Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

The werewolf wants to wish everyone a safe, splendid, and festive NYE. 2011 can't come soon enough.

Be forewarned, a werewolf will be on the lose in Nashville this evening. More may follow.

Funny Friday: Some Idiot in the Projects

In light of my recent encounter with some idiots from the projects, this will be the send off Funny Friday for 2010. I usually don't like retreaded tires, however, this is just too good. Thank you, Antoine Dodson.

Otis Day and The Knights: Shamalama ding-dong

This song is epic on so many levels. Sometimes it makes the werewolf want to go to church naked.

I have long wanted to conversationally deploy "you put the ou mau mau into my smile" with a she-wolf.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Rolling Stones: Honky Tonk Woman

Certain songs can never be listened to loud enough. Louder please!

Somehow the line "I just can't seem drink you off my mind" is truly timeless.

Holy Hell at the Holland House

“Is that a pistol?” B asked in a concerned tone as his eyes darted away from the frenetic fun banter of our trio to the front of the Holland House. With my back to the door, my head pivoted to make sense of the question. It all unfolded quickly. At the threshold silently stood a stocky black man, dressed the part of an urban hood, his face obscured by pantyhose, with a blunt looking long-barreled revolver leveled at the head of several patrons seated at the bar. The front door swung open and a second, nastier, pantyhose helmed black hoodlum, taller, leaner, and meaner than his partner, burst in wielding a cruel looking short-barreled shotgun. It was clear that he was in charge. For a fraction of a split second, I wondered if this was not some fantastic theatrical act from a 1970s vigilante film being orchestrated for the amusement of the patrons. The thugs were perfect replicas of those immortalized by Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood films in the 70s and 80s. Only there was no Harry Callahan to dispense the much-needed swift justice with his famous .44 magnum. There merriment of our earlier discussion quickly dissolved as the gravity of a new and hostile situation quickly materialized. Was this really happening?

The taller hood worked his way around the room, waving his squat shotgun in the faces of patrons, while screaming at them to get on the floor. There was an inhumane edge in his cold ghetto voice. The expletive laced threats were no joke for this one. He was no specter from the darkest depths of my imagination. Having surrendered any shard of humanity long ago, this hoodlum represented a chaotic destructive soulless force that one hopes to never encounter. The cruelness and loads of crazy were evident. (What kind of reasonable criminals target an establishment that processes most transactions with credit/debit cards and is not a cash heavy operation, has between 30-35 patrons of unknown background –Tennessee has very favorable conceal and carry laws, plus, with an establishment that serves booze, how many heroes lurk in the crowd – there is also a bar, wait, and kitchen staff spread across three or four rooms in an oddly shaped building? Too many unknown variables in this equation as far as I am concerned for sound criminal decision making, but then again that’s not my bag.) All control and power over my destiny was briefly ceded to this sub-human criminal scum. The socially lubricating effect of the three stiff cocktails I consumed were quickly negated by the adrenaline that coursed through my system. Face down on the floor, listening the cacophony of footsteps, expletives, threats, and demands for all the money were drowned out by the violently shaking of my left-hand and the turbo thumping of my heart as it beat faster than a hummingbird flaps its wings. I could feel my jugular pulse against the collar of my shirt. As the threats became more extreme, I actually wondered if this was the end of line for me. Was my passport of life about to stamped for the last time as a blast from some remorseless hoods gun ended it all? So many ambitions to realize, hatchets to bury, scores to settle, friends to laugh with, girls to love, and challenges to conquer remained. Nascent memories from my earliest years, random life moments never before recalled in detail, to cherished events all flashed in rapid sequence like frames on a film reel across my mind. If a shot reported, was I to bolt up and hurl my highball at the nearest thug, grab a piece of silverware and do what I could? I began to calculate all outcomes as best I could.

Just as quickly as it unfolded, it all ended. These thuggish specters were gone. Frayed nerves and rattled sensibilities lingered, but no physical harm came to any patrons. My left hand still shook with an epileptic violence new to my body. We were all speechless. I had done my best to capture physical details to report to the police, but I began to question how I conducted myself and what this bizarre and unpleasant sequence meant. It sounds stupid, but you never think you are the one in the ugly situation. Those are only news stories and other people are victims, not you.

