Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy Yorkshire Day

Yorkshire flag
Yorkshire flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

"I, Michael Andrew Jarvis, being a resident of the West Riding of Yorkshire declare:
That Yorkshire is three Ridings and the City of York, with these Boundaries of 1134 years standing;
That the address of all places in these Ridings is Yorkshire;
That all persons born therein or resident therein and loyal to the Ridings are Yorkshiremen and women;
That any person or corporate body which deliberately ignores or denies the aforementioned shall forfeit all claim to Yorkshire status.
These declarations made this Yorkshire Day 2012. God Save the Queen!”

The Yorkshire Ridings Society

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Giving them (the press) his ass to kiss. And more news from post-racial America.

Mitt would have been better off skipping this European trip and vacationing in the beautiful mountains of Utah this summer. Honestly, it has been one misstep after another.

And now for the latest:

"WARSAW, Poland - A Mitt Romney spokesman reprimanded reporters traveling with the candidate on his six-day foreign trip, telling them to "kiss my a**" after they shouted questions from behind a rope line.

As Romney left the site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw and walked toward his motorcade parked in Pilsudski Square, reporters began shouting questions from the line where campaign staffers had told them to stay behind, prompting traveling press secretary Rick Gorka to tell a group of reporters to "kiss my a**" and "shove it." 

Wait, it gets better:

Gorka told reporters answering questions to "show some respect."
"This is a holy site for the Polish people," he added.

"We haven't had another chance to ask a question," one reporter noted to Gorka.

Gorka told another journalist to "shove it."

Show some respect for a holy site of the Polish people yet you curse at a reporter on that very site?  Amazing! [Source]

Mitt, please come home, it's clear that you and your peeps aren't cut out for this traveling stuff.

Meanwhile, back here on the home front, the racism chase continues.

Did you hear the one about the dude who walks into a motel room in Ohio,  turns on the television, and gets a wonderful message on his television that says "Hello nigger"?  Yep, it really happened. (You Negroes need to stay out of places like Motel 6)

Anyway, my man did as he was taught; he called the NAACP. Good luck with those year long free stays at Motel 6 my brotha. [Source]

Did you hear the one about the guy in Florida (Where else?) who shot the black dude in the head and was upset because "he had only shot a nigger"?

"Today's egregious Florida gun crime comes to you from Port St. Joe, where police say 59-year-old Walton Henry Butler shot a man in the head last night, then sat down and ate dinner while the victim lay bleeding at his door. Police say he was upset because "he had only shot a nigger."
The victim, 32-year-old Everett Gant, had gone to Butler's apartment to confront him about calling a child a "nigger" and making "several racial remarks to the black children in the apartment complex," according to the police report. Butler allegedly responded by shooting him in the face with a .22-caliber rifle.
After Walt Butler shot Everett Gant he stated he shut the sliding glass door with Everett Gant lying outside the door, called 911 then funished cooking supper, sat at the kitchen table and began eating.
When Sheriff Nugent arrived on scene he made contact with Butler by phone. Butler told him to come in he was eating dinner and had put up the gun. Butler was sitting at the table and acted as if it was an inconvenienced [sic] when he was asked to stand up and handcuffs were put on. He said he did not understand the problem he had only shot a nigger." [Source] 
Maybe that dark meat on the ground was making him hungry.
Anyway, the "nigger" will live. So unfortunately for Mr. Butler, unlike Mr. Zimmerman, he won't have all his pals sending money to a website to help him make bail.
Welcome back home to your post-racial America, Mitt.
*Second pic from theGrio.

Aching For Missed Codeine

Sad to hear last week that the brilliant Codeine aren't staying together long enough to come to Australia. My friend Cam bought some limited edition thingame of theirs that I'll have to listen to just to stop from falling apart. Nevertheless, it is the music that always lives on. Here is something that they recorded for the John Peel Sessions back in the day.

Codeine - Median (live at John Peel Sessions)

Serving Up A Killer Smile

German record label Who Can You Trust? have recently released this delicious 7" by San Francisco mentalists with 70s rock embedded in their DNA, Hot Lunch. Their influences range from "Grand Funk Railroad, early Hawkwind, Lobby Loyde, Misfits, Crushed Butler, The Who, Blue Cheer, that very first Rush album, early 1980s skate punk, UFO, Ace Frehley, CCR, Chuck Berry, Gedo, Amon Düül II, Black Sabbath and Groundhogs" - phew! PLUS they are a fan of Skyhooks - SKYHOOKS! Jesus wept. They had me at "hello". But their proclivity for hot lunches (hence the name) shows a band that refuses to take themselves seriously, and in many ways this informs the music in a much clearer way than the earnest revivalists that litter the bargain basement bins. Basically, it's gonna set your hair on fire. I really am looking forward to what these ne'er-do-wells have in store for their incumbent LP coming out later in the year.

Killer Smile is out now - get it here.

VIDEO VACUUM - Lower Dens, JEFF The Brotherhood, OFF!, Slug Guts

It's been a while since we had some visual spirituals, but now I have a plethora of tracks that blow the casbah sky high, so let's give work the forks and watch them together like old times, yeah?

First up is another recording from those amazing cats over at They Shoot Music, Don't They? This time the aural offender is Lower Dens, chilling out in Barcelona after some down time from the Primavera Sound Festival back in May, playing some semi-acoustic toons in a square...with a friend in support(I TOLD you there was a Deerhunter connection today!) The two tracks here are 'Candy' and 'Nova Anthem', and it is, as is to be expected, pretty darn amazing.

It's great to hear that garage-trippers Jeff the Brotherhood are winging their way down to Australia in January (even if it is for the Big Day Out - sigh...), and they will be raring to rip into their new material off Hypnotic Nights. I heard someone at Splendour In The Grass on the weekend say that the album sounded like Weezer "or something like that where I'd enjoy it as a teenager but not give a shit when I grew up." Hmmm... Not sure what kind of a comment that is. Anyway, 'Sixpack' is slick and a lot of raucous fun. And yes, this track sounds a LOT like Weezer - even more than usual.

OFF! kicked off a triptych of video clips with the board spinning meltdown of 'Cracked', and now here are the final two-thirds of this "opus". Both starring Dave Foley (Kids In The Hall), the songs are 'Borrow & Bomb' and 'I Got News For You', and the clips encapsulate dodgy community television so well that I cannot believe that Teen Talk isn't the real deal (the look on Foley's face at 2:00 is priceless).

