I suppose I disagree with practically everything Naomi Klein has ever written. This article isn't an exception, exactly, but I think she has a well-formulated point about how "progressives" tend spin themselves into self-caricatured irrelevance when it comes to George W. Bush:
It's not that the president is dumb, which I already knew, it's that he makes us dumb.
I suppose it was only a matter of time...
UPDATE: "The power of Kabbalah abandoned poor Kimora Lee Simmons this week..."
So, believe it or not, I'm playing at the Waterfront in Rotterdam, Holland on Saturday, August 28th.
Check it out: the Rotterdam Rumble, under the auspices of Stardumb Records. The Groovie Ghoulies are playing on the Friday, plus lots of other rock and roll bands like the Yum Yums, the Zatopeks, Apers, Tabascos, etc.:
My part in the affair is billed as Dr. Frank and his Shiny Robot Monkeys, because I'll be playing with a back-up band of well-maintained mechanical monkeys. Trained exhibition monkeys, essentially.
I'm also doing some solo acoustic shows (that is, without those crazy monkeys.) Here's what I know about them:
Tuesday Aug. 24: Venlo, The Netherlands
Wednesday Aug. 25: Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Radio interview plus 3 songs)
Thursday Aug. 26: Solingen, Germany
Saturday Aug. 28: The Waterfront, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Sunday Aug. 29: Rotterdam, The Netherlands (afternoon show & popquiz medley)
See you in Europa.
But the family wants to incorporate Baptist elements into the ceremony as well, in order to "make everybody happy."
I estimate that I have officially requested that God bless Ken Layne around a dozen times, and the unofficial, vague, semi-conscious nods in that direction have been even more numerous. Well, I just realized that he has started posting blog-like things on his blog again. Good stuff, God bless him.
I generally find something new to amuse me each time I go in to a Borders. Perhaps it's the diet book that winds up in the History section because it's called The History of Flab and How to Rewrite It or something. Or perhaps it's the prominent display of Holy Blood, Holy Grail in a section called Metaphysical Studies. I've already written about the Untranslated Literature section. I can't explain why it's funny. It just is.
Today I noticed that they had put up, in the Fiction and Literature section, little signs with arrows pointing to where books by your favorite authors might be found. An arrow pointing to the left had these names:
HARDYAnd underneath another arrow pointing to right were these:
In fact, though, even if you have mastered the mysteries of the alphabet, it can still be tough to find stuff at Borders. For example, today I was pretty shocked to find no P. G. Wodehouse at all in the Fiction and Literature section. My first thought was to look under J., because it wasn't out of the question that people who like to put diet books under History when they have the word "history" in their titles might think it fun to file Fiction and Literature by the names of prominent characters occasionally. But that wasn't it.
Finally I asked the Information desk guy, and he directed me to the Games and Humor section on the fourth floor. It all worked out in the end, so I really have no grounds for complaint. But I will say that a world that banishes P. G. Wodehouse from its fancy, hifalutin Fiction and Literature section, but leaves Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch in it, is not a world of which I can whole-heartedly approve.
It appears that Michael Moore has been publicly slagging Pete Townshend for refusing to grant permission for the use of "Won't Get Fooled Again" in Farenheit 911.
Here's Townshend's version of the story, from his online diary (i.e. blog.) He asked to see the film first, his request was denied, and that was it. "Once I had an idea of what the film was about," he adds, "I was 90% certain my song was not right for them."
I'm way more interested in the song than in the sniping or the politics of the matter, and I thought this part was interesting:
I believe that in the same email to my publisher and manager that contained this request to see the film I pointed out that WGFA is not an unconditionally anti-war song, or a song for or against revolution. It actually questions the heart of democracy: we vote heartily for leaders who we subsequently always seem to find wanting. (WGFA is a song sung by a fictional character from my 1971 script called LIFEHOUSE. The character is someone who is frightened by the slick way in which truth can be twisted by clever politicians and revolutionaries alike)...
I have nothing against Michael Moore personally, and I know Roger Daltrey is a friend and fan of his, but I greatly resent being bullied and slurred by him in interviews just because he didnít get what he wanted from me. It seems to me that this aspect of his nature is not unlike that of the powerful and wilful man at the centre of his new documentary. I wish him all the best with the movie, which I know is popular, and which I still havenít seen. But heíll have to work very, very hard to convince me that a man with a camera is going to change the world more effectively than a man with a guitar.
UPDATE: I realize this is probably old news to everyone - I've been way out of the loop because of other writing I've been working on and I haven't had much space for paying attention to The Wonderful World of Trivia.
But I just wanted to add another quote. This is from Michael Moore himself, saying that in the end he's glad that "Won't Get Fooled Again" wasn't in the film. No comment necessary, really:
In fact I don't want them [the audience] hearing a song that has the line, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." Because the new boss I sincerely hope won't be the same as the old boss.
Some hilarious stuff from Ben:
and (b) these quotes from an interview with Bad Religion, where the boys are just as modest, sharp-witted, perceptive and unpretentious as ever.
