Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Video Find of the Day

To wrap up my feeble nod to April Poetry Month, I wanted to find a video of non-English poetry. I mean, poetry isn't all English, dudes and dudettes. I seek balance. Even if it is only token balance. Trouble is, most of the foreign-speech poetry out there is untranslated and it's really hard to find translations for it when the video doesn't even provide printed titles. So I settled for this video of Pablo Neruda reading two of his poems, because the description is detailed enough for me to find the translations.

The first poem is "Me gustas cuando callas..." which I believe literally translates as "I like it when you shut up." I found a softened translation that puts it as " I Like For You To Be Still" here. The gist of it seems to be, when you smile I know you aren't dead.

The second poem he reads is "Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche" which translates as "Tonight I can write the saddest lines" (because he has lost his lover. Maybe because he kept telling her he liked it when she shut up?) A translation for that one is here.

The Superior Roadway

The Seattle Times told us today that "Viaduct alternatives have expanded to 10" and listed them. The tunnel alternatives sounded awful. A bored tunnel? How bored? A cut-and-cover tunnel? Well, it's better than a cut-and-run tunnel, but not by much. A depressed lidded tunnel? Did it get depressed because it was lidded, or did depression drive it to lids?

The surface options are all plain, like "boulevard" or expressway". But a couple of the aerial options are positively uplifting. Who wouldn't want their roadway to be elevated? Who wouldn't want their roadway to be integrated (built into development)?

I also want my roadway to be well-adjusted, enlightened, and self-actualized. It appears that an elevated, integrated, vigorous, cheerful roadway is the way to go.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Percy Dovetonsils

Video Find of the Day

The only video out there I could find of Percival Dovetonsils, one of my great poetry heroes. I hope it isn't pulled too soon.

The date is somewhere during the Kennedy administration. I was 10 or 11, allowed to stay up late precisely until the end of the Ernie Kovacs show. I had already tried writing poetry before seeing this. Watching Dovetonsils, I figured out what I was doing wrong. I was being WAY too serious.

Ernie Kovacs as Percy Dovetonsils

Monday, April 28, 2008

Big Poppa E

Video Find of the Day

Then there's slam poetry. It's all about the judges, but chances are, you don't know the judges. So, it's all about the crowd, and you pray the judges follow the crowd, and you haven't got the three stuck up elitists in the room who will always do the opposite of whatever the masses would do. Watch this guy work the crowd. Also note that he is reading from his book. That pleases me. I could never perform poetry without reading from the page. I get a bad memory when I'm in front of a hundred or more strangers.

Big Poppa E - Falling In Like (Seattle Poetry Slam)

I'm tacking on this next one because I like the opening and I like what he has to say about people like me who like smooth peanut butter.

Big Poppa E - Ode to a Dwarf Planet (Omaha Poetry Slam)

What Gods?

Doing It, Religiously

All last week when I couldn't eat solid food I hated all the gods and cursed them. Now I can eat again I feel better about them and I'm ready to make up to them by putting in a small word or two of praise.

As I've said, gods are inferior beings, only fragments of consciousness and personhood, if that. Still, they have their uses. They enable us to see. Even those who don't believe in them see through them. It's the gods who do the believing, you just utter the belief out of "your" mouth. What belief you are uttering depends on which god has you by the nads at the moment.

Often, Cindy Holly has me by the nads. Cindy is not only my Muse but also a goddess. She's OK.

The ancient Hawaiians had a god and goddess named Laka. Laka, the god, was the god of canoe building and woodwork and carving. He was also sort of the Inigo Montoya of Hawaiian mythology ("Hello. My name is Laka. You killed my Father. Prepare to die.") He also was identified with the hula, and the composition of chants and prayers, and fertility. Laka, the goddess, nurtured the forest. Some people said the two were really the same, gods can be one sex one minute and another sex another.

When preparing to carve, my friend Lani would sing an invocation to Laka calling on him to supply the necessary mana through his nads. I find it easier to ask a goddess to supply mana through my nads than to ask that of a male god. Call me homotheophobic, I don't care. I call it an aesthetic choice. I also feel women are far prettier than men, on average. How sexist is that?

Anyway, I'm bringing this up because I'm big on the overlooked aesthetic component of religion, and plan to talk at length about it, eventually, and this is fair warning.

[Above right: Man Ray's portrait of Kiki as "Le Violon d'Ingres".]

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Naomi Shihab Nye

Video Find of the Day

Late, because I was unusually tired last night and had to take a pre-column nap early. But predated as usual to satisfy the gods. The important thing is that I thought of posting this before midnight. The gods don't actually eat the sacrifice, they consume the idea of it.

Naomi Shihab Nye -- "For Mohammed Zeid, of Gaza, age 15"

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Coleman Barks and Rumi

Video Find of the Day

Friend and fellow RC editorial committee member Stan B is exasperating sometimes. Periodically he comes to Real Change editorial meetings with some other poet's poem in hand, praises it to high heaven, and then says, "Well?" And we, or I (it's mostly me after all who takes the brunt of these things), I say, "Well, what?" And he says, "Don't you think it would send just the kind of message we at Real Change want to send to our readers to print this poem in our next issue?"

And then I have to say, "Yeah, that would be quite swell and spiffy, but who's going to go to the trouble of contacting the publisher and/or author to get permission? It's not your poem, Stan."

So then he makes me explain the fundamentals of copyright law to him, which is like explaining Quantum Physics to my Dad, or Collective Labor Law to Paris Hilton, and then he says, "But isn't the poet dead?" And he is, sometimes, and I then have to explain that the death of a poet, if not far enough in the past, only complicates matters, because it means it may be that much harder to track down the current holder of the copyright, which can live on for as long after the poet is dead as Congress lets it.

Finally he thought he had a sure thing. He brought us a poem by Rumi. He showed us the poem, praised it to high heaven, told us he had just recently discovered Rumi, who he described as an "Arab poet" who's been dead, "I believe," he said, about a hundred years. Surely that's enough.

[Left: Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi, in what may have been a contemporary likeness, showing a considerable resemblance to Stan. Except Stan wouldn't let his beard grow so long.]

No Stan, not Arab, Persian. Not a hundred years, more like 700 years.

"Ok, then, even better, that's definitely enough."

"But the poem you read us isn't in the original Farsi. It's in English. It has a translator. It reads like a modern translation. Who's the translator Stan? Is the translator dead? His translation has been copyrighted. Are you going to get permission from him, his heirs, or his publisher? Or are you planning to substitute your own translation from the public domain 13th Century Farsi version, or find a public domain English translation other than the one you took that from?"

Turns out Coleman Barks is not at all dead, as of this posting. Turns out he basically triangulated his translations from old public domain English translations, creating an essentially new "poetry of Rumi" as one could imagine it might have been if he had written modern free verse in English (Barks claims no knowledge of Farsi!) In other words, he took liberties, and he very much owns his work in the sense of having created things original out of things old. In the video below he is reading short Rumi poems from his own hugely popular translation, the one that Stan drew from, the one that made Stan like Rumi so much. Robert Bly reads a little, too, toward the end, giving Barks his due.

The Poetry of Rumi

Friday, April 25, 2008

I Love This

Video Find of the Day

Bukowski on poetry vs a good hot beer shit. "Good night, goodbye, and happy reading.'"

Bukowski: Poetry and Motion

OK. Well, then. We should hear one of his poems. Here's one. Not too representative maybe, but it got my attention on the spur of the moment. A 90s (?) poem for 2008 and a stupid election.

Charles Bukowski (dinosauria, we)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Artie Shaw

Video Find of the Day

When I was a kid a developed a long-lasting aversion to swing that I've only recently recovered from, thanks to my Father's refusal to let us listen to anything else in his presence, but I couldn't turn against all of it. A lot of the stuff that I retained a love for turns out to have been stuff that Artie Shaw & His Orchestra did, and did best.

Artie Shaw - Lady Be Good

One of my favorites was this next. BTW, a beguine is a kind of dance. Look it up. The song was written by Cole Porter for the 1935 musical Jubilee.

Begin the Beguine - Artie Shaw

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Video Find of the Day

OK. I admit, yesterday's poetic video find was a tad maudlin. Here, I'll make it up to you. Continuing our tribute to Poetry Month (and I don't think we can keep this up until Mayday) we have here a B-movie Beat poem, or more precisely, facsimile of a Beat poem. Check out the cast. Jackie Coogan, AKA The Kid, AKA Uncle Fester, on piano, or pretending to be. Russ Tamblyn, AKA Riff of West Side Story, AKA dog walker God to Joan of Arcadia. Woof.

I Feel Like Saying A Beatnik Poem 1950's B Movie Style

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April Is Poetry Month

Video Find of the Day

And it's almost over. I have to find poems on video! Oh no, oh no, where's a poem, where's a poem? Here's a poem.

Johnny Carson - Jimmy Stewart - Beau Poem

Monday, April 21, 2008

Chuck Berry in France

Video Find of the Day

I was in the mood for something that was big when I was in High School. This one popped out at me from a list of hits of those years. Never can get too much Chuck Berry. Plus, the performance is in France, and you get to see him speaking to the French in a fake French accent, like that might help.

No particular place to go - Chuck Berry

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Role Reversal

Video Find of Day

We had an exercise in role reversal at Real Change a few years ago when we had local celebs change clothes with homeless vendors for posters and videos advertising the real change Homeless Empowerment project. here's a video, allegedly banned in South Africa, that carries out role reversal on a grand scale. Plus great background music.

PS I looked it up: Mzansi means South Africa. Ya Mampela was briefly a slogan of South African public TV channel SABC 1. It means Real Thing.

Banned Advert - South Africa, Soweto

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Century 21

Video Find of the Day

The Seattle World's Fair exactly as I remember it, minus the pay foot massage machines. And where's the Bubbleator?

Century 21 Calling - Bell Labs promo film

Friday, April 18, 2008

Traditional Japanese Music

Video Find of the Day

Two different providers, but it looks like the same concert. An unnamed traditional Japanese orchestra rocking out.

Smoke on the water - japanese version .

we will rock you with Japanese instrument

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Alone Again

Video Find of the Day

What did I just get done talking about? Sore throat, pain, canker sores, endless agony? So what does Anitra sweetheart do? She takes off for PORTLAND for THREE DAYS in MY TIME OF NEED. I reminded her of the only Kenny Rogers song I could stand to hear repeatedly. I told her I'd be posting this.

kenny rogers -- lucille

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pretty Pictures

Video Find of the Day

Turkish marbling, as used to adorn endpapers of books, made by manipulating paint on the surface of water.Also known as ebru. The grand-daddy of your barista's latte art. Sanatı-Begüm Arıkonmaz

My Great Strep Throat Scare

I've had a sore throat for a while. The last two days it got scary-sore with lumps under my jaw and canker sores and a puffy tongue. No coughing, no sneezing, just pain and dry mouth and more pain. "Huh," I thought. "What kind of deal is this?"

Then, Monday, I merely mentioned not feeling good to the guy at the desk in my apartment building, run by DESC, the Downtown Emergency Service Center of Seattle, and he, Alex, said, A LOT OF THE STAFF HAVE HAD STREP THROAT LATELY.

"Huh," I thought. So far as I know I've never had strep throat. As always, that meant a trip to the Wikipedia entry. I HAD ALMOST ALL THE SYMPTOMS.

OK, I don't know what tender cervical lymphadenopathy is, but I'm going to guess I don't have it. And I'm not having hives. But sudden and severe sore throat: check. Difficulty swallowing: check. Fever: check. Nausea: check.

[Above Right: Not my mouth. Generic strep-throat-having mouth.]


Then I found out that all that was unlikely if you just got antibiotics. So I procrastinated until almost 3 PM, and then went to the Pioneer Square Clinic. They said I was too late. So I went to the office, fed Mr. Friskies Receptacle, alias Snappy J. Furbutt, alias Vendor 007, and then went up to Harborview ER.

It was my first time in the new remodeled Harborview ER. The chairs are nicer. There are more intake people I think, same number of triage nurses. I couldn't find a water fountain or a public phone of any kind, but maybe I didn't look hard enough.

During registration I was asked if all my old information was still current. I tried to say yes, all of it, so she'd move on, but the woman behind the desk had to ask about each item individually. When she asked if my emergency contacts were the same, I should have said yes, they were the same. Instead, I voiced the fact that one of my emergency contacts was now dead.

Had I kept my big mouth shut, Elizabeth would still be an emergency contact. What's the harm of that? So, in the event of my death, the hospital would try to call her at the number I gave them before. That number no longer works, or belongs to someone else. So the hospital would go on down the line. What's wrong with that?

Elizabeth was struck from my contacts. When I got to see the triage nurse ten minutes later and was running down my symptoms I admitted I should've come in earlier, and matter-of-factly gave the knee-jerk customary excuse, "but I've been depressed", and as soon as I said that I immediately remembered what all I had to be depressed about and collapsed sobbing. Then the nice triage nurse asked what was wrong, and I told her. My daughter can't be contacted in the event of an emergency. Ever.

The triage nurse was very supportive. It was probably a relief to her that I knew why I was upset and had such a solid reason. I imagine she sees a lot of upset that isn't exactly plugged in anywhere, in the course of doing her job.

I was told to wait in the waiting area. I sat down near a beautiful woman who looked and sounded Iranian, so she was probably from Michigan. She was talking on a cell phone to a friend. She was about ten minutes into the conversation when she tried to estimate for her friend when she'd be done at the ER. "Well, I haven't seen anyone yet. I've been waiting her for, let's see... two hours. The clinic work will take at least an hour... "

TWO HOURS? And there were at least 20 other people there. How long had some of THEM been waiting? Half an hour later a fragment of a conversation told me that one guy had been there EIGHT HOURS.

I thought, oh no, all I've got is a stupid sore throat. They're doing triage. They won't see me until December 2012! I'll die of thirst before then!

A security guard came around and told someone (who happened to be a Real Change vendor, small world) who was nodding off that no sleeping was allowed. You can be made to wait 8 hours, but don't nap.

I prepared to cut and run. I was just about ready to go back to registration and tell them to never mind, when a burly man came out and shouted my name. I had only waited 1 hour! Strep throat IS serious! O MY GOD!

The burly guy introduced himself as Dave, "one of the people in ER that takes care of patients," and said he would be taking care of me. He took my blood pressure, read my oxygen content, and my temperature, asking the usual questions. We talked about surgeries I've had, so he found out I was an abuse survivor. I told him I had considerable allergies to airborne particulates. He then shined a light up my nostrils and said, yep, you've got some serious allergies there. "You can tell from just looking up my nose?" I'd never heard of that. But he said it's true. Having allergies changes the way the inside of your nose looks. I told him that was really cool. He admitted he really got a kick out of being able to do that. I liked Dave.

He told me he had to take a throat sample with a swab and run it through a strep testing dealy. There was a wait while the strep testing dealy was found. Then Dave showed up with a swab in his right hand and a tongue depressor in his left, saying "open wide." He put the tongue depressor down on my tongue, and I immediately gagged, and he pulled away, and said, "I need you to help me with this." I told him I was sorry, I just have the world's strongest gag reflex. I'd try again.

He tried a bunch of times. Every time the same thing happened. As soon as the tongue depressor pressed down my tongue, without him doing anything with the swab, I had a violent, involuntary, gag reflex. I felt like he himself was trying to climb down into my throat. I was gagging up a whole damn doctor each time.

Finally he gave up on the tongue depressor. He had me tilt my head way back, close my eyes, open wide and stick my tongue out and down as far as I could, and then ran the swab in and out my throat quickly.

I had the Mother of All Gag Reflexes, if you don't count the times I've gagged so much Ive actually thrown up at home trying to take pills that were too big. But it worked. Dave had got his sample and he went off to the strep testing dealy, leaving me in my chair to recover.

Something about the whole situation, probably the gagging coupled with the ultimate success, the survival, triggered the worst "panic attack" I've had years. Some of the things that get called panic attacks aren't that at all. They're violent releases of pent up anxiety.

Only people who have Chronic PTSD know that it's possible to feel relief so strongly that it can overwhelm you, hurt physically, and leave you shuddering.

Dave came back and told me the Good News and the Bad News. The Good News, I don't have strep throat, so I won't have to worry about heart tissue damage, kidney failure, etc. The bad news, I don't have strep throat, so what I have is viral (explaining the canker sores) so even though the sore throat is just as bad as it would be if I had strep throat, antibiotics won't fix it. My immune system is on its own.

Then he arranged for me to buy a $6.35 bottle of OTC oral anesthetic spray with my own money at the hospital pharmacy. That stuff is nice. It's cherry flavored, and it numbs you right up. I'm going to buy a case of it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lenin's Potatoes

Video Find of the Day

Evolutionary biologist and outspoken anti-theist Richard Dawkins sets out the thesis that for more than 99% of us, our religion is whatever our parents' religions were. He includes Marxism and Leninism and Fascism and Nazi-ism as religions, allowing for some enjoyable old clips and stills of kids singing propaganda songs. "We are his [Lenin's] little potatoes" -- that's so sweet! The title below is not mine!

Children Abuse -- posted by italianchappy

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cricket Music Videos? Really?

Video Find(s) of the Day

While Seattleites are fussing over the impending loss of their men's basketball team, India is just beginning a brand new dazzling super cricket league called the Indian Premier League. Some three-quarters of a billion dollars was spent in an auction for eight franchises in eight cities. The first game will be held Friday this week between the Bangalore Royal Challengers and Kolkata Knight Riders at Bangalore.

As always I'm not interested in spectator sports unless were talking Women's Single Figure Skating, or the like. But I was blown away by the promotional music videos these new teams are putting out.

If the Sonics ever had promotional videos like these, well, I bet that would have changed history. Maybe.

Or what if we had a cricket team of our own with its own cool video? Would we buy tickets?

ipl Kolkata Knight Riders Music Video

Rajasthan Royals - Halla Bol

IPL Kings XI Punjab Music Video

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Reagan Blows Up

Video Find of the Day

All about the value of bringing chaplains to war with you.

Speaking of religion. The best part of this Department of War training film is when the man says, "We're surrounded, cut off from our supplies. Our only chance is to make a break for it. There will be casualties. We're short of doctors and nurses, we'll need everyone's help. [Dramatic pause, turns to Ronald Reagan and colleague] -- I know we can count on you, chaplains."

I also like when one chaplain defines a coward as someone who "welches on his job." Welch being a variant spelling of Welsh. Reminds me of my favorite ethnic joke. It was told to me twice, first by a Romanian, then by a Hungarian.

The Romanian's version: Q: What's the difference between a Romanian and a Hungarian? A. Either will gladly sell you their grandmother, but the Hungarian will deliver!

The Hungarian's version (I'm not making this up): Q: What's the difference between a Romanian and a Hungarian? A. Either will sell you their grandmother, but the Romanian won't deliver!

Coming together in understanding is the beginning of lasting peace.


I'm a Non-Buddhist, Too

I had a free ticket to see the Dalai Lama at Seattle's Qwest Field. I gave it away to do my Saturday job selling papers to vendors, so as not to require a mad last minute search for a substitute for me. Many vendors went, as did the beloved Anitra (worst vendor ever, in terms of sales) and fellow "editor" Cecil the Vendor, who together reported back to me at the end of the day over fish and chips.

According to their reports and others, what I missed was a crowd of 50,000, speeches from politicians obviously trying to cash in on The Lama's good image, very bad acoustics (the word used most often was reverb) which added to The Lama's accent made for a largely incomprehensible speech. This is what I expected, which was why I wasn't too sad about not getting to go.

What I didn't miss was a lovely exchange with an avid Christian (I'll call him AC) back in the office before the whole thing.

While a dozen or so vendors were gathering at the office to get their free tickets and bus down to the event together, AC was showing off his hand-made cross and making it very well understood that although he was going to see a Buddhist, HE was a Christian. He was being so clear and vocal about his Christianity, in contrast to what the Dalai Lama is, that I started to wonder why he was going. How would he be able to hear, even with perfect acoustics? He must not be going for the purpose of hearing.

He got into a discussion with another fellow "editor" Stan Burriss, who got the benefit of the ticket I would have used. In the course of the discussion AC plied Stan for his religious faith, and Stan told him he was Christian. Then Stan pointed to Anitra and said if you're looking for a non-Christian, talk to her, or words to that affect. This illustrates one of Stan B's problems. Anitra has told him many times she counts herself Christian, but he always forgets each time within the hour.

So as Anitra and Stan left early, she called back to AC and said, she's a Christian -- it's her husband sitting behind the desk there that's the non-Christian.

Just great. It's like the Cavalry is at the teepee and the Captain says, "Any Injuns in there?" and my squaw says "I'm Danish. You're probably looking for my husband. I'll fetch him out." It's like Columbo is at the door, and says, "I just have a few questions to ask," and my woman says, "Oh I'm not good at questions, I'll get you my husband. He can be out as soon as he finishes cleaning the blood off his butcher knife." Way to go, Anitra. Good teamwork.

Truly I kid, but sure enough, after a break in vendor activity a few minutes later meant AC could have my undivided attention, he sat directly across from me and said, "So, what's your beef with Christianity?"

I wanted to tell him that the only beef I have with Christianity is that way too many Christians think that is a decent question. All he knows at this point is that I'm non-Christian, he doesn't know what I am, I haven't expressed any animosity toward his religion, he hasn't done me the formal courtesy of asking about mine, and if he did I couldn't explain it to him in less than a week. I didn't say any of that. I said, "I don't have a beef with Christianity. I just am what I am. Why do you have a beef with what I am?" To that he said he didn't have a beef, he loved me, he loves everybody, I was his Brother, etc.

But he does have a beef with non-Christians, because he sees them universally as rejecting his God, and isn't interested in who they are.

During the debriefing Cecil said that as the Dalai Lama appeared AC shouted something like "JESUS WALKED ON WATER!"

So my suspicion was right. He didn't go to hear.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

60s Gender Shock

Video Find of the Day

Here's a delightful video clip from a movie released a year after Jayne Mansfield's death, in which she reports on her shock and astonishment at a Parisian gay bar scene and male prostitute hookups on the streets. Gosh, those are men? And those are women?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Medicinal Blues

Video Find of the Day

I'm feeling wasted. So I want Blues. Here's a couple. Or, you can go to the video provider (Chlipala) and take in 15 like these on this playlist. They're all by Memphis Minnie or Furry lewis, accompanied by slide shows. The photos are fantastic.

Down In The Alley...Memphis Minnie

Judge Boushay Blues....Furry Lewis

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Frances Faye

Video Find of the Day

First, to warm up, a video from 1942, when my parents were each in their impressionable formative wartime mid-thirties. This Frances Faye was bisexual, but I'll bet they didn't know that. Or they thought it was just part of the act.

FRANCES FAYE - Well All Right! (1942)

This next video is just plain freaky. Faye vs Raye vs some pretty-boy singer.

Frances Faye VS. Martha Raye

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pulitzer Prize Winner Bob

Video Find of the Day

I always knew he had it in him. We all knew it.

Bob Dylan Baaaathe my bird

Bob Dylan & Allen Ginsberg

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Obligatory House Boy

[Reminder: Some of my posts, including this one, are memoirs of my abusive childhood. In this post I'm relating events that happened around March, 1958. The links to the right can be used to follow backward through the memoirs, or to restrict viewing to other kinds of posts.]

The second house in Taipei, the Japanese-style house, was one-story, set within a yard entirely enclosed by an eight foot wall. Unlike the Chinese-style house before it, this one had a back yard. More precisely, it had a back garden.

Being eight years old, I cared very little about the aesthetics of Japanese gardens. The plants got in the way. But there were a couple of other features of that back yard garden that really got my attention.

There was a whole 'nother house inside the garden. About the size of a garage built for a compact car, it was meant as a live-in dwelling for a servant.

Now, we had had maids before, but they only worked part-time, and they slept somewhere else at night. But here we were living in a house that was DESIGNED to accommodate a live-in servant.

So, what do you know? We had a house like that, so we got a live-in house-boy. As if the possibility created a necessity.

It turned out he was a vast improvement over the maids. He spoke English so well I was sure he was a Chinese spy (which was OK by me). He spent his evenings ironing and reading poetry. He helped us kids make big firecrackers out of little ones.

The other feature of the back yard was a little concrete structure up against the wall, just outside my room. It was a concrete box about four feet high and eight feet long with a small opening on one side. It was our bomb shelter.

The "bomb shelter" at the previous house was the basement. I was never allowed to go down into the basement, so it was purely theoretical. At this house, the bomb shelter was open and waiting. I got a flashlight and explored it. It was terribly disappointing. I always wanted a bomb shelter that would double as a club-house. This one was literally just a box. There wasn't even any light.

