Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 In Review Part 1: personal, politics and uh, pizza ?


I didn't publish one of these last year. 2017 was a trying, fucked up year in many of the same ways 2016 was but on the plus side I got more politically involved with activism. Namely this was via the DSA in the Bay Area. A big part of this was canvassing for Medicare for All which tried but unfortunately failed to get off the ground in California. So much for "liberal Bay Area" but then that typical means "socially liberal/economically eat shit anyone making lower than 100K". However, my comrades & I had a quite a few successes with people signing up to support the cause and even on the hottest day of the year (when it was a gross as hell 110 F in San Jose). 

Additionally, I went to the DSA National Convention and met a lot of comrades who I had only known via Twitter or had met for just the first time ever. It was really great meeting people not just from the chapters I was familiar with SF, C'bus, Middle TN, Portland)  but also ones I didn't know much about (Montana, Houston, Central FL, Anchorage). This was also the first time I got to experience the Chicago that's not O'Hare Airport. It's a great city where I think I could live if it wasn't more pricey & colder than C'bus. But otherwise a good place with a lot of great people. On top of this, I went to a bunch of rad parties which started with a comedy night in a art space hosted by comedian and Street Fight Radio guest, Arish Singh. The next night involved a fun but somewhat confusing wrestling/create a fighter board game with some fine folks from the Gainsville-area, LA and (I think?) suburban Chicago chapters. The process of the convention reminded me of the Music, Metal & Politics Conference I went to in '08 - work stuff during the day and party at night.

The last party I went to was at the In These Times office was wild as fuck as it was held in a seemingly smallish office building but on the inside there were extremely long hallways that snaked around and around. Shortly before I was at the party I was feeling very anxious about seeing some friends who I thought weren't going to be in town the next few days. So dumbass me didn't see a giant crack in the sidewalk and fell on my hands right into front of a music venue across the street. Though at the time I hands had just minor scrape which after the party turned into what I thought was a broken elbow late that night into the morning/early afternoon. Fuuuuuuck! But luckily it was just a big sprain that I thankfully got a sling and painkillers for. Thanks DSA Medical. However, it was real shitty trying to navigate the blue line into O'Hara airport > crowded plane home with 1 useful arm.

Protesting against the Neo-nazis in S.F. was another big event for me. This was in August right after Charlottesville and a few weeks after the National Convention was a huge deal. I had all kinds of fear going up that morning and on into the afternoon. However, we saw exactly one MAGA CHUD dingus with a shield on our way to the park. The only exchange that went on was a an anarchist saying to him "hey, dude  nice shield" and that shied goofus walking away in shame. One of the things that eased the tension was not just the turnout from DSA but the big turnout from other orgs like PSL, ISO, WWP, a few organizations I'm sure I'm forgetting (sorry!), and a bunch of anarchists and quite a few non-organization affiliated people that were marching alongside everyone. The march went from Alamo Square and through part of the upper part of Market Street all the way into 26th Street in the Mission. I also really like that there were people handing out snacks and water along the march. Granted I've not studied a ton of anarchism theory but I believe this was a strong case of mutual aid.

I really wanted to go the next day in Berkeley when shit REALLY went down but I unfortunately was way too exhausted to go but big thanks to everyone who put up a strong front against the Nazis and their supporters. All this was a nice change from the very Democrat-party centered / "The Russians are stealing your mail!" Women's March in San Jose in January aka: Though, cheers to the person off in the distance who had the "Fuck White Feminism" sign. Seriously stop giving support to the FBI and put the fucking breaks on the 2016 election for-ever.

 Another plus was getting involved with Columbus DSA and working with them on promoting Tenants Rights, Medicare for All along with the weekly pizza nights. Speaking of pizza there's seems to be a billion places to get it here and I think they have nearly every kind possible. So, far I've just had the go-to of Donato's (pretty good but I gotta order something else on the menu minus standard veggie & cheese) and Hounddog's which is some of the best I've ever had. Anyway, there's loads more to do in this city and moreso the more I learn about the gentrification and other major issues here.

