Saturday, September 28, 2013

Japanese Wartime War Movies, Now Not Lost ハワイ・マレー沖海戦 ('42) 8-8

Here's another great one, with planes!

The War at Sea from Hawaii to Malay ハワイ・マレー沖海戦 (1942)

Man, I've been looking for these movies since the 1970's.  I say, "these . . ." because there are several, movies that were made during and about the war with America.  While the Japanese were winning.  They've been hard to find, but now, evidently, every single thing is on the YouTube.

These are great special-effect war movies made by the guys that ten years later started making the Godzilla movies.  They were made to do two things: 1) to boost morale in the Imperial Japanese armed forces; and 2) to boost patriotism among the Japanese civilian population.  They've been hard to find because most of the prints were destroyed immediately when the war ended.  Ended, "not to the advantage of Japan," as the Emperor said in his speech.  They were afraid that if the American armed forces saw them, there'd be hell to pay.  They still didn't understand our sense of humor.   Films about their own treatment of American and other allied prisoners of war would have gotten them buried alive; these mere war films are harmless. 

And for you real cinema fans out there, I discovered today that the 'Tube has the entire movie of "Tokyo Story."  All two hours and fifteen minutes of it, amazingly.  Looks good to, a very watchable-in-full-screen copy.  That's one of the all time great movies.  No swords; no action; no giant monsters.  Just a mom, a dad and some grown up children, working on the mystery of life with mixed results. 

I just may have to keep living after all. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013


There's a new CD set called "West Coast Seattle Boy."  Old time Jimi Hendrix. 

I haven't heard many of them, except Don Covay's "Have Mercy."  This one is a winner, great little dance tune, Rosa Lee really sells it and the band cooks.  Jimi gets a chance to work out on what is reputed to be his first appearance on a record. 

Lucky for us, the stuff is on You Tube.  You can look up the song list on Wiki and then check the 'Tube.  Honestly, I don't mind "borrowing" the MP3, but honestly, I don't know how anybody makes a living these days. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Don Covay - Mercy Mercy

The original; the cover version is below. 

With Jimi Hendrix no less!  Jimi came up with the part and it really makes the song.  It's early, and it's not the fully formed Hendrix style, but you can hear it all in there.  Great, great song.

Mercy Mercy - The Rolling Stones

A cover just to lighten the mood.  The 'Stones took this song and heavied it up quite a bit, they often took these American songs and played them faster and heavier.  Good job by Mick too.  He's a pretty good singer, for a white guy.

A Survey Of The Country's Problems

America has problems, numerous problems.  Some of them get a nod, some get a wink, and some of them are ignored all together.  Here’s a list.

You will notice that abortion is not on the list.  That’s a problem for one woman at a time, and the best way to handle it is to just leave them to it.  Guns are not on the list.  Addressing some of the problems that are on the list would go a long way to eliminating the gun problem.  Gay marriage?  That’s not a problem, and you know it.  The ACA, Bengazi, Obama’s birth certificate, video games, Hip-Hop . . . no, no, no, no and no. 

This is a list of REAL problems, problems that have the power to create negative outcomes for the entire nation, if not the world.  Some already have.  Some are natural; some are man-made; and some lie somewhere in between. 

Which one is your favorite?


1.  The Permanent Emergency.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared a state of emergency in 1940, and it has existed continuously ever since.  It allowed him to gear up for the coming war, with massive increases in military spending and the institution of a draft.  After the war, the emergency was transferred to the Soviets; after the Soviets it was transferred to “Terrorism.”  There was a small interregnum between the Soviets and Terrorism, but the state of emergency persisted.  This is why we still have ridiculously high levels of military spending and a national security state;

2. The Shadow Executive.  The executive branch of the government includes the Federal agencies.  By now it effectively includes the military as well.  It includes all of the national security agencies, like the CIA, the NSA and others, no doubt, that we are still unaware of.  That’s a huge amount of manpower, on a career basis, completely unelected.  Does anyone think that it matters anymore who is the president?  Can you imagine two more different people than George Bush the Lesser and Barack Obama?  Any new president, on his first day, discovers his situation when it is explained to him by this unelected bureaucracy;

