morning 04.14.17

I hope we all don’t die within the next few days because of this North Korea crisis. Poor Asia.

Hubble Spots Auroras on Uranus. They tracked some powerful solar flares to see what effect they would have on Uranus. They got this.


ALMA investigates ‘DeeDee,’ a distant, dim member of our solar system.  2014 UZ224. TNO.

The Icy Plumes Shooting Out of Saturn’s Moon Just Got Way More Interesting. Enceladus. Hydrogen in those plumes. Methanogenesis.

World’s Tallest Men Trace Back to Paleolithic Mammoth Hunters. Gravettian. Y haplogroup I-M170.

The Kinks’ Ray Davies has some odd notions about politics. They’re not unfamiliar to anyone who’s read one of his interviews before. He’s not a big fan of consumerism and gentrification. He finds the U.S. too large to be governable. For all the years I’ve been online, most hardcore Kinks fans I’ve met have been extraordinarily conservative and used Davies’ lyrics to push that perspective. The contrast between what Davies says and what all those online fans push is quite drastic.

Robyn Hitchcock has a new video for “Raymond & the Wires”. I don’t know why I don’t listen to his newer material because this morning I quite like it. It’s startling to hear something so transparently personal from him, a song about his father Raymond Hitchcock.

Good piece on the movie Logan and the X-Men comics. “Wolverine is a two-dimensional character who was never designed to be a solo star. His best stories come from pushing up against the limits of those dimensions.” Yup. Nearly every point made I agree with, although I freely admit I loved Wolverine in the ’80s. The moment those Patch and Madripoor stories started, he began to lose allure. I missed all those ’90s Weapon X stories and have still never read more than some Wiki summaries. I mistook the original Origins for some Elseworlds kind of thing that would never be canon. Fuck Daniel Way and his torture porn bullshit. The best modern Wolverine IMO was Aaron’s tired and over-his-head headmaster of the school. Sorrentino’s art in Old Man Logan is pretty to look at, but what Marvel thinks they’re doing with this character existing alongside the out-of-time original X-Men is mystifying. Puzzling that out is a fool’s task.

Aha. So it’s Gary Cohn who is now president instead of Steve Bannon. Obviously Kushner is too much of a nitwit to run anything, so he was just angling for someone more competent. It’ll be just like if Hillary was president, except more racist and fascist. That’s… still not good.

Rachel Maddow Is Lost in Her Cold War Conspiracies. There was a period when I thought Maddow was actually okay. Sorry. I think it was when I read Drift that something clicked? 2012? Her argument I agreed with, but her affection for the military, I didn’t share. Stopped paying much attention to her, despite the agreement on the executive branch having far too much power to make war. Her trafficking in Russian conspiracy theories is mind-blowing. It’s not even that I don’t believe any of them. It’s that it no longer fucking matters. Besides, there was more direct evidence of the Clintons’ trading influence for money for decades and she fucking scoffed at it. If the media had done their job, there would be no Clinton campaign. We’d have President Bernie or even Biden (yuck.)

Stuff from Shattered so far:

  • It’s a shame that Jen O’Malley Dillon seemed sidelined by Robby Mook early on. It would have been preferable for Bernie to have trounced Hillary, but If Hillary had to win, O’Malley Dillon wouldn’t have put Hillary in as bad of a place as Mook did. She likely would have already been laying groundwork in the battleground states before primaries over. Mook didn’t. He had his data. He didn’t care about that. She also probably wouldn’t have played ineffective mind games with the Rust Belt.
  • That Hillary reviewed every email of her 2008 campaign staff to look for what went wrong is probably a good thing. Yeah, she’s still being Hillary, eager to blame anyone other than herself, but a post-mortem of the campaign is very reasonable. Some of those idiots were plotting against each other and leaking from their official accounts apparently. That she then sets up a private email server for her work at the State Department demonstrates her hypocrisy, not allowing herself to held to the same standards when she worked for Obama. It’s surprising that angle of her reading her campaign employees’ email didn’t come up much. Shattered is the first that juxtaposed those two stories so clearly. She knew exactly what she was doing. The private email server wasn’t about convenience. It was about avoiding accountability. Fuck her for being so arrogant and shortsighted for not comprehending that this wouldn’t blow up in her face, allowing an utterly amoral, senile buffoon to win the presidency. Hubris.
  • It’s hilarious that somehow it fucked up that (probably through Abedin and autocorrect of texts) that Hillary wound up with Brianna Kielar as her inteviewer on June 7th 2015 instead of Biana Golodryga, the wife of a former Clinton official. She mopes about how sympathetic the press were to Bernie (they weren’t) but cannot handle anything other than an interview from a sycophant.
  • John Podesta still seems like one of the only sane, competent people with a backbone working on the Clinton campaign. It’s funny that his email was hacked because his password was so fucking weak.
  • The book doesn’t dig too deeply into the Democratic primary. I recall some sketchy shit that happened in a few states, both in news and anecdotally. None of it appears. No purged voter rolls or changed party affiliations. No coin tosses. No closed polling stations or reduced number of voting machines in certain precincts. No buses of non-residents. No thrown chairs.
  • I fucking hate Bill Clinton, moreso than Hillary. They’re both imperious, self-absorbed kleptocrats, but his patronizing racism, his inability to accept his reputation as a sexual predator, and his boneheaded ambush of Loretta Lynch on that runway all played a significant role in why Hillary lost to Trump.
  • Hillary was so hung up on Bernie not having plans for his big promises, how unrealistic his proposals were. She and most of her people saw the world as if it was still the ’90s and she couldn’t figure out why Americans were so dissatisfied and angry. Who’s unrealistic? The dreamer who sees what’s happening or the deluded building houses on sand?
  • Hillary would have been a terrible president. She wouldn’t be the horror Trump is, but she’s not very good with leadership. The muddy structure of her staff, the constant in-fighting and backstabbing, the fear of offering opposition, her flipping out anytime anything goes wrong to reshuffle and punish… it’s amazing that the Clintons have survived as long as they have.

morning 04.13.17

Yesterday an excerpt from Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign was being passed around Twitter. It’s been on the shelves at work for a couple of weeks, but after that stupid Susan Bordo book, which I couldn’t bring myself to dig further into, it seemed to take a pass on Shattered. Changed my mind. Reading bits of it this morning. It’s no fucking wonder that arrogant fool lost. It should have been titled Hubris.

“She didn’t want to run for president. She did not want to do it. She just concluded no one else could win.” Lazy, entitled piece of shit. Nearly every paragraph supports the thesis that Hillary saw herself as inevitable and only other people could fail her, never herself. Stomaching a whole book of this will be too much.

The War Nerd reading from Ryszard Kapuciski had me realize I remember his The Shadow of the Sun on the shelves of the Baton Rouge bookstore. I almost bought it! It was around the same time that I picked up Sven Hedin’s My Life as an Explorer. Almost nothing like that shows up anymore.

Fracking is ruining one of the last truly dark places in the US, and astronomers are on edge. Davis Mountains in West Texas. My mother warned me about this. They used to zip down to Big Bend on occasion, saw the development in Fort Davis, and figured what was coming for the McDonald Observatory.

Knowledge in a Conspiratorial World. The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories. This is a book I probably have no business reading. Legitimizing some conspiracy theories as rational is probably unhealthy for me.

Another goofy Legion aside- A criticism was how obvious the use of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” was in Legion‘s finale. Yeah, to critics and rock nerds. Go check the comments on Youtube for Thor: Ragnarok. Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” is even more staggeringly obvious, but a stunning number of people don’t know the fucking song. I work with almost entirely millennials. Very few of them know much about the Baby Boomer seeming permaculture that the Gen Xers were saturated in. “Breathe” is not nearly as prominent as it once was. If it’s not “”Money”, “Comfortably Numb”, or “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2”, it seems a success to me.1

  1. Another aside, DC fanboys jumping in to screaming the Wonder Woman trailer used it first are missing the obvious in that the damned song is about Vikings. []

morning 04.12.17

Kid came to sit on my lap, dictate what I look at, and play with various toys on desk. Copying, pasting, and editing a rambling email to Bill from a couple of days ago. He almost certainly doesn’t give a damn.

It’s actually Radio War Nerd episode 76, about Iran-Contra, that I’m in the midst of.

You probably already know this but this was yet another flashpoint for me.

I used to read the local newspaper Daily Star of Hammond every day as a teen. I picked up the habit from reading the cartoons, including the political ones. I religiously read Jack Anderson’s column, although I missed exactly when he went over the edge. Because Daily Star didn’t have much in the way of local reporting, it ran a lot of AP material, so the Iran-Contra stuff blew my mind. I’d also pester my parents to pick up the Times-Picayune as often as possible so I could read Bloom County and Doonesbury.

