Sunday, June 27, 2010

Moving In

My junk room is a source of deep despair.

It's the second bedroom in my apartment. It was supposed to be a place for making stained glass windows and painting masterpieces.

It's a junk room.

Sometimes you really need someone to come in and say, "Look, honey - give it up." Maybe not exactly in those words, but with that sentiment. You see, in the closet of the junk room have lived all of the cardboard boxes it took to move me into this apartment. They have been waiting around for me to leave this apartment, but I haven't done that yet. And this spring, a friend with fresh eyes came in and urged me to give it up.

So I have. The boxes are out of the closet. I'm starting to go through other boxes in that room that have been taking up space for years. And maybe someday I will have my project room instead of a junk room. Maybe in time to work on something before the end of the summer.

Devendra Banhart - A Sight to Behold

Friday, June 18, 2010

Guitar Guitar Guitar

I watched This Might Get Loud again. It's a fun and fascinating documentary of a meeting of Jimmy Page, The Edge, Jack White, and their guitars. The Edge played an early take of the guitar for this song and counted it out. It makes a smile break out on my face just thinking about it.

Hooray for rock and roll.

U2 - Where the Streets Have No Name

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How the Cookie Crumbles

Today's song is a bittersweet little number. You just tell me you didn't make these plans with someone when you were nineteen or so.

Slow Club - When I Go

Friday, June 11, 2010

The best things in life...

I just downloaded this awesome song on Amazon. For free. Get it while the getting's good. For the record, his album Science is also very nice. I'll have to look into the rest of this album.

Thomas Dybdahl - I Need Love, Baby, Love, Not Trouble

Monday, June 07, 2010

Unpopular Opinion

There is a lot going on all at once that seems to be related but may not be.

Since the "Peace Flotilla" was taken over by the Israeli military, the crazy seems to be screaming at a higher pitch than usual.

Yeah. So there was no way for this to have played out well. The "Peace Activists" couldn't have thought that Israel would let them through. Else the blockade would cease to be a blockade. Duh. It is senseless, though, for anyone to act as though they were doing anything different from eco-activists who chain themselves to trees. They were in a ploy for attention. Period. And when it turned chaotic and deadly, well, I guess that's what happens when you try to run a military blockade.

But on the other hand, a different story has been splashed across the news today. Helen Thomas. I have known her face since I was a kid - way longer than I have known who she is - she was always right there on the front row of the White House press room, even back when there were few enough channels that you could find them all with a dial. Anyway, in the last week or so, she stuck her foot in her mouth and is having to retire. Of course, lots of people recover from stating unpopular opinions, but her unpopular opinion was that the Jews should leave Palestine. And since she said it, her career is over and she is being marked a bigot.

Of course this coincided with the "Peace Flotilla." And I wonder if she wouldn't have been able to recover from it if the Flotilla had not floated.

I am troubled at the clamor for blood that follows anyone's statement of an unpopular sentiment. I see a big difference between disagreeing with the Jewish settlement of Israel and hating Jewish people. Disagreeing with a state does not equal hating an ethnic group. Take Italy. I am forever baffled at Berlusconi's hold on the country's leadership. His self-interested manipulations of the law allow him to get away with outrageously criminal behavior. And yet he keeps winning elections. Does this mean that I hate Italians? Of course not. Yet my opinion is that the way the country runs has fundamental moral flaws.

Let's come a bit closer to home. Cuba. As a nation, we don't even have diplomatic dialogue with Cuba. Yet no one is going to say of those who defend the status quo that they hate Cubans. Or Venezuela? They did elect Chavez in (at least the first time). Do we really hate ourselves when we disagree with our own country?

We are never going to make it as a multicultural globe if we continue to take statements of opinion and make of them more than there is: if we look to be hurt and hated. I think Helen Thomas knows that the state of Israel isn't going anywhere. Nor is the United States of America going anywhere, in spite of being at its core a settlement on land previously belonging to someone else. Her comment wasn't smart. It didn't do anything to advance cooperation or peace or tolerance. But when people feel that a whole nation can't stand the criticism of an opposing journalist in another country, they devalue that nation's overall power and come off basely too.

**note: it took me a month to put my ideas into semi-adequate words. I am actually publishing this on July 11, 2010.**

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Virtually dead

I just had a screaming moment in my brain. The New York Times has a new series in its op-ed department called The Stone. It is a forum for current philosophers to throw their problems at us. Today the series is in its third installment. I'll come back to it in a moment.

My talents for procrastination have turned this into laundry night. I hate doing laundry. Well, I don't actually hate doing laundry - I hate having to go into the laundry room. It is foul. Imagine the foulest place and this beats it by a factor of twenty. And tonight when I went it, it was super foul. It reeked of pot and was dirty with ashes strewn about and - a new low - someone had graffitied the walls. I would take a picture to show it to you, but it is foul and offensive, and I don't want it on the walls, much less on my blog.

So, freshly discouraged by this experiment in hell that is my neighborhood, I came in to the apartment, put on some Smiths, and went to the New York Times for some brain fodder.

The Stone had been updated, and today's update is: Should This Be the Last Generation? Ha! And it is chock full of "reasons" ("reasons" that are full of navel-gazing crap, by the way) for sterilizing humanity and letting this be the end.

And then, as I was reading it, Reel Around the Fountain came on. "It's time to tell the world / of how you took a child / and you made him old." And my head started to scream. It was too much. I finished reading Nineteen Eighty-Four today. Too much.

I am frustrated. Frustrated by the people who do have children and don't take care of them. Frustrated by the prevailing attitude of Clockwork Orange-style thuggery in the name of individual freedom. Frustrated that I don't have a place to live that puts some distance between me and this.

Someday when my life warrants an equal and opposite reaction to the one I've had today, I'll probably burst of happiness.

The Smiths - Reel Around the Fountain

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Just music

Ok. I have found the perfect fusion music. The title of the album is Un turco napolitano a Venezia - a Neopolitan Turk in Venice. And it is a wonderfully balanced mix of middle eastern instrumentation and Italian (Neopolitan).

This is not the most middle-eastern song on the album. In fact, it sounds downright Italian to me. But it is a great performance.

Gerardo Balestrieri - O guappo 'nnammurato

Now the sound quality on this one is downright awful at times, but it is more the mood of most of the album. It's beautiful.

Gerardo Balesrieri - Maruzzella

Ok. Compare it to this. This album came out back in the day of cassette tapes, and it is still one of my favorites. It has a permanent place in my car. Anne Dudley (of Art of Noise) and Jaz Coleman went to Egypt to compose and record. The result was Songs of the Victorious City. No long road trips without it.

Anne Dudley and Jaz Coleman - Ziggarats of Cinnamon

Friday, June 04, 2010

Why have a mind if not to question why?

OK. So once upon a time Smithsonian magazine was a big, thick wonder of goodness. Beautiful pictures, stories that went on for pages, thought-provoking content. Then I subscribed. In 2001 or 2002 or so. And the magazine's quality began to plummet. Fast. I began to be bored with it and I subscribed to Harper's for a year or two. Until I realized that I hadn't read Smithsonian in a couple of years, and that I was really only interested in about 25% of the content in Harper's. I finally let both of the subscriptions run out in about 2007 or 2008. And I have not subscribed to a magazine since.

Until this evening. (Or writing about my magazine subscription history would be very anti-climatic, wouldn't it?) Tonight I subscribed to Lapham's Quarterly. Hooray! Writing culled from across civilization, juxtaposed in thought-provoking ways. Clever charts and the warmth of general smarminess about being literary. One topic per magazine. And I have spent hours reading the content they have posted on their website. So I did it. A one-year trial.

Will it be worth it? Stay tuned...

Tonight's song is old. From the soundtrack to Yentl, but all I can say is that since I was very young this song has been infused into my soul. I should wake up to it every morning so I don't forget the purpose of my life so easily. Forgive the sound quality on the embedded copy, but the movie is gorgeous. To hear it with better sound quality but with visuals of poorly transcribed lyrics, catch it on YouTube here.

Barbra Streisand - Where Is It Written?