I haven’t gotten a chain letter in quite some time. I think I have managed to train most people around me that they are usually flat out wrong (or at very best, wildly outdated) and, if nothing else, sending them to me means that I will take the time to debunk them and will reply telling the sender that and a small diatribe on the evils of chain letters. I figure most people have either learned not to forward them at all or, more likely, to avoid sending them to me.
So, imagine my surprise when I received one late last night about how illegal immigrants are costing this country more than the Iraq war has and blames our economic woes on them. That was too good to pass up. It only took me about 3 minutes of searching while sitting in Panera this morning to find a good debuking of the entire email and send it along.
I hope I was nice about it. I’ve long known that being a jerk to people about chain letters makes them ignore the fact that you just debunked their screed and just get mad at me for being a jerk. So I am very nice about it, usually ending with a statement about being cranky when I get chain mail or some such.
But to me, the biggest revelation of this little event is how infrequently I get chain letters. It took receiving one to realize how long it’s been since I last got one. So, that’s an improvement!
Now, I have to go forward this email to ten friends so I can win a million dollars next week. Drinks are on me!
Anyone who knows me knows that I have long been a huge fan of Laurie Anderson’s work (dating back to High School when Paul made me listen to O Superman (For Massenet). In college I studied a lot of experimental and modern music and spent endless hours locked in the Bregman Electronic Music Studio composing strange things, much of which was deeply inspired by Anderson’s music. When Strange Angels came out, I remember after I finished DJing a dance party at my Co-Ed Fraternity, I put the new CD on and I pulled a small couch to the middle of the empty living room and listened to the whole thing at 2 in the morning on the sound system. To this day, my friend JIm and I are likely to start a conversation by quoting Hansel and Gretel in The Dream Before: “Hansel and Gretel are alive and well and they’re living in Berlin. She says, ‘Hansel, you’re really bringing me down.’ And he says, ‘Gretel? You can really be a bitch.'”
When I learned a few weeks ago that she had a new CD coming out based on a few years of live shows she’s done around the world, I was beside myself. I listened to it on NPR’s website, streamed up until the album’s release yesterday.
Homeland harkens back to her earlier works reminding me more of United States or Big Science than the more recent works such as Bright Red. Anderson talks about how the music is far more improvisational, that she went on the road without anything being complete or settled and worked with different musicians and spaces and ideas and how the music evolved over time. It has a spontaneous feel to it while still being deeply grounded in what I easily recognize as Anderson’s style of sound (though I couldn’t begin to properly describe it, and I’ve tried!)
The music is also more political than I remember her being in previous works and I like it very much. The song Only an Expert, easily my favorite so far, pokes good fun (though with an undercurrent of anger) at the modern sound machine that politics, news, and discourse has devolved into.
I actually went to a Fye and purchased the physical album rather than getting it on Amazon or iTunes as is my usual M.O. music in part because it comes with a DVD that I would not have otherwise gotten and in part because there are a few artists that I still prefer to have physical media than pure digital files.
An album release like this is one of those rare events that I love. I don’t often get to completely lose myself both in music and the memories the previous releases bring out in me. It’s been too long since her last album. I hope I don’t have to wait so long for the next one.
I’ve been keeping quiet here about the upcoming election. This is largely due to the fact that I’ve been so focused on getting the book done and I’ve been spending a lot of time planning the curriculum for my Bear Cub Scout Den for this year. And, before two days ago when I moved this blog over to WordPress, it was a major project to post anything to this (I’ll go on an extended rant on why I am so disappointed in RapidWeaver another time).
Excuses out of the way, I am not going to say all that much in large part because plenty of others are saying quite enough and my main interest this fall is action at a more local level. I want to focus my writing on other subjects and not turn this into another political blog.
And so, I am only going to throw out a few links I’ve read today which really resonated with me and I think are important reads. I do not like at all what I am seeing. The McCain campaign is essentially lying and plenty of people are falling for it. It amazes me that they do given how blatant some of these lies are, but they are. These articles I read today do an excellent job of summarizing some of the key points. Do with them what you will, but I think they all deserve some consideration. I know that many Republicans stand behind McCain because of who he once was (and I think a lot of people don’t realize just how much he has changed from that man over the last four or so years) and I understand that. The man he was (prior to his sudden turn-around endorsement of Bush in 2004) was someone I could grudgingly get behind. I felt he was a Republican I could respect. But that changed and his latest actions over the last ten or so days have left me feeling a lot of trepidation. So, here are the articles:
It is easy to get swept up in poltical rhetoric at this time of year and it is also easy to get personal and mean with people who don’t agree with us. If you look at this election purely on the issues, there is a simple dividing line and I would never judge someone who is voting based on what they believe is the right way to run this country, even if I don’t agree with it. There are basic differences of opinion and part of being in a Democracy is accepting that. We can argue about it, but at the end of the day, we all believe what we believe for good or ill. What I do not like is the fact that McCain’s campaign is trying to distract us from the issues and make this about personal attacks, pointless (and intentional) misunderstandings (“lipstick on a pig” was about the McCain economic plan, not his running mate), and outright lies (the sex education commercial). I believe both candidates should say what they believe and what they will do and let the voters decide which person has the better plan. What McCain is doing is dishonest and dishonorable.
Some closing links of articles I read earlier in the week and liked: