Saturday, April 30, 2011
how do you feel
this all recalls to me that moment during the battle of saratoga when benedict arnold recognized the strategic personal importance of english general simon fraser, thereby inducing american general daniel morgan to order kentucky rifleman timothy murphy to "do your duty" and kill him from a distance. (such tactics were remarkably rare at the time, and considered the height of martial incivility). i'm sure the english on that field were outraged at the perceived barbarity of it, as i would think certain libyans (though clearly not all of them) might be feeling tonight as well. but there's also an important distinction to be made, and that would be the difference between politics and military tactics. general fraser, on the field, was a general and a soldier, and a legitimate (at least arguable) military target. colonel gaddafi, in his various abodes, remains primarily a political leader and a de facto civilian in the same way our president, though commander in chief of our armed forces, is a civilian, too, and not quite a military target at all. (and how would we feel if some foreign outfit tried to attack the white house--oh, wait, we do know how we feel when some foreign outfit tried to attack the white house).
ordering a strike against a residence, as strategic and tactical as it may have been regarded by the nato commander(s) who ordered it, feels a bit to include attempted assassination to me, and it bothers me more than a little that children were (unintentionally, i'm sure) murdered in the process, as i'm sure it does everyone, at least to some degree. rationalizing the incident, it should be pointed out that many people, like my ex-ww2-navy father, are adamant in support of truman's decision to drop the bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki, and i expect the logic of targeting gaddafi is extremely similar--shorten the a war and save more lives than would be lost in the particular attack(s). but for the hundreds of thousands of japanese civilian dead then, (including at least a dozen american pow's), and the three libyan grandchildren now, it still leaves an unsettled feeling that must be some part of what william tecumseh sherman described as hell.
how do you feel?
Friday, April 29, 2011
the good news...
enjoying the weather and thinking to yourself it would be really nice to have a reason to get out in it?
hope to see you there!
the reason for my hesitation is that friday, may 6th, it's joe louis walker being opened by the carl johnson trio at the bull run in shirley. gas being $4 a gallon, you don't undertake these road trips lightly, but "living blues" just gave joe louis the nod for "most outstanding guitarist", and, well, carl is carl. (see you at table 82).
whatchoo got goin on?
calling the bias spade a spade
pk subban is both black, and a montreal canadien. i will swear to you i disrespect him because he is a whining diver, but you will have to take my word for it its not because he's black. you know the excuse i would posit for truth, that any errors in my judgment are because he's a montreal canadien, and that's the way bruins fans think, but you will draw your own conclusions.
the analogy for black, barack obama and democrats, is that birthers swear to us they disrespect the pres because he's illegitimate, which we will take here for the logical equivalent to his being a whining diver, as both are against the relative rules of their positions. however, whereas any bruins fan can cite chapter and verse on every pk subban dive, embellishment and cheap shot to support their point, birthers fail to meet this primary criteria for arguing against racism--there is no possible way to articulate why a legally relevant birth record does not make their position moot. barack obama is indeed a natural-born us citizen, and eligible on that basis to be president.
the natural and logical excuse and explanation for this persistent and pernicious error or opinion is bias. those arguing against racism being that bias have the obvious fact that barry is a democrat and a vast majority of the birthers are republicans to explain most of it. there's the troubling demographic of birther democrats to explain, but maybe that's a hillary/barry thing. independent birthers are troublesome still, but maybe we'll give them the benefit of their being, apparently, against everything to explain such lunacy. but it couldn't possibly be racism, could it?
shall we accept class warfare as the next level of denial?
it couldn't possibly be racism, could it?
what's on the tube this morning?
Thursday, April 28, 2011
hit the black guy
so i was sitting next to a remarkably boorish and likely racist hockey fan during game five, during which he repeatedly shouted "hit the black guy" whenever subban was on the ice and near the puck. (actually, even when he wasn't quite). my game-time companion remarked at how uncomfortable it was to be faced with such ugliness of expression, and i think there was even a little bit of confusion as to why, race-sensitive as i am, i wasn't more put out about it. however, having watched the regulation portion of game seven with me as well, that same person admitted that, having paid closer attention, it really was easy to dislike pk for some very good reasons that had nothing to do with his skin color. but the guy was still a racist jerk for how he put it.
so it is that we find ourselves in a national discussion about barry obama's birth certificate, or questions thereof.
birthers are sensitive to being called racists, just as i expect it's likely that mr "hit the black guy" would raise a very compelling argument as to why he found it necessary to be saying the things he did and deny that race had anything to do with it. (and i would tell you that he wouldn't be wrong about most all of them, with the single exception of the coincidence of skin color). i can promise you, in a room full of honest and race-blind bruins fans, you would find disgust with mr subban to be unanimous, too. so we must respect obama's opponents opinions about his policies and allow for the explanation of pure partisanship, just as bruins fans and the fans of 28 other hockey teams will tell you that pk subban is all that long-winded stuff i said about him, or, in short, a douche bag.
but one has to look behind the criticism for the reason for it before one can understand it, and here is where i think (i KNOW) the birthers' disingenuous excuses fall down. exhibit a for mr "hit the black guy" would be video replays of seven recent hockey games. for the birthers, for all that barry o has done and is doing to dislike him, (and believe you me i dislike him for all of that, too), it's not so black and white.
pictures of barack hussein obama's birth certificate have been circulated for many years now. newspaper articles from hawaii at the time list the birth announcement in support of that. a woman who gave birth in the same hospital at the same time has attested to his birth there as well, pointing out when questioned about how one remembers such things in such clear detail after 50 years, that a black baby born in hawaii was an extremely memorable event at the time, and demographic data from that time showing that descendants of africans didn't even make one half of one percent of the islands' population at the time lend credence to her story. so why do almost half of republicans still express disbelief in the preponderance of evidence?
