Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chicago Overcoat

Last night I did another volunteer stint with Chicago Filmmakers Co-Op. Tricia came with me and we not only set up the bar and beverages but got to meet a lot of great folks including two young filmmakers who have made a movie set in town called Chicago Overcoat. Can you guess what a "chicago overcoat" is? These two guys, John Bosher and Chris Charles graduated from Columbia and wrote a script with such good characters they got some major actors to become interested in being in their movie. Their talk last centered around how they conceived of their whole art concept married with a solid business plan. It was a very positive and interesting story. I loved their trailer and their promo pieces and can't wait to see the whole movie. These two guys are forces to be reckoned with and I look forward to following their work.

Related Links:

!) A nice promo of Chicago Overcoat here.
3) brief notes at Wiki
4) Interview with Danny Goldring
5) The Chicago Outfit and "Operation Family Secrets"

Big Dance

I loved that Baz Luhrman was a judge this week. Mya was in his directed video of Lady Marmelade for Moulin Rouge...

I LOVED this whole routine! ANIMAL!

Debi Mazar and Maks were awesome with Roxanne but I can't find it. And as much as I hate to admit it...I see why Donnie Osmond is popular, he was really good performing both weeks.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Small Dance

Yogourt Love

I'm nuts about yogourt. So when I was shown the above video of Alton making yogourt like MacGyver in his hotel room I was pretty excited. I think that whole segment with Letterman is awesome tv. I love the pepper-grinder!!! But the yogourt recipe is just awesome. I'm totally going to try this in the next couple of weeks. I love Alton's attitude about food and finding alternative methods of thinking about the living space and food! He rocks!

I didn't grow up eating yogourt. We ate very simple when I was growing up and not particularly healthy. We were pretty strapped for money with both parents working hourly jobs or in the military. And the trend for "futuristic quick easy food" was in high-gear just before the change in trends towards "health food". To this day I really do not like canned baked beans. I kind of get "the gag" because we ate so many of them, with hot dogs, when I was a kid. Sundays were a big deal because we lived with my grandparents and everyone would make a somewhat amazing dinner of roast beef. I remember vegetables as being pretty blah: colourless or grey mush. At some point...everything changed. My parents got interested in hippie culture and trends that arose out of the music they listened to and the cultural changes contesting the status quo around them. They listened to a lot of pop music like The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Judy Colllins, Bob Dylan, Credence Clearwater Revival (my dad saw them in concert), The Beatles and Neil Diamond. This music had a cultural kind of outflowing that spread different jewelry, clothing, attitudes and "new" foods. We moved to the west coast and food got suddenly really interesting overnight. Hippies and pop culture icons like The Beatles and Bob Dylan were going to exotic countries, checking out world religions, or politics and food was part of the idea of a return to a more traditional and "healthy" lifestyle. Okay...aside from the drugs, heh heh.

Now, I realize, there may have been lots of people who ate very conscious healthy food without listening to The Beatles or The Grateful Dead, but my family wasn't one of them. I remember a distinct change in my parents when they had parties during the days my dad was going to college and the food we ate was a big difference. They discovered vegetables. Really good vegetables. I had never eaten broccoli or avocado till I was 11. No, seriously. Or yogourt. I thought these foods were the greatest invention ever. I started to get into the kitchen and want to prepare foods. Both my grandmothers were very very good cooks and when we were with them I remember being excited about food. Now, to be fair, my sister and I always loved food and cooking. We used to watch the half dozen tv shows on cooking all the time...and then we would play "cooking show". I should note that one of the official cooking shows on tv were the Kraft commercials. My sister and I would find things to cook with and we would create voiceovers like the Kraft commercials. We would pretend to be tv cooks and talk while we stirred food, or mixed it up. Sometimes, I still do this in my head when I cook today.

My sister grew up to be a chef and I've worked on and off in restaurants or bars since I was able to lie about my age and get a job. We figure that part of our obsession with food is because we ate so much crap processed food growing up. We are not only both obsessed with food, but also both of us are obsessed with food history and anthropology of food. (My sister is an amazing bread baker...and me...I believe we should scrap bread and starch from our diets completely. We agree to disagree..and sometimes this difference inspires us to discuss it for hours!)

At some point working in a vegetarian restaurant I learned you could make yogourt. It seemed like such an incredible idea. I began making my own yogourt sometimes in a pot on low heat on the stove or in the oven. Everywhere I travel I try to look for new brands of yogourt, or I bring a yogourt maker with me if I have the room. I've owned a few yogourt makers and they can be handy, but not necessary. If you ever decide to make yogourt, and it's very easy, don't forget that part of the process is cooling down the yogourt after it's been warming. Just as the low heat helps bacteria grow in yogourt, so does the cooling down process allow another layer of bacteria to grow. Yogourt is great for the immune system, and for getting protein and calcium. (and about a million other things) I have half a dozen yogourt companies I love and I am very loyal too. I can usually tell if a yogourt company changes it technique or recipe. Scary, I know. I love yogourt. I am a complete yogourt snob. I only buy the plain organic whole milk brands with at least five types of active bacteria. Stoneyfield yogourt is my favourite, and I remember the first time I ate it. See, yogourt is like a love affair for me...I was staying with a transplanted Canadian friend in NYC in 2000 and he was super excited about discovering this creamy rich brand. I made everyone laugh when we were grocery shopping in Vegas last year when I bought a monstrous tub of Mountain High Yogourt to put in our hotel cooler. I often eat just plain Stoneyfield yogourt with a little real maple syrup. But...making yogourt is one of the most economically valuable things you can do at home.

Related Links:

1) Stoneyfeild Yogourt
2) Brown Cow "creamy top" yogourt.
3) Benefits of yogurt and here
4) Some recipes to make yogourt at home without a yogourt maker.
5) An excellent yogourt for people who are eating low-carb or body building is FAGE. It is super thick and supplies a ridiculous amount of protein in a fairly small serving.

