Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Hail, hail. Summer is here

Christmas time in NZ is usually the time to go out to the parc, to play in the sprinklers and have barbeques with the family and friends.

This year, however, it has been raining and hailing. Needless to say, people are expecting a white Christmas this year.

I'm just hoping for a bit of heat so I can wear my shorts outside...

Monday, December 20, 2004

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Monday, December 13, 2004

Remains

The radio crackles though wood grain speakers
And I laze with the windows open
Sun drowsing the flies until they walk
Pictures fade in the glare on the west wall

The cedar tree in the front yard tips towards the house
Roots sprawled in the heat clasp the spongy earth
The low roof glances down in silence
To where tomato vines once clung to string

The small bedroom feels hollow
With the mattress lying on the floor
Empty closets behind closed doors resound
The last footsteps in this final act

Cracked weatherboards patched for the sale
Are pale with their mask of paint
Memories that remain faint sketches when covered
Read like stories in the dents and etches

Those with history here can see them
Even the ones burned in the rusted oil barrel
And the sound of almost feral bursts of laughter
Recalled by the ears and nerves who heard

For the man who lived here died here
And left his soul here
Mainly in the dried lawn cut while it was green
And in the screen of a hedge encircled like a fortress wall
That made the large world
The brutal world
Seem more assuring and small.

13/12/04

Thursday, December 09, 2004

love and revolution

i know i've been slack at keeping up with things lately. this has something to do with renovating my home - a project which is finally near completion. i've been reading through a really amazing essay on the nature of greed and smithian economics, and i hope to post something about it in the near future.

until then, here's an item from the washington post on people who have fallen in love and married during the historical protests in the ukraine. i just hope these young people understand that the romance associated with revolution can dissipate once the mundane resumes. though, that said, i don't believe in sure things. either their love will survive the years or it won't...

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Who said bigger is better?

Americans are getting fatter.

I am totally gobsmacked...

Sunday, November 21, 2004

U2 dismantles their dangerous nature

like a lot of internet punters, i have been fortunate enough to come across a copy of U2's latest effort, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" (HTDAB). initial listenings of the album didn't impress me, although subsequent ones embedded 'Vertigo' into my mental muzac despite a certain meaninglessness to the lyrics - in other words it succeeded as a pop song. most of the songs fall into this category: fairly catchy, safe lyrically and musically and sounding like the U2 that we used to know and love.

although my initial impression was relatively harsh, i still stand behind what i've written (which i've included below) - the release is only impressive if you look at it in terms of the fact that U2 has been around for 25 years and is still making music people will flock to record stores to buy. i'm sure fans will love the album and pack stadiums to see the mythical four perform. they definitely deserve induction into the rock'n'roll hall of fame. that said, this recording doesn't do or say anything new. saying it is a rehash may be too harsh - it is more like a familiar revisitation packaged for commercial consumption.

i can't help but feel somewhat let down by this bland effort which to me pales against classics like "War" "Joshua Tree" and "Achtung Baby". it is also utterly straight-laced (and almost simplistic) compared to the self-reflexive, somewhat dangerous semi-arthouse pop of “Zooropa” and “Pop”. i’m sure bono could go into the complexities and nuances of his lyrics on HTDAB, but as a listener and long time fan, there is not enough to maintain my interest lyrically. then again it is easy for me to be critical being that it is not my album yielded from years of time and effort.

would i go to see U2 in concert given the chance? hell yes. their live performances rock, and they have a mountain of fantastic material to perform. case in point, they recently appeared on the american tv show "Satuday Night Live" and performed three songs on air to rapturous crowds (most perform two) - they played more, but they had to cut off the live feed at 1am. they are legendary musicians and are worth seeing if you have a chance.

that said, i still don't think i could part with the money to buy their latest record. some might say that i’m the one playing it safe by only listening to previous efforts. but i do it in order to maintain a sense of nostalgia about the band i grew up with - one with a rebel spirit and a certain amount of pomposity that embraced the personal and the mystical, the earthly and the divine, the serious and the self-ridiculing to create music that resonates with me. the stuff i hear now is more like rock echoes of the spirit that i used to enjoy so much: it is familiar but ultimately empty.

