Duck! and Gather

Archive for February 2009

  • In: predictions
  • Comments Off on The Unknowability of the Future

Interesting how I coud have predicted much of general contours of the coming days, and yet have so little clue about just what these days hold for us. Maybe that’s why I like the Death Cab for Cutie song I cited in the last post.

As I noted, the lyrics of that song are about a California wildfire. If this was 1989 or 1999, the song would be about just that. But this is 2009. So the lyrics resonate as a foreshadowing of the coming days:

[T]he northern sky looked like the end of days; The end of days. A wake up call to a rented room, Sounded like an alarm of impending doom. To warn us it’s only a matter of time. Before we all burn. … We bought some wine and some paper cups, Near your daughter’s school when we picked her up. And drove to the cemetery on a hill, On a hill. And we watched the plumes paint the sky gray, And she laughed and danced through the field of graves.  There I knew it would be alright. …. But I couldn’t think there was anywhere I would have rather been: To watch it all burn away, To burn away. … The firemen worked in double shifts, With prayers for rain on their lips. And they knew it was only a matter of time.

Words that precisely capture the mood of the nation in this, our last Winter of “normalcy”. For awhile, at least.

But that’s about mood. There’s no details there. i.e. Exactly what is going to burn? What exactly will “burning” look like?

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  • In: Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on Music, Emotion, and Allegory

Music = emotional communication. Music = poetry.  Poetry = allegory. A song literally about banal personal events related to a California wildfire. And at the same time, a broader allegory for the coming days.

Harry Markopolos is proving to be a 21st century Rorschach test. What can the ink blot called “Harry” tell us? It can tell us which of the media is People, and which is Corporation. This is because Harry is kryptonite to the Superman Corporations.

Watch the C-SPAN coverage of the hearing yesterday. Not the whole thing. Just find some of the Q&A between Harry and the Congressmen. Here’s what I saw in Harry:

  • a true American hero, dripping with integrity, intelligence, righteousness, and force of will
  • a melodramatic goober with a comb-over and a penchant for corny cliches

Interesting that the above two bullet points describe the very same person. But hey, that’s the messiness of us humans. None of us actually is a Hollywood superstar, especially the “Hollywood superstars”. We’re all contradictory beings.

But it is in that contradiction of Harry that we find our Rorschach test. Media who are with the People emphasize the first bullet; Corporate media bystanders emphasize the second.

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1:51 p.m. | Who is the enemy?: Mr. Ackerman continues blasting the S.E.C. and Mr. Vollmer. “Your contribution to this proceeding is zero,” he says. “We thought the enemy was Mr. Madoff. I think it’s you.”

(Here is the full C-SPAN video of the hearing.)

I have some advice for Mr. Obama. I’m sure he’s listening. 🙂 Here it is: “Barry, please follow the lead of the Germans who took over from the Nazis in the 1940s, and from the Eastern European democracies who took over from the communists after 1989. Implement some lustrace laws.”

Specifically, what I’d like to see is that for substantive appointments in the national government, exclude anyone who held a senior position in the national government since 1984 (i.e. prior cabinet executives, Congressmen, or Senators), and anyone who was a CEO, lobbyist, or board member of a corporation or industry of “significant” size.

Substantive appointments are those for positions that address a specific sector of American life. e.g. The Health Guy, the SEC guy, the envoy for a  specific country (e.g. Iran), etc. What positions does this leave out? General positions like Secretary of State, Chief of Staff, Attorney General, etc.

Lustrace laws like these worked well in the above-mentioned countries. Although these laws were harsh, and rough, they created enough space to allow those nations to break clean with their dark histories, and renew themselves.

We can see that such laws would be painful. For example, George Mitchell would need to be dinged as Mideast envoy (even though most of us think he was a wonderful pick).

But without political honchos and big-swinging-dick business people to pick from, who would that leave? I’ll give you three names:

  1. Patrick Fitzgerald
  2. Harry Markopolos
  3. David Graham

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Superbowl XLIII was played yesterday between the teams from Arizona and Pittsburgh. I’ve been watching Superbowls since the late 1970s. To me, this one was the best. My reasons?

  1. game came down to the final minutes
  2. a great comeback by the underdog
  3. many swings in momentum, including two lead changes at the end of the game
  4. the players played well; coaches coached well; the refs reffed well enough  — i.e there were no goats

So, it would seem there’s nothing to write about here. Nothing more and nothing less than a great game, decided by the players and coaches, giving their all, performing at their best. What else could a sports fan ask for (assuming you weren’t emotionally invested in either team winning)?

Nothing. Except that, as you may know if you’ve read this blog, I tend to look for deeper meanings in things. Especially in important things. And I believe that the Superbowl is one of the of most important things in American culture.

As such, the Superbowl serves as fertile ground for mining the zeitgeist of America. You know, study the game and read the auguries. What did this game tell us about America?

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for the money has gone too far

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February 2009