Thursday, November 25, 2004

Stick it to the man... downloading some banned music! This cool new site hosts bit torrents of music that major record labels have attempted to ban. If you haven't heard DJ Danger Mouse's much-ballyhooed Grey Album, a remix that combines elements of The Beatles "White Album" and Jay-Z's "Black Album", you can download a torrent for it at Banned Music. The Illegal Art Compilation by the folks at Stay Free magazine looks pretty interesting as well.

Quote & Music of the day -- Thanksgiving

"An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day." --Irv Kupcinet

Grateful Dead - American Beauty
This is one of the Dead's more popular studio albums of all time. Whether it's the beautiful ballad "Ripple" or the more upbeat songs to boogie down to, like "Sugar Magnolia" or "Truckin", there's plenty on this album to be thankful (or shall I say grateful) for. Speaking of "Truckin'", that happens to be the favorite tune on this album for this here turkey to boogie down to.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Quote & Music of the day -- 11/21/04

"The state spends much time and effort persuading the
public that it is not really what it is and that the
consequences of its actions are positive rather than
negative." -- Hans Hermann Hoppe

Benn Loxo Du Taccu

Instead of referring to an album or live recording today, I'll provide y'all with a link to my favorite audioblog in the blogosphere. Benn Loxo Du Taccu provides mp3s featuring a variety of sweet sounds from the African continent. I've downloaded quite a few great mp3s from this site, enough to create quite an eclectic playlist that kept me jivin' while doing some apartment cleaning earlier today.

Treacherous E-mail Hoaxes

I opened up an e-mail a few minutes ago from someone who will remain nameless that sparked my attention. I've heard of various chain e-mails with social or political messages being circulated, representing various ideologies, and each one that I hear about turns out to be a hoax. The one I recieved contained various interesting tid-bits about Iraq, and the last thing that was mentioned within the e-mail sparked an immediate alarm from my bullshit detector (which happens to sound like the Batman theme). This is what it said:
And also... This is something to think about! Since America is typically represented by an eagle. Saddam should have read up on his Muslim passages...

The following verse is from the Koran, (the Islamic Bible)

Koran (9:11) - For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; and there was peace.

(Note the verse number!) Hmmmmmmm?! God Bless you all Amen !

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I found myself reading chapter 9 of the Qur'an within 60 seconds of reading this e-mail. Sure enough, this e-mail claim is absolute bullshit. Here is a link to Chapter 9 of the Qur'an, and here is a link to what the urban legend site has to say about it.

Why does it not surprise me that the person who forwarded this e-mail to me recieved it from some Bible thumpers?

Porn: "Liberal" and "Conservative" Definitions

It is often recognized by various anti-statists that modern "liberals" and "conservatives" are merely flip sides of the same ugly, power-hungry coin. There are indeed many instances where one can point out how both sides are interested in advancing agendas that are hostile to both personal choice and limited government. A new example of this phenomenon has recently come to light: porn. The following pictorial lesson shows how "liberals" and "conservatives" are flip sides of the same coin by revealing the fact that certain members of both camps find what they call "porn" to be objectionable and against the public interest. With enough power at their disposal, both groups would likely attempt to bar people from enjoying them. Here we go:

What certain "conservatives" consider to be porn:
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What certain "liberals" consider to be porn:
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Saturday, November 20, 2004

Quote & Music of the day -- 11/20/04

"Separation of Church and State seems like a linguistic shell game unless that means bona fide separation of ideology from the force to impose ideological uniformity." -- Cat Farmer

Santana - Santana
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The album that started it all for this classic rock band led by one of my all-time favorite guitar players. No amount of persuasion should be neccesary to convince classic rock fans that this album is indeed a classic. The catchy tunes that fill this album are a treat that require no soul sacrifice in order to truly savor them.

Quiz: How many song titles from the album were included in the preceding paragraph?

Malice @ The Palace

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For those who haven't heard about the out of control brawl that occured between the Pistons and the Pacers last night, here's a link to an article about it.

The NBA has apparently suspended Ben Wallace of the Pistons, along with Ron Artest, Steven Jackson, and Jermaine O'Neal of the Pacers indefinately, which is a justifiable move. Wallace shouldn't be suspended as long as the others though since, while he started everything off by shoving Artest, he never went into the stands and attacked fans.

The talking heads at ESPN are apparently blaming the fans who threw stuff at players for everything while coming to the defense of players like Artest by declaring that they'd do the same thing if they were in Artest's shoes and that it was just human nature to resort to self-defensive measures. While the fans who threw stuff were certainly jackasses who deserved to be thrown out of the arena and perhaps criminally charged for the more egregrious assaults, I think that Ron Artest is the one who deserves the most scorn. He flat out crossed the line with his response to the fans.

Ron Artest was not assaulted by a fist, or a rock, or a baseball bat, or a boxcutter, or anything else that could really pose a threat to his physical well-being -- it was a plastic cup with beer. I don't see how this is any more of a threat to one's health than a wedgie, or a noogie, or a tittie twister (although those do hurt like hell). Self defense is, in my opinion, a lame excuse for acting like a thug. Instead of employing the savage, neoconservative-esque thug response, he should have acted like a professional, rational human being by doing anything other than going into the stands to attack fans (he apparently didn't even target the guy who actually threw the beer).

While human nature may have elements of animalistic nature to it, what separates us humans from other critters is our advanced intellect and conscious, things that should have prevented Artest from letting the animal instincts take their destructive toll on the situation. I, for one, would not have responded the way he did. I would have responded by standing, facing the perpetrator and pointing him out to nearby employees, and engaging in some sort of verbal or nonverbal exchange (giving him the finger if I were pissed, or perhaps ridiculing/mindfucking him by either pointing and sucking my thumb to point out the childishness of the act or making kissing motions at him -- this response would have resulted from me being in a cooler state of mind). Since I don't consider self-defense to be a valid defense of Artest's actions (especially since other athletes have been in similar situations before and promptly blew if off in a professional manner), I'd say that the proper response for someone who lives non-aggressively and acts professionally would be to not attack, but instead look to the example of someone like David Carradine's character in the classic tv series Kung Fu. Kwai Chang Caine would not have acted in the unprofessional and uncool way that the thuggish Artest did. Besides, the fan would have been dealt with by security, and quickly if Artest would have pointed the guy out.

After looking at the situation from a cooler and more rational perspective, it could be said that the ESPN talking heads who defended Artest were out of line and displayed the type of logic I'd expect from the bloodthirsty war cheerleaders at Fox News, although Roger Cossack (ESPN's legal analyst) has separated himself from the other analysts by stating that the self-defense claim won't wash. Professional athletes have absolutely no business going into the stands, and Artest should face far stricter punishment for his actions than the other players involved. It'll be interesting to see how all of this plays out in terms of punishments and possible legal actions.

Regarding the oncourt fist-a-cuffs, I have no sympathy for the fans who were decked by Artest and O'Neal after walking onto the court. Those fans had no business going onto the court, and paid the price for doing so. Both of those fans were complete jackasses.

On a sidenote, Jim Henley at Unqualified Offerings has a unique take on the situation. He's suggesting that Artest set this up so that he could be suspended long enough to go out and promote his new r&b album, which is something that he wanted time off for but was denied the wish. Interesting...

Friday, November 19, 2004

Quote & Music of the day -- 11/19/04

"Justice and Liberty are both wallflowers now; the Law has forgotten who it brung to the dance and is doing the two-step with Tyranny, and Uncle Sam has gone carousing with Privilege." -- Cat Farmer

The Slip - Live is my Jumby

This is the first live album to be released by this great New England based trio. While some of their work contains lyrics, this album contains 5 instrumental pieces that show off their ability to create genre-bending jams that contain scorching drum work and creamy guitar licks. Whether your thing is heady jazz, danceable rock grooves, smooth Americana sounds, or just good modern music in general, you'll find something to like about the daring and organic tunes that these guys produce.

NY Assemblyman threatened by arts & crafts and free expression

Check out this snippet of news from the Arab American Institute:

The Associated Press reports that New York Assemblyman Ryan Karben (D) is calling for the cancellation of “an exhibit of Palestinian art and crafts, scheduled for a one-day display in a building owned by Westchester County,” because, he claims, “it is anti-Israel and ‘promotes terrorism and violence.’” Karben “based his objections on artworks from another exhibit, also called ‘Made in Palestine,’” displayed last year in Houston, even though the works from that exhibit will only “be shown in a PowerPoint presentation, ” (though the exhibit will show some of the same artists and was created to help bring the Houston exhibit to New York). According to Karben’s spokesman Aaron Troodler, “Whether they are in a display case or on a projection screen, these divisive and anti-Israel pieces that glorify terrorism have no business being displayed.” But the exhibit’s curator Haifa Bint-Kadi, “denied the charges, saying that while some of the art deals with Israel’s military presence in the Palestinian territories…‘what comes through is the desire for a peaceful life.’” She also “said she was disappointed that Karben would ‘make something divisive out of this, when what we’re trying to do is get people to know one another rather than do harm to one another.’” What exactly is the problem here? Is only one side of the story valid?

So... this Ryan Karbel fellow has a problem with peoples' freedom of expression? The freedom issue aside, I also didn't realize that Westchester County, NY was part of Israel; oh wait, it isn't! It's one thing for an American to be unnerved by something that he/she considers to be "anti-American"(although censorship is never justifiable), but Karbel wants to toss the Constitution aside for the benefit of combatting arts and crafts that supposedly, in his incorrect opinion, are "anti-Israel"? And how do arts and crafts promote terrorism?

I wonder if Karbel had a problem with the embarrasing "freedom fries" ordeal a couple of years ago. My guess is that he appreciated it, even though one could argue that such a name change is "anti-France". While some may not care about France, what does it say about people who approve of the criticism of some countries while looking to forcibly eliminate criticism of other countries?

At the very least, I'd say that Karbel may need to seek help for his unhealthy fear of freedom, not to mention arts and crafts.

Down with the FCC!

I'm no fan of Howard Stern, but I do appreciate some of the comments he made yesterday while holding a rally in Times Square. He held a rally there and was giving away Sirius boom boxes to promote his move to Sirius satellite radio (you can read about it here). Here are some choice comments made by Stern at the rally:

"This will be dominant form of media because there is no government regulation."
"It's the death of the FCC. They have ruined commercial broadcasting -- down with the FCC! Down with the FCC!"

Here here! Down with the FCC!
Aside from the fact that commercial radio is atrocious, I'm sick of all the moralizing that the FCC is forcing on us with their responses to things like the Janet Jackson fiasco and the recent Monday Night Football skit controversy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

PETA Promoting Phish Preservation by Panning Peoples' Phood Prerogatives

I love critters. Despite my love of critters, I also enjoy consuming certain critters, especially chickens and fish.

I loate cruelty toward critters. Despite my loathing of critter cruelty, I also loathe irrational and over-the-line activism, especially the brand of activism that often emanates from PETA.

The folks at PETA have decided to launch a campaign that demonizes the consumption of fish, as you can see for yourself by reading the story provided by CNN. The PETA people claim, among other things, that people will choose not to eat fish any longer if they become aware of how intelligent fish are (um... no they won't), and that we certainly wouldn't put a hook through the mouths of other animals (I don't believe I've ever eaten a fish that was caught that way, and I eat a lot of fish).

Despite the growing concern over mercury found in certain types of fish, there is a wealth of nutrition to be found in fish, including protein and essential fatty acids that are often lacking in the modern American diet. While I have much respect for vegans and vegetarians, I don't think I could ever make the switch, especially considering how wonderful salmon tastes. I have mostly eliminated red meat from my diet though, except for an occasional (and almost prohibitively expensive) batch of free-range hamburgers. I also try to avoid purchasing farmed fish, due to the numerous problems associated with the practice (unhealthy fish, cruel retainment of fish, pollution).

These PETA people just seem to go way too far sometimes, which can actually have a negative impact on their passionate positions.

Copyright Craziness

Click here to read an article from Wired News about HR2391, a bill that would have a radical effect on copyright enforcement. To take a quote from the article itself:
The Senate might vote on HR2391 (.pdf), the Intellectual Property Protection Act, a comprehensive bill that opponents charge could make many users of peer-to-peer networks, digital-music players and other products criminally liable for copyright infringement. The bill would also undo centuries of "fair use" -- the principle that gives Americans the right to use small samples of the works of others without having to ask permission or pay.

And that's only a portion of what the bill would do if passed.

Stacie Rumenap, the American Conservative Union's deputy director, correctly asserts that this bill would effectively "make the Department of Justice Hollywood's law firm". What is up with all of the craziness these days concerning copyrights and other issues concerning intellectual property? What's next: are people going to be fined or hauled to jail for saying things like "it's the real thing"? I suppose I shouldn't give Coca-Cola any ideas.

For opinions on matters like these that depart from the crazy and servile mainstream dogma, I suggest checking out some of the essays on intellectual property compiled by the Molinari Institute (to be found here).

Quote & Music of the day -- 11/17/04

"The "free market" (as I define it) is the ebb and flow of transactions that occur peacefully between people who have choices, and voices. It does not mean freedom for monstrous people-eating corporations to prey freely on a captive workforce; it means freedom for people to interact without coercion." -- Cat Farmer

*I'd like to thank Strike The Root and BK Marcus for turning me on to the writing of Cat Farmer. I love her witty approach to writing about political issues, which seems rare when dealing with rational work of a libertarian persuasion. I'll be providing more quotes from her for the rest of this week's quote of the day installments.

Ear Candy:
King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King
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Despite it's hauntingly dark nature, this is easily the most beautiful rock album I own, making it no surprise to me that The Who's Pete Townshend once referred to it as an "uncanny masterpiece".

The album's opening number, "21st Century Schizoid Man", is a hair-raisingly chaotic anthem that seems almost prophetic to someone like me who is now a part of the maddening 21st century. This song stands apart from the others that, although certainly dramatic, aren't nearly as loud and edgy. This song also has a definite free jazz vibe to it, which adds to my appreciation of it.

"I Talk To The Wind", the 2nd track, is where the calm and the beauty sets in as the band unleashes some choice flute work to go along with the overall dreamy soundscape and solemn lyrics. "Epitaph" and the album's title track are also wonderful songs that send chills down my spine whenever I hear them, while "Moonchild" displays some quiet, minimalistic experimentation that may not be everyone's cup of tea.

Speaking of not being everyone's cup of tea, I noticed an extremely harsh review of this album amongst the number of otherwise positive remarks on the page. Some people seem to think that rock music should comprise solely of edgy, rebellious ditties that one can party to. While I certainly enjoy groups like the Velvet Underground, rock is not a limiting genre that should only follow the dictates of certain tastes. In other words, there is a place in the world of rock & roll for beauty and sophistication. I'd be willing to bet that the negative nancy who trashed King Crimson also happens to like Andy Warhol while dismissing artists like van Gogh as being self-indulgent. I also bet that he cheered the day Jerry Garcia died.

Like it or not people, just because something doesn't fall into your narrow definition of what constitutes "rock music" or "art" doesn't mean that it's crap that belongs in a garbage bin. It all boils down to a phrase that not enough people seem to acknowledge: different strokes for different folks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Quote & Music of the day -- 11/16/04

"A dragon in a dress is still a dragon, and a State with the power to impose ideology is simply a Church operating under a military alias." -- Cat Farmer

Ravi Shankar - Improvisations

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A great album by India's legendary musician. Western sounds are mixed in with much of the work here, including contributions by jazzers like Bud Shank (flute) and Gary Peacock (bass). While tracks 4 through 6 feature a traditional raga, the first 3 numbers are the improvisations, and are also my favorite pieces on the album.

Improvisations is part of a series of re-releases of Shankar's albums brought to us by the Angel label. It's great to see such treasures remastered and brought to us with such beautiful graphic design work.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Sowing the Seeds of Corporatism in Iraq

When I hear GW Bush or other neoconservatives talk about the so-called promotion of freedom and democracy in Iraq, I'm not sure if the proper response is to laugh or to cry.

In yet another example of how illusory any notion of freedom and democracy in occupied Iraq is, Iraqi farmers are now under assault by corporate pirates backed up by the guns of the occupying state. As discussed in a report by GRAIN, a non-governmental organization promoting sustainability and agricultural biodiversity, Iraqi farmers have been robbed of their generations old traditions and sovereignty over agriculture by patent laws that serve corporate interests. The unregulated seed supply system, and the freedom of self-sufficiency and unfettered innovation that go along with it, have forcibly been replaced by a system where farmers have no choice but to buy seeds from certain corporations, some of which are patented while others are "owned" despite the fact that the owners may not have created them. In other words, what we have here is a glaring example of government-enforced monopoly on what is a way of life for many Iraqis.

While the GRAIN report is quite informative on the subject and I generally sympathize with the concern of these people, I did notice that a particular portion of the report unfortunately parrots a line of thought promoted by lefties whose concerns are valid, but misplaced. Here is an excerpt that shows the problem:
Iraq is a special case in that the adoption of the patent law was not part of negotiations between sovereign countries. Nor did a sovereign law-making body enact it as reflecting the will of the Iraqi people. In Iraq, the patent law is just one more component in the comprehensive and radical transformation of the occupied country's economy along neo-liberal lines by the occupying powers. This transformation would entail not just the adoption of favoured laws but also the establishment of institutions that are most conducive to a free market regime.

Conducive to a free market regime? That's malarkey. Voluntary associations allowing for mutual benefit is what a free market and free trade are all about. How in the world does forced monopolization of a particular market, rooted in mischevious intellectual property laws and enforced by government coercion, fit any literal definition of free trade or free enterprise? It doesn't.

The report quotes a portion of Order 81, the legally binding order written up by the Coalition Provisional Authority that spells out this new food despotism, which states that their provisions...
"transition from a non-transparent centrally planned economy to a free market economy characterised by sustainable economic growth through the establishment of a dynamic private sector, and the need to enact institutional and legal reforms to give it effect."

The problem with lefties whose heart may be in the right place is that they believe the spokespeople of state corporatism who falsely claim to support free enterprise. This is one of the main reasons why notions of free trade and free markets are villanized by the left, or at least the generally non-authoritarian lefties who stand a chance at being converted to free market advocacy if only they could see the light on this issue. Hearing Republicans and corporate executives promote free markets rings about as hollow as similar promotions of spreading freedom and democracy in the middle east.

I recently had a brief online discussion with a leftie who is hostile towards what is often referred to as free trade. When I tried to explain the difference between what he calls free trade and genuine free trade, he responded by essentially implying that advocates of genuine free trade should come up with a new term for it since the masses equate free trade with the type of state corporatist crap that is now taking root in Iraq. He claimed that most people are too stupid and/or ill informed to make the distinction between free trade and what could be called imperialist trade, therefore the term is lost to those who advocate genuine free trade. It's such a shame that the perversion of language is so pervasive in despotic societies that are hostile to freedom.

Maybe free market advocates should start referring to communist countries as being "people's democracies". We all know that nations such as Cuba and the former Soviet Union weren't really democratic, but this would simply give lefties who love promoting "people" and "democracy" while tarnishing the notion of free enterprise a dose of their own medicine.

*note: My singling out and criticizing of lefties here does not mean that I am a right-winger. I generally reject the left/right dichotomy and engage in equal opportunity bashing of both sides due to the rampant blindness of both sides. Liberty, like our feathered or winged critter friends, require two wings to take off and fly.

Back to the original subject matter, it seems even more evident that the only "freedom" and "democracy" that'll be spread by the occupying forces in Iraq will be the forms that include the loss of local sovereignty and are enforced by the barrel of a gun.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Quote & Music of the day -- 11/14/04

"A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on." -- William S. Burroughs

The Bad Plus - These Are the Vistas
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This is the first of 2 albums that this jazz trio has released on a major label. I finally purchased a copy of this one last night when I saw them perform live, and I find myself enjoying this one even more than their most recent release. My copy happens to be double bad plus (or bad plus doublegood -- my Orwellian newspeak skills are weak) since they signed my copy of the album after the show. As with practically all musicians, athletes and other celebrities who engage in signing autographs, their signatures are almost completely incomprehensible.

As opposed to Give, their newest release, this one appeals more to my jazz sensibilities, despite the boisterous rendition of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". This album is solid from start to finish and doesn't leave me with the same so-so impression of their studio work than Give. I say this since, as with many groups I listen to, I get the most enjoyment listening to the rawness and spontaneity of live performances.

Last night's performance, at Ann Arbor's historic and majestic Michigan Theater, was a doubleplus good display of their prowess in a live setting. I was surprised by the number of new songs that I hadn't heard before, with "Empire Strikes Backward" being the apex of the bunch. The audience was especially amused and impressed by their chaotic deconstruction of Queen's "We Are the Champions", their lone cover of the night, and one that surprised me, then wowed me.

While all 3 members brought their A game, drummer Dave King was an absolute treat to watch. I've seen a number of impressive drummers live the past few years, but King was perhaps the most impressive, right up there with legend Rashied Ali. The speed, the brute force, and the technical virtuosity were all quite a sight to behold, as was his occasional use of a vintage Fisher Price chime toy called a Happy Apple (he's also the drummer for a band called Happy Apple).

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These guys are going to be opening for the Pixies soon in Chicago, which should be a blast. Hopefully they'll continue to make jazz relevant to a younger audience. Older, stuffy, conservative traditionalists may loathe these guys, but their talent is clearly evident and the hoardes of happy faces after last night's show (mine included) is proof enough of that. Let the old fogies go listen to one of the Marsalises or something, since they just may be too doubleplus old to get a kick out of the Bad Plus.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Quote & Music of the day -- 11/12/04

"If we can prevent the Government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy." -- Thomas Jefferson

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III
One of my two favorite Zeppelin albums, along with their first album. I love the diversity of the album, with the hard rocking "Immigrant Song" to start things off, the powerful blues number "Since I've Been Loving You", the twangy guitar riffs on "Tangerine", and the numerous acoustic pieces that signaled a change of pace for the mighty Zep.

And now we turn to sports...

2 stories from the sports world that are of interest to me:

Numero Uno --
Returning to the scandalous world of Buckeye football, it seems as if trouble is to be found whereever coach Jim Tressel is. Prior to arriving at THE Ohio State University, Tressel coached at Youngstown St., where it turns out that Tressel was also affiliated with shady doings. Here is the story from

Ever since his first season at OSU, I recieved bad vibes from Tressel. He kinda sorta reminded me of someone in the political world that I also wasn't too fond of, and all of this recent news about shady doings and people associated with him seems to solidify my mental likeness of him with...

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Numero Dos --
Congratulations Earl Boykins! Late Thursday night, he became the shortest player in NBA history to score 30 or more points in a game (he scored 32 overall) in a victory for his Denver Nuggets over the Detroit Pistons (read about it here). The EMU community is proud of ya!

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Reason #411 Why Public Education is Noxious

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Click here to read about a high school in Joliet, Illinois that has banned plain white t-shirts.

That's right... plain white t-shirts. Banned.

The "rationale" is that plain white t-shirts are a popular item among suspected gang members. You know, while I don't have any statistics to back this up, I'd be willing to state that practically every gang member can be seen wearing pants. Let's ban pants too! Gang members can often be seen wearing Nike basketball shoes, so let's ban those too! Never mind the school basketball teams, let their parents cough up the money for some new Reeboks or something. Oh, and don't forget gold chains; can't let kids wear gold chains either, even the ones with the cross worn by the God fearing. That oughta clean up the school once and for all. {/sarcasm}

I don't know about you, but I'd actually feel safer knowing who was or was not in a gang by means of clothing. Seeing popular gang regalia on someone allows me to pinpoint potential trouble and adjust to my surroundings. For example, I'm not going to make wisecracks about gang members being turd sniffin' losers if I spot someone nearby with their baggy pants down around their knees.

I think the next gang fad should be for gangs to dress like their school administrators. Wouldn't that make for an interesting scenario?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Quote & Music of the day -- 11/11/04

"When you advocate any government action, you must first believe that violence is the best answer to the question at hand." -- Allen Thornton

Ear Candy:
Legion of Mary - 5/21/75 Keystone - Berkeley, CA

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This was a wonderful underground band that existed in the mid 1970s, led by Jerry Garcia and keyboardist Merl Saunders. Since Jerry was one of the band's leaders, there is definitely a resemblance to the Grateful Dead in terms of their sound, but the music is infused with soulful R&B, jazz, funk and the blues.

These guys never had any official releases, which is part of the reason why I included a link to a page where you can download a recording of one of their finest performances. While the show is absolutely stellar from start to finish, there is a stretch on the second disc that really gets me moving, consisting of fine covers of Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come" and Stevie Wonder's "Creepin'". I highly recommend downloading this show if it even remotely sounds good. It's worth it.

*note: For info on .shn files, click here. For a link to the conversion tool I use to turn .shn files into .wav files, click here.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Brutal Times for Brutus & the Bucks

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Heh... if losing 3 straight conference games isn't bad enough for the football zealots down in Buckeyeland, now there's this new story involving former Buckeye running back Maurice Clarett and his numerous allegations surrounding his treatment while in Columbus. The allegations include recieving the keys to numerous cars during his freshman year and recieiving thousands of dollars in payments from boosters.

I have mixed feelings about all of this. As Brad Edmonds does a good job of pointing out in his column on titled "National Communists Against Athletes", the NCAA is a despotic association that imposes it's will on university athletes, laying down the law in terms of how such athletes can live their lives while representing their schools. Forbidding players from recieving payments and restricting how athletes train are just two examples of the many ways in which the NCAA acts as a despotic agent that provides no real positive atributes to college athletics aside from scandals and hypocrisy. I say hypocrisy since they prevent athletes from being paid, which some would call exploitation, while helping to set up lucrative multi-million dollar deals for schools and conferences through TV contracts, endorsements, and other goodies. Since such an agency shouldn't even exist as far as I'm concerned, there really shouldn't be any controversy stemming from OSU's treatment of football players.

Why did I state that I have mixed feelings? Well, my principled stand on the issue of liberty is in defense of a football player and team that I personally loathe. As a Michigan fan, I look forward to seeing the Wolverines pounce on the Buckeyes in a couple of weeks, sending the OSU faithful home with the realization that their team is inferior. Having the Buckeyes play without Clarett will only make this easier, although they still wouldn't stand a chance even with him.

Quote & Music of the day -- 11/9/04

"Despite the large number of mergers, and the growth in the absolute size of many corporations, the dominant tendency in the American economy at the beginning of [the twentieth] century was toward growing competition. Competition was unacceptable to many key business and financial interests, and the merger movement was, to a large extent, a reflection of voluntary, unsuccessful business efforts to bring irresistible competitive trends under control. Although profit was always a consideration, rationalization of the market was frequently a necessary prerequisite for maintaining long-term profits. As new competitors sprang up, and as economic power was diffused throughout an expanding nation, it became apparent to many important businessmen that only the national government could 'rationalize' the economy. Although specific conditions varied from industry to industry, internal problems that could be solved only by political means were the common denominator in those industries whose leaders advocated greater federal regulation. Ironically, contrary to the consensus of historians, it was not the existence of monopoly that caused the federal government to intervene in the economy, but the lack of it." -- Gabriel Kolko

Jurassic 5 - Power In Numbers
A great sophomore effort by these LA-based hip-hoppers. Intelligent and uber-smooth rhymes by great MCs such as Chali 2na backed up by tasty dj work by Cut Chemist and Nu Mark. These guys are all about rejuvenating the old school hip hop sound with plenty of retro sounds thrown in the background; definitely preferrable to much of the mainstream garbage that permeates the hip-hop world these days.

Highlights of this album include "A Day at the Races", a fast paced tune that easily places J5 on a pedestal over all others in terms of lyrical proficiency, and "Acetate Prophets", an instrumental piece where Cut Chemist and Nu Mark blend exotic middle eastern sounds with tasty beats to produce a memorable finished product.

"One of Them" is also a great song that exposes the group members hostility toward the gangster and "bling bling" rappers who are largely phonies who pollute the minds of the youth.

Jonesin' for a Barfbag

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Here we go again...

The Jones Soda Co. has decided to inflict a beverage-based shock & awe by rereleasing Thanksgiving inspired soda pop flavors such as the puke green colored Green Bean Cassarole and the ever appropriate Turkey & Gravy.


Why does Thanksgiving have to be the holiday with the specialty soda pop flavors? What about X-mas? Flavors such as candy cane, ginger bread, or even egg nog don't sound that bad (egg nog already happens to be a beverage, as opposed to mashed potatoes and gravy). Halloween would be great, although you could say that soda pop in itself is like liquid candy. At least they're being somewhat reasonable about it by providing a cranberry flavor as well.

Speaking of cranberry beverages, I had a Sam Adams Cranberry Lambic yesterday that was pleasant to chug down. They shouldn't call it a lambic though since it tasted like a cranberry equivalent of their Cherry Wheat beer, not to mention the fact that real lambic comes in a corked bottle.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Quote & Music of the day -- 11/8/04

"As long as you've got the H-bombs, you can serve the devil and call him God." -- Paul Knatz

A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders
I thought these guys broke up years ago. I guess they must be back together since they apparently performed in Atlanta recently.

Anyways, superb album by one of my fave hip-hop groups. Werd.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Quote & Music of the day -- 11/7/04

"What is common to many is least taken care of, for all men have greater regard for what is their own than what they possess in common with others." -- Aristotle

Jerry Garcia/David Grisman - Not For Kids Only
A very enjoyable album for big kids and little kids alike. Garcia and Grisman take a bunch of old timey folk music and add their delightful flavor to them. Aside from the presence of guitars, banjos and mandolins that one familiar with these two would expect, many guest musicians join in for certain songs adding additional musical flair to the lyrics that range from humorous to heartfelt.

Friday, November 05, 2004

I Love You, Madame Librarian

That is the name of the new article written by famed author Kurt Vonnegut (click here to read it). Vonnegut provides some random thoughts about things, including the important role librarians play in our society (especially in the post-9/11 PATRIOT Act era) and a few remarks about the psychopaths in Washington.

It's fairly obvious that Vonnegut absolutely loathes the neoconservatives, making it no surprise that the left periodical In These Times would publish it. Vonnegut's contributions are definitely the high points of that mag.

Quote & Music of the day -- 11/5/04

"The most violent element in society is ignorance." -- Emma Goldman

Hasidic New Wave - Kabalogy
A fine album by a group that combines klezmer with jazz and rock, creating a hip and enchanting sound. The group consists of Frank London on trumpet, David Fiuczynski on guitar, Greg Wall on sax, Fima Ephron on bass and Aaron Alexander on drums.

Vinnie Nobile of The Pilfers joins in on trombone for the final song, a tribute to 80s punk band The Dead Kennedys and their song "California Uber Alles". They altered the lyrics and came up with a humorous, yet scathing indictment of Rudy Giuliani's reign as mayor of NYC and named it "Giuliani Uber Alles". Fuggin' great song!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Luxurious Leather and Pucks

That's right -- pucks, as in hockey. Even though the NHL and it's players are shooting themselves in the collective foot, there is hockey going on this year. It may not be as popular as college football or hoops, but college hockey is a great sport to watch that has certain isolated patches of popularity determined by geography.

North Dakota represents one of those hockey hotbeds. I just read in Sports Illustrated on Campus about Ralph Engerstad Arena, home of the University of North Dakota hockey team, which opened in 2001. Fans of the Fighting Sioux enjoy, in what the magazine calls "The Taj Mahal of Arenas", 11,400 leather chairs with armrests cut out from Valley Forge cherry wood. When you take hockey as seriously as these folks, why not splurge a bit and make your surroundings truly world class? I'm sure it's an impressive site for potential recruits as well, and a site that basketball players are likely not to see when they enter college hoops arenas.

While it may be the nicest hockey arena in the country, and it certainly is a badass facility, I'll give a nod to the history and the quaint charm of Ann Arbor's Yost Ice Arena.

The Future of the Donkeys

There are a couple of good reads on today that focus on the notion of "liberals" with a look at the past along with hope for the future. William L. Anderson provides Some Free Advice For Democrats, centering on the honorable administration of Grover Cleveland and a return to classical liberal policy, while Lew Rockwell's Liberty Yet Lives compares our current climate to the 1930s and it's emphasis on the communism/fascism dichotomy before providing hope for the future by noting that the liberty loving community is in a better situation now compared to the '30s due to international outreach and technological advances.

Something I notice from various people who voted for either Kerry or Nader on Tuesday is that fascism is on the rise thanks to the Republicans. While I don't dispute this, I find it troubling that they equate fascism with only the types of statist corporate goodies that Republicans provide. In other words, they'd be utter dumbfounded by an early passage in Rockwell's piece where he includes "New Dealers" with the fascist camp. Their likely response would be that FDR was trying to alleviate corporate power run amok by establishing various economic regulations designed by keep corporate power in check. They aren't aware of the true roots of corporate statism, and how the regulatory state actually preserves corporate power by promoting artifical monopolies and hindering competition, while also discouraging economic growth. While Republicans may seemingly have more in common with Dr. Lawrence Britt's 14 points of fascism, there is more to fascism than that, and the parts left out ultimately place the likes of FDR into the fascist camp as well.

