Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Put a Spell On You

[Oh, yes.]

Sreamin' Jay Hawkins - I Put a Spell On You [live, 1959]

Nick Cave - I Put a Spell On You [live, 1984]

Nina Simone - I Put a Spell On You [live, 1968]

Marilyn Manson - I Put A Spell On You [fan video, 1995]

Bryan Ferry - I Put a Spell On You [1992]

Setherial - För Dem Mitt Blod [live, 2006]

[I'm not sure if that last one is really a cover or not, but it came up in the search and rules.]

Cabaret Voltaire

Not these iconoclastic heroes, but these iconoclastic heroes. [We'll very likely revisit the former sometime in the near future.]

In Cabaret Voltaire's case, their early training as media guerillas vested them with the mobility to slip in and out of the mainstream earshot almost at will. As yet to be properly pinned down, they've sustained a campaign of civil and dancehall disobedience through more than 15 years. Filtering influences as diverse as Stockhausen, Can, early Roxy Music, Velvet Underground and James Brown through various tape and electronic devices, they have in turn infiltrated all manner of heresies and subversions into the often conservative territory of dance music.
-Biba Koph, 1990

[I have a cross stitch version of the above quote framed and prominently displayed in my house - like some might have Footprints in the Sand or the Lord's Prayer or some shit.]

Cabaret Voltaire - Nag Nag Nag [1979]

Cabaret Voltaire - I Want You [1985]

Cabaret Voltaire - Ghostalk [1985]

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Doing it Right: Ford [Yes, Ford.]

Ford Scion Looks Beyond Bailout to Green Agenda

[Poor choice of words on the New York Times' part. Did your copy editors not know Scion is another car brand, or did they just think that was a quaint play on words?]

Bill Ford Jr. wasn't viewed as an effective manager when he was CEO of his family's company, but the guy has vision the other players in town could learn a lot from. Ford clearly has a powerful design team in J. Mays and Freeman Thomas [who penned the Audi TT and New Beetle while together at Volkswagen AG,] Peter Horbury [who accomplished the no-small-task of making Volvos sexy,] and major league talent like Anthony Prozzi and Camilo Pardo. Even with arguably the best design staff in the business, Ford is in similar hot water as GM and Chrysler right now. The two things Ford Motor Company have going for them is 1) enough liquidity to survive the next year, and 2) [more importantly] an aggressive plan to make products which are relevant to not only consumers, but to the next president's vision for energy independence and start-up mentality leadership.

Mr. Ford has been working behind the scenes, meeting one-on-one with Mr. Obama in August, conferring with his senior economic advisers, and teaming up with Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan to push a vision of a leaner, greener auto industry.

With Detroit on the brink of disaster, the great-grandson of Henry Ford could play a critical role in how the Obama administration decides to assist the companies financially and shape broader energy policies.

“One of the things that I feel very encouraged about is the president-elect and where he’d like to take this country in terms of energy, and I completely buy into his vision,” Mr. Ford said in an interview, his first since the Big Three approached Washington lawmakers about a rescue plan.

He can afford to take a longer view because Ford, unlike G.M. and Chrysler, does not need an immediate infusion of government aid to stay in business.

While Ford’s chief executive, Alan R. Mulally, joined his counterparts from G.M. and Chrysler in testifying before Congress last week, Ford is not asking for an immediate bailout from Washington for now.

The company has enough cash on hand — $18.9 billion, as well as a $10.7 billion line of credit with private lenders — that will keep it running through 2009 without cutting development of its next generation of more fuel-efficient cars.

While Ford cannot continue to burn cash indefinitely, it is also not on the verge of bankruptcy like G.M. and Chrysler. And the health of the company presents a unique opportunity for Mr. Ford, 51, who has been chairman of the company since 1999 and served five years as its chief executive.

“We have a plan that is high-tech, product-driven, which is a fuel economy plan,” he said. “And we have kept that plan in place under these tough conditions.”

In August, Mr. Ford shared those plans with Mr. Obama, then candidate for president, when he was in Lansing, Mich., for a speech on energy policy.

“We talked about the electrification of our industry and other fuel-economy issues,” Mr. Ford said. “He’s a great listener and he asked all the right questions.”

Mr. Ford said they focused on a few specific, industrywide issues. One was government help to put more electric cars on the road.

“One of the things we need to sort out as a country is batteries,” Mr. Ford said. “We really don’t want to trade one foreign dependency, oil, for another foreign dependency, batteries.” The main producers of batteries are Asian manufacturers.

He does not profess to have Mr. Obama’s ear yet on the how to save Detroit. But Mr. Ford is keeping close contact through Governor Granholm, a member of the president-elect’s economic advisory team.

“I think he is a key player,” she said of Mr. Ford. “He has tremendous credibility with respect to the serious issues related to renewable energy and energy security for this nation.”

Mr. Ford has been Detroit’s most vocal environmentalist since becoming the first family member to run Ford since his uncle, Henry Ford II.

Even when Ford was living off profits from its big sport utility vehicles, he was pushing to take the company in a greener direction. Ford was the first automaker to bring to market a hybrid version of an S.U.V., the Ford Escape, and it is introducing a new line of Ecoboost engines next year that will cut fuel consumption by up to 20 percent.

The Ford family controls the automaker by virtue of its 70.85 million shares of Class B stock, which carry 40 percent voting rights for the entire company.

But the family’s wealth has taken a drastic hit as losses have mounted at Ford and its stock price has plunged.

The family’s Class B shares were worth $101 million at Friday’s closing price of $1.43 a share, down 81 percent from a year ago when the shares had a value of $532 million.

Mr. Ford also owns 5.2 million shares individually, which have dropped in value to $7.4 million from $39 million.

“The family clearly has taken an enormous financial beating,” Mr. Ford said. “But the family still is here and standing behind the company.”

The company is in better shape than G.M. and Chrysler, but just barely. Ford has lost $24 billion since 2006, and it reduced its cash cushion by $7.9 billion in the third quarter this year.

Two years ago, Ford was seen as the riskiest bet in the industry to survive when it mortgaged nearly all its assets, even its blue Ford oval trademark, to secure a huge line of credit.

Now, with the collapse of the credit market, G.M. and Chrysler cannot borrow money on their assets and could face insolvency by the end of the year without federal assistance.

Mr. Ford said his company was interested in being able to access government loans only if the economy continues to deteriorate. “We’re trying very hard not to need it,” he said. “Our plan is to have our own liquidity and get through without it.”

Ford has already undergone an extensive revamping at the direction of Mr. Mulally, who succeeded Mr. Ford as the automaker’s chief executive in 2006.

Since then, the company has cut 40,000 jobs, sold off three of its brands and begun an effort to transform its truck-heavy vehicle fleet with an influx of smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

Mr. Ford remained in Detroit last week as Mr. Mulally endured two days of harsh criticism by lawmakers over Detroit’s financial plight, along with G.M.’s chairman, Rick Wagoner, and Chrysler’s chairman, Robert L. Nardelli.

In the interview, Mr. Ford said that some of the skepticism from Congress about the industry’s future was justified. “I completely understand the frustration that Americans feel and it came out loud and clear this week,” he said. “I don’t think we told our story terribly well.”

Knives Out

On Friday, November 28 at 8pm, Cranbrook Art Museum will welcome nospectacle for a program loosely based on "Exploding Plastic Inevitable," the multimedia happening organized by Andy Warhol in the mid-1960s and first performed at a dinner for the New York Society for Clinical Psychiatry. The show will include reinterpretations of music by The Velvet Underground, visual elements that recall the milieu of Warhol's Factory and original sound and video material by Chris McNamara.

Formed earlier this year by Walter Wasacz, Jennifer Paull and McNamara, nospectacle performed at the Movement Festival, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's 8 days in June Festival and with dubstep innovator Kode9 at Pontiac's Crofoot Ballroom, as well as at Cranbrook Art Museum during the exhibition "Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future." Walter Wasacz is writer/editor/photographer and co-founder of the sonic collective art Paris '68; Jennifer Paull is a sound/visual artist; and Chris McNamara is a sound/visual artist, founder of the electronic music group Thinkbox and professor at the Screen Arts and Cultures Department at the University of Michigan.

The event is free for members and included with admission for non-members. A cash bar will be available.

Dandy Andy in FilterD
Event Info on Detroit News calendar

New Circlesquare

Circlesquare [a.k.a. Jeremy Shaw] has just launched a website for the upcoming LP Songs About Dancing and Drugs.

You can download the first single Dancers and preview five of the eight tracks - my personal favorite so far being Ten to One. Be sure the watch the behind the scenes video, in which Shaw discusses everything from his creative process to the LP's name ["Songs of/about..." is in the tradition of Leonard Cohen, Big Black and Talking Heads.]

Songs About Dancing and Drugs will be released on January 19th by !K7 Records.

Circlesquare - Fight Sounds Pt.1 [2006]

Survival Research Laboratories turns 30

SRL "The Demanufacturing Plant"
"The Demanufacturing Plant" from SRL's first show, Machine Sex

2008: SRL turns 30!

Id like to thank all those who have helped me make SRL what it is,
both voluntarily and involuntarily. Im still having a blast. Even
moving all 160 tons of my stuff to the new shop in Petaluma has been
kind of fun. In a few more weeks, Ill be totally out of here and SRL
will lurch into the next 30 year chapter.

2038 here we come!

Mark Pauline

[via Boing Boing]

Friday, November 21, 2008


[A brief reprieve from me bitching about people doing it wrong, to present something wonderful.]

JG Thirlwell and the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots rehearsing for the Robosonic Eclectic concert in 2007:

There's a big 'ol QuickTime of the performance at The Whitney + lots more musical robots here.

[Thanks Andrew for the LEMUR tip!]

Thursday, November 20, 2008

And then sometimes, congress really gets it right

Congressman Urges Automaker CEOs To "Jetpool" When Heading To DC Begging For Money

There’s a delicious irony of seeing private luxury jets flying into DC, and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hands, saying that they’re going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses. It’s almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. Kind makes you a little bit suspicious as to whether or not…we’ve seen the future. There’s a message there. Couldn’t you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled to get here? It would have at least sent the message that you do get it.

There's so much I could say about the state of the auto industry [living and working in Detroit and it directly affecting my livelihood and all,] but I don't even know where to start. Bless you, Congressman Gary Ackerman for cutting right to it. Unfortunately, the three men you were addressing will never get it through their skulls that this is indeed all their fault. [Not them specifically, but the deep rooted rotted corporate culture of Detroit.] They will smugly mock you later on their private jets, Congressman Ackerman - even as those jets are being nicknamed Titanic, Hindenburg and [insert third major disaster of choice here.] Going before congress and putting their arrogance and ineptitude on display was probably the worst thing the industry could have done for itself.

In unrelated news: the 40 mile range Chevy Volt is still not ready, BMW's 150 mile range Mini E was launched today [with 200 already shipped] and Toyota will debut the third generation Prius in a few weeks.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nah, Lieberman is still the USA's biggest douchebag

Though, this spineless, do-nothing Senate is now in the running. After a vast majority of Democartic Senators voted to let Lieberman keep a key security chairmanship, he didn't even publicly apologize. If anything, he sounded vindicated and defended his statements. [Remember, these are mostly the same folks who voted for the *hugely successful* banking bail-out and invasion of Iraq.]

If Hillary becomes Secretary of State, the hope honeymoon is officially over. Welcome to business as usual.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I thoght it was going to be a cage-match between Joe Lieberman and Bob Lutz for biggest douchebag in America... but enter The Purple One

Prince speaks out for Prop. 8

When asked about his perspective on social issues—gay marriage, abortion—Prince tapped his Bible and said, “God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough.’ ”

Prop 8 has helped unearth the seething homophobia in much of black America. Even for a dandy, feminized midget like Prince. (Actually, black dandy, feminized midgets need to express more homophobia than most.)*

"The irony, it burns." The pop star who made his name on his effete, androgynous "Is he gay or not?" persona - now he hates us. Here's a guy who made zillions on some of the most deliciously filthy music in history (Head, Sexy Motherfucker, Erotic City, Darling Nikki) who now says that "people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever" were justifiably wiped out by God.

*I'm rather disgusted by the media's continual use of "black America" on this issue. Black Americans didn't vote for Prop 8. Bigots did. They come in every size, shape and color [even purple,] and all taste bitter.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

So Long, Phoenix

So long, Phoenix

National Public Radio's Weekend America producer Ocean Kaylan delivered a moving tribute to the Phoenix Mars Lander today.

An excerpt:

...Now, I'm not a marshmallow. I like math and science. When the fox catches the rabbit, I get the circle of life thing. But space exploration seems pure to me in a way that little else does. I believe in the Constitution but I'm skeptical of government. I believe in a higher power but I'm skeptical of religion. I believe in beauty but I'm skeptical of "art."

I think when I find something believable, something pure, something honest, I can't help but love it. And when something I love dies, even if it's just servos and wire, I feel it.

Phoenix, you weren't ever going to make us rich. You weren't going to produce any product to sell. You weren't going to give us some new power. All you were doing was gathering data to help answer very small parts of very big questions: Who are we? Where did we come from? How does our universe work?

Friday, November 14, 2008

19th Century Vampire Killing Kit

19th Century Vampire Killing Kit

This beautiful real deal 19th Century Vampire Killing Kit recently sold at auction for nearly $15,000.

Also see the killing kit at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, PA and Alex CF's fantastical constructions.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Interim post: Sorry I haven't been writing much about design, art or music the past few days. Honestly, it's just not been of much interest to me, considering the big picture issues in society and culture right now. Rest assured, we'll get back on mission soon. [Thanks to Devan for posting some art this week!]

I have an inbox full of probably good stuff that's getting neglected, and I feel bad about that. If you have some creative output to send, best to wait a couple weeks. I think I need to get back to basics to get inspired.

Speaking of getting back to basics, I'm loving Mr' Sterling's Futurist manifesto postings. The Manifesto of Futurist Woman is a brilliant retort to F. T. Marinetti's original manifesto:

Humanity is mediocre. The majority of women are neither superior nor inferior to the majority of men. They are all equal. They all merit the same scorn.

The whole of humanity has never been anything but the terrain of culture, source of the geniuses and heroes of both sexes. But in humanity as in nature there are some moments more propitious for such a flowering. In the summers of humanity, when the terrain is burned by the sun, geniuses and heroes abound...

The Important Project

I recently came across The Important Project, a fantastic new site for social and political discourse run by our old friends James Reeves and Candy Chang of Red Antenna.

The Important Project is an organization that addresses political issues through research, writing, and design.

Check it out!

Post-election thoughts, part 2: A Case For Holbrooke

With the spotlight now on potential cabinet appointments, I'm surprised Richard Holbrooke's name isn't all over the news as the assumed Secretary of State. There's been a lot of talk about John Kerry. Kerry is a nice guy, but do we really want a nice guy leading tough negotiations in Tehran and Moscow? Certainly the most critical, world changing talks since the end of the cold war may occur in the coming months. If there was one position to fill with a hawkish bad-ass like Holbrooke, this would be it. Holbrooke was born for this job, and I personally couldn't think of anyone I would rather have negotiating on my behalf.

Here's a very insightful NY Times Magazine profile from 1995: Taming the Bullies of Bosnia

An excerpt about his early relationship with Milosevic:

Slobodan Milosevic, whose virulent nationalism unleashed the wars of Yugoslavia's destruction, is a very seductive man. Warren Zimmerman, the last American Ambassador to Yugoslavia, maintains that he deceives everyone once. He is a deal maker, like Holbrooke, quick, sometimes funny and extremely hospitable. He does not have Marcos's yacht, but he does have a couple of hunting lodges where he likes to entertain visiting dignitaries. Frasure, who spent many hours with the Serbian President, was plied with so much food that he once cabled Washington with the message, "The lambs of Serbia will be delighted that I'm leaving!"

When Holbrooke and Milosevic first met in mid-August, a rapport was quickly established. Frasure, just a couple of days before his death, described the relationship to the chief European envoy, Carl Bildt: "The two egos danced all night."

Holbrooke, perhaps more than anyone in the Administration, knew exactly with whom he was dealing. He had been in Banja Luka in August 1992, where he witnessed "an insane asylum, with all these half-drunk Serb paramilitaries and middle-aged men going and raping and killing young Muslim women." Later he was given a wooden carving from a Muslim survivor of a Serbian concentration camp. The pose, head bowed in abject humiliation, captures the Serbian terror of the war's first months, carried out largely by paramilitary forces equipped and financed by Milosevic. Holbrooke wrote about it for this Magazine and put the sculpture in his Washington office.

Asked if he thought of the carving when dealing with Milosevic, Holbrooke becomes defensive; when he's defensive, he does not answer questions. "The sculpture's sitting there. I point it out to people," he says. When the question is pursued, he says: "No, it's not that linear. I don't sit there looking at one of those guys and thinking of this piece of wood. You wouldn't, either. But I understand the connection. I'm sure we all do."

Holbrooke does care. There can be little doubt about it. He saw what happened to Bosnia's Muslims. But it was also clear to him that Milosevic was the key to closing down the war because he was the person who wanted most badly for it to end, so that trade sanctions against Serbia would be lifted.

This realization became overwhelming on Aug. 29 in Belgrade. NATO had embarked on its first serious bombing of the Serbs, following an Aug. 28 mortar attack on the Sarajevo market. Holbrooke had hesitated about going to Serbia in these circumstances, but he says he recalled Nixon's bombing of Hanoi on the eve of the SALT II signing in 1972. Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet President, signed anyway.

Milosevic does not even mention the bombing. He produces a piece of paper that becomes known as the "Patriarch document" because it is endorsed by the Serbian Orthodox Patriarch. In it, Karadzic and Mladic cede authority to Milosevic to negotiate on their behalf. The Serbian hall of mirrors -- the same one that put Holbrooke's team on Mount Igman just 11 days earlier -- had finally been shattered. A serious negotiation had become possible.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Post-election thoughts, part 1: Reason 1, Fear 0

The election is over and I'm still inspired that last Tuesday was a such an overwhelming victory for rationalism in a country that has been driven by irrational fear for so long. I'm also overwhelmingly impressed with the thorough, rigorous and transparent transition process. My greatest concern about Obama was that he would be a wishy-washy Clintonian centrist in progressive clothes. From what I've seen over the past week, I'm more than happy to be proven wrong. Within days, the unprecedented went live. In a clearly deliberate shift, the campaign's font Gotham has been replaced with a more "presidential" serif font. The site outlines policy agendas in great detail, calls for citizens to be part of the process and is very up-front about new public service programs. If says anything, it's "We have a plan and we know what we're doing. Here it is. Be a part of it."

The other thing that impressed me this week was an old interview with Obama on his faith. Now, I don't think anyone who publicly believes that an invisible man in the sky rules the world is mentally fit to make decisions for themselves, let alone for the most powerful nation in the world - but, even the founding fathers grudgingly acknowledged the political necessity of religion. [They had to deal with the nutty Puritans, and we have the Christian Right.] Obama's answers in the above interview seemed very much in line with Jefferson, Franklin and Adams. Although he calls himself a Christian, Obama comes off more as a spiritual humanist in the interview, citing Ghandi and King, and skirting the prayer question to talk about searching himself for answers. His spirituality seems to be more Jungian than anything.

To put it mildly: I think this is going to work. And I'm very proud of this country for choosing reason over fear.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tory Fair

Cast rubber sculpture by Arlington Mass. based artist Tory Fair. I ran across the work randomly and am very impressed with the execution, as well as the solid conceptual vision throughout her most recent gallery show in Boston.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Faking the Books

Some lovely rainy afternoon music for you.

Lali Puna - Faking the Books [2004]

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Cooliris is really cool

cooliris screen grab 1

Cooliris is browser plug-in which allows you to visually browse web content wickedly fast in a fluid 3D interface.

You can browse images on Flickr, Google or deviantART, for example, by scrolling and zooming the 3D wall [which works especially well with two-finger scrolling on multi-touch laptop pads.] The images load lightning fast because you're not downloading all the other data that tags along and slows down normal web pages. If you find an image you'd like to save or see in context, simply drag and drop it on the little arrow icon which will take you to the original page. Toggle back to the Cooliris interface via the button on your toolbar.

I was skeptical upon first launch when it took over my screen from corner to corner. [There are few things I hate more than websites or applications that launch at full screen.] I quickly got over this. The interface is phenomenally intuitive and responsive. Although it looks like CoverFlow, Cooliris is considerably more sophisticated and useful.

The skeptic in me next asked, "Well, this is great for browsing images and short videos, but what about other content?"

Over on the left side is the "Discover" function. This allows you to browse everything from news to feature films - and watch them right in the Cooliris interface, without ever going to a web page.

cooliris screen grab 4
cooliris screen grab 2

I'm trying to restrain myself from making any Minority Report references, but... I just said it, and think this would work wonderfully with a VR glove. For those who respond more to images than words, this makes traditional web searches feel downright archaic. It won't replace traditional web pages and it won't replace Google - it needs Google, but Cooliris is a huge step forward in both speed and intuitive user interaction. This is how the internet should feel in 2008.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


After that speech, this cynic wants to fly an American flag from his front porch for the first time ever.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Wabbit Season! Duck Season!

I'm still at work, but extremely happy to find one of my all time favorite - and most violent - Loony Tunes episodes is on YouTube. I find this apt for election night:

The big question... what happens to Joe Lieberman on Wednesday?

Might be an appropriate way to use waterboarding one last time.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Our Godless Founding Fathers

Much thanks to Sneak, we've had some lively dialogue today. I dug up this article from 2005, which should be of interest to all Secular Humanists... which includes [the late] Isaac Asimov, Kurt Vonnegut, Carl Sagan and John Lennon, Noam Comsky, Salman Rushdie, Sneak, myself and I think about 90% of our readership: Our Godless Constitution

A few excerpts:

The Founding Fathers were not religious men, and they fought hard to erect, in Thomas Jefferson's words, "a wall of separation between church and state." John Adams opined that if they were not restrained by legal measures, Puritans--the fundamentalists of their day--would "whip and crop, and pillory and roast." The historical epoch had afforded these men ample opportunity to observe the corruption to which established priesthoods were liable, as well as "the impious presumption of legislators and rulers," as Jefferson wrote, "civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time."

Franklin was the oldest of the Founding Fathers. He was also the most worldly and sophisticated, and was well aware of the Machiavellian principle that if one aspires to influence the masses, one must at least profess religious sentiments. By his own definition he was a deist, although one French acquaintance claimed that "our free-thinkers have adroitly sounded him on his religion, and they maintain that they have discovered he is one of their own, that is that he has none at all." If he did have a religion, it was strictly utilitarian: As his biographer Gordon Wood has said, "He praised religion for whatever moral effects it had, but for little else." Divine revelation, Franklin freely admitted, had "no weight with me," and the covenant of grace seemed "unintelligible" and "not beneficial." As for the pious hypocrites who have ever controlled nations, "A man compounded of law and gospel is able to cheat a whole country with his religion and then destroy them under color of law"--a comment we should carefully consider at this turning point in the history of our Republic.

Jefferson thoroughly agreed with Franklin on the corruptions the teachings of Jesus had undergone. "The metaphysical abstractions of Athanasius, and the maniacal ravings of Calvin, tinctured plentifully with the foggy dreams of Plato, have so loaded [Christianity] with absurdities and incomprehensibilities" that it was almost impossible to recapture "its native simplicity and purity." Like Paine, Jefferson felt that the miracles claimed by the New Testament put an intolerable strain on credulity. "The day will come," he predicted (wrongly, so far), "when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." The Revelation of St. John he dismissed as "the ravings of a maniac."

John Adams, though no more religious than Jefferson, had inherited the fatalistic mindset of the Puritan culture in which he had grown up. He personally endorsed the Enlightenment commitment to Reason but did not share Jefferson's optimism about its future, writing to him, "I wish that Superstition in Religion exciting Superstition in Polliticks...may never blow up all your benevolent and phylanthropic Lucubrations," but that "the History of all Ages is against you." As an old man he observed, "Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been upon the point of breaking out, 'This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!'" Speaking ex cathedra, as a relic of the founding generation, he expressed his admiration for the Roman system whereby every man could worship whom, what and how he pleased. When his young listeners objected that this was paganism, Adams replied that it was indeed, and laughed.

Like Jefferson, every recent President has understood the necessity of at least paying lip service to the piety of most American voters. All of our leaders, Democrat and Republican, have attended church, and have made very sure they are seen to do so. But there is a difference between offering this gesture of respect for majority beliefs and manipulating and pandering to the bigotry, prejudice and millennial fantasies of Christian extremists. Though for public consumption the Founding Fathers identified themselves as Christians, they were, at least by today's standards, remarkably honest about their misgivings when it came to theological doctrine, and religion in general came very low on the list of their concerns and priorities--always excepting, that is, their determination to keep the new nation free from bondage to its rule.

I believe Governor Palin needs to brush up on US history. With his VP selection, John McCain [who has maybe two years of breath left in him] made this election about choosing a Christian Taliban administration or not.

Georgia Russell

Georgia Russell 3

From England and Co Gallery:

Georgia Russell is a Scottish artist who uses a scalpel instead of a brush or a pen, creating constructions that transform found ephemera, such as books, music scores, maps, newspapers, currency and photographs.

"bought and sold and paid for a long time ago"

Not quite perfectly on-topic (but, then again, neither is Herr Doyle's nonsensical GOP-slamming of the last few weeks), but still quite relevant to a subject near and dear to the hearts of many this week...

Here's my take on all of this, shared very eloquently by the late and great Mr. George Carlin:

Live via submarine cable from Berlin,

Medic Esthetic


From DesignBoom:

Gwendolyn Huskens is a designer studying at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, in the department of Man and Identity. at the recent graduation show, she presented a set of six shoes called 'Medic Esthetic'. Aiming to reveal the taboos associated with physical deformities, her collection of cream and skin-toned footwear for women is made from medical materials and supplies such as plaster bandages, steel and band-aids. The result is a line of functional and oddly stylish shoes.