What a president should look like


Went down to Stateside (a Santa Barbara restaurant/club) to watch Obama’s acceptance speech in the company of his supporters and other cool people. (Although most cool people were at the Radiohead concert at the Bowl!!) At one point the cable feed went out from Cox cable, which made everybody suspicious. We ended up the night with an HD feed from CNN, but with an audio feed the sound guy jacked from BBC Radio international, meaning audio and video did not sync up! Still the speech was the rousing park-knocker-outer we’ve been hoping for. My favorite part:

It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care. It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.
For over two decades, he’s subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy – give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is – you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps – even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own.
Well it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America.

I’ve been saying this all along. They don’t care. I even corrected my friend Bob Potter (hi Bob! Thanks for the beer!) who is off next month to volunteer for the Obama campaign in Nevada when he called the GOP’s handling of New Orleans incompetent.
“Bob, incompetent means somebody who’s trying to do their job but fails because of lack of skill or ability. In fact the GOP did their job well, because their job after Katrina was to not give a shit.”
These rich oligarchal bastards could give a tinker’s cuss not only whether you have a job or health care, but whether you live or die. Who cares, right? What’s it to them?
So to hear Obama articulate that and then hang the big FAIL sign on the Repubs, oh what a beautiful thing.
In the meantime, here’s what I missed…

P-Diddy meets the great unhosed

“Diddy” here is yet another example of everything that’s wrong with America. To wit:

Gas prices are too motherfucking high. As you know, I do own my own jet but I have been havin to fly back and forth to LA to pursue my acting career. Ok, now, if I’m flying back and forth, like, twice in a month that’s like 200,000, 250,000 round trip. Fuck that. I’m back on American Airlines right now. Ok? Check this out. Your boy Diddy right now is on American Airlines….I am actually, can you believe it, I am actually flying commercial. That’s how high gas prices are ok, so I feel you.

Cry me a freakin’ river. By the way, he goes on to say that he’s even flying coach–you know, where all the poor people sit! Eek!!–and then goes on to sit in business class.

By way of the always funny What Would Tyler Durden Do.
UPDATE!9/9/08: According to TMZ, Diddly[sic] is only a “Fraction of a Baller,” because:

Turns out P. doesn’t even have his “own” private jet at all. An extensive look through federal aviation records by the Palm Beach Post turned up no Seans, Diddys, Combs, or Puffys as the registered owner. One source said, “I have a list of every plane with the name of the owner, and he’s not on it.”
For the record, says his rep, he’s got a “fractional” ownership in a plane on NetJets, where you buy flight hours. Also for the record, Joe Francis does have his own plane.

Lamerz.

Is this really true?


Eddie Campbell has this to say about Seiichi Hayashi’s 1970 manga, “Red Colored Elegy.”

Red Elegy is a good read, though this reviewer at amazon says he had trouble making sense of it. I would guess that’s because today’s reader has a more linear brain than 1970’s reader. It reminds me of ‘world cinema’ in the ’60s and of that noble movement in which cinema viewers were expected to be viewing at a somewhat higher level than tv consumers in their sitting rooms. There was an idea abroad in the world that cinema was the art of our times, absurd in these times now that the whole medium appears to have descended to the level of comic books.

Now, part of me says, yes, this is true, especially in terms of subject matter. But in terms of plotting, modern Hollywood thrillers (for example) ask quite a lot of its audience, and often seem to exist only to battle all that’s come before. A thriller with only one twist would be unheard of these days.
But the sort of elliptical, compact narrative that happens in the pages of Love and Rockets, has no equivalent in filmmaking, even in the works of Hou Hsiao Hsien. (Then again, nobody writes like the Hernandez Bros.)
Japanese Manga, however, often zips by like…watching a movie. If you want a real page-turner, read a manga. If you want to get bogged down in words, pick up an American comic. I started reading Marvel’s “Ultimates” on the recommendation of a friend, and I found it a very long slog. Lots of static panels full of word balloons. Check out old American comic books…they’re also like this. Oy.
Wait, what was my point?

Hey! Jean Baudrillard


Jean Baudrillard on my hometown,
from his 1989 book, America.

On the aromatic hillsides of Santa Barbara, the villas are all like funeral homes. Between the gardenias and the eucalyptus trees, among the profusion of plant genuses and the monotony of the human species, lies the tragedy of a utopian dream made reality. In the very heartland of wealth and liberation, you always hear the same question: “What are you doing after the orgy?” What do you do when everything is available – sex, flowers, the stereotypes of life and death? This is America’s problem and, through America, it has become the whole world’s problem.

Hey, screw you, Baudrillard! I haven’t been to an orgy yet. Maybe if we had more in S.B., we wouldn’t all be so uptight.

Entrances to Hell around the UK


Came across a very odd site
that lists with archaic names, directions, and descriptions a series of odd urban locations that could and/or might as well be Entrances to Hell. The shitty web design, circa 1997, only helps the effect. You gotta like this writing:

Ssssuuuuft is an under-appreciated entrance in an important location. With its passages of breeze-block and pipes of silver it has become the single most efficient inward access for the damned since the loss of Paxmat in 1203. This is the entrance from which The Twins will be sent when they come to eat all the Cathedrals.

or

A well known song tells the story of the devil’s memories of Quetty Orarna. “Here I seen monkies daunce, and performe all the tricks of ye tight rope, to my great admiration” was written 600 years ago and is still to be heard here in the 21st century. Quetty Orarna was sealed up from the inside by the explorers Eleanor Moscow and George M at the very beginning of their foolhardy and controversial mission into Hell. Nothing more was ever known of them.

Fans of M.R. James or Ramsey Campbell or even Mark E. Smith should appreciate.

Lucid dreaming


Lucid dreaming is the technique of becoming conscious that you are dreaming while in the dream state and then being able to walk about the environment, change things, change yourself, read 25,000 words a minute, and do pretty much anything you’d want to do. (Scarlett Johansson, watch out!)
I’ve only had this happen to me about twice in my dreaming life, but apparently you can train yourself with all sorts of methods.
Here is a FAQ about lucid dreaming, if you’re interested.
Brion Gysin, friend of William S. Burroughs, was interested in inducing the dreamstate without going to sleep. So he build a “dream machine” along with scientist Ian Sommerville. The device produces a stroboscopic flicker that corresponds to the brain’s alpha waves.

A dreamachine is “viewed” with the eyes closed: the pulsating light stimulates the optical nerve and alters the brain’s electrical oscillations. The “viewer” experiences increasingly bright, complex patterns of color behind their closed eyelids. The patterns become shapes and symbols, swirling around, until the “viewer” feels surrounded by colors. It is claimed that viewing a dreamachine allows one to enter a hypnagogic state.This experience may sometimes be quite intense, but to escape from it, one needs only to open one’s eyes.

You can either build your own or have your computer do it for you.
I can’t vouch for any of these, but I’m not against it. Go for it!