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Saturday, January 31
Share a little Tea(Bone) with Goldy
Every day at 5:00 you take a nice thick, juicy, raw steak out of the fridge in your lavish condo and set it on the floor in front of your best furry canine friend. Goldy (your retriever, named for that wonderful business where you work on Wall Street) hardly waits until you drop the huge morsel on the floor. Never mind the plate, he greedily wolfs it down no matter where you leave it.
And you can’t blame him. You’ve been feeding him this way for a long time now. He’s so used to it, it wouldn’t be fair to him to treat him any other way! Well, maybe not raw steak every day because every so often you have to substitute some chicken (cooked just the way he likes it) or even when those times rarely call for it, some ground round. Why, just a few years ago things looked like they might turn bad for you…and Goldy. But, thankfully, that never happened. Of course you apologize for the ground meat and lovingly grab him by the neck and tell him that when things get a little better, it’ll be that big steak again, every day!
He’s oblivious to your apologies and just wants to finish the current meal at hand. Standing up, you look lovingly at him for the wonderful companion he is, forgetting the times you have to take him for walks for exercise or let him outside to “do his business.” And you don’t even give a second thought to it when he happens to “dirty” someone else’s property so long as no one else notices it.
Then there are the trips to the vets to make sure he stays nice and healthy so you can continue to provide for him. (Who can forget that 5 day wonderful excursion you gave him at that swank Catskill resort with those others like him!) And wasn’t that huge fluffy bed you got him to sleep in just so cute, even though he only uses it occasionally, preferring to sleep on your new $2500 leather sofa. Those claw marks and scratches aren’t real nice looking but you just know he’s worth it, because he’s always there for you waiting for attention and treats and just looks so darn cute.
And you can’t wait to show him off in front of your friends. During those long walks when you run into a friend (who has the same situation with his best friend), you two naturally begin the rudimentary and obligatory , “Well, mine is really worth it because he’s provides protection for all my possessions” spiel. Your friend tells you that his best friend does the same better than yours. You disagree but, hey, it’s just between friends. And even if something unforeseen DOES happen while Goldy’s protecting you, hell, he can’t do everything, now, can he? At least he can keep it from happening again…probably!
Once you get back to your condo, you wonder whether your buddy was right. Should you call the vet and ask if you’d be better protected in the long run with a different “friend?” Nah! You’ll stick with your good ol’ Goldy. He saw you through some tough times and the expense he incurred only made his friendship that much more endearing. It may have been a sacrifice on your part, but you made sure that you got back everything you had to spend.
As he finishes the big steak you gave him, you just know there’s nothing he could do that could ever change your mind about wanting to take care of him.
But then comes that fateful day when your employer tells you that he has to cut back. Fortunately, you don’t lose your job, but your pay is scaled way back. Times are going to get tough. Looks like Goldy won’t be getting that big steak any more every day, just the ground round. But you’re sure he’ll understand.
No more steak. He won’t mind. So he turns his nose up at the few ounces of hamburger you offer. In no time, he’ll forget that steak. (At least he isn’t eating out of a bag…ugh!)
Soon though, he doesn’t even bother to eat that hamburger. He just sniffs it and goes back to sleep on your nearly ruined couch.
You don’t want to lose his protection so you try to think up ways to make him happy, so he’ll still continue to be the BFF you’ve ever had. But since times are tough for you, you need to come up with something so you can keep him in the style you really do want for him.
Pay checks are smaller and smaller and now those darn bills; why didn’t you ever notice them before? Now it’s getting bad. You don’t have enough to feed yourself let alone poor Goldy. What to do? A second job? But no one’s hiring. Unemployment? No. You still make too much, even though how anyone can live on your meager salary and still take care of Goldy is beyond you! Welfare? Well, maybe you can fool “those” people down at that office and they can supplement you just enough so Goldy can eat the way he used to. Nope! They won’t give you anything. Now what?
Goldy now won’t even eat the stuff you put down. You don’t understand. That dog down on the street is even eating from those trash cans!
Hey, that guy in the condo across the street is still working and still feeding his pet as well as he did before. And those others in that senior center just up the avenue, they somehow have managed to take care of their friends. You wonder if they’ll miss some of the things they have if you were to “just borrow” from them for a little while. You can let them invest in you by offering your services to them in the future. Sure! They won’t care. And you just promise yourself that when things get better, you’ll make it up to all those people you borrowed from. But just to be on the safe side, you can’t tell them it’s for keeping Goldy well taken care of. They might not understand since they don’t have anyone as swell to take care of.
Without a second concerned thought, you take what’s rightfully theirs so you can keep Goldy happy. Anything for Goldy. At first it’s enough but soon you realize that you’ll need more. Your old job is still a way in the future so you have no choice but to “borrow” more and more from “those” other people, and more often, too! You know they won’t mind. Hell, most of them don’t have Goldys to take care. Besides, “those” people seem to be doing just fine with their lives anyway, not that you really noticed. But you’re sure it’s ok. And after all, you WILL pay “those” people back. At least once you get back to the life you lived after things turn around for you (and after you make sure nothing will go wrong for you in the future). Yeah, they’ll understand. Some people, like yourself, need more things than “those” others and you ARE planning on repaying “those” people. Of course, you really borrowed such a small amount from “those” people, in total, that they may not even notice it. You did spread it around a lot. Just a little bit here and there from each of them and “those” people can go about their lives and never miss a couple of bucks. But you know you need more than they do and “those” people really can live the way they’ve always lived because they choose that life style. And Goldy really needs taken care of. After everything he’s done for you, even though occasionally, it seems difficult to remember how it was worth providing for him. But, it’s ok. He’ll always be there when you need him and even if you don’t pay EVERYTHING back to “those” people, it really isn’t that bad. They’ll get by.
Heck. “Those” people have lived like that so long they probably wouldn’t even notice if you didn’t pay them back at all! And if you can’t get to repaying “those” people for whatever reason, shucks, the government can help them. After all, it’s not like “those” people have a friend in need like Goldy!
It's Getting Rough Out There
Pretty terrible - don't you think? I sure as hell do. I mean – just look at the messages here – a shifty-eyed President Obama ushers a (white) woman in the latter stages of pregnancy in to see a mob-like executioner with blood on his clothes hulking next to a cash register. A nearby news stand proclaims Gitmo will be closed while the erstwhile ‘fetus’ asks "Couldn't you just waterboard me instead?"
Nice, huh? Believe me when I say this kind of thing will get worse as we go along. The right wing is only beginning its assault on America (and President Obama). For the next 8 years we will be inundated with bullshit like this. I don’t even know where to begin to register my discontent. Emailing that asshole McCoy (a former Playboy cartoonist, wouldn’t you just know it) might be a start: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, January 30
Republican Obstructionist Primer
It's nice to see the Iraqi's smiling again.
Saddam's hometown unveils statue dedicated to man who threw shoe at President Bush
"Many Iraqis considered it poetic justice when a journalist tossed his shoes at President George W. Bush last month.
Now the bizarre attack has spawned a real life work of art.
A sofa-sized statue of the shoe was unveiled Thursday in Tikrit, the hometown of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Baghdad-based artist Laith al-Amari described the fiberglass-and-copper work as a tribute to the pride of the Iraqi people.
The statue is inscribed with a poem honoring Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi journalist who stunned the world when he whipped off his loafers and hurled them at Bush during a press conference on Dec. 14.continued
Obligatory Friday Sex Post
Frequent Sex And Masturbation In 20s And 30s Linked To Higher Prostate Cancer, But Risks Diminish With AgeBut to the right of the story is this story
ScienceDaily (Jan. 27, 2009) — Men who are very sexually active in their twenties and thirties are more likely to develop prostate cancer, especially if they masturbate frequently, according to a study of more than 800 men.
High Ejaculation Frequency May Be Linked To A Decreased Risk Of Prostate Cancer (Apr. 8, 2004) — Ejaculation frequency, a measure of sexual activity, is not associated with a higher risk for prostate cancer, according to a study in the April 7 issue of The Journal of the American Medical ...
UPDATE: Just found this story
Kerry: Ignore Republicans if they'll vote no anyway
Thursday, January 29
F*ckface of the Week:Dick Armey (R-Tx)
Armey to Walsh: ‘I’m so damn glad that you can never be my wife'.Even when Republican politicians are discussing Lush Bimbo they can't be civil... not even on TV. I know it's only been a week, but do you think Obama gets it yet? That he should just steamroll through his agenda and say to hell with the GOP?
Today on MSNBC’s Hardball, Salon editor-in-chief Joan Walsh and former Republican House majority leader Dick Armey engaged in a heated exchange on Rush Limbaugh and his recent controversial comments. Walsh repeatedly condemned Limbaugh’s remarks, saying that conservatives should stand up to the hate radio host. Toward the end, the conversation turned sexist when Armey said he was glad he wasn’t married to Walsh:
- ARMEY: I’m so damn glad that you can never be my wife because I surely wouldn’t have to listen to that prattle from you every day.
- WALSH: Boy, that makes two of us sir. That was really an outstanding comment.
- ARMEY: That’s what I’m talking about — she’s making a political malarkey here.
Pay To Play in NY Too?
I say we get this story out there.
Wednesday, January 28
I'm Against it!
This clip from 1932 with Groucho is sure a perfect depiction of them (deja vu!).
Maybe we need to substitute Boner's face or Limpballs face for Groucho's!
A whole lotta years ago I had a chance to play one of those roles that actors often dream of, but very rarely get. The play was called ‘Resurrection’. It’s about a woman who, in surviving a terrible accident, discovers she suddenly has the power to heal. There’s a particular monologue where she tries to explain (to herself, as much as to anyone else) what happens inside....the triggers, the clicks – those spaces between her soul and god that reach out when the healing happens. It took me a while to be able to perform it. Not because she was too alien, or the experiences too far out of my ken (it wasn’t – I knew EXACTLY what all that felt like) – but because whoever wrote the character knew and understood that destruction lies at the heart of every epiphany. You cannot build without tearing down. Well I’d lived through that kind of sea change. Different names, different circumstances – but I knew. Because of that - there could be no wall between me and the audience – no 'plausible deniability'. All that I was, all that I felt – my worst fears and most terrifying beliefs - haunted every second of that performance. It was wrenching. I couldn’t hardly watch myself on tape (still can’t).
Mickey Rourke’s performance in ‘The Wrestler’ is just like that. And he can’t watch it either. I saw him last night in an interview – he turned away, tears in his eyes. He was re-living those moments; I saw it in the set of his shoulders, the angle of his chin. That was real. What you see up on that screen is real. Every hurt – physical and psychic – hits home with devastating accuracy. ‘The Wrestler’ is Rourke’s epiphany. Shooting that film must have been grinding. I certainly hope it was worth the pain – that in the end, some of his personal dragons went down. So I’d say go see it – go see the resurrection of one of the best actors of his generation - but be prepared, ‘cause it will resurrect the bones of your own dead, and beat you senseless in the process.
Idiots Open Thread
I really hate the Democrats for being such wussies. They should all quit smoking and grow a pair.
"When they say 'we want to make changes', change can happen in two ways. First is a fundamental and effective change ... The second ... is a change of tactics.
"It is very clear that, if the meaning of change is the second one, this will soon be revealed."This is a clear opportunity, and one that Iran has offered to the US in the past. In several posts on my blog I have advocated direct talks with the Islamic Republic despite the assault on our Embassy and the taking of US hostages in 1979. The reason is abundantly simple - Iran is a regional power, and its reach exceeds ours at the moment.
Sure, their military would be hammered by ours, but in the real world (outside of neocon fantasies) power is measured in ways other than sheer force majeure. Iran has proxies in Lebanon and can support Hamas in Palestine. Thanks to our crippling of Iraq Iran is now the 800-pound gorilla in the region.
We have to talk to Iran.
Another thing the Iranian President called for was for an apology by the United States, which dovetails with my advocacy of the same tactic. Democracy in Iran was aborted in the Mossadegh coup (Operation Ajax) in 1956. To say we had a hand in this is like saying that we had a hand in beating Hitler.
We toppled a democratically elected leader and supported an absolutist despot (Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, for those who need reminding), who used a secret police to help enforce his rule. Scant wonder, therefore, that Iran would like an apology.
I suggested in the past that we should preface any talks with an apology for Operation Ajax as a gesture of our goodwill and our benign intentions. It would get things off on the right foot and show the Iranian people (and, more importantly, the religious leaders who are the true power in the government) that we're serious.
