Saturday, July 26, 2008

Home: A Musical Tribute

With my move to CU Land a little more than a week and a half away, I've been thinking a lot about home lately. As I've blogged about at Separation of Spheres, I never expected to become as attached to Southwest College Town as I've become. It isn't, however, the place I'm attached to. It is the people. The people that C, Wild Man, and I have adopted as our family have become home for us. I'm sure we will become attached to CU Land as we make friends there, but I'm equally sure that we will never experience the type of community we've experienced here. This musical tribute is in honor of my home.

And Speaking of the "Cheetos Brigade": America's Rich Are Being Soaked, and Papa Bear O'Reilly Is Pissed

Okay, so maybe Nader's platform is flawed. Papa Bear O'Reilly puts it all in perspective for us. Blinded by deceitful rhetorics of economic justice in America, we were not able to see the truth. But the spin, as it were, stops here. Leftist America is taking his money, and giving it to the undeserving: lo and verily, this ought not to stand: it is time American stopped beating up on the top 1 percent.

Snippety snippets:

That means that people who drink gin all day long will be getting some of my hard-earned money. Folks who dropped out of school, who are too lazy to hold a job, who smoke reefer 24/7 all will get some goodies in the mail from Uncle Barack and Aunt Nancy, funded by me and other rich folks.

Under the Republican Bush administration, tax money presently pays for abortions, Viagra, condoms, sugar-laden food, dangerous housing in blighted neighborhoods and prescription drugs that will send you to the land of Oz.

But if you complain about any of this, you're an uncharitable greedhead.

Well, I am complaining. I don't want my money supporting some layabout who wants to get high all day long. Robin Hood wouldn't give those people money. The feds shouldn't either.

"Layabout" is a great word by the way.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Radio Station Readers Must Explore

Megs has put Harrogate in something of a recommending mood, himself.

Go here, dear friends. Where Harrogate turns frequently. Good music to read and write to, to clean to, or simply to veg with. And, streamlined out of one of Harrogate's favorite cities on God's Green Earth.

Book Recommendation

Yes, readers, I'm actually going to recommend a parenting book. My relationship to parenting advice literature might best be characterized as obsessive ambivalence. I obsessively buy and read these books and then find myself feeling ambivalent, almost dirty, afterward. But a blog I love recently recommended Becoming the Parent You Want to Be and, like any good member of the Cheetos Brigade, I clicked right over to Amazon and bought a copy. Here's the surprising thing: it's pretty damn good!

The book is labeled "A Sourcebook of Strategies for the First Five Years," which makes it especially appropriate for our little community. It starts off with nine main principles (ex: Learning to Value Struggle and Disequilibrium) and follows with chapters on specific issues for young children. I thought the chapter on Sibling Relationships--my latest fascination--was really great and helped me to see that the previous stuff I'd been reading situated these relationships, at least rhetorically, in terms of rivalry rather than mutual contribution to each other and the family. It's always nice when a twenty page chapter helps to redefine your entire outlook on family dynamics. (The chapter on "Parenting with a Partner" is also well done.)

M, in response to Anastasia, recently prompted discussions about smartness, sensitivity, and praise, and there are chapters in the book that speak to those issues, as well. Overall, a good read. At least one and a half thumbs up!

"Goin' Out West"

An effusion, of sorts. Here's something of an oldy, but still, as it were, a goodie, Tom Waits performing "Goin' Out West"--on the Arsenio Hall Show, no less. A good theme song for Harrogate's dissertation? In some ways, perhaps . . . at least, it works in that role fairly well during those rare periods when Harrogate isn't hating his dissertation so much that he wouldn't dream of honoring it with a theme song.

"I know karate . . . Voodoo too."

" For You, O Democracy," Walt Whitman

Come, I will make the continent indissoluble,
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon,
I will make divine magnetic lands,
With the love of comrades,
With the life-long love of comrades.

I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America,
and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies,
I will make inseparable cities with their arms about each other's necks,
By the love of comrades,
By the manly love of comrades.

For you these from me, O Democracy, to serve you ma femme!
For you, for you I am trilling these songs.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

McConaughey on Childbirth

Matthew McConaghey recently shared with OK! Magazine his experience during the birth of his child. It amazes me how similar his experience is to my own. We must have read the same book on becoming a dad (or at the very least, skimmed the chapter on the father's role during labor and delivery). He says...
We found a great rhythm. Contractions started kicking in. I sat there with her, right between her legs. We got tribal on it, we danced to it! I was DJ-ing this Brazilian music.

