Friday, April 23, 2010

Serendipity....

Youtube is the greatest thing since .... For example:

To anyone that remembers the craptacular series that would not end, there were exactly two reasons to watch "Dallas", to wit:
Oh Yes
and Me Oh My

Otherwise, the show was generally the same ubiquitous spamtricious fare served across the spectrum to this very day.

That said, it was interesting to come across a video of the show's finale - which I never had the patience to reach. Seriously, seriously twisted:


Hit it boys:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwxJ46HWXbA

Saturday, August 22, 2009

First solo live set prepared and translated!

Okay!

Gotta live solo gig coming up and wanted to convey the song's meanings as deeply and effectively as possible, so have been writing band summaries and translating the lyrics into Japanese. This is the first of two sets:

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM – POP LOVE SONGS

The first set begins with a Beatles medley, starting with an early Lennon-McCartney hit. This shows the innocence and optimism of the young musical geniuses at the onset of their careers:


All My Loving – Beatles
Close your eyes and I'll kiss you
Tomorrow I'll miss you
Remember I'll always be true
And then while I'm away
I'll write home everyday
And I'll send all my loving to you

I'll pretend that I'm kissing
The lips I am missing
And hope that my dreams will come true
And then while I'm away
I'll write home everyday
And I'll send all my loving to you

All my loving I will send to you
All my loving, darling, I'll be true

Close your eyes and I'll kiss you
Tomorrow I'll miss you
Remember I'll always be true
And then while I'm away
I'll write home everyday
And I'll send all my loving to you

All my loving, I will send to you
All my loving, darling I'll be true

All my loving, All my loving
Wooooo, all my loving
I will send to you

全部の愛

目を閉めて
明日君に寂しくなる
僕いつも忠実で覚えて
それから僕が外出中
毎日手紙を書くと
君に全部の愛を送る

僕はふりして
懐かしい唇をキッスをしているんで
全部な夢は事実になって見込む
それから僕が外出中
毎日手紙を書くと
君に全部の愛を送る

全部の愛僕君に送る
全部の愛最愛、僕いつも忠実
目を閉めて
明日君に寂しくなる
僕いつも忠実で覚えて
それから僕が外出中
毎日手紙を書くと
君に全部の愛を送る

全部の愛, 僕君に送る
全部の愛最愛、僕いつも忠実
全部の愛, 全部の愛
全部の愛, 僕君に送る

Next, we have three numbers by each of the Beatles songwriters, showcasing clearly the distinct musical and lyrical styles that evolved from each. Let’s begin with George Harrison, the spiritual/mystical visionary, and lead guitarist for the band. Here is his beautiful melancholy masterpiece, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, featured on the White Album, with Eric Clapton adding a brilliant lead solo.


While My Guitar Gently Weeps
I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it need sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don't know why nobody told you
How to unfold your love
I don't know how someone controlled you
They bought and sold you

I look at the world and I notice it's turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don't know how you were diverted
you were perverted too
I don't know how you were inverted
No one alerted you

I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at you all
Still my guitar gently weeps

僕のギターがそっと泣いている間に
僕は皆に見て、心の中で眠ている愛を見える
僕のギターがそっと泣いている間に
床に見ると掃除がいるのを気づく
僕のギターはもそっと泣く

なぜ誰も君に話さなかったのだろう
愛をほとばしらせる術を
誰がどう君を操っていたのか
君は騙され利用されたんだ

僕世界を見て、回していることに気づく
僕のギターがそっと泣いている間に
全ての失敗で習っているかもしらない
僕のギターはもそっと泣く

どやってそんなように変わされたか知らない
君も変になりました
どやってそんなように逆になせたか知らない
誰も君に注意しなかった

僕は皆に見て、心の中で眠ている愛を見える
僕のギターがそっと泣いている間に
僕は皆に見て
僕のギターはもそっと泣く

John Lennon, lead singer and chief lyricist of the Beatles was originally a very angry and somewhat violent young man, having never known his absentee father or mother. Upon the death of original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, believed to be the result of a head injury suffered in a streetfight, Lennon underwent a profound, fundamental change, and became a fierce advocate for peace and nonviolent political action.

In his solo work Jealous Guy, you can hear the original angst, loneliness and deep melancholy that were the hallmarks of Lennon’s later, darker compositions.

Jealous Guy

I was dreaming of the past
And my heart was beating fast
I began to lose control
I began to lose control

I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry
Oh my, I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy

I was feeling insecure
You might not love me anymore
I was shivering inside
I was shivering inside

I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry
Oh no, I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy

I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry
Oh no, I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy

I was trying to catch your eyes
Thought that you was trying to hide
I was swallowing my pain
I was swallowing my pain

I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry
Oh no, I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy, watch out
I’m just a jealous guy, look out babe
I’m just a jealous guy

僕なんて嫉妬深いだ。
過去について夢して
心はドキドキをして
制御を失くなってし始めた
制御を失くなってし始めた

君を害をしたくなかった
君を泣かせたからごっめんなさい
しまった、君を害をしたくなかった
僕なんて嫉妬深いだ。

不安定だった
僕を愛わなくなったかな
間中に震えていった
心中に震えていった

君を害をしたくなかった
君を泣かせたからごっめんなさい
しまった、君を害をしたくなかった
僕なんて嫉妬深いだ。

君を害をしたくなかった
君を泣かせたからごっめんなさい
しまった、君を害をしたくなかった
僕なんて嫉妬深いだ。

君の目を合いたかった
君は隠していると思った
痛さを飲み込んでいた
痛さを飲み込んでいた

君を害をしたくなかった
君を泣かせたからごっめんなさい
しまった、君を害をしたくなかった
僕なんて嫉妬深いだ。気を付けて
僕なんて嫉妬深いだ。気を付けて最愛。
僕なんて嫉妬深いだ。

Of the Beatles, Paul McCartney was the only one with formal musical training, and the McCartneys were known to love get-togethers where the family would play together deep into the night. His background can readily be heard in Paul’s amazingly fluid, intricate bass lines and the complex chord and rhythm structures of his songs. McCartney’s songs have also always had a very whimsical, magical quality to them that has enchanted generations. Here is a wonderful classic, adapted for the solo acoustic guitar:


When I'm Sixty-Four
When I get older, losing my hair,
Many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine.
If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four.

You'll be older too,
And if you say the word,
I could stay with you.

I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride,
Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more.
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four.

Every summer we can rent a cottage,
In the Isle of Wight, if it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera Chuck & Dave.

Send me a postcard, drop me a line,
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four.

64歳になったら
年寄りになって 、髪少なくなって
これから年度も後、
僕にもバレンタインを送って
誕生日のあいさつ、ワインのひとびんを一本?
もし三時までに外出したっら
ドアをかける?
僕も要る、僕にも料理を作る
64歳になったら?

君も年寄りになる
それから一つの単語で許可をくれて
僕は君と住む

僕は役に立つ、フユーズを替わて、
電気が消えたの場合
君は炉辺の前でセータが編むことができて、
日曜の朝運転する。
庭いじりをして、草を抜いで、
誰はその他が要るかな?
僕も要る、僕にも料理を作る
64歳になったら?

毎年夏にコテ―ジが借りられる
ウアイト島で、もし高すぎなかったら
僕達はけちけちして貯金する。
孫達膝に座って
ベラ、チャック、アンドデーブ。

葉書を送って、ノットを書いて
意見を知らせている。
ちゃんとに知らせて君の意味
君なの,亡くなっているん。
返事をくれて、アンケットを書いて
永遠僕の愛
僕も要る、僕にも料理を作る
64歳になったら?

Let’s end our Beatles medley with a final early-era George Harrison number, which personifies the elegant simplicity and incredible melodic and lyric power of a classic five-chord folk-rock Beatles ballad.


If I Needed Someone
If I needed someone to love
You're the one that I'd be thinking of
If I needed someone

If I had some more time to spend
Then I guess I'd be with you my friend
If I needed someone

Had you come some other day
Then it might not have been like this
But you see now I'm too much in love

Carve your number on my wall
And maybe you will get a call from me
If I needed someone
Ah, ah, ah, ah

If I had some more time to spend
Then I guess I'd be with you my friend
If I needed someone

Had you come some other day
Then it might not have been like this
But you see now I'm too much in love

Carve your number on my wall
And maybe you will get a call from me
If I needed someone
Ah, ah

もし誰かが愛のために要ったら
もし誰かが愛のために要ったら
君について考える。
もし誰かが要ったら。

もしもっと時間が過ごせる
君と一緒にいるかな
もし誰かが要ったら。

他の日に来たっら
このように違うかな
でも僕が今愛過ぎる

僕の壁に君の番号を切り分けて
多分君は僕から電話をかけられる
もし誰かが要ったら。

もしもっと時間が過ごせる
君と一緒にいるかな
もし誰かが要ったら。

他の日に来たっら
このように違うかな
でも僕が今愛過ぎる

僕の壁に君の番号を切り分けて
多分君は僕から電話をかけられる
もし誰かが要ったら。

It’s no exaggeration to say that the iconic Bob Dylan singlehandedly changed modern music, with his brilliant stream-of-consciousness lyrics, his earthy, ingenuous demeanor, and fusion of such diverse styles as country, folk, rock and rhythm and blues. Never one to shy from courting controversy, he drew shocked outrage the frst time he appeared onstage with an AMPLIFIED guitar.

Still, the anthems he has penned spurred an intellectual, cultural, social and political sea change destined to change the world forever. Here is one of the greatest modern songs ever written, a protest of the Viet Nam war; in the latter days of Bush’s Iraq invasion, it still has deep relevance. Here we see the exhausted soldier, near death, pleading and his epiphany – that war is always wasteful, empty and tragic.

Knockin on Heaven’s Door      
Mama take this badge off of me
I can’t use it any more.
It’s getting’ dark, too dark to see.
I feel I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door.

Knock-knock-knockin; on heaven’s door.
Knock-knock-knockin; on heaven’s door.
Knock-knock-knockin; on heaven’s door.
Knock-knock-knockin; on heaven’s door.

Mama plant these guns in the ground
I can’t shoot them anymore.
That long black cloud’s comin’ down
Feels like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door.

Knock-knock-knockin; on heaven’s door.
Knock-knock-knockin; on heaven’s door.
Knock-knock-knockin; on heaven’s door.Knock-knock-knockin; on heaven’s door.

天国の門で叩くしている
母、このバッジを取ってくれて
これから、全然使わず。
暗くなっている,そうなに暗い見えなくなっている。
天国の門で叩くしている感じだ。

天国の門で叩くしている感じだ。
天国の門で叩くしている感じだ。
天国の門で叩くしている感じだ。
天国の門で叩くしている感じだ。

母、この銃を土に植えてくれて
これから、鬱つができない。
あの長くて黒い雲は下がっている
天国の門で叩くしている感じだ。

天国の門で叩くしている感じだ。
天国の門で叩くしている感じだ。
天国の門で叩くしている感じだ。
天国の門で叩くしている感じだ。

With the 1980s came the rise of disco, punk, new wave and heavy metal styles of music. Among the heavy metal bands, it was obligatory to write at least one melodic ballad, and some were quite deep, moving and melodic. One such band, known for their androgynous image, was generally scorned as “lightweight” and “posturing”, but the guitarist was particularly talented, and produced this wonderful melancholy pop song about love gone awry:

Every Rose Has its Thorns – Poison
We both lie silently still in the dead of the night.
Although we both lie close together,
we feel miles apart inside.
Was it something I said or something I did?
Did my words not come out right?
Though I tried not to hurt you,
Though I tried
I guess that’s why they say

Every rose has its thorns
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy
Sings a sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorns.

I listen to a favorite song
playing on the radio
Well the DJ say loves a game
of easy come and easy go
But I wonder does he know
Has he ever felt like this
And I know you'd be here right now
If I could let you know somehow
I guess

(Chorus)

Though it's been a while now
I can still feel so much pain
Like a knife that cuts you the wound heals
but those scars, those scars remain….

I know I could have saved our love
If I'd known what to say
Instead of makin' love
We both went our separate ways
And now I hear you found somebody new
and that I never meant that much to you
To hear that tears me up inside
And to see you cuts me like a knife
I guess

(Chorus)

どのバラもはとげを持ってる
無声夜中、僕たち両方じっとして横たえて
近くに横たえてけど
マイルを多数離れて感じだ
何か言いたから?何かやったから?
僕の単語は誤解された?
君を害ないに試んだけど
試んだけど
それから例え彼らって

どのバラもとげを持ってる
どのよるも夜明けになって
どのcowboyも悲しい歌を歌いる
どのバラもとげを持ってる

気に入って曲に聞く
ラジオで
DJ は
「愛は早く会って早く分けてのゲム」って
でも彼が知ってる?
このように感じした?
君は今こちにいるはず
もし君を度やってお知らせられたら。
かな

コーラス

しばらくけど
そう何痛い
ナイフで切られったように怪我が治す
けどその傷、その傷残る。。。。

僕たちの愛が助かったことを理解して
もし正し言葉を知ったかたら
抱いて代わりに
別れてしまった
それから君は新恋人を見つかったって
僕は君に詰まらなかった
それを聞いたら僕の心を裂けて
君を見るとナイフのように僕を切る
多分

コーラス

The songwriting team of Bernie Taupin (lyrics) and Elton John (music) recorded some of the most moving pop songs of the last half century. Here is a classic known the world over, adapted for the guitar:


Your Song
It's a little bit funny, this feeling inside
I'm not one of those who can easily hide
I don't have much money but boy if I did
I'd buy a big house where we both could live

If I was a sculptor, but then again, no
Or a man who makes potions in a travelling show
I know it's not much but it's the best I can do
My gift is my song and this one's for you

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
Well a few of the verses well they've got me quite cross
But the sun's been quite kind while I wrote this song
It's for people like you that keep it turned on

So excuse me forgetting but these things I do
You see I've forgotten if they're green or they're blue
Anyway the thing is what I really mean
Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world

I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world

君の歌
ちょっと可笑しい,この感じ
ぼくが隠し憎いなんです
お金はあまり持ってないけどあったら
私たちが住まれる家を買う

もし彫刻家だったら、でも違う
あるいはサーカスで水薬を作った男
これは詰らない物だが僕の一所懸命
僕のギフトは曲でこれは君なのだ。

君は皆にこれは君の歌を知らせられる
けっこ詰らないけどすみましたら
気にしないが欲しい
気にしないか欲しいこの単語を書いたら
君は政界にいるので生活はそうなに巣らしい

屋根に座ってコケを蹴た
色々の韻文はイライラをさせて
でもこの曲を書きながら太陽は親切で
君のような人々についているん。

だからこのことを忘れたのに許してくれて
それは緑か青いか忘れたね
とにかく僕の意味は
君の目は生活中一番美しいのだ。

君は皆にこれは君の歌を知らせられる
けっこ詰らないけどすみましたら
気にしないが欲しい
気にしないか欲しいこの単語を書いたら
君は政界にいるので生活はそうなに巣らしい

気にしないが欲しい
気にしないか欲しいこの単語を書いたら
君は政界にいるので生活はそうなに巣らしい。

Friday, April 10, 2009

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Head!

The BBC and Alternet treat us to yet another "clever" and "enlightened" column about how low-quality and stupid porn is: "You and I... we're just too urbane and sophisticated to REALLY enjoy such lowbrow dreck, right?" (nudge nudge, wink wink).

Yeah, right. Like we've never EVER read or heard the "for RESEARCH purposes only ga-hyuck ga-hyuck" line before.

Personally, I find James's posturing much more annoying and offensive than any porn I've ever seen (well, almost any).

The cute little "American" thrown in his mishmash of demeaning adjectives makes me even less kindly disposed to James or his transparently admiration-seeking puff piece. Charming how, among his handy cliches, he resorts to the handy old standby - the crass, lowbrow American stereotype.

James's dismissal of the arousing effects of porn says more about his diminished libido than the quality of the genre.

Porn's an easy target, and usually nobody's willing to stand up and publicly defend it - who wants to admit to the world that they masturbate while watching others perform sex?

But eventually, after all the opportunistic public detractors have faded from the public's memory, porn continues to flourish and grow in popularity. In fact, yesterday's porn is inevitably elevated to the status of today's cultural treasures - witness Betty Page, Russ Meyer, D.H. Lawrence, Geoffrey Chaucer, etc., etc. Do we even need to mention the Greco-Roman era or Japanese pillow books?

People have never voluntarily lost interest in porn and never will. The popularity of hack writing, on the other hand....?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpWpYl6kmNg

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dubya.

Just finished watching Oliver Stone's "W", and it was chilling and riveting.

I believe Stone tried to make it as objective and as faithful to reality as possible, which makes it all the more frightening to see how casually the Boosch gang made the decisions to invade Iraq, and etc., ad nauseum.

The film has a slightly comic delivery, and it's apt. The metaphoric last scene says it all.

Three thumbs up

:-)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Our Pals in Israel Cooking Babies Again....

Two years ago, we ran a little brief called "A Modest Proposal for Israel". Sadly, the proposal apparently met with Israeli approval:

So we have Israel's mass internment of the Palestinians, denying them water, segregating them to ghettos, destroying their homes, confiscating their property and shooting their children for sport.

Why haven't they simply continued down the path of efficiency, providing Palestinians with seperate, special insignia (there may even still be a few perfectly serviceable ones lying about), recreation and facilities? After all, inside every problem is a solution waiting to be discovered -- and who better than the state of Israel to remember that maxim, right?


Let's not forget their recent jaunt into Lebanon:

"Collateral damage" in Lebanon


Israeli troops enjoying a jaunt into Lebanon


Rice appreciating the gravity of the situation
as she arrives in Beirut


Having learned all the wrong lessons from the Nazis, the statesmen of Israel are on a self-declared, long-term mission: the wholesale extermination of Arabs and Persians. Photos by Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France Presse show abundant, appalling proof that Israel is indiscriminately cooking Lebanese civilians with phosphorous and other chemical weapons. The photos are further corroborated by French and Belgian doctors in Beirut.

According to the BBC, Israel's air force has admitted to conducting 3000 bombing sorties since the offensive began, displacing nearly a quarter of Lebanon's total population of 3.8 million and utterly destroying the country's civilian infrastructure with nearly completely civilian targets.

Moreover, Lebanon is defenseless. It does not possess an air defense system and the Israelis know it. The number of declared targets is staggering....

The civilian infrastructure has been destroyed: water, telecommunications, bridges, airports, gas stations, power plants, dairy factories, etc. Confirmed by the British press, in towns and villages across Lebanon, schools and hospitals have been targetted with meticulous accuracy. in an utterly twised logic, the Israeli government has casually blamed Hizbollah for using the schools and hospitals as hideouts or launchpads to wage their terrorist activities. (ABC Australia, interview with Israeli Ambassador to Australia, Nati Tamir, 21 July 2006).
"This is not a war, this is a crisis"
To call Israel's response to the kidnapping of two of its soldiers (as bargaining chips for the estimated 9000 Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners it has been holding for years, many of them children) "disproportionate" is an astonishingly ignorant understatement -- at least if the Israeli press are to be believed.

Brutal, shocking videos only begin to convey the scale of the tragedy that has been escalating over the years:

Israeli tanks firing on a reporter interviewing Palestinians gathered for a funeral.

Israeli helicopters strafed two ambulances carrying a Lebanese father and his 12-year-old son. The ambulances had spotlights trained on their red cross markings and were flashing their blue lights.

They have been extensively targeting civilians with indiscriminately deadly cluster and phosphorous bombs (with results like those in the pictures above). Even worse, sources also say Israeli military forces have spent nearly a decade perfecting the most monstrous of weapons: gene-specific bioweapons designed to eradicate Arabs.

Further evidence of Israel's complete moral atrophy came when IDF forces obliterated a U.N. observer post in southern Lebanon with a bomb after shelling it for six hours on Tuesday, killing four international observers from Austria, Canada, China and Finland, in what U.N. chief Kofi Annan called a "deliberate attack":

UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon contacted Israeli troops 10 times before an Israeli bomb killed four of them, an initial UN report says.... The post was hit by a precision-guided missile after six hours of shelling, diplomats familiar with the probe say. The UN report says each time the UN contacted Israeli forces, they were assured the firing would stop. A senior Irish soldier working for the UN forces had warned the Israelis six times that their bombardment was endangering the lives of UN staff, Ireland's foreign ministry said....

Had Israel responded to the requests, "rather than deliberately ignoring them", the observers would still be alive, a diplomat familiar with the report said.


Annan said the post had been in existence "for a long time... was marked clearly, and was hit despite assurances from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that U.N. positions would not be attacked."

The precision-guided bomb made a direct hit on the observer post, said Milos Struger, a UN peacekeeping spokesman in Lebanon. As rescue workers tried to clear the rubble, Israeli troops continued firing "...even during the rescue operation," he added.

But according to the head of Israel's northern command, Major General Udi Adam, Israel's just getting warmed up.

Too bad the Bush "Administration" (sic) doesn't give a damn. At least not in any humanitarian sense: Condoleezza Rice personally ran interference on behalf of the PNAC wing of the State Department at the emergency international meeting in Rome.

So what ARE we doing about the situation? Well, worsening it. As Lebanese war refugee Esam Haider (one of 2,000 sheltered in an underground car park after their homes were destroyed by Israeli bombs) expressed it:

"Why does President Bush send billions of dollars of weapons to Israel and hands the Lebanese a few boxes of food and blankets? Is he just trying to fatten us up before he gives Israel bigger bombs to kill us?"

There is, however, a madness to the method; it's once again all in the name of moving some new product, to paraphrase the glib Mr. Card.

Not that Bush will lack support from the "followers of Jesus" among America's religious lunatic fringe; the Machivellian genius of turning Biblical prophecy into a propaganda tool was a Rovian masterstoke that -- prematurely supposing humanity survives -- historians may one day rank alongside the work of Goebbels.

So while purported "progressives" at Daily Kos and elsewhere are waxing knowledgable in taking up the cause of "poor, beset-upon Israel", contentiously siding with the unpopular view to appear possessed of some great, rare insight, promoting a "cause" destined to kill more innocent civilians in the name of conquest is the farthest thing from "progressive". The truth is, whatever insults and injuries Israel has borne after claiming its homeland through years of bloody conquest, it has extracted more than its kiloton of flesh with a disproportionate, ruthless, merciless brutality as morally repugnant as the historically unprecedented savagery of the Assyrians.

From destroying power stations and cutting off water supplies for refugee tent settlements, rolling tanks into the streets and strafing unarmed citizens with Apache helicopters, then rounding up newly-elected government leaders the state of Israel is on a genocidal rampage aimed at once-and-for-all "solving" the "refugee problem" and abetting the US in its myopic quest for political dominance in the Middle East.

Maybe their actions can be partly understood as a pathological nostaligia for the days of the Warsaw ghetto:

GAZANS OFTEN call the Gaza Strip their "giant prison." The name reflects the crowded, tense quarters where 1.1 million people live on some 360 kilometers square. The Israeli army surrounds the Strip, preventing Palestinians from leaving the area without special permits that are granted only in emergency situations.

Even within Gaza's borders, its people are confined. Israel has divided the strip into three zones of Palestinian towns and refugees that are surrounded by Israeli military hardware. Travel between the areas is allowed only at certain times, and at the whims of the Israeli troops manning the checkpoints - very much like prison guards.

If the Gaza Strip is a prison, its solitary confinement area is the agricultural part of Al Mawasi, just west of Khan Younis. Al Mawasi is effectively controlled by settlers and surrounded by the settlement of Gush Katif from the east and the sea from the south. The people of Al Mawasi can neither leave their area nor distribute their agricultural produce except by special permission from the Israeli authorities.

Abu Ibrahim says all this is unbearable and humiliating. "The settler who stole my land enjoys his freedom. But I, the owner of the land, cannot even leave my house without a permit. It is the age of wonders!"
But the complex of walls, fences, trenches and electronic surveillance devices Israel has erected around (and conveniently into agriculturally valuable areas of) the West Bank is nothing more than a simple land grab and forced evacuation of indigenous Palestinians, according to the UN.

The bottom line is still, as ever, the same: we need to get the Hell out of the colonialism business, particularly in the Middle East, where Israel's "solution" is no solution at all.


Now it looks like Israel's using the latter days of the Bush Presidency to fulfill their final wish - seizing all the territories of the Gaza Strip, and eradicating or chasing out its current inhabitant. If you believe the line that Israel's "just defending itself", unfortunately, you just haven't been told the truth. From the good folks at Adbusters:

Who Is Winning the PR War?
by Sarah Nardi Adbusters.org

Where does defense stop and aggression begin? Where is the line between proportionate retaliation and collective punishment? Is the media telling you what you need to know?

I have Palestinian friends. As an American, this fact places me squarely in the minority. It gives me a touchstone that the average citizen in this country doesn’t have. The average American doesn’t hear firsthand accounts of how frightening, humiliating and miserable life in the West Bank and Gaza can be. Perhaps that’s why the average American is rarely outraged by media coverage of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. Let me make one thing clear – by average I don’t mean people of average intelligence or average cultural sensitivity. I don’t mean it as a pejorative. I mean only that most Americans have no contact with those on the Palestinian side of the conflict. When considering media, therefore, most Americans don’t perceive the slant. Watching CNN coverage of the siege with my mother yesterday, I noticed that her face didn’t indicate any anger. I saw sympathy, helplessness – natural responses to a human tragedy on the other side of the globe – but no anger. “Mom,” I demanded, gesturing wildly towards the TV, “do those look like Hamas militants to you?” The CNN anchor was dispassionately describing Israel’s target as Hamas over images of bloodied women and children on stretchers. But for my mother, as for most Americans, the disconnect didn’t seem to register.

I’m not going to argue for the existence of a vast Zionist mechanism conspiring to shape our collective understanding of the conflict. I don’t think we need to elevate the discussion in such alarmist terms to make the point that when it comes to the issue of Israel and Palestine, the mainstream narrative is biased. Consider the opening sentence of today’s New York Times editorial: Israel has the right to defend itself. Who could possibly argue that it doesn’t? The ethically inviolable right to self-defense is a constant refrain – offered time and time again as justification for Israeli military action as well as its unwavering US support. It is also the premise upon which most Western media coverage seems to be built. That Israel is defending itself is a relatively unchallenged assumption in the mainstream narrative. And because it is seen as the defender, Israel cannot logically be perceived as the aggressor.

But consider this fact – the Gaza strip is one of the most densely populated urban tracts in the world – 1.4 million people occupy an area roughly twice the size of Washington D.C. Its borders – land and sea – as well as its airspace, are controlled by Israel. Life in Gaza, as a Palestinian acquaintance related, is like living in an overcrowded prison. “For the news to say that Israel is “targeting” Hamas inside Gaza,” he explained “is like saying they are targeting a particular fish in a barrel full of them.” That it would be impossible for Israel to target individuals without killing scores of innocent civilians is as well-known to the Israeli military as it is to the terrorized citizens of Gaza. But the average American doesn’t know. And they’re certainly not going to get any hints from the mainstream media. “According to Western media, Palestinian civilians are killed only when they’re sheltering militants,” says my acquaintance. “We’re not sheltering anyone. They are among us because we are all trapped here. There is simply nowhere else to be.”

Where does defense stop and aggression begin? Where is the line between proportionate retaliation and collective punishment? These are questions for the media, mainstream and otherwise, to be aggressively exploring as they relate to this conflict. If the last eight years have taught us anything, its that when the media fails to be a vigilant, objective seeker of truth, dangerous disinformation is disseminated quickly and widely. Here, as it has so often in the past, I fear the media isn’t giving us the full story…and we’re not paying enough attention to ask. What do you think?


Quote of the Day:

"I don't believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone are guilty of the war. Oh, no, the little man is just as keen, otherwise the people of the world would have risen in revolt long ago! There is an urge and rage in people to destroy, to kill, to murder, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown, will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again."

-- 15-year-old Anne Frank, before being taken to her death in the Nazi concentration camps

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

How Bush, Reagan and Rumsfeld courted Hussein Before Knifing him in the Back

CNN has just posted a summary of newly-released documents further showing how the Reagan and Bush I and II administrations (irrefutably a misnomer) armed and assisted Hussein in his genocide - before knifing him in the back.

(CNN) -- The U.S. diplomatic courtship with Iraq in the 1980s continued despite Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons. Click on the links to read once-classified documents from the Reagan administration.
Once-classified documents show the U.S. continued its courtship with Iraq despite use of chemical weapons.

Once-classified documents show the U.S. continued its courtship with Iraq despite use of chemical weapons.

Date: December 5, 1986
Subject: U.S.-Iraqi Relations: Picking Up the Pieces
Summary: After disclosures that the United States was secretly providing weapons to Iraq's enemy, Iran, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Murphy recommends strengthening commercial ties with Saddam Hussein because "U.S.-Iraqi relations are in crisis." Read the document (pdf)

Date: March 3, 1988
Subject: Iraq's Foreign Policy: Deeper into the Mainstream
Summary: Anticipating an end to the Iran-Iraq war, a State Department official is optimistic that continued ties between the United States and Iraq will lead Saddam Hussein "deeper into the mainstream." The author concludes that "fears of Iraq's aggression seem exaggerated." Two weeks later, Iraqi forces attack Kurdish civilians in Halabja with poisonous gas. Read the document (pdf)

Date: December 29, 1988
Subject: Export-Import Financing for Iraq
Summary: In the closing days of the Reagan administration, the State Department's top human rights official argues that continued financial aid to Iraq "can simply not be squared with our worldwide human rights policy." However, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Murphy counters that U.S. financial ties with Iraq have "far greater use with Baghdad as a carrot than as a stick." A year and a half later, Iraq invades Kuwait. Read the document (pdf)


The story goes much deeper, as detailed in our original 2003 story "How we Came to Own Iraq"

Who needs CSI for stories of brutal murder and duplicity? We've got our very own serial killers still occupying the Red House.

Song of the Day

You gotta be crazy, you gotta have a real need.
You gotta sleep on your toes, and when you're on the street,
You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed.
And then moving in silently, down wind and out of sight,
You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking.

And after a while, you can work on points for style.
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake,
A certain look in the eye and an easy smile.
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
So that when they turn their backs on you,
You'll get the chance to put the knife in.

You gotta keep one eye looking over your shoulder.
You know it's going to get harder, and harder, and harder as you
get older.
And in the end you'll pack up and fly down south,
Hide your head in the sand,
Just another sad old man,
All alone and dying of cancer.

And when you loose control, you'll reap the harvest you have sown.
[ Find more Lyrics at www.mp3lyrics.org/g3A ]
And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone.
And it's too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw
around.
So have a good drown, as you go down, all alone,
Dragged down by the stone.

I gotta admit that I'm a little bit confused.
Sometimes it seems to me as if I'm just being used.
Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise.
If I don't stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this
maze ?

Deaf, dumb, and blind, you just keep on pretending
That everyone's expendable and no-one has a real friend.
And it seems to you the thing to do would be to isolate the winner
And everything's done under the sun,
And you believe at heart, everyone's a killer.

Who was born in a house full of pain.
Who was trained not to spit in the fan.
Who was told what to do by the man.
Who was broken by trained personnel.
Who was fitted with collar and chain.
Who was given a seat in the stand.
Who was breaking away from the pack.
Who was only a stranger at home.
Who was ground down in the end.
Who was found dead on the phone.
Who was dragged down by the stone.

--"Dogs", Wright, Waters, Gilmore, Mason


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Neverending Loads: Bored of Zehir

Good God almighty; one would think it nigh impossible to screw up the stellar RPG franchise that boasted the mind-blasting brilliance of Mask of the Betrayer, but this new crew of >cough< "talent" did just that, to such a degree that one might think they were saboteurs from a rival company intent on permanently sinking the franchise.

Where to begin? Well, let's start from the worst and work our way down:

1. If you love loading screens (and, let's face it, what hardcore gamer doesn't?), boy are you in for a treat. With this title, you spend about 60% of the time watching loadbars on a static screen (I kid thee not!). These load screens are so prevalent, within a single afternoon's gameplay, I took to avoiding most encounters because it simply wasn't worth the wait. Which brings us to the second point.

2. Stinginess. From the measly 19 experience points for killing a shambling mound (!), to the crappy "treasure" (killing half a dozen lizardmen gives you four dozen arrows and a batch of choking powder - whoohoo!), after the twentieth hard-fought asskicking you deliver, one begins to ask "is it worth it?"

3. Boring NPCs. Little is described in depth, and the characters are either glorified 7-11 attendants or another set of "scary" snapping jaws. Somehow Obsidian has managed to completely remove the "roleplaying" out of this "rpg", reducing it to little more than a ColecoVision title with slightly better graphics (with the emphasis on "slightly"). Unlike Mask of the Betrayer (which literally brought tears to my eyes and gave me goosebumps), the "characters" in this game are completely hollow, as if they were randomly rolled up by some "ingenious" GM "personality generator" chart. Volo, a demigod-status hero in the D&D mileau, is a cowardly, powerless buffoon, offering little help or interesting commentary at all.

4. *&%^%^%!^%^! ANNOYING camera views. Trying to use the PC mouse to look around - even after adjustments in the options menu - is like jumping onto a high-speed Tilt-a-whirl machine at the fair that won't stop. The screen will spin madly and you have to settle for an "approximately acceptable" angle with which to view the "action" -such as it is.

5. Battles - the battles are either far too easy (as in, over in 15 to 30 seconds) or - very occasionally - crushingly difficult, as you helplessly watch your characters get slaughtered repeatedly.

6. Graphics - after being spoiled by Oblivion and Half-Life 2, gamers are likely to be sorely disappointed by graphics that hearken back to the days of Asheron's call.

7. Gameplay "improvements" - this title feels like roleplaying a fantasy-world accountant. For those who LOVE shuffling sparkly little pixel-rendered items from inventory box to inventory box, this is the title to die for. For the rest of us, however, it could be bottled up and sold as a sleep aid.

8. The Environment: Players are confined to spacial cubes a few hundred meters in area - until the next maddening loading screen. What's worse, in each new site there is only a single interaction and a single payoff. One begins to feel like a lab rat repeatedly pressing a lever for the meager "rewards".

Is there ANYTHING good to say about this title? Well, yes, two things actually. The audio is superb - great music, sound effects and voice acting, though many of the voices are from previous titles, which was yet another annoyance. Additionally, the ability to choose between which player responds in a social interaction is an excellent idea, and well implemented in an otherwise horrible package.

In short, may the phantom of Gary Gygax forever torment those responsible for foisting this bit of bloated snoreware upon a hapless, helpless, undeservedly innocent public. To say it sucks goat balls is being charitable.

A friend gave me this title, and I am consequently considering never speaking to him again. Was this some act of vengeance for a forgotten slight?

The title was given to me for free, and was vastly overpriced. I want my ten hours of life back, you bastards.

Song of the Day



"Code Monkey" - Jonathan Coulton

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wow. One I Wish I'd Written

Spectacular tune I heard over a loudspeaker today. The vocals, keys and bass really pulled me in so I wrote down the lyrics and looked it up.

Former frontman from the band Bush, Gavin Rossdale, with the solo tune, "Love Remains the Same". Pretty deep. Dude should've ditched Bush and gone solo years ago.



Update:

Whoops; after studying the chords, I realized I DID write this song - about twenty-five years ago in a song called "New Shoes". At least the exact same chords and phrasings - but the singing melody and chords were totally different. Too bad!

Yes, 1 in EIGHT Americans poor now says Time....

As we noted last week, thanks to the policies of the NeoKhans, American homeless are now living on the streets in Third World numbers. FINALLY, the media starts to take notice, as the number of HOMELESS American CHILDREN LIVING ON THE STREETS swells well past a million.

As the roster of corporations and financial institutions on line for government bailouts seems to grow, some public policy advocates in Washington D.C. are calling on policymakers to focus more efforts on the nation's poorest. The ranks of the destitute are growing quietly but alarmingly as much of the world focuses on troubles surrounding Wall Street. "Recent data show poverty is already rising quite substantially," says Robert Greenstein, the executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "There is a strong potential for more hardship and destitution than we have seen in this country in a number of decades."


Lyric of the Day

Down and out
It can't be helped but there's a lot of it about.
With, without.
And who'll deny it's what the fighting's all about?
Out of the way, it's a busy day
I've got things on my mind.
For the want of the price of tea and a slice
The old man died.

-- "Us and Them", Gilmore, Wright, Waters, Mason


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Congress Needs Public Support to Block Bush Pardons

David Swanson alerts us that Congressional Rep. Jerrold is looking for public support of his resolution "Opposing Possible Bush Pardons of His Own Subordinates for Crimes He Authorized"

From Jerrold Nadler, Chair of the Constitution Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, we have H.RES.1531, "Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the President of the United States should not issue pardons to senior members of his administration during the final 90 days of his term of office," Sponsor: Rep Nadler, Jerrold (introduced 11/20/2008).

Swanson has posted an online petition promoting this resolution, through which you can write to your representative and senators at http://democrats.com/nadler-pardons

Says Swanson:

Senator Russ Feingold editorialized against these possible pardons at Salon.com yesterday; please urge him to introduce in the Senate the same resolution that Nadler has in the House.

Never before has a president pardoned himself or his subordinates for crimes he authorized. The idea that the pardon power constitutionally includes such pardons ignores a thousand year tradition in which no man can sit in judgment of himself, and the fact that James Madison and George Mason argued that the reason we needed the impeachment power was that a president might some day try to pardon someone for a crime that he himself was involved in. The problem is not preemptive pardons of people not yet tried and convicted. The problem is not blanket pardons of unnamed masses of people. Both of those types of pardons have been issued in the past and have their appropriate place. The problem is the complete elimination of any semblance of the rule of law by pardoning one's own subordinates for crimes you instructed them to commit.

Yes, of course, there's something absurd about knowing that a president authorized crimes, not impeaching him, not prosecuting him, not proposing any action with any teeth at all, but formally objecting to the idea of him issuing pardons of his own subordinates for crimes he authorized. But this is where we are. State, local, civil, foreign, and international prosecutions are likely ways of holding Bush, Cheney, and gang accountable, and pardons can't interfere with them. Pardons can't interfere with impeachment. But if we allow these pardons, we not only guarantee no federal prosecutions, and not only give Congress an excuse to drop its investigations, but we also establish the precedent that from here on out any president can violate any law and then pardon the crime. This is simply to end the idea of law. We cannot allow that.


Lyric of the Day:


(He's a joker, he's a joker, he's a joker)
Joker James, you did it again, caused somebody pain
(He's a joker, he's a joker)
You lived up to your name, Jimmy, he's Joker James.

Sally was a stamp collector, pretty little girl
One day she dated James, bringing love into her world
A tense romantic moment as they sat down on the couch
The whoopee cushion roared and I'm afraid it's over now.

(He's a joker, he's a joker, he's a joker)
Joker James, you did it again, caused somebody pain
(He's a joker, he's a joker)
You lived up to your name, didn't you, he's Joker James.

Lucy was a cool one, always got her high
Then she dated James and true love took her higher
The jester had suggested a new way to get stoned
Put itching powder down her neck and now she's all alone.

(He's a joker, he's a joker, he's a joker)
Joker James, you did it again, caused somebody pain
(He's a joker, he's a joker)
You lived up to your name, didn't you, he's Joker James.

Sense of humor cannot woo her
Her skin felt like heaven and laughter all the while
Her sense of humor throws him and deep in love he falls
But when he tries to sign the paper, the rubber pencil falls.

(He's a joker, he's a joker, he's a joker)
Joker James, you're not to blame, the joke's on you, now you're blue
(He's a joker, he's a joker)
It's such a shame, but that's the game, he's Joker James

(He's a joker, he's a joker, he's a joker)
Joker James, you did it again, caused somebody pain
(He's a joker, he's a joker)
You lived up to your name, Jimmy, he's Joker James

"Joker James", Pete Townshend, Roger Daltry, John Entwhistle, Kenney Jones

The Bush Push: A New Metaphor for Taking a Big Fat Dump

Continuing the legacy that's made him such a popular guy around the world, Bush has rammed a few more spectacularly evil final "fuck you's" down the collective throat of the country he has ruthlessly betrayed, bankrupted and permanently hobbled in an historically unprecedented eight-year orgy of plutocratic greed, brutality and corruption.

Chronologically, if not morally, Mr. Bush's crowning achievement in monumental fuckuppery and paralyzingly amoral greed certainly has to be the $700 billion dollar pre-Christmas prezzie to the evil fucks that have been throwing American men, women and children on the streets in Third-World numbers, a move Rep. Dennis Kucinich characterized as "opening up a financial whirlpool of insatiable greed" that "will never be enough".

Rep. Major Owens is no less critical:
Look closely and see how a Ponzi scheme concocted by America's best and brightest, with superb logarithms and mysterious hedge fund equations, is launched for a second time within thirty years. It is the Savings and Loan (S&L) debacle all over again.

As it was in the era of the S&L swindle the collapse of many FDIC regulated banks is emerging simultaneously with the collapse of the chartered entities -- Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae -- which have a greater moral claim for more direct federal assistance. As it was in the earlier bailout, we can anticipate that the rescue operations will be legislatively merged as the FDIC coffers are emptied and new schemes are invented to assist powerful depositors -- Arab sheiks, Asian corporate czars, etc. -- whose accounts total more than the guaranteed 100 thousands dollars.

So how's that sweet little deal progressing?
"It's a mess," said Eric M. Thorson, the Treasury Department's inspector general, who has been working to oversee the bailout program until the newly created position of special inspector general is filled. "I don't think anyone understands right now how we're going to do proper oversight of this thing."
OVERSIGHT?!? WTF?!? What, was anyone really expecting ACCOUNTABILITY or HONESTY from the "party" that brought us such greatest hits as the Katrina disaster, Abu Ghraib, and the Mansonesque war crimes of the Iraq occupation?!?

Get ready, cause here it comes, as Bush takes a final giant crap on the country:
Allowing factory farms to freely dump countless tons of shit into waterways without restriction;
Okaying poison in human drinking water;
Removing scientific advisors from development projects;
Leasing parklands and protected wilderness for strip mining;
Allowing more lead emissions into the air;
Cutting aid to sex slaves; and
Creating a loophole to exempt some power plants from providing pollution controls

But wait; there's more:
Animals and plants in danger of becoming extinct could lose the protection of government experts who make sure that dams, highways and other projects don't pose a threat, under regulations the Bush administration is set to put in place before President-elect Obama can reverse them.

The rules must be published Friday to take effect before Obama is sworn in Jan. 20. Otherwise, he can undo them with the stroke of a pen.

The Interior Department rushed to complete the rules in three months over the objections of lawmakers and environmentalists who argued that they would weaken how a landmark conservation law is applied.

A Nov. 12 version of the final rules obtained by the Associated Press has changed little from the original proposal, despite the more than 250,000 comments received since it was first proposed in August.

The rules eliminate the input of federal wildlife scientists in some endangered species cases, allowing the federal agency in charge of building, authorizing or funding a project to determine for itself if it is likely to harm endangered wildlife and plants.

Current regulations require independent wildlife biologists to sign off on these decisions before a project can go forward, at times modifying the design to better protect species.

The regulations also bar federal agencies from assessing emissions of the gases blamed for global warming on species and habitats, a tactic environmentalists have tried to use to block new coal-fired power plants.
Fortunately, there are signs of sanity in other parts of the globe, as Macedonia plants six MILLION trees in a single day
and Canada steps in to save a super forest.

So here's my vote for theme song for Bush's final day in office:


Sayonara

Bitch.