Texas Liberal

All People Matter

John Maynard Keynes & Deadheads

Here is what the great economist John Maynard Keynes (above) said in favor of government intervention in the economy—

“….There was no expenditure…it was thought proper for the State to incur except for war. In the past, therefore, we have not infrequently had to wait for a war to terminate a major depression. I hope that in the future we will not adhere to this purist financial attitude, and that we shall be ready to spend on the enterprises of peace what the financial maxims of the past would only allow us to spend on the devastation of war.. At any rate, I predict with an assured confidence that the only way is for us to discover some object which is admitted even by the deadheads to be a legitimate excuse for largely increasing the expenditure of someone on something.”  

I like this for two reasons. One is that it allows me to help make the case for government involvement in our economy. It is good that we live in a time when government is taking an active role in our economy, and is seeking to regulate and guide the economy rather than just letting this current deep recession take its course on people’s prospects in life. 

If we’re all just left the private sector, we will not have the opportunities in life that collectivist initiatives can offer the struggling but hardworking person.  

Here is a profile of Keynes from the Time magazine list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Read about him and see what you think. Keynes lived from 1883 until 1946.

The excerpt above comes from the book Global Capitalism–Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century by Jeffry Frieden.  This is a solid book that fills you in on capitalism as practiced—for both good and ill—in all parts of the world for a span of more than 100 years.

The other reason I like what Keynes said is that it allows me to run a picture of some deadheads from a Grateful Dead concert. Below you see a  picture of many deadheads at a Grateful Dead show.

I once went to a Grateful Dead concert. I was curious to see what it was like. I went at some point in the early 90’s. The show was just outside Columbus, Ohio and I think the temperature was about 102.  The opening act was Bruce Hornsby and the Range. I have to admit it was one of the most boring concerts I’ve ever seen in my life. That said, I had some sympathy for the deadheads traveling around and following the Grateful Dead.

They were just bumming around and getting stoned and whatever else they were doing. They were not bothering anybody and they seemed good-natured enough. I remember some of them were selling food and other things in the parking lot at the show.  I bought some spaghetti with sauce a one guy.  Maybe my purchase bought him a gallon of gas to help him get to the next concert.  

Here are annotated Grateful Dead lyrics.

May 7, 2009 Posted by | Books, History, Music, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Light Rail In Houston And The Chimpanzee I Don’t Want To Be

It is difficult to know how to feel about the proposed extension of light rail in Houston.

(Above–Transportation in Minsk, Belarus.)

Four new lines, all in the inner loop as far I can determine, are on the table for a vote of the Metro Board in March. The cost of this project is said to be $2.6 billion. 

On one hand, I support mass transit. On the other hand, I support mass transit for all the people. Not just inside the loop.

For example, there is no bus on Highway 6 in-between 1960 and Westheimer. Yet many people live and work in this area and Highway 6 gets more busy each day.

How can we commit $ 2.6 billion for transit inside the loop without addressing all of Houston and the suburbs? (And when will all our Harris County suburbs grow up and incorporate and elect mayors and city councils and establish a police force beyond the Harris County Sheriff? Maybe these folks would get better services if they’d incorporate and find a coherent voice. )

A regional transit authority is clearly needed. Please click here to see my previous post of the likelihood of a regional transit authority in the Houston-area.

Then you have the issue of the folks on each side of the debate.

Seemingly against any extension of mass transit are folks who reflexively oppose government, hate taxes more than they value the future, and who think that if only they can stop the bus from coming their neighborhoods will be able to keep out “undesirables.”  I have supported light rail in Houston so far because it annoys conservatives to such a degree.

On the other side of the rail debate are what are often the most annoying folks of all. Liberals that I share 90%  in common with, but that remaining 10% is a difference in sensibilities that makes me want to send a check to the National Rife Association. An inside-the-loop focus that in the end values pragmatism and order over imagination and justice. These are the kind of folks I see getting most excited over these train cars. 

( And the idea that some have of streetcars for Houston! Oh!  As it says in Ecclesiastes– “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities…..”  Must we spend public dollars to remake a small portion of the county in the imagined self-image of a narrow few? )

Here is part of the Phil Ochs song Love Me I’m A Liberal

I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I’d lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.

It’s like how I can’t stand chimps and monkeys. I despise them for being so like myself, yet being something I very much don’t want to be.  I don’t want to be a nasty chimp. I don’t want to be a process-orientated  liberal who gets excited about boondoggle train cars in my neck of the woods while folks out in county can’t get a ride to work. Mass transit should not be about what seems cool or neat. It should be about getting people where they need to go. 

So where do I come down on the question of light rail for Houston?

When all is said and done, I’m for it as an extension of government in a small government region and state, as a job creation project, and because of the people it frustrates. It’s not like we’ll spend the money on something useful if we don’t build the trains. As for light rail being part of a coherent transit policy for the entire region, that is not part of the debate at this point. 

Light rail, so far, seems more an inner-loop vanity and a conceit to try to turn Houston into something it is not. But since it’s opponents offer nothing more useful than more highway building and endless government bashing, I say build the damn thing and let them stew. I’m with the chimps on this one. (Because, as I  sometimes face up to, I’m one of the chimps more than I’d like to admit. It can take so much effort not to revert to a less developed state. )

Now if we want to be serious and plan for light rail across the county and region, that’s something I could be on board with.

February 19, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Music | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bring Me Edelweiss Was The Song Playing In My Mind All These Years

There was a song they used to play at a dance club I went to sometimes that’s been stuck in my head for years. Every so often the song would pop up in my mind. But I had no idea what band had made the song.

I’ve finally figured it out and have posted the video to the song. The song is called Bring Me Edelweiss and the name of the band is Edelweiss. Edelweiss was from Austria and existed in the 1980’s and early 90’s.

I’m glad I figured it out and I like the video and the song. It’s all happy and cheery.

February 13, 2009 Posted by | Music | , | 8 Comments

The Bars That I Visited Most Often

What could be more important than the bars you hung out in when you were younger?

Not much.

There were three bars I spent the most time in when I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio. All my good bar days were in Cincinnati. I’ve lived in Houston for ten years and I don’t go to bars at all. In Cincinnati, I went all the time.

I enjoyed seeing my friends. And often I brought a book to read. Many places I went had a band playing and I rarely cared about the bands. I’m sure many of them were good. The local acts were often comprised of people I knew, and I’m sure they were good bands. It just never interested me. When the bands were playing and I could not talk to people, I would read my book.

There were three bars I visted most. One was a bar- laundry mat called Sudsy Malone’s. There were washers and dryers in the back of the house.  It was Short Vine street in Cincinnati. Below is a picture of Sudsy’s from the outside.  

And here is a picture from a show at Sudsy’s.

Now that’s entertainment!

Sudsy’s is now closed. The pictures came from a Sudsy’s Facebook group. 

Another bar I was a regular at was just down the street from Sudsy’s. It was, and still is, called Sub Galley. I can say in truth that I was for a time “Mayor” of this place. Below you see a picture of Chris the bartender. This picture is also from a Facebook group. 

I never could figure out the full story with Chris, but he was always a decent enough guy as far as I was concerned. Sub Galley was seen by some as a hangout for low lifes.  I think that view had some merit. 

The guy with the beard in the photo was Karl.

My last hangout was The Jockey Club in Newport, Kentucky. Newport is right across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. I’ve written about the Jockey Club before on the blog. It was the greatest punk rock club in all the world. The Jockey Club closed in 1988. The picture is from the club’s last night.

I like my life today and I miss my places from the past.

I hope you have some hangouts where you once spent your nights. It’s fun!…at least to some point in life it was fun.

February 12, 2009 Posted by | Books, Cincinnati, Music, Relationships | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Listening To Joy Division While I Blog Makes My Posts More Angry

Sometimes I listen to music while I blog. Mostly I listen to stuff that is not much more than background music and offers little distraction.  

But sometimes I listen to a Joy Division (picture above) CD I own as I blog. It’s a live recording of  a concert in Paris in 1979. I like it a lot. Though I can only take it to a certain extent. It’s depressing and angry. That’s okay because I believe what Martin Luther King said about how the well-adjusted person in a sick society is the person who is really messed up.

(Please cick here for the best Martin Luther King Reading List on the web.)

(Please click here to watch Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart Video on You Tube.)

When I listen to Joy Division as I blog, my posts are more angry than normally so. I think that’s good because angry is a reasonable state to find yourself in.  

For example, a few minutes ago I had the U.S. Senate on my TV. I was watching Senators explain the stimulus compromise.  Majority Leader Reid called Susan Collins of Maine, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to explain the compromise. It  made me sick. We win the election, and it still comes down to two Republicans, the most conservative Democrat, and a back-stabbing McCain supporter to broker the deal. It’s disgusting. When will this shit ever get better?

I had to turn the TV off and come and turn on Joy Division and write this post.  I don’t do any drugs and I’m not a big drinker, but I needed to be under the influence of something.  The Senate and the TV were sapping my life force and I needed relief.

Have I ever mentioned how off-putting I found much of the Democratic campaign here in Harris County, Texas last year?  I hinted at it in criticisms of David Minceburg’s terrible campaign for County Judge Executive. I’ve let the blog reading public down by not being  more forthcoming.  

Houston and Harris County is a mess of poverty and people wasting their lives because they are poor and have little chance at ever not being poor.  I’m not going to tell you I have the answer to longterm structural poverty. But I do know the answer will not be found in talking about traffic congestion relief and  restoring electricity more quickly after your every-so-often hurricane.

If you live in Houston bad traffic and hurricanes are part of the deal. What did you expect?

The County Democratic Party found it could raise money easily enough when it became apparent to big money donors that at least some Democrats were going to win in November. The task of voter registration was in large degree left to the primary campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. It seems clear enough that the coordinated campaign had what it felt it needed and saw little reason to dig deeper. 

They did not need to reach down to potential voters who rarely show up at the polls but who, if they voted, might well vote Democratic. And if you don’t need their votes, you don’t need to address their concerns.

Can you blame Hispanics for not voting in greater numbers in Harris County? I mean you can in the sense of why can’t they get their asses to the polls, and claim the political power that their hard work  and raw numbers around here merit? 

Yet in an another regard, nobody in the Democratic Party was really talking to Hispanics last year. Go find 100 Hispanic people on the street in Houston and Harris County, and ask them what the local Democratic Party has ever done for them. Maybe it has done a little bit for them. Maybe. But I bet those things have never been communicated effectively. You have to care about  people before you’ll effectively communicate with them.

Well…the CD is down to the last song and I should make my post. When I’m drunk I talk a lot and I say nice things that I really do think, but am too reserved to say in normal conversation. When under the influence of Joy Division, I get more angry and say things I should have said before.

February 7, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Martin & Malcolm, Music, Politics | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is It Best That Chamillionaire Will Be A Grand Marshal Of Houston MLK Parade?

The rap star Chamillionaire will be a co-Grand Marshal of the 2009 Martin Luther King Day Parade in Houston.  Above you see a picture of Mr. Chamillionaire. He is from Houston. 

This parade will be held starting at 10 AM on January 19 in Downtown Houston.

It is easy to say that Dr. King would have been less than pleased by the presence of Mr. Chamillionaire at his parade. I admit that this was my reflexive reaction. However, so I could give a more informed view about Mr. Chamillonaire, I’ve done some studying.

Here is a link to the web site Hip Hop News discussing Mr. Chamillonaire’s part in the parade. The story does not talk about any issues this performer has focused on. His Wikipedia profile makes no mention of any politcal activism.

