*

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Lady of the lake, version #938

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Brenda Lee - Yesterday's Gone



I kind of dig this version better than the available Chad and Jeremy clips. Cool balletic dancing ensemble and Giacometti, Henry Moore style sculptures on the stage. Brenda is a physical singer for her time. Pretty cool, I guess. Or not terrible anyway.

Rachel's Tomb


I caught this on Bloodthirsty Liberal. This shows the ease with which culture and history can be stolen, politicized and appropriated if one has enough currency. Always fear the majority.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted recently to officially declare Rachel’s Tomb to be a mosque. UNESCO director Irena Bokova had previously stated “concern” at Israel’s decision to treat the tomb as a heritage site.
The vote called for Rachel’s Tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarchs – the burial site of the other Biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs – to be removed from Israel’s National Heritage list.
The Palestinian Authority has claimed that Rachel’s Tomb is holy to Muslims as the site of a mosque called the Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque.
UNESCO appeared to support the PA demand for the Temple Mount as well, asking that Muslim officials be allowed to examine the Mughrabi Gate near the Western Wall (Kotel). Muslim leaders have accused Israel of attempting to damage the Al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount under the guise of repairs to the Mugrabi Gate. Israeli officials have warned that if the gate is not repaired, it could collapse, putting worshipers at the Western Wall at risk.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, Rabbi of the Western Wall, termed the decision “outrageous.”
“They have never said in the past that this was a Muslim holy site. The [UN] organization responsible for heritage has turned heritage into politics.”

The Statesmen





My favorite gospel group, Hovie Lister and the Statesmen. They were a big influence on Elvis, especially the wonderful tenor Jake Hess, a fine singer. Here the Big Chief lays it down.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Clarksdale - Chapter II

It was one of those events that a person would have to see to believe. Could never have been scripted in a hundred years. 

redacted

Bon Appetito!

My new foodie friends Jim and Elisa just returned from their travels to Italy. They had a wonderful trip where they sampled big italian wines and food in the Cinque Terre region of Liguria.  They also had a special cheese tasting and a balsamic vinegar tasting. They visited the Balsamic Consortium where they learned all matters balsamic and tickled their tongues with the twenty five year old precious elixer.

My day started wonderfully today when they came over this morning with some marvelous Parmigiano Reggiano that they had snuck back with them along with the outrageous Acetaia di Giorgio Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena D.O.P.. Balsamic vinegars are like Tequila and Champaign, they must conform to some firm requirements to receive the coveted appellation.

We started the fun with thinly sliced lardo on bread. Jim was a bit queasy about eating it but I thought it was great. Then we sampled some of the magical potion, which we drizzled over pears and the cheese. It had a totally different character on the two bases, subtler than the typical American balsamic that I am used to. Ended up wiping the remains off the plate with our fingers.

Most delightful and appreciated.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Local Color

Martin Mars © Ken Seals 2010

As I mentioned last month, I am curating a photography exhibition that will open this saturday night in Fallbrook. The show is called Local Color and celebrates the work of 13 talented photographers that I have selected, all with a unique style and vision. May even throw a few of my own shots in. The show is being held at Pinnell Gallery and will run through November. Reception 5 to 8 on Saturday evening and then over to my gallery for afterparty. Hope to see you there.

Exhibiting photographers:

N. Dixon Fish
Leven Jester
Kenneth Seals
Retha Evans
Lena Leichtling
Jon Harwood
Louis Nidorf
Robert Feuerstein
Mike Reardon
Robert Sommers
Grant Brittain
Brett Stokes
Taylor Buck
Thomas Sauerwein

"When The Battle Is Over" Delaney & Bonnie

Uglytown

This has to be the most disturbing election cycle in my memory. Strange that the forces of darkness and stupidity would stage such a nasty push in a midterm election year. I hate the elections. I loathe many of my fellow citizens and do question their morality, intelligence and basic common sense.

Last night Rand Paul supporters decided to apply a little jackbooted behavior modification to a woman from MoveOn who was trying to give him an award at a rally. And I applaud them. Because everyone knows that it is illegal for a woman to ask a candidate a question. To think that it could happen here in the 21st century? Eat libertarian boot beehatch.



 More thuggery:



I wrote last year regarding the white supremacist group Storm Front and their contributions to both the Ron Paul and the Rand Paul campaigns. It troubles me. I have several hardcore libertarian friends. I occasionally read the fine magazine Reason and am always impressed by the author's intellectual acumen and by their continued advocacy for marijuana legalization and legalized prostitution and other of the so called "victimless crimes." But to a man or woman, every libertarian I have ever met believes that people have the right to privately discriminate. And this bothers me greatly. Because en masse, this type of thinking will cause more damage to our society than health reform ever could. The other day Republican candidate John Hannah was advocating turning over the Dredd Scott decision outlawing slavery. It's like we are traveling quickly back to the new dark ages. And Rand Paul continues to take white supremacist campaign contributions. You dance with who brung ya. And it is not hard to see why libertarians who champion the right to discriminate would find white supremacist allies who would look upon them with such affection.

Every day that I open a paper or catch up on the news I am smacked with another buffet from some nauseating candidate. All hiding behind the bible or the flag. I thought that Palin and Bachmann were the nadir of political life in America but next to Ken Buck, Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell, I dare say that they seem almost sane.

I noticed that the right wing candidates are rather evasive about how they are both going to cut taxes and reduce the deficit at the same time. It is hard to believe that Bill Clinton left us with a surplus not so many years ago. Remember, it's the people's money? Looks like our country could have used some of that dough, just in case of a rainy day, you know? Now we hear vague stories about getting rid of social security and medicare and tired old mantras about reducing government and growing the economy. Uh, we just tried that, remember? Credit Derivative Swaps, the largest crash since the great depression? You forgot? I thought so...Not to mention the swell goings on in the gulf with that BP thing. Companies will police their own.