Also in 2017: I listened to more Hawkwind & got deeper into Japanese psych-rock like Les Rallizes Dénudés. Finally got the fuck outta Swilicon Valley and onward to Central Ohio where things are a bit easier and no more hellcommutes like in San Jose and Mtn. View. Columbus' public transpo situation could suck less  - i.e the buses only go so far into Dublin (the next city north) which is really sucks when you work there. Yet at least most things are 15-20 min. away with not too much traffic. The narrow roads in certain places are something that I'm still getting used to but in general driving here is a lot easier than the anxiety producing ways of the Bay Area.

Work stuff was mostly shit as I had a really good job and good job environment up in San Bruno, CA but this multi-billion dollar company was too fucking cheap to hire me on full-time much less extend my contract or give me benefits. I continue to be a contract worker in C'bus with no healthcare benefits and a giant question mark where I go after this current job is done but on the plus side my rent isn't costing me a fortune and I have more space for less money.

I also watched a lotta college football than I expected. It's sorta hard to avoid when everyone person at Kroger on Saturday has scarlet & grey on but my only real argument is why the fuck did OSU play USC on December 29th instead of New Year's Day? Welp by the time that game rolled around I had lost interest and went to the MUCH more fun Street Fight Radio live show at this place called Tree Bar in the middle of a pretty gnarly snowstorm.

Adjusting to a new city and environment has been a somewhat tough especially doing this entirely on my own. Plus, regretting some of the things I left behind that I unfortunately didn't have space for but would've still helped me a lot in my current apt. situation. Well, someday I'll get that couch and a comfy chair that isn't from on thin legs.  That said Columbus has a million places to eat and I've noticed the bars are a LOT cheaper i.e. - a $4-5 PBR tall boy in S.F. is about $2.50-$3.00 in C'bus. Plus, I again live in a city where there's not just 1 record store but at around 5! This is a big jump from the sad remnants of the Mountain View Rasputin's which closed for good in mid-'17.

I have a bunch of challenges and stuff that I need to still figure out in the first few months of 2018 that I hope don't add to feelings of anxiety, occasional social isolation and depression I've had these past few months (which just carried over from the Bay Area only maybe a bit less intense at times) will be more in control despite it all.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Back from the Dead 

I decided to revise this blog as in the last two years I've been thinking and re-thinking about politics. For starters, I was just looking at some posts I made by in 2011 and I had a quote from Christopher Hitchens re: religion. At the time I was watching a ton of his interviews, debates and lectures. I'm not even sure why I was obsesso about him but at this stage the only thing I really like about him is his obit on Jerry Faldwell and his writings on the famous walking corpse and war criminal Henry Kissinger. Over time, I just couldn't deal with his gross Islamaphobic rants along with his support with the neo-cons during Gulf War II*

Also, if you wanna read a fucking enziguri of a critique - check out Dan O' Sullivan (aka: Gen. Ghandi's) take on the legacy of Hitchens

The problem with that "capital A" atheism was the rampant asshole part of it. Namely Sam Harris' excrementally awful endorsement of European fascists Islamaphobia.  "The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists." The doofus "smart scientist guy" Richard Dawkins is just as bad and has attempted to prove how intellectual he is by saying things such as:
I've seen a dog & bitch indulging in full 69. Males of many species including Drosophila lick female genitals before copulation.
(from 'ol Dicky Dawk's own Twitter)

Wow! Professor, do tell us more. No, on 2nd thought just don't! Moreso, this "intellectual titan" as Andrew Brown wrote in the Spectator: "The website suggests that donations of up to $500,000 a year will be accepted for the privilege of eating with him once a year: at this level of contribution you become a member of something called ‘The Magic of Reality Circle’. I don’t think any irony is intended." Well, someone really needs more honeyjars.

Overall, the idea of religion might not be the thing to get me through everyday life. But I understand it is important for a lot of people and it's not really getting every step of my way. Although, it's not what's getting in my way of making a living or having a life. Capitalism and Silicon Valley's Tech-Dystopia cult however, is. And while I'm at it - fuck you blood sucking techno vampire, Peter Thiel

I also feel the need to revise this because I've had so much of this shit on my mind and I interact with it everyday on Twitter. Plus, it's important to revise my positions as the last time I really engaged with political writing I was pretty much a Daily Show watching, goofy liberal Democrat. Whereas, now I'm way on left and the Daily Show/Colbert/Bill Maher/Crooks and Liars nexus does nothing for me. Instead, I'm a supporter and fan of podcasts like Street Fight Radio and Chapo Trap House both of whom have a dramatic impact on my thinking as has much their as well as many others analyses via Twitter many of whom I plan on discussing further. It also helps a lot that all these people have great senses of humor and often share many overlapping interests. 

This type of leftism I'm at now is a mix of communism, socialism, and anarcho-syndicalism. What's trippy is I'm now connecting with a lot of people across the country and the world who share these ideas and DON'T buy into the kayfabe of Republican and Democrats (to use a fantastic phrase that Brett and Bryan of Street Fight Radio have often said). In summary, a LOT about the US Election in 2016 made me stay to these positions and not support neither garbage party. Both want war, both want the surveillance state, both want Wall St. & technocracy to rule my life. One does it with an iron fist ** and the other does it with condescending pop culture bullshit

Anyway, I'm gonna write more next time about how I got to my current ideas/ideals in my next post and my political history: the good, the bad, and naive. 

* I "sequel" the Gulf Wars movie-style as I'm old enough to have been aware of the 1st Gulf War and it being the first 24-hour news cycle/cable TV war. The Highway of Death, burning oil fields and incubator killers propaganda back then out did any notions of "cool" trading cards, Super Bowl "rah-rah", or Wayne & Garth talking about it  It was a short war granted but a fucking depressing as hell one. I'll have much more on my experience with this time soon. 
** Not the hella cool Motörhead kind

Written under the influence of: "Litourgiya" by Batushka, vodka, chai tea & $2 PBR. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ready for the Stuffocalypse?

Guardian UK columnist and super-witty TV host/presenter, Charlie Brooker wrote a great article about the daunting amount of stuff he's been dealing with and simulatenously not dealing with.

I can certainly relate to this keeping up with Jones mentality as much as I try to avoid it, it's extremely difficult to avoid. I get on music forums and there's so much emphasis on the 6,500,000 bands I still don't know about - the great, the medicore and the plain awful ones - much less do I need to get every limited edition or even bother downloading this that or the other album in a lot of cases. Both cases only end up taking up space if not harddirve space (which means it's it's somewhere in some file path that goes down about 17 places or buried in 5 days worth of iTunes detirus which you claim is "all great" except for that 25% of "wacky" novelty tunes you'll someday play for your friends). The other is physical space which is more obvious but you know when you've have way too much when it looks like this lady's place:

Is there a difference between this lady's obsession and someone having Bathory yellow goat & original Misfits 7"s? Discuss...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

No, Metal is NOT something you can blame the government for

As my favorite Music forum would say "What the fuck is a George Hawley?" I dunno but he sure has some lame ideas about Metal and politics.
"I don’t really have a good explanation for why America’s taste in metal seems to change along with the nation’s political trends. One possibility is due to the fact that both heavy metal and the Republican Party are primarily favored by white men (which is not to say that everyone who likes one will also like the other). A Democrat in the White House suggests that the political and cultural power of white guys is on the decline, and the political tastes of American white guys may change accordingly. This results in either efforts to shed a little bit of their “whiteness” (hence the hip-hoppification of metal in the Clinton years), or outright despair (hence the glut of popular songs during that same period that can only be enjoyed by the type of people who cut themselves in the dark). If this is true, however, it seems similar trends should prevail in country music. This does not appear to be the case (though I admit to knowing hardly anything about country). Perhaps this is because country fans are more confident and comfortable in their own, um, skin." 
Alright,  maybe I'm not on the same planet as this guy but I grew up with a small but significant number of Asian, Latino and Black metalheads. And really, how does the above describe the popularity of hip-hop among white teens? I grew up with hip-hop as well as Metal (and Hardcore/Punk not to forget New Wave). I really don't concern myself with Palin or even trying too hard "hip Republican" Mike Huckabee listens to anymore than if centrist-reformist creeps like Dianne Feinstein liked Current 93 song. None of it would make a damn bit of difference of my opinion of her politics. Using the "racial expectation" cliche in 2010 is plenty lame (ok, so this is actually fronm 2009). Plus, his claim that "There has also been a decine in the puerile satanism that once dominated metal lyrics." obviously show he's not up to date on the Nuclear War Now! release schedule.

