Archive for July, 2009

I Heart Art

July 31, 2009


From the New York Times:

In a winter coat and a hat with thick wool lining, Mr. Anderszewski walks solitarily along snow-covered train tracks at a railroad station, as we hear his reflections in a voice-over, in English.

“When I play with orchestra,” he says, “I sometimes tell myself I’ll never play a concerto again. Too many artistic compromises.”

Yet, he continues, when confronted with “the extreme loneliness of the recital, the heroism and also the cruelty involved, I sometimes think that I’ll never do recitals ever again. I’ll only make recordings.”

Then again, he says, in the recording studio, when he is free to repeat the work as often as he desires, the possibility of always doing better creates another kind of terrible pressure.

“In fact,” he concludes, “the real, the ultimate temptation would be to stop everything, lie down, listen to the beat of my heart and quietly wait for it to stop.”


Me hate this one

July 28, 2009

From da LA Tymez:

Last month, 18-year-old Kenya Mejia closed her valedictory address at Los Angeles’s Alexander Hamilton High School on a startling note: publicly professing a secret passion for a classmate.

“I cannot let this opportunity just pass by,” said Ms. Mejia, who is to enroll at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall. “I love you, Jake Minor!”

The crowd roared. Mr. Minor stood and pumped his fists in the air. A few days later, Ms. Mejia cashed a check for $1,800.

The commotion Ms. Mejia created was actually part of a ploy cooked up by marketing executives and consultants for Twentieth Century Fox, the Hollywood studio whose headquarters is less than two miles from Hamilton High.

The goal of the plot, which included a marketing company called the Intelligence Group and at least one other contractor, was to create a “viral” buzz online for the romantic comedy “I Love You, Beth Cooper.” The movie opens with an unassuming valedictorian using his graduation speech to proclaim his feelings for the most popular girl in school. Fox and its consultants hatched the ruse to recreate the scene at a real high school before the film’s July 10 opening, say people familiar with the matter, in hopes of creating online chatter about the way the movie supposedly inspired copycats.

I’m Not a Young Man Anymore

July 25, 2009


Sun Ra / Moon Rock

July 24, 2009

When it gets to be this time of the week during this time of the year my heartspot can’t help but be lured by dock talk, moon rock, and apple-scented smoke. It’s all green flag to me. These sweet friends know what I’m talking about, day & night.

DAY: Tiny Dancers AKA Dock Frolickers. When you’re really feeling it, there’s only one way to get to the dock.

NIGHT: Moonmusic. Give it a moment; the vibes will carry you to lunar spheres.

NIGHT: Moonrock. Nocturnal hand drumming and lit incense in the headstock is not just for pot luck dub parties anymore. Or is it…? (p.s. who were the strangoids who traded us homemade entrepreneurial incense packets for electrical outlets? Think I missed that episode…) 

Funniest Music

July 22, 2009

Three or four years ago, I made a mix CD for Neil Campbell and Nick Barbery called “Worst Music,” consisting mostly of really bad hardcore and other crap that I came across.

I had forgotten all about “Worst Music” until Neil refreshed my memory.

We had a nice laugh.

Spirit of ’67

July 22, 2009

A month or so ago an homeboy who used to work at the Crisis Group mentioned that the directors there had embargoed a completed report on right wing religious groups in Israel. It was deemed too controversial and so it sat on the shelf for 6+ months. Well, I guess the new administration’s very public push against the settler movement has shifted the scope of the debate and so yesterday the Crisis Group finally saw fit to release the jawn.  Quite interesting and well worth the read.

Within the settler fringe (that’s rather fringe, I’d say) there’s an whack subculture call Hilltop Youth; young disaffected dudes who lay claim to mounds, build claptrap synagogues, live in shipping containers, and do the pastoral thing + guns. The spiritual leader of the Hilltop Youth is a (what else) U.S.-born asshole with a degree from Chicago University named Yitzhak Ginsburgh. You don’t like his ideas; to wit, fn. 81:

81 After the Gaza disengagement, Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh

became an inspirational beacon for disaffected national religious

youth, particularly in the outposts. “Before disengagement

people rejected our ideas, but a few months after

people began to turn to us; their children stopped participating

in the army and studied with us instead”. Crisis Group

interview, Yisrael Ariel, Rabbi Ginsburgh’s adviser, Jerusalem,

September 2008. Imprisoned after he publicly lauded

the 1994 killing of 29 Muslims in Hebron’s Ibrahimi

mosque, Ginsburgh “emphasises the spontaneity, unthinking

naturalness of violence which transcends conventional,

petit bourgeois definitions of good and evil”. 


(Jeesh! I sure don’t like his bourgeois dorm room radicalist boilerplate! And while we await Thom Westbaby’s drawing of Calvin Pissing on Nu Zionism, we can calm ourselves with this.)

Late Update (as the blogs say): From the abovementioned report one senses the strange, looming possibility of civil unrest in Israel, perhaps even civil conflict. On the grinding tension between secularists and the ultra-orthodox, this article in the usually corny Foreign Policy is quite interesting.

WTF dude near the Rugged Warehouse in Lynchburg

July 21, 2009

Is that a Cloverfield shirt?

More Vaise IRL

July 14, 2009

An interview with one of them “Coming Insurrection”/”Invisible Committe”/”Tarnac 9” neo-situ dudes:

Q. How are you spending your time?

A. Very well, thank you. Chin-ups, jogging and reading.

Q. Can you recall the circumstances of your arrest for us?

A. A gang of youths, hooded and armed to the teeth, broke into our house. They threatened us, handcuffed us, and took us away, after having broken everything to pieces. They first took us into very fast cars capable of moving at more than 170 kilometers an hour on the highways. In their conversations, the name of a certain Mr Marion (former leader of the anti-terrorist police) came up often. His virile exploits amused them very much, such as the time he slapped one of his colleagues in the face, in good spirits and at a going-away party. They sequestered us for four days in one of their “people’s prisons,” where they stunned us with questions in which absurdity competed with obscenity.

Q. You come from a very well-to-do background, which oriented you in another direction. . .

A. “There are plebes in all classes.” (Hegel).

Q. Why Tarnac?

A. Go there, you will understand. If you don’t, no one could explain it to you, I fear.

Q. Do you define yourself as an intellectual? A philosopher?

A. Philosophy was born like chatty grief from original wisdom. Plato already heard the words of Heraclitus as if they had escaped from a bygone world. In the era of diffused intellectuality, one can’t see what “the intellectual” might make specific, unless it is the expanse of the gap that separates the faculty of thinking from the aptitude for living. Intellectual and philosopher are, in truth, sad titles. But for whom exactly is it necessary to define oneself?

: P

Corner Office #2

July 9, 2009

Love the “Corner Office” column series.

Here’s a nice bit from today’s, an interview with Wendy Kopp, founder and chief executive of Teach for America:

Q. Any particular time-management techniques?

A. The best time-management thing I do is reflect an hour a week on the overall strategic plan for myself — what do I need to do to move my priorities forward? And then there are the 10 minutes a day that I spend thinking about, “O.K., so based on the priorities for the week, how am I going to prioritize my day tomorrow?” I don’t know how I could do what I do without spending that time.

I am obsessive about that system because the world seems to be moving faster and faster, so you have to figure out how to still drive things proactively instead of just becoming completely reactive.


I don’t know anything about Wendy Kopp; she seems like an admirably oriented human being w/saint-like work-ethic, someone whose book I should probably tear several chapters out of and smoke: “…this vision, that one day all children in our nation should have the opportunity to attain an excellent education” — a sentiment essentially beyond reproach, I’d say.

Without access to excellent education, how will young people learn to participate in society, to drive things faster and faster, proactively? How will they learn to develop paradigm-shattering marketing techniques and implement superior conduits and methodologies for information- and data-sharing? We’ll need plenty of people who shit spreadsheets and circuit-bend the internet as preventative treatment for impotence; much health care professional teams to nurse our bloated, bluetoothed bodies into septuagenarianism (time to catch up on yr reading!), those GOOD mathematicians and engineers who will trailblaze the maze out of climate change, over-population, and fossil-fuel scarcity while simultaneously providing a new speculative investment bubble to revive the economies of the Northern hemisphere. Let’s make sure that every child has the self-esteem, confidence, and intellectual toolkit necessary to navigate the marvelous and invigorating labyrinth of modernity that leads to the bureaucrat’s cubicle, the conference room table, and the catered reception.

“We made you poor — join us!”

Fave Trax:: Plaster Hounds

July 8, 2009
Plaster Hounds

Plaster Hounds

2004 Chromatics (in KRMTX phase) LP sports an impeccable cover design, drum machine/guitar/voice tones that I’m still trying to steal, and “best-drummer-in-hardcore” Max Anarchy from Get Hustle. Go!

Cemetary Grates

July 2, 2009

Two weekends ago Taner & I ran across this advice column query in the Post (which was answered soberly).

DEAR AMY: We buried my father 10 years ago in a part of the cemetery that used to be quiet and secluded. Now, to one side of our plot, the surviving pot-smoking members of some woman’s cancer support group gather there regularly.

On the other side, every relative of a Chinese lady has to burn incense, paper money and mini firecrackers.

In front of our plot, a metal band plays a CD that could be called “Wake the Dead” in memory of its former drummer.

Behind our plot lies an old Scottish man, whose clan blasts bagpipes in his honor.

My mother’s asthma is triggered by smoke and flowers; my migraines are triggered by noise.

What can we do to prevent this? — Pain at the Cemetery

Regulators mount up

July 2, 2009

The “special fact” in the 4th paragraph is not up high enough in the story for my tastes…

Staffer at SEC Had Warned Of Madoff
Lawyer Raised Alarm, Then Was Pointed Elsewhere

By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 2, 2009

 An investigator at the Securities and Exchange Commission warned superiors as far back as 2004 about irregularities at Bernard L. Madoff’s financial management firm, but she was told to focus on an unrelated matter, according to agency documents and sources familiar with the investigation.

Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot, a lawyer in the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, sent e-mails to a supervisor, saying information provided by Madoff during her review didn’t add up and suggesting a set of questions to ask his firm, documents show. Several of these questions directly challenged Madoff activities that much later turned out to be elements of his massive fraud.

But with the agency under pressure to look for wrongdoing in the mutual fund industry, she wasn’t able to continue pursuing Madoff, according to documents and two people familiar with the investigation, and her team soon concluded its work on the probe.

Walker-Lightfoot’s supervisors on the case were Mark Donohue, then a branch chief in her department, and his boss, Eric Swanson, an assistant director of the department, said two people familiar with the investigation. Swanson later married Madoff’s niece, and their relationship is now under review by the agency’s inspector general, who is examining the SEC’s handling of the Madoff case.

As far as illicit relationships go, is this not more “newsworthy” than that Marc Sandford’s affair?