I’m Not There (but I’m Free)

Be careful of shrinks. If you say the wrong thing (or the right thing depending on your point of view), they will call the cops and put you in the psych ward. There really are shrinks out there who view their job the same way an asshole cop does: whatever it takes to keep the streets free of dirt. Mr. Bad Vibes must not be allowed on television figuratively, or on the 6 o’clock news. Judge, jury, sometimes executioner.

I just watched I’m Not There, Todd Haynes’ brilliant film about Bob Dylan’s life in the 60s and early 70s. Yes, it’s brilliant. I’m listening to Dylan’s 1966 “Royal Albert Hall” concert. I’m behind the curve and need to stay up on these things when they hit the theaters. Anyone with a creative life, who has ever been onstage for an extended gig and has ever had to answer for it, or maybe if you’ve been a critic parsing someone else’s jello nailed to the wall — should have an appreciation for this film. If you’ve ever studied film, this is one for the books. The internets have enough written about it already. Do a google®.

In the commentary, Haynes throws out some zingers during the credits regarding freedom. I believe these were credited to Ginsberg and Rimbaud. “You are free only as long as you are free to say no.” And “No one is free. Even the birds are imprisoned by the sky.”

This brings me full circle to crap I usually talk about in this blog: politics. Bush’s insane “conservative” budget was ramped not just by the war on terror, but by a domestic spying program and police state (severe crowd control techniques) designed to intimidate naysayers into silence, as well as an expensive public relations effort designed to overwhelm naysayers and keep them out of mainstream media. I’m dead certain John McCain would continue expanding these mostly needless expenses that basically burn money and manufacture nothing — a largely overlooked black hole in the American economy. A transparent administration wouldn’t need such frivolity. Barack Obama appreciates that freedom without security is meaningless whereas security without freedom is an oxymoron. Obama embraces dialog and that is a breath of fresh air I can believe in.

George Bush has been the world’s (fascist) asshole cop long enough and needs to get in the shrink chair.

Deep Thoughts

the light at the end of the tunnel is on the wrong side of the tracks

The Hail Mary pass is the pie in the sky. (Why does no one ever say “He threw an Our Father pass”? or “a 23rd Psalm pass”?) The effect of listening to two hours of shameless spin doctoring is to jump the shark while waltzing with zombies a million times.  Which makes a better American story: the gun-totin bikini governor or the senator playing pick-up basketball?

Knitting My Curls with Nebula

Stoner rockers can’t wait to bang their heads

I can’t take a rock band picture with my camera to save my life (without flash which I don’t use because flashes bug me when I’m onstage) so here’s another bar shot.

Nebula and Totimoshi and Orphan performed last night at the Knitting Factory for a great triple bill of stoner rock. The moniker is for the sort of heavy bluesy rock first formulated by Black Sabbath which is unfortunate as for me it’s just kick-ass. Being a Monday, only about 50 people attended which is fine by me as I find myself sometimes getting claustrophobic at crowded shows.

I listened to the Democratic Convention and speechifying in Denver a little bit. I have a few problems with the nominee but anything is a damn sight better than four more years of tremendously worse. The best critical lines I recall went something like, “McCain voted with George Bush 95% of the time. That’s not a maverick, that’s a sidekick!” and Mark Warner, the keynote speaker said something like, “Some say George Bush was born already on third base. Well, after the gazillion dollar surplus and 22 million jobs left to him by Bill Clinton, George Bush came into office on third base. And in his eight years in office, he didn’t make it to home plate, he stole second base.” Ahahahaha.

Calling All Celebrities

Fall through the cracks

On billmon’s return to bloggity blogging, he sez McSame is doomed because the media is finally catching on to what an ultimately shallow codger he is for being the self-serving flip-flopper non-maverick he is and also incapable of thinking outside the Bush policy box. (A great read I might add.) At Sadly, No!, Brad sez Obama might be doomed for underestimating the shallowness of voters. I’d like to think it’s somewhere in between. A lot will shake out when the VPs are presented and there are a couple of debates.

Also consider the wisdom of a surge in Afghanistan. Remember how much fun the Russians had there.

I’m reading House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Things are getting loopy.

Bartering with Satan’s Lattes

The Longshortsmen of South Street Seaport

The Bush administration has learned a creative accounting trick or two from The Smartest Guys in the Room™ [Enron]. Like Enron’s PR douchebags, we’ve got waterboys like Ben Stein and Phil Gramm telling us everything is fine. Recall that some of Enron’s shenanigans ultimately led to California’s rolling blackouts of 2001. Extrapolate as you will.

Via ThinkProgress and (in a rare fit of actual journalism) ABC:

ABC: Without ‘creative White House accounting,’ Bush’s deficit is actually $600 billion.»

Yesterday, the White House “increased its estimate for next year’s deficit to nearly $490 billion, a record figure that will saddle the next president with deepening budget problems in his first year in office.” But, on ABC News’s Good Morning America today, Claire Shipman reported that the deficit is actually much higher because “creative White House accounting” didn’t include the war, the unemployment costs, Medicare fees, or the housing bill in its calculations. If those numbers are included, it brings “the grand total to about $600 billion.” […]

To illustrate how big the deficit is, Shipman explained: “If every American were to pitch in 2,000 dollars, we could pay off this year’s deficit. Or if we handed over each of us 500 gallons gasoline. Or, in terms we can all really understand, if every American gave up 666 lattes for a year.”

666 lattes. A Hawaiian vacation with hotel for a week for every American! The contents of every 99¢ store across the land inside our homes! The mind reels and reels.

Nasty dirty embarrassing campaign tactics aside, If I Ran the Zoo invokes Cheney on why the aging McSame must be kept away from the Whitehouse:

Cheney is the epitome of the politician without a constituency, the indifferent technocrat and autocrat who owes his allegiance not to the people but to himself. Cheney went into the VP slot with the stated understanding that he would never run for President or compete with Bush in any way by appealing to the people or to the party. What did we get for it? An activist VP who never cared about either the fate of his party or the country after his stint in the White House is finished. He’s got no political future, and so his actions have been unconstrained by calculations of long term effects, popularity, legality, or morality. The lesson I take away from Cheney’s terms in office is–never elect a dead man walking. He’s got nothing to lose. McCain is similarly situated. This is the last stop, for him. What does he care about your kids education? the environment? America’s laws? the popularity of his political programs. None of these will affect him in a few years.

Now recall that Cheney pretty much set up the current administration’s energy policy in 2001. Now of course, McSame is in the pocket of the head-in-the-sand oil industry. Dead Men Walking Faster.

Torture Through the Centuries; The Concise Wingnut

buffet from above

Walk on the ice cubes, not the hot coals

Want to know more about torture? I know that you do. Condi apparently discussed whether detainees should be beat, slapped, sleep-deprived, water-boarded, all the above. McCain’s own accounting is that he broke and falsely admitted to war crimes to make it stop. And yet he has recently flip-flopped on his advocacy. Torture is mostly useless for information-gathering. At best, the threat of it and knowing that it happens is a fear tactic used by tyrants to keep the hoi polloi in line. We’re no better than “our enemies” if we do it. I’ll take the soft cushions please.

My favorite wingnut watchdog has a big piece up at the Village Voice on the conservative blogosphere.