Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Matt Molloy's

A barstool at Matt Molloy's pub, the day's first customers, sipping a Guinness while reading Rubicon, Tom Holland's literate and evocative account of the fall of the Republic of Rome. It begins:
January 10, the seven-hundred-and-fifth year since the founding of Rome, the forty-ninth before the birth of Christ. The sun had long set behind the Apennine Mountains. Lined up in full marching order, soldiers from the 13th Legion stood massed in the dark. Bitter the night may have been, but they were well used to extremes. For eight years they had been following the governor of Gaul on campaign after bloody campaign, through snow, through summer heat, t0 the margins of the world. Now, returned from the barbarous wilds of the north, they found themselves poised on a very different frontier. Ahead of them flowed a narrow stream...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Carrowholly in the Gloaming

Shot with the iPhone Hipstomatic app, which simulates lenses and films from the 50s and 60s (in the this case, the John S lens and Blanko film).

We arrived in Shannon this morning in good shape after a lengthy layover in Newark International (which, compared with JFK, is the Trump Towers). These highlights of the trip over (also courtesy various Hipstomatic lenses and films) make Carrowholly all the more transcendent:

And now we're about to have a late dinner while listening to the great Kevin Burke:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Funnies & Arts

As always, click to enlarge.

This above comic was called Academia Waltz, by Berke Breathed, who went on to create Bloom County and Opus. Academia Waltz appeared in The Daily Texan, the student newspaper at the University of Texas (known to some as The Daily Pravda, a badge it wore with honor.) This strip appeared some time in the early 80s; it remains sadly relevant today.

(Thanks, S&C)

This Sunday's blog is mercifully brief, as Premium T. and I are winging our way to Ireland as you read. It's been a hectic month, but I finished online courses in Quantitative Methods (statistics, which might as well be a brew of Arabic and Mandarin) and Financial Accounting (where fair is foul and foul is fair). So, on to Intro to Health Care Services and Managing Health Care Organizations!...

I suppose that the right could sink lower than yesterday's obscenity at the base of the Lincoln Memorial, but it would take Rush Limbaugh broadcasting anti-Muslim hate speech from Martin Luther King's grave to pull it off. They'll have a thousand rationalizations about how Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are MLK's natural heirs, but the bald truth remains that their cauldron of hate was a deliberate affront to millions of people around the world. I could think of a hundred good reasons to defecate in Beck's front yard -- it wouldn't be that difficult to come up with them -- but he wouldn't like it no matter how many times I explained that it was a righteous expression of liberty and that his whining was a typical conservative play of the Shit Card. We've been asking this of the right for nearly 60 years. I imagine that we'll be asking it for another 160...

A Howling in the Wires: An Anthology of Writing from Postdiluvian New Orleans includes a contribution from Cliff, who also read at last week's reading...

Sussah at angels and people/life in New Orleans takes consistently wonderful pictures of quotidian NOLA. Don't miss our big word, the burden of trauma, and Ora-Vista Baptist Church...

I went to Hawaii and got lei'd...

The sun is back and Roy is glad of it...

Quiet time with Gregory Peck...

Come on, sweet cream, don't forget to flash/We're all gonna meet at that million dollar bash. (Words and music by Bob Dylan; vocals and all instruments by Citizen K. III)...

Ryan Adams and Emmylou Harris perform a gorgeous, elegiac rendition of "Return of the Grievous Angel"...

My 2o1o NOLA jukebox:
Backatown, Trombone Shorty
Lighthouse, Susan Cowsill
An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall & the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program, Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Bridging the Gap, Paul Sanchez and Shamarr Allen
Starve a Fever, Happy Talk Band
Tribal, Dr. John & the Lower 911
Happy Go Lucky, D. L. Menard
King of the Party, Big Sam's Funky Nation
American Patchwork, Anders Osborne
Between Rest and Motion, Eric Lindell
ya-ka-may, Galactic

For New Orleans -- you are His own:

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Need You Girl, By My Side

I feel depressed, I feel so bad
'Cause you're the best girl that I've ever had
I can't get your love, I can't get a fraction
Oh, little girl, psychotic reaction
And it feels like this!

I feel so lonely night and day
I can't get your love, I must stay away
Well, I need you, girl, by my side
Oh, little girl, would you like to take a ride now?
I can't get your love, I can't get satisfaction
Oh, little girl, psychotic reaction

We are on the side of individual freedoms and liberties and damn it, we will reclaim the Civil Rights movement. We will take that movement, because we were the people that did it in the first place!
So speaks Glenn Beck, and Leonard Pitts isn't having any of it. Beck and his ilk did something all right, but one doubts that any of their predecessors were standing on the right side of the Pettus Bridge at Selma. Even so, his diatribe was just too much for some:
King was not the man of peace Beck claims he was, and I'm not sure why he panders to him so much. King was a troublemaker...where King went -- racial riots followed.
Some of the riots that followed Martin Luther King:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Read It and Weep

What do witchcraft, the seven dwarfs, the Three Stooges, Darwin, and Copernicus have in common? It's all here. What isn't hear, sadly, is reason.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Funnies & Arts


Sign in pasture, Donnelly, ID...

Ezra Meeker and the Oregon Trail...

A cure for wingnuts, conspiracy theorists, and other chronic grouches. (But not birthers: They're lost to us.)...

Not just when they was fab, but when they was a Fab Five!...

Ziegfeld beauty Billie Dove...

Emmylou Harris and Loretta Lynn are two Blue Kentucky Girl(s)...

Steve Earle says Goodbye to Matt Saracen and (hopefully not) Tim Riggins...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Help! I'm Surrounded by Ignorant Fascist Homophobes!

Music by John Mayer.

Messala wants to marry Ben-Hur, but Chuck H. would rather go to the galleys:

And lest we forget:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936)

Seventy-four years ago today, on Aug 19, 1936, Fascist troops in the army of Francisco Franco executed the Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca. The execution is assumed to have occurred near the town of Viznar in Spain; Lorca's remains have never been identified. Though the precise reasons for Lorca's murder remain murky, his homosexuality, liberalism, and nonconformity -- all great enemies of reactionary politics -- almost certainly played parts in his death.

We walk on
an unsilvered mirror,
a crystal surface
without clouds
If lilies would grow
if roses would grow
if all those roots
could see the stars
& the dead not close
their eyes,
we would become like swans.

In 1986, Leonard Cohen translated "Little Viennese Waltz" and set it to music as the song "Take This Waltz" (side-by-side lyrics and standard translation here). The song reached #1 in Spain and appears on Cohen's 1988 album I'm Your Man. It has become a staple of his live performances.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Yesterday, Premium T. and I went to fundraiser headlined by President Obama.

For about a half hour, he gave an expansive, funny, and optimistic speech that attacked Republicans for counting on voter amnesia and for offering nothing but cynicism and fear. Obama told a Lincolnesque anecdote about a man and a woman (the fundraiser was for Washington senator Patty Murray) who struggled mightily to get a car out a ditch while the driver looked on (sipping a Slurpee, according to the president). Just when the car was back on the road, the driver held out his hand and demanded the keys.

As he finished, I though to myself that this man and his family wake up every morning to an unrelenting torrent of vile racism from the right, a flood of invective that half the left ennobles as economic populism. He persists with a system so stacked against change that mediocrities like Scott Brown, toadies like Mary Landrieu, megalomaniacs like Joe Lieberman, frightened rabbits like Blanche Lincoln, hacks like Ben Nelson, and cynical hypocrites like Olympia Snowe can actually mold legislation simply by threatening to block it, and claim to stand on principle when they do.

And yet, Barack Obama can smile and tell us with conviction that we can believe in the American capacity for goodness and achievement. Me, I don't have that kind of courage or commitment, and I doubt that many do. Anyone who does, deserves respect even from those who disagree with him...

Bob Cesca on Ground Zero and the profaning of Gettysburg. What has happened to Gettysburg is why I revere this place, which is by comparison haunted and pure...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Viva Las Vegas

The seriousness and depth of contemporary politics came to the fore yesterday when Nevada Democrat Harry Reid joined Republican opponent Sharon Angle in opposing construction of a mosque and community center near Ground Zero in Manhattan, approximately 2200 miles from Las Vegas.

Citizen K. has learned that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg conducted a conference call with Reid and Angle in which he expressed thanks for their concern. The precise responses of Reid and Angle are unknown, but I can reliably report on Bloomberg's end of the conversation:
"Senator, Ms. Angle, I'd like express my heartfelt gratitude for your interest in New York and your concern for the people living here...

"Yes, I do have to thank you. That you could make time to express your opinion about events in a city on the other side of the country when Nevada has a 14.2% unemployment rate and the highest foreclosure rate in the nation, well...I'm touched to say the least...

"Along those lines, though, I have concerns of my own that I'd like to run by you. As you may know, we have a lot of Catholics here in the Big Apple. New York is also, I'm proud to say, the home of many successful career women. Both groups have their notions and, well, the thing of it is...well...they're awfully offended by the whorehouses in Nevada and would like you to shut them down.

"Look, it's no skin off Elliott Spitzer's nose if a coed wants to go to Nevada to auction off her virginity, but it looks bad if I don't express the same interest in Nevada that you've so courageously shown in New York.

"I'd hate to see this become a political football. When you get right down to it, though, who can come out in favor of whorehouses? A pimp, maybe, but that's about it. Say, are either of you?...Oh, never mind: The less said the better."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sunday Funnies & Arts

As always, click to enlarge.

Thou art a wigeon! A saucy and unmannerly clown who sells calves for kisses!...

Clouds above the Columbia...

Speaking of which. Trust Citizen K. on this one: You haven't been on an open stretch of road until you've driven 10 across West Texas, southern New Mexico, and south central Arizona. (Australians may beg to differ.)...

A private place in the French Quarter...

Michael Bloomfield, Robbie Robertson, T-Bone Walker, Richard Thompson, and Peter Tibbles...

Walk through the bottom land without no shoes...

Bob Dylan -- Live and on the air...

Jennifer Warnes on Leonard Cohen: "His father was a tailor, a clothier...This is an integral part of how Leonard assembles a song..."
Thea Gilmore is a favorite singer-songwriter of mine; Liejacker was one of the top releases of 2008. Her low, knowing voice bespoke a familiarity with experience that she conveyed through lyrics like "you've got needles in your eyes from all the glances that you stole" or this verse from "The Lower Road," Liejacker's predictably great duet with Joan Baez:
There's no telling which way, boys, this is thing is going to take hold
From the fruit on a poplar tree, to the bruise round a band of gold
From the blood in a far country, to the war of just growing old
We travel a lower road, and it's lonely and it is cold
Gilmore wraps her words in a pretty package, too, as can be heard in the melodies to "Old Soul" and many others. Her new CD, Murphy's Heart," is scheduled for release on August 30.

Here, she explains the back story to "Old Soul" before performing it in the Sun Record studios:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Space Captain

Herbie Hancock, Susan Tedeschi, and Derek Trucks:

Did somebody say "Wow!"?

BREAKING NEWS! The Quantitative Methods (Statistics) online tutorial is complete! Next up: The wonderful world of financial accounting.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Orange Ding-A-Ling Blues

Over at Nihil Obstat, Rastamick offers his usual acerbic and on-point observations about the Republican rain dance in favor of continuing Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. President Obama favors ending the cuts for anyone making more than $250,000; Orange John Boehner naturally terms this a tax increase on the American people and cites the support of Mark Zandi, whom he calls the President's "favorite Republican economist."

Mark Zandi -- the economist cited by Boner as supporting the Republican position on the Bush tax cuts -- wrote this in the Washington Post on Aug 1:
The Bush tax cuts should be extended permanently for families with annual incomes of less than $250,000 and should be phased out slowly for those making more than that.

Raising taxes on anyone now, when the economic recovery is so fragile, would be a mistake. Our fiscal problems are daunting, and tax increases will probably need to be part of the eventual solution, but if the recovery were to unravel and a new recession were to begin -- a possibility that can't be dismissed, particularly if tax rates increase -- our problems would become overwhelming.

Allowing the tax cuts for high-income households to expire over, say, a three-year period would not harm the economy. No more than 3 percent of households would be affected, and these effects would be small; the increased rates are unlikely to change decisions about working and investing. Besides, the economy performed admirably during the 1990s when upper-income households paid these same higher tax rates.

None of this is to say that the tax code should be off-limits when deciding how to fix our fiscal problems. Everything must be on the table. Past experience with fiscal austerity at home and overseas strongly suggests that it is best for the economy's long-run performance to restrain government spending rather than raise taxes. But both must be part of our national debate.
In other words, what Boehner characterizes as unqualified support for the Republican position (I can already hear Orange John quoting in Breibartian style that "raising taxes on anyone now...would be a mistake.") is in truth a modification of the Administration's position.

Not only that, it's a position the R's could probably get if they negotiated in good faith. The delicious irony is that, should the Democrats succeed in eliminating the tax cut without a phaseout, its "victims" could take the position that Republican intransigence cost them money.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sunday Funnies and Arts

As always, click to enlarge...

Bayou Creole burning down the house with a little help from her friend...

Republicans in session...

Emmylou Harris and Dick Gaughan sing "Wild Mountain Thyme." Will ye go, lassie, go...

The Baby Boyz Brass Band hittin' the note...

Together we can rebuild. Some kids learn to drive when they're 16. Stanford Rosenthal creates an unforgettable image. (Thanks, Editilla!)...