Thursday, April 30, 2009

Together Through Life: 'It's All Good'



Bob Dylan's 33rd album, released Tuesday, April 28. Back porch, pass the jug, jamming, tunes pulled out of the air, and out of the American musical idiom, blues and then some. The album roughly follows the trail blazed by its predecessors, Time Out of Mind, Love and Theft and Modern Times, but it moves off into the woods and thickets, wades through the muddy river beds, and continues to plumb the depths of desire, longing and heartache, but never surrenders to despair. Lyrics for most of the tunes, by or in collaboration with Robert Hunter, legendary Grateful Dead lyricist. While that may seem heretical, since Dylan is our poet extraordinaire, they nevertheless provide flashes of that Dylan humor, such as "My Wife's Hometown." As I have said before, the album made itself known through the early release of "Dreamin' of You" with its remarkable, instantly recognizable hook. But it makes itself known here, in its rough hewn, semi-polished, earthy and affecting mystery, in a voice as old as the ages and then some.

I am still exploring this new gem of Insider-Outsider Art by the reigning American Poet Laureate of the highways and the shadows.

--Brooklyn Beat

Friday, April 24, 2009

TOTALLY CHERRY, TOTALLY SPRING






Japanese Cherry Blossoms in their last explosion on Waldorf Court in Flatbush. Pink and frilly. Ochre on stone. First tiny green leaves unfurling as the blossoms carpet the lawn and ground. The last hurrah of a silly spring, as an early summer busts out all over this weekend, with temperatures in the high 80s. Yowsa. Happy Friday. Happy Spring.
Photos by Brooklyn Beat, Early Morning, Flatbush.

--Brooklyn Beat

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

F-Train as Writer's Studio: Peter V. Brett and 'The Warded Man' aka 'The Painted Man'

The NY Daily News today reported that author and Brooklynite Peter V. Brett completed his first novel, The Warded Man (in Europe and other countries, 'The Painted Man') while commuting between the Fort Hamilton F-Train stop in Kensington and his office in midtown. Not having read it, we can't vouch for the book yet, but his is a compelling story, especially his comment that, although raised to give up his seat on the subway, while writing the book, he would surrender his seat only if you were 'really old or pregnant.' Well, I guess he wasn't writing Pollyana or the Life of Christ. Unlike those books, his is already hitting bestseller lists in Poland. Publishers Weekly: "A classic high fantasy framework of black-and-white morality and bloodshed..With its nameless enemies that exist only to kill, Brett's gritty tale will appeal to those who tire of sympathetic villains and long for old-school orc massacres."

More on the Daily News story today:

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2009/04/22/2009-04-22_train_of_thought_bklyn_writer_found_muse__wrote_first_novel_while_commuting_on_t.html

Link to Mr. Brett's dark yet nicely styled website here:

http://www.petervbrett.com/news/

An interview with the author here from Booklounge: http://www.booklounge.ca/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780345512659&view=printqa

Saturn: Cassini spacecraft shows 6th planet, moons, in stunning detail



Hidden knowledge and logic, slowly becoming uncovered, guides the motion and activity of the universe, from the micro to the macro. But, tracked and photographed by spacecraft, this is pure art and poetry. The article from the TImes U.K. here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1172205/Saturn-close-Sensational-cosmic-images-bring-ringed-planet-life.html

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Coney Island Daydreamin'

It was a perfect day to hit the shore. Coney Island was bustling. Ruby's Bar, which we had visited late last summer, was still open and doing business, although a large banner outfront indicated stores for rent, contact Thor Equities if you please. That was true of loads of real estate on the beach, either closed or temporarily opened pending the Thor Equities flip. Sure enough, Astroland was gone, but the Wonderwheel was twirling in the warm spring breeze and the screaming of the rollercoaster riders could be heard for miles. Sections of the boardwalk here and there are gated pending much needed repairs. We strolled all the way down to Brighton. Tatiana and Cafe Volna were doing very good business on the day before the Russian/Eastern Orthodox Easter Sunday tomorrow. Lots of happy strollers, tourists and hipsters under a gorgeous sunny blue sky, folks out on the beach already, anticipating the season of mellowing out. A bunch of guys with a variety of instruments, set up on W. 17th street, for some free-form Saturday afternoon jamming. We were there a little early, so the hypno-techno- dance scene a few blocks down, was not yet in action. And, oh yeah, the public restrooms were open and in pretty clean shape so far. The Coney Island Museum had a nice crowd hanging outside, but we didn't stop into see the sights, at least this time.

We continued past Volna and headed over to Brighton Beach Avenue. Vendors on the street were selling traditional Russian Orthodox Easter cakes and pastries. We stopped in at St. Petersburg, a fabulous Russian book, DVD, music, and souvenir shop. Judy picked up a Mareska (nesting) doll, some books on contemporary Russian Art and a groovy Russian-American Brighton Beach t-shirt. The staff at St. Petersburg were very helpful. Fabulous videos, international music, and a great selection of books, handmade household items and other "chachkas" make this a fun destination. Your intrepid reporter bought a Russian phrase book, so that I can work my way past the few words ("Where is the pharmacy" plus a few swear words)that I have picked up in the NYC multicultural maelstrom.

We stopped at a fruit and vege store to pick up a few items, and, forgetting how far we had walked, I carried a good 20 pounds of groceries back to the car on Neptune avenue. (Duh!) But all in all, a great outing.

Coney Island is a neighborhood in transition. It is going to be an interesting summer. What will the future bring? Who knows. But I do know one thing: get there before it changes even further if you want to savor a bit of the forty-deuce by the water that longer-time New Yorkers have known as our Coney Island of the mind. This little bit of Real Nature on the southern tip of Brooklyn, from the sideshow tradition to a simulacrum of Russia on a different shore, the place where all Brooklynites and New Yorkers along with visitors can freely commingle: Coney Island, like Walt Whitman, contains multitudes.

-Brookyln Beat

Last Chance: The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860-1989



Franz Kline, Painting No. 7 (1952)

Forget Citifield or the New New York Yankee Stadium,the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum hits another one completely out of the park with its "The Third Mind" exhibit. Subtitled "American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860-1989, it considers in the depth that SRGM seems to address best how the art, literature and philosophy of the East influenced new visual and conceptual languages of modern and contemporary art in America." The familiar sounding title references the "cut-ups" manuscript by William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin, and the Beats, among other art movements are at the heart of the more contemporary section of the show. But Asian art itself, along with American masters of various eras (Whistler, Pollock, Rothko, Rheinhardt, Motherwell, Mullican...and onward), are commingled front and center in this fantastic and illuminating show. The gold room of "The Death of Jamie Lee Byars" and the special, very unusual contemplative space, Dream House, by Lamonte Young and Marian Zazeela, will take you, shoeless and wonderstruck like a child, into a new space.

Using the marvelous Guggenheim design to full effect, Ann Hamilton's airy and inspiring "human carriage" fills the rotunda with gentle, green movement, Tibetan bells, and white silk, all brought into perfect harmony by the weight of cut-up books that propel the non-electric vehicle on its journey through the rotunda. Human Carriage, offers both a surprising distraction, at the same time helping to focus one's awareness on the quiet power of mind breaths and nature while contemplating the sublime artifacts created by American and Asian artists in the past two centuries. Don't miss it.

1071 Fifth Avenue (at 89th Street), NYC

The Guggenheim:
http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/exhibitions/on-view-now/third-mind

Details on the exhibition:
http://web.guggenheim.org/exhibitions/exhibition_pages/thirdmind/index.html

--Brooklyn Beat

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

'Specimen Days' & On Forgiveness: St. Francis College



St. Francis College, located in Brooklyn Heights, continues its inspiring, reflective and creative schedule of literary, philosophical and artistic events:

TONITE: Wednesday, April 15, 6 PM:
He Is Speaking . . . Are You Listening? - WALT WHITMAN IN BROOKLYN
Presented by:
The Walt Whitman Project & The English Dept. of SFC

Readers include current St. Francis College students and alumni.

Mr. Greg Trupiano, Director of The Walt Whitman Project will provide context and background concerning Walt Whitman in Brooklyn Heights mid-nineteenth century.
Dr. Ian S. Maloney, Assistant Academic Dean/Associate Professor of English, St. Francis College will comment on Whitman and on Specimen Days.

Walt Whitman describes his prose memoir Specimen Days as a “huddle of diary-jottings, war-memoranda of 1862-’65, Nature-notes of 1877-’81, with Western and Canadian observations afterwards” and “the most wayward, spontaneous, fragmentary book ever printed.” This memoir is nonetheless an evocative and moving recollection of a great life. Members of the St. Francis College community, led by Assistant Academic Dean Ian S. Maloney, the author of the introduction to the Barnes & Noble edition of Specimen Days, will read selections concerning the poet in antebellum Brooklyn, his life during the Civil War, and his final years in post-war America. The readers include Stefan Fagan, Noel T. Jones, Allison Rutledge, Jaime Squeri, and Hakim Williams. Vocalists Nicole Mitchell and Leslie Mitchell perform songs from 19th-century America. Gregory F. Tague, Ph.D., is the event curator.

Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served

Walt Whitman – Specimen Days
Wed, Apr 15, 2009 starting at 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Founders Hall


TOMORROW: Thursday, April 16, 2009, 11:15 AM:

As part of its annual Yom Hashoah Observance, Holocasut Remebrance Day, a Scholar will Tackle Question of “What is Given in Forgiving?”

Who: Philosophy Scholar Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D.
What: Yom Hashoah Observance – Holocaust Remembrance Day
Where: St. Francis College – Maroney Forum for Arts, Culture & Education
180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201
When: Thursday, April 16
11:15am – 12:30pm

St. Francis College continues its tradition of observing Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day with a lecture conducted by Philosophy Professor Jeffrey Bernstein from the College of Holy Cross.

Professor Bernstein will discuss, “What is Given in Forgiveness?” broaching the ideas, themes and underlying questions concerning forgiveness as presented in Holocaust survivor and famed Nazi hunter Simon Weisenthal’s book, The Sunflower.

Dr. Bernstein, who received his doctorate in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University, is an Associate Professor of Philosophy with areas of specialization centered on the work of Baruch Spinoza, German Philosophy, and Jewish Thought. He is currently exploring these figures within the context of the Philosophy of History.

Annual Yom Hashoah Observance at St Francis College
Thu, Apr 16, 2009 starting at 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM
Maroney Forum for Arts, Culture and Education (Room 7402)

Links here:

http://www.stfranciscollege.edu/eventsListing.aspx

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Future of the Financial Oligarchy: Dollars, Sense and Denial

Tarp, teabaggers, bailouts and rising unemployment. In the current economic maelstrom, some see the US on track toward a much more highly managed and regulated economy. Is it possible that "the refusal of powerful institutions to admit losses – aided and abetted by a government in thrall to the “money-changers” – may make it impossible to escape from the crisis" ? As President Obama has said, the ship of state is an ocean liner, not a speedboat. It can't be turned that quickly. But in the current uncertainty, where Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman recommends nationalization of banks and be donw with it, and banks deemd too large to fail are given "stress tests" for future solvency but the results withheld-- who can know for sure.

In this Financial TImes article, Martin Wolf looks at the influence of the financial oligarchy on the poliitcal sphere, and asks, are we just like Russia? While the answer is somewhat reassuring, there are other troubling issues, largely the self-denial by of the reality of the poor economic condition of many banks by their CEOs and leadership, that must be resolved before real improvement may be possible. Read more here:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/09f8c996-2930-11de-bc5e-00144feabdc0.html

Twitter: The Greying of Social Networking

Is it our fading attention spans, incurable despite massive doses of ginko biloba and fish oil ? Or growing up in NYC with 1010 WINS newsbites, 45 rpm singles, and NY1 minutes..