african americans attest that it's race-based. white americans sympathetic to birthers' other politics deny the possibility. i have to believe one of two things:
either almost half of republicans aren't fit to vote based on their inability to understand the primary source evidence, or birthers are racists. you pick. i'm ok with either one.
what day is it?
seven bruins playoff games so far, with the next one on saturday, and a treat her right recording session live at the lizard lounge last night is all i have to show for myself since spamalot. (ok, i did sneak out for d-tension's trivia night at major's pub a week ago, but that's like educational so it hardly counts, right?)
tonight it's arte k (and friends--you cannot omit or overestimate arte's friends) at voices, and though it took a little nap this afternoon (sshhhhh, i'm working from home, y'all!) i'm in. you should be too. just sayin'.
but the glory is all nathan horton's, (and linemate milan lucic's for making the perfect pass), and the story is how a guy who toiled in playoff obscurity for six years finally got his chance, and made the most of it--not one, but TWO overtime game-winning goals in a seven game series which has become the first of its kind in history during which the winning team did not score a single power play goal.
or, as was observed from my seat in the bar catching the incredible live treat her right show at the lizard lounge in cambridge last night after, the canadiens can just go suck it. they got what their sleazy, cheap and gutless brand of ice hockey deserves, which is a first-round exit from lord stanley's playoffs. (yes, i'm talking to you, pk subban, diver extraordinaire).
bring on the flyers--we're just getting started.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
i say "donald trump", you say...
so of what do you think when you hear the "brand", donald trump?
prior to this, i used to think that chuck sullivan (miraculously finding a way to lose money on michael jackson's victory tour--you know, the one with the glove--which was, to that point in history, the world's highest-grossing concert tour ever) was a shoo-in to be guinness' (you know, the world record people) worst businessperson. but you know, of course, that the trump always does things bigger, including losing money with the only thing surer than 1984's jacksons, which is being the house at a casino.
yup, right now the guy who would put the entire nation on "pause" while he bloviates about birth certificates is on his THIRD casino bankruptcy restructuring. he lost money. he lost money running a casino. he lost money running a casino three times. he lost money running a casino three times in a row.
is there really anything else we should be reading about this guy and his opinions???
Sunday, April 24, 2011
and (almost) all of canada rejoices
there's nothing like playoff hockey, and even less like bruins/canadiens playoff hockey, for hour upon hour of heart-pumping adrenaline-soaked life-affirming excitement. i don't know what you were doing last night between the hours of 7 and 11, but if you weren't watching this game, there is no other way to put it, other than you were wasting your time. yeah, it's a knife's edge between this wave of elation i'm riding and the stomach churning gut-knotted agony of being a canadiens fan who's just watched their team squander a 2-0 series edge into a 2-3 series precipice, but that's the price to be paid for all this. it all continues on tuesday night in montreal, and there is nothing else i would rather do than put it all on the line and let my team safeguard my chances. if you're a hockey fan, you can't ask for anything more than this.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
for your viewing pleasure
yes, mssr gorges, patrice bergeron IS a lefty
hands-down the best of the best, and a raspberry to the linesmen for not letting recchi finish off plekanec like he so richly deserved for being the whiner on behalf of whom the whole thing got started
bienvenue de nouveau a boston, les habitants
under the subtitle of "it always pays to read the rival press", and for those of you who know that i enjoy a raft of canadian cousins, coincidentally from alberta, (one of whom has his own feature section on hockeyfights.com, by the way, and how cool is that!), i offer you this piece of evidence that some of them may also enjoy commenting about things on the internet:
I think Andrew Ference spoke for the majority of Canadians when he expressed his love for Quebec last night....
Eat Me in Alberta
Friday, April 22, 2011
but can you prove it?
there seems to be no excess to which certain people will go to internalize and embody their own prejudices and politics, and these things, apparently, are no longer bounded by actual reality. for a moment, until i checked his 49 year old age vs the 1959 ratification of hawaii as a state, (damn, he snuck in by less than two years!) i was thinking to myself there could possibly be some sort of scandal about that, too, but, hey, when you don't believe a guy's birth certificate in the first place, there's no reason to believe his actual age, either, so maybe barry o is actually 51 and WAS born outside the "united states"!!! (a friend of mine used to vacation in a house in the maine woods that was built in the commonwealth of massachusetts, though it has never been moved, and, yeah, you can look up how that sort of thing is possible, too--though, since houses don't have birth certificates, maybe that story is suspect as well).
myself, i think donald trump is a plant for the democrats, fomenting foaming mouthed righties to deny the republican nomination to someone who might, actually, be qualified to be elected president and might further be attractive to more than half the general electorate in order to be so. yeah, it's scary, and, yeah, i think there will be a large number of newly registered and voting democrats exactly because the republican establishment can't control the frenzied and factually-challenged masses upon whom they have relied to pitch their ideological tent. of course, we're playing chicken with this whole thing, because, as bavarian paper hangers can become chancellor of germany, so, too, might one of these nut jobs become president of the united states.
at which point, i'm hopeful, someone will refuse to believe their birth certificate, too. (these things can be forged you know!)
the open letter to the editor
i subscribe to what is purported to be a local paper. instead, i am forced to skip around thrice weekly a column dedicated to nothing more than a consistent rant about how much some aging and addled columnist hates a couple of black politicians so much that he can't stop blathering on about it.
if i were more invested in things, i'd count up the number of barry/devvy emotive columns compared to all the others, and i'd be willing to bet that an average like that would make albert pujols look like a minor leaguer.
seriously? is this what our subscription fees are paid to produce? for real? it's not a joke?
cuz it's seriously a joke.
stoooooopid with six o's
"most of the social security retirees in this country have paid into the system for 50 years. instead of reducing these benefits, it's time to reduce all that goes to the illegal immigrants" -- dracut
first of all, even those having "paid into the system for 50 years" have not paid into the social security system as much as they will be taking out. it's math, and it has to do with benefits based on "cost of living" and not limited by the paltry amounts having been contributed over those prior years, and anyone not paying attention should read up on the truth that the system is going to be busted within 30 years, and, yeah, people my age aren't going to get much of anything. it's a pyramid scheme (bernie madoff, anyone?) where present retirees are being given money paid in by current workers, and with the baby boomer bubble hitting its stride and the workforce shrinking, there simply isn't going to be enough to go around. you can look it up.
so, second of all, there's all those pesky "illegal immigrants"...
are people so stupid not to be able to see how this part of the scam works?
you're illegal. you fabricate a social security number to earn a paycheck, and all those FICA deductions you pay each and every week go straight into the pockets of the "legal" immigrants who are actually able to collect social security benefits when it's their time. eliminate the "illegals", and the whole thing goes bust all that much sooner.
"fat drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son". dean wormer said that.
edited to add a timely link documenting the 10-figure billions paid in taxes by the undocumented among us.
were you worried? part two
so why are folks braying for chiarelli and julien's scalps??? are they too young and too cup-addled to remember how poorly constructed this team was after the last lockout? i mean REALLY poorly, as in, forget the playoffs, let's just try to win a few home games and not be a complete failure poorly?
by trading judiciously for draft picks, chiarelli and julien have built something solid enough to leave jaw-dropping talent like tyler sequin in the press box, in favor of skaters like chris kelly who are discovering themselves (actually, they're not discovering, the fair-weather fans are discovering) to be gritty, purposeful and effective playoff hockey players. down the stretch of the season and into these playoffs, sleeping talents like michael ryder (arguably the b's weakest player during the season) have awakened via their example to make the plays that make the playoffs what they are--the moment when goaltending and defense pay off into glory.
no, four goals against last night is not the best example of getting that done, but don't you just love a team that's going to erase three deficits one after the other, and then stick the dagger into the heart of the beast in its own den in overtime?
montreal has hung all over krecji, lucic and horton these past few nights, recognizing that if there's an offensive heart on this team, it beats within those three sweaters. but they can't stop all four lines, (campbell thornton and paille, save for sean's loss of the puck behind the b's net last night, are giving the habs fits), and they can't stop one of their castoffs from sticking the shiv straight in.
there is nothing sweeter.
so, back to beantown, and back to reminding the easily-panicked that if they don't win the cup this year, it won't be for lack of a solid team foundation and solid coaching behind the bench. there's no orr on this team, and no esposito, and no bucyk, mackenzie, hodge, cashman, etc. etc. etc. either. but lucic would have fit on those teams of old, and darth 'quaider too. they're going to be good next year--really good--and they're already plenty good now.
two more wins against montreal, and then it's into the weak flaccid parts of the eastern conference in preparation for whatever the west is going to turn out to throw at them. i'm not predicting anything. i'm just loving every minute of it.
were you worried? part one
i listen to my music loud. i used to try to equivocate and say things like "on the loud side", or "not always quiet", but over the years i've realized and have come around to calling that audio spade a spade. i listen to my music loud. it's for that reason i've been consistently compelled to replace every factory sound system in every automobile i've ever owned, and let me reassure you this morning that this last job is the best one yet.
car-isma in lowell, "the automotive toy store", is in the crook of the elbow where middlesex meets pawtucket, right on the edge of commercial pawtucketville. ya cahn't get theyah from heeyah if you're heading west on pawtucket, (which is the straight shot for me heading out broadway from downtown), as the left turn is effectively blocked by the traffic island, but if you hop around on wilder you can breeze right into their parking lot from middlesex and begin to be enthralled.
i like good car sound. these folks like good car sound, and know what they're doing. you can listen for yourself whenever you're in a two-block radius of my automobile. the alpine head unit has a built-in interface for my ipod which works and sounds fantastic, and the 100 watts per channel pumped out by the alpine power amp into the four door speakers (and matching tweeters of course) are as awesome in their crystal clarity as they are in raw ear-quenching power.
so here's the unexpected thing: i don't have to crank it! the power is so pure and so clean and so good at all volume levels, that the volume to which i used to have to resort to get the sound of all the parts is hardly necessary. oh, don't get me wrong, it's still good good good when something comes on for which it's worthy, and i mean ear-splitting good, but the music is just jumping out of the doors here and i could not possibly be happier.
ok, that's a lie... there's likely a need for an additional powered subwoofer in the trunk at some point, but that's just splitting audio hairs.
it's too bad gas is hitting 4 bucks a gallon, cuz i'm gonna go broke satisfying my need to listen to this baby every day... (yeah, i can listen while parked in the garage, but you know that's just not the same).
oh, and about those bruins... more on that in a moment...
Thursday, April 21, 2011
this has happened before...
ok--melvern then tivo. sorry, carl, but if i'm going to be able to afford all the goodies (for which you don't charge me nearly enough, but that is NOT a complaint) from carl's custom guitars, i'm going to have to do the hockey thing before midnight and miss the back page gig like i surely do not want to do, but what can you do. we shall have to rely on the rest of the folks who are not hockey junkies and workaholics to fill in. (all i ask is that you not tell me how great the show was after... i know it already!)
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
now, mind you, i can't yet review the latest setup, because i don't take possession of it until tomorrow morning, but believe you me when i tell you that you're going to be able to hear me coming--and those hip-hoppers with their nothing-but-bass BUUSZH BUUSZH BUUSZH rattling theirs and everyone else's windows are going to be able to hear it, too. in fact, for no charge, and on behalf of everybody who is old enough to remember stereo wars from their college dorms, and feels that fighting fire with fire is the way to go, i'm looking forward to giving those one-note-wonders something to listen to at the traffic lights this summer. maybe a little sinatra with nelson riddle and his orchestra on eleven for the classicists... maybe a little MC5 kicking out the jams for me... but it's going to be CLEAN sound, with every note and instrument and voice in clear timbre, like you only get when you (or you have someone) do it right.
there's enough power in this baby to light up an entire block. and that's the way i have always wanted to roll.
"true lowellian", not-yet-written south american edition
anyone with any suggestions or recommendations? would love to find some decent ceviche in town among many other flavors.
i have heard good things about the red rose over in pailin plaza, too, so consider this a cambodian research work in progress.
i do know that many people have strong feelings about "true lowellianism", but for my part i'm grateful each and every day that my home town is big enough to include so much more than just one version of that truth. (i have my eye on the spicy heads-on shrimp for my next simply khmer trip).
how much is that * in the window
observing the catastrophe in japan, it's obvious that the true costs of nuclear are not currently being figured into our electric bills, and until we find a more accurate way to reckon these things, the true "expense" of clean energy will never be allowed to stand for itself. it's a lot like how it's "cheaper" to ship goods by truck here across these united states because those trucking companies don't carry the debt burden for the construction of all these public roadways that they freely use to their advantage over the private railroad beds. it's never apples to apples, and, unfortunately for us, the bad ones are raining down on our heads. (in the case of japanese nuclear fallout, that would be literally).
i don't know how its even possible to debate that we currently have an oligarchy of special interests that have and are perverting our government in favor of prima facie folly. big pharma, big farma, and the "bigs" go on and on. we have nuke plants and no place to store the waste, let alone consider what might happen if what happened in japan might happen here. all the biggest corporations in this country, including GE that designed those failed japanese nuke plants, (and i won't say "who" because it's a corporation, not a person, which ought to put curbs on such things, though because they can buy politics, doesn't), pay NO federal taxes, yet they somehow wrangle constitutional protections guaranteeing them unlimited spending on perpetuating the status quo. are we daft?
the answer, quite unequivocally, has to be "yes". we are daft. we have built an unsustainable food supply that is dependent on proprietary pesticides and homogenous, genetically modified strains that are catastrophically vulnerable in a way that nature and evolution would scream out to us to avoid. bee populations (necessary to pollinate all this stuff we eat) are crashing. bat populations (necessary to eat all the pests we're otherwise killing ourselves to control) are crashing. yet we pay no attention as we protect monsanto and others from any liability for the costs they are accruing on our behalfs, though will never themselves pay.
power generation is doing to our environment things that cannot be undone, and will take centuries to abate. i hope we are all prepared for our cancers, because we're all on a collision course with more than a few. (do you know that there are currently more than 3200 abandoned oil wells in the gulf of mexico without concrete caps, on top of 27,000 other abandoned wells that have already been identified as major leaking threats?)
perhaps these are the plans to solve our social security and medicare/medicaid budget shortfalls... poison our food and our environment so that it all won't matter anymore.
until then, let's rejoice that in at least one case, i.e. that of cape wind, the government bureaucracy is finally fudging the figures in a better direction.
Monday, April 18, 2011
there's more to patriots day than just patriots
no matter--the rest of the world is going to be talking about this one for a very, very long time.
not to be completely overshadowed by this super-human feat, the two wheelchair division winners this year were both japanese. (masazumi soejima for the men, and wakako tsuchida for the women). soejima wore a sticker that read "strength and courage" for his country, and himself.
for my money, one of the best pure sporting events in the history of the world.
Friday, April 15, 2011
seems reasonable to me
"only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights. money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech."
would you agree?
it's a simple concept, yet a profound one: corporations, invented to extend to individuals the right to pursue commerce within a separate legal entity having its own privileges and liabilities distinct from those of its members, cannot by virtue of being *something* be entitled to legal *everything*. however, our supreme court, in a bizarre moment of corrupt jurisprudence, had recently granted to corporations legal rights normally reserved by the constitution solely for individuals, and this legal mistake, ostensibly, observing their special status in the first place, in the opinion of many, has tipped the balance of political power in a dangerous direction. the group, "move to amend", in madison, wisconsin, has put the two simple sentences into a resolution to be submitted to redress this glaring wrong.
i, for one, am all for it.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
new music thursday
over at fortunato's tonight, with carl johnson on guitar, will be arte k on his bass, unveiling "a bunch of new original tunes that will be on my upcoming second CD release (currently scheduled for the fall)". if you haven't already grabbed your personal copy of "be a man", (arte's first release), you're officially on notice that you're soon to become two behind, and sorely missing some of the best local music being produced here these or any other days. (i just cued up the first track on the last collection, "red moon in the morning", to accompany my composition, and smiled to recall that there isn't a song here without a lyric to remember--in this case, her "jack daniels smile and hurtful tone"--and how much i love to be from here so i can hear the songs live, too). well worth the trip over this evening to enjoy, and, as usual, it's free, and there's no better bargain than that.
as the alternative, if you're both more intrepid and more flush with folding money, will be d-tension's cd release celebration down at the middle east in cambridge tonight featuring songs from d's latest disc (which is really a collection of .mp3's, as he reminds most folks) "wack music for dope people". ($13 at the door since you're late about it, and missed the $10 deal). this disc (i'm old fashioned--i insisted on the CD) is a remarkable collection of hip-hop poetry that's not suitable for work, or most anywhere else the sensitive-eared are about, but is something which will have you singing along to yourself on the street, in your car, and under your breath at sunday dinner with your folks and all the cousins. ("yeah, i'm old, but i'm doper than you"). best record of the year, and you can quote an old rocker about it. absolutely.
where will we be seeing you tonight? i'm going to get to 2 out of 3 (i can walk back to arte's gig at fortunato's from the spamalot show, and catch his second set) and wish i were there at the 3rd. (i LOVE that "wack music" disc).
i'll give you "crippling"
anyway, he closes with a bit of opinion to which i will take issue: "an upsurge in foreclosures this spring and summer would be crippling to any revival of the housing market".
over in japan, over 20 years ago, they had an asset bubble burst to rival ours of a couple of octobers ago, and they never, not yet to this day, forced their banks to accurately reflect the true value of their bad loans on their books, or to clear out their relatively-worthless real estate collateral via foreclosure or other means. coincidentally, their economy has effectively shrunk over those past 20 years, and their real estate market has never recovered, though their bankers and their politicians and their real estate professionals continue to collect their fat paychecks for doing worse than nothing. NOT a pretty picture.
yet, here in this country, with the compelling example right there to teach us, we are slavishly sticking to that same dead-end road, with dire warnings of "cripplings" that better describe japan's results than anything that would happen here were loans to be cleared, real estate to be sold, and business resumed.
think about it--the jamoke who contributed to the collapse still has title to the real estate involved in his or her bogus mortgage deal, the banker who holds the worthless paper still has his or her fat-bonus-paying job, and the politicians who have propped the whole sorry mess up are still down there in washington, or up here on beacon hill, negotiating away our nation's prosperity and very future in a debt-soddened mass of financial destruction, and the people who would otherwise be able to afford a home at what SHOULD BE fair market prices and interest rates, are stuck paying the tax bills on top of all their other misery.
foreclosure auctions of all these bad loans' collateral properties would be LIBERATING. yes, the jamokes who reneged on their repayments would be cast out. yes, the bankers whose banks would be shown to be the insolvent morasses of perfidy that they are would be out of their jobs. yes, the politicians who were bought by the process would be unfunded lame ducks, ripe for replacement by more honest people. and you can spare me the wailing and rending of garments for those "poor homeowners" who borrowed more than they could repay. there's a reason promissory notes are legally binding, and this here is the perfect situation for us to follow through on our principles. besides, at their true values, those folks would be able to move back in with a new restructured mortgage anyway.
but all of this waits on fearmongering and misplaced dread. "crippling"?
the other recent story worth noting is from the reuters feed today, citing the investigation of the major criminals in this historic real estate swindle and their manipulation of the london interbank offer rate, which allowed them at the time to continue the swindle and sham of apparent-but-not-actual solvency to avoid collapse when they should have been forced to collapse.
these are crimes of the most profound, far-reaching and economically devastating sorts. they allow a criminal class of fraudulent bankers to perpetuate themselves at our expense, exhorting us against "crippling" ourselves by their dissolution.
or, as lord acton first and most aptly put it: "the issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people vs. the banks".
yes, lord acton, yes.
wouldn't it be nice to actually have a local paper?
today's "steppin' out" insert (i guess lazy editors like to use words that actually aren't words in their section titles) features a story on "record store day", and the "enduring appeal of vinyl". so far so good. it's a supposed celebration of local record stores, and it actually does contain mention of a local record store, but only to cite it's "wonderfully iconoclastic owner" who "refuses to participate in any sort of group promotion". everything else, and i mean EVERYTHING else in this piece is about a ny-based website and its member merchants, none of whom mentioned are any closer to lowell than cambridge and southern new hampshire. (the web site will actually tell you about a shop in methuen, though not your "local" journalist). huh???
i'll tell you the story--it's rrrecords on central street. rrrecords isn't just the most amazing vinyl collection for sale anywhere in this part of the, and maybe actually the entire, world. it's an operation that extends to its own record label and is a cited progenitor of the "noise music" genre, which took off from lou reed's 1975 "metal machine music" album, credited by lester bangs as the "greatest album ever made in the history of the human eardrum", though you can forgive lester his hyperbole, because he actually believed as a professional in standing up for artists in whom he believed, exactly like you never anymore see in the rag that has become the lowell sun. all we get in our "local" paper is a discussion about where to go buy records in cambridge.
rrrecords blew me away from my very first visit looking for a piece of vinyl that had become apocryphal in my life's quest for sublimity. no, it wasn't a classic, or even known to seemingly anyone on the planet anymore, but it was a memory from my youth, and a goal worthy of the argonauts in its obscurity and likely impossibility. ron lessard handed it to me within seconds of my entering his shop, and asking about it, without a moment's hesitation for which bin in which it might be found. it was exactly the kind of independent record store experience of which legends are born, and it happened RIGHT HERE in downtown lowell, RIGHT HERE on central street, RIGHT HERE in rrrecords.
where's the story about that? where's the investigative piece on ron's history in the record business, and his amazing internet collection (found at rrrecords.com) of otherwise impossible to find gems? where's the understanding of the presence of something HERE, in lowell of all places, that makes the "record store day" celebration the footnote, not the headline???
i wish i had a local paper. i dearly do.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
the center-on-out theory goes double, triple, quadruple, quintuple and to the moon for ice hockey, and any time you can trail the entire league in goals-allowed, let alone ice a netminder who set the nhl record for season save percentage, you are in the playoff running. (nightmares of mr. ken dryden). giving up the fewest goals takes more than just tank thomas, and darth mcquaider is the new sheriff in beantown, and you can talk all you want about chara, but this guy is my vote for non-goaltender mvp. (chara ain't so shabby--don't get me wrong--this is a special kid we've got right here on our blue line).
no, he ain't no bobby orr, but nobody else ever will be.
michael ryder has awoken, and i think the reverberations from nathan horton's fists and flips towards the nets have done it. milan is as should be, and across the lineup we have quality players with a taste for something more. it's not the classic up-the-middle champion at center, (yet--this is a young team!) but patrice and david do a nice 1-2 job at the top, and campbell is the best fourth-line center in hockey bar none.
i love this team.
random basketball thoughts
no, i'm not trying to equate fantasy stats with anything real--i'm simply observing that anyone who does a good job at a fantasy version of the real thing will have necessarily have to have paid attention to all the teams and a good number of all the games during the season, and has coincidentally a larger and better perspective on who is doing well and why by the end of it than a lot of folks. (though i know you'd disagree, so go ahead and do). and all i can say is that danny ainge is vying for mike millbury's tenure with the new york islanders for the fastest and most total destruction of a franchise.
the celts with garnett, pierce, allen and rondo (nods to glen davis off the bench) were a razor's edge from the championship last year, even with garnett's gimpiness and a bench few people will remember. at center (more of that building of a team from the core on out) kendrick perkins quietly did whatever he did to get them to the seventh game of the final series, before he blew out his knee and the lakers finally found the final answer. ainge's answer? not worth the money--buh bye.
actually, more than buh bye to just kendrick, ainge dismantled the entire thing beyond the "big 4" and davis. the entire thing.
so where are we now?
if you haven't been paying attention, and you know i wouldn't have been were it not for the fantasy angle, the celts have dropped 11 of their last 20 games, and are seriously in need of some attitude adjustment if they hope to escape april. perkins, a man who had quietly played every one of his professional games without complaint for the championship boston celtics, was deemed "too expensive" to retain, in favor of a bunch of jamokes who have proven over the past month they aren't deserving to even carry his jock strap.
someone needs to ask danny what happened to his.
random baseball thoughts
the people from whom i learned the game all agreed that you build a winner from the plate and the middle of the field out. (think jason varitek circa 2004, and certainly not 2011, and did you see him trying to catch zobrist last night--the throw didn't even reach second base). the moment i saw that jarrod saltalamacchia was the best that uncle theo could do for this year's club, i knew that all that talk about the invincible lineup and best-in-league pitching staff was at best a rationalization to keep us from contemplating the inevitable late-season let-down. i guess, being a full-service ball club, this year's sox have decided to give us the news early.
yeah, jd drew isn't as bad as i paint him. (though i'll argue with you til the cows come home about it, and that half-check "swing" on strike three last night was one of his most pathetic). and you know youk has to start hitting sometime this season. (though his OBP is phenomenal even so). but if you're already starting lowry, cameron and mcdonald against the defending AL east champs during the second week of the season, then you know somethings up.
their pitching staff, even with beckett somehow resurrecting a semblance of respectability, is the worst in the majors by a full earned run. anyone else notice how many of the better pitching performances were with 'tek behind the plate?
from the plate, up the middle, and on out. catching, pitching, middle infield and center field. ask yourself who we have in those spots, and if you're looking at what you consider a winner, let alone a champion.
we have the third-highest payroll in baseball, and a journeyman catcher backed up by one of the oldest in the game, playing catch with veritable batting-practice machines. you know it gets better from here, and even possibly enough to make history and the playoffs, but you know it's not going anywhere, really.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
oh, and a little shout out to fox news
i have to say it, regarding the ideological battle over whether or not the federal government ought to have both the right to know if a woman is pregnant, as well as the authority to tell her what to do about it, the folks in favor of the police state approach to managing civilian behavior are surely doing all they can to convince the rest of us that their position is impossible to regard as moral in the least. (we won't even get into the question as to whether poor women deserve even the least amount of reproductive healthcare).
moral people, last i checked, tend not to prefer to lie.
republicans and fox news personnel, on the other hand, prefer it the other way.
(and, in case you were looking for my opinion, that's wrong, but, i know, nobody asked me...)
thank you, senator kyl
if so, you're either an idiot or senator jon kyl from arizona. (or, in the case of being senator jon kyl from arizona, both).
the thanks in the title, for the right dishonorable mr. kyl's bringing such shame to the nebraska public schools as well as the university of arizona, not to mention the united states senate, is for allowing another incredible factoid, the fact that 97% of planned parenthood's services are NOT abortions, get wider airplay than it ever could have achieved without his inane bloviation. (actually, to be fair, planned parenthood prefers selective statistics to outright lying--though 97% of their procedures weren't abortions, only 89% of their customers didn't get one last year, which is to say, 11% of those using planned parenthood's services last year had an abortion from them among other care, which isn't exactly the 3% figure they'd rather have you remember).
which all goes to say that republicans hate healthcare services for poor women (i.e. non-republicans) soooo much that they're willing to play chicken with a federal government shutdown, not to mention make up the most ugly and shameful lies to suit their biases, and spread them copiously. these are some of the most reprehensible people you will ever meet in your life, and you will meet them regularly on the floor of the most otherwise-respected deliberative body in the world.
al franken didn't choose his book title by accident, or in error.
Monday, April 11, 2011
"that's going to be a battle"
partisanship clearly has both major political parties sharpening their knives for each other far before ever thinking about wielding such against out-of-control spending, even if they might ever get around to thinking that far beyond defeating the "other", which is obviously all they are about. yup, both sides are addicted to hyperbolic rhetoric like "saving the nation", though any reasonable unaligned/unbiased observer can't help but conclude that neither major party has a single care for saving the nation if it might mean defeat for their party.
and that's wrong.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
wah wah wah
if it ever weren't clear enough that even disenfranchising and impoverishing indigent women and children stands secondary to simply objecting to and opposing anything that a democrat might do or say, this here opinion piece says it all.
if the goal is cutting spending, then shut up (or celebrate) when spending gets cut.
if the goal is simply ranting about whatever deval patrick is saying or doing, then, once again, i ask saint kendall wallace and all the rest of the money men behind the local rag to wake up and stop paying this guy so that money might rather be invested in some actual local news for a change.
ok, on to saturday's...
Friday, April 08, 2011
Thursday, April 07, 2011
1 for 3 with a run scored? or 2 K's including an inning-ender with 2 on in scoring position?
i've wanted someone somewhere in one of those baseball stats organizations to compile statistics on the number of times particular players strike out to end an inning. i'm willing to bet you ms drew is way above the average, and on the verge of setting a lifetime mark for the league.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
the latest on the b of a lottery sweepstakes
well, anyway, long story short, as some of you may recall, said friend opted against a protracted legal battle offering uncertain results in favor of a rapid and effective bankruptcy filing which more than paid for itself in the real estate appreciation of no longer having to pay back a mortgage on a property already well under water. (yeah, there will be 7 years of credit restrictions, but, seriously, with the b of a self-reporting its own incompetence all over said credit rating, the results are hardly any different as far as that's concerned). the other positive outcome, in terms of endless entertainment, are the compounding interest, fines and penalties for real estate taxes and condo fees that continue to accrue while b of a still (more than six months later) has not caught up to the court documents assigning ownership of said property to them in settlement for the bankruptcy and related mortgage default.
seriously, this is the "performance" of one of the largest recipients of federal (i.e. our) largesse in the mass socialism-ization (i.e. "bailout") of our banking system in the country. instead of a currently paid, profitable mortgage note on a property my friend would have otherwise kept paying to keep, the b of a, via nothing more than its own bizarre inability to keep accurate records and otherwise manage its own business, is now the sad-sack owner of an empty, decaying and depreciating condo, (in which the electric and gas bills keep racking up, too, i might add), where the penalties alone on the lack of condo fee payments are already over ten grand and counting. (and that's not even counting the actual condo fees themselves, which also have to be paid, or even beginning to understand the city of boston real estate tax situation, where the moment a condo is no longer owner-occupied, the taxes more than instantly double).
it too funny.
want to know the best part?
when a bank forecloses on an individual, they screw said individual 100 ways to sunday, by piling on interest, fines and penalties, plus vastly inflated legal charges and other gotchas, before taking all their money out the auction sale first, and leaving said individual to twist in the wind. it's brutal. 'tis the right of the first lienholder. but, see, there are first lienholders and there are first lienholders, and both the municipal taxing authority and the condominium association move into line ahead of the bank in such cases, and here's where the real comedy ensues. when a bank is foreclosed upon by a taxing authority and/or a condominium association, THOSE FOLKS are the first lienholders, not the bank, and it is those folks' interest, fines and penalties that get subtracted out of the proceeds first. so, instead of screwing a homeowner, in this case, the b of a is ripe for being screwed by the city of boston and the condominium association at a rate that i expect will exceed the total value of the condo before the year is out. the bank, if they don't wake up very soon, will be out the entire amount of the mortgage that they loaned out originally, PLUS the cost of any overage since, as we know, banks like them aren't allowed to fail, and, hence, the monies they owe in taxes and fees follow them around forever.
so, anyone interested in joining a b of a foreclosure auction lottery pool? the bankruptcy filing is already more than six months ago, and to this point not a single step has been taken to manage either the property, or the debts piling upon it. i would have predicted six months six months ago, but obviously i have underestimated the incompetence involved. (though, i have to say, such is making the bankruptcy decision look smarter and smarter every day). anyone for a year? I think i might be leaning towards 15 months now, if only because that's when i estimate the property will have zeroed out completely between the taxes and the condo fees.
(the other part of this lottery is that my friend may very well be able to step back in via a friendly repurchase of the property at tax and/or condo fee auction for a fraction of the original price, and make out like a bandit--i'll keep you posted).
it was my birthday last year when nancy hurled herself over bullpen mounds and folding chairs in order to put glove on a foul pop that virtually guaranteed the rays a run in their eventual one-run walkoff-homer win. i guess we can say she learned her lesson well never to try that sort of effort again.
can anyone else name a more worthless 14 million dollar player who is not a pitcher? (cuz then we'd need to be talking about mr. 17 mil, too).
buck showalter is not wrong.
i got mine
i don't know about you, but, on the one hand, i can say i got my taxes in early, and i've already got mine. on the other hand, i imagine there isn't a party pol anywhere ready to withstand the avalanche of public hue and cry should their money not be returned to them in a timely manner.
all this is to say that i don't expect a public shutdown to last for very long, but the fact that they'd even consider it (they meaning the two sides to this endless fiscal dick-measuring contest) should tell us all we really need to know about all of them.
paul ryan recently unveiled the republican long-term budget proposal, about which two things must be said: first of all, the little red needle on the hypocrisy meter just jumped straight off its pin--these are the yahoos who made a cottage industry of bashing "obamacare" for its rationing and "death panels" now trumpeting a plan to ration healthcare and ensure that HMO death panels get the last word in every coverage situation. second of all, and finally, they've got it right. we cannot as a country afford to perpetuate medicare and medicaid in their present forms, and privatizing the one and eliminating the other is, sadly, the only possible way to go.
so, naturally, the democrats are against it.
here we go again.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
the second term
it's an odd system. we citizens are on the hook to finance the private beauty contests which will select the pair of devil-and-deep-blue-sea choices we will be given on our ballots in 19 months' time, yet we are given very little value for that investment given past and present candidacies as the measure. (yeah, yeah, YOUR party's candidates are different).
if i had far more resources and time than i have today, i would bring suit to enjoin states attorneys general from directing "primary" elections at the public's expense, and giving ballot space to anyone "elected" ("selected" or "detected" as arlo guthrie might say) via such a process. private political parties could certainly pay for all the private balloting they please, but the gateway towards appearance on the public ballot should be via a single, standard process--submit the necessary number of audited signatures, and you're in--without any preference to party affiliation or other consideration. but, since i do not, i will content myself with making the suggestion to the city election committee that we skip paying for and holding private primary elections entirely. surely, if the city deems it needs one to select its own local candidates for local office, we can choose to hold one for that reason. but there should be none other.
let the demicans and republicrats pay their own way.
no, scratch that.
MAKE the demicans and republicrats pay their own way. we're paying enough for their malfeasance already.
Monday, April 04, 2011
we won't, however, be talking about fantasy baseball for awhile, as my supposed studs are all getting shelled (eerie reminders of jon lester's last april) and none of my bats have awakened yet. well, except the bucs' neil walker who has been doing it all from my bench. but how can you sit dustin pedroia at 2nd, or adrian beltre at 3rd, to slot him in? ouch, it's tough to have drafted a good paper team...
better to muse on the better fortune being enjoyed by my fantasy basketballers, who look like they're a shoo-in for the title. two out of three ain't bad...
two of only some things
other things of which i own two include bicycles, and i can explain them both in a similar fashion: the first car, the 10 year old chrysler, is for city streets, bad weather, and cartage. the second car, the 8 year old honda, is for sunny weather and touring. likewise, the first bicycle, the 30 year old fuji, is for cobblestones and grocery runs, while the second bicycle, the 3 year old trek, is for, again, sunny weather and touring. (yes, i bought the second bicycle within the last 5 years, so it's "new", but sometimes you have to buy "new" in order to keep until "old"). i've also recently bought an indoor parking space and paid to have constructed a little storage shed there, but the economy of these things is also tied up in the investment in extra cars and bicycles--if you want something to last, you need to take care of it first.
when considering my post-alimony and child support take-home pay, two things become acutely clear: what i have to spend on "extravagance" is what most people squander on commuting large distances with cups of daily dunkin donuts coffee and possibly a pack of smokes. (a friend of mine took a photo of one car here in lowell with 8 packs of marlboro's on the dash, which is a picture that indeed tells a thousand-word story, isn't it). our lives are defined by our choices, and it's amazing how much is left over when we're not paying $3.50 each for each endless gallon of gas and dunkin donuts coffee and bagel combo. (5 gallons and 5 "breakfasts" each week is $700 a year, and at almost $10 a pack, cigarettes will more than double that, and, yeah, $1500 starts to sound like real money, doesn't it). the second thing is that if i could have possibly cut myself down exactly one woman in my life, i'd be rich.
"green" means never having to say "fill 'er up"
i'm reminded of the rarity of this privilege among most people these days having been alerted to a comment thread attached to corey scuito's latest blog entry, "perverting environmental terminology". in the post corey properly skewers the "green" doublespeak being slatered on the "middlesex turnpike +3" environmental pig like so much lipstick. sprawl is the environment's invincible bogeyman, and no matter how you try to dress it up, scattering places to be across square miles, even despite copious leafy-ness among them, is never going to yield an environmentally-friendly result.
ironically, it's the car, when all is said and done, that has done as much as can possibly be done to ruin this great country of ours. the answer, of course, lies dormant within places like the red brick-lined streets of downtown lowell, though you'd never convince the suburban greenies about it. at the decidedly left-wing summer camp i'm delighted to visit with my kids each year, everyone decorates their name badges with some sort of "natural" (aka "green") scene, inhabited by all sorts of wildlife, from seagulls to squirrels. mine, on the other hand, is always festooned with the red bricked canals of my home town, a fact which never fails to raise comments from the environmentally self-unaware. "why did you choose a city scene?"
i choose it for two reasons, the first and most important of which is that the red bricked and canal-powered streets of downtown lowell are among the most environmentally-friendly environments ever and yet known to man. the second is that almost nobody can figure out such an incontrovertible truth without being hit squarely between the eyes with one of those bricks.
sea gulls are scavengers whose prolificism is born of nothing greater than man's abuse of the sea. (ever hang out by the gurry plant in downtown gloucester?) squirrels likewise represent little more than the triumph of human-based adaptation among the more opportunistic species of the planet, including possums, and pigeons. there's little "green" about them, or their environments. if you want to throw away your tv and your car, you'd find few better places in which to do it than downtown lowell. if a "green" revolution is ever to occur, it has to start in places like here. the key will be finding the kinds of industries and employment that can thrive here, like so many pigeons and sparrows and squirrels. some discussion in the comment thread on corey's post includes software, which isn't such a bad option, though, as you might see from my own comments there, i'm a bit less optimistic while the concentration of software geeks down here is less than "critical mass". musicians and artisans and artists are in far greater supply, though corey has his own well-reasoned critique for why this may also prove less than a "green" bullet. the suggestion for us all is to think more about this, and to contribute any way we can.
i have to tell you, from a purely selfish perspective, not having to visit a gas station in almost a month affords quite a bit of other things.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
i won't even bother to find the words to do it justice--you just have to go there, eat there, and order it for dessert and you, too, will see...
we had the beef larp spicy, and the beef tongue medium rare, though less intrepid diners could get roughly the same dish made from beef steak and have a rough idea. i will some day starve myself for a week before going, but until then, you and i would be best advised not to try to finish everything in one sitting--first of all, you can't, and, second if all, if you could, you'd be so full the results wouldn't be any better overall... but if you savor, and if you take the rest home, you'll have had the best meal you've remembered having, and be looking forward to its echo the next day. and, not uncoincidentally, by bringing your own, as they say, you'll have had dinner for two for around $50 (including the 25% tip because you were compelled) and feel like a million. (the digestive proffered by the other party at the restaurant, because, well, i think, because family is family, was referred to as "mama-wanna", or "mama juana", or whatever it is that my dominican siblings call such things, and it did, by the way, indeed make mama wanna, but i can't talk about that just now. (google suggests mama juana is rum, red wine and honey infused with tree bark and herbs, but it's mostly just amazingly complex and good, and the perfect compliment to a lao meal, believe it or not).
knowing me, you also know that a good portion of the best meal ever was washed down with some tasty IPA (in this case, harpoon) and the whole thing was exactly what you wish your life could be like, if only you could make it so.
so why haven't you?
Friday, April 01, 2011
so you say you want to cut down on illegal drug use?
in this piece, author graham hancock suggests honest and open debate on the subject of drug use, and points out that use of addictive tobacco, which is legal, has seen drastic reductions over the past decades in largest part due to the availability of honest and reliable information on its health effects, whereas use of non-addictive marijuana, which is burdened with severe legal penalties and for which available information on health effects is effectively drowned out in the public consciousness by state-sponsored oppression, has seen consistent increase.
he also strays into discussions of personal liberty which i think may serve to obfuscate the basic point that we may very well be going about the curbing of drug usage all wrong. (and, as long as we're obfuscating, i'll point out that we can desperately use new sources of tax revenue too).