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the worst stephen malkmus track ever

i still hold pavement somewhere in my heart as a band I like, but dude… this is awful… Baby Come On. Sure you want to be Alex Chilton, but come on… this is not your best track. It’s probably the worst pavement related thing I’ve ever heard, but that’s probably the point this isn’t pavement, but bluesu infected pysch comes better from elsewhere.


October 19, 2005 at 8:07 pm Leave a comment

The Whole aka Dong by Ming-liang Tsai

The Whole by King-linag Tsai has spurred me onto 2 different reviews so far. The first by e-mail:


watching a move called the hole. Taiwanese I think seems a bit to weird for china unless it’s hong Kong. it’s worth seeing so far. it’s about a guy and a girl in an apartment complex. the guy’s ceiling caves in and the girl starts to get annoyed and well it’s kinda a weird metaphor for the simultaneous pleasure ,degregation, and pain of a rather intense crush. there’s also a kinda zombie-virus-sub-plot too and a lot of weird little scenes where the girl acts out her desires through rather innocent and kinda fun 50’s doo-wop sequences. worth a look.

and then I had to get all intellectual about it:

In the middle of The Hole I e-mailed a friend of mine to summarize it. Not sure if the film would break down into a series of submissive gestures, I felt a little un-easy recommending it, but then I saw the ending. It’s perfect. I’ve been living in Korea for 6 months, and this film could just as easily summarize the strange ennui and frustration of any Asian metropolis as it takes on Taiwan here. It uses the myth of Hong Kong musicals the same way Godard or Hartley use Western musicals, but takes it to an extreme, it’s gritty world and occasionally Kafka-esquire logic make it all the better. I really feel like The Hole’s closest comparison is Hal Hartley’s Surviving Desire, but have a kinda bleak edge to what are ultimately hopefully and strangely metaphorical films. Anyway, this is what I wrote to Esther. Hope you like The Hole too.

It turns out The Hole was part of a series parially commissioned by La Sept Arte which included Hartley’s quite awful The Book of Life. Anyway, two reviews is probably enough. If your wondering
the musical tid-bits come from Hong Kong musicals It’s ending is a relief to what is a crush that manages to transcend genders while making two far from perfect characters who’s characters seem to be fleshed out in musical form. What was intended as a response to 2000 ends up a timely meditation on pleasure and the pains that drive it. Sometimes we’re all driven a little bit off the edge of humanity by love sickness. Ming_ling Tsai’s got a new one out too called The Wayward Cloud

October 19, 2005 at 7:30 am Leave a comment

Iraq’s money and the microcreditors

It occured to me once to see if Iraq had proper banking after the fall of Hussein. It does, in fact the infiltration of banking into Iraq happened in record time (some several years faster than in Europe after WWII). But one small problem remains, while more than enough money was printed to exchange every bill in Iraq for the newer post-Hussein bills, they only got 1/3 of the printed money. 1/3 ain’t bad when it’s several billion your exchanging in paper bills, but that still means 60% of the money in Iraq isn’t legitimate. As The Economist put it,“This would seem to be a suitable case for foreign investment to bring in the needed know-how and technology. “ As The Economist points out most Iraq people typically haven’t used modern banking system, under Hussein the banks suffered from control and bad book keeping. The emphaisis is on getting loans out there as fast as possible. While microcredit is obviouslly a good way to get loans out there fast it also has the advantage of providing a good way for Iraq people to exchange their old bills for new ones. Deposited and verified money would be replaced with the new dinar which is already rising in value. Additionally, Brazil’s microcredit program is a good example of how to set-up a bank with out having to make tellers or new banks all over the place. The system lets people start a bank account with just cash, no credit check, and allows you to deposit money at post offices and authorized retailers. I.E. the corner market becomes an ATM and a grocery store. Additionally the banking spots could collect applications for grameen loans. This would give the U.S. a good way to exchange out the old dinar for the new one, allow Iraq’s residents to begin saving, help facilitate small time loans, and additionally provide merchants with an added way of making revenue. I also was thinking it would be nice to put a small cell phone buried into the bank box that automatically sends text messages in regularly to make sure the box hasn’t been stolen. You could also try rfid similar to lo-jack’s car installation so that the decentralized banking system could be secure (well at least 80% of the time). Finally, with the saving you could issue atm cards and then begin to modernize the system with actual electronic banking and all that. I think if we’re ever going to leave Iraq it’s going to be when we can truly offer them a place better than what they had before. Getting them up to spead on essential services like banking is obviously a good start. While progress has been made, I haven’t heard of a system that really takes advantages of modern day methods of banking. While Brazil is leading the way in services for the poor (their even investing in alternative energy solutions for folks off the grid), it seems like many of the services currently being offered are based on assumptions of American behavoir instead of middle eastern. I might be wrong though and their already is widely available banking in Iraq.

October 19, 2005 at 6:05 am Leave a comment

“Fake” news spots or Bush isn’t that bad

Occasionally something pops up in the blogopshere (and perhaps in the news at home) that really is a biased issue. Today I read that Bush is producing “fake” news spots for television. Well, here’s the problem, almost all presidents have created “fake news.” These are news items created by publicists that are used as filler in broadcasts and newspapers. It’s not just presidents that make these, in fact there are entire promotional firms with stockloads of “free articles” for newspapers to pick up that are in fact written by publicists paid by companies to sell a product. The day google went down a story circulated that becuase google was down people were trying MSN search. It was written by an ad agency in D.C. who Microsoft employs to circulate articles that have a pro-microsoft voice. Similarly, Bill Clinton created many “fake” news pieces over the years. If you don’t beleive me, check out Brian Spinger’s Spin available for free from illegal art. There are plenty of anchors in these tid-bits that are paid employees of the white house.

October 19, 2005 at 4:29 am 2 comments

Damn… Benn Loxo Du Taccu… African music

It’s been awhile since African music hit into me, but Benn Loxo Du Taccu is definitely worth the time. Contains a treasure trove of hard to find to excellent African tracks. Most recent post ia Franco rememberance

October 17, 2005 at 5:51 am Leave a comment

Yahoo kissing more ass than Google + OK Fred now out

I was a little surprised to find that the number of people who link to my site via yahoo is almost 10x the amount on google and probably around 100 times my miniscule 13 linkers via technorati.
Google lists: 210
Yahoo lists: 2,150
Tecnorati lists: 13 links from 9 different sites
of course just having more links doesn’t necessarily make you better, after all
technorati notes only 9 unique people link to me, google lists a larger 210, and
yahoo lists 2,150 but keep in mind of that 2,000 a few are over-laps say kinja
digests that subscribe to boingboing that in turn caught the one time I was linked to by them etc. But it would appear Yahoo is doing much better than google in terms of index. It’s useful to me at least to be able to see all the times I commented on endgadget or Don Park’s Daily Habit and finally actually check those links again and see that sometimes those people actually replied to me. Yahoo has let me see a conversation I built with out even realizing it, and of course even partially artificial popularity feels better than the cruel reality of 9 people actually giving a fuck about this blog =)

BTW via Jean Snow new issue of OK Fred is out and the rather decent OK Fred podcast which is chuck full of occidental electronica, pop, and rock hard to find on the other side of the fence is also starting up again… can I do a podcast? Please?


October 16, 2005 at 7:26 pm Leave a comment

More Japan-ers Microsound or Tonal wise + I join friendster

Seeing as how japanese people have an amazing pinache for not returning e-mails their country still remains a fairly unknownable entity to those of us even a mere hour away these days well unless we read one of the 6 million blogs devoted to covering Japanese pop culture . Anyway, a few more finds via the OK Fred events board.

First and foremost:

Taro burigo Yasuno is a composer living in Brazil or maybe part Brazilian or something. Anyway, he does rather lovely contemporary classical with a little Xenakis feel which is strangely rather Brazilian. He also runs a podcast for learing Portugeuse. Seeing as how 90% of the mp3 downloads on blogs consist of rock or rap or tech-house this is probably as close to high culture as you can get, and the porteguse lessons are free too =)

Akihiro Kubota
Media artist and college professor Akihiro scores points for making his website impossible to navigate. When you open up the source you can download a lot of mp3s and movies of him playing live. Primarily microsound type of stuff, it occasionally breaks into melody and has a kinda improvsed quality. worth a look

Yura Yura Teikoku
Amanda’s favorite Jap band I guess. Former PSF-ers
Mp3s here
Pysch-ee velvets type of stuff similar to Tori Kudo’s early stuff or Maher.
worth a look.

So Japan… worth a look.

BTW I’m on myspace:

October 13, 2005 at 9:41 am Leave a comment





videos? 1, 2, 3

October 12, 2005 at 7:50 am Leave a comment

The Power of Nightmares

The Power of Nightmares

A BBC Documentary that’s thesis is a juxtaposition of the American Neo-Conservative movement and the simulatenous rise of the Egyptian Islamist movement. The two movements, ironically, began from similar critiques of American’s fifties lifestyles. The American being embodied in U of C professor Leo Strauss to quote his student Robert Locke:

As a crude measure of his importance for those readers who continue to believe that philosophical matters are of no practical importance, consider the following list of his students or students of his students: Justice Clarence Thomas; Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork; Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz; former Assistant Secretary of State Alan Keyes; former Secretary of Education William Bennett; Weekly Standard editor and former Quayle Chief of Staff William Kristol; Allan Bloom, author of The Closing of the American Mind; former New York Post editorials editor John Podhoretz; former National Endowment for the Humanities Deputy Chairman John T. Agresto; and, not meaning to class myself with this august company but in the interests of full disclosure, myself.

More Importantly:

Strauss believed that liberalism, as practiced in the advanced nations of the West in the 20th century, contains within it an intrinsic tendency towards relativism, which leads to nihilism. He first experienced this crisis in his native Germany’s Weimar Republic of the 1920s, in which the liberal state was so ultra-tolerant that it tolerated the Communists and Nazis who eventually destroyed it and tolerated the moral disorder that turned ordinary Germans against it.