So, Ahmadinejad speaks.
Will we listen?
Current layoff reasoning -- Increasing/maintaining shareholder value? or ....Keep from going out of business?
Tuesday, January 27
Big Brother may REALLY be watching you
Images and imaging, particularly that from distances have become increasingly better, sharper, more detailed over the years.
Such is the case involving optical interferometry. The idea for this came from Radio Astronomy to increase the resolving power of radio telescopes (the ability to "see" finer detail) by linking two dishes a distance apart. Simply put optical interferometry involves two images taken from two (or more) mirrors or lenses with the resultant combined, interpreted and enhanced by computers to produce a picture that would not be possible with a single optical instrument.
Using two lenses or mirrors or combinations of them separated by a distance (a few meters to many meters and eventually possibly kilometers), astronomers are able to measure and indeed, image objects that heretofore were thought to be too small to be seen within the theoretical limits of a single collective system.
Optical interferometry is just out of its infancy having been born in the late 70s, unofficially. The technology of the mid 80s was extreme at the time with tremendous optical breakthroughs in resolution of detail from great distances including satellites in Low Earth Orbit.
While the data of the 80s and 90s were phenomenal for the time, that of today is remarkable and data still to come may border on magic.
This video from the Jet Propulsion Lab offers a glimpse of what can be expected in the immediate future, although stories abound that some of this already exists. Believe what you will.
With SIM, PlanetQuest shows what can be done astronomically. Reading between the lines, one can infer what can be done militarily...or covertly...or maybe has been done.
With apologies to Chicago (irony, there!)
Looks like President McBama or is that President O'Cain has kowtowed to the vast right wing inferiority (because they are soooo powerful) and cut the funding for low income and poor family planning. Why? Because the Republicans think it won't create jobs! However, they did include 20 billion in corporate tax cuts in the stimulus package, otherwise they wouldn't vote for it! BFD! Let them take their ball(s) and go home.
What the hell did we vote for? Or rather, who the hell did we vote for?
And to all of you who are willing to "give him a chance", isn't that what the Democrats have been doing for 8 years? Enough is enough. We voted for a liberal agenda. Liberal isn't a dirty word any more than conservative is and I'm tired of being on the defensive. The Democrats in their minute wisdom have gone against Dean's strategy that got us here. Why? You guess!
We have a president who has spent more time talking to the opposition, the MINORITY opposition than members of the party he claims to belong to. Why?
I didn't vote for appeasement. I didn't vote for bipartisanship. I didn't vote for capitulation to every whim of the outdated corrupt Republican Party. I voted for someone who gave me the impression that he would support my ideals; that would change the way things were done in D.C.; that would stand up to these thugs that destroyed the country that I AND he lives in.
But let's not rush to judgment. Let's give him some more time. Maybe he'll even talk to a progressive sometime over the next year... or three. Pretty soon it'll be 2010 and we'll say, "Just give him a little more time" then in 2011 we can say, "Well, maybe he's got some plan in mind." Right! Looks like a continuation of "Left" behind...Right!
I didn't vote for President McBama! But I may have gotten him.
The absurd persistence of domination: Of speciesism, capitalism, and shaking their foundations -- by Jason Miller
Even the most ardent reactionaries, deluded ‘patriots,’ and apathetic cynics, whose myopic, Panglossian perspectives ensure that they continue to reflexively genuflect to the deeply criminal enterprise of American Capitalism and rationalize the savage imperialism of US foreign policy, are beginning to concede that we are in the midst of a crisis of epic proportions. So lack of awareness, which is usually the first obstacle to solving a problem, isn’t the real enemy here. Our chief foe is a swarm of greed-driven, self-absorbed, mean-spirited locust-like human beings who are dedicated to “reforming” and perpetuating capitalism, the very system that has led us to this woeful state of environmental, economic, social, and political affairs. Capitalism, the systemization of greed, selfishness, subjugation, and exploitation camouflaged by the narcotic of consumerism, the irresistible illusion of equal opportunity for all, and its ostensible compatibility with liberal democracy, has seduced hundreds of millions of people into ignoring its contradictions, injustices, and malevolence.
And now a few more links on the subject of capitalism:
Bailout Recipients Hosted Call To Defeat Key Labor Bill
Participants on the October 17 call -- including at least one representative from another bailout recipient, AIG -- were urged to persuade their clients to send "large contributions" to groups working against the Employee Free Trade Act (EFCA), as well as to vulnerable Senate Republicans, who could help block passage of the bill.
Bernie Marcus, the charismatic co-founder of Home Depot, led the call along with Rick Berman, an aggressive EFCA opponent and founder of the Center for Union Facts. Over the course of an hour, the two framed the legislation as an existential threat to American capitalism, or worse.
"This is the demise of a civilization," said Marcus. "This is how a civilization disappears. I am sitting here as an elder statesman and I'm watching this happen and I don't believe it."
The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland gets underway tomorrow:
"Shaping the Post-Crisis World"
(Pretty obvious they picked their "theme" months ago since it's apparent to me that we're just approaching crisis mode, nevermind post-crisis)
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.
Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.
What's your favorite capitalism quote?
I'm curious as to how these prices compare to ones in your areas.
Are they cheaper, more expensive or about the same? Remember, average cost of living and wages vary around this center-right country of ours.
Click the individual page to enlarge if you have trouble reading it.
Women Over 40
"As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:
A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, 'What are you thinking?' She doesn't care what you think. If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it's usually more interesting. Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at an event or in the middle of a restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it. Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated. Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart. Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her. Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize.
For all those men who say, 'Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?', here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!"
Market practices and its participants....I just don't get it.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street showed some relief Tuesday that big companies like American Express Co. and Texas Instruments Inc. managed to post profits in a difficult recession.
and then in the very next paragraph:
American Express reported profits fell 79 percent in the final three months of 2008. The numbers weren't as weak as some investors had feared.
Likewise, Texas Instruments said its earnings fell 86 percent and that it would slash 3,400 jobs as the maker of chips for cell phones and other products tries to cut costs.
makes NO sense (to me) whatsoever...
Then I came across this article over at Counterpunch - The Monks' Cure Our Current Economic Crisis
....in medieval trade merchants regularly tried to cheat one another in the market place.  In so doing they used other merchants’ ignorance of arithmetic to swindle them. Arithmetic—which at the time consisted mostly of knowledge of the Arab numerals, four basic mathematical operations and the “golden rule,” or the “rule of three,” where a missing fourth number in two equal ratios is found—had just reached Europe by way of Arab merchants. Between the 13th and 16th centuries a group of merchants in Europe, particularly in Italy, wrote manuscripts to teach merchants’ children, who attended special training schools, the newly received arithmetic. But what is perhaps most interesting about these manuscripts is that almost all of them teach how to use arithmetic, particularly in the act of barter, to cheat their trading opponents and increase what they called the “overprice.” As such, these medieval manuscripts taught that the rule of exchange was to come out ahead in transaction and that barter was “nothing but giving a good for another in order to get more.”
To make a long story short, in the medieval markets arithmetic became a tool, a “financial innovation” to use the language of the modern market, to make more money. The rule of the game was to take advantage of arithmetical ignorance of others to gain as much profit as possible. This was how capitalism was born. It was born not of honesty, equality, justice or fairness in exchange, but of deceit, swindle, inequality, injustice and unfairness. It was also in this same period that one can find the emergence of many other financial innovations, such as forward contracts and bills of exchange, innovations that tried to increase profit by reducing uncertainty and risk.
How did the economic thinkers of the medieval era, the Catholic clergy or the so called Scholastics, react to these market practices? Instead of trying to reflect on the reality of the new and rising social system and attempting to understand its true nature, they wrote pamphlets and gave sermons preaching how to be a good Christian. They prohibited certain market practices and blamed market participants for these practices. They warned people of avarice and excessive accumulation of wealth. They advocated quid pro quo and called for equality in exchange, an Aristotelian concept that by then had acquired a Biblical flavour. As opposed to merchants’ concept of “overprice,” the monks advocated a “just price,” an ambiguous concept that has been interpreted in a variety of ways, including a price that covers cost of production plus a “reasonable” profit. The monks warned people of practicing such sinful activities as usury and reminded them of such lines in the Bible: “Lend freely, hoping nothing thereby.” In sum, the medieval economic thinkers tried to regulate the market by prohibiting certain practices. Of course, as anyone familiar with the writings of the Scholastics knows, this prohibition was quite selective and often did not include the high and the mighty, the “beloved sons of the church,” who were the church’s benefactors.
It seems that seven hundred years later not much has changed
NOW I get it. I'm not supposed to get it.
Crossposted at BigBrassBlog
UN Official: Enough Evidence to Prosecute Rumsfeld
Raw Story: Monday, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak told CNN's Rick Sanchez that the US has an "obligation" to investigate whether Bush administration officials ordered torture, adding that he believes that there is already enough evidence to prosecute former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
"We have clear evidence," he said. "In our report that we sent to the United Nations, we made it clear that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld clearly authorized torture methods and he was told at that time by Alberto Mora, the legal council of the Navy, 'Mr. Secretary, what you are actual ordering here amounts to torture.' So, there we have the clear evidence that Mr. Rumsfeld knew what he was doing but, nevertheless, he ordered torture." continued
Monday, January 26
Welcome to the Future
Look closely and guess what they could be...
Are they pens with cameras?
Any wild guesses? No clue yet?
Ladies and gentlemen... congratulations!
You've just looked into the future...
yep that's right!
You've just seen something that will
replace your PC in the near future.
Here is how it works:
In the revolution of miniature computers,
Scientists have made great developments
with bluetooth technology...
This are the forthcoming computers you
can carry within your pockets.
This 'pen sort of instrument' produces
Both the monitor as well as the keyboard
On any flat surfaces from where you can
carry out functions you would normally do
on your desktop computer.
Can anyone say, 'Good-bye laptops!'
Looks like our computers are out of date...again!!!
Politics As Usual
Another must read is Paul Krugman's Bad Faith Economics-- debunking of the rich white congress' plan to derail the stimulus bill.
Some of these arguments are obvious cheap shots. John Boehner, the House minority leader, has already made headlines with one such shot: looking at an $825 billion plan to rebuild infrastructure, sustain essential services and more, he derided a minor provision that would expand Medicaid family-planning services — and called it a plan to “spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives.”One of the reasons that Lush Bimbo is against the stimulus bill is because it could hurt GOP's electoral chances.... Kind of makes you realize why the Republicans are so dead set against helping Democrats to succeed at anything.
Sunday, January 25
Save for the next time somebody says, "Israel has a right to defend itself."
The Gaza Zoo reeks of death. But zookeeper Emad Jameel Qasim doesn't appear to react to the stench as he walks around the animals' enclosures.
Watch Gaza zoo Video
A month ago, it was attracting families - he says the zoo drew up to 1,000 visitors each day. He points at the foot-long hole in the camel in one of the enclosures.
"This camel was pregnant, a missile went into her back," he tells us. "Look, look at her face. She was in pain when she died."
Around every corner, inside almost every cage are dead animals, who have been lying in their cages since the Israeli incursion.
Qasim doesn't understand why they chose to destroy his zoo. And it's difficult to disagree with him. Most of them have been shot at point blank range.
"The first thing the Israelis did was shoot at the lions - the animals ran out of their cage and into the office building. Actually they hid there."
The two lions are back in their enclosure. The female is pregnant, and lies heavily on the ground, occasionally swishing her tail. Qasim stands unusually close to them, but they don't seem bothered by his presence.
As he takes us around, he is obviously appalled at the state of the animals. The few animals that have survived appear weak and disturbed.
"The foxes ate each other because we couldn't get to them in time. We had many here." There are carcasses everywhere and the last surviving fox is quivering in the corner.
The zoo opened in late 2005, with money from local and international NGOs. There were 40 types of animals, a children's library, a playground and cultural centre housed at the facility.
Inside the main building, soldiers defaced the walls, ripped out one of the toilets and removed all of the hard drives from the office computers. We asked him why they targeted the zoo. He laughs. "I don't know. You have to go and ask the Israelis. This is a place where people come to relax and enjoy themselves. It's not a place of politics."
Israel has accused Hamas of firing rockets from civilian areas. Qasim reacts angrily when we raise the subject.
"Let me answer that with a question. We are under attack. There was not a single person in this zoo. Just the animals. We all fled before they came. What purpose does it serve to walk around shooting animals and destroying the place?"
