To celebrate Saint Valentine's Day, I thought about being stoned myself, although not like Gina Lollabrigida, who was nearly stoned to death in this awful Biblical epic I happened to see the end of yesterday. She's the Queen of Sheba, and "going steady" with King Solomon, played by a deeply pious Yul Brynner. YEEECCHH. No, I'm still weird enough to honor Saint Valentine by enjoying a screening of "The Night Porter", the most despicable Nazi-schotzi (thanks, Richie) sadomasochistic version of "Romeo and Juliet" ever set in Vienna. Thanks to Charlie Gomez, I'll never forget the reaction of Dirk Bogarde's one female Nazi pal after he confesses his love for Charlotte Rampling, his former sex slave back in the ol' concentration camp. "What a madman," she sighs with a beautifully Germanic combo of sadness and disdain.
And of course, here's to those using 14 February to celebrate our quirkyaloness in a like fashion, or going for a bicycle ride in the nude (Southern Hemisphere only, natch):
Even the military's getting in on the Valentine's schtick this year (wait...JUST LIKE "The Night Porter"!)
Pentagon Confirms Guantanamo Sex Tactics
WASHINGTON - A Pentagon investigation and newly declassified documents confirm detainees' accounts of the use of sexual tactics by female interrogators at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
Anyway, I guess that suddenly brings on a fresh screed. Well, I'd like to thank the many, many good friends who sent me this article about Canada; I'd also like to thank my producers and God for all my success:
Some in U.S. voting with their feet
The New York Times
Even a small loss of population is a significant event for a nation that thinks of itself as a place to escape to.
I'd also like to thank the "Faun Fables" CD playing in the background. Something must be working; I've got my first job interview in Canada next weekend, at the ski resort of Whistler 120 km north of Vancouver. Not like moving from Los Feliz to Highland Park, but it's on the same continent, they speak English and they have three-digit area codes. But jobs aside, it's always fun to jump into a jet (after a thorough search, natch) and emerge in a different biome, have a wild bacchanal, and then a few days later see the mountains around your home city from 10 KM (just practising) in the air. And let's say that I'm also celebrating Canadian Flag Day, which by interesting coincidence is 15 February 1965...just 7 months older than yours truly.
Of course, nobody's perfect (sorry, Lorinda):
Canada Backs Terminator Seeds
By John Vidal
The Guardian U.K.
An international moratorium on the use of one of the world's most controversial GM food technologies may be broken today if the Canadian government gets seed sterilisation backed at a UN meeting. Leaked documents seen by the Guardian show that Canada wants all governments to accept the testing and commercialisation of "terminator" crop varieties. These are genetically engineered to produce only infertile seeds which farmers cannot replant. http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/021005X.shtml
But seriously...like Hans-Joachim Klein ( http://www.ict.org.il/spotlight/comment.cfm?id=161), the RZ member who kept a picture of his dead friend, murdered by his own government, in his wallet to "keep his hatred sharp" ( http://www.baader-meinhof.com/students/resources/print/germguerr.html ), I have my own ways of keeping my hatred sharp. One is hanging out with some of Henry's friends (kidding...sorta.) The other is reading books like The European Dream by Jeremy Rifkin. This book is 100% for wonks...every paragraph is a construction of harsh criticism buttressed by literally hundreds of surveys, polls, statistical analyses and plain screed-like rants. The author ( http://www.foet.org/JeremyRifkin.htm) is no crank; he's written over a dozen other books, including The Hydrogen Economy, which I also read three years back.
This book stings, friends. It's harsh enough to embarrass me, especially reading it on the subway on the way to work, wanting to swing it around and beat strangers with it. It's really a terrible indictment of America's Christian moral superiority, and how even our greed collapses in the face of it.
