New Year’s Resolutions

Here are Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Resolutions from 1942.  Sure, the list is a little silly, with the cartoons and entries like “Wash teeth if any,” but hidden in there is some of the best wisdom since Ecclesiastes.  If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution, you could do much worse than “Love Everybody,” “Read Lots Good Books” or “Save Dough.”  And those of you hoping to lose weight should follow Woody’s advice: “Eat Good — Fruit — Vegetables — Milk.”  If you’re a little more ambitious, maybe you can “Beat Fascism,” this year.  For me, I think I should just try to “Work More and Better,” where writing is concerned

Published in: on January 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Whatever the Hell Douglas Rushkoff is, He’s a Good One

In my last post, I somewhat blithely referred to Douglas Rushkoff’s profession as “whatever the hell Douglas Rushkoff is.”  Rushkoff describes himself as a “media-ecologist,” but that doesn’t really help us figure him out.  I suppose we could say Rushkoff is a professional mad genius.  In What is Your Dangerous Idea Rushkoff discusses open-source currency.  He outlines the idea in more detail here.  I don’t know how sound Rushkoff’s economic history is, and his idea does have the aura of the conspiracy theory about it, but we have to appreciate that he takes the broad view (i.e. he doesn’t treat economics on its own but recognizes that economies must interact with all other forms of human endeavor), and his thinking leads in new directions.  I came away from Rushkoff’s article thinking: if socialism and capitalism were both developed for industrial economies and we have a post industrial economy, then why are all the economic policies we developed some form of capitalism, socialism, or synthesis of the two.  We’ve been trapped into lateral thinking, and whether or not Rushkoff shows a viable way out of that Semantic trap, he reminds us that there can be a way out.  Which is something we desperately need to remember.    When faced with a problem we keep throwing answers to see what works.  Rushkoff’s answers may very well be crazy, but they serve to remind us, we may be asking the wrong questions.  I for one would never have considered that currency itself (or rather the type of currency) could be at the core of our financial woes.  This kind of out there thinking is necessary to get things moving into the future, if we want to have an Arthur C. Clarke future.  Rushkoftf’s friend Grant Morrison thinks that a sort of nocebo effect is causing people who believe that future is hopeless to make it hopeless.  Grant thinks superheroes will show us the way out.  Rushkoff wants to open source everything (currency, religion, and so on), which I suppose would make us all superheroes of a sort.  Either way the point is not to get mired in how things are now, but to get moving towards making the future.

Published in: on January 4, 2012 at 9:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Quick Hit: The Hobbit movies

There will be two of them and the first is subtitled An Unexpected Journey.  I think they should have been titled There and Back Again, respectivey.


Published in: on December 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  

Quick Hit: It’s a Wonderful Life

Has Grant Morrison ever done a riff on It’s a Wonderful Life?  Because it’s pretty much about the human impact of chaos theory and alternate universes.

Published in: on December 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  

Quick Hit: The Presidents of the United States of America

The band, The Presidents of the United States of America could not have conceived of how difficult it would be to look them up on Wikipedia.  The band, The Band greatly overestimated the difficulty of discussing them in conversation.

Published in: on December 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  

Some Not Particularly Organized Thoughts on A Charlie Brown Christmas

Ah.  So I did have a blog and it wasn’t all some strange dream (the inn in Vermont has proven not to be true, however, sadly).  Time to get back on my feet (once again), then.

A Charlie Brown Christmas aired this week.  Although I didn’t catch it, I’ve seen it a time or (twenty) two, so I feel free to comment on it.  Like Woodstock, this special is kind of an odd bird.  I can’t think of any other Christmas special which makes reference to the fact that Christmas is (originally at least) a religious holiday.  This one quotes from the King James Bible at length.  And you know what kids love even more than theology?  Cool Jazz.

But seriously, it must have been easy enough to slide in the jazz soundtrack (which, don’t get me wrong, is brilliant), considering Schulz and director Mendelson already did everything else wrong.  Charlie Brown isn’t excited about Christmas.  Instead he seems to be dealing with some Seasonal Affective Disorder.  And the thing is, he’s kind of right.  In How the Grinch Stole Christmas, not being thrilled about the holidays is a symptom of villainy.  People have accused Schulz of being melancholic or bitter, but one of the great humanizing elements of the Peanuts strip is its insistence that everyone feels lousy sometimes and that’s alright.

The original airing was sponsored by Coca Cola (who actually are the ones who contacted Mendelson about doing a Peanuts Christmas special).  So Schulz and Mendelson gave them a weirdo Christmas special about the winter blues and the commercialization of everything.  Most future airings removed a piece of footage.  Ever wonder where Linus ends up when Snoopy grabs his blanket and sends him flying across the frozen pond in the opening scene?  Linus ends up crashing into a Coca Cola billboard, breaking it in two (I can’t for the life of me find a clip or picture anywhere online, so you’ll just have to trust me) and smashing Schulz’s corporate financiers. And that ended up not even being the last laugh.   Coke got an anti-commercial commercial and Schulz created a special no one thought they wanted that everyone still watches.

I suppose I should come to some conclusion, here, but I just don’t know what to think.  To simplify the matter, I’ll ask:  how should I feel about wanting to buy a replica Charlie Brown tree?


Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

That’s Offal!: One More Horror Story for Halloween Night

I was gonna save this for later, but it seems all too fittinng for the holliday.  The McRib is made of tripe.  In more … let’s say festive language that’s guts.  Organ meats are not really popular in American cuisine even though they’re fairly important in the cooking of some locales (Britain).  But apparently if you want to get Americans to eat offal, you just need to reconstitute it and put some barbecue sauce on it (I suspect the latter step is the more important one).

Published in: on October 31, 2011 at 7:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Quick Hit: Solipsism

Does anyone else occasionally entertain the notion of solipsism, or just me?

Published in: on October 29, 2011 at 11:50 am  Comments (1)  

Quick Hit: Hank Williamses

The Hank Williamses are kind of like the Star Trek movies except it’s the odd ones that are good.

Published in: on October 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Quick Hit: Mastodon

The new Mastodon album has a limited edition that comes with an “Augmented Reality Experience.”  I just hope they don’t get in trouble for shipping drugs across state lines.

Published in: on October 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment