Sunday, May 31, 2009

Updated Recommended Reading

Incendiary Material:

1)The Catcher in the Rye By: J.D. Salinger

2)Our Band Could Be Your Life BY: Michael Azzerad

3)A People's History of the United States By: Howard Zinn

4)Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas By: Hunter S. Thompson

5)Bill Hicks: Agent of Evolution By: Kevin Booth With Michale Bertin

6)Heavier Than Heaven By: Charles R. Cross

7)Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media By: Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky

8)From Yale To Jail By: David Delinger

9)1984 By: George Orwell

10)Fight Club By: Chuck Palahniuk

11)Of Mice and Men By: John Steinbeck

12)The Perks of Being a Wallflower By: Stephen Chbosky

13)Failed States By: Noam Chomsky

14)Crashing the Party By: Ralph Nader

15)Dark Alliance By: Gary Webb

16)Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It By: Judge James P. Gray

17)To Kill A Mockingbird By: Harper Lee

18)Lord of the Flies By: William Golding

19)The Motorcycle Diaries By: Che Guevara

20)Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs By: Chuck Klostermen

21)A Clockwork Orange By: Anthony Burgess

22)Macbeth By: William Shakespeare

23)Steal This Book By: Abbie Hoffman

24)Anarchism and other Essays By: Emma Goldman

25)I Am the Messenger By: Markus Zusak

26)Girl, Interrupted By: Susana Kaysen

27)The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family

28)Black Panthers Speak

29)The Outsiders By: S.E. Hinton

30)The Shining By: Stephen King

31)A Raisin in the Sun By: Lorraine Hansberry

32)The Chocolate War By: Robert Cormier

33)Charlie and the Chocolate Factory By: Roald Dahl

34)Inherit the Wind By: Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee

35)Steven Spielberg By: Susan Goldman Rubin

36)On the Road By: Jack Kerouac

37)Naked Lunch By: William S. Burroughs

38)Get in the Van By: Henry Rollins

39)American Hardcore: A Tribal History By: Stephen Blush

40)Here, There and Everywhere: The 100 Best Beatles Songs By: Stephen Spignesi and Michael Lewis

41)Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop By: Jan Greenburg and Sandra Jordan

42)Fast Times At Ridgemont High By: Cameron Crowe

43)The Simpsons and Philosophy

44)Holes By: Louis Sachar

45)My Father's Scar By: Michael Cart

46)Monster By: Walter Dean Myers

47)Black Boy By: Richard Wright

48)The Great Gatsby By: F. Scott Fitzgerald

49)A Separate Peace By: John Knowles

50)Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead By: Tom Stoppard

51)The Autobiography of Malcolm X As Told to Alex Healey

52)Kingdom of Fear By: Hunter S. Thompson

53)Flashbacks By: Timothy Leary

54)Lies My Teacher Told Me By: James W. Loewen

55)Live From Death Row By: Mumia Abu-Jamal

56) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest By: Ken Kesey

57) Guerrilla Warfare By: Che Guevara

58) The Autobiography of Abbie Hoffman

59) Fugitive Days By: Bill Ayers

60) My Disillusionment in Russia By: Emma Goldman

More incendiary material to come....

Concert Review: Local Bands @ UU

Bands: Jeff Mitchell, Envy of August, Foxglove, Calling Aviv, With The Punches, The Big Sanchez
Venue: Unitarian Universalist Church Basement in Wakefield, MA

Comments: Everyone that participated in the show is a great performer and musician. That said, the pop-punk genre just isn't my thing. It's sometimes catchy (credit to Foxglove), but there seemed to be very little variation between songs. Calling Aviv was really good, playing some old and new. Bill's use of the electronic switch as an instrument was cool. I thought The Big Sanchez's performance of "Maria" was the best of the night.

Germane Chomsky Article
Obama and his ultra, fascist, right wing, American President policies. But, as Steven Colbert put it, "but, he makes the kids like it." This is Noam's key line here: "Small wonder that the President advises us to look forward, not backward -- a convenient doctrine for those who hold the clubs. Those who are beaten by them tend to see the world differently, much to our annoyance."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

That's All Folks!

Though,I do have much more material to share, I think I've done plenty of dust blowing for now. Peace!


Editors Note: So Chris decided to post every assignment he's worked on in school this year. It might take a while for his posts, many of high quality, to disappear into the great horizon. Just sayin'. Also, people who are interested in stealing his work, do it! That's real anarchy, something Chris advocates after reading Abbie Hoffman. Only kidding, of course. Don't do it. It's plagarism.

The Gnome

The Gnome

There once was a tiny gnome
who lived in a humongous home;
But his wife, named Alice,
Had too much malice, because she
left him for another gnome in Rome

Brief On The Road Review

Hailed as “the novel that defined a generation,” Jack Kerouac’s On the Road grabs the reader by the lapels and takes him or her for a rapid ride through the ups and downs of the nascent “Beat” America of the late 1940s and early 1950s. This tale is based on Kerouac’s own wild experiences with fellow Beat icon, Neal Cassidy.
The story begins in 1947. The narrator is Sal Paradise (Jack Kerouac), a young, intellectual writer; fascinated with America, jazz, women, and drugs, but disgruntled by social norms and middle class conformity. Sal tells us about his friend, Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassidy), who was just released from jail, having been incarcerated for grand theft auto. He describes this as,” the part of my life you could call my life on the road.” To Sal, Dean represents rebellion, nonconformity, freedom, and essentially heroism. As the pair hitchhike across America, they meet a variety of outlandish characters.
As the story progresses Sal slowly begins to see Dean in a new light; he sees him as a failure. Unfortunately, life on the road loses its initial charm. Jack Kerouac’s timeless classic masterfully captures the beginnings of the American underground. His stream of consciousness style of writing invites the reader into the mind of a young, optimistic rebel in the midst of social change.

Tom Morello

Tom Morello

Tom Morello a.k.a. the Nightwatchman leads a double life. One half, a Grammy award winning guitar virtuoso and the second half, a tireless, committed, political activist. Tom was born on May 30, 1964 in Harlem, New York, to Mary Morello and Ngethe Njoroge, a Kenyan Guerilla soldier and eventual first Kenyan ambassador to the United Nations. Morello then moved to Libertyville, Illinois. At an early age, the guitar hero received his first tastes of racism and oppression.
Libertyville was a virtually all white, conservative community. Much of the townspeople were prejudice and hated Tom for simply being a different color. Morello would later describe some of this prejudice he experienced in his famous folk ballad, “One Man Revolution.”- “Found a noose in my garage, now about that, so tonight I’m in the bushes with a baseball bat.” The white supremacists and Ku Klux Klan members his town placed the nooses in his garage to scare him away. Tom felt small and inferior at first, and then he discovered music.
Initially Tom listened to heavy metal greats such as Black Sabbath and KISS, but by high school he found his solace in politically charged Punk Rock, with the likes of The Clash and The Sex Pistols. Music was an escape for Morello. He claims it made him see past the constraints and boundaries of his small town and see a world that needed change. In 1982, Morello graduated from Libertyville High School and began attending Harvard University. During his college years, he began practicing guitar seriously. This means eight hours a day, no matter how much work he had to complete. By 1986, he graduated with a BA (with honors) in Political Science. In 1988, Morello landed a slot as lead guitarist in the glam metal band, Lock Up. Unfortunately, they found very little success. His next band, however, would permanently alter the role of Politics in music.
Rage Against the Machine was formed in 1991 and took the world by storm. In the past, artists have incorporated social and political issues in their craft, but none like RATM. Every single song by the band preached some sort of radical, revolutionary message. The band saw themselves as renegades in a corrupt world fighting injustice wherever they saw it. In 2000, they broke up and it’s safe to say they were a success: selling millions of albums world wide and more importantly educating their audience about social issues and how they can actively prevent them.
Morello then moved on to form Audioslave, which after six years also became a huge, commercial success, selling millions of albums along the way. However, fans and Morello himself, felt he needed to play political music again, having been in what Tom calls “A right wing purgatory.” He had been playing as The Nightwatchman on the side, but now he is taking it more seriously: Albums and touring. The music is far different from his previous work (heavy metal), being folk and folk rock.
Throughout his adult life he has been a committed activist, specifically in the areas of peace, human rights, social and economic justice, and various other issues. Personally I admire Tom more for his dedicated activism and this is why I chose him. Specifically, I admire his non-profit organization, Axis of Justice (which he formed with Serj Tankian of System of a Down). The organization was formed in 1999, when Tom noticed an overwhelmingly large amount of fans sporting Nazi Swastikas and other hate symbols. The organization has made it clear that they are Anti- Racist and Anti-Fascist. Through the organization, concerts are performed in small communities where all the proceeds go to charities and activist groups. On top of that, Tom and his buddies go into the impoverished communities, where they’re playing and they help them out during their stay.
I can relate to Tom Morello, because he also sees the need for change in the world and like me, he believes in peace, freedom, and equality.

Ted Bundy

Typically, when we think of serial killers our brains conjure an image of a sadistic miscreant with distinct physical features a la John Wayne Gacy in his clown get-up; and as uneasy as that sounds, what is even more terrifying is a savage killer concealed beneath the appearance of the All American, average Joe. For such a case study, one needs to not look any further than Ted Bundy, one of America’s most horrific mass murderers.
Ted Bundy rose to infamous celebrity in the mid to late 1970s after Bundy had allegedly murdered over 30 women. As a result, Bundy is considered America’s most notorious serial killer and in fact, the term “serial killer” was first used to describe Bundy. It has been said that he was constantly charming women (even while in prison; he received hundreds of lover letters and wedding proposals just months before his execution). Of course, everyone asks the same question: “how can someone so seemingly pleasant commit such unspeakable crimes?” Well, the answer to said question is not easy and requires careful analysis of our case study. Let’s begin with his childhood.
Theodore Robert Cowell was born on November 24, 1946 in Burlington, Vermont to Eleanor Louise Cowell. The boy’s father was unknown and so Eleanor was an unwed mother, which was practically a crime in a 1940s, devout Christian America. So, to make sure she was not ostracized, she became the boy’s “older sister” and his grandparents became his “parents.” Ann Rule, Bundy biographer and one time companion, claims that “he sensed that he was living a lie.” Despite this speculation, Ted was a “good” boy: he did as he was told and loved and respected his authoritarian parents (or grandparents). On the other hand, it is now clear that there were several warning signs that he was not the most stable child. In one instance, a three year old Bundy took all the household knives and placed them around his sleeping teenage aunt, with the blades pointing in her direction.
Though Bundy is often said to have had a “normal” life, this is not true. The home he was raised in was not as peaceful as it looked on the surface. His grandmother suffered from clinical depression and his grandfather was a bizarre and extremely violent man. Sam Cowell excessively read pornography (as we will see this medium will play a significant role in the killer’s future life) and even worse threw his daughters down the stairs for sleeping to late. As strange as it sounds, for some reason the young Bundy was deeply attached to his “father” and when he was forced to move to Tacoma, Washington (3,000 miles away from Vermont) he was severely devastated. Fortunately, he adjusted to his new life and soon made friends. It should be noted that beneath Tacoma’s beauty lied a nasty underbelly: the downtown streets were filled with honky-bars, peep shows, and pornography shops. Not too long after the move, his mother married Johnny Culpepper Bundy, officially changing his last name. Ted rejected his new father and he looked down on him for not having a higher position in life, like his uncle Jack, a college professor, someone he admired. This internal conflict in the Bundy family never was resolved and as a result the two never had a chance to really know one another. When disciplining his child, Johnnie used a belt as a form of corporal punishment. This may have been a typical form of obedience for the time period or this could be seen as a cold, abusive, ultra-authoritarian tactic leaving Bundy’s relationship with his father even more torn and jaded. It is possible, that this could have contributed to the boy’s disdain for rules/laws and his lack of impulse control.
From a young age, Ted seemed special and his mother believed that he displayed the most potential out of all her children. He was active in school and usually maintained a B average. Unfortunately, besides being an above average student, his school life in Junior High was miserable. According to former classmates, Ted was shy, introverted, and often stuttered, causing the boy to bear the brunt of some of his classmates’ worst bullying, particularly during physical education class. Supposedly, Ted showered privately, instead of the open showers, where the other boys were. The tormenters took pleasure in pouring icy cold water down the back of an unsuspected Ted. Mortified, he would chase the boys away. As several other cases have proven, bullying has been a contributing factor to many serial killers and related criminals. In comparison to others of his kind, like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (the Columbine perpetrators), Ted’s experience with bullying was minimal, and yet at the same time at close inspection some factors can be deduced. All of Ted’s killings were sexually motivated and followed brutal rapes; it is possible that in his youth he was frustrated with his physical appearance (small, skinny, slender, etc.) and therefore did not want to shower where he normally would have. As an adult he expressed this rage through his atrocious behavior to gain power and it seems by doing this he could accept his self-identity. Since, he was fascinated by women his entire life, one would think Ted would chase after girls left and right in high school, but this was not the case.
Luckily for Ted Bundy, high school proved to be better than junior high school. According to former friends and acquaintances, Bundy was popular, eye-catching, extremely well-mannered, stylish, and yet he never dated. Despite this clean cut image, at a young age he engaged in various petty crimes. By the age of fifteen, he was a skilled shoplifter, and he was a suspect in a couple of auto theft and burglary cases, though never being arrested for said crimes. Of course, over the years these minute details were expunged from the Bundy profile, thus contributing to the theme of the clean cut, charming male. However, these tidbits tell us something even more important. They further demonstrate Bundy’s severe lack of impulse control. Bundy’s contempt for the law can be applied to his all around attitude toward women and social norms altogether. He desperately needed immediate gratification. As claimed in Bundy’s A&E Biography, the constant shoplifting made Bundy feel narcissistic because he could outwit the police and get away with it. This same feeling of entitlement would remain during his murders.
Besides the fact that Ted Bundy was introduced to pornography at a young age, there were other earlier warning signs of his obsession with the other sex. During his teen years, Bundy was said to have been a Peeping Tom, taking great pleasure in spying on various girls and women he found attractive.
The most disturbing “warning sign” is the theory that Ted Bundy may have begun his killing at age fifteen. Though, there is no actual evidence to support this, in hindsight, after knowing what crimes Bundy would later commit, it seems very plausible. During Bundy’s paper route days, there was an eight year old girl that he delivered the papers to and one day she was missing; she was never found. Various analysts, including Ann Rule, believe she was Bundy’s first victim.
For much of his youth, Bundy was very awkward and shy around women, but by the time he reached college, this would all change. He began creating a new façade in which he was confident, well-spoken, and cool. With Bundy’s natural charm it worked. In college he began his first sexual relationship with Stephanie Brooks. Brooks represented everything he wanted: an attractive, well-rounded, wealthy, female. To Brooks, the two were merely college sweethearts, but to Bundy this was everything, he found someone he fell in love with for the first time in his life. When the couple broke up, Bundy was left devastated. She evidently ended their relationship because she felt that he was immature and unmotivated. It can be surmised that this is why Bundy maintained an accomplished career in psychology and law (as ironic as it seems). Along with this incident, he also discovered his “older sister” Louise was actually his biological mother. It appears that these two seriously traumatic events strongly damaged what was left of an already fragile psyche. Within the next few years he would have relationships with other women and he would go back and forth with Brooks, in fact he eventually dumped her. Following this he began his murderous rampage in 1973 which lasted until 1978, when he was finally imprisoned. His trials were infamous and devoured by the media. Bundy was treated like a rock star, where court rooms were filled with adoring fans (all women, oddly enough). Archive footage displays a giggling Bundy, grinning as if he was the homecoming queen trying to decide who will go to the prom with her. He remained on Death Row until January 24, 1989, when he was executed by the electric chair to cheering families of victims, celebrating the announcement of his death, outside the prison.
In conclusion, as the film Ted Bundy asks, who was Ted Bundy? Or more importantly, who is Ted Bundy? The answer to this question as well as the question I posed before: how can someone so seemingly pleasant commit such unspeakable crimes? is still not simple and it turns out we could spend every waking hour studying Ted Bundy’s life and we still would be unsatisfied. If I’ve learned anything from Bundy’s story is that we need to be more honest about ourselves to our families, our friends, and most importantly to ourselves. Bundy desperately needed to discuss his impulse control or lack thereof with someone. He deserved to know who is real mother was as soon as possible. He needed to accept his self-identity. We, as a society can no longer discriminate and realize that anyone could be a serial killer, no matter what they look like.

The Congress

The political system of the United States is divided into several branches of power. The most powerful branch is the Congress. Congress can independently execute many powers and thus satisfy the people they represent. Alas, this is not always the case, and often Congress does not act in accordance to public opinion. There are two ways to analyze Congress: in theory and in practice. In theory, the Congress represents Americans and in practice they often represent their special interests.
Congress, as granted by Article I of the United States Constitution, has more power than any other branch in the American Government. The Constitution states that Congress shall “make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States.” In theory, Congress appears to satisfy our representative democracy. Legislators are supposed to determine their votes on laws by how their constituents feel on the issues. Congresspersons are elected to represent the people and make decisions that the people allegedly cannot make themselves. Since, both major parties (Republicans and Democrats) our in Congress, Americans of various ideological views are supposed to be satisfied, to an extent. It is also key to note that, party leadership is fairly divided in Congress. Each party has a Majority Leader, Minority Leader, Majority Whip, Minority Whip, Chairman of the Conference, and various committees. Both public and private bills are introduced in Congress.
Unfortunately, Congress’ power and service to the American people is merely limited to theory in most instances. In practice, Congress do not represent Americans’ views and are actually subjected to the highest level of criticism amongst governmental bodies, with approval ratings often below ten percent. Well, there certainly is a reason for this. American citizens feel that Congress serve private and special interests rather than the majority of Americans’ interests. There are various examples that demonstrate why this statement is accurate. Mostly it is because members of Congress feel they have to vote the same as the other members or vote party line; there are few challenging personalities. For example, Congressman Ron Paul, a challenger, can testify to this when he voted against the War in Iraq and voted against the Patriot Act. Paul was one of the few Congresspersons to vote against these measures, and he suggests that other members of Congress may have voted for them to avoid being unpopular and therefore unelectable. In more recent examples, the gigantic $700 Billion (many say it is actually in the trillions) Wall Street bailout was an action the majority of the American public did not favor and yet Congress passed it anyway. Another example is President Barack Obama’s Stimulus Package, which once again most Americans do not want. The people feel this package does not satisfy their needs, but rather special interests and certain constituents. This all brings in the factor of party domination, which currently is the Democrats. So, the Democrats can use this package to spend money on their special, political interests, such as research for Global Warming. If you asked most Americans, even after viewing An Inconvenient Truth, they would not support spending millions on such an issue that does not stimulate the economy.
In closing, the Congress is the center of the United States Government because it is granted the most powers in the Constitution, but unfortunately it does not execute its powers as it should in theory to represent the people that elect them.

Random Short Story

Two Wild and Crazy Guys

At 4:32 A.M. Village Street, Fife Alabama our tale begins. Village Street contained various, heart warming, sweet inhabitants, but this story isn’t about those people. Rather, it revolves around two country bumpkin hicks named Harley and Davidson. Village Street was a quiet, tranquil neighborhood until this dynamic duo arrived.
Harley and Davidson do not live in a house. Ohh no, they share a nice, cozy, trailer park home. And of course they are always accompanied by their fiery wolverine, Wolvy. All cuked up together in this small space, they have loads of fun!
“Hey Harley, where’s my pants, I have a hot date tonight and I want teh look good?” hollered the belligerent Davidson.
“How the hell should I know?” his Neanderthal counterpart fired back at him. The trailer constantly rocked back and forth and back and forth and back and forth, creating a creaking noise that creped up on your ears. There were no bathrooms, the pair simply did their filthy business outdoors (sometimes in front of neighbors), like most animals do.
Their pad was basically empty. No real possessions. They hunted for food and cooked their prey with a grill they stole from a naïve neighbor. They slept in Ghost Busters sleeping bags, and in fact there is a wicked story behind these bags. Our heroes had purchased these sleeping bags from some junior high boy scouts in exchange for beer. Unfortunately, it was unbeknownst to the boys that O’Dools was non-alcoholic beer. Of course, not the kind they knock back daily. Which brings us to their next item, the fridge, their most prized possession for it stores all of their beer, whiskey, and just some food.
“So, what ugly, misshapen toad you dating tonight Davey?” inquired Harley
“Err, that chick Agnes, with the gold teeth and that long beautiful beard,” Davidson replied. “But, she’s not as hideous as you think. In fact, she’s far prettier than any other lady I’ve had the pleasure to date”
“I can believe that.”

Hamlet Ranting

If you're dad was poisoned, by your uncle, then he scores nightly with your mom and tells you to stop being a bitch about his death, and now you're tripping see ghost of your dad and on top of all that you can't get w/ this smoking chick you've tried to wooo for so long, she thinks you're crazy, the whole country thinks your crazy, now the king, you're backstabbing uncle is hiring pirates to kill you and deport you, also he coerced your buddies into assisting him in this scheme. Now, you mean to tell me you wouldn't be just a little pissed. He's a frustrated fella that wants to start some shit, not crazy. But, who among us wouldn't stab a fat fuck, behind a curtain spying on you and your mom? I rest my case.

Mission of Burma Poem

That’s When I Reach for My Revolver (Mission of Burma)

Mission of Burma
Don’t be Fooled by the title
The trio are
Boston Natives
From Way Back When
When the Great Brennan was a young lad
In the 80s
But, they reformed in 2002
And continue to play
“Our Kind of People’s music”
There shows are HIT or miss
This concert was definitely a HIT
Dual Vocals
What more can I ask for?
It is Crystal Clear that
Burma's legacy is alive and well
They are Loved and Respected
More than ever Before

Morrissey Poem

The Boy With the Thorn in His Side (Morrissey)

First Time
At the Orpheum Theater
First Time
I attended a concert
First Time
I saw Morrissey!
Being one of my favorite singers
I adored his work with
The Smiths
And his Solo Career
The entire audience was
Not Mopey
Like some critics think
We Went Wild
When our hero rocked into “Shoplifters of the World Unite”
Everyone was dancing
To the sounds of Rebellion

Psychedelic Furs Concert

Pretty in Pink (Psychedelic Furs)

My First Concert with Glen
We stood in the Front Row
Waiting through Two
Clichéd British Acts
The Alarm
The Fixx
Before the Furs hit the stage
We were the Only ones
Under 45
It seemed
Numerous Drunkards Surrounded us
Slurring Along to the Songs
The Band were an aging, forgotten act
From the 80s, but
Their Energy and Showmanship
Shined Through
Glen even High Fived
Singer, Richard Butler
The Evening Foreshadowed
Many More, Great Concerts to Come

Radiohead Part II Poem

(Nice Dream) (Radiohead Part II)

When the quintet appeared on stage
They immediately burst into their hit song “Reckoner”
Sending an Arena full of die hard fans into a Surge of Joy
I was completely Mesmerized by the Light Show
The Best I’ve Ever Seen
The Lights changed Perfectly with Respect to the Mood of every song
At one point, I saw Little Fishes
In the shapes of Golden Spots
Projected on the Big High Definition Screen
Then the Lights Shifted into the Lyrics
“Everything in its Right Place”
From the Song of the Same Name
The Greatest Performance was of their classic, “The Bends”
The Fans were more Enthusiastic and Energetic thane Ever.
Some people think Radiohead is just another mopey, downer band
They Have it All Wrong
I felt like everyone was united during "The Bends"
When everyone sang together, "Where do we go from here?"
The song might be pessimistic, but if Everyone is Together
Then they Realize that they're
Not Alone

Radiohead Part I Poem

Paranoid Android (Radiohead Part I)

It was all Smooth Sailing until 7 O’clock reared its ugly head
We ran into massive traffic.
I'm not Talking about any old back-up
I'm talking about
For more than an Hour
The traffic was longer than any soul would expect
Glen suggested we do something I never envisioned myself doing
And I made the Mistake of agreeing with him
We hopped out of the car and ran in the Breakdown Lane
Under Glen’s rationale that the Comcast Center was right around the corner
A Minute Away
The venue was a good 2 to 3 MILES Away
As we Ran as Fast as we could
Patrons screamed out their car windows,
“You guys are Fucking crazy!”
While Dodging cars was Fun and all
I ran out of breathe and couldn’t run anymore
We decided to hitch a ride with a couple of hip college kids
Finally, we arrived at our destination

Dinosaur Jr Poem

Little Fury Things (Dinosaur Jr)

Loudest Band I’ve Ever Seen
Dinosaur Jr
“Left Me with Permanent Ear Damage,”
Once Declared the great Mr. Brennan
And I couldn’t have agreed more
With Constant
In my Ears for the next week
Is perhaps Too Much
Over this Clamor
The MASS Trio
Played various songs from their legendary late 80s to early 90s era
Including “Little Fury Things,” “Out There,” and
“Feel the Pain,” which
Garnered the most Admiration from the Audience
Best of All was the Diversity of Age Groups
From Teens to Twenty-Somethings
To Middle-Aged Folks

Animal Collective Poem

Summertime Clothes (Animal Collective)

Never underestimate the 18-24 age group
Solid Souls filled the House of Blues
Squashed together to see
Panda Bear, Avey Tare, and Geologist

Buy the Ticket, take the Ride
A Fervent Fan cried
Fifteen to twenty minutes with my jaw dropped
As the trio bashed out electronic anthems
I pushed my way through a Sea of fans to get closer to the band
The dancing grew Wilder and Wilder than I had expected
Unlike anything else I had encountered before
The crowd was one giant hug fest
With everyone on top of each other
At times obnoxious and unnecessary to the point that I was almost
Falling Over
But, Ultimately it was an amazing
Musical, Social and perhaps Spiritual

Meat Puppets Poem

Sexy Music (Meat Puppets)

What’s a Meat Puppet?
That’s what I hear whenever I wear my Meat Puppets shirt
I don’t know
I don’t want to know
But, what I do know is that they are one hell of a live band
Blending Rock and Roll with Country and Punk Rock
Is no easy task
But, the Puppets were able to execute it and more

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to witness the band
Up Close and Personal
But, I had decent seats at the Orpheum
So, I could still enjoy a long night of
Passionate Songs
Long Guitar Solos
And Best of All
Heavy Distortion
With one song simply seeping directly into the next
Without any pauses in between
When the trio finished their set
I was blown away
I knew I would be writing about my experience one day

No Age Poem

Here Should Be My Home (No Age)

Glen had insisted there was a concert that night
We searched for THIRTY minutes for the music center
I was beginning to think my comrade wasn’t too bright
This was clearly not our place
Yet, we found a student
That was able to solve our case

It was an all Girls school
I could pretend to be a student
But, I’d look like a fool

We were told we needed to know someone to get in
But, with my impeccable, boyish charm
I was able to coax the sweet girl at the door to grant us admission
There was No Stage
For No Age
But, the boys managed to put on an amazing show
Filled with loud, fast, Punk songs
But, no atmospheric songs
Because Randy Randal
Told me that it was too much for the band to handle

King Khan Poem

How Do I Keep You Outta Harm’s Way? (King Khan)

Soulful Supreme Genius spread in the air
The King came decked out in his white suit and slicked back hair
Accompanied by his lady, an ever-grinning cheerleader
And eight Sensational Shrines in their black Shrine Uniforms
The King ordered his minions to give him
A Loud and Proud response
They Roared
Unsatisfied, he Demanded again
This time the King was blown away
He and His Shrines exploded right into “Land of the Freak”
An apropos title for this setting
The fanatics hopped up and down
Side to Side
On the Stage
Off the Stage
The blissful cheerleader sprinkled glitter into the pit
As a cute little complement to the soulful music and funky dancing
As soon as the performance ended
Excessive crowd response ensued
Just when you think it’s over…

Black Lips Poem

Bad Kids (Black Lips)

When you mix doo wop, garage rock, punk, and some robitussin
What do you get?
Bad Kids
Notorious Fugitives
Or simply
The Black Lips

Yes, it required that many exclamation points
I don’t know why I love these guys so much, but I’m hooked
I Stood in a Sea of fellow devotees, Screaming in anticipation
As soon as they hit the stage
The crowd stormed into a frenzy
Never remaining still or apart until the end
Stage Diving
Crowd Surfing
Ensured the Best Concert
Soaked in Sweat and barely hearing
The Night was over
But, the memory will be Forever

New Poetry

Good, Bad, Not Evil
Black Lips
King Khan
No Age
Meat Puppets
And More
To most people those words mean Nothing
But to Me it’s like seeing someone big like Tee Payne
I don’t think that’s how you spell his name
I’d rather be in a bar or a basement
Where I’m right in front of the Best damn bands in the Universe
Instead of clasping my binoculars to see my favorites
From Far Far Far Far Away
In My Stadium Seats
Or even on
The Lawn
No, I’d rather be packed all together in a sold out show
Standing between a middle aged woman and a guy that doesn’t brush his teeth
I know it sounds stupid and repulsive
But, it’s better than simply listening to the music at home

Che Screenplay



Chris and Glen are sitting in Chris’ basement, analyzing the life and career of Marxist Revolutionary, Che Guevara. Glen is sipping on his Vitamin Water and Chris is shoving Mike and Ike down his throat like there’s no tomorrow, whilst holding Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of The United States as if it was his baby.



Yeah right, he was nothing more than a thug. I can’t stand it when I see college kids wearing shirts with his face on it or displaying posters of him on the walls of their dorms. That makes me want to puke.

That’s one way to look at it, but whether you like him or not, to most of Latin America, Che Guevara is like a God. Revolutionaries worldwide, since his death, have respected him for his courage and the principles he stood for.

Mass Murder? Dictatorship? Communism? Yeah, because those are all great principles to stand for…….

Don’t be naïve, that’s what your history teachers tell you, that’s just one sided rhetoric. Well, except for the Communism; his vision was a universally communist Latin America.

And, you’re saying I’m naïve?! The commie would have massacred anyone who disagreed with him, including you and your family, just to reach that beautiful utopia you speak of. The fact that you won’t even acknowledge that he was a murderer is an obscenity. Now, I bet the next egg of knowledge you’ll crack will inform me that he was at war and therefore his violence was justified, right? Well, in my book, murder is murder, no matter what the reason is.

Do you like living here?


I said do you like living here? This country was created following a violent revolution. I wouldn’t doubt that good old George Washington killed just as many, if not more enemies than Che did! But, my point is that you wouldn’t be here, if people adhered to your sense of self-righteous pacifism. Let’s face it, there are few bloodless revolutions. It’s sad, but true.

Are you comparing the Cuban Revolution to the American Revolution?

No, not necessarily. I’m comparing figures in history being treated with honor and respect, such as George Washington and then other figures like Che being regarded as “killers,” when clearly both men did plenty of killings, but since Che was a Marxist, we don’t like him.




Well, except Hollywood.

Pssh, they love him out there. Which brings me to another point. Did you see the Oscars last month?

Of course

Ok, so then you saw that lib Sean Penn condemn all the anti-gay marriage Californians during his acceptance speech. Well, see here’s where I’m baffled: Penn supports the Castro led Cuban government, the exact same rebel government Che created, and yet those guys won’t even hesitate to place you in a camp if you’re gay. Now, maybe it’s just me, but isn’t that a perfect example of a hypocrite?

Agree! For once actually. But, Penn doesn’t speak for all of us

Obviously, he doesn’t. My point, however, is that Che and especially his supporters constantly contradict themselves and never live up to their principles. People, like you, say he stood for social justice, what is just in killing “suspected traitors” and forcing the disabled, mentally handicapped, and homosexuals, amongst others into labor camps?

Well, I don’t know how true the latter part is, but he definitely did kill people or had people killed for committing treason or people suspected of committing or going to commit treason. I don’t agree with this, but it is possible to admire a historical figure for some aspects of their life and then condemn them for others. Plus, this brings me back to my earlier point about how Che receives harsher criticism than other historical figures. I mean, if you’re talking about people not living up to their principles, the Founding Fathers would have to be on that same list.

Chris furiously flips through the pages of A People’s History to the section on the Declaration of Independence. He points to the line “All men are created equal” and Glen nods.


Now, I’m sure Tom Jefferson and George Washington treated their slaves with the utmost respect!

Ok, so you’ve made your point that there are plenty of evil miscreants in history, so why should I think of Che any differently?

First and foremost, Che saw the effects imperialism, capitalism, and a puppet, totalitarian regime, far more oppressive than he or Castro ever were, had on his people. He was sick of seeing poverty stricken people being oppressed for years and years. His main principle was to defend the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. On top of all that, to the majority of Cubans, the proletariat, Che is seen as a savior. Of course, to the small elite, the bourgeoisie, he is viewed as a devil and rightfully so.

You finished?
You convinced?

Ok, so he is a revolutionary for overthrowing a corrupt government, but he was a savage murderer for killing anyone that opposed him. Agree?

I can agree to that, so what’s up next for discussion? Chris Brown?

Oh, definitely evil.


Fairy Stories

It’s Alright Bro, I’m Only Bleeding

BLAM! The clubs struck his spine once more. BLAM! Then his skull. Observing the red smeared on the Copper’s billy club, John could tell he was bleeding…. bleeding to death it seemed. John wasn’t always in this much trouble. There was a time when his life was nothing but serene. When he was young and filled with hope, before the weight of the world would jostle his vigorous spirit.
More than thirty years earlier John was born on July 4, 1976. The doctor claimed that he was the happiest baby he had ever delivered. His big, bulging, blue eyes attracted everyone in near sight. John’s parents provided an exemplary home for him. He had a tremendous education, a safe environment, and best of all, plenty of friends with which to play.
You know those memories that you will remember for the rest of your life? Well, the day John met Jerry was one of those days. The two seven year olds stood in stark contrast to one another. John had long, brown hair, big, blue eyes, and the most natural smile that was so giant that one would think somebody slipped him some stimulant. Above all, he stood up straight and tall with courage of a fire fighter. Jerry, on the contrary, had curly, blonde hair; light, brown eyes, a nervous, almost neurotic smile, and a slouching posture to say the least.
On one particular sunny day every child in the neighborhood was out to play. Most of the little rapscallions played army in the trees and behind bushes. That was the “thing” to do on Spring Street. All the boys were coaxing Jerry, being the small, scrawny kid he was, to jump out of the tree and land perfectly on the grass. Jerry cried, “It’s too high. I don’t want to kill myself!!!”
“Aww come on, yeah big baby, just jump,” yelped another rascal.
“Ehh, he’ll never do it, he’s too big of a wussy. Let’s scram.”
So, the boys hopped on their bikes and careened off down the road. Feeling relief, that he could now safely come down, Jerry smirked and began his departure. But, all of a sudden that smirk turned into a furrow of worry. His sock was caught in one of the branches of the tree. He was beginning to collapse. He screamed his lungs out for help and fortunately help came… well, help had already been there. You see, John had remained stationary the entire time; he was lost in his own world, lying back on the greenest grass gazing past the sky to the places adults could no longer see. Realizing his army buds had ditched him, he wasn’t sure what to do next. But, being the valiant seven year old liberator he was, he immediately informed Jerry to jump and promised to catch him.
“Urghh I don’t know if I trust you!” he exclaimed.
“Just go, you can trust me! Believe me, you can trust me!” John demanded.
“Uhh, alright fine, here it goes.”
Jerry leapt like he had never leapt before, sporting a gigantic, anxious expression across his face, while he flew through the air. Finally, landing in his knight in shining armor’s arms, Jerry felt saved. From that moment on the two boys spent the rest of their adolescence together; they were inseparable. But, unfortunately, when it came time for high school graduation, the boys parted their ways. John went to UCLA to study film and Jerry ventured into economics and business at Fordham. The pair promised to stick together after high school, but they managed to only see each other a few times during their college breaks, with each year growing further and further apart to the point that the other was just an old friend each rarely mentioned. By the time Jerry was at the altar; John was not even a consideration as a name on the invitation list.
So, what happened to these two young men? John annually changed his major, eventually earning his BA in Political Science, becoming a cool, hip, radical Professor of the subject. The rest of his life was devoted to his tireless activism and charity work. Politically standing, he claimed to be an anarchist and uses his modest fame and prestige to mobilize students and anyone else he meets. Thus, making him an immensely controversial figure in his community.
Jerry’s story does not even remotely reflect John’s lifestyle. At Fordham, Jerry earned his BA in Economics and has since become a successful stockbroker and internet entrepreneur. He is now happily married with two children, Sam and Joe. His office stands right in the heart of the dark lord’s terrain, Wall Street. But, today was unusual for him. As he made his usual stride into his workplace, he had the great privilege of being hurled with all sorts of verbal abuse, “TRAITOR,” “CORPORATE THUG,” “CAPITALIST PIG,” amongst others. Jerry did not realize what the commotion was all about; a demonstration was taking place outside the New York Stock Exchange, organized and led by none other than John. Wearing a shirt displaying an inverted American flag a la Abbie Hoffman, the young man captivated not just his followers but “regular” passerbys in the street as well. The main points he made reverberated through the city, it seemed. “This is a bailout for Wall Street, not Main Street!” he hollered. “700 billion dollars coming out of your pockets to enrich those that drowned us in this economic whirlpool to begin with.”
Despite the fact that the protesters had permits to express their First Amendment rights and had caused no physical harm to anyone, the police arrived in full out riot gear to disperse the crowd. Suddenly billy clubs, rubber bullets, and tear gas filled the air. John instructed his fellow freedom fighters to “resist the pigs.” But, it was too late. They were outnumbered. Next thing he noticed, the clubs were striking him and he hit the pavement. Defenseless, he raised his head, as if someone could save him.
Simultaneously, John’s and Jerry’s eyes met, and they realized who the other was. Jerry knew how many times his pal had saved him in the past and felt the desire to return the favor, but as he stared in his eyes, he realized how different their lives had become. Jerry instead turned his back and returned to his work, tears rolling down his cheeks. As John felt the cuffs placed on his hands, he felt another blow to the head from a cop, but the biggest blow was the betrayal of an old friend.

I Saw God

I Saw God

I saw God
Or someone that looked a lot like him
He was no bigger than a mouse
I could fit him in my pocket, if I wanted to
I grabbed him by his tiny toes and demanded that he reveals his plans
He just slid out of my slimy mitts and scurried off into the night
“Come back here!” I hollered. “I have questions!”
But, God didn’t respond, he never does
He just bails on you, especially when you need him the most
So, I grinded my teeth and started to scour the earth for that worthless punk
As the hours passed, I remained alone
No one
No god
Suddenly, I heard screaming from afar
As I came closer, I discovered she was trapped in a burning building
The shrieks grew louder and louder, so I raced inside
Then everything became obscure
I awoke outside and to my left was the girl laying beside me
I bent my head to the right and there was the tiny creature from before!
God’s love was only present when my love was present

8 Landmark SC Cases

1) Weeks v. U.S. (1914) - Weeks was subject to a warrant less search and seizure in which the police discovered contraband (lottery tickets) in his mail. He was arrested for the illegal transport of gambling items and so he appealed to the Supreme Court. The court ruled in his favor, stating, “...if letters and private documents can thus be seized and used as evidence...his right to be secure against such searches... is of no value, and...Might as well be stricken from the Constitution." This was the first use of the exclusionary rule, thus creating a major precedent in our justice system.

2) Schenck v. U.S. (1919) - Charles Schenck mailed leaflets to draftees and soldiers urging them to resist the draft. This was a violation of the Espionage Act of 1917 and therefore Schenck was arrested. He took his case to the Supreme Court, where they upheld his conviction. They ruled that his arrest and the Espionage Act were not violations of the First Amendment, because his leaflets showed a “clear and present danger.” This case is significant for two reasons: 1) It created the “clear and present danger” rule. 2) It demonstrates how during wartime, free speech rights were and can be curtailed.
3) Gitlow v. New York (1925) - Benjamin Gitlow, a prominent Socialist, violated the New York Criminal Anarchy Law of 1902 by publishing manifestos advocating overthrowing the government through mass strikes and installing a Socialist system. Gitlow was tried and convicted, so he appealed to the Supreme Court, claiming his First Amendment rights had been violated. Unlike in the Schenck case, the court ruled in favor of Gitlow, deciding that "for present purposes, we may assume that freedom of speech and of press...are among the fundamental personal rights and liberties protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the State." This case is important, because it differentiates what is considered “clear and present danger” and what is not. The court decided that advocating overthrowing the government did not fit under the rule. Specific plans and people must be mentioned to make such speech criminal.
4) Mapp v. Ohio (1961) - Dolly Mapp’s house was searched and the police found “obscene” material (at the time possession of such was illegal). She was tried and convicted, then appealed to the Supreme Court. The court ruled in favor because the police failed to produce a search warrant. They incorporated the Fourth Amendment into the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and executed the exclusionary rule. The case is significant for making the exclusionary rule and even greater standard, than any other Supreme Court case had before.
5) Fay v. Noia (1963) - Noia was convicted of murder in New York and his confession was used as evidence during the trial. He then filed a writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court, but the law stated, “A person must exhaust all state courts before appealing to a federal court.” The state of New York confessed that Noia’s confession had been coerced because an appeal would be inadmissible. The court ruled in favor of Noia, maintaining that the government must protect citizens’ right to habeas corpus.
6) Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) - Clarence E. Gideon was arrested for an attempted break in. He was illiterate and poor; therefore he could not afford an attorney of his choosing. At the time, council was only reserved for those facing capital punishment. The trial judge ruled that Gideon could defend himself. He was then tried and convicted. When he appealed to the Supreme Court, they ruled in his favor, declaring that all defendants in felony cases had the right to an attorney. This case strengthened the right to council, a cherished right to this day.
7) Sheppard v. Maxwell (1966) - Dr. Sam Sheppard’s arrest and trial for the murder of his wife received considerable media coverage. Sheppard argued that the media’s biased coverage was so extensive that it resulted in an unfair trial. The Supreme Court agreed with him and overturned his conviction, claiming “the judge failed to minimize the prejudicial impact of massive publicity." The case created the precedent for the use of the “gag” order to limit pretrial publicity.
8) Texas v. Johnson (1989) - Johnson burned an American flag outside the Republican National Convention. This violated a Texas law stating that desecration of the flag was a crime. Johnson was convicted and sentenced to one year in prison and a two thousand dollar fine. The Supreme Court overturned this conviction, claiming that flag burning was protected by the First Amendment. The case helped secure symbolic speech as a protected First Amendment right.

Judge Visit

Before May 14, 2009, I had never met any judges nor witnessed any trials in my life. As soon as I heard of this field trip to the U.S. Federal District Court to see the Honorable Mark L. Wolf, I anticipated an amazing experience and I couldn’t have been more correct. After analyzing Jude Wolf’s life and work in class, I became even more excited to meet him.
Initially, I was informed that we would be seeing a case involving taxes, much to the chagrin of my fellow classmates and me. But, when we entered the courtroom, one of the defense attorneys revealed that instead, we would be hearing something far more fascinating. The new case involved a felon being charged with illegally possessing a firearm and the intent to distribute crack cocaine. The judge presiding over the case was the Honorable William G. Young, the second most famous judge at the Federal District Court in Boston. While observing both the judge and the attorneys I learned several different things. I noticed that the attorneys and the judge actually debated Supreme Court precedents during the trial. I never realized how strictly judges are “supposed” to adhere to the previous Supreme Court rulings as well as the Constitution.
Following the trial, which will be continued next week, our class had the rare pleasure of speaking to not only Judge William G. Young, but also the prosecution and defense attorneys. Judge Young made it a point more than once to note that having the attorneys stay after the trial has never happened in his experience. The attorneys described how they would make their arguments in front of the jury and how they will deal with the surprise witness’ right to plead the Fifth Amendment and not incriminate himself. To gain an even greater perspective, Young enthusiastically told us the story of Chambers v. Mississippi, which also involved a defendant’s right to not self-incriminate. Then I heard various opinions on the roles of the jury. The defense attorney quickly used the old Law School trick that jurors only or mostly remember what they heard first and last and then everything in between becomes gray. To rebut this assessment, the judge’s clerk, Mrs. Smith, an extremely diligent and observant woman, protested that this was a mere myth. She claimed that she has constantly seen jurors take notes on much of what they see and hear, and make reasonable approaches to finding a verdict based on all the evidence. Immediately, the defense attorney nodded in defeat.
Next, we were taken on a tour of the rather expensive building. Whilst sitting in an empty courtroom we were informed that the gigantic four arches on the walls of the room represented equality. Our tour guide also noted that the judge’s seat is not that much higher than everyone else’s. This serves as a symbol for the reality that the judge is no different than you and me.
Finally, the greatest moment of anticipation occurred when we ate lunch with the Honorable Mark L. Wolf in a private room. We asked many in depth questions that Judge Wolf graciously replied to with in depth answers. I learned that the courthouse hears “a lot” of drug related cases, that Wolf believes judges should not be elected because they lose their character and serve only the government, as seen in Communist nations, and that he never intended on being a judge, amongst other things.
Meeting two famous judges, observing an intriguing trial, and being entertained by a couple of bizarre, yet amusing characters on the subway ride home ensured a fun and educational field trip that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Nat'l Security v. Free Speech (Chris)

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This cherished right has been actively fought for since its creation. Unfortunately, during times of war, attack, or panic, this right has been in some ways flat out suspended in the name of national security. defined national security as “protection of nation from danger: the protection of a nation from attack or other danger by maintaining adequate armed forces and guarding state secrets.” Supposedly, in order to protect the nation from danger, free speech has been suspended at certain times in our history and today. As a result of this, it has received massive criticism, as well as for the suspension of civil liberties and human rights.
Historically, there have been several laws passed during wartime that have restricted free speech in the name of national security. World War I was a major example of this. During this war, the Espionage Act of 1917 was passed, which made it a crime to interfere with the armed forces process. Then the Sedition Act of 1918 was passed, which made it a crime to simply speak out against the government. Eugene V. Debs received ten years in prison for saying, ‘“master classes” caused the war, the “subject classes” would have to fight it.”
Another famous instance in which free speech wrestled with national security was the landmark Supreme Court decision in the New York Times v. U.S. (1971). Fortunately, in this instance, during wartime, the court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the papers not to be able to print the then-classified Pentagon Papers. In order to claim prior restraint, the government had to demonstrate how publication of this information would cause a “grave and irreparable” danger.

Affirmative Action (Chris)

Affirmative Action in America
Affirmative action from the beginning has had two purposes: 1) to increase diversity in society and 2) to redress disadvantages for minorities from previous discrimination. To this day affirmative action has been an extremely controversial issue.
Supporters argue that it promotes diversity and that it offers opportunity to those who were previously shunned due to both institutionalized and unconscious discrimination. They believe that those receiving the benefits from affirmative action programs have withstood and still withstand prejudice and therefore this results in institutionalized limitations.
Opponents claim that affirmative action is an insult to our system. They suggest that it offers breaks to minorities and that it chooses people based on their social group, ethnicity, race, gender, or sexual orientation, but not on specific qualifications. They further argue that this devalues the workplace, because it means that the “best” is not being represented. They also believe that the “wrongs,” various programs attempt to right, are merely made worse, because they see affirmative action as another form of discrimination. They note the achievements of minorities and believe that said achievements are diluted when minority groups identity themselves as “disadvantaged,” even sometimes when they’re not.
There have been many Supreme Court cases addressing the issue of affirmative action in the United States over the years. Most notably in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, in which the court ruled that affirmative action was constitutional, but having a specific quota for race was unconstitutional. In other words, an institution cannot choose a candidate based solely on their race, there must be other factors included.

Dust Blowing

Just a quick warning, some serious dust blowing coming up. I'm posting a whole series of things I've written from sophomore year to now in no particular order. Enjoy!

Black Lips Rhapsody

The Black Lips did four new videos for Rhapsody! Check out "The Witch" and the other ones here:

Black Lips if by any chance you are reading this...please come back and play in Boston this summer!


CD Review: The Eternal

Sonic Youth
Release: 2009

1. "Sacred Trikster" - Grade: 9.5 - Sounds really retro.
2. "Anti-Orgasm" - Grade: 9.6 - Great Thurston/Kim back-and-forth.
3. "Leaky Lifeboat (For Gregory Corso)" - Grade: 9.1
4. "Antenna" - Grade: 9.3
5. "What We Know" - Grade: 9.1 - Crazy guitar.
6. "Calming the Snake" - Grade: 9.7 - Pretty damn distorted...awesome!
7. "Poison Arrow" - Grade: 9.5
8. "Malibu Gas Station" - Grade: 9.0
9. "Thunderclap (For Bobby Pyn)" - Grade: 9.2
10. "No Way" - Grade: 9.4
11. "Walkin Blue" - Grade: 9.4 - Lee Renaldo is a genius!
12. "Massage the History" - Grade: 9.8 - Two songs in one!

Final Grade/Comment: 9.4 - Amazing lyric right here from Kim Gordon on the last song: "Come with me to the other side/ Not everyone makes it out alive."

Sotomayor/Obama Rant

We shouldn't elect somebody based on their biography. Would you want your surgeon to be somebody who was hired based on their biography or their ability? Sotomayor is playing the Latina card. And Obama, who was also elected based on his biography, loves to use it.

*Portions of this rant come courtesy of Jack O'Brien.

Immigration Reform

One of Barack Obama’s key campaign promises to Latino voters was to make comprehensive immigration legislation a priority in his first year in office. With Obama’s nomination of Latina Judge Sonia Sotomayor, more Latinos than ever are supporting Obama. Obama’s goal is a “policy reform that controls immigration and makes it an orderly system.” The system may, as some reports suggest, involve recognizing millions of illegal immigrants who have been already working here, giving them permanent access to jobs. The problem with that strategy is that, especially in our feeble economic condition, there are just as many unemployed Americans without jobs. But if Obama goes the route of sending illegal immigrants back to their native country, the question of amnesty will arise. Most reports indicate that Obama will not take a such conservative path, because it’s sure to anger many of his constituents.

Obama has, though, recently continued one of George W. Bush’s immigration programs, causing at least a little worry among Democrats. Expanding the program (30% increase in funds), which is what the Obama administration is doing, could result in a substantial increase in identifying illegal immigrants for deportation. The program aims at routinely checking the immigration status of inmates at local jails, something that isn’t done all that often. One of the problems of immigration is that it innately causes a bigger government that hands out benefits like food stamps and social security. For fiscal conservatives and small government libertarians, this can be quite an issue because it expands the welfare state. Immigrants know of these benefits, for sure, and that’s a major reason why they decide to come.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nat'l Security v. Free Speech

Balancing free speech and national security has long been an issue for the United States Government. The socialist and anti-war beliefs of Eugene V. Debs opposed Woodrow Wilson’s foreign policy stand; his dissidence alone caused him to be arrested, along with nearly 2,000 others. A few years later, the case of Gitlow v. New York in 1925 ended in a Supreme Court decision that restrictions can be placed on free speech if certain words involve “danger to the public peace and to the security of the state.” A couple of decades later in the 1940s and 1950s, there was a fear that the Communists might overthrow and destroy the government. The Smith Act of 1940 punished the advocacy of overthrowing the government, limiting the speech of leftists in exchange for national security. In the 1957 Yates v. United States case, a modification was placed on the Smith Act that distinguished between a written statement of an idea and the advocacy that a certain action be taken.

Since September 11, the issue of national security and free speech has been thoroughly examined, especially after the passage of the Patriot Act. Protecting citizens from terrorism has taken the form of limiting free speech and 1st Amendment rights. FBI agents are allowed to read e-mails and listen into private phone calls. Keeping that in mind, people are fearful of saying the wrong thing, which itself is a limit of free speech. Also, the government can deem people associated with certain political groups terrorists if it feels that they are a threat to national security. Speeches, letters to the editor, or any comment about the government and its actions that undermines its anti-terrorism efforts can be potentially silenced under the Patriot Act. While maintaining a certain level of national security is very important, violating the 1st Amendment is never acceptable. In fact, a government that takes away our speech is a government that should be overthrown.

Affirmative Action Tidbits

The affirmative action debate is still very much alive today after much discussion in the past few decades. President Barack Obama recently said that he believes in affirmative action to the extent of “overcoming both historic and current discrimination.” He does not, however, believe in a quota system. Obama’s stance is much like the 1978 Supreme Court Regents V. Bakke ruling that outlawed quotas, but allowed race to still be considered a factor in university admissions.
In a recent Gallup poll, 58% respondents said that they favored affirmative action programs for minorities and women for job hiring in the workplace. Even if the majority of people in the United States do seem to support affirmative action, the number of reverse discrimination cases has increased significantly. Disgruntled job or college applicants are looking into the policies of workplaces and universities, most of which promote diversity in some kind of way.

A far better stand on affirmative action, in my opinion, is color blindness. With color blindness, race is not a factor in hiring or admitting. Affirmative action, which tries to give a better opportunity to minorities to make up for past hardships they faced, is not necessarily progress. If we are looking for an equal system, the best one would be color blind because there is no discrimination at all involved. Every person is judged based on characteristics that pertain to how good of a worker or student one could be. No doubt some people are inherently disadvantaged. That’s what makes this scenario complicated. Like one man in the video, I wouldn’t necessary be opposed to some kind of private program that would allow for disadvantaged people to be given a further look.

Role of Religion in the Public Sphere

The debate comes down to one major question: “what is the role of religion in the public sphere?” A couple of decades ago and even further back, the issue of prayer in schools came up quite a bit. I have never heard any debate in this area of the country on the issue of school prayer. I think the issue is far more prevalent in the south where there is a more homogenous mixture of Christians. In Wakefield High School, for instance, there is a hodge-podge of religious views ranging from atheist to Christian to Jewish to Hindu to Buddhist. The school as a whole, at least as far as I have noticed, has tried to distance itself from any attachment to a particular religion. During times of community shock, the administration has preferred to use “moment of silence” in place of “prayer” or “meditation.” The phrase “moment of silence” is non-denominational and actually works very well because kids can use the time to do whatever they want, whether it’s think about nothing, say a prayer, or meditate on the situation. And it seems like the nation as a whole has come to the conclusion that in certain areas of public life religion must be preserved like keeping the ten commandments outside of a government building or making people swear an oath upon entering a court room. The issue is really between people who favor a separation of church and state and those who wish to preserve America’s history as a Christian nation. With the growing diversity of religion in America, it’s becoming increasingly harder to preserve prior values. As a whole, I do think the role of religion in the public sphere is still up for debate, but as for prayer in school, I think the issue has already seen its time.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Post-Release No Age CD Grades

I don't feel like doing a full-scale review because it would be just a bunch of ass-kissing so here are the grades for previous No Age releases:

Nouns (2008) - 9.9

Weirdo Rippers (2007) - 9.6

CD Review: Beware

Band: Bonnie "Prince" Billy

Comments: Not going to lie, I'm not a fan of alt-country, generally speaking. "Beware Your Only Friend" is boring, despite its catchy strums and backing vocals. The farm style anthem "You Can't Hurt Me Now" is a slight improvement. The extremely slow "My Life's Work" is reminiscent of prime-time Johnny Cash. "Death Final" is better. "You Don't Love Me" is kind of fun. Okay, I'll admit it I stopped here. Bonnie just isn't my type. It would have been painful and silly for me to continue. In fact, someone reading this who is a big BPB fan is probably gearing up to type a long winded comment about how I got this review completely wrong.

Final Grade: 7.0

Obama's SC Nominee

Today, Obama announced that he has nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court Justice to fill in sitting Justice David Souter's shoes. I don't know much about her, so I'll have to do some investigating. Hopefully, she is a Thurgood Marshall or a Bill Brennan, probably not though. Well, we'll see if the Senate approves of her.

Monday, May 25, 2009

My Defense of Wearing Nike Sneakers

Phil Knight is no longer the CEO and labor conditions possibly have improved in the past decade, but these aren't reasons why I have chosen to wear Nike sneakers. I have chosen to wear Nike sneakers because I know that I won't be a serf to the Nike brand. I know I won't be enslaved under all things Nike. It's just a comfortable sneaker and while I do feel slightly ashamed that I am "endorsing" a product that was the work of a third world economic sweatshop block, I don't think I should be spited. The sneaks were only $45.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

War Is Stupid

WASHINGTON – The Senate on Thursday passed a $91.3 billion military spending bill, shorn of money President Barack Obama wants to close the Guantanamo Bay prison but allowing him to significantly ramp up the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

The Senate voted 86-3 to pass the bill, which provides money for military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, setting up House-Senate talks on a compromise measure to present to Obama next month.

The spending measure closely tracks Obama's request for war funds, although the $80 million he was seeking to close the U.S. naval prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was dropped Wednesday. - Yahoo!

That's nuts.

CD Review: Dragonslayer

Band: Sunset Rubdown
Release: 2009

"Silver Moons" - Grade: 8.7
"Idiot Heart" - Grade: 9.0
"Apollo and the Buffalo and Anna Anna Anna" - Grade: 9.3
"Black Swan" - Grade: 9.7
"Paper Lace" - Grade: 9.2
"You Go On Ahead" - Grade: 9.3
"Nightingale/ December Song" - Grade: 8.9
"Dragon's Lair" - Grade: 9.5

Final Grade: 9.2 out of 10

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Stupidity of War

Howard Zinn (a bombardier in WWII) explains it perfectly.

CD Review: Crack Box (Animal Collective)

(Part One of Three)

Animal Collective
Release: 2009

The first batch of tracks (A Series) were recorded nine years ago. The A Series is choppy, featuring slippery and dizzying beats behind droning vocals. It's not too distant from what the crew would produce years later, though. The 'freak' element is "flaming" (for lack of a better word) in "Jimmy Raven." "Ahhh Good Country" is a mixture of fireworks, crazy alarm-like noises, and a really shitty vocal track of all words unintelligible. "Iko Ovo" is a repetition of "what they don't see" or something like that and has an interesting increasing/decreasing drum beat dynamic. It's really intense actually. Good horror film material.

The Pumpkins (B Series) were recorded in 2001. They aren't much of a departure from what we can hear in A Series. Quite a bit of electronic influence can be heard in "Pumpkin Gets A Snakebite." There is an alienic, cutting-out effect present throughout. The last line "Oooh my pumpkin is dddddd-ddddying" is a great way to end the song. "Pumpkin's Hallucination" is still absolute noisiness, but there is a certain complexity that appears here for the first time in Crack Box. The simplistic pounding bass is still there, don't worry! The ending is freaky. Oh shit not again! That's my first reaction to "Pumpkin's Funeral." Why? Because the freaky ending of "Pumpkin's Hallucination" continues for another minute in this song. The other three minutes are okay.

What's Missing?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Smell Muffins!

Simple things make better muffins.

Monday, May 18, 2009

MCAS Block Schedule

MAY 19
11:21 D
12:13 A
1:11 F
MAY 20
11:21 D
12:13 B
1:11 G

The Merchants of Cool

You can view the other four parts of this series on YouTube.

I'd also like to give a plug to Naomi Klein's No Logo, which features a lot of the concepts seen in this documentary.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Adobe Slats

For my girls.

Obama Speaks At Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – President Barack Obama strode head-on Sunday into the stormy abortion debate and told graduates at America's leading Roman Catholic university that both sides must stop demonizing one another.

Obama acknowledged that "no matter how much we want to fudge it ... the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable." But he still implored the University of Notre Dame's graduating class and all in the U.S. to stop "reducing those with differing views to caricature. Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words. It's a way of life that always has been the Notre Dame tradition."

One of the noisiest controversies of his young presidency flared after Obama, who supports abortion rights but says the procedure should be rare, was invited to speak at the school and receive an honorary degree. "I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away," the president said. - Yahoo!

It would have been awesome to witness the person who stood up and said "stop killing our children" during Obama's speech.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Concert Review: Animal Collective (HoBo)

Bands: Grouper, Animal Collective
Venue: House of Blues in Boston

Comments (Chris DeCarlo):
As soon as I walked in, I was a tad bit disappointed (though, not surprised) by the sea of Animal Collective fans that had arrived before me. Not being the first to arrive nor the person in the front row is uncommon for me at non-seated shows. Being my height, I couldn't see a thing; if I stepped on my tip toes I could see merely some of the stage. So, initially I simply anticipated hearing great music, but not feeling the whole experience. However, when their new classic "Summertime Clothes," (one of my favorites) emerged, I began pogoing away and with the advice of a female concertgoer, I pushed my way through the crowd so I could see the band. From this point on it was chaotic, but fun and exciting. I must say the dancing and moshing and what not was crazier than I expected and greater than anything I have ever encountered.

It was like one big hugging, sweat fest, which at times became obnoxious and unnecessary to the point that I was almost falling over every other second. One other flaw for me was the lack of personal favorites performed. Don't get me wrong AC put on an amazing and entertaining show and played all great songs. Some of my faves [were played] ("Summertime Clothes" and "My Girls";) and technically "Who Could Win a Rabbit," but it was a different version of it and therefore did not achieve the same reaction for me anyway.
Since, these guys are one of my top 20 favorite artists, I anticipated them playing more of my favorites than other bands I see.

Finally, I want to mention an additional treat to the band was a gigantic, white ball which served as a screen for random, archive footage of various images including that of race cars, a Native American, and countless others. A fellow fan summed it up perfectly whilst we were hopping and bopping in the pit: "Buy the ticket, take the ride." He, of course, was referencing the famous Hunter S. Thompson quote, which perfectly captures the musical, emotional, and perhaps spiritual trip that is Animal Collective live.

Comments (Glen):
I made the terrible mistake of reading a review of the concert in the Boston Globe this morning. The review was really awesome and captured the concert to a very accurate extent. First, I would like to say (to the dismay of probably a few people reading this) that Grouper was the most boring act ever. It just felt like one forty-five minute song. Animal Collective, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. Offering a small array of tracks, including rarely performed "#1" and "Bleed," Animal Collective decided to go for more electro-pop/dance than freak folk/experimental. That of course meant that the majority of the set featured tracks from Merriweather Post Pavillion. The mosh-pitting and crazy dancing was extremely unexpected, but luckily for me I got pushed from being 12 rows back originally to six feet away from the trio at the very end. I would say the inexperience from the all ages crowd was the principal cause of the raucous. Some songs that definitely contributed to the madness were "Brother Sport" and "Fireworks." Overall, the band performed extremely well. I look forward to seeing them again in the future.

G.G Allin Bobblehead

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Favorite Concerts Updated

Note: no local shows

1)Black Lips, Gentlemen Jesse and His Men, and Mean Creek- Middle East,March 2009. Grade:10

2)King Khan & The Shrines, Mark Sultan, and the Homosexuals- Paradise Rock Club, May 2009. Grade 10

3)No Age, The Beets, and Lemonade- Wellsley College, April 2009. Grade:10

4)Animal Collective, some lady lol- House of Blues, May 2009 Grade: 9.5

5)Built To Spill, Dinosaur Jr, and the Meat Puppets- Orpheum Theater, September 2008. Grade:9.5

6)Radiohead and Grizzly Bear(missed them though)- Comcast Center, August 2008. Grade:9.5

7)No Age, Silk Flowers, and Sound Circles- Middle East, November 2008. Grade:9.5

8)Editors, Hot Hot Heat, and Louis XIV- Orpheum Theater, January 2008. Grade:9

9)Morrissey and I never caught the opening act's name, but they were a decent all female band - Orpheum Theater, October 2007. Grade:9

10)Taste of Chaos: Deftones, Drum Corpse,Thrice, Atreyu, Story of the Year, Funeral For A Friend, and others- Tsongas Arena, March 2006. Grade:8

11)The Used, Fall Out Boy(they weren't as bad then, but I still didn't like them, The Bronx, and possibly others)- Can't remember!, November 2004. Grade:8

12)Mission of Burma, The Neighborhoods, and Faces On Film- Summerville Theater, January 2009. Grade:8

13)No Age, High Places, Abe Vigoda, and Palms- Middle East, July 2008. Grade:8

14)Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, and I never caught the opening band's name, but they were ok- University of Rhode Island, September 2007. Grade:7.5/8

15)The Psychedelic Furs (great), The Fixx (didn't like), The Alarm (ok)- Avalon, July 2007. Grade:7.5

14)Paul Weller and the Rifles- Berkley College, September 2008. Grade:7.5

16)The War on Drugs, The Drones, and Tsui- TT Bears, March 2009. Grade:7

17)Daphne Loves Derby, two terrible opening acts- some church in Boston, I forget where, February 2007. Grade:7

All great shows!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Go to the WHS Coffee House!

Do it! It will be a fun time. Apparently there will be cookies, coffee, and obviously music. The event will be held this Thursday, May 14. Doors open at 7:00 PM at the WHS cafeteria. Tickets are $5.00, if you bring in two canned goods, and $7.00 if you don't. Unfortunately, I will be attending another highly anticipated event, but on behalf of the National Honor Society I give you this announcement.

Wakefield High School Budget (FY 2010)

Ever wondered how much the average salary is for...

A Wakefield High School teacher? $60,380
A Wakefield High School librarian? $67,453
A Wakefield High School athletic director? $91,044
A Wakefield High School guidance counselor? $68,265
A Wakefield High School administrator? $95,760
A Wakefield High School clerical secretary? $40,879
A Wakefield High School nurse? $60,385

Of course, I did all the division myself, but you can visit the FY10Budget page and see all the numbers for yourself.

CD Review: Get Guilty (A.C Newman)

Band: A.C Newman
Release: 2009

1. "There Are Maybe Ten Or Twelve" - Grade: 8.4
2. "The Heartbreak Rides" - Grade: 8.0
3. "Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer" - Grade: 8.3
4. "Prophets" - Grade: 7.7
5. "Submarines of Stockholm" - 7.3
6. "Thunderbolts" - 7.3
7. "The Palace at 4 AM" - 8.4
8. "The Changeling (Get Guilty)" - 8.1
9. "Elemental" - 7.4
10. "Young Atlantis" - 7.2
11. "The Collected Works" - 8.3
12. "All of My Days and All of My Days Off" - 8.7

Final Comment/Grade: Grade: 7.9
A.C Newman is a poor man's Sam Roberts. See, I felt like I've heard most of these songs before. But I haven't. They don't really stick out. They are catchy, I'll give A.C that. The second half of the album is quite quite mediocre.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Concert Review: King Khan (Paradise)

Bands: The Homosexuals, Mark Sultan, King Khan
Venue: Paradise Rock Club

Act One: The Homosexuals

: The Homosexuals, or in this concert's case Bruno Wizard and two members from the noise rock band Fiasco, started things off. Wizard, who has an affinity for saying 'fuck' and acting crazy as 'fuck,' didn't fail at moving about the stage like an asshole. Wizard's most notable song was "Hearts in Exile," a lengthy and repetitive proto-punk jam that got the crowd semi-excited. He finally sang "Don't Touch My Hair," an obnoxious rhyme that was undoubtedly written while Wizard was under some form of narcotic. I give a lot of credit to Julian (drums) and Jon (guitar) for playing excellent music.

Chris: Well, the singer was a bit obnoxious and got really old rather quickly. Speaking of being old, he was middle aged, but tried to act like a buzz cock. Perhaps a bit more cock than buzz. His vocals and the songs themselves were average. He repeated one particular line at least 50 times. Ridonculous. With that being said, I appreciated his high energy, albeit a cliched, poor man's Mick Jagger. Also, the guitarist and drummer had the musical chops and I suggest they find a new front man or create an entirely different group. [Editors Note: They are a part of Fiasco, which has a different lead singer. They were just filling in, bud.]

Act Two: Mark Sultan

Glen: Mark Sultan, or as the guy standing next to me said "the man they call B-B-Q" was very impressive. Complete with a makeshift drum kit and an old-school electric guitar, Sultan provided the audience with vintage rock n' roll sounds. For me, Sultan's highlight was "Waddlin' Around." The crowd really got into this song in particular. It was too bad Sultan only played for 30 minutes. That wasn't the last of him though...

Chris: Mark Sultan or BBQ- Impressive. That's the first word that comes to my mind when I think of his performance. For all ye musicians out there that merely play 1 instrument (I play none!), the BBQ has you beat! Simultaneously Sultan commands the microphone, plays the chords, and bangs the drums with the assistance of some handy dandy foot pedals. Sultan gave the audience a nice, little balance between slow, doo-wop echoing, love numbers and kick ass rockers you could rock your head and bop around to. A notable set to say the least.

Act Three: King Khan and the Shrines

Glen: I witnessed the soulful Supreme Genius! I actually noticed King Khan an hour before the show. I yelled "King!" and he stopped and gave Chris and I handshakes. Seriously, though, he puts on an amazing show. It couldn't be done, though, without the help of the eight other members of the band. The cheerleader -- unnecessary, yet unbelievably necessary -- sprinkled glitter all over us in the pit. Her fine dancing was a great adjunct. The saxophone players don't get as much credit as they deserve. They were instrumental (literally). The guitarists were fun, often interacting with the crowd (by jumping off stage). BUT it was the King who got everyone going. The minute he walked onto the stage, everyone just smiled, clapped, and knew that one hell of a show was in store. King's swagger on stage is unprecedented. His gimmicks are vast and varied. Lying on the ground, sticking his head out to the front row, dancing over the cheerleader, whatever, you name it. His energy simply never relented. God bless him. He performed classics such as "I Wanna Be Your Girl," "Welfare Bread," and "Shivers Down My Spine," before delving into a Gospel track -- a brand-new 5+ minute epic that involved intensive crowd participation. King Khan came back on stage (thanks in large part to a certain energetic Shrines percussionist) after saying "this is our last song" and performed my personal favorite "Took My Lady To Dinner" followed by a few others, including a never-been-done-live-before song with Mark Sultan. Unfortunately, the experience had to come to an end. The keyboardist was doing crazy shit with his keyboard and having one hell of a time as he tackled it (which probably rendered it unusable). After slightly more than fifty minutes of moshing, sweating, and smacking King Khan's helmet (yes, I got the privilege), the King, his underwear and animal teeth necklace, and his Shrines walked off the stage. The lights in the club turned on. We bounced.

Chris: I did not truly comprehend just how supreme the genius of King Khan and the Shrines was until Thursday night. Rarely have I ever seen such a build up to a band arriving on the stage. The Shrines, all in their black Shrine uniforms, began playing their various instruments, increasing the overwhelming anticipation of King Khan and his lady. Finally, our hero, accompanied by his ever-grinning cheerleader (pom poms and all!), hit the stage all decked out in his white suit and ready to go!. The crowd immediately danced into the "Land of the Freak," which the Paradise Rock Club had transformed into by this point. The sensational opener was followed by even more notorious numbers including "How Do I Keep You (Outta Harm's Way)," "Sweet Tooth," "Shivers Down My Spine," "Welfare Bread" (one of my favorite moments during the concert; the cheerleader sprinkled glitter all over herself and us!), "I Wanna Be A Girl" (I'd say the tune earned the biggest crowd response, at least from me anyway), "No Regrets," "Took My Lady to Dinner," and "Live Fast Die Strong." The last 3 were performed as the encore in which the King appeared in his traditional golden cape, mask, and nothing but underwear!

Final Comments:

Glen: King Khan and the Shrines probably put on the best show that I've seen yet. It wasn't quite a religious experience, but it was a genius experience. I've never gotten the privilege to see eight amazing musicians (plus one cheerleader) perform so amazingly together. I didn't really listen to King Khan too much before the show, but now I'm absolutely hooked. But seriously this show has to be in its own category because of that. With the Black Lips and No Age, I pretty much recognized all their live music and that made seeing them so great. Bottom line: I absolutely can't wait to see King Khan and the Shrines again!

Chris: Grade: A. Stage diving, crowd surfing, pogoing, and heartfelt singing insured one of my top 3 greatest concert experiences.