I had delusions of getting more links up today. There are still some more to come. Sunday.
thanks to Conscientious
A couple of pieces from James Kunstler of Clusterfuck Nation.
Hustle and Flow
You've heard of "Pimp My Ride." Well, the New York Times is running a new joint called "Pimp My Read." This week's Sunday Time Magazine devoted itself to the idea that housing bubble is (in Martha Stewart's words) a good thing. In fact, Martha herself is getting into the racket, lending her name to a 650-unit (they're just units) suburban subdivision outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. If she was shrewd about the deal (could it be otherwise?) than Martha will get paid whether the project tanks or not.
Really, the whole issue of the Mag was just an opportunity for the financially-strapped Times to sell a shitload of advertising to the real estate investment trusts, the luxury condo hucksters, and the home furnishing industry. It will probably go down in history, along with Yale economist Irving Fisher's 1929 proclamation that the US had achieved "permanent prosperity," as one of the seminal documents of societal cluelessness in the face of obvious calamity.
Mommy and Daddy
Politics is the way we work out our collective national psychology -- if you believe in such a thing (and I do). American politics have fallen into a gothic family melodrama, and the theme is the same one being played out on the micro level all over the country: failed parenting.
The Republicans have made themselves into the Daddy Party and the Democrats have become Mommy and both are failing.
George W. Bush is our "Ward Cleaver," the very visible head of the household with no apparent duties other than being visible. The mission of the Daddy Party is pure Daddy stuff: to prevent the daughters from getting in trouble (having fun) with boys, to grub as much money as possible via mysterious corporate activities to support the family, and to defend the household if necessary. So, we get the "right-to-life" campaign (which is becoming the anti-contraception and anti-sex campaign), and the tacit support for any kind of corporate mischief in pursuit of profits in the "marketplace," and the prosecution of war against "the terrorists."
This is a new wrinkle, to me, on music downloads — music download blogs.
8 Days In April
I've got a blog! Once a week, mostly on Monday, I'll post links to a few of my favorite albums, generally vintage psychedelic, progressive or krautrock. Or maybe something I've found in a thrift store.
thanks to Conscientious
His music files are stored on a server in Germany (I think that's where the .de extension is) and you can download for free with time restrictions. You can get unlimited downloads for around $12 per month. They also use a compression tool I wasn't familiar with but works quite well. I will have to pay for it when the demo runs out.
Scroll on down 8 Days In April for some very tasty music.
Noam Chomsky on the Hopeful Signs Across Latin America
"What's happening is something completely new in the history of the hemisphere."/font>
Bernie Dwyer: I am reminded of a great Irish song called "The West's Awake" written by Thomas Davis in remembrance of the Fenian Uprising of 1798. It is about the west of Ireland asleep under British rule for hundreds of years and how it awoke from its slumbers and rose up against the oppressor. Could we now begin to hope that the South is awake?
Noam Chomsky: What's happening is something completely new in the history of the hemisphere. Since the Spanish conquest the countries of Latin America have been pretty much separated from one another and oriented toward the imperial power. There are also very sharp splits between the tiny wealthy elite and the huge suffering population. The elites sent their capital, took their trips, had their second homes, sent their children to study in whatever European country their country was closely connected with. I mean, even their transportation systems were oriented toward the outside for export of resources and so on.
For the first time, they are beginning to integrate and in quite a few different ways. Venezuela and Cuba is one case. MERCOSUR, [the trading association now including many Latin American countries] which is still not functioning very much, is another case. Venezuela, of course, just joined MERCOSUR, which is a big step forward for it and it was greatly welcomed by the presidents of Argentina, Brazil.
For the first time the Indian population is becoming politically quite active. They just won an election in Bolivia which is pretty remarkable. There is a huge Indian population in Ecuador, even in Peru, and some of them are calling for an Indian nation. Now they want to control their own resources. In fact, many don't even want their resources developed. Many don't see any particular point in having their culture and lifestyle destroyed so that people can sit in traffic jams in New York.
Furthermore, they are beginning to throw out the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In the past, the US could prevent unwelcome developments such as independence in Latin America, by violence; supporting military coups, subversion, invasion and so on. That doesn't work so well any more. The last time they tried in 2002 in Venezuela, the US had to back down because of enormous protests from Latin America, and of course the coup was overthrown from within. That's very new.
Hugh Symonds uses a camera phone. Nice stuff. His lates gallery is of rebar. Check out his other gallerys too.
hupix gallery r
sloth and indolence
My winter of sloth and indolence is over. I did the first mow. Lawns in the Puget Sound region pretty much stop growing during the winter. I think my last mow was in November. Maybe October. The lawn has been getting a bit fuzzy lately and the rain stopped so mowing and edging it was. Paralysis is starting to set in. I'd better get some posts up before all movement becomes too painful.
global climate change
Pollution soaring to crisis levels in Arctic
Scientists plead for action to save poles from 'tipping point' disaster
Researchers have uncovered compelling evidence that indicates Earth's most vulnerable regions - the North and South Poles - are poised on the brink of a climatic disaster.
The scientists, at an atmospheric monitoring station in the Norwegian territory of Svalbard, have found that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere near the North Pole are now rising at an unprecedented pace.
In 1990 this key cause of global warming was rising at a rate of 1 part per million (ppm). Recently, that rate reached 2 ppm per year. Now, scientists at the Mount Zeppelin monitoring station have discovered it is rising at between 2.5 and 3 ppm.
Interesting comments on hybrid photography.
Steven Dixon: Spare
"I have gone digital with the latest work because of the scale. The largest piece in the show is 240 x 300 cm and I am making the files by scanning internegs in order to get the files large enough to work with. With the limitations of my scanner I needed to take that extra step. The file for that image was about 1.2 gigabytes. The smaller images are scanned directly from 4x5 negs.
At this point in time I don't know anybody who is straight digital.....I just went to a lecture by Ed Burtynski and he has tested it but gone back to film because it is easier to deal with in the field. He said it is much easier and quicker to use a Polaroid back to check results than to lug around a laptop along with all the other equipment. The lens quality of digital camers may never approach the quality of conventional lenses (at any reasonable price anyway)."
Some photogravures by Steve Dixon...
Comptroller General of the US Delivers Alarming Barn-Burner
Let that sink in a little bit - 2.5 times the taxes we pay today. 60% reduction in things like Pell Grants and Head Start and container inspections. Things like that.
It's alarming - and believe me, the tone of Mr. Walker's presentation was alarming as well.
This administration and our Republican-controlled Congress are spending money in a way that none of us would in our daily lives. As the mid-terms approach, I think the message that, if you have a job, your obligation to the Federal government is now $375,000 or if you have a child, its obligation to the Federal government is now $156,000. Those are real dollars that will have real meaning to average people.
thanks to Magpie
SAN FRANCISCO IN RUINS
The 1906 Aerial Photographs of George R. Lawrence
THE YEAR was 1906, and the citizens of San Francisco must have found it a wildly incongruous sight--grown men at child's play in the midst of tragedy. Less than three weeks before, the earth had shaken and the city had burned. The disaster began with an earthquake in the early morning of Wednesday, April 18, and when the fires were extinguished three days later, at least two hundred thousand San Francisco residents were homeless. Yet on the afternoon of May 5, a small group of men was flying kites near Folsom and Sixth streets.
thanks to consumptive.org
Editorial Cartoons by Signe Wilkinson
thanks to Magpie
Your mind is made up
No need to choose -- South Dakota will choose for you
The South Dakota Legislature has made it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion under any circumstances except to save the life of the mother. There are no exceptions for rape, incest or to preserve the health of the mother. Should this strike you as hard cheese, State Sen. Bill Napoli, R-Rapid City, explains how rape and incest could be exceptions under the "life" clause. Napoli believes most abortions are performed for "convenience," but he told "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer" about how he thinks a "real-life example" of the exception could be invoked:
"A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl, could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life."
In South Dakota, pharmacists can refuse to fill a prescription for contraceptives should it trouble their conscience, and some groups who worked on the anti-abortion bill believe contraception also needs to be outlawed. Good plan. After that, we'll reconsider women's property rights, civil right and voting rights.
For years, the women's movement has been going around asking, "Who decides?" as though that were the issue. Well, here's the answer. Bill Napoli decides, and if you're not happy with that arrangement, well, you'd better be prepared to do something about it.
thanks to Magpie
Click on the "Must-See Finale" link. I have never seen anyone juggle like this before! Prepare to catch your jaw as it drops.
thanks to BookNotes
Imagine There's No Heaven
An Atheist Manifesto
Somewhere in the world a man has abducted a little girl. Soon he will rape, torture and kill her. If an atrocity of this kind is not occurring at precisely this moment, it will happen in a few hours, or days at most. Such is the confidence we can draw from the statistical laws that govern the lives of 6 billion human beings. The same statistics also suggest that this girl s parents believe at this very moment that an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching over them and their family. Are they right to believe this? Is it good that they believe this?
The entirety of atheism is contained in this response. Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious. Unfortunately, we live in a world in which the obvious is overlooked as a matter of principle. The obvious must be observed and re-observed and argued for. This is a thankless job. It carries with it an aura of petulance and insensitivity. It is, moreover, a job that the atheist does not want.
It is worth noting that no one ever needs to identify himself as a non-astrologer or a non-alchemist. Consequently, we do not have words for people who deny the validity of these pseudo-disciplines. Likewise, atheism is a term that should not even exist. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma. The atheist is merely a person who believes that the 260 million Americans (87% of the population) who claim to never doubt the existence of God should be obliged to present evidence for his existence and, indeed, for his benevolence, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day. Only the atheist appreciates just how uncanny our situation is: Most of us believe in a God that is every bit as specious as the gods of Mount Olympus; no person, whatever his or her qualifications, can seek public office in the United States without pretending to be certain that such a God exists; and much of what passes for public policy in our country conforms to religious taboos and superstitions appropriate to a medieval theocracy. Our circumstance is abject, indefensible and terrifying. It would be hilarious if the stakes were not so high.
O M A H A
Photographer: John Vachon
Omaha, Nebraska, November 1938
Farm Security Administration, Lot 412
Gallup: More Than Half of Americans Reject Evolution, Back Bible
A Gallup report released today reveals that more than half of all Americans, rejecting evolution theory and scientific evidence, agree with the statement, "God created man exactly how Bible describes it."
Another 31% says that man did evolve, but "God guided." Only 12% back evolution and say "God had no part."
Gallup summarized it this way: "Surveys repeatedly show that a substantial portion of Americans do not believe that the theory of evolution best explains where life came from." They are "not so quick to agree with the preponderance of scientific evidence."
thanks to Huffington Post
a tale of 4 50s
Actually, 4 50mm lenses that will soon be three. My tabbed 50/2 Jupiter 8 arrived attached to a Zorki 4 that I traded two camera straps for. The body is in better shape than my 3M although the 3M's internals have been massaged by Oleg. But it's the tabbed lens I'm interested in. The Zorki 4 body will eventually be a gift.
The glass looks pretty good except for the dreaded cleaning marks. The tabbed J8 has definitely been used compared to the mint later black J8 on the 3M. The tabbed J8 also needs to be relubed which I'm going to try to do myself. I need to get some better screwdrivers first. Until then I'm doing some tests to compare the two. If the tabbed J8 compares well to the black J8, it will live on the Zorki 3M.
It does look better on the Zorki 3M, doesn't it? The main reason I want a tabbed lens is that I can tell where it's focused just by feeling where the tab is and it's easy to zone focus by feel. It's also easier to focus since it only takes one finger. My 3M was made in 1955 and the tabbed J8 was made in 1958.
Since I'm playing dress-up with the Zorki, I put on the Leitz Summitar 50/2. It's in the que for a clean, lube, and adjust. It's suposed to have a wonderful vintage look opened up and as sharp as a Summicron stopped down. I'm looking forward to using it in conjuction with the J8. Each has their own look.
And for maximum portability it's hard to beat the Tessar design collapsible Industar-50. My hope is that my 50mm kit will include all three tabbed 50mm lenses. Testing has begun.
Last weekend Zoe's brother Jim flew in from Iowa to visit his mom. He hadn't seen Gerry for a year and, even though he had read books and thought he knew what was going on, was devastated when he saw her. There really isn't any way to prepare for something like seeing your mother in such decline. It was good that he saw her. When he left he realized that he might not see her again. He probably will. She is doing well physically. Zoe and I met with the nurses taking care of her for a 30 day evaluation at HomePlace. She is adjusting well. Not easily but normally. Zoe and I took her to her doctor's appointment today and she is doing well physically. But the mental slide continues. She seems more vacant each time we visit. She is still inside but there is less of her and her brain keeps her from communicating what there is.
I've been busy
I'm back. I've been busy. Some of it has been actual work that will pay money. What a concept! Last week Zoe was reading the free classifieds in the local shopper paper called Marketplace. She found a free piano. Whenever my 6 year old grandson Mike comes over he ends up on Zoe's piano. (Her grandparents gave it to her when she was 11.) We picked it up Sunday and delivered it. Zoe has a bunch of pictures I need to get from her and post.
One of the busy things has been adding more product to gordy's camera straps. I first added three new colors of thread: light brown, brown, and dark brown.
The cameras are my Zorki 3M, the Rangefinder Forum Pass the Camera Canonet, and a Kiev 4a. Ken Smith was on the Island visiting and we had a nice lunch. He is giving the Kiev to Blaine since it needs some shutter work and Blaine likes poking around in things like that. I'm done with the Canonet and Blaine happens to be next on the list. I need to drop that film off tomorrow.
The other product I added was neck strap pads. I took awhile to first figure out what shape they wanted to be and then how I was going to make it. I finally got my tools, figured out how to make templates, and it all worked! I prefer the straps without pads but some like that extra width. Now I've trying to figure out how to attach to medium format cameras like the Hasseblad, Salut-S, and Pentacon 6 that used grooved posts. Then wider neck pads, then...
If anyone out there has a camera that needs a strap go on over to gordy's camera straps and buy one or many. Get a good strap and help support my efforts here.