Saturday, February 18, 2017


from Dangerous Minds:

I have a feeling this album was approved for production based on the cover design alone, but it’s an amusing listen, too—in 1966, Happy Time Records (motto: “Hi-Fi for Small Fry”) released Kiddie Au Go-Go, an LP’s worth of “Nursery rhymes with the teen dance beat of today!”, boasting textbook greeting-card psych bubble lettering and a fabulous photo of a little girl in Mondrianesque mod-wear and a toddler boy dressed like his mom thought it’d be “darling” to send him out on Halloween as Quentin Crisp.

The U.S. Happy Time release, 1966

The UK Allegro Records version, also 1966

No damn clue whatsoever, International Award Series Records. This image comes from the Way Out Junk blog, which offers this commentary: “For kids in the sixties that wanted to be cool and parents who wanted to keep them tied to the children’s classics, here’s an album that probably didn’t make either group happy!”

”33 1/3 RPM UNBREAKABLE.” This is my own copy, so we won’t be testing that claim.
As advertised, the album features nursery rhymes (some of them more like children’s folk songs, but that’s probably a petty quibble) set to music associated with the Frug, the Jerk, the Watusi, the Monkey… which is to say that they all sound pretty much like teenage garage bands playing “Twist and Shout” to me. Notably, Happy Time was a subsidiary of Pickwick Records, which really good weirdos will recognize as the label that gave Lou Reed a day job as a session guitarist and songwriter before the Velvet Underground made him notorious. The 1966 release date makes it entirely possible that this was in production during Reed’s two-year tenure at the label, but oh, dear reader, I hunted high and low for any evidence—even the merest suggestion—that Reed might have played on this album, but a lengthy rabbit-hole dive that ate up too much of a nice afternoon turned up zilch. The LP label itself names the band as “The Mod Moppets,” but no session information is forthcoming anywhere, and Discogs lists this as the only release by the anonymous “band.”
Someone really ought to steal that band name.

Friday, February 17, 2017

this week in 1970:

from Dangerous Minds:

This morning I was alerted to the fact that the first Black Sabbath album was unveiled upon this world like an evil curse on this day 47 years ago. Try to imagine what kind of experience it was when someone first whacked Black Sabbath onto their turntable in 1970. There had never before been such a purposefully infernal-sounding racket in rock at that point and it set such a high watermark so as to almost never (ever?) have been topped in that category. Black Sabbath was radical, primal, primitive and quite unprecedented. The young group’s formula—Dennis Wheatley/Hammer Horror meets Cream/Vanilla Fudge—was ingenious and yet dumb enough to please the cheap seats. 
What must Black Sabbath’s Black Sabbath‘s opening track “Black Sabbath” have sounded like when people got their first taste of the group? To properly appreciate how truly radical this must’ve been coming at you like a rock to the head just as the Sixties had ended—flower power this was definitely not—you’d really have to mentally erase the decades of imitators who have come since, which is difficult to do. If you trace heavy metal down to its root moment, its true moment of birth, it was when these four guys in their early twenties happened upon this sound:

At the time of the song’s composition, the group was still named Earth, which they knew they had to change due to another band already using it. When they noticed long lines waiting to get into a Boris Karloff film called Black Sabbath across the street from their rehearsal studio, they wondered if the punters would also line up for a sort of heavy horror rock. The band was renamed Black Sabbath and gained a new direction and winning formula that would make them famous and wealthy faster than a pact with Satan.

