Monday, November 30, 2009

Here's where I'm at now with this Health Care situation.

I am a member of the Freelancers Union, as a self employed person, without them there would be no way i could afford Health Insurance for myself and family. They have been very good on several levels, including fighting upstate and downtown to get the insane taxes on independent workers reduced significantly. But this past week i received news that my insurance rate will go up some TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT! It's not their fault, it's BlueCross/Blue Shield. We need to start over on this issue and not pass anything on the table now that these politicians are compromising away on to the Insurance corporations. I agree with this statement from the SINGLE PAYER ACTION. You can watch here in full on C-SPAN. Watch it and demand we start over and get what we really need.

Here's a bit of the statement:
The bloated Democratic health bill is a turkey.

We need to start from scratch.

And pass single payer health insurance for the American people.

We will each make brief statements, and then take your questions.

I’m speaking today for myself and on behalf of Single Payer Action.

And others will be speaking for their organizations.

Six months ago – on May 5, 2009 – Margaret, Carol, Kevin and I were up on Capitol Hill.

We were in the Senate Finance Committee hearing room.

It was the beginning of three days of hearings to kick off the health care debate in Congress.

The room was packed with industry lobbyists of all stripes – health insurance, pharmaceutical, medical device, the AMA – you name it, they were there.

Senator Max Baucus, the chair of the committee, had scheduled three days of hearings on health care reform.

Baucus had asked 41 health care experts to testify.

Not one was an advocate for single payer national health insurance.

Single payer is a simple clear reform.

The house single payer bill – HR 676 – is only 30 pages long.

Baucus, Obama and the Democrats had taken it off the table.

And replaced it with a 2,000 page monstrosity.

Single payer is simple.

And it works.

Under a single payer system, the day you are born, you get a medical card with your name on it.

With this card, you get free choice of doctor and hospital.

Anywhere in the United States.

You pay no health care premiums to private health insurance corporations.

You receive no bills.

Instead of the premiums we are paying now, we would pay that amount or less into one public insurance pool.

Everybody in.

Nobody out.

Single payer saves lives.

Right now, 45,000 Americans die every year from lack of health insurance.

Under a single payer system, zero Americans would die every year from lack of health insurance.


Because everybody would be covered.

Single payer covers everyone.

Single payer also saves money.

We would replace the hundreds of private health insurance payers with one single public payer.

In one stroke, we would save $400 billion a year in administrative waste, profits and overhead.

We would then use those savings to insure everyone.
Read the entire statement here.
or watch it here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Short Film: In the Eye of the Whale

This is a short film about MMCTA founder Bryant Austin's efforts to compose and produce high resolution life-size photographs of whales to share in whaling nations and beyond.

The film was produced through the non-profit organization Marine Mammal Conservation Through the Arts (MMCTA). MMCTA continues to raise funds to allow Bryant to accomplish his goal of documenting ten endangered whale species. To learn more about our work, to donate and support its continuation, we encourage you to visit

(thanks, Peggy)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another you should know, if you don't already.

The Jimmy Castor Bunch created a song that is one of the all time funk hip-hop classics, and probably played more often at any break dance battle or authentic hip-hop party than any other song hands down. Not to mention how often it's been sampled! You may not have heard the whole thing, but even if you've seen the most mediocre hip-hop video you've seen some kids getting down to this classic B-Boy break beat of all break beats. Check this live TV appearance from 1972 of the original song "It's Just Begun" (from the album 16 Slabs of Funk) in it's entirety.

and here's the studio version:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Today is annual Buy Nothing Day

We are a global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society.

There’s only one way to avoid the collapse of this human experiment of ours on Planet Earth: we have to consume less.

So this November 27 (November 28 in Europe and overseas), we’re calling for a Wildcat General Strike. We’re asking tens of millions of people around the world to bring the capitalist consumption machine to a grinding – if only momentary – halt.

We want you to not only stop buying for 24 hours, but to shut off your lights, televisions and other nonessential appliances. We want you to park your car, turn off your phones and log off of your computer for the day.

We’re calling for a Ramadan-like fast. From sunrise to sunset we’ll abstain en masse, not only from holiday shopping, but from all the temptations of our five-planet lifestyles.

Take the Plunge:
You know what they say: a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. You feel that things are falling apart – the temperature rising, the oceans churning, the global economy heaving – why not do something? Take just one small step toward a more just and sustainable future. Make a pact with yourself: go on a consumer fast. Lock up your credit cards, put away your cash and opt out of the capitalist spectacle. You may find that it’s harder than you think, that the impulse to buy is more ingrained in you than you ever realized. But you will persist and you will transcend – perhaps reaching the kind of epiphany that can change the world.

Here's an old ad from Ad Busters
that was banned from MTV and several other networks
a few years back when they started this campaign.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Celebrate Thanksgiving with a little reality check

Top 10 Myths About Thanksgiving
From the History News Network
MYTH # 1

The Pilgrims Held the First Thanksgiving

To see what the first Thanksgiving was like you have to go to: Texas. Texans claim the first Thanksgiving in America actually took place in little San Elizario, a community near El Paso, in 1598 -- twenty-three years before the Pilgrims' festival. For several years they have staged a reenactment of the event that culminated in the Thanksgiving celebration: the arrival of Spanish explorer Juan de Onate on the banks of the Rio Grande. De Onate is said to have held a big Thanksgiving festival after leading hundreds of settlers on a grueling 350-mile long trek across the Mexican desert.

Then again, you may want to go to Virginia.. At the Berkeley Plantation on the James River they claim the first Thanksgiving in America was held there on December 4th, 1619....two years before the Pilgrims' festival....and every year since 1958 they have reenacted the event. In their view it's not the Mayflower we should remember, it's the Margaret, the little ship which brought 38 English settlers to the plantation in 1619. The story is that the settlers had been ordered by the London company that sponsored them to commemorate the ship's arrival with an annual day of Thanksgiving. Hardly anybody outside Virginia has ever heard of this Thanksgiving, but in 1963 President Kennedy officially recognized the plantation's claim.

MYTH # 2

Thanksgiving Was About Family

If by Thanksgiving, you have in mind the Pilgrim festival, forget about it being a family holiday. Put away your Norman Rockwell paintings. Turn off Bing Crosby. Thanksgiving was a multicultural community event. If it had been about family, the Pilgrims never would have invited the Indians to join them.

MYTH # 3

Thanksgiving Was About Religion

No it wasn't. Paraphrasing the answer provided above, if Thanksgiving had been about religion, the Pilgrims never would have invited the Indians to join them. Besides, the Pilgrims would never have tolerated festivities at a true religious event. Indeed, what we think of as Thanksgiving was really a harvest festival. Actual "Thanksgivings" were religious affairs; everybody spent the day praying. Incidentally, these Pilgrim Thanksgivings occurred at different times of the year, not just in November.

MYTH # 4

The Pilgrims Ate Turkey

What did the Pilgrims eat at their Thanksgiving festival? They didn't have corn on the cob, apples, pears, potatoes or even cranberries. No one knows if they had turkey, although they were used to eating turkey. The only food we know they had for sure was deer. 11(And they didn't eat with a fork; they didn't have forks back then.)

So how did we get the idea that you have turkey and cranberry and such on Thanksgiving? It was because the Victorians prepared Thanksgiving that way. And they're the ones who made Thanksgiving a national holiday, beginning in 1863, when Abe Lincoln issued his presidential Thanksgiving proclamations...two of them: one to celebrate Thanksgiving in August, a second one in November. Before Lincoln Americans outside New England did not usually celebrate the holiday. (The Pilgrims, incidentally, didn't become part of the holiday until late in the nineteenth century. Until then, Thanksgiving was simply a day of thanks, not a day to remember the Pilgrims.)

MYTH # 5

The Pilgrims Landed on Plymouth Rock

According to historian George Willison, who devoted his life to the subject, the story about the rock is all malarkey, a public relations stunt pulled off by townsfolk to attract attention. What Willison found out is that the Plymouth Rock legend rests entirely on the dubious testimony of Thomas Faunce, a ninety-five year old man, who told the story more than a century after the Mayflower landed. Unfortunately, not too many people ever heard how we came by the story of Plymouth Rock. Willison's book came out at the end of World War II and Americans had more on their minds than Pilgrims then. So we've all just gone merrily along repeating the same old story as if it's true when it's not. And anyway, the Pilgrims didn't land in Plymouth first. They first made landfall at Provincetown. Of course, the people of Plymouth stick by hoary tradition. Tour guides insist that Plymouth Rock is THE rock.

MYTH # 6

Pilgrims Lived in Log Cabins

No Pilgrim ever lived in a log cabin. The log cabin did not appear in America until late in the seventeenth century, when it was introduced by Germans and Swedes. The very term "log cabin" cannot be found in print until the 1770s. Log cabins were virtually unknown in England at the time the Pilgrims arrived in America. So what kind of dwellings did the Pilgrims inhabit? As you can see if you visit Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts, the Pilgrims lived in wood clapboard houses made from sawed lumber.

MYTH # 7

Pilgrims Dressed in Black

Not only did they not dress in black, they did not wear those funny buckles, weird shoes, or black steeple hats. So how did we get the idea of the buckles? Plimoth Plantation historian James W. Baker explains that in the nineteenth century, when the popular image of the Pilgrims was formed, buckles served as a kind of emblem of quaintness. That's the reason illustrators gave Santa buckles. Even the blunderbuss, with which Pilgrims are identified, was a symbol of quaintness. The blunderbuss was mainly used to control crowds. It wasn't a hunting rifle. But it looks out of date and fits the Pilgrim stereotype.

MYTH # 8

Pilgrims, Puritans -- Same Thing

Though even presidents get this wrong -- Ronald Reagan once referred to Puritan John Winthrop as a Pilgrim -- Pilgrims and Puritans were two different groups. The Pilgrims came over on the Mayflower and lived in Plymouth. The Puritans, arriving a decade later, settled in Boston. The Pilgrims welcomed heterogeneousness. Some (so-called "strangers") came to America in search of riches, others (so-called "saints") came for religious reasons. The Puritans, in contrast, came over to America strictly in search of religious freedom. Or, to be technically correct, they came over in order to be able to practice their religion freely. They did not welcome dissent. That we confuse Pilgrims and Puritans would have horrified both. Puritans considered the Pilgrims incurable utopians. While both shared the belief that the Church of England had become corrupt, only the Pilgrims believed it was beyond redemption. They therefore chose the path of Separatism. Puritans held out the hope the church would reform.

MYTH # 9

Puritans Hated Sex

Actually, they welcomed sex as a God-given responsibility. When one member of the First Church of Boston refused to have conjugal relations with his wife two years running, he was expelled. Cotton Mather, the celebrated Puritan minister, condemned a married couple who had abstained from sex in order to achieve a higher spirituality. They were the victims, he wrote, of a "blind zeal."

MYTH # 10

Puritans Hated Fun

H.L. Mencken defined Puritanism as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy!" Actually, the Puritans welcomed laughter and dressed in bright colors (or, to be precise, the middle and upper classes dressed in bright colors; members of the lower classes were not permitted to indulge themselves -- they dressed in dark clothes). As Carl Degler long ago observed, "The Sabbatarian, antiliquor, and antisex attitudes usually attributed to the Puritans are a nineteenth-century addition to the much more moderate and wholesome view of life's evils held by the early settlers of New England."
Top 10 Myths About Thanksgiving from the History News Network, By Rick Shenkman

and here's a few more that may be of interest:

12 Reasons to Celebrate Turkey, Not Eat It from Green Planet

Why We Shouldn't Celebrate Thanksgiving from AlterNet

America's turkeys and humans alike are getting heavier from The Economist

and finally here's a vegan friendly story from the always leaning more conservative CNN:


Here's a great clip from an article at
The Museum of the Moving Image

and finally...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Henry Rollins blog over at Vanity Fair

I just came across this the other day and thought you also might like to know that it's actually there, Henry's writing a blog for Vanity Fair, with the great title "STRAIGHT TALK ESPRESSO" in their Politics & Power section. 28 entries dating back to March 2009, better late than never, i hope H would agree. Some of the titles include: "The Nancy Reagan Stem Cell Research Good Time Hour Presents ..." - "Some Would Rather Hate Than Switch" - "Ann Coulter, You'll Always Be My Fantasy Cougar" - "In Afghanistan, Worse Is the New Better"
Here's the 1st one i saw:
Good News: The World Is Finally Flat
November 12, 2009, 1:51 pm

No need to go anywhere. Don’t bother with the passport, those awful flights, and airports choked with annoyingly enthusiastic European backpackers. You can stay home and not even have to leave your area code, because it’s all the same now, anywhere you want to go—you’ve already been there. Thomas Friedman says it’s cool and everything’s going to be all right—where there’s McDonald’s, there’s peace. Cultural diversity is great; that’s why people go to an Outback Steakhouse, right?

Ah, Indonesia! The overwhelming number of whirring motorbikes whizzing down the street like schools of mechanized fish, the smells of garbage, flowers, and home cooking mixed together, the Dunkin’ Donuts. It is indeed a small world after all.

Walking the slums of Jakarta for the last few days has given me a lot of things to think about. I now know what happens to all those T-shirts I've been contributing to fund drives for all these years. I saw one man wearing a T-shirt featuring Shepard Fairey’s cover for Led Zeppelin’s new best-of album, Mothership. I walked over to him and said, “Led Zeppelin, right on!” He just stared and smiled. No idea. I am sure the story was the same with the little kid in the Slayer shirt. At one point, I met a young couple who recognized me and we stopped to talk. Around that time, a female vendor walked up to us wearing a most interesting T-shirt. The couple got the irony of the situation and explained to the woman why I was asking to take her picture. She just smiled gently and patiently allowed me to take a few photos before she moved on, perhaps wondering what the hell that was all about.

America washes ashore like cultural driftwood in countries like this one. The locals wear and digest it like an imported non sequitur as they walk through an absurdist landscape that used to be their homeland. Driftwood, dead chickens covered in the Colonel’s secret recipe, whatever. It’s all cool, right? Why should the rest of the world miss out on clogged arteries and thickened blood? Don’t hate the freedom!

No one is innocent. Nothing is sacred. Everywhere is America. Mr. Friedman, we won, we won!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Martian Landscapes: Mars In High Resolution

I love these images...

From The Big Picture (via DangerousMinds):
Since 2006, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been orbiting Mars, currently circling approximately 300 km (187 mi) above the Martian surface. On board the MRO is HiRISE, the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera, which has been photographing the planet for several years now at resolutions as fine as mere inches per pixel. Collected here is a group of images from HiRISE over the past few years, in either false color or grayscale, showing intricate details of landscapes both familiar and alien, from the surface of our neighboring planet, Mars. I invite you to take your time looking through these, imagining the settings - very cold, dry and distant, yet real. (35 photos total)
Martian landscapes

Hit the links for all the images and in depth captions.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Feeling grumpy 'is good for you'

Or so says Australian psychologist, Joe Forgas, who seems to think a case of the “grumps” can, in fact, make us think more clearly. The University of New South Wales researcher says grumpy people, rather than happy types, are better at coping with demanding situations because of the way the brain “promotes information processing strategies.”
He asked volunteers to watch different films and dwell on positive or negative events in their life, designed to put them in either a good or bad mood. Next he asked them to take part in a series of tasks, including judging the truth of urban myths and providing eyewitness accounts of events. Those in a bad mood outperformed those who were jolly—they made fewer mistakes and were better communicators.

Professor Forgas said: ‘Whereas positive mood seems to promote creativity, flexibility, co-operation and reliance on mental shortcuts, negative moods trigger more attentive, careful thinking, paying greater attention to the external world.’
Bonus: Grumpy, Yet Clear-Thinking, Max Von Sydow In Hannah And Her Sisters

BBC News: Feeling Grumpy Is Good For You

(Thanks, via DangerousMinds)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The World’s First ‘Cloud Bar’ Opens in the UK

from my friends at The Cloud Appreciation Society
It may not serve any booze, but the Cloud Bar on the beach at Anderby Creek in Lincolnshire, UK, has been sanctioned by The Cloud Appreciation Society as the world’s first ‘Official Clouspotting Area’. And, since it’s launch on 1 April 2009, it is now open to the cloudspotting public.
The Cloud Bar was the idea of artist, and CAS member, Michael Trainor. Replacing a disused beach shelter, the handsome wooden structure looks out to sea from this unspoilt stretch of the Lincolnshire coastline. On the viewing platform, are ‘Cloud Menus’ identifying the different formations, mirrors that can be swiveled to reflect different parts of the sky and specially designed cloud-viewing seats, on which visitors can recline and enjoy the view.
Local members of the Cloud Appreciation Society and Society photo gallery editor, Ian Loxley, attended the opening ceremony, in which BBC weatherman (and Society member), Paul Hudson, cut the blue ribbon. It was a shame that the event was rather marred by the weather: there was barely a cloud in the sky.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I just saw D-E-V-O !

It's was over THIRTY FUCKIN YEARS AGO that i saw DEVO for the 1st time. They were great then, and pretty fucking cool tonight. My old neighbor and friend Alex Smith asked on his blog some months or weeks back if anyone wanted to join him for this first album on demand type show, I jumped at the chance.

I'm too tired to write much more than it was fun to be there, I'll just quote Alex's blog verbatim as a kind of guest blogger for today: Oh, one other thing i will add that i found a bit curious, was that Devo's stage hand roadie was wearing a Jeff Ho ZEPHYR t-shirt that was clearly visable everytime he would bring out a new guitar or replace a mic... go figure...

So, I caught DEVO again tonight at Irving Pl.... oh, excuse me, The Filmore New York at Irving Plaza. This is about the fifth time I've seen them in as many years (see previous reviews here and here). Tonight was the first of two nights, each devoted to specific albums. This evening's show concentrated on Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo, the band's debut (you can read my breathlessly overwritten praise for that album here). They ran through the album in its entirety, then came back and cranked through "Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA," "Gates of Steel" and "Secret Agent Man." They're still old, grey and fat, but they rocked. I'd normally have more to say on the subject, but it's late and I need to get to bed, but I wanted to post this before my friend Glen (who I went with) got his blog post up. Ha! Herewith some photos of dubious quality from tonight's show. Duty now, spuds

As a little bonus i'll include the graphic below that i designed back in 2004 or so, that i actually got permission from Jerry (Casale) of DEVO to make, but i was never able to get it together with an artist to perfect the design, and since then T-Shirt business and me just don't get along too well anyway... But this woulda been a great one don't you think?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Spray Paint The Walls ...

From the Desk of Joe Carducci...

I guessed/predicted in Rock and the Pop Narcotic that regarding Black Flag there was never enough sales for the real publishing industry to ever write a check to get to the bottom of the band's story. Back in the late 1980s when I wrote R&TPN only Faber & Faber was even issuing original music titles, and indeed they were the only publisher to take a look at my manuscript. But the 80s/90s roll-out of Tower Books, Barnes & Noble, and Borders did spur a short golden age of the music section in book stores. That's over now. But Omnibus in the UK, which once had the only book on Black Sabbath in print, now issues the first comprehensive book about Black Flag, first in the UK, soon here. Spray Paint the Walls is very well reported and assembled by Brit music writer Stevie Chick, author of the better of the recent Sonic Youth books. Neither Greg Ginn nor Henry Rollins sat for interviews but their voices are included from earlier interviews, and more importantly Chuck Dukowski spoke to Chick - a first I believe. The story, laid out from the band's earliest practices in 1976 to its end ten years later, makes a far more dramatic book than the usual shelf-fillers with their stretch to make the empty stories of various chart-toppers sound exciting and crucial and against the odds. I read a rough draft; I'm sure most of the minor Anglocentric miscomprehensions of timelines, causalities and geography are still in it but the book is powerful because it does the story justice. And those miscomprehensions are shared by most American music writers as well so what the hell...

Excerpt: Black Flag Polliwog Park episode from Stevie Chick's book.
Joe's note, from the fairly new blog that he writes for called The New Vulgate

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Will Phillips, Ten Year Old American Hero

from DangerousMinds:
This young man, Will Phillips, a ten year-old student in Washington County Arkansas is very, very impressive. He’s smart, he’s articulate, he’s logical and he is passionate about doing the right thing. This kid is awesome. When Will took his stand—or rather kept his seat—against a rote recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in his classroom until there really is liberty and justice for all Americans—including lesbians, gays and transgendered people, he had no idea that his small gesture of defiance would end up with him on CNN. But there he was and wow, this kid is just unflappable. He even looks smart, and that’s impossible to fake (Compare his countenance to Sarah Palin’s!) You can see the wheels going round in his head before he opens his mouth. And when he speaks, he speaks the truth. God bless you Will, go out there and make your mark on the world.

When you watch the video clip note how Will’s father, Jay Philllips, is obviously bursting with pride over his son’s principled act of civil disobedience. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, a private/public moment of great empathy Jay shows toward Will. Jay and his wife, Laura, are active supporters of the local LGBT community, and have clearly instilled a sense of right and wrong in their son and they, too, deserve a round of applause—make that a standing ovation—for having raised a child this fantastic.
“I’ve always tried to analyze things because I want to be lawyer,” Will said. “I really don’t feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all.”

After asking his parents whether it was against the law not to stand for the pledge, Will decided to do something. On Monday, Oct. 5, when the other kids in his class stood up to recite the pledge of allegiance, he remained sitting down. The class had a substitute teacher that week, a retired educator from the district, who knew Will’s mother and grandmother. Though the substitute tried to make him stand up, he respectfully refused. He did it again the next day, and the next day. Each day, the substitute got a little more cross with him. On Thursday, it finally came to a head. The teacher, Will said, told him that she knew his mother and grandmother, and they would want him to stand and say the pledge.

“She got a lot more angry and raised her voice and brought my mom and my grandma up,” Will said. “I was fuming and was too furious to really pay attention to what she was saying. After a few minutes, I said, ‘With all due respect, ma’am, you can go jump off a bridge.’ ”

Will was sent to the office, where he was given an assignment to look up information about the flag and what it represents. Meanwhile, the principal called his mother.

“She said we have to talk about Will, because he told a sub to jump off a bridge,” Laura Phillips said. “My first response was: Why? He’s not just going to say this because he doesn’t want to do his math work.”
If Will represents what the next generation is gonna be like, the next twenty to thirty years are going to get very interesting, indeed… at least if the smart people continue to have kids.

(thanks, Simone)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


On sale at OBEY GIANT sometime on Thursday, Edition of 450, sold at random, limit 1 per household, Signed and numbered by Jim Muir, Shepard Fairey and myself.

It's been a long time in the making, since my old good friend, original Z-Boy, "Red Dog" nearly killed himself in a surfing accident earlier in the year. Here's what happened. There was a benefit auction back in August, unfortunately we were not able to get this poster together in time, but here it finally is, as well there will be a one off fine art piece done by Shepard to be sold to the highest bidder at his next gallery exhibition, where 100% of the proceeds will go to Jim. For now we've got these great posters, which I've got to say is probably my favorite collaboration we've done to date (the others of Public Enemy, Tony Alva, and the Bad Brains, were great no doubt, but i feel this is the most beautiful of them all).

I first mentioned Jim's injuries and beginning recovery here in April. His injuries include two crushed vertebrae, C6 and C7, and a fracture to C5. On March 15th he underwent emergency surgery to fuse C6 and C7 vertebrae with a spacer, cadaver bone, two titanium straps and four screws.

Good news is his recovery is going along fantastically. Although he's getting around now he still can not go back to work yet, so the help we know is appreciated.

This is the last collaboration of the year for Shepard Fairy and I (after this we only have one "planned" for June 2010 and one for February 2011).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fuck You Heroes & Fuck You Too

I stumbled upon this track by white rapper "Cleen" featuring another rapper "Plural Clarity" as well. (as I write this it's got only 20 views!) It's not the greatest record i ever heard, but it's certainly entertaining and I'm happy to hear any half decent hip-hop with a little attitude from anyone sincere with melody. (Not to mention my name and book titles do show up in the tags for this song.) He's got other songs on YouTube that sample Henry Mancini's "Pink Panther" theme, and another based on Jay-Z's 99 Problems ("99 Condoms and i won't use one") as well as a good battles here and there, he's funny, and that counts too sometimes...

His voice actually reminds me of this insanely brazen white guy, Ray Lipowski, who showed up on Pufffy's "Bad Boys of Comedy" show several years back.

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Opening Day at the Park..."

That was the title of one of the great original DogTown articles that Craig (Stecyk) wrote for SkateBoarder back in 1977, Like all the stories that helped define and build the Legend of DogTown, it was an instant classic. So thirty years plus down the line DogTown really, finally, gets it's very own skatepark.

The Marina Del Rey Skatepark was as close as it got in the late 70's, but it only lasted a few years. Kids are actually pretty spoiled these days, there's now several parks within 'a stones throw' of this new one that just opened last month in Venice actually on the beach, one in Santa Monica and the other in Culver City, just a few miles from each other. Back in early 1976 i remember we drove over 100 miles to visit the very first park built in the state, down in Carlsbad, just beside the motorcycle raceway, it was truly an oasis for skateboarders from around the world at the time, and it actually wasn't even that great. But the great thing was that it was a place actually made for skateboarding, not just co-opted like the schoolyards and empty backyard pools. It was special, but indeed a novelty as well. The fact remained a good backyard pool still blew the doors off any skatepark, and even any skatepark pool that was to be built for many years to come. There's just more to it, you know?

So last month The DogTown Skatepark opened, not without the as to be expected infighting of such an illustrious group of people from such a part of town, but it's done and i look forward to seeing it next time i'm out there, will probably take some photos as well.

Here's a great piece I just found from the LA Weekly by Tibby Rothman
You couldn't blame the cluster flock of politicians who showed up for the official opening of the skate park at Venice Beach Saturday, October 3, after all that's what they do. Never mind their pontificating, or that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was a surprise attendee--he'd probably heard that the Los Angeles Times had promo'd it. The heart of the day belonged to metaphysical notion called Dogtown.

Though Dogtown's physical existence--a nasty piece of ghetto on the Venice/Santa Monica border--has been papered over by a level of gentrification akin to the mob pouring concrete, its soul on Saturday was not to be denied.

Even as Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky downplayed the park as simply another piece in the coast's mosaic, and called it a "facility," skaters knew otherwise.

Dogtown was a breakthrough language of the board with accompanying attitude that offered many of the area's lost a sense of place and worthiness. Amidst the 1970s backdrop of wrecked families, wretched drugs destruction and, in some cases, abject poverty, Dogtown was not just a place but "something to be," a compelling identity so rich it was appropriated by huge surf and skate corporations. It sells product today.

But it was the former not the latter result that drew hundreds of skaters and their families to the opening. And so it was that pro-skater Jesse Martinez, whose speech was sandwiched between the mayor's and other functionaries, brought authenticity to what could have been a perfunctory ribbon-cutting.

Martinez--who was first featured on skateboard magazine covers in 1986, and is a major influence in the sport--downplayed his place in skate culture, framing himself as one of many.

Speaking without notes, Martinez laid out the sweep of Dogtown history and its significance in a few eloquent minutes, adding poetry and humility to an event that had been scheduled to be pure grandstanding. (Heidi Lemmon of the Skatepark Association of the United States, who had midwifed the park, and had just returned from launching a park in India, was left off the speakers' schedule--huh?)

Turning to Jeff Ho and CR Stecyk, both of whom attended, Martinez paid homage to the men who had founded a "tradition." Then, he noted that the resurgence of skateboarding that they had launched ran four generations of skateboarders deep.

The decades-long fight that a rag tag group of skaters had embarked upon to create the park--and ensure intelligent design (no small feat)--he called "not a long fight but a good fight." And never mind the mayor, Martinez was the only speaker with the moral authority to hold the congregation accountable as trustees for what lay on the sands.

"It's our park, now," Martinez said before admonishing them to keep it "clean and safe" so that kids could have "somewhere to go, and not have to deal with all the ... B.S.." The pause, as Martinez momentarily searched for a way not to employ profanity, drew laughs.

Finally, Martinez scattered credit among those assembled, saying to those who had performed even the smallest acts to support the construction of the park, "You are a Dogtown brother or sister, now."

When Villaraigosa moved in to have his picture taken with Martinez, it was apparent who benefited by being seen with whom. And though other speeches followed Martinez', those speakers lost the crowd. What needed to be said had been said. All that was left really was the ribbon cutting and what everyone had come for, decks hitting the park.

"He is an authentic political force in the making--and everyone saw it," said Stecyk, "What's so nice about him is, he'll never go that way. He has absolutely no interest in that stuff. He's just doing what he thinks is the right thing to do for the community."

A small swell was hitting the surf break only feet from where skaters tested new bowls. Police were astoundingly relaxed and friendly. And Ho and Stecyk, who had been credited with starting it all, weren't reveling in it, but quietly trying to find a place to sit for a friend who had a badly twisted ankle.

It was that kind of day in Dogtown.
here's a few other good pieces:

Los Angeles Times - Venice skateboarders win battle over who gets first dibs on skate park

CALI GREEN - The Dennis "Polar Bear" Agnew Skate Plaza

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dock Ellis & The Acid No-No

One of my childhood heroes not acting very heroic.
This animation is set to actual NPR interview Dock did a few years ago.

(thanks Doug)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Kids Would Prefer if You Do Not Destroy the Earth

from DangerousMinds:

New ad spot from Moms Against Climate Change pits child protesters against riot cops in the cuddliest demonstration ever.

Osocio (social advertising and non-profit campaigns from around the globe) says:
In December, at the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, world leaders will come together to discuss this issue, and Canadians want results. zig joined with Environmental Defence, ForestEthics and hundreds of volunteers to produce this film, and the web site that goes with it, to inspire grassroots action from Canadian parents.

The effects of climate change are going to be very real within the lifetime of the current generation of children, and if our kids knew the facts, they would act. On the web site, people can upload their kids photos to be included in a projection that will appear on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper¹s route to work leading up to the conference to remind him who he¹s representing in Copenhagen.
[Asshole at] AdFreak is more skeptical:
Zig’s cinematic spot for Moms Against Climate Change pits child protesters (shouldn’t they be in school?) against cops (don’t they have parking tickets to write?) to illustrate that if kids knew what was at stake, they’d take action. There’s no denying it packs a punch. That said, something feels off. I think I was expecting a boffo climax to really drive the point home. Why not have the sides embrace, each kid finding one of his or her parents among the riot squad, to symbolize that we’re all in this together? Conversely, acid rain pouring from above and “frying” every last person? That would make a strong statement! Sure, it’s easy for me to second-guess—that’s why I enjoy it so much. Still, using children is a form of hot-button emotional manipulation. And to stretch a metaphor, failing to turn up that flame delivers a lukewarm message on a globally incendiary issue.
(Moms Against Climate Change: Take Action)

Friday, November 13, 2009

SKATEBOARD Evolution and Art in California

I've loaned one of my old hand made boards from 1977 to this exhibition, as well as several photos from my archive. I can't vouch for the quality of the display since i'm not there or having anything to do with the hanging, but some good folks are involved so i have my fingers crossed for those who go to check it out. If you happen to make it by, by all means please leave a note in the comments to let me know how it looks.
from the museum website:
Opening November 14, 2009

The California Heritage Museum is proud to present “SKATEBOARD: Evolution and Art in California.” The show opens to the general public on Saturday, November 14, 2009 and continues through Sunday, May 30, 2010.

Guest curated by legendary Z-boy Nathan Pratt in conjunction with museum staff curator Michael Trotter and advisory committee members Jeff Ho, Skip Engblom (Zephyr co-founders), Cris Dawson (1966 Hobie Champ), Z-Boys Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta, and 1980’s world champion Christian Hosoi, the exhibition traces the evolution of boards from pre-1950 to the present showcasing the riders, designers, artists, and manufacturers that created the California phenomenon known as the skateboard. From the first planks of wood with metal roller skate wheels nailed to the bottom to the modern polyurethane wheels and kicktails, the boards have rocketed the skaters to greater heights of performance and style while taking “sidewalk surfing” from a homegrown activity to a worldwide cultural phenomenon.

More than 275 rare boards from the world’s finest collections including Jason Cohn, Dale Smith/Skate Designs Inc., Todd Huber/Skatelab Skatepark, Ray Flores, James Lang/South Bay Skates.

Additional lenders included are Kevin Anderson/Model Worm, Art Brewer, Terry Campion, Cris Dawson, Deluxe Distribution, Earl, Skip Engblom, Craig Fineman, Wayne and Donna Gunter/Surfing Cowboys, Mike Horelick/Tunnel Skateboards, Chuck Katx, Mike Kolar, Gordon McClelland, Jim McDowell/RIPWynn City Skates, Marc McKee, Aaron Murray, James O’Mahoney/Santa Barbara Surfing Museum, Nathan Pratt, Mark Richards/Val Surf, Ronnie/Animal House, Steve Salyer/Pastures of Heaven, Gabriel Steptoe, Joel Tudor, Wentzle Ruml IV, Cary B. Weiss, Z-BOY Archive, and Z-CULT Skates. Photographs and art by C.R. Stecyk III, Glen E. Friedman, Craig Fineman, Wynn Miller, Kevin Ancell, Wes Humpston and more document the movement and its personalities.

This is the first exhibition of the California skate movement to be shown in “Dog Town”, the Santa Monica/Ocean Park area where modern skateboarding was born and the skate became an art form. The California Heritage Museum is located in the vortex at Main Street and Ocean Park Boulevard.

A full series of events, including film screenings of Dogtown and Z-Boys, Skater Dater and Rising Son: The Christian Hosoi Story, will take place at the museum and the downtown Santa Monica Library. Talks, photo exhibits, special guest appearances and autograph sessions will take place throughout the exhibit run into 2010.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Satellite photography alphabet

The Google Earth Alphabet has upper and lower case and numbers and punctuation formed inadvertently by geographic features visible from space.

Upper case - Lower case - Numbers and punctuation

(via Making Light, via BoingBoing)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's
Badass new high-tech anti-whaling powerboat

I have been contributing photographs to Sea Sheapard for their annual fund raiser for the last several years. - Sea Shepherd was founded in 1977 by Paul Watson, formerly of Greenpeace. Watson believed that Greenpeace was too passive in its protection of endangered species and wild places, and committed Sea Shepherd to direct action. The group's passionate defenders and vocal critics are sharply divided over the organization's controversial tactics, e.g., scuttling and disabling commercial whaling vessels, ramming ships, boarding whaling vessels at sea, etc.
We have been following the transformation of the Earthrace/Gil from a world-record holding speedboat to an anti-whaling vessel since it was rumored back in April that it would be joining the Sea Shepherd fleet. With the new paint job and a few additional high-tech goodies now installed, it looks like the ship is ready to join the Irwin for Operation Waltzing Matilda this December.

Earthrace, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's new high-tech anti-whaling powerboat, rests in Auckland Harbor, New Zealand, ahead of its deployment for Perth, and then the Southern Ocean. The 80-foot trimaran features paint that deflects radar ("stealth technology"), allowing the vessel to approach whaling ships virtually unseen. Leaving Perth on December 7, Earthrace will join the Society's ship Steve Irwin on a three-month voyage protesting Japan's industrial whaling program.

As expected, Watson made it clear that he intends to place the Gil in harms way — particularly as an “intercept and blocking” weapon against the Japanese fleet. Sounds like a risky game of “chicken” — but Ady Gil Captain Pete Bethune is ready for the challenge.”If they ever hit us with an explosive harpoon it’ll be massive damage,” he told Ecorazzi during the summer. “But certainly we’ll do our best to get in their way. If they hit us it will always be their guy that pulled the trigger — but hopefully things won’t come to that.”

Before the make-over, above.
I originally found out about this from BoingBoing who had a story about the new photos being released in LIFE magazine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"a touch of glamor into their humble environment with their refined style and faultless clothes."

This story is on photographer Francesco Giusti that recently appeared on FeatureShoot website/blog.

Francesco Giusti lives and works in Rome, Italy. He recently won 1st Prize in the Viewbook Photostory competition for his documentary series, SAPE. Of this series, he says, ‘In Congo-Brazzaville SAPE is an old passion that has never stopped, not even during war years. At the arrival of the French in Congo at the beginning of 9oo, the myth of elegance was born among young people working for the settlers. In 1922, Andre Grenard Matsoua, well-known for his resistance to the settlers, was the first Congolese to come back from Paris well dressed like a true French “Monsieur”, and greatly admired by all his fellow citizens. Today’s members of the SAPE consider themselves as artists and are respected and admired by the whole community. The members of the SAPE take a touch of glamor into their humble environment with their refined style and faultless clothes. Everyone has his own repertory of gestures, marking him from all the others. Elegance is not the only important character. In fact, a true member of the SAPE is a gentleman and a pacifist. Every weekend the members of the SAPE, with their eccentric and amusing nicknames, gather in bars and fashionable dancing halls and parade in the streets among amused children and the applause of passers-by. These extemporized and spontaneous parades are the expression of a urban culture looking for new reference parameters and codes such as non-violence and elegance. They reflect the wish of young people in particular not to be left apart by society’.

Read more of Francesco Giusti, from Rome

(via DangerousMinds)

Monday, November 9, 2009

fucking SWINE FLU in perspective

I was inspired to post this since one of my friends asked me the other night what i thought of her getting the swine flu shot? I thought she must be living in a hole or just a room surrounded by nothing other than idiots who watch the major networks as their main source of information. So sad...

This graphic comes from the UK website Information Is Beautiful - Ideas, issues, concepts, subjects - visualized!"

