Saturday, November 19, 2011

Who do you serve? Who do you protect?

(h/t Scott at Bill in Exile, who expresses it all so perfectly that I'm just posting it verbatim)
This is a photograph of a University of California Davis police officer calmly pepper spraying students who were peacefully demonstrating against an order by the college president to destroy the #OWS site yesterday.

When asked why the police chose to physically assault these college kids who were doing nothing more than sitting down on a college sidewalk at a college that they paid to attend the response from a UC Davis police spokesperson was that the police feared for their safety.

I can totally relate!

I’d be scared shitless too if I were armed with a Glock, pepper spray, tazer, and wearing riot gear and backed up by dozens of other cops and I was confronted with a bunch of ravening, clearly out of control college kids who were violently sitting on the ground.

If I were the parent of any of these kids I’d be filing suit against the university and its imbecile of a president right this fucking minute.

And here’s the video and contact info of Lt. John Pike of the UC Davis police who assaulted these kids.

Lt. John Pike — Ph: 530-752-3989; email:

The part where the students encircle the police and use the people’s mic to very politely say to them “we are willing to give you a brief moment of peace so that you may take your weapons and your friends and go. Please do not return” is too incredible for words.

I’d be so proud to be a parent of any one of these kids!

This was not a situation where people had gone into a bank to disrupt business. This was American citizens exercising their rights to free speech and peaceful assembly being assaulted with pepper spray. WHAT THE FUCK?!

Meanwhile the fucking Super Committee can't seem to reach any kind of agreement related to deficit because, SURPRISE, no one will even consider letting the TEMPORARY BUSH TAX CUTS EXPIRE ($1 trillion in deficit accounted for just like that, you're welcome)... George W. Bush, he's not just a war criminal (and criminal against peace), he's also a huge part of the reason our deficit is so big!!!
"Why are the protesters so angry?"
America, fuck yeah!

Occupy Wall Street
Occupy Portland
Occupy the jail cell that officer needs to be in soon, while waiting for arraignment on various assault charges

Everyone Says He's Wrong

Woody Allen: A Documentary airs on PBS' American Masters tomorrow night, and Matt Zoller Seitz at Salon posted his 10 Greatest Woody Allen Films in one of his slide shows (here). As most lists do, this one evoked a lot of animated commentary regarding undeserved inclusions, outrageous exclusions, and whether or not having an affair with your significant other's adopted child is ever appropriate (in their defense, Woody and Soon-Yi have been married 17 years, which is more than 70-time as long as Kim Kardashian's second marriage [and theirs is still going]).

I can't argue his top 4, as they would be 4 of my top 5. I also realize that I don't think I've seen a Woody Allen movie since I was stuck in DC after 9/11 and I went to see The Curse of the Jade Scorpion as a way to stop watching 24-hour coverage. If I've seen one, it wasn't in a theater -- apparently he's made some good ones... oops.

The biggest point of contention is the exclusion of Crimes and Misdemeanors from the list. Seitz rationalizes its exclusion because the movie has a balance that's too contrived, it ends too "neatly" and, apparently, because Pauline Kael told him too. (That's a little unfair, but his notes on C&M are in the comments [here] around page 3, so decide for yourself.)  I won't try to argue it ahead of Annie Hall, a movie I've finally grown to respect fully, but it's got to be among his 5 best without a doubt.

But that's not why I called you here today. No, today is a celebration of a scene in an otherwise lesser entry in Woody's IMDB filmography, the hot mess known as Everybody Says I Love You. Forget Julia Roberts singing, forget Edward Norton's perfect channeling of Allen, and just enjoy one of my favorite movie scenes (not top 10 or anything, but so memorable that I think of it still): Woody and Goldie Hawn dancing in Paris.

Song of the Day: "County Line"

I don't know that I'd heard Cass McCombs before yesterday, but whatever song I heard got enough of my attention to run a background check on him. He's been recording for the last decade, and he'll release 2 albums in 2011, May's Wit's End (on which this song appears) and the forthcoming Humor Risk -- take that, The Blue Nile, and, um, most others aside from Robert Pollard, Ryan Adams and Jack White. 

Don't you hate it when prolific people make you seem lazy... it's not the laziness, by the way, it's the relative thing.

Cass will be in Portland at the Doug Fir on December 8th. I'm sure to be there unless, you know, I get distracted by any number of things, like a Family Guy rerun or a penny. (That's not about Cass, it's about my seeming inability to go out to see live music.)

Song: "County Line"
Artist: Cass McCombs

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Johnny Mercer

19 Oscar nominations yielding 4 wins. 2 Grammy wins. 1 Tony nomination. Other stuff. He wrote lyrics for more than 1,500 songs (take that, everyone but Robert Pollard).

The Johnny Mercer Collections, his papers and memorabilia (and at least 1 Oscar, I'm pretty sure [it might be a replica]) are housed at Georgia State University. Go Panthers!

I start with "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)," a musically rambling composition by Harold Arlen (too long, too many key changes, augh!) that Mercer wrote lyrics for on a napkin one night in a New York City saloon -- Mercer later apologized to the bartender, Tommy, because he couldn't get his name to rhyme in the lyrics. Bette Midler won an Emmy performing the song on Johnny Carson's second-to-last episode of The Tonight Show, although Mercer's lyrics were tweaked for the occasion.

The next song is "That Old Black Magic" which may exemplify the word "standard" -- I think there have been 17,878,193 versions of it since 1942. So whose version will I use? Sinatra? Ella? Sammy? Louis Prima? Nope. Here's Florence Henderson, bitches.

Breakfast at Tiffany is 3 parts classic, 1 part hot mess (blasphemous? no, Mickey Rooney). Its a sweet concoction of sentimentality, bittersweet romance and prostitution (no for reals, both Hepburn and Peppard played characters who were "working"). But it holds together nicely thanks to full E.G.O.T. winner Audrey Hepburn (none of her E.G.O.T. credentials came from this movie, though), a real-life introvert playing an extrovert, the classic score by Henry Mancini, and "Moon River." I was torn between Andy Williams or Audrey, and I'm going with Audrey because the Andy versions I'm finding aren't very good. Also, full E.G.O.T.

Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace.

Congratulations to Pakistan

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has ordered mobile phone companies operating in the company to ban 586 Urdu words and 1,109 English words (details here).

To which I can only say, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!

The English words range from "period" to "monkey crotch" to "breast" which can only mean 1 thing: all other problems in Pakistan have been solved. So congratulations to Pakistan.

Song of the Day: "Go Outside"

The second song of the day from Cults. According to Stereogum the song is old (here) but I think of it as a 2011 track. And the video, with news footage from the Peoples Temple/Jonestown in 1978, is recent. The video is, the footage itself is 33 years old.

What do you want from me, it's early.

Song: "Go Outside"
Artist: Cults

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Song of the Day: "Na Na Nothing"

Mike Doughty from his newish Yes and Also Yes. The new album also includes a duet with Rosanne Cash, so I need to remember to add it to my liberry queue.

Song: "Na Na Nothing"
Artist: Mike Doughty

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This is the world in which I work (in)

But I did not create this. Even though several folks have asked.

Song of the Day: "How Come You Never Go There"

At some point 3 to 4 years ago I started to hate every song used in iPod commercials. It was likely due to the fact that I watch a lot of TV, and that the TV I watch is a part of the media plan for Apple (and, as a male at 35 to 49, I am coveted by advertisers... and I'm gay, so I'm a trendsetter... and I'm me, which is like the culmination of all this stuff plus good at math -- take that other people!).

Feist's "1234" is one of those songs, and by association I tuned out to her music generally. But I'm giving her a chance, thanks in part to generally favorable reviews for Metals which the boss man loaned me a few weeks ago. Also she's in Broken Social Scene, which you or I may also be in (check your wallet, you may be a member without realizing it), and you gotta give you a band-mate some props.

If I say this song "feels" (it's more than the sound, it's the mood) like Rickie Lee Jones meets Beth Orton (whatever happened to her, anyway?) would you listen? Or will you continue to ignore me, Tim McGraw?

Song: "How Come You Never Go There"
Artist: Feist

If only this were from The Onion, it would be clever...

(h/t Eric)
(CNN) – The Roman Catholic Church is willing to partner with American educational institutions to educate the public about child sex abuse after the Penn State scandal, according to the head of the U.S. church.
There's a mass for that.
Since it's from CNN (here), it's just... sad? Hmm. Not sure. Either way, irony wins again!
Who would know better than the professionals?

No, that's not good... how about The Pope, impressed with Sandusky's strict "no fat kids" policy, wants to learn more.

I just can't top the truth: Roman Catholic Church PR wants to help Penn State better sweep this under the rug.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Another horrible burden on "job creators"

(h/t Huffington Post)

Or, as I call them, "unicorn fuckers" because both labels are equally accurate.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Authorities insist they had nothing that might have tipped them off to Sandusky's abuse of children...

UPDATE: Okay, the reviews (here) are pretty fucking awesome. It might have been better had it been published by Andrews McMeel Publishing (fuckers) but there's only so much I can do.

Song of the Day: "Cows"

Bonnie "Prince" Billy (no relation to Prince, also FUCK Prince) is Will Oldham. He became B"P"B for some hippie granola reason that involves the fans (whatev) and now he makes beautifully grim poetry set to music. I loaned I See a Darkness to J-rod, thinking he might appreciate it. It was met with a "meh" until I pointed out that Johnny Cash covered the title track on American Recordings 3-D, then it was met with a "hmm." A few weeks ago when I watched the first season of The Walking Dead, during which they played a commercial for the new season of The Walking Dead featuring Cash's version, I think I heard the song like 20 times over 6 hours. I'm not sure I have a point, except "enjoy that royalty check."

B "P" B's new album, Wolfroy was Here Goes to Town (apparently I'm confusing him with Styx) features more of the rustic, somber, minimal music I associate with B "P" B (not that it's a bad thing, see yesterday's Gillian Welch thing). And, well, here's a song, at least nominally, about cows.

Song: "Cows"
Artist: Bonnie "Prince" Billy

Oh, this again

"Bought by hard and soft dollars, disloyal, incompetent, and wasteful special interests have usurped our nation’s civil and military power, spawning a host of threats to liberty and our national security."--US Day of Rage

"OMG that is so 2 weeks ago."--Me

You know, way back when, I would go on and on and on about how the US needs campaign finance reform, to the extent that it ought to have only publicly-funded campaigns. Trust me, you'll approve: fewer political commercials during one of your feetsball matches means more of the beer ads you like so much... you like beer ads, right? with the boobies and the talking animals and the crazy voices... hooray!

But now I am 1%-adjacent. Things are a dizzying rush of tax avoidance plans (Washington state has no state income tax, and I can see it from my yard) and FabergĂ© egg shopping (btw, that's how trickle down economies work: through tax avoidance, and a bonus for dudes who sell Rolexes and Fabbies [my new street lingo phrase for FabergĂ© eggs, please use it at least once this week to help it take root]).

So the last thing I want is an actually representative government. Why should my newly millionaire friend's vote be worth as much as mine. He's worth so much more than me in the bank account, so his vote should be worth more than mine. It's why the founding fathers considered making property ownership a requirement of voter eligibility -- "we'd give you minions a vote, but you'll only waste it on something frivolous, like clean air and water." Of course they were smart enough to limit suffrage to white men because, and I think history backs this up: WE ARE AWESOME. And never prone to mistakes.

Where was I? Oh yes, suck it representative government. I've got to help someone avoid paying taxes.

[DISCLAIMER: My newly 1% friend is not making elaborate tax avoidance plans nor is he shopping for Fabbies (see what I did just there), so please don't infer actual actions from my snarky post which is secretly in favor of campaign finance reform... shhh.]

Monday, November 14, 2011

"If you want fair, talk to God."

Robert Snider said that once (at least once, maybe more), back in 1994. Robert was the guy who hired me at the company in Dallas, and he was my mentor from 1992 through his untimely passing in 1995.
"If you want fair, talk to God."
The company had just laid some folks off -- never a fun time -- and it's not easy to appreciate that sometimes layoffs are necessary for the company to continue. This was NOT a case of today's strategically understaffed workplace, where employers use high unemployment to milk more production out of existing manpower. It's a little genius, and a lot diabolical. This wasn't that though, this was, from my recollection, maybe 5 or 8 full-time employees (from a company with more than 300 FT employees).
"If you want fair, talk to God."
The quote ran through my mind repeatedly, later, when I would visit him during his chemotherapy treatments for cancer. Did he regret that statement? Did he even remember saying it? Would he laugh at me if he knew that it's one of the most defining things I remember about him? Maybe he already knows; your individual view of the afterlife, if any, may or may not provide for this.

He'd laugh about something, I know that much.
"If you want fair, talk to God."
That phrase made an unwelcome return to my life yesterday, when I heard that a relative has Stage IV cancer. While that's not nearly the bad news it was 20+ years ago, it's still not good news, not even remotely. The fact that this diagnosis parallels one that took another favorite aunt 8 or 9 years ago has me feeling solemn. I'm paralyzed with angst to the point that sending an e-card took me days.
"If you want fair, talk to God."
Meanwhile, another friend literally hit the jackpot, winning millions of dollars in the lottery. I've been helping (well, trying to) him organize his team (lawyer, accountant, investment adviser), and several folks have said to him that it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. I gave a classic Rich Jones(tm) vote of confidence, saying that, while he wasn't the MOST deserving person I could think of, he was certainly near the top (my nuanced point was that there is a specific friend of ours whose colossal douche of an ex-husband continues to make her life miserable by challenging the years-old custody arrangement just to avoid having to pay any child support to her -- it's not about custody, it's about not paying money).

But dude had some rough years, and while he might not have traded a lottery win for the dark years at the time, it's good that he endured and fortune shined. Or something. He was due for something good.
"If you want fair, talk to God."
As a Libra, I am compelled to bring balance to the situation. I don't consciously do it, but I do it. I'm pretty sure it's the root cause of my consistent inconsistency. And my passionate ennui.

It looks like someone or something took care the balance for me this time.

I'm not sure where I'm going with all this, but it felt like I should at least write a little of this down. And at least now you know who to talk to if you want "fair."

Quote of the Day

(h/t Towleroad)
"I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason - nope, that's a different one....I got to go back and see, I've got all this stuff twirling around in my head."--Herman Cain, when asked about Obama's approach to regime change in Libya
Poor Herman Cain, it seems like just yesterday he was the great white non-Romney. Then 4, or 5, or however many they're up to now, women come forward with stories and settlements that would lead the casual data-minded observer to think that maybe, just maybe, Herman Cain has a history of trying to persuade women to have sex with him through his influence in the workplace... OR that Herman Cain is a saint who routinely settles sexual harassment lawsuits where no evidence of such abuse exists.

One of those.

What's funny is that Cain was exactly right in his initial response. The official Republican philosophy on any- and everything for the last 3 years is this: whatever Obama did or does is wrong. It's especially fun when it's actual Republican legislation that serves as the basis for something (and yes, I get that there's a difference between state's mandating individual coverage and the Federal government mandating individual coverage, and I solved that issue last year [here]).

I've been listening to David Sirota's The Uprising (because I don't read, but I do like using my headphones), his 2008 book foretelling a grass roots movement driven by Americans fed up with the power and influence exerted by Wall Street over... blah blah blah, the 1%. His 3-year old book predicted the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The most interesting part, thus far, of the book is how consistently Democrats have fallen into the same basic trap over the last decade (at least). To overcome a perceived weakness on their part, they adopt a plan that incorporates large swatches of Republican philosophy (SEE ALSO: War on Terror, and TAX CUTS, TAX CUTS, TAX CUTS), only to find themselves having ceded most of their negotiating leverage before they actually start negotiating at all.

So while I consider many of the Republican candidates for President to be idiots, generally speaking they're at least smarter than Obama.

If our politicians weren't so determined to out fox each other, they might get something done. But even as I type those words, I shudder to think what that might be.

Song of the Day: "Six White Horses"

I like the new Gillian Welch the way I like the other Gillian Welch albums. That's not meant in a negative way: I like it in the same way I like the newish Wilco album. They're both working in musical spaces that make me happy. Perhaps I'm pigeon-holing Gillian, and denying her the chance to make a hip hop album, or to collaborate with David Guetta for some disco anthem.


But sometimes it's good to quash musical explorations (here, here, here). So you're welcome.

And I love that this video is just somebody's house that's become a money pit. Hopefully her record label leaves it alone, instead of complaining to youtubez about copyright violation.

Song: "Six White Horses"
Artist: Gillian Welch