The Friends of California Libre...

10 February 2006

The Olympic Theme Drowns Out the Sound of Bullets

Greetings, friends,
How did this sunny week start off here in LA, darlinks? Monday I came into work a little early, interesting because then I read these:
FEB 6 'Sickie' day of the year for Scots
By Simon Houston
Calling in sick

And yes, for real, three people called in sick that day, and one of them was Scottish. Well, that just demonstrates how strange this life is, in a banal way.

Even though the Santa Anas are blowing and the fires are kicking up early, I'm trapped in dark places...indoors...apartment...subway...library...subway...apartment. It's nice to be so busy but it can kill a good California tan; maybe that's why cycling to work always puts the zap on me, sailing through the 8 AM sunshine across the Shakespeare Bridge, and yeah, you can almost see the Pacific Ocean over yonder. What reason to I have to complain about anything, friends, when winter is so lovely? I couldn't even get worked up enough to light a Danish flag on fire.

Why, you ask, would Joel burn a Danish flag, when he's only burnt 4 American ones (although if given a Mexican flag, he will be tempted)?

Here's where the head is at, like it matters: I just finished Sue Kaufman's Diary of a Mad Housewife from 1967, and it lived up to my high expectations as one of the first and best of the pill-popping feminist supernovels...those who've known me for a long time will recall my insatiable taste for such novels (like Scruples and Valley of the Dolls) when I was just a wee Berkeley student. Nothing makes me feel so American...the crazy actions in Central Park, the bratty kids, the afternoon "affaire", even the husband rattling a list of fashion's pure Upper West Side trash. I feel closer to New York and closer to the Sixties.

Now I'm killing subway time reading William Rivière's By the Grand Canal, a rather overthought and typically English expatriate novel about a British diplomat who leaves his boring wife to party and fuck around in post-World War I Venice...I'd have given up on it by now, but the descriptions of Venice are just SO lovely...ah, my Venezia, even vapid descriptions of the sun sparkling in your canals is enchanting. I'll give it another 100 pages, but if the 50+ protagonist has sex with any Italian woman younger than 30...bang! in the bookdrop it goes.

Anyway, Winter Olympics number 20 is underway in pretty Torino, and in the spirit of international dialogue, I believe we should all watch as much as our local broadcasters will permit. Part of manifesting my indoor life, of course, grabs onto any opportunity to sit in the dark and watch such alien thrills as downhill racing and speed skating. This year I expect to see angry Norwegians, pissed off that those "people from another century" are burning down their embassies and shooting at their countrymen, challenge the field. I don't give them much chance, natch, with an overhyped American team and the always balls-out nutty Men and Women of Tirol on the slopes. As for speed skating, I'll just say this: graceful 180 cm Dutch girls with rock-hard thighs. All bicyclists appreciate speed skating.

As for Torino, it looks much better in winter than it did last spring, when I drove through on the way to Switzerland:

But just to dive into the overthought "outdoors" portion of this SCREED, here's one in those..."No shit"...categories; how about the end of the TELEGRAM:
No Morse; The days of Western Union knocking on the door are over.
Tom Standage. Los Angeles Times Los Angeles

By the time you get this e-mail, this excellent adventure will have come to a satisfactory conclusion, the solo flight of the "Global Flyer":

And then this kind of blew my mind:
Cronkite: Time for US to Leave Iraq
By David Bauder
The Associated Press

For those who don't know, when "the most trusted man in America", uncle Walt, announced that we were losing the war in Vietnam, President Lyndon Johnson supposedly got wildly drunk and screamed in agony, "My Gawd, if we lost Cronkite we lost the goddang country" (or something like that.) Well, I doubt President George Bush gives two shits what Walter Cronkite thinks, or anybody else. I'm not even sure he cares what AMERICA thinks, because He is Lord, and let His will be done.

Notice I'm dropping the "W" from Georgie's name, 'cause frankly from now on I think he earned the right to be "the George", while his dad gets relegated the "George H.W. Bush" moniker. Besides, I think he derives too much pleasure from the Texan "Dubya"...he's just another GEORGE to me.

Losing Cronkite means nothing to the Agent of Jesus Christ on Earth:
War's Stunning Price Tag
By Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz
The Los Angeles Times
Iraq, the Mother of All Budget Busters
By David Isenberg
Asia Times

He sets an example for the whole country:
US Savings Rate Sinks to Lowest since Great Depression
By Philip Thornton
The Independent UK

And we can all go to hell as far as he and his friends are concerned...literally if possible:
No Remorse
By Derrick Z. Jackson
The Boston Globe
Tale of Two Presidents
By Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey
Bush Is at War with Americanism
By David Michael Green
The Albany Times Union

As some have put so eloquently (thanks, Mrs. Chance):
Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., who is black, was asked on public TV about the president. "Well, I really think that he shatters the myth of white supremacy once and for all."

And he cornered himself on televison at Coretta Scott King's funeral:
Trapped Like a Rat
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t Perspective

Of course, the other 90% of the world not directly ruled by President Bush must be missing the joke, since they just see the military invasions and none of the inane television speeches:
The gap between U.S. rhetoric and reality
International Herald Tribune
The U.S. cannot afford to use the rhetoric of spreading democracy as an excuse for avoiding dealing with pressing national grievances and wishes.

I mean, how fucking bad to you have to be to have an Englishman hold you up against a Frenchman?
Bush Just Has to Face It: He Is Wrong and Chirac Is Right
By Jonathan Steele
The Guardian UK

Now, let me interject that M. Chirac has some unusual idea of his own...if you read French, you might enjoy his offer to become the nuclear shield of the EU:
You can access it at the following url:

That's not all the English are moving closer to the French about, though:
Britain Could Start Pulling Out of Iraq in May, US General Reveals
By Ben Russell and Terri Judd
The Indpendent UK

How pissed off was this Englishman?
Message in bottle: 'Don't litter!'

Then there are our friends in Italy, who might see hosting the Olympics and occupying another country somehow hypocritical:
Italy to Begin Iraq Troop Withdrawal

And here's the biggest Italian lie of the century:
Berlusconi Vows No Sex Until Voting

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it's America crashing on the shoals of its own ambition! Oh no!
Study: Army Stretched to Breaking Point
By Robert Burns
The Associated Press

One American way of dealing with bad news: Science fiction!
These Weapons That Won't Kill, but Will Continue to Frighten
By Jérôme Fenoglio and Piotr Smolar
Le Monde
CIA Expands Use of Drones in Terror War
By Josh Meyer
The Los Angeles Times

I have a bit of bad news, friends; science fiction isn't going to help any of us deal with the Persians, who I think are making a play to be James Bond's next nemesis. My friend Monde notes, and I agree, that the Persians have bigger weapons against us than A-bombs. What happens if they start princing their oil in euros instead of dollars? Think about it...

Beating Around the Bush By the Bourse

Nope, the Persians are going to bring the 21st century to a head early:
Iran and the Balance of Power: 'Of Course We Have the Right to the Bomb'
Iran is determined in its effort to develop a nuclear bomb. If it succeeds it will become the major power in the Middle East. The last hope for a deal appears to be in the hands of Moscow, which is in the dubious position of negotiating with Tehran while at the same time
building nuclear facilities for Iran and providing the weapons to
defend them.
By Dieter Bednarz, Hans Hoyng and Walter Mayr,1518,398087,00.html
Juggernaut Gathering Momentum, Headed for Iran
By Ray McGovern
t r u t h o u t Perspective
Report: Israeli Air Force Trained for Iran Attack
The Jerusalem Post
The Iran Crisis: 'Diplomacy' as a Launch Pad for Missiles
By Norman Solomon
t r u t h o u t Perspective
Iran Sanctions Could Drive Oil Past $100
By Brad Foss and George Jahn
The Associated Press

Well, I like to end on an "up" note, but the best I can do this time is to look forward to a time...yeah...when we can all escape to outer space!
Artist paints worlds no one has ever seen

Sci fi rocks, and vive le screed!

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