'Best of TBH Politoons'
Baron Dave Romm
George Mann and Barry McLoughlin
By Baron Dave Romm
Shockwave Radio Theater podcasts
Into The Fire
For many years, George Mann teamed up with 30s activist Julius Margolin as self-described Labor Folkies. They sang of unions and took on the Bush administration with CDs such as Hail To The Thief and A Few Bad Apples.
On his own, George Mann continues the tradition. He sings of the working man, of the mother who has to live when her children have died in war, or the rising seas due to man-made climate change. He sings without subtly, he sings without apology, he sings without fear. He is not talking to power for he knows they won't listen. He's singing to you; he's singing for you.
George Mann's latest solo effort is Into the Fire. The first cut stakes out the territory of the CD and tackles right-wing PC notions, I Remember Winter:
Someone ripped up the ozone hole
Melted down all the polar caps
And I know, and I know that we are such dumb animals
We caused all of that
Now I'm just another old man
Walking through the streets all day
But I remember winter as a season of hope and a season of change
The Banks Are Made Of Marble could have been written in the Depression:
I've traveled 'round this country from shore to shining shoreOn the other hand, I'm Chipping Away At This War is from the 21st Century's defining (so far) conflict, as a veteran of the Iraq War speaks out, "I'm a soldier, I'm a killer. And I'll carry that with me all the way home." The war from a bombed-out Iraqi's view is presented in Pray For Me, about as leftist a song as you'll hear. I will shed no tears for anyone who is against unions but wants sympathy for losing their job to outsourcing, and I really admire the long and only occasionally successful fight for unionizing the miners, as in the pean to the end of the struggle, "Rest, Papa Rest, the work is finally done." George W gets more whacks with This Government of Shame.
It really made me wonder all the things I heard and saw
I saw the poor dirt farmer plowing sod and loam
And I heard the auction hammer come a-knocking down his home
But the banks are made of marble
With a guard at every door
And the vaults are stuffed with silver
That the farmers sweated for
Yet, George is optimistic about his son's future, and knows He Will Shine. And he's optimistic about America surviving the current administration with There's A Light At The End Of The Tunnel as long as the workers take a stand.
If Into The Fire doesn't break new ground, its boot tracks can be seen on the dusty road. "Much more serious in overall tone that what you're used to hearing from me" says Mann in the note accompanying the CD, but I must disagree. While it's true that Julius brings an air of self-deprecation and humor to his politics, the songs always come out swinging and frequently hit their target. Alone, George is no less on target. Mann's solo effort is unabashedly liberal and professionally done, and recommended for all old folkies. Good singing, good playing and some nice arrangements make the CD iPod worthy (iPw).
Barry McLoughlin is new to me, his indie CD coming with another compilation/sampler. He comes from a long line of Canadian folkies, and sings of cold weather and patriotic support for troops. The "breakout" song, the one that you hear when you go to his MySpace page, is Romeo (Canadian Soldier):
Romeo in RwandaLt. General Romeo Dallaire was commander of the UN peacekeepers in 1994, unable to stop the genocide of an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. When asked by the BBC, "What went wrong?" Dellaire replied, "Everything that possibly could have [gone wrong, did go wrong]." He deserves at song, at least.
I teach my children about you
The great Canadian soldier
The heart of darkness exposed you
You shook hands with the Devil
800,000 screaming angels over Africa
Cried for mercy but not even Kofi
Deployed a mercenary savior to your door
As you can guess from the Joseph Conrad reference, McLoughlin wears his influences on his sleeve and loves to pepper songs with literary and musical allusions. Musically, I hear Roger Whittaker and Cat Stevens among others, though he is sometimes more direct. "Can I claim you, My Dulcinea?" he asks quixotically after one night of love.
He admires Harry Chapin a great deal:
Singing out your heart for you and me
Pouring out your soul for humanity
Lining out dream as it's meant to be
You gave a damn
Harry you're a hell of a man
"Cat's in the Cradle" on the radio
Big yellow taxi pulls up to my door
Anywhere's better place to be I know
Most of the songs about about lost love and wondering what happened to them, or reveling in current love. Perhaps my favorite song on the CD is Met On The Internet, where he has never seen the woman from the Philippines he's falling in love with. Though born in Dublin, he is proud of Canada and twinges of an accent come through.
Windswept is not a great album but well-produced folk with a few cuts that rise above. Perhaps a some of the songs will hit closer to home for you than me. Certainly iPw.
Baron Dave Romm is a conceptual artist and a noble of Ladonia who produces Shockwave Radio Theater, writes in a Live Journal demi-blog, plays with a very weird CD collection and an ever growing list of political links. Dave Romm reviews things at random for obscure web sites. You can read all his music recommendations from Bartcop-E. Podcasts of Shockwave Radio Theater. Permanent archive. More radio programs, interviews and science fiction humor plays can be accessed on the Shockwave Radio audio page.
Thanks to everyone who has sent me music to play on the air.--////
Who Do You Think Should Be Obama's VP?
The Monday Poll
Froma Harrop: Mortgage Scandal a Bipartisan Affair (creators.com)
To borrow a Barack Obama line, "There's not a liberal America and a conservative America, there's a United States of America." That's true - and everyone in it tried to make a quick buck off the housing bubble.
Susan Estrich: "Click"-less (creators.com)
"Click," we used to call it, that moment when you realized that something was very wrong and, even more important, that it didn't have to be that way.
Richard Roeper: Airline tension bound to lead to a few fights (suntimes.com)
Seems like at least once a week we see a story about tensions between airline passenger(s) and flight crews.
A Book Review by C. P. Farley: "Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade" by Patrick Dennis (powells.com)
... Mame understands something that Patrick doesn't, best summed up in her most famous line: *"Life is a banquet, and most poor sons of bitches are starving to death. Live!" Mame refuses to accept quiet desperation and uses imagination and style to create a life worth living. Auntie Mame is the original seize-the-day story, ancestor to such classics as Harold and Maude (though it dates better), Dead Poet's Society (far better written), and even Fight Club (Mame wants to avoid Babbitry, not destroy it).
Greg M. Schwartz: A Chat with Allison Robertson, The Donnas' lead guitarist (bullz-eye.com)
"I think that the major labels just were hoping that their formula was never going to be outdated, but I don't think they realized that it was going to be crushed."
Nothing's Shocking: An Interview With Lydia Lunch (popmatters.com)
As Lydia Lunch -- No Wave pioneer, Teenage Jesus frontwoman, and life-long provocateur -- sees her landmark tell-all book Paradoxia get re-published for the first time in over a decade, she sits down to talk to PopMatters about breaking taboos, rocking out, and knowing just how to push everybody's buttons.
Will Harris: A Chat with Ryland Blackinton, Guitarist of Cobra Starship (bullz-eye.com)
Being involved in a band - Cobra Starship - that has so far, at least in the last year or so, been very successful, it takes a lot of pressure off the Ivy League stuff.
Rod Dreher: 'Wall-E,' Pixar's surprisingly political postmodern masterpiece (The Dallas Morning News)
Conservatives love to complain about Hollywood liberalism, but most of the political films that shuffle through the cineplexes are standard-issue leftie hackwork that neither persuade nor succeed. You can see them coming a mile away. And then you get something like "Wall-E," Pixar's postmodern masterpiece, which is one of the most subversive films I've ever seen.
David Hiltbrand: Corbin Bernsen is loving every role, as Mom advised (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Don't tell Corbin Bernsen to write if he finds work. Your mailbox would be overflowing.
Robert W. Butler: DVD set shows consistent excellence of 'My So-Called Life' (McClatchy Newspapers)
Ten reasons why "My So-Called Life" is one of the 10 best TV series ever: 1. No other show has so artfully and honestly captured the angst and innocence of adolescence.
Jonathan Storm: Ted Danson's not damaged at all (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Ted Danson: Dead or alive? When we last saw evil businessman Arthur Frobisher in FX's fantastic "Damages," he was lying shot up in some swamp.
My life in shopping: Philippa Gregory, novelist (guardian.co.uk)
'If you buy something that costs £1,000 and wear it once, that's what it will have cost. If you wear it a hundred times, it works out at £10 per wear. That's a bargain.'
Roger Ebert: TRIUMPH OF THE WILL (A Great Movie; 1935)
Now I have just seen it again and am stunned that I praised it. It is one of the most historically important documentaries ever made, yes, but one of the best? It is a terrible film, paralyzingly dull, simpleminded, overlong and not even "manipulative," because it is too clumsy to manipulate anyone but a true believer. It is not a "great movie" in the sense that the other films in this group are great, but it is "great" in the reputation it has and the shadow it casts.
Hubert's Poetry Corner
The sins of the father are visited upon the sOn - and the rest of Us?
Soldier in famous photo never defeated 'demons'
Officers had been to the white ranch house at 560 W. Longleaf many times before over the past year to respond to a "barricade situation." Each had ended uneventfully, with Joseph Dwyer coming out or telling police in a calm voice through the window that he was OK.
But this time was different.
The Iraq War veteran had called a taxi service to take him to the emergency room. But when the driver arrived, Dwyer shouted that he was too weak to get up and open the door.
They found Dwyer lying on his back, his clothes soiled with urine and feces. Scattered on the floor around him were dozens of spent cans of Dust-Off, a refrigerant-based aerosol normally used to clean electrical equipment.