I have it all chronicled. Becoming a dad is something I've dreamed of doing since I was 10. Becoming a father felt very, very natural. We were jamming! She was sweating. No painkiller, let's go. She just clicked into that gear that only a woman has at a time like this. We'd been up for 40-something hours, and we went from dead tired to a really steadfast, 'Let's handle this… let's stay in the rhythm. Don't let the contraction be more than you.'

Tulula does NOT do the Hula

I remember a conversation about names I had a with a pediatric nurse before duckling was born. She relayed the story of poor Cash Monet, Tequila, and B'ri'tnnee. Babies who will have a lot of explaining to do as they grow. Well, a judge in New Zealand has helped prevent future bullying by denying some name requests. Sadly, some other ones got through (article from MSNBC).

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A family court judge in New Zealand has had enough with parents giving their children bizarre names here, and did something about it.
Just ask Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. He had her renamed.
Judge Rob Murfitt made the 9-year-old girl a ward of the court so that her name could be changed, he said in a ruling made public Thursday. The girl was involved in a custody battle, he said.

The new name was not made public to protect the girl's privacy.
'Very poor judgment'"The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child's parents have shown in choosing this name," he wrote. "It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily."
The girl had been so embarrassed at the name that she had never told her closest friends what it was. She told people to call her "K" instead, the girl's lawyer, Colleen MacLeod, told the court.
In his ruling, Murfitt cited a list of the unfortunate names.
Sex Fruit?Registration officials blocked some names, including Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit, he said. But others were allowed, including Number 16 Bus Shelter "and tragically, Violence," he said.
New Zealand law does not allow names that would cause offense to a reasonable person, among other conditions, said Brian Clarke, the registrar general of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Clarke said officials usually talked to parents who proposed unusual names to convince them about the potential for embarrassment.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy Wednesday Musical Tribute

Harrogate will never forget the first time he heard this song on the radio. He was working in a greasy-spoon in the Mall, slinging Steak and Cheeses, frying fries, and awaiting the end of his shift, which would mean a good long sojourn on Pete's Couch.

But then the Garbage song "Queer" burst into the Rhetorical Situation of that little diner. Oh my, thought young Harrogate. Whatever. Have. We. Here.

Though otherwise cheerfully given to hyperbolic language, Harrogate must say that he doesn't use such language lightly when it comes to Pop Music. But Really. This song, when he heard it for the first time, really felt like something new. And it forever changed the soundscape of Harrogate's musical taste.

When Metaphors Crystallize: A Real 'Media Drive-By', of Sorts

Still, as Harrogate and Supadiscomama discussed last night, the best Metaphor in our Vernacular remains that of Shit Hitting the Fan. It means exactly what it evokes, so sublimely, so humorously, so viscerally.

But the 'Drive-By Media' meme, begun by Rush Limbaugh, is also relatively useful at times. This morning we had a convergence between Reality and Metaphor, as Valerie Plame's verbal assassin, Robert Novak, apparently slammed his car into a bicyclist and attempted to leave the scene of the crime.


He said he chased Novak half a block down K Street., finally caught up with him and then put his bike in front of the car to block it and called 911. Traffic immediately backed up, horns blared and commuters finally went into reverse to allow Novak to pull over.

Bono said that throughout, Novak "keeps trying to get away. He keeps trying to go.” He said he vaguely recognized the longtime political reporter and columnist as a Washington celebrity but could not precisely place him.

Finally, Bono said, Novak put his head out the window of his car and motioned him over. Bono said he told him that you can't hit a pedestrian and just drive away. He quoted Novak as responding: “I didn’t see him there.”

Heh. Down K Street, indeed.

Why Some People Like Ron Paul, Part IV

Lo, it has been a while since Harrogate rendered an installment of his award-garnering series, Why Some People Like Ron Paul. This has been for several reasons. Some say an uncouth band of Paulites actually kidnapped Harrogate there for a while, and held him hostage on Pete's Couch, where in between tokes they force-fed him issues of The Federalist Papers.

Others, more cynically minded, asserted it was because Harrogate followed Media Hero Frank Luntz's lead, and just stopped caring about The Paul.

Finally, there have been rumors circulating that the real reason Harrogate stopped writing about The Paul is that he discovered a secret message in the movie Office Space, wherein it was pointed out that Libertarianism is the last, last, last thing that needs any extra discourse, in this gilded age of cubicles, outsourcing, mercenary contractors, cuts in education, and the like.

But whatever the reason, Readers, Harrogate now triumphantly returns to the topic. Yes, he boisterously links to one of the last great bastions of Independent Thought in the Media, that Lion known as the Washington Times. Courtesy the equally trustworthy AP, the Times reported yesterday that:

Supporters of maverick Rep. Ron Paul who are organizing a rally as an alternative to the Republican National Convention are moving their crosstown event to a larger venue.

