Saturday, August 27, 2011

Where is Jon Hall when you need him?

As Austanspace noted, hurricane hysteria is at its pique. The supermarket where I work has had two days of sheer customer madness hell. We get in a shipment of water, and it sells out in minutes.

One of my usual customers told me that she had called her sister in North Carolina. Her sister was in line at the supermarket down there. The woman in line before her was stocking up on lightbulbs in case the electricity went out.

Okay, off to work....

Friday, August 26, 2011

a birthday note:

Today would have been Michael Jeter's 59th birthday. Sadly, he died from AIDS in 2003. I never knew the man, but I hope he was as crazy and sweet as some of his roles. He was a very entertaining performer, and I just wanted to remember him.

Here he is in a segment of a wonderful movie called "The Fisher King":

I'm not sure who had the notion to make a musical out of "Grand Hotel", and at first thought one wants to scream "Noooooo". But it worked and it was a damn good show. Set in Germany in the days before facism took over, Mr. Jeter is Otto Kringelein, a Jewish bookeeper who is deathly ill. He wants a taste of a better life and spends a day at Grand Hotel. Here, with Bruce Barrett as the Baron (a theif)they perform in a number directed within a inch of its life by Tommy Tune:

Happy Birthday Mr. Jeter.
I have to go off to work just now, but I will come back later this evening and try to find a better copy of the Fisher King quote.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I felt the earth move under my feet

Not long after finishing the previous post, the earth in these parts shook. Stuff in my apartment  shook, especially my "tower" fan. For a couple of seconds I had that queasy feeling I had in a quake in Boston back in the eighties. It seemed to stop, but things kept on swaying. I looked out the back door and saw a large tree limb had fallen. It wasn't big enough to have made the place shake, though. There were multiple posts on News wires lit up. You'd think that it was a slow news week and the starving reporters were descending upon their prey.

Buuuutttt, if you look around just the tinniest bit, you'll find stories like "USA becomes Food Stamp Nation?" As it turns out, over 46 million US citizens have, oh, what was the phrase? , food insecurity”.  That's 15% of the population.  And that's an increase of 74 percent since 2007, when the poor already knew we had a problem on our hands. Last year, the US spent $68 billion on the program. Some time back the neo-con Republicans suggested giving the states block grants as funding The grants would mean the states couldn't, say, be able to stretch to cover disasters, unless they paid for it on their own dime. But what it really means is that the federal program is in the power broker's view. Just remember - it's not that they want a piece, a share - it's that they want the whole thing.

Also reported today: the US Department of Agriculture has refused to ban sugar laden soft drinks from Food Stamp eligibility.  The USDA was noted as saying that it would be too big and complicated to implement. In addition, the department had concerns over its "potential viability and effectiveness."

Say WHAT? Get the feeling this idea pissed off major money? Are they really so enamoured of collecting big sales, raking in the attendant medical costs, and etc., and so on and so forth, or are they fattening us up like Turkeys on their way to Tanks giving? Whatever they're up to, the question isn't if they will be using those 30 million surveillance cameras that have been installed since 9-11, the question is why they feel that they need them.

Another story I read this morning: did security businesses and their attendant sales and services suddenly multiply? Or can I still get in? Video surveillance is about a $3.2 billion dollar business - and that was in 2007. The msnbc senior editor writing this then noted: "Although advanced security measures are now commonplace, they are rarely being used to nab would-be terrorists. Instead, security cameras often serve other purposes, such as catching students or workers who are misbehaving, or tracking down common criminals." The article went on that  "In the wake of Sept. 11, and thanks also to technical advances, it’s become far more commonplace for companies to use devices such as keystroke trackers, which monitor everything you type on your computer."

On the ABC Network news at 6pm there was an interesting bit of footage. A judge dismissed the attempted rape and assault charges of Dominique Strauss-Kahn (former head of the IMF) on a question of the credibility of the Maid who brought the charges. Never mind that there are several such charges which have come to light. As Mr. DSK exited the building, he had to push through a growing crowd of maids. They were there protesting. There were a lot of them. They were black and Hispanic..
Direct quote: "Strauss-Kahn's lawyer Benjamin Brafman described the encounter in his luxury suite at the Sofitel Hotel in Manhattan on May 14 as quick and consensual. "She was a willing participant," he told Reuters in an interview. Assault was implausible largely because "she towers over him," he said."

Didn't we already fight all  this out in the 1960's and 70's?

And then there was this little bit about the teenage family members who went on a crime spree. Mug shots got released I guess.

They were compared to Bonnie and Clyde. When those two were in their day, the Depression had changed the poor's situation considerably. People were going mad, losing their minds.  Look at the stereotypes above. From the left, there's a sulking smoldering look right out of the gang movies of the 1950's - or to be more precise, the 1970's when the movies made those same figures (anti)heroes. The middle one has gone bug eyed crazy, like a movie psychopath of the late 1920's and early 1930's. The woman looks to be in charge. And she looks like an especially diabolical mass murderess on a tv show.  Kinda like the depression and prohibition eras, huh? Do you suppose they were entertainment for those 30 million surveillance cameras?

What's it all imply? That the poor expand into a larger underclass, the rabble (Marat we're poor) who are expendable? That there will be riots in the streets? That they know they're going to need those surveillance camers? Maybe they are counting on the war+ business trainee soldiers of the Mideast wars to put down "terrorist" uprisings? Translation : they are preparing, getting ready. And what have any of us done lately?

Before I forget, a little after the earthquake, when things had settled down, I heard a woman screaming "Get away from me." I looked out the window and saw her walking north on Putney Road. She was wildly gesturing while she talked, engaged in discussion. I shifted around to get a better look.  She was still talking. I looked to see to whom. There was no one there.

August 23 is the 235th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 487 days remaining until the end of time.

Catching up

It's an insanely beautiful day. The light is a little different here,  just like Cape Cod has a silver quality to it, here it's something about the blue of the sky and an interplay of light and shadows. Its the kind of light that gives great depth perception.  The temperature is cool, daddy, cool in the mid sixties. It's a perfect beach day and my mind starts to wandering wondering. But stop. The catching up needs to happen.

Back when Murder at the Co-opt was being written and performed, I had started to name my three favorite blogs of less than 300 followers. Rory gave it  to Austanspace, who gave it to me.  Yes, I'm talking about the
award. I've found references to it seem to start this past February. No obligation to pass it on, no need to write about 3 others, it's jes' us talking to us.

Both Austanspace and Rory have great blogs. I highly recommend both of them. Rory has two blogs. His main one is The Scottish Scribbler which currently has a wonderful story about Rory and his sassy daughter, and one about bad art album covers. I've been saving such things for quite awhile now, and immediately thought, "I've got to send or post the cover of The Faith Tones' "Use Me Lord". But then I saw that he had it in the "ultimate" spot. I have to admit that this did not "sit" well. I had to examine my feelings. And I saw it as a challenge. You know what I mean.  About a step before the "of course you realize this means war" stage. It has occurred to me that this attitude might be a bit too aggressive . But still the hunger lurks. Peons. I still have the insert for Sgt. Pepper's, dammit.  And I still have one of the fuzzy red flocked in gold letters "Odessa" albums too! So there!

I love album art. Even the bad ones. Intended without pain or injury, no challenges (unless you want to pick up the gauntlet) here's a few of my "bad" (a relative term which implies a prejudged oh never mind) favorites, In no real order, my contribution to the field.

So how's that! And I'll raise you an "All My Friends Are Dead".

to be continued...

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's still the same old story...

One of the blogs I visit from time to time has a name that I think is great : Joe.My.God.
The following was posted today.
Monday, August 22, 2011

IOWA: Student Dies After Gay Bashing
A 19 year-old college student was beaten to death in Michele Bachmann's hometown of Waterloo, Iowa this weekend. Witnesses say Marcellus Richard Andrew's attackers shouted anti-gay slurs while kicking him in the head.

The updated story

WATERLOO, Iowa --- A brutal fight that claimed the life of a Waterloo teen started with taunting, witnesses said. Police confirmed that 19-year-old Marcellus Richard Andrews was officially pronounced dead at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Relatives and acquaintances said he died after being removed from life support at an Iowa City hospital. "It's just not fair," said friend Nakita Wright. "I don't wish that to happen to my worst enemy."

Officers and paramedics said they found Andrews unconscious with severe head injuries in the early morning hours Friday.

Andrews, who was slated to start studying interior design at Hawkeye Community College, spent part of Thursday practicing with members of the Crusaders, a drill team sponsored by Union Missionary Baptist Church. He led the step team for the group, which was days away from competing in March Against Darkness.

Night found him at Nakita Wright's home on Cottage Street. She said the problems started at about 12:45 a.m. Friday when she and Tudia Simpson, her cousin, went for a walk down the street. Andrews opted to stay behind, waiting on the enclosed porch, she said. The two women hadn't made it as far as Adams Street a block away when they heard yelling back at the house. They ran back and found a truck stopped in the street, and the occupants were taunting Andrews, calling him "faggot" and "Mercedes," a feminization of his first name, Simpson said.
The arguing and name calling continued, said Simpson, who admitted throwing the first punch, striking a girl. "She kept saying it, and I hit her," Simpson said. From there, the fight was on, with Nakita Wright and the others joining in, according to their account.

At some point during the scuffle, Nakita Wright felt her leg brush against something on the ground. She looked down and saw Andrews. "I tried to help him up, and then this boy ran back and kicked him in his face," Nakita Wright said.

After the brawl ended, she tried helping Andrews to his feet. He appeared dazed. She grabbed one arm and coaxed him as she lifted. He pushed up with his other arm, but then gave up.
Nakita Wright dialed 911.

He was flown to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for treatment.
Word of his passing came as the Crusaders Drill Team took part in the March Against Darkness competition at Central Middle School, said Alexis Wright, a cousin of Nakita who works with the Crusaders.

In addition to being step team captain, Andrews had helped train team members, Alexis Wright said. "He would practice with the little ones, making sure they get it," she said.
Andrews had been scheduled to lead the team's Saturday night performance and deliver the opening salute.

Instead, when the event started, organizers had a moment of silence for Andrews, who at that time was understood to be on life support. Later, during an intermission, officials broke the news he wasn't going to pull through over the public address system, Alexis Wright said.
"All the children were affected by it. When they announced, they were literally on the floor crying," she said.

It was a tragic end to a busy weekend for the team, which started the with a parade in Parkersburg and another Saturday event before the March Against Darkness, Alexis Wright said.

Andrews had studied at La James College and took part in Job Corps. He had bought his Hawkeye college textbooks earlier in the week.

Authorities continue to investigate the assault. No arrests have been made in the case.
The police have made no arrests, despite the fact that the attackers knew Andrews' name.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

A birthday of note

Today is Joe Strummer's birthday. He was the lead singer of The Clash, a politically aware punk rock group awhile back. Strummer was also the group's co-founder, lyricist and rhythm guitarist.  Today he would have been 59 years old.  Here's a pic and a quote:

”I will always believe in punk-rock, because it’s about creating something for yourself. Part of it was: ‘Stop being a sap! Lift your head up and see what is really going on in the political, social and religious situations, and try and see through all the smoke screens.” Joe Strummer, July 2002

Here's a song that really is not typical Joe Strummer, but then again it is.
 Turn up the volume before starting!

Happy Birthday, Joe.