Monday, February 28, 2005

lessons learned

sometimes it is easier to steal and run than to ask permission to take something.

drove down to pedro

we'd go drink and pogo.

Totally rocked out to the minutemen movie at the premier - we jam econo. mike and george were in attendence, as was thurston, who was playing the next night at spaceland. it was a rockin' good time.

Best learned fact:

Double Nickles was actually a concept album that merged Pipers at the Gates of Dawn and an Anti-Sammy Hagar theme. whoda thunk.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Memory of Justice

How is it that I could not notice it was Ophuls? IMDB has nothing on the film, but the nytimes has a great, but very short piece. Ah, the memory fails but the impact of the film has stayed. Stained by the impression, I've been. No doubt. Will have to look for it again

max 'n' me

"Computers were originally intended to expedite work and solve serious problems, from space travel to record keeping. Unfortunately, they have also become passive entertainment devices - substitutes for interactions with the real world."

Max Pavlevsky, who I first knew as a benefactor to Doc Films and the University of Chicago, then later as a producer of a great film on war crimes (viet nam vs. nuremberg really) is apparently also really into furniture for surprisingly similar reasons as I am - because of the materials from which they are made.

Great link to the article on the U of C website.

Funny, having been a recipient of his generosity (I ran Doc Films in his theater and received some later monies to help upgrade some of the equipment), I've never actually met him...gotta love how the U of C ends up with a homogeny of eclectics...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

nate khan and polio

I'm one of those people that's old enough to have known someone with polio, or at least someon who had polio. It's pretty amazing actually, to think that few younger than 40 would know anyone afflicted, given how prevalent it was until Jonas got busy in 1954. 1954 really isn't so long ago but history has a way of remembering in a rather peculiar fashion. Those of us who are older might recollect seeing the braces and crutches and remember being told polio was the reason, but fewer and fewer ever knew anyone as a person. Certainly at this point you would have to be in your 70s or very close to know anyone who got it as a like-aged peer, which pool, or swiming hole was suddenly off limits etc.
Mary and I discussed pnemonia and antibiotics just yesterday - it's amazing how long it took us to figure some things out and how suddenly things changed in the medical world.

thanks for not sharing

strange flash of proto-memory; I get these for internal use only emails all the time these days and have noticed that there's a shortcoming when it comes to fancy palm or desk-based calendar software that bridges the public private gap. It makes me realize that the SIP protocol has potential implications way beyond telecommunications as we think of it (the protocol more than telecommunications generally) now. Does this make sense? Do I really want my coworkers to know I'm going to see the minutemen documentary in San Pedro Friday? (no, but I do want my friends in LA to know I'll be there) Do I really want people outside of my office to know I've got a particular ex-parte scheduled at a particular time? (no, but there are people in my office that I wish could feel free to join in if time allows or pull me away if necessary) I need more scalability of privacy regarding my schedule than I'm currently offered. I should be able to tie all of this into a master contacts and calendar database. Really.

Is this an unreasonable request?

my very thoughts and belongings

The captain don van vliet just popped into my head - really a great, great poet. All of the trappings are off putting to some but so much he said was so rich, from the over the top race issue stuff in ella guru to more subtle lines like thoughts and belongings...richness.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

hunter stockton thompson

love him or hate him - I elect to do both - he was a figure of significance. On days when I hated him I remembered a story David Grubbs used to tell about how his dad may or may not have tarred and feathered Hunter for taking bets against the football team on homecoming (in Louisville, naturally, where suddenly burroughs and thompson seem to become one - southern counter culture of the skids as it were.

well, we still have a place for he and lester bangs in our memories right?

Friday, February 18, 2005

cuba libre opinions...they're like kittens

This is awesome (found somewhere on the internet, it's news with a cuban spin):

Negroponte Joins Dark Power Shadows

Havana, Feb 18 (Prensa Latina) The George W. Bush government is a team of shadows whose highest ranking officials rank among the darkest of US reactionary political fauna, Granma newspaper┬┤s international page denounces Friday.

According to the paper, each time Bush nominates an official for a post, he picks the worst of all, and together, they make up the worst, gloomiest, cruelest and most messianic administration of all.

His recent nomination of John Negroponte as first national intelligence chief, a position above the country┬┤s spying network, with huge powers and a large budget, proves the above-mentioned assessment.

From now on, Negroponte will direct US spies and the agents who torture and scheme assassinations and coups in the world.

As ambassador to Iraq for less than a year, he became the US proconsul, the figure on which the "Government" of Iyad Allawi counts for all decisions, the mastermind of atrocities such as the rocking of Fallujah, torture camps, assassination of journalists and shut down the numerous irregularities, frauds and bribes.

His dossier is as sordid as his role in Iraq.

On his recent appointment, Bertha Oliva, coordinator of the Committee of Families of Missing in Honduras, where he worked as ambassador and was close to the military regime between 1981 and 1985, said, "that is incredible," the US even made up a post to please a disastrous character of the history of Honduras and Central America."

In Honduras, Negroponte played a decisive role in the organization, training and weapon supplying of the counterrevolutionary forces fighting the Sandinista National Liberation Front during the Ronald Reagan mandate.

His reign there contributed to the increase of human right violations and tortures, missing of leftwing members and the creation of an intelligence squad that kept assassinations silent.

The newly-nominated intelligence director was an assistant to the National Security Agency in the George H Bush administration, and ambassador to Mexico and the Philippines.

When the Senate took six months to name him ambassador to the UN, Negroponte stated, "I do not think death squads operated in Honduras."

Since he was used to saying lies, it was obvious Bush set eyes on him, although his attempts to materialize the UN Security Council approval of the aggression on Iraq failed short.

According to Mexican La newspaper, John Negroponte is a hawk with a reputation for combining an iron-shaped character with a velvet glove," and closely tied to the Iran-Contra case.

The online daily said Negroponte promoted repression, and the Nizkor organization accused him of overseeing the Aguacate air base where the Nicaraguan counterrevolutionary forces were detained and torture.

Several corpses of alleged 185 people murdered and buried at the base were found in August.

Thanks John, the White House provided the Honduran military regime with over one billion USD allowing feed the Battalion 316 the Central Intelligence Agency and the Argentine military regime trained.

Allegedly, the Battalion 316 was involved in the missing of 140 people.

The website reported Negroponte was the highest US official connected to the aggression on Honduras; therefore, the Nuremberg laws against people responsible for war crimes can be applied to him.

However, instead of taking him to court, the Bush administration designated him US ambassador to the UN in 2001.

In July 1995, the Baltimore Sun newspaper headlined: "Honduras: when Negroponte and the Argentine Army members turned it into the inferno."

"When a wave of torture and murders shake a small ally to the US, the truth is included in casualties. Did the CIA involve in it? Was Washington aware of it? Did they deceive the public?," indicated the paper.

"Now we do learn from it: yes, yes and yes," Granma concludes.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

"a unique set of skills"

Look, we a basically f*cking doomed. doomed. Negroponte? Aside from the moral problems I have with the Iran Contra issue, the Honduran death squads and our point man in Panama (now a Florida jail) - the bottom line is aside from loyally protecting our current president's dad, what has Negroponte done well? Nothing. He suffers from the worst of all Neocon traits - a belief that by doing what he believes is right (not legal mind you) he will make things better in the long run. I just don't see proof of that anywhere he's touched anything - Is Honduras safer? is Iran better off than it was? Nicaragua is only better off because Cuba couldn't afford to keep it propped up anymore. What makes us think John's going to handle the whole world better than he handled Iraq? seriously - all he brings is fealty to the administration - there have got to be better choices and certainly ones with less baggage.

Negroponte Held Tough Foreign Assignments

Published: February 17, 2005

Filed at 11:22 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Putting the acute difficulty of his new job as U.S. intelligence chief in perspective, John D. Negroponte said Thursday it was the most challenging assignment he has had in 40 years of government service.

And that says quite a bit, since the 65-year-old Negroponte's last two posts were U.S. ambassador to Iraq in the midst of a bloody anti-U.S. uprising and, before that, ambassador to the United Nations when U.S. relations with the world organization were declining over the looming war to depose President Saddam Hussein.

President Bush, at a White House news conference with Negroponte at his side, gave some indication of the difficulty of his adviser's latest task, saying he would be in overall charge of all U.S. intelligence with the goal of ``stopping terrorists before they strike.''

According to one well-informed administration official, former CIA director Robert Gates was Bush's first choice but Gates and several other candidates declined the post. They worried that the legislation establishing the intelligence job was too vague in outlining its authority, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Born in London, the son of a Greek shipping magnate, Negroponte has not been free of controversy in his career. As U.S. ambassador to Honduras and its military-run government from 1981 to 1985, Negroponte was suspected of a key role in carrying out the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

The Reagan administration's support of the anti-Sandinista Contra rebels in Nicaragua and its sale of missiles to Iran in connection with the U.S. hostages held there turned into the Iran-Contra scandal that rocked President Reagan's second term.

Honduras, itself, was accused of human rights abuses while Negroponte held the ambassador's post. Negroponte's nomination for the U.N. post was confirmed by the Senate in September 2001 only after a half-year delay caused mostly by criticism of his record in Honduras.

For weeks before his Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Negroponte was questioned by staff members on whether he had acquiesced to human rights abuses by a Honduran death squad funded and partly trained by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Negroponte testified that he did not believe the abuses were part of a deliberate Honduran government policy. ``To this day,'' he said, ``I do not believe that death squads were operating in Honduras.''

At the United Nations, Negroponte had the difficult assignment of trying to convince the U.N. Security Council to approve force against Saddam Hussein and then defending Bush's decision to invade Iraq over the objections of France, Germany, Russia and others.

Bush, in his disappointment with the allies, suggested the United Nations had become irrelevant, which didn't make the U.S. representative's job any easier.

Then, taking over as ambassador to Iraq after the war, Negroponte oversaw the buildup of the U.S. diplomatic corps there to the largest in the world while trying to cope with deadly attacks on U.S. and other coalition troops and Iraqi security forces.

In all, Negroponte held eight foreign service posts in Asia, Europe and Latin America before Bush recruited him from the corporate world for the U.N. assignment.

He was deputy assistant for national security in the administration of Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, and then was ambassador to Mexico and to the Philippines.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

katie papa

yes, in fact, the long lost katie papadimitriou was sighted (by me) in the bar at the capitol hyatt - the former MABster is now working for the man (aka constellation energy) - totally great to see her, especially given the randomness of the event (me a suit no less).

Best pics, to be posted, were of the suprise visit to Greg and Tricia (and Zach, duh) and lunch at the National Museum of the American Indian (trip number two for me) - Mary was much missed, but it was great to 1) meet my nephew for the first time. and 2) suprise Tricia.

Friday, February 11, 2005

an entirely different kind of howl about a buzz

Drunk Birds Crash Into Building's Glass

Published: February 11, 2005

Filed at 7:20 a.m. ET

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Dozens of birds, drunk from eating holly berries, crashed into the glass of an office building and died earlier this week.

``It was like an Alfred Hitchcock movie,'' worker Denise Wilkinson said. ``It was spooky. You could hear them where they flew into the glass.''

Warm weather and an ample supply of berries attracted hundreds of cedar waxwings into the enclosed courtyard of the three-story building Tuesday,

The birds began getting drunk on the berries. They got so loopy that some were falling off branches and others were slamming into the glass walls that enclose the courtyard, said Burgess Mills, the building's owner.

About half of the 100 birds that slammed into the building died, workers said.

Groundskeepers have tried to help the birds by putting tape on windows or nets over the holly trees to keep them from eating the berries, Mills said.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

a little tour spiel of my own

Swanny sent me a nice gif of a lambchop poster by mister frumpy the australian silk screeners who have made a great bunch of posters, including one for the upcoming lambchop tour. Somehow en repose I managed to make it to the lambchop site which has some pictures posted from the tour - made me 1) kinda sad I wasn't on tour with them in Oz and 2) pretty happy to see I made it to the website (and with the poster that never got made no less).

I miss those guys (and gals, duh) - this new job has effectively killed the opportunity for tours unless I get lucky and there are some scheduled during our summer lull (unlikely) or I manage to get lucky and have an overlap with a NARUC meeting (No, Austin will be in July not March) and I'm missing the Teenbeat/Unrest reunion show by one week this month. Sigh.

I'll try and add a pic of the poster assuming I get permission.

buzz or howl

two words: holy shit.

I would be lying if I said I forgot how much I love this band.

This day in history

In 1825, the House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams president after no candidate received a majority of electoral votes.

Which reminds that a lot of what we take for granted politically these days really wasn't so set in stone to those in our nascent country.

Monday, February 07, 2005

adventures in good music

Karl Haas died yesterday too. I actually liked his show despite his being fairly conservative with his classical music. Plus he had a great voice. I remember talking about his gig (which was quite sucessful) in the mid 90s, While working for WNIB. Makes me wonder how Bill and Sonia are doing...

Friday, February 04, 2005

The importance of Earnst

Earnst Mayr died at 100 today. Just an amazing thinker. I wonder what Bill Wimsatt is thinking right about a meeting in Sacramento today I discussed "big problems" and thought of him. Comes around and goes around I suppose.

I think it's pretty interesting but I was rather fond of evolutionary biology and genetics, and Earnst's work in college - so much so that I took a particularly enjoyable class on the subject (Wimsatt's Genetics in an Evolutionary Perspective) a second time. Maybe it is not so strange that a subject so unrelated to the majority of my studies would have such a lasting and widespread impact on my thinking. The field of the history of the philosophy of science is one that has become very dear to me and I suspect Wimsatt owed much to Mayr on the subject(and so, I suppose then, do I).

A few weeks ago I purchased as a gift to someone J. Weiner's Beak of the Finch, which I read in that class as well...

At the same time the class also served as an introduction to Dawkins' work and memetics...all testiment to Wimsatt's intellect and interests, both of which were formidable and deserving of much respect if not envy.

Here's to allopatric speciation! (from a proud west coaster)

Fond memories...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

I've Got You Babe

Best practical joke of 2005 (so far):

With the help of Salim I got the audio track of Groundhog Day where the radio station first goes off, playing Sonny and Cher and talking about how cold it is. I put it in the CD alarm clock that we last night and didn't say anything. When it went off this morning Mary was irritated that it was loud, unfamiliar music so I pressed snooze, and again, and again, (getting funnier to me each time) and then...she figured it out. "Is that from Groundhog Day?" followed by "you think you're funny don't you?".
Well, yeah. I thought this one was pretty good.
"I otta punch you in the nose"

and in case you were wondering:
Punxsuatwaney Phil did in fact see his shadow.