Here  is his own web home. With his own space, Mr. Chamillonaire makes no mention of any political concerns, that I see at least, nor does he provide links to causes he sees as important.  

Though he does say the following in a profile at his web home— 

“He (Chamillionaire)  does just that on “Hip-Hop Police,” a look at how the media and a variety of public figures continue to place blame on rap music for social issues, making loving hip hop equivalent to committing a crime. Then there’s the insightful “Evening News,” where Chamillionaire examines — with a sarcastic tone – what constitutes newsworthiness on a planet filled with legitimately significant events and genuine human suffering. …”Everyday I watch the news and look at how crazy the world is,” he explains. “It humbles you to see other people’s problems and to see the amount of adversity others seem to be going through. If you think you’re going through hard times, you can always turn on the TV to see someone else who’s going through things 10 times worse than you. But then again, the media will also dedicate a majority of their time focusing on topics that I feel are not as news worthy, often times making celebrity gossip their main focal point. I wanted to do a record with some social commentary but also not be too heavy handed when it comes to discussing the stuff that we should really be focusing on. I wanted to find the perfect balance and go right down the middle.”

All right–That’s something. I have signed up for Mr. Chamillionaire’s e-mail updates in case he announces a more comprehensive commitment to political activity. 

Here is what it says about Mr. Chamillionaire in his profile on the Houston MLK Parade web home—

“On a personal level, there are many causes that are dear to Chamillionaire’s heart, especially anything to do with helping children; something that was inspired by his upbringing. Taking a cue from his Mother, who routinely took in foster kids while he was growing up, Chamillionaire himself currently homes 3 foster children. Cancer research and his church are also causes to which Chamillionaire contributes regularly. Chamillionaire’s fierce love for his city means that you will always find him present in times of need. Whether it is donations for hurricane repairs to schools, or giving his time to raise awareness for those causes he holds dear, Chamillionaire is a philanthropic staple in the Houston community.” 

I punched his given name, Hakeen Seriki, into a comprehensive list of political donors to federal campaigns and saw no donations to help elect Barack Obama. I’m not assuming that he supported Mr. Obama because he is black.  Mr. Chamillionaire is free to vote for whoever he chooses.  But I do think that Dr. King might have supported Mr. Obama.

Here is a link to Mr. Chamillionaire’s song lyrics. I have to say that many of these lyrics do not appear to advocate social responsibility. 

Here is a sample of lyrics from the song Parking Lot Pimpin’—

Ladies and Gents, I’m the prince of all parking lot pimps
Yes I’m the Grinch and I ride twenty inch, like it’s a synch
Might convince your woman, to let me leave my paw prints
On her ass, take a pinch while you watch like a wimp
Look it don’t make sense, rims bigger than Shawn Kemp
I maneuver the big body, like I’m parking a blimp
I’m the thoedest speaker, to ever speak through a speaker
Talk down on Chamillion, I’ll fix your face with my sneakers
I get more green, than a whole forest full of reefer
You just mad, cause you can’t afford a smart beep-beeper
I’m the crooked chrome creeper, from the gutter young thugger
Chrome rims looking bigger, than your seventh grade brother
Not a lover, she just trying to put me in a lip-lock
I can’t stay with you girl, I can only make a pit stop
Big rocks what I rock, and I sip plenty of Henny
While you losing your fame and game, like Penny and Lil’ Penny

Mr. Chamillionaire , like all of us, is a work in progress. Maybe at the parade next week, Mr. Chamillonaire could ask where are the honor roll students and the debate club students marching along with the gun-toting ROTC kids (Who I know are good kids as well.) What would Dr. King have wanted?

The Hip Hop News article says there will be a military flyover at the parade. Maybe Mr. Chamillionaire could ask if that is a good use of tax dollars in this time of recession and people losing jobs.  He could ask if  Reverend King would have ever wished to be honored with a military flyover.

