Sunday, December 31, 2006

Blessed Art Thou Future

'Blessed Art Thou', 2006
Oil & acrylic on linen, painted by Kate Kretz
Featuring Angelina Jolie as the Virgin Mary and Wal*Mart as Hell.


Leonard Cohen: The Future
(Buy: Leonard Cohen: The Future)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Groovin' Jersey

Long Beach Island, New Jersey
Summer 1986

I don't know. It's threatening to start up Winter out there — so I figured I'd totally ignore it and think about something else — the Jersey Shore.


The Chordblenders: I'm From New Jersey
(Download from WFMU: Beware the Blog)

John Pizzarelli, Jr.: I Like Jersey Best
(Buy: The Best of John Pizzarelli: I Like Jersey Best)
(WARNING: He is that singing Foxwoods Casino guy. But this was recorded in 1983 — before casinos were even a glint in the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation's eye.)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Let It Snow (Already)

Photographed by Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley
Jericho, Vermont

"Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind."Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, 1925

I've had it up to here with global warming. I'm ready for snow. How about you?


Joe Williams: Let It Snow!
(Buy: Joe Williams: That Holiday Feelin')

Monday, December 25, 2006

Too Many Bodies, And Not Enough Grass (Snow, or Wreaths)

Christmas at the Arlington National Cemetery
December 2005
U.S. Air Force photograph by Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo,
Shovel them under and let me work--
I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?

I am the grass.
Let me work.

Grass, Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

The Department of Defense has identified 2,915 American service members who have died since the start of the Iraq war. It confirmed the deaths of the following Americans over the weekend:

Jesse J. J.Castro, 22, Sgt., Army; Chalan Pago, Guam
Kristofer R.Ciraso, 26, Staff Sgt., Army; Bangor, Maine
Micah S.Gifford, 27, Specialist, Army; Redding, California
Jason I.Huffman, 23, Cpl., Army; Conover, North Carolina
Travis C.Krege, 24, Pfc., Army; Cheektowaga, New York
Henry W. Linck, 23, Staff Sgt., Army; Manhattan, Kansas
Joshua B. Madden, 21, Specialist, Army; Sibley, Louisiana
Yari Mokri, 26, Specialist, Army; Pflugerville, Texas
Travis L. Patriquin, 32, Capt., Army; Texas
Vincent J. Pomante, III, 22, Specialist, Army; Westerville, Ohio


Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra: Big Man
(Buy: Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra: Who Is This America)

Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble: Star Wars
(Buy: Akoya: Introducing The Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble)

Linton Kwesi Johnson: Reality Poem
(Buy: Linton Kwesi Johnson: Forces of Victory)

Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes: Wake Up Everybody
(Buy: Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes: Wake Up Everybody)

Aretha Franklin: Someday We'll All Be Free
(Buy: Malcolm X: Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Ruth Bernhard, Photographer, R.I.P.

Classic Torso, 1952, Gelatin silver print, 1976
Ruth Bernhard (October 14, 1905 - December 18, 2007)

"I allowed life to give me presents. And everything just sort of happened the way it was supposed to happen. I did not pursue anything. It more or less pursued me."


Ursula 1000: Kinda' Kinky
(Buy: Ursula 1000: Kinda' Kinky)

(You can read about, and see more of, this wonderfully inspired (and inspirational) womans' photography — from a 2004 exhibition — at the John Stevenson Gallery — as well as her obituary from The New York Times.)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Let There Be (More Day) Light

Winter Solstice
December 21, 2006

Tomorrow, the daylight begins its return.

The deep sadness a heart feels
Let it leave mine forever,
Let my lips sing again.

From this day on my days are days of sun and roses.
My life's a carnival of song.
From this day on my dear the door to sorrow closes.
This day when you came along.


Jethro Tull: Ring Out, Solstice Bells
(Buy: The Jethro Tull Christmas Album)

Astrud Gilberto & Walter Wanderley: Goodbye Sadness: Tristeza
(Buy: A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It Ain't Nothing But A Tree Thing, Baby

Brown's Head Light House
The Rock
February, 2005


With a house full of little critters (Babette, Maneki Neko, and the newly welcomed Marcel Duchamp) — a tiny little tabletop tree seemed the appropriate decor this season. We figured that it would be easier then yelling — "Get out of there! Get down!" — at the 'kids' every 10 minutes. We put the leash on Marcel, hopped in the car, and drove out to the woods in search of the perfect specimen.

After a long walk through the wilderness (of The Rock) and a little beach-combing, we stumbled upon the little tree — about waist high, and ideally conical. With my trusty, rusty bowsaw in hand — I bent down and took care of business. A minute later, we were walking back to the car, tree perched over my shoulder.

When we returned home, I opened the trunk of the car to the unpleasant smell of, what can only be described as, cat urine. If you have never had the smell visit your olfactory receptors, consider yourself very fortunate — if you have, however, you know the smell I was smelling. The tree did not make it's way into the house.

I conveyed this story to a friend who, at the end of my telling, said, "Oh, you must have gotten a skunk spruce." Indeed, I had.

A little research, please, and yes, Picea glauca or, the White Spruce (also known as Canadian Spruce, Eastern Spruce, Black Hills Spruce, Skunk Spruce and, oh, yeah, the Cat Spruce) — it was the last two caught my interest (and attention). Apparently, the white spruce, as a defense mechanism has, not only, stiff and sharp needles — but when young and immature, a distinctive odor; foul (when young) — but pleasant when older. How very interesting. How very foul.

We will be out looking for a new (kinder, gentler, sweeter smelling) tree this weekend — or making one out of an old Readers Digest.


The Klezmatics: Hanukah Tree (Hanukkah)
(Buy: The Klezmatics: Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanukkah)

Vince Guaraldi Trio: O Tannenbaum
(Buy: Vince Guaraldi Trio: A Charlie Brown Christmas)

Radiohead: Fake Plastic Trees
(Buy: Radiohead: The Bends)

Brenda Lee: Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
(Buy: Brenda Lee: Jingle Bell Rock)

Belly: Feed The Tree
(Buy: Belly: Star)

Dr. Dre w/ Snoop (Doggy) Dogg: Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang
(Buy: The Chronic)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What You Want And What You Get

What you want is Magic. What you get is a Madison Avenue shill.

Shammy Claus
Coca Cola ad
December 1951

Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree,
For me.
been an awful good girl,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa baby, a 54 convertible too,
Light blue.
I'll wait up for you dear,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Think of all the fun I've missed,
Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed,
Next year I could be just as good,
If you'll check off my Christmas list,

Santa baby, I wanna yacht,
And really that's not a lot,
Been an angel all year,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa honey, there's one thing I really do need,
The deed
To a platinum mine,
Santa honey, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa cutie, and fill my stocking with a duplex,
And checks.
Sign your 'X' on the line,
Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight.

Come and trim my Christmas tree,
With some decorations bought at Tiffany's,
I really do believe in you,
Let's see if you believe in me,

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing,
A ring.
I don't mean on the phone,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight,
Hurry down the chimney tonight,
Hurry, tonight.


The Harmony Grits: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
(Buy: The Harmony Grits: The Best of Cool Yule)

Eartha Kitt: Santa Baby
(Buy: She's So Good: The Best of Eartha Kitt)

Elvis Presley: Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)
(Buy: Elvis Presley: Christmas Album)

Go Home Productions: Girl Wants (To Say Goodbye To) Rock And Roll
(Buy: Mark Vidler/Go Home Productions releases)

Joe Jackson: It's Different for Girls
(Buy: Joe Jackson: I'm The Man)

Les Paul and Johnny Rzeznik: All I Want Is You (U2 Cover)
(Buy: Les Paul & Friends: American Made, World Played)

Michel Polnareff: La Poupee Qui Fait Non
(Buy: Michel Polnareff: Le Meilleur de M. Polnareff)

Miles Davis: Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)
(Buy: Jingle Bell Jazz)

Buzzcocks: What Do I Get?
(Buy: Buzzcocks: Inventory)

Tommy Guerrero: Getting It Together (Featuring Lyrics Born)
(Buy: Tommy Guerrero: Soul Food Taqueria)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

This Is The Worst Christmas Ever (or, You're So Vain, You Probably Think This Season's About You)

'Sad Jesus'
Paint-by-Number Art
Artist Unknown

I leave for my morning commute in the dark these days — because of the ever depressing Daylight Savings Time — with an ever growing number of people leaving The Rock for the mainland to do their holiday shopping. On the last ferry of the day (which at 3:15 PM, is also in the dark), the same people are back aboard — arms and carts overflowing with the days booty.

"Mushi, have you started your shopping yet?" someone will often ask.

I smile, carrying the same bag — holding my laptop, camera, a book, notepads, shuffle, thermos, and any other things I think I might need during the day — and answer, "We really don't celebrate the holidays with all the gifts and presents."

There is often not much to say after that. Some just smile awkwardly and walk a little faster ahead. Some understand and will say that they too, wish that they didn't have to do so much — but the kids wouldn't understand. One parent told me that every Christmas – regardless of how much was under the tree on the final day — after the final present will have been opened, his child will stand up and say, "This was the worst Christmas ever."

I think the holidays were meant for something else. Give it a shot.


De La Soul: Me Myself And I
(Buy: De La Soul: 3 Feet High and Rising)

Lene Lovich: Lucky Number
(Buy: Lene Lovich: The Best of Lene Lovich)

Al Green: Love and Happiness
(Buy: Al Green's Greatest Hits)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Monsieur Marcel Duchamp Deutsche Hunde

Monsieur Marcel Duchamp Deutsche Hunde aka 'The Dude'
In the kitchen, at his new home on The Rock
December 8, 2006


Ramones: I Don't Want to Grow Up
(Buy: Everything Ramones!)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What The Devil Was That For?

Deerhoof (with leg attached)
The Basin on The Rock
December 3, 2006


Poaching and dumping.

With the official end of hunting season — except for the next two weeks of blackpowder play — the hunters put their guns away until next year. Now, just the true killers leave their trail of destruction.

Deerhoof: L'Amour Stories
(Buy: Deerhoof: Apple O')

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra: Dirt and Blood
(Buy: Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra: Liberation Afrobeat)

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Still photograph from 'Mr. Dreamer' ©Eric Lerner

Mr. Dreamer (From The CityMen, created by Eric Lerner)
Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jeruselem
2002 - 2006

Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family.
Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars,
compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good
health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed
interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your
friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a
three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics.
Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning.
Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing
game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose
rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable
home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up
brats you spawned to replace yourself.

Choose your future.

Choose Life.

Mark Renton, 'Trainspotting'


Wham!: Wake Me Up (Before You Go-Go)
(Buy: Wham!: Make It Big)

(Could this post have been more all over the place? Probably, but what do you want for nothin'? Give me some recommendations, and I'll see what I can do.)

Friday, December 01, 2006