3.  Militarized Police Forces.  The police forces of any large urban center are unrecognizable from the quaint police of my childhood.  They come now in large groups, in armored vehicles,  wearing helmets and vests and carrying assault rifles.  There are a lot more shootings and ass kickings by police too.  Lots of stop and frisk, and lots of invading the wrong premises, and very little “excuse me.”  I recall mocking other countries because their people had to fear their own police.  That’s the boat that we now find ourselves in;

4.  The Privatized Military.  Private contractors building bases, cooking and cleaning, and fueling planes and vehicles.   Private detective agencies are providing security.  This increases costs and transfers tax money to corporations, it also dulls the chances for oversight;

5.  Corporate Prisons.  This is such a terrible idea that I’d like to meet some of the politicians who support the idea.  These corporations charge by the head, and they demand quotas that are written into the contracts with the states, and they insist on very high levels of occupancy.  If the prison population falls below the prescribed levels, penalties must be paid by the state.   I keep waiting for this scandal to blow up in someone’s face, but I remain disappointed;

6.  Health Insecurity.  Americans live with such enormous health insecurity that it amazes me every year that goes by without a revolution.  America is almost alone among the developed countries of the world in not having a single-payer system.   No, we prefer an adversarial relationship with predatory health insurance providers and various other medical entities.  Most Americans are one medical catastrophe away from financial ruin and/or actual death.   In return we spend, as a nation, about twice as much in terms of GDP as the other, more sensible developed countries.  For this we get no increase in the quality of care.  Even if you have good insurance, the co-pays will kill you.  It’s the worst health care in the world.  And don’t go off about the “takers” either.  Sure, someone with no money and no assets can get free treatment in a hospital, but it’s no alternative.  They are merely stabilized and sent home.  This problem really galls me;

7.  The Death Of The Oceans.  The oceans are warming up, they are being over-fished LAMF, and the waters are acidifying.  The only ones who like the state of the oceans of the world are the jellyfish.  They are thriving to a degree that is shocking, colonizing new areas by hitch-hiking around the world in the ballast water of commercial ships.  We’ll need to start writing jelly-fish cook books pretty soon;

8.  Global Climate Change.  A separate problem from number 7.  Whether you believe that Global Climate Change is man-made, or whether you believe that it’s cyclical and normal, or whether you deny that it is happening at all, it is a very real phenomenon.  It is observable and measureable, and the negative effects are already being seen.  It’s going to be a real party in forty or fifty years, if not sooner;

9.  Compound Interest.  Not often thought of as a problem, I admit.  I appreciate the benefits of it myself, at least when the banks are offering interest that is not just a joke.  Now, though, we have a situation where virtually all of the money is being sucked up to the top of the benefit chain.  Don’t the Walmart heirs alone have twenty something percent of all of the money these days?  As the rich get richer, and compound interest works its magic, money will have to be printed at a frightening rate to keep some of it available for wages for the rest of us.  What happens then?  Prices go up?  You’ll have to be a Walmart heir to afford food;

10.  Politicians Selling Their Asses Ridiculously Cheaply.  I almost understand politicians benefiting financially from their positions.  Within reason I could tolerate it pretty well.  I find it annoying, though, that instead of selling off a little bit of benefit for good money, we elect guys that are such piss poor negotiators that they sell off the whole game for a pittance.  They cheerfully give away billions of dollars of benefit for a few measly hundreds of millions of dollars.  Then they preen around like hot shots while they are begging for rides on private jets that most of them can’t afford for themselves.  Pathetic;

11.   The Death Of Privacy.  Oh, I know, just the idea of “privacy” is so quaint by now.  How can it be a problem when it doesn’t even exist anymore? 

12.  The Death Of Compromise.  Democracy cannot exist without compromise.  We are now discovering the truth of that statement.  Nobody’s interested in finding the middle ground these days.  Remember arguing with the Soviets?  They started out with a list of demands and if you asked them to forego the dot over one “I” they would scream like you were killing them and claim that they could not possibly abandon their principles to accommodate you.  This lesson was learned by the Republican party, to our detriment;

13.  High Productivity/Low Wages.  In the last thirty years, human productivity has gone through the roof, it has exploded to levels that would have been science fiction back in the 1960’s.  What have workers gotten from all of this productivity?  Lower wages in real terms.  Unions destroyed, benefits eroded, and all of the old covenants between labor and management abrogated by the corporations.  The productivity itself has led to higher systemic levels of unemployment, which also serves to lower wages.  All of the money generated by the high productivity has accrued to the benefit of the investment class;

14.  Income Inequality.  Think of the Willard Romney family and Honey Boo Boo’s family.  Get the picture? 
15.  Our Unbalanced And Regressive Tax Structure.  Over the last thirty or forty years the tax structure has been altered to lower rates on income derived from capital gains while raising them on  wages.  So Warren Buffet’s secretary pays a rather higher percentage rate on her income than he does on his.  Add in the more recent infatuation with sales taxes and fees for everything imaginable and you get a tax system that oppresses the lower income ranges while giving the upper ranges a virtual pass; 

16.  The Threat To Public Education.  I never went to public schools myself, but my children did.  I believe that managed correctly they are the great levelers that can be so important to a democracy.  In a simpler age they functioned to homogenize the diversity of America, rendering all students “Americans” with a common experience.  They could serve this purpose again.  And they already provide as good an education as private schools or so-called charter schools.  I believe that private schools should be subject to a luxury tax, and that charter schools should be done away with all together.  Charter schools have not demonstrated any superior ability to educated students, and they just suck up public money and hand it to corporations who do nothing to earn it;

17.  Religion.  I mean religion in general, all religions, all around the world.  Religion needs to sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up;

18.  The Democratic Party;

19.  The Republican Party;

20.  The Illusion Of Being Well Informed.  Thanks to the Internet, everyone thinks that they are a genius these days.  This is a problem.  Everyone feels like they are just so well informed, because, after all, they watch TV news, listen to talk-radio, and read news accumulation sites on the Internet.   This state of high-quality intellectual readiness gives everybody an apparent license to have an opinion, which will be promptly Tweeted or otherwise distributed.  To this new genius class I say, paraphrasing Oliver Cromwell, “I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, please consider that you may be wrong.” 

Well, my fingers are tired.  That should be enough reading for now anyway.  Maybe you could transfer it to your Kindle!  That would be modern! 

For anyone who makes the heroic effort required to read this whole thing, please accept my sincerest thanks. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Guadalupe Plata @ Helldorado

From Spain, the new internationalism.  Global Boogie! 

Guitar players are different from other musicians.  "What?  Distortion?  I don't hear any distortion." 

The Volumes - I love you

As a palette cleanser, here's one of the great 45's of all time.  Released in 1962 . . . is it a Doo Wop song?  Maybe, but it's so much more.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Holding John Lennon Up To The Light

I just heard this song in a restaurant and it elicited the usual response from me.  A resounding "oh, cut the bullshit."

John Lennon was a good songwriter, I said "good" advisedly, but in every other way he was a bad person.  He was bad to his friends, bad to his band, bad to all of his wives and girlfriends, and bad to his children.  Very bad to Julian, and if he hadn't suddenly died he'd have been bad to Shaun as well.  It's not a difficult prediction, he was bad to everybody.  You wouldn't have wanted to meet him, he'd have mocked you severely and probably thrown up on you. 

And this "Peace" stuff was all total bullshit.  It's all conclusory, he presents only the conclusion that peace is where it's at and we should all just love each other!  Just like that!  Like it was simple!  Just take the advice of the genius, John Lennon, and decide right now to love your fellow man!  Wow, why didn't I think of that? Imagine all of the people involved in all of the world's conflicts in all of the world's countries suddenly striking a palm to their foreheads and saying, "Sweet God of mercy!  It's so easy!  I just need to love this person that I was trying to kill a minute ago!"  Oh, excuse me, no crying out to God, because religion has to go too.  And property.  Then we'll have peace! 

In his own mind he was much too great a genius for the persona of "rock star" to hold.  He started out wanting to be Elvis and ended up wanting to be Gandhi.  Gandhi on heroin. 

He was a good songwriter, and a fair guitar player and singer, and he performed well for a few years there in a good band.  Revolver, Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper's, and maybe even Imagine, were great albums.  But let's face it, in the final analysis, he was no Paul McCartney. 

The Drifters I Don`t Want To Go On Without You.

Evidently this was a B-side, so I never heard it back in the long, long ago.  This may actually be the first time that I've heard it.  Very good, in my humble opinion. 

I heard it first as the cover by the Moody Blues (see below).  I loved the song, and still do.  Probably a character defect, I'm sure that my old hipster friends would still find my appreciation something to criticize.  But with music, as with love, the heart wants what the heart wants. 

First listen?  That's probably it.  Racism?  Probably not, I loved the Drifters.  Just an accident of timing and fate.  Let's just say it's one of those things. 

The Moody Blues - I Don't Want To Go On Without You - 1965 45rpm

I loved this cut on the first Moody Blues album.  Some of my hipster friends made fun of me, but I found the sincerity of it quite compelling. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fleetwood Mac(Peter Green) - Oh Well 1969

The story goes that Peter Green went a little crazy within a few years of this video recording.  The evidence of that is, some would say, compelling.  He might even have been crazy by the time of this video. 

More proof, if any more were needed, that sometimes, just sometimes, being crazy can have its benefits. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

New Yorkers Like To Complain

Here's one that I directed to the Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok:

"There were two problems with my recent treatment. 

1. After I requested a dermatologist,a nurse was allowed to override this and direct me to surgery.  This is not the role of a nurse in modern medicine. My complaint was clearly one for a dermatologist;

2. The doctor in surgery merely treated my symptoms, without making any diagnosis at all, which would have required a dermatologist. Proceeding without a diagnosis seems like 19th Century medicine to me.

As a result, the symptoms were temporarily alleviated, while the condition went unaddressed.  It persisted for a further two months.  My own immune system finally overcame the condition, but it was a painful two months. 

I had no desire to return for follow ups, preferring to address the symptoms myself.  It was not rocket science.  I diagnosed myself with the help of the Internet, and my diagnosis has been confirmed by a dermatologist.

This is not the kind of treatment that one expects from Samitivej."

Samitivej is generally a good place, and it is one of the most highly regarded hospitals in Thailand.  It is considered "Farang style," and many of the doctors are board certified in America. 

I have since transferred my business to a smaller outfit close to my condo, the Ramkhamhaeng Hospital.  So far I am most pleased with my dentist and my dermatologist, they both speak English quite fluently and do a great job.  It's a safe place, American insurance companies send patients for treatments ranging from joint replacements to cardiac procedures.  Cheaper too, Samitivej is quite expensive (for the local market). 

Oh!  Those New Yorkers!  Complain, complain, complain!  I complain, therefore I am. 

Christina West DUI Arrest Police Brutality By Tallahassee Cops (GRAPHIC ...

This is from about a week ago.  I was expecting it to raise some kind of indignation in the population at large.  Nothing so far, it seems.

My favorite part is the officers' description of the reasons behind their use of ridiculously excessive force on this inoffensive, albeit quite drunk, woman.  "She was kicking me in my groin . . . she continued to reach for my groin . . . she kicked my partner in the leg . . ."  The video seems not to have captured these violent attacks.  She was slow to follow their instructions to exit the vehicle, that took about seven seconds.  Failure to comply immediately seems to have set them off. 

Those two (three?) substantial police officers could not figure out a way to control this woman without literally busting her head?  (Fractured orbit, right eye.)  The police chief predictably defended his offices "procedures," which had been, he said, properly followed. 

Alas, Babylon!  Imagine what they'd have done if she'd called them faggots. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"Staggeringly Slapdash Effusions"

I noticed recently that a guy named Bruce Bawer, some kind of critic, has described the poetry of Jack Kerouac as "staggeringly slapdash effusions." 

Not being familiar with Kerouac's poetry, I went and read some of them.  They reminded me a lot of my own poetic efforts.  So I could easily see Mr. Bawer's point, because to call my poems "staggeringly slapdash effusions" would be putting it mildly. 

I do think that Kerouac's novels are very good though, they certainly have lasting merit.  Even the late ones, like "The Vanity of Delouz."  He'll be remembered, perhaps in spite of the poetry.  Not like some people. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"Premakes" The Empire Strikes Back (1950)

I don't know about you, but I still find these old special effects compelling.  Great mash up too.  

And I have noticed, in my perusal of what passes for newspapers these days (web-sites), that a substantial number of American households have dropped their cable TV.  In favor of what, we may fairly ask?  Could it be . . . web TV?  Or one of its variations?  Or merely the YouTube?  They have whole movies now, you know, and lots of sitcoms and whatever.  They're figuring out how to make money from the eyes, so there's a chance that the plug will remain plugged.

But anyway, how about that YouTube?  Stuff like this is making it very, very interesting.  And funny! 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

So nice- Astrud Gilberto.mpg

But then again, maybe nothing will come of all of this loose talk about Syria.  No collateral damage, ha! it was all a joke!  to see if you were listening! 

How great would it be if this were the real theme song of the Syria thing after all?  "It would be so nice."

Monday, September 2, 2013

James Chance & the Contortions - I Can't Stand Myself

New York, New York, big city of dreams . . ."  Good music town.

This is a very successful, shockingly unconventional cover of a James Brown tune.  Amazing solos from the sax and guitar, some people just pick those things up and own them.  This was "No Wave" music, a reaction to New Wave.  1978 was a good year for music. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

My All Time Most Popular Post: The Fifteen Greatest Roman Generals

 This post went up years ago and it still gets a couple of dozen hits per month, it almost never leaves the "most popular" list in stats.  It draws the most spam too, by far. 


Don’t take my word for it. I got these names from a book by a real historian, I forget his name right now, the book is nine time zones away. In roughly chronological order:

1. Quintus Fabius Maximus (“Cunctator”) 217 B.C. “The Delayer;” the shield of Rome.

2. Marcus Claudius Marcellus. The sword of Rome; killed Britomarus in individual combat; started turning the tide against Hannibal.

3. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus. 209 B.C. Captured New Carthage; defeated Hasdrubal at Ilipa; ended Second Punic War.

4. Lucius Aemilius Paullus. 170 B.C. Conquered Macedonia; battle of Phdna; defeated Antiochus the Great and Perseus.

5. Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus Numantinus. 140 B.C. Careful preparation, close supervision and controlled boldness; ended Third Punic War.

6. Caius Marius. 110 B.C. Defeated Germanic tribes the Chimbri, Teutones and Ambrones; reformed the army.

7. Quintus Sertorius. Noted for speed, secrecy and misdirection; Civil Wars.

8. Cnaeus Pompeius Magnus. Young, rich and unconventional; Civil War v. Sertorius; defeated Mediterranean pirates.

9. Caius Julius Ceasar. Aggressive and flexible; battle of Alesia v. Vercingatorix in Gaul; Civil War.

10. Claudius Germanicus Caesar. Adopted son of Tiberius; biological son of Drusus.

11. Cnaeus Domitius Corbulo. Reformed the Roman army to become the new Imperial army; fought in Germany and Armenia.

12. Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus. 70 A.D. Son of Vespasian; siege of Jerusalem.

13. Marcus Ulpius Traianus “Trajan.” 103 A.D. Dacian wars.

14. Julian the Apostate. 356 A.D. Tough wins against Germanic tribes invading Gaul.

15. Belisarius. 550 A.D. Wars against Persia; created a “Medieval army” for Rome.

If I commanded a battle fleet in outer space, I’d name the big warships after these guys.


The spam is funny.  Guys all over eastern Europe feel like anyone who's into Roman generals must need new Uggs boots.  What's the deal though?  Why so popular?  A fascinating accident of Google prioritization, most likely.