Anyway, at the risk of alienating today's tech-immersed jugen, check this out: Yesterday's Times of London online notes that "midlife chatterers show they prefer to keep it short and tweet. Twitter appears to be the embodiment of youth culture with tech-savvy and fast-thumbed teens firing off short updates filled with abbreviations about their lives. But it turns out that the keenest users are the greying brigades of the middle-aged.

More mature users, led by famous tweeters such as Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross and Sarah Brown, are the driving force behind the popularity of the site. New research shows that 45 54-year-olds are 36 per cent more likely than the average to visit the site, with figures from comScore, the internet market researchers, showing that the majority of the 10 million Twitter users worldwide are aged 35 or older.

Twitter is a social networking and “microblogging” site, where users post short updates — “tweets” — of up to 140 characters via the website or a mobile phone. More than 3.5 million people signed up in the first two months of this year.

Full news item here:
http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article6083154.ece

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Springs": Lee Krasner & Nature in the Abstract



"Painting, for me, when it really 'happens,' is as miraculous as any natural phenomenon-as, say, a lettuce leaf." Although she consistently refused to "explain" the meanings of her works, Lee Krasner often indicated that even her most abstract paintings had ties to nature. I fell in love with this painting during a visit to Washington, DC's National Museum of Women Artists.

Lee Krasner in the colleciton of the National Museum of Women Artists: http://www.nmwa.org/Collection/detail.asp?WorkID=1492

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Janet Rosenberg Jagan, ex-Guyana president, dies





Janet Rosenberg Jagan, ex-Guyana president, dies
March 30, 2009

MIAMI (JTA) -- Janet Rosenberg Jagan, Guyana's only female president and one of the few Jewish heads of state in Caribbean history, has died.

Rosenberg, a veteran politician and co-founder of Guyana's People's Progressive Party, died Saturday from an abdominal aneurysm. She was 88.

She was believed to be the only Jew living in Guyana, a nation of 740,000 dominated by Hindus and Muslims of East Indian descent, and Christians of African origin.

Her husband, Cheddi Jagan, was elected president in 1992, and his wife took over the job shortly after his death in 1997. She resigned after nearly two years in office because of a heart attack.

Jagan will be given a state funeral Tuesday in Georgetown, the capital city. President Bharrat Jagdeo cut short his official visit to the Middle East to attend.

Born into a middle-class Chicago Jewish family, Jagan was a product of the Great Depression. At the age of 22, while a nursing student at Cook County Hospital, she fell in love with Cheddi Jagan, a dental student from British Guiana. Against the wishes of both families, the couple married and moved to Georgetown.

Their involvement in leftist politics landed both in jail, though in 1966 the Jagans helped win independence for Guyana, an English-speaking nation that is geographically in South America but considers itself culturally and politically part of the Caribbean.

"Cheddi and I always believed in socialism," Jagan told JTA in an exclusive interview three years ago. "To us that meant getting rid of oppression so the poor man could get out of poverty and enjoy the fruits of this country."

Despite her worsening diabetes and other ailments, however, Jagan continued to work at the party headquarters nearly up until the time of her death.

More on Janet Rosenberg Jagan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janet_Jagan

I first became aware of Ms Rosenberg Jagan in an excellent documentary, "Thunder in Guyana" (2003): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0439010/

More on the fim's production, directed by Suzanne Wasserman, a cousin of the late Ms. Jagan: http://www.guyanafilm.org/crew_alt.htm

'A Better Kind of Future': Coming Up

OK, change we got..but now, despite ticked off conservos, overly-armed desperados, and the encircling fear, now, more than ever, we really need some HOPE. But its not just up to 44..we all need to fabricate a little hope, make a little bit of luck, and a little magic for ourselves, with the dreams that Better Times Are Coming UP...

Sir Paul McCartney has some optimism and positive energy to share here:

You want a better kind of future/
one we all can share....
we're nearly there...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sV-3aGnF714

With a little bit of luck:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne5bKbW4rxg

Best wishes for the spring season of renewal...