Inside one cage lie three dead monkeys and another two in the cage beside them. Two more escaped and have yet to return. He points to a clay pot. "They tried to hide", he says of a mother and baby half-tucked inside.
Qasim says that his main two priorities at the moment are rebuilding the zoo and taking the Israeli army to court. For the first, he says he will need close to $200,000(Dh734,000) to return the zoo to its former state - and he wants the Israelis to cover the costs. "They have to pay me for all this damage."
We ask him why it's so important for Gaza to have a zoo. "During the past four years it was the most popular place for kids. They came from all over the Gaza Strip. There was nowhere else for people to go."
Has Israel gone berserk and lost all sense of reasoning? Should it be tried for war crimes at The Hague?
Just some VP stuff
From Esquire.com Joe Biden, Advisor in Chief
In one word, what's your opinion of this guy?
Study in Contrasts
I digress, but leave you with that mental image. Mental floss is available in the lobby.
Limbaugh will essentially be returning to the "America Held Hostage" meme he pioneered on his TV show way back during the Clinton Administration - he refuses to give Obama any sort of honeymoon or grace period to see how he might perform. Of course, he wants Obama to fail anyway, naughty little America-hating bastard that he is, but one thing he burped out of his gaping piehole inspired this post.
He said that no one gave Bush any honeymoon or grace period in his first term, so why should he give one to Obama?
Rush, it seems, has a short memory.
The US Presidential election of 2000 was the closest race since 1876 (which had to be decided in the House of Representatives). Thanks to the disputed recount in Florida which led to a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court Bush won with 271 electoral votes and 47.9% of the popular vote, while Gore held 266 electoral votes and 48.4% of the popular votes cast. The disparity between the EV and PV, coupled with "Flori-duh" and the Supreme Court's decision, meant that many people in America felt very strongly that Bush's election was illegitimate.
But don't take my word for it. Roll tape!
In the 2008 Presidential election, on the other hand, Obama beat McCain with a greater than seven percent advantage in the popular vote (52.9% to 45.7%) and a better than two to one advantage in the Electoral College (365 to 173). Very few people could dispute the legitimacy of such a wide margin of victory.
And need I roll the tape of Obama's Inauguration? Didn't think so, as it's already posted.
The peaceful transfer of power in the US is something to be proud of. Other nations either transfer power by outright fraud or by hails of bullets, so we like to point with a certain pride at how we do it.
Hence the anger at Bush's first inaugural.
Hence the joy at Obama's first inaugural.
Note I said "first."
Mendocino....I love you so, Please don' t go, Please stay here with me in Mendocino, You're such a groove,
Please stay in my love house by
(Here's the song - sorry, can't embed it)
Fast talkin' guys with strange
Have put things in your head,
It set my mind a wond' rin',
I love you so, Please don' t go,
Please stay here with me in Mendocino
Where life's such a groove,
You blow your mind in the
we used to walk through the
Make love along the way in
Cash crop now accounts for two-thirds of Mendocino County economy
Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy
what a stupid report
Five Days In ...
Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as our President on Tuesday and what could be considered a "throng" of people gathered to cheer him. The past two inaugurations were rather a downer, after all, so we were in a bit of a party mood.
Not that Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the Mighty Wurlitzer cared, of course. Limbaugh even went so far as to say that he wanted Obama to fail. That means, by the oh-so-logical extension so favored by the Right (I'm Republican; I know my people), that Limbaugh wants America to slide into a depression. He wants us to be attacked by terrorists and see Americans die in terrorist attacks.
(I'm not making this up. But you'll have to look up the links yourself; I don't link to Stormfront, and I won't link to Limbaugh.)
But so far this past five days have seen a flurry of executive orders come out of the White House: Guantanamo Bay closed as a prison, CIA black sites shut down, senior staff pay in the government frozen at current levels, abortion funding reinstated for Third World countries, etc. We will even start research into human stem cells as treatment for diseases.
You can hear heads exploding on the Right with the radiance of a thousand suns.
The Vatican immediately deplored Obama's stands on abortion and gay rights, which suggests to me that our next Ambassador to the Holy See should be a Lesbian Catholic.
So, it's been five days in Washington ...
... and the tiny-brained screechers of the Far Right have yet to see their fondest wish come true.
Speaking of the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI reinstated several excommunicated bishops, including one who is a Holocaust denier. I guess the ranks of seminarians at St. Pedophiles were getting a bit thin of late.
A man ran amok in a Belgian nursery, killing two babies and an adult worker before his apprehension. Interestingly, he had his face painted to resemble Heath Ledger's Joker from the last Batman movie. Right now, he ain't talking.
The Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, underwent heart bypass surgery this past week. Ordinarily this would not be much cause for concern in the US, but after the November 26th attacks on Mumbai tensions have risen between India and Pakistan. Furthermore, ever since the 'Smiling Buddha' test in 1972, nuclear release authority in India has been vested with the Prime Minister. Hopefully they've worked out a succession scheme so that the launch authority doesn't automatically devolve upon local commanders.
And in our Oh, the Sweet Taste of Bitter Irony segment, former priest and homophobic evangelist gay guy Ted Haggard (who you'll recall had to give up his lucrative megachurch after he admitted having a gay affair) is now having to fend off questions about another gay affair back when he was supposedly straight, this time with a 20-something church worker. Word of advice, Teddy - try to find a lower-profile line of work, or just come out and admit it, okay?
Ooh crikey! I almost forgot!
Evidence has been shown that there is a deep fossil fault line under Arkansas that (if it goes pop) could, conceivably, be as powerful as the New Madrid Earthquake back in the early 1800s. And central Arkansas recently had about 400 very minor temblors. Hang on to your hats, kids ...
Anyway, it's been a fun-filled five days, and we can expect to see more. Obama's 100 days aren't up yet.
Saturday, January 24
"...220 images, taken with the help of a Gigapan robotic camera mount. It's a 1,474-megapixel shot..." stitched together!
Go to the site and check it out. You can pan and zoom! You can probably id the faces in the last rows of the throng. If you were there, you may be able to see yourself.
Finally... just Finally
Birth control and safe sex were not options under the bush plan.Obama reverses 'global gag rule' for family planning funds
WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama overturned what he described as an "unwarranted" eight-year ban on US government funding for family-planning groups which carry out or facilitate abortions overseas.
Shortly after he signed an executive order canceling the restrictions, on the third full day of his presidency, Obama said in a statement the ban had "undermined efforts to promote safe and effective voluntary family planning in developing countries," and that the issue had become too politicized.
The so-called "global gag rule" cut off US funding to overseas family planning clinics which provide any abortion services whatsoever, from the operation itself to counseling, referrals or post-abortion services.
According to Population Action International (PAI), the gag rule resulted in Nepal's largest family planning provider losing two-thirds of its total supply of contraceptives and saw the number of women in Ghana who sought care for complications after an abortion soar after contraceptive supplies were cut off to a large clinic there.
Women in developing countries, where access to contraception is poor, often turn to abortion as a means of birth control, a World Bank report has said.
Tod Preston, vice president of PAI, said lifting the gag rule was "an important step to save women's lives around the world.
"Family planning should not be a political issue; it's about basic health care and well-being for women and children," he said.
Friday, January 23
Don't send your children to either Virginia Tech or Yale
Raw Story: "A female Chinese graduate student has been decapitated by a fellow student at Virginia Tech, the scene of the worst school shooting in US history in 2007, police said Thursday.
"At approximately 7:00 pm Wednesday (0000 GMT Thursday), Xin Yang, a 22-year-old graduate student from Beijing, was killed at an Au Bon Pain cafe on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, university officials said."
Now that the inauguration's over...
Suspected U.S. Missile Strikes Kill at Least 20 in Pakistan.
Maybe the U.S. forces thought it would lend an air of ugliness to a glorious celebration.
THE Most Romantic Love Song. Ever.
This is the kind of love song that I want someone to sing to me.
hat tip Robin Eve at Facebook
Kirsten Gillibrand Chosen to Fill Clinton's Senate Seat
The shit is hitting the fan here in lower NYS.
UN may prosecute Bush administration
The war crimes of the previous administration weighed heavily on my heart. I never in my life could believe that I would have to pay taxes to support this sort of government. I will support any action that the UN takes. Gladly.
Also, have you read about this? Whistleblower: NSA spied on everyone, targeted journalists
Makes you understand why the media is so completely unreliable.
Thursday, January 22
Musical Interlude: Isabella
This is my friend Dave from Nashville who wrote this song about me. Dave also played on my songs.
Theology of Monty Python - Every Sperm is Sacred
Gee...I wonder what made this little diddy pop into my head?
Every Sperm is Sacred
There are Jews in the world.
There are Buddhists.
There are Hindus and Mormons, and then
There are those that follow Mohammed, but
I've never been one of them.
I'm a Roman Catholic,
And have been since before I was born,
And the one thing they say about Catholics is:
They'll take you as soon as you're warm.
You don't have to be a six-footer.
You don't have to have a great brain.
You don't have to have any clothes on. You're
A Catholic the moment Dad came,
Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate.
Let the heathen spill theirs
On the dusty ground.
God shall make them pay for
Each sperm that can't be found.
Every sperm is wanted.
Every sperm is good.
Every sperm is needed
In your neighbourhood.
Hindu, Taoist, Mormon,
Spill theirs just anywhere,
But God loves those who treat their
Semen with more care.
Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate.
Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is good.
Every sperm is needed
In your neighbourhood!
Every sperm is useful.
Every sperm is fine.
God needs everybody's.
Mine! And mine! And mine!
Let the Pagan spill theirs
O'er mountain, hill, and plain.
God shall strike them down for
Each sperm that's spilt in vain.
Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite iraaaaate!
Here's some good news
Obama Starts Reversing Bush Policies
Guantanamo Order Readied; Lobbying Rules Tightened
President Obama moved swiftly yesterday to begin rolling back eight years of his predecessor's policies, ordering tough new ethics rules and preparing to issue an order closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which has been at the center of the debate over the treatment of U.S. prisoners in the battle against terrorism.
Acting to address several promises he made during his campaign, Obama met with top generals about speeding the withdrawal from Iraq and gathered his senior economic advisers as he continued to push for a massive spending bill to create jobs.
He also signed a series of executive orders and directives intended to slow the revolving door between government service and lobbying, and ordered his administration to share information more freely with the public.
Today, he will issue another order calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay within a year, an immediate case-by-case review of the 245 detainees remaining there, and the application of new rules governing the treatment and interrogation of prisoners, including compliance with international treaties that the Bush administration deemed inapplicable to suspects in terrorism cases. continued
Not everyone is relieved that bush is gone
The Whitehouse.gov website is now a refreshing breath of fresh air. I was going to write a whole post about it, but you can check it out and see for yourselves. It's evident from the start that there is a new kid in town.
What really struck me though is how the religious "right" views the new website which only proves that these people are neither christian, religious or right.
From White House Website Now 'Sodomite Publication,' says Religious Right
The editor of CovenantNews.com wrote:Oh for god's sake. This is getting ridiculous.
- The White House policies published on its new website confirms that Barack H. Obama intends to use his office to promote and maintain the sexual deviant criminal behavior of homosexuality (with malice aforethought).
- ... Civil officials who approve of homosexuality, make the civil government a vile cesspool from which the abominations vomit out across the land. By displaying such a contempt for the administration of Justice by promoting this criminal behavior, "such civil officials are not only the source of the defilement, they are the criminals, and a hostile enemy authorizing the destruction of the society in which we live."
In an American Family Association Action Alert, the Rev. Wildmon stated that "This is only the beginning of Obama's plans to reshape society. His view is that unborn babies aren't worth protecting and that homosexuals deserve special rights."
Wednesday, January 21
"Air and Simple Gifts" from President Obama's Inauguration
Yo-Yo Ma's body language throughout the performance says it all...
This is the first time a classical quartet has been invited to participate in the swearing-in ceremony of a President.
Here is an interview with Yo-Yo Ma prior to their performance:
Some background on the piece from
A classical quartet gets the prime spot between the swearing-in of Vice President-elect Joseph Biden and that of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday. And along the way, a 56-year-old musical injustice will be rectified.
Two of the nation's most familiar classical artists -- cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman -- will be joined by Metropolitan Opera clarinetist Anthony McGill and Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero in performing a new piece by composer John Williams.
(Mr. Williams has composed many of the most famous film scores in history, including the Indiana Jones series, Star Wars, Superman, Born on the Fourth of July and Harry Potter. )
It's called "Air and Simple Gifts," the centerpiece of which will be "an exuberant rendering," in Williams' words, of traditional Shaker hymn "The Gift to Be Simple," which Aaron Copland made famous in his 1944 ballet "Appalachian Spring."
Williams surrounds "Simple Gifts," as the tune is also called, with an original, hymn-like theme.
The president-elect asked Perlman and Ma to perform, and they in turn called Williams -- a frequent collaborator with both artists -- "to help them prepare something to play." Ma chose the other two performers, Williams told Daily Variety.
Knowing of Obama's appreciation for Copland, they chose the Shaker hymn, which Williams arranged for this unusual quartet, and then composed "a reflective and prayerful theme" as musical bookends.
Since Ma was in L.A. last week to perform with the Philharmonic, he visited Williams on Saturday to run through the piece. The quartet played it for the first time on Tuesday in New York and will rehearse again and record it with Williams on Sunday. Chamber groups are not usually "conducted," so Williams will not be seen on Tuesday (although he said he may attend as part of the crowd).
In January 1953, Copland's "Lincoln Portrait" was scheduled to be performed at Dwight Eisenhower's inaugural concert but was banned at the last minute when an Illinois congressman complained about Copland's liberal politics. Later that year, Copland became a target of Joe McCarthy's Communist witch-hunt.
In time, Copland was "completely rehabilitated," Williams noted, performing at the White House and eventually receiving the Congressional Gold Medal. The performance at this inauguration of "Simple Gifts," a piece widely associated with Copland, "describes a completed circle of events that is nice to think about," the composer said.
"We all feel a sense of great privilege to be able to contribute in a very small way, musically, to an event like this," Williams added. "It's a great moment in our history."
This was not the first President for which Yo-Yo Ma has performed. At age seven, he played for President and Mrs. Kennedy in a televised concert hosted by Leonard Bernstein.
Out with the old
Tuesday, January 20
I've been watching C-SPAN. There were hijinks in the House at the start, when it was revealed that the 435 members would be seated by seniority (think herding cats).
The Army Herald Trumpeters have just sounded, announcing the parade of former Presidents (in order, starting with Carter). The Mall from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial is a sea of humanity.
For the first time in many years, we are permitted to hope.
Bush The Elder and his hateful wife, wearing imperial purple scarves, now taking seats. I am reminded of Nixon's words regarding Babs: "That woman knows how to hate." One wonders what she's thinking now.
Now the Clintons, looking the happy couple as the Capitol Police salute. I hope she does a good job as SecStat.
The Marine Band playing various and sundry airs, as they've done all morning.
Obama's daughters and Biden's grandkids. How will the years mark them?
Bush the Younger, still smirking.
Finally Obama, entering alone.
Feinstein is speaking, having called the proceedings to order.
Warren's invocation included two of the epithets associated with Allah (Compassionate and Merciful) as well as Jesus as he appears in the Qur'an (Isa). Surprised me. I expected worse.
Aretha did a fairly good job with My Country, ’tis of Thee. Granted, she's no Marian Anderson ...
Biden being sworn in now by Associate Justice Stevens, followed by four ruffles and flourishes and the Admiral’s March.
Beautiful arrangement of Simple Gifts.
And now, the Oath, administered (as is his right) by Chief Justice Roberts.
Muffed the Oath – damn, Roberts! Your only line and you screwed the pooch.
“Congratulations, Mister President.” Ruffles and flourishes, Hail to the Chief and the twenty-guns used for the head of state.
“My fellow citizens …”
UPDATE: Inaugural Address, Part One:
And Part Two:
It is party time and I am coming out of my winter depression to celebrate. Heck, I've cleaned the house and I'll be chilling with my closest friends who are simply thrilled that the bushistas are out once and for all. We've waited 8 long years for this day. We cried on each other's shoulders 4 years ago and vowed to celebrate an end to it one day. We're also very pleased that Cheney is going out in a wheelchair.
For those of us who are excited that this day has finally come, how will you be celebrating? For naysayers, we'll make a thread for you tomorrow. Today is our day.
We will sober up tomorrow.
39 words that make a President
Here are the last 13 Presidents taking the famous oath.
Happy O'nauguration Day Everyone!
Here's to President Obama PRESERVING, PROTECTING AND DEFENDING THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
(I'm also looking forward to Obama's Inauguration Day poem)
Picked to speak the words that will lead America from one age to another, Elizabeth Alexander, wisely gave little away beforehand. She dutifully noted that her "joy" at landing this job from the president-elect stems from "my deep respect for him as a man of meaningful, powerful words that move us forward". Listeners who hope for upbeat crowd-pleasing may wince at her statement that "poetry is not meant to cheer; rather, poetry challenges, and moves us towards transformation". But all will welcome one firm steer about today's verse: "I won't carry on at length."
Two Sides To Every Story
Fox and Friends, Drudge, Newsmax, etc made sure that that meme was spread far and wide, thank you very much.
When the biased news media reported what Bush spent for the 2005 inauguration, they left out the cost of security and when the media reports what Obama is spending, they include the cost of security. The bottom line is that Bush's 2005 inauguration cost $157 million if you include all the costs that the media includes when calculating the cost of Obama's inauguration.
Says Eric Bohlert at Media Matters
Unless the Obama inauguration tab (including security) ends up costing $630 million, we can safely say it certainly won't cost four times what the Bush bash did in 2005. And unless the Obama inauguration tab (including security) runs to $257 million, we can safely say the event won't cost $100 million more than Bush's, as Fox & Friends claimed.
So, for now, can the press and partisans please stop peddling this malignant myth
Monday, January 19
It seems that HBO sucks somewhat big time but they may not be alone. In case you wanted to see the YouTube video of Pete Seeger, fuggedabaudit!
The state run media has decided that you can't watch it. Not only that but if you took any pictures of the event, you must destroy them or pay a fee for using HBO's copyrighted property!
Suck? You betcha! Wink Wink!
Add to that the Obama people saying that the gay prayer which was censored (no other word for it) was HBO's fault and HBO saying it's Obama's fault. Then Obama offer the lame apology that they "always wanted to show it" but 'at least the people there in person got to see it." Whoop-tee-do! Probably because it would be a little too difficult to extinguish the Reich's Torches!
You can bet the foreclosed ranch that Warren's diatribe will go National! Maybe some hundred foot high banners hung from the new Reichstag to honor our new 'leader'?