A candidate actually said that it was to American's themselves to check for salmonella. Time to get rid of the Ag department and the FDA too. Let the market sort it all out. Alaskan Senate candidate and admitted liar Joe Miller wants to stop unemployment benefits. Ken Buck says that he disagrees with Thomas Jefferson over a separation of church and state.

Yikes! We are truly in a heap o' shit.

***


Texas  congressional candidate Stephen Broden has told a local TV station that a violent revolution might be needed if Republicans do not win control of Congress in next month’s election.  Broden, a Christian minister, made the remark in an interview with WFAA in Dallas.
Stephen Broden: "Our nation was founded on violence."
Interviewer: "In 2010 you would urge that as an option, though?"
Stephen Broden: "The option is on the table. I don’t think that we should ever remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms."
I keep my guns around because of people like Stephen Broden. Because I refuse to be outgunned by assholes like him.

***


Not that Obama has helped matters any by his ineffectual pandering and his inability to stick to his principals. What is his justice department doing this week, trying to stop DADT again or perhaps continue Bush era warrant less surveillance? Bush light.

***

I gave many to the dems last cycle and now not a day goes by that I don't get a supposedly personal email from Barack or James Carville or Howard Dean or some other schmo asking me for money. Enough already! Enough with political spam. I will donate if I feel like it and you folks haven't shown me anything except that you are probably not quite as bad as your opponents are.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bridge Benefit

It has been an interesting weekend. A lengthy series of meet and greets has left me in a less than stellar physical state with a chaser of sleep deprivation. Drove up to Pebble Beach friday to see Mr. and Mrs. Vlad Smythe, the noted russian music archivists. He shared a rare video of Rick Danko's last gig along with Johnny Cash's last concert at the Carter fold, where he looks like he already has a toe in the nether world. Vlad has the most incredible video library I have ever seen. We usually end up slightly hammered in the wee hours and this trip was no different. Went out for a nice Chinese, Vietnamese meal - chicken in lemongrass.

Yesterday I stopped off and saw a whole bunch of pals, more Vietnamese with Melissa and Taylor and a short stop at Warmboes's. Taylor has a short hiatus from touring with his death metal band Suffokate and is cooking temporarily at the chichi Wood's Tavern. Classically trained at Culinary Institute at Hyde Park, we had an in depth conversation on the relative merits of Taco Bell versus Carl's Jr. when you are living on five bucks a day per diem and sleeping on people's floors. Oh to be young.

I finally ended up at BigDave's. Dave and I are very old friends and roommates. He had a PKD walk in the morning, having devoted a lot of time to helping find the cure for the poly-cystic kidney disease that runs rampant in his family. Ordered in dim sum. I am having a chinese food overdose.

Dave has always had a thing for nice cars and fancies himself a bit of the Parnelli Jones. He has trained at Skip Barber, Bondurant and the BMW M-Series track in South Carolina. He suggested a trip to Marin in the pouring rain. Only in California are rain slicked roads an inducement to drive faster. We got in his M-5 and I soon figured out that the lesson for the day was that Rob was going to see how a real man drives.

Dave used to have a Z-8 and has always had great cars and definitely knows what he is doing but it clearly not as fun from my vantage in the passenger seat. I white knuckled and blanched a couple of times but managed to keep my suggestions to a minimum so as not to egg him into an even more egregious display of alpha male road behavior.

I tend to drive like an old librarian, allowing for ample reaction time to all the dumb things that humans like to do when they are going 70mph in bad weather but certain people like to push the boundaries of the pursuit to the fractional nano second to showoff their superhuman skill and control to the more pedestrian muggles like me.

By now it is the afternoon and the Bridge Benefit Saturday show is starting at 5:00 in Mountain View. The rain is pouring harder than ever and I am having second thoughts about even going. I call my buddy Michael and we talk about doing dinner instead. We have lawn tickets, on the steep slope at the top of Shoreline and I am told it is like a vertical woodstock pig slop in inclement weather.

The sky cleared a bit and we decided to marshal on. We would miss the first couple bands. We got to the show with all the rain gear we could muster and scored a couple seats from a scalper, not under the awning but out of the slop. As we walked in I heard a miserable cry for pain coming from a speaker which I couldn't quite identify. Upon further examination,this pitiful lamentation turned out to be one Jackson Browne caterwauling with David Lindley. Arghh, all the misery one could wish for, packed into one musical set. I could have just slit an artery and bled to death but it probably wouldn't have been as much fun. We got seated at the end of their performance. ( I offer up setlists from setlists.com)

Seminole Bingo
(Warren Zevon cover)
Brothers Under the Bridges
(Bruce Springsteen cover)
For Everyman
Looking East
These Days

The first real performer I actually saw was my fave Lucinda Williams in her hip blue glasses playing with the tremendous guitar player Doug Pettibone. I just saw her play with Chrissie Hynde with the other rather large guitar player but Pettibone probably has better acoustic chops. She kept complaining about the sound (too boomy, too this, too that, just like last month but she sounded good although a bit too loud. Not really the right location for a torch singer. Not quite intimate enough. To me, Pettibone was the best player of the whole night, with Stills a close second. You either like Lucinda or you don't.

Motherless Children
Ventura
Side of the Road
(with Pegi Young)
Greenville
(with Emmylou Harris)
Born To Be Loved
Joy

She segued to Kris Kristofferson. His planned partner, Merle Haggard was evidently sick so Kristofferson did it on his own. He looked great and sang okay, can't play guitar worth a damn but hey the guy is a phenomenal writer so you have to cut him some slack. Townes Van Zandt couldn't sing either.

Shipwrecked In The Eighties
Me & Bobby McGee
Here Comes That Rainbow Again
Help Me Make It Through The Night
(Unknown)
(with lyrics "shadows fall" and "soft as the breeze through the air")
Sunday Morning Coming Down

Kris made way for Billy Idol who did a bunch of Generation X stuff. Steve Stevens on guitar and not really my bag. Clockwork Orange style drummer who was a bit ham fisted. The crowd seemed to enjoy the band's energy. Idol looked like he had had more cosmetic work than Joan Rivers and was sporting some lovely green eye shadow. Leslie would have enjoyed it. Not my dillyo.

