Saturday, December 21, 2013

Queen - Somebody To Love

This song made a big impression on me in 1976, during the days I lived in Englewood, Denver's southern suburb. I remember it running through my head on an endless loop, during a long, interminable walk from the end of the bus line, in vicinity of Southglenn shopping center, along Arapahoe Road, to a birthday party held at a restaurant near Interstate 25, near today's Arapahoe Marketplace shopping center. I wonder if the buses go all the way out there these days?

Approaching Penury, But At Least The Car Is Running

Took my car in for yet more repair. In the last two months, I've slammed $3,000 onto the credit card trying to improve auto function. I think it is running better and smoother, with a new radiator, motor mounts, and coil. And not car repair alone: $540 to purchase a used, roto-rooter-type mechanical snake for the chronic, ever-disgorging sewer issue. I can't keep this pace up. I could peg the credit card if I'm not careful.

And I haven't even started Christmas shopping yet....

Politics Is Not Charity

Politics is a civic responsibility we all have, as citizens. Donations to politics, and the "spreading of ideas" should never, ever be tax deductible. To do so establishes a formal privilege to those who politic, and sets them aside in a special, tax-free class. The amorphousness of the 501(c)4 regulations is so unfortunate, because it encourages political hacks and their 'think tanks' to hide among the birdwatchers, community theaters, disease-preventers, and other fine folks whom we do set aside for special treatment with 501(c)3 regulations.

The best to those who want better policing here. The hell with tax deductibility for any and all think tanks. The waters are real toxic.  This Ben Boychuk is a real tool:
Without a doubt, Americans are the most generous people on earth. Even in a sluggish economy, people are willing to dig deep for a good cause – or just about any cause, come to think of it. Americans’ charitable giving underscores a truth as old as the republic: Government cannot, and should not, do everything. There are a whole host of social functions in this relatively free, mostly open, more or less self-governing society simply better left to private associations – or put more simply, you and me.

Government encourages people to be charitable by letting them deduct their contributions from their taxes. Here’s where things get unpleasantly political, because some nonprofit groups engage not so much in feeding the poor or curing disease, but spreading ideas. And ideas are nothing if not controversial.

...Some self-styled liberals would do away with such nonprofits altogether. Robert Reich, Bill Clinton’s former secretary of labor, groused recently how America’s wealthiest 20 percent benefited from $33 billion of nearly $40 billion in charitable deductions last year. Those rich folks aren’t just giving to think tanks. They’re also underwriting colleges and universities, hospitals, and the arts.

...Oh, but it gets worse. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who has set progressive populists’ hearts aflutter, would very much like to intimidate businesses into cutting back their contributions to think tanks whose work she dislikes. Warren earlier this month sent a letter to six of the largest banks in the country, suggesting they “disclose” their contributions voluntarily – or else.

...In the face of charitable persuasion, coercion seems to be all they have left.

Giorgio Moroder Interview And "I Feel Love"

Public radio had a CBC interview with Giorgio Moroder on Thursday night. This is a different interview, a BBC interview, but he discusses the same topic, how he came about making the music of the future. He felt the 'Star Wars' Cantina example was inadequate, so he tried something different, specifically "I Feel Love", which was, in many ways, the point of detonation of Electronica.

The amazing Donna Summer:

And like the best of Electronica, the song is infinitely elastic and adaptable:

Friday, December 20, 2013

Flamenco Arts Studio Burns Down

Very disturbing news from Albuquerque. Plus, it's so close to several Breaking Bad locations:
"Shortly after firefighters pulled out ... the roof did collapse on the flamenco business," said Albuquerque Fire Department spokeswoman Melissa Romero.

Firefighters were able to get a handle on the blaze and prevented it from spreading to nearby businesses.

Excerpts From Fun Review Of Sarah Palin's Book

Yelling back at a book rather than a TV set:
Who holds Christmas in contempt? Who? Where are these people? I'm a secular humanist—there's an award from the Freedom from Religion Foundation on my mantel just inches from my Christmas tree—and here I am, at home on a Saturday morning, baking Christmas cookies for my family. Not holiday cookies. Christmas cookies. I'll be taking some across the street to share with my Jewish neighbors later today. They love Christmas. And no one is trying to "save" Christmas from its heritage.

...I was never a "happy holidays" guy. Christmas was a big deal in my home growing up, and it's a big deal in the home I share with Terry. December is Christmas. I've always wished people "merry Christmas" without really giving it a thought. Ho-ho-ho.

But that's over now.

Sarah Palin and Bill O'Reilly and Fox News and the Family Research Council and the woman who allegedly punched another woman outside Walmart earlier this week for saying "happy holidays" instead of "merry Christmas" managed to break me of the "merry Christmas" habit. I suspect I'm not alone. This constant bitching from the right about "happy holidays"—a perfectly lovely expression that embraces Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Pancha Ganapati, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Hanukkah, the Epiphany, Saint Nicholas's Day, Hogmanay, Twelfth Night, and Kwanzaa—has made one thing clear. Not that there is now, or ever was, a war on Christmas. But that saying "merry Christmas" is an asshole move. Just as conservatives made patriotism toxic during the Vietnam War by conflating it with blind obedience to authority ("My country, right or wrong!"), modern conservatives have made "merry Christmas" toxic by associating it with Christian fundamentalism, religious intolerance, and the politics of imagined persecution.

Unfortunately, the war on Christmas is a game Palin and O'Reilly and Fox News and the Family Research Council can't lose. The more they complain about people saying "happy holidays" instead of "merry Christmas," the fewer people will say "merry Christmas." This will be held up as proof that the war on Christmas is real. But people like me aren't replacing "merry Christmas" with "happy holidays" to be "politically correct," as Palin insists in the introduction to her stupid book, we're doing it because we don't want people to think we're assholes.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Breaking Bad - Jingle Bells

Doing His Damndest To Make A Martyr

I tuned in briefly to conservative talk radio's Mike Gallagher, talking about the perils of illegal immigration, as exemplified by Officer Brian Jackson of the Dallas Police Department, who was killed in the line of duty by an illegal alien.

Eight years ago.

Yes, eight years ago. I can understand Officer Jackson's friends and family burning candles to his memory, and arguing that we must not forget him, but why is Gallagher trying so hard to expand that circle? To make Officer Jackson a martyr to immigration issues? Or did Gallagher run out of material today for outrage? Reaching back eight years is a stretch....

Conservatives like Gallagher I'm sure would find no connection between the weaponry sold at Texas gun shows and the mass slaughters across the river in northern Mexico. Not their department, I'd gather. No sense of connection or responsibility. Yet, for every slain Officer Jackson there are one hundred anonymous Mexicans who have lost their lives.

Silent martyrs stacked like firewood. Their families don't want us to forget them either.

The Folks At B3ta Didn't Know What To Make Of My Story

So they put it on the 'Best' page anyway.

Politics Is All About Making Bridges

Plus, the enemy of my enemy is my friend:
Kilgore, who legally changed his middle name to SECEDE last year, hopes that gay voters will support him and his bid to make Texas its own country to avoid what he says are the US Federal Government’s oppressive taxes and promises that he won’t try to introduce anything like the death penalty until Texas is independent.

...‘I am a Christian, and I have lots of Christian beliefs. However, I am trying to build a coalition of all different types of people. I look at the lesbians and the homosexual folks and I say, “Hey, DC is stealing my money just like they’re stealing your money.” After we get our freedom, then we can decide all that stuff — hopefully at a county level.

‘Right now, lesbians and homosexuals and Christians may have differences with each other, but we’ve got a bigger enemy.’

In 2007 in the lead up to a bid for the US Senate Kilgore told the Houston Chronicle that he supported the death penalty for adultery with a married woman and flogging for people who used profanity in public - while transvestites should be flogged even more severely.

However he told Lone Star Q that flogging transvestites was no longer part of his platform.

...‘I would very much approve of a biblical law that prevented homosexual behavior in the new nation,’ Kilgore said.

‘According to the Bible, it should be execution, if anyone participates in that activity.’

However Kilgore said he was open to the idea of different areas of Texas having different laws on homosexuality and would support candidates who were gay as long as they wanted to make Texas its own country.

...Kilgore last ran for governor of Texas in 2006 where he received nearly 8% of the vote - coming second behind Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Ancient Mesa Verde Pottery Of Unknown Purpose

It's all rather mysterious:
The vessel dates back to the Pueblo III period, an era from about 1150 to 1300 CE when ancestral puebloans began to establish big, sophisticated multi-family communities. This was when Mesa Verde was built, for example, and when Pueblo populations peaked in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, before people moved south to settle what’s now Arizona and New Mexico.

Those who know their artifacts can tell all that just by looking at this mug: Its pattern of repeating triangles and horizontal lines are known as Mesa Verde Black-on-White, a style preferred around Sand Canyon in the 13th century.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Video - Davis Vocal Art Ensemble

Featuring the talented Barbieri family! Go Ashlyn!

Interesting Speculation About Cultural Conservatism, As Expressed By Pottery

So, the Jornada Mogollon peoples moved to Gran Quivira from the south and adopted the Puebloan ways among the Jumanos living there, but appear to have resisted new innovations from their crazy Puebloan cousins in the Rio Grande Valley. Or so I understand.

Now, what are the differences between Chupadero and Socorro Black-on-White pottery, and all other Black-on-White styles? I bet they are subtle things:
But the mingling of diverse elements does not necessarily produce a virile strain. From a cultural background similar to that of other Tanoan speakers in the Rio Grande valley, the Jumano had developed a direction, a "slant," or cultural personality that was akin to that of the Rio Grande up to 1300. During this same period the people of the northern Jornada had become increasingly Puebloan in some aspects. The mingling of these two groups resulted in stagnation of the Jumano. The Jumano were henceforth Pueblo in material culture and architecture and largely Pueblo in the socioreligious use of the kiva. On the other hand, they contained regressive factors—traits that had limited the Mogollon to transmitters of culture, however important these may have been; traits that led them to adopt an increasingly Pueblo aspect and which finally permitted their disappearance as a cultural entity.

After the development of Chupadero Black-on-white, a fairly widespread and long-lived local pottery type, the Jumano failed to participate in further ceramic developments spreading from the Rio Grande. At about the time Chupadero Black-on-white came into vogue, a widespread change from mineral paints to carbon paint—a change that had slowly diffused eastward from the San Juan region of the Pueblo area—reached the Rio Grande drainage. The new paint type was adopted there in all but the extreme north and east sections in the vicinity of Taos, and along the tributaries of the Canadian (Wendorf and Reed, 1955: 144). The use of carbon paint, however, was not adopted by the Jumano, nor was it adopted in the Saline area farther north or on the east side of the Manzano Mountains. Also neglected in this general region was the slightly later influence of Mesa Verde decorative style—the employment of heavier design, less use of hatched elements, a tendency toward panel layout, and ticked rims.

By 1300 early glaze paint pottery was making its appearance in the Rio Grande, and while its use spread to the Jumano area, it was not made there; the actual source of Glaze I Red was probably the Rio Grande, and of Glaze I Yellow, the Galisteo region (Shepard, 1942). We cannot date the point at which glaze-paint ware was first made locally in the Jumano area, but it was probably not until the advent of what Shepard calls the Late Group—typical Glaze IV and later, from about 1550. The Jumano were not only slow to adopt glaze-paint ware, but, more important, they also clung to the production of black-on-white pottery as long as they existed as a group. This is in marked contrast to the Rio Grande, where black-on-whites were abandoned with the advent of glaze paint in all areas except Jemez on the western frontier, and among the Tewa north of Santa Fe, where Biscuit Ware was followed by a matte-paint polychrome in historic times.
Here's a cool Chupadero Black-on-White olla. One of the potsherds whose picture I posted has a pattern that looks like this:

Monday, December 16, 2013

Skyler As Godzilla

Breaking Bad fan video, using an animated view of the actual Albuquerque skyline (Hyatt Hotel) too! Spoilers galore. Don't view unless you have seen Season 4.

Nadia - Its Gonna Take Time

Nostalgic for 2005 today. What a great year for hurricanes that was! The best ever!

Here's a nice Trance tune from 2005.