Friday, July 31, 2009

Because It Keeps Happening

What a week for Cops and their Toys!

A man with a legitimate warrant gets busted and is quite cooperative, yet that's not enough for the cops. They put the dog on him and when their search of him comes up empty, they plant some weed in his pocket. All on videotape.

Before that there was the deaf and mentally disabled man in Mobile, AL who took too long in a bathroom being sick and so the cops kicked in the door, pepper sprayed, and tasered him. Fortunately the local judge refused to let the charges of "disorderly conduct" stand and threw it out during the man's booking.

Then we get the pregnant woman tased at a baptismal party for her older twins.

Then we get the 72 year old woman tased by a cop because she wouldn't sign the ticket.

Oh, and how bout this one. Cops in Boise got a man in custody - in handcuffs - and then put the taser in his anus, for kicks. Here's a transcript of the audio:

Cop: Do you feel this?

Suspect: Yes, sir.

Cop: Do you feel that? That's my …

Suspect: Okay

Cop: … Taser up your ass.

Suspect: Okay

Cop: So don't move.

Suspect: I'm trying not to. I can't breathe.

Cop: Now do you feel this in your balls?

Suspect: I do, sir. I'm not going to move. I'm not gonna move.

Cop: Now I'm gonna tase your balls if you move again.

(A full minute goes by)

Cop: Okay, I'm gonna take this Taser out of your asshole now. Are you going to fight with me?

Suspect: No, not at all, sir.

Cop: (to another cop) So far, for the last two minutes, he's been cooperative. But then my Taser's in his ass.

And people were saying Louis Gates was over-reacting to that business last week.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Looping Ian Cooke

Rather awe-inspiring beauty.I did a post the other day on Forest Roxx about an old, old friend and his substantial responsibility for the suddenly exploding Denver music scene and its international acclaim of late. It's part remembrance and part homage. If you're interested, you can read the whole piece here.

As part of that post I added this very recent video of Denverite, Ian Cooke, a tape-looping cellist getting a lot of press, and with whom my old friend is working quite closely, engineering his recordings. This video is from Mr. Cooke's new DVD release. It is recorded live.

Cooke uses a variation of Robert Fripp's tape-looping techniques whereby he records himself playing a phrase, then immediately plays it back and adds another layer that is recorded as well. That is played back in turn while he adds yet another layer and this continues over and over. He controls the whole process through a couple of foot pedals as he plays, and can turn off or on the various layers he has recorded. It is both fascinating and quite beautiful. The effect is that one man can create a stunning, full, and multi-textured sound. Unlike Fripp, however, the whole of Cooke's work is to form the framework of an entire song rather than just to provide a platform for improvisational counterpoint.

Watch it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fascism In America

Imagine you are walking through an airport on your way to catch a plane home. You are carrying some cash from vacation or a business deal. TSA asks you why you have the money. You respond by asking only if you are required to answer the question (you aren't), and when you do you are threatened with arrest.

That's what happened to Steven Bierfeldt, Treasurer for Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty. The ACLU has filed a suit on his behalf against the TSA for its detention of Mr. Bierfeldt as he returned home from a St. Louis campaign rally. He carried with him approximately $4700 from t-shirt sales and contributions. TSA became suspicious of that money. They asked why he had it. He asked in return if he was required by law to provide an answer and that's when things got rough. He was detained, harassed, verbally abused and threatened with arrest - all because he was carrying money that some man two steps up from mall security decided was more cash than he deemed appropriate.

Yes, it would have been easier to just answer the question, but why should he? It is no threat to the plane's security if he is carrying cash. It is no business of TSA why he is carrying it.

Mr. Bierfeldt recorded the entire interrogation on his iphone and the recording is available here. Listen to it - it's long, frightening and insane. It's also shocking to hear the TSA screener refer to him as "a fucking asshole," a "smartass," and to tell Mr. Bierfeldt that he's tired of "his shit," all in response to Mr. Bierfeldt calmly and very politely asking, "Am I required by law to answer that question?"

