Tuesday, July 19, 2011

GOP still snoozing in SC

From Politico, comes the best non-story of the upcoming election season:

GREENVILLE, S.C. — In the first two presidential states, the GOP picture is clear enough: Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann top the polls in Iowa and Romney is the candidate to beat in New Hampshire.

As for South Carolina, the other critical early state, it’s anybody’s guess.

The first-in-the-South primary couldn’t be any more unsettled. By this point in the 2008 campaign, the Republican contenders had the state’s top consultants locked up, expansive staffs on the ground, and extensive rosters of endorsements. Voters had already been inundated with TV ads. A variety of pollsters had been in the field for months.

This time around? Crickets.

There’s been very little polling, no ads have been aired, and the campaigns are barely staffed up. Just one of the state’s top consultants — who play a unique and exaggerated role in Columbia’s political culture — has signed up with a major candidate. A Fox News debate in May turned out to be a dud, since most of the best-known presidential prospects skipped it.

And almost all of the state’s key endorsements — Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Jim DeMint, almost all of the state’s congressmen, most of its state lawmakers — are still sitting on the sidelines.

If that doesn’t sound like the South Carolina of GOP primary lore, that’s because it isn’t.

In four short years, the Republican scene here has been dramatically reordered, leaving the state’s political class and the GOP field uncertain about the South Carolina electorate—and what kind of candidate is best suited for it.

In just the last election cycle alone, the state has emerged as one of the nation’s tea party’s strongholds, electing a conservative African-American to Congress in Charleston, ousting an insufficiently conservative GOP House incumbent Upstate and putting a female Indian-American in the governor’s office.

“It’s wide open — and there’s a big question mark about [Texas Gov. Rick] Perry getting in, among the infrastructure types and the activists,” said Katon Dawson, a former state GOP chairman.

DeMint, a tea party standard bearer who endorsed Romney last time around in January 2007 , has spent the early primary months calling his state’s congressmen, big donors and state legislators to explicitly ask them to wait until after Labor Day to pick a candidate. DeMint’s supporters are privately calling themselves the “Keep Your Powder Dry” caucus as they organize a candidate forum scheduled for Labor Day weekend.
Read the rest here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Welcome to my breakdown

Looking at some famous movie-breakdowns and engaging in some general acting-out on this steamy Monday in the south.

I have helpfully catalogued some of my favorite nervous breakdowns in films.

Comments welcome, and feel free to link your own personal favorite personality-disintegrations on celluloid!


All alcoholics love this scene ... did he drink or not? Is a phantom bottle of bourbon as damaging as a real one?

Aside: I just love how Stephen King works in references to Maine in everything he does.


I have written about Roman Polanski's Repulsion before, and how great it is, despite my various "issues" with it (see link).

Here we see that Catherine Deneuve has totally lost her shit, and is afraid of a drippy faucet. As a result, big male hands start coming out of the walls... JESUS H CHRIST! If you are a woman, do not watch this at night, alone at home. (triggers and so on)


Unfortunately, embedding is disabled for this clip (as well as all of the others) of Charles Foster Kane's famous flip-out when Susan finally departs... but check those famous mirrors at 3:27... everybody stole from Orson Welles. I know most of the lines of the movie by heart.


In John Ford's The Searchers, Nietzsche's idea that in hunting monsters we must take care not to become monsters ourselves, is given a very good once-over. Although most Hollywood Westerns of the day were morally righteous and fairly unambiguous, this one sure isn't, and consequently didn't make a lot of money at the time. No one wanted to see John Wayne freak out, even in his controlled, macho fashion. It was UNBECOMING. And it is therefore vindication that the movie is now a classic. John Wayne's hyper-masculine cowboys (and impersonal characterizations) have not dated as well as his heartfelt, complex and true performance in the role of Ethan... which BTW, is also the name of one of John Wayne's sons.

Things to look for: 1) Racist or not, when they zoom in on young Lucy's face (19-20 seconds in) and she looks terrified and screams? I have never seen the fear of rape communicated so clearly and realistically in a film. (I realize it is supposed to be much worse than garden-variety rape by white men, but I still think the whole scene is primal.) As a young woman, it scared me to death. 2) Natalie Wood's sister Lana plays young Natalie as a girl, which accounts for the strong resemblance. 3) Notice the first part of this clip closely matches up with Mary McDonnell's childhood trauma in "Dances With Wolves"--wherein she is instructed to run away when the house is attacked by Pawnee. 4) Also notice at 2:33, the similarity to Luke Skywalker's home being destroyed; the scene is almost exactly the same. Both #3 and #4 are deliberate homages to the film. 5) Scene @ 4:45-- me and Mr Daisy sometimes say, "Put an Amen to it!"--when the situation requires. 6) When John Wayne desecrates the Indian corpse? (7:30) Viewers suddenly realize this isn't the John Wayne we're accustomed to.

It also shows us that he is becoming (or has become) the monster Nietzsche warned us about. A strongly subversive film, for its day.


I can't pick just one scene in The Conversation... so I hereby offer the trailer. If you have never seen this amazing movie, you need to rent it ASAP. Gene Hackman's finest hour, Coppola's mesmerizing genius; this is movie-making at its most wonderful. Hackman perfectly embodies an emotionally-repressed surveillance expert with a guilty Catholic conscience. Too great for words, and more pertinent than ever, in our cameras-everywhere age.

Stuff to look for: 1) Harrison Ford at 2:12; he has maybe 3 lines in the whole movie. 2) Teri Garr's scene was cut for first release, then put back in for DVD. As much as I love Teri Garr, the film is much stronger without her scene. Harry is a loner, and it is far more effective to think of him as not having a girlfriend, or anything approximating one. His infatuation with Cindy Williams also makes more sense if he is alone.


And the all-time greatest: "Here is someone who stood up."

I know ALL of the lines of Taxi Driver by heart. Every one. I enjoy injecting them into various conversations without people knowing who/what I am quoting.

But every now and then, someone says, "Travis!"

Nothing much to say about Travis... you either understand him or you don't.

Today's blog post title comes courtesy of Alice Cooper.

Dissing dogs

In my last thread, I was lectured once again, about how there was 'no evidence' against America's Sweetheart, Casey Anthony. I am really tired of hearing this uninformed, ignorant bullshit, so let's address the subject head-on.

Why don't people believe the dogs in this case? More to the point, why do they believe them 99% of the time, but in this case say the dogs' alerting makes no difference? As of course you all know (and if you don't, have no business commenting on the case), two different trained cadaver dogs alerted to Caylee's decomposed remains, in the same two spots, including Casey Anthony's car trunk, where the disgusting stench was coming from. (The stench, too, was testified to by 10 different witnesses, including the tow-yard operator, who presumably had no ax to grind.)

Why is this not "evidence"? I would convict on manslaughter based on this fact alone. Whose car is it? Who is Caylee's mama? Bam.

And in the last thread, I asked one commenter:

Are you willing to suspend all drug-convictions based on canine evidence? We are talking thousands and thousands of cases... you are saying ALL of these cases are compromised and/or false convictions, since you say these two separate dogs couldn't properly alert on Caylee's decomposed remains? Does this mean you believe ALL canine-related evidence is wrong or flawed? How many cases would you throw out, based on this opinion? You do know that some defendants, particularly in drug cases, have ONLY had canine evidence against them? I take it you think this is wrong, always? Or just sometimes? What is the criteria you use for canine evidence?
I am interested in what other people think.

If you think the dogs are 'lying' and alerting where they should not, why would you trust them to do anything else? How many of these convictions do you believe are compromised? How many of these cases should be thrown out entirely and the convictions overturned? Or is it just Caylee's remains that the dogs are wrong about? And why would they do that? These dogs had never made errors before, as their records made clear.

Would you suspend the usage of dogs in law enforcement totally, since you think they are 'lying'? Or did the dogs just have something against America's Sweetheart?

NOTE: As in the last thread, Casey-humpers will be dealt with most severely, be advised.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

There can be no true equality for women

... as long as the young, pretty, middle-class white girls get by with murder.

And if she were an ugly fat girl? Old? Black? Male?

I think we all know the answer to that.

Depressed at how far we have NOT come. This is not justice.

At left: Casey Anthony and attorney Jose Baez walk out of the Orange County Jail in Orlando, Florida. And she is free as a bird.

NOTE: Pro-Anthony posts will be deleted, or possibly selectively quoted and mocked. And the extremely-offensive (and totally ignorant and uninformed) remark, "there wasn't any evidence" -- will also be deleted and/or selectively quoted and mocked. Expect the worse. I feel very, very strongly about this matter.

No idiocy (or starry-eyed Casey-humpers) will be tolerated on this thread. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Another Random Dead Air photo gallery (with necessary spelling correction)

Featuring the Swamp Rabbit Trail, Reedy River Falls, Liberty Bridge, South Carolina Farmers Market, and all the usual suspects.

Announcement: The lovely tree at left is a CRAPE Myrtle, not a CREPE Myrtle, and please accept my profound apologies that it has taken me three whole years to correct that! (eep)


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday Tunes: Woodstock

I guess I shoulda waited until the anniversary of Woodstock next month to post these various versions of the song... but when I found all three versions on Youtube, I got excited and impatient.

As we know, all three could disappear by August, due to ongoing record company greed. So, I decided to post them now.

Which version do you like best?


First, the author's version.

Woodstock - Joni Mitchell


Second, the movie soundtrack version.

Woodstock - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young


And finally, one of Daisy's special (and little-known) fangirl versions, with fabulous mystical loop-de-loop guitar riffs, played all over the place in 1970 and mostly forgotten since.

I know, musical heresy, but this is my favorite version of the song!

Woodstock - Matthews Southern Comfort (great visuals!)


Monday, July 11, 2011

Betty Ford 1918-2011

I was 24 years old when I walked into my first AA meeting. Too young?

Certainly, I already looked like I belonged there, swathed in discarded old scarves like some pitiful hippie-ragamuffin. Although it was dark, icy and cold--January in Ohio--I had walked to the meeting at St Aloysius on West Broad Street. That fact seemed to impress the people at the meeting more than anything I had actually said, which was likely a jumble of drug-addled gibberish that made no sense.

I held onto the one hope I had: too young? Am I too young?

And then, she just sort of settled into my mind. Her presence. It was like she was with me.

The president's wife, you nitwit. It could be anyone. Anyone.
A-N-Y-O-N-E. Any age, any sex, anywhere; there is no membership requirement except the desire to stop drinking.

But... but...

Shut UP, said my conscience, eager to win one for a change. Shut UP. The president's fucking wife.


And she remained there, a presence in my consciousness, a presence occupying my head without my full realization... until now. And she is gone.

Betty Ford was crucial to me, to us. She was so important, possibly the most important person in the American recovery movement save for the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. Because she was Anyone. She was the respectable person who passed out at a dinner given in her honor. She was a rich man's wife who started to drink to deal with social pressures. And she wasn't Dick Van Dyke or Robert Downey Jr, either, she was a WOMAN. A lady. She had been, after all, the First Lady.

If it could happen to her, it could happen to you. (And do you know how many times I have heard that phrase, in meetings, in monologues, in phone conversations? I have said it myself, and it has been said to me.) Why do you think it couldn't? Who do you think you are? Of course it could. Luck, goodness, intelligence, class, decency, none of that means squat: you can't handle it, leave it alone. Even she had to. It could be anyone.


And how many lives were saved, all because we could point to her and confidently announce, ANYONE? Her presence, her life, became an object lesson for millions... certainly, it was very important to me, to know that she was in our ranks. See? I'm not the only girl! (In 1982, it often felt like I was.)

My deep affection and love for this woman is hard to convey. Her simple honesty and her life lessons, helped so many of us. Just her presence, in our minds, meant so much.

Her legacy overshadows her husband's easily.

Rest in peace.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

One man gathers what another man spills

Hey you crazy kidz! I shall now explain another way the Tarot works, in addition to those ways we have already discussed.

I drew The Star today! Yeah! And now I am ready to rock and roll, recite the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, hike my beloved Swamp Rabbit Trail to a fare-thee-well and then go chow down at the Pita House. Exercise and healthy food! This is all because I drew the right card. If I had drawn this one, or this one, or God forbid, this one, I would just stay home and watch Turner Classic Movies, eating popcorn and fiddling on Facebook.

See how it works now?

To the skeptics who bray in unison (squawk!) self-fulfilling prophecy, I answer: well, no shit Sherlock! Whoever said that didn't count or wasn't a factor? You say this triumphantly, as if it nullifies everything, whereas to me, that is just more proof of how it works.

If all of these millions of people can express happiness with their very expensive placebos put out by pharmaceutical companies (some of which I subsidize with my taxes), then I guess I can blog about my placebos, which are just as good as theirs.


Going on record as very happy with the gay marriage decision in New York. Here is a cool article about the changes in the culture regarding gay couples and acceptance; those who seem to be unlikely supporters of same-sex marriage have had their opinions influenced by knowing someone who is gay: To Know Us Is to Let Us Love (New York Times)

I should be back to trashing Nikki Haley in the next week... what with murdering mommies taking center stage in our national consciousness, I all-but-forgot about the right wing governor attempting to gut our state economy even further... but rest assured, I shall be back on the case soon. (One wonders what ELSE she can find to destroy, but I'm sure she'll find something.)


I have been reading an amazing Buddhist text titled An Unentangled Knowing, written by the late Thai Buddhist lay woman Upasika Kee Nanayon (aka K. Khao-suan-luang). This text is part of the Thai Forest Tradition --which I think sounds as cool as the Catholic term "The Desert Fathers"--conjuring up visions of mystics who have left civilization to find their own way.

I had attempted the book many years ago and ended up tucking it away in profound spiritual confusion, because I found it unaccountably disturbing and weird. When I found the book again, I was finally ready, even hungry, for it.

It is, quite simply, the Buddhist book I've needed and have been waiting for. Many years ago, I had not studied the texts necessary to get to this point and hence, didn't understand a word. The concept of "emptiness"--in the West--tends to translate to NIHILISM, and no, it isn't the same thing at all. But I didn't truly understand this until last year. I am now ready to fully engage the text, and I have. I have carried the book with me for about two months, reading and re-reading, studying carefully at every available moment and applying what I have learned to my meditations... and...

It has made me very happy!

Not sure why.

But isn't that what we are really doing all this for, when its all said and done?

(The whole text is online here.)


Your fun Saturday afternoon tune--I've discovered this one goes really good with the Swamp Rabbit Trail--

Exodus (original) - Bob Marley and the Wailers

Movement of Jah people! (Is that the greatest thing you ever heard or what?)

Have a fabulous weekend and hope you find a little bit of The Star for yourself, too. See you on the Swamp Rabbit Trail!


*derivation of blog post title is HERE. I always assume people know this stuff, then they email me and ask! Sorry about that!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Let's swim to the moon

At left: Ben Hall, at Bohemian Cafe on Saturday.

One of those things about age that makes me profoundly uncomfortable: I get sentimental very quickly.

Like, really sentimental.

It overtakes me suddenly, and there I am, shedding tears over seemingly peculiar, unrelated or odd events. Such as Ben Hall and his guitar playing. Which was just like my late stepfather's. (Note: although the outdated link claims Ben is 18, he has now reached the ripe old age of 22.)

Until I was sitting there listening to Ben, whom I hadn't heard before, I didn't realize I had unconsciously avoided the music of Chet Atkins for a reason... I was suddenly aware that the "thumb-picking" guitar-style of Ben's, was the same as my stepfather's. I have avoided it for many years, flipped radio channels and such, because it made me so emotional. And as Ben described his style of playing, I thought, oh no... because I probably would have avoided his fabulous guitar playing if I had known.

I listened, and promptly got all teary-eyed and emotional. It is so embarrassing, reminding me of a line from Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now: "I cried like some grandmother." Yeah, I guess he means me. I have arrived!

Does any music do that to you?

Here is Ben's playing, the signature thumb-pickin style.

Cannonball Rag - Ben Hall


This song is as old as I am, seriously... careful, its about death, and way before the Doors made drowning at night sound sexy and existential.

I can hardly believe its taken me this long to post it!

Endless Sleep - Jody Reynolds


And speaking of the Doors, here is the 60s version of drowning for fun:

Moonlight Drive - The Doors

Let's swim to the moon
Let's climb through the tide
Penetrate the evening that the
City sleeps to hide
Let's swim out tonight, love
It's our turn to try
Parked beside the ocean
On our moonlight drive

Let's swim to the moon
Let's climb through the tide
Surrender to the waiting worlds
That lap against our side

Nothing left open
And no time to decide
We've stepped into a river
On our moonlight drive


Sorry so morbid, but its been a rather morbid week in America, yes? ;)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How to get away with murder

From the outcome of the Casey Anthony trial we learn that baby-killers go free, if they are pretty, young, middle-class white women. I find this profoundly unfair, especially considering that poor Andrea Yates had an actual diagnosis and went without her prescribed meds, yet was still found guilty.

I would like to share my opinion with the jury. If one of them lived near me, I might leave a little note on their door or email them. Thus, whenever the names of the people on the Casey Anthony jury are released, I will be publishing them here. In addition, I will be publishing whatever other info is released about them, such as addresses or employer information. (In case anyone else wants to talk to them in person or anything.) And I hope the craven, cowardly members of this jury lose their jobs, their friends, their reputations and much more. Make them pariahs. Allies of baby-killers should be treated like the baby-killers themselves. They have dangerously turned an evil, heartless killer loose to walk among us; I am simply grateful I don't live in Orlando.

As for Casey, the continuing drama of her life should be fairly entertaining. I'm sure she will become even more famous, in our celebrity-driven, increasingly-amoral culture that provides polite, respectful obits for mass-murderers like Jack Kevorkian. Since she is very attractive, she will probably be in reality-TV shows or music-videos, possibly marrying a cool actor or musician.

I just hope she doesn't have any more children.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Wanda Johnson rocks the house

This is Wanda's second notable appearance at DEAD AIR. Great music!

Below: Wanda Johnson and her Upstate Rhythm Section, at Main Street Fridays, this evening in Greenville.

She's totally awesome.