Monday, May 16, 2005


Cleaning the apartment yet again, and happened across a book I'd picked up last year when I was trying my damndest to gain a better appreciation for this 'spoken word' stuff. The book, Word of Mouth, is an NPR-produced compilation of all sorts of artists.

I'm not smart enough to appreciate really complex prose - yet, but I one poem from the book pretty much knocked me on my ass. Googling the poem found at least one other person who'd heard of it. This is 'Married', by Jack Gilbert:


I came back from the funeral and crawled
around the apartment, crying hard,
searching for my wife's hair.
For two months got them from the drain,
from the vacuum cleaner, under the refrigerator,
and off the clothes in the closet.
But after other Japanese women came,
there was no way to be sure which were
hers, and I stopped. A year later,
repotting Michiko's avocado, I find
a long black hair tangled in the dirt.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Awesome website. Set-up quick. Gets you the info you need. Tells you why you need to know it. And tells you how to take action. Good stuff.

The Armenian Genocide

One of the first steps to stopping genocide is to have it officially recognized as such when it occurs. Walking home from work the other day I passed the Turkish Embassy where about 20 protesters had gathered to urge the government of Turkey to investigate, recognize, and apologize for the genocide that was carried out by the Turkish government during WW I, between 1915 and 1918.

The protesters handed me a nice, laminated flyer that had a brief synopsis of the events of the genocide and included three links for more info:

They were happy to know that I was aware of the Armenian Genocide, and I don't doubt that it was only through the efforts of folks like themselves that I did.

IRI Keeping Busy

We've talked before about the International Republican Institute - yet another U.S. 'NGO' that provides 'foreign assistance'. They're currently keeping busy in the former Soviet republics - trying to bring the rest of them under U.S. control.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Music To Hear Before You Die

Got introduced to a lot of good music lately, then started introducing myself to some new stuff. The conclusion: I've been listening to sh*t for 32 years.

Here's my list of songs you must hear before you die. Some old. Some new. Most are non Top 40-ish, which is probably why I had never heard them.

I realized there are at least two kinds of music snobs:
1) Those who know a lot about music and are very elitest in their music listening, refusing to even discuss what gets played on the radio.
2) Those who know not a lot about music and are very elitest in their music listening, refusing to even discuss what doesn't get played on the radio.

The first seemed obvious to me, but then I thought about how long I've known about the existence of a band called Radiohead, and how long I'd managed to avoid listening to a single song by them - about 10 years. I finally listened, and was crushed that I'd ignored them for so long, because some of their stuff is really outrageously good. I was the second type of music snob.

This list is meant as just an introduction into the non-Top 40 world of music, with specific attention paid to new music I've recently learned about, with a couple of older ones thrown in that I did actually know about. Most are just damn good, high-quality songs - either the music, the lyrics, or something truly quality and unique about a particular song. A couple, though, are just damn fun.

I won't try to speak for the bands themselves, as in some cases I've only listened to a couple of their tunes. For what it's worth, though, I have listened to many songs of at least a few of these bands, and have been very pleased.

Have fun!

Amazing Meet Project - Stupid Of Me
Bright Eyes - Landlocked Blues
Cafe Tacuba - No Controles
Calexico - Alone Again Or
Castanets - Cathedral 4 (The Unbreaking Branch and Song)
Death Cab For Cutie - Title and Registration
Delgados - Accused of Stealing
Fugazi - Waiting Room
Jeff Buckley - Grace
Josh Ritter - Kathleen
Make-Up - I Am Pentagon
Matthew Good Band - Everything Is Automatic
Miles Hunt - Fixer
Modest Mouse - Float On
Morphine - Good
My Morning Jacket - Golden
Pixies - Where Is My Mind?
Radiohead - Let Down
Scissor Sisters - Filthy and Gorgeous
Serge Gainsbourg - Ford Mustang
Snow Patrol - Run
Sufjan Stevens - Romulus
Tea Party - Fire In The Head
Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - Shake The Sheets
The Postal Service - The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
Travis - Turn
The Arcade Fire - Wake Up
The Decemberists - July, July!
The Flaming Lips - She Don't Use Jelly
The Go! Team - The Power Is On
The Watchmen - Absolutely Anytime
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps

She Is

Found a pamphlet of spoken word material I bought one night for $5 a couple of years ago. Best $5 I ever spent.

One performer stood out. He went by 'Komplex', his crew was 5th L, though I don't think he's chillin with them anymore.

Anyway, listening to some Ani Difranco lately made me remember how much I enjoyed spoken word/slam poetry stuff when I actually used to get after it (she's coming to DC this summer, apparently - might finally check her out).

To further help in re-igniting the fire, I stumbled upon this jam and it was way off the hook - some of the best slam I've ever heard - too much fun. Been trying to get an audio recording, but no dice yet.

Back to Komplex, whose poem 'She Is' really made me think that this Poetry/Spoken Word/Slam stuff was worth paying attention to. Of course, you'll have to imagine this poetry being delivered with the perfect tone and inflection and all that other stuff that true lyricists make look easy:

                     She Is

She is...the rhythm my heart dances to
I'm living for what she's given, she is who my heart answers to
And when she is not around and her sound cannot be heard
I put my eyelids down and renew her last words.

My word, I'm saying!
I heard her mention my name when she was praying.
When I heard it I felt it,
the sensation was one in the same.
When the words hit I melted, all elation, no shame.
I don't have to impress, I can just be myself
and when my soul can't rest, she helps me free myself.
If this life was just a movie she is the superstar!
I'm trying to make part two be about who we are.

To speak on who she is is a must.
But words are too weak to do her just.
She is more than words, more than a song could manage.
To me she is the birth of a whole new language.
Where two communicate heart to heart.
And you salute your mate with harps and larks.

A complementary design makes a couple a pair.
I want to intertwine hers with mine over a couple of years,
a couple of decades, a couple of centuries.
I want to be coupled with her for a couple of infinities.
For she is the essence of every fantasy pure.
Her presence makes a man demand to see more.
She is genius at academic love.
She is Venus in atomic glove
She is...She is...She just is.


Went to an article at the WSJ Online, and saw a big 'ol ad for

Mikhail Khodorkovsky is the Russian tycoon/oil billionaire who was Putin's political prisoner. Dude's got a legal team bigger than OJ, Jackson, and the Ramseys put together.

Tough situation. Dude's a political prisoner. That's wrong. But dudes'a Russian oil billionaire. What exactly was he doing while millions of his countrymen were starving? And is it fair that this dude can hire 20 lawyers from several continents? What about the human rights lawyers who are always getting tossed in the clink, tortured, and disappeared in Africa, South America, and other places - sometimes at the hands of the CIA?

On a related note, Raimondo has a column up on America's fifth column that's pretty good.

Monday, May 09, 2005

CQ Weekly Horror

They're handing out free CQ Weekly rags at the Dupont Circle metro today. Long story short, it went like this as I quickly thumbed through it:
- white guy
- white guy
- white guy
- american indian casino guy
- white guy with white lawyer
- lots of white guys
- more white guys
- horror.

This whiteness is important in that the CQ (Congressional Quarterly) Weekly covers what these gangster pols are doing with our tax money. A bunch of old white guys. That's America, right?

What was the horror, you ask - besides the fact that our country is being run by a bunch of crazed, greedy monsters? Here.

We can't let even the silliest of articles go unchallenged when they're so blatantly dishonest:

This has to be the worst piece I've read in at least a week. Which liberals, exactly, did you overhear talking about how they expected the hypocritical Rethugs are.

I point you to a Tuesday, May 3, 6:22 PM post on Eschaton linking to Digby - who very clearly makes the case about Rethug 'phony sanctimony'.

And this is not an isolated incident - if you comb Eschaton or DailyKos or the myriad other liberal blogs over the past several months - just after any new outrage by a self-proclaimed 'traditional values conservative' - you'll see that the response from the liberal blogosphere is always the same - ripping the Rethugs on their fake-ass sanctimony - never, of course, actually expecting the Rethugs to be called on it by the corporate media, nor their Rethug colleagues.

Seriously - what world are were you living in to have penned this disaster?

Yours in shock and horror,


Oops. Typos galore in that one. Shouldn't have to waste three minutes of my morning chasing down this sh*t - and I do mean sh*t.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

John Rocker - Still a Racist Loser published an article on loserboy Rocker - dude's still trying to make a comeback. It might be heroic if he wasn't still such an ignorant, racist bore.

So, his PR lady, Debi Curzio, sets up a website for the loser - and loser-boy keeps running his mouth, saying more outrageous shit. Since the dude can't take the heat of having his own emailbox, he lets Debi get them all. Nice. Cowardly - as I expected.

I decided to drop her a little line because of something Rocker said in the article (I've chopped the URL's a bit for formatting):


I'm managing to be calm right now only because I'm extremely tired. I just made the awful mistake of reading the 'Foreign territory' article by Wayne Drehs on (link below). I know that ignorance is bliss. I know we are all ignorant of lots of things - important things, and I'm no different than anybody else, but I've never made racist remarks to a national sports magazine, and I actually have and continue to make strong efforts to decrease my ignorance on all sorts of topics - including racism and associated areas of study.

In the aforementioned article, Rocker contends that Hank Aaron and Jackie Robinson didn't have to put up with six years 'of crap'. This statement is at least as outrageous as anything he said about people on the No. 7 train. Aaron and Robinson never got the chance to *not* be hated, as Rocker did. They were born black in America - they were born hated. Nor could Aaron and Robinson hope to end their persecution after only six years. They couldn't hope to erase their blackness just because they felt they'd suffered enough, and 'hey, how much am I supposed to take?'

We Americans can be a pretty dumb lot, but some things you just can't put past us. Rocker has not changed. He will not change. He's not interested in changing. He thinks his way is the right way. No amount of propaganda will shake our conviction that Rocker is the strongest of believers in white, American supremacy.

He should immediately apologize for these outrageous remarks. That a professional, white baseball player who first hit controversy in his public life around the year 2000 wants to pretend to know what it was like to be a black baseball player - the first black baseball player of 'the modern era' - in the 1950's is the height of arrogance and ignorance.

If this loser Rocker wants to learn about why people still hate him - and we do - tell him to read a book on the black players he so carelessly tries to use as a backstop for his own abuse - try this one on Jackie Robinson:

And when he's done with that, tell him to read this small book on race - so he can pretend to begin to understand the magnitude of his crimes:

Truly despicable.

ESPN Article:

Quote from article:
“I've taken a lot of crap from a lot of people. Probably more than anybody in the history of this sport. I know Hank [Aaron] and Jackie [Robinson] took a good deal of crap, but I guarantee it wasn't for six years. I just keep thinking: How much am I supposed to take? ”
— John Rocker

This guy just needs to go away.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Outrage at Georgia High School

Drudge tips us off to this story where a student was suspended from his high school for talking on his cellphone - to his mom - while his mom was serving in Iraq - and she called him - on his lunch hour.

I tried to call the school, but couldn't get through, so wrote an email to the principal and two assistant principals:

Olivia / Alfred / Wendell,

I have seen plenty of ignorance. Lots of incompetence. And far too much injustice. Which brings us to where we are today.

What you all have collectively done by suspending this kid for TALKING ON THE CELLPHONE is the most outrageous story I've heard of in the past two months - and that's a LOT of outrageousness, considering I get news from all over the world.

Is it just 'rules are rules'? And, if so, then why not expel Mr. Kevin Francois? If y'all cop to making an allowance for Mr. Francois's mother being in Iraq, then you are opening yourself up to criticism that you could have actually employed a little more compassion in dealing with Mr. Francois's 'defiant and disorderly' misconduct.

Which makes me wonder what y'all actually expected of Mr. Francois? Was he supposed to salute upon being ordered to hang up on his mom? Beg the king's forgiveness? What, exactly, is going on down there in Columbus, GA?

Who's the dimwit who originally interpreted the events? And who are the dimwits who handed down the suspension order? An enraged America wants to know.

Could y'all honestly argue that allowing Mr. Francois to skate would set a bad precedent, thus causing cell phone mayhem in the school? Sure - there are other kids in the school with parents in Iraqistan - so? Deal with it. It's YOUR JOB. Not allowing cell phones for kids with parents in Iraq is BAD POLICY. Fix it.

Whoever is responsible for this incredible injustice should be suspended indefinitely from Spencer, and further be required to apologize to Mr. Francois, his mother, the community, and the world, before being allowed again to 'teach'.


Yours in horror and disgust,


Spencer High School contact info here.

UPDATE: It's scary what we could accomplish together as a country if the Rethugs would stop being such cowardly, racist, warmongering, elitists interested only in serving the elites of our society regardless of how much damage it does to non-elites.

I presume everyone, racist Republicans and otherwise, jumped to action when Drudge linked to this story. The GA High School has reduced it's suspension of Mr. Francois from 10 days to 3 days. That's not enough to satisfy me. It should be Wendell and his cohorts who are suspended for 3 days - if not longer - like, forever.

I'm glad I copied Assistant Principal Wendell on my email because he sounds like he's as guilty as the rest of them. They should all be fired. Seriously.