May 30, 2003

Blues for Dante Alighieri
-- by Kim Addonizio

....without hope we live on in desire....

Our room was too small, the sheets scratchy and hot—
Our room was a kind of hell, we thought,
and killed a half-liter of Drambuie we'd bought.

We walked over the Arno and back across.
We walked all day, and in the evening, lost,
argued and wandered in circles. At last

we found our hotel. The next day we left for Rome.
We found the Intercontinental, and a church full of bones,
and ate takeout Chinese in our suite, alone.

It wasn't a great journey, only a side trip.
It wasn't love for eternity, or any such crap;
it was just something that happened....

We packed suitcases, returned the rental car.
We packed souvenirs, and repaired to the airport bar
and talked about pornography, and movie stars.

Its Just the Wasted Years So Close Behind

In December 1965, Barbara Rubin took Andy Warhol to see The Velvet Underground at the Café Bizarre in
Greenwich Village. He liked them. They started rehearsing at the Factory. During the next few months Warhol taped almost three hours of rehearsals and performances by the band.

Miss Joanie Lee, recorded in January 1966, is one of three unreleased songs recorded at that time that were
to have been included in the 'Deluxe Edition' mono and stereo double CD of The Velvet Undergroud & Nico. An
unspecified legal dispute led to the track being dropped.

But you can download the 12 minute "Miss Joanie Lee' here.

"A good deal of tyranny goes by the name of protection."
-- Crystal Eastman

Krugman on the Bush Administrations' continued propaganda (emphasis added):

"Last fall the former head of the C.I.A.'s counterterrorism efforts warned that 'cooked intelligence' was finding its way into official pronouncements. This week a senior British intelligence official told the BBC that under pressure from Downing Street, a dossier on Iraqi weapons had been 'transformed' to make it 'sexier' [sort of the same thing that currently has the New York Times in hot water] — uncorroborated material from a suspect source was added to make the threat appear imminent.

"It's now also clear that George W. Bush had no intention of reaching a diplomatic solution. According to The Financial Times, White House sources confirm that the decision to go to war was reached in December: 'A tin-pot dictator was mocking the president. It provoked a sense of anger inside the White House,' a source told the newspaper.

"Administration officials are now playing down the whole W.M.D. issue. Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, recently told Vanity Fair that the decision to emphasize W.M.D.'s had been taken for 'bureaucratic reasons . . . because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.' But it was the W.M.D. issue that stampeded the Senate into giving Mr. Bush carte blanche to wage war."

May 29, 2003

Sing a Song of Praise For Your Elders (or Don't)

Anyone else having a hard time liking Dennis Miller these days? Rick Chandler, in Black Table, provides this discussion between the conservative, George W. Bush hyping Miller, and the 1988 Miller, who rightly despises the new him. An excerpt:

DENNIS MILLER (1988): Which brings us to your weekly HBO show. I just realized that it has something in common with the great variety talk shows of the past, in that they are all now cancelled. Perhaps in retrospect getting career advice from Joe Piscopo was not wise.

DENNIS MILLER (2003): It's all under control, younger me. I've reinvented myself. Fifteen years from now, you'll be very proud of yourself.

DENNIS MILLER (1988): I have to tell you, and I say this with the greatest warmth and affection: fuck you. (Flips through pages in folder). The Factor with Bill O'Reilly. Hardball with Chris Matthews. Scarborough Country … I'm not even sure what the fuck that is, but suddenly I feel like a pack of Cools.

DENNIS MILLER (2003): Let me explain …

DENNIS MILLER (1988): Firing Line … you're on cable more than hotel porn. And it says here that you've been spewing conservative rhetoric at a rate that would make Joe McCarthy choke on his noon hoagie. It says here that, on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, that you said: "George Bush has allowed us to respect the presidency again." Is this my future? Is this the promise of all those hard years at a low-level state university? (Looks under bed) And am I still wearing white socks with loafers?!

DENNIS MILLER (2003): Look, I just think that as I get older, it's only natural to come around to a more conservative way of looking at things. I just don't want to live in a world where Bill Clinton is the good guy and Rudy Guliani is the bad guy. And I've come to love George W. After 9/11, I respect a guy who is going to go out and kick a little ass. I'm sorry, we were attacked, and when we're done with Iraq it should look like Superman's dad's apartment on Krypton.

DENNIS MILLER (1988): But as Stewart said -- you know, the guy who still has a show -- Iraq didn't attack us. It's as if, after Pearl Harbor, we went after Australia. Hey, they're easy to find, have a central government, and kangaroos won't put up much of a fight if you have enough tanks. Your simplistic, reactionary logic is more suited to a caller on the Dr. Laura Schlessinger Show than someone of my intelligence. Look, my appeal has always been my ability to turn to the camera, wink and say "Are you folks buying any of this shit?" Now you've made me the King of Assholia, to quote myself. What have you done to me? Jesus, your mind is now as narrow as your prostate. You drove your career off the side of the road like Corey Feldman on an all-night crank and sterno binge, you feel as if Hollywood has betrayed you because Bordello of Blood wasn't on "Ebert and Roeper's eagerly-awaited video release list," and now you're running to the Republican teat. It's not the first time anyone's ever crawled up Rupert Murdoch's ass in times of career difficulty, and it won't be the last, but it will be the first time a member of the president's fan club will have the following quote on his resume: "George W. Bush surrounds himself with smart people the way a donut surrounds itself with a hole."

DENNIS MILLER (2003): Oh yeah (hee hee), I remember that one. From a couple years back.

DENNIS MILLER (1988): Look, this grumpy old man routine may look good in the short term, but it doesn't have legs. If you don't believe me, take it from this guy. Come on in, Dave.

DAVID SPADE (1988): Hi.

DENNIS MILLER (1988): See? A moment of wry snarkiness, a lifetime of shameful regret.

DENNIS MILLER (2003): (Pulls covers up to neck, shudders). Make him go away!

DENNIS MILLER (1988): We were all scared when those planes swan-dived into the towers, OK? But what separates real Americans from the faux variety is that real Americans don't turn in their spines to the hatcheck lady in times of stress. People in this country today hear the word terrorist and immediately snap into action -- which means locking themselves in the loo, defecating on the Constitution and using the Bill of Rights to wipe their ass. We're made of better stuff than that, and all the shrieking Rush Limbaughs in the world are not worth one brave man who will stand up and say, "hey, the emperor is starkers, and besides that, he wants all of Yemen's oil." I wasn't around, but I'm pretty sure the guys at Valley Forge weren't eating sautéed rat so that George W. could attempt a three-point landing on an aircraft carrier moored three miles off the coast of Catalina. We have to respond to terrorism, but the problem is that we're running around like the lynch mob in The Ox-Bow Incident, and when Hank Fonda stands up and says we got the wrong guy, Jane Darwell whacks him on the head with a gun butt and ships him off to Guantanamo. All I'm saying is that it's time to scrap the Merle Haggard diplomacy, OK? Oh, and the reason we haven't found any weapons of mass destruction is that they're all in a warehouse in Topeka waiting for the next right-wing militia asshat to work his hatred of the federal government to a sufficient boiling point due to the fact that the local TV station has once again cancelled Dukes of Hazzard. While we're running around the world like Barney Fife at a cross walkers convention, it's good to know that our schools are shit, our economy is floundering, and they'll have universal health care in Kabul before we have it here. Ah fuck it, where's my propeller beanie?

I Go Back to May 1937
--- Sharon Olds

I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,
I see my father strolling out
under the ochre sandstone arch, the
red tiles glinting like bent
plates of blood behind his head, I
see my mother with a few light books at her hip
standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks with the
wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its
sword-tips black in the May air,
they are about to graduate, they are about to get married,
they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are
innocent, they would never hurt anybody.
I want to go up to them and say Stop,
don't do it--she's the wrong woman,
he's the wrong man, you are going to do things
you cannot imagine you would ever do,
you are going to do bad things to children,
you are going to suffer in ways you never heard of,
you are going to want to die. I want to go
up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it,
her hungry pretty blank face turning to me,
her pitiful beautiful untouched body,
his arrogant handsome blind face turning to me,
his pitiful beautiful untouched body,
but I don't do it. I want to live. I
take them up like the male and female
paper dolls and bang them together
at the hips like chips of flint as if to
strike sparks from them, I say
Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it

May 28, 2003

Homer Simpson to be named an honorary citizen of Winnipeg, Canada.
Interesting site listing information on dead rock stars.

Mark Jenkins on Run For Cover 2.

May 27, 2003

"you are a keyboard and I am a human"

The Torturizer, a highlight of the evening, killed all the right songs.

Run for cover was a success. Kudos to all involved for a very fun evening. You can view some pictures here and here.

While Treble Kickers were covering Pavement songs in DC, the Jicks were playing Pavement songs in Milwaukee.

May 24, 2003

Happy Birthday Bob

May 23, 2003

Watery, Domestic

New Owner to Lower Beer Prices

New Anaheim Angles owner Arte Moreno plans to cut into his own profits and reduce the price of beer at the stadium:

"Moreno wants to be called Arte and started off his tenure by giving the hats to top team officials. He already has spent time wandering around the stands and chatting with fans, and plans one immediate change.

"'Beer in the bleachers is $8.50. I can go around the corner and get one for a buck-and-half,' Moreno said. Asked if he was thinking about lowering the price, he said, 'I'm not thinking about it. I'm going to do it.'

"He smiled and turned to vice president Kevin Uhlich and said, 'I can do that, can't I?'"

inspired by arm sasser:

Three Poems by Bill Knott:

Gimmie Shelter

The thread or the theme
That holds this tune
Together is the same
One that rips it open--

The initial guitar
Continues splitting
The whole thing apart--
It is the lightning

Which Jagger complains
Of and which he seeks
Shelter from the rains
Of when it breaks--

We ourselves will shut
Our deepest sills against
His common cries but
There is no defense

To keep out that other
One behind him twinned
His starker brother
Whose keening strings skein

Hymns from one more
Murderous composer
Whose cause is war
Who tears down our door--

Shelter/the home
Is made of language--
But music sunders the poem--
Its rift is like a tongue

Trying to compile all
Words into one word--
One Babel whose walls
Fall beneath its standard--

What the fuck did that flag
Say--the opposite
Of peace/of the page
Is what I must write.

Nuremberg, U.S.A.

In this time and place, where "Bread and Circuses" has
become "Bread and Atrocities," to say 'I love you' is
like saying the latest propaganda phrase...'defoliation'...
'low yield blast'.
If bombing children is preserving peace, then
my fucking you is a war-crime.

(End) of Summer (1966)

I'm tired of murdering children.
Once, long ago today, they wanted to live;
now I feel Vietnam the place
where rigor mortis is beginning to set-in upon me.

I force silence down the throats of mutes,
down the throats of mating-cries of animals who know they are extinct.
The chameleon's death-soliloquy is your voice's pulse;
your scorched forehead a constellation's suicide-note.

A phonograph needle plunges through long black hair,
and stone drips slowly into our veins.
The earth has been squandered by the meek.
And upsidedown in the earth a dead man walks upon my soles when I walk

A baby is crying.
In the swaddling-pages
a baby.

'Don't cry. No Solomori's-sword can
divide you from the sky.
You are one. Fly.'

I'm tired, so tired.
I have sleep to do.
I have work to dream.

May 22, 2003

More from the Department of Lies and Betrayal

Was the Rescue of PFC Lynch Staged?


"After a thorough investigation, the British Broadcasting Corp. has presented a shocking dissection of the 'heroic' rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch, as reported by the U.S. military and a breathless American press.

"'Her story is one of the most stunning pieces of news management ever conceived,' the BBC concluded – the polite British way of saying 'liar, liar, pants on fire.'

"Though the Bush administration's shamelessly trumped-up claims about Iraq's alleged ties to Al Qaeda and 9/11 and its weapons of mass destruction take the cake for deceitful propaganda – grand strategic lies that allow the United States' seizure of Iraq's oil to appear to be an act of liberation – the sad case of Lynch's exploitation at the hands of military spinners illustrates that the truth once again was a casualty of war.

"Lynch, who says she has no memory of the events in question, has suffered enough in the line of duty without being reduced to a propaganda pawn.

"Sadly, almost nothing fed to reporters about either Lynch's original capture by Iraqi forces or her 'rescue' by U.S. forces turns out to be true. Consider the April 3 Washington Post story on her capture headlined 'She Was Fighting to the Death,' which reported, based on unnamed military sources, that Lynch 'continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds,' adding that she was also stabbed when Iraqi forces closed in.

"It has since emerged that Lynch was neither shot nor stabbed, but rather suffered accident injuries when her vehicle overturned. A medical checkup by U.S. doctors confirmed the account of the Iraqi doctors, who said they had carefully tended her injuries, a broken arm and thigh and a dislocated ankle, in contrast to U.S. media reports that doctors had ignored Lynch.

"Another report spread by news organizations nationwide claimed Lynch was slapped by an Iraqi security guard, and the U.S. military later insisted that an Iraqi lawyer witnessed this incident and informed them of Lynch's whereabouts. His credibility as a source, however, is difficult to verify because he and his family were whisked to the U.S., where he was immediately granted political asylum and has refused all interview requests. His future was assured, with a job with a lobbying firm run by former Republican Rep. Bob Livingstone that represents the defense industry, and a $500,000 book contract with HarperCollins, a company owned by Rupert Murdoch, whose Fox network did much to hype Lynch's story, as it did the rest of the war."

"But where the manipulation of this saga really gets ugly is in the premeditated manufacture of the rescue itself, which stains those who have performed real acts of bravery, whether in war or peacetime.

"Eight days after her capture, American media trumpeted the military's story that Lynch was saved by Special Forces that stormed the hospital and, in the face of heavy hostile fire, managed to scoop her up and helicopter her out.

"However, according to the BBC, which interviewed the hospital's staff, the truth appears to be that not only had Iraqi forces abandoned the area before the rescue effort but that the hospital's staff had informed the U.S. of this and made arrangements two days before the raid to turn Lynch over to the Americans. 'But as the ambulance, with Pvt. Lynch inside, approached the checkpoint, American troops opened fire, forcing it to flee back to the hospital. The Americans had almost killed their prize catch,' the BBC reported.

"'We were surprised,' Dr. Anmar Uday told the BBC about the supposed rescue. 'There was no military, there were no soldiers in the hospital. It was like a Hollywood film. [The U.S. forces] cried 'Go, go, go,' with guns and blanks without bullets, blanks and the sound of explosions,' Uday said. 'They made a show for the American attack on the hospital – [like] action movies [starring] Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan.'

"The footage from the raid, shot not by journalists but by soldiers with night-vision cameras, was fed in real time to the central command in Qatar. The video was artfully edited by the Pentagon and released as proof that a battle to free Lynch had occurred when it had not."

"This fabrication has already been celebrated by an A&E special and will soon be an NBC movie. The Lynch rescue story – a made-for-TV bit of official propaganda – will probably survive as the war's most heroic moment, despite proving as fictitious as the stated rationales for the invasion itself."
via game of chess:

As Other Countries Ease Drug Law, Congress is Poised to Slow Down U.S. Progress

Roll Call, the Capitol Hill Newspaper of Record --subscriber access only -- reported this morning that the Congress is considering a provision that would allow federal money to be used for partisan political campaigns against any type of drug reform. The measure would allow $1 Billion for the express purpose of defeating medical marijuana laws or pro-reform candidates. This money would have very loose controls, so it could also be used to defeat any candidate expressing opposition to our ridiculous, police state, drug laws. Naturally, the sponsor of this amendment, Rep. Mark Souder of Indiana, is from a state whose biggest cash crop happens to be marijuana.

for more on this read this article.

Bill Bennett cards (via the Stranger) click to read the article

May 21, 2003

Four photos, circa 1970s, by Bob Gruen - Rock Photographer, from his website:

More Run For Cover Info

dc rockers band together in tribute
and parody for the second annual
R U N F O R C O V E R ! ! !

Saturday, May 24th 2003 -- 9PM
at The Warehouse Nextdoor
1019 7th St. NW (between NY Ave & L St.)
Five Dollars -- proceeds to benefit the Washington Humane Society

Featuring one-time-only performances by the Treble Kickers, Les Hott Waks, Sub Division, Motley Poo, Snowball Jackson, Booj and the DE-reVOlution, Nina and the Simones, The Torturizer, Bad Baby, Wild Gift, and Faithfully.

The Warehouse Nextdoor has a full bar, but please be aware that they take cash only, so tap that ATM before you come out. Doors open at 9PM, with performances to begin shortly thereafter -- don't be late!

[By the way, the bands listed above include tributes to: Joy Division, X, Pavement, Motley Crue, Nancy Sinatra / Lee Hazelewood, Nina Simone, DEVO, and the Cars (see if you can guess which is which!), among others.]

May 20, 2003

Up, near the top of the Shasta Gulch (but somewhat distanced from the bottom of the Tahoe Lake) is the picturesque city of Weed, California.
Ive been dreaming / traced out but dreamin

The Lanyard
-- by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room
bouncing from typewriter to piano
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the "L" section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word, Lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past.
A past where I sat at a workbench
at a camp by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips into a lanyard.
A gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard.
Or wear one, if that's what you did with them.
But that did not keep me from crossing strand over strand
again and again until I had made a boxy, red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold facecloths on my forehead
then led me out into the airy light and taught me to walk and swim
and I in turn presented her with a lanyard.
"Here are thousands of meals" she said,
"and here is clothing and a good education."
"And here is your lanyard," I replied,
"which I made with a little help from a counselor."
"Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth and two clear eyes to read the world." she whispered.
"And here," I said, "is the lanyard I made at camp."
"And here," I wish to say to her now,
"is a smaller gift. Not the archaic truth,
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took the two-toned lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless worthless thing I wove out of boredom
would be enough to make us even."

May 19, 2003

amazing, long (but well worth your time) transcript of a speech by Arundhati Roy (cspan 2 is showing some of the events of this particular evening, which includes an appearance by Howard Zinn).


"It was Herman Goering, that old Nazi, who said, 'People can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.… All you have to do is tell them they're being attacked and denounce the pacifists for a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.'

He's right. It's dead easy. That's what the Bush regime banks on. The distinction between election campaigns and war, between democracy and oligarchy, seems to be closing fast.

The only caveat in these campaign wars is that U.S. lives must not be lost. It shakes voter confidence. But the problem of U.S. soldiers being killed in combat has been licked. More or less.

At a media briefing before Operation Shock and Awe was unleashed, General Tommy Franks announced, 'This campaign will be like no other in history.' Maybe he's right."

"America's media empire is controlled by a tiny coterie of people. Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Michael Powell, the son of Secretary of State Colin Powell, has proposed even further deregulation of the communication industry, which will lead to even greater consolidation.

So here it is - the World's Greatest Democracy, led by a man who was not legally elected. America's Supreme Court gifted him his job. What price have American people paid for this spurious presidency?

In the three years of George Bush the Lesser's term, the American economy has lost more than two million jobs. Outlandish military expenses, corporate welfare, and tax giveaways to the rich have created a financial crisis for the U.S. educational system. According to a survey by the National Council of State Legislatures, U.S. states cut 49 billion dollars in public services, health, welfare benefits, and education in 2002. They plan to cut another 25.7 billion dollars this year. That makes a total of 75 billion dollars. Bush's initial budget request to Congress to finance the war in Iraq was 80 billion dollars.

So who's paying for the war? America's poor. Its students, its unemployed, its single mothers, its hospital and home-care patients, its teachers, and health workers.

And who's actually fighting the war?

Once again, America's poor. The soldiers who are baking in Iraq's desert sun are not the children of the rich. Only one of all the representatives in the House of Representatives and the Senate has a child fighting in Iraq. America's 'volunteer' army in fact depends on a poverty draft of poor whites, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians looking for a way to earn a living and get an education. Federal statistics show that African Americans make up 21 percent of the total armed forces and 29 percent of the U.S. army. They count for only 12 percent of the general population. It's ironic, isn't it - the disproportionately high representation of African Americans in the army and prison? Perhaps we should take a positive view, and look at this as affirmative action at its most effective. Nearly 4 million Americans (2 percent of the population) have lost the right to vote because of felony convictions. Of that number, 1.4 million are African Americans, which means that 13 percent of all voting-age Black people have been disenfranchised."

"The battle to reclaim democracy is going to be a difficult one. Our freedoms were not granted to us by any governments. They were wrested from them by us. And once we surrender them, the battle to retrieve them is called a revolution. It is a battle that must range across continents and countries. It must not acknowledge national boundaries but, if it is to succeed, it has to begin here. In America. The only institution more powerful than the U.S. government is American civil society. The rest of us are subjects of slave nations. We are by no means powerless, but you have the power of proximity. You have access to the Imperial Palace and the Emperor's chambers. Empire's conquests are being carried out in your name, and you have the right to refuse. You could refuse to fight. Refuse to move those missiles from the warehouse to the dock. Refuse to wave that flag. Refuse the victory parade.

You have a rich tradition of resistance. You need only read Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States to remind yourself of this.

Hundreds of thousands of you have survived the relentless propaganda you have been subjected to, and are actively fighting your own government. In the ultra-patriotic climate that prevails in the United States, that's as brave as any Iraqi or Afghan or Palestinian fighting for his or her homeland.

If you join the battle, not in your hundreds of thousands, but in your millions, you will be greeted joyously by the rest of the world. And you will see how beautiful it is to be gentle instead of brutal, safe instead of scared. Befriended instead of isolated. Loved instead of hated.

I hate to disagree with your president. Yours is by no means a great nation. But you could be a great people.

History is giving you the chance.

Seize the time."

Happy Birthday Pete.

Paul Morrissey, from Uptight: The Velvet Underground Story:

"It was some sort of a miracle that within that short space Andy Warhol presenting the EXPLODING PLASTIC INEVITABLE was created. The term 'Exploding Plastic Inevitable' came from sitting around with Gerald [Malanga] and Barbara Rubin thinking of a name. I picked up a record album with Barbara on the back massaging Bob Dylan's head (Bringing It All Back Home). There were some amphetamine Bob Dylan gibberish liner notes. I looked without reading and saw these words appear: something was 'exploding,' something was 'plastic,' and something was 'inevitable.'"

May 16, 2003

Canada's Cannabis Reform Bill, if passed, would decriminalize the possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana.
Do you like Pavement??

...I mean, really like Pavement? enough to watch us hack up their songs?

if so, come check out TREBLE KICKERS (john masters, marc masters, andy fox, many spaceships, martha hamilton), a Pavement tribute band, at this year's RUN FOR COVER party, version 2.

Last year's party was amazing, with great renditions of Black Flag, Ramones, Ministry, etc., and this year looks even better. The full lineup will be announced soon, but for now, mark calendars for:

Saturday May 24
@ the Warehouse Next Door
1019 7th St., btwn L and NY, across from the convention center
Washington, DC
$5 (all proceeds go to Washington Humane Society)
Doors at 9:00, bands start at 10:00.

May 15, 2003

Stop the FCC from giving more opportunity to fewer corporations. Send a message. Don't let big media get any bigger.

The calls for impeachment continue:

"One image from the conflict in Iraq continues to haunt me. A photograph in the New York Times includes the school pictures of three girls. Marwa, Tabarek, and Safia Abbas were dark-haired beauties, aged 11, 8, and 5. They could be from anywhere, but until recently they lived in Baghdad. Note I refer to them in the past tense.

According to the Times, their family was agonizing how to tell their injured father that an American bomb killed his daughters. 'It wasn’t just ordinary love,' they said. 'He was crazy about them.'”

"Weapons of mass destruction? Saddam no longer had them. If he had, he would have used them. And if any are found now, the cabal that has hijacked our country will have planted them there. That is why the Bush administration has made clear it will not allow the U.N. back in the country to provide neutral inspections.

Here is what is coming clear. George W. Bush and his cabal lied to the American people so they could attack another country to seize its oil wealth. Bush has, as Doonesbury and others have pointed out, assumed the mantle of Julius Caesar. He is in the process of ruining the American republic and establishing an American/corporate empire. A favorite motto at the White House is 'Let them hate us, as long as they fear us.' Emperor Caligula liked that saying too.

The American people should be clear about two things. History never judges kindly a rich, powerful nation that attacks a small, poor one. The second is that empires — all empires — end up on the ashbin of history.

George W. Bush should be impeached. After that, he should stand beside Saddam Hussein in the dock to be tried for war crimes. First witnesses — though they cannot speak for themselves — should be Marwa, Tabarek, and Safia Abbas."

May 14, 2003

See Under:
--- by Joanna Rawson

There's a word for a beggar who fakes being blind.
Another for amnesia about all events underwater.
For the exact center of gravity in a skyscraper.
Without motive, a bullet whittled from ice
utters murder into a toddler's chest.
The sun makes a pool of water around her body
that will evaporate by noon, a shadow
advertising the precise time of death.
There's a word for a cannon fired from a camel's back.
Another for a rain gauge fueled by the sun.
For anything that lasts all night.
The rumor of a violent stormfront
keeps arriving,
but somewhere else.
the new york times plugs novelist/playwright Adam Rapp, Rapp plugs (by wearing t-shirt in photo) mellow Minnesota band Low:

May 11, 2003

just saw this weird/neat alice neel painting at the Tate Modern in London

joe gould, a harvard graduate who claimed to be constantly in the process of compiling a massive oral history of america, was most famously the subject of two Joseph Mitchell essays (which of course became the basis of the film Joe Gould's Secret).

as you might have guessed, amsterdam was everything I had hoped it would be.

May 8, 2003

Saw Yo La Tengo at sheperds bush empire last night. very good show, a bit more rock than the D.C. show a couple of weeks ago. They opened with 'Nuclear War' and closed with 'Tom Courteney' (Georgia singing the mellow version). In between we got many of the Summer Sun songs as well as Autumn Sweater, Drug Test (!) and a cover of the Ramones 'I Wanna Be Your Boyfrind.'

Picked up the Exhibition book for Air Guitar: Art Reconsidering Rock Music, an exhibition that "explores the relationship between contemporary art and rock music from the perspective of the artist as music fan. It is a perspective that demands a timely and unapologetic glance backward to the aspirations and suburban angst of the adolescent and to the legacy of the teenage bedroom. While it is important to say that theirs is not a nostalgic revisiting of rock’s history, for many of the artists in Air Guitar their past musical interests will always remain clearly in their sights."

As part of the exhibition, Dave Allen and Ross Sinclair prepared a video (in late 1994) that shows two protagonists jamming together on guitar and drums. The narrative follows the pair as they pick up a song riff, jam together, stop, start again, take a swig of beer and so forth. Every now and again they stop what they are doing to scrawl lyrics and sentences on the walls behind them. this is the narrative created from those scrawlings:

"Two men are in a room. They want to make a video.
They want to play guitar. They want to have some fun.
They try to remember the songs that mean something to them.
They don't know why they can't act. They don't know how to look at the camera.
They are intimidated by it and it is by them. Something isn't right.
They share their knowledge of music and of life with the camera. But it doesn't look like it does on MTV.
The camera doesn't like them very much. So they work together, searching for some evidence that their lives have been worthwhile.
They don't even know if this is the end, or the beginning.
They are young and stupid. They can't sing. They look like shit. They can't play.
They are painfully honest. It could make you weep. They are amateurs -- and proud of it.
Because of this -- They are perfect. They sing songs, drink beer, write on the wall when the urge takes them.
They share a joke -- what could be better. Momentarily they have forgotten about art and remember their lives.
They are 27 years old with nothing left to say.
This is the sound of young Scotland."

off to Amsterdam.

May 5, 2003

Posts will be sporadic over the next week as I travel to London and Amsterdam.
from America day by day, written about Simone de Beauvior's 1947 jaunt across America. The book was published in France in 1948. An English language version was translated by Carol Cosman, and published by the University of California press in 1999:

from the May 3, 1947 entry:

"As in all big cities, people use a lot of drugs in New York. Cocaine, opium, and heroin have a specialized clientele, but there's a mild stimulant that's commonly used, even though it's illegal -- marijuana. Almost everywhere, especially in Harlem, marijuana cigarettes are sold under the counter. Jazz musicians who need to maintain a high level of intensity for nights at a time use it readily. It hasn't been found to cause any physiological problems; the effect is almost like that of Benzedrine, and this substance seems to be less harmful than alcohol.

"I am less interested in tasting marijuana itself than in being at one of the gatherings where its smoked. No sooner have I stated my wish than it is granted; American willingness to oblige is truly inexhaustible. Z. is going to join some friends who are 'vipers,' that is, habitual smokers; they are going to a party today. When he comes to pick me up this evening, he tells me that the gathering began in the middle of the afternoon: these sessions last a long time because marijuana seems to make time speed up. He himself has already smoked one cigarette, though nothing in his demeanor gives any hint of this.

"I'm astonished that Z. is taking me to one of the largest hotels in New York...The elevator takes up up to the fifth floor; we knock on the door. A circumspect voice asks, 'who's there?' We give our names; the door is quickly opened and shut again....

from the May 8, 1947 entry:

"Whatever the deeper reason for the situation of American intellectuals, many of them certainly suffer as a result. L.W. told me spitefully the other day that French, Italian, and English writers are jealous because each resents the success of the other, but American writers detest one another because each sees in the other the image of his own failure and wretchedness. In part it's this bitterness, which turns into an inferiority complex, that prevents them from having bold aims and showing themselves worthy of a greater influence. Here, again, one finds the same vicious circle as among university professors. I've heard them deplore the fact that the League of Writers has so persistently shown itself to be beneath its task. Its meetings are confined to questions of money and interest: How can we improve the distribution of books? How should the publisher advertise the publication of a book in a magazine? Discussions of ideas, if they ever occur, rarely rise above such themes as 'Is writing fun?' or 'Is writing pleasure?'

from the May 19, 1947 entry:

"And inherent in what I like and what I loathe about [America] is something fascinating: the enormous opportunities and risks America runs today and the world along with it. All human problems are posed here on a gigantic scale; and to a great degree, the solutions they find here will illuminate these problems, retrospectively, in a moving way or swallow them up in the night of indifference. yes, I believe that this is what moves me so strongly at the moment of my departure: America is one of the pivotal points of the world, where the future of man is being played out. To 'like' America, to 'dislike' it -- these words have no meaning. It is a battlefield, and you can only become passionate about the battle it is waging with itself, in which the stakes are beyond measure."

May 2, 2003

Derby Derby Derby

If you will be in Louisville tonight head out to Seidenfadin's at the corner of Breckenridge and Barrett. David Berman and Bob Nastanovich, two-thirds of the original Siver Jews line-up, will be spinning tunes and hoping folks will by them drinks, cos, as Berman stated: "the owners sure as fuck won't."

Some more on Louisville:

Smokers, drinkers and alt-country: Welcome to Kentucky!

"Hard livers enter paradise when they get to Louisville. Tobacco is the state leaf, marijuana is its largest cash crop, and Kentuckians like their Maker’s Mark bourbon. This is, after all, the birthplace of the celebrated hedonistic journalist Hunter S. Thompson. 'You can’t throw a rock in any direction without hitting a bar or liquor store,' says Bob Nastanovich, Pavement’s former multi-instrumentalist and a 10-year resident of Louisville who owns thoroughbred racehorses.

"Although a blotto-friendly lifestyle is perennial in 'the ’Ville,' youth culture comes and goes. 'After five years with not much going on here, it’s come around again,' Nastanovich says. 'There’s a vibrant band scene, you can live cheaply and you have all the time in the world. It’s definitely a good town for reprobates.'

"Nationally known natives Palace, My Morning Jacket and VHS or Beta hold triumphant homecoming gigs at Headliners. Three blocks east of Bardstown, behind the Cave Hill Cemetery, the venue is the signal tour stop for acts like Mogwai and Hank Williams III.

"Louisville abuts the Midwest but has Southern traits. It’s a sore point. Students, alt-rock scene lifers and East End preppies share one thing: No one wants to be seen as a redneck. But Nastanovich notes that Louisville offers 'a heaping helping of Southern-ness. People are sensitive about their accents, but visitors are charmed. That’s what they talk about as they pack their trunk full of booze, cigs and weed.'”
Pop Artists Make Noise About Media Regulations

"A veritable who's who of the pop music world are urging federal regulators to give the public and lawmakers a chance to review any changes made in the regulations that govern media ownership.

"In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, 34 recording artists ranging from Jimmy Buffett to Michael Stipe said the changes should be fully vetted before they win final approval.

"'A refusal to allow Congress and the public to view and debate your specific proposal would be a tremendous disservice to the American public and the citizens who depend on these media structures for their livelihoods,' the artists wrote.

"The recording artists fear that easing the rules will lead to more centralized control of the nation's media outlets and will make it more difficult for competing voices to be heard. In their letter, they criticized the FCC for failing to include recording artists in its deliberations.

"'We believe the record demonstrates both the value of existing media ownership rules and the dangers in permitting widespread consolidation of ownership,' they wrote. 'We also believe the FCC has been negligent in listening to important stakeholder groups, like musicians, recording artists and radio professionals, to ensure their testimony is on the record.'

"The musicians were particularly critical of recent Powell comments that appeared to dismiss concerns that negative repercussions could result from easing the rules.

"'In a recent speech, you referred to your critics as 'noisemakers' using the 'usual alarmist political attacks designed just to prevent change,"' they wrote. 'With all due respect, we may be sounding an alarm, but we are not alarmist noisemakers. We are the concerned citizens and small-business owners whose welfare you are charged to protect. We ask for your respect and protection.'

The letter signers included: Jackson Browne, Thurston Moore, Jimmy Buffett, Stevie Nicks, David Crosby, Neil Diamond, Van Dyke Parks, Pearl Jam, Don Henley, Tom Petty, Indigo Girls (Amy Ray and Emily Saliers), Bonnie Raitt, Billy Joel, Ian MacKaye, Michael Stipe, Ray Manzarek, Tom Waits, Tim McGraw, Nancy Wilson, and Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky).
Three poems from Kim Addonizio's 1997 novel in verse Jimmy & Rita


For a while Rita works
at a massage parlor on Eddy Street
All she has to do is jerk them off, no
fucking or kissing.
She washes her hands seven,
eight times a day. Dreams
of scrubbing off skin,
red strips of it falling
into a sinkfull of suds.
She buries what's left
of her hands in the white
froth, piled like new snow
she would scoop out
as a child to make
a man.

Moving In

Jimmy brings over a few boxes
Albums, clothes, KO magazines,
six-once boxing gloves, his high school diploma.
Framed newspaper photo of the Chacon-Limon fight.
Seven Marine Band harmonicas,
red coleus he found in a dumpster.
Rita makes room in the closet
watches him hang shirts
next to her dresses.
That afternoon they make love
on the living room rug,
finishing a bottle
of Jim Beam.
Jimmy wakes up at dusk,
states at the couch legs, confused
for a few seconds.
Lights a Camel, watches
rings rising to the ceiling.
He hates this time of day,
feels death coming on like a punch
he won't duck in time.
Each circle of smoke
solid at first
then pulling itself apart.

Rita's Dream

We're in a bar together
It's dark but there's a mirrored ball
in the middle of the ceiling.
Somebody move the pool table,
it's like a dance floor. Jimmy's
wearing a suit jacket,
the one from our wedding.
Some women from the shelter
are looking for their babies.
One's in the dumpster and everyone goes
outside to look. Then I'm in
the bathroom, a man's in there and tries
to hand me a rat, it's big and dark,
slippery, I won't take it, I run out
to find Jimmy again. We dance
and I smell his cologne and feel safe.
Some kind of fight is happening,
someone says fuck you loud
and then Get away, get away.
But we just keep dancing.
My dad takes our picture and the flash
makes me close my eyes,
and when I open them
Jimmy is looking at me and I know
he loves me, I know
he isn't ever going to stop.

May 1, 2003