Tom Waits on YouTube ["Video Bar" added 4/3/07]


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

* RADIO RANT: Jammin' w/ Junior to Judas Priest

ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd is quickly climbing the marble steps of my pantheon of most obnoxious radio personalities because of his dogmatic tone, his blithe "I'm right/you're wrong" certitude. When he reported this morning that the Jets had changed to Mozart as their training-camp music of choice and Cowherd lauded the move, an emailer objected that such a preference might connote a certain racial & cultural bias. Cowherd said simply (I paraphrase): "Nope. I'm right, and you're wrong: more smart people listen to Mozart [than to, say, hiphop & metal]. It's just a fact."

Well, if you define "smart" people as those with a college degree and all that, no doubt a greater proportion of them listen to classical music. But that's because they've been conditioned by their socio-economic milieu to think that highbrow music is better. There is no cause/effect here: they didn't become 'smarter" (and ergo more future-college-worthy) because Mumsy played Mendelssohn in Sonny's nursery. The real cause&effect involves the monied class's traditional music of preference, a preference that has of course been imparted to their offspring.

The actual scientific study, if I recall, simply found that exposure to the elaborate formalism of music from the Baroque and Classical periods of European concert music aided in the development of the brain in early childhood—and this makes perfect sense. But it is hardly a cultural-valuing endorsement of good old Eurocentric art: I'd guess that there are many types of "world" music that would fit the bill just as well here. Did they have their test subjects listen to the complex polyrhythms of African tribal drum groups? To the complex counterpoint of original Dixieland? (To the lyrics of Ozzie Osbourne?—just kiddin'. That the cause of MY stunted development.) I just hope the study was well controlled: obviously, if they just picked parents who "naturally" played Classical music to their kids, versus those who jammed out with junior to Judas Priest, there are a lot of other causal issues involved—again, largely socio-economic.

* RADIO RANT: A Savage Democrat Plot

Listening to Michael Savage last night (7/30/07), I learned a new phrase—not sure how it's spelled, but it's pronounced "VIHSA VERSA"; and I learned that Chief Justice Robert's seizure may well have been the work of a conspiracy by the Democrats, who can't stomach a conservative Supreme Court. . . . (Come, now: wouldn't such perfidious schemers wait for a Democratic president? If Roberts died now, Bush would have time to simply nominate a new conservative. And another objection to this inane hypothesis: there are "batter targets"—more diehard [no pun intended] reactionaries—to choose from on the Supreme Court.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

* KALI--"India's Greatest Export"

Channel-surfing, UGH!: All-Star Wrestling (or at least that's what they called it when I was a kid). This is so f%$#ing sad. After an intro of "flower girls," etc., suggestive (but totally simulative) of the heights of Hindu culture, "Kali" strolls upon stage, as "India's greatest export," to utter some gibberish syllables in no way related to any discernable language of modern India. (The US audience boos, of course, in fine white-trash xenophobic fashion. And that's what the producers wanted.)

Geez, it occurs to me that, if such TV fare is indeed popular, our media is producing, or at least promulgating, the very anti-"foreigner" mentality that militates against any viable rapport with the rest of the planet. "No wonder they all hate us." Remove quot. marks: NO WONDER THEY ALL HATE US (U.S.).

To return to a previous theme: other academics keep asking me why the hell I care about such "low-brow" examples of pop culture. It's the ideology, people. Get it, or be taken down, without your concern or consciousness.

* Atlas (SHRUG!)

Teddy Atlas: now there's an articulate commentator for the sweet science of the squared circle. His too-obvious modus operandi: 1) Let's repeat that ONE point about a certain fighter's most obvious strength or weakness for 8 or 10 rounds (e.g.: "His strength is getting inside, and he's not doing it"); 2) let's try a metaphor: but make it so tortured that even a college freshman in English Lit cringes; 3) let's refer back to the fact that I (Teddy) once trained Mike Tyson, to attempt to recuperate any ethos that still remains.

* John & Martha VIII

(There are several levelsl of irony here, too.)

* John & Martha VII

(Obviously—and intentionally—you can read this cartoon in a variety of ways.)


I just channel-surfed past The Andy Griffith Show, recalling my longtime judgment that it's the best TV sitcom ever. (Save yr "hayseed" jokes.) I've seen plenty of (reruns of) All in the Family, M.A.S.H., Seinfeld—and now I'm a big fan of Everybody Loves Raymond, having never followed the original run; but all the 70's thru even the 90's sitcoms seem dated, compared to the Everyperson/Everyplace comedy&realityland that was Mayberry. Of course, the first several seasons were the true masterpieces. The show already began to decline when "Barney" left, when "Goober" replaced "Gomer," when "Howard Sprague" and color TV showed up. And of course, there is not even a mention of an African-American, and the Native American is complete stereotypical myth when said race does appear in discourse (my transcription of crucial passages from the episode, "Aunt Bea's Medicine Man"). . . . But when Opie lets his baby birds go, and then laments the empty cage, and Andy says, "But don't the trees seem nice and full?"—all is forgiven.

* Bar Band Blues II

I could never sing worth a crap (after my voice changed—as a kid, I was an All-State soprano!), and so, when any of my old bar bands insisted, I liked to wait until the 4th & 5th sets to do any lead vocals—that is, when the crowd(?!) was pretty well "tuned up," and ergo more forgiving: A few more asides: yes, that's a Blue Öyster Cult t-shirt I'm wearing—bought it when I saw them in Sioux City a few years back. And yes, I'm prob'ly one of the few people in the world who actually (occasionally) finger-picks that narrow-fingerboard slab-of-wood called a Gibson SG. (But hey, with a pick and a fuzzbox, it's a monster. The amp, more visible in the previous photo-cartoon ["Bar Band Blues I"], is a Fender Deluxe Reverb, another classic: only one 12-inch speaker, but a real TUBE amp; and when you hit it on its top, you can actually hear & feel the reverb springs "shimmer.")

* Lost in Space: Drunken Astronauts

The recent report regarding possibly intoxicated astronauts blasting off is understandable on one level: after the Challenger & Columbia shuttle disasters—or heck, go back to the Apollo 1 fire—inebriation might be considered a viable modus operandi for strapping oneself atop any of NASA's ballistic concoctions.

But that is an obvious take—a version of which I've even heard on the "talk radio"—which I try to avoid in these blog entries. A slightly less obvious, but no doubt closer to the truth, explanation involves the very culture of the "Top Gun" pilot/astronaut: hard-flying, hard-drinkin'—the whole stereotype. But my own (as usual, more idiosyncratic & nutsy) angle is an "eco" one (surprise): "We are members of a species of Gaia, the earth; and they expect us to go to Luna, etc.?! Do they think we're LUNatics?! I'm havin' a few shots right now. . . . (No, I didn't think this consciously. Mostly, I've just been in the habit of drinkin' with the other 'Top Guns' for years.)"

Ultimately, it's a sad, sad thing that behind GW Bush's lip-service policy regarding our eventual colonization of Mars lies many scientists' belief that our species' sole salvation is to become trans-planetary, because of either global warming, humankind's propensity for warfare, and/or that inevitable big rock from space that'll cause mass extinction. Part of me is as pro-futurist, Star-Trekky, and "let's go" as many of you. Another part of me feels that we're futilely trying to flee from a Mother who's weened us for eons: would we even still be "human" then? (Oh, that's called evolution. I see. I'm such a Geico caveman.)

* My Bourgeois Palate

I grew up in north Rapid City, SoDak (informally, the largest Rez in the state, I swear) eating potted meat sandwiches and mayonnaise sandwiches and government commodity canned & boxed goods—including commodity powdered milk: could you EVER get the lumps out, however much you stirred?! And what WAS bulgar, anyway? And why did canned commodity beef always smell like dog food? I remember getting food poisoning at Garfield Elementary: the school nurse drove me home first, to drink some milk, but when I told her sheepishly, as we stopped at my mailbox, that I'd have to mix it up first, she drove me straight to Sioux San (the Indian hospital).

