Friday, February 29, 2008

Strange Days...

"People believe themselves to be dependent on what happens for their happiness, that is to say, dependent on form. They don't realize that what happens is the most unstable thing in the universe. It changes constantly. They look upon the present moment as either marred by something that has happened and shouldn't have or as deficient because of something that has not happened but should have. And so they miss the deeper perfection that is inherent in life itself, a perfection that is always already here, that lies beyond what is happening or not happening, beyond form." A New Earth

As many visitors here know...we have a friend with spina bifida who has been in the hospital recovering from back surgery. He is doing fantastic and I said hi to him from all our blog friends and others ...he is cracking jokes and sleeping a lot...all good signs of healing! Actually...I landed up sleeping a fair bit of the day on the couch next to his hospital room...between his meals. The poor guy has to stay lying don and so he needs help eating...and if that wasn't bad enough...and the pain...morphine doesn't kill the pain of arthritis so he is sore in his knee. He hasn't even complained.

Meanwhile...on some bizarre cosmic level...perhaps as often happens surrounding life and death (?)...Stagg and I have found that the last few days we have encountered some major emotional and spiritual observations.

It's as if the universe has conspired to play tricks on Stagg and I and has enlisted the use of public transit, family members, the Oprah book selection, and several past conversations with friends. If some of the moments hadn't been so painful...the whole last few days would have been a complete comedy.

We're not sure why...why this week or why under this weeks circumstances that we found ourselves having "aha moments" after "aha moments" about so many social situations and personalities in the world and in our life...but we have. It's been an absolute crazy few days...spiritually. I'm serious. There is no way else to say it.

There have been tears there have been laughs. And I'll tell ya, when Stagg says "aha moment" sheesh...when any straight guy uses the concept "aha moment" in observation you know that the universe and karma is a powerful motherfucker.'s like we're on Oprah and we're looking around for hidden cameras.

Speaking of Oprah...Tweetey Has a post on her blog about reading the recent Oprah book pick. She wrote an amazing review of one of the chapters...her post completely relates to stuff happening around us this week!

I suppose because of the great attitude of our friend after painful surgery...the seriousness of his surgery and health concerns with his wonderful positive attitude have brought to focus some negative behaviours in others. When you see someone with a life or death issue ...with bravery be so gracious...the motives of others can become transparent.

Yes...maybe that's what happened this week...some motives and behaviours became transparent. In many has been a gift because both Stagg and I feel like we learned so much...oh my...and the week ain't even over!

The Oprah book selection has come to mind this week because it has helped to highlight the motives of some of the challenging social dynamics this week (and in general). The book A New Earth is a combination of Hinduism, Buddhism and Zen. So here is a little from the Oprah selection book...Even very very nice people...sometimes people we work with or have relationships, maybe even ourselves! can have low-self esteem and control's never too late to improve your emotional life!

Role-playing: The Many Faces of the Ego

An ego that wants something from another-and what ego doesn't- will usually play some kind of role to get it's "needs" met, be they material gain, a sense of power, superiority, or specialness, or some kind of gratification, be it physical or psychological. Usually people are completely unaware of the roles they play. They are those roles. Some roles are subtle: others are blatantly obvious, except to the person playing it. Some roles are designed simply to get attention from others. The ego thrives on others' attention, which is after all a form of psychic energy. The ego doesn't know that the source of all energy is within you, so it seeks it outside. It is not the formless attention which is Presence that the ego seeks, but attention in some form, such as recognition, praise, admiration, or just to be noticed in some way, to have its existence acknowledged.

And here is a list that might help you recognize signs that your own ego...or someone in your life...may have a controlling personality

How to recognize a controlling ego:

1. Think about your own actions. Do you often find yourself altering your own personality or views to fit someone else's, even if you are a strong person? If so, you might have been dealing with a controlling person.
2. Keep track of your relationships. Sometimes a controlling person will try to cause trouble between you and your family or friends. They may even go as far as embarrassing you. This is in order to isolate you from others. Be sure to stay aware of these traits.
3. Be on the lookout for moodiness. People with moody personalities are often unhappy with their own lives and try to improve their situation by controlling others.
4. Consider if you are often expected to change your plans for this person. Let's say you have your day all planned out and then you receive a phone call from a friend, and you tell them your plans. The person wants to join in with your plans, with the exception that your time doesn't work well for them, or maybe that isn't the place they want to go. The next thing that you know, your plans have totally changed. You end up seeing a movie that you didn't care to see, at a time that you didn't really care to go.
5. Listen for compliments. Often people with control issues are not very good at giving sincere compliments. They do not want you to feel good about yourself because it may take control away from them.
6. Watch out for controlling people if you are very attractive, for they can make your life miserable. Your looks will become a handicap in a controlling relationship, for they probably have a jealousy problem too.
7. Be on the lookout for not only moodiness, but temper outbursts by the other person when you disagree with them or don't do exactly what they want you to do. In their minds, you are challenging their authority over you.
8. Remember just because someone is opinionated doesn't mean they are controlling. A good test to tell the difference between someone who is just very opinionated or controlling is if they willingly accept or tolerate differences between you and them and don't try to change any part of your core person or personality.
9. While relationships are not democracies, neither are they dictatorships; seek a balance you are comfortable with.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

James McMurty--UPDATED


I'm going to spend the day with a friend having surgery so won't have much time for blogging. Sorry but I'll be around to visit tomorrow or the next day depending how thigns go at the hospital. Our friend Jim is having some serious surgery on his back...I'll be meeting his brother for the first time too at the hospital.

In the my post on Oscars and Cormac's a really good post.(below this one)

I just found out a little while ago that singer songwiter James McMurty is Larry McMurty's son! It's seems so obvious now so I'm laughing. Lonesome Dove is a beloved western for many people including myself. If you haven't read it, or seen the mini-series...and you like westerns well by gosh you are in a for a really good ride...go rent the mini-series starring Robert Duval, Tommy Lee Jones, Angelica Houston, Danny Glover, Chris Cooper, Barry Corbin and Robert Ulrich...originally aired in 1989 it has spawned several following mini-series.

How Cute Is Cormac!?

Ed Tom Bell: How many of those things you got now?
Ellis: Cats? Several. Well, depends what you mean by got. Some are half-wild, and some are just outlaws.
Ed Tom Bell: That man that shot you died in prison.
Ellis: Angola. Yeah...
Ed Tom Bell: What you'd done he had been released?
Ellis: Oh, I dunno. Nothing. Wouldn't be no point in it.
Ed Tom Bell: I'm kinda surprised to hear you say that.
Ellis: Well all the time ya spend trying to get back what's been took from ya, more is going out the door. After a while you just have to try to get a tourniquet on it. Your granddad never asked me to sign on as a deputy.
Ed Tom Bell: I always figured when I got older, God would sorta come inta my life somehow. And he didn't. I don't blame him. If I was him I would have the same opinion of me that he does.
Ellis: You can't stop what's comin'. It ain't all waitin' on you. That's vanity.

The Nurture of Jupiter (1635) by Nicolas Poussin depicts Zeus breaking off a horn. We can find the relevance of horns in many cultures around the world. From Italy and Roman mythology came the idea of the unicorn. Universally the horn represents abundance, the female anatomy and power for life/abundance and containment-perhaps the phallic for shape and seed, a vessel for drinking, for holding flowers, for protecting fire and is used as a lantern. The horn is also a symbol/reminder of Capricorn, and winter solstice the season metaphorically for old age and wisdom.

Notice that in the earlier dialogue Sheriff Tom Bell's Uncle Ellis makes a reference to a tourniquet because what we try retrieve stolen from us keeps slipping away...(what is stolen? pride? soul? life? compare Citizen Kane who compulsively tries to replace his loss of childhood with objects)

In Europe many romances and myths are related to an ancient story of Father Horn. A significant love-relationship, usually ending in marriage, is not only integral to romance as a genre but also to the hero's development. Typically, the hero will fall in love with a high-born woman, whom he marries only after significant obstacles impeding their union have been overcome. The reason these women figure so prominently, in fact, has mostly to do with heterosexual love and courtship. Yet the hero is not always the active pursuer and agent, nor is his female counterpart always the hapless damsel in distress. As if demonstrating the inherent power of transformation, gender roles can surprisingly reverse themselves in romance. At the end of No Country For Old Men an example of gender play reversal occurs between the Sheriff and his wife when she reminds him that he may be retired, but she is not. (The Vietnam vet also makes a comment about himself being retired, his wife works at a Superstore)

Loretta Bell: How'd you sleep?
Ed Tom Bell: I don't know. I had dreams.
Loretta Bell: Well you got time for 'em now. Anything interesting?
Ed Tom Bell: They always is to the party concerned.
Loretta Bell: Ed Tom? I'll be polite.
Ed Tom Bell: All right then. Two of 'em. Both had my father in 'em. It's peculiar. I'm older now than he ever was by twenty years. So, in a sense, he's the younger man. Anyway the first one I don't remember too well but it was about meeting him in town somewheres and he gave me some money. I think I lost it. The second one, it was like we was both back in the older times, and I was ahorseback, going through the mountains of a night, going through this pass in the mountains. It was cold and there was snow on the ground and he would rode past me and kept on going, never said nothing going by, just rode on past, and he had his blanket wrapped around him and his head down. When he rode past I seen he was carrying fire in a horn the way people used to do and I, I could see the horn from the light inside of it, about the color of the moon. And in the dream I knew that he was going on ahead, and he was fixing to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold... And I knew that whenever I got there he'd be there... Then I woke up.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mascarita Sagrada

Here is some of the footage I got last night from Lucha Libre Mexicana. Lucha Libre means "Free Fighting". This fight features the very popular Mascarita. I am sorry I have lost track of the other wrestlers name but am hoping someone will let me know over at my YouTube page.

Mascarita Sagrada is a Mexican midget wrestler who made his professional debut September 22, 1989 in Mexico City against Espectrito. He is highly regarded as the most popular and skilled Mexican mini-wrestler of all time and has performed for WWF / WWE, WCW, AAA, CMLL TNA and Lucha VaVoom among others. He has also been featured in several films and marketing campaigns, including an uncredited cameo in the film My Giant with Billy Crystal and an ad campaign for Virgin Mobile. From Wikipedia.

Lucha Libre events are a great way to promote products and services to the Hispanic community. Our events are family oriented, in the crowd you can can find from young kids to veteran followers of this colorful mexican tradition.

After soccer, wrestling (Lucha Libre) is the second most popular sport in Mexico, with thousands of people visiting the arenas every day of the week. Here in the United States, the weekly 3 hour Lucha Libre shows in “Galavision” are the Spanish cable show with the largest audience. In fact, over twenty million Americans are wrestling and lucha libre fans.
From the website of Los Gladiadores Del Ring.

Lucha Libre Mexicana

Lulu Cafe for a coffee after enchilada's at El Cid.

When we walked into the Congress Theatre at 2 in the afternoon, buy tickets Metalica was blaring on the house speakers. We got two V.I.P. tickets for Lucha Libre Mexicana! Front row seats even though I was afraid we might get a chair or table thrown on us.

We phoned Mister Anchovy and Tuffy P at one point during the show. There was all kinds of music playing, mostly rock, some Portishead, Nine Inch Nails, techno...when an accordion ditty by Cafe Tacuba came on we left a message on their machine with music, screaming and us saying we were at this wrestling event. I wonder if they could understand the message?

This was the best day...good food, a Margerita a beer Intelligentia coffee (which you can get in Mercury's Coffee on Queen Street East Toronto) and wrestling. Gee today is the Oscars it's just about a perfect weekend!

These are all pics from my cell phone and now it looks like the screen is jimmied. Took a lot of video so should be updating my YouTube page soon.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sexy Reader

The other night when LOST featured a scene with Sawyer shirtless reading The Invention of Morel-YIKES! Who could follow the intense shirtless Sawyer...reading. Again. What a delightful invention this dark literary fan is on the program. A good deal of the fun on this show is identifying the books and literary references. I almost wear out my pause button and up close to the tv looking...thank goodness so many other fans are able to catch most of the covers and titles. Yea Google. Is there any other tv show so suited to the internet? If the internet existed in the 60's fans of The Prisoner would probably be like us LOST lovers.

Still from 90's game MYST. I wonder how many addicts (I confess) of MYST follow LOST?

Here is a web page with the books on or related to tv show LOST. The LOST reading list is so much fun. I love it that a tv show is getting many folks to read or re-read old favourites.

The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien

For those trying to unlock the secrets of "Lost," this could be the most important book ever referenced in the series. It's visible in Desmond's living quarters in the Swan Station early in Season 2 and the visual cue in the episode caused the cult novel to sell more copies in the weeks following its first airing than it had in the six years previous. But what is it about? The plot involves an unnamed protagonist setting out to murder and rob a rich man, but uncovers a substance called omnium, which exists in a box and can become whatever the user wants it to be.

Jorge Luis Borges declared The Invention of Morel a masterpiece of plotting, comparable to The Turn of The Screw and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Set on a mysterious island, Bioy's novella is a story of suspense and exploration, as well as a wonderfully unlikely romance, in which every detail is at once crystal clear and deeply mysterious.

Inspired by Bioy Casares's fascination with the movie star Louise Brooks, The Invention of Morel has gone on to live a secret life of its own. Greatly admired by Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Márquez, and Octavio Paz, the novella helped to usher in Latin American fiction's now famous postwar boom. As the model for Alain Resnais and Alain Robbe-Grillet's Last Year in Marienbad, it also changed the history of film.
from Amazon

Friday, February 22, 2008

Heal Us Nas! Love What He Worked At The Grammy's

Some of you may have seen Nas on CNN claiming that there's a law saying that blacks can't vote 23 years from now. So I thought I should explain what he meant. Basically, the Voting Rights Act does expire in 23 years. It was renewed in 2006 and expires in 2031; before that it was renewed in 1982, and it was originally passed in 1965. Before the VRA was passed, many blacks could not vote because of literacy requirements, poll taxes, intimidation, and all kinds of tricks. The VRA played a huge role in stopping all that. However, blacks have had a constitutional right to vote since 1870. If there were no VRA, this would not change, and it's highly unlikely that states would go back to pulling shit like some of them used to back in the 60s. Moreover, poll taxes and literacy requirements would still be illegal under the Constitution as long as you could show that they were put in place to make it harder for blacks to vote. However, no one needs to even worry about this because the Voting Rights Act is unanimously renewed every time it comes up. No member of Congress would ever dare to vote against renewing the Voting Rights Act. So you might ask, why not just make it permanent? Well, there are certain other provisions in the VRA which go much further than just ensuring blacks/Hispanics the right to vote and do need to be reviewed from time to time.

These are:

1) preclearance. Under the VRA, basically all the southern states have to submit any changes they want to make to their voting laws to the Department of Justice in Washington to be precleared. This includes changing their district lines. Some district lines may disfavor minorities (ones that pack all the minority voters into a few districts, or, ones that spread them out so they control none of the districts), so, to prevent states from drawing those kinds of districts, the DOJ gets to decide whether they want to preclear ANY lines drawn, even in a little city council or school board election, in any of the southern states. This is a pretty huge intrusion of federal government into what's traditionally been a state matter, and some question whether we still need the Department of Justice to check up on southern states. By 2031, you'd tend to think there will be even less of a need. Nevertheless, Congress unanimously decided to keep this part of the law. There's currently a case in federal court over whether this part of the law is constitutional (because it's not clear whether Congress had the right to pass such a law given that the problem of southern states trying to draw districts to cheat blacks is arguably dying out).

2) "vote dilution". The VRA grantes minorities a right to sue if they feel that the district lines "dilute" their votes. Let's say you live in a state that's 25% black and has 12 congressional districts. You're black and show that blacks and whites always vote for different candidates. You live in a majority white district, as does everyone else in the state, and therefore, the people who you and other black voters want to win always loses. And, you show that the black population is geographically compact enough that you could all be put in a normally-shaped district where you're the majority. The VRA says that under these circumstances you have a right to be put in a majority-black district. That usually means that this state would have to draw three majority-black districts - 3 out of 12, 25%. This doesn't apply if blacks are dispersed throughout the state all over the place and don't live together in any concentrated areas, it doesn't apply if blacks and whites don't vote differently, it doesn't apply if they already have drawn three black-majority districts and you're not in one of them. You have no right to get a fourth drawn just for you. But if there is racially polarized voting and compact minority populations, then there's a right to have black (or Hispanic) majority districts. This is also a controversial provision of the law, and may not be kept when reauthorization comes along. What will never go, though, are the parts of the law that ensure that states can't make poll taxes or put polling places where blacks can't get to them, or whatever else states used to do to prevent blacks from voting.
from here...All Hip Hop, Ill community

Buzzkills and Catfights

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thought. With our thoughts, we make our world." ~The Buddha

A few days ago I posted a list from 2002 of the 50 greatest bands since the 1960's from SPIN magazine. This particular post spawned a discussion about why some bands were not such a list is likely to do (click on yellow letters to read list and comments). A couple of folks felt outrage that smaller regional genre bands with specialized seclusive audiences didn't make the list. I blame the specialized seclusive audiences.

