Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Tao of Keef

From the New York Time blog Paper Cuts:
On May 5, just in time for Mother’s Day, Bloomsbury will publish What Would Keith Richards Do? Daily Affirmations From a Rock ‘n’ Roll Survivor. The author, Jessica Pallington West, writes in the introduction:

'The Tao of Keith is one of humanity, of seeing with clarity and looking at the bigger picture of history and culture. There is a respect for the mystical and a reverence for the creative. … He’s rock ‘n’ roll matured, a visionary and a rogue: a prophet minstrel who’s walked through fire. … With Keith, we have a new form of guru: a modern, streetwise, urban guru.'

Funny, but why a book? Ok, rhetorical question, I know. I just want to know what Mr. Richards has against cheese! I guess the bit about him falling out of a coconut tree will be cut. Or maybe that's what makes him an "urban guru." Very zen, grasshopper.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Phil Spector Found Guilty

This is a few days old, but worth of posting here: Phil Spector was found guilty of second-degree murder!

From The Toronto Star:
Second-degree murder carries a penalty of 15 years to life in prison. The use-of-a-gun enhancement adds three, four or 10 years in prison, according to the district attorney's office.

Defence lawyer Doron Weinberg said he believed the case was swayed by the judge's erroneous rulings, particularly one that allowed five women from Spector's past to testify. He said it would be the basis for appeal and a request for a new trial.

Spector's young wife, Rachelle, sobbed as the decision was announced.

Rachelle has no idea how close she came...

My previous post: "Give'em Enough Rope."

Scary Books

The American Library Association's list of banned books has, for me at least, become less infuriating and more funny every year:

1. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

2. His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, violence

3. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R series by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

4. Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, violence

5. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, violence

6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group

7. Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Ziegesar
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

8. Uncle Bobby's Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen
Reasons: homosexuality, unsuited to age group

9. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

10. Flashcards of My Life by Charise Mericle Harper
Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

Movie: Frost/Nixon

During this last election, pundits likened the candidates to Lincoln, Kennedy, Nixon, Truman and so on. Whatsername even got a fifteen-minute shot till she became a post-election celeb known more for her daughter’s sex life than anything else. McCain lost Obama lost, history was made, and the world became hopeful. Barak Obama’s election was the best thing to happen to George W. Bush. I came to this conclusion in the midst of Ron Howard’s terrific film Frost/Nixon, which depicts the 1977 interview British presenter David Frost (Michael Sheen) did with Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) after the president quit the White House following his involvement in Watergate.

Frost was not a journalist, but he was backed by intrepid researchers—-journalist James Reston Jr. (Sam Rockwell), producer John Birt (Matthew MacFadyen), and journalist Bob Zelnick (Oliver Platt)-—who desperately wanted Nixon to confess on air and had limited time and resources to make it happen. Seemingly born for the tube, the TV talk-show host was up against a man who decidedly was not. Nixon, however, was an old-school manipulator who simply needed the right management for television. And for the first three interview segments, he presided beautifully.
The film ably tells the story of the Frost-Nixon interview, depicting it as a verbal fencing match, which is a little clich├ęd but accurate. It also shows how a president of the United States got away with a criminal act and had to live with the shame for the rest of his life (Nixon died of a stroke in 1994). A moral ending.

Ah, but for the helicopter.

There was nice little scene of Nixon flying from the White House in a military chopper. Much like the one Bush flew away in January 20, 2009, after Obama’s inauguration; when we all sat glued to the TV to watch (on stations worldwide) the first black man sworn in; when we all breathed a collective sigh of relief.
As did Bush and Cheney and Rove.

See, Nixon was impeached and the office of the president was subsequently filled by Vice-President Ford, who served a less memorable term. George W. Bush and his string pullers served two official terms, picked up (“urgently” in Cheney’s case), and were whisked away.

The nation and its media turned its weary eyes and lenses to a new president who offered change and hope. We focused on the economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the greedheads on Wall Street.

And turned our attention away from the scoundrels who were responsible for it all.
Are there dogged researchers and journalists who will set their sights on the crimes of the Bush administration how that it cannot be impeached? A president and vice-president who inflicted an illegal war on at least two countries and thereby devastated both of its economies? Will there be a Frost/Nixon anytime time soon? The optimist in me thinks yes. The realistic in me knows no. And the sceptic in me thinks no one will care.

No Means No

Canada is committed to the Afghan mission till 2011. Meanwhile, President Karzai is considering laws that are repressive to women, which includes one that sactions rape within marriage. Canadians are rightfully outraged, but remember that in Canada:
  • women have only been considered persons since 1930;
  • women have only had the vote in Quebec since 1949;
  • in 1968 it became illegal for a husband to beat his wife;
  • in the 1970s, women had to have a male family member co-sign loan and credit-card applications; and
  • in 1983, rape within a marriage became illegal in Canada
We rolled up our sleeves and changed the law here. Now, women in Afghanistan are doing the same thing. Correction, it isn't the same: They are literally taking their lives in their hands for human rights. After being shot, killed, pummelled, set on fire, burned, had acid thrown at them and otherwise, Afghani women are STILL standing up and crying out: No means no. Weaker sex? Not bloody likely.

When Canada leaves the region, it is imperative that we not forget these women and their supporters. Women's rights are human rights.

The Globe and Mail ran a good piece on April 18 that's worth a read:"Plight of Afghan women prompts fresh debate over war," by Sandra Martin.