Well, my tastes have remained pretty simple through the years, still including an occasional Totino's "dollar" pizza—the staple of my college years. But the English Department has introduced me to (Asian) Indian food, and frankly, I'm a fanatic about it maintenant—thanks, in part, to my wife's further "enabling." I also have two home-eating "vices": brie (or camembert)—which I buy once every few months, to spread lasciviously on French bread—and NOW, olives stuffed w/ garlic! Yes, they're damned near $5 a jar, but OH, they're good. My excuse is that they're not quite as expensive—or "decadent," to use the wife's word—as many of the sweets that she covets. But then, I don't like sweets, anyway. (Did we ever get commodity "candy" as kids? Not that I remember.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

*Hell=The Root of the—Canal

I got a root canal this morning. No pain, no prob., in a physical sense, but the true hell of the thing was mental. I assume that the dental industry has done lots of consumer studies to get to this point, but the point sucks: I was forced to listen to "piped-in" 60's rock thru the whole thing. (No, it wasn't even a real radio station: this was "elevator" music, on a long loop, I'm sure, for the dentally challenged.)

I remember some episode from a 1970's horror series à la the Twilight Zone (Night Shadows?) in which some hippie-loadie dies in a car crash and gets sent to Hell—to a place he thinks is the waiting room thereto, with several elderly people listening to Lawrence-Welk-type music. He waits & waits . . . and finally realizes that he's waiting for nothing, no form to sign, no confrontation w/ Mr. D. This is his eternal (waiting-room-of-a) HELL.

Aside from the doo-wop-rock crap, there were a few tunes by the Stones & Beatles, etc., that I actually liked; or used to like: they were totally out of their rightful, their righteous, context. I was being drilled into; I was not in the mood for either musical pablum OR the Beatles singing about "Revolution." I wanted either silence, or—hell—give me Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King," over and over, and over and over. At least let the music be a constant fit metaphor for my current psychic condition. Don't jack me around with "pretend" bourgeois "ain't life great" ditties when surgery into the jawbone is involved. Geez, I just want the à propos!

* The Untranslatable (this really BYTES)

[I just got my first outside reader's feedback on my book manuscript, but (I couldn't open the attachment)—]
Question: If a Windoz document gets sent to a Mac computer, and it can't be opened, does it even "make a sound"? What is the sound of one OS "clapping"? Does being a (humble-Zen) disciple of the iMac, and of iTunes, and of the i-bloody-universe(-that-is-Maya) necessarily make you a fan of—uh—e. e. cummings?

<do loop eternalreturn.c>
<repeat loop>

* HTML Table insert-check

I don't agree with those who find white text on a black background—i.e., this blog template here—to be virtually unreadable. But it does get hard on the eyes sometimes, so I'm trying something different as a change of pace.

* Happy Thoughts IV

Quot. of the Day:

The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

* RADIO RANT: Fox News Talk encore

The Fox News Talk fluff radio interlude once again strikes fear & angst in those who are against "all that doesn't suck." This one, which I've heard several times in the last week or so, has the grammatically vacuous opener, "Next to Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett is a true TV legend." (Huh??)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

* RADIO RANT: Savage Pronouncements

Lat night (7/23/07), Michael Savage was showing off his culture again, calling the CNN/YouTube questioners "illiterate morons," while intermittently playing Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia" and cooing about "great art." "Great" and "art" are both problematic terms, but never mind that: I'd just like to tell Dr. Savage that most of those YouTube folks probably know how to pronounce Dizzy's last name correctly, in contrast to our "great art" connoisseur: the first syllable is gill, not jill.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


As an advocate of the developmentally disabled, I despise those comedians who must say "RETARDED" over and over, as part of their limited & relatively talentless shtick: e.g., Carlos Mencia. (And hey, Carlos, no Indian with any self-respect would mock his own race like you mock yours.) I've also noticed, in this decade, that the use of the word "retarded" among the general public—and above all, MY STUDENTS—has become even more blatant. I always stop them in class when they use the word: "you mean 'developmentally disabled?'" Obviously, they're trying to redefine a term in a way that I both resent and deny. Ditto "gay," as my students say: "that's so gay." I ask them: "you mean homosexual, and in an obvious negative connotation?" Nope, they have no clue thereof—things are just "gay"—I guess because, like Paris Hilton, they haven't got outside their six-friend, six-video-game, 600-pop-song, 6,000-word-vocabulary "retarded" lives. Excuse me for my language.

* Dennis Miller

Is it just me, or has Dennis Miller become incredibly less funny once he became overtly (& conservatively) political in his humor? And I don't think it's just my liberal bias, either: the labored jokes just seem more strained, more petty, more "trying too hard."

* YouTube Debate: The Unasked Questions

I believe that tomorrow night is the CNN "YouTube" Democratic debate, for which "home youtubers" can send in their video questions for the candidates. Questions you WON'T hear in the debate:

1) What should the government be doing about Silicon Lizard? ["Silicon Lizard" = the title of an old surrealist poem of mine]

2) Please raise your hand if you think all this talk about religion in the primary debates has been a bunch of disingenuous, pandering, hypocritical bullshit. [Assuming no hands are raised, a follow-up question (the one that Larry King asked Paris Hilton!):] What is your favorite passage from the Bible? [Then:] How many minority groups does this passage alienate & ostracize?

3) Would you consider a gay Native American paraplegic as a running mate?

4) Please raise your hand if you really consider George W. Bush to be an illiterate nincumpoop who will certainly be remembered as the worst president in history by far.

5) Tell us what you think—or know—that the candidate to the right of you likes to do in bed, as his/her most lascivious & taboo turn-on. (The candidate on their far right can speculate instead on whether metaphysics is the finding of bad reasons for what we believe on instinct.)

6) When did you last beat your significant other?

7) If elected, do you promise never to serve, and to leave the country & never come back? [a paraphrase from somebody else's poem, by I forget who]

8) If you idiot Democrats couldn't even beat George W. Bush in two straight elections, what are you wasting our time for, again? (Shouldn't we select a candidate, at least, whose first name is CHAD?)

9) Given you liberals' great concern for global warming, will you promise to campaign around the country without the use of fossil-fuel transportation? (Hey, it'll work those hips & bellies off o' some of yu'.)

10) Will you PLEASE promise never to end a speech with anything close to "God bless America"? If not, could you define both "God" and "America" in your campaign materials? If no to both, could you please read Dante's Inferno and accustom yourself to the most nether circle of Hades, because that's where I'm telling you to go?

* Happy Thoughts III

Quot. of the Day:

Metaphysics is the finding of bad reasons for what we believe on instinct . . . .
    --F. H. Bradley

* Bar Band Blues I

Me playing in a Yankton (SoDak) bar a few years ago:

* Happy Thoughts II

Quot. of the Day:

Everything that a man does in service of the state he does against his own nature.

* A Philosophy of Blogging

Quot. of the Day:

The NEWSPAPER is the second-hand in the clock of history; and it is not only made of baser metal than those that point to the minute and the hour, but it seldom goes right.
The BLOG, then, is the millisecond "hand" (or LED)?—and almost never goes right. But therein lies both its charm and power.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

* Complete Filler!

This blog entry is COMPLETE FILLER. You see, I'm disappointed that I don't have as many blog entries this month ("as per usual"), and I need more. So here's _one_. . . . You see, I spent much of the first half of this month among people, and family (those bastards): "not that there's anything wrong with that." And I spent a good deal of the rest of it OUTSIDE, driving backroads around Lincoln, and neighboring counties, and even up to South Dakota by-ways, watching, uh, BIRDS: "not that there's anything wrong with that." (And rendered my relatively new car a veritable rattle-trap-clap of a vehicle: but it was worth it.)

But I'm back, in earnest, to the Macintosh and to the digital world. I just revised and submitted an article on the Passenger Pigeon to a journal (yeah, one of those lame, uh, print, things, but younevermind); I'm getting ideas about doing something actually funny with the John&Martha cartoon series; and I'm back to converting the rest of my Classic/OS9 documents to OSX versions (mostly WordPerfect and HyperCard; the bane of my existence right now).

You see, I have fruitfully once again forgotten any human contacts. Yes, my daughter in Colorado just had some traumatic dental work—I sent her flowers. Yes, my wife is at wit's end regarding her job, her son, and her raison d'être—I told her that I'd take her to a nice Indian restaurant the next time she limped her sad—auto into town.

So you NETmeisters who thought I'd abandoned our posthuman project—never you mind! I'm back!

