"When I have my photo taken, I don't say 'cheese.' I say 'sex'" – Carla Bruni, wife of French President Sarkozy
"I can see Russia from my house!" --- Tina Fey, Sept. 13.
"You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick." Sarah Palin. September 3. (see Tina Fey's Photo)
"The fundamentals of our economy are strong." --- John McCain, Sept. 15.
"I would have thought you'd actually have to be able to remember your life to write about it." Mick Jagger wonders aloud about the content of Keith Richards' autobiography which will be published soon.
"I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror." Alberto Gonzales
"I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office." --George W Bush Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008
"Life is funny and sad, sometimes both at the same time." Amy Winehouse
"Rosa Parks sat so that Martin could walk. Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama is running so we all could fly" – Inspirational slogan on several thousand T-shirts. Attributed to the rapper Jay-Z in October
"Google me, you dumb f*ck!" --Courtenay Semel, Yahoo heiress
(her photo isn't that stunning. If interested, Google her)
A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.
A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late
The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on. In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty?
Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context? One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?
(from Alan Castle, violin photos from D. Grieser, taken in Paris)
I really don't have a clue what to do in the fiction section - some of the titles sound intriguing and there is some good cover art, but I don't know the authors and I just don't know where to start.
So on to the NONFICTION section:
Isn't that depressing?
BRAINLESS - The Lies & Lunacy of Ann Coulter - "Senator Joe McCarthy was a misunderstood hero" & "Intelligent design is real science" & "not only should women lose the right to vote but women's liberation has lesd to exhibitionism, promiscuity, sex toys & adultery" - says Coulter, who never appears to date let alone procreate.
AMERICAN FASCISTS - The Christian Right & The War on America - The author didn't believe his professor who predicted 30 years ago that the Christian right would be on the march - Pat Robertson & the televangelists invading the US government in order to create a global Christian empire.
WHAT ORWELL DIDN'T KNOW - Propaganda & the New Face of American Politics - Half a century after Orwell's death, we have the spinmeisters coming up with murky jargon and emotionally manipulative slogans like "War on Terror," infotainment and pseudoscience instead of real news.
Not all depressing ..
ONCE UPON A QUINCEANERA - Coming of Age in America - The world of teenage Latinas and cultural ritual, examined as a charming tradition but by someone with feminist sensibilities.
PLANET INDIA - How the fastest-growing Democracy is affecting America & the world - All the facts about India - 4th largest economy, most populous by 2034, larger middle class than the US already, after China and before US for foreign investment, and with twice the college graduates of China.
THE SHORT BUS - A Journey Beyond Normal - Everyday lives of extraordinary people, like Kerouac or Steinbeck only with learning disabilities and the tyranny of normalcy.
THE YELLOW HOUSE - Van Gogh, Gauguin & Nine Turbulent Years in Arles - Deliciously dysfunctional. I have read Van Gogh's letters to his brother and will be anxiously awaiting the sacrifice of the ear!
I will be using my many free Starbuck's coupons and trying to figure out my new completely intimidating cell phone! - Slugbug - HAPPY 2009! (I am listening to "Stepping Razor" by Sublime & Peter Tosh)
I love the Guardian, and have been a daily reader since 9/11/01. Earlier this year, they featured Beth Ditto of "The Gossip," writing about Portland, my favorite city, in an article called "The friendliest big little city in America." I originally moved to Portland from Minnesota, prior to moving to Seattle for graduate school. Elliot Smith, Sleater-Kinney, the Dandy Warhols and the Shins have all been based in Portland.
I agree with Beth that Portland is a big little city, big enough to be interesting, little enough to be friendly. She is from rural Arkansas, but feels at home. As she says, it's relatively cheap: ".. you can buy a delicious lunch for $5; rent a three-bedroom house for $800 a month; and at least every other shop is a vintage or thrift store." Like Seattle, you're only maybe a half hour from wilderness - trails, mountains, including volcanoes, but like me, Beth Ditto hates snow. Unlike Seattle, Portland has a great transportation system (street cars, light rail, late-running busses) and is walkable. Beth reviewed the best in vintage, Thai restaurants (she is not the anorexic type), and bookstores. Here is her entry on the amazing Powell's Bookstore, which has to be seen to be believed.
"Powell's (1005 W Burnside, powells.com) is the kind of place where, honestly, I'd expect to get bored. I don't have a good attention span and can't spend long in record stores or video shops or games emporiums without getting grumpy. But Powell's, one of the biggest bookstores in the world, can keep my attention. I can spend an hour here, easy. There are so many good things about the place. One is that it shelves new and used versions of each book together, so there are different price options. (I usually get the old version, because books are so expensive.) And one of my favourite things is their room of rare books. Last time I went to Powell's I got really excited because they had a first edition, signed version of Carson McCullers' The Member of the Wedding for $3,500. I love Carson McCullers! They also have lots of great books about Portland's history. For a long time Portland was a super-blue collar, redneck town with a really sketchy reputation. For instance, there was tons of bootlegging during Prohibition. There were also trap doors around the city at one point, and if people got drunk these would swing open, they'd fall through, be kidnapped and then put out to sea."
She covers music spaces, like the many converted historic buildings and I see that NE Portland is getting the be the place to go, which is good because I just booked a room in one of McMenamin's properties - a converted schoolhouse. Beth's band is The Gossip and she talks about seeing Team Dresch, playing gig in Wonderland Ballroom.
"I saw Team Dresch play there and they were amazing. Team Dresch were one of the biggest queercore bands of the 1990s, and a huge inspiration among my friends. They broke up a few years back, so it was a reunion gig. It was wild - the audience was made up of a bunch of dykes from 18 to 40 pulling their hair out like they were teenagers at a Beatles gig. Amazing! I love playing the venue myself - the crowds in Portland are great, and it just feels like you're playing to everyone you know. I've got naked at quite a few gigs in my time, but not at the Wonder Ballroom ... it would be like getting naked in front of your family."
She also covers romantic places (like the Rose Garden) and record stores.
Here is her food review for a waffle from the Waffle Cart: ..
"not too sweet, very bready - folded in half, stuffed with pieces of vegan, veggie or real sausage, dripping in maple butter. And, amazingly, because of the way it's folded, it makes no mess. It makes me belch just thinking about it. I've belched a lot more since I had gall bladder surgery. I don't know why. Because the waffle cart is just a cart, there's nowhere to sit, but that doesn't matter. On a sunny day my friends and me hang out in the parking lot and eat our waffles, but it's just as enjoyable to eat them in the car on a rainy day. Delicious. In my day I've had some other waffles, some of them quite good, but those are by far the best."
BETH DITTO ROCKS THE HOUSE SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE (& now frequently pictured with Kelly Osbourne, Kate Moss and other glitterati)
I had made a reference to it on this blog (Nina Hagen partying there after an appearance at the Showbox, back in the '80s) .. a Facebook group has started and this drawing is by the guy who started it and people are joining up .. Clark Humphrey, Ruby Montana .. maybe we can get Nina Hagen herself! (She did play at Dennis Kucinich's New Years party last year)
Here are some photos of mine of things in the general area which have not been destroyed or gentrified. I know the Turf is further up the street but I like the sign.
US, People and the other rags didn't really have a bidding war at first, as Sarah Palin stories didn't really make their sales go up any more. Then the baby's other grandma was busted for selling drugs, and that increased the potential price. His name is Tripp, which goes well with uncles Trig and Track.