-cyrusout

posted in blogcritics.org 19/11/04:

i have listened to the album a few times now and my opinion hasn't changed much even though i just caught myself humming the chorus to vertigo...i find that the sound is a polished return to the original U2 sound a la "Boy" with hints of "War" and "Joshua Tree". that said, i found nothing quite as stunning or exciting as on the earlier efforts.

bono's vox sounds a bit strained most of the time and his lyrics don't have that same exciting insightful thoughtfulness as some of the classic U2 tracks. it's almost like they have sold out and are trying very hard to be "U2-ish" in order to prove they haven't lost their soul as a band. most of their lyrics amount to fairly clich├ęd platitudes about love, god and the world. gone are the statements about politics, the stories of people they knew, and the country they grew up in - in short their sincerity.

pretty music aside, the blandness of the songs makes me indifferent about this effort, which i'm sure will still garner the enthusiasm of fans who really want to like the album and thus get a ton of airplay. i mean, this is 'U-bloody-2' we're talking about, and we are only mere mortals.

don't get me wrong, i really like the musical aspect of the album - it's very clear and cohesive, drawing on the roots of the band's spirit. it's just they lyrics and bono's voice which bother me. although i've had trouble adjusting to all the changes the band have gone through in their lengthy evolution, i've had to respect their drive for some artistic expression, always pushing the boundaries of what they had known and what their fans would tolerate. but this "return" to U2 roots misses lyrically to the same extent that it hits musically. i found nothing soulful, profound, or even vaguely interesting - just a bunch of U2-like songs that wash over me like flotsam and are quickly forgotten.

i think the lyrics of the song "One Step Closer" pretty much sum up where the band is at this point:

"i'm on an island in a busy intersection/ i can't go forward now/ can't turn back/ can't see the future/ it's getting away from me / just watch the taillights glowing/ one step closer to knowing..."

i think we are one step closer to knowing they are only going through the motions.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

A Game for All Urban Liberal Democrats (and anyone else who wonders about the American Electoral process)

Here's a game anyone can play to give Bush a brain. See what happens when he gets one. If only it were that easy...

Thanks to DS for this cool link :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

this is something that i thought i would only read about in america

straight from the nz press, a woman has been breastfeeding her staffordshire bull terrier pup in order to raise it as part of her family. how strange is that?

this one of the few pieces of writing that i've seen the word "bitch" used in its proper context...

Monday, November 15, 2004

give us your tired, your huddled masses...

a few months ago, i was surprised to get an e-mail from a friend out of the blue. he said that if a certain texan got re-elected in the states, he was looking to move out of the country, possibly to nz. also, during a news item post election, an older guy (a probable kerry supporter) was being interviewed about what he was going to do, and he said he was moving to new zealand. what is it about our fair country here that makes it look like a haven for the disaffected and displaced? could it be our clean, green image a la nuclear-free stance, or is it the regions of vast untamed nature as showcased in LOTR, or could it be the fact that we have a female prime minister who runs a government with leftist leanings? maybe it's just that we're a relatively developed english speaking country far away from everyone else. who really knows.

being an ex-pat living in godzone for the last 10 years, i can say with some certainty that it is a much better place to live if you like a less frenetic pace with fewer people and a more relaxed outlook on life. i think feedback like this has filtered back to the states and has triggered some interest in migrating here.

along that line, this article from an nz magazine called the Listener extends the offer of asylum to all the democrats out there who might be looking for some shelter from the republican storm battering the shores of the american continent and beyond.

so why not consider nz? sure our broadband is expensive and you might not be able to find a starbucks on every corner (yet), but we're good folk, even despite the fact that our sheep sometimes make world news...

Sunday, November 14, 2004

how long does it take...

... to fall to the ground if you fell out of an airplane at high altitude? approximately 4 minutes and 15 seconds. how do i know this? from the latest music video from the kiwi band Fur Patrol, of course...

btw you'll need quicktime to see this one. enjoy!

Coke: Kills Bugs Dead

a friend told me recently my blog is a bit oblique in places. fair enough. my political leanings are not going to agree with everyone. in fact, i like the spur of an issue to stir up a good debate. that said, i think it is time to take a break from ranting and just focus on the humorous and mundane.

here's a news item out of india about how coke and pepsi are enjoying a boom among farmers who are using the beverage as a pesticide.

and to think i know people who drink the stuff by the truck load. i suppose there is no chance of them getting any internal parasites...

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

i must like ranting

here's an editorial that i wrote for a NY Times forum on the iraq occupation. it was longer, but the forum had a max length of 4000 characters. it forced me to pair things down a bit and get rid of unnecessary words. it's good - i need to learn to get to the point sooner...

-cyout

a war for democracy?

i cannot understand, from a historical perspective, how the bush administration believes that by invading another country and pummelling it into submission it can create a setting fertile for democracy. does it plan on killing every "insurgent" or "rebel" it comes across? these people have families and friends. how much more likely is it that new insurgents will be created by the killing of the old ones?

we use words like ‘rebel’, ‘insurgent’, or even ‘terrorist’ as ways to dehumanise others and make them worthy of mortal retribution, but they are still people with families and stories about how they came to be where they are. in iraq, the reality is that people are killing people, but in the west, as long as we see them as less than righteous and our gas and shopping prices remain the same, we don't seem to mind. the conflict is "over there" with some backward fundamentalist towel-heads who need to be smacked upside the head to understand what a great thing democracy is.

what if america was invaded? what if china, russia and germany felt that the united states was evil and took unilateral action to shut down its program to manufacture weapons of mass destruction and free us from the rule of our war-mongering president. what if, as a result, most of the country was bombed and shot up until the infrastructure collapsed and foreign forces occupied us. would there be american resistance? absolutely. would we be labelled as insurgents and rebels by the occupying force? without a doubt. would we feel just cause to see the occupiers as invaders rather than liberators? more than likely. would we hate those who killed our families and friends? yes. so what is the difference between us and the people in iraq? why can't most americans see the other side of the story?

in the movie, "three kings" during the interrogation scene between mark wahlberg's character, troy, and the iraqi soldier, the soldier asks him how he would feel if he bombed and killed troy’s newborn daughter like the US bombed and killed the soldier's year-old son. troy answered, "worse than death."

many of the iraqi people have been bombed, shot, maimed and terrorised, their homes destroyed or damaged, their safety threatened or taken away completely, and their families fractured by death. their infrastructure barely functions, and they are being occupied by a force that does not understand them nor even like them. despite this, i still hear americans ask "why do they not feel grateful?"

if the expression of true democracy is "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" then how can you create that with death, occupation and the destruction of stability? some might say that the end justifies the means, but others would reply that the means make who we are in the end.

the question is this: is the united states a true democracy that fosters freedom and cooperation through egalitarian means, or are we a self-serving nation with nationalistic imperatives that uses democracy as a storefront to sell our own agenda to the rest of the world?

before the invasion if iraq, i would have had a much more optimistic view. since then, however, the unilateral action taken by the US based on trumped up lies about WMD and the subsequent economic costs and loss of human lives as well as the thriving of terrorist networks and a reduction of world economic and political stability, i would say that the great democracy that was america is at least unwell, if not worse, a shadow of its former self.

my hope is that by establishing some discussion we can re-create the moderate milieu that bush’s administration has all but destroyed and re-establish a spirit of cooperation more characteristic of democracy. then rather than live in a world of polar opposites that undermine each other and wreak havoc through acts of destruction, we can work towards a world that has an enduring stability fostered by a sense of respect for human life and the sanctity of democratic principles.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

i've decided...

i am going to become a professional writer. i am going to do what my father should have done many years ago. why? i think for the following reasons:

i have things to say and can say them with a certain degree of proficiency
i come up with ideas that are worth exploring
i like language and expression
i enjoy writing

what are my obstacles:

my lack of self discipline
laziness
procrastination
limited language skills
i don't read very much
need to support my family financially
time and energy

how do i get around my obstacles:

work a little every day
read a few pages every day
use dictionaries
make a deadline
work when i have time

currently i have ideas for 3 novels, 4 feature films, 2 shorts, and half a dozen short stories including a children's book. for goodness sake, i have to write otherwise i'll never be able to read how they end!

anyhow - i thought i'd say it publicly. what better way to kick things off and be on my way.

-cyrusout

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

american shame

i've watched the country known for democracy and freedom shame itself. it is neither democratic nor free - it is tied by it's nose through the media chain held by the current administration. and where the administration leads, the mindless minions latching like a baby onto the breast of easy slogans and simplistic fears follow.

i am ashamed to be an american today. for the first time i thought about giving away my citizenship. i thought about the embarrasment i will face living abroad as a u.s. citizen.

how can americans be so ignorant, so easily confused by denial, repetitive name calling, and mudslinging to forget the issues, the world circumstances, the deep divisions precipitated by one of the most narrowminded, most war mongering, most self-serving administrations in recent history? how can we want a continuation of war unless we are a nation of redneck simpletons who believe bush's bonanza sherrif "not on my watch" campaign lines? how can we forget the lies and trickery of this administration, shenanigans which have been so transparently obvious and yet somehow rendered unimportant by some well planned sloganeering?

there is no end to the questions which the election results bring up and no answers to satisfy them.

just because bush was able to screw up america and the rest of the world doesn't mean he is the right person to clean up the bloody mess. he has demonstrated no aptitude for creating a moderate milieu to allow for discussion and coalition building. instead he has polarised the world with "if-you're-not-for-us-you're-against-us" threats and struck fear into the heart of other nations with his unilateral military action. no longer is america a leader, but rather the most dangerous nation in the world: paranoid, powerful, myopic, and aggressive, blantantly leveraging those who do not agree with it and fighting those who will not be coerced. can this kind of america put aside war to create stability and soften divisions that are the breeding ground for conflict? hardly likely.

i can only pray in a way that i don't normally pray that somehow the polarisation of opinions and viewpoints reverses and people wake up from this continuing nightmare with the desire in their hearts to look for constructive ways to build accord and rebuild the destruction wreaked by the belligerent actions of an administration that can be easily termed "mentally ill".

to hope that the next four years will be any better than the previous four seems like folly, but hope is all i have left for now. i will watch from my distant vantage point and do the best i can to see beyond the cloud of my current fears. things would be so much simpler if i just believed everything i saw on tv.

-cyrusout

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

all i can do is wait

with the early results of the election coming in favoring bush, i can't help but feel a sense of dread. reading the news doesn't help. i want it to be over, but over in a sane way rather than the insane option which looks to persist. i guess in the end if calamity is to happen then it is unavoidable.

on that note, here's an article from the onion which might serve as an interesting counterpoint...

Sunday, October 31, 2004

mantra

i will live to see the day we return from the landfill clutching a gum wrapper and piece of string
i will live to see the day the serpent rises from my bed and devours me in two bites before watching 'jeopardy' reruns.
i will live to see the day you bring flowers and a blue plastic vase to the pta meeting
i will live to see the day my face withers and sags in the summer heat
i will live to see the day you look at me and think of derelict whitewashed fences
i will live to see the day my children point to me and say "it was his fault"
i will live to see the day i open my mouth and india ink drips from my tongue on to your embroidered doilies
i will live to see the day my past is summed up in a single snapshot
i will live to see the day the stars fall to earth and all property values rise
i will live to see the day i forget my name and stand at the signpost at the bottom of the world and see nothing but the pacific ocean breaking over the volcanic stone and spraying on to my technicolor windbreaker
i will live to see the day i open a box with my name on it and see it empty

all this is nothing more
all this is nothing less
all this is nothing more
all this is nothing less
20/10/04

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Ideas that Died in Iraq

"Preemptive wars, unilateralism, regime change, the neoconservative approach to foreign policy: Just a few months ago, powerful government officials and influential commentators presented these ideas as not just desirable but inevitable choices for a superpower confronted by unprecedented threats. With more than 900 American soldiers dead, 10,000 coalition troops wounded, a military price tag of more than $90 billion, and the main reason for going to war dismissed as a “massive intelligence failure,” these concepts lie buried in the sands of Iraq."

Something to read...

As well as this article in BBC News about the death toll of Iraqis post "liberation"...

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

sestinas anyone?

here's a little excercise i tried a couple of years ago that i just rediscovered. it's called a sestina, and normally it is a form which is artificial and hard to master. i tried to do one using the most un-poetic words i could find...


writers? wankers!

a sestina is bogus
only ponces like sonnets
haikus are for hippies
tripping on zen grass
rod mckuen can kiss my ass
all poets are wankers

forms are for wankers
who's creativity is bogus
i use poetry books to wipe my ass
geriatric people write sonnets
whilst tanning in tall grass
they all once were hippies

writing by old hippies
is rhetoric from new-age wankers
smoked up with sweet grass
so easily termed 'bogus'
many love sick sonnets
are wafted from one lonely ass

heaney was one such stuffy ass
with irish sorrow like sad hippies
writers said he was good at sonnets
but they were all tosspots and wankers
a nobel laureate is decidedly bogus
when a poem is bare toes in tall grass

i've stared at clouds and slept on grass
trekked up mountains on the back of an ass
but feelgood platitudes make poetry bogus
like a cliche mantra of throwback hippies
poetic sentiments that belch from wankers
are best in greeting cards and sonnets

some think poetry is best placed in sonnets
nestled in meadow green grass
prompting pure emotions from smug wankers
or a pose from a playboy-perfect ass
but it's all cliches from hippies
making all such forms bogus

any poetic wankers can sit on their ass
smoke grass like hippies
and write sestinas and sonnets as poems, bogus.

