Monday, October 17, 2016

I Lived The Whole Within, And Believed That I Was Free

Sleeping Now, And Dreaming

(Photo By Machine)

We Didn't Make This Part Up
(Stuff in Red is true and happening! in an alternate Universe. Or, you know, not. Trust us.)

Many Americans are With The Giant Meteor. In fact, The Giant Meteor (at 13%) is doing better in a double-blind, America's Home Kitchen Taste-Test poll than Herr Trump (12.7%) [US News And World Report]

Two Of Your Four Jobs Pays For NFL Action

With broadband now classified like a utility, telecom and tech companies, including Sprint, Comcast and Facebook, are increasingly working to make high-speed internet accessible to every American, not just a luxury. The companies are among those that have set their sights on bringing free or cheap high-speed internet service to low-income and rural populations in the United States, spurred by ... the hope of turning Americans who are not online today into full-paying customers in the future, when they may pay a goodly chunk of their hourly wages to these public-spirited corporations in exchange for viewing fantasies of lives they and their children will never be able to lead. ... (NYT)

Not Amused

...Helen Worth, who plays Gail Rodwell in a soap on Britain's ITV, appeared to mistakenly reveal that Ken Barlow, played by William Roache, suffers a stroke in an upcoming episode. The world mourns, and reportedly Her Majesty The Queen is "upset".  (UK Sun. Do not ask us what any of this means, but in The Land Of The Brexit and the Banger, it's a deal.)

Trump Says Potato, Pence Says Tuber

Republican leaders are fighting Donald J. Trump’s allegation that the news media and the Democratic Party and a Ford-sized Wombat are conspiring to commit election fraud. Mr. Trump’s running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, said Mr. Trump would “absolutely accept whatever the Wombat wants.”... (CNN)

My Sweet, Funny, Wonderful Mother

... For some voters, Mrs. Clinton’s harsh remarks about some women who had been sexually involved with her husband, and the thought of Mr. Clinton back in the White House, are loathsome. Mr. Trump stoked that discomfort last week by publicly appearing with several women who had accused Mr. Clinton of misconduct and by bringing them to the second presidential debate. Their appearance apparently did not faze the front-ruiner, Hillary Clinton, who stepped from behind the podium and reportedly barked, "Yahhhhh, bitches!!  Yaahhhhh, bitches!! Who's gonna be President now, hah? Hah??? Wanna get audited?? Wanna go to Guantanamo??" ... (NYT)

' M'eye Talkin' To You? Where's The Money? '

Mrs. Clinton has refused to comment publicly on the Giant Meteor, though she reportedly has said things to Goldman-Sachs in exchange for a big pile of money. (Cheese Star)

I Cast My Vote Upon The Waters

There are 15 states with new voting laws that have never before been used during a presidential election, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice. These laws include restrictions like voter ID requirements, limits on early voting, forcing some voters to impersonate Aaron Burr, sing all major songs from Oklahoma! or The Fantastiks!, and complete all fabled Tests Of Strength from Sinefeld's 'Festivus' before they may considered worthy to cast a ballot. 

 Many are making their way through the courts, which have already called a halt to two laws in the past month as "silly" — one in North Carolina specifying that voters may only cast ballots while nude; one in North Dakota which makes it illegal to bring Lutefisk within 5.3 statute miles of any polling station.  Meanwhile, in the People's Fun Republic Of Berkeley, no one who has been Friended on 'FaceBuch' less than 10,000 times will be permitted to vote, and Dogs will be allowed to cast ballots for the first time. (ProPublica)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

What Hat God Wrought

Or If Not A Hat, Then Shorts 

An Der Zweiten Tag vor Weinacht / Mein Frau Für Das Leben /
Hat Zu Mir Geben / Zwei Donald Trump
(Traditional / Mongo)

MEHR, SO LANGSAM:  Current poll results --  GIANT METEOR: 13%; Trump: 12.7%;  She: 87.3%


Thursday, October 13, 2016

And The Winner Is

-- Mr Robert A. Zimmerman of Duluth, Minn.

Obverse Of The Nobel Medal For Literature (Wikipedia / Creative Commons)
Look out, Kid / It's somethin' ya did
God knows when but you're doin' it again
-- Subterranean Homesick Blues (1965)
So many tracks playing in the ol' Brain Radio right now, connected to people, places, emotions.
Congratulations, Bob. This is way better than being asked to claim your Tub Of Slaw.
He is the first American to win the prize since the novelist Toni Morrison, in 1993. The announcement, in Stockholm, was a surprise: Although Mr. Dylan, 75, has been mentioned often as having an outside shot at the prize, his work does not fit into the literary canons of novels, poetry and short stories that the prize has traditionally recognized.

“Mr. Dylan’s work remains utterly lacking in conventionality, moral sleight of hand, pop pabulum or sops to his audience,” Bill Wyman, a journalist, wrote in a 2013 Op-Ed essay in The New York Times arguing for Mr. Dylan to get the award. “His lyricism is exquisite; his concerns and subjects are demonstrably timeless; and few poets of any era have seen their work bear more influence.”
... this is snarky, mayhaps -- but when Them Swedes give the same prize to Laurie Anderson, I'll really sit up and take notice. And, Laurie recently released Heart Of A Dog.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Smell Of Dog

Don't Put Your Nose There

Yes; occasionally, we here at Before Nine post about things that have nothing to do with the passing show -- a fine example of which is: over at the Paper of Record, a fine article pimping a recent book (and deservedly so) about the superiority of a Dog's ability to smell stuff.

The book is Being a Dog: Following the Dog into a World of Smell by Alexandra Horowitz of Barnard College's Dog Cognition Lab (pretty astounding there's a lab dedicated to Pooch Science, no?).  The short-form version is, we smell things better than you by virtue of having 300 Million olfactory receptors, compared with the six million you humans possess.
“Take a smell walk with [your dog],” Dr. Horowitz said. “Let them lead the way and smell and linger. Let them sniff each other. There’s a pleasure for owners in letting a dog be a dog, to acknowledge their dogness. They put up with a lot of our humanness.”
I recommend going directly to a 20-minute video embedded in the article, which shows the adventures of Ms Horowitz and her Labrador Retriever, named Finnegan, walking in Central Park in New York City. You'll learn things.

Finnegan, Using His 300 Million Olfactory Receptors (NYT Online)

Here's a tip: although Dogs appear to be attracted to things which smell fairly rank, some things that are truly rotten are repellent, abjured, avoided -- such as politics. It's why we won't vote, man. Never mind the Constitution.

Monday, October 10, 2016

We're Saying The Same Things

Which Must Be Said, Over And Over, With Fierce Conviction

(An excerpt from Thomas Frank, in The UK Guardian Online: "With Trump Certain To Lose, You Can Forget About A progressive Clinton")

“Jobs” don’t really matter now in this election, nor does the debacle of “globalization”, nor does anything else, really. Thanks to this imbecile Trump, all such issues have been momentarily swept off the table while Americans come together around Clinton, the wife of the man who envisaged the Davos dream in the first place.

As leading Republicans desert the sinking ship of Trump’s GOP, America’s two-party system itself has temporarily become a one-party system. And within that one party, the political process bears a striking resemblance to dynastic succession. Party office-holders selected Clinton as their candidate long ago, apparently determined to elevate her despite every possible objection, every potential legal problem.

The Democratic National Committee helped out, too, as WikiLeaks tells us. So did President Barack Obama, that former paladin for openness, who in the past several years did nearly everything in his power to suppress challenges to Clinton and thus ensure she would continue his legacy of tepid, bank-friendly neoliberalism.

My leftist friends persuaded themselves that this stuff didn’t really matter, that Clinton’s many concessions to Sanders’ supporters were permanent concessions. But with the convention over and the struggle with Sanders behind her, headlines show Clinton triangulating to the right, scooping up the dollars and the endorsement... She is reaching out to the foreign policy establishment and the neocons. She is reaching out to Republican office-holders. She is reaching out to Silicon Valley. And, of course, she is reaching out to Wall Street. In her big speech in Michigan on Thursday she cast herself as the candidate who could bring bickering groups together and win policy victories...

...[W]hat seems most plausible ... is a landslide for Clinton, and with it the triumph of complacent neoliberal orthodoxy. She will have won her great victory, not as a champion of working people’s concerns, but as the greatest moderate of them all, as the leader of a stately campaign of sanity and national unity. The populist challenge of the past eight years, whether led by Trump or by Sanders, will have been beaten back resoundingly. Centrism will reign triumphant ... for years to come.

...Trump loves to boast that he is immune to the scourge of money in politics, that he’s nobody’s puppet, and from his coming ruin and disgrace we will no doubt be told to draw many lessons about how money in politics actually helps prevent the rise of people like Trump and makes the system more stable.

