Newsom/Christie: Images to Sounds: Hear to There

Over on his other, “real” blog, neutrino/hadron-class Wetmachiner David Newsom tells this charming story about how his book of photographs, SKIP, inspired somebody he’d never met to write a song cycle:

So, a little while back, I got an inquiry from a woman named Holly Christie about one of my pieces, “Blue Truck”. Turns out she’d been looking over Perceval Press’ web site, and she’d come across my book SKIP.

Anyway, she liked it, bought it, and we struck up a dialogue. As fate would have it, Ms. Christie is a singer/songwriter. One year later, thanks to the seemingly infinite generosity of the folks at Perceval Press, Ms. Christie has released a small collection of beautifully produced songs, inspired by SKIP, titled, “To Hear From There”.

It’s kind of amazing. Most times, we put these things out there and they’re met with silence, sometimes a nod. But, man, when they inspire others to take the painstaking journey that, say, producing an EP requires, well, you’ve gotta feel good.

Definitely worth a look. And follow the links to Christie’s site to hear the songs. Definitely worth a listen.

Suomi go Brágh! again

That special time of year, when St. Urhu’s day elides into the name-day of St. Patric, is again upon us. Here at Wetmachine we have a special place in our hearts for this great Finno-Irish-American festival.

Truly, the world is full of marvels. I know this is small potatoes when compared to the news of Harold Feld’s new gig, but as Mrs. Lohman so rightly observed, attention must be paid. Yes, attention must be paid.

NPR takes its cue from Howie Carr: Blame it on the Negroes!

The other day I was listening to the exasperating Howie Carr’s talk show. Carr is a Boston-based populist Republican who purports to be an Independent. Like all Republican talk-show hosts, he’s an asshole. However, he does have his good points. For one thing, he took on the corrupt and dangerous Bulger brothers, risking his life to do so (Whitey Bulger is the model for the Jack Nicholson character in The Departed). For another, Carr, who is Catholic, took on the Catholic Church over the child rape scandal and helped drive Cardinal Law from our shores. And finally, he is relentless in exposing corruption and hypocrisy among Democrats in office, especially those in state or city offfices. In a corrupt one-party state like Massachusetts, this is a valuable service.

But he’s basically a Republican shill, and his commentary on the Big Shitpile crisis has been horrible. Last week he was going on and on about how the problem was that so many mortgages had been written for poor people in innner cities (Black people, that is, by obvious implication) who got in over their heads and defaulted, so now banks were failing and Wall Street could collapse, taking our whole way of life with it. And all because of the Negroes! And the Libruls, of course, who forced the banks to make these loans by way of “anti-redlining” laws promoted by Joe Kennedy and his ilk.

And I heard similar stuff on National Public Radio yesterday.

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Ayn Rand in Heaven

Ayn Rand was a muddle-headed thinker who wrote wooden prose, “novels” that were really merely polemics .1 She maintained the beliefs that all wealthy people merited their wealth, that all poor people merited their poverty, that selfishness was a virtue, that the myth of Robin Hood was pernicious because Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Because she did not believe in history (or complexity or nuance), Rand did not count as important that Robin Hood lived during feudal times. In her philosophy, it does not matter to her how wealth and poverty were distributed in feudal times, nor how the wealthy got wealthy. Her fictional world is ahistorical. In her world, government is synonymous with force, but in her worldview, the only legitimate use of force is to take from the poor and give to the rich. She loathes democracy and thinks well of plutocracy. The current Bush/Cheney government of plutocrats would be very much to her liking, I think.

She is a high priestess in the Cult of the Market Gods.

Ayn Rand’s writing is known be esteemed by, among others, Alan Greenspan (“the whore”, as my father calls him), and by impressionable teenage boys with little social success. I don’t know if Dick Cheney is a fan of Rand, but he is the epitome of a Randian hero.

Anyway, Rand is dead, presumably in Heaven. From whence she must be beaming down upon us with great joy at the developments of the past few weeks, when a hundred billion dollars was taken from the treasury and given to the investor class, all in the name of “stabilizing the market” (Market gods angry! Market gods want eat money! Must feed market gods! Paulson! Bernanke! Feed market gods more money! Now!) The wealth transfers of the “Resolution Trust Corporation” bailout of the S&Ls under the Reagan regime, the Bear Stearns and Fannie Mae/Freddy Mac handouts of more recent times were as mere hors d’oeuvres before the meal of the Great Investor Class Bailout of 2008. It’s about time for a Randian beatification or maybe even apotheosis, wouldn’t you say.

UPDATE: I forgot to include a link to this diary entry over on Daily Kos, which got me thinking. I agree with the post 100%.

1. When the woman who is now my wife and I were first dating, we found ourselves talking about Ayn Rand novels one afternoon. I had read Atlas Shrugged and one or maybe two others, but not The Fountainhead. She summarized it for me in one memorable sentence: “In this one he’s an architect.” Really, if you’ve read one of her novels, you’ve read them all.

Shitpile Schadenfreude

Over on Eschaton, Atrios has been blogging about the financial meltdown for a few years now. He pretty accurately predicted just what we’re seeing now. When lazy journalists were still referring to the mess as “the subprime crisis[1]”, Atrios was referring to it as The Big Shitpile, a much better name, and running pictures from the house-of-cards like game Jenga.

Below the fold: WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

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Fan mail from a flounder?

Neutrino/Hadron-class Wetmachiner David Newsom, a producer/correspondent on “The G-Word” show on Discovery Channel’s “Planet Green”, sent a message to his mail list the other day:

In its first few months, PLANET GREEN has had a bumpy start and taken some hits- many well deserved- but “G-Word” remains good, low-budget fun. It’s informative, breezy and democratic. We’re proud of it. For the noble few of you watching, their website is now under revision, and will be posting notices from some of its correspondents.

In an effort to get the word, out, I’m spamming the world about my new post. Feel free to use it as a point of entry to the site and shows. If you have criticism, fire away. They want and need it.

Note: The title of this post is from an old Rockie & Bullwinkle bit. Those of you too young to remember it ought to be ashamed of yourselves. And you kids get off my lawn!

Questions, Questions, Questions

Like Harold, I’ve been on vacation this week –on the New Jersey shore, where the weather is perfect and the surf is fine. Which accounts for the sparseness-osity of the postings around here lately.

Anyway, I’ve been wondering: how many houses does John McCain own? How many rooms in all these houses, total? How many houses does his wife own? How much does he typically pay for a haircut, and how much for a pair of shoes?

Also, is he technically senile?

On vacation, you know, I guess one’s thoughts tend to turn a tad philosophical.