Finally we have the claustrophobic band clip for 'Scum', Brissie degenerates Slug Guts' single from their new Sacred Bones-endorsed LP, Playin' In Time With The Deadbeat. It's a typically Slug Guts song really, which means it is pretty damn fine. They may not reach the heights of the Aussie reprobates that they idolise, namely Venom P Stinger and Feedtime, but they give it a red hot shake, their feverish dirge never sounding more genuine.


Hollowing Out The Stars To The Other Side

This EP has been around for donkeys' years (well, March), but seeing as I have a Deerhunter-related post coming up later in the day, I thought I'd air this one out too.

Ex-Deerhunter Colin Mee (possibly still a deer hunter though, I never asked him) formed what would become Hollow Stars four years go as a side-project from his main band. It's since spiralled out into a mutant mass of psychedelia drenched in goth New Wave, surf rock and interstellar travel, most notably in their latest EP Neshama. Seriously, this is some strange stuff, yet strangely alluring. The way it shifts around, Mee's vocals wavering through the mix like an otherworldly Lou Reed or Matt Berninger, you can't help you are listening to music that has slipped through a crack in the fabric of space, that only those from a parallel world were intended to hear. And an aside, Mee is still keeping in with his old buddies, as Hollow Stars just completed a tour with Lotus Plaza, Lockett Pundt's ace side project.

Neshama is out through Coco Art, you can snap it up here.

Hollow Stars - Eastern Sky
Hollow Stars - The Other Side

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mitt keeps stepping in it, and T.J. is a victim of DWB.

Mitt Romney is at it again. He raised over a million dollars at a fundraiser in Israel, but the real news from that meeting was his foot in mouth moment about the income disparity between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Mitt originally didn't want the press to attend the meeting, and now we can see why.

"Mitt Romney ended his trip to Israel on a controversial note, angering Palestinian officials by suggesting Israelis have been more economically successful because of their culture.

'As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality,' Romney told a group of Jewish donors at a Jerusalem fundraiser that netted more than $1 million for his campaign.

The Republican candidate told supporters he began noting "enormous disparities" between neighboring countries during his time in the business world and cited a 1998 book, "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations" by David Landes, which studied why some countries did better than others.

"He says if you could learn anything from the economic history of the world it's this: Culture makes all the difference,' Romney told supporters. 'And as I come here, and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things."' [Source]

Yes, because we all know that those Jews just love money.

"The “culture” argument doesn’t merely imply that poorer economies somehow deserve their fate due to an inferior value system. It makes generalizations about the characters of both populations. Abraham Diskin, a political scientist professor from Tel Aviv pointed out, 'You can understand this remark in several ways. You can say it’s anti-Semitic. ‘Jews and money.’” [Source]

So culture is now the determinative factor in how much money we make or have? Hmmm, tell that to those Muslims in the UAE, Oman, or Kuwait. I suspect that natural resources has a lot to do with it as well.

Finally, Mrs. Field will be glued to the television for the next few minutes. T.J. Holmes, formerly of CNN and now BET, tweeted that he was pulled over for driving while black in Atlanta,("driving while black ain't no joke") and he is appearing on MSNBC to tell his story. This has to do with a lot of questions that have been going around about a post racial America, lately. Different folks have been weighing in on this issue, and the general consensus is that things have actually gotten worse on the race front since a certain beige guy took office in the White House.

"Former CNN anchor T.J. Holmes was pulled over a mile away from his Atlanta home Monday morning and quickly took to Twitter to document the entire ordeal.

The television personality tweeted a picture of a cop car in his side mirror with the caption "Driving while black ain't no joke."

Holmes did not mention that one of the officers who pulled him over was black.
The 34-year-old did say, however, that one of the officers, though he did not specify which, struggled to give an explanation for why he was pulled over.
"This is a damn shame. Officer is literally stumbling over his words trying to explain why he stopped me," Holmes tweeted.

Holmes returned to the micro-blogging site minutes later, telling his nearly 50,000 followers that the officer said he "wanted to make sure [Holmes] had insurance on the car." [Source]

When are folks going to learn that self- hating black folks (also known as slave catchers) can be worse than the man when it comes to stepping on the necks of us black folks?

Anyway, I hope that this is not a stunt by T.J. to promote his new show. Although I doubt than in this case it would be possible to do that. My man would have to have the Atlanta police department in on the scam with him, and I honestly don't think that would ever happen.

T.J. now says that he is having second thoughts about going public with his ordeal. He has been getting a lot of both positive and negative feedback, and he has been called a racist and the "the N word" for putting the po po on blast on  twitter.

Hang in there T.J., and remember, always keep your insurance card, registration papers, and driver's license close by.

Citizens Discard Vowels, Blow Expectations Off The Hinges

CTZNS is the debut LP from Scottish trio Citizens, and its a fantastic slab of post-hardcore power and precision. The band - made up of Craig McIntyre (guitar/vocals), Owen Batchelor (bass) and Dean Inglis (drums) - have crafted an incredible rock album that ebbs and flows beautifully, McIntyre's strangled vocals in sync with the music and not becoming particularly affronting which tends to piss me off about screaming vocalists. Plus the musical interplay between the three is top notch, evident to the instrumental segue that masterfully informs opening track 'Habitual Smoker Blues.' I always go into post-hardcore releases with some trepidation, which is why CTZNS is such a pleasant surprise. Plus the closing track 'Distance Blues' is over seven minutes long, and is as powerful if not moreso than the 48 second brutalizer 'New Punks'. That says it all about the gold in them thar hills. Absolutely killer - strongly recommended.

CTZNS is out now. Grab it here.

Daily Mail in "Olympic Ceremony was Left Wing Crap" Shocker

Rick Dewsbury writes in the Hate Mail

The above article, presented on Freezepage as the Mail rapidly yanked it from their website, demonstrates that not everybody thought honouring the NHS at the Olympics was a great idea.