Dwyer told police Lt. Mike Wilson he'd been "huffing" the aerosol.
Unable to stand or even sit up, Dwyer was hoisted onto a stretcher. As paramedics prepared to load him into an ambulance, an officer noticed Dwyer's eyes had glassed over and were fixed.
A half hour later, he was dead.
When Dionne Knapp learned of her friend's June 28 death, her first reaction was to be angry at Dwyer. How could he leave his wife and daughter like this? Didn't he know he had friends who cared about him, who wanted to help?
But as time passed, Knapp's anger turned toward the Army.
A photograph taken in the first days of the war had made the medic from New York's Long Island a symbol of the United States' good intentions in the Middle East. When he returned home, he was hailed as a hero.
This broken, frightened man had once been the embodiment of American might and compassion. If the military couldn't save him, Knapp thought, what hope was there for the thousands suffering in anonymity?
Here's a link to the original story of Dwyer's photo.
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Sunny and weirdly cool.
In all the years I've lived in SoCal I have never worn a sweatshirt on a July afternoon, until today.
Added a new flag - Sao Tome and Principe
Lavish Farewell Party
Nelson Mandela, South Africa's anti-apartheid hero feted worldwide after turning 90, was toasted by leaders at a lavish feast Saturday as he prepared finally to bow out of public life.
Guests stood and cheered and a choir sang "Here is our hope" as Mandela entered a festive tent set up outside his rural home for the celebration of an extraordinary lifetime.
Former deputy Thabo Mbeki, who succeeded Mandela as head of state in 1999, and Jacob Zuma, head of the ruling ANC party and tipped to become president next year, were among the first of 500 guests to arrive for the lavish celebrations in the rural Eastern Cape.
Mandela's fellow Nobel peace prize winner Desmond Tutu also attended Saturday's feast, which included traditional food such as tripe and sheep's heads.
More than 1.5 million revellers danced through the streets of the western German city of Dortmund on Saturday at the annual Love Parade techno music festival.
A roughly 1.5-kilometre main road was closed in Dortmund to allow the crowd - brightly and scantily clad and mostly young - to dance to techno music blasted from 37 floats. Some 250 DJs were taking part in the event.
Once a summer institution in Berlin, the parade - staged under the motto "Highway of Love" - moved last year to Germany's industrial Ruhr area.
Place du Trocadero Concert
Former hostage Ingrid Betancourt took the stage and shook her hips to a Colombian superstar's guitar riffs, leading the crowd in chants of "Freedom for all!" at a concert Sunday dedicated to captives held by Colombia's FARC rebel group.
Thousands of people turned out for the free concert at Paris' Place du Trocadero, which was awash in the red, yellow and blue colors of the Colombian flag.
Juanes kicked off the show, which coincided with Colombia's independence day, with an emotional rendition of the South American country's national anthem. Spanish singer Miguel Bose and other musicians took part in the concert.
In addition to the concert in Paris, rallies were held across Colombia and in 40 cities around the world, including London, Miami and New York.
Tens of thousands of fans gathered on Quebec City's historic site, the Plains of Abraham, in hopes of securing a good spot to watch Paul McCartney's free concert Sunday night as part of the city's 400th anniversary celebrations.
Organizers expected some 200,000 people at the outdoor show by the ex-Beatle.
The much-anticipated show, McCartney's only scheduled performance in North America this year, drew ire from some in the province who have questioned his participation in the weekend birthday celebrations of French-speaking Quebec City because of his British roots.
Architectural Photographer Enjoys Revival
Julius Shulman took a photograph in 1960 that made millions dream of a perfect life: two women seated in a glass house seemingly suspended in mid air as the twinkling lights of Los Angeles beckon below.
Nearly 50 years after the famous photo of Case Study House #22, the man many consider the finest architectural photographer in history finds himself a cult figure for a new generation that covets the minimalist mid-century modern architecture he took around the world.
Shulman, who is still active, attributes his success "to being in the right place at the right time" -- the place being Los Angeles at a time when modernists were putting their revolutionary urban design to residential use and constructing for many the quintessential California dream.
His first big break came from one of the most famous Los Angeles modernist architects, Richard Neutra, in 1936.
Needs Special Care
Pablo Picasso's masterpiece Guernica is in a "stable but serious" condition, Spanish art experts told El Pais newspaper's Sunday edition.
The painting had "suffered a lot and so needs special care", said the head of restoration at the museum Jorge Garcia Gomez-Tejedor.
Curators from Madrid's contemporary art museum, Reina Sofia, were giving their initial conclusions after the first detailed examination of the iconic black and white painting in 10 years.
The Spanish government frequently cites the fragility of the painting to justify its refusal to move the work to Guernica, in the Basque Country -- or to the Guggenheim Museum in the Basque city of Bilbao.
