mr. zilla goes to town

Sunday, October 31, 2004


On friday I posted an email from another non-unitedstatesian here in DC encouraging his US friends here in DC to vote, and in particular vote for Kerry.

By the by I've been wandering the streets of Northern Virginia and DC most of the halloween weekend in the scariest costume I could think of - a fetching "Mission Accomplished" style flight suit and George W Bush mask. Leaping out of alleyways, occupying a number of sovereign house parties in the name of freedom, liberating beer bottles from their baath-of-ice oppressive tortures. And these recuperative ales have been quite necessary after all the attacks from vampires in the last two days. Hmm, you'd think Bush isn't too popular in these parts.

But of course the most dirty trick in the campaign handbook was played after crossing paths with my fine young daughers Jenna and Barbara. I only hope that whoever took the incriminating Electra-complex fauxtographs gets them to the Washington Post (perhaps via Wonkette) in time to turn a few stomachs in swing states by Tuesday...

hope springs eternal


Today we have more state polls than there are states. There are 54 new polls in 22 states today. Furthermore, the lead has changed in five states, and all five changes favor Kerry. As a result, Kerry has now passed Bush in the electoral college. If today's results are the final results Wednesday morning, John Kerry will be elected as the 44th President of the United States, with 283 votes in the electoral college to George Bush's 246. But don't count on it. Many of Kerry's leads are razor thin. Counting only the strong + weak states, Bush leads 229 to 196, with 113 electoral votes in the tossup category Kerry's leads in the tossup states mean little to nothing. The turnout Tuesday will determine who wins.

Don't count on it, but get a load of the trend in Fox News' polls, as reported by DailyKos:

...according to Fox News, among likely voters Bush went from a 7-point lead on Oct 17/18, to five points by Oct 27/28, to two points on Oct 28/29, to tied as of today. Even with his shoes on, Fred Barnes can calculate that as a 7-point drop in two weeks. Here's a fun experiment: Try to imagine if the president had improved seven points during the past two weeks: Fox News would have a perma-graphic in the bottom-right corner of the screen, and Kristol and the Beltway Boys would be chirp, chirp, chirping!

Also of note for the impact on GOTV: this chart shows clear skies predicted for Florida, but rain in Ohio, New Hampshire, Michigan, Wisconsin and most of Pennsylvania.

Update. Via Crooked Timber who have the right approach:

In every Presidential election-year since 1936, if the Washington Redskins lost their last game before the election, the incumbent lost as well. In today’s game, the Packers beat Washington 28 - 14. A late rally by the Redskins in the 4th Quarter couldn’t save them. This is the strongest spurious evidence yet that Kerry’s going to win on Tuesday.

hot god'n'god action

God seems to be speaking to a lot of folks here at the moment. Curiously, instead of saying something particularly useful like "Osama Bin Laden is in the third cave on the left on the satellite picture you're holding" to an NRO analyst, he's telling pastors to go into banking and others to get up close and personal with pornography. Yep, its "porn for the whole family" at XXX church!

pause for levity

Around the streets of the District recently, a white-haired elderly lady has been observed driving her boxy old sedan thither and yon.

Not that she's the only senior citizen driving around DC, its just that she's a little more noticeable and memorable than the rest because she has licence plates from the state of Kentucky, which aren't that common around here.

Oh, these plates are personalized too.


Saturday, October 30, 2004

send in the memes

With the election so close, the new bin laden tape is going to reshape the outcome. It's a circuit breaker, the candidates narratives stop and begin anew from here.

Its like an episode of the Apprenisdent, but really, his appearance will favour Bush. The meme that his coninued existence displays the failure of Bush to focus on the real threat is just too complex; terrorism is a force of nature after all like a Florida hurricane; we cannot stop it but cower in fear behind our Leader, blahdy blahdy blah.

I so want to be proved wrong...

Continued. Yep: yesterday, missing explosives story on p1 of the Washington Post. Today: missing explosives story in the bottom left corner of page A14.

Friday, October 29, 2004

appealing up close

The Guardian in the UK recently decided to run a rather ham-brained campaign for feelthy folks from foreign parts to write letters to Ohio undecided voters to convince them to vote against George Bush. Yah, cos that was always going to go down real well in the midwest.

Here's a letter though that strikes me as being in stark contrast. A good friend of mine here in DC, who is also a non-US citizen, just wrote it and sent it to his mates here. It's great and I wish I had written it myself, so despite my long-standing loathing of anything resembling chain mail, I've forwarded it on to a bunch more people. Have a read.

I wouldn't normally do this. If this email offends you in any way, I apologize. But, with one of the most pivotal political questions unfolding in front of us, to stay silent would be suicidal. While I'm not fortunate enough to enjoy voting rights in this country like many on this list, the results of this election will have grave implications for me and all of you. Even if I can convince one person to show up and vote, I will feel like I have been enfranchised. While I'm positive that all my friends will make the exciting journey to the polling booth come Tuesday, I want this to be a friendly reminder that I will tell your mom if you don't do so.

We are faced with prospect of electing a president who just might succeed in turning the clock back on many of the rights that many have fought hard to ensure. I hope you will keep in mind that the president we elect will be in charge of selecting up to three Supreme Court judges. Do we really want a judiciary that is dominated by Scalias and Clarence Thomases? Do we want a recidivist cancer dominated by religious fanatics to attain metastasis. No, I'm not talking about those nuts in the Middle East. I'm talking about the ones born and bred in the Western Hemisphere.

I don't think I want to live in a society where women and homosexuals are not given equal status. I don't want to live in a society where religion is treated as a virtue. Where people like me who don't share the religious passions of the majority are vilified.

I don't want to live in a country where the life of a human being outside this country is considered less valuable than the price of gas at the pump. I don't want a government that is not transparent, however small it ends up becoming. I don't want legislation that will make it legal for me to be put in jail without access to a lawyer for a crime I haven't been informed of. I want a president who can understand that an "alien" is not an extra-terrestrial.

While we might all differ on economic issues and national security issues, I feel that the issues I've mentioned are important enough to vote against the current president of the United States of America. And by that, I mean vote for John Kerry not Ralph Nader.

Thanks for voting.

(signed off)


take a deep breath

Its four days till the polls open and tonight I scheduled the night to crash early and catch up on sleep. Next thing you know you get distracted sorting out some issues with uploads to internet radio (still in the coming soon basket) and there's still a blog post in trying to scratch its way out before bedtime.

When you can neither vote nor contribute financially, nor do more than slowly get around on a still-dicky ankle, it's like being in the eye of the hurricane here, watching as the tornadic winds spin, spin, spin just inches away from your face. Is the WPost tracking poll up yet? No its only 4:58. Where are the battlegrounds today? Where are they going to be on Tuesday night? Will we be able to smuggle booze to within 200ft of the white house should the need for champagne popping - or effigy burning - arise? Electoral-vote always goes for the latest, pollkatz drags the moving average chain, but what happens when no one is answering the phone?

There is no objective media. There is no objective polling. Allegations that there is no objective polling are just spin. Your choice of conservative or liberal media watchdog reports on the punditry discoursing on the alleged crimes of the liberal media/right wing conspiracy and the lawerly legions of doom each are assembling for the post count courtside smack down.

(We do all agree that no one knows where the hell a certain 380 tonnes of explosives are now. Although the IAEA had a real good idea up until 18 months ago. Just so we're clear on that. And here is throw-away-the-key proof they weren't taken away by the Russians like the fucktard Moonie times shamelessly propagandized this morning)

Kerry does appear to be slightly lagging pollwise, and assuming thats accurate overall the dems seem to be pinning the result on the received wisdom that undecideds break 2:1 to the challenger for an eventual win in the electoral college count. This chart over at Daily Kos unfortunately doesn't seem to be reflecting that, with the split of previously-undecideds going Kerry's way only around 55:45. Not good enough in some states, that.

But polls, schmolls... earlier in the week Kerry and Clinton pulled 100,000 onto the streets in Philly and today it was Kerry and Springsteen pulling over 80,000 in Madison Wisconsin. These are free for all comers; compare and contrast with Bush's tightly controlled Leni Reifenstal affairs where disloyal clothing - that is, even clothing bearing the words "protect our civil liberties" -- is deemed "obscene" and grounds for refused entry or immediate ejection. Giant crowds versus repulsive cowardice unworthy of the democratic tradition of this country - and the GOP for that matter. Can we hope for victory? Can we NOT?

Deep breath. Good night's sleep. Last night a bloody lunar eclipse over a Bosox victory for the ages. This weekend, Halloween. (Monday night: the Melbourne Cup!) and then Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

L + O + V + E

the right hand, friend, the hand of love:

i LOVE the $0.15 buffalo wings

i LOVE the eritrean cab drivers (and their shout outs to Fred Hollows)

i LOVE the 93 drag queens that race down 17th St NW in front of a couple thousand people on the Tuesday before halloween

i LOVE the texan-korean Kerry supporting army brats who buy you jaegermeister shots

It's love that won. And old left hand hate is, well, on the ropes, if not down for the count.

god BLESS america? too soon to endorse. ask me next tuesday night. but sox up 3-0 in a world series? holy good goddamn. cross your fingers and squeeze the entrails.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

... but this puts Stewart in the shade

Number of pounds of HMX/RDX it took to blow Pan Am 103 out of the sky over Lockerbie in 1988:


Number of pounds of HMX and RDX - only some of the most stable and powerful non-nuclear explosives on the planet - that the US invasion and occupation forces under Commander-In-Chief George W. Bush failed to secure:


I'll see your quagmire and raise you a catastrophe.

so wrong...

[Thomas] Jefferson had had great success marketing tobacco. He is widely credited with inventing the cigarette slogans "All the cool kids are doing it!" and "You need something to do after fucking a slave."

Stewart J (2004), America (The Book), Warner Books, USA, p 24.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

dang and blast

I am watching funny cat videos to cheer myself up. Tell you why later.

Continued... Ok so the annoyance stems from a gig at the 18th Street Lounge last night (Saturday) that didn't happen. ESL is the mecca for quality music in the DC lounge scene. Through our work across the street at Dragonfly we had the right in, booked a farewell party for yours truly in the top floor lounge, booked ourselves to spin at it of course, and to put about fourteen inches of icing on the cake, to accompany Sean and myself on the decks I lined up three of the guys from my side-project latinjazz ensemble (Digimundo) to come in and solo/accompany throughout the set on congas, flute & guitar. It was going to go off like a frog in a sock...

All lined up and ready to roll until Friday night we find out that the events manager hadn't told the club manager/joint owner a thing about it, it wasn't on the club's calendar, so the owner/manager jacked up in a nasty way and 24 hours out the whole thing just about got thrown in the can.

Fortunately ruffled feathers were smoothed to some degree, and the event did go ahead sans the performance aspect as there was a partial clash with another band already booked. While the disappointment was intense for a while I'm a pretty silver lining kind of person and it was a great night regardless. And while not spinning live we did pump textureDJs mix CDs through the top floor of ESL for the first two hours of the party, and I had the time to get around and chat more to all the fantastic people I've met while in DC.

Today thanks to the stellar Chris G. I get to nurse my hangover over a signed copy of Jon Stewart's America: The Book, so all is well with the world.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

polling the punches, glancing at gizzards

Road to Surfdom has a post with few good grabs of analysis and gossip on the state of play in the big one just 12 days away.

Also worth a look is electoral-vote, which agglomerates a lot of polling and puts Kerry's nose over the line on a count of the electoral college outcome, 271-257. Similarly Professor Pollkatz puts Kerry ahead 287-251. Note well though that at least 150 electoral votes are still swinging in the breeze.

Giving a slightly different perspective is today's WSJ battleground states poll which, although many results are within the margin of error, indicates a strong swing towards Bush in the last two weeks. This is a little perplexing in light of the received wisdom that Kerry came out on top in all three three debates (the second and third held between this WSJ poll and the last).

It almost feels like time to throw the numbers in the air and do a bit of old fashioned entrail examination. (You know, the kind of gut-feel that preferably involves someone else's).

Last night the Boston Red Sox came back from 0-3 down in the series to beat the Yankees 4-3 and advance to the World Series. This is apparently the first time this has been achieved in the history of Major League Baseball by any team. You would have to say the stars are shining favourably on a man from Massachusetts this week.

But this would be premature, with team from Texas the Houston Astros going toe to toe with the St Louis Cardinals in game 7 of the National League tonight, a win putting the Bushy Texas team front and centre as well...

A win by the Astros could see a Texas vs Massachusetts World Series, one that would act like a crowd of 280 million in the bleachers screaming on Bush in the red trunks and Kerry in the blue, standing toe to toe in a ring over home plate, both bloody but still slugging in the fifteenth round...

Update: or not.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

For our thousands* of fans, we've outlayed the marvellous bargain of $9.24 for a full year's webhosting and domain name and all that stuff. Get over to and use promo code 777 and you might still be able to score the same if you're interested.

There's nothing resembling a website yet but you can go straight to here which is where our mixes will periodically go up.

The New Blue Room is now up there for your downloading pleasure. Grab the mixup all the critics are raving** about!

Its a fairly big high definition mp3 file so if you're having trouble and want something smaller please pop a note in the comments box and I'll see about something smaller as well.

* ok, dozens. Alright alright, nine. No wait, my mum makes it ten. Hi mum!
** OK OK it was one critic and he did spend most of the review complaining it wasn't nuskool breaks. But you take what you can get eh? ;-)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

arrival @ blue room

Monday, October 18, 2004

Jon Stewart on Crossfire

In one of those "many things to blog about but too busy to blog" phases here about six weeks ago, I went down to GWU to be part of the studio audience for CNN's crossfire. My recollections of the show weren't too strong, not having had a TV for a while nor much of an inclination to watch one for even longer.

As much as I'm interested in sniffing the smelly armpits of politics in this country, on a cost-benefit analysis its just not worth the precious minutes of the day I could otherwise spend scratching myself in uninterrupted silence. TV news here is crap; TV current affairs shows are crap, crappity crap crap...

Nonetheless I girded my loins (and stopped scratching them in public) but closeup first re-impressions were quite horrible. I experienced actual disgust that this was what passed for top-shelf news oriented political television coming out of CNN and Washington. The format is brief, and the focus of the rapid-fire interviews is on the completely banal minutae of whatever phase of the electoral spin cycle both campaigns were pumping out at the time. Two partisan hosts take turns throwing pointless questions at some guest who rolls along regardless with the given talking points of the day. This is apparently "hard hitting" and some kind of excuse for televised journalism.

Well today at free speech zone you can download the video and see what happens when Comedy Central's Jon Stewart goes on Crossfire and quite sincerely, substantively (and for the most part calmly) thoroughly reams conservative host-git Tucker Carlson while slamming CNN and the show in general. It's a big .mov file to download (60MB) but is worthwhile.

It's both reassuring and ridiculous the prominence that Stewart's Daily Show has here in the news consumption habits of twentysomethings. (I consume occasional clips via the WWW a couple of times a week). Its absurd to watch a light and jolly comedy show that, moreso than any of the actual cable NEWS channel stuff I used to watch, actually calls bullshit and contextualises the issues of the day, instead of being tragically absorbed in farcical "objectivist" he-said, she-said reporting that generally has the perspective and memory of a goldfish on an meth binge.

Continued. Heh, love it when someone's actually done some research on something you're ranting about:

Polling conducted between July 15 and Sept. 19 among 19,013 adults showed that on a six-item political knowledge test people who did not watch any late-night comedy programs in the past week answered 2.62 items correctly, while viewers of Late Night with David Letterman on CBS answered 2.91, viewers of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno answered 2.95, and viewers of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart answered 3.59 items correctly. That meant there was a difference of 16 percentage points between Daily Show viewers and people who did not watch any late-night programming.

The Annenberg survey found that people who watch The Daily Show are more interested in the presidential campaign, more educated, younger, and more liberal than the average American or than Leno or Letterman viewers. “However, these factors do not explain the difference in levels of campaign knowledge between people who watch The Daily Show and people who do not,” Young pointed out. “In fact, Daily Show viewers have higher campaign knowledge than national news viewers and newspaper readers -- even when education, party identification, following politics, watching cable news, receiving campaign information online, age, and gender are taken into consideration.”

I feel the need...

On the weekend, DC's friendly neighbourhood textureDJs bound and gagged their bleeding edge upturned nose music-fashionista sensibilities, and tossed them in the back of a trash hauler flying rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong.

Why? Because for somewhere around 400 MEETinDC members in Recessions on Saturday night, it was time to party like it's 1989...

... and to throw down a night of solid Madonna, Van Halen, Cindy Lauper, Bon Jovi, INXS, Vanilla Ice -- and some Cure & New Order etc too dont worry it wasn't all tripe :) -- well that takes two very special alter egos behind the decks! I present: topgunDJs!

Isn't eBay wonderful? Not only did we pick up the flight suits for about $20 each but a couple of authentic US Navy patches.

And of course it wouldn't be complete without something to tweak the costume just so. Long Live the heir to the Peacock Throne (in case we need a puppet figurehead after invading)!

Friday, October 15, 2004


I missed the third Bush-Kerry debate on Wednesday night due to the gig at Japone, but you can catch the gist of it over here at fafblog:

Will we ever be as safe an secure as we did when Bob Schieffer grew up, Giblets, under the threat of instant nuclear annihilation?

It's hard to say, Fafnir. But one thing is certain: Freedom is on the march. At home an in Iraq an in Afghanistan - now in well-armed warlord form!

Freedom also GROWS in Afghanistan! Those aren't just poppies, Giblets. They are poppies of democracy. Bloom on, sweet opiates of liberty! Bloom on!

So very very often, fafblog makes my day.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

decisions, decisions.

I've got a busy weekend ahead, so by Sunday night I could well be up for a change of pace and something like this.

On the other hand, I could have a less tortured evening by sitting at home thinking about the likely Australian legislative program over the next couple of years.

On the other other hand, I could go up the street to the pet store and shove a big ol' clawy cat down the front of mah trousers then pull on its tail till it gits reeeal 'orrnery!

Yeeah, I think that last one sounds mighty fine!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

the road to hell is paved by halliburton

Seymour Hersh spoke at Berkeley last Friday, October 8th. Jonathan Schwarz at Tiny Revolution typed up part what he said from the Real Video file. The story begins at about 41:45.

I got a call last week from a soldier -- it's different now, a lot of communication, 800 numbers. He's an American officer and he was in a unit halfway between Baghdad and the Syrian border. It's a place where we claim we've done great work at cleaning out the insurgency. He was a platoon commander. First lieutenant, ROTC guy.

It was a call about this. He had been bivouacing outside of town with his platoon. It was near, it was an agricultural area, and there was a granary around. And the guys that owned the granary, the Iraqis that owned the granary... It was an area that the insurgency had some control, but it was very quiet, it was not Fallujah. It was a town that was off the mainstream. Not much violence there. And his guys, the guys that owned the granary, had hired, my guess is from his language, I wasn't explicit -- we're talking not more than three dozen, thirty or so guards. Any kind of work people were dying to do. So Iraqis were guarding the granary. His troops were bivouaced, they were stationed there, they got to know everybody...

They were a couple weeks together, they knew each other. So orders came down from the generals in Baghdad, we want to clear the village, like in Samarra. And as he told the story, another platoon from his company came and executed all the guards, as his people were screaming, stop. And he said they just shot them one by one. He went nuts, and his soldiers went nuts. And he's hysterical. He's totally hysterical. And he went to the captain. He was a lieutenant, he went to the company captain. And the company captain said, "No, you don't understand. That's a kill. We got thirty-six insurgents."

You read those stories where the Americans, we take a city, we had a combat, a hundred and fifteen insurgents are killed. You read those stories. It's shades of Vietnam again, folks, body counts...

You know what I told him? I said, fella, I said: you've complained to the captain. He knows you think they committed murder. Your troops know their fellow soldiers committed murder. Shut up. Just shut up. Get through your tour and just shut up. You're going to get a bullet in the back. You don't need that. And that's where we are with this war. "

Via Atrios.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

callow's humour

Although my vote goes postal from here so won't show in any booth tallies, can I give a shout out to my old polling booth in Canberra, Ainslie primary school in Fraser.

Suffering slightly less than the national average swing against him, Bad Boy Bobby still smashed the seventy percent mark on the two party preferred. Stuff the forests, why weren't more ALP candidates wooing Greens voters with promises to protect birdlife biodiversity by gladwrapping Australia's cats? Come to think of it, why weren't they wooing Liberal voters (you know, the ones you really need to win over to actually WIN THE ELECTION) with promises of gladwrapping Australia's Greens? Not to mention the boon such policies would be to the drought ravaged cling-plastic farmers of Mildura!

And to add some more mirth to the mourning, Fraser's Socialist Alliance candidate James Vassilopoulos fell just short of tying it up with the Democrat candidate by only two votes, 45 to 43. Gadzooks, there's hope for the Democrats yet! (Although down at the famous Wreck Bay, the Democrat picked up a fat zero votes and the Socialista nearly trounced the Liberal, going short by just two votes, 4-2.)

Mind you, put McBob's forty point pummeling of the hapless Adam Giles together with Comrade James scoring the highest socialist vote in any Australian electorate and it makes me wonder if I've been living in a different country a lot longer than the last two years.

Sigh... we're proper f**ked...

Noose! I mean, nurse! Fetch the Haagen-daas!

Monday, October 11, 2004

win some, lose some

Last week I selected and bought a couple of records down at DJHut and didn't get around to listening to them at home until this afternoon. One of them is Kimara Lovelace's "Only You" remixed twice by Danny Tenaglia and twice by Dirty Harry on King Street Sounds. But in the intervening week its all gone pear shaped, having crossed the line in my ears from half decent lightweight vocal house to cheesy grating diva goo. I wonder if the Australian electorate is gonna have a similar epiphany in the weeks or months ahead. Ah well, you live and you learn.

Much more promising is the Atomphunk's "Boogie Down" 12inch EP from Deep Funk Records. Both sides are solid west coast deep house mixdowns with some more of the understated guitar licks that are catching my attention at the moment.

For a change of pace I'm also listening to "Electro Funk Breakdown", an older (1999) electro/breaks compilation mixed by peerless hiphop pioneer of the 1970s, Afrika Bambaata. Not a bad sidestep listen at all, but although contemporaneous-to, it has quite a Plump DJs-precursory sound to it.

A little better is Baby Mammoth's Best Foot Forward, still breaky but a little closer to the ground in terms of tempo and temperament, and according to this review, just the thing for frazzled post-election headspace. Friends, roamers, countrymen: take two hours of it and have a nice lie down. I am.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

family thirst

Adding insult to injury it appears that an evangelical Christian conservative is set to hold the balance of power in the Senate thanks to the ALP and the Democrats preferencing away from the Greens in Victoria. I can't see this as a fire and brimstone death knell for secular government though after all those years of Harradine, but I wonder how this period ahead will shape up compared to those. Here are a few bits and pieces from their online policy statements.

On treaties: "The Australian Parliament should always be carefully to examine the merits of particular treaties with consideration of the benefits and costs to Australian Families and the preservation of our Judeo- Christian Foundations. Parliament should also have regard to the benefits and costs to families in the other country or countries." Erm...we must preserve the state of Israel while having regard for (that is, looking occasionally over the fence) at the squalor in Gaza?

On pornography: "Family First will work to achieve Government commitment to establish a Mandatory Filtering Scheme at the ISP Server Level in this country. Family First will propose that once set up, this scheme will be funded through a levy system so as to spread ongoing costs equitably amongst all end users. Family First expects this levy would be of the order of between $7 and $10 annually per end user."
We must all pay more, have less content, and send Family First parliamentarians on fact-finding missions to China to see how its done.

Some of their refugee platform doesn't appear to be awful though: "Family First sees the promotion of social, economic and political justice as integral to our global responsibilities and integral to removing the causes of the war and the displacement of peoples and will champion a substantial increase in the level of Australian overseas aid." It also goes on to support reform of all detention centres back into public control in locations readily accessible to community, medical and legal consultations.

However the kicker for me is this kind of language elsewhere in the platform: "
Marriage between a man and a women is the surest approach to the establishment of stable family life and is therefore worthy of positive support and promotion by government and society" and at the heart of the documentation, front and centre on page 1, is: "Family grows out of heterosexual relationships between men and women. Family life flourishes when couples strive for stable commitment to sexual fidelity to each other."

Got that, sole parents? Go forth and f**k yourself. As for you hell-bound gays and lesbians, well we believe marriage is just so bloody fantastically tops and beneficial to humanity we're not gonna let you have any of it. And finally for you homosexual refugees afeared of persecution in your fundamentalist homelands on that basis... well come on in, you'll feel right at home!

Saturday, October 09, 2004


To the folks reading from Australia, unless you come to visit I'll be seeing you in 2007. Petulant? Definitely. Theraputic? Slightly. Shades of Germaine Greer? Unfortunately.

I woke up on Saturday morning in time to see the ABC webstream of Howard's acceptance speech and groan and pull the covers back over my head. Its quite a cause for despair that the ALP has gone backwards not only on the consistent Latham-driven polling lead throughout 2004 but on the 2001 election held in the wake of 9/11. Lazarus must have taken a day out before the campaign to not just trim the eyebrows but to install one more ticker tinker, this time the quadruple bypass.

Pic credit: Enmore Station.


Some results from the major news websites of the online polls on who won the second Bush-Kerry debate. I think they're telling. I assume that partisans from both camps are out there stacking the votes just as hard as they can and therefore cancel each other out. Nonetheless, results at 2am EST:

CNN: Kerry 77%, Bush 23%
Fox: Kerry 50%, Bush 50%
MSNBC: Kerry 68%, Bush 32%

Oh please, when even the mob of Fockheads can only manage to give it to their man 50/50 you know the post-punchup spin is gonna come out tinged with frothing urgency. "Bush performed far better than he has in recent press conferences (not that there have been that many). The town hall format suits him and he appeared somewhat looser than in the first debate. But that may have cost him too. He often seemed peevish – a distinctly unpresidential adjective – and a few times he was downright snippy."

Bush was better than his awful performance last time, but despite one bizarre reference to a timber company Bush owned(??) was out in front of the game as well. For all that Howard is a complete muppet, at least he's veen running on his economic record. Bush is running on his continued fight against all America's enemies - real AND imagined - rather than providing any consistent defence of his record and term in office.

A line I heard earlier today: "Of the four candidates we've seen in the debates, Bush is coming a convincing fourth so far..."

In other election news, this is a depressing agglomeration of poll results. It doesn't look good and I in honesty I can't maintain the cheery optimism of Surfdom or back pages. (That won't stop me having champas for breakfast in a few hours if it comes off... and something much stiffer if it don't.)

Friday, October 08, 2004

think global, act loco

Pre-empting the impending separation of the terrible twosome textureDJs, I've got an offer to spin for a global audience at (Cheers to DJ Frekur for putting a word in after coming to Japone on Wednesday night!) Afterhours are relatively small in the online radio world but that still means there are generally close to 500 people tuned in. That's pretty exciting. Once I have the technical details sorted out I'll let you know when I'm scheduled to play - it could either be going out 100% live or pre-recorded and then uploaded a few hours later. Come to think of it, once I'm in the UK in December we may be able to contine the partnership through this channel if Sean can get a hold of enough upstream broadcast bandwidth as well. Nice.

Closer to home, the good news is that the prognosis from the orthopedic doc was fairly promising, but I'm still going to be in this for a couple of weeks:

Fetching innit? Accessorises with my little black dress too. The bad news is that during a dinner party here last night I managed to put a spot of tomato on the only pair of pants I have that I can actually get on and off over the cast. Even before this happened I've had a group of little old ladies with walking sticks use their combined osteoporotic strength to hold a coffee shop door open for me so lord knows what depths of scruffy patheticity beckon.

I think as a rule if kids haven't managed to fall off something by the age of twelve our culture needs to reintroduce a bit of formal mongrel into our coming of age ceremonies. Sure there's the "drinking on the cricket pitch and running away from the cops" but unlike the ritual scarification of some indigenous cultures nothing useful goes on like taking a beating necessitating crutches and plaster. For you see there are dainty lads like myself who somehow never broke any bones while growing up - despite years of trying while playing rugby and inline hockey and the french horn. Having an older brother and sister who negigently never administered any "birthday lumps" with an iron bar to the tibia while I was asleep didn't help either. I knew they didn't really care.

With such an event on the calendar (a bat mitzvah perhaps?) we'd be sure learn some important life skills early on, like how to take most of a shower without falling over when you're too slow to remember to get some bloody bags big enough to waterproof your leg with.

In other words, what I'm trying to say is that the ankle is more a pain the arse than actually painful now, but on the other hand I've got all this extra time in my life because I don't have to spend fifteen minutes rummaging every morning trying to find a matching sock.

PS. Go Latho! I'll be up at a ridiculous hour tomorrow morning to watch the results tally on the web... the polls close at 4am Saturday morning DC time. Seeing as all the Australian papers bar the Canberra Times and SMH have come out with an editorial line against the ALP am probably kidding myself but here's for Labor getting home by 6.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

all joking aside

An Albanian, an Australian, a Russian and a Frenchman walk into a bar. Ok, it was actually our kitchen, but there's more than enough liquor and wine on top of the fridge most days of the week that 'last drinks' isn't something you can call while you can still walk. (And as you have probably read, I'm already having trouble with that at the moment).

Resulting secondary interpretations of the Edwards-Cheney dinner table squabble:

1. Edwards and the whole Johnson & Johnson campaign are mountaining the molehill of offshore outsourcing as a driver of US unemployment. If you're going to carp on about your opponents egregious distortions you really could try to take a less token approach to high ground instead of pandering so.

2. Why not stop this nonsense have a political system where you have two Presidents, one from each major party and both with executive veto, instead of one winner take all situation? For f..ks you vodka drinking moron, you don't even have half a democracy over there and so you think twice the number of presidents will help? Look, just have some more Bundy rum and see how quickly western values can pass the blood/brain barrier. Hang on, this could explain the whole 'clash of civilizations/ failure of reform in the middle east' situation. Let's look into this.

3. Further conclusions have been expunged from the Hansard by ferociously awful Californian red.

blood on the debatefloor

Personal first impressions on the Cheney-Edwards debate:

All the fire and heat was in the foreign policy 'half' of the debate. It's clearly where the slugging out is going to continue as both parties see they can score points to motivate their partisans and laggard undecideds on this issue.

One topic of discussion -- that has not yet come up between Bush and Kerry -- brought coloured cheeks to Edwards and a gritted jaw to Cheney, and that was gay marriage. I thought both VP candidates looked extremely uncomfortable to even be discussing the issue. Edwards attempted to thread the needle between the bigotry of the Middle Ground and the Democratic supporter base. He was fairly adroit at doing so, but not as much as Cheney, who simply acknowledged Edwards' brief respect for his (gay) daughter and then clammed completely up - a mere one sentence response in his ninety second allotment. Cheney knows it is an issue the religious Republican base won't tolerate moderation on so just shut the hell up. One standard for your family that you don't dare to apply to the rest of the country. You snivelling cowardly plutocratic hypocrite. I found it quite frustrating at the time that Edwards didn't straight up slam dunk and with American ideas for human decency and respectful equality in unequivocal terms, but I've learned from personal observation of diehard conservative friends locally that with time and (my own) patience to allow them come to the idea on their own terms, people do come around on this issue. Like Nelson Mandela said, the curve of history arcs towards justice. You can be with this or you can be a f..king speedhump. (He didn't say that second part).

For all this, Cheney did show a better command of detail in certain aspects of the foreign policy section of the debate, and it was telling as the momentum started with Edwards, swayed to Cheney and then back to Edwards where it stayed. In this Cheney is certainly reflective of his time in the Senate and akin in style to Kerry, while the charismatic Edwards is more in the mold of a Bush. In this vein I also observed that of the two Edwards was more likely to fall obviously back into prepared speaking points; on message but not as closely integrated into the flow of debate as could possibly have been. Tch, I'm a mixologist to the end...

In terms of interactive style, like Kerry last Thursday Cheney certainly had a preponderance of gravitas in his favour. But Edwards did not look nearly as lacking as Bush. I felt that blows were landed equally on both sides, and as a result just 4 days from now after Kerry and Bush debate again this will be a long distant and non-decisive memory.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

around the world in 80 seconds

A possible cross-cultural preview of the Edwards-Cheney bout this evening? Though I suspect once translated into the American geist, what we will actually see is a disqualification as Cheney attempts to bite Smiling John's ear off in a clinch in the third round. Elsewhere Tim Dunlop imagines at the debate through a Tolkien lens.

Choose your flavour of supaa sushi racer on this Italian site and drive it around the kaitenzushi race course! Uh-oh! Watch out for the fugu and soy sauce spills!

Here at muppet labs, excuse me, I mean mr zilla goes, we rarely endorse anything apart from our own creative juices (soon to be sold on Ebay for $14.95 a gallon) and the aural aphrodisiacs needed to create sufficient excitement to excrete such. But Threadless seems to be a half decent t-shirt site, with cool designs that cane ubiquitous urban hipster joint Urban Outfitters into last century. Better prices too - the pseudo retro tripe at UO generally go for $25+, these are $10-15. Here's one I've just impulse bought. If you dig 'em too, tell them I sent you and I get $3.00 off a next purchase! And isn't that worth every penny?

the pics that launched a thousand flyers

As if there isn't enough rabbiting on here about all things textureDJs, here are the front and back images for the 1,000 4x6 glossy cardstock flyers we've just had run for Wednesdays at Japone. How do these grab you?

(Front: photo by Cynan, photoshopping by Sean, back: photo by Suzy, photoshopping by Sean)

We've taken up Lunch's wise suggestion in the comments box a while ago not to show our faces... don't want to scare away the punters!

Monday, October 04, 2004

flutter by

Do you get the impression from the number of posts here since last Friday that I've spent the weekend propped somewhere around the house with either a computer, mixer, newspaper or book in my hands? I might have to hobble off to work tomorrow before the fever sets in and I take up my kind housemate's offer to watch her TV.

Still, thanks to some kind chauffeurmanship on Saturday afternoon, I was over at the Iota Cafe in Arlington to see talented young Aussie poprockin grrl Butterfly Boucher.

Before getting the invite to go see her I confess I didn't know her from a bar of soap, but based on the quality of the songwriting and the sweet solo acoustic number she played I have a hunch I might have seen her at the National Folk Festival at some time in years gone by. Maybe Jared or Graham can confirm that.

She seems to have exported herself quite well, having toured the US with both Sarah McLachlan and the Barenaked Ladies this year. So what she was doing singing with a sore throat to less than fifty people on a Saturday afternoon is a mystery, but an effort warmly received and greatly appreciated nonetheless.

After the gig I had quite a laugh as the friends I was with favourably compared her charismatic onstage enthusiasm to the other young Australian woman they've made the acquaintance of during her occasional visits here over the last eighteen months. High praise for the stylish (Stylesish?) Miss Boucher indeed!

Sunday, October 03, 2004

feeling blue?

textureDJs present The New Blue Room, a mixup that was first laid down at the Blue Room on Friday 1 October and mastered in the textureDJs' Woodley Park studio over the weekend. It's available through this link for you to download but only until 10 October. Don't miss out!

What's this latest touch of texture like? The short version:

The New Blue Room is a mostly mellow marriage of nujazz and deep house, but with both parties flagrantly pursuing scandalous affairs on the side. It is an eclectic collective of beats that murder loungebar boredom; its a thriller that will thoroughly seduce you in the groove, leave you ready to light up, before making you gasp again in a killer coda. It finds flavours from four continents. It's sixty minutes of rhythm and melody. Its singing girlies and a whole lotta saucy geetar!

The long version: The sun has just set sail over the horizon, the lights are lowering, and as you step into the the Blue Room the music is mixed, chilled and ready to pour. Starting with some intriguing jazz piano and bass courtesy of DJ Matsuoka, you slide into your seat to the languid latin vocals of Mondo Grosso's Vida Soalheira. But you're lifted into a percussive posture as the crowd begins to swell, courtesy of Miami's talented nine-piece the Spam Allstars, before relaxing you back into the Freakniks' flautist-flaunting Kalimba as another drink arrives. Following on in this style but adding their guitaristas to the flute, and teasing the set briefly into a house beat, are the mischievous French group Rinocerose. The textured ambience stays fresh and eclectic as german nujazz ninjas Jazzanova sincerely syncopate the darkening sky until out the window your ears discern the first six-string twinkle of Ponger Star.

The lazy licks continue as post-punk Zongamin wanders through the door, late as usual, with a riff like a gallic shrug and drag on a drooping cigarette. He sits down with Kriece, Switch and McGuyver (who, from their accents, are clearly Not From Around Here) and, from what you overhear in their track as the tempo twitches upwards, he is obviously a bad influence in the best possible way.

Now deep in the heart of the mix, Kaskade and Mark Farina are busting out and saxing up the dancefloor. And speaking of which, what follows is a disco-clash, x-rated lament by Lacquer Channel before Michael Stipe (yes, the guy in the corner down on the floor looking for something) and his latest floozy SFB grab your attention with a fantastic electro bassline added to that instantly recognizeable mandolin.

To accompany the nostalgic not-quite-disco trip, in the next booth DJ T is having a tryst with the treble on an old school roller that drives the beat back, back, back... all the way to fabulous fat sixties funk of Echo, who are reprising Quincy Jones and asking around, Where's Eddie? Eddie is eventually found, he's suitably entangled with another foxy piece of techy French housemaid mayhem to bring about a strobing climax to the evening.

Are you sold yet? :) Download before the deadline to avoid certain disappointment :-)

(Here is the tracklist as recorded - I slipped two extra tracks to the live playlist in the middle there to round it out to right on 60 minutes.)

1. DJ Matsuoka - Piano Objective 3
2. Life Vida Soalheira
3. Spam Allstars - Mucha Nota
4. Freakniks - Kalimba (Flute Mix)
5. Rinocerose - Le Mobilier
6. Jay Dee / MJ Cole / Nova Casper - Sincere (Jazzanova Sincerely Yours Remix)
7. Vision - Ponger Star
8. Zongamin - Hotel 17
9. Kriece & Switch vs McGuyver - Not From Around Here
10. Mark Farina - To Do (Kaskade Remix)
11. Lacquer Channel - X
12. SFB feat. REM - Abusing My Religion
13. DJ T - Philly
14 .Echo - Where's Eddie?
15. Shakedown - Love Games

If you download it, would love to hear your reponse!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

blauer lebensraum

Last night the textureDJs were at work in the newly refurbished first floor bar of the Blue Room. The upshot of both rooms now being open again is that instead of an early 9-11pm slot upstairs we had the whole night (9.30ish-2ish) to musically seduce the martinirati.

Blue room, I saw you standing alone... without a beat in your heart... &c...

It seems like this will continue to be a regular arrangement too - first and third Fridays at this stage, and perhaps weekly as the crowd rediscovers the place as the rooftop bars start to close down with the cooling weather. The audio arrangements downstairs are much nicer too, there's a brand new vestax mixer and the speakers are well placed down the length of the room to provide balanced coverage without having to make it too loud anywhere to fill all the corners.
Since I didn't want to be hopping up and down the whole night, Sean and I weren't doing our usual 2-track-tag-ins but alternated hourly sets. (And yet after an hour standing on one foot I had massive cramps in that non-fractured foot... oh how I suffer for my art! Cue violins, etc) Anyway here's a tracklist for my first stint:

DJ Matsuoka - Piano Objective 3
Life - Soalheira
Spam Allstars - Mucha Nota
Freakniks - Kalimba (Flute Mix)
Rinocerose - Le Mobilier
Jay Dee / MJ Cole / Nova Casper - Sincere (Jazzanova Sincerely Yours Remix)
Vision - Ponger Star
Mark Farina - To Do (Kaskade Remix)
Lacquer Channel - X
SFB feat. REM - Abusing My Religion
DJ T - Philly
Echo - Where's Eddie?
Shakedown - Love Games

Clever me forgot my camera again so I'll put up a pic or two of the new look next time we're in. And here's the second set starting about an hour later.

Joshua Collins - Feel it in the Air (Switch vs McGuyver Jackin Mix)
Peptide Bass - Drumscape
Marzebian - Let It Ride
Kyoto Jazz Massive - Kudu (Eddie Henderson)
Jas - Hitchhiking (Streetlife Originals "Message To The People" Dub)
Black Strobe - Italian Fireflies
Aromabar - Cupid and Orlando (Jazztronik remix)
Jafrosax feat. Vikter Duplaix - In The Morning (Jazztronik re:edit)
Puddu Varano - Running With The Devil
Kriece & Switch vs McGuyver - Not From Around Here
Rasoul & McCarthy / Shanan - Let Me Love You (San Francisco Dub Slide)
textureDJs - Quand Les Colombes Pleurant
Soul Central - The Catalyst
Ashley Feraude - For My Own Sake (Nectar Mix)
Jazztronik - Houou ("Phoenix")
Chicken Lips / Zeefungk - Hey What You Doin? (Triangle Re-Rub)

You can tell I've had a couple of drinks during the intermission as Jazztronik gets on the scoreboard three times in there during the hour. When I get excited I play J. a lot :) So very, very fine, I bless the day I almost accidentally chanced upon one of his CDs while I was in Tokyo earlier this year; Graham's Mysterious Universal Powers™ must have been looking out for me. In fact I'm now listening to my latest very recent acquisition of Ryota Nozaki's talent - Tender Vision, a 2001 collection of two originals and eight remixes of Jazztronik tracks I have on other albums. Smooth as a brazilian babe's bikini line. S'marvellous.

Update: I have a recorded a mixfile of the first hour above... will get it uploaded tomorrow AM for your downloading pleasure.

Friday, October 01, 2004

four more years

George was the first guy I called when my septic system backed up a few days ago. I knew when I called him that he didn't know much about septic systems--or any kind of home repair for that matter--but I like him because he's folksy and personable and reminds me a lot of myself.

Jesus' General gives us the go-to rundown of the case for re-electing W. Read on.

Now... granted that the debate finished at 10:30pm and newspapers have deadlines and whatnot. But as I hobbled past the newspaper dispensers out the front of the apartment building this morning, vainly search for an inflatable ankle cast at the pharmacy a few doors down, I noticed that most of the day-after-debate newspapers' headlines seem to be caught up with the surprise at the notion that a debate took place at the debate, and that differences of opinion and perspective were exchanged.

This difference was real in the debate hall but ultimately deceptive.

I recognize and respect the way that Kerry talks the talk but if I can be so bold as to look past the election to a potential Kerry victory, shit ain't going nowhere but uphill slowly.

Kerry is right to hammer Bush for the failure to lead a legitimate global coalition into Iraq. (Bushie should have taken the hint that one wouldn't follow him). And I think people like the French will bend some way to assist a new President Kerry by dropping resources and even some number of troops into "the situation". But there is nowhere to be found the type of euro troop numbers to significantly staunch the American blood flowing in Iraq - let alone the Iraqi blood. In his zeal to win the election I have no doubt that Kerry is setting himself up to fail to meet many of his supporters doey-eyed expectations about the future. Blaming it on Bush will work for a while, but leftist Democrats (as opposed to Bush-lite Lieberman Dems) here had better grit their teeth and cast that vote for more of the same with their eyes wired open.

major coincidence

In today's WPost:

The Defense Department has embarked on what it says is the most aggressive voter education campaign in military history, hoping to solve problems that caused thousands of military absentee ballots to be nullified in the 2000 election.

...The military does not keep voter registration figures, but voting assistance officers in Iraq said they have noticed a sharp increase in the number of service members who want to vote -- the first time since the Vietnam War that a presidential election has been held when there is such a large troop deployment.

...The Defense Department has announced several initiatives, including efforts to ensure that mailed ballots are given priority handling. The Pentagon has worked with state elections officials so that many states will try to mail absentee ballots at least 45 days before an election to ensure service members receive them in time to vote, though some have missed their deadlines because of legal disputes over whether to include Ralph Nader and a variety of initiatives on ballots. Most states will also fax blank ballots to service members, and some allow ballots to be downloaded from the Internet.

Vigorous efforts to assist voters to be able to exercise their franchise are fantastic, no matter the circumstances they're in. And if there's anyone that deserves a special effort, its soldiers on the front lines. (Let's set aside for the moment the idea that the true test of a principled democracy is how you treat everyone, not just those deserving of special attention.)

But to go with the above story, back in Thursday's WaPo, we read:

The Bush administration, battling negative perceptions of the Iraq war, is sending Iraqi Americans to deliver what the Pentagon calls "good news" about Iraq to U.S. military bases, and has curtailed distribution of reports showing increasing violence in that country.

The unusual public-relations effort by the Pentagon and the U.S. Agency for International Development comes as details have emerged showing the U.S. government and a representative of President Bush's reelection campaign had been heavily involved in drafting the speech given to Congress last week by interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. Combined, they indicate that the federal government is working assiduously to improve Americans' opinions about the Iraq conflict -- a key element of Bush's reelection message.

With a 1.4 million strong constituency of serving US military personnel, and probably five times that in family members and retired personnel who are eligble voters, this isn't a percentage play to be sneezed at. Flogging public funds in the effort to put a snow job over the troops in the late stages of a Presidential election campaign stinks to high heaven. My only consolation is that no doubt serving personnel want certainty that their mission is just and valuable, the terms of holding that belief are not going to rely on pre-deployment PR bullshit but on getting home in one piece.

a tribute to the GBU

the good:

Watched the first Bush/Kerry debate tonight in a completely partisan Kerry crowd down at Anzu in Adams Morgan where they were hanging from the rafters. First impressions, Kerry did very well. He was solid, composed, on message, clear. I thought he was the clear victor on the subject of Iraq and terror - supposedly Bush's strengths. To use a soccer analogy, he dominated play for the full 90 minutes, had a lot of shots on goal... but Bush got back in the game in the last 15 minutes, so Kerry left without delivering a decisive result on the scoreboard. Not that you can really expect a killer blow in these contests.

the bad:

with a resounding crick-crack, broke a piece of my ankle playing footy at lunchtime today. couple of hours in casualty this afternoon. pass the codeine.

the ugly:

me, tomorrow morning.