Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Boy & His Dog

This image was made by one Robert Scot, a "Friend" from Facebook who stopped in Albuquerque to visit, and was showing off his nifty new Nikon. Thanks, Robert.
It wasn't until I saw this shot that it finally dawned on me that I am becoming a balding, aging, sorta stout, middle-aged man.

Vivan! Los San Patricios!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Who taught you to drive a car? How old were you? Do you remember the car?

Why I ask is, some friends of mine are at p[resent enduring the terrors and traumas of adolescent mobility expansion, with its attendant dangers and temptations. And teaching their off-spring to drive.

My dad taught me to drive, on a three-day, cross-country jaunt from Cleveland, Ohio to Santa Fe, NM, in the dead of winter, 1960-61. I was going on 15 (and large for my age).

He needed me to spell him at the wheel. We had a regimen: He drove two hours, I drove an hour, all the way, about 1800 miles, I reckon. It mostly WASN'T divided, limited-access roadway in those days. Though there were turnpikes: Ohio had one and Kansas, too, now that I think about it. On the Kansas Pike, iirc, the speed-limit was 80 or 85.
It was: Eggs, bacon, potatoes, juice and coffee for breakfast; burger and fries for lunch. Someplace where Pop could get a beer, with dinner. We saw "Psycho" the night we were in Lawrence, Ks, on old Route 66. Terrified me. Scary to return to a motel room after that, even with your dad...

But I "learned" to drive: To look around me, and be aware, and pay attention, and keep your eyes moving, from mirror to gauges, to speedo, to left and to right and start over again.

It taught me a lot. I was behind the wheel a lot of highway miles, of course. Passing trucks and other slow-moving traffic on two-lane roads in an under-powered car (the '57 VW convertible had no more than 36 hp) is an acquired skill; but I drove through cities, too--St Louis is one I remember, prominently, and the Chain of Rocks Bridge--if they fell inside my hour...and we stopped pretty much wherever we were to change when the time was up. Dad liked a bit of structure; he'd skippered a destroyer in the war. So he was scrupulous: If it fell on your watch...

What I think now about it was it gave me a chance to really get in touch with the whole car/road/traffic thing in a real context. It was cool: we were in a '57 VW convertible, which would do 65 reliably as long as it was flat, and get 35 mpg...Both of us more or less chain-smoking Camels, swilling coffee and cokes, and constantly spinning the dial trying to find ANY music on an AM radio. The wing-windows blowing cold air in to dispel the smoke, the VW heater inadequately cooking away at our feet.

Not much daunted me after that in terms of automotive navigation. When I was 16, of course, I got my license. When I made rank, in Germany, in '66, I bought a car immediately, and my first jaunt was to Paris. It was crazy, but not really that different cruising the Plaza, nose-to-tail with every OTHER car in Santa Fe on Friday night; just more cars. Oh, and street cars; not many of them in northern New Mexico.

But still, Espanola was like dodge-'em cars in the '60s, with drive-in liquor stores on just about every corner. I was seasoned by the time I landed in Europe...Paris didn't cause me to break a sweat. Neither did Frankfurt, or Munich or Amsterdam, all places I drove to from the Kaserne at Zweibruchen, where I was stationed.

This year, it's been 50 years since I got my first driver's license, and I've worn the treads off scores of sets of tires. And I can still, sometimes, especially on the brink of a long journey, get that feeling like it's just me and Pop, and 1500 miles to Santa Fe.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

WOTM: Sinners in the Hands of a Sadist-God

Brian Keith Dalton -- The Master, and Mr. Deity -- is a lapsed Mormon with one of the shrewdest and most incisive anti- and irreligious wits since ol' Joe Smith started talking to the Angels... No, really. A wicked imagination! This is a stitch: Allegory and Blasphemy as terms of ART.

The Celestial North Korea!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pets For Vets: Every Day's Homecoming When There's A Dog Waiting For you

I found this video profoundly moving.
 Charles saw and did things that were and probably still are unthinkable to "civilized men."

 Here, in it's entirety, is one of the most corruscating works of poetry ever inscribed:
The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
 From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
Randall Jarrell
The word is that Charles is ailing. Reports claim he would like this video to go viral. I'll try to help. Won't you?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Top 100 Rock'n'Roll "Hooks" of All Time

I got almost all of the first 60...after that, I was not grooving... In order: 1 Mr. Sandman - Chet Atkins 2 Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash 3 Words of Love - Buddy Holly 4 Johnny B Goode - Chuck Berry 5 Rumble - Link Wray 6 Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran 7 Pipeline - The Chantays 8 Miserlou - Dick Dale 9 Wipeout - Surfaris 10 Daytripper - The Beatles 11 Can't Explain - The Who 12 Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones 13 Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix 14 Black Magic Woman - Santana 15 Helter Skelter - The Beatles 16 Oh Well - Fleetwood Mac 17 Crossroads - Cream 18 Communication Breakdown - Led Zeppelin 19 Paranoid - Black Sabbath 20 Fortunate Sun - Creedence Clearwater Revival 21 Funk 49 - James Gang 22 Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin 23 Bitch - Rolling Stones 24 Layla - Derek and the Dominos 25 School's Out - Alice Cooper 26 Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple 27 Money - Pink Floyd 28 Jessica - Allman Brothers 29 La Grange - ZZ Top 30 20th Century Boy - T. Rex 31 Scarlet Begonias - Grateful Dead 32 Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd 33 Walk This Way - Aerosmith 34 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen 35 Stranglehold - Ted Nugent 36 Boys Are Back in Town - Thin Lizzy 37 Don't Fear the Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult 38 Carry on My Wayward Son - Kansas 39 Blitzkreig Bop - The Ramones 40 Barracuda - Heart 41 Runnin' with the Devil - Van Halen 42 Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits 43 Message in a Bottle - The Police 44 Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black) - Neil Young 45 Back in Black - AC/DC 46 Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne 47 Spirit of Radio - Rush 48 Pride and Joy - Stevie Ray Vaughan 49 Owner of a Lonely Heart - Yes 50 Holy Diver - Dio 51 Beat It - Michael Jackson 52 Hot For Teacher - Van Halen 53 What Difference Does It Make - The Smiths 54 Glory Days - Bruce Springsteen 55 Money For Nothing - Dire Straits 56 You Give Love a Bad Name - Bon Jovi 57 The One I Love - REM 58 Where the Streets Have No Name - U2 59 Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N' Roses 60 Sweet Child 'O Mine - Guns N' Roses 61 Girls, Girls, Girls - Motley Crue 62 Cult of Personality -Living Colour 63 Kickstart My Heart - Motley Crue 64 Running Down a Dream - Tom Petty 65 Pictures of Matchstick Men - Camper Van Beethoven 66 Thunderstruck - AC/DC 67 Twice as Hard - Black Crowes 68 Cliffs of Dover - Eric Johnson 69 Enter Sandman - Metallica 70 Man in the Box - Alice in Chains 71 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana 72 Give it Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers 73 Even Flow - Pearl Jam 74 Outshined - Soundgarden 75 Killing in the Name - Rage Against the Machine 76 Sex Type Thing - Stone Temple Pilots 77 Are You Gonna Go My Way - Lenny Kravitz 78 Welcome to Paradise - Green Day 79 Possum Kingdom - Toadies 80 Say it Ain't So - Weezer 81 Zero - Smashing Pumpkins 82 Monkey Wrench - Foo Fighters 83 Sex and Candy - Marcy Playground 84 Smooth - Santana 85 Scar Tissue - Red Hot Chili Peppers 86 Short Skirt, Long Jacket - Cake 87 Turn a Square - The Shins 88 Seven Nation Army - White Stripes 89 Hysteria - Muse 90 I Believe in a Thing Called Love - The Darkness 91 Blood and Thunder - Mastadon 92 Are You Gonna Be My Girl - Jet 93 Reptilia - The Strokes 94 Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand 95 Float On - Modest Mouse 96 Blue Orchid - White Stripes 97 Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Green Day 98 Steady As She Goes - The Raconteurs 99 I Got Mine - Black Keys 100 Cruel - St. Vincent

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Tale of Two Images

Images matter. If the Reagan regime taught us anything else, it cemented the "image" into the political DNA of the polis for all time. With that in mind, consider the following,which ran through Facebook today like bad fish.

Woody visibly cringes when he sees this kind of shit. Not because Oprah herself ever said such a thing, but because of the triumphalist pose it proposes.

Someone on Fbook suggested it was a joke. The Ol' Semiologer, Dr. Woody, sez: So what? There is NOTHING about it to suggest that it is in the least ironic. It is perfectly consonant with the triumphalist rhetoric that comouflages a notable lack of substance. Cuz it just ain't true! No how, no way.

If this is meant to allegorically suggest that, like the lucky guests at a particular Oprah shooting, we've just been endowed with the health and wellness equivalent of a new car, or something. it's just not true. We've struck it nothing like rich, nor even just lucky.

 And it's not true on the literal level. Everyone does NOT "get healthcare." Eventually, 90-95% of the population will be able to purchase probably expensive, probably limited, probably insufficient health care INSURANCE, someday.

In a couple of years, if everything goes well. Probably.

If yer lucky...

Now please examine this image:

Coal miners fire handmade rockets during a clash with the Spanish national riot police inside "Pozo Soton" coal mine in El Entrego, near Oviedo, northern Spain, July 4, 2012. The coal miners are protesting against the government's proposal to decrease funding for coal production. (foto:REUTERS/Eloy Alonso)
This image and the drama it illustrates encapsulates, perfectly, the universal dilemma of formulating a social policy to respond to climate change, in a fucking nutshell. Here it is, in baby steps:
"We" need ever-more energy. But irreplaceable carbon fuels exacerbate ecological and climatological crises
Burning coal is just about the worst way, from an environmentally responsible perspective, to make usable energy.
But these coal miners' jobs and livelihoods (and probably their macho egos, too), and their union's strength and influence, too, all depend on the continued use of this destructive substance in ways which continue to damage the entire ecosphere.
And yet the workers must fight to DEFEND the exploitation, the immediate and long-term consequences of which ultimately fall the hardest on them and their families.
This is another of those pesky "immanent contradictions of Capital" about which Marx and Engels were incessantly "on," about 150 years ago.

BTW: Didja know that the Communist Manifesto is the SECOND most reproduced book in the world? Yup, it is.

Home, Sweet Home

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Drilling the Arctic: Are You Fucking SHITTING ME?

*"The full scope of the offshore-leasing program in the Arctic for 2012-17 will not be released for another several days, but U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made it clear that the U.S. plans to expand the march of drilling rigs into the Arctic after Shell's initial exploratory drilling program this summer. Salazar said that program is likely to win final federal approvals soon."