"Invade and deceit, the truth is obsolete, only two positions, victimizer or victim, both end up in destruction, trusting this stupid system" - Lauryn Hill, Mystery of Iniquity (Unplugged 2.0)
I picked up Alice Sebold's Lovely Bones at 12:38am last night (this morning) and closed it at 6:38am having not slept a wink, having only taken a short break when my eyes got tired, having finished an exceptional journey through the lives of a family and a small circle of friends as they lived after the murder of a young girl. As seen through that dead girl's eyes.
The first few chapters felt like the premiere episode of an exceptional television show. Honestly, I reacted the same way that I did when I saw the first episode of Twin Peaks so many years ago. I was anxious for the next chapter, the next episode in these lives. It begins like it's a murder mystery but really it's about the people and about life and death and the struggles that come when the two meet. Susie Salmon's perspective on the yin and yang of our existence perfectly shows the duality of simply being. The joy and anguish. The heartbreak and romance. The fantastic and the horrific.
It's the best book I've read in a very long time. I recommend it to all but particularly to people like me. Those that are afraid of death, confused about life and sometimes overwhelmed by what the future holds and what the past has brought upon us.
"Lizobuya!"* - Mbongeni Ngema, Lizobuya (Amandla! Soundtrack)
"You know what Kafka says," he asked.
"No, what does he say," she replied, barely looking up from the book she was skimming through.
"No, I'm asking you, what does Kafka say?" She closed the book, turned, and stared at him. He continued, "See, if you were reading some Deepak Chopra I would have actually told you what Chopra says to see if you were cool enough to get the One Hour Photo reference but, uh, you're reading Kafka and not Chopra and I just really wanted to talk to you so I decided to speak now rather than stalk you through the bookstore on the off chance that you might pick up The Path to Love."
"It's like I can't stop what I'm hearing within/ it's like the face inside is right beneath my skin" - Linkin Park with Cheapshot And Jubacca Featuring Rasco And Planet Asia Of Cali Agents, Ppr:Kut (Reanimation)Where are all the Iraqi Refugees?
AMMAN: The tents are all up – ready for an expected flood of refugees crossing the borders to flee from the bombings.
Five days have passed since war began and one question begs an answer: “Where are the Iraqis?”
There are still no signs of them and some now believe they might not be coming after all.
Thousands of tired and thirsty civilians trudged out of the besieged southern Iraqi city of Basra yesterday in a desperate search for food and water.
Families drove ramshackle vehicles or walked in single file down a rail track past British Army checkpoints on the western side of the city.
"It's been 'pow, pow, pow' all the time," said Maklim Mohammed as he crossed a main bridge leading south from the city, which stands at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates. "I can't stand it. I'm nervous and I'm thirsty."
"The American administration is not happy with al-Jazeera coverage even before the war," said Mr Saqqaf. "They don't want the people to see civilians have been killed. They only want the world to see their heroism and how their troops are moving fast into Baghdad."
Mr Saqqaf said stations like CNN presented only "dribs and drabs".
According to Nakhle Bittar, Melbourne chief editor of The Middle East Herald, a weekly newspaper in Australia with 35,000 circulation, neither side is giving a true depiction of the war.
The big change, said Matthew Ricketson, a senior lecturer in journalism at RMIT University, is the practice of "embedding" journalists with military units.
He sees this as both a good and bad thing for media coverage. Good because "unlike the war in Kosovo in 1999, where journalists couldn't get in to see what was happening ... journalists can see things with their own eyes. That goes back to one of the primary roles of journalism, which is to witness events," he said.
"The difficulty is that by being embedded - a good word, because they are kind of in bed with the military - they may not be able to maintain the impartiality and distance needed to report dispassionately on events.
"What you need is a blend of eyewitness accounts and people back at head office gathering a whole range of information ... sifting and analysing."
But the evidence to date, according to Ricketson and others, is that the right balance has not been struck by all media. The American cable networks are the worst offenders in what he describes as "presenting war like a reality TV show".
The piano stylings ofSt. Germain, Sentimental Mood (Boulevard: New Version: The Complete Series)
Note the changes in design here. I really like the cleanness of the simple template in movable type so I altered it slightly for my purposes. I also added some new folks to the blogroll. Take a gander if you like.
Only 8 posts from me this month. I don't know if I've just been busy or burned out. Maybe I've run out of things to write about.
Woke up this morning and turned on the news and got annoyed and slightly depressed. When I'm annoyed and depressed I like to watch naked people so I turned on to sexcetera just as the lovely reverse cowgirl introduced a piece on a beautiful woman (whose name escapes me) who was born intersex. She was thought to be female and then at the age of two, she was taken into the hospital for what was thought to be a rash or an allergic reaction but really was a penis descending. Now, she's female...her breasts grew without hormones, she doesn't have an adam's apple, she's actually quite gorgeous...but she's packing down below and packing large. You'd want to be sure and insure it and write "HANDLE WITH CARE" in big block letters on the side if you were to ship it UPS.
Now, cut to later this morning when Bink asked me if I was heterosexual. Yes. Always? Yes. Not Bi or anything? Nope.
"Pick me up, baby, pick me up" - Peanut Butter Wolf, Things Could Be Better (Jukebox 45's)
I had planned to get out all my war venting out of the way on Saturday when Miss Mahoney sent me an email with the following facts about import/export #'s as they relate to Iraq (courtesy of the CIA):
$15.8 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Exports - partners:US 46.2%, Italy 12.2%, France 9.6%, Spain 8.6% (2000)
$11 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
food, medicine, manufactures
Imports - partners:
France 22.5%, Australia 22%, China 5.8%, Russia 5.8% (2000)
I was in the middle of a rant specifically for her so that I could get it out of my system and talk about fun things like the prostitution I'm pretty sure is going on in my building, the wonders of maple flavored bacon, the whiny brat moment I had yesterday, etc. etc., but Outlook Express crashed and I had sushi to go eat and I didn't get it out.
So, I guess it has to end up here.
"Folks get down in the sunshine." - Roy Ayers, Everybody Loves the Sunshine (The Best of Roy Ayers)
Best war coverage in my mind right now is MTV's work. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a company man. The news channels are all about conjecture and bullshit while Sway and Gideon and Ian and the rest are out there talking to Americans to see what they feel, what they think, how they livin'. Watched Sway talk to Black folks at Howard and on the streets here in Los Angeles. The college students all noted that most Blacks don't consider this there war because the faces in our government don't look like them. That the interests of those in office can't possibly be the same as their own. Every high school kid talked about education and housing and 60 billion dollars being used better.
I just feel like we're the 800 lb. gorilla unnecessarily throwing our weight around. Major news outlets keep presenting this as a very humane war effort. Maybe so. It's definitely better than dropping bombs (word to your moms, I got my rhymes than the bibles got psalms) but, you know, we're not fighting with milk and cookies (via jessica).
Round up your Iraqis.
Kick out your Iraqis.
Whatever. I'm mostly just ignoring it. I'm watching birthday presents and basketball games and playboy tv and candida royalle movies. And eating lots of mac and cheese and chicken wings from Whole Foods. And listening to music that makes me smile and bounce.
Is this all over the place rambling? Probably but I don't care.
The most interesting thing said in all of Scratch was said by Babu. He notes that DJ culture in the U.S. is the only place in the media in which Filipinos shine, it's the only place where there are Filipino stars. And I was racking my brain trying to think of anybody with Pinoy power that wasn't in hip hop or on the show I work on and couldn't think of it. Who else in popular culture is flip besides Babu, Qbert, Ruthie, Melissa, and Lori?
Love that Lumpia!
"Don't drink cristal and can't stand mo', I've never received currency for selling a kilo" - Jeru the Damaja, Ya Playin' Ya Self (a capella followed with a nice Roy Ayers loop of The Memory) (Another Late Night 5)
It's weird to have my birthday on the eve of war. I'm going to have some Mexicali for lunch with the Addie Boombalatti, maybe drink a mexitini or some fruit-infused vodka and then I'm going to go spend my blockbuster gift card on a DVD or two and then go get large amounts of fried chicken from some place and get some mac and cheese from whole foods and watch Angel. And maybe some blue movies.
Real Simple is the bomb explosive. I have their little cleaning checklists from this month's magazine taped up around my house so I can keep it nice. My kitchen is mad clean right now. I even bleached the sinks, yo.
Newsweek's cover story this week is the bomb explosive. An honest, reasoned, and informative answer to the silly "whydotheyhateus?" question.
28 candles burning bright but all I want is a quiet night.
"Ya'll thought this was over wit'? This ain't over wit'" - Big L Featuring C-Town, Still Here (Lyricist Lounge Vol. 2)
We collected in groups of 6, 8, 10 around the few TVs able to bring the speech in. We listened for 14 minutes as the president outlined his plan of military action. We were silent, unmoving, and gave him our full attention. This was important news, life changing news, a moment when, truly, the world would never be the same.
Then Tom Brokaw reminded us that the President asked the Iraqi Military not to burn the oil wells and that our terror threat was moving to orange.
We all groaned in unison.
The world's not so different after all.
"But does she think she'll get by with her dreams?" - Stevie Wonder, Superwoman (where where you when I needed you) (Original Musiquarium 1)
So...ummm, I have a new car. This one. It's real nice. I wasn't planning on buying it but a brotha has good credit and some money holed away and is loyal to Saturn and hey...it happens. I'll put up pics at some point, maybe.
Like Michelle's new vehicle, it needs a name. My platinum powerbook is named Thandi (as in, Thandie) and it's the only other inanimate object I've named besides the blackberry beauty, which I didn't actually name myself. It was named by an ex-friend's ex-girlfriend if that makes any sense. Here are some options:
"Why do you look so sad...and forsaken?" - Bob Marley & The Wailers, Coming in From the Cold (Uprising)
First off, it's been so long since I had real fast food (tacos don't count as they are like life's blood. Tacos and rice on the regular, please, or I will die) but the chili cheese fries and western crispy chicken sandwich from Carl's Jr. I had for lunch today? It tastes so good when it touches your lips! I feel like there's like 6 meals in my stomach right now but I'll Taebo it away tonight (and I'm not sure but I'm pretty confident that the Taebo fight scene in Bringing Down the House was the funniest moment of the film).
Expect some complicated thoughts soon about my changing opinion of the 92 LA Riots based on my seeing Dark Blue and Amandla! over the course of the last week but not today. Today I'm thinking about war and fear and worry and it's all mingled with Gideon Yago's Diary that aired on the net last night and some thoughts I read this morning on a site I used to read regularly.