Atomized junior

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Atomized junior

Thursday, June 29, 2006
A leaky boat

The New York Times' SWIFT Financial transaction story Bank Data Is Sifted by U.S. in Secret to Block Terror - New York Times: the administrations' use of a Belgian banking data clearing house to track movement of money to and among extremist organizations was an action that kicked off a reaction and debate most notable for its defensiveness U.S. Secretly Tapping Global Bank Records and lack of obvious symmetry. The first point that ought to be made is that the existence of the reported story does not necessarily contradict the worth of the program or negate it. Its primary significance was as part of the pattern of expanded Presidential powers Analysis: CIA program expands Bush's power - Yahoo! News.

This notion was lost on the reaction from the right commentariat, the self-righteousphere, (full of auto-indignation, oblivious of other days). When I caught Rep. Weldon (R. PA) on the news-hour Online NewsHour: Analysis | President Condemns Media Leaks | June 26, 2006 | PBS last week I could tell that a decision had been made somewhere to ramp up the rhetoric beyond ordinary limits on this. Weldon's hypocrisy is boundless, as his insistence on pushing the Able Danger program in to the news last year in no way had official blessing, or universal political cover, and seemed to be a blatant leak done for personal aggrandizement. The New York times responded to this with their own self conscious defensiveness Bush Condemns Report on Bank Records (see the list of internet commentary this article concludes with) and a wan rebuttal by the editor Letter From Bill Keller on The Times's Banking Records Report - New York Times which just seemed to enrage those inclined that way even more. Within days the Times followed this up with a stronger editorial as it became necessary to increase the tautness of their argument Patriotism and the Press - New York Times. The Washington Post among other papers who had covered this story added analysis as well Piling On the New York Times With a Scoop.

Listening to the end of the week media reflections. I found myself caught up in what were the politics of what we are seeing - even though I recall reading recently that no one who believes in history ought to take politics seriously. On the Diane Rehm show Diane Rehm Friday News Roundup one guest stated the key distinction is whether this program occurred with or with out [genuine] congressional oversight. If it can be demonstrated that there was true oversight then the Times perhaps should not have run the story Why federal snooping of the international bank database is a good idea. It appears; however, congressional knowledge here was limited to the - look but don't speak, don't touch  - model, distributed to only a smattering of members at that. This leaves congresses hand tied and begs for another estate to become involved. EJ Dionne (see his own column on this A Dissident's Holiday) added that Republicans like this discussion and desire to prolong it. They see it as helping them with the (their) public, and also how they can use it to paint discredit on new negative information concerning the administrations challenged engagement with reality. The facts themselves are of tertiary interest. This can be seen in a blunt opinion piece by Scott Lily Selective Outrage - Center for American Progress mentioned on Diane Rehm's broadcast.

Also there was reporting by Dan Froomkin, a web only columnist for the Washington Post. Who helpfully points out A SWIFT Kick in the Head far from being a clandestine organization whose data collection was a closely guarded secret. SWIFT has a public web site and puts out a magazine. From just the literature I've read or browsed, articles by historian Matthew Aid or John Cassara's new book Hide & Seek: Intelligence, Law Enforcement, And the Stalled War on Terrorist Finance. John A. Cassara, (this book just arrived at U. Marylands. library last week) for neither conventional organized crime and racketeering or terrorism is this approach novel. For years, Osama bin Laden to the the extent the U S noticed him at all, it was through his fundraising activities.

The president himself has heralded that al qaeda's finances will be subject to all the scrutiny  the western world can muster Behind Bush's Fury, a Vow Made in 2001 - New York Times. Not any of this is a news flash really, but politics now requires a war on the media, and embarrased bankers assuged.

For your consideration. Somewhere in a building, location undisclosed, agency undisclosed there is a floor off limits except to a special group of anonymous federal agents. In this room exists a (hypothetical...) database, a comprehensive inventory of guns in the United States. Not just acknowledged owned guns. Not just "bought through the system" the official  retail system guns, but guns at gun shows, guns bought and sold on the stoop, in the garage, out the back of your pick-up truck, for cash no questions. Even guns with no apparent serial numbers. All guns, possessed by you, by anyone. Not just this either, but where you keep your guns and what ammunition you have on hand for them.  Where you buy that ammunition. Your bumper sticker? They know about it. A jpeg of your bumper is in the file: "You can have my gun when you pry it out of my cold dead fingers". "Check," the entry says, "the suggested protocol is authorized."
Because they are eventually coming for your guns. As the Law and Order juggernaut the right salutes picks up steam, increasingly the thought of a million yahoos running around armed talking about posse's and protecting the heartland from the brown peril and the ZOG government in Washington, it all makes them nervous. For the most orderly arrangement only the state should have guns. What would right-stream pajama-based "independent" media do, given that as a 'slam dunk' tip to run on their "blogs"?

The last I looked the right leaning blogs had reduced their beating of this story to an absurdity. Michelle Malkin was up in arms over the media having mentioned at some point past that Cheney and Rumsfeld own vacation houses on the eastern shore. Here, she tangles lately-arrived-at notions of privacy, with public information. Apparently the rich and powerful are not, perhaps never were, part of the public. All the same it seems increasing certain that the administration will choose to bring the New York Times or the Post to court before the next presidential election. Especially if the news is not to their liking or manufacture.

This is a double hypocrisy. They can't have it both ways. Can't hide behind 'inherent power' to declassify at will, poor memory when leaking and presidential pardons; for themselves. Only to claim with the same forked tongue that leaks are treasonous. It is obvious that the constant in all this is the instinct to attack and punish those that show either incompetence or questionable actions undertaken by this administration with no real partnership of the American people.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Zen of Emerging Events

Don't be Evil. That is, I've read, Google corporation's informal motto. I imagine it sounded good at the time. Google is having second thoughts Think Again: Google - about its Chinese market initiatives. Google: we compromised our principles. Maybe a search engine that pretends not to know about things it does know about, isn't evil, but it ain't good either. While Sergey is walking the cat back from ledge, let's see if we can craft them an alternative slogan. How about: Don't be evil, unless it pays. Sounds like the sort of thing the average person could live with.

China had briefly cut off, and has been trying to build up its own Baidu counter initiative. "Meeting with reporters near Capitol Hill, Brin said Google agreed to the censorship demands only after Chinese authorities blocked its service. He noted that Google's rivals in China accommodated the same demands -- which Brin described as "a set of rules that we weren't comfortable with"" -- without international criticism." | 06/07/2006 | Brin: Google `compromised' principles (this is the orignal AP story). Taking nothing away from Mr. Brin who is a very rich man, but this is not entirely true. Yahoo has gotten its share of bad press Yahoo's Dirty Secret. US.Amnesty International has a petition against Yahoo Yahoo! Don't Violate Human Rights | AIUSA. Further Reporters Without Borders (Reporters San Frontieres) weighing in on 22 June 2006: "...found Yahoo! to be the clear worst offender in censorship tests the organisation carried out on Chinese versions of Internet search engines Yahoo!, Google, MSN as well as their local competitor Baidu." Reporters sans frontières - China.

The Washington Post's angle on the same event was Net Neutrality:

Brin came to lobby members of Congress about "network neutrality" -- the idea that phone and cable companies should not be allowed to block legal Web sites or slow down or otherwise discriminate against the ever-increasing volume of Internet content that surges over their networks.
"Americans are about to get a real choice to cable TV. But is Google going to blow it up?" said one print advertisement paid for by TV4US, a group whose financial backers include AT&T Inc., the largest U.S. phone company.
Brin said he had learned only yesterday [emphasis added] about the print ad -- which has a TV twin that has been running in Washington markets -- and he appeared surprised when asked if Google might run its own campaign to fight back
"I think it's worth a conversation. I am probably naive. I was very surprised to see this," he said. Google Is A Tourist In D.C., Brin Finds

The past month was a seminar on how PR works. One that Sergey Brin didn't even know he was signed up for. Leaving it to Tim Berners-Lee to take up the slack with the only straight clear definition of net neutrality I've heard through the entire congressional/national debate.  Net Neutrality: This is serious | Decentralized Information Group (DIG) Breadcrumbs.

The difficulties seen in China reminded me of this piece in the NYT from earlier this month Online Throngs Impose a Stern Morality in China - New York Times on forces within Chinese society which the Chinese authoritys know they must keep within certain boundaries. a tiger they have attempted to ride before and may not really wish to see rise again. When the mob rules only the mob rules. In addition to this Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times columnist, has created Chinese-language web logs on the Web portals Sohu (SOHU.O) and Sina (SINA.O) Blogs test political limits of Internet in China. On these: "Nicholas Kristof denounced the imprisonment of his Chinese colleague, Zhao Yan, and called for President Hu Jintao to set an example in the fight against corruption by disclosing his financial assets." Just to see what would happen. Atomized Jr is a polite cross cultural friendly web log that never mentions d*m*cr*cy in a conversation unless others have brought that subject up first. At the same time Atomized Jr believes it is not the role of governments simply to enforce order and harmony, because it seems to Atomized (as the poet noted) bees can do that already, and without politicians and parties.

Events can move with a speed like the wind across the land, this can be a problem when consideration moves slower. Prudent and mindful of priviledge. A bill put under consideration by China's national legislature would require journalists to "seek permission from local authorities before reporting riots, disasters, strikes or outbreaks of disease". Censors tighten grip on bearers of bad tidings - World - Times Online. Which would leave what, sports scores and party meeting minutes?

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Thursday, June 22, 2006
free rock

I've neglected to mention that the Fort Reno summer indie rock concert series has already kicked off. Two shows completed already last thursday and this past monday. Coming up tomorrow Thursday, 22 June: Greenland and Mess up the mess. Check your local listings Fort Reno Summer Music Series Joe Lally and Mary Timony are scheduled for dates in August. As are the Fake Accents which I believe features people from the University of Maryland.
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Saturday, June 17, 2006
al fresco

Last week I thought al-Zarqawi was worth a post ( Insurgent Leader Al-Zarqawi Killed in Iraq); however, in a week filled with visits from family (my mother from Phoenix) and happy interruptions at every turn from the niece and nephews there always seemed better things to do. Musab al-Zarqawi: how you are not missed.

The thought I had was simple. Mr. al-Zarqawi: monster or maggot? Mr. Zarqawi was not a soldier. He was not a warrior at all. No one addicted to sawing peoples heads off, who are captive and have their hands tied, is a warrior. Such people are psychotic. At best executioners. They are sadists and gouls. Weapons seemed to mystify him, he handled guns like a frightened idiot. He was not a strategist. They (they?) say he was a keen strategist. It served their purpose but I doubt this. He rent apart the insurgent coalition he desired to lead, he seems to have been fingered by some among them who had tired of him. His thirst for blood [^] anyones blood [^] and desire to provoke civil war in a muslim land not his, left many Iraqis quietly glad the US is still on the scene. They say he was an effective fundraiser. This may be true. To some, he exemplified a bitter low chauvanistic hate and collected money from those who desire to live vicariously that hatred. What strategy he possessed lay in the way he walked away from a life of circumscribed petty crime in Jordan to become an internationally known serial killer. But in all fairness that wasn't his strategy as much as an opportune turning of ours.

Glancing over my brief notes on post Zarqawi Iraq I see that the new government in Iraq is not pleased with Hamas Iraq upset Hamas deemed Zarqawi 'martyr' | FP Passport. George F Will, turning his face towards Zarqawi's and leaning after him, in a curious tribute Iraq's Atomization to a man he accords a "brutal efficiency" a "diabolical genius" despite this he celebrates Zarqawi's failure to ignite a true civil war, waving aside the disorder he only needed. Some will miss Zarqawi. There has been a crackdown on the al qaeda network and a widely publicized series of raids BBC NEWS | Middle East | Zarqawi death sparks US crackdown amid stories of a weakened enemy Picture of a weakened Iraqi insurgency | and an appointing of the next al qaeda leader (unclear by whom) for Iraq Al-Masri Identified as Zarqawi Successor. The violence continues.

In the middle of all this was The Picture. I saw this from the front pages of a couple of newspapers the next day: a square yard color photograph of a bloody dead man's face in a handsome gilt frame lovingly and quickly exhibited and consumed at the revelatory USHQ press conference. This is bizarre, I thought, it's creepy, a touch too sanguine. When I handed my 37 cents over and pushed into the depths of the Washington Post I saw I wasn't the only one to have noticed this Philip Kennicott did as well A Chilling Portrait, Unsuitably Framed Seeing in the framing an invitation to unconscious iconism, vengeance as principle, the return of savagery where reason once stood.

Simply put it is fetishistic to make a idolistic object of death. To seek an erotic pleasure from the image. and make no mistake that was what was done. It makes the question out of who are we, the viewers consumers of such images? I thought of Susan Sontag's writings on the images of atrocity and brutality. I have her earlier essays, though it was twenty years ago I read them. I was also aware she revisited this topic in Regarding the Pain of Others - Google Book Search. I am more apt now to regard that even a photograph essentially forms a text, a flow of images symbols subject to interpretation. At least more then when I read On Photography and consumed a great deal of writing on and examples of photography. The monolithic image, the true documented moment, resistant to interpretation. Sontag revisits her previous thoughts: Does a culture of spectatorship diminish the impact the moral force of an image. An image exists but has force, or is drained of it, by how it is used. The Mediatique image. (this is a point Kennicott explicitly makes) Can atrocity, suffereing, exist, as a moral act a moral moment separate from managed consumption. Sontag speaks of the choice of engagement she may as well speak of the choice of narrative, the priviledge of suffering. The seductiveness of war among people who only think they know better.

There was something in the notion of how much insistence is contained within an image to confront what it shows that reminded me of the tolling bell from John Donne's Meditation XVII. A rereading of that proved problematic: "the church is catholic, universal... all mankind is of one author..." While Donne has coached this in terms of the church he knew what he was saying. Everyone of us is from God, of God, beyond what we imagine or understand of our sects or creeds. Beyond the hole of lost empathy which in practice makes men like Zarqawi less than human, yet does not withdraw the form of man stamped on him. Death is a translation; Gods. Not mocked, not mourned not reveled in. Even in desperate relief, with pity, and a deeper understanding if you can read a part of any of it. If we choose to ignore the message of the bell that Zarqawi is taking part of us out of this world, we are diminished. Not looking for why or how deformed. Donne says it is not greed, a "egging after misery" to desire affliction and attendant suffering. It is a humbling sanctifying tribulation, a treasure of worth. Sontag's privileged suffering cannot be disengaged be must be a genuine disturbance to have value. Or it forms no priviledge.

Let Zarqawi go to to his judgement with God. Do not mock his miserable death Zarqawi Did Not Die Instantly, General Says.. He was part of who we are. Certainly He attacked that very notion with murder and malignant snarl. We need the understandings we let go.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Toronto; secretly Canadian

Over the last fortnight Al qaeda has seen operations closed on two fronts. First in the form of a strange Canadian "terrorist" ring in and around Toronto.
[it's worth noting that during this same period College Park also had two terror 'rings' shuttered, a third grade school teacher - sentenced in Virginia as a practicing jihadist, and an abortion clinic opponent who drove up here with his pipe-bombs and guns - Man Arrested for Plotting Clinic Attack]
The conspiracy seems to have involved alienated middle-class youth not dissimliar to the ones that carried out the London bombings. Who in many ways are just acting out the stresses of a traditionalist religious back culture with a western upbringing. The principle difference between them and many other Canadian youth is the canned solution offered by those who have purred their way into the Mosques and clubs with poisonous visions of the struggle: revolution and resistance Canada faces 'jihad generation' |

