Monday, November 22, 2010

sublime, pixelated

What an interesting website Metafilter has directed me to. It's called, and it's written by Greg Allen. He's obviously deeply but unshowily conversant with 20th c. modern art, including a (little known, very small) art exhibition on the moon
He compares buildings pixelated out of the German version of Google Street View to Gerhard Richter's blurred paintings, an association I could have made but didn't, and to the work of Brazilian artist Helio Oiticica, an association I couldn't have made since I had never heard of him before.'s prose is casual but precise yet hospitable to the worst of puns. Blurmany?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

free the music

I'm trying to spend more time exploring free, inexpensive, and pay-what-you-will media. Lifehacker recommends Creative Commons' multi-media multi-search engine, CC Search. Four letters -
j a z z - and Jamendo as the chosen engine led me to Bruce H. McCosar's Martian Winter, categorized as Progressive Jazz-Rock (which I hadn't realized was exactly what I felt like listening to).
McCosar plays all the instruments, including Telecaster leads and nifty synth and bass accompaniment. It reminds me of Bill Nelson and Phil Manzanera's solo work, in strengths as well as the possible flaw that the participation of other players would have introduced a little more challenge and variation. But I'm enjoying it more than anything I came across via traditional channels in 2010.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the big O, part 2

The first two years of the Obama administration have been a failure, and there's every reason to think things will be worse in the second half. I'm starting to think he may even be a one-term President.
In today's news: 4 million more Americans went without insurance in the first half of 2010 than in the first half of 2008. What was supposed to be a review of Iraq/Afghanistan War policy preparatory to withdrawal is backing off from previously set deadlines. The co-chairs of Obama's fiscal commission are recommending benefit cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
Benefit cuts to Social Security and Medicare!? (Where's an interrobang when you need one?) The third rail is finally grasped, by a Democratic administration?
I would have written "a nominally Democratic administration," but dese are our Dems. That's it. They're diluted Republicans. Their efficaciousness is homeopathic, and maybe not even that. (Apologies to the holistic, but belief in the effectiveness of homeopathy or Obama requires similar leaps of faith at this point.)
I don't think Barack Obama is a bad man. I wish I could really know what he was thinking when he campaigned and as he formulated plans for his administration. It seems so hallucinatory to believe that financiers could be shamed and noodged into honesty, that pharmaceutical and insurance companies would yield to the public weal, that political opponents who said over and over again that they hoped you would fail, crash and burn regardless of the consequences to the rest of the country would maybe give a little, take a little.
When does it stop being reasonable to expect people to be reasonable? When does it become senseless to hope people will be sensible?
So I think Obama has pursued a moderate course, according to his better nature, when a radical course, fiercely proposed and defended, is what was necessary. It was his mistake to make. But now he has suffered what he calls a "shellacking" at the polls, and has decided to change... nothing, that I can find. He still thinks he can reach compromise with his enemies, who are plain and sincere in their expression of desire to thwart him at every turn and deny him a second term.
These people, these Repugs and their Teahadists, are going to shame and disgrace him with every tool and rotten vegetable at hand. They are the worst forces in our society, and our President doesn't seem ready or able to oppose them. Barack Obama may end up being a one-term president, and unless he stops collaborating with people who wish him ill and the rest of us nothing that will impede their naked gluttony, it will be nobody's fault but his own.

the big O, part 1

If Barack Obama had done everything I'd hope he'd do in FDR-esque fashion this last two years, I'd be praising him to the skies. If he'd done half of it, I'd be optimistic and pulling for him/us. Regarding what he's actually done, I am more discouraged about American government and politics and pessimistic about the future than I was even during Dubya.
I guess it makes sense that no Repuglican could break my heart the way the Democratic administration has. The best I ever believed of a Republican administration during my lifetime was that at least Bush Senior probably wouldn't screw up so bad. And I think that's a fair assessment of him.
He sat around and watched, like the rest of us, as the Soviet Union broke into pieces, and avoided stepping on his own dick. He ginned up a war in Panama and imprisoned his/our former asset, Noriega, and most of the civilian damage was limited to the poor neighborhood of El Chorrillo. He sandbagged another old asset, Saddam Hussein, into invading Kuwait and then celebrated a great victory that included bulldozing under the dunes wounded and surrendering Iraqis - you know, the ones that the terrible dictator had forced into his army. He didn't screw up so bad.
Remember when the DEA lured a crack dealer ("In the old days, we called them a 'walking bird'") into selling them some rock in Lafayette Park, so Bush Sr. could hold it up during a TV address and announce truthfully that it was bought across from the White House? Gee, it's fun being old and remembering things.
Uh, I was going to write about the current Prez, wasn't I. The mind wanders, boats borne ceaselessly into the past, try again, fail better.