It is a Daily Mail article, so be prepared for hatred, bile, vitriol and stringing together a series of almost unconnected events in order to make up a story,

Splendid Spook Houses Of America

This song has saved my life today. After a heady weekend at Splendour In The Grass (working on reviews and publications, seeing some great sets from Explosions In The Sky, Father John Misty, Mudhoney and Dirty Three, but mainly having a hazy blast with friends and "acquaintances"), travelling back to Brisbane from Byron Bay at 6am wasn't conducive to a happy Uncle Masala. Then I stumbled across New Jersey quartet Spook Houses and their track 'American' that is on their upcoming LP Trying. That flat vocal when he drawls "I'm drunk and I feel like shit" says it all, let alone the fat bass line and the explosion of happy noise halfway through the blistering track. It's an anthem towards the inane beauty inherent in being young and dumb, which is usually what going to a festival is fuelled by. I know nothing else about this band AT ALL, but this is enough. They saved my life - now I am indebted to Spook Houses.

Trying is out soon on Philly label Evil Weevil. You can pre-order it here.

Puffy Areolas Exude A Dishonorable Discharge

I am so damned keen to get my sweat, depraved mitts on the sweat, depraved Ohio band Puffy Areolas' sweaty and depraved second album, 1982: Dishonorable Discharge (a companion to last year's 1981: In The Army Now). Put out by the excellent Hozac crew, 1982 promises to be just as discordant, abrasive and electrifying as its predecessor. Don't believe me? Read the following press release then...

Puffy Areolas are a pummeling ensemble of free jazz skronk, laid mercilessly on top of a proto-punk nuclear waste dump, still throbbing with orgone energy. A Hawkwind cum-Lucifer’s Crank-era Dwarves killing machine that doesn’t stop until no one is left breathing, or god forbid, unimpressed. A sophisticated mess of noisy, nihilistic bursts of agony and intangible hate-fuck hysteria, that’s as captivating as it is alienating, pushing the boundaries of sanity, each and every performance. And yes, their second full-length is exactly what everyone has been worried about, a toxic bath of spoiled space juice dripping dangerously over the frayed circuits of their demonic WAH, sizzling with nightmarish night trips. A true Funhouse moment really kicks in on side B, a devastating document of human endurance, devolvement, and desecration, and sometimes it seems like this band is less of a musical combo and more of a flashing portal into an unknown Vietnam-like, mind-bending free punk power that summons the inner spirit of self-destruction like you wouldn't believe.
Once you tune your brain’s lower end into their freaked-out frequency, you’ll immediately FEEL THE NOIZE, and you’ll quickly see how those gut-churning riffs can peel the paint off the walls better than any crew of Ukranian contractors in this neighborhood. When Puffy Areolas tore down the house at the 2011 Hozac Blackout Fest, the corners of the Velvet Perineum were literally crumbling, rocks falling down in pieces, as they rode their wave of scorched-earth noise out into the charbroiled sunset. This band has a stunning power both live and on record, so don't be shy and come right up and jump in the fire with 1982: Dishonorable Discharge, the seediest head-blast of an album as you're gonna hear all year.

STILL aren't excited? Try out the title track and get ready to gnash your teeth in despair in arcane worship...

You can get 1982: Dishonorable Discharge from here - the vinyl comes with a free promo poster while stocks last.

Making Trophy Lovers Out Of Old World Vultures

We have been pretty supportive of Canadian instrumentalists Old World Vulture, and we're pleased to announce the release of their album Trophy Lovers. Still playing with creating synergy between synthetic and analogue instrumentation, the quartet have created some interesting hybrids that successfully allows them to continue to further themselves from the post-rock trappings that they managed to vault on their breakout self-titled EP. Personal favourites include the opener 'Slave Traders, Horse Thieves & Other Villains' which strikes me as the perfect Rock Action cross between Mogwai and Errors (a collaboration I'd sell my new born to see) and the groove-laden bruiser 'Last Kicks Of A Dying Horse'.

You can grab Trophy Lovers from their website for a free download - well worth checking out. Then if you like, you can head here to get yourself a limited edition gold vinyl copy

Old World Vulture - Slave Traders, Horse Thieves & Other Villains
Old World Vulture - J.R. Flood
Old World Vulture - Last Kicks Of A Dying Horse

Pumping Out Babies In Ipswich

No, that title is not poking fun at the south-eastern town in Queensland, only half an hour away from where I write this post (although it easily could be a news headline - claws out!), but a reference to the debut record from New Zealand abrasive noiseniks Ipswich, called Baby Factory. Recently signed to Muzai Records, the trio have thrown a bilious record all over the musical world's favourite white shirt, wiped their face on the nearest shih tzu before necking paint thinner and lighting a match. It opens brutally with 'Oxymoron' and refuses to abate, even as it apes a more conventional sound palate on tracks like 'Haze'. This track alone shows how much Ipswich have grown since even their Living In A Strangers House EP less than a year ago. There is some great acid-drenched darkness going round the Great White Cloud - God Bows To Math's record was also brilliantly breakneck and revelling in its own bilge pump - and Baby Factory is doing its utmost to eviscerate all in its path.

Baby Factory is out now - definitely grab it here.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

"Bomb,bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran". The retrurn of the Neocons.

While we take some time to enjoy this summer's Olympics, I hope that we are also paying attention to the candidates running for president of these divided states of America as well. One in particular has been letting loose with some troubling rhetoric and pronouncements of late.

Mitt Romney, while standing on foreign soil, has declared that if he becomes president he will take this country to war with Iran to stop them from furthering their nuclear capabilities. Take some time to think about that for a minute. This is after one of his aides declared that Mr. Romney would back an Israeli military strike on Iran to thwart their nuclear enrichment program. Of course the very right wing Prime Minister of Israel agrees with him.

"Earlier, Netanyahu welcomed Romney as 'a representative of the United States' and told the Republican that he agrees with his approach to the Iranian nuclear threat.
"'Mitt, I couldn't agree with you more,' Netanyahu said.
'We have to be honest and say that all the sanctions and diplomacy so far have not set back the Iranian program by one iota. And that's why I believe that we need a strong and credible military threat coupled with the sanctions to have a chance to change that situation,' Netanyahu said."  

