Bourgeois Deviant

Monday, October 31, 2005

Rambling Monday

Mulling it over, last week was truly action packed. Sadly Rosa Parks passed away. She led a good long life. Having her in the news again allowed me to learn a couple of things that I, in my deviance, had never focused on. When the event that would write her into the history books took place, I always thought that she was sitting in the white section for lack of availability of seats because she had “tired feet.” This wasn’t the case. She later said ''The only tired I was, was tired of giving in."

Rosa Parks was sitting in the “black section” of the bus and it was nearly full. The white section of the bus was full. The bus driver asked her to vacate the seat to give it over to a white woman. Ms. Parks refused. It seems that she gave the tired feet excuse as an excuse to set up the altercation. It was totally peripheral to the event. More important to my understanding was that this type of civil disobedience was not only common for Ms. Parks but it was common behavior for the time among many women, apparently. The civil rights movement had been planning a boycott for some time but required an appropriate trigger/flashpoint to initiate it. Ms. Parks, being intimately involved in the civil rights movement and a knowledgeable activist was astutely opportunistic. The civil rights leaders chose her as poster-woman for the cause. Spontaneity was an illusion, save for the fact of Parks’ choice.

What’s more, after the initial wave of that event and as the movement grew, Rosa Parks came out on the side of Black Nationalism. She was an open admirer of Malcolm X. This aforementioned nationalism accurately implies that she was a gun owner and changed her opinions of non-violence as a means of achieving the goals of the civil rights movement.

I say this not to tarnish a great act of a great human being, but to bring focus to the full picture of history which should be important and not overlooked by those who would idealize. Rosa Parks was stronger and more complex than most know or would give her credit for. It is for these additional facts that it is an even more remarkable and good that she is lying in state in the United States Capital’s rotunda.

In other news… The release date for 1000 Bulbs grows ever closer and we are pleased as punch. For those of you who have heard them and make the Coldplay analogy, please click here as it articulates the differences quite well. It may seem harsh, but sometimes accomplishing great things require great sacrifices. However different or similar Four Day Hombre my be to that other band is not for me to dictate to you. We are all entitled to our opinion. However, whilst talking to Receiving Coordinators Uri in the basement of the Park Slope Food Co Op about FDH on Saturday, he said something that makes sense. The thing about Coldplay that makes them so infectious is that they build their songs really well. This is describing their song writing and instrumentation and all that, but to just listen to them, each song goes somewhere, typically up. When it gets to where it is going, you get some serious melodic payoff. There is definite catharsis.

With FDH, however, you get the build, but in a unique fashion. Build Rock could be yet another sub-genre like Dave Matthews Band was once herded among the southern “groove rock” bands of the latter 90’s. FDH’s brand of Build Rock, unlike Coldplay’s, doesn’t give you the payoff. This sounds bad, but on the contrary, they cultivate the hell out of potential and let you get as close as you possibly can without actually finishing you off. You are sort of left to your own ends and the song’s catharsis isn’t important. It’s like any sex scene in a good major Hollywood studio film (i.e. 21 Grams). You get a taste and you know what happens, but you don’t get the penetration or money shot. You get it without getting it and you want more.

This is just my Monday rambling, so take it for what its worth. However, I will stand by this next statement which I have said before. Potential is one of THE MOST tantalizing things there is. Generally speaking FDH has that whole thing going on and then some.

And wasn’t it quite the political week last week? I’ll leave it at that, but I have to say that Patrick Fitzgerald is totally the Joe Friday of independent counsels.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wild Turkey in Metropolis?

As I took a stroll on my lunch break through Battery Park and on my way back to the office, I see a turkey. No tags on it. No signs saying "Beware of Turkey" or the like. The only wild turkey I expected to see in Battery Park was an empty bottle of the product of the same name. Moreover, it has been frequenting those grounds since approximately November of 2003! The bird's name is Zelda. I knew New York was a diverse place, but this is ridiculous. Thanks to Krystl for the image (taken May 04, 2005).