Monday, April 6, 2009

"Absolutely': The Mystic from Minnesota & Thank Goodness for That

From Newsweek: In an exclusive excerpt from a recent interview, Bob Dylan talks with author Bill Flanagan about Barack Obama, the ghosts of the Civil War and presidential autobiographies.

Bill Flanagan: You liked Barack Obama early on. Why was that?
Bob Dylan: I'd read his book and it intrigued me.

"Audacity of Hope"?No, it was called "Dreams [From] My Father."

What struck you about him?Well, a number of things. He's got an interesting background. He's like a fictional character, but he's real. First off, his mother was a Kansas girl. Never lived in Kansas, though, but with deep roots. You know, like Kansas bloody Kansas. John Brown the insurrectionist. Jesse James and Quantrill. Bushwhackers, guerillas. Wizard of Oz Kansas. I think Barack has Jefferson Davis back there in his ancestry someplace. And then his father. An African intellectual. Bantu, Masai, Griot-type heritage--cattle raiders, lion killers. I mean, it's just so incongruous that these two people would meet and fall in love. You kind of get past that, though. And then you're into his story. Like an odyssey, except in reverse....

There is a certain sensibility, but I'm not sure how that connects.It must be the Southern air. It's filled with rambling ghosts and disturbed spirits. They're all screaming and forlorning. It's like they are caught in some weird web--some purgatory between heaven and hell and they can't rest. They can't live, and they can't die. It's like they were cut off in their prime, wanting to tell somebody something. It's all over the place. There are war fields everywhere … a lot of times even in people's backyards.

Did you feel all the music Elvis must have heard?No, but I'll tell you what I did feel. I felt the ghosts from the bloody battle that Sherman fought against Forrest and drove him out. There's an eeriness to the town. A sadness that lingers. Elvis must have felt it too.

Are you a mystical person?Absolutely.

More here:

Dylan on Mysticism, Obama and the American South:
http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/popvox/archive/2009/04/06/exclusive-excerpt-dylan-on-mysticism-obama-the-south.aspx

Dylan's new single (and another great tune, following last week's release of "Beyondf here lies nothin'": "Feel a Change Comin' on" from the New album "Together Through Life":

http://video.newsweek.com/#?t=18540585001&l=25152707

Beyond here lies nothin interactive lyrical portrait gallery:

http://www.beyondhereliesnothin.com/?utm_medium=columbia-email&utm_source=bobdylancom&utm_campaign=columbia-email|bobdylancom|20090406

'Terremoto": Earthquake in Abruzzo, Italy

Viewing both the amazing artifacts and architecture of Rome, and the results of the destruction of Pompei this past December, one realizes that the Italian geology remains dynamic and changing, just as so much of its civilization has survived for millennia. "Terremoto", earthquakes, remain a reality in this lovely country, dotted with palm trees and lemon groves, so central in Europe and so close to the continent of Africa.

The earthquake in L'Aquila, Abruzzo region, has had a profound impact on the affected towns.

US Geological Survey Details on the Quake:
>http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsww/Quakes/us2009fcaf.php
More local news on the event:

a>http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L6566682.htm

From Correire della Sera:

Numerous buildings destroyed and 40-50,000 people displaced. The earthquake, which registered 5.8 on Richter scale, occurred at 3.32 am and was felt all over central Italy

L’AQUILA – An earthquake that registered 5.8 on the Richter scale shook the Abruzzo region at 3.32 this morning. The epicentre was about 10 kilometres from L’Aquila and the tremor was felt distinctly all over central Italy from Romagna to Naples. Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has already proclaimed a state of emergency, mobilising the army and air force, and appointing Guido Bertolaso to manage operations. Mr Berlusconi has indicated that he will visit L’Aquila at once, as will the interior minister, Roberto Maroni. Mr Bertolaso, who is Italy’s civil defence supremo, is already in L’Aquila and said the “situation is dramatic, the worst tragedy since the start of the new millennium”.