For those in the US inclined to such things it offers a chance to militarize yet another border, and continue to prepare to cleanse the nation of un-American activity (I'd give a link here but you can probably find your way to Michelle Malkin's blog on your own). How sad that there are but twelve gates to the city. They seem to be having so much fun with this, but they will have them all bricked up before long. At least there is some indication that we are putting this matter on the same footing as we do other negative potenialities: " "Threats posed from the northern border may not be any less than from [the] southwestern border," concludes a draft study of border vulnerabilities from the University of Southern California's Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events." US targets other leaky border | For all that the Ontario plans, twisted fantasies that they might be, were detailed violent and stewed in a hatred there was no rational ground for. Meaning can be extracted from the mere concept of hating Canadians. In such cases I'm all for statistically based contingency planning and expenditure.

The charges covered a lot of ground and varied considerably. Another CS monitor article More arrests possible in Canadian terror case | I read gave a run-down on the various speculation of that week, as it notes most of this was coming from US press because of Canadian strictures on what the press can say once charges are filled. Among these are purported connections between some of these men and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. If the US example can offer any advice here its that it is not the arrests and charges but making a case and selling it to a jury which is critical. I heard on Amy Goodman's radio show Democracy Now that much of this was the result of a Canadian sting operation by the CSIS. Goodman is not the most careful or restrained of journalists, so I didn't think anything of it at the time. Then in a Globe and Mail article : Terrorist charges hint at varying roles I saw this line: "Police would not confirm the raid was the culmination of a monitored delivery of three tonnes of ammonium-nitrate fertilizer." The CS Monitor article (More arrests... above) also quotes the Toronto Star "saying the police showing only "sample" bags of ammonium nitrate" leaving it unclear how much explosive these men were ever in possession of. Actuality I feel happier with idea that nobody was able to get their hands on so much explosive on their own, without turning to an agent provocator.

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Friday, June 9, 2006
Data-panic in the year '06

It all started when I decided to look up some information on the band the Pink Mountaintops because I like the song Cold Criminals allmusic ((( The Pink Mountaintops  So far so good, then I figured while I was at I ought to look up Black Mountain as well. As I was on mountains, and they did a song I liked though I couldn't remember its name allmusic ((( Black Mountain . Thats when the trouble started. Odd I though I must have done something wrong I seem to be back on the same page. I'm looking at the same names, I'm seeing a picture of that guy again. I must have accidently triggered one of those internet Namespace panics which leads to and infinite cascade of the same (or similar) page. I tried again Pink Mountaintops  Black Mountain It became worse as references to jerk with a bomb and one easy skag kept emerging. Gradually it became better or at least clearer when it became apparent Vancouver was a connecting point among all these anomilies. Must be something in the water, which would explain why everyone in the New Pornographers is in two or three other bands

  Eventually I resolved that Black mountain and the Pink Mountaintops are mostly the same band Pink Mountaintops And Black Mountain Stay Busy. at least with same Steve McBean singing writing and guitaring in both bands. Additionaly abstracting to the existence of an 'a' band and a 'b' band morphing from previously unharmonized names to their current harmonized forms with as I read it described (i think in the Pitchfork review of Axis of Evol: Pitchfork ) Pink Mt.tops as McBean's "summer band". Got it - couldn't be clearer.

 We loved our winters high on crime
And the hearts
And the hearts we left behind...

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Wednesday, June 7, 2006
Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is a notion not dissimilar to common carrier Common carrier - Wikipedia the idea that a limited public resource that conveys people, materials, or information must do so equally and without discrimination. Carry one carry all. I feel like I'm flogging the dead horse of history, besides try getting that one past a lawyer. If you laid the pages of existing telecommunications law edge to edge, well I'm sure that would break some law of nature. Net Neutrality is coming before congress for disposition: Net neutrality goes up for a vote in Congress. I got an email from George Washington University's Internet Project for Democracy and the Internet (IPDI) announcing they were presenting a happening June 16th on this: IPDI presents "Net Neutrality. What's at Stake - for the Internet, Politics and Consumers" (Mike McCurry is speaking). Lawrence Lessig and Robert McChesney have select words in a OpEd ed up in the Washington Post on this No Tolls on The Internet.

