Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I Modestly Propose That You Read This

The fabulous Jon Swift has compiled his annual Best Blog Posts of 2008, which is a holiday cornucopia of wit, wailing, and wisdom submitted by the bloggers themselves. Dear Readers, there is so much good stuff there, you might as well set aside some time, make yourself an extra-large coffee with lots of cream and sugar (you're giving all that up tomorrow, right?) and settle in with a cuddly kitteh or two.

(Speaking of cuddly kittehs, Jon has scattered various spot-on lolcats throughout the long, long post. I'd better hurry up and finish this post--if Son Three sees this, he's going to want to sit on my lap and spend the next hour scrolling through I Can Has Cheezburger, and there goes the morning.)

For my part, I submitted a short (one sentence!) post, entitled To Those Who Muse About "Spreading Democracy" on This Day of Fidel Castro's Retirement that I wrote for litbrit back in February (it includes a Pablo Neruda poem). Unbeknown to me at the time, Mr. Swift had linked to that very post in a piece that he wrote, shortly thereafter, about the ridiculous embargo on Cuba. Weird, but unsurprising, given how many similar "weird" things happen when like minds join forces in the ether and...oh, hell, I can't do self-promotion without sounding like a complete New Age ass, so just go and peruse Swift's Hall of Awesomeness, okay?

(P.S. Thank you for taking on this enormous task, Jon; cheers and kisses to you, as always, for promoting us little guys.)

And Sir C, I swiped this one for you, though I'm sincerely hoping it's not one of your '09 resolutions :

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Catblogging: Here Comes Marley Claws

They dressed me up like this. And this isn't my coat--it's a false one.

We all love a figgy pudding--or at least, a pudding-shaped cat--so bring us one now.

Merry, merry everyone!


The Rational Actor's Libertarian Fête

[In light of recent disasters stemming from under-regulation and deregulation of various market sectors--the obvious Big Disaster as well as things like Spontaneous Combustion Snow Globes and Renal Failure Seafood--I thought it would be appropriate to re-post this poem I wrote for Ezra's blog and mine last Christmas. Commenter Andrew, responding to a contentious free-market cultist, said it well:

"Pity the poor libertarian. C. Ronnie Capitalist wears his clothes during the day. When the kitchen lights are out, the lobbying and no-bid contracts make scurrying little noises. You can hear them if you listen. Those aren't libertarians."]

The Phantom slowly, gravely, silently approached.
-- from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The Rational Actor's Libertarian Fête

Come now, the ever-bitterer winter wind
Reminding one and all what season nears,
And with it come the needs and wants of friends;
The plight--the suffering!--told of distant spheres.
Ah, what is there to do but shake one's head
And wonder at the choices people make?
They knew what they were doing. He made his bed.
Some people want to live life on the take.
I suffered; there were sacrifices made.
The roads I chose have led me to this place,

And all my efforts now will be repaid;

My just desserts spread forth before my face.

Let this be, then, the year we celebrate
At the Rational Actor's Libertarian Fête!

Come in, have drinks; we've everything to please--
Our own self-interest, you'll be glad to know,
Means cocktails that are light on antifreeze
And bread with just the faintest melamine glow.
We're reasonably sure the Champagne flute
Won't leach a cloud of lead into each bubble--
Or Christmas-colored plastic cups might suit?
No need to thank the Chinese for their trouble.
It's quite a spread, when all is said and done:
There's corn--and beans--with tortured DNA;
The Monkfish, I am told, will surely stun;
There's penicillin in the shrimp souffle.
It's doubtful that the roasted pig will kill you;
Though, even then, the hospital will bill you.

Come now, the ever-bitterer winter wind,
Reminding one and all that all are one;
And so the needs and wants of nearby friends,
And suffering humans under a distant sun,
Become our needs and wants--it's all-impacting.
Each dollar saved becomes a lead-laced train
That sickens those too young for Rational Acting.
Each weakened law begets a poisoned grain.
And so the guests of honor at their Fête
May find their appetites are somewhat numb;
They'll hope the howling coming from the gate
Is not The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come,
His corrupted chains of debt stretched through the air,
Borne by toxic winds of laissez-faire.

D.N.T. 11/25/07

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Frank: A Zappadan Catch-up Post

Wow, what a week. Okay, make that month. Methinks it's high time I posted some fabulous Frank to cap off Zappadan and kick off the pre-Christmas weekend. [ I should point out that as with much of FZ's music, the lyrics might not be especially, er, work-safe--unless, of course, your co-workers and boss are Zappaphiles too.]

Let's travel back in time, then, to 1968, and visit the Royal Festival Hall, where Frank Zappa, the Mothers, and various orchestra members are performing a neoclassical piece entitled This Town is a Sealed Tuna Sandwich, which would later be featured in the film 200 Motels.

Guitar-heads will enjoy the solo in this one, Outside Now, performed in Paris in 1980:

And finally, here's our hero playing Florentine Pogen in L.A. back in 1974:

Bon Weekend, Happy Festivus, and Merry Zappadan everyone!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Minstrel Boy on Jeopardy Today!

Set your Tivo's and DVR's, since Minstrel Boy of Group News Blog and Harp and Sword is appearing on Jeopardy today (check your local listings).

"I'll take brilliant, irreverent, truffle-making, multiple-language-speaking, massive-amounts-of-history-knowing, more-instruments-than-I've-had-hot-dinners-playing, Vietnam Veteran Irish-Apache Gentlemen and Scholars for a thousand, Alex...".

Go MB!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

FridaySaturday Frank: Watermelon in Easter Hay; Barcelona, 1988

I remember reading somewhere that this was one of FZ's favorite pieces (or was it Peaches en Regalia? Hmmm...). Anyway, Watermelon is gorgeous, meditative music that's hard to categorize--so why bother? I'll simply think of it as more beauty and brilliance from an American genius.

Happy Zappadan, everyone!

Today in Very Timely Songs: David Bowie & Gail Ann Dorsey Perform Under Pressure

Two music gods on one stage. Enjoy.

"...It's the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming 'Let me out!'
Pray tomorrow takes me higher
People people on streets
Turned away from it all
Like a blind man
Sat on fence but it don't work
Keep coming up with love
But it's so slashed and torn
Why, why, why?
Love, love, love, love.

Insanity laughs under pressure we're cracking
Can't we give ourselves one more chance?
Why can't we give love one more chance?
Why can't we give love, give love, give love,
Give love, give love, give love, give love, give love...

'Cause love's such an old fashioned word

And love dares you to care
For people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way
Of caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves under pressure..."

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Marriage Equality Rocks!

Via TRex, with whom I was speaking this morning and to whom I said, You know, I love it that our side can fight all this ignorance and bigotry with creative brilliance and joy.

"It's the only way to win, baby," he replied.

(By the way, I'm totally adding Jack Black to my list of Super Best Friends.)