One of the reasons why it's important to acknowledge this is that future Democrats may want to reincarnate the supposed glory days of their party by returning to the legacy of FDR. William Anderson's piece explains why this would not be such a good idea, and suggests that liberals may want to look to the legacy of Democrats like Grover Cleveland instead. I bring all of this up because of the increasing frequency with which I'm bombarded with the name of Hillary Clinton. What an absolute nightmare it would be if she ends up with the Democratic nomination in '08, especially with an opponent like Jeb Bush or Rudy Giuliani Uber Alles! As Anderson puts it:
"I have some advice for Democrats who believe that Hillary is The Answer: Don’t even go there. If you think that the Christian fundamentalists crowded the polls to stop Kerry, just wait until Hillary is on the ballot. Entire congregations of fundamentalist and evangelical churches will line up at the voting booths. Hillary, please stay in New York and write more bad books. Since government already has performed the equivalent of a nuclear blast on the state’s economy in the upstate, your presence cannot make things there any worse. Quit while you have the title of Senator."

Not only would Hillary's agenda be disasterous for America, but she would guarantee a record voter turnout for both Bible thumpers and sexist males who are too insecure to acknowlege the presence of intelligent and assertive women (not that I'm calling Hillary's politics intelligent or anything). Let's hope that the donkey party moves away from jackasses like Kerry and the Clintons and discovers it's classical roots.

By the way, the link I provided for Dr. Britt's list of fascist characteristics comes from a site called Project for the Old American Century, a humorous parody of the imperialist Project for the New American Century. While I haven't checked out much of this site yet, it's looks pretty cool aside from an obvious liberal-left bent to it. I did notice a link to Paul Craig Roberts's essay The Brownshirting of America, a great piece that I commented on the day it appeared on

Quote & Music of the day -- 11/4/04

"Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto." -- Thomas Jefferson

Eric Dolphy - Out To Lunch

One of the great jazz albums of the 1960s, at least in my opinion, by an artist who passed on much too soon (as did Albert Ayler, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, etc). A very creative album that many say was ahead of it's time, blending elements of swing and bebop with free jazz experimentation. I believe it's one of the first few albums that includes the legendary drummer Tony Williams.

While it certainly doesn't sound like straight ahead jazz from that time period, it also isn't really avant-garde to the point of alienating potential listeners. If you love artists like Charles Mingus or John Coltrane, give it a listen. What I find interesting is that while listening to the second song on this album earlier ("Something Sweet, Something Tender"), I was reminded of a particular Frank Zappa song that I really like. Well duh... it turns out that the song in question is called "Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbeque". While Zappa apparently didn't listen to a lot of jazz and always seemed to poo poo it, it's pretty obvious that Dolphy was one of the jazz musicians that actually got through to Frank in a positive way.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

More on Uzbekistan

Here's another article about our government's alliance with a central Asian beast, courtesy of Common Dreams.

Eye on the Buckeyes

It looks as if the election all boils down to the Buckeye state as of right now. Kerry fans should be concerned by the fact that Buckeyes love red and hate blue (think football here).

When Buckeyes think of blue, they think of Michigan, a state that ended up being blue in this election.

And speaking of the pigskin, it looks like this election pattern associated with the Washington Redskins will be coming to an end since a Bush victory is likely at this point.

Uzbet there is turmoil in Uzbekistan

A couple of comments about that wild and crazy nation that is Uzbekistan:

The Good(sort of):
Civil Unrest Erupts in Uzbek City
While violent civil unrest is never a good thing, what is inspiring is the sentiment that brought on the anger being expressed. The people are reacting to new restrictions on trade recently enacted by a government that was already quite hostile to trade. This is also yet another example of the Uzbek people showing their anger and distrust toward a rather despotic government.

The Bad:
Speaking of that despotic government, why in the world is this government considered to be an ally by the Bush administration? The government of Uzbeki President Islam Karisov is hostile to fair elections, hostile to a free press, and has been known to torture dissidents (see here and here)
*note: You may want to avoid viewing the 2nd link if you have a weak stomach. Pictures of a dissident after being boiled alive are included and may make you toss your cookies if you ate any.

Why is our government aiding people who boil dissidents alive?!?
This is one of the many reasons why people in the middle east don't believe one word of the spreading freedom and democracy nonsense coming out of Washington.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Quote & Music of the day - 11/1/04

"An election's like going to a sex shop to decide which giant dildo would be the least painful up your ass." -- Bobcat Goldwaith

*note: I'll be passing on both giant dildos tomorrow by choosing the thimble-sized dildo (Badnarik).

Grateful Dead - Mars Hotel
Probably my favorite studio album by the Dead. I decided to throw this one in and listen to it today due to the song "U.S. Blues", which opens the album. Considering the fact that a dangerous bum will win tomorrow's election, it felt appropriate to listen to that tune.