For decades, the Davos set have told us that doubt about “globalization” was a species of racism, and soon Trump, as a landslide loser, will confirm this for them in overwhelming terms.

Reprint Heaven Forever: Still Missed

John Lennon: October 9, 1940

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup,
They slither while they pass; they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind,
Possessing and caressing me
Jai guru de va om
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world

Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes,
That call me on and on across the universe;
Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box
They tumble blindly as they make their way,
Across the universe
Jai guru de va om
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world.

Sounds of laughter shades of earth are ringing
Through my open views; inviting and inciting me
Limitless undying love which shines around me
Like a million suns; it calls me on and on
Across the universe
Jai guru de va om
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world...

Across The Universe (Lennon / McCartney, 1969)

We don't care what flag you're waving,
We don't even want to know your name,
We don't care where you're from or where you're going,
All we know is that you came;

You're making all our decisions,
We have just one request of you,
That while you're thinking things over,
Here's something you just better do:

Free the people, now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now.
Free the people, now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now.

Well we were caught with our hands in the air,
Don't despair paranoia is everywhere,
We can shake it with love when we're scared,
So let's shout it aloud like a prayer:

Free the people, now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now.
Free the people now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now

We understand your paranoia,
But we don't want to play your game;
You think you're cool and know what you are doing,
666 is your name;
So while your jerking off each other,
You better bear this thought in mind:
Your time is up you better know it,
But maybe you don't read the signs

Free the people now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now.
Free the people now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now.

Well you were caught with your hands in the kill,
And you still got to swallow your pill,
As you slip and you slide down the hill,
On the blood of the people you killed

Stop the killing now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now.
Stop the killing now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now.
Free the people now,
Do it do it do it do it do it now...

The Soul Of America reminded me that I missed the actual day. Normally, I put up a memorial on December 10th. Better, I think, to celebrate someone's birth.

Even though I was around when their music was brand-new, and have a perfect memory of hearing She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, terrifically stoned while standing on top of a sandbagged bunker on VCM359 outside Nah Trang, I can't say I listen to Beatles music too much myself, these days (though I did listen to the Magical Mystery Tour album last weekend, by chance, while padding through the Haight).

So:  Absent Friends. Happy Birthday, John.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

This Way, America

No, Over Here.  What The Hell Is Wrong with You?

 Joseph Beuys / 1974 Performance Art, I Like America; America Likes Me (aka, "Coyote")

The Why Of Dog
It was a typisch day here in Downtown America.  Over at the Soul Of America, I was directed to a story about David Bowie, which contained a photo of what appeared to be a Dog dragging a leper / vagrant / symbolically-wrapped human around. We worked it through Skynet the Googlegerät. One thing led to another. And here we are in the Future, as always happens in America.
Beuys flew to New York, picked up by an ambulance, and swathed in felt, was transported to a room in the Rene Block Gallery. The room was also occupied by a wild coyote, and for a period of 8 hours a day for the next three days, Beuys spent his time with the coyote in the small room, with little more than a felt blanket and a pile of straw. While in the room, the artist engaged in symbolist gestures, such as striking a triangle and tossing his gloves to the coyote. At the end of the three days, the coyote, who had become quite tolerant of Beuys, allowed a hug from the artist, who was transported back to the airport via ambulance. He never set foot on outside American soil nor saw anything of America other than the coyote and the inside of the gallery.

Gentlemen, the people at home cannot understand either of you...
-- Elaine Quijano, CBS News, to Kaine and Pence

2016 Election Forecast:  Clinton 75.3%,  Trump 24.7%
-- fivethirtyeightdotcom

My friend; clear your mind of Cant.
-- Samuel Johnson

 I AM PART OF YOUUU !!!! (rabbitandmouse, 2006)

The First Whorehouse In Space Will Be Built By The Bold
During his hour-long announcement of the SpaceX Mars colonization plan, CEO Elon Musk didn’t say where exactly Martian colonists will live once they arrive on the planet — and how exactly they’ll survive given the harsh environment. Musk seemed particularly unconcerned about solar radiation. “The radiation thing is often brought up, but it’s not too big of a deal,” he says...

