Thursday, October 28, 2010

SoapBoxLA: Breakin' the law and proud of it!

SoapBoxLA: Breakin' the law and proud of it!: "One would think that those about to break the law would be discrete about it, but when law enforcement and municipal authorities get busy ..."

James Anthony Carmichael, where are you?

So, one of the records I got from Cousin's Vinyl was this Buluu album called O Happy Day by the Southern California Interdenominational Youth Choir (B-60001), that I loved. It's soulful, funky, gospel with a big warm room and sparse, percussive piano. But I couldn't find much info on anyone involved — the label was an offshoot of Dunhill, which was eaten up by ABC and later Universal, and Dunhill is best known for Three Dog Night. Buluu isn't really known for anything.

Fast forward a couple of years — I'm living in LA now, and this is the Southern California etc. Choir, after all. Likewise, in the intervening years, someone else has tracked down at least another link, or I was able to find it at least.

AMG says he was born in 1920, so it's iffy if he's still alive. But I'm wondering where the hell I'd find someone that knew him. Oh, and somewhere during his career he added his middle name, so that makes things tougher too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Four better excuses for Tim Proffit

I was learning a line dance to go with Boot Scootin' Boogie.

I was over-zealous in showing Lauren Valle my new butt-toning shoes.

I just got back from a wine tour of Napa and I hallucinated grapes on her.

Valle looked like one of those cyborgs you can only defeat through stomping.

Beatin up the block

Loving this beat.

"Hi, I'm Tony Perkins. I'm running for America's biggest asshole."

Tony Perkins tells NPR that gay suicides are because kids know they're abnormal.

Finally, someone to stand up for the bullies, so long as they're "Christian."

A new definition of chutzpah

The old joke goes that the definition of chutzpah is asking the court for mercy as an orphan after killing your parents.

After stomping on Laura Vale, Tim Profitt asks for an apology from her.

Monday, October 25, 2010

From the weird wilds

Anza Borrega shots with some color correx.

Oll Korrex!

FYF Entrance
Originally uploaded by joshsteich
Finally did an edit and a color correction on the set I took at FYF (or FYFest or FYF Fest or Fuck Yeah Fest or whatever they're calling it), and I think they look better cropped and balanced.

Monday Mix!

Monday Mix!

The combination of having an mp3-radio thingy in the kitchen, so I can play music while I wash dishes, and needing random playlists for writing more (I'm writing more, can you tell? Every time there's a new blog entry, I'm slacking off from applying for jobs or writing!) has led me to toss together some stuff. I'll keep putting them up here until I get another job (even if I start selling more writing, that won't cut down on the slacking).

Meant to be listened to on shuffle (so no particular order):

Dur dur—Alex & Les Lézards—Dur Dur single

Things goin' on—Lynyrd Skynyrd—Lynyrd Skynyrd

Love Bones—Johnnie Taylor—Stax-Volt Soul Singles Vol. 2 (68-71)

Cowboy—Jon Spencer Blues Explosion—Orange

Yes My Skin Is Black—Jonny Clarke—Girl I Love You

Humrush—KMD—Mr. Hood

Your heavy dream (won't fly)—Alec Bathgate—Gold Lame

My Friend Joel—Lem Jay—Sonido Uzumaki

Temple of the Mental—Material ft. Killah Priest—Intonarumori


Hoja De Trebol—Los Grimm—Hoja De Trebol single

Big Science—Laurie Anderson—Big Science

Tell Me—Lesbians on Ecstasy—Tell Me single

Can't Play Around (Larry Levan Mix)—Lace—Atlantic Records (0-89927a)

Dub Revolution (Part 1)—Lee Perry & The Upsetters—Scratch: Lee Scratch Perry Arkology - Reel I

No Limitations—L*Roneous—Imaginarium

Mama Marimba—Jarman, Joseph & Don Moye—Black Paladins

Crippled Child—A Certain Ratio—The Graveyard & The Ballroom

A Vague Sense of Order (Bloody Miles Mix)—Anton Fier—Dreamspeed/Blindlight

You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve—Johnny Boy—You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve single

If you enjoy it, lemme know!