Ready Steady Go
(Generation X cover)
Dancing with Myself
Kiss Me Deadly
King Rocker
(Generation X cover)
(Unknown)
Rebel Yell

Billy passed the baton to another brit, Elvis Costello. I hadn't seen him in many years, since his tour with Aztec Camera which was truly awful. He was awesome last night. An imperfect voice but impeccable phrasing and a true pleasure. Nice chorus with the ever present EmmyLou Harris. Opened the set with the wonderful Neil Young song Tell me why. The song Scarlet Tide was also performed really well, with Pegi and Emmy Lou sort of laying back and Lucinda going for it, girl can't be restrained. Love her.

Tell Me Why
(Neil Young cover) (with Emmylou Harris)
Sleepless Nights
(with Emmylou Harris)
Slow Drag with Josephine
(with Emmylou Harris)
Love Hurts
(with Emmylou Harris)
Wheels
(with Emmylou Harris)
April 5th
(with Emmylou Harris) (with Kris Kristofferson)
The Scarlet Tide
(with Lucinda Williams) (with Kris Kristofferson and Emmylou Harris)
Brand New Heartache
(with Neil Young) (with Emmylou Harris)

Elvis was followed by the crowd favorite Pearl Jam, who I had never seen before and have played twenty of the twenty four annual bridge concerts. Vetter has a great Morrison like growl but limited range and like Dave Matthews, a little goes a long way for me. My pal Michael thought he was best of show. The band was tight and he has matured and his playing was excellent. He really lauded the Bridge kids, the developmentally disabled youngsters who the show benefited and who were seated at the back of the stage.

Last Kiss
(Wayne Cochran cover)
Unthought Known
Santa Cruz
Nothingman
Dancing Barefoot
(Patti Smith cover)
Better Man
Walk With Me
(with Neil Young)
Just Breathe
Black

I should mention that I am totally soaked by now, the water having seeped through the waterproof tarp covering my legs. I have accidentally coughed on the guy's neck in front of me and he will not accept my apology for my unsanitary affront. The announcer has told the crowd that the Giants have won the NLCS and the crowd is ecstatic. I have been getting Padres barbs all week and have surrendered a not so crisp twenty dollar bill to BigDave.

Finally the headliner steps up, first show since May 5, 1968. Buffalo Springfield. I am here to tell you that they were fantastic. Obviously having practiced up, they had not missed a beat since they woke up from their long slumber. Lead singer turned Colorado preacher Richie Furay was the glue that made it work and his voice was strong and his range was full, having not lost a high note in the interim. Stills and Young were both perfect both vocally and instrumentally and Stills very intense. Neil was finding some very psychedelic accompaniment on his guitar. I am a child and For what it's worth were incredible as was Clancy and pretty much everything they played. Crowd was loving it and we couldn't stop singing along. Pity Dewey and Palmer weren't around for the fun. I can not say a critical word about their set, except that we got no Expecting to Fly. Missed the last song to get out before the rush and the oncoming pneumonia. Really a joy to see this band, I don't care if it is 40 years later.

On the Way Home
Rock & Roll Woman
Child's Claim
Do I Have to Come Right Out and Say It
Go and Say Goodbye
I Am a Child
Kind Woman
Burned
For What It's Worth
Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing
Bluebird
Mr. Soul
Encore:
Rockin' In The Free World
(with Pearl Jam) (with all other artists from the day)

I missed Neil's own short set and also that of Grizzly Bear and Modest Mouse. Hope that this is not a one time shot from the Buffalo Springfield as they were amazing. Wish you could have been there. Tomorrow I go to see my father.




Thursday, October 21, 2010

Deep Dark Truthful Mirror

Purple Trainwreck

ReneƩ sent over this neat link. Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times gets stoned with the LAPD.



***

Yesterday's existential crisis has been narrowly averted.  I am here to tell you that the infernal mortgage has been paid. Yee Haw.

***

News analyst Juan Williams was eaten by the bodysnatchers a long time ago.  He got such a new tenor when he started hangin out with the foxes. I read someone refer to him as "Uncle Juan" Williams yesterday and don't think it is quite fair. Now he can do a Chris Wallace or Britt Hume and start smoking ceegars with Rush and bellyachin' 'bout the librals. Another aggrieved party.


Can you imagine saying what he said about any other ethnic group or creed? Devout Catholics, Jews, Vulcans, etc. "they all give me the willies..." His ass would be toast, stat. Okay to whip up on the muslims.  We know they are all fucked.

***

I have been following both the Chinese interest rate cut and the Chinese clampdown on rare earth exports with some small interest. (not that I actually know what rare earth is) Almost enough to put the song Get Ready by the late 60's band Rare Earth up. But the available videos were all so dreadful that I engaged in a rare moment of self censorship and refrained. Lucky you.

***

Conservative nerd love squabble. Beware the wrath of a free market conservative libertarian scorned.

***

Pete Rose has totally fessed up. Made peace with Bench and Perez. He's 70. All time hits leader. Time to let him into the Hall of Fame.

***

Start the great northern trek to the Neil Young show and the Buffalo Springfield reunion in the morn. Hope that it clears up.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hole in my shoe

My life, like that of many others in this country, is starting to look a bit frayed. I hit the back of my van against the gatepost backing out of the driveway the other day. A quick look at my checkbook confirms that it will bear the mark of my clumsiness for some time to come.  Note the scotch tape now sealing the broken taillight and the freehand sgraffito etched deeply into the metal.

I was thinking about my sorry state of affairs this morning as I left the gym. My dirty functional Chrysler stood in stark contrast to the gleaming, polished steeds that posed so stately in the parking lot. In the semi upscale bedroom community where I hang my hat and shingle, my threadbare persona sticks out like an old sore thumb next to the well groomed populace. The new currency of the realm is the tony S.U.V., be it Lexus, Infiniti, Porsche or Beamer, with the occasional Range Rover thrown in for seasoning.

In different times, poverty was more of a badge of honor, we displayed our wounds openly since they gave such wonderful testament to the generous breadth of our character. Now it has lost its cachet and is downright embarrassing.

I think that the goal today is to lead a tight, compartmentalized life, above the fray and free of any rust, blemishes or scratches. Untouched and teflon coated if you will. Perfect impenetrable lives. Perfect teeth. Perfect children.

I suppose that I could have had such a life when I was young and swimming in money. I know that I was foolish, living life to the fullest and with mucho gusto. Gave a lot away and pissed a lot away. In any case, that ship has left the dock long ago and a month in which I can pay my bills without a near nervous breakdown is a successful month indeed.

Now I stare at a pile of bills and it is like triage. That stack won't get paid until I am about to lose oxygen, pay those, hold off a few weeks on that stack, you may know the drill. Still have a hole in the roof out back, there's a $1600 I don't have right now. Back and shoulder are hurting because I can't spring for a new bed. Scratch the idea of going to Hawaii next January. Forget new carpet, the original harvest gold has served the house well since oh about 1972. Hey, we don't entertain anyway. I can always borrow used asthma inhalers from the neighbor instead of coughing up the $275 per.

I salute those fine souls who have lived exemplary lives and made better choices than I have and congratulate them on their continued success. I just don't necessarily want to hear about it ad nauseam. Might have to go over and steal their chickens.

***

Of course it is easier for me to fall than for some, because there is in actuality so little distance to fall. I know a couple people who have been living cadillac lives who have really taken a serious smack. Their plunge might prove far more tragic. Like a beautiful woman who has played that beauty card her whole life and now sees the petals start to wilt, I know a guy around here whose whole persona has been about having the right car and the right cabernet. And now his edifice is starting to crumble. Populist poverty might be more than his tender persona can take at this point.

I, on the other hand have made it my practice to celebrate every personal wart and failure, holding myself up for public ridicule whenever possible. I will spit in the eye of my enemies and remain standing and unbowed until the very end. I have tried to associate with people that I genuinely respect and love, regardless of their wealth and position. Interesting people are always good.

***

Feller moved to town a few months ago, drove up in one of those fancy italian sports cars. Immediately showed me his expensive watch, did I know that it cost a 100k? Had my realtor friend show him around to some of the best joints available. Caught up with him the other morning, he's gonna move to one of those fancy ski areas in the Rockies instead. Probably the best idea for all concerned parties. People with that kind of dough need to hang out amongst themselves. Don't want to get any on you, if you know what I mean... Hope it wasn't my van.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Good as I been to you.



"What should the wedding supper be? - a fried mosquito in a black eyed pea."

I am a huge fan of Bob Dylan. If I had one album to take to the mythical desert island, and I was assured of a credible source of alternating current, it would certainly be Blood on the Tracks. In the next few months I plan to do an extensive series of blogposts on that album and to break it down song by song and even line by line if I have to.

Blood and Nashville Skyline are my two stand bye's, but I occasionally will reach for Oh Mercy, Blonde on Blonde, the Bootleg Series (which has one of my favorite Dylan songs, Seven Curses) or Time out of Mind. A couple others, don't have the full discography anymore.



I rarely play Good as I been to you, a compilation of folk tunes that Bob put out in 1992. Just Bob and a guitar and harp in his garage studio. Was supposed to have a bunch of David Bromberg stuff on it but it all got jettisoned somewhere along the way. It was a filler album to fulfill a label's contractual obligations but it is dismissed at your peril. I had some busy work yesterday afternoon and I put the album on. It was like playing it and hearing it for the first time. I had forgotten what an enjoyable experience it was.

1. "Frankie & Albert" (Trad., arranged by Mississippi John Hurt) – 3:50
2. "Jim Jones" (Trad., arranged by Mick Slocum) – 3:52
3. "Blackjack Davey" – 5:47
4. "Canadee-i-o" – 4:20
5. "Sittin' on Top of the World" – 4:27
6. "Little Maggie" – 2:52
7. "Hard Times" (Stephen Foster, arranged by De Dannan)[2] – 4:31
8. "Step It Up and Go" – 2:54
9. "Tomorrow Night" (Sam Coslow & Will Grosz)[3] – 3:42
10. "Arthur McBride" (Trad., arranged by Paul Brady) – 6:20
11. "You're Gonna Quit Me" (Public Domain) – 2:46
12. "Diamond Joe" – 3:14
13. "Froggie Went A-Courtin'" – 6:26


1. ^ the original album notes incorrectly credit all song arrangements to Bob Dylan.
2. ^ the original album notes correctly identify "Hard Times" as public domain, as it was published in 1855, but the author's name has now been listed for complete accuracy.
3. ^ the original album notes incorrectly identify "Tomorrow Night" as public domain. It was written in 1939 by Sam Coslow & Will Grosz.


This album transports me back to the 19th century, an epoch that maybe doesn't get its full due. These songs would have been a perfect backdrop for Tom and Huck in Hannibal, Missouri, rafting down a river and sitting on a lonely porch swing. We sang some of them when I was a school kid. Hope the kids today still get a chance to hear them like we did. They still sing Jimmy crack corn?

I get a kick out of listening to Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour on Sirius. He is such an ardent musicologist and has a great droll sense of humor. Underneath the crusty veneer lies a real human. A few months ago he was talking about a woman singer who had won an award as America's greatest poet laureate and he dryly interjected in jest, " I must have been out of the country that weekend." Bob honors the music of our roots, with the ear of a field scholar. Much like Alan Lomax, he delves deeply into the etymology of our American musical traditions.