Monday, September 28, 2009

One Two One Two One Two

Another crazy night of running around in our family. We went out for a fabulous dinner at Mixteco with Tricia and her mum (visiting from Wisconsin...remember the tractors?) then we all ran up to the Chicago Filmmakers Co-Op where I volunteered at the box office. The box office was super busy and I was late and had to process 50 people in like 10 minutes. I was scarmbling like crazy. Then we walked over to the Dankhaus to volunteer in the kitchen for Octoberfest. What a fun hectic night.

Stagg scored a bratwurst while we were working in the kitchen. He needed it because a small tv crew came in and filmed him while he was serving people...he said he felt so hyper and crazy while the cameras were on him. I wish I could have filmed his imitation of himself Lucille Ball...

The kitchen took care of us with a big full meal of sourkraut, schnitzels, bratwurst and potato salad (with bacon!) We filled up our "to go" containers.

After our shift we were able to enjoy "The Polkaholics!" Stagg made a great point when he said "It's scary how good they are."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

For Gardenia

I was pretty excited to see season 35 (season 35?! For real?!) of Saturday Night Live start last night. I thought the opening with Fred Armisen was so funny and made me perfect for Gardenia, so here it is...I liked how the sketch made fun of the circumstances around Qadafi's speech and the trend in news like CNN giving "recaps"...


1880-1900 era

I am so geeked out about the PBS series on National Parks. It starts tonight.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Only The Middle Classes Will Find Working Class Story "Grim"

We've had an an interesting few years for movies that deal with poverty as a conflict. In some ways Fish Tank is a dance movie, but terribly unlike Fame, Save The Last Dance or Footloose. Fish Tank has more in common with Wendy and Lucy and Frozen River where the effects of contemporary economics plays out for females. Some of the most powerful films about poverty are the gangster rap movies made in the last twenty years...but there is also a quieter string of movies studying the characters who live in the margins of our wealthy lands. In some ways these films are excellent metaphors for independent film making and perhaps that has something to do with the independent original writer/directors making these movies. We could add Slumdog Millionaire, Gran Torino, Jamacain movies Life and Debt and Shottas as other examples of narratives studying environment and struggle. The film makers are pushing against a corporate capitalistic energy much like the main characters in their films. These films might seem like they fit into a box once called "social realism" but what a film maker like Arnold is doing is more like a genre-busting of the idea of working class motifs being used for a political agenda. No, these films have in common a respect for the emotional life of the characters stifled or contested by a bigger force than political idealism can legislate. I was impressed when I read a recent interview with writer/director Andrea Arnold (Red Road, Fish Tank) who points out an economic class system in the film industry...

Andrea Arnold sets her teacup back on it's saucer and flicks her eyes around the heavy paneling and drapery of London's Covent Garden Hotel, where she is holed up all afternoon giving interviews. "The thing about the film industry is that it's incredibly middle class, isn't it?" she says, "All the people who look at it and study it and talk about it-write about it-are middle-class, so they always see films about the working class as being grim, because the people in the film don't have what they have. I very much get the feeling that I'm seeing a different place. People at Cannes kept asking me about grim estates and I though, ugh, I don't mean that. I tried not to mean that."

The Essex estate in question is the setting for her new film Fish Tank and-depending on how your sliding scale of poverty is calibrated-it's not so bad, really. Certainly it's paradise compared to the looming los-res menace of the Glasgow tower block in Arnold's feature debut Red Road (2006), where the tectonic plates of death, sex and revenge crunched together with such riveting inevitability. Fish Tank the story of a troubled girl struggling to relate to her own physicality, builds up some fairly seismic emotional pressure too, but it's not so much the fault of the shabby, banal setting as of the cultural and emotional limitations of modern life. From, Sight & Sound Magazine.

Still from the MUST SEE movie Wendy and Lucy. You know I mean it when I start shouting in my posts :)

I'll tell ya what I'd like to see. I'd like to see Katie Jarvis perform on the hit tv show So You Think You Can Dance with a trailer for the movie. The elimination episode every week features all kinds of guest dancers and singers. I think wedding the idea of a character like this with a dance show that has accomplished bringing the art of the body back to the mainstream...would be a profound opportunity to showcase this story to young people.

Related Links:

1) Review in The Independant
2) The Guardian
3) Renewed interest in Keynsian economics?
4) Excerpt from movie...
5) Wendy and Lucy review.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Franklin's Tower

An old friend is very sick. He's a Deadhead so I just am putting one of his favourite songs on here.

In another times forgotten space
Your eyes looked from your mothers face
Wallflower seed on the sand and stone
May the four winds blow you safely home.

Roll away the dew
Roll away the dew
Roll away the dew
Roll away the dew

Ill tell you where the four winds dwell
In franklins tower there hangs a bell
It can ring, turn night to day
It can ring like fire when you loose your way.

Roll away the dew
Roll away the dew
Roll away the dew
Roll away the dew

God save the child that rings that bell
It may have one good ring, baby, you cant tell
One watch by night, one watch by day
If you get confused listen to the music play.


Some come to laugh their past away
Some come to make it just one more day
Whichever way your pleasure tends
If you plant ice youre gonna harvest the wind.

Roll away the dew
Roll away the dew
Roll away the dew
Roll away the dew

In franklins tower the four winds sleep
Like four lean hounds the lighthouse keep
Wildflower seed on the sand and wind
May the four winds blow you home again.

Roll away the dew
Roll away the dew
Roll away the dew
Youd better roll away the dew

Lyricist Robert Hunter's explication of the song lyrics here

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Obama's Speech to The United Nations

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentleman: it is my honor to address you for the first time as the forty-fourth President of the United States. I come before you humbled by the responsibility that the American people have placed upon me; mindful of the enormous challenges of our moment in history; and determined to act boldly and collectively on behalf of justice and prosperity at home and abroad.

I have been in office for just nine months, though some days it seems a lot longer. I am well aware of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world. These expectations are not about me. Rather, they are rooted - I believe - in a discontent with a status quo that has allowed us to be increasingly defined by our differences, and outpaced by our problems. But they are also rooted in hope - the hope that real change is possible, and the hope that America will be a leader in bringing about such change.

I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust. Part of this was due to misperceptions and misinformation about my country. Part of this was due to opposition to specific policies, and a belief that on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others. This has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism, which too often has served as an excuse for our collective inaction.
Like all of you, my responsibility is to act in the interest of my nation and my people, and I will never apologize for defending those interests. But it is my deeply held belief that in the year 2009 - more than at any point in human history - the interests of nations and peoples are shared.

The religious convictions that we hold in our hearts can forge new bonds among people, or tear us apart. The technology we harness can light the path to peace, or forever darken it. The energy we use can sustain our planet, or destroy it. What happens to the hope of a single child - anywhere - can enrich our world, or impoverish it.
In this hall, we come from many places, but we share a common future. No longer do we have the luxury of indulging our differences to the exclusion of the work that we must do together. I have carried this message from London to Ankara; from Port of Spain to Moscow; from Accra to Cairo; and it's what I will speak about today. Because the time has come for the world to move in a new direction. We must embrace a new era of engagement based on mutual interests and mutual respect, and our work must begin now.

We know the future will be forged by deeds and not simply words. Speeches alone will not solve our problems - it will take persistent action. So for those who question the character and cause of my nation, I ask you to look at the concrete actions that we have taken in just nine months.

On my first day in office, I prohibited - without exception or equivocation - the use of torture by the United States of America. I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed, and we are doing the hard work of forging a framework to combat extremism within the rule of law. Every nation must know: America will live its values, and we will lead by example.

We have set a clear and focused goal: to work with all members of this body to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies - a network that has killed thousands of people of many faiths and nations, and that plotted to blow up this very building. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, we - and many nations here - are helping those governments develop the capacity to take the lead in this effort, while working to advance opportunity and security for their people.

In Iraq, we are responsibly ending a war. We have removed American combat brigades from Iraqi cities, and set a deadline of next August to remove all of our combat brigades from Iraqi territory. And I have made clear that we will help Iraqis transition to full responsibility for their future, and keep our commitment to remove all American troops by the end of 2011.
I have outlined a comprehensive agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. In Moscow, the United States and Russia announced that we would pursue substantial reductions in our strategic warheads and launchers. At the Conference on Disarmament, we agreed on a work plan to negotiate an end to the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. And this week, my Secretary of State will become the first senior American representative to the annual Members Conference of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Upon taking office, I appointed a Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, and America has worked steadily and aggressively to advance the cause of two states - Israel and Palestine - in which peace and security take root, and the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians are respected.

To confront climate change, we have invested 80 billion dollars in clean energy. We have substantially increased our fuel-efficiency standards. We have provided new incentives for conservation, launched an energy partnership across the Americas, and moved from a bystander to a leader in international climate negotiations.

To overcome an economic crisis that touches every corner of the world, we worked with the G-20 nations to forge a coordinated international response of over two trillion dollars in stimulus to bring the global economy back from the brink. We mobilized resources that helped prevent the crisis from spreading further to developing countries. And we joined with others to launch a $20 billion global food security initiative that will lend a hand to those who need it most, and help them build their own capacity.

We have also re-engaged the United Nations. We have paid our bills. We have joined the Human Rights Council. We have signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We have fully embraced the Millennium Development Goals. And we address our priorities here, in this institution - for instance, through the Security Council meeting that I will chair tomorrow on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and through the issues that I will discuss today.

This is what we have done. But this is just a beginning. Some of our actions have yielded progress. Some have laid the groundwork for progress in the future. But make no mistake: this cannot be solely America's endeavor. Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone. We have sought - in word and deed - a new era of engagement with the world. Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.

If we are honest with ourselves, we need to admit that we are not living up to that responsibility. Consider the course that we are on if we fail to confront the status quo. Extremists sowing terror in pockets of the world. Protracted conflicts that grind on and on. Genocide and mass atrocities. More and more nations with nuclear weapons. Melting ice caps and ravaged populations. Persistent poverty and pandemic disease. I say this not to sow fear, but to state a fact: the magnitude of our challenges has yet to be met by the measure of our action.

This body was founded on the belief that the nations of the world could solve their problems together. Franklin Roosevelt, who died before he could see his vision for this institution become a reality, put it this way - and I quote: "The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one Nation.... It cannot be a peace of large nations - or of small nations. It must be a peace which rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world."

The cooperative effort of the whole world. Those words ring even more true today, when it is not simply peace - but our very health and prosperity that we hold in common. Yet I also know that this body is made up of sovereign states. And sadly, but not surprisingly, this body has often become a forum for sowing discord instead of forging common ground; a venue for playing politics and exploiting grievances rather than solving problems. After all, it is easy to walk up to this podium and to point fingers and stoke division. Nothing is easier than blaming others for our troubles, and absolving ourselves of responsibility for our choices and our actions. Anyone can do that.

Responsibility and leadership in the 21st century demand more. In an era when our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero sum game. No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold. The traditional division between nations of the south and north makes no sense in an interconnected world. Nor do alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long gone Cold War.

The time has come to realize that the old habits and arguments are irrelevant to the challenges faced by our people. They lead nations to act in opposition to the very goals that they claim to pursue, and to vote - often in this body - against the interests of their own people. They build up walls between us and the future that our people seek, and the time has come for those walls to come down. Together, we must build new coalitions that bridge old divides - coalitions of different faiths and creeds; of north and south, east and west; black, white, and brown.

The choice is ours. We can be remembered as a generation that chose to drag the arguments of the 20th century into the 21st; that put off hard choices, refused to look ahead, and failed to keep pace because we defined ourselves by what we were against instead of what we were for. Or, we can be a generation that chooses to see the shoreline beyond the rough waters ahead; that comes together to serve the common interests of human beings, and finally gives meaning to the promise embedded in the name given to this institution: the United Nations.
That is the future America wants - a future of peace and prosperity that we can only reach if we recognize that all nations have rights, but all nations have responsibilities as well. That is the bargain that makes this work. That must be the guiding principle of international cooperation.

Today, I put forward four pillars that are fundamental to the future that we want for our children: non-proliferation and disarmament; the promotion of peace and security; the preservation of our planet; and a global economy that advances opportunity for all people.

First, we must stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and seek the goal of a world without them.
This institution was founded at the dawn of the atomic age, in part because man's capacity to kill had to be contained. For decades, we averted disaster, even under the shadow of a super-power stand-off. But today, the threat of proliferation is growing in scope and complexity. If we fail to act, we will invite nuclear arms races in every region, and the prospect of wars and acts of terror on a scale that we can hardly imagine.

A fragile consensus stands in the way of this frightening outcome - the basic bargain that shapes the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. It says that all nations have the right to peaceful nuclear energy; that nations with nuclear weapons have the responsibility to move toward disarmament; and those without them have the responsibility to forsake them. The next twelve months could be pivotal in determining whether this compact will be strengthened or will slowly dissolve.

America will keep our end of the bargain. We will pursue a new agreement with Russia to substantially reduce our strategic warheads and launchers. We will move forward with ratification of the Test Ban Treaty, and work with others to bring the Treaty into force so that nuclear testing is permanently prohibited. We will complete a Nuclear Posture Review that opens the door to deeper cuts, and reduces the role of nuclear weapons. And we will call upon countries to begin negotiations in January on a treaty to end the production of fissile material for weapons.

I will also host a Summit next April that reaffirms each nation's responsibility to secure nuclear material on its territory, and to help those who can't - because we must never allow a single nuclear device to fall into the hands of a violent extremist. And we will work to strengthen the institutions and initiatives that combat nuclear smuggling and theft.

All of this must support efforts to strengthen the NPT. Those nations that refuse to live up to their obligations must face consequences. This is not about singling out individual nations - it is about standing up for the rights of all nations that do live up to their responsibilities. Because a world in which IAEA inspections are avoided and the United Nation's demands are ignored will leave all people less safe, and all nations less secure.

In their actions to date, the governments of North Korea and Iran threaten to take us down this dangerous slope. We respect their rights as members of the community of nations. I am committed to diplomacy that opens a path to greater prosperity and a more secure peace for both nations if they live up to their obligations.

But if the governments of Iran and North Korea choose to ignore international standards; if they put the pursuit of nuclear weapons ahead of regional stability and the security and opportunity of their own people; if they are oblivious to the dangers of escalating nuclear arms races in both East Asia and the Middle East - then they must be held accountable. The world must stand together to demonstrate that international law is not an empty promise, and that Treaties will be enforced. We must insist that the future not belong to fear.

That brings me to the second pillar for our future: the pursuit of peace.

The United Nations was born of the belief that the people of the world can live their lives, raise their families, and resolve their differences peacefully. And yet we know that in too many parts of the world, this ideal remains an abstraction. We can either accept that outcome as inevitable, and tolerate constant and crippling conflict. Or we can recognize that the yearning for peace is universal, and reassert our resolve to end conflicts around the world.

That effort must begin with an unshakeable determination that the murder of innocent men, women and children will never be tolerated. On this, there can be no dispute. The violent extremists who promote conflict by distorting faith have discredited and isolated themselves. They offer nothing but hatred and destruction. In confronting them, America will forge lasting partnerships to target terrorists, share intelligence, coordinate law enforcement, and protect our people. We will permit no safe-haven for al Qaeda to launch attacks from Afghanistan or any other nation. We will stand by our friends on the front lines, as we and many nations will do in pledging support for the Pakistani people tomorrow. And we will pursue positive engagement that builds bridges among faiths, and new partnerships for opportunity.

But our efforts to promote peace cannot be limited to defeating violent extremists. For the most powerful weapon in our arsenal is the hope of human beings - the belief that the future belongs to those who build, not destroy; the confidence that conflicts can end, and a new day begin.

That is why we will strengthen our support for effective peacekeeping, while energizing our efforts to prevent conflicts before they take hold. We will pursue a lasting peace in Sudan through support for the people of Darfur, and the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, so that we secure the peace that the Sudanese people deserve. And in countries ravaged by violence - from Haiti to Congo to East Timor - we will work with the UN and other partners to support an enduring peace.
I will also continue to seek a just and lasting peace between Israel, Palestine, and the Arab world. Yesterday, I had a constructive meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas. We have made some progress. Palestinians have strengthened their efforts on security. Israelis have facilitated greater freedom of movement for the Palestinians. As a result of these efforts by both sides, the economy in the West Bank has begun to grow. But more progress is needed. We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel, and we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.

The time has come to re-launch negotiations - without preconditions - that address the permanent-status issues: security for Israelis and Palestinians; borders, refugees and Jerusalem. The goal is clear: two states living side by side in peace and security - a Jewish State of Israel, with true security for all Israelis; and a viable, independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and realizes the potential of the Palestinian people. As we pursue this goal, we will also pursue peace between Israel and Lebanon, Israel and Syria, and a broader peace between Israel and its many neighbors. In pursuit of that goal, we will develop regional initiatives with multilateral participation, alongside bilateral negotiations.

I am not naïve. I know this will be difficult. But all of us must decide whether we are serious about peace, or whether we only lend it lip-service. To break the old patterns - to break the cycle of insecurity and despair - all of us must say publicly what we would acknowledge in private. The United States does Israel no favors when we fail to couple an unwavering commitment to its security with an insistence that Israel respect the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians. And nations within this body do the Palestinians no favors when they choose vitriolic attacks over a constructive willingness to recognize Israel's legitimacy, and its right to exist in peace and security.

We must remember that the greatest price of this conflict is not paid by us. It is paid by the Israeli girl in Sderot who closes her eyes in fear that a rocket will take her life in the night. It is paid by the Palestinian boy in Gaza who has no clean water and no country to call his own. These are God's children. And after all of the politics and all of the posturing, this is about the right of every human being to live with dignity and security. That is a lesson embedded in the three great faiths that call one small slice of Earth the Holy Land. And that is why - even though there will be setbacks, and false starts, and tough days - I will not waiver in my pursuit of peace.

Third, we must recognize that in the 21st century, there will be no peace unless we make take responsibility for the preservation of our planet.

The danger posed by climate change cannot be denied, and our responsibility to meet it must not be deferred. If we continue down our current course, every member of this Assembly will see irreversible changes within their borders. Our efforts to end conflicts will be eclipsed by wars over refugees and resources. Development will be devastated by drought and famine. Land that human beings have lived on for millennia will disappear. Future generations will look back and wonder why we refused to act - why we failed to pass on intact the environment that was our inheritance.

That is why the days when America dragged its feet on this issue are over. We will move forward with investments to transform our energy economy, while providing incentives to make clean energy the profitable kind of energy. We will press ahead with deep cuts in emissions to reach the goals that we set for 2020, and eventually 2050. We will continue to promote renewable energy and efficiency - and share new technologies - with countries around the world. And we will seize every opportunity for progress to address this threat in a cooperative effort with the whole world.

Those wealthy nations that did so much to damage the environment in the 20th century must accept our obligation to lead. But responsibility does not end there. While we must acknowledge the need for differentiated responses, any effort to curb carbon emissions must include the fast-growing carbon emitters who can do more to reduce their air pollution without inhibiting growth. And any effort that fails to help the poorest nations both adapt to the problems that climate change has already wrought - and travel a path of clean development - will not work.

It is hard to change something as fundamental as how we use energy. It's even harder to do so in the midst of a global recession. Certainly, it will be tempting to sit back and wait for others to move first. But we cannot make this journey unless we all move forward together. As we head into Copenhagen, let us resolve to focus on what each of us can do for the sake of our common future.

This leads me to the final pillar that must fortify our future: a global economy that advances opportunity for all people.
The world is still recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In America, we see the engine of growth beginning to churn, yet many still struggle to find a job or pay their bills. Across the globe, we find promising signs, yet little certainty about what lies ahead. And far too many people in far too many places live through the daily crises that challenge our common humanity - the despair of an empty stomach; the thirst brought on by dwindling water; the injustice of a child dying from a treatable disease, or a mother losing her life as she gives birth.

In Pittsburgh, we will work with the world's largest economies to chart a course for growth that is balanced and sustained. That means vigilance to ensure that we do not let up until our people are back to work. That means taking steps to rekindle demand, so that a global recovery can be sustained. And that means setting new rules of the road and strengthening regulation for all financial centers, so that we put an end to the greed, excess and abuse that led us into disaster, and prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again.

At a time of such interdependence, we have a moral and pragmatic interest in broader questions of development. And so we will continue our historic effort to help people feed themselves. We have set aside $63 billion to carry forward the fight against HIV/AIDS; to end deaths from tuberculosis and malaria; to eradicate polio; and to strengthen public health systems. We are joining with other countries to contribute H1N1 vaccines to the World Health Organization. We will integrate more economies into a system of global trade. We will support the Millennium Development Goals, and approach next year's Summit with a global plan to make them a reality. And we will set our sights on the eradication of extreme poverty in our time.
Now is the time for all of us to do our part. Growth will not be sustained or shared unless all nations embrace their responsibility. Wealthy nations must open their markets to more goods and extend a hand to those with less, while reforming international institutions to give more nations a greater voice. Developing nations must root out the corruption that is an obstacle to progress - for opportunity cannot thrive where individuals are oppressed and business have to pay bribes. That's why we will support honest police and independent judges; civil society and a vibrant private sector. Our goal is simple: a global economy in which growth is sustained, and opportunity is available to all.

The changes that I have spoken about today will not be easy to make. And they will not be realized simply by leaders like us coming together in forums like this. For as in any assembly of members, real change can only come through the people we represent. That is why we must do the hard work to lay the groundwork for progress in our own capitals. That is where we will build the consensus to end conflicts and to harness technology for peaceful purposes; to change the way we use energy, and to promote growth that can be sustained and shared.

I believe that the people of the world want this future for their children. And that is why we must champion those principles which ensure that governments reflect the will of the people. These principles cannot be afterthoughts - democracy and human rights are essential to achieving each of the goals that I have discussed today. Because governments of the people and by the people are more likely to act in the broader interests of their own people, rather than the narrow interest of those in power.

The test of our leadership will not be the degree to which we feed the fears and old hatreds of our people. True leadership will not be measured by the ability to muzzle dissent, or to intimidate and harass political opponents at home. The people of the world want change. They will not long tolerate those who are on the wrong side of history.

This Assembly's Charter commits each of us, and I quote - "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women." Among those rights is the freedom to speak your mind and worship as you please; the promise of equality of the races, and the opportunity for women and girls to pursue their own potential; the ability of citizens to have a say in how you are governed, and to have confidence in the administration of justice. For just as no nation should be forced to accept the tyranny of another nation, no individual should be forced to accept the tyranny of their own government.

As an African-American, I will never forget that I would not be here today without the steady pursuit of a more perfect union in my country. That guides my belief that no matter how dark the day may seem, transformative change can be forged by those who choose the side of justice. And I pledge that America will always stand with those who stand up for their dignity and their rights - for the student who seeks to learn; the voter who demands to be heard; the innocent who longs to be free; and the oppressed who yearns to be equal.

Democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside. Each society must search for its own path, and no path is perfect. Each country will pursue a path rooted in the culture of its people, and - in the past - America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy. But that does not weaken our commitment, it only reinforces it. There are basic principles that are universal; there are certain truths which are self evident - and the United States of America will never waiver in our efforts to stand up for the right of people everywhere to determine their own destiny.
Sixty-five years ago, a weary Franklin Roosevelt spoke to the American people in his fourth and final inaugural address. After years of war, he sought to sum up the lessons that could be drawn from the terrible suffering and enormous sacrifice that had taken place. "We have learned," he said, "to be citizens of the world, members of the human community."
The United Nations was built by men and women like Roosevelt from every corner of the world - from Africa and Asia; form Europe to the Americas. These architects of international cooperation had an idealism that was anything but naïve - it was rooted in the hard-earned lessons of war, and the wisdom that nations could advance their interests by acting together instead of splitting apart.

Now it falls to us - for this institution will be what we make of it. The United Nations does extraordinary good around the world in feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, and mending places that have been broken. But it also struggles to enforce its will, and to live up to the ideals of its founding.

I believe that those imperfections are not a reason to walk away from this institution - they are a calling to redouble our efforts. The United Nations can either be a place where we bicker about outdated grievances, or forge common ground; a place where we focus on what drives us apart, or what brings us together; a place where we indulge tyranny, or a source of moral authority. In short, the United Nations can be an institution that is disconnected from what matters in the lives of our citizens, or it can be indispensable in advancing the interests of the people we serve.

We have reached a pivotal moment. The United States stands ready to begin a new chapter of international cooperation - one that recognizes the rights and responsibilities of all nations. With confidence in our cause, and with a commitment to our values, we call on all nations to join us in building the future that our people deserve. Thank you.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Watching, Reading, Thinking, Feeling

"I believe that all art has as it's ultimate goal the union between the material and the spiritual, the human and the divine. I believe that to be the reason for the very existence of art." Michael Jackson in Oprah interview 1993. (watched by an American audience of 90 million, becoming the fourth most-viewed non-sport program in U.S. history)

"The reason Black folk never turned their backs on Michael is because we realized that he was merely acting out on his face what we collectively have been tempted to do in our souls: whitewash the memory and trace of our offending Blackness. We loved him because we knew that America rarely forgives a Black man his genius, and our greatest artists often pay the price for the acceptance of their gifts with tortured psyches, haunted spirits and troubled minds." Michael Eric Dyson in Ebony Magazine.

I read a lot of magazines. We get Ebony Magazine every month and I was really looking forward to their issue commemorating Michael Jackson. I love a lot of different singers and I probably listen to more singer-songwriters than I do to interpretive singers...but I love both traditions. Interpretive singers have their "writing" in how they perform a song. Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Bobby Darin, Judy Garland. I love these singers and I love hearing how they have interpreted songs. Michael Jackson is interesting in that he began interpreting songs and then became a singer-songwriter with some of his strongest work.

Last week Oprah had three amazing episodes, two of which were with interpretive singer Whitney Houston nicknamed "the voice" and one with a recalling of Oprah's 1993 interview with Michael Jackson. In 1993 I had tape recorded the interview with Jackson and lent it to many friends who had missed the program. Jackson used to intrigue everyone, even those who weren't his fans. The Oprah interview was absolutely compelling tv at the time. Seeing the ranch where Jackson lived, hearing him speak for an hour was almost unheard of at the time.

I've spent a lot of time quietly thinking about the Oprah/Houston interview, the Oprah/Jackson interview and going through my Ebony Magazine issue featuring Michael Jackson. I guess, I am one of the half dozen people in the world who doesn't believe...and never believed that Michael Jackson hurt children. It just never rang true to me. (In 1993, the father, Chandler, was tape-recorded discussing his intention to pursue charges, where he said, "If I go through with this, I win big-time. There's no way I lose. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever ... Michael's career will be over". In the same conversation, when asked how this would affect his son, Chandler replied, "That's irrelevant to me...It will be a massacre if I don't get what I want. It's going to be bigger than all us put together...This man [Jackson] is going to be humiliated beyond belief...He will not sell one more record". The recorded conversation was a critical aspect of Jackson's defense against the upcoming allegation made against him.) (2003-2005:During the two years between the charges and the trial, Jackson reportedly became dependent on Demerol, and lost a lot of weight. The People v. Jackson began on January 31, 2005, in Santa Maria, California, and lasted five months, until the end of May. On June 13, 2005, Jackson was acquitted on all counts.)

I listen to a lot of music. No...all kinds of music and I love so many artists but maybe more than any other artist Michael Jackson has been a gridwork of the most emotions and emotional turmoil and inside feelings. Partly because of the innocence which I first loved him as a little kid, then the joy of dancing to his music as an adult...and then feeling the tragedy of a public lynching. In some ways famous pop culture icons are like our modern day Greek gods and goddesses which we follow somewhere in our subconscious. The allure of interviews like Houston's and Jackson's resonate for many of us as our stories and lessons too.

The video excerpt above is the real heavy part of the Oprah/Whitney interview. What I really enjoyed about this interview was that Whitney Houston was so settled into speaking and she didn't fake or seem to feel a shame about speaking of the "party lifestyle". I don't know how to articulate this feeling I had...but it felt as if Houston took complete responsibility for her drug use. She doesn't seem to be a victim and she has a refreshing sense of ownership. She is not filled with shame in the way that how so many addicts don't seem to get past the sense of shame. There is a moment which really blew my mind where Houston looks at Oprah so real, when Oprah doesn't understand how to smoke cocaine with weed. It's around 5:37 minutes of the interview. I loved this interview because I felt as if we have seen a huge cultural icon get out from under the psychic weight of fame. We never saw Michael Jackson from out of underneath that role or weight...but with Houston, it feels as if she found a way beyond the romantic notions of responsibility to fans and record companies. Oprah believes that "the voice" of Houston has a responsibility to be shared with the world. As much as I can understand why Oprah (and many others) believe such a concept...I don't believe it. I believe the tragedy narrative of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston is that their omnipresence, their fame, and their talent is what became their hurdle at being really freely alive. No one owns the imagination, not even the artist. Trying to own or legislate art is a death sentence to art-making.

I don't know...I can't put words to how fascinating the Houston and Jackson interviews were for me. But it's as if watching two different outcomes from the same kind of artistic potential. I can't help but imagine Billie Holiday, Judy Garland who also had substance abuse tangled into their popular culture narratives. Even though I wouldn't consider myself a fan of Whitney Houston...I found so much relief in seeing that she seems to have come out the other side of something.

In Ebony Magazine Michael Eric Dyson wrote the most wonderful tribute to Jackson which I'm going to post the whole thing here. I hope visitors enjoy this article as much as I did. I think Michael Eric Dyson is not only a great writer but an incredible mind.

Michael Jackson: Our Icon

Freedom Fighter

by Michael Eric Dyson

Few would dispute that Michael Jackson was the greatest entertainer of all time. Even fewer would deny his genius as a recording artist and innovative dancer. But to suggest that Michael Jackson was a freedom fighter and civil rights trailblazer appears downright ludicrous. The idea grows on you, however, once you grapple with how Michael Jackson's art shredded racial boundaries and forged a path for Black artists who came after him.

Michael Jackson's art took shape in the crucible of Black struggle. The Jackson 5 was signed to Motown in 1968, the year Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The group's success helped to open the doors for a post-civil rights version of Black identity that exploded on wax with electrifying intensity, and onstage with mesmerizing appearances laced with strong Black pride. The Jackson 5 didn't have to preach; they performed Blackness in their very getup: five brown-skinned boys with big hair.

Michael, of course, was a chocolate, cherubic-faced genius with an Afro halo. He and his brothers helped to redeem the image of Black youth and, subsequently, Black masculinity, which had the style of the Black Panthers yet the broad appeal of Tony the Tiger. That's why the Jackson 5 got a groundbreaking Saturday morning cartoon series that helped to color the visually segregated American pop cultural imagination. The Jackson 5 became stars at a time when the Moynihan Report of 1965 had infamously touted the unraveling of the Black family. Their popularity on television and radio presented the image and sound of an intact Black family unit-no matter how troubled behind the scenes, since most families are imperfect.

Michael Jackson continued breaking down racial barriers and upholding the honor and dignity of Black art as a solo artist. Two years before Thriller was released, a publicist for a major music magazine refused Michael's request for a cover story, and Micahel easily predicted that one day magazines wary of placing Black faces on their covers because they wouldn't sell would beg him for the favor. And in 1983, his record company had to threaten to withhold other artist's videos from MTV if the channel didn't air the video for his landmark single, "Billie Jean." By getting his way, Jackson helped MTV pave its way with gold. He helped to brand the fledgling music video channel and give it a global identity. In essence, Michael Jackson had to beg MTV for the opportunity to make it wildly sucessful.

Long before such geniuses as Oprah or Obama, Michael Jackson was the ultimate crossover artist. He appealed to not only Blacks and Whites, but also to an international audience. Michael jackson's art was like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 set to killer beats. Even though rooted in Black experience, he felt it would be a crime to limit his music to one race, sex, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or nationality. Michael Jackson's art transcended every way that human beings have thought to separate themselves, and then healed those divisions, at least at the instant that we all shared his music as the globally understood grammar of hope. You didn't have to speak English to understand Michael Jackson; his language, as hokey as it sounds, was the language of joy and love.

But Michael Jackson always understood that Black art should never be ghettoized, that Black music should be as commercially ubiquitous as its artistic ambitions. Michael Jackson simply wanted to match the market with the morality of Black art and talent, and thus, give it global breathing room. Like Oprah and Obama after him, Michael Jackson wanted Black identity to be unlimited, to remain free of artificial divisions and false restrictions. Like theirs, his mantra was simple: Let the gift of Black identity bless and heal the world.

Michael Jackson captured the highest joys and deepest griefs of Black existence. He went further than any Black artist had before him in showing the globe how Black artists wrestle with the pain and complication of what it means to be human. Michael Jackson was deeply rooted in the rich soil of Black musical genius. As his face got whiter, his nose thinner and his features less recognizably Black, his music and art nevertheless owed an undeniable debt to his cultural roots.

Even Michael's very public grappling with the politics, seductions and rewards of Black self-doubt were instructive. The reason Black folk never turned their backs on Michael is because we realized that he was merely acting out on his face what we collectively have been tempted to do in our souls: whitewash the memory and trace of our offending Blackness. We loved him because we knew that America rarely forgives a Black man his genius, and our greatest artists often pay the price for acceptance of their gifts with tortured psyches, haunted spirits and troubled minds.

But we loved him so much because no matter where he was, he proved that the roots of Blackness are portable, that they can be planted in soil the world over-whether in Bahia or Birmingham-and still produce the sustaining fruits of joy and love. We loved him because he loved us as best he could with all that he had, and he never turned his back on the incredible music and culture that shaped him into the great artist he became.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Word Search Poem...

Word searches from site meters...make great found are some recent word searches from this site compiled:

i dreamt and thought life was beauty i woke to find that
song from Michael Douglas movies
Sid Robbins undecided notes
alex eames can recite all 62 new york counties in alphabetical order
luciano berio. blogspot
goth ethic diversity
50 greatest bands
when black intellectuals strike
porn actress xxx pirates style
green mechanisms ammons
male supermodel list
slowpoke candy
critical essays on slaughter house five
somagh spice
marin chilmole
ray charles sunglasses
transcendental art
trent reznor interview 2009
blood meridian epiloque
wired II/2006 "the church of non believers"
famous columbo villians
edward hoppper girlie show
shottas dictionary archive
michale jackson a beautiful world of candy
Had dreams...two of em. Both had my father in them
the process of making orgegano candy
no one leaves minx download
Peter Formby
highbrow and lowbrow humor in literature
kiss 1 ed paschke
josh holloway emmys
nostic animals
been my slut in the bedroom
ed paschke
google brian kipping
largest con ever
"the gossip" "music for men" site 2009
making of "the life of buddha" bbc
world surprise thing
laughing toy marmot
fuck the world paperback
spindle making
pimp chalice
George Braque icon work
when did the word gaudy change from celebration to tacky
steve warbasse
Quench the fire-Nicky Seizure
stuck on you credits ending
warhol elvis self portrait "chicago institute of art"
farm porn xx8
farmer porn
big blonde and beautiful
the truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible

Weekend Pics

In no particular order. This night shot has the Chicago skyline in there...what a beautiful location we are going to do volunteer work for a community party coming up this week so we went to an "orientation" training and meet up. We practiced pouring beer...there was a keg set up for us to go and practice whenever wanted...and we "practiced" a lot :) We also helped a friend with a "yard sale". We went to an art opening in Wicker Park. On Sunday Stagg and I just laid around and watched movies since we had been so busy during the whole week.

We were tucked into the corner lounge of a bar in Wicker Park, but this on the ceiling looked kinda violent. No, probably ketchup. Had to take a pic of it though.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Drawing...

I got an e-mail recently with this image above attached. I thought I would post it here...especially for Mister Anchovy and Ink Casualty.

The image is part of a series of drawings up for auction. (sorry I can't find a link right now...or else maybe this auction has already occurred). The drawigng is a self-portrait by Cormac McCarthy that he did in the late 1960s or early 1970s. It has a plug coming out of his head, he has drawn the number "69" over his eyes, which could be a yin yang symbol...a sexual reference suggesting he has sex on his brain, or the zodiac sign for "Cancer the Crab"...which is his zodiac sign. I love the manual typewriter...which apparently he still uses, not a computer, to write. But extra the lines written below his portrait are from a Bob Dylan song!

"Them old dreams are only in your head"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Murder, She Drew

Image by Alice Leora Briggs. "One room is entirely full of bullets from the executions," Brigss said. "I saw an autopsy of a young man who was executed. There was a story in the New York Times about the morgue a day or so after I was there. The photos of the freezers had everything looking tidy. They must have cleaned for them. I was glad to get a different view....The bodies were all akimbo and not neatly wrapped up.... I see things on the news and compare it to what I saw and they do not always jive."

I posted about reading the novel 2666 earlier this year and about Femicide. (click on hyper link) The novel 2666 which is one of the best novels I've read in the last five years is set partly during the Juarez mass killings. Somehow...some writers and artists and musicans were so aware that there is not only a tragedy and war crimes occurring, they had the intuition to know that these killings have a lesson for all of us. The work coming out of this control system of death has been consistently powerful. From narco-corridos, to songs (Tori Amos is in my Femicide post) making playlists in U.S., to drawings, articles and novels, all have explored the questions we want to know about the human condition and why money, death and art are so connected. Why does the genocide and drug war in Mexico have anything to do with other countries in North America?

This isn’t some ugly conspiracy by corrupt American presidents. This is what’s called realpolitik. Tolerating the existence of a narco-state in Mexico is preferable to having an economic collapse in Mexico. Successive presidents have looked at the facts and made the same decision. ... It’s simply confronting reality. ... The effort of the border patrol to stop illegal immigration is also simply for show, because if we really bottled up Mexico and a half million people a year couldn’t come north, the economy would collapse.

"It is June 16, 2008, and in two days he will have his 45th birthday, should he live that long.

The military has again flooded northern Mexico, ever since President Felipe Calderón assumed office in December 2006 with a margin so razor thin that many Mexicans think he is an illegitimate president. One of his first acts was to declare a war on the nation's thriving drug industry, and his favorite tool was to be the Mexican Army, portrayed as less corrupt than the local or national police. Now some 45,000 soldiers, nearly 25 percent of the Army, are marauding all over the country, escalating the mayhem that consumes Mexico. In 2008, more than 6,000 Mexicans died in the drug violence, a larger loss than the United States has endured during the entire Iraq War. Since 2000, two dozen reporters have been officially recorded as murdered, at least seven more have vanished, and an unknown number have fled into the United States. But all numbers in Mexico are slippery, because people have so many ways of disappearing. In 2008, 188 Mexicans—cops, reporters, businesspeople—sought political asylum at US border crossings, more than twice as many as the year before. This is the wave of gore the man rides as he heads north." From Mother Jones Magazine article by Charles Bowden.

Related Links:

1) An interview with Charles Bowden
2) I highly recommend this whole article, it's a long one but so well written and insightful.
3) Amazon review of Juarez: Laboratory Of Our Future
4) Notes about Bowden's body of work
5) A really incredible slide show of Alice Leora Briggs drawings of the genocide in Mexico. The slide show also has a voice over with the artist.
6) 2666 at Amazon Books.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Evening Busking

Wikipedia has a surprisingly good page on BUSKING
generated by