SpaceX’s goal is to build [its] transport system [to Mars], like building the Union Pacific Railroad. “Once that transport system is built,” Musk says, “there’s a tremendous opportunity for anyone who wants to go to Mars and create something new or build the foundations of a new planet.” People will be able to go to the planet and build “anything from iron refineries to the first pizza joint.”
--  Alessandra Potenza and Loren Grush, The Verge, September 27, 2016

Ironically, this is also International Space Week.

Not With A Bang But A Food Fight
As most everyone knows, the ending to Stanley Kubrick's 1964 anti-war black comedy, Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb has Strangelove (Peter Sellers) emerging from his wheelchair and taking a few steps, then a montage of atomic bombs going off.

However, that wasn't the original ending. Kubrick initially envisioned 'Strangelove' as a drama, based on a British novel, "Two Hours To Doom", about an accidental nuclear war.  He was introduced (oddly enough, by by Peter Sellers) to Terry Southern, an American expat writer living in London; Southern saw Kubrick's project as a vehicle for dark comedy about the end of the world, and the two co-authored the script ("I intended to make a dark comedy", Kubrick later said of his film). Sellers, a friend of both Southern and Kubrick, was cast to play three separate, believable characters (originally, four -- spraining an ankle kept Sellers from playing Major "King" Kong, and Slim Pickens was offered the role). 

In the original ending of the film, Dr. Strangelove stood up from his wheelchair, only to fall flat on his face. Meanwhile, General 'Buck' Turgidson (George C. Scott) noticed Russian Ambassador de Sadesky (Peter Bull) taking pictures of "the big board", and tackled him -- only to have the Ambassador throw a cream pie at him from a nearby buffet table.

Turgidson ducked; the pie hits President Muffley (also played by Peter Sellers) instead -- and the entire War Room erupted in a gigantic food fight. Finally, as nuclear war engulfs the world, Muffley and the Russian Ambassador, having lost their reason, end up sitting on the floor and playing with the litter of thrown food like children.

Ironically, Strangelove was being edited around November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated. In the scene as filmed, President Muffley is struck with a pie and Turgidson announced, "Our President has been struck down in his prime!" Because Kubrick considered the action too close to actual events (and the actors appeared to be enjoying themselves a bit too obviously), that ending had to change, and Kubrick was in a bit of a fix. As the legend goes, Spike Milligan (He of the UK's famous Goon Show) was talking at the same time with former fellow Goonie Peter Sellers and learned about Stanley's dilemma. 

Milligan is supposed to have suggested the ending we're all familiar with: Strangelove standing up from his wheelchair ("Mein Führer -- I can walk !!"), followed by footage of one nuclear weapons test after another, accompanied by a soundtrack of British singer Vera Lynn singing a WW2 ballad well-known ballad in the UK, "We'll Meet Again." Kubrick's film editor, Anthony Harvey, put the footage of the original food-fight ending with other cut scenes, which were afterwards misplaced and lost to history.

George C. Scott In The Lost Ending To Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove (1964)

( One of my favorite things about Strangelove is Peter Sellers' ability (as Strangelove) to crack up Peter Bull, who played the Russian ambassador. The next time you see this classic, during scenes with a medium or long shot of Strangelove declaiming from his wheelchair, keep your eye on Bull.

The Two Peters: Peter Bull (Left) As Ambassador de Sadesky,
and Peter Sellers As Herr Dr. Unwirklichlieber, In The War Room

Do Hold It Together, Old Man.

(Sellers was a genius at creating characters, and Bull can't help but be affected. He tries, but at some point just can't hold it in any longer -- again, the film's editor, Anthony Harvey, managed to save the take and splice in the next shot just as Bull is about to lose it.  According to film lore, Sellers was even able to get the redoubtable Sterling Hayden to crack up.)

Ain't We Got Fun
Global debt has hit a record high of $152 trillion, weighing down economic growth and adding to risks that recovery could turn into stagnation or even recession, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

In a worst-case scenario the IMF also fears that a wave of populist politics across the US and Europe could send globalisation into reverse with protectionist policies hitting international trade, investment and migration, sending the world plunging into a prolonged period of stagnation...

“At 225% of world GDP, the global debt …is currently at an all-time high. Two-thirds, amounting to about $100 trillion, consists of liabilities of the private sector which can carry great risks when they reach excessive levels,” the IMF said in its fiscal monitor.
--  Tim Wallace, Business Writer; UK Telegraph Online October 5, 2016

"Among 'developed' nations, the United States has one of the highest rates of child poverty on the planet...  Only Romania has a higher rate than the U.S. ...  More children live in poverty -- grinding, soul-destroying poverty -- in America than in Latvia or Bulgaria, two nations few Americans can even find on a map."
--  Motivational Screensaver

Wealthiest ZIP Codes In America (Clicky For Ubernormous Graphic! Spass! Nett!)