This reminds me of an earlier odd connection between extreme metal and the neo-cons written by The Exiled's
Mark Ames back in the early days of Iraq War II: Cakewalking into Quagmires which among other things, is a "mash-up" review of   Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind's -  Lords of Chaos and former Bush Administration strategists, David Frum and Richard Perle's - An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror in this NY Press article It's a rather silly "gonzo journalism" stuff written about a guy that doesn't know shit about Metal. Though at times Ames is an amusing writer.

Anyway, if you're looking for Obama or really ANY Administration and thereby the government in general to make Metal suck or not suck - then it's your own fucking fault - take responsibility and quit whining ya poser!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Johnny Rebel pulls the "I'm not racist but..." card

Louisiana racist country musician and occasional foil on Howard Stern's show, C.J. "Johnny Rebel" Trayan  unsurprisingly "black culture" in this 2001 interview with the white power radio show hosted at the white power Chimpout site . What I'm curious about here is:
1) How these attitudes have disseminated through his music and the more general attitude of the white power movement.
2) The strange contradictions both he and the host have when comes to racism. Both seem to only define racism as "someone who activiely promoted hate and violence towards another race." The host says "now you're a racist if there's even things about another culture that you're uncomfortable with." However, Chimpout's sister site Chimptube calls itself: "the multimedia solution for all your niggerbashing entertainment needs." Yeesh!

This link to the interview (2nd one above) includes many segrationalist songs from the late 1800s and early 1900s I wrote about Trayan in my 2008 paper about Extreme Metal and Extreme Politics  which culled the history of a variety of racist and other controversial musics before and during the history of Heavy Metal.

Trayan/Rebel's been making his racist country tunes since 1966 when he released his first singles:
"Lookin' For a Handout / Kajun Klux Klan" and followed that up the same year with "Nigger Hatin' Me / Who Likes A Nigger?" Musically and lyrically this cavalcade of racist crap (which you can hear in the 2nd link above) – is  shocking yet also unremarkably redundant. To put it bluntly, this shit gets old real quick.

Going back  to the interview, Trayan/Rebel claims "they (blacks) deserve all the same rights that Hispanics enjoy, Caucasians enjoy, Asians enjoy, I certainly don't think of them as less than deserving of those rights." On the other hand, he goes on to complain that "they (blacks) shouldn't be able to impose their goddamn crap on us". OK, the host's generalizing makes a little sense "their are aspects of (their culture) that quite frankly are destructive and negative". Although, this is also like saying trailer trash who beat their wives and get fat as an ox off of BBQ and tankards of Coca-Cola is part of "white culture". Strangely, Trayan/Rebel makes the correlation between whites accepting popular black music, the Civil Rights bill and current tolerance for their place in society. "We were the son of bitches that started on this...we started listening to Rhythm and Blues - that was black music...we started listening to the black music and then they figured that everything else could come along - and it did. It eventually it led to the Civil Rights Bill and eventually the Civil Rights Bill led to more and more - and a lotta your whites out there that think blacks are just another person - no different color, no different any thing...and I won't teach my kids that."

He goes on to say "I'm not a racist - I wanna be with my kind" then follows with "the two things I hate is the attitude towards the white man 'cause they think we owe 'em something ...and next they wanna marry fuckin' white people!...That irritates the livin' shit outta me! When I see a black guy with a white girl that turns my stomach." Then finishes with "why do they make so many kids?...they're just a piss poor race." Rebel's songs have been posted all over YouTube and naturally across white-power forums like Stormfront and German-based Thiazi. Additionally, Rebel's music has been sold by white-power record labels such as Resistance Records and Micetrap Distribution. Contrary to rumor, Johnny Rebel's true identity as noted earlier is CJ Trayan and NOT the famous outlaw country artist, David Allan Coe.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sheik and Destroy: Adnan and Saddam

 "This is what the Arab people want!"
The squared circle (or wrestling ring, if you will) of the 1980s often mirrored the geopolitics of the time. One such character was former wrestler and manager Sheik Adnan Al-Kassiey (real name: Adnan Bin Abdulkareem Ahmed Alkaissy El Farthie). Al-Kassiey was hailed as being from Bagdad, Iraq. Now, even in my own teenage mind I knew somehow, someway that the "no Russian accent having Russian", Krusher Krushev wasn't really from Moscow. Yet, the more I've read about Adnan Al-Kassey the more interested I've become. Kassiey started as the Native American gimmick Billy White Wolf  despite being Middle Eastern in origin. This however was nothing new as  Barry Darsow played the Russian mentioned earlier (in the National Wrestling Alliance), a mountain man (Georgia Championship Wrestling), and a Repo Man (WWF).

