27 February 2008

22 February 2008

Super tardy animals

All I know's they're Welsh and not John Cale. Half-past two on Saturday afternoon, two members of Super Furry Animals sneak in the back of Stop Smiling magazine's Milwaukee Avenue HQ for a small secret show on a rare bright sunny afternoon. The Rolling Stones, they did it once at Double Door, and that's a legend; this is more like what guitarist Gruff Rhys calls "bitin' into my breakfast buffet." The thin white light of day glances around the storefront and 70 or so invitees' faces. "Sorry for keepin' ya, we'll be just two minutes, yeh? I'm in the process of tunin' me guitar, which just came from where we were last night. Minneapolis, where's it's bloody cold." He twangs, other guy asks, "How many soundmen does it take to screw in a light bulb? Two. One… Two." "We're just wakin' up, maybe soon we'll be bouncing off the wall." They're "militant" about not playing anything from their Metro set-list—"Maybe we'll just leave," Rhys deadpans. It's mellow, but for the man in orange Gore-Tex shouting love for "Ohio Heat!" It's charming, except when the view's blocked by iPhones held high for photos. (The ratio of people to viewfinders runs about 2-to-1.) The attenuated ugggg of number 56 buses in weekend traffic rises above the shambling bemusement, with the dazed affability of a hung-over soundcheck It's "kind of on the brink of pastiche… as we continue our hour of downer songs. Tonight we won't be talking so much."
[Originally appeared in Newcity in a slightly different form, 21 February 2008.]

18 February 2008

Song lyric for weird cold Monday afternoon

"Let's talk about spaceships, or anything except you and me, okay? Let's talk about spaceships or anything except you and me, okay? Okay."
"Let's Talk About Spaceships," by Say Hi To Your Mom, From "Numbers and Mumbles."

17 February 2008

16 February 2008

John McCain: f'ing diplomat

From the New York Times: "Is McCain's Sharp Tongue Achilles Heel?" ''Fuck you!' he shouted at Texas Sen. John Cornyn last year. ''Only an asshole would put together a budget like this,'' he told the former Budget Committee chairman, Sen. Pete Domenici, in 1999. ''I'm calling you a fucking jerk!'' he once retorted to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley. With Cornyn, he smoothed things over quickly. The two argued during a meeting on immigration legislation; Cornyn complained that McCain seemed to parachute in during the final stages of negotiations. ''Fuck you. I know more about this than anyone else in the room,'' McCain reportedly shouted.... McCain has even blown up at volunteers and, on occasion, the average Joe... ''Thanks for the question, you little jerk,'' he said last year to a New Hampshire high school student wondering if McCain, at 71, was too old to be president. Other times, his ire is all too real. This has prompted questions about whether his temperament is suited to the office of commander-in-chief or whether it might handicap him in a presidential campaign against either Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton, who are not known for such outbursts. ''I decided I didn't want this guy anywhere near a trigger,'' Domenici told Newsweek in 2000."

13 February 2008

"On my way to Parsi Baug from Charni Road station, I offered her a lift"

From Hindustan Times, "1947: A love story that doesn’t have an ending," by Purva Mehra. "From the catalogue of his misty memory, Jimmy Ghotla can clearly pick out the rains of 1947. That was when he met his Polish ladylove, Wanda Orzechowska. That is also the year he last met her. “She was waiting for a bus in the rain without an umbrella. On my way to Parsi Baug from Charni Road station, I offered her a lift. She was a visiting nurse at the Polish hospital near the Baug,” recalls the 84-year-old. Indebted to the 23-year-old for his kindness, Orzechowska invited him for a cup of tea, and the conversation rolled on for the next six months. “I’d meet her at Eros for movies, for snacks at the Asiatic restaurant, or we’d take long strolls on Marine Drive. I would always take gifts for her. Chocolates, dress suits and costume jewellery,” says the accounts manager at a bakery in Gholvad, 130 km west of Mumbai. When she was leaving, Ghotla got on her ship stealthily, until the captain threatened to throw him in the locker. “We wept unendingly. We promised to stay in touch,” Ghotla recalls. Thus began the letters. Sixty-one years later, they still write to each other. "Back in Poland, she started writing asking when I'd visit her. Only my father knew about her then and didn't approve. He dissuaded me from taking the journey," he says. Even while Ghotla insisted that she should get married, Orzechowska waited 10 years for him. "She took ill before she married Robert. The doctor prescribed B-12 complex injections, which I shipped from here until she recovered." Reassured that Robert had no qualms about their correspondence, Ghotla continued to write to the now married Orzechowska. Robert joked with Ghotla saying that if he wanted Wanda back he would have to gift him a Mercedes. "Robert is open-minded. But it would be wrong for me to continue professing love for her," said Ghotla, admitting that she was the love of his life. Ghotla's most valuable possession is the bundle of 500 letters he has saved. "I haven't heard from her in three months, but will continue writing," he said."