Angry dad confronts abortion protesters

You tell 'em, Aaron. I stutter.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Might be too heavy for Superman to lift

After Meg Whitman's campaign literature has extolled the documentary "Waiting for Superman," and repeatedly slammed Jerry Brown for being in the pockets (or on the strings) of the teacher's union, the NY Review of Books takedown of the movie is worth reading. It's a bit long, but basically skewers the idea that charter schools are a panacea, something that I saw in Michigan back when I was working on the Ann Arbor Guide for SGI. We ended up running a sidebar (now lost to the sands of time) based largely on a couple reports that came out reporting that charter schools were by and large unstable money-sucks with terrible academic records, mired in terrible real estate deals and often tainted by insane religious indoctrination.

Sorry, guys, while public schools are fucked up, charters aren't a magic bullet. And I say this as someone who got lucky enough to go to the alternative schools in Ann Arbor.

I will also take this brief moment to stump for James Herndon's The Way It Spozed To Be and How To Survive In Your Native Land, both great, funny books about teaching and education.


This sounds pretty tasty and I would like to remember to try it. That is all.

Proof positive

I have been loving this Proof Positive album. With rhymes from my friend Matt G, and fantastic soulful production, I've been meaning to write up a review for a while. That'll have to wait, because it's too good not to just share it now. It's free too, all you bootleggers out there!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Zuke alorz!

Rachel, from LA, makes zukes with dill.

Alas, when I made 'em, kinda soggy and meh. (Is it weird that I don't want to badmouth bloggers in town, on the off chance I meet them?)

Zucchini remains a generally meh food for me. I made good tacos with them once, and would like to try Rick Bayless's

Digital imperfections

Consumed on Digital Imperfections.

To which I say, don't blame me, man, I shoot a Holga. It's interesting how this movement exists at the same time as the over-saturated hypercontrast images that you see in art shows, like the consumers finally got this hard-on for pictorialism.

For the fellas

Remember, if your girlfriend won't have sex with you because you haven't taken out the trash after telling her you would, That's witchcraft!

We Want a Better World, Mo

Maureen Tucker, drummer for the Velvet Underground, just granted an interview about her political views and her relationship to the Tea Party.

In it, she mostly comes across confused and cynical, railing against "socialism" in nearly the same breath as complaining about the lack of increases in social security.

But she articulates a view that I think is emblematic of a lot of the conservative discourse, and that I think can't be answered by simply snarking on her.

Tucker starts out by saying that the government can't and shouldn't provide all things to all people, which is a fair, if not exactly full, statement to make. She talks about how when she was growing up poor, she didn't have TVs or Levis, a sidelong attack on what she sees as the entitlement of the younger generation.

Part of that can be understood just by noting that she's old, and that this is a complaint made by old people throughout history, that young people don't know how good they have it, that they're decadent and demand more and more. Monty Python riffed on this, as did Dana Carvey. It's a complaint that's been around since Plato, with Socrates declaring that the grasping nature of the young will always corrupt governments from generation to generation.

But to acknowledge that as a complaint, Tucker should also acknowledge that when she was younger, she wanted TVs and Levis. And also that the country is a better place for having enough of a surplus to provide TVs and Levis for the poor (and that's leaving off the fact that when she was young, TVs and Levis were the new hotness; it's not like the majority of welfare recipients have flatscreens). She says she survived, but survival is the barest measure of a society. We're better off with TVs and Levis, and companies that make TVs and jeans are better off for us having them down to the lower income brackets. You can live without them, and maybe should, but most people choose not to and we are better off economically for that.

Tucker then moves on to a litany that's got at its core an ignorance and distrust of government. Which is understandable, given that idealistic Democrats are disappointed with Obama, from his handling of health care to his continued privacy violations and failures on LGBT issues, and that Republicans are livid over attacks on their privilege and have an established media apparatus that's the very definition of sophistry. The Republicans have retreated to the same rhetoric they used to fight against Roosevelt and the New Deal, but Obama's no Roosevelt — there are no fireside chats to reassure the nation — and the American people have, by and large, forgotten that Republicans were wrong about the Great Depression and wrong about the recovery and that their positions remain wrong today.

Progressives are also hobbled by a generally disengaged populace, especially on the part of the poor. The shift toward suburbanization has meant that people are alienated from each other and harder to organize, and the very availability of the TVs Tucker complains about means that more leisure time is spent with entertainment than with organizing for solutions. This isn't a novel statement to make — the California Supreme Court decided in Pruneyard v. Robbins that the modern suburban anomie and alienation required a diminishment of private property rights for the health of democracy. (It goes without saying that property owners detest the decision.)