The Rally for the Republic featuring Paul _ the Texas conservative failed in his bid to win the GOP nomination for president _ is scheduled for Minneapolis' Target Center, home of basketball's Minnesota Timberwolves.

"Bah humbug!" quoth Minnehaha Republican Honcho Ron Carey. Or, to quote him directly:

The real action is going to be at the Xcel Center where one of the people who does have a chance to be president is going to be speaking and rallying the troops. When people come to St. Paul in September, they're not going to be focused on Ron Paul.

The Nader: 6 Percent and Rapidly Rising. But, Should His Voice Be Included in Debates?

He's so . . . well . . . ASSY. And, in so many ways. But yet, even challenging, let alone deconstructing, the real veracity of his actual politics is an enterprise to which our flacid Media are notably unequal. As they do in just about every substantive area, they simply choose to murder through omission.

Earlier this month, John Nichols had an interesting piece on The Nader, as well as other fringe candidates. The article provides an illuminating, if only cursorily so, glimpse at the state of multiparty politics in the United States.

Writes Nichols:

A striking 6 percent of Americans who are likely to vote this fall back an alternative candidate: Independent Ralph Nader. Another 3 percent back Libertarian Bob Barr.

Those are some of the highest percentages in years for independent or third-party candidates. And they matter, especially Nader's 6 percent.

And then there's this:

Will any independent or third-party candidate reach the 10 percent threshold this year? Nader appears to be best positioned to do so. Despite scant media attention, he has polled in the 4 to 6 percent range in several polls. Getting up to 10 percent will be hard. But as Obama softens his positions on civil liberties, political reform, trade policy, presidential accountability and ending the war -- issues on which Nader has long focused -- his prospects improve.

And one does not have to be a Nader supporter to hope, for the sake of democracy, that they improve sufficiently to earn him a place in the Google/YouTube debate and other fall matchups. And if Nader gets in, why not Barr and likely Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney?

The only real quibble that emerges from Nichols' pro-republicanism piece is his assertion that Obama's positions have changed in the recent news cycle. But this is far, far more a reflection of the news cycle itself than of Obama, who has for the most part been pretty damned consistently honest about who and what he is. All pathetic gnashing of teeth in certain quadrants of the blogosphere notwithstanding.

Ok, I have a problem with this

This morning, while my students took an exam, I made use of my time by catching up on email and checking out some news sites and a few other sites that I tend to check out regularly. One sight was the NOW website. Let me begin by writing that I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with NOW, primarily because their brand of feminism is becoming dated. But that is a topic for another post.

This morning's annoyance comes from an analysis of the recent New York Times cover. Here is the article on NOW's site. I'm annoyed because this is the first time (at least that I can remember; I didn't troll the archives of the site to make sure I am indeed 100% correct) that NOW has offered analysis of the racism present in the Presidential Campaign. Until now, their analysis of the media has focused almost exclusively on sexism as it has been leveled against Hillary Clinton. To me this--the failure to recognize that racism and sexism are so often linked--demonstrates one of the primary problems with mainstream feminism, if NOW's brand of feminism can, in fact, be seen as mainstream.

"Shut the Fuck Up...It is Almost Over."

Megs and I went to see the Dark Knight this evening. And, during the climatic, existential fight scene between Batman and The Joker, a fight almost broke out to the left of us, with people screaming back and forth over who kicked whom and who did what to whom and why the value of the dollar is so low and whether or not the current credit crisis will drop us into a recession.... Oh wait. Only the kicking and screaming happened right at the point the Joker explained his actions, which I'll have to read on Wikipedia because I heard nothing else other then "You Been Kicking me all through the movie...." Of course, after hearing that, everyone understood why the person kicked all through the movie....

Then, the people in the front ("the kickees") left the theater only to return with a representative of the theater's management. The manager approach the alleged "kickers" and asked them to leave. Of course, the manager looked like a fool when the kicker said, "No" and the rest of the theater told manager and the petulant movie-goers to "Shut the Fuck Up" and "Shut the Fuck Up! It's almost over."

And tickets cost $10.75 a piece. And the popcorn was terrible; too salty, not enough butter, and it took 25 minutes to get it. And I never ate my peanut M&Ms.

Oh, and the movie. Incredible. Health Ledger's version of The Joker was one of the best movie villains, ever. No hype, or, all the hype is true. He made Anton Chigurh seem like Mary Poppins.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Of Crows, Ice Cream, and Wedding Rings: Jouissance, Assy McGee style

The more Harrogate sees of this blog, the more he likes it. Things keep going the way they're going, somebody's gonna get blogrolled.....