When Cream came to America, Eric Clapton attributed their success to the fact that American musicians were too busy listening to dumb folk music while leaving it to the Brits to mine and discover our blues music. And while they were arguably more successful at reinterpreting our native blues, I would make no apologies at our interest in folk. Whose antecedents strangely enough often came from Great Britain, through the Carolinas, Virginia and Appalachia. So while they were listening to ours, we were listening to theirs, only a few centuries removed.



There has been a fabulous string of players influenced by folk in the last century, first Woody and Leadbelly and then on to Pete Seeger, Burl Ives, Kingston Trio, Dylan, Baez, The Dead, Springsteen and countless others. But in my opinion, no singer has been as faithful to folk music as Bob Dylan has.

Listening to Bob's radio selections, you can see his encyclopedic knowledge of American music, back to Stephen Foster and before. Dylan was pilloried as a forger for plagiarizing the music of an obscure civil war era poet named Henry Timrod. It is a ridiculous charge. Dylan merely breathed new life into the words of a long forgotten artist. He honors them and releases them from history's dust bin. Besides, all great artists steal.

Joni Mitchell, who has also disparaged fellow countryman Neil Young, took her own shot at Dylan recently. "Bob is not authentic at all. He's a plagiarist, and his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception. We are like night and day, he and I." I love you Joni, but how can you take a shot at the man who wrote brilliant songs like Simple Twist of Fate, Tangled up and Blue and Desolation Row? Plagiarist? Robert Alan Zimmerman can summon more poetry in a short phrase than the rest of us can muster in our entire lives.

Jerry Garcia did a series of albums with David Grisman that glean the same field as Dylan does on Good as I been to you. Jerry's takes on this material seem slower and more plodding than Bob's. Certainly more produced. While Jerry and David prefer to mine the material from the seventeenth century with the British sea shanties and ballads, Bob mostly stays home in America. The beauty of this album is that it's just Bob and it's rough and raw. I actually love the guitar playing.

A session player once remarked about the man, "He ain't no Segovia." He is often derided for his simple chord structures. But you can not be a brilliant songwriter without the deepest understanding of music, which he has in spades.

The four cuts that I post are all great. Froggie has such a fun procession of animal characters, that Bob gets to play his aural sleight of hand with. Arthur McBride is a classic song about a couple of British fellows trying to evade a press gang at the point of a rapier. Frankie the classic tale of a woman scorned. Johnny is Albert in this earlier incarnation. Blackjack Davey, also known as the Gypsy Laddie and by a score of other titles, roots in Scotland from about 1720. It was originally the story of a gypsy who seduces the unmarried daughter of a squire. Obviously, the visual of "boots of spanish leather" influenced Bob as far back as 1964. In this version the fleeing woman leaves a husband and child behind. He revisited the theme with the poor Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts on BOTT.

 Inside these innocuous nursery rhymes and doggerels lies a door to our shared musical history, and dark tales of murder and mayhem. Dylan makes them sound timeless, yet simultaneously current, no small trick.

Give this album a listen. Thanks for everything, Bob.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Charge d'affaires

At the cusp of 53, I am a very casual football fan. Manage some interest when they are winning and could mostly care less when the Chargers are playing like they are these days, lousy. Not having a television, I mostly follow them the day after the game in the paper. And the reality is that they suck this year.

I wasn't always a fair weather fan. We had season tickets throughout my youth, all the way back to Balboa Stadium. I remember the glory days of Lincoln, Bambi, Garrison, Ladd and then forward to the heady days of Air Coryell and the Fouts, Joiner, Chandler, Winslow onslaught.

Legendary Offensive Guru and Head Coach Sid Gillman used to be friends with my pop and stop by the house once in a while.

This was in the days of the Hilton and then Klein ownership. Guess Pernicano has always had a piece as well. Parma maybe.

My interest in the team started to wane when Alex Spanos bought the team. And it is not because he is a Republican, I swear. (even if he is the largest GOP contributor outside of the Jet's Woody Johnson)

It is because the fish rots from the top in life and business and I don't like Spanos or his son's leadership or management style or their choice in General Managers. To put it bluntly, they treat their players like whores. There is an impressive list of players who have played their heart out and given their all for the San Diego Chargers, only to be treated like total garbage on the way out. Think Donnie Edwards, Rodney Harrison, Brees, Junior Seau, Kassim Osgood, Cromartie, LT. Players that have banner careers after they leave the team. It got ugly and personal with Brees, A.J.'s specialty.

When Dean Spanos broke his official silence a few weeks ago to comment on the Vincent Jackson fiasco, he said that if Jackson came back, he would show him a thing or two and force him to play for around 300k a season. This is admittedly a lot of money to most of us but Jackson is an elite receiver and his peer Brandon Marshall is pulling down about 9 million a year. But Dean is going to show him who's boss. Now Floyd and Gates are hurt and they are in trouble. But with their offensive and defensive lines, they are in trouble anyway.  Anyhow, Spanos and Smith seemed to really enjoy squeezing VJ as hard as they could and then setting such a high trade price on him that no one would bite. So that he is forced to play their little game.

Same sort of with Merriman, an emotional guy. Plays with passion. All he wanted to hear was that he was wanted and a part of the Charger's plans. But A.J. preferred to mess with his head and ultimately show him the door. I hope that he comes back and bites this team. Like Michael Turner did. Now they have a team devoid of veteran leadership, without a decent special teams and a fumble prone rookie running back. See what kind of year L.T. is having in New York? A.J. Smith has no bedside manner and his teams reflect his loyalty to the players. Why would anyone be loyal to this organization considering how they use their players? Like beef to be shuttled in and out of the door. Reports are that the team is sadly lacking in camaraderie and leadership, on the field and in the locker room.

I am tired of appearing less than patriotic when I say, adios, Chargers, enjoy Los Angeles or wherever you happen to land. Because they play the community for a bunch of rubes. Like it is our job to make a bunch of billionaires even richer. They no sooner got the city to cough up 78 million dollars to renovate the stadium in a clumsily drawn contract that held the taxpayers hostage than they demanded an entirely new stadium with development rights or they would leave. They wanted Dallas style skybox revenue. Thankfully no one blinked. Independent studies have shown that taxpayer subsidized stadiums rarely pan out financially for communities. Purportedly Spanos has been in talks with Los Angeles for years. See you.

I for one hope that the city doesn't give them a thin dime. If they want new digs let them privately finance the whole thing. I for one, can't wait until baseball season. There is a reason that teams like the Chargers and Clippers never can win the big one. And it starts at the top.

America's Favorite Pastime

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Criminal Neglect

Diana Gonzalez never made it home from school tuesday night. The nineteen year old mother of a nine month old infant was found murdered in the men's bathroom at San Diego City College. It took a long time to positively identify the body, the wounds marring her body beyond recognition. Knife wounds.

Diana's relatives had been driving her to and from school because she was living in fear of her estranged husband Armando Gabriel Perez, 37. Perez had held her hostage in a motel recently for three days, kidnapping her, raping her and beating her. He ultimately choked her into unconsciousness. She managed to escape once but he caught her and threatened to kill her. He finally released her so that she could visit her parents in National City.

Perez was ultimately picked up and jailed, the SDPD Domestic Violence Unit investigated the case and forwarded it to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis' office, which declined for some unknown and ungodly reason to file charges. Perez was released from custody following four days behind bars, according to police reports.

Steve Walker, a spokesman for the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, said the agency does not publicly "discuss why we reject cases." Gonzalez filed a temporary restraining order on September 28th, while Perez was still in jail. Perez had also allegedly beat his ex wife and spent two months in jail earlier this year for battery. That case was also dismissed for unknown reasons. The restraining order was served on him in jail. A police report says that there were twenty cases of prior abuse. Perez's car was recently found in Tijuana. His whereabouts are unknown at this time. I linked the restraining order pdf but must caution you that it is very graphic and disturbing. I honestly couldn't finish reading the handwritten notes from this beautiful, dead woman.

The Gonzalez family lashed out at the District Attorney for not moving more aggressively in the case.  A family that had begged the authorities for protection. Unfortunately there was a similar case with a similar result a few months ago in the county. The citizenry of San Diego deserves to know why the District Attorney refused to file charges in the Gonzalez case.

Dumanis left a written statement, "I want to make it clear that the District Attorney's Office takes cases of domestic violence very seriously. We work closely with victims and hold perpetrators accountable whenever responsible." Nice words but little consolation for Gonzalez's daughter and family. Hollow words.

***
Jovan Jackson was in the clear. He had been judged not guilty during his trial last year on charges of illegally selling medical marijuana. Jovan managed the Answerdam Medical Marijuana collective that is now defunct in San Diego.

Jackson, a 32 year old black man now working as a barber, thought that he could get on with his life. Bonnie Dumanis had other ideas. She would try him again on the same charges, a clear case of double indemnity. She convinced a Superior Court Judge Howard Shore not to let Jackson use a medical marijuana defense. Jurors felt hamstrung by the draconian instructions. He was convicted and now he faces a six year term in prison. Jackson, a Navy veteran, read a statement outside of court saying he was disappointed at the verdict but vowed to press the appeal. He said he felt “pity and anger” at prosecutors for aggressively pursuing the case against him and other medical marijuana defendants.

***

It is amazing to me that Ms. Dumanis can squander limited public resources going after medical marijuana patients and their caregivers and yet decide not to bother to protect a woman getting raped, assaulted and eventually murdered by her husband. Shame on the San Diego County District Attorney for her misplaced priorities.

United Nogoodniks

Murderer's Row - Assad, Amin, Qadaffi

I am not an apologist for Israel. As I have written on many occasions, their settlement policy and their ceding of power to the ultra religious right (sounds familiar?) is problematic for me. They have turned a blind eye to the squalor in Gaza and to the near impossibility of living conditions there. Yet I admit that I am continually dismayed by the constant buffeting and condemnation they endure internationally while so many really bad actors escape censure.

With the constant homegrown violence that occurs daily in the Islamic world, be it Iraq, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Britain and all the other provinces of Muhammed's reach, it is almost laughable that little Israel is the epicenter for all the teeth gnashing. Any punishment they have meted out is dwarfed by daily atrocities in the arab world that get little or no scrutiny.

Unfortunately, the complexion of the United Nations is changing and Israel is finding itself even more ostracized, but this time with the seeming complicity of the Obama Administration. Obama wants Israel to continue its building moratorium on West Bank land that it kept and occupied after being simultaneously attacked by and defeating its neighbors on all sides in the 1967 War. Bloodthirsty Liberal has had some interesting posts recently in regard to Israel and the Obama Administration, some of which I borrow here.
From Anne Bayefsky's Oped 9/16/10:
Wednesday in Geneva during the current session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Obama administration became a willing participant in the U.N.’s imposition of an apartheid-style ban on representatives of the state of Israel. Despite the promises made by the administration that by joining the Council the United States would not become part of the problem, U.S. Ambassador to the Council Eileen Donahoe chose to attend and fully participate in a meeting that deliberately excluded anyone representing the Jewish state.Israel is the only U.N. state not permitted to be a full member of any of the U.N.’s five regional groups. Throughout the Human Rights Council sessions, these groups hold key planning meetings in which countries negotiate and share important information behind closed doors. Even the Palestinian Authority, though not a state, is permitted into the Asian regional group. Israelis are allowed into the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in some parts of the U.N. But WEOG members have chosen to exclude them totally in all of their meetings associated with the Human Rights Council. Rather than refusing to participate until such outrageous discrimination comes to an end, Obama administration representatives walked through the door slammed in the face of Israelis and made themselves comfortable. While Israelis are left standing in the hall during the Council’s regional group meetings, this week for the first time Libya took its seat as a full-fledged Council member. Other full voting members of the U.N.’s lead human rights body include such model citizens as Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba, Russia and Kyrgyzstan. 
On Monday, writing in The New York Times, Ambassador Donahoe repeated the claim that U.S. engagement filled “a vacuum of leadership” and alleged that “the council is engaged in a serious self-reflection exercise for the purpose of improving its work and functioning with respect to its core mandate of protecting human rights.”
On the very same day as Donahoe’s op-ed appeared, the 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) put the president in his place on any notion of reform. The OIC holds the balance of power at the Council, because the Council majority is composed of members from the African and Asian regional groups, and OIC countries form the majority in both the African and Asian groups.
Speaking Monday on behalf of the OIC, Pakistan declared: “the OIC…has always stressed that this is…not a ‘reform’ exercise. It is our considered view that this intergovernmental process…should not reopen the lnstitution-building package [the June 2007 agreement which governs Council operations and adopted the agenda singling out Israel]…The Council is mandated to [do] nothing more but to fine-tune where required.” 

