Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pearls before us.

About a year ago I was mesmerized by an article in the Washington Post that had Joshua Bell , who is one of the world's most accomplished violinists perform before an unaware crowd in the DC metro. Tickets to Joshua Bell's concerts have gone for over $300, and he plays on a priceless Stradivarius. He's over 6ft tall, a handsome man who dresses all in black. There is no reason on god's earth that a living soul should pass this man as he plays music, and not hesitate for a moment. He demands attention.

The outcome was predictable.

Today, I came across a similar experiment, this time in Belgium, and this time an Artist was employed. Belgian painter Luc Tuymans, the most important artist in a country with a grand artistic tradition, his work sells for millions of dollars in the most prestigious galleries in the world . Would people even notice great art in the streets of Antwerp?

Now those who don't know me better would expect some sort of Wildean rant. Some extremely clever run ons with festive words, vague references, maybe some sort of foreign tongue inserted at random to rim the edges of my vast knowledge.
Unfortunately, some of the best people I know are often blind to their surroundings. Not totally blind for god's sake, but certainly myopic. Fortunately for me i am afflicted with a wonderful mental illness that has, through all my life, forced me into noticing far far too much. The best way I can explain what goes on in my unmedicated mind, is like informative popup ads. You can't just click on the chinese restaurant on the corner without having the building age, the geographic location, the style of chinese, the interior, the wait-staff, menu and a Viagra ad all fly open. At worst, I'm impossible to talk to, at best I'm captive to my thoughts. Naturally, being thusly afflicted makes me hyper sensitive to my environment. Even on days where sanity demands a solid dose of medication, my mind cannot help but travel to a million related places.

I can claim, without hesitation, that neither the Tuymans nor Bell's performance would go unnoticed by my exhausting self. That being said, i anguish at the thought of people missing out on the spectacular city in which I live. The street art of Los Angeles challenges even the finest traditions of civic art in Europe. From the Watts Towers, to the Banksy lined streets of Hollywood, we have an unappreciated wealth of world class art living in this city.

Takashi Murakami was so taken aback by the graffiti art that had been added to one of the Billboards tagged by local legends AUGER/REVOK, (Below) that he flew it back to Japan for his private collection.
The fact is that California in general and Los Angeles in particular was built with the swift export of ideas and communication in mind. From the missions that line our coast to the freeways, it is no coincidence that the world's entertainment flows from here. It would be a shame that blinded by our own snobbish pretense and dismay at SOME of the more pedestrian Angeleno exports, we missed the beauty this town offers. I urge you to take a moment and watch the film below. It is by Prof. Reyner Benham, who is/was a professor of Architecture at King's College in London. You'll find a new appreciation of this town, which is truly a monument of humanity. A city that runs on the ideas and dreams of poets, warriors and thieves, and those ideas can be exported at the speed of light, is something amazing. You can avoid feeling like the people of DC and Antwerp who don't know beauty when its right in front of them, simply by looking up. Don't miss it.

***Reyner Banham (1922-1988) was a prolific architectural critic and writer best known for his 1960 theoretical treatise "Theory and Design in the First Machine Age", and his 1971 book "Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies" in which he categorized the Angelean experience into four ecological models (Surfurbia, Foothills, The Plains of Id, and Autopia) and explored the distinct architectural cultures of each ecology.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Politick

JOHN STUART MILL: Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.

Yes, yes, berate me for Quoting Mill and Bentham. However, I'd like to twist the words of the great men by pointing out a recurring theme- Republicans are not necessarily violent, bigoted, hateful, morons, but most violent, bigoted, hateful morons are Republicans.

Such was the case with Grand Dragon Dr. Congressman Paultard (Ron Paul) and his imbecile supporters who could not see past his libertarian veneer and into the deeply disturbing and ominously present shadow of neo-Nazi and white power support that he has never repudiated. If a GOP presidential candidate has traces of KKK tendencies, then surely in some backwoods there must be some GOP congressman or candidate who is completely off his rocker and goose-stepping around town in white robes and carrying a cross.

Everyone, meet Tony Zirkle.
Tony is running for Indiana's 2nd congressional district.

Tony offered to speak at ANY event he was invited to, so when he was invited by the National Socialist Party of Chicago (Illinois Nazis) to speak yesterday on the occasion of Hitler's 119th birthday he of COURSE said "Yes, please."

Giving the Indiana state GOP this gem of a photo to explain.

Now, critics may say that we have Farrakahns, and Communists, Atheists, and Pinkos. And hardly any room to complain about their nut jobs. To that I say, yes, we do.

If you are tying the rage of an oppressed people to my party, then I say we are the mouthpiece for that rage and we will channel it.

If you are tying me to Communism which is the goal of an equal distribution wealth amongst all classes to my party, or to social responsibility for our fellow man, then i say it is a noble goal.

If you attach me to the nobility of science and reason over the unscrupulous tactics and fear-mongering of misguided mythologies who prey on our baseness rather than our more noble attributes, then i welcome your accusations.

If you point at my brothers and sisters accusingly and claim their right to happiness as immoral, I will embrace them and scorn you for inflicting your anger and judgement on the undeserving .

You may call it spin, but you cannot hide Racism, Bigotry and Hatred under any veneer of nobility. Which is why Harry Truman, a Democrat spoke the truth when he said "We're right, they're wrong, and we're gonna prove it."

Now, in honor of the Republican congressional candidate's sickening display, I present the following farce to further mock the depths to which that party has sunk.

Now for something less Fascist.
Our awesome Dems appeared on our awesome Colbert show and they were Awesome.
It really makes you miss Edwards, though.

Oh and in case you'd forgotten, John McCain is still a deranged mean old man who will eat every Mexican baby born within our borders. So sayeth the POST.Picture 1

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Oliver Martin Johnston, Jr. (October 31, 1912 – April 14, 2008)

Ollie was a sweet man, who was the epitome of the professional animator. A consummate professional with the eyes and heart of a child.

I feel a sincere loss at the passing of such a pivotal person in one of the truly American art Forms.

He was one of Disney's Nine Old Men, and the last living member. His work was recognized with the National Medal of Arts in 2005.

He was a directing animator at Walt Disney Studios from 1935 to 1978. He contributed to many films including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Bambi and Pinocchio. His last full work for Disney came with The Rescuers, in which he was caricatured as one of the film's characters, the cat Rufus.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Antiques Roadshow

Appraiser: Hmmm, you can tell by the veneer that what we have here is a late seventies midwest chick. Now these are fairly common, but where did you find this one?

Dude: I found it in Los Angeles

Appraiser: I was going to SAY California! You see these markings on her fingers, this means she's a writer. Which increases the value tremendously.

Dude:Oh, wow!

Appraiser: So how much do you think she's worth?

Dude: I dunno. Like A movie and Sushi?

Appraiser: I would appraise this at at least a trip to Hawaii, if not maybe to Europe too.

Dude: Oh WOW!

Appraiser: Yeah, don't let this one go for anything less than a model or someone really really hot and brilliant.

Dude: Thanks!

Appraiser: No, thank YOU.


Appraiser: So, can you tell me what we have here?

Chick: This guy was given to me by my friend who was dating one of his friends. And his friend was a writer and he's a manager. I never really had him appraised, but he's sort of fun to have around the house.

Appraiser: Ok, well what you have here is a 76' dude,. Now, you see a lot of these around, but what makes this one interesting is that he originated in Mexico. Now if you lift the glasses and ignore the circumcision you can tell he's definitely a Mexico model but then the issues are all classic US mountain States. See how he likes beer and farts?

Chick: Oh wow! I was wondering about that because yeah, he speaks really elegantly, but then makes fart sounds in the car.

Appraiser: Yeah, that's pretty standard to all males. What makes this one interesting are two things, can you tell me what they may be?

Chick: Well he's really immature.

Appraiser: Yes, and that's usually an issue, but check this out.. in his pocket there's a business card. He's got a job, which means that it's not a loss, and you were telling me you found him in LA?

Chick: Yeah, friend of a friend.

Appraiser: Ok, see well now that means he's in a creative field and could very easily make it big. I wouldn't move in just yet, but he's bound to gain value. The market for these has been in high demand, oddly enough.

Chick: I know! I've had friends asking me where I got him!

Appraiser: Yeah, keep him around for a little while and see where the market takes him. But for now i wouldn't go further than a road trip. Maybe at auction, you could get some jewelry and commitment.

Chick: Wow. Ok, I intoduced him to my parents. But that's good to know.


Appraiser: Ok, can you tell us what you have here?

Dude: Well, I was at a garage sale, and I liked the look of this one so i picked her up, she looked a little down but i took her home and she cleaned up real nice, and here we are.

Appraiser: Well, i have to tell you we spotted you from across the room, and what you have here is a 70's Santa Barbara hottie in mint condition.

Dude: Really?

Appraiser: Yes. now i don't know if you're familiar with the 805, but in the late nineties many of these self destructed.

Dude: Yeah, I had heard something about that.

Appraiser: I have to say, I went over to my colleagues at the table and none of us has ever seen one of these in such good condition. Where did you find her?

Dude: At a garage sale in Los Angeles.

Appraiser: Well, there's some deeply rooted issues that came standard with this model, but the fact that she's been sitting in someone's cupboard makes this a pretty exceptional find. How much do you think she's worth?

Dude: Well, i was going to take her to the Geisha House, maybe jean shopping.

Appraiser: This one's a keeper.

Dude: A keeper?

Appraiser: Yes, we all agreed you need to hold on to this. What you have is a national treasure.

Dude: Wow! ..I need to sit down.


Monday, April 14, 2008

New blog feature: Monday Politick

Hillz Drinx

There's always so much fun stuff going on in the world of Politick, and I hesitate devoting too much space on the Blog to it, since this is a blog primarily about the awesome universe I inhabit, and not so much a political blog. So in order to get my Politics off my chest early on, I give you:

MONDAY POLITICK: In which SNL doesn't suck, Barry gets Squiffy, and Michelle makes me happy

Let's begin with General Pet Pet's Testimony last week.

SEN. WARNER: . . . Are you able to say at this time, if we continue what you have laid before the Congress here as a strategy, do you feel that that is making America safer?

GEN. PETRAEUS: Sir, I believe that this is indeed the best course of action to achieve our objectives in Iraq.

SEN. WARNER: Does that make America safer?

GEN. PETRAEUS: Sir, I don’t know actually.

Ta daaaa! Thanks folks, its been great! I'll be here all week! Try the Veal!

SNL pretty much summarizes the whole thing. SNL being smart and edgy? Uh oh. Lorne Michael's wont stand for this too much longer. In the meantime, get it while its hot.

Next we move on to Barry's Favorite things. A little B-Ball and a little brew. It seems that at a bar watching the final 4, Barry got a few too many and got somewhat chatty. Watch the sendoff though,

Drunk Dude:"We need you to bring change"

Drunk Barry: "With your help"

Friday, April 11, 2008

Crappy Coffee

Gourmands and connoisseurs of incredible edibles will be happy to hear that Peter Jones, the well established London department store is presently selling cat-dung coffee at almost $100 a pop.

Kopi Luwak, or "Luwak Coffee" is coffee made from coffee beans that have been eaten by a Luwak. Regular coffee cherries are hand picked and the flesh of the berry is removed by mechanical means. When a coffee cherry is eaten by a Luwak the flesh is removed through digestion in the stomach of the Luwak, and the beans are collected after they have passed out of the Luwak.

What precisely is a Luwak?
Picture 3
Its a mixture between a cat and a mongoose, that lives in Sumatra and thereabouts. SARS anyone?

Check it out HERE if you're lookin for a hot, steaming cup of Poop/Joe.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The greatest yearbook photo there ever was.


Guest Commentary: Marcos Moulitsas (Kos) on A Silver Lining in the Blue Battle

Hillary Clinton has proved during the past few months that she is a fighter, that she is tenacious, and that she is in the race to win. There's just one problem. She's already lost.

No matter how you define victory, Barack Obama holds an insurmountable lead in the race to earn the Democratic nomination. He leads in the one metric that matters most: the pledged delegates chosen directly by Democratic voters. But he also leads in the popular vote,

the number of states won and money raised. Still, Obama's advantages aren't large enough to allow him an outright victory. He needs the 20 percent of party delegates who aren't bound to a candidate. It's with these superdelegates that Clinton has staked her ephemeral chances.

Clinton's near-lone chance of victory rests with a coup by superdelegate, persuading enough of them to overcome the primary voters' preference. Yet a coup by elite Democrats would be ill-received, to put it mildly. Obama's base spans the party's most loyal and engaged constituencies: African-Americans, professionals who generate hundreds of millions in small-dollar donations and a conventional-wisdom-defying outpouring of youth support.

If Obama lost at the polling booth, these supporters would accept the voters' verdict and carry on. Many, including those who backed Howard Dean's heartbreaking 2004 campaign, have been through such disappointment before. But if Beltway bigwigs steal a hard-won victory, it would amount to a declaration of civil war. Not only would the resolve of thousands of loyal foot soldiers and the party's new fund-raising base be irrevocably shaken, but it would torpedo the opportunity to build and strengthen a new generation of Democrats.

Clinton's best-case scenario for victory requires sundering her own party. It is an inherently divisive strategy, but she doesn't appear to care. For Clinton, all's fair in pursuit of victory—even destroying her party from within. Her campaign has adopted a bizarre "insult-40-states strategy," which has belittled states small, liberal and Red. Apparently, the only states that matter are the ones she coincidentally happens to win.

The Clinton campaign once justified efforts to foster a superdelegate insurrection by suggesting that she could regain the popular-vote lead in the remaining contests. But as her chances of pulling off that feat dwindle, even that argument is falling by the wayside. In an interview with TPM Election Central, top campaign adviser Harold Ickes said: "I think being ahead in the popular vote is an important factor. I don't think it's dispositive." But when the popular vote, delegates earned and states won aren't dispositive, no rationale remains for her destructive coup attempt. Clinton, unfortunately, is pretending not to notice. So at the moment, it's useless to demand she exit the race. If logic, math, appeals to party unity and the evaporation of undecided superdelegates won't sway her, nothing will.

Yet while the Beltway establishment frets about the alleged damage this drawn-out contest is doing to the Democratic Party, in reality, it's been an almost unalloyed good.

For one, the frenzied organizing around the country has proved a catalyst for dramatic party building in states that had been Democratically dormant. State after state has reported record turnout, and thousands of new Democrats are registering in advance of each contest. In upcoming Pennsylvania, Democrats have gained a net 200,000 registered voters over Republicans this year; that number is 105,000 in North Carolina.

The party can now take advantage of the infrastructure both campaigns leave behind. The unprecedented level of participation and organization not only reinforces Blue states, it improves Democratic odds in traditional swing states. In fact, the tide threatens to make GOP stalwarts like Texas up for grabs this fall.

The reverberations are being felt far beyond the race for the White House. Democrats are poised to make massive gains at the congressional and local levels for a second consecutive election cycle. They've already started: in a March 8 House special election, Obama volunteers helped Democrats capture the solidly conservative Illinois congressional seat formerly held by Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Finally, there's no denying that the extra pressure has made Obama a better candidate. After living a charmed political life, with nary a serious general-election battle against a Republican on his résumé, he needed to prove his mettle in hand-to-hand political combat. His able handling of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright revelations didn't just prove his deft political skills to worried supporters like me and superdelegates. It allowed him to address a potentially explosive issue well before November (though it's a relationship the GOP is sure to exploit).

No one can persuade Clinton to get out of the primary race. But by any metric imaginable, Obama has already won. The superdelegates aren't self-destructive enough to change that, and the sooner they line up behind Obama, the sooner Democrats can focus their fire on the real target: John McCain. Clinton can stick around, but the rest of the party will move on without her.

Moulitsas, a NEWSWEEK contributor, is the publisher of, a progressive Web site

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Charlton Heston (October 4, 1923 (or 1924) – April 5, 2008

Ronald Reagan, Jerry Falwell, Bill Buckley, Chaz Heston, you'd think it's the death of conservatism."Charlton-Heston---Planet-of-the-Apes--C10102110

40 years ago...

You all know that I am pro-Obama. For those nay-sayers who would say words are "just words", and that a message alone cannot change things, i ask that in remembrance of Dr. king you take a moment to hear the eloquence of another "dreamer" who brought hope and inspired many with his words.

Forty years ago , Robert Kennedy informed a crowd gathered in the center of Indianapolis that Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot. The improvised but powerful speech that followed is widely credited for keeping the peace in that community. Indianapolis was one of the few big cities in America that did not erupt into violence that night.

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