Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Funk: Johnny Guitar Watson; A Real Mother For Ya

For my money, this is one of the best bass lines ever. I dare you to try to sit completely still, ha!

Bon Weekend, everyone.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday Grace: Steve Vai; I Know You're Here; Denver, 2003

Beautiful guitar music for a summer night's musing. Spiritual Steve looks so grown-up compared to his protégé days of playing alongside Frank Zappa (who called him the "Little Italian Virtuoso") while wearing leopard-print t-shirts and wowing the girls. I love (and relate to!) the glasses, too--apparently even rock-'n-rollers get around to needing them sooner or later.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Health Care Reform's Public Enemy #1: Rick Scott

Please watch this important film short; feel free to share it far and wide.

Via Collateral News.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Walter Cronkite with Dennis Kucinich: For a Department of Peace

In September 2005, the late, great Walter Cronkite sat down with Rep. Dennis Kucinich to discuss a novel and, as yet, heartbreakingly little-explored approach to making our world a better place: create a Department of Peace. Watch and be inspired.

Sadly, the idea makes far too much sense to be a plausible goal for our violence-addicted culture, especially when you consider that many of our leaders have track records of slavish devotion to the makers of Things That Go Bang in the Night. And that said leaders themselves are, all too often, wealthy white male draft-dodgers with pneumatic Caymans accounts in need of constant feeding. But you never know--perhaps we can get Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, SAIC, et alia, interested in the dove-breeding and butter-distributing business?

(H/T commenter atheist over at Roy Edroso's place.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Beautifully Said

Actress Rita Hayworth points out that she donated her car’s steel bumpers to the war effort; note Hayworth's crisp outfit, jaunty brooch, and prettily-curled hair.
(Photo from the National Archives.)

She's probably too modest to mention this herself, so I'm going to tell you about Cogblog contributor Lisa Simeone's winning column/blog, Glamor Girl, over at Baltimore STYLE Magazine. In today's piece, Lisa discusses the importance, now more than ever, of creating and appreciating beauty--including gorgeous fashion. I encourage you to go read the whole thing and show her some comment love:

Asking, “what’s the point of fashion?” betrays a profound ignorance. What’s the point of music? Of art? Of literature? With so many more “serious” concerns in an often brutal world, why waste time on anything as trivial or as frivolous as creativity? What’s the point of beauty? Of joy? Of aesthetics?

I would argue that it’s precisely because the world can be such a cruel, barbaric place that we need beauty, we need pleasure, we need self-expression. We need the dreams and fantasies of designers made incarnate.

And it’s not all just a Madison Avenue conspiracy, another inane theory floating around out there. Maasai teenagers in Kenya don’t primp and preen in front of car mirrors in the bush, comparing their red shukas and trying to one-up each other in adornments, because they’re being pressured by ruthless advertisers. Their sisters and mothers don’t spend hours and days fabricating intricate beaded jewelry because some corporate titan came along and urged them to do it.

Oh, and my favorite—the pseudo-feminist argument that fashion is a method of oppressing women. As a proud loudmouthed feminist, I’m particularly rankled by that one. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian women had for the first time in their lives the chance to buy beautiful, lacy, feminine bras. Yes, bras. Middle-class and blue-collar women would save up for months, forgoing other needs, just to buy one beautiful bra. Why? Because Western capitalists were trying to oppress them? No, because they craved beauty.

I couldn't agree more--Hooray for beauty, hooray for creativity, and down with wanton destruction and violence, I say. Go read!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Half Baked Alaska
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

In case you missed last night's Daily Show, here is the fabulous Samantha Bee explaining Sarah Palin's resignation to Jon Stewart. Priceless!

(Very well, I promise this is the last thing litbrit will post about Sarah Palin.*)

* Until and unless she sets forth any heretofore unexploited comedy gold, in which case it would irresponsible not to mockulate.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Sarah Palin's personal magnetism: It is what it is

One of various inspirational refrigerator magnets
scattered around the litbrit desk

In her now-infamous resignation "speech" last Friday, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, having exhausted the deciphering skills of supporters and reporters alike with a seemingly never-ending stream of nonsensical explanations for quitting her office mid-term, spun around and denounced the very need for explanations in the first place:
I think of the saying on my parents’ refrigerator that says “Don’t explain: your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe you anyway.”
Refrigerator magnet wisdom! Well, that explains everything. Not that you really need an explanation, mind you.

We are a nation of slogan-lapper-uppers, aren't we? Just Do It. It's the Real Thing. I'm Lovin' It.

So perhaps Governor Palin is just following a grand Madison Avenue tradition here, using the vague and universal pronoun "it" in such a way as to allow the audience themselves to fill in the begged question of "it", drawing on their own deeply-submerged wants and needs. After all, when Nike says Just Do It, the "it" is supposed to mean exercise, but the more profound message is that one should engage in whatever "it" is that strikes one's fancy, no second-guessing, no excuses. When Coca-Cola told us that "it" was the real thing, they were, at first blush, referring to the beverage in the curvy glass bottle in the print ad, but they could just as easily have been referencing the curvy model's main asset. I'm Lovin'...what exactly? The reliable sameness of the burger or the burger itself? Which is "it"?

And so "it" goes with Sarah Palin's ridiculous non-explanation explanation. The following examples of Palin invoking the usefully vague "it" are quoted directly from the governor's Website, where she's proudly posted the entire text, as it were, of her resignation speech as it appeared on the Teleprompter (and yes, you read that right: Sarah Palin actually wrote that speech ahead of time and read it to you).
But I won’t do it from the Governor’s desk.

It’s not what is best for Alaska.

it’s no more “politics as usual”
I cannot believe that there are people in this country--hell, people who supposedly went to journalism school, an endeavor that used to require basic competency in English--who seriously think such a person is capable of being the president of the United States.

This is due, in large part, to the fact that we are a nation of superficial, looks-obsessed, slogan-lapper-uppers.

Is that not it? It is.

Also at Cogitamus.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

BREAKING: Exiled President Zelaya en route to Honduras

At or around 3:50 pm EST today, President Zelaya boarded a Venezuelan jet bound for Tegucigalpa. The Honduran capital appears to be in an extremely volatile state as an apparent showdown draws near; I worry that innocent, unarmed people are going to be hurt and killed, simply for protesting. I suppose it's naïve of me to hope that all this goes productively and without incident, but here's wishing for that, nonetheless:
Honduras' exiled president took off for home in a Venezuelan jet in a high-stakes attempt to return to power, even as the interim government told its military to turn away the plane.

Zelaya won wide international support after his ouster a week ago by the military, but the only prominent escort aboard his plane was the U.N. General Assembly president after Latin American leaders backed out, citing security concerns. Honduras' civil aviation director said Zelaya's plane was being redirected to El Salvador.

Several other planes carrying Latin American presidents, the secretary-general of the Organization of American States and journalists were leaving Washington separately, trailing Zelaya to see what happens in the skies over Honduras before deciding where to land.

Thousands of protesters descended on the airport in the Honduran capital in anticipation of the showdown. Police helicopters hovered overhead. Commercial flights were canceled, and outside the airport about 200 soldiers with riot shields formed a line in front of the protesters.

''The government of President (Roberto) Micheletti has ordered the armed forces and the police not to allow the entrance of any plane bringing the former leader,'' the foreign minister of the interim government, Enrique Ortez, told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Flying with Zelaya were close advisers and staff, two journalists from the Venezuela-based network Telesur, and U.N. General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, a leftist Nicaraguan priest and former foreign minister who personally condemned Zelaya's ouster as a coup d'etat.

Speaking live from the plane through Telesur, Zelaya called on the Honduran military to leave the airport free for him to land.