I've seen the ad campaign leveraged by the cable companies. That much forced cute has got to be expensive So what's at stake? The ability to discover and pursue revenue streams at will. Similar to the way some web (log) tools, where the end user content (euc) lives on the internet service company's server, are about to decide that your web log/space needs to host their ads. (EUC... how do you suppose thats pronounced, yuck perhaps?). The ability to control the speed of service by creating content tiers. The ability to control content by controlling the surfing experience. They can make your content ugly (uglier than you've already made it) They can render it inefficient by privileging other content. They can decide what lives, what dies, and what pays on the web. We already have radio, Tv, cable that are owned things and work according to their familar gatekeeping way. The internet has shown already it does not need the captured attention of the telecom's and cable companies to be viable and useful. When they say it does they are speaking only of their own self interest not yours.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Rush to Judgement

 I had a distinct disinclination to doing a post on the incident at Haditha. the Defense department, the Navy (NCIS is leading this investigation) is looking into it and depending how well that is done, a course of action can then be charted from that. If any lingering attempts to obscure what happened are pursued, this will remain unresolved for a very long time. I've written posts on the dynamics of insurgencies. There is nothing about Haditha that deviates from that. To prevail in asymmetric conflict requires offensive speed and firm reaction. But savagery returns savagery. An ugly bloody conflict produces only horror, and death. Blood broken out of its vessel draining away into the ground. Our marines, soldiers, young men and women cannot exist in the midst of such a struggle and not be changed; wracked by emotional trauma. Hatreds and loves, enemies and friends, displacement of innocence. They are not autonomous agents of a strategy that turn themselves off after a patrol.

  Rush Limbaugh; though, has decided he knows just what it means: "this is the final big push on behalf of the Democratic Party, the American left, and the Drive-By Media to destroy our effort to win the war in Iraq. That[base ']s what Haditha represents." And what it does not mean: "this Haditha incident, whatever..." [via Think Progress  Limbaugh: Liberals Are Ecstatic About Haditha, Planning Gang Rape of War Supporters]

You can also get a glimpse on how this by how Rep Murtha, who has been instrumental in ensuring that this receives its just examination  Marines' Families Discuss Haditha Deaths, has been treated in the commentariat, He is hated more than violent deaths of civilians, the messenger is cast in the dock, the message let go Timing and Tragedy.  What Think Progress (Judd) said in that post is more to the point than any three monkey defense:  "[T]aking the allegations seriously is essential to our success in creating a secure and democratic Iraq. The Iraqi people need to know the truth, which is that the alleged conduct is not tolerated in the United States military or in American society."

 A few of other thoughts came to mind while I was thinking this over. I'm always a little sensitive when the US Navy gets into the news. I always want the Navy to have done the right thing, the honorable thing. I don't wish for the public face of the Navy to be the public spectacle of low-lifes covering their asses. In the late eighties and early nineties there there a series of incidents that raised alarms and not just with me. The guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner USS Vincennes (CG-49) - Wikipedia that was flying in a routine traffic pattern. Initially the line was that this was an unavoidable mistake, that was not the right answer. When there was an explosion in a turret aboard the fifty year old battleship USS Iowa  USS Iowa (BB-61) - Wikipedia, The Navy first tried to deploy the idea that a spurned homosexual had done this deliberately killing 47 men in the process (Gay sailors; that's why ships explode, that's what happened to the Hood, and Yamato too). The apogee of this inability to come to terms with a challenging and changing world was a minor cheating scandal at US Naval Academy in the early nineties. This was because the Midshipmen involved made the decision to place the seat of their honor in a pact among themselves to hold with a lie rather than open themselves to the "mainstream-media", the general public, outsiders.  This band of brothers attitude is commendable in many respects critically neccesary in others, it is a high thing, it can be a noble thing, but it is not the highest thing. The good, the truth is the highest thing. That is where duty actually resides. Institutionally as well as individually. The USNA scandal fell open when one midshipmen decided his religious faith required that he break rank and come forward: A Question of Honor: The Cheating Scandal That Rocked Annapolis and a Midshipman Who Decided to Tell the Truth.