Mr. Netanyahu spent a lot of time around these parts (Graduated from Cheltenham High) and I have heard from some folks that are familiar with Benjamin that he had some issues even back then. First of all Benjamin, Mitt is not a "representative of the United States", he is simply a wealthy private citizen trying to become our president. But I digress.
The problem with Chickenhawks like Mitt Romney is that they have no idea how dangerous this type of rhetoric can be to the stability of the world, and particularly in the Middle East. Mitt said he wouldn't campaign on foreign soil, but this all about getting Jewish votes in the upcoming election and showing a contrast in his foreign policy style with Obama. By saying that an "Iran strike is on the table" if he becomes president, he is trying to show us that Obama has been president for almost four years and hasn't struck Iran as yet. What is he waiting for?
Well Mitt, he is waiting for the diplomatic type solutions such as economic sanctions to work, and from all appearances -with all due respect to Mr. Netanyahu and the Neocons in this country- it appears that they have been working.  
What is sad about all of this is that Mitt could ultimately become our president, and, if he does, we might wish for the days of W. I am not going to rip his personality like my man Brooklyn Bad Boy over at Kos, but everything about Mitt Romney should bother you. (We could start with the fact that that Dan Senor is his foreign policy point person.) And it should really bother you if you have a male loved one who would be deemed eligible to go to war for this country.

*Pic from Getty images 



World Music Marking

I have just peer reviewed the week 1 essays from six of my fellow students on the Coursera / Penn University course Listening To World Music.  They were rather a mixed bag.

One essay stood above the others, the student has phrased his/her essay in academic language, the question had been thought about and looked at from two differing angles and it read through as one coherent whole. Another essay was pretty good, asked to comment on positionality and emotion within music the student chose the original song, and then three cover versions of the same to illustrate his point, clever thinking.  The other four were hard going though, at least two seemed to understand only basic English, not one used any basic academic conventions and at least one seemed to be answering a different question.  Or perhaps even a question from a different course.

This is where I feared the Coursera project might begin to fall down.  I am going to be quite happy if the first two students read and score my essay, they have a good grip of what the course entails and understood the questions clearly.  Judging by the standard of the other four essays, I wouldn't want any of them marking my work as they appear to have little or no idea of what is going on. Asking them to give scores based on academic conventions and whether or not the arguments are convincing and nuanced just won't be possible as they do not seem to understand these terms.

Fingers crossed then. I think I have written a decent first essay, not as well argued as my Open University work, but then it is a free course without a recognised qualification so I am not spending the research time on this that I would with the OU. I am the only person I have seen so far who has presented references and a bibliography, the OU have drummed that into me over the last year.

Week one scores will be out tomorrow, I have a very busy weekend next week so I'm unsure if I can manage to whole essay and peer reviewing business.  It may depend on whether next week's questions really pique my interest.

Over in OU world, our collaborative wiki is coming on well, and I have made a start on next month's essay question - "To what extent has tourism transformed the meaning of religious objects?"

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dodging Daggers Mid Flight

Just a quick post about Leap of Fangorn, the new release from Melbourne experimental shoegaze sludge dwellers Daggers Mid Flight. It's an interesting cocktail that leaves one hell of a dank, trippy aftertaste - a heavy mess of percussion, bass and guitar drudgery that links arms with Wolf Eyes and Grey Daturas, brothers in dirge. Similar in spirit with Brisbane's Die On Planes (although a little more 'experimental' in some of the structures), Daggers Mid Flight occupy the silence as much as they do the noise, happy to hunker down and let the music coalesce into a dirty, brain-frying mess before it all melts away into nothingness. An album of brutal sonic exploration, it will hurt your head, but you have to be cruel to be kind - well worth the effort.

Leap of Fangorn is out now through Bro Fidelity and Chairfish Recordings.

Daggers Mid Flight - Leap of Fangorn

Bob Costas shows his ignorance, and the Wilsons of Mississippi need a wake up call.

I watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics last night and I am still pissed at Bob Costas for making mention of Idi Amin when the Ugandan athletes came out. Like WTF? That was ignorant and uncalled for and a guy like Costas should have known better. It goes to show just how ethnocentric some of these clueless folks can be.

Can you imagine some foreign reporter talking about Bull Connor, Jim Crow, Watergate, or the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki when the American athletes came out? Exactly.

Anywhoo, tonight I really want to post about that Negro couple down in Mississippi. I am sure you have all heard about it by now, they wanted to get married in a lily white Baptist church and some members of the congregation said no way.

I am going to write about it, but not from the perspective that you think. I expect this type of behavior from certain so called Christians, so there is nothing about this story that surprises me.

I am actually going to attack black with this post because some of you Negroes get on my last nerves. It's too easy to write about the obvious bigots in this story. Let's talk about you clueless Negroes who joined this church believing that you were going to be accepted as one of them.

I have a question for you two Negroes: Wasn't there a predominantly African American Baptist church in your area? Why didn't you get your Sunday morning worship on with those folks? And now we are supposed to feel sorry for you because these white folks gave you both their you know what to kiss? I don't think so.

"I feel like it was blatant racial discrimination," Prior to this, I had been telling people how nice they were here," Wilson said. "It makes you re-evaluate things. We were doing everything right. We wanted to get married."

Oh Negro please! Give me a break!

The beautiful thing about being a cynic when it comes to certain aspects of human behavior is that I will never be disappointed. The folks in Crystal Springs, Mississippi are doing exactly what I expected them to do.

"Wilson said he understands Weatherford was caught in a difficult position and he still likes the pastor, but he also thinks the pastor should have stood up to the members who didn't want the couple to marry in the church."

Mr. Wilson, there is a gentleman on line one for you; he says that he is from "The Drop Squad" and that you need to call him as soon as possible.



Where Are The Immigrants ?

That was the Zimbabwean news response to the Olympic opening ceremony, was he watching another channel ? If anything, I would have said that Danny Boyle was slightly guilty of over-representation of Black and Asian faces with each scene carefully choreographed to demonstrate Britain's multi-cultural and ethnically diverse, and the most obvious scene of immigration was the actual re-creation of the Windrush and the first wave of Caribbean immigration.   What of your violent colonial past ? asked the same correspondent. Well, come one, no country is going to put on parade their past transgressions in this sort of thing.  Although if he thought there wasn't anything counter-culture going on, then he wasn't listening to the music either.

Friday, July 27, 2012

London 2012 Olympics, The Opening Ceremony

What do you think about the opening ceremony ? I thought it was quite splendid, quintessentially British, a homage to some of the incredible things Britain has achieved married to a knowing understanding of some of the harsher realities of life.

After the incredible opening ceremony in Beijing, Danny Boyle had already said he would not attempt a similar style of ceremony. Instead, what Boyle produced was a potted history of Britain replete with mythological and political imagery; China and other nations cannot failed to have noticed that part of what Britain chose to showcase about itself was the human and political rights movement of the Suffragettes, and pride we feel in having a National Health Service.

Boyle wove together great strands of what we were, the industrial revolution and empire building, with what we hope we are today, inclusive, multi-cultural, ready to acknowledge our shared past and muddle on together as best we can.

The things that Britain still does really were pushed to the fore, literature and especially J K Rowling's all conquering Harry Potter series was featured as a huge Voldemort fell beneath an onslaught of Mary Poppinses with illuminated brollies. The music showcased a parade of British talent from the Elgar through numerous acts familiar to a global audience, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, David Bowie, and Boyle was happy to use the cynical and the anti-establishment as Pink Floyd, The Clash and The Sex Pistols music was put to good effect.

Other parts of the ceremony showed the traditionally British way of being self-deprecating and quirky, Rowan Atkinson turned in a quick performance as Mr. Bean, trying to cheat his way into beating the Chariots Of Fire runners.  The Italian national news service described the ceremony as "as unpredictable as the people here" and went on to say that only the British could conceive of doing the event in this fashion.

After much speculation over who was to light the Olympic Flame inside the stadium, Britain put in to practise the Olympic ideal, to inspire the next generation, seven young British athletes nominated by British gold medal winners ran into the stadium and lit the cauldron that had been constructed from petals carried in at the head of each participating team.

Personally I thought that the opening ceremony was a great success, it was unorthodox and showed off as many British idiosyncrasies as it did British achievements, but this is how we British are, we are actually really proud of all the great things we have done, but we don't like to boast about it. Well done Mr. Boyle, that was a tough ask, and I mean this most sincerely when I say that wasn't a bad job, not bad at all.

Hearing A Hum Opens Up The World

So I'm in Byron Bay, a spiritual place home to great festivals and hippies, both real and imagined. I love it here, despite the commercialism riding much of its appeal into the ground, and I cannot think of a better soundtrack than Hear Hums' latest, Opens.

Last year I was enamoured by Psyche Cycles, the 2nd LP from Floridian duo Hear Hums. In February they brought out Opens, another heady slice of tribal percussive psychedelia that revels in chants, moans, clicks, drones, chimes, beats, and swirling repetition. This kind of organic guff is fair play over at the Inner Islands stable, yet Opens sees Hear Hums truly transcend to another celestial realm. There are some organic connections to Icelandic troupe múm's brilliant 2nd album Finally We Are No One - you can picture yourself running naked through a fern-laden forest with them, running through ice cold and crystal clear brooks, and embracing life in its entirety. Not much can make you feel such elemental, core emotions, to want to revert to the basest of Self, but Hear Hums nail it. I apologise wholeheartedly to Mitch and Kenzie - they sent this to me ages ago, and I only got to it last month. This out-early-Animal Collectives early Animal Collective. Amazing stuff. And check out the live shot above - that looks like the best live show EVER. Seriously, I want to go to there.

Opens is out now, this is life-affirming stuff, grab it this instant.

Hear Hums - Shrines
Hear Hums - Growing

More blunders for Mitt, and the homophobic Chicken man.

Poor Mitt, he just couldn't wait to score political points after meeting with M16, the British version of the CIA. Rather than keep his mouth shut, (it was a secret meeting) Mitt just couldn't resist name dropping:

"I appreciated the insights and perspectives of the leaders of the government here and opposition here as well as the head of MI6,” Mr. Romney told reporters Thursday. “We discussed Syria and the hope for a more peaceful future for that country.” [Source]

Pssst, Mitt, you are not president just yet; there is the whole election thingy left to do. 

So anyway, some dude called me out on twitter today for saying that it was ironic that Boston, historically one of the most racist cities in America, was telling Chick- fil-A to stay out. He was also seemed pissed because I basically said that we can't dictate where folks set up their business as long as they are not breaking any laws. (BTW, if I was an elected politician in Chicago, I would be focusing on all the gun violence in that city right now, and not the narrow minded beliefs of a CEO.)  

But here is the thing; you don't have to patronize Chick- fil-A. I know a lot of you love those chicken sandwiches, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices for what you believe in.

I will personally miss their lemon meringue pies, but I won't be going back.
Folks who agree with the bigoted position of the president of that outfit will continue to go, and those of us who take an opposite position can spend our dollars elsewhere. That's how it works in these divided states of America.

 I respect the activist protesting against the Mr. Cathy and his company, but not the politicians who would use the power of government to ban or restrict a company because of the beliefs of those who run it. Now if Chick-fil-A restaurants started denying service to same sex couples or Gays we would have a problem, and I would demand that the people I elect to make such decisions shut them down.

Until then, wingnuts will continue to wolf down those chicken wraps every day [except Sunday] and those lemon meringue pies will continue to go into their greedy wingnut mouths.    


How To Be British

There are some spot on observations, and a host of cliches and stereotypes in the BBC 12 Part Guide To The UK.

"The English are British and lots of people think the British are English but that annoys the Scottish and Welsh because although some think they're British and some think they aren't and some think they are but don't want to be, they all agree that they definitely are not English. The Irish mostly think they are Irish, apart from the ones who are Northern Irish. Some say that makes them British and Irish. But others disagree and say they should just be Irish and then some say they aren't British either but part of the United Kingdom. People from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland can all play cricket for England because they're British as can those from Ireland even though they aren't British. So can South Africans. The English play football for England unless they aren't that good when they might try to play for Ireland. Those from the Isle of Wight are English, from Anglesey are Welsh and the Orkneys are Scottish, but although that means they aren't from the island of Great Britain they're still British. The Channel Islanders depend on the crown which is what the Queen wears but they aren't in the UK and those from the Isle of Man are the same, apart from their cats."

"He never gets his round in." There is no more damning assessment of one's character to be heard in the British Isles.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

G.E.T. N.E.C. N.O.W.

As you all well know (well, you should at any rate), Atlanta psych group The N.E.C. are fucking rad, and one of my favourite bands. Great guys too. Would love to bring them over to this side of the pond, show them around, show them how it's DONE. But until that happens, I'll make do with listening to their great releases. Their new one is coming out next week. Last Point of Radiation is what is on the tin. OVE:EVO/Spective Audio are putting the sucker out, and it's going to be a cracker. How do I know? Because their new track is awesome. Listen to it N.O.W. (see what I did there? Bloody genius!) Seriously, this kinda kosmiche psych rock gets me every time, make an album of it and I'm yours.

Pre-order Last Point Of Radiation here - get in early for the clear vinyl!

The NEC - N.O.W.

Mitt's European misadventure.

When is the gymnastics portion of the Olympic games going to take place? Is it too late to get one of our presidential candidates on the American team? I bet he would get a perfect ten for his flips.
Flipper Mitt Romney once again demonstrated to us why he is the biggest flip flopper in the world. Just a day after telling NBC News that he had issues with the London Games, there he was at 10 Downing Street going on and on about what a wonderful job the Blokes are doing over there in London.

(Have we even had the opening ceremony yet?) Talk about embarrassing. Now even the Brits know what a wishy- washy flip flopper we have running for the highest office on our country. (BTW, whatever happened to not playing politics while on foreign soil?)

Let's see now:

'"You know, it's hard to know just how well it will turn out," Romney told NBC. There are a few things that were disconcerting. The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials … that obviously is not something which is encouraging.'"


'"What I see shows imagination and forethought and a lot of organization, and I expect the games to be highly successful,' Romney said....'My experience with Olympic organizing is that there's always a few very small things that end up going not quite right the first day or so,' Romney said. But the issues always get "ironed out,' he added."


The Bridge

At night in the city
from thousands of wounds
blood comes pouring out.

It comes flowing into the canal
that is stagnant, dully,
where the bridge is suspended.
The bridge is neither going forward into a future
nor coming from a past,
just from the opposite shore, to this shore,
it is only hanging
over a dead current
and just fastening together two nights.

When night becomes late, over there at its top
and aged man and a young woman come
and, without appearing confident,
casually hug one another.

- Shiro Murano, trans. Edith Marcombe Shiffert and Yuki Sawa.

Dreaming of Chasms

Yeah yeah, it's been quiet etc. Here's something special for you then.

Brand spanking new label Dream Recordings have their first release out, When It Comes by San Francisco duo Chasms. These tracks are brooding, bruising, melancholy excursions into a Gothic afterlife, a miasma of lush beats and sonorous vocals that is interwoven with ominous grooves and the occasional spike of soaring guitar and white noise. The red cover with swirling black membranous shadows is pretty apt - this would score a great Giallo erotic thriller directed by Trent Reznor and Kevin Shields. A cold, cavernous ride that offers moments of warm respite amongst the black frost, When It Comes is a promising debut.

You can grab the When It Comes EP on cassette here. Dream have some very solid guys behind it - expect to hear more stellar releases coming out of their stable soon...

Chasms - Headwound/What's Real

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I Am Not Nike / Coke / Adidas / Heineken etc.

My favourite t-shirt has printed on the chest "This space is not available for corporate advertising"

It's an Anglo thing, and the voter fraud myth.

Mitt Romney is across the pond. Nice. He made sure he slammed O before he left,--- because we have this thing about politicking in foreign countries--- and one of his aides allegedly told the Brits that they have something in common (wink wink) that the black dude in the WH just can’t understand.

"We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and [Romney] feels that the special relationship is special," the aide reportedly said, adding, "The [Obama] White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have." (For the record, Flipper and his peeps are denying this quote, so someone is lying.) 
Anywhoo, I will spare you the silly jokes like the one about Mitt going to check on his foreign bank accounts, because this is a serious matter. It goes to his ability to represent the United States on foreign soil and show us his gravitas on International matters.

Mr.Romney could have saved himself the trouble of this trip. Americans could care less about foreign policy in this upcoming election. It's all about the economy. If it was about foreign policy President Obama would spend half the money that he (Mitt) does and still win the whole thing. Believe it or not, it is the Democrat who has the foreign policy cred this time around. 

Speaking of the elections, President Obama will certainly have his work cut out for him this time around. Republicans are doing everything in their powers to make sure that they get the desired result. Here in Pistolvania and other states-- where the African American vote could make a difference-- strict voter ID laws to cut down on  imaginary voter fraud are suddenly popping up all over the place.  

"Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) said that the voter ID law passed by the legislature would help deliver the state for Mitt Romney in November. "Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it's done. First pro-life legislation -- abortion facility regulations -- in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done," Turzai said at this weekend's Republican State Committee meeting ...."

Thank you Mr. Turzai.

The irony is, of course, that republicans have been more guilty of shenanigans when it comes to voting than the poor, older folks, and minorities, who are all going to have a harder time voting under these Draconian republican measures.

But this too, like Gore v. Bush, will pass. And republicans know it.  

Americans are too easily distracted with other things to give a damn about something as trivial as voter suppression.



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Move over "Weezy", and Mr. Capehart strikes back.

Before I start this post I would like to say rest in peace Sherman Hemsley.(There is a pretty decent and on point tribute to him in the link I provided) Dude almost made it cool to be a House Negro. I just hope that he "moved on up" today.

So anyway, one of the pitfalls of being an opinionated black man in America--- who isn't afraid to speak his mind--- is all the negative feedback you get from ignorant  small minded folks. People who can't really debate you on the facts and issues at hand, so they resort to juvenile, petty, and sectarian attacks.

The e-mails are numerous, and the comments...well, you see a lot of them on this blog.

Jonathan Capehart is a sometimes television commentator and a writer for the Washington Post. He is a pretty intelligent dude who has strong opinions on certain issues. One of them is the Trayvon Martin case. It is a case that he has written extensively about over the past few months. I am sure that the poor guy gets his share of nasty e-mails, comments and letters, and one particular stalker person drove him to write an entire column in response.

I have vowed not to give  anymore of my own personal opinions about the Martin case until after the trial, but the following is a cut and paste job from some of Capehart's column that I thought I should share with you:

"Some fellow named Rick, who has emailed me from two different addresses since last week, really didn’t like what I had to say about Sean Hannity’s interview with George Zimmerman. His first email came Thursday morning, the day after the killer of Trayvon Martin said he had “no regrets.” The second one came later that day. And ever since he has emailed asking for a response. “I will send this to you ‘ad-infinitum' until I get a reasonable and rationale [sic] response from you,” Rick wrote me via email Saturday night.

Well, Rick here comes your answer.

“One of the burdens of being a black male is carrying the heavy weight of other people’s suspicions,” I wrote at the outset of the national furor over Zimmerman not being in jail for killing Trayvon. We already know that Trayvon brings out the worst in people. But Rick’s racist rant — complete with misspellings and poor grammar — gives my statement renewed relevance as he joins far too many others in denigrating the life of a person he didn’t know by using stereotypes to justify his hate. 

Much in the way Sanford Police Detectives dissected Zimmerman’s call to the department that rainy night on Feb. 26, I dissect Rick’s missive. Would that folks like Rick gave Trayvon the same benefit of the doubt they are demanding be given to Zimmerman.
I read your response in regards to the Hannity/Zimmerman interview. It is so full of holes a semi truck can drive thru the huge gaps you leave.
Martin broke this guys [sic] nose and was pounding his head into the concrete... he probably was in the process of killing him before he got (justifiably) shot.
This requires us to believe Zimmerman’s version of events. Understandable simply because we only have his side of the story. Trayvon is dead. Clearly, there was some kind of physical fight as Zimmerman’s injuries attest. Yet, few if any Zimmerman supporters seem to ask themselves this question: What would you do if you were a 17-year-old staying as a guest in a neighborhood not your own and were accosted by a stranger who you noticed had been following you in a car?

Besides, as I’ve written many times, Zimmerman’s story is the one “full of holes.” For instance, I’m still trying to figure out how Trayvon’s hands were found under his body when Zimmerman told police in several interviews that he pulled Trayvon’s arms away from his body mere seconds before police arrived.
Martin is just another typical example of an "angry, black, and totally uneducated" product of black culture which believes in Jerry Springer tactics for problem resolution.
What this portion of Rick’s racist rant ignores is a report from Trayvon’s teacher at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School in Miami where he was a junior. He was “an A and B student who majored in cheerfulness,” she said. Nothing that I have seen since that February report disputes that.

Trayvon spent some time at the George T. Baker Aviation School after his regular school day because he wanted to be involved in aviation either as a pilot or a mechanic. He used to help his father Tracy Martin when he coached little league baseball. His father also credited Trayvon with saving him from a fire when he was just 9 years old.

Sure, Trayvon was suspended from school three times, including for being found with a plastic baggie that had traces of marijuana. Trayvon is hardly the first teenager of any race caught dabbling in doobies. Yet, this seeming rite of adolescent passage has given people like Rick an excuse to brand Trayvon a hard-core thug itching to kill someone for the hell of it, despite ample evidence to the contrary...." [Entire article]

I have to give it to you Mr. Capehart, you are one patient man. 


Monday, July 23, 2012

University of Pennsylvania

I signed on with the University of Pennsylvania using the new online university service Coursera. The first module I have opted to take is Listening To World Music taught by Professor of Music and ethnomusicologist Dr. Carol Muller.  I had expected these free courses, which cannot count towards any formal qualification, to be fairly simple stuff. I am very pleased to find though that the lectures, while easy to understand, are pitched at a fairly high level.

In the opening lectures, which are all delivered in short video sections, Dr. Muller talked about Arjan Appadurai and his theories of social rupture. I am already slightly familiar with Appadurai from module A151 with The Open University in which his book The Social Life of Things features prominently so the music lecture held some relevant crossover points with the material culture studies I am doing.

Coursera works by delivering video lectures with short quizzes and then writing a weekly essay which will be peer reviewed - your own essay will only be reviewed if you have reviewed someone else's work. I am not sure how well this will work to be honest, you can really only mark something correctly if you really understand the subject and know the answers.

This week's questions (choose one of) are...

Week 1 Questions
1) Appadurai argues that modernity is a form of rupture in everyday life, and that the experience of modernity is now globally present.  Moving places is one such form of rupture.  If you are from a family or community that has made significant moves in the last several decades—from rural to urban areas, from one country or continent to another--ask members of your family/group, if music provided a means to maintaining a connection between past and present places of residence and how it has done so--live performance, recordings, human travel? Has music worked to maintain your language of origin? How else might it have worked as a connective tissue in the move or significant moment of rupture?

2) Steven Feld argues that some ethnomusicologists who have studied traditional music have expressed a certain anxiety about commercial market forces in relation to 'traditional' and 'local' music-cultural practices. Others celebrate the potential for intercultural communication and collaboration that made possible with new forms of musical travel. In what ways do you think processes and forms of mass mediation have changed in the last two decades? How might these changes confirm, challenge, or otherwise problematize the anxiety/celebratory takes on musical change? How might contemporary forms of mass media affect our understanding of 'local' or 'traditional' musical practice? Such newer forms of mass media might include the internet, file-sharing, YouTube, iPods, Tablets, etc.: what others can you think of?

3) Find youtube examples of the three forms of authenticity outlined in this lecture segment, and explain how they are articulated in the clip.  It maybe that there are only one or two of these authenticities expressed in the clip.   How does the presence of authenticity contribute to the power of the music for you as a listener/consumer?

4) Watch this clip about the commercial recording of Gregorian chant by a German monastic order.  It provides a parallel example of commodification of the sacred to the earlier “Chant” recording.  It presents a narrative of monastic life and deep history, the place of prayer, work and ritual in that life.  Comment on the discourses of the sacred, the commodity, authenticity, the miraculous, new technologies, commercial success; on Father Karl, the narrator’s story and rationalization for inserting Chant into the commercial marketplace.  What do you think is to be gained by this process, and what might be lost?  How does the music work for the monks?  Is it the same as for the consumer?  Gregorian chant by the monks of Heiligenkruez

It is going to be hard getting this done alongside my Open University commitments. I will have a go at question 4 if I can find time.

The [not so high profile] trial of another killer.

A killer went on trial today in Colorado, and here in Philly a killer's trial just came to an end. In the days to come you will hear a lot about the trial of the killer in Colorado, but I would like to tell you a little bit about the trial of our killer here in Philly.

"Living in the Point Breeze section of South Philadelphia, Allen Moment Jr. understood no-snitch culture.

Moment stayed true to the code, even after Jan. 20, 2006, when he was ambushed outside his house on Pierce Street, near 22d, shot a dozen times, and left for dead in his girlfriend's arms.