Thank goodness a DEA agent with a little good sense arrived as they were handcuffing Mr. Bierfeldt to talk him "downtown" ("Am I under arrest?" "No." "Am I free to go?" "No, you're coming with us.") The agent used the good sense he was born with to see this was utter bullshit and said he was satisfied that Mr. Bierfeldt was doing nothing illegal. Yet, the TSA screener remained unconvinced and still threatened to keep him off the plane - because he was carrying some cash!!

This fascist nonsense must end, and soon.

Now It Sounds Like Poetry

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The World In Another Way

Some examples of the work of the fine photographer, Marcin Sacha.

More here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Racist Pic Of The Week

A week can't go by without some conservative getting busted sending out racist Obama stuff. Sadly, we had to get all the way to Thursday for this week's.

This one was sent out to tea-baggers on a listserv by Dr. David McKalip. Ho Hum, some old, same old. Except Dr. McKalip isn't just any racist wingnut - he's a Florida neurosurgeon who serves on the American Medical Association's House of Delegates. He also founded the anti-reform group "Doctors For Patient Freedom."

Maybe he's been tapping the anesthesia a little too often.

Bless them all - no week feels complete anymore without some watermelon photoshop or a bone through Obama's nose.

via TPM

"Do You Even Watch CNN?"

Jon Stewart looks into this birth certificate business.
"As far as I know."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Drunk People Yoga Positions

Get the whole series from Fun Tuna.

via sully

The Mysterious Disappearance Of An Enormous Talent

I remember going to see the movie version of Hair the day it opened in 1979. I had reached the end of my senior year in high school and was in full slacker mode, so that Friday my girlfriend and I took the afternoon off and saw it. I remember enjoying it a lot. Over the years I've seen it quite a few times and have remained impressed.

Last night I watched it again. It had run on TCM over the weekend and bless Tivo's heart, it snagged it for me. I was impressed all over again. Though the plot has some holes, they aren't bad for a musical and compared to the stage version, which really had no plot at all, they are insignificant. The stunning integration of visuals and music preceeded and informed the rise of music videos that followed. Twyla Tharp's innovative choreography (one number features a pas de deux with horses) feels fresh and alive. But it's the extaordinarily naturalistic performances that director Milos Foreman got out of the young actors, especially in a musical, that have always stuck out in my mind.

The film is a smorgasbord of dazzling breakthroughs and debuts. Treat Williams would only equal his work as the tribe leader, Berger, in Lumet's Prince of the City the following year. Beverly D'Angelo would never be better and it's a pity she'll be remembered primarily from National Lampoon's Vacation. John Savage, though impressive in The Deer Hunter the previous year, gives an even better performance in Hair. Annie Golden, recruited from the NY band, The Shirts, is a knockout as the charming and delightful Jeannie. Don Dacus (guitarist at the time for Chicago) and Dorsey Wright, fresh from a great performance in The Warriors, warm up the ensemble with just the right tone.

Even small cameos stand out - from Charlotte Rae to the late Micheal Jeter to the director Nicholas Ray to Nell Carter to the exquisite Antonia Rey as Berger's mother - they make the film richer and more wonderful.

Amidst all this greatness, however, there is one element that actually stands above everything else. More than halfway through the movie, we are introduced to one more character - a woman confronting the man who fathered her child and then abandoned her. The character doesn't even have a name - in the credits she is simply referred to as Hud's Fiancee. She is played by an unknown named Cheryl Barnes, and in one of the most amazing debuts in film history she steals the movie. She tears into the song "Easy To Be Hard" with such bravura and depth that at the film's gala premiere in Los Angeles, before a cynical industry crowd, the movie had to be stopped - yes, stopped - because the audience in the theater gave her a 10 minute standing ovation - at a movie! The remainder of her performance in the film, though small, proved that her acting instincts were equal to her singing. Natural, subtle, honest - she was simply amazing.

If you have never seen it, or for some reason don't remember it (How?!) here it is.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

Ok, you watch it? Because if you didn't, you won't get what I'm trying to say, so seriously, watch it... I'll wait.

Ok. Are we agreed? Is that impressive?

Here's the story behind her... and the mystery, as I understand it. That young woman, Cheryl Barnes, had never worked professionally. She was eking out a living as a maid in a motel in New England when she accompanied a friend to an open audition for the movie. At her friend's insistence she auditioned too. She got the job instantly.

The scene above was shot in New York, in winter, and the temperature was 25 degrees. It was her first day, in her first movie. Though they shot many angles that day - medium shots, reaction shots, extra takes - Foreman used the first take of Barnes. He knew it would be the one.

The last scenes in the film were shot near Barstow, California, and when the film wrapped she stayed there, in Barstow. She took jobs waitressing at a Dennys and teaching piano. She recorded a song the following year for the soundtrack to American Gigolo. She accepted an invitation by Milos Foreman to visit Prague while he was shooting Amadeus there, but otherwise she never really got close again. Hair was her career.

She remains a mystery. There's very little information regarding her whereabouts or her life for the last 30 years. She just disappeared.

How does that happen? How does someone with so much obvious talent just not do anything else? And is that what happened: offers rolled in, but she declined them all? Where did this woman go?

In a movie where so many young talents gave knockout performances and launched their careers, Cheryl Barnes stood out. Yet, she went no further.


Cheryl Barnes was actually in the movie theater that night in Los Angeles when the audience stood as one and roared their approval. She had been coaxed to come down from Barstow for the event by Foreman. A witness, a dancer who had been in the film and was at the premier, said that as the crowd's applause thundered through the auditorium for those ten long minutes Ms. Barnes remained in her seat, weeping uncontrollably into her hands. Perhaps, that was all Cheryl Barnes ever needed... or maybe, it was more than she had wanted in the first place.

After all, where do you go from there?

A quick note: If you want to watch the whole film (for free) Hulu has it here, and if you want to see a longer version of the clip above with better context, it hits at about 1:17:00 into the movie.

Addendum: Ms. Barnes had been scheduled to play the role of Effie in the original production of Dreamgirls on Broadway after Jennifer Holliday quit the workshops, but Ms. Barnes had a run-in with the director, Michael Bennett, and zap - Barnes out, Holliday back in. Barnes later went on to play the role in Long Beach to great acclaim.

She also performed in Bernstein's Mass on Broadway.

So there's something.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fun Fact For The Day

In the 19th century, particularly on the frontier, ear wax was frequently used as lip balm.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Off The Shelf

Awful Library Books, a collection of titles from libraries across the country that desperately need some purging.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Baywatch Can Breathe Again

The Sun has found its spots.

Following up on his post.

On Quitting

Palin today in the Anchorage Daily News:

Palin responded Monday (to accusations that she's a quitter) by saying there's a double standard. She brought up the fact Murkowski left the Legislature when her father, then-governor Frank Murkowski, appointed her to the U.S. Senate seat he gave up to become governor.

"The double standard that's applied here is a bit perplexing. ... Didn't Lisa Murkowski leave office to go take her dad's seat? (Govs.) Huntsman left, Napolitano just left ... ," Palin said, referring to governors who took positions in President Obama's administration.

Everyone she references quit their jobs to take another job; Palin just quit.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

There's No Federal Investigation, So...

...that leaves batshit crazy as the explanation.

LA Times:

"There is absolutely no truth to those rumors that we're investigating her or getting ready to indict her," Special Agent Eric Gonzalez said in a phone interview Saturday. "It's just not true." He added that there was "no wiggle room" in his comments for any kind of inquiry.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Palinoid Delusions

Palin has been utterly absent today, a day after announcing her resignation. Palin's spokeswoman said she was in Juneau, but she did not participate in the Fourth of July parade there or the celebration of Alaska's 50th anniversary of Statehood (what governor doesn't celebrate a 50th anniversary for statehood anyway?) Instead, the only communication from Palin today was a Twitter shout-out to the troops, and an odd post on her Facebook page where she took the media to task.

The money quote:

The response in the main stream media has been most predictable, ironic, and as always, detached from the lives of ordinary Americans who are sick of the “politics of personal destruction”. How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it’s about country. And though it's honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions I make. But every American understands what it takes to make a decision because it’s right for all, including your family.

"A higher calling?" Is she taking some kind of vows or something?

And what's up with the persecution complex - "we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies to the decisions I make." Hate to burst her bubble but the standards applied to her are pretty damned low and she still didn't make the grade with that performance yesterday. The woman wanted to be Vice President, for heaven's sake, and she thinks that some kind of explanation of what she means by a higher calling is asking too much.

And who is she to rail against the "politics of personal destruction?' It seems to me she was pretty damned good at it last fall - "palling around with terrorists." She may whine about it now, but when she was dishing it out last fall she said, "Nobody should have hurt feelings! My goodness, this is politics! Politics is rough and tumble, and people need to get thick skin, just like I’ve got."

There is one more line from her little blurb today that is more than bizarre:

We have accomplished so much and there’s much more to do, but my family and I determined after prayerful consideration that sacrificing my title helps Alaska most.

Go ahead, read it again. Yes, that small part at the end - "sacrificing my title helps Alaska most." Does she think she is still a pageant contestant? It is not a "title", it's an elected office. She is not the Duke of Windsor abdicating the throne. She is a governor who is quitting her job before the end of her term.

If her missive was a blog post by some ordinary person discussing why they quit their job you would think they were nuts. Read it like that and it all becomes clear.

This is all one great drama in her head. She is the put-upon, tortured, heroine who must "sacrifice" all for the good of her country and a "higher calling." It is just that simple.

The snowbilly thinks she's Joan of Arc-tic.

There's An Idea!

Peter Ferrera, on FoxNews calls Palin's resignation, "a brilliant liberating move for her career, and a potential turning point for the national conservative movement."

He goes on to offer some options for her, including,

"She should also lead the nation's mothers to oppose mandating replacement of incandescent light bulbs with the new mercury poison gas bulbs."

That's what I call a national platform.

Don't Even Try To Follow This

"Life is too short to compromise time and resources... it may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: "Sit down and shut up", but that's the worthless, easy path; that's a quitter's way out."

- Sarah Palin, July 3, 2009, announcing she was resigning as Governor of Alaska.

Palin made an analogy in her rather rambling, incoherent little speech yesterday about "calling an audible" and "passing the ball so the team can win." Hmm, problem is, she is not passing the ball; she's leaving the fricking game. She added that the only way her administration could "continue without interruption" was if she ended it. In a reference to the military (and she never misses an opportunity for one) she said, "We can ALL learn from our selfless Troops... they're bold, they don't give up." And then, of course, she said she was giving up her job.

Basically, she said that she's no quitter, and just to prove it she's gonna quit. You betcha.

I just have no words.

She said, "In fact, this decision comes after much consideration, and finally polling the most important people in my life..." Yet word has arrived that her own husband, Todd, who was fishing yesterday, had to abandon his boat, leave other fishermen to care for his setnet, and hurry home to be there for the announcement. Doesn't sound as if he was polled (or maybe he's just not that important.)

If there is no scandal on the way, then there is no plausible explanation for this sudden resignation. She certainly offered none in her speech that ran the gamut from "apathy" and "dead fish" to "refrigerator magnets" and "lame ducks." She argued that all the ethics investigations have cost Alaskans millions so far and it wasn't fair to the state's citizens to add to that. The Anchorage Daily News just yesterday said the investigations have cost a total of $296,000 and most of that was Palin's own investigation of herself in the Troopergate mess.

When Palin closed her delusional, stream-of-unconsciousness, black is white/day is night, rambling, she offered one last bit of pithiness:

"In the words of General MacArthur said (sic), 'We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.'"

She even got that wrong - those are the words of General Oliver Smith.

Friday, July 3, 2009

First You Resign, Then You Go To Jail?

Hey, there are rumors aplenty floating around right now, but the gist seems to be that this suprise announcement came up because Federal indictments are about to be handed down following an investigation of embezzlement while Palin was mayor of Wasilla. The investigation has been a long one and has focused on the Palin house and the "legendary" Wasilla Sports Complex that Palin fought so hard to have built. It seems they were built simultaneously and the materials - doors, windows, wood, fixtures - are the same in both.

Now that's Mavaricky!


The specific details of it all were initially laid out in an exhaustive article last October in the Village Voice.

Well, This Smells Funny...