Writing at On This Deity, the Arch Drude Julian Cope had this to say about the album:
Cannily clad by their record company in a self-consciously Wiccan outer package more fustily archaic and holy than modern “secular” postwar New Testaments could ever have dared to be, and possessed at its centre of an enormous inverted cross, BLACK SABBATH summoned the ears of the Hippie Generation’s little brothers and dragged them jerking into the cold light of the 1970s. The Downer had begun.
And it ended earlier this month when Black Sabbath played their final show in their hometown of Birmingham, where Ozzy had a tram car named after him last year.
“N.I.B,” live at L’Olympia Bruno Coquatrix in Paris on December 20, 1970.
“Behind the Wall of Sleep,” Paris 1970.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

America's institutions can preserve liberty, but they're also pretty good at destroying it

from Boing Boing:

As trumpism metastasizes, I've taken some comfort in the American system of checks and balances, especially the independent judiciary and the strong Constitutional tradition, which lets impact litigators like EFF and ACLU leverage the courts to overturn the executive branch; I've seen this work many times with EFF and other civil liberties organizations.

But as Corey Robin (previously), author of Fear: The History of a Political Idea reminds us, the darkest actions in America's darkest years were undertaken with the cooperation of American institutions, not in spite of them. Slavery and Jim Crow weren't accomplished by shredding the Constitution, but by interpreting it. The internment camps of WWII, the murder of trade unionists, were all accomplished through America's institutions, "often with the collusion of some of the most esteemed voices of liberty in the country."

Robin isn't saying that these institutions can't be put to good use, but rather that it's up to us to make them do yeoman service. We're aided in this by the fact that Trump and Bannon don't seem to understand how useful institutions could be to their program, and so they're deliberately making enemies of the intelligence agencies and administrative branch.
This is a country that in the last half-century has managed to undo some of the precious achievements of liberal civilization — the ban and revulsion against torture, the prohibition on preventive war, the right to organize, the skepticism of the imperial executive — through lawyers, genteel men of the Senate with their august traditions and practices, and the Supreme Court.
When it comes to the most terrible kinds of repression and violence, Fear, American Style has worked because it has given so many players a piece of the pie. The most prized elements of American constitutionalism — shared and fragmented power, compromise and consent, dispersed authority — are the very things that have animated and underwritten Fear, American Style.
Insofar as Trump and Bannon believe that we need authoritarian strongman politics in order to achieve their ultra-revanchist aims, they don’t understand American politics. When it comes to American revanchism, that kind of strongman politics is almost entirely superfluous. Indeed, it’s pure surplus. And may be well counterproductive to what they and their constituents truly want.

Fear, American Style [Corey Robin/Jacobin]

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

School of Life Bonus Tuesday: The Darkest Valentine

Love has many very dark sides. It is best to whisper them very quietly to ourselves – and those who are ready to listen.

You can download this Valentines card here:

Monday, February 13, 2017

School of Life Monday: Why Humanity Destroyed Itself

The real reason we may destroy ourselves isn’t really to do with politics or economics or even warfare. It has to do with our minds.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Nice Day At The Park

Keep Hope Alive!


(click on the panoramic image to see bigger)

Washington Square protest and march on Saturday... good to get out and in it.

Here's a photo I saw on line last week thought it was cool enough to share,
creative graphic this woman made:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Words by RAKIM

Words is a re-introduction, and aural celebration of hip-hop’s most influential MC. Inspired by the vinyls that birthed the art form, the film is a portrait of two sides of an artist (A & B) and the streets and city he inspired. Two of his verses have been remixed … the words will never change.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Scientists, and their moral duty to resist trumpism

from Boing Boing:

A trio of "scientists against a fascist government" set out a program for resisting trumpism with science, delving into the moral duty of scientists to resist the perversion of their work to attain cruel and evil ends.

Trumpism includes savage attacks on ideologically inconvenient science -- climate science especially -- as well as xenophobic attacks on scientists themselves; as with Max Planck's arguments for sparing Jewish theoretical physicists (because they were different from other kinds of Jews), the trumpist agenda will likely grant exemptions for Muslim scientists if they're working on projects revelant to the Trump program -- there are a lot of oil engineers who graduate from universities in the Islamic world, for example.
In order to move away from a constrained, collaboration-oriented stance, we propose that starting points for discussion should include those with the most power taking the highest risks. Among a growing number of proposed ways to engage in resistance, one option is for tenured faculty to engage in work slowdowns and strikes, with teaching and committee work stoppages. We cannot afford to normalize this administration’s attempts to subvert the rule of law, which has often fallen short in protecting people at the margins and more often than not has established their place at the margins.

It is not up for debate; science can be, and has been, used as a tool of fascism.

We cannot do business as usual anymore, regardless of how much we love our research or how important it feels. It is for the love of science and our long-term ability to study it that we must take a stand now, while there is still time. This is not just a matter of individual action, but collective action: Faculty and administrations must visibly oppose marginalizing policies, whether they target immigrants from majority Muslim countries or further institutionalize destructive mass incarceration of American residents.

We believe that scientific research is a creative enterprise and expect that scientists can and should come up with creative ways to stand in solidarity with society’s most vulnerable, whether or not they are members of the scientific community. There is a proud tradition of the revolutionary scientist. Linus Pauling, a nobel laureate and protein chemist, worked with the Black Panther Party to develop inexpensive diagnostic tests for sickle cell anemia. Albert Einstein worked as an anti-racist and peace activist during and after World War II. Max von Laue resisted Nazi infiltration of German physics and maintained relationships with Jewish scientists, while publicly eulogizing those who were lost. This is a tradition we see as our duty to uphold.

We Are The Scientists Against A Fascist Government [Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Sarah Tuttle, and Joseph Osmundson/The Establishment]

Thursday, February 9, 2017


from Dangerous Minds:

While it is still legal to select your own music and video entertainment, why not seize the day? Come join me in YouTube’s deep Dead Kennedys hole. After you’ve exhausted the band’s slender official home video catalog, there’s more than enough not-so-official footage to absorb all the sleepless hours after curfew.

This video of the DKs at Portland’s Earth Tavern on November 19, 1979 captures them in between their first single, “California Über Alles,” and their second, “Holiday in Cambodia”: pre-Peligro (the drummer is Bruce Slesinger, a/k/a “Ted”), but post-6025.

It’s the second set of the night (and substantially different from the first, to the DKs’ credit), which explains Biafra’s hoarseness. Portland-area YouTube user MikeBrainfollies claims the video is his work, but doesn’t say more; in any case, it’s a two-camera job with the kind of video mixing you just can’t get these days.

If you’re a fan of the Dead Kennedys’ compilation album Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death, “Night of the Living Rednecks,” Biafra’s spoken-word rant about getting hassled by rich dickheads on a previous visit to Portland, comes from this show. After “Chemical Warfare,” East Bay Ray exits the stage holding his guitar—a sunburst Strat?—by the neck; “Ray’s guitar broke,” Biafra complains. Klaus and Ted blow some jazz.

It’s very strange to see a performance you’ve heard on record hundreds of times. When Jello says “His fists didn’t go up so quickly this time,” you can see the person in the audience he’s talking about. You also see Jello using a cigarette as a prop, a strange sight to behold. After Ray finally returns to the stage, Jello asks the audience for a cowboy hat in which to sing “Rawhide,” but has to settle for a beanie that makes him look at once like Mike Nesmith, Bruce Springsteen, and Dumb Donald of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. I appreciate what he says about “clowndominiums.”

The set list:

“Forward to Death” (0:00)
“Back in Rhodesia” (an early version of “When Ya Get Drafted,” 1:24)
“Funland at the Beach” (3:28)
“Dreadlocks in the Suburbs” (6:02)
“Drug Me” (9:19)
“Kill The Poor” (12:36)
“Kepone Factory” (15:03)
“Police Truck” (17:09)
“The Man with the Dogs” (19:52)
“California Über Alles” (22:52)
“Holiday in Cambodia” (26:10)
“Chemical Warfare” (32:01)
“Night of the Living Rednecks” (35:10)
“Rawhide” (44:07)
“I Kill Children” (46:11)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Listen: interview with Mad Magazine's Al Jaffee:
The longest working cartoonist in history'

Brian from the Recommend if You Like podcast sez, "For episode 200 (MP3), we sat down for a 90 minute interview with Mad Magazine's Al Jaffee, who, at the age of 95 holds the title of 'the longest working cartoonist in history.'"
Weeks before I sat down to record this interview in Al Jaffee’s amazing Manhattan studio, upcoming guest Kid Congo Powers made reference to a club “looking like a scene out of Mad Magazine.” I knew what he meant immediately. The strange cross section of the human experience filtered through the lens of the Usual Gang of Idiots. And at their center is Jaffee.

The cartoonist is now 95 (“closer to 96,” as he handily points out during the interview), with his signature fold-in having appeared in virtual every issue between 1964 and 2008, along with his other mainstays like “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.”

The longest working cartoonist in history kindly agreed to sit down for wide ranging interview about life, death, cartooning and the importance of a steady gig. It’s one my absolute highlights of doing the show and great way to spend episode 200.
Episode 200: Al Jaffee [Recommend If You Like]

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Paul ‘H.R.’ Hudson (BAD BRAINS)
and the Enduring Power of P.M.A.
from Psychology Today

from Psychology Today:

Bad Brains singer shares spiritual path
“Some people look at me, and talk about me like a clown.
They just don’t realize it’s just my simple way to get down.
I’ve got that supertouch. Chances are, I’ve got too much.
I’ve come to let you see that you also can be free.”

— from “Supertouch/Shitfit” by Bad Brains

It’s no exaggeration to say that people worship Bad Brains.

Bad Brains’ legendary front man, Paul “H.R.” (“Human Rights”) Hudson, commands an almost supernatural reverence. For example, in the book Finding Joseph I: An Oral History of H.R. From Bad Brains, co-author Howie Abrams refers to H.R.’s voice as “otherworldly.” Norwood Fisher of Fishbone described H.R. as a “genius madman musical prophet.” Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat and Fugazi described H.R. as “a visionary.” And Mark Anderson of Positive Force D.C. called H.R. “an absolute shaman.”

 Jeff Schmale
Source: Photo credit: Jeff Schmale

The admiration that H.R. commands is perhaps best summed up by John Joseph of Cro-Mags: “Still to this day, I bow down.”

At the same time that H.R. is so highly revered, there are few figures in music history who are as enigmatic. Far from an exercise in abject hero worship, the portrayal of H.R. in Finding Joseph I is one of a complex man who has defied convention at every turn, perhaps to his own detriment.

Bad Brains’ music and live shows still set the bar for excellence in heavy-metal music. And H.R. is admired for his tremendous insight and strong ability to build bonds and command loyalty. However, the book also describes erratic, violent and self-destructive behavior by a man struggling with mental and physical illness making commercial success less viable and at times leading him to incarceration or homelessness.

In spite of the various struggles that H.R. has experienced in his life, there is one incontrovertible fact: Through it all, he has maintained an unyielding and unflinching spiritual approach to his life; specifically, Positive Mental Attitude. P.M.A. can perhaps best be defined as a deep sense of optimism. And the theory of P.M.A. is that this optimism attracts positive people and situations, helping one to achieve life goals and personal fulfillment.

So when I spoke with H.R. about his life and career, my goal was to deconstruct how H.R. approached P.M.A., not only as a way of celebrating his consistent ability to maintain this mindset, but also to learn from his example. In doing so, I became aware that P.M.A. is not a mindset or attitude per se, but a holistic and active spiritual, mental and behavioral practice. And while not everyone will embrace every aspect of H.R.’s approach, his story serves as an inspiration for each of us as we navigate our own struggles.

At the core of H.R.’s approach to P.M.A. is a deep spirituality – particularly a connection to God and Jesus Christ. H.R. described himself as initially a Jehovah’s Witness, but then eventually embracing Rastafarianism. He explained how reading Napoleon Hill’s 1937 book Think and Grow Rich introduced him to the concept of how faith can drive one to success.

“I was doing more drugs and living wild. At that time, I knew in my heart that I wanted a better way. Just in the nick of time, God taught me how to relate to him. It was in 1979. My father introduced me to a book called Think and Grow Rich,” H.R. told me. “So I read the book and found the connection to God … it introduced a new philosophy to me.

“The new philosophy was P.M.A. Anything the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”

That spiritual connection serves as the engine for H.R.’s approach to P.M.A. “I think the way is better when you can believe in yourself and believe that you are a true son of God and a true daughter of God,” he explained. “And there will be a better way of living for those that want to know…that can help them and save them from tragedy.”

Connecting with God is not a passive endeavor for H.R. in which he hopes to find divine revelation, but rather an active process in which he engages in activities specifically designed to enhance his connection with God.

Love thy neighbor as one loves thyself. Using these ideals and using the formula that one can have through a labor of love. So they would grow up and learn to do the things that they love,” H.R. explained..

Also, for H.R., one needs to have an open mind to embrace P.M.A. and to always be simultaneously learning and teaching. “A good leader is someone who would lead people to the new way, the new lifestyle of God,” H.R. said. “But it is very important to also be a good follower still.”

In theory, when one is focused on their connection with God and having a loving path, different activities can help facilitate P.M.A. “It’s not in one particular formula except for love,” he explained.
As an example, H.R. embraces going to church and reading the Bible. “I think that the way we can do it is by studying the word … and then we will learn for ourselves,” H.R. said. He recalled going to a local church “and the pastor there came to visit us, and he said I was very familiar with the Bible. And he wanted to know how I was so into the Bible.

“And it made him feel happy and glad that I was.”

Another form of exploring P.M.A. is through music or other creative outlets. “When someone keeps the faith, they’re able to become a better person and also do things better. These things that I’m talking about are like playing guitar or playing the bass or singing.  Music has a lot to do with the new person they’re transforming to be,” he said. “I knew I’d have to continue on in music, but I’d have to do a new kind of music to help me be a new person.”

And while there are several things that can enhance one’s P.M.A., H.R. points to racism and discrimination as obstacles to having a loving relationship with oneself and others.

“It was easy coming to know the new way of God and this attitude or this way of living does not interfere with one who is not a racist,” H.R. described. “I think some people make it hard because of racism … I think that it does interfere with their quest of life… They know what they’re doing is wrong. But they still want to get away with it and try another way of living.”

In the early ’80s, H.R. himself harbored discriminatory attitudes and in an anti-gay incident involving the hard-core band Big Boys, H.R. used derogatory slurs against the band. In Finding Joseph I, H.R. is quoted as saying, “I am much more live-and-let-live. I would not say those things today.”

Over time, science seems to have caught up to H.R.’s approach. Though P.M.A. as a construct still has not been formally studied, we now know that different aspects of P.M.A. predict health and well-being. For example, research suggests that optimism, as well as spirituality and religion, predicts improved health and well-being. And there is consistent evidence that music can be a form of medicine, improving conditions including Parkinson’s disease and depression.

And while H.R. has faced many ups and downs, things seem to be headed in the right direction. In addition to the recent book about his life, Finding Joseph I co-author James Lathos completed a documentary about H.R.’s life as well. And there is talk of Bad Brains making new music together this fall.

Perhaps most importantly, however, H.R. is on a path to recovery from the mental and physical health issues that he’s faced. In contrast to many people whose religious beliefs result in lower adherence to medication regimens, H.R.’s approach to P.M.A. dictates that difficulties can often be temporary and that medication is one way to help people through a difficult time in life.

H.R. describes how he has been willing to take medication to manage his mental health issues, which his wife, Lori Carns Hudson, has described as schizophrenia. “I think that some people … they let the medicine pass them by. Or they may object to a certain kind of medicine. But one should know that they are going through a phase in life,” he described.

H.R. has also embraced healthier dietary habits that become a form of self-love. “I think by eating and drinking new things that we’re supposed to eat and drink … So, here’s this wonder drug called spirulina. Also, another good source of eating is the wheatgrass.  These can definitely assist mankind in taking care of oneself,” he explained.

And to continue on his path of health, H.R. heads into surgery on Feb. 21 to relieve him of a rare form of headache — short-lasting, unilateral neuralgiform headache with conjunctival injection and tearing (SUNCT).

And after years of being his followers, we can perhaps show that we are also leaders by sending support through a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for H.R.’s medical costs.

As we continue to understand his message and learn from his life, we can learn to find the path that works for us.

Because, hey, we’ve got that P.M.A.

Michael A. Friedman, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in Manhattan and a member of EHE International’s Medical Advisory Board. Follow Dr. Friedman on Twitter @DrMikeFriedman and EHE @EHEintl.

Monday, February 6, 2017

School of Life Monday: Are we too Materialistic?

The worry that we are too materialistic is an inevitable one in modern consumer society. The answer, surprisingly, is that there are better and worse versions of materialism.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Saturday, February 4, 2017

go see SAVING BANKSY this weekend in the theater!

I saw it last night for the first time, and was stoked.
Good work, cool "Street Art" film,
and a story of commercialism and integrity.

find a theater here: SAVING BANKSY near you.

and it's not just cause I got a few quotes ;-)

read the New York Times review here:
Review: ‘Saving Banksy’ Affirms Graffiti’s Populist Values


Colin Day’s fascinating documentary “Saving Banksy” rightly honors that renowned pseudonymous street artist whose work (often in public spaces, like a resort town) combines stenciled imagery with clever, cryptic phrases. But “Saving Banksy” has a larger goal: pointedly weighing graffiti’s populist ethos against art-world profiteering.

Graffiti art can be ephemeral: a spray-painted image — until somebody defaces it, or a property owner paints over it — is, at least briefly, free for everyone to behold. Banksy’s public art endures, partly because of extraordinary efforts to salvage it. When the artist visited San Francisco in 2010, his work popped up in various neighborhoods. One artist-collector, Brian Greif, had part of a wall, with Banksy’s rendering of a rat, meticulously carved out of a Victorian building on Haight Street. He seeks a museum that will share it with the public in perpetuity.

Mr. Greif’s effort contrasts with that of Stephan Keszler, an art dealer with a gallery in Southampton, N.Y., who excavates Banksy’s works from public sites and sells them for his own gain. Banksy (who has never revealed his identity) condemns such sales, as does Ben Eine, one of many street artists interviewed here. Mr. Eine says Mr. Keszler is regarded by such painters as “a shyster”; Mr. Keszler, who displayed a few Banksys at Art Miami in 2012, says he enhances Banksy’s reputation.

“Saving Banksy” owns its sympathies: “It’s the poor street kids and the multibillionaires,” Mr. Eine says. “We’re doing everything for nothing, and they’re walking home with Banksys for a million dollars.”

read the Hollywood Reporter review here:

the director Colin M. Day made this clip for my show in San Francisco back in 2010

Friday, February 3, 2017

Jay Adams would have been 56 years old today

Here's a photo of Jay from the Cherry Hill skatepark, never seen before... circa 1978

Thursday, February 2, 2017

“Donald Trump has branded himself a traitor to everything this country has stood for.”

Keith Olbermann has a message for the global community: We’re sorry.
Donald Trump has branded himself a traitor to everything this country has stood for. We have already acted against him in the streets and in the courts,” the liberal commentator said in his latest “The Resistance” segment for GQ. “We will remove him. We will welcome you again.” 
Olbermann also spoke about America’s long history as a sanctuary for the world’s immigrants and refugees, and drew parallels between Trump’s immigrant grandfather and his own immigrant great-great grandfather.  
Toward the end of the video, Olbermann seemed on the verge of tears as he quoted “The New Colossus,” the Emma Lazarus poem written for the Statue of Liberty and engraved in bronze inside its pedestal.
Check it out above.