Monday, August 31, 2009

Big Star videos: In The Street and The Ballad of El Goodo

Big Star, the legendary band from the 70's, has been comprised, since about 1992, of 50% Big Star and 50% Posies: Jody Stephens, Ken Stringfellow, Jon Auer, and the legendary Alex Chilton.

Here are videos of In The Street and The Ballad of El Goodo. In The Street served for several years as the theme of The 70'show - I hope Alex still had a chunk of the action! I have seen Big Star three times, and The Posies about eight times over the last many years...


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sen. McCain tears into Ex-VP Dick Cheney: "helped to recruit thousands of young men [to al Qaeda]."

Tom Dougherty [ pointed out this awesome video. There is something so satisfying about seeing the GOP cannabilize itself. . .and it's kind of nice to see Sen. McCain once again tilt against his own party. Yes, he says Dick Cheney helped al Qaeda...


Seattle Artist Narboo

I love Narboo. I saw a show of his at the Crocodile a couple of years ago, and another recently in a group show, at The Vera Project. You can check out some of his work on his flicker stream here, or his blogspot blog here.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jose Valdez's excellent slide show of images from the 1950s

This is a fascinating power point slide show by Jose Valdez of images from the '50s. This is an Admiral television manufactured the year I was born... Click here to see the show.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Ballard Firehouse a/k/a Seattle Fire Station No. 18

Ballard’s Fire Station No. 18 was in use for 63 years before being retired by the city in 1976. The Germanic Revival brick building was built in 1911, and was designed by Seattle architects Bebb & Mendel. It's an incredible building. After it was decommissioned as a firehouse, it was known as the Ballard Firehouse, and "classic" rock bands and others would play there. I remember Foghat appearing there. There was also, in later years, a yoga studio on the top floor. This great space now houses one of my favorite restaurants in Ballard--The Hi-Life.

You can't dismiss Billy Joel (although I realize it is tempting) because he wrote and performed the magnificent "The Longest Time"

If you read All This Is That much, you probably know that while I love rock, jazz, bluegrass, blues, country, and classical music, what I love most is music that rocks, has hooks, harmony, melody, and preferably, great lyrics. I've never been much of a Billy Joel fan, but since the first day I heard "The Longest Time," it's been one of my favorites. Even decades ago, when it was released, it sounded like an incredible nod and homage to do-wop and harmony.

The Longest Time
by Billy Joel

Woa, oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Woa, oh, oh
For the longest

If you said goodbye to me tonight
There would still be music left to write
What else could I do
I'm so inspired by you
That hasn't happened for the longest time

Once I thought my innocence was gone
Now I know that happiness goes on
That's where you found me
When you put your arms around me
I haven't been there for the longest time

Woa, oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Woa, oh, oh
For the longest

I'm that voice you're hearing in the hall
And the greatest miracle of all
Is how I need you
And how you needed me too
That hasn't happened for the longest time

Maybe this won't last very long
But you feel so right
And I could be wrong
Maybe I've been hoping too hard
But I've gone this far
And it's more than I hoped for

Who knows how much further we'll go on
Maybe I'll be sorry when you're gone
I'll take my chances
I forgot how nice romance is
I haven't been there for the longest time

I had second thoughts at the start
I said to myself
Hold on to your heart
Now I know the woman that you are
You're wonderful so far
And it's more than I hoped for

I don't care what consequence it brings
I have been a fool for lesser things
I want you so bad
I think you ought to know that
I intend to hold you for the longest time

Woa, oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Woa, oh,oh
For the longest time
Woa, oh, oh
For the longest time
Woa, oh, oh,
For the longest time
(Fade Out)


The Lake Of Fire

A man died and found himself in limbo, waiting in a long, long line for judgment. He noticed that some souls were allowed to march right through the pearly gates. Others were led over to Satan, who threw them into a lake of fire. Every so often, instead of hurling a condemned soul into the lake of fire, Satan would toss him or her off to one side.

After watching Satan do this several times, the men's curiosity got the better of him. He strolled over The Great Deceiver:+

"Excuse me, there, Your Darkness," he said. "I'm waiting in line for judgment, and I couldn't help wondering why you toss some people off to the side instead of flinging them into the fires of hell with the others?"

"Ah," Satan said with a grin. "Those people are from Seattle. I'm just letting them dry out so they'll burn."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another awesome freeway sign hack


The Electrification of Washington State (from the 1962 Seattle World's Fair)

"A large 16x24 foot relief map of Washington "floating" in a pool shows how the most electrified state in the Union is harnessing its rivers to produce an abundance of low-cost electricity.

"A colorful water wheel symbolizes the old "at site" use of water power. Alongside is a modern water wheel generator which demonstrates how water power is converted to electric power which can be transmitted to where it is needed.

"An animated display of nature's water cycle shows why water power is inexhaustible. Another illustrates how power dams not only produce electricity but bring extra benefits of flood control, navigation, recreation, and irrigation. Two more displays explain how electricity is produced from atomic and solar energy.

"Like others at the Space Age World's Fair, this exhibit points out how our wonderful world will be even better in Century 21."

click to enlarge

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Farewell to Senator Ted Kennedy

click to enlarge the Senator

Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the liberal icon of the Senate died tonight, after a battle with brain cancer.

Teddy was elected to the Senate while brother John was president, and brother Robert, Attorney General. He ended up serving longer in the Senate than all but two senators. Ever. (Are the other two the late Strom Thurmond and the not late Robert Byrd?)

Namaste to the youngest brother, and thanks for everything you've done. We talk about Bobby and Jack, and rightfully so, but Teddy had forty more years to stir the pot--and he did. He's had his hand in nearly every piece of important social legislation since 1968. Like his brother Bobby, he wasn't an underdog but he came to be a champion of the underdog, the hurting and forgotten, as well as the middle class. He didn't throw many bones to the wealthy. When Ted Kennedy was on, he could give an amazing speech too. When you talk about civil rights, war and peace, and health care, and social security, his name always pops up. I will miss his avuncular and wise presence, and above all, his conscience.

A quote from a military magazine on strategy

G: "If we do happen to step on a mine, Sir, what do we do?"

EB: "Normal procedure, Lieutenant, is to jump 200 feet in the air and scatter oneself over a wide area."

- Somewhere in No Man's Land, BA4

Two gnarly Facebook misfires (graphic and R-rated, but humorous)

click to enlarge

Click to enlarge


Lou Reed's excellent Rock and Roll Animal: two YouTube slideos

This is prime Lou Reed, and it needs to be played loud. On this live album, Lou took four excellent VU songs, and added some of his solo stuff from Berlin, along with a strong band, starring two guitarists--Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter. Honestly, I like this music more than I do the VU versions. This is an incendiary and loud guitar album that rocks in a way the Velvets never could, nor wanted to. . .


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An amazing photo of hundreds of people wearing gas masks

Thanks to Jeff Clinton for sending in this amazing photograph. I don't know who took it, or where or when they took it. If I had to guess, I'd say somewhere in Europe, in the 1930's or 40's? I used attempting to find the original. I did find one copy of the photo marked "OSC youth camp," and some others had references to Serbia and other eastern European countries. . .

click to enlarge (it's worth the click!)

Video of our office during the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake

In February, 2001, we experienced a serious (6.8) earthquake in Seattle. This is a video shot at our office during the 'quake. Sort of. According to the Wikipedia:

"The Nisqually earthquake was an intraslab earthquake, occurring at 10:54 a.m. PST (18:54 UTC). on February 28, 2001, and was one of the largest recorded earthquakes in Washington state history. The quake measured 6.8 on the MMS and lasted approximately 45 seconds. The epicenter of the earthquake was under Anderson Island, about 17 km (11 mi) northeast of Olympia. The focus was at a depth of 52 km (32 mi). Tremors were felt as far away as Portland, Oregon, across the border in Vancouver, Canada, and 175 miles east in Pasco, Washington. The quake caused some property damage in Seattle and surrounding areas. Although there were no reports of deaths directly from the earthquake, local news outlets reported that there was one death from a stress-related heart condition at the time of the earthquake; the quake also caused approximately 400 injuries."

"The quake is sometimes referred to as the Rattle in Seattle, similar to the nickname "Battle in Seattle" for the protests surrounding the WTO Ministerial Conference in 1999."


Highly Placed Source: "We'll go back to wooden legs and hook arms while the insurance companies behave like drunken, rampaging sailors on shore leave"

By Pablo Fanque,
National Affairs Editor

Pablo Fanque filed this story via a Gmail email this morning as he departed the country to trek in the Karakoram. He left this note: "I met ___________ at the White House just before President Obama left for his Martha's Vineyard vacation. This highly placed source asked a few reporters to breakfast for a colloquy on the national health care 'debate.'" [ed's note: When Fanque uses the phrase "highly placed source" he almost always refers to either the principal of the story (in this case, President Obama), or to a member of his closest inner circle. Inner circle in Obama's case means one of his top advisers--most likely either David Axelrod, or Rahm Emanuel.]

“It’s disturbing so see the very people this would help most storming town halls and congressional offices, pressing the agendas of the insurance lobby.

“What we do today will either break the system open or we will irrevocably lock ourselves into a two-tiered system—one for the wealthy, and another for the unfortunate rest of us. Sure, at this moment, the majority is insured. But five years down the road with medical care continuing its upward spiral and employers chiseling away at, or eliminating medical benefits? We are actually heading toward a single tier system.

“It is galling to me that even one Representative or Senator oppose any form or nationalized health care or a public option to the insurance companies. These people enjoy a Cadillac federal system of insurance. But what is good for the goose is apparently not so good for the gander when it comes time to pay the bill.

“Congress would bring back the days when you walked the streets and saw hundreds of people limping, walking with bent frames; when life expectancy was under fifty years of age. They can live with a country where once again people must live with glass eyes, wooden legs, cleft palates, and hook arms, and where almost any major illness is a virtual death sentence.

“These folk would lead you to believe we will not only have death panels, but giblet and joint panels where a board decides just who gets the livers and kidneys, and who gets a new hip or a cornea transplant. But they don’t mention those—they talk about government funded massages, breast implants, and Viagra prescriptions!

“The thing is we can’t let the insurance companies--and their co-conspirators, the medical profession--have their way. We tried that with The Banks and Wall Street. Look where it got us! And the insurance companies—if this is possible—have even less scruples. Almost completely unfettered since Bill Clinton left office, they have behaved like drunken, rampaging sailors on shore leave.”

Monday, August 24, 2009

Poem: The Jitters

Not even counting the corner cases—
Fruitcakes, the conspiracy phalange,
Or even just a generalized case of the jitters—

We almost always feel less
Safe than we actually are.

And not feeling safe sucks up

A lot of bandwidth,
With its high noise to signal ratio,
Leaving almost nothing redeeming

In its wake, unless you find
Paralysis by the heebie jeebies
Or undue caution and stealth redemptive.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Quotations about Seattle, Wash.

click to enlarge

"What do they call this--Bar Mitzvah? Where you come out as a man? I think Seattle was kind of like that for me. . .all of a sudden I had to become a man. There were a lot of faces around Seattle, and I tried to make mine familiar so I could keep working. . .I could see that in a city like Seattle--a place which was more sophisticated and open than I was used to--my act was going to pay off." - Ray Charles

From a New Yorker cartoon about Seattle: "They're backpacky, but nice."

"Our grandfather started a sawmill and helped to clear-cut Ballard. And he gained wealth here. He was a very aggressive businessman. . .Now our generation is very much into nonprofit and here we are operating a foundation giving away as much money as we can to save the forests that my grandfather did not cut." - Harriett Bullitt, former co-owner of King Broadcasting

"Many a morning in June, I've come upon slugs three feet up on my asparagus plants, rocking back and forth in the feathery foliage like a sailor relaxing on a hammock." - Jim Hollman

"When somebody associates someone with being a resident of the Pacific Northwest, there's a lot of Paul Bunyan notions of people raising Cain out in the hills." - Bruce Pavitt, co-founder of Sub Pop Records

"A Seattle native is a Californian, Minnesotan, or Iowan who has lived in Seattle more than six months and knows how to pronounce Sequim (or Puyallup)." - Jean Godden, Seattle columnist and former city council member

"I like Californians. When I'm down there." Emmett Watson, Seattle author, newspaperman

"The real misconception that outsiders have about Seattle's rain is that it's a bad unpleasant thing. True Northwesterners, on the other hand, like the misty, foggy weather, with its beautiful moody promise of regeneration." - Bart Becker

"It will stop raining, won't it?" - Richard Eberhard, a poet on a 1967 visit to Seattle

"Despite what the fish and game department likes us to believe about fishing, gardening is easily the number one avocation in the Pacific Northwest. . .We may treat the local Orca pods as wildlife celebrities, we may reinvent the spotted owl as our symbol of wildness, we may expend vast amounts of money, time, and self-respect trying to get close enough to grab a salmon under the gills, but it is the slugs we know best. And most often. Slugs: our primary window into the heart of the wilderness." - Jim Hollman, Seattle writer

"A newcomer to Seattle arrives on a rainy day. She gets up the next morning and it's raining. It continues to pour for the rest of the week. Leaning out her apartment window she sees a little boy playing on the stoop below and asks, 'Hey, kid, does it ever stop raining around here?' The kid looks up at her and calls back, 'How should I know? I'm only six.' - a joke that made the rounds a few years ago

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Excerpt from Chief Seattle's Oration On The 1854 Treaty

by Chief Seattle a/k/a Sealth

It matters little where we pass the remnant of our days. They will not be many. The Indian's night promises to be dark. Not a single star of hope hovers above his horizon. Sad-voiced winds moan in the distance. Grim fate seems to be on the Red Man's trail, and wherever he will hear the approaching footsteps of his fell destroyer and prepare stolidly to meet his doom, as does the wounded doe that hears the approaching footsteps of the hunter.

A few more moons, a few more winters, and not one of the descendants of the mighty hosts that once moved over this broad land or lived in happy homes, protected by the Great Spirit, will remain to mourn over the graves of a people once more powerful and hopeful than yours. But why should I mourn at the untimely fate of my people? Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea. It is the order of nature, and regret is useless. Your time of decay may be distant, but it will surely come, for even the White Man whose God walked and talked with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We will see.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Poem: A whisper in the night

It starts as a murmur in the dark.
You brush it aside
At first, doubting your own ears.

When it emerges with authority
You no longer know
Which voice is real

And which voice is a doppleganger
Or imposter; soon the bleedthrough
Takes precedence.

You can no longer differentiate
Between your Jiminy Cricket voice
And the one ordering you

To leave your home
And dice up the first luckless person
To cross your path.

Poem: A whisper in the night

Thursday, August 20, 2009

digital art: pictures of life

click to enlarge

It looks like Seattle's Mayor Greg Nickels just got his walking papers in this week's election

Mayor Greg Nickels appears to have come in third in our top two primary. I guess we will have to rename Nickelsville:

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Greg Nickels: "It's time for my bootheels to be wandering"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Joke: An American Tourist

An American tourist goes on a trip to China where he is sexually promiscuous and rarely uses a condom. Not long after arriving home in the States, he awakes one morning to find that his penis is covered with bright green and purple spots.

He immediately goes to see a doctor. The doctor, never having seen anything like this, orders a battery of test and tells the man to return in two days.

When the man returns, the doctor says: "I've got bad news for you. You've contracted Mongolian VD. It's very rare and almost unheard of here. We know very little about it".

The man looks perplexed and says, "O.K., so just give me a shot or something and fix me up, doc".

The doctor answers, "I'm sorry, but there is no known cure. We're going to have to amputate your penis".

The man says, "Absolutely not! I want a second opinion".

The doctor replies, "Well, it's your choice, of course. Go ahead and get a second opinion if you want, but surgery is your only option."

The next day, the man finds a Chinese doctor, figuring that he will know more about the disease. The doctor examines his penis and proclaims: "Ah, yes, Mongolian VD. This is a very rare disease."

The guy says, “I know that, but what we can do? My doctor wants to operate and amputate my penis."

The Chinese doctor shakes his head and laughs: "These American doctors always want to operate. They make more money, that way. There is no need to operate!"

"Oh, Thank God," the man replies, and wipes his brow.

"Yes", says the doctor, "Don't worry! Just wait another couple of weeks and the penis will fall off by itself!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

digital art: Istanbul's Blue Mosque

click to enlarge the blue mosque

Summer reading - some books I read this summer

Here are the books I remember reading this summer. It's a pretty normal mix for me--a touch of Shakespeare, some fiction, some music books, poetry, several expedition books, and a lot of history and nonfiction.

