June 2006

Movie TV DVD Review30 Jun 2006 09:29 am

The War Tapes: Size Does Matter
See The War Tapes Trailer

Thanks to high quality low cost digital video cameras, documentaries can be shot by many people in many locations, such as Iraq war footage recorded by soldiers. This is media made by soldiers, not the media. No media bias. Reality, believe it or not.

The War Tapes. Read review by The Daily Kos. Read background story by S.F. Chronicle and the S.F. Chronicle movie review.

Internet28 Jun 2006 05:04 pm

Tales of Iraq War comic strip

Don’t blame the American media for all the bad press about Iraq. Apparently the word is leaking out, even as far as down in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Latuff is a Brazilian artist who chronicles the horrors of the war in Iraq in his well crafted comic book style blog. These are even more realistic and depressing than the real life comic tales of American Splendor Harvey Pekar who is alive and well in Cleveland and blogging no less.

Humor&Media27 Jun 2006 08:10 pm

Sunbathers at oooooouch.com

While the government is busy stripping you of your Constitutional rights, wildly spending your money in Iraq, and monitoring your private banking, telephone and internet activity, you may as well be a good American and distract yourself. If you complain, you’re just the enemy. Run along and play, Dorothy. Don’t pay attention to that man behind the curtain.
Silly things done in Flash:

  • oooooouch.com: Here’s a virtual xylophone of sunbathing girls moaning out your own tune or a jukebox of tunes, such as Beethoven’s Ode To Joy.
  • Treasure Box: a strange little puzzle with Rube Goldberg interactivity.
  • Online Doodling

Funny Amusing Videos:

Art and Photography:

  • Cool Text: create a logo online in a variety of graphics styles
  • Mikons: create little black and white icons and share them.
  • Elvis Visits Nixon: In case you feel that you are escaping too far from whatever reality may be, check out the National Security Archive and their collection on Nixon-Presley meeting documents. It is enough to convince you that Presidents do not live in reality either.Nixon-Presley Meeting
Music25 Jun 2006 12:19 am

Via and Zappa
photo by mudshark.

Saw the ZPZ show tonight at the (Civil) Warfield Theatre in San Francisco. There were so many battered, long haired old timers creaking up the balcony steps with the aid of canes and crutches, it looked like a Civil War Veterans gathering. The Warfield’s lobby contains a large enshrined photo portrait of Jerry Garcia, so you can well imagine the creaky soul survivors who have fired up many a fat joint in this old time theatre.

It was the last show of a lengthy tour and Dweezil deserves a lot credit for pulling this together from the extensive Frank Zappa discography. Opening with Montana video footage from Frank Zappa’s great Roxy club performance, the entire night had an eerie emotional vibe, a battle between the energies of the living and the memories of the dead. It truly must have been traumatic for Dweezil and the Zappa family to witness free spirited Frank being prematurely aged and taken away by cancer. In a touching moment at the close, Dweezil brought his mom, Gail, out onto the stage and thanked her for helping put the tour together. They plan to rest up and return to touring again in October, including a Halloween New York City show.

Dweezil’s playing is quite good and faithful to his father’s music, and he’s found some fine new band members in addition to the veterans, to spice up the mix. They play over three hours of strenous music, which took it’s toll on Terry Bozio’s bicep a few days ago in Las Vegas. Still Terry appeared on stage and livened things up with his hilarious singing poses and gyrations on I’m So Cute and two other Punk Angst theme songs.

Napoleon Murphy Brock’s voice is in great shape, and his added choreographic antics were true to the roots of Frank Zappa’s humor in music tradition. His theatrical voice provides authenticity to the songs, such as The Idiot Bastard Son, Cheepnis and Oh No since they sound pretty much the way he performed them while touring with the FZ band in the 70’s and 80’s.

Steve Vai is an excellent technician and carved strong, sweet notes on Peaches En Regalia, stunt sounds on Zombie Woof, and great power on Sofa. His stage presence is different from when I saw him play with Frank Zappa’s band. He’s now a virtuoso star, with a theatrical presence not unlike a David Copperfield stage magician. I’m not up on Steve’s solo work and would like to hear more of what Steve does on a sweeter melodic side, rather than losing the melody of a song such as More Trouble Everyday in a high pitched guitar screamfest with Dweezil. I would love to hear his rock guitar treatment of compositions by John Dowland, Beethoven and Copland.

There are ZPZ tour blog stories, tons of great photos and a few videos at the Zappa Plays Zappa web site. Music is the best.

Final Bow

Zappa Plays Zappa photo by Karen Hendrix.
Book Review22 Jun 2006 07:57 am

Bar Scotch, Front CoverBar Scotch poems by Everette Maddox was published in 1988 by Pirogue Publishing, one year before his alcohol related death in 1989.
Photo: Nick Slie and Bruce France

Theatrical group Mondo Bizarro is staging performances based on the poetry of Maddox, called Catching Him in Pieces. He lived the self destructive life of downbeat decay and doom of New Orleans.

“An Alabamian, he loved his adopted city of New Orleans because of its faults, not despite them, just as he demanded that people accept him as he was, and not as they wanted him to be. “The dream of New Orleans seems to be receding,” he wrote, “it seems increasingly unreal. Or am I the one who’s unreal?”

“We’re a city on stilts — what’s holding it up?” One might ask the same of Maddox, who rejected responsibility and respectability and yet dressed like a Southern gentleman, drank like a fish, disdained change, sympathized “with Huck Finn’s taste for the mixed-up” and gloried in “cruising down the river on a Sunday afternoon.” Preferably with a good book. All he asked for was “a front row seat to watch the Titanic go down.”

From David Cuthbert’s recent New Orleans Times-Picayune article.

On a related poetic note, I have digitized a set of photographs taken of Allen Ginsberg when I met him in October 1982 in Madison, Wisconsin. They will be released on this site in the near future.

Allen Ginsberg, October 1982

Internet&Movie TV DVD Review14 Jun 2006 07:12 am

On November 8, 2004 Fallujah, there was an attack on the city of Fallujah, Iraq which has been documented and available on DVD (see below). The video and subject matter is a disturbing history lesson.

There has been considerable blog buzz that current military operations in the Iraq city of Ramadi is a redux of the destruction and collateral damage done in Fallujah.

Additional video from Iraq can be seen at Alive In Baghdad.

Falluja DVD on sale to aid Iraqi civilians in need because of the Iraq War. Mark Manning is an independent journalist filming in Fallujah, Irak during the war.

P.S. Related video clip distributed on Google Video:

The Hidden Massacre of Fallujah

Description: This is the terrible testimony given by Jeff Englehart, veteran of the war in Iraq. “I have seen women and children burnt bodies – the former U.S. soldier added – phosphorus explodes and it creates a cloud. Whoever is within 150 mt is dead.” Some witnesses have seen a rainfall of burning substances of different colors that were burning people when hit and even those who were not hit had problems breathing”, told us Mohamad Tareq al-Deraji, director of the center for human rights studies in Fallujah.

More videos, go to video.google.com

Spiritual08 Jun 2006 08:59 pm

Playa Grande

What is Utopia? Is a perfect place possible in this imperfect world? If we had an island paradise, could we all get along and make it work out in a utopian way?

I live in a nice place high up in the Northern California hills. It could be Utopia, except for local motorcyclists who love to rev it up, throttling and growling their motors, sputtering mindless enhanced exhaust for miles around. Perhaps for them it is Utopia, but for me, engine noise is a brutal spell breaker. And I don’t get to play golf as often as I’d like. The ocean water is too cold for swimming, there’s too much traffic and the cost of living is too high. These things get in the way of my Utopia!

Alternative lifestyle communities need rules and leadership. They are often condemned with cynicism and sarcasm by jealous, weary victims of suburban commuting. Yes, there are the legacies of The Jonestown Massacre, The Branch Davidians, and many more groups who have tried to create happy places of their own. Brokeback Mountain‘s major theme was whether or not to break away from everyday society and attempt to shape a personal utopian life. After all, the American Declaration of Independence places life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as unalienable rights endowed by our Creator. Not trivial stuff!

I recently stumbled across a New Yorker article published a few months ago about Boykin Curry and friends founding Playa Grande, a Utopian community in the Domican Republic. Call me shallow, but I think it is a grand idea and I’m ready to pack my bags. I just hope Boykin is not a Harley freak.

Spiritual06 Jun 2006 09:36 am

What is the fuss about 666? It is a reference taken from the last chapter of the New Testament of the Bible, The Book of Revelation. This book is thought to have been written almost 100 years after the death of Jesus of Nazareth by a Christian from Ephesus known as “John the Elder.” The exact line referring to “666” is Revelation, Chapter 13, Verse 18,

“Wisdom is needed here; one who understands can calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number that stands for a person. His number is six hundred and sixty-six.”

It appears that the author is referring to a person, perhaps in a political context. Scholars have theorized it he may be the Roman emporer Caesar Nero. Beyond that, the Book of Revelation in my humble opinion is a strange and unimportant appendage to the Bible that has given rise to many imaginative interpretations and cults that are far removed from the core teachings of Christianity.