Hey, the MTX is playing this Saturday (7/17) at Slim's in San Francisco. With the Dollyrots and Fenway Park. Try to make it if you can, and so will I.
For the love of God, can someone out there who knows explain to me how to turn off the automatic formatting and real-time correction routines in Microsoft Word for OSX? And make it stay turned off? I keep thinking I've figured it out, but there must be some counter-intuitive menu's submenu that I'm missing, because it keeps coming back angrier and crazier than before.
Turning off "grammar" and spelling correction doesn't stop it from deciding on seemingly random schemes of indentation and reformatting, capitalizing or decapitalizing random letters, etc. And sometimes the grammar "wizard" will inexplicably return. Ideally, I'd like to be able to type without an invisible hand changing anything. I want the wizards go off in a corner and talk amongst themselves and get out of my face. There must be a way, right? I would not be at all surprised if the magic switch turns out to be under "insert/picture" or something like that, but wherever it is I haven't found it yet.
And happy fourth of July, by the way.
A solar-powered Britain sounds like a kind of joke. Along the lines of: The Jamaican bobsled team. The Kansas Naval Academy. The Salt Lake City Porn Industry. The "Welcome to France" sign at the French tourist information center. That sort of thing.
Yet, according to this, there is a proposal afoot to require every new home in Britain to be fitted with solar panels. You've got to admire the purity of that sort of optimism.
Matt Welch has a couple of great photo essays documenting his trip to Romania. Fascinating, and genuinely funny - I laughed out loud several times.
There's another new, rationalized, politically-corrected "translation" of the New Testament floating around. It's called "Good as New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures. I've been hearing a bit about it, and I finally stumbled on some stuff about it on the web. It seems to be quite funny.
It's certainly not the first, and won't be the last, attempt to bowdlerize the New Testament. This one has the distinction of having secured the apparent endorsement of the Archbishop of Canterbury, though the dark warnings in some quarters that he may intend to replace the King James Bible and Book of Common Prayer with it are a bit laughable. He did write the foreword, however, and to judge from the excerpts I've seen, his approval rests on nothing more than a reiteration of the long-standing impulse toward rationalization and de-spiritualization of Christian tradition among liberal churchmen. Nothing new there at all; it's quite 19th-century, in a way. As a spiritual matter, and as a practical matter, it is amusing, but decidedly un-alarming. It's just another Free to Be You and Me Bible for the Intellectually Under-developed. We had one of those in CCD when I was a kid. Give the kids a Jesus they can relate to, who uses the latest slang, etc.
But as to aesthetics - well, therein lies the abomination, and the humor. (Aesthetically-speaking, they are usually the same thing, to my warped way of thinking. The abominable and the humorous, I mean.)
The most-reported feature, clearly owing to its political implications, is the purging of references to sodomy, and a new and improved St. Paul who has a groovy, gender-neutral, free'n'easy attitude about sexuality. "If you can't be with the one you love," says the Good-as-New St. Paul, "love the one you're with." OK, I made that up, but I believe it more or less captures the spirit of the thing.
Oliver Kamm quotes these parallel passages (from an article in the Times that is behind subscription for me):
ďAnd straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him. And there came a voice from the heaven saying, Thou are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.Ē
As he was climbing up the bank again, the sun shone through a gap in the clouds. At the same time a pigeon flew down and perched on him. Jesus took this as a sign that Godís spirit was with him. A voice from overhead was heard saying, ĎThatís my boy! Youíre doing fine!í Ē
Prominent NT figures are given playful new names. Peter is "Rocky." Mary Magdelene is "Maggie." Barnabas is "Cheery." And James is Snorey, Joseph is Sleepy, and Lazarus is Bashful. OK, I'm kidding about the last three. But the others are, apparently, for real. They sound like a great bunch of pals to hang out with. Except for Cheery, actually. He sounds annoying.
Demonic possession is rationalized into mental illness, the casting out of demons apparently presented as a kind of exercise in successful Group Therapy. The Son of Man is rendered, I kid you not, "The Complete Person," probably the most historically and theologically suspect of all the book's "improvements," or, at least, of those I've come across while idly googling the topic.
"What would Christianity look like," asks the Archbishop, "what would Christian language sound like, if we really tried to screen out the stale, the technical, the unconsciously exclusive words and policies, and to hear for the first time what the Christian Scriptures were saying."
It turns out that it would look and sound an awful lot like Chicken Soup for the Soul. Who knew?
As Kamm says, the worst thing about this "translation" is that it "rewrit(es) a sacramental language to render it banal."
But that's also the best thing about it.
A Catholic lawyer has filed heresy charges against Sen. John Kerry with the Archdiocese of Boston, accusing the Democratic presidential candidate of bringing "most serious scandal to the American public" by receiving Holy Communion as a pro-choice Catholic...So if he weighs as much as a duck, he's made of wood, and therefore...