No, folk. DW has it right. As with P.T. Barnum, we were born only a minute ago; many more will be born a little after noon January 20th, but won't realize it for a while. I begin to fear more for us now with the "Center-Right Cabinet" and advisors than the last 8 years.
If I'm wrong (again) we may still be here, at least physically. If I'm right, and others now share the seeming duplicity I was blinded to, it won't matter.
I had hope, funny word, that. I guess my definition is subject to a different interpretation from that offered by the winning candidate. And I'm sorry.
The Chancellory next; then, "Peace in our time"... at what price?
Jefferson must be spinning.
What would you have done differently?
Obama's Generation: Post Idealogical
Do you think Obama's generation learned from the mistakes of the Baby Boomers?
This Land Is Your Land
Sunday, January 18
Dubai to invest in Nigerian oil sector --Landmark agreement signed by Dubai World and Federal Republic of Nigeria
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Dubai said Sunday it has reached a deal with Nigeria to invest in the African nation's conflict-ravaged oil industry and other sectors of the economy.
Under the deal, Dubai Natural Resources World, a subsidiary of state-owned conglomerate Dubai World, would manage the development and output of Nigeria crude oil and gas reserves. Dubai World called the agreement "far reaching," but provided few details, including the financial terms.
Dubai Natural Resources World spokesmen said they could not clarify what specific areas of Nigeria's energy sector were involved, nor were they willing to provide additional details about the agreement or make officials available to comment.
Abuja - 18th January 2009: Dubai World, one of the largest holding companies in the world, announced today that it has signed a far-reaching cooperation agreement with the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for investment in a number of key sectors in the Nigerian economy.
adj. Having a wide range, influence, or effect: the far-reaching implications of a major new epidemic.
I can't even begin to imagine...
I can't help but wonder about who the investors are in this DNRW (Dubai Natural Resource World
Mohammed Sharaf, CEO of Dubai World subsidiary DP World, said in a statement on Saturday that the resource-rich continent needed more investment and joint ventures with foreign companies.
“What African countries need are partners who want to tap into all their resources, including human resources, and profit from the growth of the entire economy, the type of growth that is a benefit for all,” Sharaf said.
However, Sharaf warned foreign investors should not exploit Africa's natural resources, urging companies to contribute to local economies.
I still can't find any names...
nothing but "UAE Companies"
SNL Writers Were Prescient
hat tip oddjob
Sunday Morning Sweet Sounds of NINA SIMONE...My Baby Just Cares For Me
The song is from her album Little Girl Blue
From her Biography - I Put a Spell on You:
Simone would never benefit financially from the album; she sold the rights for $3000, missing out on more than $1 million of royalties (mainly because of the successful re-release of "My Baby Just Cares for Me" in the 1980s). The song became one of her biggest hits years later in 1987, when it was featured in a Chanel no. 5 perfume commercial.
She makes mention of this here in a live performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival (?1990) where her sadness is ever so palpable.
You can read a homage to the remarkable Nina Simone here.
PS FROM BLONDESENSE LIZ
This is a Nina Simone song, Sugar in My Bowl, that I enjoy performing:
Vice President Cheney Traveling
A team of nine specially trained handlers have successfully lured outgoing vice president Dick Cheney into a reinforced steel traveling crate in order to transport him back to his permanent enclosure in Casper, WY, official sources reported Monday. "He's a smart one. Once he sees the crate, he gets pretty nippy, but we've learned a few tricks over the years," chief VP wrangler Ted Irving breathlessly said while applying pressure to a deep gash on his forearm. "If we break a rabbit's legs and throw it in there, he will eventually go in to finish it off. Doesn't work with dead rabbits, though. Cheney only eats what he kills." Irving said that the latest vice presidential relocation went much more smoothly than September's diplomatic trip to Georgia, which was delayed for several hours after Cheney mauled three secret service agents and escaped inside the White House walls.
Saturday, January 17
Baby, It's Cold Outside
Find someone to snuggle up with.
From NPR-Exclusive First Listen: M. Ward's 'Hold Time -Release Date Feb. 17
FINALLY - - It's been a few years, but well worth the wait. I just hope I can hold out another few weeks before 'Hold Time' hits the shelves. No itunes purchase for me -- I want to touch and feel and hold on to this one.
When you have a free hour or so, I highly recommend sitting back and having an EXCLUSIVE FIRST LISTEN to M. Ward's 'Hold Time', courtesy of NPR.
NPR.org, January 12, 2009 - The songs of singer-guitarist M. Ward seem to drift in on the crackling radio waves of a distant time. Warm and intimate, his largely acoustic and usually spare arrangements are a tribute to what Ward sees as the greatest era for American music: the 1950s and early '60s, when singers like Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison infused country-rooted pop with honesty and romance. Ward's latest album, Hold Time, continues this tradition, with a gorgeously produced mix of finger-picked guitars, upright bass and shuffling rhythms, all tied together by his achy voice.
Hold Time won't be released until Feb. 17, but listeners can hear the entire album here on NPR Music as an exclusive preview.
The new disc was mixed by producer and multi-instrumentalist Mike Mogis, with guest appearances by Lucinda Williams, Zooey Deschanel (She & Him), Rachel Blumberg (The Decemberists) and others. Though it mostly features all-new songs, Hold Time includes a handful of cover tunes, including Don Gibson's "Oh Lonesome Me" and "Rave On," made popular by Buddy Holly.
"I think the songwriting style of (Buddy Holly's) period was superior," Ward says in an interview with All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen. "There was a certain amount of joy in it, no matter how sad the song is. You get joy in listening to these Buddy Holly or Roy Orbison sad lyrics. I'm attracted to songs that have balance between the darks and the lights and giving them all equal opportunity."
I can't even pick a favorite. At the moment though, I've been playing 'Outro' over and over and over - trying to figure out why it's so hauntingly familiar. It's an instrumental, so you can really focus on his prodigious guitar performance throughout the song. At first listen, it had a vague similarity to Santo and Johnny's 'Sleepwalk'. But now after listening to it again and again, I'm hearing this ALL TIME FAVORITE of mine:
Manha De Carnaval - John McLaughlin & Al DiMeola & Paco Delucia
Below is his live version of Chinese Translation from The David Letterman Show a while back
And here is the recorded version of Chinese Translation