THE POPE AND THE PRESIDENT – Benedict XVI and Italy’s president, Giorgio Napolitano, have sent messages of solidarity to communities hit by the earthquake.

EARTHQUAKE DATA – The earthquake occurred 8.8 kilometres below ground level. Giulio Selvaggi, director of the earthquake centre at the national institute of geophysics and vulcanology (INGV), said that earthquakes like this are classed as “moderate, with an intensity 30 times lower than the one that devastated Irpinia in 1980”. Abruzzo has been the focus of a seismic swarm that became active on 16 January, causing hundreds of shocks, the most serious of which, with a magnitude of four, took place on 30 March.

CASUALTIES – The interim count of casualties is already dramatic and destined to rise: 100 deaths, hundreds of injured and thousands of people displaced. At least five children are among the victims. Hundreds of buildings collapsed completely or in part, and thousands more were damaged or left unsafe. There could be as many as 40-50,000 displaced persons. Rescue work is hampered by continuing aftershocks that could cause damaged buildings to collapse and by the total destruction of the prefecture, which should have coordinated the rescue effort. Only the four pillars at the prefecture’s entrance have been left standing. The buildings of the provincial and regional authorities also suffered severe damage.

NEARBY TOWNS – News of devastation is starting to come in from towns and villages around L’Aquila that were cut off until this morning. The situation is particularly desperate in towns like Onna, where 50% of homes have been destroyed, and Paganica. Rescue workers on the spot say the situation is “appalling” and reminiscent of the earthquake in Umbria. A number of buildings were damaged at Sulmona and Castel di Sangro but there are no reports of casualties. Meanwhile the courthouse at Avezzano has been declared unsafe.

RESCUE WORK – Early today, it was already clear that the situation in the regional capital was dramatic. In the middle of the morning, the sheet-covered corpses of victims extracted from the rubble still lay on the ground. Hundreds of people wandered the streets in a state of shock, many huddled in blankets and many more still wearing pyjamas. Those who abandoned their homes were directed to the football ground area, where a reception centre will be set up, but others, who have taken to the streets for fear of being trapped if aftershocks demolish their already damaged homes, are hampering rescuers’ efforts. Civil defence authorities have invited residents to keep the streets clear to allow rescue work to proceed. L’Aquila hospital, whose drinking water supply was cut off, began work under emergency conditions. Doctors were administering first aid in the open air outside the A&E department. Only one operating theatre was functioning, the others having been rendered unsafe. A field hospital is now on its way from the Marche region and the more seriously injured victims have been flown by helicopter to hospitals elsewhere in Abruzzo, in Rieti and in Rome. In the early hours of the day, there was chaos at L’Aquila hospital as ambulances and in private cars continued to ferry in casualties.

BUILDINGS DESTROYED AND DAMAGED – Early estimates by civil defence put the number of unsafe buildings at 10-15,000. Four complexes were razed to the ground: the student residence, one building in Via Sant’Andrea and two in Via XX Settembre. Various other buildings were damaged or partially demolished in other parts of L’Aquila and the Duca degli Abruzzi hotel was totally destroyed. Rescuers are attempting to reach a family of four trapped in a small house opposite the student residence. A woman of about 50 was recovered alive from the ruins of a three-storey building in Piazza della Repubblica and one youth was rescued alive from the student residence but another ten or so are thought to be still trapped. Rescuers are digging with their hands as mechanical diggers are unable to reach the site. One Greek student and about ten Israelis are missing, according to communiqués from the respective foreign ministries. Parts of the façade and apse of the church of Santa Maria del Suffragio in Piazza Duomo also collapsed.

DAMAGE ELSEWHERE – Falling cornices and other damage, but no casualties, were reported in the province of Pescara. A seriously damaged building was evacuated at Sora, in the province of Frosinone. Further damage was reported in the province of Rieti.