10 February 2008

Guardian: "Bush orders clampdown on flights to US"

Originally uploaded by raypride
"Bush orders clampdown on flights to US; EU officials furious as Washington says it wants extra data on all air passengers." Writes Ian Traynor: "The US administration is pressing the 27 governments of the European Union to sign up for a range of new security measures for transatlantic travel, including allowing armed guards on all flights from Europe to America by US airlines. The demand to put armed air marshals on to the flights is part of a travel clampdown by the Bush administration that officials in Brussels described as "blackmail" and "troublesome", and could see US visas being introduced for west Europeans and Britons travelling to the US if their governments balk at the American requirements... EU states would also need to supply personal data on all air passengers overflying but not landing in the US in order to gain or retain visa-free travel to America... [W]ithin months the US department of homeland security is to impose a new permit system for Europeans flying to the US, compelling all travellers to apply online for permission to enter the country before booking or buying a ticket, a procedure that will take several days... Washington is also asking European airlines to provide personal data on non-travellers - for example family members - who are allowed beyond departure barriers to help elderly, young or ill passengers to board aircraft flying to America, a demand the airlines reject as "absurd"... To European ears, the US demands sound draconian. "This would oblige the European countries to allow US air marshals on US flights. It's controversial and difficult," an EU official said. At the moment the use of air marshals is discretionary for European states and airlines... European governments, however, would probably veto such action, one official said, not least for fear of the "massive disruption given the huge volume of transatlantic traffic".


THE TUESDAY 10AM CIVIL DEFENSE SIREN ENDS. Along the sidewalk, a dragged snowshovel is nails to chalkboard. Time to vote. Twenty-four states have primaries right now, Super Tuesday's nationwide lotto pick, presidential pick-one. A California grownup Facebooks she "is bom chicka wa wa for obama." Another friend emails he's weary of dynasty, having lived his entire adult life under the rule of a Bush or Clinton. Early voting held the appeal of one more item checked off a list, but as a contentious friend snapped on Monday night with her cracker-barrel alacrity, "You could have thrown your vote away." Yes, but then there's the walk to the corner and back. On the wide Chicago street, buses number their route aloud. It smells like spring if spring were a huge dog. It's a marvel, the mass of fog produced at 42 degrees with inches of snow on the ground. Outside the Ukrainian church hall, there's one U. S. flag, two blue cones to keep the man with branded carnations and the other dozen signs fifty feet away in either direction, the striving likes of Collins-Bedi-Hendon-Mertens-Moreno-Delgado. A few older women stare at their ballots, seeing everything or seeing nothing. It all amounts to one ballot, in a state with a system that likely works. Outside, I put the ballot receipt—Form 10—in my pocket. I look up, take a photograph. Overhead, forty-seven pigeons swoop, bank, swoop again. I count them twice.

09 February 2008

Meanwhile, in Basra

"The images in the Basra police file are nauseating: Page after page of women killed in brutal fashion -- some strangled to death, their faces disfigured; others beheaded. All bear signs of torture. The women are killed, police say, because they failed to wear a headscarf or because they ignored other "rules" that secretive fundamentalist groups want to enforce. "Fear, fear is always there," says 30-year-old Safana, an artist and university professor. "We don't know who to be afraid of. Maybe it's a friend or a student you teach. There is no break, no security. I don't know who to be afraid of."


Thank you for smoking



William Klein

08 February 2008

07 February 2008


"You've got Maverick, all right? He's on the edge, man."

"You've got Maverick, all right? He's on the edge, man. He's right on the f--ing line, all right? And you've got Iceman, and all his crew. They're gay, they represent the gay man, all right? And they're saying, go, go the gay way, go the gay way. He could go both ways." [From Sleep With Me, original monologue by Roger Avary.]

06 February 2008

100 More Years In In Iraq!

Originally uploaded by bladerunner009
The elderly Republican candidate (seen with second wife, Cindy, born wealthy and the chair of one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in the land) offers his greatest wish for his legacy to the United States of America (alongside The Keating Five).

04 February 2008


Originally uploaded by raypride

03 February 2008