Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SOTU+1: What President Obama's Address Accomplished

Mark Halperin on what President Obama accomplished -- and accomplished in a Big Way -- with last night's State of the Union address:

Link here for more from Time's Mark Halperin

SOTU + 1: Dr. Doom on the Bitter Pill of What Lies Ahead

The reductions proposed in President Obama's State of the Union last night are just "Spare Change" according to economist Dr. Nouriel Roubini.  But more actions will be needed to seriously tackle the deficit, Roubini said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The government will have to work on reform on entitlement programs like Social Security and "also eventually raise taxes for both the rich and the middle class," he said.

Until that happens, the Chinese will have to continue to buy US Treasurys, because "there is not alternative for them" and if they stopped their currency would appreciate sharply and hurt their exports and growth, Roubini said.

"Whether the Chinese like it or not, for the time being they will have to fund the United States, he added.

More here from CNBC

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sputnik Moment or Our Civil Rights Moment?

Early reports indicate President Obama will refer to the current crisis as our Sputnik moment,harkening back to the time where the nascent US space program was overwhelmed by the USSR.However, perhaps the current crisis resonates more with the civil rights movement, challenging the attack dogs and firehoses of the right wing media and politcal establishment. It offers a critical chance to join together to fight for social welfare as a civil right to all Americans, to offer jobs, health services, opportunity and education for the many over the capital gains for the few; peace and security over international military action; creativity, vision and technological and manufacturing development at home instead of an economy based on speculation and complex financial instruments. America needs to turn this urgent page.

Now, with commitment and alacrity, before it is too late.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Frozen pipes and colder noses: The Winter of 2011

What's a body to do except shiver and moan. The cold, and the reaction to it, gets painful after awhile. Some pipes in walls exposed to the wind and extreme cold have frozen. Hoping for a slight thaw tomorrow...Are we remembering a colder winter this year and forgetting winters of the past? Is it really as unusually bad as my bones tell me it is?

Stephen Foster's classic of 'Love and Theft,':

Massas in De Cold, Cold Ground

Down in de cornfieldH
Hear dat mournful sound:
All de dark-eyes am a-weeping,
Massa's in de cold, cold ground.

or remembering, much more pertinently to this New Year where we struggle for hope but seem able to continue to wonder, trying to fight despair, only about the future, Gil Scott-Heron's anthem/ode from the 70s -

"And now its winter/
Winter in America...
and all the healers been done killed or sent away,
..But the people know..
Save your souls from Winter in America."

Given the economic and political polarization of American institutions and society,  the political metaphors are not lost, it seems, when compared with this brutal winter of 2011.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Remembering Edgar Allan Poe, January 19, 1809 - October 7, 1849

Edgar Poe
January 19, 1809(1809-01-19)

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Died October 7, 1849(1849-10-07) (aged 40)

Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.
More on the author here

"The mysterious annual visitor to Poe's grave a no-show for the second year in a row. Details here  Sometime in the 1940s, it seems, an anonymous man began the annual tribute at Poe's grave. It was first referenced in print in 1949 by The Evening Sun of Baltimore."

"Those who have glimpsed the "Poe toaster" always saw him dressed in black, wearing a white scarf with a wide-brimmed hat. Jerome has kept watch over the vigil since 1978, watching from inside the Presbyterian church while Poe fans peered through the locked gates of the cemetery . Telltale hearts beat with anticipation during a rainy, midnight dreary and beyond, hoping the mysterious visitor to Edgar Allan Poe's grave would return after a one-year absence.

Four impostors came and went. The real one never showed. Around 5 a.m., the dozen Poe fans who were left began to wonder if the eerie ritual is indeed nevermore, so they walked to Poe's tombstone and performed their own tribute by leaving roses and drinking a cognac toast.

A fascinating tradition that ran for some 60 years and was never fully explained appears to have ended. An unknown person who left three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac at Poe's grave on the anniversary of the writer's birth failed to appear Wednesday, the second straight year he's disappointed those who stake out the downtown Westminster Hall and Burying Ground.

I think we can safely say it's not car trouble, and he's not sick," said Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum. "This doesn't look good."

"It would be an ending befitting of the legacy of Poe, the American literary master of the macabre who was known for haunting poems such as "The Raven" and grisly short stories including "The Tell-Tale Heart," ''The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Pit and the Pendulum." He is also credited with writing the first modern detective story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." He died in 1849 in Baltimore at age 40 after collapsing in a tavern."

Poe's time in NYC seemed largely spent in Mnahattan near Publishers Row downtown  and eventually at a cottage in the Bronx , now a NYC historical landmark. Although one can imagine that Poe met with Whitman in lower Manhattan, I could not find any direct links to Brooklyn. Although his mother-in-law, Maria Clemm, stayed with a "poetess who had obligations to Poe" according to Kenneth Silverman, a wonderful writer and specialist in American Romantism I studied with at NYU, while Poe headed on the road to Baltimore, and then later returned to Brooklyn after the death of her daughter. Virginia Clemm Poe, and Poe's death (which she learned about later), there was no clear indication of his residence in the Borough of Kings.

El Dorado by Edgar Allan Poe

Gaily bedight,
A gallant night
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of El Dorado.

But he grew old --
This knight so bold --
And -- o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like El Dorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow --
"Shadow," said he,
"Where can it be --
This land of El Dorado?"

"Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied --
"If you seek for El Dorado."

Donovan performing El Dorado here

A Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe here

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Train Back to Brooklyn on Dr. Martin Luther King Day

The young woman, leaning against the door of the Q train as it crossed the Manhattan Bridge back to Brooklyn, pulled her phone out of her bag. She noted the last caller and dialed back.

"What!?!" she shrieked. "When did he....." She crumpled against the door, sobbing into the phone. A youngish Muslim guy, well groomed but wearing a jacket too light for this blustery day, turned to her and expressed concern and care, gesturing with one hand, holding Islamic texts in the other. She acknowledged his concern and turned away, sobbing softly the rest of the way back to Brooklyn.

Nearby, an elderly gentleman tenderly held and watched his sleeping wife, as the train rumbled past the Parkside Avenue. A mother with her two very young charges alternately soothed and corrected them in warm West Indian tones.

It had been a long morning in the city, and My Better Half, tired and hanging on, trying to adjust to the lilting cadence of the subway car as it reached Beverley Road, read through a copy of The Onion. The young woman sniffled softly, her back to the car. The Muslim guy and I exchanged glances, sort of a soft breath blown from puffed cheeks with raised eyebrows. Sort of a "hoo-boy," but with the simultaneous sympathy, respectful intimacies,  and the funny distances that living in NewYork City creates.

Suddenly, a guy playing a guitarron mexicano  appeared, a huge instrument,  typical for a mariachi group, a bit stunning for the subway, and he played a plaintive song in Spanish. The young woman sobbed as the music, the singer,  and his song, whatever its subject, connected with her loss.

She bolted from the train at Cortelyou Road. The West Indian lady and her kids got up, and My Better Half and I dropped into a couple of seats for a couple of stops until we reached Home.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Haiti: One Year Later

Incredible that it was just one year ago that Haiti was rocked by a horrendous earthquake that toppled the country, destroying infrastructure and the economy, and driving nearly a million people from their homes into temporary housing - tents and shanties. Today, a March in NYC will remember that tragedy and call for aid for the Haitian people.

Billions in international aid were promised that have never completely materialized ($1.15B out of $5.3B promised.) Where's the money asks The Nation ?

Haitians 'long for change after a year in hell.' Article here

A slew of prominent New York City leaders, including Rev. Al Sharpton and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, will speak at Marching for Change, a solidarity march commemorating the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010. Facebook and other sites indicate that the Marrch for Change is stil la go.  The march will feature two rallies, one in Times Square and the other at the United Nations. Speakers include:

Times Square: City Councilmembers Matthieu Eugene and Jumaane Williams; Brooklyn Deputy Borough President Yvonne Graham; National Action Network Executive Director Tamika Mallory; Housing Works Pres. and CEO Charles King

United Nations: Rev. Al Sharpton; Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly; City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez; Rev. Jacques Andre DeGraff; Diaspora Community Services Executive Director Carine Jocelyn

The Marching for Change route will take marchers past the Haitian consulate at 39th and Madison. Marchers will demand that Haitian and world leaders address the unacceptably slow pace of earthquake recovery by committing to four specific actions:

1) Remove the Rubble: More than 50% of the original 19 million cubic meters of rubble remains uncleared. President Clinton has called the situation "totally unacceptable."

2) Provide Safe and Secure Shelter: One million Haitians are internally displaced. More than 1,000 camps dot the country, potential incubators for cholera, sexual violence and the spread of HIV.

3) Provide Clean Water and Sanitation: 40% percent of camps lack access to water. 30% do not have toilets. Water-borne cholera has claimed more than 3,000 lives.

4) Provide Jobs: Post-quake, unemployment quadrupled in areas of Port-au-Prince and its outskirts. The estimated Haiti unemployment rate is 80 percent.

2 PM: Kick-off Call to Action rally in Times Square (42nd St. and 7th Ave.)
2:30 PM: March to the Haitian Consulate at 39th St. and Madison Ave.
4 PM (approximate): Rally at the United Nations’ Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at 47th St. and 1st Ave.

Carine Jocelyn, Executive Director of Diaspora Community Services: "Next year we don't want the issue to be that one million people are still living under tents. This is unacceptable to the global community and must be a priority of funding and action." DCS helps Haitian immigrants in New York obtain health care and other services and operates a community health center in Port-au-Prince.

Charles King, President and CEO of Housing Works: “We will use this march to come together, show our support and solidarity with Haiti and demand action!” Since the earthquake, Housing Works has opened two medical clinics in Haiti.

PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS: Bailey House; CAMBA; Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce; Catholic Charities; CHE; Diaspora Community Services; Dwa Fanm; HAFALI; Haiti Cultural Exchange; Haiti Solidarity Network NE; Haitian Centers Council; Housing Works; JCRC; Lambi Fund; MADRE; National Action Network; NHAHA; New York Immigrant Coalition; People's Organization for Progress

You Tube trailer here

NY1 news clip on the Gallery photo exhibit at the Umbrage Editions Gallery exhibition called "Tent Life: Haiti" displays 22 of photographer Wyatt Gallery's photographs. He visited the country twice over the course of 2010.

More on the book, which portrays the struggle and hopes of the Haitian people in photos by Wyatt Gallery and an essay by Edwidge Danticat here

From Snowmageddon to Snowbigdeal

The cruel alarm went off at 5 AM as usual, and it took another 15 minutes or so before 1010 WINS' Lee Harris announced, "drum roll please!" that NYC public schools were opened. An email from a sanit pro that I know who had just come off of a 12 hour shift offered hope that "the streets are clear and you should have no trouble getting to work."  I got ready for the day and headed out to the driveway to dig out the van for My Better Half who is a special education teacher in Far Bushwick and has no other viable options to get to work. In a typically Herculean effort for a 56 year old mandarin of Italian-American peasant stock, I cleaned off the car, dug it out, and shoveled out our 30 foot driveway so that she could get to the street. A thank you kiss and a half a cup of coffee later I was trudging up East 17th street to the Q train at Newkirk Plaza which was happily waiting for me at the station.

Trains were light. Traffic was light. Basically, I guess, because the snow was light. Brooklyn Heights, as usual, is remarkably clear, although none of the coffee cart guys or newspaper hawkers were out there. I don't know what role the Mayor played in all of this. However, indications that he was in Bermuda over Christmas rang as always of the venial sin of cover up. It wasn't so much that he was away, as he didn't want anyone to know about it.  Then, as the NY Observer reported, it appears he flew home in the storm to appear at the press conference the next day. Now DITHOB understands -- esta clara -- the poor Mayor went to all of that effort to get back to NYC and NO ONE APPRECIATED IT. No wonder he was so testy and pissed at the press conference. Whether the last blizzard was a perfect storm of a lot of snow, coming on the heels of a holiday, plus miscues by some folks in the Administration (face it, Mike, you just can't get good help these days), even if combined with budget cuts and labor issues,  it was a mess.

Some folks were stressed over not knowing until the early morning hours today whether school was opened or not. One extremely hard working and underpaid parochial school teacher I know was doing the hoochie coochie from last evening. But just as there are people pointing fingers in this economic climate at public sector employees, pensions, job security, etc., instead of organizing and fighting for similar demands of their private sector masters, I wonder why (or whether) parochial and private school families who pay a substantial amount of money to send their kids to non-public schools,  so easily and readily accept the closings of their kids' schools. I am sure there are many parochial (if not private) school families who will lose a day's pay because they had to stay home with their kid. The idea of public and private sector employment needs to change, and be replaced by a new consensus and different demands to counteract the clearly failed "business-management centric model," which, like Paul Krugman suggested, is like a zombie political economy, that has failed, but continues to rise from the dead.  None of us are Mike Bloomberg. We are all, regardless of our relative salaries, working stiffs of one sort or another. Maybe not today, but some day, there will be a renewed call for workers rights and a new social security in the private sector. It is an issue currently hidden in the collective unconscious, although obscured by the American dream of material happiness, celebrity, sports, music business or lotto success, reality TV, and the belief that criticizing business is un-American. But it is an issue that will resurface as advanced capitalism which is based on finance and complex stock market and corporate legerdemain and not on production/ employment marches on. As people get deeper into the hole, it is a new reality that will surface, as people demand a new model which hasn't been clearly elucidated yet. But I guess that is a discussion for another time.

For today, though, lucky for the Bloomberg administration and the citizens who struggle under the day-to-day reality of the working life, the "Weather Emergency" was a piece of cake.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Stylites (Not to Be Confused with the Chi-Lites)

January 11th is the feast day of Theodosius the Cenobiarch. He was a great ascetic of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In his travels, when he reached Antioch, he visited and was influenced by St. Simeon the Stylite, a Christian ascetic saint who achieved fame because he lived for 37 years on a small platform on top of a pillar near Aleppo in Syria.

When the monastic Elders living in the desert heard about Simeon, who had chosen a new and strange form of asceticism, they wanted to test him to determine whether his extreme feats were founded in humility or pride. They decided to tell Simeon under obedience to come down from the pillar. If he disobeyed they would forcibly drag him to the ground, but if he was willing to submit, they were to leave him on his pillar. St Simeon displayed complete obedience and humility, and the monks told him to stay where he was.

This first pillar was little more than four meters high, but his well-wishers subsequently replaced it with others, the last in the series being apparently over 15 meters from the ground. At the top of the pillar was a platform, with a baluster, which is believed to have been about one square metre.

According to his hagiography, Simeon would not allow any woman to come near his pillar, not even his own mother, reportedly telling her, "If we are worthy, we shall see one another in the life to come." Martha submitted to this. Remaining in the area, she also embraced the monastic life of silence and prayer. When she died, Simeon asked that her remains be brought to him. He reverently bade farewell to his dead mother, and, according to the account, a smile appeared on her face.

The 1964 classic by Luis Bunuel on "Simon of the Desert" with its totally fascinating, anachronistic yet perfectly suited ending, here:   "

"You must stay til the end!"

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Closing Today: Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy and Germany, 1918-1936

Adolf Ziegler, The Four Elements
Ziegler's painting, highlighting the transition to the art of tbe Fascist era, was owned by Hitler and decorated his Munich apartment in the late 1930s.Ziegler later curated the famous exhibition of "Degenerate Art." 

Following the chaos of World War I, a move emerged toward figuration, clean lines, and modeled form and away from the two-dimensional abstracted spaces, fragmented compositions, and splintered bodies of Cubism, Futurism,Expressionism, and other avant-garde styles of the opening of the 20th century. In response to the horrors initiated by the new machine-age warfare, artists sought to recuperate and represent the body, whole and intact. For the next decade and a half, classicism—a return to order, synthesis, organization, and enduring values, rather than the prewar emphasis on innovation at all costs—dominated the discourse of contemporary art. Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918–1936 traces this interwar trend as it worked its way from a poetic, mythic idea in the Parisian avant-garde; to a political, historical idea of a revived Roman Empire, under Benito Mussolini; to a neo-Platonic High Modernism at the Bauhaus, and finally to the chilling aesthetic of nascent Nazi culture. The exhibition interweaves the key movements that proclaimed visual and thematic clarity, Purism, Novecento Italiano, and Neue Sachlichkeit, through several closely related but distinct themes. This vast transformation of interwar aesthetics in Western Europe encompasses painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, film, fashion, and the decorative arts, and the show presents works by Balthus, Giorgio de Chirico, Jean Cocteau, Otto Dix, Pablo Gargallo, Hannah Höch, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Pablo Picasso, and August Sander. Chaos and Classicism is curated by Kenneth E. Silver, Guest Curator and Professor of Modern Art, New York University, assisted by Helen Hsu, Assistant Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, with Vivien Greene, Curator of 19th- and Early-20th Century Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, as curatorial advisor.

More details here

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sega Introduces "Toylets" in Japanese Urinals

Wired UK reports that:
"Sega has announced that it's testing consoles called "Toylets" in urinals around Tokyo, which asks the user to strategically vary the strength and location of his urine stream to play a series of games.

"Each urinal is installed with a pressure sensor and an LCD screen is mounted on the wall above, which lets you select from and play four different minigames. There's "Mannekin Pis", which simply measures how hard you can pee, and "Graffiti Eraser", which lets you remove paint by pointing a hose in different directions."

"There's the faintly misogynistic "The North Wind and Her", where you play as the wind trying to blow a girl's skirt up, and the harder you pee, the harder the wind blows. Finally, the bizarre "Milk from Nose" is a multiplayer game where you compete against the person who last used the urinal. The strength of your urine streams are compared, and translated into milk spraying out of your nose. If your stream is stronger, your milk-stream knocks your opponent out of the ring. If you do particularly well on any of the games, you can download and save your information to a USB stick."

Aside from the bizarre concept of creating competition over urine-stream pressure, the system also will offer advertisements to the (captive) audience.
Details from Wired.UK here

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Not from "The Onion" - University Professor Arrested for Suspicious Bagel on Plane

A Florida professor was arrested and removed from a plane Monday after his fellow passengers alerted crew members they thought he had a suspicious package in the overhead compartment.

That "suspicious package" turned out to be keys, a bagel with cream cheese and a hat.

Ognjen Milatovic, 35, was flying from Boston to Washington D.C. on US Airways when he was escorted off the plane for disorderly conduct following the incident.

Monday's incident is another example of other passengers essentially becoming the authority on terrorist activity on planes. Details here

Yes, but this begs the question -- if they would arrest the guy for a bagel, what would they do about roti?

To be continued.....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ohio's Brooklyn-Born Panhandler With the Golden Voice

Ted Williams, Brooklyn-born Ohio resident, on hard times, has an amazing radio voice, which has resulted in his discovery and a possible new radio career, on a Columbus, Ohio radio station. Check out this cool clip of the guy with the great, mellow voice:

Full NY POST print story here

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Numerology of 2011

"For the last dozen years or so, there has been a dominating presence of both the 0 and 1 and the 1 and 2 patterns. These are numbers that push things apart and away. So while the obvious political, military and religious forces continue to bring conflict and separation, there is actually an underlying evolution taking place on a deeper and more humane level, carrying us toward a more harmonious existence while the changes playing out on the surface seem to be pushing us toward our ultimate demise.
Unfortunately, we might not see the effects of this harmonious existence until a few more years down the line. On the visible stage, 2011 still brings stagnation, denial and downright obstruction on a national and global level. More and more, it appears that people focus on the differences between them, causing hateful rhetoric and violent encounters. There will also be a further widening of economic gaps in developed countries, and most visibly in the United States -- the rich get richer and the poor get poorer ... and the percentage of people considered to be poor increases exponentially. Religions, without exception, also become more polarized, and this reflects itself in less tolerance, more dogmas and likely more violence. In fact, look at any aspect of human life -- political, religious or any other -- and simply sharpen the angles, and there is the picture for 2011."

"Looking at 2011 month by month, January stands out as chaotic, bringing unexpected changes that will see us, figuratively speaking, reeling and scrambling to survive. Not so metaphorically will be the real danger of volcanoes, earthquakes and other acts of God that we can expect during January, with a second wave occurring in October.
February of 2011 is more stable and brings some of our basic needs to the foreground, especially family affairs and loyalty. The economy shows signs of improvement, and one or more important medical breakthroughs may give hope and brighten the future for many. March then brings with it acts of religious fanaticism and other dangerous side-effects of spiritual and intellectual ignorance.
April is ruled by an 8 and should bring a measure of balance, but also more violence and aggression, especially by and against authority. May should have a calming effect, bringing progress in many areas, but mostly in politics and diplomacy, including a genuine effort to bring peace to parts of the world where harmony has been a rare commodity.
June and July bring a surge of energy with some sensational and history-making events, scientific breakthroughs and a boost to the global economy. Then August has a more creative energy.
September puts the brakes on everything and is the month most illustrative of the energies and influences of the year 2011 as described before; including the lack of vision and the emphasis on trivial matters. October is disruptive and brings turmoil similar to what occurred during January, while November brings a more compassionate energy.
December will go down as the month when a new voice is first heard worldwide, a voice of reason, a voice of humanity, a voice of hope. For those of us who can read the subtle signs, it offers the first glimpse of the hidden evolution that was mentioned earlier. In a way, December is a precursor to what the second half of this transformative nine-year cycle brings.

More here

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