 The bottom line is that civilization, honor, democracy, freedom only begin where tribalism leaves off. It becomes progressively difficult for a nation, for an armed service to win wars when these highest and strongest values are passed on. To the extent they do, they will not have won victory for them.

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Saturday, June 3, 2006
Nick Cave's Proposition

I invoke the "noted in passing" convention for this post. Nick Cave has written a movie. Its called the Proposition : directed by John Hillcoat Imdb it for the standard details The Proposition (2005). It is an Australian epic western. The movie industry does not make enough westerns anymore. People compare this film to Sam Peckinpah's work. I expect from this the movie may have some level of violence...

I expect a lot of folk, even folk who read this web log, are thinking "Nick Who?" Cave, Nick Cave. He used to put out records: "the vinyl is so cool, but the conversation's cruel" that sort of thing. That was back when he lived in or around Melbourne and sang with a group called the Boys next Door, later the Birthday Party. Which is the name of a Harold Pinter play. An early song of theirs was named after this film Shivers (1975). He still gets out and about, He turns up on Letterman at odd intervals, with his band the Bad Seeds. I hope everyone got a chance to see them do Bring It On on that show a few years ago. I saw him live once, he had Blixa (Bargeld) with him at that time. I recall hoping that Nick would hand over the microphone for a song, so Blixa could do his cover of Lee Hazelwood's Walking in the Morning Dew. I don't think that happened though. Hazelwood was the guy who wrote "Boots" for Nancy Sinatra Lee Hazlewood - Wikipedia. I think Nick did do Jack's Shadow, and his song from the Wim Wenders film Wings of Desire.

This Salon movie column Beyond the Multiplex: Nick Cave talks about writing, morality and his tough new movie from last month has a good run-down of the movie followed by a short informative interview with Cave. Nick Cave is the father of twins, Wait, Nick Cave is someone's father? I noticed that when the Washington Post ran down summer movies in their Weekend section (12 May 06) the capsule for the Proposition read "Who's Who: Guy Pearce, Emily Watson, John Hurt, from Screenwriter [~] screenwriter?! [~] Nick Cave... This is the vignette for that: {Copywriter, Copyeditor} CE: "You've some non standard punctuation here, clean that up and resubmit this." CW: "Trust me, it needs to say that." The film should be out in theaters across the country by now. Of course for the entire DC metroplitan area it seems to be showing on only one screen: Bethesda Row. If I manage to see it before it flees the area all together I will be back to write a review.

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Friday, June 2, 2006
What I missed poetry month again!

Something in the last day or so made me remember I still had some poems of my nieces I promised to put up. I was clearing files out of my flash key-drive. Also I heard someone in the media recently chiding that poetry wasn't just for April. These are poems she wrote last year. At her age a full year can mean a lot, So these do not necessarily represent how she might regard the same thoughts today. In the sidebar here as well, just to pad this post out, is another one of mine. [at some point around 6 June I decided this poem need something. I could think what, so I gave it more words. I also wrote a gloss for it which you can send away for.