Mr. Chamillionaire seems a hard working and creative person who has earned his succcess. I’m uncertain that if he wishes to be a full force for good, or really merits a place of honor at a celebration of the life of Martin Luther King, that Mr. Chamillionaire can proceed as he been doing with such lyrics and offering such messages.

I call upon Mr. Chamillionaire, and on all of us, to use King Day to reflect on what course is best to follow so we may be of the most service to others.

(Please click here for the 2009 Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List.)

January 15, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Martin & Malcolm, Music, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

There Is No Such Thing As A Bridge To Nowhere

Remain in Light cover

This morning I was listening to the 1980 Talking Heads album Remain In Light. The last, and least interesting, song on the album is called The Overload. It’s a long slow song that most times I skip over.

Today though I heard the song and made new note of it’s first line. That line is —“A terrible signal, too deep to even recognize.” 

This lyric reminded me of a scene in the novel On The Beach. On The Beach, written in 1957 by Nevil Shute, is about the few remaining human survivors, living in Australia, after a nuclear war. They are waiting for the radiation to reach them.

At one point in the novel, a signal of some kind is received from an American military base on the Pacific coast. I think it was from Washington state. The folks in Australia are hopeful that someone has survived and that there could be hope. A submarine is sent to investigate. It’s found that a coke can or something like that has fallen on the signal button and that is why the transmission is being sent.

It’s a creepy scene. The Australians explore the base in radiation suits and find nobody alive. Just an automated repeating signal that means nothing.

I thought about how this obscure 28 year old year old song that, despite mostly skipping over it, I’ve heard many times, could provide a link in my mind to a book I read maybe five years ago.  It reminded me that all things are connected. There is no such thing as a “bridge to nowhere.” Everywhere leads somewhere else.

See how the little bridge below even appears to lead in two different directions. Keep learning and keep your mind active and open and you’ll see the world for all it is and can be.

December 12, 2008 Posted by | Books, Music | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should Dead Or Alive’s Brand New Lover Be Our New National Anthem?

A few months back I asked if Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring should be made the new national anthem.  I still think that is a good idea. But if that idea does not catch on, I vote for Dead Or Alive’s 1986 hit Brand New Lover to be made our new national anthem.

Some might say You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) should be enshrined as our national song. I hear this said all the time. Still, I go with this other great hit as best to inspire our nation.  

Brand New Lover popped into my head earlier today. Random things just don’t pop up in your head without larger meaning. Right? It’s some sort of message I’m being sent. I think it would be great for our military to stand at attention for this New Wave classic. Or for it to be sung before sporting events.

Here is the link to the video on YouTube. Maybe we could play the video with the song as we raised the flag.  

Here are the first few lines of Brand New Lover— 

Your sweet nature, darling
Was too hard to swallow
I’ve got the solution

I’m leaving tomorrow
And now as I stand
And stare into your eyes
I see safety there–
I want surprises

Chorus:
What I really need to do
Is find myself a brand new lover
Somebody with eyes for me
Who doesn’t notice all the others
What I really need to do
Is find a brand new lover.

Below is a picture from the Brand New Lover  video.  They are cowboys in a corral. I love stuff like that. I miss the 80’s sometimes.

What song would like to have as our new national anthem? With so much Change taking place in our country, I figure that everything is on the table.  

November 9, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , | 4 Comments

Aurore Press To Release Jockey Club Book—Old Punk Rockers To Have Reunion Concert

 

Cincinnati’s Aurore Press will soon be releasing Stories For Shorty: A Collection Of Recollections From The Jockey Club 1982-1988. 

If you were lucky, you spent some time at Newport, Kentucky’s Jockey Club in the years mentioned above. 

The picture above from inside the Jockey Club above captures the essence of the place well.

Stories From Shorty will feature remembrances from Jockey Club patrons and performers. I think the book will be the publishing sensation of the fall.

Also, a Jockey Club reunion concert will be held Saturday night November 22 at Newport’s Southgate House. The doors open at 8. November 22 is the day of the release of the Jockey Club book.

Local giants such as The Thangs, SS-20, The Reduced and BPA will be just part of the musical lineup for the reunion show.  

Stories For Shorty will be released earlier in the day on November 22 at Shake It Records in Cincinnati. This event will take place at 5 PM at Shake It.      

I’m glad to report that I’ll be at the Southgate House for the show. I hope to see you there.

( Please click here for my greatest punk rock moments.)

October 12, 2008 Posted by | Books, Cincinnati, Music | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1980’s Punk Rock Fanzines—Like A Blog You Produced At Kinko’s

I’ve been reading the book American Hardcore–A Tribal History by Steven Blush. The excerpt below is about the 1980’s punk rock fanzine Flipside— –

“…Flipside, a fanzine out of Whittier, California, 20 miles east of LA. It first appeared in August ’77 as a 25-cent, 100 run xeroxed rag documenting LA punk. By 1980 its coverage expanded to include the entire country, with several thousand copies….It wasn’t a magazine in the traditional sense—rather a bunch of kids turned on by a scene cranked it our whenever possible. The rumblings…fit perfectly into its coverage of acts like Germs and Ramones. Flipside scribes with sames like Hud, Pooch and X-8 delivered chatty interviews crammed in small type accompanying poorly reproduced photos.”

Reading this brought back memories. In my hometown of the time, Cincinnati, there were a number of punk fanzines. ‘zines they were called. They did not last very long. But just as was Flipside, they were written, photographed, and produced by a bunch of kids. You’d work on it and then go to Kinko’s to make your copies.

I guess if we had been punk rockers today, many of us would have punk rock blogs.

Being a hardcore punk rocker was a fleeting thing. You had to be around at the right time—the early 1980’s— and in a place with a good scene. Still, I feel some sympathy for kids today who seem to spend so much time isolated behind a computer. It appears to be so inward looking.

You don’t have to be a punk rocker to be a happy young adult. I suppose many might say avoid being a punk rocker to be a happy young adult. But it was sure fun to be part of something and to find people who saw the world, to a degree at least, as I did.       

Please click here for my greatest punk rock moments.

August 12, 2008 Posted by | Cincinnati, Music, Relationships | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Excellent Band Called Black Kids

It’s rare when I find a contemporary band I want to hear. Most music I play in my car was recorded at least 20 years ago. The only current bands I always purchase a new release of are Interpol and The Chemical Brothers.

However, I’ve now found a third current-day band I like. They are called Black Kids. I bought the Black Kids CD. It’s titled Partie Traumatic. The album is strong start to finish. It has a distinct Cure sound. That’s fine by me.

I’ve posted the Black Kids video of the song “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You.”

The song and video are good-natured. The young women in the band are dressed like normal people and not skanky or in anyway removed from the people they appear to be in real life.

I’m glad I’ve found a new band to enjoy.

August 6, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lyrics To Okie From Muskogee

Merle-Haggard-nw01.jpg

Below are the lyrics to Okie From Muskogee. This song was written by Merle Haggard in 1969.  The song sure is a cultural artifact. Though I’m sure someone of a like-mind to Mr. Haggard could update the lyrics for the present day. There is always some “other” group of people to demonize.

I’ve got no problem with the people of Muskogee, but I bet there is plenty of drug use and family strife in that town. I bet that has always been the case.

Please click here for information on Merle Haggard.

We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee;
We don’t take our trips on LSD
We don’t burn our draft cards down on Main Street;
We like livin’ right, and bein’ free.

I’m proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares can have a ball
We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
And white lightnin’s still the biggest thrill of all

We don’t make a party out of lovin’;
We like holdin’ hands and pitchin’ woo;
We don’t let our hair grow long and shaggy,
Like the hippies out in San Francisco do.

And I’m proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares can have a ball.
We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
And white lightnin’s still the biggest thrill of all.

Leather boots are still in style for manly footwear;
Beads and Roman sandals won’t be seen.
Football’s still the roughest thing on campus,
And the kids here still respect the college dean.