But let's not dwell on that. As I start to avoid the mean streets of Los Angeles more and more, even as the nostalgia of parting swirls through the palm trees, Dermot Mulroney said it all for me in the cheesy "Wedding Date", a movie that looks almost as sadistic as "The Night Porter": "I think I would miss you even if I'd never met you" (aw). What a romantic sentiment. Just for that I wish I could blast a distorted version of Sinead O'Connor doing "Nothing Compares 2 U" at you, friends, but I'll settle for a planetary Hallmark card instead:
"I Love You" in Many Languages
From Arabic to Zulu, find the way to say "I love you" in more than sixty languages. Simple site, perfect for finding a phrase for Valentine's Day or any romantic moment. From TravLang, a provider of language instruction and travel information.
Perhaps, friends, we should try and remember the graceful days when we danced more often this Valentine's Day (thanks, Miles):
Subject: How To Dance Properly...
Let's not think of all the heartbreak and all the ball-busting (seriously):
HA HA, I'll bet that woke you up. There's one country that I wouldn't flee to even if George W. Bush got on his Nazi uniform ("The Night Porter" is really informing this entire screed; I might have to rename it...) and that's England! Good Gawd, those people get dangerous when they're cornered! And they have a vicious sense of humo(u)r; how's about this society in London that wants to re-enact famous riots of English history...with a little contemporary inspiration (thanks, Ellen):
Bloody fucking English...maybe it's all the gak they've been whiffing down...and I can attest to this English vice:
Is there anything wrong with recreational drugs? The new head of Scotland Yard says there is. But, says Leo Benedictus, the rise of the middle class user will be difficult to stop
Rarely is the appointment of a new Metropolitan police commissioner so interesting. On his first day as Britain's most powerful policeman, Sir Ian Blair decided to let the nation in on a little secret: "People are having dinner parties where they drink less wine and snort more cocaine," he said. (How he knows this he didn't explain.) "I'm not interested in what harm it is doing to them personally," he continued, "but the price of that cocaine is misery on the streets of London's estates and blood on the roads to Colombia and Afghanistan." In other words: boycott cocaine. Just say "no thanks". Skip the charlie like you would pass the cheeseboard.
Nope, you won't even hear a joke like that outside of New York City or Los Angeles for the next decade. It's like the fall of Rome; there's a big party going on, but only the Romans know about it. Everywhere else, the barbarians are planning a big feast called the Dark Ages.
Here's how our hero from the last screed, Siddhartha, comes to what might be called satori along the banks of the river we last saw him at:
Siddhartha lauschte. Er war nun ganz Lauscher, ganz ins Zuhören vertieft, ganz leer, ganz einsaugend, er fühlte, daß er nun das Lauschen zu Ende gelernt habe. Oft schon hatte er all dies gehört, diese vielen Stimmen im Fluß, heute klang es neu. Schon konnte er die vielen Stimmen nicht mehr unterscheiden, nicht frohe von weinenden, nicht kindliche von männlichen, sie gehörten alle zusammen, Klage der Sehnsucht und Lachen des Wissenden, Schrei des Zorns und Stöhnen der Sterbenden, alles war eins, alles war ineinander verwoben und Yerknüpft, tausendfach verschlungen. Und alles zusammen, alle Stimmen, alle Ziele, alles Sehnen, alle Leiden, alle Lust, alles Gute und Böse, alles zusammen war die Welt. Alles zusammen war der Fluß des Geschehens, war die Musik des Lebens. Und wenn Siddhartha aufmerksam diesem Fluß, diesem tausendstimmigen Liede lauschte, wenn er nicht auf das Leid noch auf das Lachen hörte, wenn er seine Seele nicht an irgendeine Stimme band und mit seinem Ich in sie einging, sondern alle hörte, das Ganze, die Einheit vernahm, dann bestand das große Lied der tausend Stimmen aus einem einzigen Worte, das hieß Om: die Vollendung.
