Friday, February 25, 2005

Run that River Underground! vI



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"While Longfellow was writing poems in honor of Minnehaha Creek on the other side of the city, few spoke out against the city's plan to hide Bassett from view."
--CityPages11/29/00





I live in Minneapolis more specifically here and even more specifically 'Near North' Minneapolis and finally in Harrison Neighborhood (check out the path of the river on that Harrison neighborhood picture where it is dotted lines...the river is underground!!)




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This lovely spot is just down the path, along the river, the part of the river that still remains above ground.





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Here's a classic shot from 1935 where someone approved some draconian 'fulginess' when they built walls to protect the banks from washing away. Alas, trees do the same thing!






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Here is that same spot today (except I'm below the bridge instead of on it). The park is a pittance of underbrush, "natural" and "native" species. Although it's snowy here, and it's hard to have the depth, I live by the church in the upper left side of the picture. Frankly, I can't dig all the open "ball" fields, and approved bike paths. I need more prairie, I need more trees.

The gist of this river and land around it is that it's been run around, polluted and run underground. The River has tried to fight back:



This is junk land, owned by the railroads, oil companies and dumped on by everyone. Harrison is historically one of the poorest neighborhood in Minneapolis. (source and source & what the mayor says about what he's doing about the poverty: comment)

The water table ruined by crap oil rigs like Warden Oil. Pictures from the 1953 100-yr flood:






2 nights ago, I went to the Harrison Community meeting on the "reclamation" and re-zoneing of the Basset Creek Valley. The good news was that we were going to have more green space, a connection to South Minneapolis that didn't involve getting on a highway (the connection will run from the Walker Art Center to the current Bryn Mawr Park), more control of the industries that stay (ala' green roofs), and get this...an open river!! that means they'll bring it back above ground... I think it could become and essential aspect of the Minneapolis "landscape"; after 50 years...uncovered...can we/they accommodate the 100 years flood? I'll expand on this more later...

I'm ill ...need sleep

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Hotel Rwanda =Hollywood || Darfur/Sudan = Reality

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The photos above are from a classified document from the African Union and the NYtimes from the Sudan and specifically Darfur.

The other night I watched Hotel Rwanda about Rwanda 1994, and the genocide of the Hutus and the Tutsis. A stunning film, based on fact, Hollywood definitely added some drama, but it's a fact, 800,000+ people died in 100 days in Rwanda, and no one cared...the UN couldn't help, the US didn't help and 800,000 people were literally hacked to death...I watched a PBS special on this a few years ago, and read a companion piece in Harpers about the ease in saving more people. How people in Rwanda had saved people just by pretending to be UN workers. People would don the UN garb and sit outside churches with 100s if not 1000s of people jam packed/baracaded with their friends/relatives/towns/etc into the churches. It's crazy to think that one UN guard or one fake UN guard would/could stop a mob wanting to kill the 100+/1000+ people just 5 steps away, behind that church door. A mob! Yet they did and they could!

There was another story I heard of a person who thinks they could have save 100,000s of people by just using 4-8 UN guards around the local soccer stadiums! That's alot of people saved... but no, 800,000 people died... that's literally 60,000 tons of human. 60,000 tons of flesh, organs, fingernails, eyeballs, hair, lips...(if you multiply average weight by 800,000) That's 750,000 more people that attended Coachella last year. That's almost the whole city of Minneapolis. In fact I was wrong it is double the city of Minneapolis...as my friend J.D. pointed out in the comments:
Minneapolis, the city, is only 382,000. So really, its double the population of MPLS, with another 36,000 from Roseville, to top it off at 800,000 deaths.

Scary stuff...

This leads me to the current genocide going on in the Sudan/Darfur. After such a successful movie, you would think America would wake up and help. You would hope...instead we carry on with Michael Jackson, new Survivor seasons, Paris Hilton's hacked phone, the Oscars, the stock market, bullshit, bullshit, and more bullshit.

Here is a chance for America to really help and stop another Genocide. It shouldn't even be an option. We must help. But hey, maybe we're just looking for another great movie plot. Maybe Don Cheadle needs another potential Oscar?

Is it because people in Darfur and the Sudan are black? poor? Muslim? What is it? Why don't people care? They are killing children...raping women...beating, burning, killing...

How can America and the World help so quickly with the Tsunami and let the current genocide commence?

Web sites like www.darfurgenocide.org and www.savedarfur.org are trying to galvanize Americans, but the response has been pathetic.

In the Studio: The Field



After a beautiful snowfall on Saturday night I got up early and headed over to Fur Seal Studios to finish mixing the last song on our 3-song demo! The song is called Hey Day and it's a song that born when we started playing with our new bass player, Nick Herschlip. It's a song reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr. and Broken Social Scene.

Anyway, after spending several hours tweaking and getting everything just right, we're proud to introduce our final track from the recording done between Fall/2004 & Winter/2005.

Here it is: Hey Day


Here's another song called: Nimbus


Thanks and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Warmest Embrace

Bella and friend Basil hard at work


When the world's gone wrong and you're having a bad day, a dog like my dog Bella (aka. Hootie Bootie) can solve all your worries, anxieties, fears, anger, frustrations, apathy. With just a look and a snuggle, Bella can wash away the doldrums.

This day is dedicated to Bella as she sleeps on my office floor, I salute her for her patience, requited love, peacefulness and her ability to take away a bad day.

We got Bella from the Hennepin County Humane Society on a rainy day about 1.5 years ago. We brought her into that "petting" area and she puked all over the floor and didn't really want to be petted, she had just had her uterus removed and was feeling like shit. Anyway, then we took her out to play catch with a tennis ball, and that's when I knew she was our dog...She reminded me so much of a previous Husky Lee and I had, Mia, who was so wild that she would run up the couch and on to the wall, or try and punch you with her paws...anyway, she ran away and I've heard she's with some hippies and they call her Kaya (100% Female marijuana)...go figure.

Anyway, Bella ran after the tennis ball and splayed out on the floor and that's when I knew she was our dog...

She's completely changed my life. I used to come home after work with a chip on my shoulder, unconsciously aching to release it on my unsuspecting wife...now I am greeted by the wagging tail and human like howls of Bella. What a joy.


Tomorrow I'll get back to more important things, I've been doing a bunch of research about my neighboorhood (Harrison) at the Minnesota Historical Society...Scary stuff, I live right next to 2 Superfund sites and Harrison is historically the poorest neighborhood in the Twin Cities. Check out the BCVBuzz (The Basset Creek Valley Buzz) all about the current stuff happening along the Basset Creek Valley.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Hacked

hahaha...a good hack?

Anyway, someone over here: HiltonHacked
Hacked Paris Hilton's phone...what's next hacking her car or home security system? haha anway...check out the phone numbers... I dare someone to call Dave Chappelle! If you do...leave a note here as to what he says:

GO here for the phone numbers : Hilton-Hacked

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Way You Make me Feel


Beginning of the End?

Virus is resistant to nearly all drugs

A previously unknown strain of HIV that is highly resistant to virtually all known drugs and appears to lead to the rapid onset of AIDS was detected in a man last week, New York health officials said Friday.

While the extent of the spread of the disease is unknown, officials said the situation was alarming.

IHT

Coupland -- A new book..I didn't know



A new book by Douglas Coupland? It's my dirty pleasure like my love for Motion City Soundtrack (OMG I said it in public...I guess I just love that cute lead singer...)

Anyway, this book sounds like classic Coupland:
A riveting, witty, and profound story of loneliness and connection from internationally bestselling author Douglas Coupland.

The 1997 night that Hale-Bopp streaks across the skies over Vancouver, Liz Dunn has nothing in her life but impending oral surgery and an armful of schmaltzy video rentals to get her through her solitary convalescence in her sterile condo. She's overweight, crabby, and plain, but behind her eyes lurk whole universes that she's never had the opportunity to express. Just as Liz makes a quiet decision to seek peace in her life rather than certainty, along comes another comet, in the form of a young man admitted to the local hospital with her name and number inscribed on his Medic Alert bracelet: In case of emergency, contact Liz Dunn.

A charming lost soul and a strange visionary, Jeremy upends Liz's quiet existence, triggering a chain of events that take her to the other side of the world and back, endangering her life just as a real chance at happiness finally seems within reach. By turns funny and heartbreaking, Eleanor Rigby is a fast-paced read and a haunting exploration of the ways in which loneliness affects us all.


Can't wait to read it.

Winter = Country Music



I don't know if it's the dimming of the sun or this brutal cold that turns my bones brittle, but this is the first time I've ever embraced country music. Something about its' warm tones, singing-steel-pedal-guitar and the minimal approach of the Castanets - Cathedral has left me loving “derailed psych-country.”

The creative impetus behind the Castanets is Raymond Raposa
the son of expatriate journalists; Raposa tested out of high school at the age of 15 and traveled the U.S. via Greyhound bus off and on for the next four years. This unusual educational experience spawned a musical vision that reflects a disquieting sub-strata of American life.
Some songs on Cathedral have nothing more than a single guitar plucking out melodies in a simplistic homage to Morton Feldman or John Cage while other songs blaze with the cacophony of Stockhausen colliding into the numerous early blues artists Fat Possum Records has recently helped resurrect.
Raymond Raposa's aching use of silence -vs- caterwauling is something to me that screams of a new authenticity in American Country.

This leads me to the new release by Bonnie "Prince" Billy & Matt Sweeney Superwolf a stunning release that reminded me of Neil Young - On the Beach evoking the tang of something ancient and the folk-rock idiom of the current indie-rock status quo, yet propelling it into a fresh musical dictum. It's an astonishing album that provokes a new direction in country, alt-country and indie-rock in general.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Sanctimonious bullshit for the Hotline -OMG

Check this: OUT!

or the text from the AMERICAblog post is here:

Sanctimonious bullshit for the Hotline
by John in DC - 2/16/2005 03:59:00 PM

The Hotline is a big inside-the-beltway publication read by all.

Amid the semi-hysteria over the blogosphere's growing influence, one important question has been left largely unanswered: Does anything go? -- Bloggers have claimed credit for at least helping to bring down several journos in recent months -- Dan Rather and Mary Mapes at CBS, CNN's Eason Jordan and conservative WH reporter James "Jeff Gannon" Guckert. All three episodes featured ideological bloggers either uncovering new facts about these folks or raising questions about their work. But the Guckert episode alone has included a focus on his personal life. -- The cry from bloggers and voices on the left is: How does an (apparent) gay prostitute get (alleged) access to classified gov't documents? (Wouldn't Bob Barr have already called for a special prosecutor if this were 1997?) But if Guckert's personal life is an issue, are the private lives of all reporters now fair game? Aside from issues like Guckerts, legal records, financial matters and even pure gossip could offer a wealth of targets for those web warriors with a grudge. Where does it end, and who's next? Does this mean reporters now know what life's like for a political candidate?

More blah blah blah about Jeff Gannon's private life being offlimits. Let's all say it again, loud and clear. Jeff's previous job, and apparently current job since the Web sites are still live, is not his private life any more than outing Hotline reporters as, well, Hotline reporters is their private life. Whether they like or not, whether I like it or not, running a prostitution service goes against every family value that this administration and Guckert supposedly stand for.

Where was the high-and-mighty Hotline when George Bush, with the help of buddies like Guckert, tried to write me and 20 million of my friends out of the Constitution last year? Where was Accuracy in Media, the conservative bloggers, and everyone else who is defending Guckert's "private life" when my private life was going to singled out and savaged in our nation's most sacred document simply to get a few votes?

You've got a lot of nerve, Hotline. The entire GOP and its mainstream media sympathizers have a lot of nerve. We're talking about a hooker getting special access to the White House, the president, and intelligence information, and somehow everyone has suddenly discovered a conscience about homosexuals and hookers. Oh how I wish that conscience were real. But it's not. Bash a fag, bash a whore, and the GOP eats it all up. They throw us to their hateful, bigoted religious right buddies for votes with glee, while Mary Cheney cowers in the corner and Ken Mehlman runs for the shelter of the off-the-record quote.

Well newsflash Washington. The GOP is the one that rose gay-bashing and gay-baiting and sex-baiting to an art, and JeffJimGuckertGannon willingly joined the family values parade in print and in passion. They're trying to ban condoms, pornography, AIDS education. They take children away from gays, and want to make our very lives a crime. GOP Senators compare us to kleptomaniacs, alcoholics, and man-dog sex. And they can't even handle a bronze breast on a statue.

And we're the ones picking a fight over sex.

Spare me your sanctimonious bullshit now that those of us in the gay community and on the left have finally - finally - started to fight fire with fire by simply holding you to the very standards you legislate over us. We are simply giving the GOP the sex-less utopia it's always wanted. How does it feel?

Oh, gee, the Hotline warns, this might establish a precedent. Really? You mean the GOP might respond by using our sex lives against us as a weapon to destroy us and curry votes with bigots?

I don't like this battle, I don't enjoy this battle. I hate this battle. But the battle began years ago, and until now, we sat back and watched and waited and hoped it would go away. Well it's not going away. We have a choice. We can sit back and watch the GOP sex police destroy us. Or we can fight back. And I can think of nothing more poetic, nothing more just, than fighting back by simply holding them to their own standards.

PS And don't even get me started on Valerie Plame."


Wow!!

So you say the World isn't changing?

Argentina's Upsala Glacier was once the biggest in South America, but it is now disappearing at a rate of 656 feet per year.
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1859 etching of the Rhone glacier in Valais, Switzerland, and shows ice filling the valley. In 2001, the glacier had shrunk by some 8202 feet, and its 'snout' had shifted about 1476 feet higher up.
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This is a section of shoreline at Cape Hatteras in North Carolina in the USA, pictured in 1999 and 2004.
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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a consortium of several thousand independent scientists, predicts that sea levels could rise by between 3.54 inches and 34.65 inches in the next century.
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This image shows Mount Hood in Oregon at the same time in late summer in 1985 and 2002.
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These images show damage to White Spruce trees in Alaska caused by the pests.


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Thanks to the BBC for the pictures.

William Basinski: Silent Night / Variations: A Movement in Chrome Primitive




One of my favorite artists has just released his long anticipated followup to The Disintegration Loops series. Silent Night, elegant and mind-numbingly good, what the world has been waiting for. "Newest work by Basinski. Very tranquil, somnolent ambient meditation, 60 min. Composed using the Voyetra 8 synthesizer. In clear plastic sleeve with ink jet printed folder featuring a drawing by James Elaine."


Variations: A Movement in Chrome Primitive "Another excellent work from the archives of American composer William Basinski. This 2CD is a joint release with David Tibet's (Current 93) own Durtro label. It comes in a 4 panel digisleeve."


William Basinski about this work: "Variations: A Movement In Chrome Primitive was created in 1981 using piano tape loops, which were played randomly against themselves creating feedback loops. By 'cloning' small cells of melody and then 'breeding' them randomly, new sounds were formed. These new sounds move in and out of the original cells, creating complex crystalline structures: new life forms not unlike cities for example, which the original cells occupy, moving in and out of one another in surprising variations. The equipment I used to record these pieces was very primitive and my recording technique preposterously amateurish at that time, yet what occurred in these youthful experiments compelled me to continue learning and growing as a composer."
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I love the place William Basinski puts me in, a place free of constraints of time, beats, ideologies; a peaceful satori. He is able to defeat the boredom associated with other conceptual musicians by his symbiotic relationship with the organic process of "cloning" and "breeding" imperfect loops that become their own when they interact with each other and the rest of the music. If you like this conceptual hop-skip-n-jump then check out:
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Fennesz
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Oren Ambarchi (Guitar work that sounds like Binary Fission and Mitosis)
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Rafael Toral (Works with interactive loops and the organic process of feedback)
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I know there are many more amazing conceptual musicians, but these are some of my favorites. cha-cha-chiggity-check-em out

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Blink--Thin Slicing-Music

Following up from yesterday's bullshit ramblings...


I'm finishing up one of my favorite books: Blink about "...rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye."

I found this book fascinating in many aspects as it relates to my passion for music as well as just about anything we do on a daily basis. It was especially applicable in interviewing for jobs. I interview many people at my current job at C*cle S*ort M*g*zine and I'm always struck by my first impressions and reactions I get from prospective hires when asking them questions of any kind. After reading Blink I started to try and thin-slice my job applicants after asking them a battery of questions. I've tried to take notice of micro-expressions, because lets face (sic) it, people are good at bullshitting about abilities, experiences and work ethic (when are you going to go into an interview and tell someone you are not hardworking, you love coming in late and you have no abilities?) and my job as interviewing prospective applicants very much depends on me thin-slicing people and getting a feel for who they are in the time frame of a 15 minute interview. I'm not about to say I'm good at it, but after reading Blink I've been trying alot harder to see if I have any skill in this area...More later on if I do...


Being in a couple Bands (The Field & Duplomacy) I've found that Blink directly relates to my experiences in bands and in my aural preferences. Whether I like it or not (and most of the time I wish people didn't thin-slice my music) people are continually judging my music as it relates to all music. In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell discusses phenom Kenna and his ability to garner support from the industry but not the radio. Gladwell discusses how crowds and artists went wild for Kenna, yet when his album was tested by radio focus groups he failed horribly. Is his music bad or is it just a fact that some music is so new and different that it takes repeated listens before it becomes something people respond to? This takes me to my bands. One of my bands is much more radio friendly and easier to quickly dissect into an affable reaction; where the other band has songs that all work themselves out at about 5 minutes and in my opinion are more fresh than other radio friendly songs. The reaction to the band with the "crowd challenging" songs has had much less success, smaller crowds and never gets played on that radio. Does this make it a failure? Not in the least. It's a matter of people thin-slicing the "crowd challenging" band too quickly and not giving the songs time to sink in enough to come see us again. It's frustrating and invigorating at the same time. Frustrating in that we don't get the response we want, but invigorating in knowing that we're challenging people's perceptions of what music is in these '00s. Anyway...enough rambling.


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On other fronts...


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Does anyone care about Michael Jackson?


Sure he had some great albums, I would say it was pretty much over for him creatively ever since "Off The Wall". Q. Jones helped him create a masterpiece of funk and dance beats back when MJ actually fit the part. Now he's a freak who happens to have produced some amazing music, and once again he's a great patsy to sway the public away from the real news in the world. More people in my office talk about MJ and his trial than they discuss Iraq, Social Security or the disinformation of the Bush Presidency. This is another nightmare that will last 4-years.


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Final Thoughts/Questions:

Will America ever elect another President they can trust?

Sound = Colors

One more cool thing today, coming from Cornell University (where my Uncle went):

Colors = Sound

Virus -vs- Virus: A good plan?



Check out this crazy thing those wacky scientists have down at Mayo Clinic!


An excerpt:


"An international team of Mayo Clinic-led researchers is first to devise a system that consistently converts the measles virus into a therapeutic killer that hunts down and destroys cancer cells -- and cancer cells only. Their research findings appear as an advanced electronic article of Nature Biotechnology. The researchers harnessed the viral trait for attacking and commandeering cells, and then redirected the virus to attack diseased, rather than healthy cells. The work was done on laboratory animals implanted with two kinds of human cancer cells -- ovarian cancer and lymphoma -- and is probably still years away from use as a human therapy. But the concept has at last been proved in mice with human cancer tumors -- and that's an essential step toward using this approach to expand and improve human treatments for a variety of cancers."

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Sounds pretty wild to me...it also sounds like the future.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Bull-Shitting? Is anyone not?


A great new essay from Harry G. Frankfurt, about the essence of bullshit. We all do it and this great article give some insight into the difference between straight out lying and bullshitting. Here's a link to the 80-page text


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I find this fascinating due to the amount of bullshit it takes to make the world turn and make your name in the world. Just last week I have a job interview at the U*ne Reader where I bullshitted my way straight through 3 interviews and into a job...was I lying? Does it matter? Due to my bullshitting ability do I deserve to have the job or just gutted and filleted? Anyway...who cares--I know the poltical gurus of the world don't?

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This: Spark is going on here in Minneapolis/St Paul this weekend...does anyone care about micro-tonal bullshit especially if it's coming from DJ Spooky? I can tell you for one that I saw DJ Spooky a few years back...like 1999...at First Ave and was entirely and supremely disappointed. It looked more like he was wasted and happen to fall into a couple of turntables instead of actually having some sort of skill associated with the art of turntablism...and if the horridness of his abilities was the in-joke, then I was seriously out of the "cool" loop. His performance was laughable and the biggest waste of money I've spent since I wasted $30 back in the 90's to see The Red Hot Chili Peppers who should know better than to try and sing when they can't.--let the Hatin' commence!


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My band: Duplomacy is playing this Wednesday at the Turf Club in St Paul, MN...


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