* Thinking Happy Thoughts

Quot. of the Day:

Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness and dies by chance.
    --Jean-Paul Sartre

Friday, July 20, 2007

* Eco-Indian vs. Eco-Anglo

In The Journey, a museum in Rapid City, SD, humankind's concern for the environment is emblematized in a two-part exhibit, with a definite value-judgment timeline implied. On the left side of the presentation [photo above] is an archetypal Indian, as it were, living as one with the land–although, frankly, he looks rather stunned just to be alive. In the 2nd photo (the Native guy can still be seen, now on the far left), the Euro-American–or, the "new & improved man"!?–has a similarly healthy concern for the environment; moreover, with the aid of charts and graphs and Darwinian science, this dapper fellow must be considered even more eco-conscious: indeed, he is a fine tribute to human evolution, to the advance of civilization itself.  [Oh, my daughter tells me that the person on the right is a woman! Still hard to tell, even from the larger version of this photo, but now I guess she's right.]

* RADIO RANT: ProNOUNciation

As someone who grew up a poor breed introvert in the "sticks," I spent a lot of time reading the classics on my own—but never hearing anyone pronounce the names of the people I was reading. So through junior high and high school, I thought "Yeats" rhymed with "Keats," and I pronounced the German author of Faust as "GOHTH"—and never lived it down, in my own mind. So I'm particularly sensitive about pronunciation. The following, then, are really complaints about mes semblables et mes frères, to paraphrase Baudelaire:

1) Rush Limbaugh, for instance, had a running commercial blurb a few weeks ago in which he mocked those (of us) who have mocked his grandiloquence. But he pronounced the word "grandELoquent." There's irony for thee, good apothecary.

2) But Michael Savage is (again) my main target of complaint. Since his doctorate is in nutritional science (or nutritional ethnomedicine—there seems some controversy here), you'd think he'd know that the h in "herbal" is silent, but he continually aspirates it when he speaks of formerly being in the "herbal business." This may be some inside joke with himself and long-time listeners; if so, I don't get it. (Like Rush, he also seems to think that emphasizing one syllable of a word overly long is either very funny or otherwise incredibly rhetorically effective. Again, I don't get it.) . . . Also, instead of pronouncing homocide as "HAWMuhside," like most of us, he insists on saying "HOMOside." But this may again be an attempt at humor & political-moral commentary: "Look! I can attack gays even when I'm talking about something else completely!" . . . However, I'm certain that he doesn't know how to pronounce monolingual and proselytize; the first syllables, respectively, are not "MOH" and "PROH." . . . Finally (and this is grammar, not pronunciation), Savage has half-remembered some apocryphal Voltaire this last week or two, having at several points said to us liberals that he "will fight to the death your right to"—well, be stupidly, wackily liberal and wrong. But the original is "defend to the death," of course; Savage's version is syntactic gibberish. (Or the OPPOSITE of what he means: "fight your right"?!)

3) Finally, it's no great shock that the French language has never had a chance in the good ol' USA. Close to home—in South Dakota—French-Indian names that end in -eaux often end up being pronounced as "-ooh" (e.g., Roubideaux; Flandreaux). A vowel shift of sorts, really. But my big gripe in this category involves media pronunciations of Moulin Rouge, especially in the song "Lady Marmalade" from the recent movie about said French placename. Why someone has insisted that they sing "moohLAW(n)" is beyond me, especially since there are also many mainstream media examples of its correct pronunciation. (This includes the actors in the movie itself, one web site claims, although I don't remember myself if this is true. It's another of those movies that my wife made me watch. While that damned bird of hers bit the hell out of me!)

* RADIO RANT: OverOverstatingstating the Obvious

The quandary of 24-hour cable sports news and of sports-radio-talkshow news &—especially—play-by-play commentary: why must these guys & gals forever be spouting the hackneyed & obvious? (Examples among myriads: the number of home runs Babe Ruth hit, either in his career or his best season; what the offsides rule in hockey [or soccer] is; the last year the Cubs won the World Series; how many feet a receiver needs in-bounds for a legal catch in college football; which NBA center "always" outplayed Wilt Chamberlain, even though Wilt scored 100 points in a single game; when a baserunner shouldn't risk making an out at third base; what a Maryland "Terrapin" is; what a rotten bastard Ty Cobb was, personally; why/how the NFL has surpassed baseball as our national pastime; etc., etc.) The most blatant criminals in this regard include Brent Musburger, Tim McCarver, Joe Morgan, and John Madden, and most of the ESPN and FOX Sports newswriters. We (sports fans) KNOW all this! Those who don't know such stuff aren't even watching/listening, because they obviously care little or nothing about sports in the first place. In sum, you're wasting all of our time in aiming this so-called enlightening info at an audience that doesn't exist. . . .

Thursday, July 19, 2007

* John & Martha VI

À propos the Michael Vick dog-betting fiasco:

* RADIO RANT: Dog Eat Dog; Rich Wear Fur

The outrage by the talking heads on sports talk radio and cable news regarding the Michael Vick dog-fighting scandal was understandably vehement—but so self-righteous. That is, all these people can be "right," but for the wrong reasons. "How inhumane! I'm a dog lover! All Americans love dogs!" But when the occasional "nut" called in suggesting that shooting deer and pheasants is no less barbaric, such discourse was dismissed as beyond the pale. Worst has been the pompous&supercilious attitude of ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd, whose elitist/urbanite biases distinguished themselves: pit-bull fighting is a despicable sport practiced especially by the poor, the rural, and the Southern (and the—shshshsh—black). You're so right, Colin. You city folk are immune to such first-hand visceral cruelty, with enough money to distance yourself from the inhumane (such an ironic term) factory farming that provides you with your veal parmesan and chicken Kiev, while your pasty-skinned lazy Euro-jet-trash-of-a-wife can't decide whether to wear a dead fox or mink, to cover her pastiness.

All this outrage is also completely anthropocentric: that is, it's all about us humans—including "man's best friend." There would certainly have been less outrage if Vick had been involved in cockfighting. Or how about terrapin matches? (Yeh, probably very lengthy affairs.) Or cricket bouts, to the death?! My point is that, if humankind has an innate biophilia (love of all life), it's still quite mammalo-centric: we love the animals that remind us most of us, that have fur, and cuddly babies . . . and maybe milk that we can feed to our own babies. And so, following my niece & nephew around the zoo gift shop last week, I wasn't surprised to see that nearly all of the stuffed animals were mammals. The few birds seemed unnatural and stiff and "distant"; the reptiles and insects were intentionally rubbery and "alien."

In fact, though my book-in-manuscript spends pages on end explaining the poets' age-old obsession with birds, I'm still rather surprised when people actually grow attached to them as pets. (I refuse to do so, being against caged birds in general.) But my wife, for one, treats her budgie as her best friend, though it shits on her shoulder all the time and bites the hell out of me when I show up. (Well, at least we and birds are both vertebrates: so, yeh, birds still kick ass on locusts as pets.) But I wonder if the average human mourns as much when his/her lovebird flies out the window in the middle of winter and never returns, compared to when old Fido gets run over by the neighbor's car. Birds, I guess, are somewhere between our mammal-compatriot dogs and cats—and that goldfish whose tombstone is the toilet-bowl lid. ("Mom! Where's Jimmy? He's not in his bowl!")

I've wandered far from Michael Vick to illustrate how problematic "animal rights" is. I don't even like that term ("rights" is a human legal construct, after all), preferring Lawrence Buell's phrase, "nonanthropocentric ethics." But that won't fit into a talking point or on a bumper sticker.

[Added same night:] Wow: it's pretty fascinating to learn, then, that Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank's reaction to his quarterback's legal problems has been belated because the fellow has been on vacation. In Africa. On safari.

* RADIO RANT: Blue Earth Inter-Tribal

"Blue Earth Inter-Tribal is the lodge for the 21st century[!!] Native American Traditionalist[!!]." (21st-century . . . traditionalist?!—I want my "New Age" and my "Old-Time" religion, too.) Yeh, and now they're advertising on network radio big-time. These people are f#$%s; er, fakes. There is no such thing as "Indian spirituality" that is not tribal-specific. (And what's up with their "Indian-feather" logo—is that a Star of David inside the circle?!) And as I've said already on my "Indian Pop Culture" pages, if they're chargin' yu' money, they ain't "authentic." This is just so much reprehensible bullshit, and an attempt, furthermore, to take advantage of a mainstream white culture that has found its own religion to be insufficient, wanting, no longer nurturing. (Hey, if that's your case, the SUN DANCE won't help yu'. [Hey-yeh-yeh-yelo.])

