Author Archives: ohioan
A quizzical boner, nothing more
Just Wanted to See You So Bad
Ohioan playing a very, very rare solo acoustic show.
Debuted new songs:
– “the End of Fun”
– “Whats Not Blood”
– “Still Reeling”
– “Fat Children (with Privilege)”
as well as some old goodies and a Lucinda Williams cover.
3 new tapes on the horizon: a more song/lyric-oriented collection, a tape collage/cumbia trance/arabic dub mix, and a document of the current Tucson live band, which happens to be playing its first wedding gig this Saturday.
Thats enough for now.
the New Evolution
Howe Gelb on Keeping it Real
Daniel Vitalis on strategies to assist us in detoxing radioactive isotopes, heavy metals, and keeping other toxins from our bodies.
NYPD Raids Activists’ Homes
Today “there was definitely an upswing in law enforcement activity that seemed to fit the pattern of targeting what police might view as political residences,” said Gideon Oliver, the president of the New York Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which offers legal to support to Occupy Wall Street. “They were asking what are your May Day plans, do you know who the leaders are—these are classic political surveillance questions.”
Oliver said the National Lawyer’s Guild is aware of at least five instances of NYPD paying activists visits, including one where the FBI was involved in questioning. (He wouldn’t elaborate.) We spoke to three of these activists.
In the first case: activist Zachary Dempster said that six NYPD officers broke down the door of his Bushwick, Brooklyn apartment at around 6:15am this morning. Dempster said they were armed with a warrant for the arrest of his roommate, musician Joe Crow Ryan, for a six-year-old open container violation. But Dempster believes this was an excuse to check in on him, as he’d been arrested in February at an Occupy Wall Street Party that was broken up by cops, and charged with assaulting a police office and inciting a riot.
After running his ID, a detective questioned Dempster in his bedroom for about five minutes about tomorrow’s May Day protest, he said.
“They asked what I was doing tomorrow, and if I knew of any activities, any events—that was how the conversation started,” Dempster said. Dempster said he’s not planning doing much, as his case from February is still open. Dempster’s roommate was also asked about him and May Day.
About an hour later, an activist friend of Dempster’s who runs in anarchist circles said his apartment in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, where he lives with a half-dozen other activists and Occupy Wall Street organizers was visited by six NYPD cops—possibly the same ones. The activist said police used arrest warrants for two men who no longer lived there as pretext for the raid. The officers ran the IDs of everyone who was in the apartment, then booked our source when they discovered he had an outstanding open container violation. Police never asked about Occupy Wall Street or May Day, but our source said the message was clear: We’re watching you.
“We obviously don’t think it’s an accident that it happened the day before May Day, where people in the house are organizers,” he said.
This afternoon, NYPD also visited the home of Greek anarchist artist Georgia Sagri, who has been part of Occupy Wall Street from the beginning and led the occupation of a SoHo art gallery last October. Turns out she was giving a press conference about May Day at Zuccotti Park at the time. Police waited for about an hour outside her home, then left.
“My roommate gave me a call and told me the NYPD was looking for me,” Sagri said. “Since that time, I didn’t go home. So I’m basically on the street. My May Day has already started which is fine, I don’t mind.” She said she has no idea why NYPD visited her.
This isn’t the first time NYPD has been criticized for aggressive surveillance of protesters: The NYPD infiltrated activist groups around the country before 2004’s New York Ciy Republican National Convention. And The New York Times has ably detailed the extent to which NYPD has harassed and spied on Occupy Wall Street protesters.
“The intention behind this I’m sure is to try to create fear and silence dissent,” said Marina Sitrin, a lawyer and member of Occupy Wall Street’s legal working group, “and to keep people from coming out into the streets.”
Hipster Racism: I’m Looking at You, North Portland
There’s been a lot of talk these last couple of weeks about “hipster racism” or “ironic racism”—or, as I like to call it, racism. It’s, you know, introducing your black friend as “my black friend”—as a joke!!!—to show everybody how totally not preoccupied you are with your black friend’s blackness. It’s the gentler, more clueless, and more insidious cousin of a hick in a hood; the domain of educated, middle-class white people (like me—to be clear, I am one of those) who believe that not wanting to be racist makes it okay for them to be totally racist. “But I went to college — I can’t be racist!” Turns out, you can.
People benefit from racism—hell, I benefit from it every day—and things that benefit powerful people don’t just suddenly get “fixed” and disappear because Halle Berry won an Oscar or whatever. Modern racism lives in entrenched de facto inequalities, in coded language about “work ethic” and “states’ rights,” in silent negative spaces like absence and invisibility, and in Newt Gingrich’s hair. And in irony.
When people are trying to be sensitive about race but they don’t know what to say, they usually go with, “Well, race is a complicated issue.” Except, no, it’s not. Race is one of the least complicated issues that there is, because it’s made up. It’s arbitrary. It’s as complicated as goddamn Santa Claus. Oh, that guy’s mom was half-black, which makes his skin slightly more pigmented than mine, which therefore means that he’s inherently 12.5% lazier than me? Science! Um, no. What’s actually complicated is our country’s relationship with race, and our utter ineptitude at talking about it. We suck. I mean, I work on it every day, and I’m still a total fuck-up. But this new scheme someone came up with—where we prove we’re not racist by acting as casually racist as possible? Not our best, white people. Not our best.
Racism is like a wily little bacterium. It doesn’t just roll over and die once we swallow our antibiotics—it mutates and evolves and hides itself in plain sight, and then all of a sudden, fuck, my arm fell off. Dickhead bacteria. (Sidenote: arm for sale!)
A long time ago (not really!), it was socially acceptable to own people. Then it wasn’t, but it was socially acceptable to murder people if they looked at your wife. Then it wasn’t! Yay! But it was still okay to say that people whose skin color you didn’t like weren’t allowed to be around you. And so on. Eventually we arrived at the point (now) where it’s socially unacceptable in mainstream culture for white people to say denigrating things about people of other races. But just because the behavior has been suppressed, that doesn’t mean people’s prejudices have simply disappeared. And white people haaaaaate being told what to do in our own country (fun fact: not actually “ours”)!
So racism went underground. Sure, you can’t say racist things anymore, but you can pretend to say them! Which, it turns out, is pretty much the exact same thing. There are a couple of strains of “ironic racism” making the rounds right now, and a couple of typical defenses.
1. “Tee-Hee, Aren’t I Adorable?”
This category includes things like wide-eyed acoustic covers of hip-hop songs, suburban white girls flashing gang signs, and this Tweet from Zooey Deschanel: “Haha. 🙂 RT @Sarabareilles: Home from tour and first things first: New Girl episodes I missed. #thuglife.” See, it’s hilarious, because we aren’t thugs—we are darling girls, and real thugs are black people who do crime! Oh, hey, can I call you back? I need to sew more ric-rac on my apron. I hope a black person didn’t get into my ric-rac Kaboodle and steal all of it! JK, LOL. RIP, Whitney.
(Now, I’m obv not saying that Zooey Deschanel is some terrible racist. I don’t know her, although I did sit next to her at a restaurant once, and she ordered “olives.” She seemed lovely, and she didn’t call anyone the n-word for the entire meal. But I’m saying that we are all kind of bizarrely cavalier and careless these days, throwing our most deeply-considered morals under the bus for the sake of a few cheap jokes. It’s weird, and we owe the world a little more critical thinking.)
2. “Recreational Slumming.”
Wherein privileged people descend for a visit inside the strange, foreign spaces of othered groups. Like, I don’t know, IHOP. Or that “scary” bar in the south end. Then they go home again. Catchphrase: “It’s soooooo ghetto, but I actually totally like it!”
3. “Ummm, I’m a Writer and I’m Trying to Write in Here!”
This is Lesley Arfin crowing about the majestic power of the n-word, and white kids whining that it’s “unfair” that black people “get” to use “it”. You know, because words are powerful and words are Arfin’s craft and would you take the color red away from the best painter on Twitter??? And besides, don’t you just find Arfin to be so RAW and DELICIOUSLY NAUGHTY? It’s all tied up with the deliberately obtuse people who conflate “freedom of speech” with “immunity from criticism.” You “can” say the n-word. Go ahead and say it if you want, Skrillex. And I will go ahead and give you the world’s most sidewaysiest eyeball forever. Because it hurts people. Why do you want to hurt people?
4. “God, Don’t White People Suck?”
Okay, I get what you’re trying to do here—having some fun at the expense of the oppressors while setting yourself up as one of the “cool” white people—but mainly what you end up doing is implying that black people don’t like informative radio or TED talks. Stuff White People Like: having the best brains! Isn’t it great that we can make fun of ourselves while still reminding you that we’re better than you?
And the thing is, when these things get called out, there really is no defense. But they try:
“No, don’t you see? I’m just showing how I’m so down with [minority group] that it’s totally cool for me to make jokes at their expense. Because we are just that kind of tight bros now.”
No. You cannot unlock some secret double-not-racist achievement by just being regular racist. Otherwise Bill O’Reilly would be president of the NAACP.
“But it’s a JOOOOOKE.”
Here’s the thing about jokes. They only work when they’re aiming up. I wrote this in another piece recently, but I’m just going to plagiarize myself: People in positions of power simply cannot make jokes at the expense of the powerless. That’s why, at a company party, you never have a roast where the CEO is roasting the janitor (“Isn’t it funny how Steve can barely feed his family? This guy knows what I’m talking about!” [points to other janitor]). Because that would be GROSS, and both janitors would have to work late to clean up everyone’s barf. Open-mic comedians, I know you think you’re part of some fresh vanguard in alternative comedy who just discovered that a lot of black ladies don’t like it when you touch their hair, but pleeeeeeease just stick to stuff about how your stupid girlfriend is a bitch. (Just kidding. Please never speak again.)
“So I’m not allowed to have a genuine interest in another culture?!!?!??!”
First of all, privileged dickweeds wearing Urban Outfitters “Navajo” panties, I didn’t realize that you excavated those in your anthropological field work. My bad. Carry on. And second of all, again, you “can” do whatever the fuck you want. You “can” wear whatever you want, say whatever you want, and think whatever you want about whatever you want. All the time! Yaaay! But if a group of people comes to you and says, “This thing that you are doing is hurting us,” and you keep doing it for fun, then you are a dickweed! Like, you know we had an actual genocide here, right? A deliberate extermination of human beings? Right where your house is? So maybe just err on the side of sensitivity.
“Yeah, but we have a black president! Isn’t racism over?”
Okay. That’s probably the most racist thing you’ve said all day, imaginary amalgam of all the careless hipsters in the world. You know how you can tell that black people are still oppressed? Because black people are still oppressed. If you claim that you are not a racist person (or, at least, that you’re committed to working your ass off not to be one—which is really the best that any of us can promise), then you must believe that people are fundamentally born equal. So if that’s true, then in a vacuum, factors like skin color should have no effect on anyone’s success. Right? And therefore, if you really believe that all people are created equal, then when you see that drastic racial inequalities exist in the real world, the only thing that you could possibly conclude is that some external force is holding certain people back. Like…racism. Right? So congratulations! You believe in racism! Unless you don’t actually think that people are born equal. And if you don’t believe that people are born equal, then you’re a fucking racist.
But you know what? At least that’s sincere. And at least sincere racism isn’t running around Brooklyn wearing artisanal suspenders and masquerading as enlightenment. Give me sincere racism or give me no racism at all, but enough with this weaselly shit.
Fukushima Now Radiating Everyone: Will Impact All Of Humanity
Monsanto Kills Bees, Buys Evidence
“Owning a major organization that focuses heavily on the bee collapse and is recognized by the USDA for their mission statement of ‘restoring bee health and protecting the future of insect pollination’ could be very advantageous for Monsanto.”
Monsanto, the massive biotechnology company being blamed for contributing to the dwindling bee population, has bought up one of the leading bee collapse research organizations. Recently banned from Poland with one of the primary reasons being that the company’s genetically modified corn may be devastating the dying bee population, it is evident that Monsanto is under serious fire for their role in the downfall of the vital insects. It is therefore quite apparent why Monsanto bought one of the largest bee research firms on the planet.
It can be found in public company reports hosted on mainstream media that Monsanto scooped up the Beeologics firm back in September 2011. During this time the correlation between Monsanto’s GM crops and the bee decline was not explored in the mainstream, and in fact it was hardly touched upon until Polish officials addressed the serious concern amid the monumental ban. Owning a major organization that focuses heavily on the bee collapse and is recognized by the USDA for their mission statement of “restoring bee health and protecting the future of insect pollination” could be very advantageous for Monsanto.
In fact, Beelogics’ company information states that the primary goal of the firm is to study the very collapse disorder that is thought to be a result — at least in part — of Monsanto’s own creations. Their website states:
While its primary goal is to control the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) infection crises, Beeologics’ mission is to become the guardian of bee health worldwide.
What’s more, Beelogics is recognized by the USDA, the USDA-ARS, the media, and ‘leading entomologists’ worldwide. The USDA, of course, has a great relationship with Monsanto. The government agency has gone to great lengths to ensure that Monsanto’s financial gains continue to soar, going as far as to give the company special speed approval for their newest genetically engineered seed varieties. It turns out that Monsanto was not getting quick enough approval for their crops, which have been linked to severe organ damageand other significant health concerns.
Steve Censky, chief executive officer of the American Soybean Association, states it quite plainly. It was a move to help Monsanto and other biotechnology giants squash competition and make profits. After all, who cares about public health?
“It is a concern from a competition standpoint,” Censky said in a telephone interview.
It appears that when Monsanto cannot answer for their environmental devastation, they buy up a company that may potentially be their ‘experts’ in denying any such link between their crops and the bee decline.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST
IN DEFENSE OF HANK JR., OR WHAT IF THERE WAS ANOTHER YOU?
1) When you’re raised up around country music and then cut your teeth in indie-rock you get a lot of disinformation. One thing you hear from people is, ”There’s only one Hank … and that’s Hank senior.” I bought it for years. Popular opinion, and I mean across the board, will tell you that of all the Hank Williamses across the multiverse, Hank The First is the only Hank worth your time.
That being said, a couple years ago I stumbled onto some Hank Williams Jr. records from the ’70s in the five dollar bin and my preconceptions were blasted all over the wall.
I still love me some Hank Williams Prime but try and tell me “OD’d In Denver” isn’t one of thee finest bad-ass outlaw songs ever written. Is he hip? Far from it. Are the songs good? Find the 1979 studio version of “OD’d in Denver” and decide for yourself.
After that work your way through “Whiskey Bent And Hell Bound,” then “Family Tradition,” “The Pressure is On,” ”A Countryboy Can Survive” (my personal favorite), “Old Nashville Cowboy,” the big league strut of “The Conversation” (with Waylon Jennings), “All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down” (second favorite), etc. Sure Hank Jr.’s done some awful things but, haven’t we all?
2) One of the least awful things you can be is a fan of something. Something you can love but not own. Something to give your heart to and not have it broken.
3) If the universe really is infinite like the multiverse theorists believe, then there is only a limited amount of ways matter can come together to make form. Which means across the (literally) endless spectrum of constituent universes, there are countless Earths and countless yous, most of varying composition but some—MANY, because infinite space is a big thing—that are totally identical, that exist in the same physical form as you and on the same quantum table; a you that is reading this right now off that same phone, a billion yous drifting across the high dimensional planes reading the words “high dimensional planes.”
What if there was another you in a parallel universe that had slightly different tastes, beliefs, and basic aesthetic inclinations? Say, a you that likes Hank Jr. juxtaposed against the Hank-Sr.-loving you here in the observable universe—an opposite you, but a you that is more or less synchronous. What would you say to the alternate you? What if there was another you that hasn’t made the same mistakes? If not, are you truly alone because there is only you?
4) Is parallel universe theory a form of immortality? A you always out there, always alive no matter what happens to the you of right-here-right-now. A you existing infinitely. Could that be an explanation of “god”?
The idea of “fictional realism” posits that because fictions exist, because a thing/character/person exists in fiction, it will exist somewhere in physical form across the multiverse, i.e., all things imagined will be real somewhere because of the limited variation of matter. That includes Nick Carraway, Scout Finch, Harriet the Spy, Batman, Temple Drake, Mabel Longhetti, Harold Chasen, Jake Barnes, Augie March, Augustus McCrae, Anna Karenina, you name it—as long as they obey the fundamental laws of physics they would (hypothetically) exist; the idea being something like, “Everything that can … will.”
5) What makes you you and not someone else? Petty shit like musical taste? Sexual proclivities? Eye color? Where’s the defining line? Can you see it? Could you touch it if it was there in front of you?
6) What is it that makes you feel less alone with yourself?
In the Desert, We Are All Illegal Aliens: BORDER MATH 101
Excerpts from The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea
“In May 2001, a group of men attempted to cross the border into the desert of southern Arizona, through the deadliest region of the continent, a place called the Devil’s Highway. Fathers and sons, brothers and strangers, entered a desert so harsh and desolate that even the Border Patrol is afraid to travel through it.
For hundreds of years, men have tried to conquer this land, and for hundreds of years the desert has stolen their souls and swallowed their blood. Along the Devil’s Highway, days are so hot that dead bodies naturally mummify almost immediately. And that May, 26 men went in.
Twelve came back out.
Experts can’t give a definitive schedule of doom. Your own death is largely dictated by factors outside of your control, and beyond accurate prediction. Your own fitness is a factor, your genetics. Gender doesn’t seem to affect your chances much. Women are far from being the “weaker” sex. They survive as long as men, and often survive longer. Hydration before the event might buy you time, same with shade, a hat, rest. How much, however, remains unknown. All sources say you will die in a period of time that can vary from hours to days.
However long it takes you to die, you will pass through six known stages of heat death, or hyperthermia, and they are they same for everyone. It doesn’t matter what language you speak, or what color your skin. Whether you speed through these stages, or linger at each, hyperthermia will express itself in six ways: Heat Stress, Heat Fatigue, Heat Syncope, Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke.
The people most at risk from hyperthermia are the elderly. That’s why Midwestern heat waves feature dead Chicago retirees by the score. But the wicked genius of Desolation is that it makes even the young old so that it can kill them more easily.
“What kills the people,” says Consul Flores Vizcarra, “isn’t the desert, or the Coyotes, or even the Border Patrol. It is the politics of stupidity that rules both sides of the border.” The supposed lifesaving tactics of the Border Patrol are “like throwing a child in the ocean and then throwing in floaties afterward. It’s not sufficient, and we think it’s disingenuous to say they’re making it safer. Our border policies are the direct cause of the deaths.” Numbers never lie, after all: they simply tell different stories depending on the math of the tellers.
IMMIGRATION MATH 101:
The Center for Immigration Studies puts the estimated lifetime cost of each illegal is around $55, 200. That is, welfare, medical, school, various outreaches, cost us $55K+ over a lifetime of menial labor. The Mexican Migration Project points out that harsher border policies ensure that illegal immigrants stay for longer periods – thus ensuring some percentage of that $55K prophecy comes to fruition.
Several studies have also shown that illegal immigrants actually depress wages. They help keep the minimum wage down. This means savings for the Captains of Industry: low wages and a cheaper product. Vicks VapoRub is bottled in Mexico; Big Macs cooked by Mexicans. Shaving points off both ends.
If there are eight million illegals slaving away in the US right now, most of those workers pay federal income tax: shaved right off the top. No choice, just like you. They pay state taxes: shaved right off the top. They get tapped for Social Security and FICA. There’s a whole lot of shaving going on. If you multiply $4.50 an hour by eight million workers, that would mean there are $36 million taxable dollars being accrued every hour by illegals getting tapped for some percentage by Uncle Sam. Those workers will not receive a refund. State tax? Has the governor of California gotten a new swimming pool lately? How’s the governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge looking?
Lower wages, cheaper product, unclaimed federal & state taxes, unused Social Security. Over a lifetime, does it start to ameliorate that $55K? What about sales tax, gas tax, rent? What about Pampers at the local Vons? Cigarette tax. Beer. Tortillas and BVDs and cable and used cars and speeding tickets and water bills and electric bills and tampons and Trojans and Mars bars. Movie tickets. Running shoes. CDs. Over a lifetime, how much does it add to the American commonwealth?
But they take away our jobs! Interestingly, the US Bureau of Labor Services has reported that by 2008, there will be five million more jobs in the US than people to do them. THis is after the tides of illegals. After the post-Iraq economic doldrums. Even if we vacuum up the homeless and set them to sweeping and frying, we’ll have a few million vacancies. Who you gonna call?
UCLA’s North American Integration and Development Center released a 21st century study that found that “undocumented immigrants” contributed “at least $300 billion per year to the US gross domestic product (GDP).”Although conservative groups claim that illegals are a social burden, they tend to shy away from seeking social services because they don’t want to be deported. Wherefore $55K?
According to the American Graduate School of International Management, Arizona alone gets “$8 billion in economic profit annually from the ‘relationship’ with Mexico.” That’s profit, not costs. Mexico makes $5.5 billion. The US makes more money in the deal than those wily Mexicans. From the same study: “Mexican immigrants paid nearly $600 million in federal taxes and sales taxes in 2002…. Mexican immigrants use about $250 million in social services such as Medicaid and food stamps…. Another $31 million in uncompensated health care….”
That leaves a profit of $319 MILLION.
The Arizona Republic further quotes the report:
– The average annual wage for Arizonans is $28, 355; for the states illegals it’s $12, 963.
– The total buying power of Arizona’s Mexican immigrants is estimated at $4.18 billion.
– The state’s Mexican immigrants spend an estimated $1.5 billion in mortgage payments and rent annually.
– Mexican tourists and visitors spent $962 million in Arizona in 2001, while state residents spent about $328 million in Mexico.
– Remittances from the state’s Mexican immigrants to their homeland reached $486 million last year, with those transactions generating about $57 million in fees to Arizona banks and financial institutions.
Crunch. Slide. Gasping: that was the sound. Gasping and sobbing and coughing and heartbeats. Canta y no llores! The ragged breathing of those walking beside them made the men cringe. Stop to piss: piss in cupped hands, lick every hot smear of it from your fingers. If they weren’t trying to save themselves, they would piss in each others’ mouths. Sacrament. Communion. Oh God, in Thy dwelling place, hear our pleas. Hearts drumming, soft hammers inside them, dull fuzzy banging, faster and faster. Blessed Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our death, amen. El tuca-tuca-tucanazo! WINGS ABOVE THEM. BLUE MEN. WHITE TEETH. NOTHING. EMPTY NOTHING EMPTY BONES EMPTY HEAT NOTHING BUT SUN EMPTY NOTHING.
Palace of the Winds
If you’ve never seen this 2008 documentary from Sublime Frequencies, sleep no longer.
Here’s the trailer:
From the SF site:
Shot over the course of two years (2006-2008), Palace of the Winds is an intimate and dreamlike journey exploring the music of Saharawi culture from Guelmim in Southern Morocco to the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott. With spectacular images from inhospitable landscapes, chimerical phenomena that transpire by the sheer remoteness of the land, and haunting indigenous music from a people that have long been shrouded in mystery, this is a genre-defying film of profound beauty. Explore the intoxicating tapestry of sight and sound that this obscure region has to offer through its most awe-inspiring musicians. Featuring live performances by Group Doueh, Group Marwani, Sadoum Oueld Aida and Group Bab Sahara.