24/7/02

Progressive vs Regressive American Politics

This interesting article in the Washington Post talks about general strategies employed by the current administration to disenfranchise voters in order to maintain a voting base which favours it's re-election. With movements such as Michael Moore's Slacker Uprising Tour and other movements to encourage traditionally apathetic constituencies, there is a huge surge in voter registration for the upcoming election. However there is a consistent attack going on politically between those in power and those not. The article states:

"After four years in the White House, George W. Bush's most significant contribution to American life is this pervasive bitterness, this division of the house into raging, feuding halves. We are two nations now, each with a culture that attacks the other. And politics, as the Republicans are openly playing it, need no longer concern itself with the most fundamental democratic norm: the universal right to vote."

Since Bush is not an elected President, but rather a Supreme Court appointed one, I'm sure he's aware of the loss he could potentially face should the majority who normally remains aloof from the voting process decides to shake off apathy and head to the polls. I'm sure he is aware that in a pure democracy he would not have been in power, and therefore he is not going to encourage democratic principles when it comes to his re-election.

All this increases my severe dislike of divisive politics. I can only watch so much news or read so much commentary about it. I've voted, so all I can hope for is sanity and reason to prevail again.

I think I'm going to read a good book now...

Monday, October 25, 2004

Remote Voting

Despite me living on the underside of the world, I felt it was my civic duty to vote in the upcoming elections in the US. So I got my absentee ballot and was preparing to send it off in the post when a card arrived stating that I needed to vote by the 7th of October or up to 15 days thereafter. Since it was the 20th at the time, I had no choice but to fax my ballot which forfeited my right to give my vote in secret. Although I did get to vote, I disliked the tricks associated with remote voting.

Apparently absentee voting is widely practiced even when people don't have a "legitimate" reason (i.e. they are on the other side of the world). In an editorial in USA Today, the editor talks about the pitfalls of such voting practices, things which I hadn't considered until now...

Given the stories about registration rigging, voter disqualification, and the mass of lawyers being employed to ensure that neither side cheats, it is clear that democracry is an idea that makes a good storefront, but it is rarely used in practice.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

mother me

stand straight
speak clearly
wait to be spoken to
listen
be nice
be honest
never say my age
don't stare (but look at her over there)
don't ummm or ahhh
be good
be better than everyone else
don't act better than everyone else
be polite
shut up
speak up
be quiet
don't slouch
be careful
take off your shoes
put on your coat
look out
hurry up
slow down
close your mouth
say something
don't interrupt
look at me
don't stare at me
speak to me
don't talk to me like that
don't lie

do i look nice?
20/10/04

Monday, October 04, 2004

The Hair Over There

whilst looking for some hirsuite facial photos, i happen to stumble across a website which was a haven for the hirsuite. in fact, it broke the back of the subject...

i think my friend pj would feel at home there... :)

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Dine in Post-Apocalyptic Splendor

This child of parents influenced by apocalyptic fear inherited the food that her parents purchased to sustain them in the event of a nuclear disaster (this is assuming they survived the disaster in the first place).

With her stocks of "Neo-Life", in honor of of her parents' drive for post-apocalyptic survival, she prepared a dinner that the basement dwellers of ground zero would have been proud of...

thanks to ds for the entertaining link :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Some Things You May Not Have Known

Some of these facts had me laughing:

The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time television were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

What common everyday occurrence is composed of 59% nitrogen, 21% hydrogen and 9% dioxide? A fart.

Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.


And some had me crying:

Michael Jordan makes more money from Nike annually than all of the Nike factory workers in Malaysia combined.

Average number of days a West German goes without washing his underwear: 7

Number of people who starved to death in 1997: 20,000,000.


All in all, it's worth a read

Monday, September 27, 2004

Wonky Voting in Florida

I've made sure to register to vote in the upcoming election and will hopefully get my absentee ballot soon. I don't know how much good it will do, but here's hope for some kind of democratic process.

On Michael Moore's website, former US President Jimmy Carter has written an interesting article about the how voting process in Florida is still subject to the same biases that affected it during the 2000 election. The Carter Center is responsible for usually overseeing the democratic elections in contentious areas such as Venezuela and Indonesia. Since the Center is unable to monitor the elections in Florida due to financial and resource constraints, the only way to make sure the process in Florida remains a democratic process is "to focus maximum public scrutiny" on the election there.

These problems shouldn't really be happening in the "land of the free"...

death brings different socks

bilirubin makes up for your lack of asian genes
as the sunlight writes your name in shadows
now made more even as breathing slows
or as thinking slows.
who knows?

closets full of unworn clothes
compete for space as we cram ourselves
between drawers of tube socks and the leaky loo
twelve years a bachelor marked out in chilli cans and condensed soup
finally you've flown the coup
and women flock to clean up after you.

your youngest son builds the box
(which we wipe down with your socks)
and your oldest waits for you to look with recognition
but by your own admission
you lived for years waiting to be seen
as you hid on Sand road behind the cedar hedge
with the radio always on in case the world ended without you

they say that death comes with a rattle
but it sounded more like socks stuffed in a box
and the muffled sense of loss
that comes when you give away something you never really had

though we plan to bury you
to the sound of taps under a triangular flag
we bury the memories of all we missed
the dad that came and left but liked to hover
like an aloof eagle in the sky
occasionally swooping before he said goodbye.

Take Time to Tongue Twist

If you are fond of tongue twisters, someone has created the first international collection...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

irony

i just got my first radio commercial series voice-over gig in more than five years and i get to play a particular leader of the free world known by a letter at the end of the alphabet.

if my father were alive, i know he would have a good chuckle about it.

Don't let the Cat in

Yusuf Islam (the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens) was recently denied entry to the US because of his alleged connections to terror groups despite him being a well known moderate Muslim (as long as you don't count the supporting of the fatwah on Salman Rushdie). One has to wonder if this is caution being taken to the level of paranoia.

I'm all for making sure people don't commit terrorist acts, but it's not so clear as to be able to condemn one specific group just because the media emphasizes the religious fanatics amongst it. I mean, Christianity would come off just as bad if not worse if we looked at the wars and destruction done in it's name. It's the religious fanaticism and lust for political power that are the real enemies, and these "evils" are not confined to one race or religious preference.

A "war on terror" is only going to perpetuate a dualistic warring mentality: us and them, friend or foe. I think Jesus came to take away that mentality. I find it ironic that the political right in the US portrays itself as embodying good Christian values.

Monday, September 20, 2004

British Diplomat Gaffe

I found it amusing that someone leaked a comment from a British dipolomat that terror groups would rather have Bush in the Whitehouse than Kerry.

Although the current US administration would have the world believe it would be safer with it in power after the next election, one does have to mention that the current polarised situation was created by the current administration...

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Shihad spits the dummy

i was encouraged today when i read that the NZ rock band formally known as Shihad (pronounced 'she-had') and presently known as Pacifier has decided to revert to it's previous name. the main reason they changed their name in the first place was due to the post 9/11 mentality and similarity of their name to the word 'jihad". their motivation was to be able to sell albums in the USA.

on their website, the band members state:

"The events surrounding the name change and our choice to be known as Pacifier are well documented. As much as we believed in what we were doing, and the reasons for doing it at the time - the truth is we were wrong. "

to me the reversion to their previous name signals that the world is waking up from the madness of conformity to the conservative social norm created by 9/11. the first casualty of a semi-militarised state is freedom of expression and dissent. i hope that with greater experience of the dubious nature of political truths and narrowminded agendas, people won't be duped or controlled to the same extent in the future.

i'm off my soapbox now. time to smell some roses...

Something from the beat days

this poem tapped me on the shoulder unasked this morning as i was waiting for the green orbiter bus to arrive.

i wrote it more than three years ago when i was reading a lot of beat poetry. it happened one morning when i was getting dressed. suddenly the first two lines popped into my head. i had to stop buttoning my shirt and write them down. then the next lines came. i was able to finish getting dressed eventually and hop in the car to work, but the poem kept coming. i held an old receipt on my steering wheel and scrawled the lines on it with a pen as i drove. when i got to work, i quickly typed it all up and this is what came out. mind you, the editor in me came out eventually and made a couple of minor tweaks and changes, but this is mainly the product of inspiration which i was fortunate enough to get out of the way of and just let happen.

in some respects, i didn't write the poem so much as just write it down...


It Is What It Is

Poetry?
Infamy, the last of me,
Simpleton logic in Zen-like trances,
Dances of the mind-ballet,
Steps, hopes, long pregnant stares
Past the rows of chairs into the foyer
Burst through the double door of brain lock habit thought
From naught to ought in commercialesque prose.

Don't alienate,
Incorporate bland commonality
So it sparks energy, heart-life squeezes.
Please the knees of the march men,
The beat song, the sweet song
Hoarse with enthusiasm, applause,
Cause and effect.
Reject the spiderstep entry.
Speak your mind, brother!
Decline the whine to line the stacks and spines
Of whines that line the stacks
Backed in rows for your perusal,
Refusal to bow down to the push of apathy
Sympathy to the word sinews
The mouth thews of utterance
Spewed in elegant soliloquy.

Salivate the wait state.
Hate the silence,
Love the rhythm schism
Syllables split
Ground down into primal motion, emotion, motivation,
Exhalations of me on the windowpane of the morning bus ride
That divides my prehistory.

So you ask me of poetry?
And the answer is.
13/3/01

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

For those of us who are nosey

Now PC users can follow their nose to surf the web with greater ease...

Monday, September 13, 2004

Batman does Buckingham

It seems like elections this year are bringing out the more outlandish and provocative who aren't above a shameless publicity stunt to gain popularity....

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Smelly Robots Eating Flies

Who would have thought that a tasty fly could serve as a useful energy source? These London scientists did...

freedom

freedom is a mirage
freedom is a catch-phrase to enlist the impoverished
freedom is a lever for the ignorant
freedom is a carrot on a string
freedom is a whip on broken skin

america is no more free than the soviet union was
america doesn't want freedom
america wants ordered voracious consumers,
independently wealthy money-makers,
happy service industry slaves
and wide-eyed watchers of tv.
“a well balanced breakfast is toast, juice, milk and cereal.”
have you ever mixed juice and milk?
can you say lobbies, kickback, and campaign contributions?

people are upset by this thought
they act surprised and outraged as if their sacred cow was shot
they've marched for freedom
fired guns for freedom
formed hate groups for freedom
stuffed their faces for freedom
made porn for freedom
killed foreigners for freedom
given up civil liberties for freedom
and the media watched it all and recorded every second
“god bless america,” they yelled,
“land of the free (spending)
and home of the brave (sports enthusiast).”

americans don't really want freedom
they want comfort
and there’s comfort to be had
at a price
and that price is their freedom
and the freedom of the rest of the world

freedom is the smell of one new empty shoe
freedom is the promise of desert rain
freedom is a willing chain of slavery for the poor
freedom is a fireworks display
freedom is a scapegoat
freedom is a christmas tree
freedom is a slot machine jackpot

freedom is just a lullaby

A Bush Makeover

Here's a place where you can make the leader of the free world look however you want him to...

Thursday, September 09, 2004

i've posted this before...

but i liked it so much i thought it was worth repeating...

technology advances
and grows and shrinks
and penetrates and magnifies,
but the content remains the same:
us
are we so special that we deserve this much attention?

pehaps we have nothing better to focus on,
nothing more interesting or noble.

we can watch tv on 100" projection screens
with 300 channels
with dvd commentary
in dolby digital dts stereo,
but in the end all we see and hear is
sheer fantasy and fabricated rubbish.

garbage in garbage out -
everything is a marketing excercise

even death and trauma gets packaged in sanitary bright wrapping
because we have such high standards...

A Lightshow for Couch Potatoes

Apparently, watching plasma screen HDTVs is not enough. Philips had to come up with a way to coordinate the backlighting of a room with what you're watching onscreen. It's called Ambilight. Don't worry if you can't quite afford it yet. I'm sure the $15,000 price tag will come down when they come out with the next generation of sets complete with a laser lightshow in a year or so...

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

a walk in the park

Walk with me in this garden
Holding a thermos full of lukewarm tea
Holding hands over the splatters of bird poo
Dog doo smells ride on a muggy breeze
A Setter barks and splashes in the Avon
Chasing ducks and rocking gondolas
Children chuck bread at geese and gulls
Birds flock and cackle over crumbs
Kids on roller blades holler
A father yells at his evasive daughter
The sun pokes through leaf canopies like a stick
Gnats flit in clouds in humid patches over grass
Tourists gasp at the green fountain spray

We spend our day off here
Recovering.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Microsoft Suffers from Geopolitical Ignorance

Apparently, Microsoft has lost business and respect due to blunders of ignorance. But that said, it isn't easy as a multinational to keep abreast of all the political changes and specifics of every country in the world.

Here's a snippet:

"Perhaps the best known, and one of the most expensive, errors was a colour-coded world map showing time zones, which showed the disputed Jammu-Kashmir region as not being in India - an offence under Indian law. The mistake led to the whole of the Windows 95 operating system being banned in the country, losing large sales. For its replacement... Microsoft removed the colour coding and sold 100,000 copies in India."

Ahhh, there are many pitfalls to the path of world domination...

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Smokin' in the Chimp Cage

Here's an interesting article about a female chimp in china who took up smoking because of lack of a particular kind of contact...

