Saturday, March 28, 2009

Happy Sunday!

The second sexiest song evah!
Featured Rev. Claude Jeter, 1914-2009, on falsetto, and was the only non-New Orleans song featured in the movie The Big Easy.
I visited one of the country's best used record stores in the country, in Berkeley, to find it, in 1994.
Swan Silvertones, big influence on Paul Simon, but everybody was a big influence on Paul Simon.

Why Daydream

I am exonerated, amid this ocean of American culture urging me to be busy all the time, if not physically, then at least mentally. "Working" on myself. Fuck work.
While there's some tantalizing evidence linking daydreaming, the default network and creativity, I think the most tangible benefit of boredom is probably social. Mostly, what we daydream about is each other, as the mind retrieves memories, contemplates "what if" scenarios, and thinks about how it should behave in the future. In this sense, the content of daydreams often resembles a soap opera, with people reflecting on social interactions both real and make-believe. We can leave behind the world as it is and start imagining the world as it might be, if only we hadn't lost our temper, or had superpowers, or had used a different pick-up line. It is this ability to tune out the present moment and contemplate the make-believe that separates the human mind from every other.
This is supposed to be about boredom, but I like the daydreaming part, which I don't regard as boredom at all.
On the other hand, it's harder now without cigarettes and red wine. But I'm "working" on it, heh.

Eat The Rich Dept.

I made recent mention of how big a percentage of the overall economy the financial sector has become and how it's considered quite dangerous.
This is not the uninformed rant of a pajama clad blogger, although it's true I still have my pajamas on.
There's actual data on it and the latest iteration is TPM's recommendation of economist Simon Johnson's article in The Atlantic.
Read it and weep, or don't read it and just take their word for it, which is what I plan to do because I really hate being reduced to tears.
Money quote:
Quite apart from the public policy implications, but rather in the realm of political economy, these graphs provide a revealing look at what the 2005 push to privatize Social Security was all about and what the implications of its success could have been.

Intro to Johnson's article:

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sexiest Song Evah!

Nina, of course. She wrote this, matter of fact.
(Okay, there's the Swan Sivertones, but they were all gospel. You had to project.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Prison Reform

is a cause after my own heart, something I believed I'd be working on some day. Instead, not so much.
But Jim Webb is. Thanks, Senator.

Senator Webb's interest in reforming the U.S. criminal justice system stems from his days as a Marine Corps officer, sitting on courts-martial, and "thinking about the interrelationship between discipline and fairness." Later, as an attorney, he spent six years in pro bono representation of a young African American Marine accused of war crimes in Vietnam, eventually clearing the man's name three years after he took his own life.

Twenty-five years ago, while working on special assignment for Parade Magazine, Webb was the first American journalist allowed inside the Japanese prison system, where he "became aware of the systemic dysfunctions of the U.S. system." Japan, with half of the United States' population at that time, had only 40,000 sentenced prisoners in jail compared to the U.S.'s 580,000; today, the U.S. has 2.38 million prisoners and another five million involved in the process, either due to probation or parole situations.

All TV, All The Time

Okay, David Simon and his partner (The Wire) have started shooting their new New Orleans show. If you don't have HBo and/or didn't see their Iraq War show, (Generation Kill? Operation Kill? Something Kill anyway) rent it or maybe it's up online.
And, and, and...Friday Night Lights has been renewed for two more seasons by NBC. Listen, it's about high school football in Texas. Am I the kind of person who would recommend such a thing if there weren't more to it? Rent the past seasons. It's terrific.

Republicans Go To Bed With Krugman

OMFG! What will this do to his career?
Don't worry about the R's, they were drunk and don't remember anything. It's Paul who has morning after regrets.
In the meantime, Roubini likes it.

Republicans Unveil Budget Plan

Erm, we'll get back to ya on that.


I've often wondered what McLuhan would say about all this, but Nick Carr — a poet of a blogger who I'm adding to my regulars — says it's already way past McLuhan and refers me to a French post-modernist and this telling quote:
Mass media reaches its natural end-state when we broadcast our lives rather than live them.
I wonder what my Facebook (fb) friends really think of all this. Oh, wait, it's all about the moment, right? Like bungee jumping. Only less risky.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Very Cool

and the people at Animusic charge for their work, which I first saw on PBS and thought it was real.
But here's one they've put on YouTube.

I Really Don't Like This Guy

He was an idiot about a lot of things pre-election, the DOJ scandal, progressive bloggers.
But Andrew Sullivan found this quote today and I have to admit, Joe Klein may actually have something here I hadn't thought of, but now so obvious.
If you want to be angry about something, get pissed at a media culture that goes beserk about bonuses one week and forgets all about them the next. And be worried, quite worried, about a society for whom anger is a form of entertainment

NPR Rules

From Wapo:

More than half of NPR's daily audience comes from its two "core" news shows, "Morning Edition" and the evening "All Things Considered." "Morning Edition's" average daily audience, 7.6 million, is now about 60 percent larger than the audience for "Good Morning America" on ABC and about one-third larger than the audience for the "Today" show on NBC...One strength of NPR, he said, is its original foreign reporting -- something that is now largely unavailable elsewhere on the radio. The organization maintains 18 foreign bureaus, more than any of the major broadcast TV networks.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Don't Care What You Say

it's a recession. Andrew Sullivan daily runs a reader submission about their recession experience, including some who are doing just fine.
Slate has a photo gallery of reader submissions. It's a knockout.

All Kindle, All The Time

NYT would be better off just giving one to every subscriber. I'll take it.

Never Was Any Real Money

Simon Johnson, along with Roubini, Steiglitz and Krugman, seem to be the fair haired boys of the critical left.
Somewhere I read that that the financial sector portion of our economy has mushroomed so much in recent years that it can't possibly be healthy or even accurate (but Europe is worse, apparently.
Anyway, Andrew Sullivan features Johnson today, so I do, too.
We don’t know how much of banking profits in recent years were illusory and should not have been booked as GDP. In fact, it would not be a big surprise if - eventually - we go back and mark down our true production of goods and services in 2007 by 2 or even 5 percent. In this sense, we face a statistical situation similar to that of the Soviet Union at its demise - once they figured out that all their military production had no real value, they had to reduce measured GDP sharply. It is not compelling to say we should necessarily go back to where we were in banking.

One commenter had this, which I will treasure:
...we are more often threatened by refusal to see the consequences of conventional actions than by defiant desires for destruction. “

This is the important message of “The Reader”, the movie in which Kate Winslet won this year’s Oscar for best actress.

P.S. If you follow the link, be sure to scroll down to statsbguys comment. Enlightening.

Downright Unnerving

Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes' son Nicholas has committed suicide, like his mother and stepmother before him.
Plath and Anne Sexton, another suicide, were early influences on my thinking about women, feminism and poetry. I would say Robert Lowell, too, another "confessional" poet and another suicide, if I remember correctly, except I didn't read much Lowell.
Anyway, the poet/professor that I took a writing course from in college killed himself in the middle of writing a book about all of them.
Phew, I feel like I've escaped a deadly virus.
"Boot boot boot of a brute like you." From Plath's Daddy.
I liked the one about the red tulips in the white hospital room best.

Last stanza:

The walls, also, seem to be warming themselves.
The tulips should be behind bars like dangerous animals;
They are opening like the mouth of some great African cat,
And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes
Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me.
The water I taste is warm and salt, like the sea,
And comes from a country far away as health.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ah, Shorty

Ah, Spring!

Little D Hatching Out of the Egg from Class 1-208 on Vimeo.

h/t Andrew Sullivan

Back By Popular Demand

Translation: I wrote myself thousands of anonymous letters asking to see this again.
Hey, it's Sunday.

Now That I Have Your Attention

Anonymous contrariennes, thanks Barb W. 

Okay, So My Breakfast Is Now On The Floor

In the middle of posting on Contrarienne for the first time in three weeks (happy spring, everyone! and thanks, Mardie on FB for reminding me it's time to put those sweet peas in [and fertilize the roses]) I decide I'm hungry. Suddenly, without warning my Eggie egg and toast hops onto the floor. And it wasn't even butter side up. My last egg, too.
What more could the day bring? News at 11.
Eggie, the microwave cooker. 

Ah, F**k, I Just Couldn't Stay Away

Last published March 1, 2009, Contrarienne is back. I mean, Jason Linkins over at Huffpo put this YouTube item up this morning and it was the last straw. I had to come back.
I read it so you don't have to.

Yeah, that and the White House fashion parade for my fashionista friends. J. Crew? I'm not even wearing Targette these days, but who cares. I saw a sweet little dalmatian patterned coat at a consignment store yesterday and actually thought about buying it.