I was also alerted to an article in the New York Sun 10/12/10 by Benny Avni talking about how Canada is getting shuffled out of the U.N. mix.
Canada’s increasing ties with Israel and its defense of Jerusalem have cost it a seat on the United Nations Security Council, diplomats here are saying after days of maneuvering by Arab countries, Brazil, and Cuba in which the United States had nearly disappeared.
Canada’s failure to capture a seat on next year’s Security Council will break a tradition in which America’s northern neighbor has been elected to the most prestigious United Nations body in every decade since 1948. Diplomats here say Brazil was instrumental in handing defeat to Prime Minister Harper in an international contest that pitted Canada, a traditional U.N. power house, against one of the European Union’s least powerful countries – Portugal.
Canada withdrew its candidacy in today’s election for five available council slots after it realized that Portugal had sewn up enough General Assembly votes in the secret ballot to win the only contested seat. Several sources told me that members of a powerful voting bloc in the 192-member assembly – the 57 countries of the Organizations of Islamic Conference – were united in voting for Portugal over Canada, mostly because of Mr. Harper’s record of supporting Israel.
In addition to the OIC, anti-Western countries like Cuba and Venezuela have been active in opposing Canada’s candidacy.While blocs that included the African and Latin American countries were largely thought to have split their vote on the contested seat, the Arab countries and the OIC were largely believed to have voted en-bloc to bar Canada entry to the council.
Mr. Harper’s government has become one of Israel’s more forthright defenders in organizations like the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, where members like Cuba and Libya often single Israel out and garner enough votes to condemn its human rights record.
Only a few years ago, the American ambassador here would have made a public issue in defense of Canada. But in the maneuvering leading to today’s vote, American diplomats were all but absent.
Conversely, Israeli diplomats who habitually count heads before the votes at international bodies do not see Portugal as a reliable ally among the members of the European Union, which often joins the majorities or abstains after attempting to “soften” anti-Israel votes. 
And from Richard Grenell 10/13/10:
In fact, U.S. State Department insiders say that U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice not only didn’t campaign for Canada’s election but instructed American diplomats to not get involved in the weeks leading up to the heated contest. With no public American support, Canada lost its bid to serve. That gives the EU more than 25% control of the body and a strong voting block to ensure EU priorities become global priorities. -- This was the second time a high profile ally could have used U.S. help yet Rice chose to stay silent.Israel was left to defend itself against a full-out assault from the U.N. after it captured a flotilla aid ship headed to the Gaza Strip on May 31. Susan Rice never showed up for the marathon emergency U.N. meeting and left Israel without its most powerful friend. “It was a crucial moment for Israel and for the top American Ambassador to not even show up to the meeting where Israel was being attacked by hypocritical dictatorships was a powerful sign to others,” one current U.N. diplomat said.  Instead she instructed colleagues to steer clear, effectively abandoning Canada. By contrast, when Venezuela wanted a seat on the Security Council over U.S. objections in 2006, then-U.S. Ambassador John Bolton aggressively campaigned for Guatemala instead. Bolton met with a plethora of U.N. diplomats and publicly pushed the U.N. to vote 48 times over 3 weeks until Venezuela finally gave up its campaign and was denied a seat. Rice’s actions also differ greatly from the words she used during the 2008 presidential campaign when she promised that the Obama administration would “lead our friends and allies.”
And Caroline Glick from the JPost 10/15/10:
On Tuesday, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was asked, “Do you [i.e. the administration] recognize Israel as a Jewish state and will you try to convince the Palestinians to recognize it? As Rick Richman at Commentary’s blog noted, Crowley repeatedly tried to evade answering the question. Reporters were forced to repeat the question six times before Crowley managed to say, “We recognize that Israel is a – as it says itself, is a Jewish state, yes.”As for whether or not the administration will try to convince the Palestinians to recognize the Jewish state, Crowley could not bring himself to give a simple affirmative answer.Crowley’s refusal to give straight answers to straight questions about US recognition of Israel as a Jewish state shows that Israel has never faced a more unfriendly US administration. After all, recognizing Israel as a Jewish state means recognizing that the Jewish people are a nation, and as a nation, the Jews have a right to self-determination in our national homeland. So recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is recognizing Israel’s right to exist.Crowley’s unwillingness to state flat out that the US recognizes Israel as a Jewish state and expects Israel’s supposed Palestinian peace partners to do so as well means that the Obama administration’s basic hostility to Israel is so salient that no amount of appeasing on any specific issue will alter its position.
Some 93.5 percent of Americans believe that the US should be concerned about Israel’s security. Whereas the Obama administration is unconvinced that the Palestinians need to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, 77% of Americans believe that they must do so. Only 6% of Americans believe the Palestinians shouldn’t recognize Israel. And not only do Americans support Israel, they expect their leaders to support Israel as well. Some 50.9% of Americans are more likely to vote for a staunchly pro-Israel candidate, and only 25.2% are less likely to do so. Fifty-three percent of Americans say they could not vote for an anti- Israel candidate even if they agreed with the candidate’s positions on most other issues. As for Obama’s treatment of Israel, some 42.7% of Americans believe that the president’s Middle East policies harm Israel’s security, and only 29.6% believe that they are improving Israel’s security situation. Some 51.6% of Americans believe that Obama is less friendly towards Israel than his predecessors have been. Only 35.4% believe that he is as friendly towards Israel as his predecessors were.
The United Nations is an official mockery. We now have Daffy Qaddafi on the United Nations Human Rights Council, a dictator responsible for all sorts of murder and chicanery, while Israel becomes the new international pariah. Forget the Congo rape, the lopping of of noses, honor killing and genital mutilation rampant in the arab world, we all know who the real enemy is. The little country trying to protect itself from a huge enemy that refuses to recognize it's right to exist. Forget China and its human rights record. They hold the mortgage. And our once steadfast ally Israel is marginalized and left on its own to battle the entire world. With the blessings of the Obama Administration, I guess. Honestly I don't know where they really stand. If I was Netanyahu, I would be spending more than a few sleepless nights wondering about the reliability of my american "friend." Because talk is cheap with this administration.