Two years later, Moment was still alive and still at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. A month in a coma, multiple operations to repair his riddled bowels, and one infection after another had atrophied his muscles. He was a quadriplegic.

Moment lingered until Aug. 6, 2008, when he died of a final drug-resistant infection at age 24. But before he died, Moment finally told his mother and uncle - and police detectives - who had shot him: his cousin Marvin Flamer, now 37; Flamer's nephew Nafeas Flamer, 23; and Nafeas Flamer's friend Hakim Bond, 23.....

Allen Moment lived in an area of South Philadelphia known for corner gangs that settled disputes with guns.

According to Assistant District Attorney Richard Sax, Moment had a problem. He knew and was friends with people from his corner. But the Flamers - his father's extended family - lived near 24th and Ellsworth.

There was bad blood between young men from the two corners, and in early 2006, the fever was up.

Torn between the two groups, Moment tried to play peacemaker. At one point, Sax said during the trial last week, Moment took a gun from Nafeas Flamer. Then someone shot at Flamer and word was that Flamer suspected Moment had "set him up."

Moment sold drugs - court records show he was sentenced to two nine- to 23-month prison terms in 2003 - and on Jan. 20, 2006, he was outside his house when his girlfriend, Aisha Williams, asked him to get crack cocaine for her mother.

According to Williams' trial testimony, Moment said he would deliver the crack to her house, and she turned and began walking away.

"I got to the corner and heard shots, and I thought, he's shooting at somebody or getting shot," Williams said.

Williams said she turned and saw Moment staggering toward her: "I said, 'I thought you got hit.' He said, 'I did. Don't leave me, I don't want to die.' "
Williams did not die, but neither did he get well.

And he would not tell anyone who shot him. He knew, as Sax said, that "Snitches get way more than stitches."

Let me jump in here: Did you read that? Aisha asked him (Mr. Moment) to get crack for her mother. SHE ASKED HIM TO GET CRACK FOR HER MOTHER! Okay, let's read on:

"...Moment's dying declaration was recorded Feb. 14, 2008. Though he lived almost six months more, Moment had already received the grim news from HUP surgeon Carrie Sims. He was dying, Sims said. An infection resistant to all drugs could not be stopped.

The video shows Moment propped up in bed, a large tube attached to his nose. He barely opens his eyes. He nods or blinks as a detective shows photos and asks him to confirm his identifications. Only once does he struggle to rasp aloud a reply.

It wasn't much - maybe three minutes - but Sax needed all the evidence he could get because the intimidation and threats did not end when Moment died.
Two years later, shortly before the start of the trial of the Flamers and Bond, Abdul Taylor was killed.

Taylor, 32, a former high school basketball star and popular Kingsessing recreation center coach, came on the scene right after Moment was gunned down.

He did not see the shooters, but Taylor knew many young men from the basketball courts. He kept his ears open and learned enough to become a key witness against Moment's killers.

On May 6, 2010, Taylor went to a corner store for his mother and was shot dead in front of his house at 23d and Ellsworth Streets.

DNA evidence led to 21-year-old Derrick White, who was charged with killing Taylor to keep him from testifying. Sax prosecuted, and on Feb. 29, a jury convicted White of first-degree murder and sentenced him to death...

Sax's key live witness was Moment's girlfriend.

Williams, now 34, identified the Flamers and Bond in statements to detectives after the shooting. But by Tuesday, when she took the witness stand, Williams had long since "gone south" - recanted the identifications and blamed detectives for creating the statements.

"Because you people don't let me alone!" Williams replied when Sax asked her why she had signed her initial statements to detectives as well as photographs of the three shooters she identified.

"A friend of mine is dead," Williams said. "If I could help you, I would, but I didn't see nothing."

Let me jump in here: "I didn't see nothing." I am not going to rip the "no- snitch culture", that's just too easy. I understand that there are folks living in these communities with real fears of retaliation. (Look what happened in the story to poor Abdul Taylor.) But that is a part of the problem. Sadly, it's a tragic nonending cycle.

The good news is that a killer was found guilty last Friday, and he will never walk the streets of Southwest Philly ever again. The bad news is that there are too many more like him waiting to strike. [Read the full story here.] 

*Pic from Philly.com

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The American Dream versus The American Nightmare

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Benjamin Franklin Regarding Entitlement Programs

"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." --Benjamin Franklin

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Fooled by an icon?

I live in Philadelphia, Pistolvania, so I know and work with a lot of Penn State alums. For the most part I find them to be smart decent people. For the most part. One aspect of PSU alums that has always kind of creeped me out is their undying devotion to all things JoPa. Some of them, it seemed, literally worshiped the ground the man walked on. To say he was an icon in these neck of the woods is an understatement.

Which is why the latest news out of Penn State is so shocking. If you had told me ten years ago that Joe Paterno would be implicated in a scandal to cover up child sexual abuse, and his statue would be coming down in Happy Valley, I would have called 911 and asked them to have you committed. Joe Paterno was Penn State, and he was, in the eyes of many, everything that was right about college football. It's like hearing that Vince Lombardi gave the Packers steroids before every game. 

This should be a lesson to all of us who devote our lives to worshiping others. We have to be careful, because no one is infallible and above the sins of the rest of us mortal men. Joe Paterno might have been a great football coach and motivator, but he was human and susceptible to human failings. From the looks of it he put the image of the program that he carefully and successfully built above the lives of innocent children, and that will forever be a stain on his legacy.  

His legacy will now be viewed in the context of a still evolving scandal, and there is no doubt that it has been tarnished forever. Now all the good he did will be overshadowed by a scandal that might mean the "death penalty" for the proud program that he built.

This morning his statue was covered and removed under armed security. The surreal image that goes along with this post is a stark reminder of just how uncertain life can be. Who could have imagined that it would end like this? I am sure that the folks who love and admire Paterno certainly could not. The rest of us who are a little more cynical are not quite as surprised. This is what we have come to expect in a society where things are never as they seem. "Normal" ("clean cut") All American kids can become mass murderers, and men who claim to be messengers of God can harbor evil iniquitous secrets. You just never know.

"Losing a game is heartbreaking. Losing your sense of excellence and worth is a tragedy"

Sorry Joe, but not heeding your own words was an even bigger one.