The Friends of California Libre...

27 September 2005

Is it Sporty Forty or Warty Forty?

Greetings, friends,
I hope a few of you were able to catch the first part of Scorcese's documentary about Bob Dylan. Not only was it great to see the old fox in his leather jacket, still trying to obfuscate what he was really up to in the Sixties, but it's comforting to be reminded how fucking great Pete Seeger is, and how cute Bob and Joan Baez were together. If you missed it, you get another chance Tuesday (and for years afterward, if we still have a PBS after Katrina.) Put on "Masters of War" nice and loud and ruminate over the last time we had a government teetering on the edge (thanks, Mike):

Too bad I couldn't get more of my own Burning Man going on out in the desert last weekend, but I've enclosed some snaps to prove that, yeah, 40 years of listening to Bob Dylan won't slow you down. My European friends shouldn't be too impressed...I mean, that volcano is only about 85 metres, and the dead European cinder cone of Croagh Padraig, which defeated me in 2001, is 760 metres. And the weather is naturally worse. But we had perfect days of blue sky for hiking and dark nights for melting glass and cooking meat. You'll have to come out and try it sometime, and owe it like me to the good taste of Mr. Rhoades.

Sorting out these photos got me going through my other photographs, some of which have piled up in the "in" folder on my delicate computer since my Spanish adventure of 2003. So I've been having a great time reliving great moments in Sevilla, Wien, Paris, Ticino, Tirol, Languedoc and the gem of Venezia. It's a good way to spend your birthday, I think, whether it's sporty or warty. You get all nostalgic and then so disgusted with yourself there's no where to go but FORWARD. Then you must remember Louis' answer to the question: "Hey, Uncle Lou, what's it like to be in your forties?" to which he barked, "NO CONSCIENCE!" And I remember telling that to a nervous German laser designer three weeks before his fortieth birthday, who asked, "Can I start NOW?"

Hell, why not. I was able to eject my conscience by the age of 17, and was rightly punished by being prematurely aged in my twenties. Remember what Elle MacPherson said about turning forty: "It's not scary at all. The alternative is not turning 40 and then what would that mean?"

PS Speaking of premature aging, sorry if anyone went to Nouvelle Vague at the Bowl and couldn't find me, but I was sleeping (or drinking) off a cold. Thanks to kindly Dr. Bays I was spending my days before Dylan listening to Nouvelle Vague and Tahiti 80, but I couldn't rouse myself to shiver in the dark to hear them in person. I'm just not that French (and they don't let you smoke at the Bowl.)

One thing I'd like to support in my new conscience-less forties is more personal freedom, even if we have to kick some ass. That means, yes, grow that marijuana plant in your back porch, put a radar detector on the dash of your car and if you're gay, get married and suffer along with my friends high in the Santa Monica Mountains (thanks, Ana):
Details: As you know, the legislature approved gender-neutral marriage in California this week. Please help show your support so the Governor does not veto the bill!!
<> Call 1.916.445.2841 right away please; its the Governors Office. Once you call, press 2 Then press 1, Then press 1 again, and your vote to support it will be recorded! The whole process is automated and takes about 10 seconds.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations establishes that all people have the right to self-determination and national sovereignty.

And here's a biggie: support your friends in New Orleans by bringing them money for Mardi Gras (28 February 2006). I'm going, and let's see who'll put aside their timidity to make a three hour plane flight, since y'all couldn't do a three-hour drive. I'll find a good hotel and I know a Hurricane that even Decatur Street can't withstand.

Because, you see, New Orleans will return faster than you thought, and people can live through anything:
Strippers help tease back New Orleans nightlife

New Orleans wakes up and smells the _mocha frappuccino

It starts with jokes and ends up as a Movie-of-the-Week:
Leading Contaminants In New Orleans Water

Throw in some conspiracy theory about dynamited levees and a super-secret weather machine (thanks, Geri):

Dust the drama with a nauseating smell of the truth:
Global Warming 'Past the Point of No Return'
By Steve Connor
The Independent UK
Katrina Shakes Global Faith in US
By Pueng Vongs
Pacific News Service
Speculators Rushing In as the Water Recedes
By David Streitfeld
The Los Angeles Times

And don't forget how good George Bush's brother had it last year in Florida:
FEMA Chief Brown Paid Millions in False Claims to Help Bush Win Florida Votes
By Jason Leopold
The Free Press

And how good these dirtbags will have it, even within the lovely home state of their family:
Hurricane Aid Used 'to Test Out Right-Wing Social Policies'
By Julian Borger
The Guardian UK

But trust me, Port Arthur will be rebuilt long before the Crescent City:
Tragedy in Black and White
By Paul Krugman
The New York Times
By three to one, African-Americans believe that federal aid took so long to arrive in New Orleans in part because the city was poor and black. By an equally large margin, whites disagree.

I only hope Robert is right and New Orleans sparks the same fire that burnt San Francisco in 1906, Paris in 1870 and Mexico City in 1985, and that was the destruction of three rigid, corrupt governments (thanks, Andrea):
Cultural Politics: Art Born of Outrage in the Internet Age
The tradition of responding culturally to terrible events may be making a comeback, with the help of the Internet.
or get the noise straight from the source:

And even on video (thanks, Sergei):
Definitely worth a look. This is a remix with video called "George BushDon't Like Black People". Go here:

ANYWAY, that's enough ranting for now. Let's enjoy the beginning of autumn, cool breezes and blue skies filling with clouds, Orion getting higher in the east and the sun living in those balanced scales of Libra.

Here's some screedable nuggets I've been collecting about technology and how we might actually save this pretty planet of ours, Katrina or not. First, signs that progressive, ponderous bureaucracy might be better for the environment than rampant, sexual capitalism:
EU to Push for Energy Conservation
Link to article:
Your Planet: The Case for Rationing
By Mayer Hillman
The Independent UK
If we think we can stave off climate catastrophe simply by raising public awareness, we are deceiving ourselves, says Mayer Hillman. The truth is, only urgent and ruthless government action will do.

It helps encourage a lot of other unorthodox thinking:
Dutch Reporter to Use Heroin, Pot on TV

Remember us here in California, my dear friends across the ocean, because with the Canadians we're trying to surround the beast and cut it off from the sea:
Sunrise from the West
By David Hochschild
The defeat in the California legislature of the bipartisan Million Solar Roofs bill earlier this month was a big blow, but the initiative - and the broader spirit behind it - are carrying on, says David Hochschild, director of policy at Vote Solar Initiative, a nonprofit working to bring solar energy into the mainstream. Here, Hochschild shares his take in an op-ed written for Grist:

Not that any of our feeble thrashing matters over the eons (thanks, Dr. Brad):
Dolphins Evolve Opposable Thumbs
'Oh, Shit,' Says Humanity

Just remember how good we had it in the past:
The Worst Jobs in History
"In this website, we take you on a journey through 2,000 years of British history and the worst jobs of each era." Features humorous descriptions of jobs such as Roman gold miner, leech collector, fishwife, and child chimney sweep. Also includes information about current offbeat careers, and links to related sites. From Great Britain's Channel 4 Television.

Who knows? Although she's already there, Geri knows we can go faster than the speed of light, or disappear completely:
es possiblé...
plus "how to make things invisible" (scroll to link at the bottom)

We can paint the world with an image of itself:
['Magic brush' paints visual world]
Kimiko Ryokai, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab, has developed the I/O Brush with a tiny video camera at its tip for recording colors and textures directly from the surrounding environments and transfering them onto large digital screens...

Maybe we'll all be able to buy fresh food everyday:
The Vertical Farm
Discussion about the need for "vertical farms," a new approach to indoor farming. It is envisioned that such farms will be "efficient (cheap to construct and safe to operate) ... many stories high, [and] will be situated in the heart of the world's urban centers." The site features an essay, plans, and designs. From a professor and students at Columbia University.

We could communicate in broadband across vast distances:
WIMAX Replaces WI-FI?
Please click on the link to see the corresponding content:

Free Wi-Fi? Get Ready for GoogleNet.

And finally, how about this for nifty (and intrusive) technology...maybe we're better off going back to the Dark Ages:

UC Berkeley scientists were able to recover up to 96% of actual text by feeding the recorded sound of typists into computers and utilize the algorithms to regenerate the texts...

Vive le screed!

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