COMMUNICAITONS – The mobile phone and landline networks in the earthquake-hit areas are back in operation. Electricity supplies to 80% of the 15,000 premises that were cut off had been restored by 9 am. The main railway lines are all in operation and checks are under way on regional services. Checks are also being carried out on motorways, where some sections have been closed. Repairs are being carried out on the water supply network in the Teramo and Pescara areas.

AID – Offers of aid have flooded in from other regions of Italy, from other countries and from the European Commission. “At this time, we can say that the Italian machinery is perfectly able to deal with the emergency”, said civil defence executive, Agostino Miozzo. “If we encounter problems during operations, our friends will be ready to step in”.

APPEALS – The Abruzzo regional authority chair, Gianni Chiodi, launched an urgent appeal for blood donors. Italy’s chief of police, Antonio Manganelli, asked drivers “not to clog roads that from now own will be used by rescue convoys”.

English translation by Giles Watson

www.watson.it



Friday, April 3, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

'No Flash in the Pan': Obama and the G20 Blues

Caught in gentle downtown Brooklyn traffic. Imagining 44, on Air Force One, flying over the Atlantic on his way to G20. He's jamming to Bob Dylan's "Cry Awhile." And not air guitar, no, not this Prez. Hoops, blues and the law. Croonin' and laying down those mean blues licks, backed up by Tim Geithner on drums, Joltin' Joe Biden on bass. A blues soul if there ever was one. Raised all across the American continent and in Asia to boot. Steeped in Chicago cool and Columbia law dreams. He glances over at the picture of the kids, and winks at Michelle who sits by a window, reading The Economist. The Man's come a long way in a little while. China, like a club-owner watching the bottom line, may express caution; Merkel and Sarkozy may argue over the primacy of cool Euro jazz over American blues, but soon it won't matter.

44, his missus, and the Team are on their way to show G20 what's what and, lettin' the cat out of the cage, that will be that.

Dylan's actual performance from 2002 Grammy's here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3X7iw8pk-84

Cry A While by Bob Dylan

Well, I had to go down and see a guy named Mr. Goldsmith
A nasty, dirty, double-crossin', back-stabbin' phony I didn't wanna have to be dealin' with
But I did it for you and all you gave me was a smile
Well, I cried for you - now it's your turn to cry awhile

I don't carry dead weight - I'm no flash in the pan
All right, I'll set you straight, can't you see I'm a union man?
I'm lettin' the cat out of the cage, I'm keeping a low profile
Well, I cried for you - now it's your turn, you can cry awhile

Feel like a fighting rooster - feel better than I ever felt
But the Pennsylvania line's in an awful mess and the Denver road is about to melt
I went to the church house, every day I go an extra mile
Well, I cried for you - now it's your turn, you can cry awhile

Last night 'cross the alley there was a pounding on the walls
It must have been Don Pasquale makin' a two a.m. booty call
To break a trusting heart like mine was just your style
Well, I cried for you - now it's your turn to cry awhile

I'm on the fringes of the night, fighting back tears that I can't control
Some people they ain't human, they got no heart or soul
Well, I'm crying to The Lord - I'm tryin' to be meek and mild
Yes, I cried for you - now it's your turn, you can cry awhile

Well, there's preachers in the pulpits and babies in the cribs
I'm longin' for that sweet fat that sticks to your ribs
I'm gonna buy me a barrel of whiskey - I'll die before I turn senile
Well, I cried for you - now it's your turn, you can cry awhile

Well, you bet on a horse and it ran on the wrong way
I always said you'd be sorry and today could be the day
I might need a good lawyer, could be your funeral, my trial
Well, I cried for you, now it's your turn, you can cry awhile

