Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rockin' in the Free World in Central Park Yesterday

I realize that there are probably people in suits on television this morning speaking about important matters of politics and football, but I'm still on a high from spending all day and night on my feet on the Great Lawn in Central Park in the greatest city in the world watching Neil Young, the Foo Fighters, Black Keys, Band of Horses, and K'naan, so I'm reliving yesterday's Global Citizen Festival with videos.
There are professional videos on the internets already, but I like the way that this amateur video from the crowd brings back the feeling of being there for the closing "Rockin' in the Free World" with Dave Grohl and Dan Auerbach strapping on guitars to join Crazy Horse, and all of the musicians on stage together singing the chorus (along with tens of thousands of others on the lawn):

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man
We got a kindler, gentler, machine gun hand
We've got department stores and toilet paper

Got styrofoam garbage for the ozone layer

Got a man of the people says keep hope alive

Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive

Keep on rockin in the free world

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Walk Like A Giant" from Neil Young and Crazy Horse

Here's the first official video from the next album from Neil Young and Crazy Horse coming out on October 30 on 2 CDs or 3 LPs, "Psychedelic Pill" (a title full of possibilities for an old Deadhead like me). The song is "Walk Like a Giant" and this kaleidoscopic 4'30" video is only part of an album track listed at over 16 minutes.

I hope they play this when we see them in Central Park on Saturday!

And since posting this a few minutes ago, I found this live version from Red Rocks in August:

Monday, September 24, 2012

"The Liars" by Carl Sandburg

"The Day Carl Sandburg Died" is playing on American Masters on PBS tonight. Yevgeny Yevtushenko was just reading part of The Liars. Here it is in full, as relevant today as it was when written in March 1919:

The Liars
Carl Sandburg

A LIAR goes in fine clothes.
A liar goes in rags.
A liar is a liar, clothes or no clothes.
A liar is a liar and lives on the lies he tells and dies in a life of lies.
And the stonecutters earn a living—with lies—on the tombs of liars.

A liar looks ’em in the eye
And lies to a woman,
Lies to a man, a pal, a child, a fool.
And he is an old liar; we know him many years back.

A liar lies to nations.
A liar lies to the people.
A liar takes the blood of the people
And drinks this blood with a laugh and a lie,
A laugh in his neck,
A lie in his mouth.
And this liar is an old one; we know him many years.
He is straight as a dog’s hind leg.
He is straight as a corkscrew.
He is white as a black cat’s foot at midnight.

The tongue of a man is tied on this,
On the liar who lies to nations,
The liar who lies to the people.
The tongue of a man is tied on this
And ends: To hell with ’em all.
To hell with ’em all.

It’s a song hard as a riveter’s hammer,
Hard as the sleep of a crummy hobo,
Hard as the sleep of a lousy doughboy,
Twisted as a shell-shock idiot’s gibber.

The liars met where the doors were locked.
They said to each other: Now for war.
The liars fixed it and told ’em: Go.

Across their tables they fixed it up,
Behind their doors away from the mob.
And the guns did a job that nicked off millions.
The guns blew seven million off the map,
The guns sent seven million west.
Seven million shoving up the daisies.
Across their tables they fixed it up,
The liars who lie to nations.

And now
Out of the butcher’s job
And the boneyard junk the maggots have cleaned,
Where the jaws of skulls tell the jokes of war ghosts,
Out of this they are calling now: Let’s go back where we were.
Let us run the world again, us, us.

Where the doors are locked the liars say: Wait and we’ll cash in again.

So I hear The People talk.
I hear them tell each other:
Let the strong men be ready.
Let the strong men watch.
Let your wrists be cool and your head clear.
Let the liars get their finish,
The liars and their waiting game, waiting a day again
To open the doors and tell us: War! get out to your war again.

So I hear The People tell each other:
Look at to-day and to-morrow.
Fix this clock that nicks off millions
When The Liars say it’s time.
Take things in your own hands.
To hell with ’em all,
The liars who lie to nations,
The liars who lie to The People. 

Poor Wittle Mittens Needs a New Theme Song

I suggest Jelly Roll Morton's "Whinin' Boy Blues" (performed here by Jorma Kaukonen):

In case you missed it here's one of the latest examples of Poor Little Mittens whining that Big Bad Barack is making his inevitable ride to the White House on his White Horse unnecessarily difficult: "Romney Blames Obama for His Campaign Challenges" in the New York Times Caucus Blog.

Our Military Needs Your Fiver!

There used to be a poster back in the Vietnam years (known to Mitt Romney and the "Parisian Sightseeing Boat Veterans for Truth" as the years of French hell when Mitt could find neither good Velveeta nor real Wonder Bread!) that said something like, "What if Schools Had All the Money They Need and the Air Force Had to Hold a Bake Sale to Buy Bombers?"  Maybe that great day has finally come. Mitt Romney is asking us to give $5 to the military, but he doesn't seem to be promising us a homemade cupcake from Ann Romney's kitchen, so I say No Deal!

A Romney ad that appeared on my Rutgers Football blog earlier today.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Randy Newman's New Song: "I'm Dreaming" (of a White President)

"I'm dreaming of a white President / Just like the ones we've always had / A real live white man / Who knows the score / How to handle money or start a war / Wouldn't even have to tell me what we were fighting for."  --Randy Newman, "I'm Dreaming"

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, 2012: Closing A Circle?

New albums are generally released on Tuesdays, so maybe it's not that significant or coincidental that Bob Dylan's "Love and Theft" was released on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 and his "Tempest" was released today, Tuesday, September 11, 2012.  

World Trade Center from Jersey City, September 11, 2012

It seems significant to me though, because on the morning of September 11, 2001, I was looking forward to walking around the corner to the Sam Goody store on the corner of 42nd Street and 2nd Avenue at lunchtime to buy "Love and Theft".  At noon we were still being told to stay in our building and by late afternoon when I left the office, the album was not on my mind, and all the stores were closed. I can't remember when I finally picked it up. It couldn't have been more than a week or two later, but the excitement about a great recording will be forever overshadowed by events.

Today I hit my local record store as soon as it opened at 11 and picked up "Tempest" (this isn't a review, but I'm loving what I've listened to so far) and for the first time since 2001, there is a visible highlight to the lower Manhattan skyline. I don't believe that "closure" is even a proper word, and that's not what I'm talking about here, but it feels to me, personally, as if we're beginning to close a circle.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mitt Romney to Polar Bears: "Your Freeloading Days Are Over."

I didn't see Mitt Romney interviewed by David Gregory on Meet the Press yesterday, but I've now seen a few choice quotes. Just as the most memorable line from his convention speech (for me) was this one: "President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. [GOP conventioneers snickering and jeering] My promise ... is to help you and your family. [cheers] ", the most jarring line from the Gregory interview I saw was this one:
"I’m not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet. I’m in this race to help the American people." -- Mitt Romney, August 9, 2012
It's obviously a memorized and well-rehearsed talking point.

Fuck you polar bears. Fuck you planet. Fuck you grandkids.

It's not a photo or video or song that comes to my mind when I think of this shortsighted profit-driven anti-environmentalism. When I think of the world after the ravages of human-influenced climate change, it's these lines from Section V, "What The Thunder Said," in Eliot's "The Waste Land" that come to mind.

Here is no water but only rock 
Rock and no water and the sandy road 
The road winding above among the mountains 
Which are mountains of rock without water 
If there were water we should stop and drink 335
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think 
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand 
If there were only water amongst the rock 
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit 
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit 340
There is not even silence in the mountains 
But dry sterile thunder without rain 
There is not even solitude in the mountains 
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl 
From doors of mud-cracked houses
                                If there were water
And no rock 
If there were rock 
And also water 
And water 
A spring 350
A pool among the rock 
If there were the sound of water only 
Not the cicada 
And dry grass singing 
But sound of water over a rock 355
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees 
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop 
But there is no water

Forward, a photographic update on World Trade Center construction

Tomorrow is September 11, the 11th anniversary  of a day we won't soon forget.
Here's a phone picture taken of the lower Manhattan skyline this afternoon, the latest in an intermittent photographic series here on tracking the progress of construction on the new World Trade Center: