Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Perfect Season


The Tom Brady and Randy Moss Show...16-0...the New England Patriots might do it...all the way to the Superbowl?

In 1972 the Miami Dolphins won every game they played that season including the superbowl.

Spies Rockets and Coke


Got out of the house today and saw terrific fun movie Charlie Wilson's War. Stagg liked it because it was a Robin Hood-esquetype story. The writer is one of my favourite writers...a god: Aaron Sorkin! Dialogue was excellent and some of the fighting footage near the beginning was really impressive.

What a totally wonderful movie.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

China Stinks! Canada Should Boycott China


China has been on my shit list for decades.

It's impossible to go shopping and try to buy something well made following high standards of production because China seems to monopolize retail stores. China stainless steel is complete shit...terrible for cooking.

I was so pissed off when China got the Olympics and I refuse to watch them when they air next year.

I seem to be the only person who actually remembers Tiananmen Square? China has never made a public apology or retribution or atonement for killing it's own people, students and labourers who believed in democracy.

I hope Canada refuses to send athletes to the games in Beijing.


If China didn't suck enough already: sexism, intolerance, crappy merchandise...the New York Times reports about it's pollution...

22 evangelical leaders were arrested in June. Authorities of the eastern Shandong province condemned two leaders of evangelical house churches to a year of “re-education through labour”. Others were detained for several days without charge, or were also likely to be condemned to work in a labour camp.

In July, 15 house church leaders were detained by military police within one week in Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu and Anhui province. A Vacation Bible School for 150 children was attacked and two teachers were beaten and hospitalized. Police did not provide any legal paper for the arrest, blaming one pastor of being involved in “illegal religious activities.”

This December, 270 Chinese pastors were arrested during a Bible study gathering. 40-50 policemen from 12 different towns were involved in the massive detention.

Last year alone, according to China Aid Association, the Chinese government arrested 1,958 pastors and members of unregistered Protestant churches. A similar number was reported for 2005. This absolute disregard for what we hold dear in Canada – religious freedom, freedom of expression, freedom to assemble – shows that the Western strategy of “opening up” China with increased trade and the Olympic Games is not working.
Boycott China!

Friday, December 28, 2007

You Know You're Cynical When....



This woman had more money than god.

Why would she return to a country that she knew she couldn't trust anyone...each political leader hates another because of the tribe their family is from...

Her family helped fund the Taliban originally in Afghanistan, and was convicted with money laundering by Switzerland...she was admired because she attended rich kids colleges like Oxford and Harvard....and despite her family's support of the Taliban in the 90's she is seen as a woman's activist.

I am sorry anyone is killed especially for politics...which is one of the more stupid pasttimes humans endeavor and dabble with...

But Bhutto could have hired her own entire militia.

I believe she was motivated by the same nihilism that moves terrorists. It should have been treason for her to behave so recklessly and with such high risk abandon as seen in the above photo. Or is she already at gunpoint in the parade and forced to stand outside the limo? Plusshe likely had a overamplified need for approval and was obsessed with displaying her popularity....maybe to compensate for her growing nihilism?

This was not an assassination. I believe she was on a suicide mission and her behaviour was more like a nihilist than a person motivated with hope for her countries future.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bowie Meets Crosby

Feeling so much better. Oh my god...that is the worst cold I've ever had....but it feels so good to feel any energy right now. I have a lot of catching up to do today...I am still sore and now the cold feels like a normal cold instead of being beat with a bag of oranges.

I have not done anything for three days...so I've got to find some holiday supplies. In a hurry. I'm still pretty weak so I think Stagg will have to "take me to the mall".

We had a wild storm here last night, thunder lightning rain and wind. Then between 2 and 4 a.m. sirens constantly.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Knocked Out

Just to let you know...I'm knocked out with some kind of weaponized supercold. As soon as I can sit up with out feeling I have broken glass in my head I'll be around to visit blogs. The sound of an envelope opening kills me. Totally couldn't do Thursday Thirteen yesterday. Stagg got home from work last night and found me all feverish and delirious and he jumped into doctor mode.

We didn't have any provisions in the house. You know, now I know why my grandparents had so many drugs in their medicine chest. I always thought they were nuts with jars and jars of pills. And if anyone was feeling anything my grandfather would start grinding pills or mixing up a gingerale concoction with some expired prescription.

I used to tease my grandfather about this but now I kind of get it. Yesterday I managed to find some Tylenol...it was past it's half life but I took it anyways. Stagg totally compensated he ran to the store and came home with 500 Advils I've never seen a bottle of pills this big...where did he go? Cosco? Only in America! He got about 200 Ricola which I am basically living on.

Later...and I hope no one else gets this evil cold...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rolling Stone McCarthy interview

Click on the images in order to read the text :)








Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Putzing Around Making Wallpaper While Listening To Mary J. Blige











I fold the sections near the ceiling behind what I'm working on. So far in the last few days I've got about 35 feet of wallpaper. I'm turning this piece around and adding it...see below...

The smaller section with red drips flipped and added to the bottom...

The section on the right I will eventually add to the bottom of the strip you can see below...like I did the earlier example, above.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ridicule Is Nothing To Be Scared Of


Which Ant Are You?






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Asterisk found a quiz with Adam and The Ants. I guess you know you're a legend when your career enables a blog quiz meme! It's easy to forget how much inspiration Adam Ant gave his fans when he was making music. As many of you know, I adored Adam Ant he really knew how to be a rock star too. We watched a documentary about him a few months ago following his punk days, rise to pop star and his struggle with bipolar disorder.

I was pretty glad to score as an Adam Ant in "which ant are you quiz"...Adam Ant is one of the most inspiring artists, first, did anyone ever have as much fun making videos? His lyrics often had empowering messages and a guy who wasn't afraid to dance his fantasies, wear make up and dress androgynously was a huge inspiration to those who are shy, in the closet or trying to take risks in making art and music. It's funny the BBC banned a video called "Strip" and I looked at it today and it is so tame, it's hilarious.

It is bizarre to see how vicious rumours, censorship, and ridicule surrounds some innovative free spirits.

What is really amazing is looking back at his career, and many of the risks he took...it's incredible that his emotional breakdown didn't prevent him from working when he was younger. His lyrics for "Ridicule" now seem much more important than how fun they seemed back in the 80's. Although his illness became mainstream recently he must have been struggling with doubt, depression and able to persevere for years while critics joked and censored his work. I admire other celebrities who are publically associated with bipolar disorder like Tim Burton, Buzz Aldrin, Dick Cavett, Tom Waits and Rosemary Clooney and how they kept working and inspiring their fans.

Adam Ant on punk: Punk was the way we thought we could change things. We wanted to shock Britain out of its small-minded, cosy complacency. The music was deliberately loud and simple in direct contrast to the overproduced, far too clever musical rubbish coming from the mega-rich rock stars who had nothing in common with us. We didn’t want twenty-minute drum solos or pathetic, self-obsessed rubbish offered up as lyrics.

Punk fashion was all about sex, revealing and trashy in direct contrast to the smart casual dress of the day. Because everyone wore flared trousers, punks wore straight-legged trousers. Because men and boys still wore ties, punks wore ties, but studded them with safety pins and wore them more like a noose than a necktie. Because men and women wore their hair neat and styled, punks wore theirs deliberately messy, badly cut and brightly coloured. Because sex was still an activity that took place in private in Britain, between two (married) people, punks acted provocatively and perversely.


Adam Ant on bipolar disorder: I have been able to look forward and find clarity in dealing with the events that have taken place in my life and understand how to manage my condition. I am reclaiming my life from bipolar illness. I know now what the warning signs are, and when I am in danger of feeling depressed or manic I can, with help, manage to avoid both states. I am in recovery.’

Prince charming
Prince charming
Ridicule is nothing to be scared of
Dont you ever, dont you ever
Stop being dandy, showing me youre handsome

Dont you ever, dont you ever
Lower yourself, forgetting all your standards
Dont you ever, dont you ever
Lower yourself, forgetting all your standards

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Director's Cut




"Dear Editor--I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in The Sun, it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O'Hanlon
115 West Ninety-fifth Street

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood. The New York Sun 1897.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hook A Sister Up...?

You Are a Fortune Cookie

You're a rather normal person, except that you have extraordinary luck in life.
People want to be around you (even when they're a little sick of you), in hopes of being lucky too!


Thanks Wandering Coyote for Cookie Quiz. Yummy.

Hey how about watching a beautiful video of Spain? Asterisk's YouTube video is going viral ...be a part of history and go watch this pretty video here... :)

Hey...wanna visit a really fun blog? Check out Pop culture Dish with Malcolm. Everything he posts about I lovereading, Little Richard, Ike Turner, tv shows...and he has really fun "weekly polls"....like how do you xmas shop? or what's your favourite tv song?

PIMP MY BLOG


I want to beat Guy Kawasaki to Technorati Top Ten!

All I want for Festivus is to share more links with other bloggers! How about linking my blog...and asking your blog friends to link my blog? Visitors new and familiar who link my blog will be linked here.

Some visitors might remember that 2 years ago I had been reading some marketing blogs and came across Guy Kawasaki's blog. He started blogging when I did...and I started reading his blog and he was talking about Technorati. I didn't have a clue what Technorati was then, but he wanted to be in the top 10 Technorati rank...say like KOS or Arianna Huffington.

I decided on my blog...that I was going to try to beat Guy Kawasaki to the Technorati top ten.

I made a portrait of Guy Kawasaki to intimidate him and I re-read the Art of War...and began watching my stats on Technorati. Portrait on eBay may be found here

This is post # 838. And I wonder why Blogger doesn't have an automatic link feature when people post comments like other blog sites? I wonder if they are going to amend that situation?

The making of the portrait, titledKawasaki Krump, can be seen by clicking here...

Help me beat Guy Kawasaki to top ten rank in Technorati...and link my blog...please?



Quid Pro Quo: something for something...What can I do for you? Some variety of trade? Visitors new and familiar who link my blog will be linked here and on my blogrolls..., and I'll Ping your blog for you...1) From A Lofty Perch 2) Tweetey 3) One Double Decker Bus

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

80s Life. The Good The Bad And The Queen


Radiohead, The Stooges and The Good The Bad and The Queen begun making and distributing their own music DIY. Sonic Youth was doing DIY and basically put DIY in the dictionary. Are we seeing some innovations in music biz a bit like 10 Ways To fix The Music Industry?

Radiohead was offering it's new album In Rainbows for sale online, for whatever price fans wanted to pay for it...but now their website has shut down sales...

The obvious question now is why would Radiohead kill the promotion and go back to a traditional sales model if the cash were rolling in?

The album is still in its infancy, say music industry executives. The economic life span of an album can last as long as two years. It starts when an act releases a record and is extended when the performer goes on a concert tour.

"For those of you who wish to buy In Rainbows in the usual way," said a message at Radiohead's site on Tuesday, "it will be available on CD/vinyl and download from traditional outlets from the 31st December 2007."

Several publications have also reported that Radiohead is negotiating to make In Rainbows available on iTunes.

You can argue that the reason to pull the plug on the offering is to give the band a chance to tap into the shrinking but lucrative CD market. Discs are still the way most people listen to music.

But if the pay-what-you-want promotion was a cash cow, why not keep it going at the same time that you sell CDs? If the digital and CD markets are separate then there's no fear of undercutting disc sales. If they are not, then hasn't the high-profile online promotion already doomed physical sales?
From here.

It seems Radiohead took a page out of The Clash's history (they once sold a three album release for 2 bucks called Sandinista) made for their fans.

Radiohead gave fans a couple of weeks to get the album by downloading it...and now the band moves sales to the traditional format.

Interesting how inventive bands are often inventive at marketing and beating the market...

It works both ways too. Many huge pop stars a couple of decades ago have found themselves without support. Recording companies say they can't sell them. Some of these pop stars have taken the route of corporate sponsorship in order to pursue their artistic visions. Bob Dylan is making a statement by working on a mainstream radio program and doing an SUV commercial. Joni Mitchell hadn't made a record and stopped making music until Starbucks approached her with a record deal.


"John Mellancamp has for years gotten the cold shoulder from critics. More recently he's been harassed for his anti-war views. Unfazed, he's just made what may be the best album of his multi-platinum, 31-year career, Freedom's Road—and if it takes a Chevy-truck ad to get it heard, that's fine by him." from Vanity Fair

A few of my blog friends are writing and being published outside the mainstream publishing industry and here is a good example with a book by Amy Ruttan (remember I met her in London Ontario this summer?) We are seeing more and more p2p economic emergence and it isn't even the apocalypse yet.

Thirteen loosely considered things about working in the arts...Visitors leaving a comment will be linked here: 1) comedy Plus 2) Puss Reboots 3) The Pink flamingo 4) A Gentleman's Domain 5) Pop Culture Dish 6) Grearfulliving 7) Nicole Austin-Romance Writer 8) One Old Green Bus 9) Damozel 10) Don't Eat Baby 11) Midnight Moon Cafe 12) Four dinners 13) The Urban Zoo 14) Tweetey 15) Lori's Light Extemporanea 16) From A Lofty Perch 17) Fond of Photography

We Like To Watch

Javier Bardem. Since the writers strike we've been watching a lot more movies on IFC, Sundance or HBO. We've watched three movies starring Javier Bardem in the last couple of weeks. I suppose since the release of No Country For Old Men some stations have featured movies with Bardem. I'd seen Before Night Falls directed by Julian Schnabel in the theatres a few years ago and loved it, but Stagg hadn't seen it...with it's mysterious cameos with Johnny Depp playing three characters. A really gorgeously filmed story of Cuban poet Reynaldo Arenas struggle to be published while being persecuted. I enjoyed it more this time around really appreciating Schnabels style and storytelling. We also watched The Dancer Upstairs a debut directing of John Malkovich about a detective in a South American country searching for a beloved guerilla. the terrorists kill dogs and string them up, the people secretly feel a spiritual bond with the terrorists, and Bardem is so compelling in this role. A very very good movie. Mondays In The Sun is the third movie and we watched it a few nights ago and we have still been talking about the characters who are laid-off shipworkers in Spain. I will be watching out for other movies directed by Fernando Leon de Aranoa as these characters really got under our skin. One memorable line from the movie had us laughing and also in awe "Everything they said about Communism turned out to be lies, and everything they said about Capitalism turned out to be true". JAVIER BARDEM ROCKS!

We watched the 1935 version of David Copperfield, which I had been avoiding all these years partly because it is one of my favourite movies and wanting to see it for the same reason. It was excellent. I have never been a fan of W.C. Fields, I just never "got him" but playing this Dickens character he was perfect. The boy who played David was really remarkable: Freddie Bartholomew seemed to have a real life Dickens childhood. Of course, almost no movie version of a Dickens novel could have all the details that make Dickens stories and characters so terrific but this movie does a fine job of capturing the evil creep of Uriah Heep, the loyalty and love of Agnes and Peggoty, but misses just a little on the corruptiveness of Steerforth. Overall a really terrific movie though.

We watched another adapted from literature movie based on Kafka, Orson Welles' The Trial. We started watching this one night, but I was tired... I recommend watching this one in daylight. That evening...the unfinshed viewing manifested in my dreams and I tossed and turned. Actually, we had quite a laugh because I woke up and told Stagg I had all these existential dreams. Dam that Welles and Kafka! The next day we finished watching the film and it is very well done. The production began because the producer wanted to use existing novels that the copy rights had expired and work with Wells. Wells chose The Trial and found amazing solutions to low budget movie making. This one was creepy, funny, anachronistic, paranoid, honest, surrealistic satiric and Anthony Perkins really is perfect as Joseph K. If you're curious here is a good review. I really recommend the review and the actual movie.

You know, last week I was watching CSI. No biggie. I was even a little tired...wondered how far I would make it till I needed to sleep. The opening sequence was so fucking well done I kind of sat up out of my slouch. the tv show CSI is slick and sexy and well made. But this was different, this had a whole new zip...and I noticed immediately. It was directed by William Friedkin. Which brings me to the documentary A Decade Under The Influence which we watched last night. A very cool set of interviews and clips from one of the most inspired and productive eras of moviemaking in the United States, the 1970's. Interviews with Dennis Hopper, William Friedkin, Sissy Spacek, Polly Platt, Peter Bogdanovich, Paul Mazursky, Martin Scorcese beginning with directors and their movies that influenced their work. Basically these film makers pointed out that in the 1960's the streets of every college town theatres would have young people lined up to watch foreign language films. From small town movie houses to Manhattan and San Francisco...kids were watching edgy inventive movies from other countries. Enough said. Duh.

The Clash changed my life. Really. Everything came together and fell apart. My love affair with the band didn't happen overnight. It was a courtship of about six months. And then I "got it". It's like every question every ambition dream or confusion was answered by listening to The Clash. The cliche of every generation having it's own sound is fairly true and The Clash was the new Rolling Stones, The Clash was the new Bob Dylan, The Clash was the new Woody Guthrie, The Clash was the new Sex Pistols, The Clash was the new Iggy Pop. After we watched the doc on 70's film makers we watched the dcumentary Let's Rock Again of a small gruelling tour that The Mescalleros did in 2001 and some interviews shortly before Joe Strummers untimely death. I know I am getting old when my youthful music makes me cry. heh heh. Seriously, I cry often when I hear the Sex Pistols, Bruce Springsteen...and I creid like crazy at the end of Let's Rock Again. In the movie Joe Strummer is trying to promote the bands tour, showing up at rural radio stations, handing passes out to people on the street and meeting with fans. Fan after fan went to Joe and said, often crying, "You changed my life".

Joe Strummer was born as John Graham Mellor in Ankara, Turkey on August 21, 1952. His mother, a crofter's daughter and one of nine children born and raised in the Scottish Highlands, was a nurse. His father was a British foreign-service diplomat who had been born in Lucknow, India. The family spent much time moving from place to place, and Strummer spent his childhood in places such as Cairo, Mexico City, and Bonn. At the age of 9, Strummer and his older brother David, 10, began boarding at the City of London Freemen's School in Surrey. Strummer rarely saw his parents during this time. He developed a love of rock music listening to records by Little Richard and The Beach Boys as well as American folk-singer Woody Guthrie. (Strummer would even go by the name "Woody" for a few years, following his brother's suicide in July 1970, until changing his name to "Joe Strummer" a year and a half before the Clash was formed.) After finishing his time at City of London Freemen's School, Ashstead Park, Surrey, in 1970, Strummer moved on to London's Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, where he briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a professional cartoonist, but ultimately completed a foundations course.[1] During this time, Strummer shared a flat in the north London suburb of Palmers Green with friends Clive Timperley and Tymon Dogg.From Wikipedia.


LONDON CALLING, above, is the first music video I ever saw. I went with friends to visit another friend, Kim Tomczak, who was djing a caberet show at Larry's Hideaway. I was new to Toronto, music networks were just being born: I was a hick from the west coast and wasn't aware of the new medium for music. When I heard the music of London Calling and then saw the big screen of The Clash I sort of flipped. The concept of a video station playing music was complete euphoria, I had always gone to rock movies like Rude Boy or Quadraphenia...but music videos...in your own house? Nirvana for us music lovers! I immediately went and got cable service. I also saw The Clash perform more than any other major performer and I've seen a lot of live music.