I guess emotional displacement works for all primates...

Thursday, August 26, 2004

epiphany

from the moment i saw you
in the condiment aisle
hand on the mustard
i knew
you were the one
to invite
to my barbeque

27/8/04

Monday, August 23, 2004

Ironing with an Edge

Ummm....

I suppose it's a sport who's time has finally come...

Here is a snippet:

What is extreme ironing?
The sport that is 'extreme ironing' is an outdoor activity that combines the danger and excitement of an 'extreme' sport with the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt. It involves taking an iron and board (if possible) to remote locations and ironing a few items of laundry. This can involve ironing on a mountainside, preferably on a difficult climb, or taking an iron skiing, snowboarding or canoeing.

A Chris Rock Instructional Video

I believe this one might go back a few years, but it's pertinence cannot be underestimated.

Kudos to CR for his philanthropic urgings.

PS - Please don't watch it if you are offended by profanity....

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Mother - Grandmother, Uncle - Nephew

I found this interesting tidbit in an NZ paper, but I was only able to find it online in a Pakistani website. Go figure...

I believe synchronised birthing might make an excellent Olympic event....

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

I Feel Vindicated

This substantial article in The Guardian UK looks at the evils of the Protestant work ethic and the value of indolence.

I, of course, always understood this.

Here are some excerpts:

"Greatness and late rising are natural bedfellows. Late rising is for the independent of mind, the individual who refuses to become a slave to work, money, ambition."

and

"Idleness as a waste of time is a damaging notion put about by its spiritually vacant enemies. Introspection could lead to that terrible thing: a vision of the truth, a clear image of the horror of our fractured, dissonant world."

and even

"God himself set a good example... after working for six days, he rests for all eternity."

This dog was no one's best friend

When in doubt, chuck him out...

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

How much are you worth?

Here's somewhere where you can find out exactly how much you cost in terms of dollars.

Hopefully it serves as a guideline rather than a figure to put on a ransom note...

Dubya and JEK Rock Web Monkeys' Vote

Just for the sake of interest, I found Dubya's blog right here.

Then I looked about and found JEK's blog here.

Dubya's one has got some Texan flare to it, whereas JEK's is more understated and blue (maybe to draw a connection to his blue blood?).

All I can say is that politics makes me feel ill after a few minutes and then I have to go here to get it out of my system.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Extreme Outsourcing

It was bound to happen...

Fahrenheit 9/11

A few days ago I saw this movie and was very impressed with the way it went about talking about the facts around 9/11. I was expecting demagoguery, but rather I got a documentary (although not unbiased) which was sensitive and ultimately concerned about how the people who benefit from freedom are not the ones who pay for it.

Have a look at Michael Moore's Website to examine the facts stated in the movie...

HRH Jon Kerry?

Is blue blood the judge of the presidency?

You choose...

Let it snow....

It has snowed for three days
And the trees bow down in humility
Monochromatic scenes outside the chilled window
Remind me of ski trips spent in the car
Chains beating the road
Behind the string of taillights
Rows of red eyes staring

The world is colder today
Coated with this shroud
The clouds blend with the ground
And the sound of life is muffled
Like a vow of silence
Stuffed into our gaping mouths.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

A repost in honor of Michael Moore

America… Uhhh… merica

Night and day the bombs punctuate
Exclamations of hot expletives
Pock mark walls
Potholes the size of buses
Building trusses shudder blazed with blast marks
Dark streaks like morbid blush
Traffic jams of Bradleys and Abrams blazing dust
Rubble crushed bodies laze beside a saline drip
Maimed children missing legs, arms
Mothers clutching their damaged progeny
Ululating grief
Brief glimpses of calm under the fossil fuel smoke
Soldiers toke the pungent air wearing camouflaged stone
Reporters hone their skills for the ratings war
Civilian casualties soar into the thousands.

We say we came to liberate,
But when they see our rockets red glare
And bombs bursting in air
They will pray for us take the oil and leave.

4 April 2003

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The big catchup

Well...

Almost two years has gone without a song -
What have I done to deserve this rest?

Even the best need a break from pace of change.

Some might say I'm not as strong as I once was
But moreso now I feel strange.

I've rearranged my life until it ressembles so little of what went before.
I used to know what was in store - or at least I could predict it well,
But rather than expect hell in a future that was bleak
I broke from the marital bonds that held my breath

And now after love, birth, moving, death and finally severance,
There is a chance that peace is soon to follow.

Tomorrow I will be closer to being apart and finally whole.