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cancer USA

What if cancer was more than a biological malfunction? What if it went beyond typical physical manifestations that we presently identify with? It is pretty well established that if you live long enough, your body will endure some kind of cancer. Malignancy is inherent to our species. It is just a question of when, where and how. Except if you smoke pot. (Note: The B.D. did not smoke any before having this thought or writing this entry)

What I am driving at is expanding the definition of cancer to our society. To pick an easy target, lets choose Wal*Mart. It is a business that exists within the organism of capitalism within the host of our democratic society. That’s fair to say, right? So, apply what cancer does to a host relative to what Wal*Mart does to a community. The community is, essentially, an organ or a bone making up part of the host. When the part fails, it hurts the whole. Aforementioned retailer sets up shop and proceeds to strangle off, no matter how slowly, most of the local community business which is the fiber and backbone of the locality. In their absence, hegemony breeds and stagnates. You could say it metastasizes and potentially kills of the community/organ. This skips over a lot of detail, but we are not aiming for a thesis here.

Similar can be said of this country’s political parties and/or government. Why do societies fail? I am sure Collapse covers this topic in much more thorough and detailed terms than I ever could, but what I don’t know is if it applies and extends the metaphor of cancer to the subject matter. Certainly, what would be too easy to do is to say that money is carcinogenic agent that is integral to the inception of all the possible malignancies in our society.

With that said, it is more likely that money is merely the delivery agent. Its kind of like the saying “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” True, but lame. To cut to the chase and get Buddhist on your bloggasspheres, desire would be the culprit. But again, I bring up desire with full acknowledgment that there is some evolution and development due on that concept. It may not even be worth getting into except that work sucks today and it just feels better blue skying a bit.

Desire, for the purposes of this posting, means greed. Greed brings us to so many things such as suburban sprawl, gas guzzling cars and trucks, pork barrel politics and much more. Many things today in our American culture are easily, or at least arguably, too big for our own good. How much does one person need? How safe is safe? How good can things really get? Scientists have said of the big bang that the universe has or will, at some point unknown to us, stop expanding and start contracting. America’s expansion may be at an end and we can’t see it just like we can’t see the universe contracting.

In the natural life of a nation, good and bad things happen, but eventually they implode for one reason or another. It is this Deviant’s position that America’s implosion, which is manifest, is due in no small part to the malignancy inherent within our capitalist system. And this malignancy (Wal*Mart, pork barrel politics, the hubris of heads of state, SUVs) is latent in all of us because we are all capable of and slaves to (in one way or another) greed. (Can you tell that this Bourgeois Deviant is sick to death of working for bankers?)

Truth be told, this posting could be wildly guilty of the deliberate and obtuse application of a weak metaphor. At the end of the day, it is a matter of opinion. Now, what do you think?

UPDATE: This Deviant just realized he missed happenstance by one minute.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Rambling Monday: part deux

I almost forgot the old showman’s adage about leaving them wanting more or leaving them smiling or laughing or whatever. In the vein of both potentialities dig the following…

My boy Si and his band, Four Day Hombre, are set to release their next single which you can pick up on Amazon UK. iTunes will have it soon as well. Dig it. BTW, I am no Nick Hornby but 1000 Bulbs is damn good. If the other two tracks hold true to the form of past releases, listening enjoyment is assured.

For the laughter component, at 4:25 p.m. EST, I am going to an audition for a Bon Jovi video. Never in my wildest hallucinations… Please pun your booties off in the comments. Its my life, so have a nice day.

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Rambling Monday

I don’t have anything specific to write about today, but I do have some time that I could be devoting to an undeserving corporate America that I would sooner give over to the blogosphere. Aren’t you the lucky ones?

First, surprise was the reaction at the lack of comment on my Walken ’08 post. Either the readership has no love of the Continental or it was, in the reader’s estimation, a lackluster post. Remember, its ok to love the Walken. Just don’t have to love the Walken. Champagne anyone?

Second (not that this is a concrete list of anything in particular), I have been dabbling with a theory for a long time now. It focuses on the figurative age of sovereign nations relative to applicable character traits given to individuals within certain age brackets. The crux of the idea driving at how the United States is behaving (i.e. like a sophomoric, arrogant late teen early 20 something) vs. how it should be behaving (i.e. more in the 30s wit some modicum of forthrightness and honesty). It is not a cogent theory yet, but look for it in the days ahead.

Third (again, no list intended, just abiding by the established mode as well as being male and habitually linear as is the vice of my gender according to remembered feminist theory from my undergraduate years), as with many Americans, nay, individuals the world over, I am wholly dissatisfied with my job. As most may know, I temp for a major global banking institution. This in and of itself is crushing enough. I loathe the finance world. It all too often seems to eliminate the human from the equation, which by some estimation is the cancer within capitalism that will eventually kill or irrevocably harm it beyond mending. But this fire and brimstone isn’t what is killing this experience, believe it or not. What is nailing this coffin shut is that the work is incompatible with my desired career goals.

More specifically, being a wanna be actor, having some aspirations beyond being a bit player and career extra requires a good amount drive and energy. Training is something I want to get more of as well. Be it misguided or not, getting an MFA is something that I want to do. So, all things considered, I needs me some time and energy to do this stuff. Presently, I work a 9 – 5 day and by the end of it, I am either run ragged or so tapped out from soulless work, I haven’t the heart, stomach or energy to look @ more text, work or write. Change is needed. Change is paramount. More on this as change is affected.

El quatro point-o (use of faux-Spanish to lessen the rigorous imposition of said linear format in efforts to make the reader more relaxed and less oppressed by the status quo of the things that are) is a rather disheartening picture I got of the state of affairs in Iraq. Last week I listened to a podcast of Democracy Now! and on it was an interview conducted by Amy Goodman with journalist Robert Fisk of The Independent. This guy is really sharp and appears to have a good handle on things. The picture, from his point of view is bleak. At the end of the interview, there was a grim closer with a thin silver lining that went like this…

AMY GOODMAN: What gives you hope? What gives you hope?

ROBERT FISK: Nothing. I’m sorry. Nothing. I’m sorry. Nothing at the moment. Ordinary people, I guess. Ordinary people who speak out. People in the Arab world as well. But in terms of governments, nothing much. I may be wrong. I may be too much of a pessimist because I've seen too much. (DN!)

This makes you think, doesn’t it?

More as it happens.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Thrill of the Hunt

Granted, the New York Daily News isn't the greatest institution of journalism. However, news isn't created in a vacuum. This story makes me rather hot. The possibility that the Vice President of the United States could be implicated by and possibly indicted for conspiracy charges in the Valarie Plame investigation is thrilling, history in the making and sadly, not surprising.

These are exciting times and sad days for our nation.

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Monday, October 17, 2005

New Additions

I just wanted to point out a couple of new additions to the Deviant. Over on the links column, check out ITD and Poynter.

ITD are some old University friends that make some really good contemporary performance.

Poynter is a wonky site for journalists that is worth a glance.

Again, I just add these willy nilly as time and whimsy and time allow. Enjoy, or don't.


The B.D.

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Walken 2008?

Imagine Christopher Walken as the President of the United States. This amuses me. But it is only amusing.

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Friday, October 14, 2005

Chef Bourgeois D. Chicken 2x

I was over at Apartment Therapy and they were talking about slow cookers & cooking. This reminded me that chicken soup season is at hand! I have a pretty basic process for getting the maximum out of a good whole chicken. This is what I listed on their site:

Get a whole chicken. 1 head of garlic, 1 lemon, 1 cup chicken stock, 1 large onion (color of choice, but not red), a couple of stalks of celery (potatoes are optional if there is room. red taters work best). Put the celery flat on the bottom of the cooker dish. Remove skins from onion and garlic. Zest the lemon a bit. Halve the lemon. Quarter the onion. Stick all the garlic and lemon into the cavity of the chicken. If there is room, maybe a quarter or half of the onion can go in as well. Salt and pepper the chicken's exterior well. Place it in the dish and pour in the chicken stock. Throw in the zest. Turn the cooker on low and let it go overnight or 8 - 10 hours.

When it is all said and done, the meat should be falling off the bone. Enjoy!

Save the left over juice & bits, bones and whatnot. Roast the bones for an hour or two and with the other stuff plus fresh carrots, celery, bay leafs (generous dose) more garlic, salt & pepper, you can make excellent stock for future soups. It is a long and involved process, but totally worth it. A good stock pot helps. Proportions vary.

Not that I left anything out, but it is more involved than it sounds. Separating the meat can be arduous and messy. My recommendation is to eat as much of the meat as you like on the front end and save the rest for the soup end of things. Separate the bones, salt and pepper them lightly and then roast them. Throw everything you have left over into a stock pot, add all the stuff I listed before and simmer on low for at least an hour if not longer.

When finished, pull out the bones and put the solid bits into a Chinois and press it all down as hard as you can. That juice is the good stuff. Toss the spent solids and put the stock into a dish you can refrigerate. Once cold, you can skim the fat off the top and be left with a totally delicious stock for soups or simmering.

15 minutes until lunch. Damn!

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Don't Block the Door

Like anyone with a regular 9 – 5, I keep a somewhat regular schedule. Millions of New Yorkers do. One in particular who rides the same train I do annoys me. He is an older white man who works somewhere in the financial district of Manhattan. Like all people, he appears to be a creature of habit. He gets on the same train car at the same door on the same stop every day. He stands in the same place(s) space providing. This is where my annoyance takes root.

Upon boarding the train, he stands just to the right of the door, still in it, partially obstructing it with his profile. He carries a brief case and places it between his feet. He always carries a copy of the New York Post, which he flips through in random fashion, glancing here and there. I wonder about the potential of his comprehension and retention of the material he peruses.

Like many men of his age, his hair is thin at the top. He compensates by combing it forward and using product that, in its fixed dry state bears the appearance of dandruff. This would suggest failing sight and some vanity or embarrassment in his signs of age. I cannot say if he might be a humble man or not. I see no ring on his finger, so he is not married presently.

He is attired similarly every day. Business casual according to the season typically in the form of an oxford button down shirt, blue, and some shade of khaki trouser and a tweed blazer with some light pattern. The quality of his clothing does not concern me normally. Today however, the quality of his clothing did draw my attention. On his right jacket shoulder was a smudge. At first glance, you could have mistaken it for feces. My imagination ran wild for a moment with the glee of potty humor and sexual deviancy. After reeling myself in, I reevaluated the facts. There was no odor. It was dry, almost crumbly, but not flaky. Could it have been mud? That is not likely. Clay seemed out of character as, to apply a financial stereotype, he probably doesn’t have an artistic bone in his body. It is quite fine by me if I never really know.

Naturally, after finding one major flaw, I began to look for others. My eye drifted up and not even a hand’s length away, shaving cream. Dry and caked, it glared at me like a neon sign. This gave me a visceral joy I can only guess might be a very distant relative to blood lust. This seemingly pompous man with soiled clothing and lax personal grooming who would partially block the entrance to a train was drawing far too much of my attention. He mattered nothing to me. Just a point to focus my jaded criticism whilst riding the train.

I guess the things I can take from the wicked interlude are two. First, it is remarkable how little people are self aware. I have certainly seen more glaring examples of this. They are obvious many times over during the day. I guess this guy’s habit of blocking the door drew my ire and it progressed from that. Secondly, it is worth it to note the ease with which we find things disagreeable as opposed to agreeable.

