Saturday, September 12, 2009

President Obama Is a Dangerous Lefty

Still from an engaging short documentary, Letters to the President, about how some letters from the public reach the desk of the President everyday.

September 11th: remember (or at least, don't forget)

Yesterday's date, September 11th, deserves our moment of pause and reflection on what happened that day in 2001.

Like an erupting volcano, this photograph needs no comment*. So here's my comment: often when I think of him and them (above) I think of a poem by English poet Andrew Marvell, about Oliver Cromwell, for whom war was a natural state of being. Was GWB an American Cromwell?

So restless Cromwell could not cease
In the inglorious arts of peace,
But through adventurous war
Urgèd his active star:

And like the three-fork'd lightning, first
Breaking the clouds where it was nursed,
Did through his own Side
His fiery way divide:

Then burning through the air he went,
And palaces and temples rent;
And Cæsar's head at last
Did through his laurels blast.

'Tis madness to resist or blame
The face of angry heaven's flame;
And if we would speak true,
Much to the Man is due

Nor yet grown stiffer with command,
But still in the Republic's hand—
How fit he is to sway
That can so well obey!...

But Thou, the War's and Fortune's son,
March indefatigably on;
And for the last effect
Still keep thy sword erect:

Besides the force it has to fright
The spirits of the shady night,
The same arts that did gain
A power, must it maintain.
*No comment except perhaps: "Run Like Fuck!"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

White Hot!

HotShoe Magazine is currently showing its sympathy with the family of the late Michael Jackson...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Recently I have enjoyed watching Ideal, a BBC sitcom about a small-time pot dealer in Manchester. He's called Moz, played by the incredible Johnny Vegas (above left with a fairly typical supporting cast character).

Sample episode recap:
Moz and Jenny pack up their things and say their goodbyes as they prepare to skip bail and flee to Portugal with stolen passports. Judith, meanwhile, decides to throw in her lot with her lover, Marco, and Psycho Paul's human trafficking plans go awry when a suspicious crate arrives from Russia - Nicole and Stephanie are not quite who he'd been hoping for.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Pelican in the Wilderness

My friend Cynthia Large is an accomplished artist whose work in diverse media has focused on women in history who have broken out of the traditional role assigned to them by patriarchy, in part at least through their mystical religious fervor or ability to prophecy or receive information from the Divine...

Above is St Christina the Astonishing, who was referred to as "a pelican in the wilderness," quoting from Psalm number 102:

6I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.

7I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.

8Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.

9For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.

Let's hope poor Christina has had better luck since then!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

That's a Tough Job

Seen at a former cloistered community, the Convent of St Cecilia* in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, now housing an exhibition of art called Room Tones.

An excellent opportunity, then, to quote a part of "Anthem for St Cecilia's Day," by W. H. Auden:

Anthem for St Cecilia's Day

In a garden shady this holy lady
With reverent cadence and subtle psalm,
Like a black swan as death came on
Poured forth her song in perfect calm:
And by ocean's margin this innocent virgin
Constructed an organ to enlarge her prayer,
And notes tremendous from her great engine
Thundered out on the Roman air.

Blonde Aphrodite rose up excited,
Moved to delight by the melody,
White as an orchid she rode quite naked
In an oyster shell on top of the sea;
At sounds so entrancing the angels dancing
Came out of their trance into time again,
And around the wicked in Hell's abysses
The huge flame flickered and eased their pain.

* When she was dying, the woman remembered as St Cecilia sang to God, and those who saw her die knew instantly that she had become a saint. Her martyrdom came horribly in the year 230 A.D. -- an executioner botched his job and left her to die after trying to chop off her head three times. She lingered for three days, according to legend and the records of the Catholic Church. She sang to God as she died, and thus became the patron saint of musicians and church music. Her day is November 22nd.