Rather than trying to explain to Tucker that there's no such thing as a donkey museum, at least not in the US, that the TARP bailouts actually started under Bush, that no one is saying that you can't fly a flag or sing the national anthem, or that many of her other complaints are based on nonsense, misinformation and ignorance, and that taxes for most folks have actually gone down since Obama's taken office, or that you can't decry name-calling in one breath while calling all politicians cheats and liars in the next without being at least a little hypocritical, it's worth making the case (again, I know, it seems to never be enough) that we are working for a more egalitarian and more free country and world.

The health care reform isn't perfect — I would have preferred a public option — but it's a good start, and without an organized, coherent left (which only seems to come from dire crises), it wasn't going to happen. But the health care reform we got despite the best efforts of the insurance lobby will still save billions of dollars and thousands of lives. The banking reform was also a good start, and the bailouts of the auto companies not only saved thousands of jobs, but have now essentially paid for themselves. These were real successes, and there's a real danger in allowing the narrative from the left to be one of dissatisfaction with all things, rather than recognizing the incremental nature of progress.

That's how we beat the Mo Tuckers, by articulating the better world we want and showing real progress toward it. People are scared now, people are scared over their health and money and the changes to their culture, but pretending it's worse now than in the 1970s or 1930s or 1890s or even 1840s is ahistorical nonsense and shows a naive view of history. It's better now, and it's better because some politicians really do want to make things better, and those politicians are the ones who we largely elected in 2008, and we're better for it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Intruder "Death Scenes" 1989 unrated Slasher

Scott Speigel's Intruder, featuring Sam and Ted Raimi.

Also seen in Skinny Puppy's Worlock:

Hose! Hose! Hose that house!

After seeing that fire fighting was included in the Olympics of 1900, and searching for the reputed "full page" of Spaulding Almanac that described it, I found this instead, a Spaulding guide from 1910 that includes then-current records for hopping, sack races, and something called "stone gathering," which I've only been able to find references to either as a set of results and records or as "the now-defunct sport of stone gathering."

But what the hell was it?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Created by a league of extraordinary gentlemen

Parts one, two, and three of why the stories in Echo Bazaar are so enthralling.

The mind makes pictures from points

Constellation Records has been kind/wise enough to start putting nearly all their albums up on the web, streaming, for free. I've been writing a lot lately, and have been enjoying an album that I bought but can't seem to find, the ol' This is Our Punk Rock from Thee Silver Mount Zion Orchestra and Doo-Dah Band or whatever the hell their full name is. I'm a fair-weather fan of a lot of the Constellation stuff, where sprawling post-rock can also mean aimless noodling post-rock (though I bet it's pretty fucking tits live), but this I like, and they're encouraging me to amble my way through their catalog in a way that I would never have done without being able to just play whatever I wanted.

I may even end up buying the album again. Or maybe buying it for someone else. Cheers, Constellation, you win the internet music business!

More tab-closing cruft

Eugene Field's Tribune Primer sent me down the Wikipedia hole.

A reference to a printer playing Pedro for beer money led me to Three-card Brag.

I had no idea what a Herdic was, but it's a kind of cab.

And I don't know how I got to Ptolemy VIII, Land of Punt or The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor, but they're all fascinating. (Of course, I'm the type of person who can while away an hour reading Indo-Roman Trade Relations.

I'm sure it'll all end up in a tasty stew sooner or later.

One hundred million sunflower seeds

Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds looks positively sumptuous.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

"Jesus made God, not Adam and Steve"

I was trying to remember what some earnest skate punk told me down in Long Beach, but couldn't exactly and hoped I'd written it somewhere online. Searching led me to this, which is either sublime parody, mental illness or prodigious stupidity, but hilarious no matter what.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

No hands!

Bolivian president Evo Morales got gashed in a foul from a member of the opposite political party during an exhibition match.

He then drove a "penalty knee" into the guy's nuts. POW!

Who says soccer is boring?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Ned sed 90s rock

Ned Raggett's Top 136 albums of the '90s.

Raggett, a longtime contributor to AMG, is one of my favorite music writers by far. I don't always agree with him, like I actually enjoy rough and rootsy music and find a lot of the fey utopianism of Britrock embarrassingly naive, but his opinions are always well-considered, illuminating and coherent. He has a very well-articulated aesthetic of what he likes, and where that aligns with mine, I've learned a tremendous amount by reading his writing. Also, he mailed me a couple of Disco Inferno discs and I should probably take him out to dinner here in LA.