Archive for February, 2006

Feb 24 2006

Prepare to Prefuse

Published by Brian under music

The prolific Guillermo Scott Herren, working under his Prefuse 73 nom de musique, is back with another slab of digital dope, Security Screenings. Jamin Warren writes that “Prefuse 73 sounds like a cyborg creation caught in a time trap somewhere between the hot buttered soul of the 70s and the Mantronix-era vintage hip-hop of the mid-1980s.” That’s a fair enough description of his classic Vocal Studies & Uprock Narratives, as well as the new disc just out from Warp Records. Herren takes bits of vocals (spoken or sung) and grinds them up into breathtaking soundscapes that are as melodically fascinating as they are beat-bumpingly groovin.

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Feb 21 2006

Student Filmmakers

Published by Brian under film

Wazzu Films is a student organization at Washington State University that encourages the making of short films.

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Feb 13 2006


Published by Brian under fiction, reviews

review by Brian Charles Clark

Candide: Or, Optimism
by Voltaire
Publisher: Penguin, 2005

Candide“All is for the best” in this, the “best of all possible worlds.” Never mind the atrocities and civil war in Iraq, or the genocide in Darfur, or the infected-blanket politics of influence peddler Jack Abramoff, or the hate-mongering of religious zealots, or—wait—wrong century. No big deal, all is well and proceeding according to plan.

Candide’s optimism in the face of injustice, suffering and despair has inspired two-hundred-years’ of parody and satire. Kurt Vonnegut recommends Voltaire’s classic skewering of philosophical optimism (or, rather, its misinterpretation in the popular culture of eighteenth-century France), and it is clear that Candide’s naïve “all is for the best” has aged well, maturing into Billy Pilgrim’s blithely stoic “so it goes.” Continue Reading »

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Feb 13 2006

Opium Culture

Published by Brian under drugs, reviews

review by Brian Charles Clark

Opium Culture
by Peter Lee
Park Street Press, 2005

Opium CultureThere is much to be appreciated about Peter Lee’s Opium Culture, and plenty more to criticize. The book is loosely organized around the theme (never stated) of “use it, but don’t abuse it.” Lee, who “lives in retirement in Thailand” and comes down firmly on the “use it” side, purports to supply users or potential users with accurate information. It should be noted, however, that with opium, as with cannabis or any number of other “illegal” intoxicants, accuracy is a misnomer: what research has left blank folklore fills in. Continue Reading »

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Feb 06 2006

Downing Street Memo, Part II

Published by Brian under war, politics

A vital bit of news has gone missing in action (again). Here’s the scoop from The Nation, followed by a suggestion regarding what you can do about the missing story. “A new memo leaked to the British media last week asserts that George Bush and Tony Blair agreed in January 2003 to go to war in Iraq–not March 2003, as they insist. It also suggests that the leaders knew there was no legitimate case for war, and that Blair told Bush that he was ’solidly’ behind US plans to invade Iraq before he sought advice about the invasion’s legality. Most shocking, it reveals that Bush was so desperate to provoke a war that he proposed painting US planes to look like UN aircrafts and flying them low over Iraq in hopes of inciting an Iraqi attack. (Bush to Blair: ‘The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach.’)” Take action! Write your local newspaper and demand coverage of this story. Here’s a draft letter that I sent to various papers in the Pacific Northwest as well as the New York Time. Be sure to revise the letter a bit before sending. Continue Reading »

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Feb 01 2006

Addicted to Oil

Published by Brian under oil, politics

Geroge Bush said the “A” word! Our alcoholic (word is he’s drinking again since his slump in popularity), cokehead president said, last night in his State of the Union address, that the U.S. is “addicted to oil.” Nevermind that Bush had no substantial contribution to make in terms of weaning Americans off the black stuff; it’s shocking that he recognizes that Americans have a disease. Instead, the president wants us to build more nuclear power plants. I think that’s a great idea: while we’re shutting down Iran for building nuke plants (or whatever the hell they’re doing), we’ll build more so that terrorists will have a broader array of targets and so that more enriched uranium can “go missing” to be sold on the black market. Terrorists blowing up nuke plants will save us the trouble of solving a serious problem with nuclear energy: what to do with the waste. Continue Reading »

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