Arrested At Phoenix Mall
Rapper DMX was arrested at a Phoenix mall Saturday on suspicion that he gave a gave a false name and Social Security number to a hospital to get out of paying for medical expenses.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said that when DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, went to Scottsdale's Mayo Clinic in April, he used the name "Troy Jones" and failed to pay a $7,500 bill.
Arpaio said his office began investigating the charge following an animal neglect investigation last year at the 37-year-old rapper's north Phoenix home. DMX was arrested in that case on felony drug possession and misdemeanor animal cruelty charges after authorities seized 12 pit bull dogs and dug up the remains of three others.
If DMX remains jailed, the sheriff said he would be isolated from the rest of the inmates for his own safety. "They may not like his music," he said.
Up to a million people in Australia could face a shortage of drinking water if the country's drought continues, a report on the state of the nation's largest river system revealed Sunday.
The report said the situation was critical in the Murray-Darling system, which provides water to Australia's "food bowl", a vast expanse of land almost twice as big as France that runs down the continent's east coast.
Australia is in the grip of the worst drought in a century, which has stretched for more than seven years in some areas and has forced restrictions on water usage in the country''s major cities.
A report by the nation's top scientists this month said Australia was in for a tenfold increase in heat waves as climate change pushes temperatures up.
It found exceptionally hot years, which used to occur once every 22 years, would occur every one or two years, virtually making drought a permanent part of the Australian landscape.
Music Retailer Thriving
As music retailers struggle to stay in business, a Los Angeles firm is doing nicely targeting a demographic that gets bigger every year -- prisoners.
More than 2.3 million people were locked up in federal, state or local systems at midyear 2007, according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, and they want their Michael Jackson and Pink Floyd just like everyone else.
Enter North Hollywood-based Pack Central, which runs a mail-order operation for about 50,000 prisoners. It stocks about 10,000 CDs and 5,000 cassette titles.
Cassettes account for about 60% of unit sales, since CDs are contraband in many prisons because the hard plastics can be used for nefarious means. The screws that hold many cassettes together are also verboten, so owner Bob Paris must manually remove them. A bigger problem is that the labels have largely abandoned cassettes.
Makes Customers Drink Faster
Customers of bars that play loud music drink more quickly and in fewer gulps, French researchers said on Friday.
Their study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found that turning up the music spurred drinkers to down a glass of beer about three minutes more quickly.
To gauge the effect of sound levels on drinking, the team spent three Saturday nights visiting two bars, where they observed 40 men aged between 18 and 25 drinking beer.
With help from the bars' owners, the team turned the music up and down and then recorded how much and how fast people drank. The men did not know they were being observed.
Police recovered a Pablo Picasso print and arrested one person in connection with an armed robbery at Sao Paulo's Pinacoteca Museum last month, local media reported on Saturday.
The print, Picasso's "The Painter and the Model" from 1963, was one of four works taken in broad daylight on June 12, the official Agencia Brasil government news agency said.
The Spanish artist's "Minotaur, Drinker and Women" from 1933 and two works by Brazilian artists are still missing.
Police found the print with Wesley Teobaldo Barros, who was arrested as he prepared to steal an automated teller machine, Agencia Estado said. Three others were arrested with Barros, but they were not involved with the art heist, it said.
Gets Cool Reception
Digital high-definition radio is hitting some key milestones in terms of pricing and features, but building enough momentum to spur broad consumer adoption remains a tall order.
Prices on some radio models have tumbled below $100. More automakers are offering HD radio as a factory or dealer-installed option. And the rollout of a feature enabling consumers to "tag" a song they like for purchase at Apple's iTunes store provides a level of interactivity that traditional analog radio can't match.
But four years after the first HD radio receivers hit the U.S. market and two years after RadioShack became the first retailer to start rolling them out nationwide, sales are still miniscule compared with the broader terrestrial radio market. In addition, consumer awareness continues to lag and such competitive options as satellite and Internet radio are complicating efforts to make the digital radio standard a mass-market phenomenon.
Weekend Box Office
"The Dark Knight" took in a record $155.34 million in its first weekend, topping the previous best of $151.1 million for "Spider-Man 3" in May 2007 and pacing Hollywood to its biggest weekend ever, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Factoring in higher admission prices, "Spider-Man 3" may have sold slightly more tickets than "The Dark Knight."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "The Dark Knight," $155.34 million.
2. "Mamma Mia!", $27.6 million.
3. "Hancock," $14 million.
4. "Journey to the Center of the Earth," $11.9 million.
5. "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," $10 million.
6. "WALL-E," $9.8 million.
7. "Space Chimps," $7.4 million.
8. "Wanted," $5.1 million.
9. "Get Smart," $4.1 million.
10. "Kung Fu Panda," $1.8 million.