We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
In Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA.

August 3, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , | 3 Comments

Humans Not As Unique As They Figure

A recent article in New Scientist magazine says human beings are not as unique as they imagine.

Above is a photo of sheep living in Austria. Here is a story about the minds of sheep. 

The article says animals have newly discovered and surprising abilities in ways people once thought as specific to humans.

For example, killer whales have been found to have distinct ways of communicating and hunting depending on if they live in a stable pod or are more transient. This speaks to culture among non-human species.

Some chimps use tools. Many people have seen the pictures of chimps using sticks to fish termites out of the termite mound. This is an example of tool use by animals.

Elephants grieve for dead herd members. Many animals have been noted for apparently emotional reactions. Humans are not the only species that experience emotion. 

Beyond culture, tool use and emotion, some animals may possess distinctive personalities, morality, and the ability to understand the mind and intent of another.

Humans are clearly unique. 

We are just not as special as we figure.

Who is as special as they figure?

Here is a BBC article on the subject of the minds of animals.

Below are lyrics from the Talking Heads song Animals.

They say they don’t need money
They’re living on nuts and berries
They say animals don’t worry
You know animals are hairy?
They think they know what’s best
They’re making a fool of us
They ought to be more careful
They’re setting a bad example
They have untroubled lives
They think everything’s nice
They like to laugh at people
They’re setting a bad example

June 16, 2008 Posted by | Music, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clear Communication In A Complex World Is Excellent

I recently listened to a song called Mamavtu by a singer named Susheela Raman that has the following lyrics— 

Saraswati

you who reside in the temple of Kamakoti

rescue me

bearing lotus and veena

in your beautiful hands

you give truth to speech

your feet are worshipped by Emperors and kings

your eyes are as wild as Rajiva flowers

and your beauty bewitches.

Garlanded with gems

you fulfill the desires of the good

Indra himself bows down before you

I, Vasudeva, am your servant

for you are the divine word in its essence. 

I like these lyrics for two reasons.

The first reason is that they are clear and direct.

The ability to communicate in a clear and direct fashion in a complex world is excellent.  

Communicating in such a way is something we all have the ability to do with the application of some discipline and thought.

The most complex, simple and important things are always within the grasp of all people.

Direct communication is a complex, simple and important thing. 

Complexity and simplicity are kindred.

How can we grasp difficult things if they are not communicated in a way we can understand?

This is a task of someone trying to reach others—The communication of difficult ideas in an accessible manner. 

The other thing I liked about the song was that though the lyrics are straightforward, I had to do some research to see what they meant. 

Saraswati is the Hindu Goddess of music, knowledge and the arts. That is her pictured above.

A veena is the instrument she is holding.

Indra is the king of the Gods. Yet even he bows down before Saraswati.

Direct, simple and complex communication leads people down a path of learning and understanding.

This is the path we need to be following.  

It’s a path open to all. 

Things open to all are the things that are best. 

May 13, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Last Night I Listened To Pete Shelley’s Homosapien

Last night I listened to Homosapien by Pete Shelley.

I enjoy the title track of this album.

Pete Shelley is the singer for the Buzzcocks. The album I was listening to last night was a solo release by Mr. Shelley.

Here is the link for the Buzzcocks.

Here is what it says about this song in Rip It Up And Start Again–Postpunk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds—

“…. a transitional hybrid of guitar based New Wave and electropop, heard at its best on the superb single Homosapien. Released in August 1981, “Homosapien” was a coded coming-out for Shelley. The single’s innuendos—the fruity way Shelley enunciated “homosapien,” plus couplets like “homo superior/my interior”–provoked an unofficial ban on Radio One.” 

Here is a link for Pete Shelley.

Here is the link to the BBC’s Radio One

Do I listen to anything recorded in the last 20 years?

I do buy releases by Interpol as well as by the Chemical Brothers.

February 26, 2008 Posted by | Books, Music | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment