Greetings, many friends,
Although I had an amazing experience in Spain (which will be well-documented at a later time) it is always pleasant to return to Los Angeles. We've had several days of refreshing rain, and now cool winds and sunny blue skies are rewarding the decision made by ourselves/parents/grandparents etc. to move to unspoiled California in the first place.
Accompanying my rather severe jet lag this time around was an unnerving culture shock, and for the last few days I've been completely disconnected from the familiar backdrops of my apartment, Central Library, etc. I've also been driving more aggressively, such as coming up behind people in the fast lane during a downpour and hitting them with my brights at 80 mph. If it is said that Spain and California have much in common physically, there are still major differences.
Anyway, this culture shock was quickly eroded. The re-exposure to American media was rather brutal; the focus of Spanish news is much more global and far less interested in the "messages" of our leaders, which probably make less sense to the Europeans than to me. It is a rather ugly contrast (http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0501-06.htm). I was also shaken awake (with peals of laughter) late Sunday...after passing out (again) from jet lag, I woke up to a repeat of a Paul Crouch show from 1981. For those outside of LA, you might not know Dr. Crouch, the white-haired preacher and founder of Trinity Broadcasting in Orange County (with a pink or blue-haired wife.) When I was in high school he regularly did "exposes" on the Ministries of Satan, interviewing punk bands (the first time we ever saw punks on television, BTW, or heard the word "fuck" on TV) and having his son "analyze" the content of the croaks heard by playing Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, the Beatles and ELO (!) backwards. This was good stuff in 1981, and to see the "backward masking" episode repeated in 2003 really turned my head around. Now I know I'm back in LA.
So I guess while I was gone we invaded Iraq, wiped it (http://www.meniscus.info/auction.html), established Justice and Liberty for All (http://www.bagnews.com/topica/iraqistan.jpg), so we're all going to heaven, Led Zeppelin or not. Yah right. I've been trying to convince my friends that all that marching did some good, and the proof was in my trip; in Europe (and elsewhere) the protest in this country gave significant heart to the opposition, and continues to do so. They roundly expect us to throw George out on his ass in 2004, as they plan to do to Blair-Howard-Aznar etc. Feel free to cheer yourself up with this article from (of all places) that radical hotbed of Orange County:
I was also extremely gratified to see that Europeans make a distinction between Californians, New Yorkers and other Americans. Shows that all the publicity is working. As a young Italian asked me during a protest "camp-out" in Barcelona, "Do you not fear retaliation from rednecks?" I thought fondly of my late Grandma Sarah and my uncles (beet rednecks) and decided to put this query aside for the moment. "Shee-it, woman, even them rednex in Cali like a damn Satanic Led Zep fan next to a decent, God-fearin' Amurrican!"
Speaking of god-fearin' Americans, some of them are rudely on display in this story of Patriot Act malfeasance (thanks, Miles):
Fun with "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools
Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism":
This is our new hell: the war at home. The so-called "Neo-Conservatives" are going to struggle for power in the U.S. just as they'd like to do elsewhere. Learn all you can about these people. Here's a great article from the Economist:
Their plans go back decades:
The Thirty Year Itch for Oil
But they're not infallible:
Neocons in Denial
And (although rather lacking in sources) an article about the goodies that got the Iraqi to walk away from combat (thanks again, Miles):
Your New Next Door Neighbor May Be A Republican Guard!
Incidentally, I was aware (and bitterly so) that Nina Simone died while I was away; I passed up the opportunity to see her just a month back because no one else would go. I hate to say this, but you guys are cramping my style.
Okay, here's the strangest thing I've seen in awhile (and so very American to my eyes now); yeah, they're little cars crashed into little trees (thanks, Miles):
But there's worse news than that:
Ex-Iraq Info Minister Gets TV Job Offer
Man in Schoolgirl Uniform Held in Robbery
And in case you were wondering:
The 'Most Fashionable' University Is...
So who's next on the US hitlist? Syria...hardly. How 'bout that much larger country that I tend to obsess about (since they won't let me go, boo hoo)? They're always running off at the mouth:
Iran: U.S. Cease-Fire Promotes Terrorism
Looks like everything's going just as before...great. See you soon,
05 May 2003
Greetings, many friends,