Gahd Loves Bahstahn

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Oh my Gahd! Tha Bahstah Red Sahks won tha World Series! Wikked pissah! Fathah Bahb, my dahtah, the cahps, even my dahg, we’re ahll supah ovahjoyed with pleasah! Winning the Series! It’s, like, ahgainst Gahd’s Lah!

And in the midst of the Series win a full eclipse of the full moon. Coincidence?

Hahdly.

Congratulations to the Red Sox. And congratulations to all us Sox fans, who have put up with years of disappointment. John Peel, between songs tonight could you let Charlie Leonard know his Red Sox won? And that his grandson thought of him while looking at an eclipsed moon and trying to wrap his brain around the news.

Man, Heaven got the best DJ just in time for the big party!

RIP John Peel

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The music world has lost one of its best champions. John Peel, BBC DJ, agent provocateur and the force that launched a thousand careers, has gone to his reward. I mourn his loss more so than I have most individual musicians. While the individual musician takes a soul of talent with him, John Peel takes the springboard. David Bowie, The Sex Pistols, Joy Division, The Smiths … Peel launched them all. He leaves not a hole in the music world, but a giant gaping crater. As one fan put it, “Music is the water, John Peel was the quirky little man working the pumping station.”

Thanks, John. For all you did for music. For all you did for this listener on the other side of the pond. You will be sorely missed, and by bigger names than mine.

Rock on.

Charles Leonard, This One’s For You

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This one’s filed under History, for indeed, we saw history made last night. And history that would have made my late maternal grandfather beam.

The Boston Red Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the New York Yankees in the ALCS. In New York. Simply astounding.

Born and raised in Connecticut, I was torn between Red Sox and Yankees loyalty. My father’s family were all from the New York area, and were die-hard Yankees fans. My mother’s family were all from Massachusetts and have similar feeling about the Red Sox. I wore a Yankees baseball hat between the ages of 2 and 6. I also attended games at Fenway Park and cheered mightily for our doomed heroes. I always loved the Red Sox. ALCS match-ups between the two teams tended to leave me confused. But I tended to root for the Sox, since America loves an underdog. Something that got very hard to do when my family lived outside Albany, NY during the late 1970s. I was a 90lb Red Sox fan among the horde.

Being a Red Sox fan requires a certain amount of Slavic fatalism. Bucky Dent. Bill Buckner. The Curse. And in typical seasoned Sox fan style, going into this Series I hope for the best but expect the worst. Much like a Russian would have meant when they said, “Stalin has defeated the Germans.” Yay. Yippee. We’re probably screwed.

But today we celebrate. And like the apocryphal story of Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown, the band plays The World Turned Upside Down.

Note: Today would be my grandfather’s 98th birthday. He died a month to the day after my birth, after returning from a game at Fenway. This one’s for you, Charlie.

Anne Dudley Interview

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Back in the summer of 1987 seminal sampler/synth band The Art Of Noise played Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT. At the time I was a DJ at WRTC-FM, the radio station of Hartford’s Trinity College. I hosted a show I called Mutant Central Broadcasting that delved into punk, new wave, synth and all kinds of new (at the time) music. Cutting edge “you-don’t-hear-this-on-commercial-radio” stuff.

One of the perks was free concert tickets and backstage passes. So when The Art Of Noise played Toad’s, I grabbed a mic and deck and made the 45 minute trek. It was a great show, and afterwards AON member Anne Dudley gave some interviews. She was very charming, but I could tell she was tiring of the same stupid questions from the same type of “music reporters.” She perked up a bit when she found out I was from college radio, and even more so when I said, “Why don’t you interview me? You seem bored of the same-old same-old.” We had a blast.

After Anne’s full interview of her interviewer aired on my show, local fanzine Subculture (long since deceased) asked for a portion in written form for their magazine. I obliged. And recently I found my old issue of Subculture with said interview snippet, and have transcribed it to HTML.