Swine Flu and the last 300 days of DEATH:

DangerousMinds caption: Some provocative pictorial context for the swine flu. (click on the graphic above to super enlarge to readable size) Given that far higher spike on the left for cardiovascular disease, rather than line up for a flu shot, looks like you’ll ultimately fare far better by putting aside the Chunky Monkey. Possibly even more revealing? Death-by-swine flu these last 300 days ran neck and neck with death-by-leprosy.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Linder Gallery Interior painting: science, art, and mystery

At the intersection of art, science, and mystery lies the Linder Gallery Interior, a 17th century painting depicting a gallery filled with scientific instruments, mathematical and cosmic diagrams, a variety of Flemish, Dutch, and Italian paintings, and a curious collection of other objects. Apparently, it represents the controversial ideas that came to a head in Galileo’s 1633 Inquisition Trial. Once owned by the Rothschilds and swiped by the Nazis, the painting is now in a private New York City collection. Fortunately for us, Michael John Gorman, curator of the Trinity College Dublin's Science Gallery, became obsessed with the artwork and created a Web site and book, titled "A Mysterious Masterpiece: The World of the Linder Gallery." From the site:
Who is the old man? What’s his relationship with the woman, who holds paintbrushes and a palette? What is the significance of the paintings on the walls? Are we looking at a real or imaginary collection of objects? What about the very carefully painted scientific instruments? What is the significance of the books on the green table? Why is there a drawing of the different possible systems of the universe in the centre of the painting with the intriguing Latin phrase “ALY ET ALIA VIDENT” – “Others see it yet otherwise”?
Here's a video of Gorman giving a 5 minute Ignite talk about about the Linder Gallery Interior and his quest to understand it.

A Mysterious Masterpiece (Science Gallery)

"A Mysterious Masterpiece: The World of the Linder Gallery" (Amazon)

(from, BoingBoing)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Animated stereoviews of old Japanese photos

Awesome blog Pink Tentacle says, “In the late 19th and early 20th century, enigmatic photographer T. Enami (1859-1929) captured a number of 3D stereoviews depicting life in Meiji-period Japan.”
See more cool Japanese stereoviews over at Pink Tenticle.
(Thanks, DangerousMinds)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Health care battle continues...
Grayson SLAMS the responsible irresponsible assholes.

Taking it to'em, this is how Obama should have done it.

from The Huffington Post:
Alan Grayson Reads Names Of Dead In Republican Districts

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) took to the floor Wednesday night to read the names of those who had died from lack of health insurance in Republican districts.

Grayson also read stories from his website, which collects health care tragedies from around the country.
"Is it really asking too much of us that we keep people alive?" he asked. Later he added, "We can save these people, or we can let them die."

Part I:

Part II:

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) called for the clerk to take down Grayson's words -- leading to an adjournment. But when the House reconvened, Grayson continued naming Republican representatives and the dead in their districts.

Original post at:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Public pajama-wearers in China...

China: real-life fashion police crack down on public pajama-wearers

Shanghai will host the World Expo next year, and city officials are preparing for the influx of foreigners with a campaign to ban citizens from wearing their pajamas out in the streets. An article in the Chengdu Business Daily expresses outrage over the campaign as a civil rights abuse. Snip:
Many Shanghai residents are used to loitering around the streets in their pajamas. But now the municipal government is making every effort to stop them from doing so, because it would be a "loss of face" for city authorities if a foreigner sees people walking the streets in pajamas during the 2010 World Expo. (...)

As a modern international metropolis, Shanghai has been playing host to foreigners for decades. So why have pajamas become embarrassing only now? And will it be okay for people to walk the streets in pajamas after the World Expo? Why should we change our habits and customs to suit foreigners' taste when we travel abroad as well as when we play host to them? Do we suffer from a sense of inferiority?
What's wrong with a person in pajamas? [via Rebecca MacKinnon] (Thanks Xeni, BoingBoing)

A quick Google of "shanghai" + "pajamas" reveals many articles in Western media over the past decade about Shanghai's pajama-wearing citizenry, and their government's fruitless attempts to mandate their fashion choices. Apparently, walking around in the street in your jammies is a familiar part of local culture in old neighborhoods there, in part because the realms of public and private space are so blurred in daily life.

The ultimate in casual, i don't give a fuck style!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What i was watching the most on You Tube last month

WARNING: I usually am watching with my 2 year old.

This one is just cool.

simply great brainwashing good advice.

I swear the track on this one could have been a great punk rock song.

Cool classic school house Rock style.

This one i am just sick of, but the lyrics and music are just killing me, it's kind of like some early 80's British new wave pop crap.

Title says it all... some nice drum fills!

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Crackdown on music piracy could further harm ailing industry"

from BoingBoing:
Heavy illegal downloaders buy more music

A new British independent poll conducted by Ipsos Mori concluded that the people who do the most illegal downloading also buy the most music. This is in line with many other studies elsewhere and is easy to understand: people who are music superfans do more of everything to do with music: they see more live shows, listen to more radio, buy more CDs, buy more botlegs of live shows, buy more t-shirts, talk about music more, do more downloading -- all of it.
And of course, these are the people the music industry's supergeniuses have set their sights upon for bizarre enforcement regimes like the one that British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson has promised: anyone who lives in a house that generates three or more copyright infringement notices will be barred from Internet access.

"The latest approach from the Government will not help prop up an ailing music industry. Politicians and music companies need to recognise that the nature of music consumption has changed, and consumers are demanding lower prices and easier access," said Peter Bradwell, from the think-tank Demos, which commissioned the new poll conducted by Ipsos Mori.
However, music industry figures insist the figures offer a skewed picture. The poll suggested the Government's plan to disconnect illegal downloaders if they ignore official warning letters could deter people from internet piracy, with 61 per cent of illegal downloaders surveyed admitting they would be put off downloading music illegally by the threat of having their internet service cut off for a month.

"The people who file-share are the ones who are interested in music," said Mark Mulligan of Forrester Research. "They use file-sharing as a discovery mechanism. We have a generation of young people who don't have any concept of music as a paid-for commodity," he continued. "You need to have it at a price point you

Illegal downloaders 'spend the most on music', says poll

As i've always suspected "Crackdown on music piracy could further harm ailing industry"