* Bury My Heart & Dances w/ Wolves

But at last, the movie is about Eastman's own tortured culturally hybrid soul.
My brother just sent me a homemade VHS recording of the recent HBO movie, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. (Our cousin actually got invited to the premiere a month or two ago, in Rapid City, SoDak, as an employee of United Sioux Tribes.) Well—I hated it immediately, with the opening gross historical inaccuracy of Ohiyesa/Charles Eastman being present as a boy at the Little Big Horn. He wasn't there. He wasn't even Lakota, but Dakota, for starters, an embarrassing fact that was glossed over by the (also historically bogus) use of "Sioux"—even by the "Sioux"—in much of the movie's dialogue. (In sum, Eastman was even more the "outsider" at Pine Ridge/Wounded Knee, for reasons beyond his Eastern education and assimilation.) Also, Eastman was much less questioning of the benevolence of white culture & colonization than the movie presents—especially before the Wounded Knee Massacre, anyway, at which point his memoirs reveal a new looking askance at the wonders of the colonizing project. But the title of his eventual book, From the Deep Woods to Civilization, implies no conscious irony, and he remained an assimilated Christian who never renounced his brainwashing that Western Civilization was positive human evolution at work.

I was also put off by the initial characterization of Sitting Bull as an egoist engaging in petty cruelty. Where is Tatanka Iotanka as wicasa wakan, as singer & seer? (That is, Sitting Bull was above all a "medicine man" who wrote a song to a meadowlark, not a political/hereditary chief per se.) The justification for this seems to be some formulaic plot/character transformation: "middle-aged grump/crank/egoist loses hubris and becomes old, venerable sage." (I myself am waiting for this to happen. To me.) . . . Other problems: Standing Rock (Sitting Bull's rez, in south-central North Dakota) and Pine Ridge (southwestern South Dakota) are sure a lot closer in the movie, "geographically"!?—for plot "integrity," obviously, especially in the conflation of Sitting Bull's murder and the Wounded Knee Massacre itself. And the cinematographic dramatization of this latter, the movie's apparent climax, pales in comparison to, say, Black Elk's or even Eastman's own written memories thereof. But at last, the movie is about Eastman's own tortured culturally hybrid soul. (Note the movie's final crucial image, a "union" of the crucifix and the feather. And this is also a typically Western-Civ. emphasis on the individual ego and all that "suffering hero's journey" stuff, I might add.) . . . A final minor reason for disliking the movie is Adam Beach's acting: sure he's the hunk-Native actor of our day, but I can't watch him in anything now without seeing his shit-eating grin in Smoke Signals in my mind's eye. But this is probably my problem.

However, there are several moving moments in the film, which, as with Dances with Wolves, prevent one from despising it completely. Like the finale of Dances, the words of Sitting Bull and Red Cloud at the "Council"—however historically inaccurate—make the Indian in me want to cheer and cry at the same time. . . . I recall a graduate lit. theory class in which a voluble&vociferous South American "radical" brought up Dances with Wolves, in the context of race and poco theory. She stated categorically that no "Indian" could/would tolerate the movie, given its various misrepresentations of Native culture (not that I'm sure that she could have pointed them out). I sat there—agawk, silent as Kaw-liga (the stereotype is true!?). I wanted to say—and curse myself to this day that I didn't say—"Well, I can name two 'Indians' who loved the movie: my MOM, and my BROTHER (whom they call 'Chief' at his job, to this day). And they both live in that local country where the movie was shot. And they both go up to Sioux San—in Rapid, en'it—for their meds. And your intellectual ass wants to deny them the right to enjoy one of the few semi-positive portrayals of the Lakota in the mainstream media, in their lifetimes?" But I didn't say a word, aware deep in my soul that, someday, the . . . blog would be invented.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

* Peahen Politics

* Portrait of the Artist as a Pissed Bird

This Cattle Egret was a highlight at the Folsom Children's Zoo—a person upon whom I could project my own misanthropic mood. . . . Through the series of four picts, he/she seems to get more and more indignant, to the point of a slow burn:

* Humane Slaughter Wins!

I'm not even awake yet, really, but I just heard on the radio that those bastards at PETA have once again maligned our good people at Omaha Beef (or someplace like that, business-wise): those godless radicals are wrong again! Our good local meat people have been judged by the authorities to have "done nothing wrong against the 'Inhumane Slaughter Act'"! (God, I never knew there WAS such a law. . . . and thank the Good Lord once again for all acts of HUMANE slaughter, wherever they occur. . . .)

But then, I do have a problem w/ PETA, as I do w/ most so-called "animal rights" groups: they are often so damned "mammalo-centric" (to quote a term coined in my book manuscript), and/or so infatuated w/ the "big" animals of either size or number that I gladly prefer the even greater (and truer) radicalism of Deep Ecology. . . .

[P.S., later this morning: I'm not even sure that there is such a thing as the "Inhumane Slaughter Act" now; I may well have been (partly?) dreaming? This quit-smoking nicotine stuff says that it may cause "vivid dreams"—in which case, one should stop using it immediately and consult a physician. Huh?? What civilization/culture before/besides ours has been so dead-set against "vivid dreams"?!

But a web search for the "Inhumane Slaughter Act"(!) confirms the fact: I manufactured an entire blog entry—complete with initial satire and and subsequent arguments of some vehemence—around a nicotine hallucination, apparently, around two or three heard or misheard words on the morning radio news as I was just waking up. But it all seemed so real!

And of course and finally—those on the right could well claim that I've only been tilting at windmills all along, and chasing chimeras from day one; but then they must have missed the poetic truth of everything written above. And below.]

* EGRETude #1 (Bad Vibes at the FCZoo)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

* A New ZOO Review

With my brother & family's advent to Lincoln this last week, I got to re-appreciate Lincoln's Folsom Children's Zoo and to see (hurriedly) Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo for the first time. If "NATURE" = a FOX enterprise ("When Animals Attack"), the ZOO, to coin another phrase, is "Where Animals . . . Lie Around & Look Miserable." Of course, this is a vast over-generalization, the eco-issues involved are inordinately complex, and more specific "photo-journalist reports" will be forthcoming. But one pict for now (for fans of Rilke's Der Panther sonnet):

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

* It HAD to Be You

Sometimes I figure out/arrange an old jazz or Tin Pan Alley tune, the lyrics of which just happen to be nowhere near reflecting my current emotional state—or even my general psychic orientation. It was no pleasure, indeed, having the lyrics of the following running through my head (or my own parody thereof) as I decided on particular chord voicings:

--Isham Jones, 1924
--4/4 // key of GM // ad-lib/rubato jazz feel (ergo rhythms approx./suggestions)
--"solo" fingerstyle acoustic arrangement: tcg, 7/07
#==== : hold note (incl. thru subsequent note[s])

D+ GM7
------------------pickup notes::::---------------------------------2=====|
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
GM7 D+ GM7 E7
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

E7 Eo7 E7 A9
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

A7b9 A7 D13
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

D13 D#o7 Em
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

Em Em(M7) Em7 A7
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

A7 D9
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

D9 D#9 D9 D+ GM7
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

GM7 D+ GM7 E7
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

E7 Eo7 E7 A9
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

A7b9 A7 CM7
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

CM7 Cm6 GM7
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

GM7 B7 B+ B7 Em7 D7
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

D7 ritard. D13
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 4

GM6 D7 G5
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

Sunday, July 1, 2007

* Mac Geekdom: Backing Up Yr Blog

I swear that I spend half my life backing up my "shtuff" from one drive to another. So I was initially nervous about relying on a 3rd-party server to hold all my blog entries. Solution—to my own paranoia, anyway—and for those of you on a Mac w/ Safari: go into Dashboard and choose "display all posts" as a preference. Then in Safari: File: Save as ... Web Archive. It's a good-sized file, but all yr "shtuff" is saved to yr hard drive. (Now change yr prefs back to the 10 or 15 entries-to-be-displayed that you'd previously selected.)

* John & Martha V

My wife just told me over the phone that my natural disposition is "mean and hurtful." I think it "merely" stems from being an oldest child, with an instinct to kick the younger siblings out of the nest? And yes, there's a definite attraction/similarity to Michael Savage here: as much as I detest his politics/worldview in toto, I no doubt still relish his "mean & hurtful" tone?!

A Word from One of My Sponsors (not "AdSense"; rather "MadSense" or "RadSense"):