The neighbors had bomb shelters, too. We kids spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to outfit our bomb shelters to make fun club houses.

Then, air raid drills started, and everyone had to pile into the things.

Giger Obeys His Mother

Video Find of the Day

Hansruedi Giger has very bad nightmares, so he paints and sculpts them. He paints and sculpts them so well they scare the crap out of all of the rest of us, but knowing that doesn't cause him to hold back. What gets him to hold back is word from Mother that she is made to feel ashamed by the images.

If only I could trust my psychoanalytic hunches...


Monday, April 7, 2008

Quentin Crisp Defines Style

Video Find of the Day

Audio excerpt from his one man show, An Evening With Quentin Crisp The Naked Civil Servant.

Quentin Crisp - An Evening With Quentin Crisp

So we can see him talking, here he is revealing the nature of Woman's Beauty:

Quentin Crisp on Glamour

Sunday, April 6, 2008

1934 Cartoon Wars

Video Find of the Day

Two cartoons depicting cartoon warfare. The first is a color cartoon introduced by a black and white Mickey Mouse who is a much bigger jerk than the 1950s Mickey I grew up with.

Color Cartoon From 1934

The second is an incredible Japanese cartoon from the same year. It looks like a Japanese rip-off of Felix the Cat taking part in a defense of an island (representing Japan) from an air force of flying Mickey Mouses, that turn out to easily popped. Clearly, even in 1934, Mickey Mouse was a symbol of US power.

オモチャ箱シリーズ第3話 絵本1936年 (1934)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Street Angel

Video Find of the Day

Two clips from an old Chinese classic movie. The movie is 馬路天使, Malu tianshi, (in English) Street Angel (1937), A User Comment on IMDB by Howard Schumann has this to say about it:

"Two sisters having fled from the war in northeast China come to Shanghai looking for a better life. Xiao Yun (Zhao Huishen) is forced into prostitution while her younger sister Xiao Hong (Zhou Xuan) becomes a singer and dancer at a local brothel. Though enslaved to the musician Wang, they are aided by the friendship of a young street musician Xiao Chen (Zhao Dan) and his friend Xiao Wang (Wei Heling) who help the sisters fend off the brothel owner and local thugs. Considered an early Chinese classic, Yuan Muzhi's lyrical Street Angel depicts the daily struggles of those who made up Shanghai's underclasses in 1935 at the time of the Japanese occupation: the street walkers, news vendors, fruit sellers, musicians, barbers, and the like. The film blends comedy with social realism and shows Chinese women as victims of a ruthlessly commercial society."

I recognize the song in the first excerpt.

周璇 - 天涯歌女 Zhou Xuan - The Wandering Songstress 1937

The bird in this second excerpt looks and acts like my Zino (1990-1999) who lived in the front office at Real Change for his last three years, making himself a constantly frustrating out-of-reach morsel for the Real Change office cat, Sid Vicious.

周璇 - 天涯歌女

Friday, April 4, 2008

Nepali Dance

Video Find of the Day

These look like another variation of the kathak/mujra continuum. Although I also detect a hint of bunny hop. The second one is especially energetic.

Daali Daalima Part III

beedi jalaile by Renu Thapa

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Video Find of the Day

Sometimes I feel a need for Wagner. I look, and I find. First I find this pretty French Horn Solo.

Siegfried Horn Call

Then, four "videos" (no moving pictures whatsoever) in a playlist, containing Anna Russell's explanation of Wagner's Ring of the Nibelungen, as much as anyone needs to get out of it. It works out to about 1 minute of synopsis per hour, which is about right.

Anna Russell Does The Ring

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Video Find of the Day

So, it starts as a peaceful alternative, sort of, to gang violence, and the next thing you know you have international events? In Holland, in France? And it's just an exhibition, there are no winners? No winners? Really? I'm wondering what powers it. Is it commercially driven? Anyway, the dancing is awesome.

The International Breakdance Event (IBE)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Videos to Relax By

Video Find(s) of the Day

I find the electric boogaloo to be the most soothing boogaloo.

BooGaloo Sam part 1

BooGaloo Sam part 2