Poem of the Moment

September 4, 2017

Poetic justice by Mahmoud Darwish, on the storefront of City Lights in San Fransisco:

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Poem of the Moment: “The New Higher” by John Ashbery, 1927-2017

September 4, 2017

The poet John Ashbery is gone. The above photograph of Ashbery was taken at the Villa Madama, Rome, Italy, in 1963.


Across the Universe . . .

September 3, 2017

Tomorrow NASA will be marking the 40th anniversary of the start of the two Voyager missions to the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, the outer solar system, and the stars beyond. These two spacecraft, each carrying a message from humanity in the form of a golden record containing both speech and music, are now traveling through the realm of interstellar space.

 


Grady’s Gone

August 19, 2017

Dick Gregory, stand-up comedian, writer, actor, and social justice activist, just left us.

Back in the 60s, before he played the character Grady on Sanford and Son, Gregory primarily did stand-up. He was part of a wave of iconoclastic African-American comedians who swept into the limelight–among them Flip Wilson, Godfrey Cambridge, Richard Pryor–somewhere in the space between Redd Foxx (crude, crass, brash and definitely dirty) and Bill Cosby (leaning towards cozy and ultimately way too clean). Gutsy and witty and politically incorrect before it became politically correct to be politcally incorrect, Gregory enjoyed the distinction of being both controversial and a hot property. He played Playboy Clubs and got his name on FBI watch lists. And even Carlin stole from him.

There is an empty space in the world of laughter and enlightenment on Earth now. But there’s one helluva ticket at the Pearly Gates Laughter Lounge–I like to imagine. With Pryor and Carlin and Robin Williams headlining, and Groucho as the MC.

Gregory will be missed, and remembered.


Are You Manning Enough?

July 31, 2017

Are You Manning Enough?

By Mr. Fish at Truthdig.


From Russia with Love

July 30, 2017

Let’s revise the U. S. Constitution a smidge and elect Vladimir Putin President of the U. S.–that’s my take on the matter at the end of all the neo-McCarthyite, Russophobic, Clintonian partisan bullshit and brouhaha emanating from the injured Right wing of the Democratic Party. Sure Putin looks like Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but the fact is he’s a lot more sober and saner than either Hillary Clinton or La Donald. Very Obama-like, in fact–and that’s not exactly praise coming from me–and it would probably be the least of three evils to have him in the White House, if one has to confine one’s imagination to those options. Here’s Oliver Stone and Truthdig’s Robert Scheer rapping on Stone’s recently-released interviews with Putin–a tv series and also an audiobook which digs up information in even greater detail–courtesy of Truthdig and KPFK.

I’m not big on the work of Oliver Stone–though I did like Platoon a long time ago–but recently he’s been doing some decent documentary stuff. (The Untold History of the United States, Stone’s 2012 documentary series, is surprisingly and refreshingly free of conspiracy theorizing foolishness.)


Non-Predator Drone Technology

July 24, 2017

No it isn’t a hopeful robot-thespian answering a casting-call for the lead droid role in the next Star Wars episode. Below–via NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day–is the anime-esque JEM Internal Ball Camera–or Int-Ball for short–courtesy of JAXA (the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), currently fluttering about aboard the ISS. Don’t leave Earth without one.