The Friends of California Libre...

04 February 2008

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez

Greetings, friends,
Here's my first eruption of 2008, and I hardly know where to start.  I'm convinced that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, and no, it's not just because the New York Giants shut down the mighty New England Patriots offense and won the Superbowl in the Greatest Sport Upset of the 21st Century (so far), although that's a good start.

Perhaps I should proceed from the personal to the supernatural?  I got a nasty little shock last week when my employer of almost 12 years, the Los Angeles Public Library, took advantage of my present status as a substitute and reduced my hours to less than four a week, then denied me a transfer to half-time status, essentially forcing me to quit and find a new job.  All is not lost; I was offered a position (ironically) by my hometown, the Burbank Public Library, almost the same day.  But it was still pretty stunning to suddenly get iced by people I had served since before most of your kids were born.  I think I had forgotten a very important truth; that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, and it is a fool's game to trust anyone other than your family and your close friends, especially in Los Angeles.  My excessive solitude doesn't help, so when some of you wake up and struggle to smile at your kids and your Significant Others, keep a good thought for us hermits down in the trenches, for we are more vulnerable than you know.  Of course, we can also take advantage of excessive solitude, as I did Friday, to stay out whooping with the kids until daybreak.  PS Thanks, kids, for the Old Crow, and remember ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

I could be way, way up Shit Creek with a turd for a paddle, as we rednex say, if I'd actually DONE SOMETHING, like this sucker in Paris who just dropped over $7 BILLION for his bank:
Une énigme, trois questions
L'audition ce week-end de Jérôme Kerviel, le trader accusé de fraude, et les explications de la Société Générale mettent en lumière la défaillance totale des organes de contrôle.
Si le lien ne s'ouvre pas, copiez l'url :
dans la barre d'adresse de votre navigateur.

San Francisco is sounding better and better, eh?  I've mentioned to a few of you the enormous changes going on up in the Bay Area, which I observed during my fab trip up there at the beginning of the year.  This is an amazing pair of images which shows how the skyline of the City may change in just a decade, if we finally get a high speed train in California:

The structure to the far left, at the foot of the Bay Bridge (Rincon Hill) is almost finished.  For more about the new Transbay Terminal:

At least this year I have fulfilled my ambition to watch "Twin Peaks" in its entirety yet again, and hear the immortal words, "He is Bob...eager for fun.  He wears a smile...everybody run."

To which David Lynch would say:

Anyway, the fortunes of one librarian seem pathetic when compared with the fates of those great multinational corporations, and the thousands of drones who get crushed by their perambulations:
Microsoft's Yahoo Bid Aims at Web
By Joseph Menn and Jessica Guynn
The Los Angeles Times

This week reminds us that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE; the New York Giants demonstrated that yesterday.  Thursday begins the Year of the Rat, the animal of possibilities, and this Tuesday might bring the United States a welcome upset with far more dramatic implications than the Superbowl.

Tuesday is also Carnival, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, which is why I say LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULEZ...let the good times roll.  Fortunately they are not joining us here in California (or 23 other states) in voting, but will drink through the election results and pick up the pieces next Tuesday, 9 February.  In so many ways, I will think of them (and raise a glass to them), but as a country we've consigned New Orleans to memory.
With Regrets, New Orleans Is Left Behind
By Adam Nossiter
The New York Times

On a different note, my first book Scream at the Librarian is now nearly sold out!  If you would like a copy, I have 4 available at the cover price of $15, or you can support a good cause and obtain a copy for $20 from Kreiling & Dodd at 1282 Sunset Boulevard (near Elysian Park Avenue); call first to (213) 884 8950.  Thank you!

Just to cheer you up (or more likely, cheer ME up), here's proof that there are plenty of rednex in Spain as well as Los Angeles; adorable young Andalusian Mala Rodriguez singing "Nanai" (and take note where she waters a bunch of chickens):

And yet another informational note, does anyone need a round trip plane ticket?  I have a frequently flyer ticket from Southwest that needs to be used before 24 April, and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to use it.  If you'd like to buy it off me (we can barter) or have some idea where I should be flying to, check the system map at .  I'm toying with the idea of flying to Nashville for the weekend, so let me know soon. 

In this first SCREED I'd remind you that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, just as it was in the tumultuous year of 1968, now 40 years behind us:
1968: Always Something Next
By Michael Winship
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

The only surviving relic I could find from the 1960s was, to my surprise, the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS):
One Generation Got Old, One Generation Got Soul
By Rachel Aviv
The New York Times

It's also, believe it, 30 years since the reputation of Turkey was destroyed (in the US, anyway) among hash smugglers by the movie "Midnight Express":

And if that isn't enough 1970s for you, revel in the opening scene of "Car Wash", filmed at now unclean corner of Sixth and Rampart in LA:

Now I'd like to talk about the present.  On Tuesday, a lot of Hurricanes in plastic cups are going to end up in the gutters of the Quarter, and the future of the United States is going to be laid out for everyone in the world to gawk at.  In 24 states we're going to pick who gets to run for President.  Robert Barkaloff wants me to point out that there is nothing democratic about voting, but since that's what we're stuck with here in Aztlan, we might as well pull the lever (or push the pin, or stuff the ballot box, or whatever.)

At least we got rid of this asshole quickly, with just one state (Florida) voting; if he'd made it to New York, I think his former constituents would have delivered the coup de grâce:
In Matters Big and Small, Crossing Mayor Giuliani Often Had a Price
By Michael Powell and Russ Buettner
The New York Times

And though I will undoubtedly piss off some of my loyal readers, I am not really shedding too many tears now that this clown has also dropped out of the race:
Kucinich Seeks NH Dem Vote Recount
By Stephen Frothingham
The Associated Press

Sadly, the horse I rode in on suffered the indignity of, I think, looking too much like a politician, regardless of what he said.  Here were all the articles I was going to pummel you with to convince that I WAS RIGHT:
John Edwards's Righteous Anger
By Scott Galindez
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Edwards Comes Out on Top on the Economy
By Dean Baker
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
US Corporate Elite Fear Candidate Edwards
By Kevin Drawbaugh
Edwardses: After a Son's Death, a Shared Mission in Politics
By Kate Zernike
The New York Times
Michael Moore: Who Is the Best Dem Candidate on the Issues?
By Michael Moore

But we'll never know, will we?  John Edwards was the first politician I actually donated money to, and so what.  It's going to take hundreds of millions to buy this job.  His home state turned on him, and his union brothers.  Even his former running mate turned on him at long last:
Kerry to Endorse Obama
By Jeff Zeleny
The New York Times

And I'm doing the same, friends.  I wrote to Mr. Edwards and asked him to throw his weight behind Barack Obama.  We have four intriguing possibilities going into the crucial year of 2008:  An old war hero, a lying Mormon, a lying woman and a somewhat transparent African American (a term that truly applies, because Mr. Obama is not the child of slavery, but half American and half African.)

Regarding Mr. McCain, I have the unsettling feeling that with the same relish as Mr. Bush, he might snap at a critical moment and, like General Ripper in "Dr. Strangelove", set off World War III.  The man was TORTURED IN A PRISON CAMP, and ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

Regarding Mr. Romney, I have to be enough of a jerk to admit that I think of Mormons as members of a cult, and not a particularly bright one, who should not hold any elected office in a civilized country.

If the Giants can win the Superbowl, perhaps there is hope for a completely unlikely person to take control of this out-of-control country:
MoveOn and California SEIU Endorse Obama
The Associated Press

He's got star power; not just Oprah but a pretty hefty list you'll see in this video, put together by Bob Dylan's son:

I mean, the kids LOVE Obama, and I'll usually back the kids, even if they're wrong.  Because they have to live a lot longer in this rotten, duplicitous world.  I'll admit that I also matched Mr. Obama most closely in this online quiz (thanks, Dana and Aunt Nona):
You'll never guess who mine came out to match.....??????
You might find this interesting - answer 10 questions at and find out which presidential candidate is most similar to you!

I also have to support a man who doesn't slavishly worship this pathetic excuse for a world-dominating power:

Hand Over Heart

Photograph shows Senator Barack Obama posed without hand over heart during the playing of the U.S. national anthem.

Of course, first Mr. Obama has to break the Democratic Party machine in this country, and the Clintons did not get to Washington in 1992 (or Little Rock in 1978) without some extraordinary aggression.  They will fight to the end, and the fight must be returned; we are not some Third World country where two families trade control for over two decades.

The feminist old guard is crying foul:
Women Are Never Front-Runners
By Gloria Steinem
The New York Times

What a great crock of shit.  The same goes for all the unions, including my own pathetic AFSCME, that thinks the Clintons are somehow beholden to them.  Yah, right.  They aren't reminding their membership that Hillary Clinton was a loyal trooper and union-breaker on the board of Wal-Mart (and please admire the hillbilly dress she's got on)(thanks, Beth):
Did you see this little gem on Hillary's union history?  The UFW folks might want to read up on that.  

And I have absolutely nothing against a woman running this country; in fact, it would be a very nice change of pace.  But Hillary is not that woman; she's not the revolutionary PILF I'd like to see.  Maybe someone like Julia Gillard:
Australia Gets First Female Deputy Prime Minister
By Kathy Marks
The Independent UK

Or fiesty Yulia Tymoshenko in the Ukraine:

Or a hot Frenchwoman like Segolene Royal:

Or the very hot Justice Minister, Raschida Dati:

Okay, sorry, now I know most of the girls are getting annoyed with me.  Perhaps they think I'd prefer an airhead in the White House, like the "Amazing Mrs. Pritchard", played by Jane Horrocks (who you might remember as Edina's secretary Bubble in "Ab Fab"):

Actually, I'd really enjoy being ruled by a ballbuster like Flora Matlock, played by smokin' Juliet Stevenson in "The Politician's Wife" (by no coincidence being remade into an American movie this year with Felicity Huffman):

Or a sensitive Star Fleet officer like Kathryn Janeway, who last I checked, made it up to Vice Admiral:

Okay, now I'm getting ridiculous.  But remember that I've actually had dinner with Andrea Reimer, one of very few members of the Green Party elected to a partisan office in Canada, a woman and a member of a minority party wielding power up in British Columbia.

And some of you will remember my friend Lorinda Earl, who garnered 10.4% of the vote in one Vancouver riding; she might have gotten elected if she campaigned, as it appears on her website, with her blouse unbuttoned!

Sorry, Lorinda.  Somehow I drew a line from Hillary Clinton to you.  It's not easy being a woman:
Cheers and Jeers on Birth Control
By Cristina Page
RH Reality Check
Abortion and the Earth
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t | Environment Editor
As Abortion Rate Drops, Use of RU-486 Is on Rise
By Rob Stein
The Washington Post
What the Hell Is Going On in Spain?
By Frances Kissling
RH Reality Check
Saudi Women Activists Furious at Gang-Rape Ruling
Agence France-Presse
Saudi King Pardons Rape Victim
By Abdullah Shihri
The Associated Press

Maybe Robert is right, and our American democracy is a joke:
What Was Actually Happening While You Led a Life
By Leslie Thatcher
t r u t h o u t | Review

Well, at least one thing is certain:
The End of the Road for George W. Bush
By Chris Hedges

I'm still not sure where this screed is going.  It's very early in the morning, and I'm a little confused.  I can tell you that the Writer's Guild strike is probably over, which will be good for the crippled economy of the city and some of my friends.  It also means that a lot of assholes will be back in business:

Steven Spielberg livid over his koi fish being eaten by a raccoon

Not that we've been lacking for entertainment in Hollywood:

Paris Hilton shows best stripper moves on stage

Speaking of film, it was pointed out to me by Miles that " C'était un Rendez-Vous", a short film that I sent out some time ago is not completely authentic; some of you might remember this hair-raising early morning drive through Paris, filmed by Claude Lalouch, which sounds like a Ferrari (and is often cited as being a Ferrari).  It was actually run by Lalouch in his Mercedes, not that this fact diminishes anything for me.  On the contrary, I'm even more amazed that Lalouch made it from the Porte Dauphine to the Sacré Cœur WITHOUT a Ferrari in nine minutes!  The sound is very admirably synched, not sped up, and yes, he IS running all those red lights (although as he notes in this French interview, done 30 years later, he had some people with walkie talkies at strategic points to warn him of cross-traffic):

I'd expect no less from the director ofI also found this English short about making the run across Paris:

A film of someone faking it on a Vespa:

And with a turtle:

And of course, you might want to watch the actual film again; it never gets old for me.  J'aime Paris!

Here is the real thing (maybe):  an idiot in Stockholm who rigged his Porsche with 3 cameras and went out looking for the police.  There is some web controversy over this (and the series of videos that followed), but I think you can tell from all the bad shifting and misfires that this is real...he doesn't actually know how to drive a Porsche.  And it is boring after he ditches the cops:

Back on the Continent, I have a few short Michelin articles I've been saving, one about this "Futuristic Pod" in Paris:

And here's a useful one about some of the Alps' best resorts:

Or a different kind of Alpine tourism (thanks, Robert):
Euthanasia triggers development of suicidal tourism in Switzerland

How about all the nudist hangouts in la France?  That's useful:

Finally one that made me very hungry:
Courmayeur, the culinary showcase of the Aosta Valley

We aren't eating as well in the US (surprise):
Food Banks, in a Squeeze, Tighten Belts
By Katie Zezima
The New York Times

Lars and Johannes got out just in time:
The American Dream Is Alive and Well ... in Finland!
By Joshua Holland
Refugee-Status Seekers: A Federal Judge Says the United States Is Not a Safe Country
By Hélène Buzzetti
Le Devoir

Although don't think that we are a WEAK country; nope, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE and you can get your brain blown out pretty easily here (thanks, Piet):

And the G has no sense of humor about it:
Teacher arrested for pro-Columbine blog post -*

That gun owners' website reminded me of Sorry Everybody, which appears to have become defunct as of three years ago.  Another apolitical gathering of photos is called "sleevefacing" (thanks, Geri):
Sleevefacing... Check it out

Meanwhile, some people will just never learn...until we kick them OUT:
An Old Face Resurfaces
By Michael Isikoff
The Bush administration has offered Paul Wolfowitz, the former World Bank president a new public service position.
Australian Premier, an Ally of Bush, Is Defeated
By Tim Johnston
The New York Times
Australia's Path Bends Away From US
By Raymond Bonner
The New York Times
Ecuador to Evict US, Offer Air Base to China
By April Howard

Or until we all get kicked out (thanks again, Robert):
Russia to extend naval exercises
It's not just in Pravda anymore.
Russia Begins Arms Treaty Freeze
By Jonathan Marcus
BBC News
Putin's Party Overwhelms Russian Election
The Associated Press

Sigh.  See you in the funny papers, and GO OBAMA!  Vive le screed!

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