Sunday, June 26, 2011

CODA: MUST READ: NY TIMES on the Political (and Personal) Strategies That Led to Marriage Equality in the Empire State

Today, a must read front page article by Michael Barbaro that goes behind the scenes to track the efforts, under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, that resulted in passage of the Marriage Equality legislation in the largest state in the US.

Explaining Mr. Cuomo's key role: "Something else weighed on him, too: the long shadow of his father, Mario, who rose to national prominence as the conscience of the Democratic Party, passionately defending the poor and assailing the death penalty. During his first few months in office, the younger Mr. Cuomo had achieved what seemed like modern-day miracles by the standards of Albany — an austere on-time budget and a deal to cap property taxes. But, as Mr. Cuomo explained by phone to his father a few weeks ago, he did not want those accomplishments to define his first year in office.

“They are operational,” he told his father. Passing same-sex marriage, by contrast, “is at the heart of leadership and progressive government.”
“I have to do this.”
The players, the advocates, the opponents, the Roman Catholic Church, were all brilliantly orchestrated in what may in fact be considered the turning point in this latest step in the long history of the progressive and civil rights movements in New York State.More here

Also in today's NY TIMES, the new Sunday Review section, which seems largely a design twist on the Week in Review, although, even after a quick scan.\, I miss the wit of Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno, et al, and the selection of editorial cartoons from across the nation, which was apparently replaced by the Times first color comic.strip. More here

Thursday, June 23, 2011

CODA: Tarantino's DJANGO UNCHAINED to Star Foxx, DiCaprio, Jackson, and Walz to Star

Variety, via the UK Guardian, reports on casting for Quentin Tarantino's slavery-era epic, Django Unchained.

Jamie Foxx will take the lead in Quentin Tarantino's latest film, the western-influenced Django Unchained, according to Variety. The Oscar-winning actor was selected over stars such as Idris Elba, Terrence Howard and Chris Tucker for the role of a freed slave who learns to become a contract killer and eventually returns to his old plantation to retrieve his wife. Kerry Washington, who starred opposite Foxx in Ray, is in line to take the latter role. Leonardo DiCaprio has already been cast as the plantation's sadistic owner, Calvin Candie, with Tarantino regular Samuel L Jackson as a sinister slave named Stephen who does his bidding.

Will Smith evidently was the first actor to be named in connection with the role of Django, but he appears to have turned it down. Reviews of Tarantino's leaked screenplay suggest it is peppered liberally with the n-word, which some critics speculate may have made Smith uncomfortable with the role.

More details here

DITHOB previously reproted on the leaked script for Django Unchained here

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Flatbush Solstice

 After sunrise, June 21, 2011

 Anticipating the Summer Solstice
Guinevere, contemplating the summer solstice
photos by Tony Napoli

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, respectively, in the sense that the length of time elapsed between sunrise and sunset on this day is a maximum for the year.

The summer solstice occurs exactly when the Earth's and the moon's axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun, at its maximum of 23° 26'. Though the summer solstice is an instant in time, the term is also colloquially used like Midsummer to refer to the day on which it occurs. Except in the polar regions (where daylight is continuous for many months), the day on which the summer solstice occurs is the day of the year with the longest period of daylight. The summer solstice occurs in June in the Northern Hemisphere north of the Tropic of Cancer (23°26'N) and in December in the Southern Hemisphere south of the Tropic of Capricorn (23°26'S. The Sun reaches its highest position in the sky on the day of the summer solstice. More here 

Summer solstice on June 21, 2011 is 17:16 UTC (coordinated universal time) which is four hours ahead of daylight savings. So the summer solstice will occur in New York City (including Flatbush) at 3:16 PM (13:16).

2011June 21, 17:16

Monday, June 20, 2011

Society of the Spectacle: Et, Tu, Zizek? But Maybe Not

According to the New York Post, Lady Gaga and another recent fave of DITHOB, Slovenian cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek, are buds. Since it is the The NY Post, one can easily interpret it as a zing or a knock or just a tittilating namecheck on either Zizek or Ms. Germanotta, but evidently they were in touch during Lady G's spring tour, talking "feminism and collective human creativity." (Also: As he's written, he sees the meat dress as a nod to "the consistent linking in the oppressive imaginary of the patriarchy of the female body and meat, of animality and the feminine.")

While Zizek, Man of the Mind, is no doubt a babe magnet, The Post implies a little amour feu. But Dr. Z says, "I am terribly sorry to disappoint you, but this is all a fake! The only thing I share with her is the support for the strike [Gaga showed up at a lecturer's union strike in London earlier this year]." 

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Interpersonal Circumplex and the Papers of Dr. Timothy Leary

Before he became synonomous with the psychedelic drug culture of the 1960s, Dr. Timothy Leary was a former West Point cadet and a trained psychologist who developed the interpersonal circumplex, a model for conceptualizing, organizing, and assessing interpersonal behavior, traits, and motives. The interpersonal circumplex is defined by two orthogonal axes: a vertical axis (of status, dominance, power, or control) and a horizontal axis (of solidarity, friendliness, warmth, or love)
During the twentieth century, there were a number of efforts by personality psychologists to create comprehensive taxonomies to describe the most important and fundamental traits of human nature. Developed in 1957 by Timothy Leary,  the circumplex is a circular continuum of personality formed from the intersection of two base axes: Power and Love. The opposing sides of the power axis are dominance and submission, while the opposing sides of the love axis are love and hate. 

Leary argued that all other dimensions of personality can be viewed as a blending of these two axes. For example, a person who is stubborn and inflexible in their personal relationships might graph her personality somewhere on the arc between dominance and love. However, a person who exhibits passive–aggressive tendencies might find herself best described on the arc between submission and hate. The main idea of the Leary Circumplex is that each and every human trait can be mapped as a vector coordinate within this circle.

Furthermore, the Leary Circumplex also represents a kind of bull's eye of healthy psychological adjustment. Theoretically speaking, the most well-adjusted person of the planet could have their personality mapped at the exact center of the circumplex, right at the intersection of the two axes, while individuals exhibiting extremes in personality would be located on the circumference of the circle.

The Leary Circumplex offers three major benefits as a taxonomy. It offers a map of interpersonal traits within a geometric circle. It allows for comparison of different traits within the system. It provides a scale of healthy and unhealthy expressions of each trait.

Later, of course, Dr. Leary would later become famous for his controversial LSD experiments at Harvard.  Dr. Leary's papers were recently purchased by the New York City Public Library. They contain historical and cultural nuggets, such as Allen Ginsberg's early experience with psychedelics: “The first time I took psilocybin — 10 pills — was in the fireside social setting in Cambridge,” Ginsberg wrote in a blow-by-blow description of his experience taking synthesized hallucinogenic mushrooms at Leary’s stately home. At one point Ginsberg, naked and nauseated, began to feel scared, but then “Professor Leary came into my room, looked in my eyes and said I was a great man.”

The NY Times reports that "The material documents the evolution of the tweedy middle-aged academic into a drug guru, international outlaw, gubernatorial candidate, computer software designer and progenitor of the Me Decade’s self-absorbed interest in self-help.
The archive will not be available to the public or scholars for 18 to 24 months, as the library organizes the papers. A preview of the collection, however, reveals a rich record not only of Leary’s tumultuous life but also of the lives of many significant cultural figures in the ’60, ’70s and ’80s."

Leary, who died in 1996, coined the phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out” and was labeled by Richard M. Nixon as “the most dangerous man in America.” He was present in Zelig-like fashion at some of the era’s epochal events. Thousands of letters and papers from Ginsberg, Aldous Huxley, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, Charles Mingus, Maynard Ferguson, Arthur Koestler, G. Gordon Liddy and even Cary Grant — an enthusiastic LSD user — are in the boxes.

“How about contributing to my next prose masterpiece by sending me (as you sent Burroughs) a bottle of SM pills,” Kerouac wrote Leary, referring to psilocybin. “Allen said I could knock off a daily chapter with 2 SMs and be done with a whole novel in a month.”

More details here

DITHOB met Dr. Leary in passing in the late 1970s, when a nexus of Brooklyn and former NYU pals and I attended a show at the Bottom Line in the Village. I don't remember the performer. But I do recall that we were for reasons totally unknown to us seated at a fairly large and prominent table by Alan Pepper, one of the owners, who then seated Dr. Leary at an unoccupied adjoining table. Dr. Leary, who was released from prison in 1978, sat with a female friend, appearing mellow and healthy. We said hello to the good Doctor and proceeded to enjoy the show. Someone nudged me at one point and we saw someone furtively smoking a hand-rolled cigarette before the management could tell them to put it out.  It was proferred to Dr. Leary, but he smiled and waved it off politely. By that time, no doubt, he had had enough problems.

More on Dr. Leary here 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

By the Way --Happy Bloomsday

Ulysses is a novel by the Irish author James Joyce. It was first serialised in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, in Paris. One of the most important works of Modernist literature it has been called "a demonstration and summation of the entire movement".
Ulysses chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin during an ordinary day, 16 June 1904 (the day of Joyce's first date with his future wife, Nora Barnacle). The title alludes to Odysseus (Latinised into Ulysses), the hero of Homer's Odyssey, and establishes a series of parallels between characters and events in Homer's poem and Joyce's novel (e.g., the correspondence of Leopold Bloom to Odysseus, Molly Bloom to Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus to Telemachus). Joyce fans worldwide now celebrate 16 June as Bloomsday.

Ulysses is approximately 265,000 words in length and uses a lexicon of 30,030 words (including proper names, plurals and various verb tenses), divided into eighteen episodes. Since publication, the book attracted controversy and scrutiny, ranging from early obscenity trials to protracted textual "Joyce Wars." Ulysses' stream-of-consciousness technique, careful structuring, and experimental prose—full of puns, parodies, and allusions, as well as its rich characterisations and broad humour, made the book a highly regarded novel in the Modernist pantheon. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Ulysses first on its list of the 100

CODA:NY Assembly Passes Gay Marriage Bill 80-63; Legislation Moves to GOP-controlled State Senate

NY Times reports that the GOP conference in State Senate stalled on NYS Gay Marriage Bill, although Dean Skelos, Senate Majority Leader, reports that discussions are continuing. More here

The Assembly Wednesday passed a bill to legalize gay marriage while Senate Republicans battled over whether to let the measure come to a floor vote. The measure passed 80 to 63, the lowest margin in the four times it has been approved by the Assembly since 2007.

The NY Daily Nes reports: "It feels different this time because I'm very hopeful it will pass the Senate and become law this year," said Assembly bill sponsor Daniel O'Donnell (D-Manhattan), one of a handful of gay state lawmakers.

Gov. Cuomo, who has made gay marriage a priority, crowed, "We are on the verge of a pinnacle moment for this state."

The fate of the bill is still up in the air in the GOP-controlled Senate, where 31 senators are on record as supporting it - one shy of the 32 needed for passage.

More here

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Passage of Marriage Equality in New York State: At the Tipping Point

Governor Andrew Cuomo isn't walking on water, yet, but his strong mandate, coupled with his administration's exercise of remarkable political skill, and willingness to spend political capital as quickly as it is earned, maybe shaping up to make the Empire State the next state to make Marriage Equality/aka Gay Marriage/aka Same-Sex Marriage legal.

It was DITHOB's belief that, since Conservative Party boss Mike Long had promised to take names of any politicians who required his party's line and deny them that access in the upcoming, many politicos were playing their cards very close to the vest, awaiting what appeared a groundswell of support for this legislation.

It is appearing more and more that a turning point in Albany has been reached.

NY Times - One vote away as a GOP elected official agrees to support legislation here

NY1- reports the bill is now getting a lot of GOP support. Details here

Politico reported earlier this week that "In a development with national implications, New York is looking more and more like it will become the next state to legalize gay marriage as a bill gains momentum in the legislature ahead of a landmark vote that could come by midweek.
“I believe that votes will be there for marriage equality if the vote happens,” Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday afternoon. “I’ve had enough conversations with enough Republicans” to think the bill can succeed.

More from Politico here

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" -- The Dark(er) Side of the Old, Weird America

Destroy the Brain offers an exciting and very very interesting script review by Michael Haffner of Quentin Tarantino's DJANGO UNCHAINED, anticipated as the filmmaker's unique take on the spaghetti western -- and slavery -- in 19th century America.

However, Haffner observes: "while it is said by many to be Tarantino’s take on the “spaghetti-western” films that served as an inspiration for him.  Though it includes nods to the genre made famous by Sergio Leone, it doesn’t exactly fit into this category.  In a lot of ways, it feels more like a  period-piece, character drama than anything else.  Sure, it takes place in the west and includes a few well staged gun-fights, but based on the structure of this script, never did I feel it would fit in that genre.  Like most of Tarantino’s scripts, it relies way too much on a larger cast of “colorful” characters to ever feel the gritty loneliness of “The Man With No Name” films.  This, I feel, is completely intentional.  Tarantino has set out to make his own film that incorporates elements of this gritty west, while also wanting to make a film that captures the times of the slavery movement in the south.  This script is much more concerned with recreating this landscape of hate, racism, and greed, than recreating iconic large-scale gun battles. .. It details this disgusting world so vividly that it will without a doubt offend people.  There is no doubt about it. "

Mr. Haffner's excellent full review appears here

DITHOB's Two Cents:  This script and concept seems to fit snugly with the entire Tarantino oeuvre, as well as the director's rumored "John Brown" film. Like roots music, Bob Dylan, and outsider/folk art, Tarantino seems to be peering under the wagon tarp to get a good look at American culture today by givings its antecedents a good going over. You've got to be in it to win it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weinerville: Why DC Colleagues Want Anthony to Hit the Road

Interesting article by Steve Kornacki in on why Congressional Dems are not supporting Congressman Weiner when his misstep -- while personally humiliating -- is arguably less malfeasant than those ethical and other lapses committed by colleagues in his own party. Hint: Get thee to a bookstore, Congressman, and get a copy of "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Hot-dogging (ahem), alone, just won't do it.

Full story here

Film Culture: Adolfas Mekas 1925-2011

Excerpt from Hallelujah The Hills byAdolfas Mekas

Adolfas Mekas, Hallelujah the Hills, 1963 (excerpt) from RE:VOIR on Vimeo.

Adolfas Mekas (September 30, 1925 – May 31, 2011) was a Lithuanian-born film director, and brother of Jonas Mekas. He is principally known for his work in the United States.

Prior to World War II, Adolfas and Jonas Mekas had set up a theatre. Later, in a camp for displaced persons, they studied with a teacher of the Stanislavsky System.The brothers emigrated to the United States in 1949. They studied with Hans Richter before establishing Film Culture magazine in 1955.

Selections from Film Culutre  magazine (1955-1996) here

Excerpt from Film Culture: Article by Richard Leacock on "For an Uncontrolled Cinema": "Ever since the invention of the 'talking-picture' it has been blithely assumed that films are an extension of the theatre, a marvelous gadget that allows you to change scenes in an instant, yet retains the fundamental aspect of theatre in that you cause a story to be acted out before an audience (the camera) under controlled conditions. Control is of the essence.... As far back as 1906 Leo Tolstoy noted: "... It is necessary that the cinema should represent Russian reality in its most varied manifestations. For this purpose Russian life ought to be reproduced as it is by the cinema; it is not necessary to go running after invented subjects ..." Here is a proposal that has nothing to do with theatre. Tolstoy envisioned the film-maker as an observer and perhaps as a participant capturing the essence of what takes place around him, selecting, arranging but never controlling the event. Here it would be possible for the significance of what is taking place to transcend the conceptions of the film-maker because essentially he is observing that ultimate mystery, the reality. Today, fifty years after Tolstoy's death, we have reached a point in the development of cinema where this proposal is beginning to be realized."

Adolfas Mekas directed a number of films including Hallelujah the Hills (see excerpt above) and Going Home, both of which are considered landmarks of the New American Cinema movement. In 1971 he joined the newly formed film department at Bard College. He continued to teach at Bard until retiring in May 2004.

Mekas died on May 31, 2011.

Adolfas Mekas filmography:
  • Hallelujah the Hills (1963)
  • The Brig (1964) (with Jonas Mekas)
  • Skyscraper (1965)
  • The Double-Barreled Detective Story (1965)
  • Windflowers (1968)
  • Campeneras and Campaneros (1970)
  • Going Home (1971)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Did You See the Google Home Page?

A bit hectic at the office, so I didn't get a look at this until now. In honor of Les Paul who would have been 96 today, Google offers a playable electric guitar. To play (for as long as it lasts) go here.  No wonder Google is Google. Playing your gee-tar, record it if you want. Pure Google. Pure creativity.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bay Ridge Comes Out in Support of Marriage Equality

Nice coverage in The L magazine of Monday's rally outside the office of NY State Senator Marty Golden, who does not support marriage equality, and who was quoted as saying that his constituents "don't give a rat's ass about social issues." A sizeable crowd of vocal South Brooklyn residents begged to differ.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

And Now, a Word About America's Real Crisis: It's Still the Economy, Stupid

Obviously, the issue with NY Congressman Anthony Weiner is a political and ethical issue, but once again, it serves as a distraction from the crucial issues facing this country:

CBS News - Chronic unemployment worse than the Great Depression; link here

John Crudele in the NY Post:
"President Obama won't fully understand the mess he's in until he realizes how squishy these job figures are. And Labor is doing nothing to correct these false assumptions. Despite the fact that the economy is clearly slowing, the department this year added 206,000 phony jobs to May; last year's guess was "just" 192,000. And those 192,000 jobs had to eventually be taken out of the annual calculation. So, bottom line: The economy is in bad shape even before talk of possible budget cuts and debt ceilings disrupt it even more.

"Congress and the president long ago abdicated their role in helping the economy." Crudele also offers an interesting solution to the real estate market woes that sounds like it could have potential. More here 

I guess if you can say anything good, don't say anything at all: The Hill reports that daily economic briefings have disappeared from the White House schedule here

James Carville on the political economy in the Daily Caller: "Who ever thought the saying, “It’s the economy stupid,” from James Carville in 1992 would become a staple in presidential elections 20 years later?

"That expression made its way into the campaign in 2008, and according to Carville, it could be the theme of the 2012 campaign as well as President Barack Obama seeks reelection. In an appearance on Monday’s “Imus in the Morning” on the Fox Business Network, the former Clinton adviser said that, based on the May jobs number, if the unemployment picture doesn’t improve, 2012 could be rough for the president."

Referencing "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly", a 2009 book by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, Carville notes that the current economic situation, as with similar crises of this magnitude, will take time to work itself out and there may be little Obama can do.

“It is going to be very difficult,” Carville said. “But the country, if that is what we are doing, this is gruesome on people. This unemployment rate for this long is a humanitarian crisis of the first magnitude. This financial crisis, people have studied this by the way, they know that the things take this long to work their way through. The aftermath of these things — kind of an academic book that is dry entitled ‘This Time is Different.’ What it concluded is that it is not different this time. They studied it, the aftermath of the financial crisis. What we are going through is imminently predictable. But this is a terrible thing that has happened to people’s lives. I think the president at one level understands that, you know. But he is limited in what he can do. So we’ll just have to see. But it’s going to be hard. If 54,000 jobs is the new norm — this is going to be very, very tough.

You know, look — this is a humanitarian — you know, you’re smart enough to see this,” Carville said. “People, you know, if it continues, we’re going to start to see civil unrest in this country. I hate to say that, but I think it’s imminently possible.”   More here

Monday, June 6, 2011

US Representative Anthony Weiner Schedules Press Conference for 4 PM

US Representative Anthony Weiner has scheduled a Press Conference for 4 pm following the website 's posting of photos that appear to unmistakably show the Congressman sitting shirtless in front of a webcam; photos which evidently were sent to a young woman. This follows a week of denial and obfuscation. What this has to do with governance is anyone's guess, but in the context of the current continuing culture wars and gotcha politics, it appears fair is fair, and the American Way of Desire will have likely have claimed another political career.
-Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

NY1 reporting that Congressman Weiner WILL NOT RESIGN. More to come.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

GET HAPPY! Make NYC Your Gym: The BeFitNYC Initiative

After a summer road trip to Pittsburgh of all places, we found a new path and began going to the gym regularly for intensive and relaxing cardio workouts. That coupled with getting control of my all American eating habits have made me a more happy fella. I know, it is a bit like finding religion, but as the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The NYC Department of Health is making that first step a little easier by offering a chance to get out for some easy exercise all NYC . Beginning Monday, June 6, with a flash mob Zumba workout in Madison Square Park at  at 111:30 AM, there will be a variety of activities, culminating in a fitness festival in Washington Square Park on Sunday, June 12. These opportunities, coupled with the myriad of fitness opportunities available throughout NYC provide a great chance for you and your family to get on the road to better health. All it takes is a single step to start. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Bob Dylan Fist Bumps-- Who Knew?

Funny little video vignette of Chumlee from the show Pawn Star wandering around Vegas trying to get Bob Dylan's autograph -- and succeeding. Really?

Links here and here

CODA: Yo, Whose Got the Best Pizza in Bay Ridge? The Bay Ridge Democrats' Dough Raiser Gives the Answer

Madonn' ! Talk about the slice heard 'round the world ...(or at least in Brooklyn south)...

Bay Ridge Pizza (7704 5th Avenue), a last minute entry to the Bay Ridge Democrats' "Dough-Raiser" on Thursday evening, proved you have to be in it to win it when they threw the Bay Ridge pizza world into turmoil with their runaway victory in all 3 categories!!

Best Slice Overall: Bay Ridge Pizza / Peppino's (Runner-up)
Best Sauce: Bay Ridge Pizza / Nino's (Runner-up)
Best Crust: Bay Ridge Pizza / Mancini's (Runner-up)

The Bay Ridge Democrats who hosted the event thanked all the participants: Bay Ridge Pizza, Eleganté, Gino's, Mancini's, Nino's, Peppino's, Pizza Wagon and a homemade entry from Bay Ridge resident Tom Quigley

Justin Brannan, President of BRD, also offered a "Big thanks to The Pour House, Councilman Vincent Gentile, Assemblyman Brook-Krasny, BBP Chief of Staff Carlo Scissura and Public Advocate Bill deBlasio, as well as to everyone who attended to support Democracy in Bay Ridge!"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Yo, Whose Got the Best Pizza in Bay Ridge? Find Out at the Bay Ridge Democrats' Dough Raiser Tonight!



The best pizza in Bay Ridge?

The Bay Ridge Democrats Want YOU to decide!

Come sample slices from Bay Ridge’s best pizzerias as they go to crust-to-crust and compete for YOUR vote!

$35 contribution includes free pizza and one drink courtesy of the Pour House:

The Pour House
7901 Third Avenue (between 79th & 80th Streets on Third Ave in Bay Ridge)
Brooklyn, New York
RSVP to (or just come by)
Hosted by the Bay Ridge Democrats, putting the fun back in progressive politics in Brooklyn.

Invited speakers include:
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer
Congressman Jerrold Nadler
Congressman Anthony Weiner
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny
New York City Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio
New York City Comptroller John Liu
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn
New York City Councilman Vincent Gentile

Be there or be square.....
......unless you prefer round, of course.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Weather Channel Tornado Index: Low Chance for NYC (but be safe out there)

Although since heavy rain and strong wind possible, caution is always the wise course of action, at 2:15 PM, The Weather Channel TOR:CON Tornado Watch Index gives a 3-4 for south and eastern NY State and NJ. which is:

TOR:CON Value Descriptions

•8: High probability of a tornado
•6: Moderate possibility of a tornado
•4: Low chance of a tornado nearby, but hail and/or strong wind gusts possible
•2: Very low chance of a tornado, but hail and/or strong wind gusts possible
•0: Near-zero chance of a tornado or a severe thunderstorm

More on Dr. Greg Forbes' exclusive TOR:CON index and updates 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