Remarkable how the turn of the seasons can sour one’s mood.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Bush's Faith and My Way Back Machine (Retro Post 2)

I thought the time would come when I could quote myself and behold! Here it is! Well, not really. It is more of a reprint. But not an entire reprint. Just some segments relevant to our, apparently delusional, President. I heard about it on a podcast from Democracy Now! yesterday that was a few days old. Then, I see it again in this article from the BBC Americas.

Quotes from the Chief:

God would tell me, George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did, and then God would tell me, George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq... And I did.

And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East. And by God I'm gonna do it.

Belief is a dangerous thing and I have written about it before. Here are some bits from “The Streets Will Flow With the Blood of the Believers” that I wrote way back on 9/17/2004. Que the Way Back Machine *chimes and bells sound, vision gets wavy, words come back into focus*

...There is a little something that all the founding fathers agreed on in setting up our country called the separation of church and state.

We mention this separation not to infer that the church and our government have linked up and are now running the country in concert. That step has been skipped. Something more insipid has happened. Unless you have been in a coma or been high for the last 3+ years (the latter we would not blame you for), you will well know that the current president is a Christian. Born again. He is a true believer in the lord and savior, Jesus Christ. He is one of a great and growing many in this country that will trust in God to provide and guide the way. To have faith despite whatever harrowing circumstances may come. What is even more frightening is that W. thinks and has said that he truly believes that the lord above put him in office. Great. We have another word to describe him. Fundamentalist.

There is another believer out there who is also a leader of a ridiculously strong, organized group who seems to have trickled off the news cycle more than he should have. Who can say Osama bin Laden? He too is a fundamentalist.

Getting back to the believer in the office of the Chief Executive… Part of the reason the country is where it is today is because Bush believes certain things. He believes that Saddam was a threat. He believes Democracy is the best form of government. He believes that he is the right guy for the job. He believes. He takes it on faith…

…Education is failing all over the US. Bush insists that, nay, believes that No Child Left Behind is working despite heaps of evidence and testament telling otherwise. Math and sciences are being pushed over reading and writing. That promotes better accountants and chemists, but it doesn’t encourage free, intelligent thinking. But that works for the party of Bush just fine. …

Despite their insistence to the contrary, we are losing the War on Terror. The Bush administration has done everything bin Laden had hoped for and more. The Muslim world has been in disarray for hundreds of years, but bin Laden cracked the nut on getting Islam’s act together. If Islam is threatened, Muslims unite despite their differences. Jihad, the defensive kind, is a powerful underlying current of Islam and bin Laden is very aware of it and adept at using it. Islamists don’t hate us for who we are and what we believe. They may not like us, or our system, but that isn’t the crux. What is the crux is that U.S. policy appears to be, and in many respects is, a form of imperialist colonialism that is hurting the world, most pointedly the Islamic world. Cheap oil anyone? Nothing brings people together more than a common, easily identifiable enemy. Israel, oil and the support of repressive regimes, i.e. the House of Saud, are why we are the focus of Muslim enmity.

Mr. Bush is clearly not a student of history. If he had ever done his own homework, perhaps his decisions, the ones he claims he can make better than any other contender for the Presidency, would have been a bit more informed. But instead, he didn’t. He let other people guide his choices. He took it on faith. He believed, and still believes, that the dog is still wagging its tail. For future reference, Sun Tzu would have been a good start. The “Know Your Enemy” bit would help a lot.

Now, to cover some tail feathers, we offer this caveat: Religion isn’t to blame. Hubris, ignorance, idealism and/or fundamentalism are. Faith is a good thing if it gets you through a tough day. Your belief in a god is not a bad thing if it nourishes you and those around you in a positive way. Faith that guides you counter to what common sense and facts dictate is not so much faith as fundamentalism. The beauty of Democracy is that it, unlike fundamentalist belief regardless of denomination, is flexible. However, stretch it too far and it can break. We are near a breaking point now. Florida in November will be where that match gets lit. But that is another rant altogether.

Basically, everything has been wrong from step one since September 11, 2001. We missed a colossal opportunity to make a good thing out of tragedy by accepting the compassion of the world, but the faith and faith-enabled ideology of our current leaders carried the day and look where we are now. America has played its cards all wrong. Osama has proven he is smarter than Bush. We are one or two moves away from check, perhaps even check mate and Cheney is spouting that if we make the wrong choice, America will get hit again. Guess what? We are going to get hit no matter what unless some serious changes happen in U.S. policy. When that happens, the streets will flow with the blood of the believers who put, and possibly keep, Bush in office. What is truly sad is that others who know better will suffer equally if not more so.

To read the original post in its entirety, click here.

Its not so good to know that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Wallowing in the Miers

Someone had to throw in a Doors allusion. Cut me some slack.

It is truly thrilling to see so many conservative pundits and the like balking over the nomination of Harriet Miers. The Democrats are probably wise to be holding back with their criticism and allowing the President to stew in his own mediocrity. The likelihood of this nomination being successful is extremely slim and that is quite a good thing.

A couple of things are a bit off about Bush’s choice for an unheard of second Supreme Court nomination in the span of one term. People are batting about the whole crony-ism thing and right they should. However, this has been a standard method of operation for this administration from day one. There is nothing new about this so lets move on and look beyond the obvious.

Harriet Miers is well suited to the process she is about to enter. She was one of those chiefly responsible for preparing Chief Justice Roberts for his confirmation hearings. So, this could be a selection, for Bush’s part, of convenience and ease. From this we can interpret two possible motivations. Firstly, the administration is limping right now. Some would say they are on the ropes. Don't we wish. It is enough to say that they have a lot on their plates and this seemed to them, in a pinch, to be a good choice. She is, after all, an evangelical Christian, pleaseth the base. It is well known that the President would much rather go with a person he trusts than a person who is actually qualified for the job (remember “Brownie”). Seeing as how Miers prepped Roberts for his hearings, this seemed (inside the bubble, mind you) like a good choice.

To me, this does not seem like a good choice. It is more likely a lazy and duplicitous choice. There is a strong pull to install a woman on the court given the O’Conner legacy. Bush’s base is largely Christian and he, himself, comes from an evangelical background. So Miers should make the base happy. Right? With people obsessing over Roe v. Wade, it would seem clear which side of the isle Ms. Miers is on. However, when we look past the surface, we see that there is not much depth. I hate to admit it, but Pat Buchanan is right when he cites that this woman has never gone on record as taking a position on any of the major cases of our time.

So we have a nominee with no discernible record of opinion. And she has been nominated to a job where opinion is the paramount and sole product. The President says he knows this woman. Fine. He also says he “knows” that she will not change over then next 20 years. This latter statement is as false as it is frightening. Philosophically this is a gross misstatement. Everyone changes. Be it physically or whatever. So, yet another obtuse statement misapplied by the leader of the free world. Also, the demands of Supreme Court Justice would force change in an individual. To give an opinion for the highest court in the land is quite different than to give one on the part of one’s self. To say that she is not going to change over the next twenty years should be a tremendous red flag that suggests the potential for stagnancy and lethargy. I would think the most arch conservative would want a Supreme Court Justice to be pragmatic, weigh all the facts and be willing to make the best decisions for the greater good of the nation. If seeing a case through to the greater good requires some change, so be it and all the better for the country.

One could say that this choice of nominee is so bad that it could be a screen for something else. With the President’s approval rating in the 30’s, perhaps the administration is looking to get some of the focus taken off its more damning blunders and smudges. It would be a hell of a thing for the office of the President to deliberately lose a poker hand to distract the dealer from the stench in the room.

We all know how short the attention span of the American public is. Lets just keep our fingers crossed.

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Friday, October 07, 2005

Where have I been?

Chippewa Falls, WI.

Why? Click here.

More from me in due time.

Be well. Play well.

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