991 documentary "Deep Blues" and on the 1992 Atlantic soundtrack album. He cut two acclaimed albums for Fat Possum; the records, "Bad Luck City" (1993) and "Too Bad Jim" (1994), were produced by writer Robert Palmer, whose 1981 book was the basis for Mugge's film. In 1996, he also recorded an album with underground rock act Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, "Ass Pocket of Whiskey" (Matador).

After 1999 heart surgery, Burnside kept his appearance schedule to a minimum, but continued to release music for Fat Possum, including last year's "A Bothered Mind," which debuted at No. 6 on Billboard's Top Blues Albums chart.

Ah, Crystal Meth, How Did We Ever Live Without You?

First, enjoy this story from Popbitch:

>> Bunny's too tight to mention <<
Sydney man loves rabbits to death

An Australian man has been arrested after
having sex with 18 rabbits. Sydney police have
charged Brendan McMahon, 36, with bestiality
and aggravated cruelty, after finding a pile
of sodomised rabbit corpses dumped in a lane
in The Rocks.

In his defence, McMahon claimed that he had sex
with the rabbits while high on crystal meth.
His lawyer unsuccessfully applied for bail,
stating that McMahon was willing to surrender
his passport and would undertake not to go
within 50 metres of a pet shop.

And then check out before/after glamor shots:
Got Meth?

So this is why I have to have all my vital information taken by the pharmacist when I want to buy some Nyquil!

Katrina Rant (A Series of Hopefully Only One Installment)

I've been talking to a few people about the Katrina aftermath. At the same time, I've been reading an essay by Neal Stephenson about operating systems that has one portion that seems appropriate to what is going on in the media in their Katrina coverage. Stephenson talks about how American culture has evolved from a command line culture to an GUI culture. What he is talking about--and I am definitely going to stretch it a bit here--is the fact that as our culture has become more information concentrated we have sought out and conditioned ourselves to provide shortcuts to everything from dealing with computers to learning (Kids can't learn the old way--they get too bored! Give them learning activities to make it fun!) to how we use entertainment as a surrogate for real experience. So when something like Katrina comes along, the media presents it to us as if it were The Day After Tomorrow or Volcano or something churned out of Hollywood. It isn't a real experience anymore, but a scripted event where the audience expects things to follow a certain path to an uplifting, if not happy, ending.

Obviously, conflict occurs when CNN or Fox can't get the kind of story it wants. The omens were bad for this fairytale scenario early on. Fox caught a New Orleans man walking his dog early on as the storm was approaching. When asked why he was still there, instead of some courageous words about standing tough, Shepard Smith got a little spicey NOLA response.

Since then, the coverage has veered from tragic to uplifting to violent. Sounds like good Hollywood fluff, right? Keep your eyes glued--what's going to happen next? But there are some subtextual things not being talked about as well.

Here's a quote from Jack Shafer, Slate's resident media crank/voice of reason:

But we aren't one united race, we aren't one united class, and Katrina didn't hit all folks equally. By failing to acknowledge upfront that black New Orleanians—and perhaps black Mississippians—suffered more from Katrina than whites, the TV talkers may escape potential accusations that they're racist. But by ignoring race and class, they boot the journalistic opportunity to bring attention to the disenfranchisement of a whole definable segment of the population. What I wouldn't pay to hear a Fox anchor ask, "Say, Bob, why are these African-Americans so poor to begin with?"
Lost in the Flood @ Slate

Boing Boing and others show how, depending on who is writing the captions, the "looters" can either be Jean Valjean or common thieves--and race definitely is a factor.
Black People Loot, White People Find @ Boing Boing

Our president's response, as with most issues that don't involve spreading his religion of democracy to those he deems in need of it, has been fairly vague. It was reported that he cut his vacation short because of Katrina, but all we get is the brilliant observation that it's going to be years before the areas affected can rebuild and that looting is bad.

Meanwhile, he's off playing guitar, still in some country boy bubble that prevents him from acting like a real leader. All the while the Superdome is starting to sound like Thunderdome--or maybe Iraq--if you take the news reports at face value. Or even if you don't. Either way it's interesting and sad to see how people react to survive when their basic necessities are taken away. (I don't want to diminish the horrible things that are going on in Louisiana, Mississippi, and the FLA, but parts of Iraq--including Baghdad--have been without stable water and electricity for over TWO YEARS now!)

To add to the frustrating "othering" that has gone on post-Katrina is the cynical throw away jab that I've heard from a few people--that "at least this happened in Red States." First of all, doesn't everyone know that this Red-Blue mentality is just the kind of thinking that people who want voters to be neatly categorized into boxes want you to spread? That way no issue is ever really discussed, it's just thrown into a Red or a Blue box so that Americans don't have to think beyond what's on TV tonight. Secondly, how callous are you that you would even make someone so different from you based on their voting habits that you can no longer see beyond your own political views to see them as human beings. On the other side of the political spectrum there was one group that claimed god was punishing NOLA for hosting a gay and lesbian gathering. Congratulations to those who revel in the Red states getting hit--you're in good company!

Enough ranting. Go back and watch CNN. Shed a tear on cue, and don't think about all that stuff that is going on underneath the coverage. It might ruin the ending.