There is a really good chance that a U2, Sonic Youth or The Sex Pistols fan listens to Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Clifton Chenier. It is highly unlikely that the seclusive purist fan of music such as many fans of classical music, Dylan or Cash listen to a wide variety of music. Period. In fact, those seclusive music fans will likely be the first to start listing all the music they hate. Why?

In the last few years we've seen a return of the Variety Show on tv. Dancing With The Stars began as a summer "filler" programing but touched audiences and became unexpectedly popular. I believe that the era of families and neighbours getting together to watch Variety Shows has spawned a cynicism among many people towards movies, music and art. An activity that used to celebrate all varieties of performance and entertain entire families between generations was passe for decades. In those former Variety Shows a family might watch a jazz band, a pop staror teen idol and some comedy routines and a stand up comic. Perhaps granny didn't like Elvis or Richie Havens but she enjoyed the polka band. The whole social group enjoyed the general response and an evening of dancing and snacks. Tv programs have begun to emerge with a format that attracts group and family audiences once's not unusual to go to a bar and see people cheering and voting on Survivor or American Idol like spectator sports.

The band that performs during Dancing With The Stars interprets music from all genres and styles and is one of the best features about the program. This band fucking kills. They perform every song like it's the most beautiful piece of writing hating.

When I was a young teen ager...I hated country and western music. I thought it was "square" and represented a redneck mentality that I grew up in and was struggling to reject. Sometime in my late teens...I was exposed to a bunch of friends who were ethnomusicologists..."the study of music of different cultures" and I started listening to a much broader base of music along with many evenings of intense, even rigorous, discussions about music. These discussions centered around concepts like "stature" "taste" "identity" and careened into anthropology and science and communication.

This time period in my life was a massive overhauling of my upbringing and my prejudices and I hate to admit it...but looking back a kind of "punkposturing" I had become. It's not unusual for teens and young people to adopt beliefs that they feel separate them from mainstream and make them fact teens often have a desire to feel "special and unique". The punk scene at one point was one of the most divisve entities...Joe Strummer talks about this in the biography The Future Is Unwritten (a must see for music lovers)

I remember having the overwhelming sensation that my best feelings were at concerts where everyone danced and shared a communal experience. When I lived in small town B.C. there was a time when I was not so rigid about music and these small towns all the kids would land up going to the same concerts and movie despite the genre or style. Entertainment was a hot property and rare in these awful stuffy small towns. Kids would go see heavy metal, folk, punk, big bands and jazz and there wasn't a big hate-on against what style or popularity of the band. The mob said, "Live music lets go!"

Dismissing music styles is something that my friends who studied anthropology and ethnomusicolgy tuned me on to being aware was common for music from other places in the world to be rejected as an extension of xenophobia. I started to see that rejecting music was a reflection of ones sense of social position and as prejudiced as thinking aboriginal ancient music was "primitive". A kind of prejudice was developing for many people thinking that Barry Manilow or Britney Spears was primitive for "ignorant audiences". When people are hating on music they are perpetrating a kind of war between generations and classes and countries. They are trying to express that "they are better than someone else". Instead of music being it's usual universal is enforced as a money making machine for one group over another.

I love the Grammy's, I've watched them every year no matter what...often because it was the only program that was directed like an old time Variety Show that my family used to watch together when I was a little kid. I love seeing Alice Cooper and Pat Boone give out an award together, Prince and Beyonce dance together, or Alicia Keys and Frank Sinatra perform a song "together" and this years Grammy show was one of the best ever.

I was very shocked and disappointed when I read some publicity releases from two classic performers hating on other musicians. I am so sickened by this poor taste and fall from grace. You know, Kanye West I have come to expect him to be a hater against his peers...and he did some hating during the Grammy's. So sad, first he is so gorgeous and talented...and then he speaks. All hate all day. He is a complete buzzkill. But I never expected Aretha Franklin to lower herself to hear two women who likely struggled for acceptance ina man's world and usually a mans world of jazz music and rhythm and blues to come down on other performers was really really sad. Plus, they were attacking women who were much younger than themselves and still growing and learning.

You can't put an old head on young shoulders (and why would you want to?)

“I don’t think she should have won. I think it sends a bad message to our young people who are trying to get into this business, the ones who are trying to do it right and really trying to keep themselves together,” said Cole, 58. “We have to stop rewarding bad behavior.”

Of Winehouse, 24, who is currently in rehab in England, Cole says: “I’m sorry. I think the girl is talented, gifted, but it’s not right for her to be able to have her cake and eat it too. She needs to get herself together.”

On the seriousness of Winehouse’s troubles, Cole – who over the years has battled her own substance-abuse problems, successfully – observes, “I mean, she could die. This isn’t something that’s cute and fun just to throw around in the press. The girl really has a problem, and I think for those of us who have been in the business long enough, we know the sacrifice it takes. This is about discipline and hard work, and you don’t get to just do your drugs and go onstage and get rewarded.”
Natalie Cole in People magazine.

"I am not sure of whose toes I may have stepped on or whose ego I may have bruised between the Grammy writers and Beyoncé. ... However, I dismissed it as a cheap shot for controversy." Aretha Franklin about Beyonce introducing Tina Turner as "the Queen" at Grammys.

For me, I listen to all kinds of music...sometimes the weirder the better...Sonic Youth, John Zorn...sometimes very middle of the road stuff or pop music...Elton John, Madonna, I love folk music and have followed Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan right up to Feist and Eliot Smith.

Because I loved Joni Mitchell didn't make me hate a newer artist like Eliot Smith...I mean why would I? Isn't there infinite capacity of the human ear? Of the listener to explore new audio sounds?

I've seen Diamanda Galas, New Order, Muddy Waters, The Jam, Laura Nyro, Psychic TV, Alien Sex Fiend, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Rosemary Clooney, Madonna, Run DMC, Prince, The Beastie Boys, Cecil Taylor, Wu Tang Clan, Pete Fountain, Queen Ida, Gwen Stefani...

I mean I love music why would I not see and expose myself to as much music as possible?

Why do we create polarities within the trades and crafts and arts?

Record companies spend a lot of time marketing music into genres and categories and reject anyone who is out-of-favour with a new style or genre. When fans polarize and segregate music they are killing it's preservation. Fortunately musicians aren't as prejudiced as their fans: bands like U2 working and performing with BB King and Johnny Cash did more to preserve music than any "purist" diehard fan of either musician. (U2's Zooropafeaturing Johnny Cash, 1993. American Recordings released 1994. Delia's Gone video directed one of Madonna's directors and supermodel Kate Moss got MTV play)

Did you know that the strongest languages on earth are English and Chinese? The reason these languages are so strong is because they incorporate and assimilate new words from other languages and slang.

One of the weakest languages is French...and it has been surrounded by "protectionism" and "purism" in an attempt to legislate longevity. Doesn't work...segregating and protecting genres and art forms is the kiss of death...and quite often it is the fans of music who are "purists" who help kill music and exposure and preservation.

Thank god for most musicians...aside form the unbecoming catfighting of Natalie Cole and Aretha Franklin...most artists and musicians listen to and perform with other musicians regardless of genre and sometimes despite genres...this collaboration and exposure makes music stronger and protects small bands that might get lost in the corporate mindset of segregating and marketing music.

Why should music fans be marketing and perpetuating segregating genres and bands with purist notions of stature? Music is a universal primal entity...and one of the most basic human enterprises that unites people...except for when record executives get involved...and money. I suppose Aretha Franklin was worried that her stature would be compromised...or she might lose record sales? Is money really worth hating music and hate on anther performer? Beyonce didn't qualify what Turner was "the queen" of...could have been rock-and-roll which is a general consensus, while Franklin is considered "the queen" of soul. When we hate a style of music we are dismissing hundreds and millions of other people who love it...and that is just bad karma in my book.

Why not channel the hating to politicians and social injustice instead?

"Don't hate, Congratulate!" Rev Run from Run DMC.

This post is dedicated to Music Is Art and Integral Options Cafe.

Cell Phone Photos

Seriously? Um...anyways weird shampoo...Regular visitors to this blog will know that I usually post tons of pictures I take...our camera hasn't worked for a few weeks...and so I've been using my cell phone for odds and ends. It's just taken about 3 hours to tidy up my cell phone files, the desktop here and my photos...some of them I wasn't able to get together to put in this post. Here are a few pics that were kicking around.

Mister Anchovy and Tuffy P...okay, this wasn't taken with my cell phone it just showed up around here so I added it completely out of context. This photo was taken on Bourbon Street.

A house we walk by all the time...this occassion with a giant dog on the balcony...

Stagg having a soda at our friends hotel room...see below...

Our friend Andrew was in town on business from Connecticut. We are having drinks at his hotel room. Earlier we ate at a delicious steak joint called Kinzie Chophouse.

I was going to write about cooking a perfect roast chicken...but forgot...I love cooking chicken though, this guy is an organic free range from Whole Foods...all you need is butter, garlic and fresh herbs.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Now We Rise And We Are Everywhere: Nick Drake's Tombstone

Excerpt: One clue, offered by the Los Angeles Times as evidence of the actor’s downward spiral, was a clip from an interview with Ledger in December about his role in I’m Not There. The interviewer claimed Ledger “was clearly slurring and unfocused,” but viewers would find a video of a disappointingly lucid Ledger, discussing his view that biopics run the risk of defaming their subject: “Because you’re assuming too much. I think this movie avoids it gracefully by not assuming to know who Bob Dylan is. He’s kept in the shadow … It’s preserving his mystique.”

When Todd Haynes met Ledger in 2006, the actor was already struggling with similar questions about the art of biography, having taken a two-year sabbatical from acting to write a script about the life of singer-songwriter Nick Drake.

“Trying to squeeze this complex, beautiful, and mysterious subject into the confines of the traditional biopic he found reprehensible and kind of cruel,” says Haynes. “He was starting to approach it through a more allegorical method, where it was going to be about a woman traveling on a train ride through Europe—which Nick Drake I think did do—and he was going to have Michelle play that role.” Now, the idea that Ledger had spent two years trying to get inside the head of an artist who suffered from depression and insomnia and died at 26 from an overdose of a prescribed antidepressant has become one more detail to be used as either tragic irony or psychoanalytic insight.
from New York magazine here...

Linsay Lohan photo taken by Bert Stern, who took Marilyn Monroes last pictures in this same setting and props.
“Here is a woman who is giving herself to the public,” Lohan said, about the Monroe photos, when we spoke the next day by phone. “She’s saying, ‘Look, you’ve taken a lot from me, so why don’t I give it to you myself.’ She’s taking control back.” Like any tabloid veteran, Lohan understands the potency of a photograph, and that the best way to respond to a society that views you only as an image might just be on its own terms. New York magazine article here...

Giles Deacon

1980's-Darkly...Dark dreams of decadence in Gothic mansions and a jolt of architecture from the 1980s - British fashion designers can't seem to look forward without looking back.

Call it the curse of a country that is forever navel-gazing at its past, or the imagination brought out by an art college training that sees references as a stimulation for imaginative design.

Just occasionally, this magpie collection of ideas coalesces into a fine show. And that was true of Giles Deacon, who was explaining backstage that the puffa street wear from his downtown East End neighborhood was his inspiration, along with the decadent disco encapsulated in light balls creating prisms of pattern on the show set, and "The Masque of the Red Death," the Victorian page-turner by Edgar Allen Poe. Hence the black chiffon veils wrapped round the heads of some models.

Giles, King of London

Final 5 Designers Project Runway Season 4

The season's finale hasn't aired yet...and while looking for a funny Project Runway montage...I found a leaked tape of the final designs...based on the little we see in this video..I think Jillian will probably win. I love all the designers in the final 3-5 but her designs really seem the strongest and most personal.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Patterns, Therapy and Blogging

1) Blair Underwood, on the couch with his doctor, Gabriel Byrne.

2) In Shakespeare, characters develop rather than unfold, and they develop because they reconceive themselves. Sometimes this comes about because they overhear themselves talking, whether to themselves or to others. Self overhearing is their royal road to individuation, Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human.

3) HBO has a new series titled In Treatment and I spent yesterday and today watching 20 episodes from this first season, over a ten hour period. A friend, who is a therapist, said it was very good, so I wanted to check it out. It is brilliant. First it has an outstanding format and incredible engaing actors. Every weeknight we sit in on a therapy session of one character for half an hour. The half hour feels much longer and I have found myself checking the clock because it feels like so much has transpired it couldn't really be a half hour program. There are five episodes a week, I suppose a little like the programming of a soap opera. Every night a different patient and sometimes, insights into the doctor's life as well...with his wife or children. On Friday's episode the doctor goes for therapy himself.

4) It's funny that I find myself questioning the time elapses and the clock during this program because not only is the structure of the series referring to time, the patients appointment schedule are the titles of each episode, but there are a couple of clocks in the office, the doctor and patients are almost always consulting how much time they have left during their visits. The nature of time and emotions is rather what this program is about combined with the idea and reality that saying things out loud releases their "power" and reveals subconscious motives. Time is most relative because recalling memories and feelings are beyond time constraints. Often the characters ask "how much time do we have left" which is also a metaphysical question, isn't it?

5) Psychology is most tangible as a science when we understand that the therapist is in the process of recognizing patterns.

6) Underwood plays a overacheiver jet pilot back from a massacre in Iraq...he has a fatwa on his life. He is unlikable and also extremely compelling at the same time...he offers the audience a major transformative event.
7) As an audience we may find ourselves having the viewpoint of the therapist because we are outside of the patients and it is not difficult to start picking up on their stories and the patterns contained within their actions and memories. This is a rewarding position to be in as an audience and fascinating. Gabriel Byrne plays Paul, the psychologist, and he is a compelling listener and character especially held against the intense characters we watch in therapy sessions. I am not sure how much I can emphasize what an incredible tv program this show is already and the idea of what it might explore in the future is terribly exciting to me.

8) That for which we find words is something already dead in our hearts. There is always a kind of contempt in the act of speaking Nietzsche, The Twilight of the Gods.

9) Melissa George plays a lonely doctor who uses sex as a way to make friendships or company.

10 )Blogging is somewhat like an episode of this program. Especially visiting blogs that are personal and the bloggers who post about their own lives, jobs or politics and family. Sometimes, like a character in Shakespeare we can see a development in a bloggers life or self realization and it's quite wonderful. Also, some bloggers seem oblivious to how much they reveal about their subconscious and their own is a delicate situation to find oneself in when visiting such a we say something? What? Do we kindly leave a comment, say we understand and hope they see their own patterns? Can we see the patterns in our own blogs?

11) I believe that the pleasure and attraction of blogging lies in this primal aspect that Shakespeare explored...that we learn by listening to ourselves overhearing our own comments on others our own posts or reading along to other blogs whether we participate or contribute ourselves.

12) The past few weeks I've seen and been a part of several "feisty" blog discussions and I wonder what have I learned about myself from blogging? I believe I've learned that there are benefits and drawbacks to all formats of conversation...either blogging...writing...or in person conversation...but they all entail risk and all offer enlightenment.

13) Have you learned anything about yourself from blogging?

Visitors and commentors will be linked here: 1) Pop Culture Dish 2) Bridget Jones 3) A Gentleman's Domain 4) Nichtsuzugen 5) Four Dinners 6) Fond Of Snape 7) Ladybugs And Cows

The Doanythingkid by Mike Brown

Mike Brown's YouTube page...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

50 Greatest Bands Since The 1960's

NEW YORK, Jan. 9, 2002./PRNewswire/ -- They sold their soul and trashed their
dressing rooms for rock 'n' roll. From the Beatles to the Beasties, these are
the people who taught everyone else how it's done. The band is back. During
the past year or so, the pop world has completed a cycle that began in the mid
1990s. Back then, with grunge flannel on Macy's mannequins, the band model
seemed a bit tired. Rappers, dancing teens, and DJs took over the dance
charts, MTV, and magazines. Then, gradually, bands crept back. Groups like
Creed, Incubus, System of a Down, and, most notably, Staind and Linkin Park
have spent serious time in the Top 10. Once again, the band dynamic -- people
interacting as musicians, friends, enemies, or fellow drug-addled lunatics --
is capturing our imagination.
This is "Spin's" definitive look at 50 great bands from the 1960s forward.
To qualify the editors at "Spin" set out clear criteria, these groups had to
have a roof-raising, history-changing sound, presence, or hairstyle. They
also had to clearly influence today's music in undeniable ways. Finally, they
had to be bands that spawned a special emotional attachment to their fans. No
other band epitomizes these criteria better than "Spin's" No. 1 band, the
Beatles. More than 30 years after their last proper album, the Beatles remain
the band that revolutionized the world of pop culture and basically created
the rock-band statutes that all musical youth end up following, sooner or
later. Other bands that made "Spin's" list include: Led Zeppelin (No. 3),
Nirvana (No. 5) Public Enemy (No. 8), U2 (No. 13), and Spin's February cover
band Kiss (No. 32)! For a full ranking of The 50 Greatest Bands, as chosen by
the editors at Spin magazine, see the full ranking below.
Also, Spin editors are available for interviews to discuss their criteria
for choosing the bands as well as the acts that made it on to the list and the
ones that didn't.


13. U2
14. RUN-D.M.C.
18. AC/DC
23. N.W.A.
28. R.E.M.
32. KISS
48. KORN

A Hockey Interlude

Don Cherry is a Canadian icon and I guess a sort of institution. He comments during break between first and second periods of hockey games on the CBC. In a weird way...Don Cherry is kind of like Stephen Colbert. Colbert plays the role of right wing Republican extraodinaire. Don Cherry plays the role of "Archie Bunker" it a role? He is pretty much serious and for hockey fans he is the bridge between the
"old boys club" and the Canada of today that we know and love. Don Cherry is like every guy who is pissed off about affirmative action, "women drivers", and pop music. Don Cherry is almost like a big doll that Canada brings out and he represents the reluctance of older generations to change and he allows the younger generation to be reminded of how the world used to be.

Like Don Cherry, hockey has had to transform to meet the values and ethics we believe in in Canada...sure most fans of the game understand why there is so much fighting in hockey...and we even think it is justified...but we also want the players to attempt restraint...and good gameship is tied to how we see our society.

The puck over-the-glass penalty drives Grapes (nickname for Don Cherry) crazy. We know because he complains about it constantly in the playoffs.

The delay of game penalty, caused when a defender in his own end flips the puck over the glass as he's attempting to clear the zone, came into play after the lockout in 2005-06.
from here

Don Cherry meets a gay man...

Monday, February 18, 2008

For Mister Anchovy

Amy Winehouse's satelite Grammy performance...she has "it" and I love her backup singers/dancers...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Reel Geezers Movie Reviews

Nothing gets past these two! Delightful movie dialogue about No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood.

Reel Geezers YouTube page has all kinds of fun movie discussions. Check out their bio...he used to write for tv's Batman...Lorenzo made a very interesting observation that the movie Into The Wild was Easy Rider for a new generation. Marcia is a complete hoot...I've spent an hour or so listening to their reviews...

The Book of Threes

A very charming website. The Book of Threes

For about 15 years, Michael Eck has been thinking about threes. Things that come in threes. Now he combines that esoteric interest with his attachment to the Internet by creating what he hopes will be the book with the most authors ever (a lot more than three, anyway).

He suggests that in our minds we break concepts into three parts to understand whatever it is we are thinking about. We use threes to define systems. We use the third or middle point with regard to the extremes to define a point of view. Yadda yadda yadda.

Popular Subject: Corny And Enduring...

Untitled by Bill a suggestive image - Henson's photographs have the capacity to translate everyday subjects into images that have special significance or meaning; this is a photograph of a 'normal' suburban street, but the heavy atmospheric effects of the dark moonlit clouds and the silhouetted gaslamp-style street lights give the image the qualities of a still from a classic horror movie; the street sign, strategically placed off-centre, introduces the idea of being directed somewhere, perhaps into the dark unknown; images such as these in the 'Untitled' 1985/86 series cast Australian suburbia as a setting for dark Gothic fears and fantasies from here...

Federal Reserve Boston by Ed Immar.
Lamp posts are popular images in paintings...they are often the only reference to human activity. C.S. Lewis used a lamp post in the Narnia series as a way for the children to locate home. A lantern or lamp in stories and mythologies usually is a stereotype for the human life.

$2,600, 95 cmx115cm. by Jan De Bot.

A Winter's Cottage by Thomas Kinkade
Kinkade's lamp post is a symbol of "hope" and like his paintings in general uses comforting renditions of reality to represent a world with "Jesus's light inside the viewer=If you love Jesus, the world will look like this". Meanwhile a lamp post ina movie is used in a variety of ways, as slapstick with a character walking absentmindedly into a street lamp post. Or Gene Kelly dancing around a lamp post in the rain and spies or espionage where a lamp post is a meeting place in the dark or fog between characters.

Chinese Lantern

Dawn Breaks by Angus McEwan

Green Lantern by Kyle Raynor

Winter In The Park by Allan Linder

Jimi Hendrix beer can lantern on eBay.

Painter Elizabeth Frazer has an amazing idea for her website and art. She makes a painting every day...posts it for a week then adds it to eBay.
Some pics from here...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Be Here Now? A Soul Through Time...

The above video is a CBC interview with Baba Ram Dass before he wrote his seminal book Be Here Now. Be Here Now is considered by many a manual to make the transition from a psychedelic lifestyle to a yogic lifestyle. It continues to be an influential spiritual catalyst, and has inspired many to follow their own path with renewed faith and passion.

The heyday of Hindu chic may be surprised by Mickey Lemle's 90-minute documentary profile of Ram Dass. While Lemle covers all the biographical details that make his lifestory fascinating, the heart of the film is a touching reflection on aging, suffering and the prospect of death. The film opens with Ram Dass, now in his eighth decade, discussing the night he was "stroked" by a "fierce grace": In 1997, he suffered a debilitating stroke that left him with partial paralysis and aphasia. Despite his impaired language skills, Ram Dass is still remarkably articulate and a wonderful storyteller, and his tale is a good one. Born into a well-to-do New England Jewish family — his father was a lawyer and president of the New York-New Haven railroad — Richard Alpert's top-notch education lead him to a teaching post at Harvard, where he fell in with LSD advocate Timothy Leary. "Continuous experimentation" with the mind-altering substance got them both kicked out in 1963, and after their fabled drug-utopia experiment in Millbrook, N.Y., came to an end, Alpert's search for transcendence led to Eastern mysticism (specifically the teachings of the Maharaj-ji), a spiritual awakening and a name change: Alpert became Ram Dass, or "God Servant."

A visit to Be Here Now, for a reader unaware of the best-seller lists 30 years back, is tonic; the book is not just a glimpse into a vanished cultural moment, but also an effusive attempt to search out a way to exist in the world. A self-described ''manual for conscious being,'' it is charged with antic energy. It opens out, in its exuberant middle stretch, into a kind of cosmic comic strip, pages printed on brown paper with prototypically ''psychedelic'' line drawings blossoming around blocks of text set ALL IN CAPS and running up the pages at right angles, requiring the reader to turn the book on its side."

"Ram Dass's ongoing message: enlightenment, a condition of heightened being, rides along a continuum linking all experience. With a properly selfless perspective, day-to-day living is transcendent. You have to adjust and detach. You have to turn the book on its side. Cleansed of preconditions, awareness translates into love. ''All your acts,'' Ram Dass writes, ''will be consecrated.''" From New York Times, Feb 9, 2008.

"Magic Theatre
For madmen only
price of admission
Be Here Now
Below is Baba Ram Dass in 1980's talking about how he came to follow a yogic path after rejecting recreational drug use...

Ram Dass Satsang
Interview with Baba Ram Dass
New York TimesMovie review about the life and work of Baba Ram Dass.
PBS about the film
Kicked out of Harvard: from here...1963

Some Lingo...Our Ego Doesn't Want To Read This.

"Under this thin veneer of modesty lies a monster of greed. I drive away faint praise, beating my little chest, waiting to be named Sun God, King of America, Idol of Millions. I don't want to say 'Thanks, glad you liked it.' I want to say 'Rise, my people.'" Iconic storyteller: Garrison Keillor, Time Magazine, thanks Kelly Cat!

Oprah's latest book club selection is A New Earth and it discusses the forces of "ego" and the effort for a spiritual life to be focused in the "here now" Tweetey at her blog is reading and writing about her response to Tolle's book. I thought it might be interesting to see what eastern philosophy and meditation practitioners mean by ego as opposed tot he scientific and psychological definitions.

Ego as Freud discussed was his translation from Latin ego="I myself" and German "the I". The function of the ego was with individual's safety and allows some of ones desires to be expressed. In order to providea each person with this self-organizing princple the ego has defense mechanisms: Denial, displacement, intellectualization, fantasy, compensation, projection, rationalization, reaction formation, regression, repression and sublimation were the defense mechanisms Freud identified.

According to both the psychological and spiritual definitions of "ego" it is these defense mechanisms that can make a person dysfunctional...

A simple psychological definition of the ego is something like the "self-organizing principle," that all-important command center in the psyche that coordinates the different aspects of the self. And that command center must be in good working order for a human being to be able to function in the world with any reasonable degree of competency. The ego as self-organizing principle is neither positive nor negative; its function is mechanistic, and in that, it has no self nature. from here

But there is another definition of ego, and the ego in that definition has self nature. The human face of that ego is pride; is arrogant self-importance; is narcissistic self-infatuation; is the need to see oneself as being separate at all times, in all places, through all circumstances—and that ego is the unrelenting enemy of all that is truly wholesome in the human experience. When this ego is unmasked, seen directly for what it is, finally unobscured by the other expressions of the personality, one finds oneself literally face-to-face with a demon—a demon that thrives on power, domination, control and separation, that cares only about itself and is willing to destroy anything and everything that is good and true in order to survive intact and always in control. continued...from here

A popular Jewish joke goes like this:

Chaim, a new student, arrived at the Novardok Yeshiva. Being a novice and not knowing exactly what was expected of him, he simply observed what the other students were doing and copied them. When it was time for davening, observing his fellow yeshiva students engaged in fervent prayer and shokeling back and forth with great intensity, he did the same. During the period for Talmud study, he mimicked the others with their sing-song chants and exaggerated hand gestures. Finally, it was time for mussar self-examination, when each student retreated to a private corner, beat his fist remorsefully against his chest and repeated the refrain in Yiddish: “Ish bin a gor nisht! Ish bin a gor nisht!” (“I am a complete nothing!”) Observing the behaviour of these students, Chaim sat down and, pounding his fist against his chest, likewise repeated the same mantra: “Ish bin a gor nisht! Ish bin a gor nisht!” One of the veteran students seated nearby observed Chaim disdainfully, turned to another old-timer and commented, “Look at this one! He’s been here just one day, and he already thinks he’s a gor nisht!”

The concept of bitul ha-yesh, literally the “negation of substance”, first appeared in certain schools of kabbalah and came to prominence with Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer, better known as the Baal Shem Tov, founder of the 18th century pietist Hasidic revival in Eastern Europe. The idea of “annihilating the ego” is well-known from different forms of Eastern mysticism as well as in Sufi and Christian mystical thought. It has resurfaced with contemporary spirituality, including the new pop kabbalah, so that once again many spiritual seekers are pre-occupied with this arduous task.

Phsychological notes on
  • Id,Ego & Super-Ego
    Paradox of trashing the ego

  • Excerpt from: A New Earth

    Women and Money: FREE TODAY!

    Women & Money addresses the complicated (and often dysfunctional) relationship women have with personal finance. Orman's direct, non-condescending style is perfect for this subject matter--she begins with the premise that "Women can invest, save, and handle debt as well and skillfully as any man" and then tackles the important question--"So why don't they?" Designed to educate and inspire, Women & Money also offers a "Save Yourself Plan," a five-month program that "delivers genuine long-term financial security." from Amazon

    Till tomorrow can download this book for free at Oprah's web site.

    I am a registered member at Oprah's bookclub and website...I don't know if that is necessary for downloading the book or not....but it's very easy and hassle free to join Oprah's web site and forums. I downloaded the book in about one second with Firefox. No problem.
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