The Friends of California Libre...

26 November 2005

Turkey, Ham and Corporate Greed Screed

Greetings, friends,
How nice to wake up the Saturday after Thanksgiving, a windy, sunny day, feeling like I dodged a holiday bullet (unlike Big Bird, thanks, Dr. Bays.) Maybe it's because, other than meeting the family for a low-key dinner celebrating our holocaust over the Indians, I've been hiding in my house for two days.

My Thanksgiving was more appropriately rewarded on Friday morning, watching video of a crowd of angry, fat Midwesterners attacking the entrance of a Wal-Mart somewhere in Michigan for the big opening day of the Christmas shopping war. Before some of my friends overseas start their snickering, I want you to notice how racially-integrated that crowd was. America truly is a melting pot, and let's celebrate that this Thanksgiving, where a person of any race, religion, gender, or sexual inclination can not only kill or be killed in the name of corporate greed abroad, but can kick the shit out of each other for the same cause at home. Excuse me, did I say CORPORATE GREED? I apologize, I must have meant they were kicking each other's ass to celebrate the BIRTH OF OUR SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST. Now I feel better.

I was also watching Mary Kate & Ashley lip-sync in front of Macy's that morning, which I think is the first time in 20 years I've bothered to watch any of that Parade in Honor of Corporate Greed (sorry, I'm on a roll here.) Since when did the Olson Twins start a band, and when are they playing at Spaceland? And second question, why do rich, attractive teenagers starve themselves to make themselves attractive to the poor Americans too fat and lazy to even go out shopping, instead watching the Macy's parade? Hmm. I also caught part of parade down State Street in Chicago, and I thought, ooh, that's looks COLD. There's one thing Los Angeles can say around Christmas: it might rain, and it might be 85 degrees, but it is definitely not going to snow.

On a positive note, I've told some of you and hope many others will make a trek to the Ed Ruscha show at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills, where you can pay your respects to one of LA's most maligned streets. In the early 1970s, Ruscha mounted a camera to the back of his truck and drove the length of Hollywood Boulevard back and forth, from the intersection at Sunset and Virgil to Sunset Plaza in the hills. What he created was two long panoramas (and I mean about 100 metres) of photographs capturing each side of the street. Then two years ago, Ruscha did the obvious and repeated the project, creating two new long panoramas. Displayed in a zig-zag (in a set of vitrines cleverly designed by Mr. Flagg), you can follow Hollywood Boulevard from end to end and compare what's changed, on both sides of the street, over 30 years. It doesn't sound like much, but I found it a refreshing and wonderful experience, and I recommend it highly to anyone who can get there. The Gagosian Gallery is open from 10 to 5.30 Tuesday through Saturday, and the Ruscha exhibition is up until Christmas Eve:

I needed a lift, because on the way to Beverly Hills, I drove past the Ambassador Hotel, which is well on its way to becoming just a memory in photographs of Los Angeles itself. Plenty of great hotels have fallen to the wrecking ball, but I doubt any so recently; most cities have realized that they could never afford to build anything so grand as some of the hotel and theatres built in the late 19th and early 20th century. Not Los Angeles; we are too far ahead of the curve. I can't blame the loss of the Ambassador Hotel on CORPORATE GREED, either. In this case, let's chalk it up to RACIAL POLITICS, which comes in a close second in California.

I was innocently driving down Wilshire Boulevard to look at the corpse of the Garden Apartments (aka HOTEL HELL) when I glanced to the left and there was the Ambassador, the Cocoanut Grove boarded up, the interior of the hotel gutted, and instead of windows there were empty black openings, the same shadow you see in the eye sockets of a skull. It was an unnerving sight. I know I should value the education of the city's youth more than a decrepit hotel that was closed for a decade, but the erasure of the Ambassador coincides with the death of the generation that built it, and to me that is too heavy a burden for even a city with LA's lack of conscience. I hope it's the last historic building I'll see demolished in the city, and not because I imagine they'll give up that sort of behavior, but I won't be around to be a witness.

Sigh, well, speaking of old traditions that need to be torn down, can I get a witness to the fact that two of my alma maters, USC and UCLA, will be duking it out next weekend, and although my loyalties are no secret, the best thing about this game is the week before, when upper-middle-class white college students under the influence of alcohol attack public property and pretend that they're the "best" college in Los Angeles. I would only have a dog in that fight if, perhaps, Thomas Aquinas College and Joseph Campbell's Pacifica Institute played a "fall classic". Now THERE'S a true battle, a rivalry fit for...okay, enough bullshit. I hope the University of Spoiled Children kicks the University of Creeps, Losers and Assholes right into the Pacific.
The "Jones: Rivalries 'R' Us" story is located at

The USC-UCLA rivalry would really merit some international attention if it was fought with gasoline bombs rather than license-plate frames. M. Steiner sends yet another interesting image from Paris, and I'm not sure Absolut wouldn't consider using it.

Paris is always much on my mind, especially so tonight as I saw both "M. Hulot's Holiday" and "Playtime". "Playtime" must be the "2001: A Space Odyssey" of French slapstick; I don't know if mes chers amis Parisiens would agree, but I don't think even a city as well memorialized as Paris could ask for more. Like New York City, I miss it in the winter, especially on crazy, windy nights when "Playtime" seems to come alive in the Hollywood traffic. What's that called, anyway, when you walk out of a movie and it leaves you with some kind of cultural residue for a few hours afterward? I know at least two of you out there have academic training in this regard.

The recent riots in France are going to stay with us, I think, until someone can explain the inexplicable. There is this interesting article about the causes of the unrest (thanks, Dr. Brad):

Or a slightly different explanation:
access the sent link: - Some link riots, France's colonial past*

Or another slightly different explanation:
Title: French lessons for us all
Intro: The riots reveal the political exhaustion of Europe.

Semantic Attacks: The War of Words in France
By Françoise Mouly

The world is going through some mean growing's been, what, an entire 13 years since we had a good riot in Los Angeles. They say that things are "getting back to normal" in France, because the number of cars being torched is dropping down to the average of a hundred a weekend! What! I tried to find how many cars are torched in LA on an average weekend, but if it's a hundred, the people at "Eyewitness News" are missing out. Can we take a survey? Is automobile burning a good way to let off steam and if so, is this a trend we can look forward to thanking our French friends for in the future?

Okay, please thank me for not ruining your Thanksgiving with the following tirade we'll call the Thanksgiving Story (thanks, Robert):

Then I'd like to throw in a few pedestrian myths about Thanksgiving:

And now for something completely different (which, BTW, has debuted in "txt world" as ANFSCD); it's a Korean cure for the "bird flu" (thanks, Geri):
I'm gettin' me some Kim Chee

Still on the Thanksgiving theme, you will enjoy this disgusting website for the "official home" of competitive eating, a sport I introduced young Charlie Weigel to last 4 July. I hope we get a least some "friendly" matches at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing; to say nothing of the 2016 Paris games (maybe, along with competitive molotov tossing; thanks, Mike):
International Federation of Competitive Eating, Inc.

Finally, on that oh-so-American way of eating over the sink:

If you can think it up, we can make a website for it. What a great century this will be remembered as in a thousand years...we hope.

I was going to ride the theme of CORPORATE GREED (or COPRATE GREEN as I first typed, but that's something awful). The last few weeks have been slow and, for me, a time for lack of sleep and stress. It's a "slow news day" as they say, but I see interesting things under the surface; shall we share?

In South America I see another attempt to rattle the chains and get George Bush's attention; I wish they would concentrate on getting their own shit together, as we say here in Calif.:
The Rise of America's New Enemy
By John Pilger
t r u t h o u t Perspective
Che's Second Coming?
By David Rieff
The New York Times

I do sincerely hope that these Bolivians can get their shit together, because unlike some places, the civilizations in Guatemala, Bolivia and Iraq reach back into prehistory and they should be leading by example...if they give a damn. Maybe the planet wants to play a role in the show now; or shouldn't this headline make you go, "huh?"
Mighty Amazon Close to Running Out of Water
The Sun-Herald, Australia

Don't believe it? Check out the enclosed photograph of this ferry near the mouth of the Amazon (thanks, Mike.) Yeah, with early snow in Europe and weird weather everywhere this year, it makes me think that even Iraq is going to slip onto page three next year.
The Big Thaw
By Geoffrey Lean
The Independent UK
No Escape: Thaw Gains Momentum
By Andrew C. Revkin
The New York Times

Indeed, even water-wasteful places like Las Vegas, Phoenix and Andalusia are starting to conserve. This gaudy bathroom in New Zealand could be the last of its kind...ever.

The muscle cars of the 1970s, like my dear Roach (car #3) are also disappearing into memory and collector's garages:
All Car, No Future
By Denis Baupin
It's up to the government to reduce our dependence on the automobile, a wound for our planet. The wrongdoings of "all car" are visible everywhere

Is it going to be like "Red Barchetta" (and I hope Lorinda is enough of a Canadian to get that reference)? Or is the 21st century going to look like "Soylent Green"?
Overpopulation: Partying as the Iceberg Looms
By Jim Lydecker
The Napa Valley Register

Ah, so many paths to disaster, but we human beings have always walked a narrow road, and we've gotten pretty close to wiping out an entire planet for 60 years, so I'm confident that we'll prevail in the end.
Thanksgiving Day 2005
Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t Perspective
Peak oil and Thanksgiving Day are now linked.

I mean, maybe enough people got the message and we won't end up at the point of no return; let's think positively for the Holidays.
GOP Removes Arctic Drilling from House Bill
By Jonathan Weisman
The Washington Post
Powering Down America: Local Government's Role in the Transition to a Post-Petroleum World
By Jennifer Bresee and David Room
Global Public Media

Or play devil's advocate; I'm such a stinker:
Kuwait Oil Field, World's Second-Largest, 'Exhausted'
By James Cordahi and Andy Critchlow
US Press for Reform Prompts Talk of Showdown at the UN
By Warren Hoge
The New York Times

I was very pleased with this bit of news, which disappeared off the radar in this country, but by regulating every chemical that could affect a living body, will affect our future profoundly:
Parliament Backs New EU Law on Toxic Chemicals

My dear European friends, this Thanksgiving I'd like to thank you for living up to expectations:
Italian F1 racer has driving license revoked for speeding

'I'm too sexy' says tennis king Federer

I would be glad to put the future of these communications into their hands (thanks, Peter):
Who Will Control the Internet?
Interesting bit here:

Note that the old USC hippie, John "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" Postel, died of a heart attack during the phasing out of his single-handed control of the Internet.
The Internet Under Control
Le Monde Editorial

I want you to seize and hold the High Moral Ground, because very few people in this country, it seems, even care to:
Analysis: Row over CIA Camps Heats Up in Europe
By Gareth Harding
United Press International

If you do have a hard winter, I hope you will do better than we did in New Orleans:
FEMA Gives Eviction Notice to 150,000 Staying in Hotels
By Spencer S. Hsu
The Washington Post
SPIEGEL ONLINE, 11/15/2005
Using Illegal Labor to Clean Up after Katrina: Gulf Coast Slaves
Halliburton and its subcontractors hired hundreds of undocumented Latino workers to clean up after Katrina -- only to mistreat them and throw them out without pay.
By Roberto Lovato in New Orleans and Gulfport, Miss.,1518,385044,00.html
Gulf Coast Slaves
By Roberto Lovato

Or at least hope for a miracle:
Islanders on Cozumel pray to Jesus image on plant pot

Vive le screed!

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