Vanity Fair's Response to the New Yorker; Or, Something To Do In Between Softball Games

This is Vanity Fair's current "cover", an overt parody of the now ubiquitously discussed New Yorker cartoon.

The editors write:

We here at Vanity Fair maintain a kind of affectionate rivalry with our downstairs neighbors at The New Yorker. We play softball every year, compete for some of the same stories, and share an elevator bank. (You can tell the ones who are headed to the 20th floor by their Brooklyn pallor and dog-eared paperbacks.)

And heaven knows we’ve published our share of scandalous images, on the cover and otherwise. So we’ve been watching the kerfuffle over last week’s New Yorker cover with a mixture of empathy and better-you-than-us relief.

One thing that's interesting about this, although nobody with any stroke at all outside of Ralph Nader would ever mention such a thing, is the idea of collusion between media outlets. Nay, did Harrogate say collusion? Better to say, when a small handful owns the whole shabang, you're gonna get the same tripe rolled out in slightly different packaging. When was the last time we were able to say the major television and print media did a legitimate service for the nation?

But those days are over. Once they got rid of who was by far the most liberal President in the post WWII Era, Richard Nixon (that's right, Tricky Dick), for being more overt about his criminality than other Presidents, that was pretty much it. From there on out it's been water-carrier city. Hello ditto-heads, and a carnivalesque homage about what a great servant ye were, when ye die. Etc.

But stay! lo and forsooth, enough of such things that Readers don't care about, and to the Cover itself.

Jeralyn at TalkLeft writes of the cover:

I think the VF cartoon is much gentler and less offensive than the New Yorker cartoon.

Also, the McCain cartoon has more truths: John McCain is old, Cindy McCain did have a love affair with pills (even though in the cartoon the pills she is holding are for her husband) and McCain does admire George Bush.

What would you have added to the McCain cartoon to clearly represent the "politics of fear"?

Well. Harrogate is going to, as someone said in Office Space, "GO AHEAD and disagree" with her premise. After all, there really isn't that much you can make up about McCain that is harsher than the truth of what he represents.

But soft! What's that? Jeralyn's deeper premise is right, though? Does Vanity Fair really have the gall to treat the burning Constitution as a caricature, after all we've already seen?

Okay, to Jeralyn's last question, Harrogate will answer. In truth they should have depicted, on a War Room type screen, an image of a huge crowd about to be landed upon by a nuclear warhead. Or, to make the same point, simply a picture next to the one of Bush, except this one depicting McCain having lunch and laughing it up with William Kristol.

But then, how far off would those images have really been?

At the End of Round One

Tobias- 1
Sweet Toddler J- 0

A Tribute to Paperweight, M, and Wildman; Or, Not-So-Happy Tuesday Music Tribute

A big "tip of the hat" to Paperweight, who loaned to me this weekend his copy of Alison Krauss and Robert Plant's Raising Sand. It's a wonderful album!

The clip below is a live performance of one of my favorite songs from the album, "Gone Gone Gone." Posting this particular song makes this otherwise happy tribute also equally heartbreaking, for it reminds me that Paperweight, M, and Wildman will soon, themselves, be "Gone Gone Gone." But only in physical proximity. We will not see them as often as we do now, but I know we will continue to meet often in the blogosphere, where we will no doubt laugh and argue as we do now (just as we continue to do with Solon and Megs after their departure).

Our friendship will last a very, very long time.

Poem for Tuesday: “Democracy,” by Langston Hughes

Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right
As the other fellow has
To stand
On my two feet
And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I'm dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow's bread.

Is a strong seed
In a great need.

I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Happy Monday Musical Tribute: "Jigsaw Falling Into Place"

Always, always the case that there is at least one Radiohead song which Harrogate cannot get out of his head. The current sublime tyrant is "Jigsaw Falling Into Place," off their spectacular and most recent offering, In Rainbows.

It's more the sheer sound of this song that haunts Harrogate. That opening riff just makes everything, ahem, fall into place

But as the lyrics ought not be denied their heft, Harrogate provides them below, as well.

"Jigsaw Falling Into Place"

Just as you take my hand
Just as you write my number down
Just as the drinks arrive
Just as they play your favourite song
As your bad mood disappears
No longer wound up like a spring
Before you've had too much
Come back in focus again

The walls abandon shape
They've got a cheshire cat grin
All blurring into one
This place is on a mission
Before the night owl
Before the animal noises
Closed circuit cameras
Before you're comatose

Before you run away from me
Before you're lost between the notes
The beat goes round and round
The beat goes round and round
I never really got there
I just pretended that I had
What's the point of instruments
Words are a sawed off shotgun

Come on and let it out
Come on and let it out
Come on and let it out
Come on and let it out

Before you run away from me
Before you start unravelling
Before you take my mic
Just as you dance, dance, dance

Jigsaws falling into place
There is nothing to explain
Regard each other as you pass
She looks back, you look back
Not just once
Not just twice
Wish away the nightmare
Wish away the nightmare
You've got a light you can feel it on your back
You've got a light you can feel it on your back
Jigsaws falling into place

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Word on the Flaming Sword Hasselbeck/Goldberg Thread; or, an Elaborate Reply to M

First, the issue for Harrogate is not so much that people came down on Hasselbeck per se. Second, Hasselbeck breaking into tears has nothing to do with Harrogate's argument, either. For that matter, it isn't even what made her, for Harrogate, seem more human than Goldberg.

The issue for Harrogate is this: What made Hasselbeck seem more human, as Oxymoron eloquently put it, is that she acknowledges a lack of understanding on what is, contrary to some recently expressed opinions, a very complex issue. Goldberg, on the other hand, drops all the glib talking points about "APPROPRIATION," as if that settles the matter. Maybe in a Graduate Theory Course that would settle it. But that's about it.

Indeed, m, Harrogate vehemently disagrees with your suggestion that there is ever a point in the clip previously shown, where Whoopi Goldberg and Elizabeth Hasselbeck occupy the same footing, attempting to "make themselves heard." Though Hasselbeck talks more, she shows a desire to listen throughout: Goldberg on the other hand through the whole clip is as static as a medical flatline, offering only the monolithic view which she frames as beyond dispute, and cetainly beyond dispute of anyone who is, gasp! White.

How dare a white person weigh in on this issue in a way that is not fawning?--Is this question the product of an understandable impulse? Of course it is. But how it is in any way good for debate, how it advances understanding, eludes reason. And of course that wretched tool, that enabler par excellance, Barbara Walters, is practically fanning her and feeding her grapes while she pontificates.

Supadiscomama pointed out recently that in the movie O, the modern day Othello figure tells his white girlfriend something to the effect of, "I can say Nigger. You can't. You can't even think that word." Again, understandable?--of course. But then, so too are many things understandable that we don't ultimately embrace. Shall we sympathize with O's effusion unproblematically? Does anything outside of absolute identity politics doctrine allow such a weird assertion to pass, uncriticized?

The problem is, again, Hasselbeck and Goldberg were arguing about something that is very complicated. Neither party is Obviously right. Yet on the recent thread we had the suggestion, by two different commenters, that the problem at hand was Hasselbeck's lack of education. The self-righteousness and smugness of which assertion, and most importantly the wrongness of which assertion to anyone not invested in a particular academic doctrine, is not to be missed.

So these things needed to be pointed out, and point them out Harrogate, in his own clumsy way, tried to do. It may well be that, as one commenter said, that the poster child for corporate greed and pampered vacuousness, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, needs to "get a clue." But then, by the same token, it is also the case that Goldberg's modes of argumentation are embarrassing to those of us identifying as three-dimensional liberal humanists, from sea to shining sea.

As for the assertion of departure by Anastasia, whose comments have of course been valued, and whose return we hopefully await. Harrogate, in short, hopes thicker skin prevails.

Finally, since it is so clear to so many on this Blog, Harrogate then could use some "splainin" by some of them, why exactly it is so obvious that there is no social harm done in the Idea of African Americans, among one another, keeping the word "nigger" alive and well.

On Rock of Love, Part Tres; Or, Does Anyone But P-Duck and Oxyfamily Care?

A few months ago, I offered my congratulations to Bret Michaels for finding his soul mate on Rock of Love II. Shortly thereafter I learned that a third installment of the series was planned, this time starring Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi fame. I intended to post this news on our award-winning blog, primarily for fellow Rock-ofLove-lover P-Duck. Alas, the post kept slipping my mind.

Well, yesterday I learned that Richie Sambora will not star in Rock of Love III. Instead, Bret will give it another go. Apparently, he and Ambre broke up. Rumor has it that his rock star lifestyle is to blame. So rather than find another soul mate who cannot cope with "life on the road," part tres will take place on a tour bus, to insure that the lucky girl understands the ins-and-outs (in-and-out, in-and-out, in-and-out, ahhhhh!) of Bret's life.

Happy Sunday Music Tribute

Well, this is not really a tribute. I was just watching VH1 Classic's Totally '80s and the following video played. I always laugh/cringe/hide when classic rock stars do things like this.