April 24, 2006

Do you curse where you come from
Do you swear in the night

elizabeth murray, what time is it

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"3. Scott McClellan

"Farewell Scott McClellan, we'll miss your outrageous lies and egregious stonewalling. Scott quit as White House press secretary last week, and if you're wondering whether he fell or was pushed, the answer is neither - he was thrown bodily out of a third floor window by Bush's new chief-of-staff Josh Bolten.

"You could see the disappointment written all over Scott's chubby little cheeks as he announced to the press that he would no longer be carrying the president's water. As he stood on the south lawn and told his former boss, 'I have given it my all, sir, and I have given you my all, sir,' it was a bit like watching Smithers accept forced retirement from Mr. Burns. Or watching Old Yeller get a bullet in the brain from Travis Coates (except McClellan wasn't noticeably rabid).

"When asked how he felt about his dismissal, Scott replied, 'The White House is going through a time of transition. Change can be helpful. This is a good time and a good position to help bring about change.' Ah, giving non-answers to the very end. That's our Scott. We'll miss you, old pal. Here's hoping you don't become the subject of an ongoing investigation any time soon."

* Flicker photos tagged the finger.

* clusterfuck nation. excerpt:

"America commuted back into the unknown country of $3-plus gasoline and $75-plus oil (per barrel) last week, and President Bush revisted the Tomorrowland of hydrogen cars in the absence of any reality-based response to the global energy crunch that will change all the terms of America's 'non-negotiable way of life.'"
"Events seem to have dragged us kicking and screaming beyond the sheer denial stage, since this is now the second time in six months that oil and gasoline prices have ratcheted wildly up. Something is happening, Mr. Jones, and now we want to talk our way out of it."
"Can we bust out of this narrow tunnel of fantasy? Can we imagine living differently? Can we turn more fruitful imaginings into action before the American scene becomes a much more disorderly place? It would be nice to see President Bush really lead by taking a well-publicized ride on the Washington Metro, or dropping in to visit an organic farm, or signing a bill to increase incentives for small-scale hydro-electricity, or turning loose some federal prosectors on WalMart's human resources department. It would be nice to see the Democrats put aside their preoccupations with gender confusion and racial grievance and start campaigning to restore the US railroad system.

"It would help to see the science and technology sector return from outer space. Corporate America and its leaders are probably hopeless, but so is the current scale and scope of their operations, and circumstances will decide what they get to do. The mainstream media, representing the nation's collective consciousness, remains in a coma. This morning's electronic edition of The New York Times displays not one home page headline about oil or gasoline prices, despite the trauma of the week just passed."

* "The unusual is only found in a very small percentage, except in literary creations, and that is exactly what makes literature." -- Julio Cortazar

* The Sunday Herald on Patti Smith. excerpt:

"Smith has weathered the last four decades as one of America’s true individuals in a country claiming to be full of them. Though she’s known as a musician, it’s obvious from this performance, and the art downstairs, that Smith was never content to just stick to the recording studio. She’d had two volumes of poetry published before she’d even seen the inside of legendary venue CBGB’s, and has been experimenting in visual art since the late 1960s.

"She also might just be the worst guitar player to be accorded punk icon status, which sounds like an insult, but is, in this case, a compliment. There’s something refreshingly honest about Smith’s occasional fluffing of the songs she sings tonight. That she’s still a fragile, uncertain player unable to get through the three simple chords of Hank Williams’s I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry without stopping halfway through, after more than 30 years of being on-stage, is more punk than anything else. Why bother to properly learn guitar when you’ve got a voice like hers, not to mention Lenny Kaye or (her late husband) Fred 'Sonic' Smith to play for you?

"The rattling, urgent Gandhi – 'I can’t screw this one up, it’s only got one chord' – is followed by a slightly overwrought, People Have The Power, delivered unaccompanied. If its simplistic, gung-ho vision of 1960s idealism seems a little naïve four decades later, Smith’s rendition almost saves it. Though less strident, her poems have a sometimes uneasy tendency to slide into overblown pretension. As Smith reads aloud, you occasionally wonder whether they’d be better left to the page, but her flat, declamatory tones bring out the internal rhythms of pieces such as The Oracle and Music Of The Spheres (written on the day that Pope John Paul II died).

"Smith’s intellectual appetite, were it not matched by her creative impulses, might leave her open to accusations of being something of a dilettante (a charge levelled at most musicians who express a desire to do anything other than stick rigidly to the patented rock’n’roll template). However, her passion – for William Blake, for idealism and the transformative powers of song, for poetry and learning (she declares herself thrilled to be playing inside a library) – is undoubtedly genuine, and infectious."


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