Copyright ©2001 Special Rider Music

Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens
  • Negropedia- Patrice Evans
  • Dead Funny: Humor in Nazi Germany - Rudolph Herzog
  • Exile on Main Street - Robert Greenfield
  • Among the Truthers - A Journey Among America's Growing Conspiracist Underworld - Jonathan Kay
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton
  • What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Thinking the Unthinkable - John Brockman
  • Notes from the Edge Times - Daniel Pinchbeck
  • Fringe-ology: How I Can't Explain Away the Unexplainable- Steve Volk
  • Un Juif pour l'exemple (translated as A Jew Must Die )- Jacques Cheesex
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
  • Pale King - David Foster Wallce
  • David Bowie: Starman bio - Paul Trynka
  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
  • The Future of Nostalgia -Svetlana Boym
  • Living in the End Times - Slavoj ZIzek
  • FIrst as Tragedy Next as Farce - Slavoj Zizek
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
  • Where is My Jet Pack? -Daniel Wilson
  • Day of the Oprichniks - Vladimir Sorokin
  • Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin
  • First Civilizations
  • Oscar Wilde -Andre Maurois
  • The Beats - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • SDS - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • The Unfinished Animal - Theodore Roszak
  • Friends of Eddy Coyle
  • Brooklands -Emily Barton
  • Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahme-Smith - Entertaining and historical
  • Dictionary of the Khazars - Pavic
  • Sloth-Gilbert Hernandez
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
  • Life in Ancient Greece
  • Time - Eva Hoffmann
  • Violence - S. Zizek
  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
  • Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Great Apes - Will Self - riveting and disturbing
  • Lost Honor of Katherina Blum - Heinrich Boll - could not put it down
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed (author deserving of new wide readership)
  • Living in Ancient Mesopotomia
  • Landscape in Concrete - Jakov Lind - surreal
  • 'There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby'-Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - creepy stories - translation feels literarily "thin"
  • Mythologies - William Butler Yeats (re-read again & again)
  • How German Is It ? - Walter Abish
  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
  • "Flags" - an illustrated encyclopedia - wish I could remember all of these. Flag culture
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick
  • Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo
  • Hitler's Empire - Mark Mazower
  • Nazi Culture - various authors
  • Master Plan: Himmler 's Scholars and the Holocaust - Heather Pringle
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
  • Living in Ancient Rome
  • Traveling with Herodotus -R. Kapuszynsky
  • Oblivion - David Foster Wallace - Some of his greatest work
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - still wrestling with this great book
  • Netherland - Joseph O'Neill - staggeringly great read
  • Renegade - The Obama Campaign - Richard Wolffe
  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
  • 7 Deadly Sins
  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
  • Judah P. Benjamin - Eli Evans - Confederacy's Secretary of State & source of the W.C. Field's exclamation
  • Moscow 2042 - Vladimir Voinovich - Pre-1989 curiosity & entertaining sci fi read; love his portrayal of Solzhenitsyn-like character
  • Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano - Mafia without the It-Am sugar coating. Brutal & disturbing
  • The Sack of Rome - Celebrity+Media+Money=Silvio Berlusconi - Alexander Stille
  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
  • Fassbinder
  • Indignation - Philip Roth
  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
  • Italian Phrases for Dummies
  • How to Pack
  • Violence - Slavoj Zizek
  • Dali: Painting & Film
  • The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Jimmy Breslin
  • The Good Rat - Jimmy Breslin
  • Spook Country - William Gibson
  • A Blue Hand - The Beats in India - Deborah Baker
  • The Metaphysical Club - Louis Menard
  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
  • Wait Til The Midnight Hour - Writings on Black Power
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • The Wooden Sea - Jonathan Carroll
  • American Gangster - Mark Jacobson
  • Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Gawker Guide to Becoming King of All Media
  • Jews and Power - Ruth Wisse
  • Youth Without Youth - Mircea Eliade
  • A Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin
  • Ghost Hunters -William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death - Deborah Blum
  • Dream -Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy - Stephen Duncombe
  • Love & Theft - Eric Lott
  • Exit Ghost - Philip Roth
  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

  • Alexi Murdoch Wait
  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
  • Polyrock - Polyrock
  • 96 Tears - Garland Jeffries
  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mustang Sally Buddy Guy
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Black and White Years
  • Together Through Life - B. Dylan
  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
  • Glassworks - Philip Glass
  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo