. I first heard the magical voice of the supeb tenor Enrico Caruso in 1939 or 1940. This was on my father's gramophone in our home in Bratislava, Slovakia. So, at the tender age of 4 or perhaps 5, I became a fan of an unknown singer from a land far from our own, and singing in the lyrical Italian language. And I even remember the name of that first magical song, 'Core n'grato'. I also recall that my father would occasionally take time out from playing the works of his beloved Mozart to play 'Core n'grato' on his Bosendorfer piano.
Years later, when I was 19 years old, and in the bloom of my first love affair, another Italian [who was actually part Greek] would serenade me with the strains of 'Core n'grato'. Gregg's voice was perhaps not as powerful as Caruso's, but certainly just as beautifully lyrical and passionate. Unfortunately my father died when I was 6, and my beloved Gregg died when I was 22. But listening to Caruso brings their memories alive once more.
It was with a bit of melancholic nostalgia, intertwined with joy, that I found a wonderful website devoted in its entirety to Caruso today. And curiously it was put together in Denmark. Further proof of the universality of music.
Do check out Enrico Caruso.dk for one of the most complete internet sites on Caruso. Not just words, but LOTS of music. Even has some downloadable MP3s.
The United States has escalated the threat to take trade retaliation against Thailand and eight other countries for failure to protect American movies, music and computer software against piracy. "Thailand will remain on the Priority Watch List in 2008 due to a broad range of concerns surrounding [intellectual property] protection and enforcement," said a report issued on Friday.
A US Trade Representative and the Bush administration on Friday increased the threat of eventual pressure and sanctions against Thailand. China, Russia, Argentina, Chile, India, Israel, Pakistan and Venezuela putting them on the elevated "priority watch list" as special targets for extra scrutiny and possible economic sanctions.
And in a related move, Thailand, China, Russia, Argentina, Chile, India, Israel, Pakistan and Venezuela gave notice that they have put the United States on a list which names it as the leading world bully and the most potent threat to world peace, as well as an exporter of general cultural stupidity.
Another online confession. I watch very little American TV since most of it is geared to the mentality of an adolescent with very bad taste in entertainment. My TV time is geared to National Geographic, Discovery or one of several other documentary channels available here in Thailand [on TrueVision satellite]. One exception is Boston Legal, which consistently has well presented contemprary issues
The following episode on the Supreme Court is one of the best yet. Brilliant, honest segment.
When Specialist Jeremy Hall held a meeting last July for atheists and freethinkers at Camp Speicher in Iraq, he was excited, he said, to see an officer attending.
But minutes into the talk, the officer, Maj. Freddy J. Welborn, began to berate Specialist Hall and another soldier about atheism, Specialist Hall wrote in a sworn statement. "People like you are not holding up the Constitution and are going against what the founding fathers, who were Christians, wanted for America!" Major Welborn said, according to the statement.
Major Welborn told the soldiers he might bar them from re-enlistment and bring charges against them, according to the statement. . . . .
. This is just another step along the process of turning the U.S. into a theocracy. Religious fanatics in power in government, supported by a military filled with religious fanatics.
When I joined the military in 1953 the fellow making my dog tags asked for my religion, but I volunteered that I didn't belong to any organized group. But he refused to put 'Nothing' in the area reserved for religious affiliation and then asked about my mother's faith. So whether I wanted it or not, I was forced to at least nominally "become a Catholic" — a group I had resolutely disassociated myself from several years before. No matter, several days later I found a nice rock and, as best as possible, obliterated the word 'catholic' from my dog tags.
What is this obsession of the military with religion? Are any of them familiar with the Constitution and its insistence on the separation of church and state?
From a letter of Thomas Jefferson :
"I never told my own religion, nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another's creed. I have never judged the religion of others. . . . . For it is in our lives and not from our words that our religion must be read."
The New York Times has exposed a secret Pentagon campaign to infiltrate the media with pro-war propaganda. The scheme reaches all the way to the Bush White House, where top officials recruited dozens of "military analysts" to spread favorable views of the war via the news.
Many of these propaganda pundits didn't reveal that they were working from Pentagon scripts or lobbying for companies seeking to cash in on major military contracts.
Matt Thompson of Free Press.net, a group that advocates for media reform reports this is a violation of every conceivable standard of journalism — and possibly of federal law.
These revelations could well be yet another episode in the documentary "War Made Easy" since it all a part of the continuing process.
The United States of America has indeed been hijacked - not by terrorists from abroad, but home-grown terrorists of the most vile sort and all waving American flags!
"In 2005, Norman Solomon released his book, War Made Easy, which exposes the manner in which US presidents manage to sell war, like clockwork, through the same fallacious arguments, largely with the help of a compliant media.
Two years later the Media Education Foundation's Loretta Alper and Jeremy Earp have adapted Solomon's book into a documentary film. The movie features footage of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and our current president making frighteningly similar arguments about the motives for wars. All claim that violence is a means to peace and that war is the last resort. "We still seek no wider war," said Johnson. "The United States does not start fights," said Reagan. "America does not seek conflict," argued George H.W. Bush "I don't like to use military force," said Bill Clinton. "Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly," says George W. Bush.
As the movie points out, the mainsteam media only turn against war when it is too late. "News media, down the road, will point out that there were lies about the Gulf of Tonkin or about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," notes Solomon in the film. "But that doesn't bring back any of the people who have died … when it comes to life and death, the truth comes out too late."