A Sunlight

Dry sunlight pushes
through the empty branches of a gray tree
to press against
cold reddened brick
and split the long shadows
of a November afternoon
Boiled off the sun
arriving senseless of season
carrying no news
the journey this year or another,
to this wall or another,
little different from it.
To light in colors
draw in sharp lines
a building
under drifting softer gray
against a sky of washed patient blue

Heavy slate tiles line a peaked roof
white trim windows arrange
a georgian facade
the windows reflect
in individual turn and pane
some light away 
like the glint off a wave,
or swallow it after a few feet
as an ocean does.
these windows do not answer
for this building
do not speak its soul and purpose,
but in their symmetry and measure
the builders voice carries:
we built this brick on brick
put order into this land.
it is ours and
it will be
this is what we teach
this is our testimony
_ _ _
p bushmiller

The Walk
Traveling alone without a care or worry
Always curious, looking and finding
Watching the sun set, red and orange
Seeing the clouds merge and drift off
Watching colors blend and glow
Along the grasses and trees
Except when it grows dark
Finally the moon rises, a glowing lamp
Sweet air, fresh and cold
Follows me as I go home

One day blue fell from the sky
Washed down by the rain
It lay quietly in the road
Like any other puddle
But it was blue
Deep navy, bright sky
Soft baby, pale ice
Every shade played
Across its smooth surface
I went and knelt by it
To watch the swirling colors
And I heard the blue as well
A beautiful noise, lonely and soft
Like the whistling wind, crashing waves
Falling rain, rushing rivers, calling birds
And a little bit of silence
All in one sound
And as I bent closer I could smell it too
Faint and beautiful
Fresh and renewed
Like the rain and the sea
Or the air before a storm
And as I smelled this
I put my hand
Into the blue
It felt cool and smooth
Like silk
It flowed about my fingers like water
Supple as a snake
I brought out a drop
And put it on my tongue
It was cool and fresh
Tasting sweet like peppermint
Then the sun broke out
And shed its light across the street
Shining on the blue
And the blue was carried away by the wind
As it flew away to touch the sky
_ _ _
Nicole Cacozza
April 28, 2005
11:20:58 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Thursday, June 1, 2006
A section of an evening with Coach Paul

The Washington Post has a fascinating article in todays (yesterdays) paper, hey it can happen. Canada Pays Environmentally for U.S. Oil Thirst. They even seem to have written about this previously: Where Oil Is Mined, Not Pumped. In reading through it; it would be a mistake to overlook the accompanying slideshow or the graphic describing the steam injection extraction process Extracting Oil From Sand.

It seemed familiar though, I had heard this before, recently. I had heard it from coach Paul. This is simply how I know him, through my sister Ann; he is my niece Nicole's soccer coach. If you stand in one place long enough, you will invariably find yourself coaching a team in a youth soccer league. The setting was a celebratory dinner at a mexican restaurant by chance only one block down from a restaurant called the Dancing Crab over which a tower looms. My nephew Lucas's friend Phillip who's family has temporarily removed to Sweden was in town briefly. As it happens coach Paul's son [B.] is also a friend of this Phillip, and so several families, others besides those named, were there together.

Among the adults the conversation ranged widely, but at one turn it passed over the role of oil in world politics, particularly on the fortunes and misfortunes of the localities where petroleum extraction occurs. Coach Paul, who is Canadian, shared first hand descriptions of the oil shale regions of Canada and of the vast reserves contained there. And of the post lunar landscapes created by going after oil there "Fort McMurray, Alberta" - Google Maps - just what is described in this article. He also spoke of the way that unlike earlier periods of oil exploration, towns are not created. There is more of a tendency to treat these sites like off-shore oil rigs: fly people in, fly them out. I had some sense of this - mostly due to obsessive Google Earth junkets. I had seen marks on the north Canadian landscape and had fitted them to ideas I had about strip mining. The scale of these operations was more than I could readily get a grasp of though. I felt that coach Paul from whom I had gotten this story ought to get a byline out it (this is no knock on Doug Struck of the Washington Post Foreign Service who did write the piece) . He impressed me considerably at the time, and while it is true I don't get out much, I suspect this judgement would hold up even if I did. I understand that for his day job he works for a newspaper. On reflection, it being, I believe, a Canadian newspaper, it may be that his primary work effort lies in attempting to explain America and Americans to Canadians and not in explaining Canada and Canadians to Americans.

11:50:26 PM    comment [];trackback [];

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2006 Paul Bushmiller.
Last update: 7/10/06; 9:48:32 PM.