Monday, October 3, 2016

The World You Wish For Is Already Irrelevant

Not Even Close

fivethirtyeightdotcom's current analysis of polling data says She will sweep to victory with more than 70% (or 305 Electoral votes).
I never met a girl who makes me feel the way that you do (You're alright)
Whenever I'm asked who makes my dreams real, 
I say that you do (You're outta sight)
So, fee-fi-fo-fum
Look out baby, 'cause here I come.
And I'm bringing you a love that's true.
So get ready, 
get ready.

I'm gonna try to make you love me too.
So get ready, so get ready 
'cause here I come.
I'm on my way.

Get ready 'cause here I come
Get ready 'cause here I come
---  Smokey Robinson, "Get Ready"; The Temptations, 1966

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Big Lizard Longevity

The Chairman Of The Board Loves You.

Godzilla Inflation.  Click = Big (Original Image: Noger Chen, 2016)

The only thing more frightening than Godzilla are Godzilla's lawyers.
-- Paul Watson, Canadian Environmentalist
The only thing scarier than Godzilla is Godzilla's lawyers. Paul Watson
Read more at:
The only thing scarier than Godzilla is Godzilla's lawyers. Paul Watson
Read more at:
If you put all the Godzillas who ever were into one location, you'd probably be at the beach. The Big Guy, Chairman Of The Board, Best Giant Bipedal Lizard Ever, is fond of the ocean and gets testy when He's away from it too long. And, what if they all came out of the water at once?

From one of the fan sites that promote The Cult Of The Giant Bipedal Lizard comes a size comparison chart of Toho Studios' (owners of the Godzilla franchise) versions of The Big Guy.  We've cleaned it up a little, enhanced a few colors, and provided a handy date reference. All your favorite Big Lizards are there ... even the 1998 Roland Emerich version (it's the wimpy-looking 'zilla on the far right), widely seen as the embarrassment of the Godzilla 'family' and the main reason Hollywood wouldn't risk producing another Gorjirra movie for nearly two decades.

(The screaming children you can see running in terror are actors; the beach was provided by the City of Santa Monica; and no forms of life larger than a single-celled organism were harmed during the photo shoot -- though the party which followed got a little out of hand. A new bond measure by the State of California should take care of $68.4 million in damages, and the $13 million-dollar bar tab. The Big Guy has good lawyers. Heck, they have a Union!)

All this, as yet another Big Lizard makes its screen appearance -- 'Shin Godzilla' (or in English, Godzilla Resurgence) is being released this week, and is being touted as "the biggest Godzilla [height-wise] of them all".

 A New Gorjirra Looks For The Restrooms (Clicky = Big Big; Easy 'n Fun 4 U.)

There are two tracks in the Godzilla film universe: those made for a Japanese audience; and 'licensed' versions of The Giant Lizard made in Hollywood.  The 2014 Godzilla (go here and also here) was a Made-In-The-U.S. Big Guy.

The monster in 'Resurgence' was primarily made for a Japanese audience (all main characters are Japanese, and the action takes place in Japan), and follows the general track created by the films Toho made for 'home' audiences -- this Godzilla is "new" and doesn't relate to the one we saw performing urban renewal (incidental to eliminating two other monsters) in San Francisco in 2014.

I may see it, may not. Depends on what they're charging medium-sized white Dogs at the Megaplex cinemas these days, and what form of Treats they're selling.

He's There For You.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Clinton Hailed Winner Of U.S. Presidential Debate


(Golden Gate, Minus Golden Gate. Click For Gingnormous Version: Easy. Fun.)

I didn't watch it. Y'all have fun, now. 
The truest characters of ignorance are vanity and pride and arrogance.
-- Samuel Butler

In the life of a man, his time is but a moment, his being an incessant flux, his sense a dim rushlight, his body a prey of worms, his soul an unquiet eddy, his fortune dark, his fame doubtful. In short, all that is body is as coursing waters, all that is of the soul as dreams and vapors.
-- Marcus Aurelius; Meditations
On second thought, let us not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.
-- Arthur, King Of The Britons
Oh, you are fucking kidding me.
-- Stan Palmer (David Clennon); John Carpenter's The Thing (1982)