Sunday, April 30, 2006

Moby Dick

Moby Dick

Moby Dick (2006)

Ishmael: [seeing Moby Dick for the first time] Is it real? Do you see it, too?
The Manxman, a sailor: We all see it. That don't make it real.
--Moby Dick (1950)

I've fallen a little behind in my posts lately as work has left little time for blogging or living. I hope to get back on track this week.

Today's post is something colorful and new. I assume most readers are familiar with Melville's classic about obsessive-compulsive Captain Ahab and his pursuit of the great white whale Moby Dick. Or, at least the movie with Jean-Luc Picard Gregory Peck. Or, perhaps, the drums-saturated song by Led Zeppelin. Today, though, I'm interested in more contemporary applications of Melville's metaphor.

From CounterPunch -- "Remember the Pequod" by Brendan Cooney:

One hundred fifty years before the U.S. went hunting in Afghanistan, Herman Melville published the most famous American hunt story, a novel that might be seen today as a cautionary tale against foolish chases -- Moby Dick. Captain Ahab uses the same psychological strategy as President Bush's "dead or alive" rhetoric when he announces to the crew of the Pequod that the ship now has but one mission: to kill Moby Dick, the horrible White Whale who bit off his leg years before. No longer is the voyage about making money from commercial whaling. It is now a quest for retribution. Ahab must know that if he presents the challenge of a hunt -- especially for revenge -- the men will forget why they came along in the first place, and that their human urge for the hunt would take over. The gauntlet Ahab throws down to his crew is precisely the one Bush flung upon the world: you're either with us or against us. Adrenalin seizes the crew. They take an oath to hunt the whale. The ship sinks. Everyone dies except Ishmael, the narrator.

The narratives bear other striking similarities. Like the United States suffering the loss of its towers and the people in them, Ahab's body and pride were wounded when the White Whale "dismasted" him in its ivory jaws (Chapter 36). In a mad rage Ahab redirects his crew, which hails from all over the world and is joined in the ship on the economic mission of hunting whales for profit, to a course of violent revenge, just as the United States has redirected a group of countries already joined under its economic stewardship onto a quest to restore its pride.

Both missions, of course, are doomed. Ahab never has a chance against Moby Dick, a force of nature that most sea captains know it is not their business to mess with. Similarly, the United States has no hope in its stated goal of eliminating terrorism. Whoever hates America can always find a way to attack it. To eradicate terrorism therefore would be to wipe out antipathy against America, a human sentiment that most leaders would recognize cannot be controlled. America's means of effecting that change-dropping bombs on innocent people in one of the world's most destitute countries-can hardly be more effective than having done nothing at all.

[...]

William Faulkner wrote in the Chicago Tribune in 1927 that his fascination with Moby Dick was that it showed a man "bent on his own destruction and dragging his immediate world down with him with a despotic and utter disregard of [its people] as individuals."

To some extent, any war necessitates a blindness to the individuality of the people being attacked. The U.S. would not have bombed Timothy McVeigh's neighborhood to get him the way it bombs Afghan villages to get bin Laden. It is easier to ignore humanity on foreign soil. But, as Faulkner points out, Ahab is disregarding his own people in taking his ship down with him. Likewise, as hatred of America surely will intensify around the world in reaction to U.S. terrorist-hunting, Bush is taking all of us down with him.

Though I cannot tell why it was exactly that those stage managers, the Fates, put me down for this shabby part of a whaling voyage...

Moby Dickless?

[Image seen on Morphizm]

It seems quite a few writers fret that George W. Call Me Bushmael has contracted Ahab-itis. Like Ross Levine at Morphizm:

But then came September 11.

Suddenly, overnight, a mealy-mouthed leader named George Bush went from usurper to crusader. The white whale had bitten his leg off, and now our West Wing Ahab was determined to avenge his injuries. It was to be a "war against terrorism," he declared. The U.S. would be "steadfast, and patient, and persistent" as it hunted down the evil agents of the evil axis in caves, in INS files, in presidential palaces, wherever such malefactors might be lurking. It was described as a "campaign [that] may not be finished on our watch -- yet it must be and it will be waged on our watch." We must "fight freedom's fight" against -- against evil itself, the rhetoric went, a war to make the world -- what? Evil-free? A utopia? A veritable Reich of righteousness.

Even Ahab never sounded quite so messianic. Didn't the Nazis already prove that you can't perfect humanity? That if you kill in the name of a perfect society, you're not getting off to a very good start? But we're not Nazis, we're Americans. We have a special place in the world. We're always the good guys, and when we do slip up, it's not our fault, it's -- well, the government's. They're the ones who carpet-bombed Viet Nam and poisoned Nevadans with radiation and let African Americans die of venereal disease.

[...]

You cannot -- repeat, cannot -- fight a finite war against terrorism. The definition of terrorism is a matter of perspective. It's like fighting a war against crime, a battle police departments wage every day with the understanding it will never end. Unless one is truly delusional, it's impossible to believe otherwise.

Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous.

Ahab (2003) by George Klauba

And, finally, like the recent Gospel of Judas, a lost Melville manuscript featuring Moby Dick outtakes has been found deep in Davy Jones Locker. From Watching the Watchers:

"What do the charts say?" he barked at Starbuck.

"We're clearly going the wrong way, Cap'n," Starbuck responded with a brisk salute.

"Then the charts are wrong," the Captain said with a sneer. "I owe it to the passengers on this mighty ship to steer this vessel on a straight and true course. It would show weakness to the enemy if I were to veer from the course I've set us upon just because the charts say we're not going the way THEY say we should be."

"The enemy," Starbuck asked.

"The WHALE," the Captain snapped. "Moby Dick would LOVE it if I were to change course, admitting I've made a mistake. The passengers would never forgive me. I've sworn to PROTECT the passengers from this foul whale who wants only to kill them."

"But Cap'n," Starbuck said, "the passengers believe the charts are correct! Only 38 percent of them think this cruise has been a success, and 52 percent think you're a failure as a Captain!"

"This whole act's immutably decreed. 'Twas rehearsed by thee and me a billion years before this ocean rolled. Fool! I am the Fates' lieutenant; I act under orders. And THAT'S why we can't veer from this course, you fool!" the Captain barked. "You are only giving aid and comfort to the WHITE WHALE with that kind of talk! Steady and true as she goes!"

"Cap'n, I'm not entirely sure you understand," Starbuck said. "These figures are distressing! Fifty-three percent of the passengers think you lied about the whale in the first place! Fifty-one percent say they favor replacing current crew members with crew members who would openly oppose you! Sixty-two percent of them say they believe this ship is going the wrong way! And a full 64 percent of them believe that conditions on this ship have only gotten worse in the five years you've been skipper!"

"I will not harbor such mutinous blather," the Captain shouted, motioning towards Gonzales, the Master at Arms. "Clap this traitorous scum in irons, Bertie," the Captain said with a malicious grin.

"Aye, Cap'n," Gonzales said, clouting Starbuck with a stout billy club. "Shall I apply the usual hood, poncho and electrodes as well?"

"Belay that torture talk, Bertie," the Skipper responded. "The passengers may hear of it and find it distressing."

Sometimes, I feel a little Ahab myself. Whenever Bush's smirk floats by on my television screen, I usually have this reaction:

To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell's heart, I stab at thee; For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee.

And I know it's probably time for me to go below and change the channel to a kung-fu film.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Warmed by the Fire Within

Warmed by the Fire Within

Warmed by the Fire Within (2002)

Blog with a View, at heart, is a digital art photoblog. Each Wednesday, I present an image without pretending to care about the environment while price gouging you and posting record profits.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Thankful to Be Caught

Thankful to Be Caught

Thankful to Be Caught (2000)

Paying a high price at the pump, are you? Well, your Prezdent, a former oilman, and a recovering abuser gravely concerned about America's addiction to oil, has at least one solution. Roll back environmental rules on gasoline.

With BushCo, you can't even make shit up better than the daily head-shakers. From the Associated Press as seen on Yahoo News:

President Bush on Tuesday ordered a temporary suspension of environmental rules for gasoline, making it easier for refiners to meet demand and possibly dampen prices at the pump. He also halted for the summer the purchase of crude oil for the government's emergency reserve.

[...]

Easing the environment rules will allow refiners greater flexibility in providing oil supplies since they will not have to use certain additives such as ethanol to meet clean air standards. The suspension of oil purchases for the federal emergency oil reserve is likely to have only modest impact since relative little extra oil will be involved.

[...]

It's unclear what impact, if any, Bush's investigation would have on prices that are near or at $3 a gallon or more. Asked if Bush had any reason to suspect market manipulation, White House press secretary Scott McClellan responded, "Well, gas prices are high right now, and that's why you want to make sure there's not."

Now, would our former petro tycoons leaders want to actually roll back environmental regulations to ease the financial burden on the lower and middle classes -- or to better fleece consumers and further erode the planet just so corporations can suck up faster, bigger profits?

Well is the Pope Jesus Catholic a Republican?

Let's have a brief recap -- courtesy of The Nation -- "Bush's Environmental Record":

3/13/01
Abandons pledge to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

3/28/01
Rejects Kyoto Protocol.

4/9/01
Pushes to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

5/10/01
Refuses to name industry participants in Cheney's energy task force.

7/6/01
Reduces funding for greenhouse-gas reductions in developing countries.

9/21/01
Uses terrorist attacks as excuse to weaken protection of wetlands.

10/25/01
Guts tough mining protections on federal lands.

10/31/01
Issues weaker arsenic-in-drinking-water standard.

1/14/02
Allows expanded oil-drilling in Big Cypress National Preserve.

2/14/02
Rolls back power-plant pollution standards.

2/15/02
Backs Yucca Mountain plan for nuclear waste dump.

2/18/02
Eric Schaeffer, a top EPA official, resigns in protest of Bush policies.

3/29/02
Citing national security, Pentagon seeks environmental laws exemption.

4/1/02
Misses deadline to boost automobile efficiency.

4/11/02
Allows mining in Everglades.

5/23/02
Rolls back air-conditioner energy-efficiency standards.

7/1/02
Kills corporate tax on polluters that funds cleanup of toxic waste sites.

7/19/02
Opposes Senate-backed renewable energy requirement.

8/22/02
Calls for increased logging in the name of fire prevention.

8/26-9/4/02
Only major leader not at UN Summit on Sustainable Development.

10/8/02
Stacks panel on lead poisoning with industry officials.

11/12/02
Announces plan to allow snowmobiles in two national parks.

11/22/02
Repeals rules requiring older factories to cut pollution emissions.

12/4/02
Defers action on global warming.

01/10/03
Plans to weaken Clean Water Act wetlands protections...

Uh, I suppose I could go on and continue to rub your face in the polluted backwash, but I think even the 30% true believers can be bludgeoned with pattern recognition.

Call me cynical, but BushCo's easing regulations on gasoline is probably not a stop-gap measure to lower pump prices.

Instead, it's just business as usual. It's what he does -- every single day. Sell out our world to private interests.

Soon, today's image won't be fanciful. At the rate BushCo's business cronies are cashing in, fish will soon be grateful for the yank of the hook.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Damaged Goods

Damaged Goods

Damaged Goods (1999)

Kurtz: Are my methods unsound?
Willard: I don't see...any method...at all, sir.
--Apocalypse Now

If you haven't yet read Seymour Hersh's chilling tale of BushCo's saber-rattling schemes to nuke Iran back to Persia in a recent New Yorker article, you owe it to yourself to let your Prozac start to work overtime. Bush, of course, calls nuke talk about Iran "wild speculation" but reassures Americans that "all options are on the table." I hope Home Depot has some duct tape left in stock.

Haven't we been down this catapulted propaganda before? From AlterNet:

Congress and the military allowed the Bush Administration to bamboozle the country with false information and scare talk prior to the Iraq War -- and they share responsibility for the resulting catastrophe. Now we're hearing again about a smoking gun that will be a mushroom cloud. It's up to Congress and the military to make it clear that the President does not assume monarchical power over questions of war and peace.

Of course, this time the mushroom cloud could well be one of our own making.

But, surely, with talk about something as serious (and unbelievable, really) as pre-emptive nuclear strikes on another nation, we can be sure that this time we've got solid intelligence. There's nothing cooked, stacked, twisted, or omitted. Right?

Well, um, no. From yesterday's Washington Post:

The United States doesn't have enough good intelligence to know whether or not Iran will be capable of producing nuclear weapons in the near future, top congressional intelligence committee members said on Sunday.

[...]

Asked on Fox News Sunday when Iran might be capable of producing nuclear weapons, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican, said: "I'd say we really don't know."

"We're getting lots of mixed messages," Hoekstra said.

"We've got a long way to go in rebuilding our intelligence community...We don't have all of the information we would like to have."

Jane Harman of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, concurred. "Our intelligence is thin," she told Fox News. "I don't think we have enough sources, I don't think our analysis is sharp enough."

Like any of that mattered last go around. Only now the NeoCons are talking nuclear shock and awe.

Under BushCo, the United States has become damaged goods. Once the symbol of freedom and liberty, our recent policies and actions have shown our country to be intolerant, divisive, even brutal. We ignore international treaties and torture prisoners whom we hold indefinitely without trial. We invade sovereign nations using phony, trumped-up evidence of wrongdoing. And now our president is contemplating using a first-strike nuclear attack based on intelligence that currently appears to be very speculative.

And were the objectives in Iraq achieved? Were we greeted as liberators? Is oil cheaper and more plentiful? Is democracy flourishing? Is the world safer from terrorism?

Now add a first-strike nuclear attack on another Muslim nation -- and then review the questions in the above paragraph.

What is Bush thinking?

Never get out of the desert...

This Colonel Codpiece guy? He's wacko, man! He's worse than crazy. He's evil.

And I don't see any method at all.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Dream of Napalm

Dream of Napalm

Dream of Napalm (2006)

Here's a new image freshly burned from memory.

And for some history, we turn to anyone can write for Wikipedia:

Napalm, or jellied gasoline, is a flammable liquid fuel weapon first used in World War I by the Germans, with the Allies quickly following suit. It was first dispensed using a pressurized air tank dispension system (a flamethrower) against soldiers in trenches. The substance is formulated to burn at a specific rate and adhere to material and personnel. A United Nations convention in 1980 (not ratified by the United States Senate) banned the use of napalm against civilian targets.

[...]

In some cases, Napalm doesn't cause physical pain. It incapacitates and kills its victims very quickly. Those who survive and suffer 3rd degree burns cannot feel pain. The vascular dermis, which was burned in a third degree burn, does not have pain receptors. However, victims who suffer 2nd degree burns from splashed napalm will be in significant amounts of pain.

"Napalm is the most terrible pain you can imagine," said Kim Phuc, known from a famous Vietnam War photograph. "Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius. Napalm generates temperatures of 800 to 1,200 degrees Celsius."

Phuc sustained third-degree burns to half her body and was not expected to live. But thanks to assistance from South Vietnamese photographer Nick Ut, and after surviving a 14-month hospital stay and 17 operations, she became an outspoken peace activist.

International law does not prohibit the use of napalm or other incendiaries against military targets, but use against civilian populations was banned by a United Nations convention in 1980. The United States did not sign the agreement, but destroyed its napalm arsenal by 2001.

Destroyed our arsenal of napalm, did we? From The Independent:

American pilots dropped the controversial incendiary agent napalm on Iraqi troops during the advance on Baghdad. The attacks caused massive fireballs that obliterated several Iraqi positions.

The Pentagon denied using napalm at the time, but Marine pilots and their commanders have confirmed that they used an upgraded version of the weapon against dug-in positions. They said napalm, which has a distinctive smell, was used because of its psychological effect on an enemy.

A 1980 UN convention banned the use against civilian targets of napalm, a terrifying mixture of jet fuel and polystyrene that sticks to skin as it burns. The US, which did not sign the treaty, is one of the few countries that makes use of the weapon. It was employed notoriously against both civilian and military targets in the Vietnam war.

The upgraded weapon, which uses kerosene rather than petrol, was used in March and April, when dozens of napalm bombs were dropped near bridges over the Saddam Canal and the Tigris river, south of Baghdad.

"We napalmed both those [bridge] approaches," said Colonel James Alles, commander of Marine Air Group 11. "Unfortunately there were people there ... you could see them in the [cockpit] video. They were Iraqi soldiers. It's no great way to die. The generals love napalm. It has a big psychological effect."

Deep-sixed our napalm, did we? Napalm.net seems to have some for sale:

Napalm.net has bought 5,000 pounds of weapons grade Napalm and has individually packaged it is safe, attractive, displayable canisters. Each canister holds one liter of actual Napalm which you can ONLY purchase through Napalm.net.

Do you smell that?  Do you smell that?

You, too, can love the smell of napalm in the morning.

And remember, kids. Don't forget to read the safety label that comes with your napalm canister:

--do not drink or eat it
--do not burn people with it
--do not burn down trees and grass in your yard
--do not torture little woodland creatures with it
--do not remove it from its original container
--do not store outside of 0-100 degress farenheit
--do not exceed normal barometric pressures
--do not use it as a fuel for your car
--do not shower with your napalm

And, finally, from a report by CNN's Martin Savidge, who was embedded with a Marine unit in Iraq in 2003:

There is a lookout there, a hill referred to as Safwan Hill, on the Iraqi side of the border. It was filled with Iraqi intelligence gathering. From that vantage point, they could look out over all of northern Kuwait.

It is now estimated the hill was hit so badly by missiles, artillery and by the Air Force, that they shaved a couple of feet off it. And anything that was up there that was left after all the explosions was then hit with napalm [emphasis mine]. And that pretty much put an end to any Iraqi operations up on that hill.

Savidge's report contained this disclaimer:

This report was written in accordance with Pentagon ground rules allowing so-called embedded reporting, in which journalists join deployed troops. Among the rules accepted by all participating news organizations is an agreement not to disclose sensitive operational details.

Apparently, disclosing use of "destroyed" non-existent napalm passes the censor's sensitive test.

Or maybe it's just a case of meet the new boss...same as the old boss? From the Sydney Morning Herald:

The Pentagon no longer officially uses the brand-name 'Napalm', but a similar sticky, inflammable substance known as 'fuel-gel mixture', contained in weapons called Mark-77 fire bombs, was dropped on Iraqi troops near the Iraq-Kuwait border at the start of the war.

"I can confirm that Mark-77 fire bombs were used in that general area," Colonel Mike Daily of the US Marine Corps said.

Colonel Daily said that US stocks of Vietnam-era napalm had been phased out, but that the fuel-gel mixture in the Mark-77s had "similar destructive characteristics."

"Many folks (out of habit) refer to the Mark-77 as 'napalm' because its effect upon the target is remarkably similar," he said.

What's in a name change? A bomb by any other name would burn so sweetly.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sainthood, Inc.

Sainthood, Inc.

Sainthood, Inc. (2004)

Blog with a View, at heart, is a digital art photoblog. Each Wednesday, I present an image without rattling nuclear-tipped sabers and talking and smirking about Hiroshima Redux. My two biggest fears about BushCo have always been his long-term influence on the Supreme Court (Mission Accomplished!!) and his dry-drunk, gut-instinct, War President, talkin'-to-Jesus finger on the nuclear trigger. Just what the insurgency ordered. More martyrs as models to go.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cigarette Girl

Cigarette Girl

Cigarette Girl (1999)

Not feeling well today.

Pollen count off the scale.

Cough Cough.

No safe haven said the map in my allergist's office when describing the state where I live.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Anniversary Gift Fades

The Anniversary Gift Fades

The Anniversary Gift Fades (2003)

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of this blog. I sipped punch all day and hired a cyber-clown to fill helium balloons.

But, today, alas, the punchbowl has a scummy watermark, and the wrinkled balloons are abandoned and nosing the ceiling tiles.

That's one of the strange things about blogging. Nobody cares what you said or did yesterday. You're only as good as today's update.

~/~

So, what do other bloggers say about the hazards of blogging. Let's check. What else have you got to do?

From a comment taken from the cache of the defunct Susan Crawford Blog:

I think this is one of the hazards of blogging; people always fear that you're going to post what they say.

Why worry about that when there is a comment section? Why should I quote you when you can just quote yourself?

From sueeeus:

I find that one of the hazards of blogging is that it's so in the moment. That's all fine and good when the moment is good. But when the moment is dark. Well. Not so good.

Yes, I find this phenomenon is true whenever I mistakenly wander into my own archives. However, Jack Daniels helps dull both the ache of a history-of-bad-posts conscience and those annoying memories of bad writing.

From Smart Mobs:

Getting fired for blog entries is so common now that it's come to be characterized by the term "dooced." Dooce.com, a blog kept by one of the dooced, has seen its traffic more than double over the past year, according to Web site ranker Alexa One networker who asked not to be identified says she regularly peppers her entries with fiction so she can avoid being identified by her employer.

Um, right. I live offworld, consume many useless products, look exactly like Antonio Banderas, and will be am self-employed as a typist.

From CBS News:

"Dust" found on computer processors and monitors contains chemicals linked to reproductive and neurological disorders, according to a new study by several environmental groups.

[...]

Electronics companies began using polybrominated diphenyl (PBDEs) and other flame retardants in the 1970s, arguing that the toxins prevent fires and cannot escape from plastic casings.

"This will be a great surprise to everyone who uses a computer," said Ted Smith, director of the Toxics Coalition. "The chemical industry is subjecting us all to what amounts to chemical trespass by putting these substances into use in commerce. They continue to use their chemicals in ways that are affecting humans and other species."

This report was made two years ago, so I assume "they" "fixed" "the problem" by now. Maybe this explains why, lately, I haven't been thinking as much...

...about sex...

And, finally, from Dave's Long Box, here's a bit of a post called "The Hazards of Blogging While Sleep-Deprived":

He ha ha tlook at the deude pioking Im so tired


So tirded


must sleeepo


must change diaper


poo
poo


poo


HA HA ha


,.


help me

Nothing like upping the blog's intellectual ante as I kick-start year two...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Morning Egg Hunt

Easter Morning Egg Hunt

Easter Morning Egg Hunt (1998)

Today is the one year anniversary of Blog with a View.

Yeah, I feel a little risen myself today.

I put 315 original images up in the past year. Whew.

My thanks to everyone who has come by to look and read and (especially) comment.

I'd give each of you an earless chocolate bunny if I could.

~/~

Blogging, like evolution and relativity, is just a theory...

And, for some mixed mythlogy this holiday, surf here to see Einstein vs. Jesus.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Robo Valentino

Robo Valentino

Robo Valentino (2006)

This is the last of the fresh-faced new arrivals for now.

~/~

From a lab description for a college robotics course:

Lab 3: Braitenberg Vehicles, Emergence, Meta-Sensing and Randomness. In this lab, we will learn about Valentino Braitenberg's ideas of evolving robots with wired programs, and other topics in biologically-inspired robot control.

And now, a love poem by Valentino the Robot (Jordon Somers):

NEVER NEEDING NIGHT

Never needing night
there is electricity in my mechanical loins--
a wattage of desire,
surging. How they took you away
from me
as if you were complied of so much bone and flesh.
Some of the best never get old … but
combust with a banging and
rattling. And

when I powered up
she was gone.
Only those hearts never manufactured
appear to lust past the autumn
of their own construction.

And from Quantum Spring 2000:

Valentino, who looks like a cross between the guts of a computer and an erector set, is an appealing, unassuming little entity, but he grows in significance as [Thomas P.] Caudell points out his skin, his eyes, and his ears.

It appears there's not a ghost in the machine. There's a lover.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dreaming Turkey

Dreaming Turkey

Dreaming Turkey (2006)

Here's another fresh one still dripping pixels down the monitor.

~/~

Some people smirk and strut and see themselves as a peacock

Must Not See TV?

Are we playing WMD evidence hide and seek again?

[Photograph seen on TVHeads]

when they are merely dreaming and widely perceived as a lame duck turkey...

And my smile is as plastic as this bird...

I got another bird I'd be happy to flip ya...

[Photograph seen on Wilson's Almanac]

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Floral Hair Clip Could Be a Bit Much

The Floral Hair Clip Could Be a Bit Much

The Floral Hair Clip Could Be a Bit Much (2006)

Here's another brand new one that still has wet, tangled hair from its birth journey.

Should it be cut or combed?

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Last Song Elvis Heard

The Last Song Elvis Heard

The Last Song Elvis Heard (2006)

The image is one thing and the human being is another...it's very hard to live up to an image.
--
Elvis Presley, at a press conference before a performance in Madison Square Garden, 1972

Here's another new one in this week's hot off the motherboard series.

I'm guessing some Elvis fans will find today's image to be an abomination impersonation and leave the blog building.

~/~

As if we'll ever really know. Some snips of Google hit fragments from a search of elvis last song:

From ElvisInfoNet:

Finally, the last song Elvis ever recorded, "He'll Have To Go" -- similar to the final version that was an overdub -- this is sad, emotional listening...

From songfacts.com:

["Bridge Over Trouibled Water"] was the last song Elvis Presley ever performed live. The cymbal crashes at the end of the song were rumoured to mimic the initial rush...

From ShopElvisAustralia:

"Fire Down Below" was the last song Elvis Presley worked on in a studio situation. He never completed the vocal.

From ElvisInfoNet:

The last song Elvis ever recorded in a studio would be the poignant "Pieces of My Life". After the session...

Wait, ElvisInfoNet. Didn't you just say above that...? Never mind. Must have been a sighting on toast or a potato chip or something.

From Elvisly Yours:

The song "Unchained Melody" was the very last song Elvis performed publicly before he died...

From the Miami New Times:

It's rumored the last song Elvis ever sang was the Fred Rose country ballad "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain..."

Well, whatever it was, there's still time to own it. From KittyText

At eBay you can buy the rights to the last song Elvis Presley wrote and recorded before he went to heaven. Last I checked it was going for $19,100...

You might want to approach that eBay purchase with a suspicious mind.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

In the Crowd

In the Crowd

In the Crowd (2006)

When I'm in the crowd, I don't see anything
My mind goes a blank in the humid sunshine
When I'm in the crowd I don't see anything
...
The Jam, "In the Crowd"

I haven't made many images for more than six months. The reason was because my aging computer was cranky and didn't have the juice or muscle to manipulate large image files. Still, I'd struggle through freezes and crashes and suddenly evaporated works-in-progress in increasingly frustrating attempts to produce new art. Well, after Zen patience and support and encouragement from my wife, I finally put together a new custom machine. I've been "rebuilding my studio" for about a week and finally began to work through many re-installations and re-calibrations this weekend to thrash around enough to roll out some new stuff. I'm very relieved to be able to once again work with my machine instead of against it. So, with a fresh kid-in-the-candy-store vibe, I think I'll try to post buck-naked new work here all week. I probably won't have too much to say about these newborns. I think I'll just let them lie there and soak up the light of the delivery room.

~/~

Did today's image come from the experience of remember seeing King Vidor's silent classic The Crowd many years ago at a film festival?

Or did it drift up from the memory of the first time I heard The Jam's "In the Crowd" while volunteering as an late-night college radio deejay while in graduate school?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Chucklehead

Chucklehead

Chucklehead (2003)

Bush ratings drop yet again -- and the prezdent admits leaking declassified info. Deadliest day in Smiley Face Land Iraq this year. Pedophiles lurking in Homeland Security. Some days the blog writes itself.

But not as well as some people. Sometimes, I read a post that sums up what I feel so completely, there's no point in typing -- just pasting. And I have that experience frequently when I read Digby. Today, writing on whether our watchdog press has dropped the ball and seem like suckers and saps cozily catnapping in BushCo's lap, Digby notes:

For my part, I waited for more than a decade for the press to report what I could see with my own eyes: a powerful political party had morphed into a criminal enterprise that was bent on permanently altering our fundamental system of government. This is not hyperbole. The Republicans wrote about their dreams of empire and executive infallibility. They advertised their plan to dominate Washington. The information was available to those who had the time and patience to wade through the cacophony of media static to find it. But the media itself behaved like a flock of birds, startling to every rightwing noise and flying off together into whatever direction the Republicans wanted them to go.

The smear jobs of the early to mid-90's were not new. The Republicans did it better than most, but they didn't invent it. They fed damaging titillating information to a gullible and eager press at a time when harsh competition, 24 hour cable and tabloid ethics were starting to permeate the news media. It created a constant sense of crisis that served them well when they upped the ante.

But tabloid smears aside, using institutional power and the levers of government to deny the people their democratically elected choice of president, whether it was through impeachment or the Supreme Court deciding an election, was not business as usual. Openly abrogating treaties and setting forth an aggressive doctrine of preventive war is not business as usual. Consciously governing on a strictly partisan basis in order to render the opposition completely impotent despite its near parity in the nation, is not something we've ever seen in American politics. Using the power of the executive in "wartime" (the war being purely defined by the executive) to embed a theory of a unitary executive is a dramatic shift in the constitutional design of checks and balances. None of this is benign. These are steps toward dictatorship.

He's right and right on. And this bunch of Devil-Wearing-Pravda, propaganda vacuuming, myopic, bootlicking chuckleheads are the guardians of our freedoms?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Passion of Bart Simpson

The Passion of Bart Simpson

The Passion of Bart Simpson (2004)

Dear God. We paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing.
--Bart Simpson

Move over, and don't have a sacred cow, Mel Gibson.

From The Simpsons Archive -- "The Gospel of Homer":

"This is a family where God has a place at the table now and again," he [Robert Thompson, Professor of Film and Television at Syracuse University] said, running through a surprisingly long list of episodes that deal with faith.

There was the episode on Easter where the Simpsons remake the Old Testament. Or the classic where Bart prays to God to save him from a failing grade (and then has the graciousness to thank him for the subsequent D-minus.) Or the time Bart and Lisa try to persuade a rabbi to reconcile with his son, Krusty the Clown.

One of Thompson's favorites came when Bart was grounded and, while sulking in his room, was confronted by a heavenly visitor.

"I like to think that Bart Simpson is in line with Abraham and Moses in that he talks to God directly himself," said the professor.

And from Bart's sermon from Springfield's grassy knoll:

Come on, Milhouse, there's no such as a soul! It's just something they made up to scare kids, like the Boogie Man or Michael Jackson.

And, as a long "retired" Catholic, this exchange has a cathartic, cherubic quality:

Bart: I'm starving. Mom, can we go Catholic so we can get communion wafers and booze?

Marge: No, no one is going Catholic. Three children is enough, thank you.

"Aren't we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas?  You know, the birth of Santa."

Well, you're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't.

[Image from the comic -box]

And in order to generate that feel the Tom Cruise-genuflecting-on-the-couch burn -- from Scientologists in the News:

An internationally syndicated article by the Washington Post, reported on Nancy Cartwright, the voice of the famous Cartoon character Bart Simpson and co-host of the Church of Scientology's 40th anniversary celebration at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. In the article, Nancy explains how she became a Scientologist several years ago when she was looking for a committed relationship:

"In Hubbard's works, Cartwright encountered a passage on shedding pain and loss. ' I felt he was talking directly to me' said Cartwright, who said she has had her share of unrequited loves. 'I said to myself, I want to stop that feeling.'"

Aye carumba. Note to Matt Groening. Better bite your satirical tongue of fire. Why? This cartoon parable springs to mind:

We should blame the fruity little club for scrambling his brains...

Remember, children. Don't have mock a cow thetan.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Someone You'd Forgotten

Someone You'd Forgotten

Someone You'd Forgotten (2000)

Blog with a View, at heart, is a digital art photoblog. Each Wednesday, I present an image without idiotically attacking the patriotism of a hostage forced by her captors to make propaganda statements in order to survive. Eject your Chuck Norris DVDs. You know who you are.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Windows of Opportunity

Window of Opportunity 1

Window of Opportunity 1 (2003)

Window of Opportunity 2

Window of Opportunity 2 (2003)

Window of Opportunity 3

Window of Opportunity 3 (2003)

Absence makes the heart grow a tumor -- at least where work is concerned -- and you've been ill and taken off -- and are now rushing feverishly to catch up.

But rather than leave the blog blank (or, at any rate, blanker than usual) here are a few images to look over.

These are part of a series. They were rendered using Vchira, imported into XenoDream and bathed with light, and then sent off for a digital makeover in various graphics programs.

That's today's view from my room blog with a view...

Monday, April 03, 2006

Insulated

Insulated

Insulated (1999)

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies remain cloudy all day...
--Traditional, "Home on the Range"

I haven't been insulated, but I have been missing in action for days from the blog due to a triple whammy of a herniated disc in my shoulder and a lingering stomach virus and a persistent coughing computer that needed medical attention. The computer now feels better. Hopefully, I'm in the "last throes" of my ailment(s).

But we all know somebody who lives a life of xtreme insulation -- and I'm not talking about asbestos behind the ceiling tiles. No books or reality TV for this guy. Just soma-fueled Hallmark Briefings.

From Newsweek -- "Bush in the Bubble" by Evan Thomas and Richard Wolffe:

What Bush actually hears and takes in, however, is not clear. And whether his advisers are quite as frank as they claim to be with the president is also questionable. Take Social Security, for example. One House Republican, who asked not to be identified for fear of offending the White House, recalls a summertime meeting with congressmen in the Roosevelt Room at which Bush enthusiastically talked up his Social Security reform plan. But the plan was already dead -- as everyone except the president had acknowledged. Bush seemed to have no idea. "I got the sense that his staff was not telling him the bad news," says the lawmaker. "This was not a case of him thinking positive. He just didn't have any idea of the political realities there. It was like he wasn't briefed at all." (Bush was not clueless, says an aide, but pushing his historic mission.)

In subtle ways, Bush does not encourage truth-telling or at least a full exploration of all that could go wrong. A former senior member of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad occasionally observed Bush on videoconferences with his top advisers. "The president would ask the generals, 'Do you have what you need to complete the mission?' as opposed to saying, 'Tell me, General, what do you need to win?' which would have opened up a whole new set of conversations," says this official, who did not want to be identified discussing high-level meetings. The official says that the way Bush phrased his questions, as well as his obvious lack of interest in long, detailed discussions, had a chilling effect. "It just prevented the discussion from heading in a direction that would open up a possibility that we need more troops," says the official.

Bush generally prefers short conversations -- long on conclusion, short on reasoning. He likes popular history and presidential biography (Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington), but by all accounts, he is not intellectually curious. Occasional outsiders brought into the Bush Bubble have observed that faith, not evidence, is the basis for decision making. Psychobabblers have long had a field day with the fact that Bush quit drinking cold turkey and turned around his life by accepting God. His close friends agree that Bush likes comfort and serenity; he does not like dissonance. He has long been mothered by strong women, including his mother and wife. A foreign diplomat who declined to be identified was startled when Secretary of State Rice warned him not to lay bad news on the president. "Don't upset him," she said.

Excuse me.  Let me finish.  Excuse me...

Don't upset him with facts and unscreened questions from non-handpicked audiences.

[Cartoon by Jeff Danziger]

All of this buzz that Bush is going to "shake up" his team ignores the insulation and cronyism that are staples of Bush's modus operandi. A man who prefers pre-screened audiences and paid off journalists isn't about to go into a "team of rivals" mode as Doris Kearns Goodwin writes of Lincoln. Even Reagan, whom Bush says he admires, understood compromise and turned to moderate Howard Baker as his chief of staff. Can you imagine Bush doing a random shuffle and appointing his father's chief of staff, Brent Scowcroft, to a position in the administration? Or, better yet, admitting that Iraq isn't going as well as expected and asking Richard Clarke to come back on board?

Not a chance. He'd rather clear the brush out of his shorts. Andy Card may be dealing himself a new hand, but you'll not hear a discouraging word from any BushCo droid. The insulation's been blown thick, and the toady-like are too busy nodding and applauding and generally doing a heckuva job.

~/~

Now here's a Bush bubble I can enjoy.

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