...But then, she's fucking crazy so who knows.

She says she's resigning because she wants to spend more time with her family and can't do that with her job.

Um, excuse me, but didn't she have a special needs newborn and a pregnant 17 year old at home when she accepted McCain's offer for running mate? What the hell changed in 10 months? Would she have called it quits around this time if she and McCain had won?!

Seriously - What changed?

Nothing, that's what. And this isn't about her family or being a lame duck (she made herself a lame duck when she decided not to run for reelection in Alaska). No, this is simply cabin-fevered, snowblinded, tainted moose-meated, batshit, crazy talking.

You! You people that voted McCain/Palin - Yeah, you! Are you watching this? Have you seen her for the last 10 months? Are you really praying she runs in 2012?! Who are you people?!

This isn't about ideology or left & right or Democrat/Republican. This is about someone who is psychologically disabled. She is pathologically disturbed. She lies and lies and lies, about things that are all too easily disproved, about things that don't even matter, about anything and everything without rhyme or reason except to support her delusional ideas about herself and her life.

Geez, this will never end, will it.

Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out

Palin resigns as governor of Alaska. If she imagines she's laying the ground work for a 2012 run for the WH, then quitting in the middle of her first term as governor isn't really a good start. Maybe she just doesn't get enough time to do all those marathons.

Anyway, she's done.

I just can't think of anything else snarky to say.

But I'm certain we haven't heard the last of the Snowbilly.

Oh, and one more thing - that timer you hear right now? It's mine, and its counting the minutes until the proverbial "other shoe" drops.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Like Pulling Teeth

Curry has manned up and finally admitted what we all knew: he can't bring himself to reveal his innermost secrets - pour his guts out - blogstyle. Thus he's opted to communicate to us exclusively through cryptic found videos. Tis a moving, movin' picture blog. Indulge your need for visual stimulation, and his need to speak without speaking.

Behold the Heterodont.

Where Is Their Vote?

Apparently still at the polling place.

From Raye Man Kojast? (Where's My Vote?):

Today, Mohammad Reza Rezazadeh, the governor of Shiraz, paid a visit to the Shiraz Central Library. During his visit reporters discovered four ballot boxes. They were asked not to report the incident. According to the election laws all ballot boxes have to be returned to Tehran.

Yeah, this election was totally above the board. This is just an isolated incident, I'm sure.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


The Sears Tower in Chicago unveiled its new glass skyboxes today. The glass enclosures jut out from the 103rd floor and allow one to get a full view from that height.

I have climbed mountains, scaled sheer rock faces, with nothing between me and gruesome death but a small nut wedged into a crack and a rope. I love that. But for some reason if you put me at a decent altitude in, or on, a building I freak out. A mere glance over the edge sends me into spasms of irrational, physical fear. Nausea wells up and my breathing goes into overdrive. I can't explain it. Even these photos creep me out.

Sears Tower will not be getting a visit from me.

If You Thought California Government Was A Mess...

Try New York. Their legislature has been the most comical governing body in a long time.

It all started earlier this year when the Democrats got themselves a majority in the the senate, 32-30. As they prepared to install a Democratic Senate leader two Dems switched their votes and went for a Republican. Chaos ensued. Democrats closed the senate (I have no idea how). Republicans refused to be seated. Courts got involved. And absolutely nothing has happened there for weeks. The are literally doing nothing. The Governor is furious with them, as are most New Yorkers.

Yesterday the Governor laid down the law and said get moving or nobody goes home for the Fourth. 31 Democrats sat down in the Senate but they are required to have 32 senators in the chamber for a quorum. Without a quorum nothing can be done. The Republicans refused to enter, until...

Republican Senator Frank Padavan got thirsty. He found the hallway much too crowded. So to get to the free soda machine he took a shortcut through the back of the chamber. The Dems spotted him and immediately called a quorum. Before it was over 120 bills were passed. The Republicans called foul. The Governor said he won't sign the bills. During the course of all this yesterday vital state operations ground to a halt because legislation expired.

In the meantime, a court is uncomfortably ordering them to all sit down and get to work. New Yorkers aren't getting anything in return for all that free soda.