Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bemused by Beauty

Actor Josh A. Dawson
“She had learnt long ago that common sense, intelligence, good nature and strength of character were unimportant in comparison with a pretty face. She shrugged her shoulders.”
— Somerset Maugham, “The Magician”

Saturday, March 30, 2013

This Week in Wars That Never Were

The right wingers and their pet propagandists at Fox News do psychological projection almost exclusively. THEY are the ones who whine about their victimhood constantly with their nonexistent "wars on Christmas,"  "wars on Easter" and other such bullshit. THEY are the ones who are the economic parasites, with their crony-capitalist, no-bid, no-performance military-industrial complex running into the hundreds of billions. THEY are the ones who make constant false accusations of voter fraud, the felony THEY are quietly committing.

I Sing the Body Silent

The freedom from stress; the attainment of stillness, inner peace, even Nirvana, are already and always within us. We do not need to search for them anywhere. We already have them. We just need to sit down, be quiet and look.
— Steve Sampson

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Difference Is in the Velocity of the Knees

America's two political parties now play "Good Cop, Bad Cop" with ordinary Americans. One applies the nightstick to the skull and the pepper spray to the eyes with a laugh, and the other administers a dab of iodine here and there with a tut-tut. But neither of them has any intention of stopping the beatings.
However, I do like to have a little iodine and a bandage now and then.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sure. And Slavery, That's a Real Party for the Workers. Great Fun.

Screen Thrills Illustrated

By Dan Hagen
Once upon a time, namely the early 1960s, every other Hollywood film was NOT a superhero movie. In fact, there were none at all, and to a superhero-besotted person under age 10, that inexplicable and short-sighted omission seemed tragic.
Captain America made it to the screen in 1944.
The entire burden of colorful cinematic world-saving had fallen on the capable shoulders of that fellow in the upper right there, and at the time his adventures were often considered too spicy for a child’s diet. A vexing state of affairs.
Imagine the boy’s delight, then, when he happened to spot the covers of something called Screen Thrills Illustrated magazine, and discovered that during the 1930s and 1940s, live-action movie serials had been made about the dashing, costumed comic book characters he loved, and many he hadn’t heard of. The revelation was stunning, a lost world of wonder akin to the discovery of dinosaurs in South America.
As much fun as those serials turned out to be when he finally saw them, perhaps 20 years later, they could be forgiven if they never quite measured up to the mysterious delights of high adventure and romance that he had imagined when he gazed at those magazine covers. After all, how could they?
See the interior of Screen Thrills Illustrated at Al Bigley's site here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

From the Mindful Mind of Jim Hampton

On Fox News, Economic Illiteracy Makes Excellent Propaganda

“(Bill O'Reilly) gets away with saying things which no undergraduate in the United States with a responsible economics professor could ever get away with,” University of Massachusetts economics professor Richard Wolff said.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

In the 28 Percent

And I was, very publicly, in the 28 percent. And I was despised. And I was right.

Silly me. I always think it's wrong to get a few hundred thousand, maybe a million innocent people killed in a war you gin up based on lies. I guess I don't understand the sophisticated moral principle that lets you slaughter as many innocent people as you like, and then get the corporate media to cover it up and shill for you.
Obama should certainly be blamed severely -- for any Bush policy he has continued. George W. Bush is the shining benchmark against which all colossal, truly historic American failure must be measured.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Never Lose an Hour Or Waste a Wind

By Dan Hagen

Thanks to the treasure-trove resources of EIU’s Booth Library, I’m trying something new — reading two biographies at once. I switch back and forth between them to compare accounts of major events, sort of a way of triangulating the subject.
Horatio Nelson portrait by Friedrich Heinrich Fuger
I have C.S. Forester’s 1929 biography “Lord Nelson,” which emphasizes the naval battles, and Terry Coleman’s 2002 biography “The Nelson Touch,” which offers a fuller account of the personal dimension of Horatio Nelson’s life and era.
Forester’s book is full of phrases that sound like “tacking to leeward,” which is probably something you can’t even do, but who cares? They sound cool, and I’m never going to have to maneuver a sailing ship manned mostly by “pressed labor” slaves into raking a bunch of French guys with cannon fire. Just as well. My sympathies lie largely with the French revolutionaries, not with the worshippers of “royalty.”
But not everything is unfamiliar in Nelson’s world. For example, Coleman’s book includes the early equivalent of an editorial cartoon by Isaac Cruikshank. The married Nelson is pictured smoking with his also-married mistress, Lady Hamilton, who remarks, “Pho, the old man’s pipe is always out, but yours burns with full vigour.” Nelson, puffing on an extremely long and suggestive-looking pipe, replies, “Yes yes. I’ll give you such a smoke. I’ll pour a whole broadside into you.” That was published 200 years ago, proving that vulgar celebrity gossip has a truly venerable pedigree. Nelson was unflinchingly heroic, naturally generous and vainly self-deceiving, even silly at times. His silliness got him killed when he insisted on wearing a glinting chest full of decorations that served as a perfect sharpshooter’s target during the Battle of Trafalgar. But then Nelson was an implacable monarchist, and foolishness is an inevitable byproduct of fascination with the insufferable weirdness that is “royal rank.”  Aristocracy has been a sharp pain in the world’s ass for centuries, and is always trying to reassert its virulent hold, whether through titles or billions, even in nominally democratic republics.
Re: “Lord Nelson” by C.S. Forester (1929) and “The Nelson Touch” by Terry Coleman (2002).