Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Bob Dylan Who Was Executed

Oh, it’d be a funny story if you didn’t know.

A man in his early fifties has some sort of dream no one can understand, and he ends up moving from his birthplace of England to Poland and gets tangled up with the wrong folks who take advantage of his naivete.

The Arabic guy who wants to sing a song for world peace ends up on a jet plane to China with a suitcase full of heroin.

Shows up. Is arrested. He is a bipolar guy with no sense of reality, so his DEFENDANTS SAY, and should be granted a reprieve based on his mental state.

Here is the article:

Akmal Shaikh, 53, a father-of-three from London, died on Tuesday despite claims that he was mentally ill.

In a statement, his family said China’s officials had “made a mockery of appeals for clemency” and ignored pleas for a mental health assessment.

Britain has condemned the execution but China rejects the criticism.

After the execution by lethal injection, the Chinese Embassy in Britain said Mr Shaikh’s rights “were properly respected and guaranteed” and British concerns were “duly noted and taken into consideration”.

Beijing says Mr Shaikh was caught with more than 4kg of heroin in the north-western city of Urumqi in 2007.

He had denied all knowledge of the drugs, and his daughter had said drug smugglers in Poland convinced him they would make him a popstar in China.

BBC

And one of the points they used to plea his mental incapability was his song:

Personally I thought his song was good and reminiscent of Bob Dylan.

I thought that his message was pure and well done, and I feel like if more people did listen to the general idea we’d live in a better world.

Perhaps he has a mental situation as anyone who would smuggle drugs into China would, in the idea that they’d become a ‘pop star.’ That is wrong.

But I got to step back and say that his song was not terrible, and that in a very underground way, in a very artistic way, I enjoyed his song.

He is now dead.

But, currently on YouTube over 60,000 people have heard his music.

More than I can say for myself. And not bad.

Places That Take On Meaning & Images

I find it interesting that a simple place name has so much meaning and can conjure up so many images for me — even places that I have never been to but have thought of.

I remember learning about some of the different Arrondissements of Paris in French class, and still I wonder what it would be like to see Place Pigalle or Montmartre or the infamous Champs Elysees; I wonder where I’d take a girl on a date, and where I would best drown my sorrows in a beer, and where I could gaze out at the river with a few friends smoking cigarettes and drinking ice coffee trying our best to be as chic as the passers by.

And of course there are the images you get from London and Rome, and the dirty streets of Moscow flanked by the imposing structures of Soviet architecture. I wonder about the red light districts of Bangkok and the beach front bars of Phuket; the foreboding streets of Phnom Penh or the clean dignity of Singapore. And what where would it be best to get the thick, dark coffee of Africa? A Cairo cafe, with pita and hummus, or maybe some Jerusalem suburban cafe that feels oddly familiar?

But I can also say I am satisfied with what I have seen.

Every little district in Seoul has a memory for me, now.

The college-y waterholes of Hoegi where you get any assorted amount of side-dishes of seafood or potato-sausage-french fry combinations, where college kids drunk on courage bash each other every other night and their girlfriends shriek in horror.

The all-night clubs of Hongdae where most the women have skirts that would make even Americans raise an eye; loud, bad music blasting from Ho Bar & Gold Bar; the cheap bars like Gab and the little dives on the outskirts like 16 mms; artsy bars and coffee shops where the music is a bit better but the crowd is smugger. A gaggle of foreigners slowly turning Gogos and FF into neo-Itaewon. Some punks in a park sitting on cardboard by the swingsets downing rice wine and soju and the occasional Budweiser.

The plastic surgery clinics dotting the main drag of Apgujeong; everyone wearing more money worth of clothes than the average person sees in a month; women in their fifties and sixties who should have permed hair and flower pants like their working class contemporaries but instead have fur coats and nose jobs. 24 year old men in leather shoes and faux Italian suits doing their best to look like they walked out of Europe, but only succeeding in flaunting their parent’s cash.

And of course there is egalitarian Itaewon full of foreigners — Nigerians as tall as trees, Russians with pock marked faces; Arabs and Turks selling kebabs or speaking frantically in a tongue that is all consonants while one is texting frantically on a cell phone. Transgender prostitutes and performers and English teachers from every corner of the Anglophone world, while American Soldiers get a taste of freedom before recall formation.

And of course Dongdaemun stadium that they tried to change the name and image of by calling it ‘Dongdaemun Culture & History park.” But at the end of the day it is still just a large gathering of Russians and Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Mongols and every other central Asian country making delicious food they sell at reasonable prices.

The districts are more familiar to me than anything else, and each has their own image.

Sometimes your brain thinks in words, but when it comes to place names and people it is all images to me.

The Hawks – A Heart Of Gold (Japanese Oi)

I stumbled across an old album I remember purchasing several years ago. It was the much anticipated American release of some great Hawks stuff on golden vinyl.

The hawks were one of the more prevalent Japanese Oi! bands that gained notoriety for their controversial covers of songs like Tomorrow Belongs To Me (Skrewdriver).  It easily turned some people off while simply piqued the curiosity of others.

Their influences on other Japanese punk and oi music can clearly be heard in bands like 仁籟, who seem to adopt a lot of their runaway drumlines and get more progressive with their guitars, escaping from the narrower box of punk they crawled out of.

The album should be good for anyone who digs punk rock and also for those who are more into metal or even into mainstream rock. I find it to be an incredibly listenable album with the songs “Rock N Roll Band” and ” Tamashi No Koe” becoming instant classics.

Download found here.

Music For Your Isolation & Rage

Merry Christmas and I could not think of a better way to get you in the mood than the interesting insanity of Drowning the Light & Old Oak cutting a record together.

From the start to the end the lo-fi ambiance and keyboard work of Drowning The Light, mixed with the pounding drums and the overwhelming vocal style… It is a treat for anyone who sits at home drinking up loneliness and feels anger twisting themselves into a pretzel of hatred.

This is one of the most unique sounds I have heard in Black Metal and quite different than most DLT stuff, but it definitely has his stamp of expertise.

I would actually recommend this as well to first time Black Metal listeners even though this totally goes over the top of what we could simply and easily define as black metal.

Download here

Eye For An Eye In Pakistan

Old laws can get pretty crazy but…

 A Pakistani court has ordered that two men have their ears and noses cut off, as punishment for doing the same to a woman who refused to marry one of them.

The two brothers were found guilty of kidnapping 20-year-old Fazeelat Bibi, one of their cousins, in September.

The judge in Lahore also sentenced them to life in prison.

Sentence was passed on Monday under a rarely invoked Islamic law dating from the 1980s. In the past similar sentences have been revoked on appeal.

BBC

Oddly, there is a sense of justice in this whole case — the intense suffering that the woman went through, receiving such a lifelong mutilation, seems to almost justify this sort of action done unto them.

The men clearly knew what they were doing and then they acted barbarously upon another human, scarring them for life.

It seems just in its own way.

이명박: 권력형 비리 없애는 것이 중요하다 (… ㅋ?)

아마도 많은 한국인들이 이런 말을 읽으면 웃을겁니다…

이명박 대통령은 토착 비리와 권력형 비리를 없애는 것이 중요하다고 강조했습니다.

이에 따라 내년 지방선거를 전후해서 토착 비리에 대한 대대적인 수사가 이뤄질 예정입니다.

보도에 이승윤 기자입니다.

이명박 대통령은 지난 8·15 경축사에 이어 내년도 법·질서 분야 업무보고에서도 권력형 비리와 토착비리를 끊겠다는 의지를 나타냈습니다.

선진화가 되려면 법질서와 도덕이 지켜져야 한다면서 이는 국격을 높이기 위한 기본이라고 강조했습니다.

[녹취:이명박, 대통령]
“지도층부터 공직자, 고위직, 정치를 포함해서 모든 지도자급의 비리, 이런 것들을 없애는 것이 매우 중요하다고 생각합니다.”

특히 인허가 권한을 가진 권력 주변에는 비리 환경이 조성될 수 밖에 없고 비리의 온상에는 지역 토착 세력과 사이비 언론이 결부돼 있다며 이들에 대한 검찰의 강력한 대처를 주문했습니다.

YTN

ㅋㅋㅋ — 진짜? 비리를 없어지면서 사이버 언론을 통제하겠어?

국민의 자유를 없어버리는 것이 바로 비리 이다.  선진화는 자유 이다.

이 것 민주주의야? 독재주의야?

그리고 선진국에서 “도덕을 지키는 것”이 국민의 일이다. 정부의 일이 아니야. 정부가 국민의 ‘도덕’을 지키는 모습은 이란 이다 — 모든 사람의 사생활을 간섭하지마.

언론의 자유를 지키지 않으면 도덕을 지키지 않다.

Russia Criticizes UK Climate Change Data

This could be big — there seems to be a lot more skepticism bursting through on this these days:

THE Meteorological Office was last night facing accusations it cherry-picked climate change figures in a bid to increase evidence of global warming.

UK climatologists “probably tampered with Russian-climate data” to produce a report submitted to world leaders at this week’s Copenhagen summit, it is claimed.

The Met Office’s study, which says the first decade of this century has been the warmest on record for 160 years, is being used to trumpet claims that man is causing global warming.

But experts at the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis say the British dossier used statistics from weather stations that fit its theory of global warming, while ignoring those that do not.

They accuse the Met Office’s Hadley Centre of relying on just 25 per cent of Russia’s weather stations and over-estimating warming in the country by more than half a degree Celsius. Continue reading

PACE Rejects Truth Of Ukrainian Famine

No one is interested anymore in seeking out the accuracy of history.

Certainly there is a need to curb rhetoric, but at some point we have to recognize the accuracy of the historic tragedy.

Paris, December 17 (Interfax) – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s (PACE) Political Affairs Committee approved Russian amendments to the report on the Great Famine of the 1930s in the former Soviet Union and rejected Ukrainian amendments in Paris, deputy head of the Russian delegation to the Assembly and First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee, Leonid Slutsky, told Interfax.

“The amendments of Ukrainian parliamentarians, which applied the notion of genocide to Ukrainians who died in the Great Famine years, were rejected by the majority of Committee members,” he said.

All the Russian amendments gained support, he said. Continue reading

Obama: Right Decision On Yemen

Before you read this article, note how laden it is in propaganda that is pro-rebel.

At least 120 Houthis have lost lives and 44 others sustained injuries as US fighter jets took part in air strikes in the northwestern Yemeni province of Sa’ada.

“The US air force perpetrated an appalling massacre against citizens in the north of Yemen as it launched air raids on various populated areas, markets, refugee camps and villages along with Saudi warplanes,” the northern Yemen-based Houthi Shia fighters said.

They added, “The savage crime committed by the US air force shows the real face of the United States. It cancels out much touted American claims of human rights protection, promotion of freedoms of citizens as well as democracy.”

The US military continues its air raids on Yemen’s northern beleaguered regions of Amran, Hajjah and Sa’ada which have already been the target of joint Saudi-Yemen offensive against the Houthi fighters.

The conflict in northern Yemen began in 2004 between Sana’a and Houthi fighters. The conflict intensified in August 2009 when the Yemeni army launched Operation Scorched Earth in an attempt to crush the fighters in the northern province of Sa’ada.

The Houthis accuse the Yemeni government of violation of their civil rights, political, economic and religious marginalization as well as large-scale corruption. Continue reading