Submitted for your enjoyment is Anne Dudley of The Art Of Noise interviewing yours truly. Thanks for being such a brick, Anne. And for the fond memories. And you know, in hindsight I should have taken you up on your offer to run away to Canada together. You’re a great gal. :)

mneptok interviews anne dudley
of the art of noise

july 15, 1987
toad’s place – new haven, ct usa

from the hartford, ct area fanzine subculture


slip of a tongue
an interview with anne dudley of the art of noise

the art of noise are people, not machines. the art of noise know their limitations. the art of noise sing and dance. they move and remain in flux. they played toad’s place july 15th. they spoke to me after the show and queried …

anne dudley: do you come down to toad’s place very often?

mneptok: only when the art of noise are in town. so i’ve been here about six times in the past week.

ad: really? and which version of the art of noise did you prefer? the mutant version, the minimalist version?

m: i liked the small version.

ad: the small version. that would be our jazz trio.

m: right. the benny goodman cover tunes were terrific. the production was very clean and the band seemed to have a genuine interest in the music they played.

ad: so you were totally taken in by it?

m: i haven’t been able to put it out of my mind.

ad: well, i’m very flattered. you see, i wasn’t even there. as a matter of fact, none of the art of noise were there at all; we sent our managers. we have very attractive managers, we just put them in costumes and make-up…

m: i couldn’t believe the guy dressed up as yourself, he was very convincing as a woman.

ad: exactly, i just control him from my satellite in orbit around new haven.

m: is it small in there? do you have to sit with your knees around your cheeks?

ad: well, have you ever seen doctor who? do you have doctor who here?

m: oh! you fly in a police box!

ad: yes, yes. all british people do that.

m: is that a regulation 32-j/c flying police box?

ad: i’m afraid i’m not at liberty to divulge that information.

m: i always liked tom baker as doctor who. he had a really cool scarf.

ad: yes, he did. what else do you remember about him?

m: curly hair…shifty eyes…

ad: shifty, like most of our band. we were going to have him in the art of noise if he could have played anything at all. anyway, tell me what it’s like to live in this part of the country.

m: well, we buy records, listen to them a lot, come to see the bands and then talk with them because they have nothing better to do than drink beer and talk with us.

ad: you know, nobody eats in england. three or four pints of english beer a night fills you. i can’t say i’m very impressed with the food in america. it’s all sort of bland. like turkey sandwiches.

m: well, the closest that stuff has come to to turkey is driving by a turkey farm on the way to the store. it’s all spun by monsanto chemical corporation. no nourishment, it won’t keep you going.

ad: you know, the only way i make it through the show is saying “to be in england in the summertime…” people seem to think that me saying that is the funniest thing in the world.

m: why, don’t you like england?

ad: i wouldn’t be anywhere else.

bus driver: five minutes!

ad: oh no! time to go to canada.

m: upper new york state is beautiful this time of year…

ad: you could come with us…

m: i hardly think that likely.

Kuro5hin Zen

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Great article entitled A Brief Introduction To Zen on the must-read K5. Simple, elegant, stunning. And very Zen.

Divided We Fall

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Election fervor is in full swing. The Democrats are railing against the Bush administration. The Bush administration is taking potshots at the Kerry camp. But this year I have seen something new. Something disturbing. Something more befitting a banana republic than the beacon of democracy the US purports to be.

Campaigns have always been nasty, at least from the viewpoint of an outsider. Candidates have, during my memory, taken the low road when speaking to one another. But this election season, these “slash and burn” tactics of demagoguery have spread to the populace.

This is not a trend I’m alone in seeing. In a great article in The Oregonian reporter Erin Barnett talks about campaign signs being burned, shot at and stolen. By citizens. Against citizens.

Blogs are seeing the same trend. People whom I trust and respect have adopted an “us and them” stance. They harp on the “Bush sucks!” or “Kerry flip-flops” theme over and over and over again. To the same audience.

Does anyone think that if you burn the Bush sign in front of someone’s house that person will suddenly think, “My God! They’re right! Kerry’s the best choice!” Do you think if you shoot holes in a Kerry sign that the owner will have a similar epiphany about Bush? Do you think that people reading the umpteenth “Why George Bush sucks,” post on your blog are suddenly going to change their minds? You’re preaching to the choir at this point.

The article cited above describes this election as “the most polarized race for president in memory.” I agree. And at this point, no one is going to change their mind based on your blog or your pyromania or your marksmanship. People are polarized. And that’s bad.

Politicians behave in ways they think will get them elected. If a candidate thinks embracing the “no gay marriage” position will garner them enough votes to get them a win, they’ll do it. If a candidate thinks that by bashing Bush for “lying about Iraq” (which the record clearly shows he did not do, he had piss-poor intelligence he chose to believe) they’ll do it.

And they don’t care about the carnage left behind.

That’s right. When we’re all still divided and at each other’s throats in the middle of November, the winners won’t give a damn. They aren’t concerned about protecting the social fabric any further than what concern is necessary to get them elected. They’ll leave a bunch of people whipped into a frenzy over same-sex marriage and not give it another thought. Meanwhile, these people foster a deeper distrust and hatred of their fellow homosexual Americans. If Bush wins, do you think Media Channel will feel the slightest bit of responsibility if someone makes an assassination attempt? They won’t, even though they spent a tremendous amount of effort scaring Americans silly about George Bush.

The Bush campaign wants to keep you in fear about terrorists. Anne Coulter will say whatever is necessary about Kerry to sell as many books as possible. The Kerry camp wants to keep you in fear about the police state Bush will supposedly create. Al Franken will call people “big, fat idiots” if it gets him another book deal. Both sides want you to be scared. Distrustful. Off-balance. When you’re scared of something, you see it as alien to yourself. It creates an “us and them” dynamic. It divides so they can conquer.

And at the end of the day, they’ll wash their hands and go back to business as usual, and forget about the debris field they leave in their wake.

Let’s not let it happen here. It’s happened in plenty of other places. At the risk of invoking Godwin’s Law, remember that in 1933 when the Reichstag burned, the Nazis had Germans so afraid of Communists the German people were ready to blame a Communist plot whether it existed or not. And we all know what happened after that.

I’m not comparing anyone to Nazis. I’m merely pointing out that a climate of fear, distrust and divisiveness is not a climate in which freedom and liberty flourish. Before you burn a sign, steal a bumper sticker or post the bajillionth story on your blog about how bad Bush is or what a rat Kerry might be, think. Are you going to change someone’s mind, or are you just fanning the flames?

I was born into one of the greatest nations on Earth. I don’t want to die in some industrialized banana republic where we’re “us” and “them.” We’re all Americans. We solve our problems with polite, measured speech that tackles the issues. Not speech that focusses on fear, distrust, divisiveness, name-calling, flame-fanning or minutiae. Or by tackling each other.

Don’t we?

Saint Helens’ Continued Dyspepsia

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Hi, you’ve reached the magma residence. We’re not available to come to the surface right now, but if you’ll wait for the GIANT EXPLOSION AND LIFE-EXTINGUISHING PYROCLASTIC FLOW, we’ll be with you as soon as possible.

Another steam and ash eruption this morning, but not enough to release the pressure the geologists are thinking is lurking beneath the lava dome. So, the “big one” still has yet to hit.

Portland Sphincter Factor now at 7.2

No Minoan, I

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So Mount Saint Helens (only 50 or so miles from us) “erupted” today. It was more of a burp. Nothing at all threatening, this time. Barely a 2 on the VEI scale, if that. Not like the 5VEI that tore the top off the mountain in 1980. And certainly nothing like the 6.9VEI that destroyed Santorini c1600BCE and hastened the decline of the Minoans. Largest explosion in modern history, that one. But no Atlantis myths spawned today, folks. Please move along.