It is a chilling and persuasive movie. Solomon hopes it can serve as an organizing tool --and a call to action. " . . . . "
"Muslim scientists and clerics have called for the adoption of Mecca time to replace GMT, arguing that the Saudi city is the true centre of the Earth. Mecca is the direction all Muslims face when they perform their daily prayers.
The call was issued at a conference held in the Gulf state of Qatar under the title: Mecca, the Centre of the Earth, Theory and Practice. One geologist argued that unlike other longitudes, Mecca's was in perfect alignment to magnetic north. He said the English had imposed GMT on the rest of the world by force when Britain was a big colonial power, and it was about time that changed.
A prominent cleric, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawy, said modern science had at last provided evidence that Mecca was the true centre of the Earth; proof, he said, of the greatness of the Muslim "qibla" - the Arabic word for the direction Muslims turn to when they pray. ....."
. I get so incredibly tired of these religious fuckwits, of all persuasions, combining their religious dogmas supposedly with science in order to advance yet another of their idiotic and harebrained views. Do they lay awake at night thinking up these preposterous schemes??? And the fanatical Christians and Moslems do seem to lead the 'stupid parade'. They wouldn't understand real science it it bit them in the ass.
The BBC article also mentions:
"The meeting also reviewed what has been described as a Mecca watch, the brainchild of a French Muslim. The watch is said to rotate anti-clockwise and is supposed to help Muslims determine the direction of Mecca from any point on Earth."
. Now that sounds perfectly reasonable for many Muslims, a clock that runs backwards, just like their medieval and retarded views of the world.
".....The Earth is humming. Singing. Churning out a tune without the aid of battery or string or wind-up mechanism and its song is ethereal and mystifying and very, very weird, a rather astonishing, newly discovered phenomena that's not easily analyzed, but which, if you really let it sink into your consciousness, can change the way you look at everything.
Indeed, scientists now say the planet itself is generating a constant, deep thrum of noise. No mere cacophony, but actually a kind of music, huge, swirling loops of sound, a song so strange you can't really fathom it, so low it can't be heard by human ears, chthonic roars churning from the very water and wind and rock themselves, countless notes of varying vibration creating all sorts of curious tonal phrases that bounce around the mountains and spin over the oceans and penetrate the tectonic plates and gurgle in the magma and careen off the clouds and smack into trees and bounce off your ribcage and spin over the surface of the planet in strange circular loops, "like dozens of lazy hurricanes," as one writer put it. ..... Indeed, all the spheres do it, all the planets and all the quasars and stars and moons and whirlpool galaxies, all vibrating and humming like a chorus of wayward deities singing sea shanties in a black hole. It's nothing new, really: Mystics and poets and theorists have pondered the "music of the spheres" (or musica universalis) for eons; it is the stuff of cosmic philosophy, linking sacred geometry, mathematics, cosmology, harmonics, astrology and music into one big cosmological poetry slam.
Translation: You don't have to look very far to understand that human beings — hell, all animals, really — adore song and music and tone and rhythm, and then link this everyday source of life straight to the roar of the planet itself, and then back out to the cosmos. ..... At some point we'll probably figure it all out. Science will, with its typical charming, arrogant certainty, sift and measure and quantify this "mystical" Earthly hum, and tell us it merely comes from, say, ocean movements, or solar wind, or 10 billion trees all deciding to grow a quarter millimeter all at once. We will do as we always do: oversimplify, peer through a single lens of understanding, stick this dazzling phenomenon in a narrow category, and forget it.
How dangerously boring. I much prefer, in matters mystical and musical and deeply cosmic, to tell the logical mind to shut up and let the soul take over and say, wait wait wait, maybe most humans have this divine connection thing all wrong. Maybe God really isn't some scowling gay-hating deity raining down guilt and judgment and fear on all humankind after all.
Maybe she's actually, you know, a throb, a pulse, a song, deep, complex, eternal. And us, well, we're just bouncing and swaying along as best we can, trying to figure out the goddamn melody."
"Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" opened on Friday, March 18. All reviews that I was able to find, with one exception, were less than enthusiastic. [That one exception was, naturally, the Discovery Institute.]
"One of the sleaziest documentaries to arrive in a very long time, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” is a conspiracy-theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry. ..... Mixing physical apples and metaphysical oranges at every turn “Expelled” is an unprincipled propaganda piece that insults believers and nonbelievers alike. In its fudging, eliding and refusal to define terms, the movie proves that the only expulsion here is of reason itself."
"Pop quiz: What is the real source of evil in the modern world? Greed? Intolerance?
Well, according to "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," it's Darwinism, described as a philosophy that posits the pointlessness of life and encourages the "de-privileging of human beings" — and as such is responsible for everything from atheism to abortion, euthanasia to the Holocaust. ..... A hard-core, fundamentalist bit of right-wing propaganda, ....."
"Ben Stein, the droning mensch from Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Win Ben Stein's Money, recasts himself as a slightly goofy prophet in this polemic doc, which sets out to show how proponents of intelligent design have been bullied into silence. Regardless of your personal views, Expelled's heavy-handed bias (a visit to Darwin's home gets the same eerie music as a tour of Dachau) is exasperating. By the time the camera zooms in on the word ''Creator'' in the Declaration of Independence, the whole debate seems less urgent than getting out of the theater."
. Meanwhile, over at EXPELLED EXPOSED, the evidence mounts that Ben Stein, et al., plagiarized from multiple sources. Guess it is called 'thieving for Christ' and morals and copyright laws are conveniently ignored . . . .