Kassiey I knew mostly from the AWA and a little bit of various NWA territories. He managed King Kong Brody (aka: Bruiser Brody), Jerry "The Mountain from Stone Mountain, GA" Blackwell, and Kamala the Ugandan Giant. In 2005, Al-Kaissy published his memroirs, The Sheikh of Baghdad: Tales of Celebrity and Terror from Pro Wrestling's General Adnan. Sports author Ross Bernstein wrote the following in his review:

"Alkaissy returned home to Iraq as a modern day hero of sorts. Meanwhile, Saddam was rising to power in the ruling Baath Party at the time and had big plans for his old friend. With that, Saddam summoned Adnan to his palace and told him that he wanted him to wrestle for Iraq and make him proud. Adnan, who was only home for a visit to see his family, respectfully declined the generous offer. But when Saddam told him it was not an offer, but an order, he realized that his life would never be the same. So, under Saddam´s watchful eye, Alkaissy began promoting his own wrestling matches in Iraq - importing professional grapplers from around the world to compete against him. Literally hundreds of thousands of crazed fans poured into local soccer stadiums to see Adnan emerge as the Middle East Heavyweight Champion of the World, and before long a superstar was born. Adnan was rewarded with his own palace, a fleet of Mercedes complete with chauffeurs, and money beyond his wildest dreams. He was even named as the Director of Youth at the Ministry of Youth, a very coveted and prominent government position. Soon, there were thousands of adoring fans sleeping outside his home at night just hoping to catch a glimpse of their new hero. It was utter insanity. What Adnan didn´t realize, however, was that Saddam was using his old friend as a clever ruse to entertain and occupy the masses while he began his own murderous regime of torture and terror throughout the Middle East. Eight long years later, Alkaissy was fearful of being killed. So, he left everything behind and escaped in the dark of night, leaving his friends and family behind forever. With nowhere to turn to, he came back to America, where he would start over as a professional wrestler - only this time, instead of being an adored national hero, he would be transformed into a villainous Arabian madman named "The Sheikh."
 Bagdad for several years had a wrestling scene. In the book Weird Minnesota, Alkaissy says of his Bagdad match with Canadian grappler George Gordienko, "(we had) probably the biggest crowd ever in the history of wrestling. The stadium in Iraq had over two hundred thousand people watching." The book also says: "the ring was surrounded by armed guards with submachine guns." In 1978, Al-Kaissy helped promote another wrestling event in his birthplace of Bagdad.  It was here that he fought and won against Andre the Giant. When asked about the reality of putting on matches that were worked in a country like Iraq, Al-Kaissy said "If Saddam found out that the wrestling we were doing was fake, you think I'd be alive?" He later found the tortured body of one his colleagues and a friend of his was assassinated after having dinner with Sadaam.  

 High school pals: Saddam Hussein and Sheikh Adnan Al-Kaissy/Ed Farthy. 

Al-Kassiy wrestling as Sheik Adnan  

Despite his dangerous times in Iraq, Al-Kaissy's last major run in wrestling involved playing an Iraqi heel during the the first Gulf War. In 1990, Al-Kaissy became the Arabic spouting General Adnan who managed the now Iraqi supporting Sargent Slaughter in the WWF.  Slaughter went after fan faves such as The Ultimate Warrior and Chump Hogan. After his run in the WWF, Kassiey worked with Tito Santana, Bob Orton Jr. and other big names in the Chicago based AWF. He appeared on Fox News' Hannity (and...Colmes) in 2006. Unfortunately, the video got wiped out from YouTube - possibly in fear of reprisal from Abdullah the Butcher.  Al-Kaissy. currently resides in Hopkins, MN where he participates in the town's annual Raspberry Days Festival. For more on the history of pro wrestling in the Middle East check out this. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Really, CNN?

Stunningly lame
but that's what happens when "news" worships celebrity idiot culture.