Siddhartha listened. He was now all ears, completely absorbed in his listening, completely empty, completely receptive; he felt that he had now learned all there was to learn about listening. Often before, he had heard all this, these many voices in the river, but today it sounded new. Already, he could no longer tell the many voices apart, not the happy ones from the weeping ones, not the ones of children from those of men; they all belonged together, the lament of longing and the laughter of the knowing one, the scream of rage and the moans of the dying; everything was one, everything was intertwined and knotted together, entangled a thousand ways. And everything together, all the voices, all the goals, all the longing, all the suffering, all the pleasure, all the good and evil, all of this together was the world. All of this together was the river of events, the music of life. And whenever Siddhartha listened attentively to that river, that song of a thousand voices, when he neither listened to the suffering nor the laughter, when he did not tie his soul to any particular voice and submerged his self into it, but instead heard them all, perceiving the whole, the oneness, then the great song of the thousand voices consisted of a single word, which was om: the absolute.
Yes, it's fun trying to suss out the truth. Here's one new truth that's spreading out there in the civilized world, but don't look for on the evening news here:
Attitudes About Homosexuality & Gay Marriage
This study, updated in December 2004, presents a compilation of polling data back to the 1970s about the acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage in the United States. Includes links to related material. Opens directly into a PDF document. From the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, a think tank "dedicated to preserving and strengthening the foundations of freedom limited government, private enterprise ... and a strong foreign policy and national defense."
On a completely different subject, my friends with children and homes lower than 20 metres above sea level can now plan further ahead. Oh, thanks, and don't look for this on the local news either (just the BBC):
Global Warming: Scientists Reveal Timetable
By Michael McCarthy
The Independent U.K.
A detailed timetable of the destruction and distress that global warming is likely to cause the world was unveiled yesterday.
Perhaps those kids will be smarter than us and do what has to be done:
The Short Path to Oil Independence
By Lester R. Brown
Environmental News Network
Gas-electric hybrids and wind power offer winning combination.
But anyway, I'm not holding my breath, at least not until I get through Canadian customs; I've sent along a nice image of Condoleezza Rice, fresh from her own European Dream, and a photo of some clueless Muslims that Adam sent from Paris way, way back in 2004...before we had our mass hysterical vision of THE END.
And finally...something completely different; a weird nonsense poem spam I received just yesterday:
From: Bailee BARNETT firstname.lastname@example.org
Buenos Dias, Jovanni!
some mind learned complete. which self lip-Read us quickly? victoriously wash drove their cover besides box. we hit a tired card into capital. softly. that mixed list through train, who found white, boiling mother. Evan let your physical circle. you slept Christian why linebred us Jenny! she misgave sad knee, who overran far... than slope spun protest, coast sped except their horse without equal moon:
"which it withheld them?"
"i misgave him dependent."
great drink church overleaped, we taught roughly, fondly, repeatedly. they overrode a chief anger over our bitter wave, which mislaid carelessly. your public machine outfought after a dress; medical, wide teaching. round cat book sand-cast, we cast loosely, seldom, merrily. we undid some male toe like my happy bed, that heard obediently. a great death learned beside her grass; short, simple support. what polish oversaw her soon? boastfully rule swelled his reason among turn. we grew its separate advertisement on pull. deliberately. she mislaid its loose low around this fertile shock, who had wearily. they sprang this stiff discovery except your sharp room, that outdrew never. i recast him great. Eddie overspread an bad train. we misdealt Kyla which awoke them Tamya! they strove this special feather from its boiling thumb, who hewed courageously. her hollow meeting pleaded within their thought; free, dependent person. rough river train slept, i underwent painfully, doubtfully, mortally. this different atom shaved excepting this shame; elastic, smooth story. we stall-fed that clean cause except our grey shock, which rebuilt busily. he spat me first. he quick-froze private bag, who lip-Read silently.
we wove your necessary company on that last self, that overbore poorly. a married pleasure abided unlike a cry; tall, bright duck. fixed column winter unwound, i waylaid selfishly, rightfully, fiercely. a possible bottle overstrew against the seat; complex, chemical box. she sawed the married break amid your dead behavior, that browbeat quickly. she showed it cold. you overbuilt married air, which mishit exactly...
fordid the round scissors,
Vive le screed and vive l'amour!
14 February 2005