Watched hearings on tv. Think they came on in afternoon and sometimes knocked the soap operas off the air. I was so pissed. Wanted Reagan impeached.

it’s scary how much I dropped out of political awareness after about 1993, when Clinton took office. Depression is a beast. Didn’t really fully engage again until Clinton’s impeachment.

I did succumb to Aaron Sorkin disease for a few years. Think the impeachment, the Florida recount, and the damned West Wing liberalized me. Fuck that shit.

Listening to the War Nerd with Eileen Jones.

Bizarre that only Jones saw Dr. Strangelove. It’s a favorite of mine.

Amused how they all hate Scahill’s Dirty Wars. The criticism of him making about its impact on him is true, but it’s still a good documentary in that it finds an audience and persuades on relevant issue. I like Scahill despite their correct characterization here.

No mention of MASH, which is funny because it IS a Korean War movie, although it’s obviously really about Vietnam.

I saw a movie almost 30 years ago called Hamburger Hill. Recall liking it, but it might have been facet of naive youth. Machismo and shit. Weird they got on a Mel Gibson jag, but didn’t mention he was in Gallipoli.

Chapo Trap House recently talked about a movie I cannot recall which I’ve ever seen! Ridley Scott’s The Duelists. Napoleonic Wars.1

It very much surprises me that I may have seen a LOT more movies than Ames and Dolan. Some on that IMDB that they haven’t seen, like Very Long Engagement, I’ve seen.


  1. It turns out that I have indeed seen it. []

morning 04.11.17

Back on Cairo Gang this morning, until kid woke up to make me play live Ty Segall video yet again.

Didn’t know Valeria Luiselli is married to Álvaro Enrigue. His Hypothermia was on a TBR list for ages, but it got lost in the shuffle. Never got around to him. Sudden Death just came in in English in February. Both back higher in list to acquire in near future. Still reading Luiselli’s Sidewalks.

Adding Daniel Saldaña París’s Among Strange Victims too, although honestly- I’m on a history jag. Last night Thunder in the Mountains caught me eye at work.

Nine Questions for Emma Ramada on Anne Garréta, Sphinx, and Not One Day. Oulipo.

Quit Your Band! Musical Notes From The Japanese Underground. Heh. I was/am so proud of my copy of Japrocksampler.

Interview with Mary Timony on Jezebel. She regrets all of those overdubs on The Magic City and she’s wrong. They’re awesome. It’s also silly that she said that she couldn’t sing. Almost no one could sing in ’90s indie rock. Timony still puts out music I enjoy so it’s not as if she embraced aesthetics I reject. The wife loves Wild Flag and Ex Hex.

Everything We’ve Learnt About Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki Since His False Retirement. Hm. Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki. It’s a different documentarian than did The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, which has stuck with me for months after viewing.

morning 04.10.17

Depressed by the bloodlust for war and Russian conspiracy theories. Might be running with some rambling escapism for awhile.

Took a small break from White Trash to read Valeria Luiselli’s Sidewalks, which has been sitting on shelf for too long. Adding Brodsky’s Watermark to list of books to grab up one day.

Digging the new Cairo Gang album Untouchable. The PopMatters interview has Kelly referencing Gong and Soft Machine? Odd. The song “That’s When It’s Over” posted has a slight reference to VU and massive Hendrixian riffs. Elements of Big Star & Badfinger in the other one.  (Yeah, I’m the same guy rolling my eyes at Wilco and Pearl Jam as indie dad rock yesterday.) Never listened to the Cairo Gang as much as I should.

Some DSA millennial guys were swooning over Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes yesterday. Huh. There’s a type, isn’t there? I was never much into either band, although revisiting them I warmed to them more than I did back in the day, giving away the CDs I ripped to a coworker who was into the Promise Ring, Rainer Maria, Hot Water Music, and Braid. I had no idea whether that really fit her tastes or not. Never much connected with Rocket from the Crypt anyway, resenting that they weren’t Rocket from the Tombs and that they sounded a little too polished.

Digging this King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard performance of “Rattlesnake”. Went off them in a tantrum because I had a preorder of vinyl canceled a couple of years ago.

I’ve been way out of the loop on Clipping. I’m not convinced, but it was still worth reading the interview with Daveed Diggs. Heh. He read the racist, fascist Nivens. The Hugo nomination is a bit surprising, but why not? The only surprise is that it’s taken so long. Rap has been embedded in sci-fi sound and imagery for a very long time.

Shit. It’s awesome that Malcolm Mooney did vocals for the Can 50 year celebration. No Damo Suzuki though. I was unaware of a rift between him and Can and hope he’s not in poor health.

New Warren Ellis newsletter is better than usual, rambling about Black Mountain College and atemporality.

morning 04.9.17

U.S. warships enroute to Korean peninsula. I’m more scared of what Trump might do than what Kim Jong-un might do right now.

Reading Isenberg’s White Trash. Whole lotta shit I only half-knew, forget, or never knew. Never much had any use for revisionist Confederacy bullshit, but even more illusion stripped away. It popped in my head that the junior high history teacher who called himself a libertarian also used to call himself a proud mudsill. He was a sarcastic crank. In context with the other angles he kept pushing in his classes, he probably wasn’t a libertarian, but possibly a lazy, contrarian Marxist. I had him as my history teacher for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. I barely recall any of it aside from an insane amount of notes, fiery lectures, essay tests that I didn’t see the likes of again until college, and his constant abandonment of his responsibilities in the classroom to work on his theater troupe. I saw him play Teyve and Scapin. He died of a brain tumor decades ago.

Octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish can rapidly edit RNA to adapt to temperature change.

A vaguely plausible theory about a life-sustaining planet orbiting a black hole is quite fun. Lost this one in drafts.

The US Border Patrol is trying to build face-reading drones. Fuck this.

Friday one of the pop culture writers I read back in the day who was recently sniffing haughtily at Legion for its heavy-handed music cues was swooning over Wilco and Pearl Jam. Heh. Yeah, ok. Naming a character after Syd Barrett is lame, but indie dad-rock is awesome.

BTW, I couldn’t finish Luke Cage. I kept nodding off, picking up phone to scan Twitter, or leafing through a book. I sure as shit don’t find the Power Man series to look more compelling. If they wanted to do an origin, they should have drawn far, far more from Brubaker, Fraction, and Aja. More recently, Walker & Greene’s Power Man & Iron Fist would have been harder to deliver than an origin story, but I hate most origin stories anyway.

Everyone freaking out that the journalist who was recently on Chapo talking about his time in militias on the Mexican border is freaking out that he turns out to be pro-intervention in Syria. Not enough people are mentioning that the dude spent two years as a prisoner of Iran, because I’ve not seen it mentioned yet. That might have colored his thinking, in that Iran backs Assad and he might harbor a grudge. There’s also the more conspiratorial theory that he was a CIA asset all along. He’s still an interesting journalist and I look forward to more of his work.

morning 04.07.17

Golly. That missile strike on Syria moved a lot faster than I expected. It’s funny to see the liberal Democrats falling over themselves to support this bullshit. It’s hard to see a long term realignment of factions though. All of this bloodthirsty assholes will drag us deeper into war but Trump won’t be able to restrain himself from doing something loutish enough that the liberals won’t forget that it should be Hillary advancing these wars.

Ancient skeletons show direct link to modern tribes in the Pacific Northwest. Shuká Káa. 10,300 years old.

Trump Conspiracy Tweetstorms Are The Infowars Of The Left. This might be a bit dated, because now that Trump has dumped 59 Tomahawk missiles on an airbase in Homs, Syria, the #Resistance seems to be rallying behind their president. Fucking morons.

The Deification of Hillary Clinton. This book is absolute shit. I caught onto it before it hit the shelves and read portions last week. It’s nothing new. The part that bugs me is that Melville House is coming off as the Regnery of the alt-center. Sane people don’t retweet Daou. Johnson has mentioned about how Melvile House is all about speaking truth to power, blah, blah, blah- No. They published Paul fucking Berman, the farewell speeches of the Obamas, and an apologia for Hillary Clinton. That’s liberal establishment. It’s exasperating.

Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here. Cornel West. I wish. EVerything still smells of fascism.

‘London Was, But Is No More’. Piece on Iain Sinclair’s The Last London.


morning 04.06.17

People excited about Bannon’s removal from the National Security Council, and subsequent empty threat to quit, probably shouldn’t be excited. Bannon’s racist pan-European war against Islam proved an an impediment in the new scheme. My guess is that Kushner has allied with the neocons and neoliberals wanting a new Cold War with Russia to save Trump’s ass on his bumbling missteps attempting to cover up those particular corrupt ties to Russia.

People wanting that military coup to stop Trump are going to find out that the generals don’t give a fuck about corruption, civil rights, or budgets for social services. They’ll let Trump do anything he wants if they get their war with Iran and that cold war with Russia.

Gotta get back to real blogging, because a host of links are stored up. Combination of sickness and being out of town.