Visitors who comment will be linked here: 1) A Blog About Nowt 2) Red Letter Day 3) Mister Anchovy

Monday, December 10, 2007

Detroit Icons Backstage Banter


This clip is froma documentary following her last tour, and came with her concert cd. I loved this bit and how they camped for the camera. I also love how Stuart Price pretends to be shocked by rock n roll decadence.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Around The House



Remeber those shot-gun-shell strings of lights we bought in the spring? We put them up.


My studio area. Have you ever had a time in your life when you feel like you should be doing something...but you're not sure exactly what? Basically...for the last few weeks I felt I should be doing A,B &C. But it wasn't coming together or making sense. So then I have a little slump. Not sad...just almost like frozen. Don't move. Wait. And then about 10 days ago I said no. Just write some things down that you can do something about and do them.

Sometimes I think a large part of my life is one big leap of faith after another. Sometimes, that worries me like it's not responsible. Like maybe I'm crazy. I live in a dream world. But really...I don't think I know any other way of doing things.

Making some more wallpaper.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Canadian Phenomenon


I've been wanting to see Festival Express for a couple of years. I was helping my sister and her family move two years ago and got together with an older friend in Calgary. He was reminising about his teen years and somehow he started telling me about this concert in Calgary. He said he and his friends hitchhiked down to Calgary from Edmonton to see Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead play in a park outside. I was like WHAT? WHEN?

I had never heard of this thing before and couldn't believe it...he said the bands were travelling across Canada on a train and would play for kids. He said the city of Calgary let all the kids camp in the park that runs between two Rivers, the Elobw and The Bow now named Prince's Island Park.

This seemed extrodinary to me...and then he told me there was a movie somewhere being released about this event. I didn't get to see it till tonight and it is really something. Immediately I said to Stagg my god...they've done something extrodinary with the aiudio. I was fascinated with this movie for a couple of reasons, one because I am so crrazy about music and two because this is a major aspect of Canadiana. And finally I was excited to see this film to see what a director and producers would make of putting footage from 35 years ago together for audiences today.

The film captures an innocent time and a time where people weren't so fragmented and posturing about "what kind of music they liked"....it was a time when music wasn't used as an excuse to love one band and trash another in the same breath. Genres of musicians, from pop to blues to psychedelic to greaser rock and folk were together and kids and audiences exposed themselves to all music holisitically.

Music has been deemed "historically correct" or "authentic" and record companies have made money off the posturing of fans. No one was hating on music because of it's popularity or it's production values or lack thereof:they may have rejected the materialism of some personas, but they were also all commerically viable musicians themselves. Eventually the record companies cashed in on fragmentation and the audiences ghettoizing music. Back in the days of this concert..I believe the audience was probably more discerning. In the last two decades you have fans who have ghettozied their own listening tastesand consequently the record companies will only pay for genre artists. I suspect the limited unvaried tastes of most music fans has contributed to a generation of people who have prejudiced ears and a lack of listening stature.

The performances of such a variety of musicians is awesome and you can enjoy Buddy Guy, The Band, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Sylvia Tyson and others while seeing rare footage of a long lost transportation...THE TRAIN!

What a fucking rocking movie!

My first impression, how could this have happened in Canada? Now, I don't think it could have happened anywhere else.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Nature Versus Nurture?


I got inspired by this video for this post from a blogger named I Read Banned Books thanks!

Here are the eight factors that are strongly corelated with test scores in school:

The child has highly educated parents.

The child's parents have high socioeconomic status.

The child's mother was thirty or older at the time of her first child's birth.

The child had low birthweight.

The child's parents speak English in the home.

The child is adopted.

The parent's are involved in the PTA.

The child has many books in the home.

Now two by two

Matters:The child has highly educated parents.
Doesn't: The child's family is intact.

Matters: The child's parents have high socioeconomic status.
Doesn't: The child's parents recently moved into a better neighbourhood.

Matters: The child's mother was thirty or older at the time of the birth of her first child.
Doesn't: The child's mother didn't work between birth and kindergarten.

Matters: The child had low birthweight.
Doesn't: The child attended Head Start.

Matters: The child's parents speak English in the home.
Doesn't: The child's parents take him to museums.

Matters: The child is adopted.
Doesn't: The child is spanked.

Matters: The child's parents are involved in the PTA.
Doesn't: The child frequently watches television.

Matters: The child has many books in his home.
Doesn't: The child's parents read to him regularily.

What does this tell us? A couple of things.

1) That although parents "matter" they don't matter in the way that we've been saying in mainstream literature and in pop psych books or parenting manuals.

2) It demonstrates that who parents are is a more important factor in children's performance at school than what parents do. This rejects the commonly held notions. I think it also is a great benenfit because it gives hope to childrenfrom families with abuse...they are not destined to become thir parents...we are not written in stone. And for those many parents who are stressed about what kind of parents to be...the stats show what you do may not be as tramatic to child development as we all fear.

From Freakonomics To overgeneralize a bit, the first list describes things that parents are; the second list describes things parents do. Parents who are well educated, successful, and healthy tend to have children who test well in school; but it doesn't seem to much matter whether a child is trotted off to museums or spanked or sent to Head Start or frequently read to or plopped in front of the television.

I will post some breakdowns of evaluations of these statistics in the comments below okay?

Thursday Thirteen Edition#75.

Visitors who leave a comment below, I will link here 1) Writing In Faith 2) She's A Writer 3) Sports, Soaps, and a Wandering Mind 4) comedy Plus 5) A Gentleman's Domain 7) Puss Reboots 8) Pop Culture Dish 9) Mommy Bytes 10) Double Decker Green Bus 11) State of Confusion 12) Crimson Wife 13) Secret Agent Mama 14) Baby Amore 15) Tennnesee Text Wrestling 16) Deanna Collector's Quest 17) Jenny McB 18) Nichtszusagen 19) From A Lofty Perch 20) Kelly Cat 21) Betty The Geek 22) Tweetey 23) The Cafe At The End Of The Universe 24) Buck Naked Politics 25) A Piece Of My Mind 26) A Blog About Nowt

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Do Parents Matter?

Excerpted from the book Freakonomics

What Makes A Parent Perfect?

Has there ever been another art so devoutly converted into a science as the art of parenting?

Over the recent decades, a vast and diverse flock of parenting experts has arisen. Anyone who tries even casually to follow their advice may be stymied , for the conventional wisdom on parenting seems to shift by the hour. sometimes it is a case of one expert differing from another. At other times the mostvocal experts suddenly agree en masse that the old wisdom was wrong and that new wisdom is, for alittle while atleast, irrefutably right.

Breast feeding is for example the only way to garantee a healthy baby-unless bottle feeding is the answer. A babyshould sleep on its back-until it is decreed that sheshould only be put to sleep on her stomach.


This chapter in Freakonomics continues by exploring some myths of parenting, some books revealing misconceptions and urban myths, and then to describe regression analysis. Using regression analysis the authors study the results of late 1990's school test scores to see if there is any corelation to contemproary beliefs about what makes a good parent, or not.

Wanna play? 8 of the following 16 factors does corelate to how a child does on school tests.

1) The child has highly educated parents.

2) The child's family is intact.

3) Thechild's parents have high socioeconomic status.

4) The child's parents recently moved into a better neighbourhood.

5) The child's mother was thirty or older at the time of her first child's birth.

6) The child's mother didn't work between birth and kindergarten.

7) The child had low birthweight.

8) Thechild attended Head Start.

9) The child's parents speak English at home.

10) The child's parents regularily take him to museums.

11) The child is adopted.

12) The child is regularily spanked.

13) The child's parents are in the PTA.

14) The child frequently watches television.

15) The child has many books in his home.

16) The child's parents read to him nearly everyday.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Another Douglas Sirk Amazing Movie Experience



Imitation of Life, 1959 with Lana Turner, Juanita Moore and Sandra Dee deliver up the story of two single moms who team up in Manhattan in hopes of making a better life. One of the best lines "No fault in pretending to be prosperous, just means you're letting the Lord know you're ready." Douglas Sirk's movies always surprise me how relevant they remain, he is like the Hollywood Shakespeare.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Link My Blog...please?



I want to beat Guy Kawasaki to Technorati Top Ten!

I haven't lost yet...which means...there is still time for me to win!

Some visitors might remember that 2 years ago I had been reading some marketing blogs and came across Guy Kawasaki's blog. He started blogging when I did...and I started reading his blog and he was talking about Technorati. I didn't have a clue what Technorati was then, but he wanted to be in the top 10 Technorati rank...say like KOS or Arianna Huffington.

I decided on my blog...that I was going to try to beat Guy Kawasaki to the Technorati top ten.

I made a portrait of Guy Kawasaki to intimidate him and I re-read the Art of War...and began watching my stats on Technorati.

On March 31, 2007, my technorati rank was 2,258 and Guy Kawasaki's was 27.

A year earlier in April, 2006...this is what Guy Kawasaki had to say about Technorati ranking: Some people are perplexed (perhaps even dismayed) with my high level of interest (aka, "obsession") in my Technorati ranking. I provide several explanations to choose from:

a) I am a shallow, insecure person whose fragile ego must be externally fed by whatever validation I can find.
b) I'm a goal oriented person. If I were a quarterback, I would keep track of touchdowns. If I were a winger, I would keep track of goals. If I were a shooting guard, I would keep track of three pointers. I'm a blogger (partially), so I keep track of links.
c) Creating a link is a voluntary act. Presumably, the linker believes that the material is worth reading and therefore created the link. By extension, the more useful one's blog becomes, the more people will link to it. The more people link to it, the higher you rise in Technorati. Thus, your Technorati ranking is a measure of your meaningfulness.
d) I just love rankings.


Some Gnostic Minx Blog Stats today:

1) Actually, the Technorati top ten has changed in the past year proving it is a kind of organic entity. I was ranked 2,258...but now I am 162,356.

2) #1 sounded depressing until I realized Guy kawasaki's rank was also set back from changes within Technorati rank system. He dropped from #27 to #36.

3) This is post # 825. Sheesh, when did that happen?

4) I've had 36,327 visitors.

5) I've listed the Guy Kawasaki portrait 8 times on eBay.

6) Between April 11, 2007 and today there have been 1,374 comments left here.

7) One time, my blog got reviewed by this guy named "Lucky" who had a blog called Desert Odyssey. You can see how much he hated my blog on the link in my margins. He ranked blogs by camel humps and he gave me the lowest rank of all the blogs he reviewed. His Technorati rank is 2,124,856. Actually he quit blogging a few months ago saying his blog was dead. Why am I smiling so hard right now?

8) The Making of Kawasaki Krump portrait can be seen by clicking here...

9) Number of times some words have brought people here: gnostic 444 visitors, masterbation 114 visitors, meridian 131, rebirth 29, mccarthy 338, depression 73 visitors, and goth 27 visitors found this blog.

10) I've been tagged about half a dozen times since I began blogging. I am tagged now for Monday Morning and am afraid I'll forget...so here is the meme and link to help me remember.

11) "RT wrote an article on how to improve your Technorati rank at Untwisted Vortex. It's an ongoing experiment to see how well my blog's Technorati rank will improve by participating."

12) How To Improve your Blog Rank at Buck Naked Politics

Help me beat Guy Kawasaki to top ten rank in Technorati...and link my blog...please? If you are already linked with me, do you "PING" your blog regularily? Pinging your blog helps test whether your computer can communicate with another computer over the network. Then, if network communication is established, ping tests also determine the connection latency (technical term for delay) between the two computers. Here is a ping feature site...type in the name of your blog and the URL. I ping every day and every time I post something new.

You can PING Technorati directly at this page...and type in your blog URL.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Gnostic Song and Video


Directed by the amazing Joseph Kahn in 2002, We Are All Made Of Stars, is one of my favourite music videos. It's a lot of fun partly because of all the cool cameos...but it's also one of the worlds most beautiful songs. You can see the following "stars" Kato Kaelin, Verne Troyer, Corey Feldman, Todd Bridges, Gary Coleman, J.C. 'N Sync, Dave Navarro, Sean Bean, Dominique Swain, Ron Jeremy, Thora Birch, Tommy Lee, Molly Sims, Robert Evans, Angelyne, The Toxic Avenger and of course Moby.

Frederico Fellini directing Satyricon



I love Fellini. I miss him. Today I had recorded Satyricon...and Stagg was looking forward to seeing it. Partly because Moby had named some music Satyricon.

Halfway though the movie Stagg says, "I want to run out and buy a boxed set of Fellini!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Code of The Old West


"The Code of the West was a gentleman's agreement to certain rules of conduct. It was never written into the statutes, but it was respected everywhere on the range. "
-- Ramon F. Adams

1) Don't inquire into a person's past. Take the measure of a man for what he is today.
Never steal another man's horse. A horse thief pays with his life.
Defend yourself whenever necessary.
Look out for your own.
Remove your guns before sitting at the dining table.
Never order anything weaker than whiskey.
Don't make a threat without expecting dire consequences.
Never pass anyone on the trail without saying "Howdy".

2) When approaching someone from behind, give a loud greeting before you get within shooting range.
Don't wave at a man on a horse, as it might spook the horse. A nod is the proper greeting.
After you pass someone on the trail, don't look back at him. It implies you don't trust him.
Riding another man's horse without his permission is nearly as bad as making love to his wife. Never even bother another man's horse.

3) Always fill your whiskey glass to the brim
Do not practice ingratitude.
A cowboy is pleasant even when out of sorts. Complaining is what quitters do, and cowboys hate quitters.

4) Always be courageous. Cowards aren't tolerated in any outfit worth its salt.
A cowboy always helps someone in need, even a stranger or an enemy.

5) Never try on another man's hat.

6) Be hospitable to strangers. Anyone who wanders in, including an enemy, is welcome at the dinner table. The same was true for riders who joined cowboys on the range.
Give your enemy a fighting chance.
Never wake another man by shaking or touching him, as he might wake suddenly and shoot you.

7) Real cowboys are modest. A braggert who is "all gurgle and no guts" is not tolerated.
A cowboy doesn't talk much; he saves his breath for breathing.
No matter how weary and hungry you are after a long day in the saddle, always tend to your horse's needs before your own, and get your horse some feed before you eat.

8) Cuss all you want, but only around men, horses and cows.
Complain about the cooking and you become the cook.
Always drink your whiskey with your gun hand, to show your friendly intentions.

9) Be there for a friend when he needs you.
Drinking on duty is grounds for instant dismissal and blacklisting.

10) A cowboy is loyal to his "brand," to his friends, and those he rides with.
Never shoot an unarmed or unwarned enemy. This was also known as "the rattlesnake code": always warn before you strike. However, if a man was being stalked, this could be ignored.

11) Never shoot a woman no matter what.

12) Consideration for others is central to the code, such as: Don't stir up dust around the chuckwagon, don't wake up the wrong man for herd duty, etc.
Respect the land and the environment by not smoking in hazardous fire areas, disfiguring rocks, trees, or other natural areas.
Honesty is absolute - your word is your bond, a handshake is more binding than a contract.

13) Live by the Golden Rule.

Visitors and Thursday Thirteen Paerticipants will be linked here if they say "Howdy" and leave a comment. 1) Pop culture Dish 2) Enjoying The Ride 3) A Gentleman's Domain 4) On A Limb With Claudia 5) My Irrationalities 6) Puss Re Boots 7) From A Lofty Perch 8) The Pink Flamingo 9) Mister Anchovy 10) Betty The Geek 11) Nichtszusagen 12) NBR's Spot 13) State Of Confusion 14) Double Decker Buses 15) Fond of Photography 15) Cajun Vegan 16) A Blog About Nowt 17) Four Dinners 18) It's All Good 19)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dolt 45


Dolt 45 are friends of Stagg's. Darrick, the singer and Dave, on guitar (stage left to Darrick) went to elementary school and Catholic boys high school together. Darrick and Stagg also went to the Academy of Art together.They played on Friday night a few blocks away and it was great to walk over and be able to hang out. I've been wanting to film them for a while too. We had a wonderful night visiting with Darrick's wife, and our friend Nancy, and Darrick's mom and step-dad.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Come On In, Set Down, And Shoot The Shit With Us For a Bit


For the attempt at making the traditional Green Bean Casserole a little special and organic, we picked up some really nice mushrooms. And a few cremini too. I'd like to think my grandmother, an excellent cook would have considered this version "gourmet".
I haven't deep fried anything for a long time. I was dubious, but the process came out much like a delicate tempura. I used really small onions, for strong taste, some fresh organic canola oil (stands for "Canadian oil, low acid" and is related to the cabbage family) and I enjoyed frying these puppies very much.
Safety first. Yes, I did bring out the fire extinguinsher just in case.
Mushrooms and butter...how can you go wrong?
The dreaded Green Bean Casserole, finished.
Little Guido and Stagg. Notice how almost no one ate the corn. Yep, I was a goodsport and served corn...Stagg said we had to have corn. I also agreed to buy Pilsbury almost instant bisquits. I had no idea how to follow the directions on the package but Marty ran over and deciphered the procedure for me. Bisquits are one of the easiest things to make, but I was crunched for time as it was...and Stagg said everyone will love the Pilsbury. He was absolutely correct, they were very popular. Really...I had already put all the food on the table and forgot about the bisquits...Joe said we have everything except bisquits where I shouted...oh wait we do I forgot them in the fridge!

Yep, three pies and a ginormous bowl of organic whipping cream. Pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie and nut's about fudge pie.

Danny and Little Guido. Um, here is an article with Danny's clothes. And here is an interview with Danny.
Okay, a 25 pound turkey. took about 5 hours to cook. We hauled it home in a cart. It was way too huge but we love leftovers. I am not sure how we managed to keep lifting it in and out of the oven. We had to though because the first pan we used leaked wine and butter all over the floor of the oven...and I had to wash out the oven...while Stagg ran to the store and bought another pan.
Dishes in the sink. A low priority. In fact zero.
Stagg, Marty and Joe. Marty has several videos of interviews with some Chicago artists on his YouTube page.
Joe knits during dessert...cool socks!


I gots to post this pic, so as you all understand what part of the conversation is about...the phenomenon of American Girl Doll.
We have these pictures bside our dining room table. The pencil drawing is from a real life model on one of "life drawing" classes of Stagg's, 20 years ago, the models in front of tipi's are pics I love because a tipi is my dream home. The doll pic is an advert and a Native American version of the American Doll series. Stagg bought a doll and put Guadelupe, gang and tear drop tats on her and gave it to Marty and Little Guido, who live in Pilsen, the mostly hispanic neighbourhood were the controversial doll "escaped from".
An American Girl doll named Marisol Luna has caused a bit of a flap because her back story has her yearning to escape a Chicago neighborhood she deems dangerous for the suburbs. Some children who actually live in that largely Mexican neighborhood, Pilsen, found Marisol's tale demeaning. A group from a Pilsen high school marched earlier this week in front of American Girl's North Side store to demand an apology from American Girl owner Mattel. They also want scholarships and money from the company. Mattel so far has said no dice, perhaps hardened to such protests by past complaints like those over Barbie's tiny waist and full bust, which some literalists said represented an unfair model of womanhood for little girls. A doll would seem to be the epitome of childhood innocence, a tool for fantasy. But the real world butts in everywhere, it seems. Marisol Luna, with the book telling her story, continues to sell for $84 on americangirl.com.From Ad Freak blog