NF - nonfiction; F - Fiction; M - mountaineering/expedition

The Tempest - William Shakespeare (F - more or less, in verse and play form)
The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier - Bruce Barcott (M)
Coltrane: The Story of a Sound - Ben Ratliff (NF)
Moo - Jane Smiley (F)
Julie & Julia - Julie Powell (NF: a cooking memoir)
The land where blues began - Alan Lomax (NF)
The story of Butch Cassady - Charles Kelly (NF)
Searching for the sound - Phil Lesh (NF)
Marvin Bell - Iris of creation (poems)
How to tell a secret - R.J. Huff and J.G. Lewin (NF)_
The last picture show- Larry McMurtry (F)
Montana's righteous hangmen - Lew Calloway (NF)
Memoirs of Fanny Hill - William Cleland (F)
Pop. 1280 - Jim Thompson (F)
In the presence of grizzlies - Peacock and Peacock (NF)
Dark Summit - Nick Heil (M)
Forever on the Mountain - James. M. Tabor (M)
Havana Nocturne - T.J. English (NF)

Monday, August 17, 2009

The ultimate strap-on: Seattle's Hoppi-Copter personal flying machine. You probably know how this turned out.

By Jack Brummet
All This Is That Technology Editor

click to enlarge - Source: Washington State Archives. General Photograph Collection. Photographer: unknown. This photo was taken sometime in 1950. It resides in Box 6 of the Washington State Digital Archives. The man in the photo is wearing a Hoppi-Coptor, a personal helicopter device developed by Seattle's Horace Pentecost. Ca. 1950. Jack note: this photo may very well be of Horace Pentecost himself.

In the mid-40's and early 50's, a Seattle company--Hoppi-copter--formed by Horace Pentecost, worked to develop a strap-on personal helicopter. The Pentecost Hoppi-Copter was a personal helicopter pack designed to be fastened to an infantryman's back and allow him to work around objective know, mountains, jungles, canyons, forest fires and such.

They made their first test flights in 1945, but as is true of so many flying schemes, landing was a sticky wicket. Landing shock problems proved brutal. In the research I did, there were hints that if you landed wrong, the rotors broke off to became high speed, razor-like shrapnel.

In the late 1940's, Pentecost produced a second, slightly saner version with a seat and landing gear. Two of these were sold or loaned in 1948 to the British Ministry of Supply for experimental flights. Another company bought the patents in 1954 and created a Hoppi-Copter with rotor blade-mounted pulse jets. From the few snippets of information that can be found, it sounds like these versions didn't fare much better.

The HOPPI-COPTER • rear view

According to literature from Pentecost Hoppi-copter, the Hoppi-Copter had a 45 horsepower engine: the rotor had a diameter of 18 feet, and empty, the 'copter weighed 225 pounds and could fly with a gross weight of 450 pounds. It had a maximum speed of 60 m.p.h. and a cruising speed of 45 m.p.h. It's range was about 150 miles. The facts and figures in the Time Magazine article, below, do not square with the information in the company's press releases and brochures...I can't tell which specifications are correct.

The second version of the Hoppi-copter, with seat and landing gear.

From Time Magazine, April 7th, 1947:

Ever since Icarus, and in spite of what happened to him, men have dreamed of strapping wings on themselves and taking off like the birds. Airplanes have never completely satisfied this desire. The plane itself does the flying; the man only rides and steers. Gliders are only half the ticket.

Last week the ancient dream showed headline-hitting signs of coming true. At a Philadelphia meeting of the American Helicopter Society, Horace T. Pentecost told about the "Hoppi-copter" (see cut), which he has been developing in Seattle. It is a helicopter* stripped to essentials: little more than a seat, landing wheels and two horizontal rotors revolving in opposite directions. The power source is a 35 h.p. engine with two opposed cylinders like an outboard motor. According to Mr. Pentecost, "the required blade adjustments to render typical three dimensional helicopter flight have been coordinated into a single control handle placed conveniently in front of the operator."

Total weight (not counting Mr. Pentecost): 173 Ibs. The Hoppi-copter should "retail for little more than the better modern motorcycle." Helicopter experts would be more enthusiastic if they had seen it flying, but no performance records have been made available. But the designers have incorporated one important safety feature. Icarus made the mistake of flying too near the sun, which melted the wax that held his wings together. The Hoppi-copter's announced ceiling is a modest 12,000 ft.

* The Icarus apparatus was presumably not a helicopter with revolving wing surfaces but an ornithopter, with flapping wings. [Ed's note: The flights of Icarus and Daedalus were not successful; as for the Hoppi-copter, we have found no data that any of its test flights were actually fatal].


Sunday, August 16, 2009

White House folds on health care public option

By Pablo Fanque.
All This Is That National Affairs Editor

The White House let it be known today they are throwing in the towel on "the public option" in their health care "reform" plan. Between the hysteria on the right and the insanity of the town halls, they just couldn't pull it off. They hinted a possible compromise with Republicans might include health insurance cooperatives. You can read an AP story on the pullback here.


Mount Rainier: Beauty and terror

Source: Washington State Archives. State Library Photograph Collection. Photo by L.D. Lindsley - click to enlarge

I have two friends climbing Mount Rainier this weekend. I recently read the best book I'd ever read about it... The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier by Bruce Barcott. He focused on climbing, the native folklore about the mountain, the animals and insects, the history, including a detailed account various expeditions, and of the army plane crash in the 40s that left dozens of bodies buried in the Tacoma Glacier.

If you are fascinated by Mt. Rainier--and it's hard not to be in Seattle, when its massive presence looms over us every day ("the mountain's out today!")--this is a great book to start with. What makes Barcott's book so engrossing is that he digs in to all aspects of the mountain. And tells his personal story of climbing the mountain, and how when he finally summited, he didn't feel much at all. Except anxious. He does a great job describing both the danger and the beauty.

click to enlarge - Rainier from the northwest

The mountain is arguably the single most impressive mountain in the lower 48. It's only the 5th tallest mountain-- a few feet lower than California's Mt. Whitney (14,494'/4418m) and also a few feet shorter than some of the Sawatch Range peaks in Colorado. It is second to Shasta in total volume for a single peak, and only nearby Mount Baker has more glacial ice. In terms of it's high elevation, massive bulk, and 30 glaciers, Mt. Rainier reigns supreme. And it is only 40 miles to the sea level shores of Puget Sound. Because it is so big, and relatively alone, it dominates the landscape, and can be seen from Oregon to Canada.

Climbing Mt. Rainier, by its easiest route, requires you to ascend 9,000 vertical feet! This is actually the same distance as the climb from advance base camp in the Western Cwm to the top of Mt. Everest. Of course, the air is considerably thicker...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

John "Douchebag" Edwards DNA matched to baby mama Rielle Hunter

By Pablo Fanque
All This Is That National Affairs Editor
You won't be hearing much from John Edwards anymore. He is now the next gen's Gary Hart, a guy who threw away national office by "stepping out" on his wife. He could have been Attorney General or VP. He could have even mounted a challenge to Obama.
To make matters worse, he has lied about the paternity for years now, even when it was certain to come out. Good riddance, John. I can't believe I ever thought you were the guy. When did you finally break down and tell Elizabeth?

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Return of Squeaky Fromme: Attempted Presidential Assassin and top Charles Manson lieutenant leaves prison...

By Jack Brummet
All This Is That Law and Justice Editor

This is kind of a mindf***er! Who'd have ever though Lynnette "Squeaky" Fromme would see the light of day again? I remember the day she tried to shoot President Ford. The only thing that stopped her from killing him was a secret service agent who somehow managed to jam his thumb in front of the the hammer of the gun. And I might add, we came one thumb away from President Nelson Rockefeller. And now she is out. She had earlier turned down parole, but took one this time around.

Gerald Ford with Bill Clinton

Fromme was Charlie Manson's head honcho when he sent his followers on a two-day killing spree in 1969, in which eight people were killed, including actress Sharon Tate (and her unborn baby). The killings were allegedly done to trigger a race war. Fromme did not actually participate in the murders 40 years ago in Los Angeles. She avoided prison and was able to take a shot at Gerald Ford a few years later.

Manson and five others did go to prison for life. But then, Squeaky was also to sent to prison for life. Charles Manson is in the California State Prison at Corcoran and will again be eligible for three years from now. Charles is now 74 and Squeaky is 60.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Poem: Robot Wars

The bad news for us:
The loss of one member
Is inconsequential--
Just a millisecond diversion
In their inexorable march.
A platoon of robots,
A company of robots
Stepping over broken robots.
A regiment of robots,
A division of robots
Executing lines of code.
A corps of robots,
An army of robots--
Programmed to make it all come down

By rogue homo sapiens--
March straight ahead,
Utterly indifferent to the fate
Of their brothers and sisters in arms


An amazing view of Ballard, Seattle, Wash., with a frieze of Olympic Mountains

click on Ballard to enlarge, Photo by Jack Johnson. Source: Washington State Archives.
General Photograph Collection. Used with permission.

A photograph of my neighborhood in Seattle (Ballard) in 1960, nearly fifty years ago. I love the perspective--and no, the Olympic Mountains do not quite loom over us like that! We can see them, but from our promontory from Crown Hill/North Beach, they seem further in the distance, far less foreboding, but breath-taking still, and humbling in the way mountains always are.

The Greys claim Wyoming as new homeland

click to enlarge

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Video: "the 100 best movie lines in 200 seconds"

OK. These are probably not the 100 best movie lines (although quite a few of them are), but they're mostly memorable, and do cover a lot of territory. It's worth a few to see some of those old cherished nuggets...

Video and poem: Kill my landlord --> Eddie Murphy reads his character Tyrone Green's prison poem Images

You may or not remember this just bent enough for me Eddie Murphy sketch from SNL --it's hard to believe he was on the show for--what?--five years. I did get to see Eddie Murphy on the show in Studio 8H at a rehearsal Saturday afternoon (I had connections...thank you Cheryl [1]).


by Tyrone Greene

Dark and lonely on the summer night.
Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
Watchdog barking - Do he bite?
Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
Slip in his window,
Break his neck!
Then his house
I start to wreck!
Got no reason --
What the heck!
Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
C-I-L-L ...
My land - lord ...

[1] Our friend Cheryl Hardwick was the music director of the shows for many years, and played piano in the band. She and Pinky were the catalyst for meeting all sorts of interesting people witnessing a lot of crazy events and situations in the late 70s/esarly 80s. I was introduced to her by her partner, Pinky Rawsthorne, a co-worker of mine, and one of the funniest, and wisest persons I ever met in my life. We met or hung out at various times with all sorts of people in celeb and semi-celeb world: Larraine Newman, Garrett Morris, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Bob Cranshaw--the legendary jazzman (who we met a few times at her apartment, but the first time was when he was playing with Woody Shaw at a club in the East Village --but it was close to Broadway...I can't remember if the E. Village technically ends at 3rd or 4th or Broadway?); Lorna Luft; Maria Manville; Howard Shore; and Belushi and Ackroyd (I met Belushi once in the lobby of 30 Rock, when Cheryl came down to let me in...when he walked away, he stiff-armed a bunch of excited-looking kids who wanted to say hi. He looked wrecked--either recovering from a long, brutal night or working on the next one. Within a year or year and a half, he died in Hollywood); sometime not long after that, Cheryl took me downtown (we both lived on the Upper West Side) to the Blues Brothers Bar, a private dive owned/run by Belushi and Ackroyd. That was pretty interesting, mostly for the insane levels of Bolivian Marching Powder that were being consumed at any given moment. She played at a poetry reading Keelin, Nick,. Kevin, Pegeen, and I had in a theatre in Chelsea She brought some upwardly mobile dapper New Yorker poet (but I forget who!), and also got Gerald Stern to attend (he was just getting really hot). At a party at her place, for the publication of Gerald Stern's book The Red Coal, I got to meet Isaac Bashevis Singer (who had recently won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and a passel of NY literary celebs). It was pretty crazy stuff for a cracker kid from a farm town...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Could Angela Merkel's breasts tilt the German elections?

The poster says "we have more to offer"

With seven weeks to go until the German elections, billboards of Chancellor Angela Merkel in a low-cut dress (alongside her own cleavage shot) have been put up by by the campaign of Vera Lengsfeld. Lengsfeld is from Merkel's own CDU party, and is engaged in a long-shot race in a left-wing district of Berlin. Merkel did not OK the posters...

President Bush's famous, and unwanted massage

The posters show photographs of each politician in dresses showing mondo cleavage and carry the slogan"We have more to offer."

Lengsfeld, a former East German dissident
, said she had not cleared the picture beforehand with Merkel. I suppose if Lengsfeld gets even more desperate, she could break out the infamous shot of Merkel changing into her bathing suit on a beach:

Chancellor Merkel's peekaboo moment

Why you and your boss should maybe not be Facebook friends...

click to enlarge

50 Bands I've Seen

I've written about shows I've seen a few times--click here to see a list of ten previous articles (or so) on shows I've attended/seen/heard (there was a grateful dead show where Keelin and I listened to a feed from a Greek Theatre Dead show (for the ticketless) piped into an amazing loudspeaker system) on a tennis court.

A meme on Facebook making the rounds asks you to name fifty concerts you've seen. Wow. I could probably come up with a few hundred more. I tried to do a mix of old and new off the top of my head...I already am feeling guilty about the people I left out. The good part about this quiz: it's homegrown & doesn't spam you or your friends, do anything skanky, or crash.

The Rules: "Test your memory and your love of live music by listing 50 artists or bands (or as many as you can remember) you've seen in concert. List the first 50 acts that come into your head. An act you saw at a festival and opening acts count, but only if you can't think of 50 other artists. Oh, and list the first concert you ever saw (you can remember that, can’t you)? "

1. The Beatles ($4 and you couldn’t hear much ["Is that Help?"]…but the Beatleness was amazing)
2. Band of Horses
3. Oscar Peterson
4. George Benson/Turrentine/Herbie Hancock/Freddie Hubbard/Ron Carter/Hubert Laws
5. Niko Case
6. The Moondoggies
7. Jimi Hendrix (The famous Sicks Stadium concert where he unloaded on his hometown).
8. Dolly Parton
9. Old 97’s (In Austin, Seattle, and at The Gorge, in George, Wash.)
10. Them, starring Van Morrison (at the skate rink in Kent, Wash.)
11. Lou Reed
12. Dolly Parton
13. The Grateful Dead (about 15 times)
14. The Posies many times (and they played at my 50th birthday party)
15. The Youngbloods
16. Mudhoney
17. Young Fresh Fellows
18. Elvis Costello (5 times)
19. The English Beat (2x
20. It’s a Beautiful Day in Austin and Seattle)
21. The Youngbloods
22. Talking Heads (5 times) NYC
23. The Ramones (4 or 5 times) NYC
24. Sonic Youth NYC
25. Blondie NYC
26. Television NYC
27. The Plasmatics NYC
28. Patti Smith NYC
29. Stan Getz
30. Miles Davis NYC
31. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention
32. Dizzy Gillespie NYC
33. John McLaughlin/Carlos Santana – A Love Supreme tour
34. Big Star (4 times)
35. Los Lobos (4 times: Seattle 2x; San Francisco 1x; Austin 1x)
36. CSN&Y (3 times)
37. Rockpile (NYC)
38. The Kinks (Asbury Park, NJ)
39. Bob Dylan and The Band (Vancouver, B.C. Canada)
40. John Prine (Bellingham, Wash)
41. Weather Report (Bellingham, Wash)
42. Blind Boys of Alabama (2 times)
43. George Harrison
44. Bob Dylan
45. The Roches (2x NYC and Seattle)
46. Bela Fleck
47. Taj Mahal
48. Ray Brown
49. Widespread Panic
50. Al Green (1984 - Oakland Paramount)

My Doctor (Linda Gromko) Just Wrote A Book

Dr. Linda Gromko with her husband and daughter

My doctor, Linda Gromko, just wrote a book: "Complications: A Doctor's Love Story." OK. I haven't read it yet, but will as soon as it arrives. She's a wonderful doctor, and we've been patients of hers since her first year in practice. She delivered my son, Del. Most of all, she's been a great doctor and friend, and incredibly enough, I actually look forward to my checkups to touch base with her.

Read her book! You can find out more about it here.