Locke’s summary of Strauss’ philosophy is at times disturbing. Take for instance the Straussian concept (somewhat similar to Marxism) of text, “The key Straussian concept is the Straussian text, which is a piece of philosophical writing that is deliberately written so that the average reader will understand it as saying one (“exoteric”) thing but the special few for whom it is intended will grasp its real (“esoteric”) meaning.” Essentiall a kinda cabbalistic way of writing or even perhaps the initial stirrings of a post-structural interpretative free-for-all (which of course similarly is dis-barred as nihilism by many). He also commits a pseudo-marxism by assuming that the lawman can’t understand the esoteric notions behind his texts. The problem here really being, why don’t you just educate the populos to begin with and let them make the more intelligent decessions? It’s never made much sense to me this idea that the public can’t handle or is better off in the hands of another more benevolent leader. What we need I think is people who can use their intelligence to analyze the world, not to bottle neck governance and logic in a few.

Strauss is best summarrized in The Power of Nightmares by the consistent idea that he loved American TV shows like Perry Mason and Gunsmoke and wanted a clear cut moral world and a country with a specific purpose and moral regiment that would keep nihilism away. Of course Strauss here is basically laying hands on something similar to the existential states of folks like Gide, Sartre, and others who were professed nihilists at times. And Strauss is correct that our society is certianly more nihilistic now than perhaps 200 years ago, after all if Jesus or Buddha, or what not is the basis of your life, then fuck man I mean like everyday most be like an amusement park of spiritual glee and meaning, toil for the purpose of sin and communion etc. But the post-religious ideology neccessitate by American Democracy and it’s seperation of Church and State does have a tendency to drive down the magical angelic worlds of abandon that perhaps people inhabitated before. But were we really that selfless? That Angelic? That filled with purpose before religion got chucked down a notch by governance and mankind’s self-improvement through technology? No, probably not. But let’s say that Jesus did provide society as a whole with a special feeling that was lost as “modernity” took hold and people began to see religion as belonging to a series of different valid belief structures and in the end we Americans were left with the myth of buddhist-catholic etc.

Has anything really filled “the void” of modernity? Well not really, but what we kinda learned eventually was that the void was more like a swinging gap that when utilized could bring different systems together rather than drive us appart into despair. If anything, the “a-moral” “post-christian” America showed all the signs of a genuine break through in culture: it was heading towards a point where everything runs together and at several points at once. Far from nihilism, removing the validity and rigidity of belief might very well be the one major cultural force that can actually bring us together… that and better Asian immigration laws =)

The real problem with Strauss is that he’s not incorrect. Trust me, I live in a highly nationalist society with a clear cut enemy (Japan), and a heavily coded series of intellectual pundits that put out race based eugenics research in the form of golf brochures, and seems to have a strong moral sense combined with a sense of family and conncetion to each other with a nice big dash of respect your elders throw in for good measure. And obviously this country’s relative economic success, their recent upwards movement in the face of the asian economic crisis, is all a product of such national and cultural unity. But it was also cultural and societal unity that drove facism, that yokes communism, etc. My point being a system is only as good as it’s leaders. It’s amazing that when your in Shanghai people will ORGANIZE your recylcing if you mis-categorize a bottle in the wrong bin, I mean it’s really amazing when you see people on the streets picking up garbage just becuase they care but any system that concentrates power, builds in the concept of obfuscating information and by implication failing to educate people properly, that invents enemies to with hold it’s own myths, and, if The Power of Nightmares has anything to do with, when met with it’s doppelganger builds only then can justify itself is bound ultimately to be abused. Let’s not say Strauss’ critique was wrong, let’s just say the solution needs work.

October 10, 2005 at 7:15 pm Leave a comment

Neil Michael Hagerty’s words and occasional wisdoms

what history

Seneca writes:

Cum ad cenandum discubuimus, alius sputa deterget, alius reliquias temulentorum [toro] subditus colligit.

{When we recline at a banquet, one [slave] wipes up the spittle; another, situated beneath [the table], collects the leavings of the drunks.}

Richard Viguerie adds:

{Only 6 percent of the $1,508,256 raised actually went to charity.}

Collection of blasts from every quarter of the compass. It is in the dual interests of fairness and pragmatism that a law enforcement agency should reflect the community it serves.

I can think of few people that have somehow connected with me more than this asshole. Hagerty is, of course, still running circles in the linguistics department. Managing tyrants and kings that have a tendency to add up to one of the most cyclical corpuses of shit managed mythology I’ve ever seen. This is a man who’s come a long way to somewhere. Anyway, the Trux have always complained that people see them as some by product of trailer trash meth infused life styles, but Hagerty’s work always contains that little hint of the working thinking man. Recommended.

October 10, 2005 at 7:21 am Leave a comment

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