metal girl


She wandered into my antique store this morning with a friend, a hard rocker who never gave it up. I asked her about the Iron Maiden t-shirt and she said that everything she had on was old stock except the new converse tennis shoes and the south park belt buckle. Asked her for her best tough girl pose and this is what I got. Fun.

Angel

Friday, October 15, 2010

Peace Out.



Peace, or at least its most popular symbol, seems to be enjoying a brief renaissance. Last week at the PBS affair we were treated to peace symbol necklaces made from the fence at Woodstock. I dutifully passed mine on to John Morris, who was Technical Director at the original event.


Last night, Leslie and I attended a soiree at a friend's home. All of the guests were given peace symbols made from some spent glass from the Manhattan Project. We got a big heavy sharp piece of the slag and I am sure hoping that it is inert and not radioactive but if it ain't at least I will save on nightlights.



***

I have been in the trenches recently commenting on a far right blog, Bloodthirsty Liberal. Intelligent people with a deep malice towards our president and all things liberal.  It keeps all of us on our toes to have to defend our respective intellectual positions in the thick of the opposition. So I break up the little sycophantic rah rah session. Actually they are very cordial, really. We were in the midst of a spirited discussion about the economic meltdown and we started talking about race. I feel that there is an underlying racist element to the Tea Bag and conservative movement. Witness the photos going around of witchdoctor Obama with a bone going through his nose. Carol, another commenter sent me this snippet.

...If you go looking for it intently, you can turn just about anything into something racial, including my remark in the first paragraph. The problem lies with people who see absolutely everything in racial terms and can’t understand that if Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams were president of the United States, no conservative would have a problem at all. 


Conservatives believe that we now live in a post racial world. In fact in the view of many of them the only people guilty of racism today are minorities themselves. In their view, the blatant racism that has surfaced is the work of a few misguided extremists and after all, both sides have them. Minorities still feel structurally blocked by the system. Are either of the two narratives correct? I wish that I felt that we have gone beyond race but thinks that it still lurks as a largely unspoken component of the conversation.




***


Interesting new book out. Joshua Holland's The Fifteen Biggest Lies about the Economy (And Everything Else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know about Taxes, Jobs, and Corporate America). Look forward to reading it. A summary here.


Liberals look at the trashy mortgage credit derivative swaps, conservatives choose to look at Fannie and Freddie. Where does the truth actually lie?


***


Attorney General Eric Holder warned today that the feds will go after marijuana smokers, no matter if Proposition 19 passes or not.


Marijuana is illegal under federal law, which drug agents will "vigorously enforce" against anyone carrying, growing or selling it, Holder said.


Funny, this is the same guy who said that the Obama Administration would respect state marijuana laws last year. 


This is what happens when politicians get so-opted. This is why I have little respect for Obama. He has limited governing or political skills and his positions change like the wind. Now his Justice Department is trying to reinstall DADT. Contrast him with a savvy political animal like Bill Clinton and you see why the government is in such bad shape today. It's not all his fault, he was dealt a very bad hand, but there are still plenty of problems that he needs to own up to of his own creation. He's starting to look like Carter. Not impressed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tribal Stomp - Butterfield

If you are looking for the youtube clip - sorry - got this nice letter from Pete this morning. Which is okay because the clip was substandard. You would think that he would go after the original poster on Youtube instead of the tertiary chain but who knows how it works? I guess I am allowed to talk about the show still, right Pete?


You do not have the rights to post this audio from that 1978 show..  I am Chets partner and I recorded all of this.
Please remove this 1978 Tribal Stomp audio from your site.  
I am working on a deal about this video and audio footage right now.
Pete Slauson


I found this recording on Youtube this morning. I was lucky enough to be at this show, which was a Tribal Stomp reunion at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. My friends Jack and Yvonne were old Haight Street pals with Chet Helms and we were all treated to a magical day. A very nice time was had by all. I just happened to chance upon the flyer for the show which I had kept. I had forgotten that Chet signed it. Dan Hicks and the Chambers Brothers and a bunch of other people showed up and played as well but my memory is a bit, well, hazy. Someone was passing out carnations. The greatest light show I ever saw. I am not much of a dance buff but the performance by Dance Spectrum was revelatory for me. A duet like courting butterflies. Of course it may have been just the hallucinations.

It's a Beautiful Day and Butterfield were the musical highlights for me on this memorable day of pure magic. This cut is just ok but there were some slow blues numbers that burned. Bloomfield was the gold standard for urban blues guitar - in my opinion no one else came close. White or black. Wavy Gravy came out and did a great rap about false teeth chattering away on a table. Our gang took a limo up from Laguna Beach for the weekend. Glorious days. When we got back to Bluebird Canyon, it was taped off with yellow safety ribbon, sections having slid down the hill while we were cavorting up north. Sometimes you have to pay the toll.