The Friends of California Libre...

13 March 2007

Spring Forward and Move to Higher Ground

Greetings, friends,
The first heat wave of this year-of-our-globally-warmed 2007 has struck in Los Angeles, and unfortunately for me, in anticipation of being in the cool, just-above-sea-level Bay Area, I gave away my fan last fall. Well, better that a rotten person like me swelter in the heat of my megalopolis and my own bridge-burning, eh, the scale of which would shock even my oldest friends. The course ahead always looks straight, but behind me it's very crooked, indeed, and whenever you tell me what a nice, generous person I am, I must smirk out of embarrassment, friends, for the ice water I can summon in my veins. Message to my two innocent young wards: THAT'S LIFE. Get a DVD player and Netflix for the rough patches. Yet I'm strangely enjoying this new round of solitude, and I repeat to my oldest friends, hidden away in their own punishment corners, the nah-nah truth that NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED. That is the Gene Scott moral of the story, right at the beginning. Thank you and good night.

Well, hopefully most of you have no idea what I am talking about. Good for you and remember to brush your teeth before you go to bed. Here is a more elegant version as parsed by Mrs. Dorothy Parker, who has been much on my mind lately:
Symptom Recital
I do not like my state of mind;
I'm bitter, querulous, unkind.
I hate my legs, I hate my hands,
I do not yearn for lovelier lands.
I dread the dawn's recurrent light;
I hate to go to bed at night.
I snoot at simple, earnest folk.
I cannot take the gentlest joke.
I find no peace in paint or type.
My world is but a lot of tripe.
I'm disillusioned, empty-breasted.
For what I think, I'd be arrested.
I am not sick, I am not well.
My quondam dreams are shot to hell.
My soul is crushed, my spirit sore;
I do not like me any more.
I cavil, quarrel, grumble, grouse.
I ponder on the narrow house.
I shudder at the thought of men....
I'm due to fall in love again.

If I seem a little daffy, it's only because this morning I had a heaping bowl of HEMP GRANOLA cereal...and I still have the spins! Just kidding. It's very tasty and parents, you can feel confident that in feeding it to your children, they won't skip to school, laughing uncontrollably. The hippie cereal manufacturers even explain on the back of the box, at enormous length, that hemp IS NOT marijuana. I gotta tell you, however, that when I opened the box it smelled like somebody broke out a HUGE BOMBER in my kitchen. Also, five minutes after finishing the first bowl, I suddenly had a craving for another. Goddess, I may be sick of LA, but I LOVE living in California.

A film celebrating the rationality of art or the lack thereof, "Montewood Hollyverità" by my friend and former employer Una Szeemann, will be screened at 7 PM on 16 March (Friday) in the Daniel Hug Gallery, 510 Bernard (the street between Hill and Broadway by the Phoenix Bakery in Chinatown.) If you don't know where the Phoenix Bakery is, you can ask, but you really should know these things.

Also, some of you must remember Van, the artist who lived across from the Soriano House on Reservoir (in the "cactus" house...remember the 1990s?) Well, Van has resurfaced in Baltimore under the name Loring Cornish (click on the picture for a wild ride; I LOVE VR panoramas!):
He's also having an opening here in So Cal on Saturday, 24 March from 4-7 PM at:
New Visions
1122 S. Rimpau (just south of Olympic & east of La Brea)
Like I told Mrs. Lightwood, I'm so vapid and transparent now, I'm not going to see the art, but see who shows up. So shoot me.

I give all credit to my artist friends, because it just ain't easy:
Art slashed by suffragette sold
Thieves make surprise cash withdrawal from art gallery

But life sucks everywhere. Now get a job.

Anyway, here is some terrific news (if you have a broadband connection): Vice magazine finally has their "Internet TV" station netcasting! I've been watching for a few days; not bad, the video quality is good, better than YouTube, and has a good variety of content, not too snarky or too strident. So far I've enjoyed some music videos, live "Dos and Don'ts", a laid-back guy interviewing people in Bolivia about the coca trade, a heavy metal band in Baghdad, how to hop a train to Vegas, and a few of Vice's infamous "travel guides" to places such as Beirut and Pakistan. I know you have a lot of choices but I recommend checking this out in your "down" time:

As a cutting-edge librarian, I'm always interested in cutting-edge information sources, and I believe sites like these will soon replace dry, dead newspapers. It won't replace the Boob Tube, simply because there is not enough bandwidth for all of us to watch TV through a computer as we watch through the cable or, instead crass TV will be pushed away in favor of Internet vid and gaming, methinks, although someone who watches only the occasional PBS documentary or some awful tween show with my friends' kids, may be spouting crap.

Whereas it was once rare, you can now fill up all your "regular" TV time with Internet TV! How else could you watch the morning news in Kurdistan (which I did last night: no headscarves on the women and they talk about Iraq like another country)? Then I transported back to my hotel room on the Rue Daval, watching France 24, and then like I was back in America, fully dude, watching "COMBAT TV" (not what you think):

This site provides links to a selection of "free online TV channels from around the world." Organized by language. Listings link directly to the programming, and indicate which media player is necessary to view the content. Provided by a software company.

Which reminds me, 2007 will go down as the first year EVER that I didn't watch the Academy Awards. I didn't even care. I'm telling you, I love this new life of mine. I just need a cat and aluminum foil on my windows.

I've also become hooked on yet another Korean historical drama. This one, "Dae Joyeong", is about a real figure who led a rebellion against the occupying Chinese Tang Dynasty in the late 7th century, and is full of splendid Chinese, alarmed by the wild, angry Koreans, and even wilder Khitans, the Mongol people who switched sides between the Chinese and Koreans as it suited them. Naturally Dae is already smitten with a sexy Khitan (!) who also likes to switch sides, alternating between come-hither glares and outright attempts to kill him. The first two episodes were full of yelling and violence, and I'm looking forward to more; unlike Japanese samurai dramas, the Korean women have just as much fun killing as their boys. Woo!

It's also educational; I have learned, for example, that the conflict between North and South Korea did NOT start in 1945, but is as old as 300 BCE, or about the time of Alexander the Great.

It's also time for MARCH MADNESS, so if you are willing, pop by for a swig and a smoke, eh? I'm somewhat reluctantly picking Florida U. for the repeat, but I'm making a few dangerous guess, like maybe Duke getting knocked out before the Sweet Sixteen.
The recommended page is:
Report: Almost Nobody Raped During Duke's First Lacrosse Match

I've also got some YOUTUBE entertainment of my own for you. First, Rodney Bingenheimer Finally Gets His Star!

Turn up the speakers! You will need to click on PLAY ALL VIDEOS (or click the big PLAY arrow) to get the full concert experience of these playlists (I've arranged the songs in order). Here's Lene Lovich at Liverpool University in 1979:

And for those who knew me as a teenager and wondered where I got my strange New Wave dance moves, here's my role model, the immeasurably cute Clare Grogan, bopping with Altered Images in Glasgow, 1982:


And on to the screed....the vernal equinoxe is a mere week away, night and day hang in balance, winter burns away (and summer looks mighty, mighty hot.) Easter is right behind. In my usual Lenten pause, it's a good time to clear the head and reflect, and brudder, I've got plenty of time.

Once again the perilous state of the planet is much on my mind. I take the attitude that, as a Californian, I'm blessed; either we lead the world into a new environmental balance, or we have one of the best parties when everything goes to shit. Either way, it's great sitting here on the Pacific Rim. Seriously though, a good site to keep up on the innovations and problems of our confusing world (especially if you have curious kids) is:


This interactive "educational resource about Earth, oceans and the environment" features presentations and animations on topics such as Southern California weather and earthquakes, science of the sea floor, tsunamis, global change and global warming, geologic time, and tides and waves. Also includes links to related websites with news, images, maps, data, teaching tools, activities, and more. From the Geosciences Research Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.

Even more useful, you can find your own neighborhood sludge pit:

EPA Superfund Site Locator

Here's a useful tool for those that work with EPA data.
"If you want to know how close you are to a Superfund waste site then use this. Integrates the EPA Superfund XML to allow anyone to quickly and easily find the nearest Superfund Sites to their home address or a location of interest."

Sigh, remember how pissed off we used to get about ground pollution in our neighborhoods? Those were the days of petty problems.
Warmest January Ever Recorded Worldwide in 2007: US Scientists
Agence France-Presse
The National Climate Data Center reports that 2006 was the fifth-hottest year since recordkeeping began in 1890. The global average temperature has risen 0.7 degrees since the beginning of the 20th century, with the majority of the increase occurring since 1976. 2006 was the hottest year in the United Kingdom since 1659, in the Netherlands since 1706, and in Denmark since 1768. Russia experienced the warmest winter day since 1957 and one of the warmest winter periods since the 1870s. Bears in the Moscow Zoo and Bulgaria are not hibernating. Australia is in the midst of the worst drought in about 1,000 years.
Global Warming: The Final Verdict
By Robin McKie
The Observer UK
UN Panel Blames Humans for Warming
By Alister Doyle
Panel Sees Centuries of Warming Due to Humans
By Elisabeth Rosenthal and Andrew C. Revkin
The New York Times
Antarctic Ozone Layer 90 to 99 Percent Gone
Agence France-Presse
Climate Change Impact More Extensive Than Thought
By Volker Mrasek
Der Spiegel
Global Warming: The Vicious Circle
By Steve Connor
The Independent UK

Our most northern citizens have finally found a way to get the attention of the Fed; yep, through litigation:
Inuit Accuse US of Destroying Their Way of Life With Global Warming
By Andrew Buncombe
The Independent UK
Climate-Change Victims Chip Away US Procrastination
By Megan Tady
The NewStandard
Global Warming Is Human Rights Issue: Nobel Nominee
By Deborah Zabarenko

They have every right to be pissed, because the consequences of global warming are manifesting with a frightening regularity now:
Disappearing World: Global Warming Claims Tropical Island
By Geoffrey Lean
The Independent UK
Indonesia May Lose 2,000 Islands to Climate Change

The second largest metropolitan area in California is at risk; both airports and major infrastructure in every coastal port could be submerged within our lifetimes:

Consequences of a Rising Bay/Global Warming: New Set of Maps Reveals How Melting Polar Ice Could Change Shoreline and Carry a High Price for the Entire Region

These February 2007 maps, "which the Bay Conservation and Development Commission prepared for The Chronicle, offer a detailed look at how a changing shoreline would affect life around the [San Francisco] bay." Includes a map showing current shoreline and potential shoreline if bay rises one meter, and detailed maps for specific areas, such as Oakland Airport and the South Bay. Also includes link to related article. From, website for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Under Water by 2100? Risk of the Rising Sea
By Mike Taugher
The San Jose Mercury News

Europe is in peril:
EU: Climate Change Will Transform the Face of the Continent
By Michael McCarthy and Stephen Castle
The Independent UK
Experts: Alps Glaciers Will Melt by 2050
By William J. Kole
The Associated Press

South America:
Great Andean Glacier "Will Melt to Nothing by 2012"
By Mark Henderson
The Times UK

And of course, both poles:
By 2040, Greenhouse Gases Could Lead to an Open Arctic Sea in Summers
By Andrew C. Revkin
The New York Times
"Ice shelf collapse sends chill"
Ice Shelf Collapse Sends Chill
By Margaret Munro
CanWest News
Huge Lakes and Rivers Found Under Antarctic Ice News

Literally thousands of scientists are part of the International Polar Year, travelling north and south to learn how the next century might pan out:
New Search for Global Warming at Poles
By Peter N. Spotts
The Christian Science Monitor

The creatures we share the Earth with have an answer already:
Exotic Animals Seen Where Antarctic Ice Used to Be
By Deborah Zabarenko
Climate Change vs. Mother Nature: Scientists Reveal That Bears Have Stopped Hibernating
By Geneviève Roberts
The Independent UK
The Basics: China's River Dolphin Declared Extinct
By Andrew C. Revkin
The New York Times
Japan Meeting Seeks to Save Tuna From Extinction
By Elaine Lies
Mercury Found in All Fish Tested in the American West
By Richard L. Hill
The Oregonian
Honeybees Vanish, Leaving Crops and Keepers in Peril
By Alexei Barrionuevo
The New York Times

Environmentalists are forced underground:
Pirates Stick By Whales
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t Columnist

Our government proposes ridiculous solutions:
FDA Set to OK Food From Cloned Animals
By Libby Quaid
The Associated Press

But the end result will be the same if nothing is done; another species on the brink of extinction:
Millions to Go Hungry by 2080: Report
By Rob Taylor
How Global Warming Goes Against the Grain
By Martin Mittelstaedt
The Globe and Mail

We also have another hurricane season to worry over:
Hurricane Center Chief Issues Final Warning
By Carol J. Williams
The Los Angeles Times

Perhaps the answer is in the stars (thanks, Geri):
Subject: Friday conspiracy fun
Who's Controlling our Weather?
UFO science key to halting climate change: former Canadian defense minister

The American Government rejects sensible answers...
White House Rejects Mandatory CO2 Caps
By John Heilprin
The Associated Press

Whatever the truth...
Official Report Says US CO2 to Rise by 20 Percent
By Ed Pilkington
The Guardian UK

Favors another ridiculous plan...
US Urges Scientists to Block Out Sun
By David Adam and Liz Minchin
The Sydney Morning Herald AU

Or resorts to lies:
Scientists Offered Cash to Dispute Climate Study
By Ian Sample
The Guardian UK
Bush Administration Accused of Doctoring Scientists' Reports on Climate Change
By Suzanne Goldenberg
The Guardian UK
Memos Tell Officials How to Discuss Climate
By Andrew C. Revkin
The New York Times

Any access to the truth, no matter how obscure, is too much for them:

Restructuring EPA's Libraries: Background and Issues for Congress

Text of the January 3, 2007, CRS (Congressional Research Service) Report for Congress about issues related to the closing of several libraries administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Includes a list of EPA libraries and operating status, funding in the 2007 budget, and review of restructuring plans. Opens directly into a PDF document. From the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). Note: "The Congressional Research Service does not make its publications directly available online."
EPA Gets an Earful on Library Closures
By Robert McClure
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Why Are EPA Libraries Closing?
By Christopher Moraff
In These Times

My friends in Europe are lucky to have more sense coming from on high:
Europe Passes Tough Chemical Law
By Marla Cone
The Los Angeles Times
EU Drafts Plan to Battle Global Warming, Sets Binding Targets for Switch to Green Energy
By Paul Ames
The Associated Press
EU Leaders Agree to Cut Greenhouse Gases
By Paul Ames
The Associated Press
Europe Acts to Penalize Jet Pollution
By James Kanter
The New York Times
EU to Urge "New Industrial Revolution" in Energy
By Marcin Grajewski
European Union Proposes Cleaner, More Competitive Energy Market
By James Kanter
The New York Times
Carbon-Offsetting: All Credit to Them
By James Hopkirk
The Independent UK

On the contrary, everything about our lifestyle is destructive:
Long US Work Hours Are Bad for the Environment, Study Shows
By Mark Weisbrot
t r u t h o u t Report

And in general, we are proud of it:
Why Americans Are Skeptical of Their Role in Global Warming
By Sara Goudarzi

We take a small step forward...
House Creates Global Warming Committee
By Jim Abrams
The Associated Press

...and a leap back:
Congress OKs Drilling off Florida
By Zachary Coile
The San Francisco Chronicle
Study Sees Harmful Hunt for Extra Oil
By Carola Hoyos
The Financial Times

Bush emphasizes a dead end:
As Biofuels Boom, Will More Go Hungry?
By Ruth Gidley
Brazil's Ethanol Push Could Eat Away at Amazon
The Associated Press

The rest of the world seeks a more permanent solution. First, start with your children:
All Schools in England to See Al Gore Climate Film

Pick off the easy, low-hanging fruit (I've been doing this since 1994 and it is EASY):
Australia Pulls Plug on Old Bulbs
BBC News

Even in repressive states, systemic change begins:
Chinese Prime Minister Deplores Growth-Provoked Excesses
By Bruno Philip
Le Monde

For obvious reasons:
Asian Air Pollution Affecting Weather
By Robert Lee Hotz
The Los Angeles Times

But in the US, we have to fight from the ground up, starting with each city we live in:
Nickels Warns US Senate to Not Rein In Cities Fighting Global Warming
By Charles Pope
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

We Californians are fortunate to live in a progressive state, and along with our friends in Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Baja, a progressive bioregion:
State of the State: Bold Move on Global Warming
By Greg Lucas
The San Francisco Chronicle
Western States Agree to Cut Greenhouse Gases
By Juliet Eilperin
The Washington Post
Schwarzenegger Forges Greenhouse Gas Alliance With US States
Agence France Presse

Even the people responsible for the mess, the industrialists themselves, don't want to see their beachfront homes sink and their ski resorts melt away:
Wall Street Adds Climate Change to Bottom Line
By Ron Scherer
The Christian Science Monitor
Warming Law Applies Pressure to Industries
By Glen Martin
The San Francisco Chronicle

British Petroleum decided to whore out one of my almas:
BP selects UC Berkeley to lead $500 million energy research consortium
Global energy firm BP announced today (Thursday, Feb. 1) that it has selected the University of California, Berkeley, in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to lead an unprecedented $500 million research effort to develop new sources of energy and reduce the impact of energy consumption on the environment.

What the Energy Biosciences Institute means for UC Berkeley ­ and the world

Our major electrical utility can see the writing on the wall:
Southern California Edison Signs Biggest US Wind Contract
By Bernie Woodall

Even the most brazen environmental polluter in the US...
Exxon Valdez Oil Persists off Alaska Coast
The Associated Press
Exxon Mobil Cultivates Global Warming Doubt
By Deborah Zabarenko

...finally comes around eventually.
Exxon Cuts Ties to Global Warming Skeptics

As we know here on the West Coast, there's even a fortune to be made in being green:
$25 Million Offered in Climate Challenge
By Kevin Sullivan
The Washington Post

In truth, we Californians should be optimists; other than the easy steps (GO GET THOSE LIGHT BULBS) there are plenty of opportunities to change our world for the better:
The Most Important Thing You Can Do to Stop Global Warming
By Tara Lohan
Ten Simple Things You Can Do to Go Green
By Della De Lafuente
The Associated Press
Ten Ways to Prepare for a Post-Oil Society
By James Howard Kunstler
2006 Top Green Tech Ideas
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t Columnist
Green Roofs: Building for the Future
By Dara Colwell
Renewables Can Turn the Tide on Global Warming
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t Environmental Editor
Solar's Outlook Shines, but Hurdles Remain
By Christine Buuma

No joke at the end this time; just two more positive suggestions for the future:
The Solution to Global Warming Is Us
By Julia Whitty
Mother Jones
The Global Revolution
By Jeffrey Sachs
Project Syndicate

Vive le screed!

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