Monday, June 24, 2013

"You're Standing Here Beside Me/I Love the Passing of Time"

In 2011's "This Must Be The Place", filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino (Il Divo and the forthcoming-in-the-U.S. "Grande Belissima/The Great Beauty)" evinced his fondness for the great Talking Heads tune of the same title (aka Naive Melody). In the film, which is a very joyful and complex work of cinema, Sean Penn's retired rock and roller attends a David Byrne concert where the song is performed live in a lovely string arrangement. I've been smitten by the song again, and found this original video from the time of the release of the album "Speaking in Tongues." The trailer from last year's release here

Friday, June 21, 2013

You Aren't Imagining It: That's A 'Supermoon' This Weekend

The May 2012 supermoon, seen from Gainesville Fla.
(AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Matt Stamey)

The moon really will appear larger and brighter than usual this weekend. In fact, this weekend's moon will be the "super moon" of 2013.  This occurs because two key points in the lunar cycle will coincide early Sunday morning -- the moon will both be a full moon and at its closest point to Earth in the 29.5-day cycle.

The perigee -- the name for the point in a lunar cycle when the moon is nearest to Earth -- will occur at 7:11 a.m. Sunday, when the body will be 356,911 kilometers, or 221,774 miles, from Earth. This has been referred to as the "Supermoon"; a phenomenon that happens about every 413 days.

The next time a full moon and perigee coincide so closely isn't until August 2014.

According to NASA,  the best time for viewing is when the moon is on the horizon. Because full moon and perigee coincide Sunday morning (after the moon has set for the day), Saturday night, early Sunday and Sunday evening should all provide big, bright moons. The times to remember, according to the Naval Observatory: Moonrises occur at 7:45 p.m. Saturday and 8:43 p.m. Sunday; moonset is at 5:47 a.m. Sunday.

Full Moon dates and times for NYC for 2013 appear here

A June full moon is commonly called the Mead Moon, Rose Moon, Honey Moon or Strawberry Moon.
More on the names for Full Moons throughout the year here

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Keith Richards at 70: On Life On and Off the Road with the (formerly) 'Tiny Todger'

From the Men's Journal Profile of Keith Richards:
"You played some dates in London with ex-bassist Bill Wyman, and ex-­guitarist Mick Taylor will make a few appearances on the North American tour. Is that tough? You were bitter when they left.

"Yeah, I guess I mellowed! Until maybe 20-odd years ago it was, "Nobody left this band except in a coffin!" I'd just say, after 50 years in a band, anybody that is still alive, you're welcome to come back in and do your bit."

"You're in a détente period?

"Smooth. Even. Definitely workable. Otherwise, we wouldn't be doing it. A lot of these things are blown way out of whack. What is the closest I can get to . . . it's like two very volatile brothers – when they clash, they really clash, but when it's over, it's over because we both know we need each other; we both enjoy working with each other. Ninety percent of the time it's as cool as can be, then, of course, the people only get to hear about the 10. And the 10 are pretty fierce."

The Men's Journal Interview here

And the UK Mirror on the Feud and the Aftermath here

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Treat: "I Think We Are All Bozos on this Bus" (Firesign Theater 1971)

"Many busy executives ask me, "What about the job displacement market program in the city of the future?" Well, count on us to be there, JIM, because, if we're lucky tomorrow, we won't have to deal with questions like yours ever again."

"[to the tune of "Back In the Saddle Again"] Back from the shadows again. Out where an Injun's your friend. Where the vegetables are green, and you can pee into the stream, we're back from the shadows again."

Visionary comedy/satire from 1971. Hackers and holograms, clowns and politicians, Unemployment and mythology. Unemployment AS mythology. We're back fromthe shadows again...A "Must" experience -- an aural science fiction adventure and satire.

More on The Firesign Theater and this recording here

More from the excellent Firesign Theater troupe here

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Message and the Meta of Practicing Safer Communication:

ProPublica publishes an interesting. Overview of maintaining privacy, where possible, on your communications.

Yep, Data, Nothing But 'Big Data' and the Protection of Democracy the Imperfekt

In their timely book, ‘Big Data,’ by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier, looks at the growth and future of mega-number crunching, as reflected in Google, Amazon -- and the National Security Agency. The NY Times reviews it here -- looks to be an important and interesting book. Read it along with Jaron Lanier's "Who Owns the Future ?"here which discusses the economic ramifications of the internet and how micro-compensation for the use of our personal information within Big Data crunching could be a solution to dwindling employment in the US and help stimulate the economy by generating new forms of modest wealth.  If, as the authors promise, Big Data will be the next really big thing that will change everything, it won't go away soon, so it's benefits, as well as its dangers, need to be discussed and understood.

An interesting NY Times article addresses the political aspects of the NSA 'Big Data' controversy and how a national debate on this issue is unlikely due to secrecy here

Whether Edward Snowden, the contractor-employee with access to National Security Agency inforamtion, who broke the story to the (UK) Guardian is a "traitor," as GOP Speaker John Boehner suggests or a whistleblower  as the Guardian suggests, this is an issue, as even the President suggests, worthy of debate and discussion. While this may impact the ideal of  civil liberties, the reality may be that democracy, an imperfect institution needs to be protected:

As Winston Churchill said in a speech in the House of Commons on 11 November 1947 said: "No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

--Anthony Napoli
Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Monday, June 10, 2013

Folks, Face Reality: 'Big Data' is here to stay

PEN, ProPublica- I love y'all. But how can we lash the US government for tracking info and data on phone calls that can be used as a source for fighting the very real threat of terrorism, while it is ok for private corporations who virtually  act beyond the restrictions or knowledge of the citizenry when they not only track but "monetize" their collection and use of this data (I.e., surveillance). I think the government is struggling to provide security. While we have had smaller, localized lone wolf terror attacks I think the real fear is a catastrophic one that dwarfs 9/11 or series of attacks in different locations in close time proximity that cause large numbers of fatalities and panic. 

But beyond that I think there is a knee jerk denial that we are in fact living in a security state, if not yet a military one. But even more so we are living in a surveillance state where we surrender our privacy to glitzy social media and carry devices that now or will allow every step, every purchase, every communique to be tracked and warehoused. The toothpaste is in fact out of the tube. The era of Big Data, warehoused and tracked and processed infirmation abiut our digital (and actual) lives is here. We are living in a digital world. Either digital communications and Internet access can either be restricted as it is in some countries or allowed virtually free reign as it is in the US. But if these same technologies are used for dangerous, hostile or terroristic ends, the government has the right -- the obligation -- to study this information to protect society. Communications cannot be completely free. In the US they are used largely for commercial ends. They must be used to ensure public safety as well. There are costs and risks to both. 
--Anthony Napoli
Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hannah Arendt, a film by Margarethe Von Trotta

From iconoclast to icon, Hannah Arendt was an unyielding political theorist who experienced detention in a wartime prison camp in Europe, but escaped to the US. Von Trotta's film portrays the critical era in the writer's life when she covered the trial of Nazi official  Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Arendt, who had written a landmark study on totalitarianism, noted the 'banality of evil' reflected in Eichmann's burying himself in bureaucratic practice and loyalty to his country. However Arendt noted that this failure or refusal to think, only act, was a pattern of behavior potentially not limited only to the Nazis or that era although wartime Germany took it to fantastic and murderous  extremes. The film studies the enormous controversy generated when Arendt discussed in her essays the complicity of some Jewish officials, to this reader wittingly or unwittingly, which contributed to the rise and maintaining of Nazi power. 

"under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think." -Hannah Arendt

Played by Barbara Sukowa, the film is a powerful and wrenching emotional study of a woman thinker and writer who struggled to understand to interpret and to analyze the difficulty and deeply rooted reality of power relations in the world. It may not be as rewarding experience as reading her work but it is a fascinating and engaging introduction to a major figure in 20th century philosophy and political theory. A portrait of an interesting woman in a complex time this is easily one of the  best international films of the year to be released here and well worth seeing.
In New York City, now playing at the Film Forum. A Zeitgeist film release.

Text of The Origins of Totalitarianism

Excerpts from The New Yorker of Arendt's coverage of the Eichmann trial

--Anthony Napoli
Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Friday, June 7, 2013

American Hypocrisy: Cool for Cash, Not for Security

Once again the overripe hoopla on all sides regarding the NSA data mining makes one wonder, why is it ok for Facebook or Google to reap billions from tracking our Internet comings and goings, yet the US government, which as we see of late in The IRS scandal is not exactly operating with "schutzstaffel"(SS) efficiency is berated for at least taking what appear to be prudent steps to gather the potential data which could help to not only track terrorists and enemies domestic and foreign, but could also strive to prevent attacks. 

The Obama administration is not building a totalitarian state. Richard Nixon went much further with much less high tech wherewithal in his efforts to stifle dissent. Barack Obama may not be the ultimate President if such a President has ever existed. From the view point if history they may be viewed as worthy or not worthy for the office. But in the day to day operation if government all they can do us endeavor to protect and to serve and to take the steps that its office provides. While journalists who are not responsible for protecting our citizenry may judge BO badly at the moment it is only history who will judge whether these current actions are prudent it not.That's what he is there for He is criticized as being an ineffective leader until he exerts leadership and then he is criticized as bring dictatorial. Relax, America. We have plenty of real not imaginary enemies out there without creating a domestic "pile on" before knowing if this program could in fact lead to better security. We already give Mark Z. and his strata of technoplutocrats plenty of leeway with our lives, reputations and secrets.
--Anthony Napoli 
Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Fighting on the Border

Photo by Danielle Moghadam
On a field trip to Druse villages in the north, witnessing
fighting between Syrian rebels and Syrian government soldiers
on the border of Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The U.S. Government is Listening? Who isn't? The Paradox of Freedom

The Guardian's article revealing widespread recording of domestic and international Verizon communications by the US National Security Agency sets all sorts of alarms blaring. But in the Age of Information where every mouse click is not only recorded but monitored and sold for advertising and marketing purposes by Google et al, is it any surprise when the US government which has an obligation to provide security and battle terrorism would have no alternative to do same?

While one may presume that Alex Jones at InfoWars and others may see a different game afoot, where terrorism is a false front, an illusion like the Moon landing perhaps albeit a more deadly one intended to provide the government with a wedge to create a totalitarian state, sober, rational realistic citizens must regard that the government while an imperfect institution is obliged to make every effort to protect and to take the initiative wherever possible.

Failure to do so would be the true failure of government to provide the basic service necessary which is to protect and defend democracy and the freedoms we ultimately cherish, however paradoxical those efforts may be.
The Guardian article here
--Anthony Napoli,Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Roses in June from the Waldorf Court Garden

Born in the (40s, 50s, 60s): Depression and Suicide Rates Climb

The Washington Post looks at climbing suicide rates among the post-WW 2 baby boom generations and tries to assess why, here

The article also suggests: "Perhaps a little more adversity in youth could have helped prepare them for the inevitable indignities of aging, Knight suggested, adding that “the earlier-born cohorts are sort of tougher in the face of stress.” Despite the hardships of life in the first half of the 20th century, he said, older generations didn’t have the same kind of concept of being stressed out.

"Older generations also had clearer milestones for success. “They won the Great War, they saved the world,” said David Jobes, a professor of psychology at Catholic University and a clinician at the Washington Psychological Center in Friendship Heights."

"Baby boomers, on the other hand, have struggled more with existential questions of purpose and meaning. Growing up in a post-Freudian society, they were raised with a new vocabulary of emotional awareness and an emphasis on self-actualization."

Here at DITHOB, it seems often overlooked that the self-actualization issues that the baby boom generation is often tagged with doesn't fairly reflect the chaos and struggles for equality in the Civil Rights movement, feminism, and political activism that is reflected in the shifting political landscapes over the past several decades. Not only was it a question of the baby boom generation being at the front lines of these social and political movements, but we also have grown up as part of the social fabric of this era, and dealt with the political, economic and social struggles that made racial and sexual equality a reality for the most part in day-to-day life. At the same time, we grew up in the transition to modernity, or post-modernity, from manual typewriters to smartphones and personal computers, and have been forced to struggle with changes and adaptations that our parents never knew and our children, growing up in the post-modern era, don't understand. Hang in there, baby boomers. If it hasn't been an easy ride, we are still part of the "warp and woof" that tried to bring equality, progress and new ideas in the American social experiment into every day life.
-Anthony Napoli, Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Where to find help:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

National Alliance on Mental Illness:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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