27 12 2008

Only the Blues could produce a song with this title that wouldn’t either be ironic or heavy metal. Check it out:

ETTA JAMES sings “I’d Rather Go Blind”.


25 12 2008

I discovered the Velvet Underground in the late 1960s when I was living in New York, a shy Southern boy hopelessly out of place in the cold North at the time when Southerners were most scorned, due to our protofascistic leaders’ vicious opposition to the civil right movement.

A shy boy, alone and growing increasingly depressed, I was headed for total dysfunction. I was saved by the return to New York of one of my best friends, Jim Ash, to whom I will always be grateful.

This barbaric yawp is the most memorable song on the Velvets’ first and best album The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967), but every song on it is great except one. The tunes are memorable. The lyrics are extreme. The range of moods is amazing.

Try “There She Goes Again”:

Or how about “Run Run Run”?

And, for you fans of beautiful tall blonde girls with hypnotic low voices, how about Nico’s emotional droolfest for the lonely guy:


More can be learned about The Velvet Underground on Wikipedia. They’ve influenced lots of musicians.


10 12 2008

The fundamental problem of the Republican party has always been that, speaking economically, it has always been the party of the Rich, and there are a lot more poor and middle class people in the USA than there are rich people.

From the 1930s to the 1970s the party didn’t find a way of dealing with that problem, so the Democrats kept continuous control of Congress and elected most presidents. Then in 1980 Reagan was elected as a “change” candidate, in much the way Obama has been elected now.

Subsequently, the Republicans hit the jackpot by allying with the religious Right, and inaugurated an almost 40-year period in which they conclusively proved that people of modest means will vote against their own economic class interests in order to see their non-economic “values” in control of society. The more sophisticated Republican leaders, who couldn’t care less about religion and “values” but did care deeply about the economic interests of their wealthy patrons, then began to scheme to prevent Democrats from ever enacting any social programs, such as Europe has had for generations, that would so benefit people of modest means that they might outweigh the massive inertia of “values” voting and kick poor and middle class people back to the Democratic camp.

Usually right-wing theorists don’t talk a lot about this struggle of theirs in open forums, for obvious reasons.

But here is an exception to their usual reticence:

Cato snippet

Think about it folks. Do you really want to hear constantly about how great That Old Time Religion is more than you want assured access to health care for yourself and your children?


7 12 2008

Anyone out there ever see a movie called The Big Lebowski? A lot happens in it, and to no end, in the end.

A man who has dropped out of Amerikka gets involved with a bunch of sneaky and/ or desperate efforts of some other characters to make big money. Most of the other characters have permanently swollen egos, as nicely symbolized by a little cartoon that one of them, Jackie Treehorn, draws.

In the end the hero goes nowhere. Some of the others come to nothing or worse. A good man suffers a great misfortune. The pregnant mass of big dough they were all hustling for remains always safely in the hands of the rich, as we know it must always do.

But the ne’er-do-well hero survives, unprofited but unscathed. This is a bit of light against a dark backdrop.

I’ve never seen a movie that better expresses the following lines from MacBeth:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28

After seeing this movie I have no doubt at all that the Coen brothers know their Shakespeare cold.