Archive for the ‘current’ Category

Ira Glass’ birthday

Today is Ira Glass’ birthday.  I had a post stirring in my head to salute the American hero.  But instead, I’ve been attacked from within by yesterday’s oysters.  I’m sick.  It’s an early bedtime for me.  

But if I were not sick, and if it were summer, I’d be carrying peaches.  

Juicy ones!

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Here in France, the kids are on vacation for the next two weeks because why the hell not?  It’s February!  Let’s stop going to school!  It will be a nice contrast to the three weeks they took off in December and January, and the two weeks they will take off in April.  That all being said, I am accompanying three chillins to the America of Americas here in France, the emporium of American Glory, I am going to EURO Disney .  Yes, soon I will feel at home on Main Street U.S.A. where the rocks play music though the cotton candy will be called “barbe à papa” which translates to “papa’s beard” which is a far weirder image to eat than simply a candy version of the cotton plant.  

Most laking to me, however, will be The Hall of Presidents from Disney World in Orlando.  In Orlando, The Hall of Presidents features animatronic figures of every past and current president. Each of the forty-four U.S. presidents is called by name where they wave or nod or blink assertively and all other presidents turn to acknowledge their fellow office holders.  The show ends first, with the current president giving an excerpt from a famous speech and then… well… First I’ll say that I was there a little over a year ago and  the excerpt used for W. was a selection from an always inspirational “No Child Left Behind” speech.   Yet after the current president, Abe Lincoln stands and delivers a speech, one that has been revised from the original (C’mon.  You seroiusly think you know better than Lincoln?  You can’t revise that shit.).  The audio-animatronic Abe blinks, gestures, forms syllables with his mouth and refers to a sheet of paper to remind him of his next line. This is yet another historical inaccuracy as Abraham Lincoln was a God, and Gods needn’t refer to notes.

And on that note, who knows what speech of Obama’s is being used o’er in Orlando?  I’d be curious to know.  What are your guys’ favorites?  I should also note that all over France now are “Learn English with Obama” computer programs.  They teach English through Obama speeches and using only his voice.  I just like that we went from W. to the model of English rhetoric.

And make sure to check out Obama’s speech  in Springfield, Illinois at a banquet for Lincoln’s bicentennial.

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I thought in the wake of the economic downturn from happier times, I’d post a piece my vegetarian brother wrote a few years back about the military industrial complex in America, rising corporate greed, the underdeveloped of poorer countries by the World Bank, the backwards geography of our daily needs, and the stirring uprising in underground communities meeting in local coffee shops.

It is titled, “Starbucks.”


“Why are you drinking Starbucks?” I said.

“I just need to wake up,” she said.

“Exactly,” I said.



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Not too long ago, I took a flight from Frankfurt to Chicago just before Christmas.  Apparently, the U.S. still has left over military bases around Frankfurt, quite a few in fact, just to keep an eye on those dreadful Germans.  I got a chance to talk to a couple of America’s finest on the plane over.  They told me about the lack of prospects leaving High School, the boredom of their current post, their brother in Iraq.  Some of it seemed a tad cliché.  I felt like I knew the story.  I come from an upper middle class neighborhood in a big city and then went off to the most expensive private university in the country.  None of my friends enlisted.  I don’t get a chance to converse with our troops often.  I don’t know anyone who has been to Iraq.  And talking to these kids, most younger than me, which is not the easiest thing to be, they just seemed stagnant.  They told me about drinking binges, broken computers, movies downloaded.  They showed me a picture of their girlfriends wearing uggs and college hoodies.  I think our troops are the best and greatest, true heros.  I just…  They seem to lack a cause right now.  There is nothing driving them.  Some of the greatest poetry and literature has come out of wars, and those words can teach us.  But without a sense of purpose, without a task in which to take pride, these soldiers had only a military ID to show.  Other than that, they described to me boredom.  World War I Poet Soldier Wilfred Owen said, “All a poet can do today is warn. That is why the truest poets must be truthful.”  Perhaps it is the truth our soldiers lack, and it doesn’t come from them, it comes from up top.  

Below is a letter written by Union soldier Sullivan Ballou on July the 14th, 1861.  Give it a listen as it is just audio.  I have never heard a better rendering of love-of-country and love-of-woman put so succinctly.  He has truths to tell, a truth to his country, and a truth to his woman.  He proclaims them both.

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Because I got nothing else…

I cried a lot today.

Today was the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

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