More Thoughts About Memorial Day

Yesterday as a comment to my previous entry here, my friend Carolyn made a good point about what the holiday is about - the veterans who died in our wars - but the media and our leaders certainly don't limit it to that in their rhetoric. Obama last weekend "called on Americans Saturday to tribute to the nation's veterans and service members" (UPI story) And veterans like our old highschool classmate Jeff Klaessy spent their valuable Facebook-time yesterday reminding everyone to think of their (still living) selves.

Meanwhile we have most people just thinking of the day as another chance to get off from work and drink beer in the park. Which is what most holidays get used for.

I'm sorry about your Uncle, Carolyn. I wish there was truly a day where people really just focused on those who died in wars. I wish every holiday still had its original focus, with laser-like precision. I wish Xmas was still about the winter solstice and not about buying and receiving presents. I also wish there was a holiday to honor all the slaves that this country was built on. And a hundred other holidays to focus on and honor all the other honorable people that have sacrificed or been sacrificed for this country, holidays that people really used for their intended purpose.

But that's not how our messed up society works these days. Culture has become a battleground where people fight over the meanings of things and what people will pay attention too, every moment of every day. And if, on Memorial Day, some feel the need to call attention to WHY some people were sacrificed, well... I don't know. Maybe I just don't get it because I don't have any relatives who died in a war - thankfully. I just really wish that nobody did, and ever will again. But sadly, that's not how our society works either.

Cinematic Mashups That Probably Wouldn't Work

I got into a Twitter game/meme/virus yesterday - combining movie titles with common words to make crazy imaginary mashup movies that were pretty funny to think about. My tweets from yesterday show how into this concept I got:

  • 09:42 working on editing the Battered Immigrant Women's video again. #
  • 09:42 Cinematic mashup that probably won't work: Snakes on a Mystery Train #cmtpww #
  • 10:08 Cinematic mashup that probably won't work: Little Miss Sunshine Cleaning #cmtpww #
  • 10:27 Cinematic mashup that probably won't work: Good Will Hunting For Red October #cmtpww #
  • 10:52 Cinematic mashup that probably won't work: Sling Blade Runner : "Yes ma'am, I reckon I want more life, fucker!" #cmtpww #
  • 11:38 Cinematic Mashup that probably won't work: Eternal Miss Sunshine of the Spotless Mind #cmtpww #
  • 11:57 Cinematic Mashup that probably won't work: The Quiet American Graffiti #cmtpww #
  • 12:24 Cinematic Mashups that probably won't work: Inland Empire Strikes Back To The Future #cmtpww @novysan @mikl_em #
  • 13:18 Cinematic Mashups that probably won't work: Roger (The Rabbit) and Me and You and Everyone We Know #cmtpww #
  • 17:39 just getting done with meeting about revising the film I did for the Sierra Club. now, TGIF #
  • 17:41 Cinematic mashup that probably won't work: Down By Law and Order #cmtpww #
  • 17:46 oh my god my office is easily the hottest room in the house. about 110 degrees. #

click to see even more from others...

Rewarded To Waste

The other day I went to our friendly neighborhood food coop here in Tucson, with a canvas re-usable bag full of used plastic bottles to re-use, for shampoo, conditioner, dish soap, etc. I dutifully weighed the empty bottles at the scale and went over to fill them up, feeling good that I was reducing my usage of nondegradable packaging materials.

But when I got home Greta noted, glancing at the receipt, the prices of the re-usably-contained liquid products: for example, about $4 going on $5 for the shampoo. You can buy a new bottle of shampoo at Trader Joe's for about 3 bucks. The same general story for all those bottles.

So, what incentive is there to re-use those bottles? Just the good fuzzy warm smug glow inside from being a happy smug green consumer? Maybe for some of us with overdeveloped senses of morality and responsibility - and even then, as our wallets get thinner in these dark days, it's harder and harder to be "responsible". Furthermore, for the vast majority of the populace, that will not do even in good times.

The sustainable/green/earth-friendly consumer "movement" will never really get going unless there's more reason to do it than just "do the right thing."

Kutiman's Amazing and Brilliant Palimpsestual Recycled Culture

I decided to take a few minutes break from subtitling an interview with a Mexican environmental law professor to read some blogs and I am so blown away by this, this guy who goes by the name Kutiman has made a bunch of wonderful songs and music videos out of unrelated youtube clips, mostly random people practicing their instruments. His work has been re-posted here:
It's absolutely brilliant. and fun! It makes me smile.
Like my friend José said on his blog "The video sequencing is clever and lighthearted, the music tastefully composed and the overall conceit exudes love for humanity.... Much of music is a conversation across space and time, a retracing of other people

Like Watching a Slow-Motion Car Crash

I'm getting tired of listening to/reading the news lately. The economic crisis is really a bummer. It's like watching a car crash, or a plane crash, but one that takes 6, 12, who knows? how many months to happen. You can see about now the windshield spiderwebbing into a million little fragments, and some of the fragments are starting to bend outward as the passengers' heads start busting through it. The front bumper is crumped and up where the carburator is usually, and you can small gas leaking out somewhere but it hasn't caught fire - yet.

It's really a bummer.

A Reassuring Thought

My friend José posted something to his blog that really gives me some hope in these seemingly dark times. Basically it is the idea that people are divided into 2 schools of thought: those who really want you to be scared that if "law and order" and the "institutions" break down, civilization will collapse into a Hobbesean nightmare of everyone for themselves, and then other people who recognize that people are basically good and will band together to help each other and protect each other from harm and mishap when the going gets tough.

Like José says in his post, "print out this brilliant comment... and keep a copy handy at all times given the faddish resurgence of doomsday cults."

It's so easy to panic and be afraid. But hey, let's not, okay?

Losing My Edge

I just can't get over how perfect this song is for an aging jaded wannabe hipster like myself at this moment in history: "Losing My Edge", by LCD Soundsystem. It's so hilarious and cynical and sad and clever and stinging and brilliant. Just check out some of the lyrics, my fav lines:

I was there in Jamaica during the great sound clashes.
I woke up naked on the beach in Ibiza in 1988.

But I'm losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent.
And they're actually really, really nice.

I'm losing my edge.

I heard you have a compilation of every good song ever done by anybody. Every great song by the Beach Boys. All the underground hits. All the Modern Lovers tracks. I heard you have a vinyl of every Niagra record on German import. I heard that you have a white label of every seminal Detroit techno hit - 1985, '86, '87. I heard that you have a CD compilation of every good '60s cut and another box set from the '70s.

I hear you're buying a synthesizer and an arpeggiator and are throwing your computer out the window because you want to make something real. You want to make a Yaz record.

I hear that you and your band have sold your guitars and bought turntables.
I hear that you and your band have sold your turntables and bought guitars.

I hear everybody that you know is more relevant than everybody that I know.

In other words, for those who miss all the allusions (cuz you're so uncool), "I hear that you care way too much and struggle too hard about completely useless bullshit that I now finally understand is absolutely unimportant."


Just found out about this new Tucson art blog called TuScene. Interesting. I've been thinking how few people I know in this town are really the "wired" type, that hardly anybody I know or work with creatively has a blog here, other than using Facebook or Myspace (bleah!) and most of my online friends are far away, in SF or PDX or NYC or London or wherever. I've also been thinking some lately how sometimes the Tucson "scene" feels a little small. Compared to some places I've lived I'm a little.... nostalgic. I especially feel this way when I read the "Goings On About Town" pages of The New Yorker... of course nowhere will ever live up to NYC, and noplace should try to, it's just embarrassing when a city does that.

But anyway, maybe that new blog and some other networking efforts will help me feel more "dialed in" to what's going on in this town and more satisfied with it. Ya think?

And I should stop reading that part of the New Yorker. And the Arts pages of the Times.


In other news, a short video of mine will evidently screen at the All Souls Procession Film Fest this week. And they waived the app fee for me.

Record Label Thinks Musician is Too Fat

I read yesterday on Feministing about how Amanda Palmer from the Dresden Dolls was told that shots of her belly had to be edited from a video of hers because she was too fat. What sexist assholes. Even if she was "fat" (click the link, watch the video, and see that she's not, anyway), no record label or employer of any kind has the right to do that. She dropped them and her fans are enraged and posting photos of all their varied bellies to a new site, and rightly so. No woman should ever tolerate such bullshit. Fuck You, Roadrunner Records!


The local rag I love to hate, the Tucson Weekly, issued a "Best of Tucson" award to Dry River, the little group that runs the infoshop down the street from me and that I'm an on-again, off-again member of. The Weekly determined that we are the "best anarchist collective" in town. Here's the entirety of their explanation:

Anarchy may have gone out of style with the passing of St. Joe Strummer, but here in Tucson, there are still a few flying the black flag. What they do is kind of a mystery. We know they take camping trips, practice consensus decision-making and, mainly, facilitate a space called Dry River. Dry River commandeered the Best of Tucson

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