Sunday, July 30, 2006

Mini Review of "Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man"

I'm writing a review of "Leonard Cohen:I'm Your Man", a movie about songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen. So why post a picture of Leonard Cohen and Bono? Why the hell not? Everyone else is doing it. Bitter? Just a tad, but first off, I really enjoyed this movie. The bulk of this flick was other artists performing Cohen's work. Nick Cave, Beth Orton, Rufus & Martha Wainwright, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Anthony, and more. The respect came through. Not to get too crunchy, but they were sometimes more like vessels of Cohen's work than performers. Even physically. I'm guessing most were graduates of The Joe Cocker School of Physical Expressionism. Sprinkled amongst these tributes were interesting tidbits about L.C. himself with different artists giving their brief impressions. Impressions are great. I love hearing impressions. And then there was Bono. He got more screen time. Consequently, his impressions turned into analysis. I'm no expert, but analysis of any great artist's work, especially when they're still alive and kicking, bugs the hell out of me. Bono going into any detail of what Leonard Cohen is about is like watching Lenny Bruce do a set and then having it broken down for you by David Spade. I blame director Lian Lunson for this. Unless Bono was in the editing room waving a gun around, there should have been a lot more Bono film stock on the floor or in that little Mac wastebasket. I digress. This was Leonard Cohen's soiree, and with the performances and most of the snippets, this sundae was ready for the cherry on top. A performance by the man himself. Performing "Tower of Song". That voice. You could feel the collective smile in the theatre. And a loving close up of Bono in the band. Then the power of Cohen. Then another lingering close up of Bono in the band. And finally Cohen. Mostly Cohen. Glad I saw it. Lian, you do good work. Next doc, stay focused on whose party it is. Avoid the temptation of training your lens too long on the gabby famous guy in the middle of the room next to the clam dip.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Series of Tubes & Wacky Rubes

John Stewart on Net Neutrality and Gambling in Your Bathroom!
Gack! What's next? Dogs and Cats, living together?

John Hodgman's Daily Show Net Neutrality Report

Check out the Save the Internet Coalition here.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Now On Sale! Plus Hacking NASA

Jesus games of chance & skill. Get 'em here.

Hacker tells BBC he found a picture of a UFO on NASA computer. Get Down!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

45,000 Bottle Rockets

Hey Owen, We're Not Dignan You Anymore

Steely Dan writes a letter to Luke Wilson concerning his brother. You know, Owen. A funny, brilliant way for the major dudes to be pissed off about the movie You, Me and Dupree ripping off their song. Check it out here. Cousin Dupree lyrics here. Obscure Zal Yanovsky reference here and here. And if you haven't seen Bottle Rocket, honestly, you should. Filthy Critic review of You, Me and Dupree here.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Spam Ditty

Spammers, oh you vexing spammers.
For you, we should build more slammers.
Pilot fish without a shark.
Suck on people smart as hammers.

Bottom of the barrel.
Lowest kind of whore.
Crooks of old at least had guts.
They screwed us door to door. -Reverend

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Comments Are Moderated

Okay. So here's the deal. Welcome to the Piefurcation blog and feel free to leave a comment. I don't care if you agree with what's written here. You can leave an opposing opinion and links to information supporting your opinion. Just have something to say that adds to the conversation. We accept questions, comments, funny stories. It's all good. Spam, however, is not welcome and will be deleted.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Martha Wainwright on Letterman

All There is to Know About Adolph Eichmann

Eyes: Medium
Hair: Medium

Weight: Medium

Height: Medium
Distinguishing features: None

Number of fingers: Ten

Number of toes: Ten

Intelligence: Medium
What did you expect?


Oversize incisors?

Green saliva?


Leonard Cohen, 1964

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Devout Meditation in Memory of Adolf Eichmann

One of the most disturbing facts that came out in the Eichmann trial was that a psychiatrist examined him and pronounced him perfectly sane. I do not doubt it at all, and that is precisely why I find it disturbing.

If all the Nazis had been psychotics, as some of their leaders probably were, their appalling cruelty would have been in some sense easier to understand. It is much worse to consider this calm, "well-balanced," unperturbed official conscientiously going about his desk work, his administrative job which happened to be the supervision of mass murder. He was thoughtful, orderly, unimaginative. He had a profound respect for system, for law and order. He was obedient, loyal, a faithful officer of a great state. He served his government well.

He was not bothered much by guilt. I have not heard that he developed any psychosomatic illnesses. Apparently he slept well. He had a good appetite, or so it seems. True, when he visited Auschwitz, the Camp Commandant, Hoess, in a spirit of sly deviltry, tried to tease the big boss and scare him with some sights. Eichmann was disturbed, yes. He was disturbed. Even Himmler had been disturbed, and had gone weak at the knees. Perhaps, in the same way, the general manager of a big steel mill might be disturbed if an accident took place while he happened to be somewhere on the plant. but of course what happened at Auschwitz was not an accident: just the routine upleasantness of the daily task. One must shoulder the burden of daily monotonous work for the Fatherland. Yes, one must suffer discomfort and even nausea from upleasant sights and sounds. It all comes under the heading of duty, self-sacrifice, and obedience. Eichmann was devoted to duty, and proud of his job.

The sanity of Eichmann is disturbing. We equate sanity with a sense of justice, with humaneness, with prudence, with the capacity to love and understand other people. We rely on the sane people of the world to preserve it from barbarism, madness, destruction. And now it begins to dawn on us that it is precisely the
sane ones who are the most dangerous.

It is the sane ones, the well-adapted ones, who can without qualms and without nausea aim the missiles and press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction that they,
the sane ones, have prepared. What makes us so sure, after all, that the danger comes from a psychotic getting into position to fire the first shot in a nuclear war? Psychotics will be suspect. The sane ones wlil keep them far from the button. No one suspects the sane, and the sane ones will have perfectly good reasons, logical, well-adjusted reasons, for firing the shot. They will be obeying sane orders that have come sanely down the chain of command. And because of their sanity they will have no qualms at all. When the missiles take off, then, it will be no mistake.

We can no longer assume that because a man is "sane" he is therefore in his "right mind." The whole concept of sanity in a society where spiritual values have lost their meaning is itself meaningless. A man can be "sane" in the limited sense that he is not impeded by his disordered emotions from acting in a cool, orderly manner, according to the needs and dictates of the social situation in which he finds himself. He can be perfectly "adjusted." God knows, perhaps such people can be perfectly adjusted even in hell itself.

And so I ask myself: what is the meaning of a concept of sanity that excludes love, considers it irrelevant, and destroys our capacity to love other human beings, to respond to their needs and their sufferings, to recognize them also as persons, to apprehend their pain as one's own? Evidently this is not necessary for "sanity" at all. It is a religious notion, a spiritual notion, a Christian notion. What business have we to equate "sanity" with "Christianity?" None at all, 0bviously. The worst error is to imagine that a Christian must try to be "sane" like everybody else, that we
belong in our kind of society. That we must be "realistic" about it. We must develop a sane Christianity: and there have been plenty of sane Christians in the past. Torture is nothing new, is it? We ought to be able to rationalize a little brainwashing, and genocide, and find a place for nuclear war, or at least for napalm bombs, in our moral theology. Certainly some of us are doing our best along those lines already. There are hopes! Even Christians can shake off their sentimental prejudices about charity, and become sane like Eichmann. They can even cling to a certain set of Christian formulas, and fit them to a Totalist Ideolody. Let them talk about justice, charity, love, and the rest. These words have not stopped sane men from acting very sanely and cleverly in the past.

No, Eichmann was sane. The generals and fighters on both sides, in World War II, the ones who carried out the total destruction of entire cities, these were the sane ones. Those who have invented and developed atomic bombs, thermonuclear bombs, missiles; who have planned the strategy of the next war; who have evaluated the various possiblities of using bacterial and chemical agents; these are not crazy people, they are the
sane people. The ones who coolly estimate how many millions of victims can be considered expendable in a nuclear war, I presume they do all right with the Rorschach ink blots too. On the other hand, you will probably find that the pacificists and the ban-the-bomb people are, quite seriously, just as we read in Time, a little crazy.

I am beginning to realize that "sanity" is no longer a value or an end in itself. The "sanity" of modern man is about as useful to him as the huge bulk and muscles of a dinosaur. If he was a little less sane, a little more doubtful, a little more aware of his aburdities and contradictions, perhaps there might be a possibility of his survival. But if he is sane, too sane...perhaps we must say that in a society like ours the worst insanity is to be totally without anxiety, totally "sane."

Thomas Merton, Raids On The Unspeakable, 1966

Mein Katnip

Check it out. Cats that look like Hitler.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Cute Little Fluff Ball of Fate

Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Mid-winter 1981. I was driving a Chevy flatbed truck for a machine shop. Had just dropped off my load. A plastic injection mold. Huge hunk of mechanical wizardry that gives birth to whatever plastic offspring it was made for. Anything from a detergent bottlecap to a dashboard Jesus. It was butt ass cold and my side windows were still frosted up. The stop light I was waiting for turned green. My left foot was easing up on the clutch to go when I saw the strangest sight. Dancing from right to left, on the horizon of my hood, was a white fluffy ball. I braked. Strange, weird, but kind of delightful. Until it passed the left side of my hood. The cute little dancing ball of fluff was perched atop the knit winter hat of a tiny little girl, no more than six years old, crossing against the light.
Somewhere in this world is a young woman, around 30 or 31. She probably has no idea that guardian angels appear in many forms. I know what hers looks like. Thanks you beautiful fluffy little bastard.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Electricity had one job. Illuminating the bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling in the boss's office. The cash register was mechanical. No plumbing. No heat. A single portable toilet in it's dirt parking lot. It was there before Henry Ford covered the land with the black four wheeled spawn of Satan. In Bernardston Massachusetts. Not far from Bernardston General Store. There it was. Bernardston Grain Company. The massive two story wooden structure next to the train tracks wasn't built for people. It was built to mix grain for cattle, horses, and pigs. I suspect either Rube Goldberg or Salvador Dali had a hand in it's design. The grain mixers were run by a series of belts and pulleys that were in turn run by rope cables set into motion by a water wheel in the river 100 yards distant. Whenever I saw boxcars on the siding I knew we were in for a long day. Unloading 100 pound grain bags. Are we making a dent? Maybe those bags are multiplying in that boxcar just to mock us. Whit smiled. "Keep your back straight or you'll curdle your milk." His name was Mr.Whitaker but everyone called him Whit. It seemed a little disrespectful. I took the coward's way out. I never addressed him by name. He was in his mid 70's. That made no sense. He was hard. He was wiry. He contained more urine and vinegar than a spring foal. He could unload a car full of 100 pound sacks faster than most 20 year olds and used that fact to taunt us. He liked me. He called me "shit-ass". I grew up without a father. A smile of approval from a respected older man was exponentially magnified in importance. Add "shit-ass" and forget about it. Made my day. I was eating lunch in my car on May 21, 1977 the day I got some perspective on Whit's age. I know the date because Paul Harvey's voice on the radio said that it was the 50th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's landing in Paris. Later that afternoon I asked Whit if he remembered that day. He said "Sure do. That happened on my second wedding anniversary."
It's 28 years later and about that since I've seen Whit and Bernardston Grain Company. Don't know if the building still stands. If Whit does, he's 104, clutching a grain bag about waist high, smile on his face, imploring some shit-ass to keep up. I wouldn't bet against it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Profit from Prophets

In 1935, in his book "It Can't Happen Here", Sinclair Lewis said "When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." BINGO! I'm going to keep reading this guy's work. Hopefully somewhere he'll mention the 2007 Kentucky Derby. I'll be rollin' in dough!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Shoichi Yokoi

Between 1971 and '74, half my life was spent aboard the USS Henry Clay, a submarine home ported in Guam. I was thinking of all the fascinating and sometimes surreal things to tell you about my experience when I recalled something way more fascinating that happened while I was there. In January 1972, Shoichi Yokoi came out of the jungle. He was a Japanese soldier who had been living there for 26 years since the end of World War ll. His first words back in Tokyo were"It is with much embarrassment that I return." He remarried that same year and passed away in 1997 at the age of 82. Apologies for my ineptitude creating links. If you go to Wikipedia, there's a good overview of the life of Shoichi Yokoi. More about the submarine some other time.

Friday, July 07, 2006


A gastronomical reminiscence. Remember this stuff? My brother and I ate this custard like it was going out of style in 1950's New England. Mom served it because: 1. It was inexpensive, and 2. In the 50's, failure of a housewife to serve dessert was at the very least a misdemeanor.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ten Best Rock Songs of All Time

I just watched the first episode of Rock Star - "Supernova." Yeah. That's right. Because I'm a reality tv show hog. Anyway, Dilana did a respectable rendition of Lithium except for her freak show dance moves at the end. I think she could kick Tommy Lee's ass.

So I'm inspired to ask- What do you think are the ten best rock songs of all time? We'll have to do one for other genres too.

Here's my list in no particular order:
  1. Immigrant Song - Led Zepplin
  2. Baba O'Reilly - The Who
  3. Vodoo Chile - Jimi Hendrix
  4. Have a Cigar - Pink Floyd
  5. London Calling - The Clash
  6. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
  7. Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones
  8. Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones
  9. School's Out - Alice Cooper
  10. Heroin - Velvet Underground
Oh, and here's Condy Rice's picks for the ten best musical works of all time. Plus the National Review's top 50 Conservative Rock Songs.

Gone to Hell!

Yes. Going out of town until Sunday. Going to hell!

Mesa actually, but is there really any difference?

Apologies for the light postings of late, still under the weather and under the
gun to get my thesis done by September 1. I'll explode if I don't. The alarm is set. Anyway, more soon. You'll be in good hands with the Reverend.

Hope you enjoy this video by Regina Spektor. Check it out

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Decider: The Early Years

While The Prez was a student at Yale, he became a member of the secretive Skull and Bones Society. The following blurb is from Wikipedia:
"Skull and Bones is known by many names, including The Order of Death, The Order, Cooperation Star, The Eulogian Club, and Lodge 322. Initiates are most commonly known as Bonesmen, Knights of Eulogia, Boodle boys, and GBdBs (Great Bones (of the) Boodle).
On an initiate's first day in Bones they are assigned a name, which they will be known as for the rest of their life. Names that are regularly used are: Magog, which is assigned to the initiate with the most experience with the opposite sex; Gog, which is assigned to the least sexually experienced; Long Devil, for the tallest; Boaz, for varsity American football captains; and Little Devil for the shortest. Bonesmen have often assumed names of mythological and legendary figures. George W. Bush's Skull and Bones name is thought to be "Temporary". This is because he could not decide upon a name and was therefore given the temporary name. He never took the time to change it to something else."