Rage, fear, and resentment on levels I did not know I possessed all surfaced. It is a crippling blend of emotion that leaves one shaken to some sort of untapped core. There is also a gratitude that you walk away drawing breath. Life is precious.

The genesis of the evening occurred at the gym earlier in the afternoon. Word of mouth reviews had raved about the Holland House as a hot new Nashville destination. Being in East Nashville (the wrong side of the tracks), the Holland House had an allure of the new and exotic to it, a bold venture to rival Nashville’s legendary artisan cocktail and drinking saloon, The Patterson House. It all started with the question posed to B, “How would you feel about an East Nashville adventure tonight?” I thought I was being funny. Words sometimes manifest in the strangest ways.

This memory is still fresh from last night. I registered just over an hour of sleep last night and my nerves are only now beginning to settle. It's good to be blogging today.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dire Straits: Expresso Love

Select lyrics of note:
She call me just to talk
She's my lover she's a friend of mine
She says hey mister you wanna take a walk
In the wild west end sometime
And I get trouble with my breathing
She says boys don't know anything
But I know what I want
I want everything

RIP: Lily

A cherished friend recently quipped that during one's lifetime a person is lucky to have one good spouse, two good horses, and four good dogs. That certainly leaves a generous margin for error on these things, but it resonated. The holidays ended on a sad note for the werewolf this year. His family's cherished and loyal standard poodle, Lily, was put-down after over ten years of loyal and resolute service. A combination of cancer, hip-dysplasia, and arthritis had wrecked unholy havoc on her in cruel ways. Ever the stoic, her last days were defined with a tail that wagged, a snout that kissed, and the sassy attitude that made her truly remarkable. She was neither exceptionally sweet, nor mean; rather she embodied a consistency and stability in her mannerisms that allowed for a large degree of comfort in observing her execute her routine. The bond between man and dog is sacred and pure in ways that can't be captured in a few mere sentences. Anyways, dear Lily's departure leaves a void and reminds the werewolf how lucky he was to have had such a fine beast in his life for the last decade.

Merry Belated Christmas and Happy Holidays

The werewolf wants to wish you all a very merry belated Christmas, where ever you all are. I hope Santa and the snow elves were generous and everyone came out ahead, however that is measured. The werewolf spent the Christmas holiday without regular internet access and rather enjoyed being detethered. 2011 looms fast on the horizon.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

They've Gone Plaid

Plaid has been on the mind of late. The werewolf has been invited to a coveted local Scottish themed party in late January, where the requisite attire is plaid heavy. There are incetntives to being particularly devoted to plaid outfits, etc, and the werewolf always makes it a point tot rise to the occassion when needed. Although I am told I am of partial Scottish extraction, my family is so divorced from its roots, that tracking down a particular clan plaid would involve engaging family members best avoided. Also, from a stylistic perspecitve, my few articles of plaid attire, two ties, and a casual shirt, are treated as accents and not anchors in my wardrobe. A kilt is being heavily considered, along with various assortments of plaid themed attire. Are there any recomendations on doing plaid to nines without breaching levels of gaudiness? Just wondering...

The Holidaze

Being morose around the holidays goes beyond being acceptable; it is a righteous and just disposition. Facing the ritualistic façade that still governs my immediate family is dreadful. Acting the loyal house-slave to empty traditions with forgotten meaning, struggling to find a common conversation point beyond the family pets, and straining every muscle of emotional discipline not to lash out at the intrinsic phoniness of the whole exercise is all very tiring. Yet, the hierarchy of loyalties and obligations that govern WASPdom demand that we willingly walk into a good old-fashioned nightmare and play our parts with every shroud of dignity and decency that can be mustered. For all of the pain felt in other places, executing my duty with samurai like precision almost negates the massive emotional downside. Almost. Years ago, I grew disillusioned with the pomp and circumstance of the holidays when all of the aforementioned became clear. While the myth of “happy holidays” was shattered like crowbar striking cheap china, I will acknowledge all of the hard work that certain adults put into place shielding younglings from the obvious void. As I grow older, the days become a “daze,” and I look forward to searching for a shroud of optimism that the next year will usher in a revelation that could potentially liberate me from the tired and drained holiday routine that came with adult life. Perhaps the werewolf is just channeling something that Scrooge knew only too well. Bah-Humbug!

Dire Straits: Skateaway

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Air: Kelly Watch the Stars

Electronica is best avoided with extreme prejudice.  It is usually the providence of culturally deplorable Europeans, their vacant American imitators, and ignorant children. The playing of electronica at any venue signals it is time to seek greener social pastures. True to the laws of nature, freakish outliers can occasionally be born of the most damaged and predictable wombs. "Kelly Watch the Stars" is that freak.

This music video is hypnotic, soothing, and intriguing. The cascading effect of layered universes in the guise of retro-pop culture platforms makes for cheap coffee house banter. Most importantly, Kelly represents a superb, if not perfect, example of the fairer sex. Stunning on all fronts.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Holdfast

Arrogant pseudo street-philosophers often steal John Donne's quip that "no man is an island." Ignorant poseurs. Man is at his finest when he voluntarily withdraws from the hollow routine that governs modern life.  Give the werewolf a stout hold-fast with a moat and assuming it is well provisioned, they'll be resolutely rebuffed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Inside HBO's A Game of Thrones

The werewolf's inner nerd has been behaving as if the moon was full with HBO releasing so many promotions for A Game of Thrones. This is by far the most in-depth release to date. Given that I have thrice read through the series, several of the scenes and images portrayed are my first glimpse at Hollywood's manifestation of what my mind monopolized for so long. It is far too soon to be disappointed by anything, and being completely overrun with eager anticipation,  I keep thinking to myself "awesome," "interesting," or "weird." Given that I was generally very pleased with most of Peter Jackson's cinematic execution of the Lord of the Rings (I maintain the right to gripe about Denethor, Saruman, and the ending) but otherwise, it was all rock solid from what I could tell. It's unrealistic to expect all the details from the text to be perfectly translated onto the screen, so here's to taking a risk and looking forward to something this spring.

Pop! Goes my heart

Sunday was subtle, yet rewarding. The werewolf  had the privilege of watching this week's Tennessee Titans game from the sky-box of a good friend. While the Titans themselves made pee-wee footballers look like pros, it was an excellent way to share a professional sporting event with dear friends, consume multiple Budweiser red-coats mid-day, and briefly pretend to an avid NFL fan. Immediately post-game, the werewolf stumbled to a friend's house to help with miscellaneous chores and try and make himself useful. After demolishing a case of Bud Lite Lime - don't knock it till you try it! - watching a schlocky comedy seemed in order. The movie Music and Lyrics from 2007 was marginal at best. However, this cheese-dick interpretation of chart topping 80s music, which the film hinges on, has been in the frontal lob of this lobo for the last 24 hours. I caught myself humming it at the office today. Not unlike Bud Lite Lime, it gets better with each viewing. I promise!

Tis The Season...

I made the classic mistake of going grocery shopping immediately post workout this evening. So much for any benefit gleaned from tonight's jaunt to the gym. The holiday's are such a decadent and indulgent time when it comes to tempting one's palate.  Alas, the force is not strong with this werewolf. You better believe I am savoring some carton based egg nog with a generous infusion of Woodford Reserve bourbon. It sounds ghetto because it is ghetto. One must work with the resources at hand. Still, life is too bloody short not to indulge on occasion.

Truth be told, I intend to try my hand at making some real egg or spiced muled wine before the holiday season ends. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Broken Bells: The Ghost Inside (music video)

A delightfully twisted and provocative music video. The chick is reminiscent of Joan from Mad Men.

Brace yourself! Winter is Coming!

The werewolf has been eagerly awaiting the release of HBO's latest foray into incredible television programming via A Game of Thrones.  The first book of George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, seems to be getting the treatment and attention it deserves to be translated onto the television screen.

For those of you who have no idea about what I am writing, take a second and consider this. If you enjoy Tolkien, try mixing in a few measures of wild sex, brutal violence, dynastic struggle, and unpredictable Machiavellian political scheming into the fray, and one begins to touch on the brilliance that is George R. R. Martin. The world Martin imagined is loosely inspired by Ivanhoe and the events surrounding the War of the Roses in late medieval England. One easily gets sucked into the details of a world where the heroes are naive, honor and virtue are more devastating than a rancid STD, grudges last generations, some villains merit redemption, while others shock you with inhuman levels of treachery, bastards beget bastards, and death is the most likely outcome from even the most casual or celebratory of occasions. There are no white wizards or hobbits to save the day, but there is a world that drives one's imagination to its limits. If HBO's previous series such as The Sopranos, Rome, True Blood, and Boardwalk Empire are any indication of what to expect, then audiences are in for a thrilling treat.

Being a stalwart fan of the books, I am both awaiting to embrace this series with alacrity and am slightly apprehensive. Martin does such a brilliant job of creating the foundations of world rich in its own history, that I have woven a detailed tapestry in my mind of what I think the characters and realm look, smell, and sound like. Peoples, architecture, traditions, language, mannerisms, style, and topography are all touched on in just the right ways to provoke an indelible impression. The images I have emblazoned into my imagination with the wondrous world I perceive each time I turn the pages of one his books is truly a literary gift. The tension of what I perceive and how the world will be rendered via HBO's creative interpretation is an interesting one that I am unaccustomed to experiencing. However, it does nothing to dampen my excitement about the pending release of the series.

Winter is coming!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Temper Trap: Fader (live)

This past weekend, I joined two friends on a boondoggle to Memphis. Although inspired by nothing more than the urge for a random break in the routine, I managed to lose my dignity, among other things, and broke a few personal rules, but otherwise, I had a flippin' blast. Funny how that happens. Memphis, uniquely manages to suck and possess a relaxed charm about it.  Anyhow, I randomly came across this song from The Temper Trap while prowling the streets of Memphis. As much as I hate to admit it, it is kind of catchy and may have some staying power.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Echo and The Bunnymen: Never Stop (live)

I've been in an especially retro state of mind these past few weeks. I have deluged with great local music since I moved back to Nashville, however, my roommate has a Crosley Stack-o-matic record player, along with kicking collection of vinyl. Our move-in was defined by blasting The Police, Blondie, and Duran Duran ad naseum. I've also been nostalgic for the way music was. This is just a rocking example of the innovative sounds that distinguishes Echo and The Bunnymen from the herd. Not to hate on Coldplay, but they ain't got nothing on these guys. Enjoy!

El Lonely Blog

Contrary to some opinion, the werewolf isn't dead, he's just been dormant. This blog hasn't been struck by silver bullet yet. Life comes at you fast sometimes. The past several weeks have been operating at Formula One speeds. Now life is more normal. It feels like I am driving on the 405 dodging uninsured Mexicans and distracted mothers in their bagged up SUVs.

I have been a bad blogger. It makes feel like a deadbeat dad who skips his child support payments. Not really.  

Things have settled somewhat in Nashville, I finally have a stable internet connect at my casa, along with a washer-dryer. Being sans washer-dryer was more trying than I ever reckoned it would be. Sometimes the oddest conveniences make all of the difference.

Anyhow, I've missed a few full moons, but this werewolf is back and on the prowl.  Aaaahhhh Wooooo!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Werewolf's Exile Has Been Struck by a Silver Bullet: Relocated to Nashville

The werewolf's silence these past few weeks has been on account of his recent relocation to Nashville to pursue an exciting career opportunity. For those few readers out there, the werewolf regrets to inform you that he hasn't really been struck dead by a silver bullet or slain by a long lost descendant of Abraham Van Helsing. However, the period of official exile from the real world has ended. In many ways, the werewolf will always be a willing exile from the mainstream and popular culture, but at least he can now manage exile on his terms. This blog is far from being silenced, yet, for the next few weeks, posting may be a tad sparse. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Police: So Lonley (Live)

The Police went terribly wrong somewhere in the mid-80s. However, the werewolf is convinced that they were at their best during the nascent stages of their career. "So Lonely" is one of their best songs that probably gets eclipsed by the drek that defines the peak of their career. Still, this clip confirms that this trio knew how to rock it to the top. Big time!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Itemized IRS Tax Receipts: Keeping Citizens Aware and Government Measurably Accoutnable

Several prominent bloggers have been debating the virtues of what the theoretical itemized IRS tax receipt would look like if issued to normal citizens. It's the least we should expect as active tax-paying participants in this semi-functional exercise in representative democracy. See above for an example. This theoretical receipt is a tad appalling when dissected. As a young taxpayer, this awakens my inner slasher. All I do is see numbers that need to be cut. Our forefathers partially went to war over taxes on commodities, one wonders when our inner common-sense will be enraged by the bloat and obtuseness suggested by such a document and incited to rightoeus action. It is clear that my generation and younger is being thoroughly sodomized by the entitlement happy folks of my parents and grand-parents generations. I'll be lucky to see a dented nickel when it comes time for me to collect any social security.

I want more transparency and accountability in government and part of me would thoroughly love to be informed to how my hard-earned money was allocated. However, given generations of behaving like ostriches, with our collective heads in the sand, seeing such a document and understanding how deep our governmental spending rot truly is, such a document may actually push to depress me to the point of apathetic disengagement. At this stage, does self-medicating to point of willful ignorance present a preferred outcome to civic engagement that is bound to disappoint? Just some food for thought.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cover vs. Original: Chris Isaak/H.I.M. "Wicked Game"

The contrast between these two versions couldn't be more yin and yang. Chris Isaak, replete with eerie guitar riffs, haunting vocals, and a mellow pace, carved out a worthy niche for himself with this early 90s rock classic. Like sipping a nice scotch, his song is smooth, yet jilting. Always appropriate for a week-in-review wind-down on a chilly autumnal Sunday.

Scandinavian hard-rock maestros, H.I.M(His Infernal Majesty), were inspired by Isaak's ingredients for smooth and creepy, and reshaped the song with a serious injection of anger and excitement. It was during a particularly hard-hitting spin class back Atlanta when the werewolf first heard this song. It has forever been branded one of the great adrenaline inducing songs to load onto your iPod for an effective visit to the gym. Almost disqualified from any recreational listening on this account, H.I.M. gets massive credit for boldly taking a classic and moving into a an entirely new sphere of  existence. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Silly Saturday: Inspector Clouseau

Sorry. I was out of pocket and incommunicado yesterday. Hence, Funny Friday is Silly Saturday this week. Peter Sellers command of various European accents and mannerisms is a genius nearly unrivaled. This scene never gets old. Enjoy. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gulf May Avoid Direst Predictions After Oil Spill

The usually sensationalistic and doom-and-gloom NY Times has an interesting article speaking to the diminishing impact of the gulf oil spill. 

"Yet as the weeks pass, evidence is increasing that through a combination of luck (a fortunate shift in ocean currents that kept much of the oil away from shore) and ecological circumstance (the relatively warm waters that increased the breakdown rate of the oil), the gulf region appears to have escaped the direst predictions of the spring.
While its findings were disputed by some, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported several weeks ago that the oil was breaking down and dispersing rapidly, probably limiting future damage from the spill.
And preliminary reports from scientists studying the effects on marshes, wildlife and the gulf itself suggest that the damage already done by the spill may also be significantly less than was feared — less, in fact, than the destruction from the much smaller Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989."

Why do we frequently assume the worst of things? During the weeks following the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, you'd think we were on the edge of some sort of apocalypse. The event was tragic and there is no question that damage was done on several levels to a variety of stakeholders. It wasn't a pretty picture. But nothing seems to have permanently ruined the gulf and life seems to re-asserting a degree of normalcy.

This past June, the werewolf was visiting his mother's sister and her family in Los Angeles. Despite being a wonderful lady in many regards, the werewolf's aunt is ever-fearful of the world and blinded by the goggles of myopic liberalism. During drinks around her table, she said the topic of the gulf oil was spill was too upsetting to her and her teenage son, who will live a world that the treacherous oil companies are destroying. She huffed, puffed, and launched into a incoherent screed blaming  President Bush and bemoaning the scale of destruction, than forbade further discussion of the topic. Last spring, this blog assumed that spill would have a ripple effect across multiple segments of the economy and that the ugliest legacy would be in reactionary legislation. However, nothing on either scale has come to pass.

Is life generally so good that we need to manifest our fears through these sensationalistic tragedies? Is it the only outlet the hard-wired memories of how tough life was for our forefathers, where mortality was brutal, food was scarce, and everything a cause for fear, to have a collective freak-out every-time something goes amiss? Has life become so decadent with increased life spans, easy food, cheap cloths, solid shelters, and easy access to basic health-care that we have lost all sense of scale and proportion to what a tragedy really conveys?  Are we psychologically ruined by the 24 news cycle and it's intrinsically pessimistic coverage style?  A dozen potential concepts surface when given thought, but still, humans and the earth are resilient and tough. We need to collectively grow some balls and worry about the really scary crap out and applying some common-sense to reinforcing society's social institutions. Here's to looking on the bright-side.

AC/DC: Rock N' Roll Train (Studio)

Formulaic, hard-hitting, loud, and very compelling all aptly capture this gem from AC/DC's Black Ice album. Head-bopping is a must. It's the humble and consistent execution of simple genius like this that keeps AC/DC on top of their game during these twilight years.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Castrating a Great Brand: Land Rover Gets Lost In India

According the the folks over at AutoblogGreen, Land Rover's new Indian ownership, the Tata Conglomerate, has no idea how to handle the luxury automotive marquee they've added to their stable of car companies. Tata, in a fit of true boobery, plans to re-invent Land Rover as the new green machine. This has "retarded" graffiti-ed all over it. The only thing that should be green about a Land Rover is the classic English green-paint heavily associated with the brand's heritage and the hope that someone can figure out how to turn the company profitable. Land Rover's are about taming, traversing, and conquering exotic and hazardous environments with class, elegance, and English sophistication. Nowhere does this brand even remotely align with the meek and faux-sensitivity hyped by urban-dwelling effete liberals who pride themselves on pretending to care by over-paying for a crappy car to impress their shallow friends outside the yoga studio. The Japanese have already gifted the American consumer with the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, and forthcoming Nissan Leaf. The American tax-payer is picking up the bill for the doomed Chevrolet Volt on this front. Cutting costs, improving efficiencies, and leveraging technology can all be smart and strategic business moves, if executed in the proper context. However, turning a brand upside down and negating its heritage is a messy way of committing business seppuku. Is Tata looking to build a successful car business or just ruin a great British brand?

The irony was not lost of the werewolf, when the former colonial subjects acquired two jewels of the British automotive industry. However, the double-irony truly rests in the fact that Britain's alpha colonial progeny, the United States, punted Jaguar and Land Rover to the more backwards and confused colonial offspring in India. Land Rover and Jaguar's have been dregs for years, not on account of style or design, but on account of crappy reliability ratings. The answer is so simple, if Tata, or any automotive giant was serious about re-igniting these brands, just building a car that works on a regular basis would do wonders. Somehow, that simple message seems to be lost on everyone who ends up owning these brands. It looks like Land Rover and Jaguar will end like the British Empire, with a weak yelp, as opposed to a glorious roar.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Spiked Milkshakes, making a come back.

The world we live in may be going to hell-in-a-hand-basket, our nation is poorly led and on the road to perpetual indebtedness, Islamo-Fascism still plagues our security paradigm, Paris Hilton is a coke-head, but it looks like gourmet spike milk shakes will help ease the collective journey down to Hades' realm. Celebrating the small stuff makes it all a tad more tolerable. According to this piece from the NY Times online,which is exploring this emergent adult milk shake trend,
"Where the original fusion boom of the 1980s had chefs ransacking Asia, now the place to find inspiration is over on the kids’ menu. Ice cream. Plus liquor. Together. In a big glass. Could there be a better emblem of the sort of juvenilia-with-a-wink that defines the current food aesthetic?"
"As anyone who has survived a frozen mudslide could tell you, the spiked shake is anything but a new idea. But it seems to be experiencing a sudden uptick in ubiquity, respectability and, here and there, craftsmanship."
Updated culinary nostalgia is a legitimate and acceptable escape hatch. While most chicks may eventually wear such indulgent drinks on their buttocks and thighs, getting occasionally loaded on a few old-school milkshakes  could be an incredibly liberating way to recapture reckless innocence of my early teenage years spent haunting Johnny Rocket's on Melrose and Ed Debevics on La Cienaga in the Los Angeles that defined my youth.  Indulgent ice-cream, whole milk, some egg yolks, and a nice smooth hit a bourbon sounds like a perfect concoction and meal-substitute.

The questions remains, will the mixologitsts are gourmands find a way to eventually include bacon in the mix? There rests the real challenge.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Rolling Stones: Can't You Hear Me Knocking (Studio)

This song has an epic opening and some incredibly fun lyrics. When fired up on the home stereo system, to compliment a few stiff cocktails, it is usually indicative of some fun unpredictable gallivanting to come. It is also one of those classically reliable juke-box songs that can re-invigorate the room in the dive-bar you invariably find yourself ensconced in.

The official lyrics of the opening are

Yeah, you got satin shoes
Yeah, you got plastic boots
Y'all got cocaine eyes
Yeah, you got speed-freak jive   

"Speed-freak jive".... inspirationally suggestive of something lascivious. However, I always thought the second line said "nasty boots..."

Unions Have No Shame

Nothing would inspire the werewolf to indefinitely forsake professional car-washes more quickly than to learn that they have been unionized. If the macro-circumstances weren't so pathetic, this NY Times article on the steel workers' union attempt to strong arm the dudes that wipe down your car into a union would be somewhat funny. However, it isn't funny and it is freakin' disgraceful. First of all, the fact that the steel workers are out there footing the bill to try and agitate the mostly illegal Mexicans workers who are the backbone of LA's car-washer workforce show how desperate and fakakta the unions have become. This is nothing more than a racketeering attempt to squeeze struggling small business owners.

The national unemployment rate is cresting 10%, consumers are afraid to spend, employers are terrified to invest capital in hiring, and the American public has the overall confidence of an awkward pubescent dweeb at his 8th grade sock hop. How out of touch can the unions really be? These guys have out-lived their structural usefulness in an era of heightened consumer awareness and expectations, and via their greed have clearly demonstrated that they are impediments to American recovery.

One car-wash operator states the obvious ramifications in the article.

"Mr. Crestall said the unionization push would hurt everyone. “Having a union will mean higher wages, and that will lead to higher prices,” he said. “That will mean fewer consumers coming to carwashes, and fewer jobs for these workers.”
This lame micro-push is just a regional symptom of larger flaws in our governance structure and understanding of how leverage markets to betterment of all participants. Who knows if this push will succeed or not, but believe me you, this wolf's wheels will never be touched by a union member. (This acknowledges that his wheels were born of union hands, but that was beyond my control.)

The irony will be when the proponents of real corporate social responsibility (CSR) understand how adversely unions impact cost and operating structures, and ditch de-couple themselves from out-dated left-wing ideology for the potential third-way benefits that the concept of CSR can offer.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Reconsidering "Quantum of Solace": Jack White & Alicia Keys "Another Way To Die"

I spent the last several weeks working through all of the Bond films in chronological order. It made for a great time and I reckon' that some enterprising film professor could construct a class around that theme given all of the advances in technology, script evolution, and social attitudes that are well captured in each of the films. However, designing a course that cool and stimulating would be asking too much from modern higher education methinks.

Bond reels, regardless of overall quality, bring different redeeming assets to the table. Some have incredible opening sequences or title tracks, some have plots that are halfway worthy. Most have a decent sense of style. However, that is the subject of another screed.

It's funny what stays constant and what evolves as time marches on. Sean Connery still reigns supreme, while Roger Moore, with a handful exceptions, becomes almost unwatchable. Although it is well known in most circles, there is little doubt that Daniel Craig is nipping at Connery's heels for top dog in the Bond pantheon. Yet, since Connery set the stage and standard so well, toppling him from his perch will be near impossible, even for a man who executes the role with as much grit and talent as Craig.   When I was a whelp, I used to love the Roger Moore films, especially Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me. The defect in that judgement can be chalked up to the ignorance of unrefined youth and an obtuse obsession with space lasers and a Lotus that transforms into an attack submarine. Now it is challenging to sit through those films without to aid of some bourbon or gin. The acting is non-existent, and the plots ans writing are thinner than low-grade toilet paper. Lazenby benefits from a one of the best Bond babes, Diana Rigg, and Dalton and Brosnan get passable grades for their respective contributions, although Brosnan's film felt like video games at times towards the end of their implementation.

Casino Royale changed my whole understanding of the Bond universe and re-ignited my passion for the series in ways that even surprised me. Initially, I didn't like Quantum of Solace on account of its frenetic action sequences, which can induce an epileptic fit, if watched with too much focus. However, upon a second reviewing, Quantum really has a great plot (for the most part), and builds substantially off of the expectations established by Casino Royale. Having been introduced to a new global force, "Quantum" and leaving the sub-plot of Mr. White open, the audience is excellently ingrained into a compelling story arc. Sadly, MGM bankruptcy leaves the future of the franchise and its production schedule in doubt.

All that being stated, Alicia Keys and Jack White do a decent job with the title track, "Another Way To Die." Strong, innovative, and appropriate, it isn't the best Bond title song, yet, it gets better with each listening.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Nifty New Cooking/Foodie Blog "La Petite Bouche"

For all you epicureans out there, the blogosphere birthed a new blog late last month that is certainly worth your time. I highly recommend you all drop by La Petite Bouche. Sadly, this confirmed bachelor hasn't a speck of culinary talent beyond mixing a smooth, liver-eroding Old Fashioned, and grilling a decent pedestrian steak. Sometimes we have to live vicariously through the talents and gifts of others. The question begs, will La Petite Bouche cater my next party? Kudos on launching the blog and sharing your wonderful cooking gift with us all.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It Sucks to be to you, Gordon Brown.

According to Bloomberg, former Labour PM, Tony Blair, has declared support for current Tory PM David Cameron's economic reform platform in his newest book, "A Journey." As the white night of the "New Labour" movement back in the day, this is an interesting pivot for Mr. Blair and will likely serve as a catalyst to move some volume of his book off the shelves this month. Personally, the werewolf is a Thatcherite at heart when it comes to British politics, although, I came of age politically in the era of Blair. Despite some misgivings about his feel-good brand of reformed Labour, he is slick, smooth, and well-heeled. That counts for something in this age of lowered expectations. That being said,what's really really amusing in the article is Mr. Blair's attitude toward his former ally, the drab and dull Gordon Brown.. Blair states it bluntly in this passage.

“I had a feeling that my going and being succeeded by Gordon was also terminal for the government,” Blair wrote. “I discovered there was a lacuna -- not the wrong instinct, but no instinct at the human, gut level. Political calculation, yes. Political feelings, no. Analytical intelligence, absolutely. Emotional intelligence, zero. Gordon is a strange guy.
"Strange guy" seems to be gentle code for prune juice induced flatulence in human form. Using clinical terms like terminal, is evocative of unwanted lumps and heinous medical conditions. Classic move from the team Blair in effectively knee-capping Gordon Brown on one more level. The eternally boring and prickly Brown will likely retort in his forthcoming memoir. His words, or lack of ability to embrace the subtle and smoothness of his rival, will likely vindicate Blair.

There is no doubt that Gordon Brown is the prima dona of failed British politicians and douche bag extraordinaire, but having completely alienated your own party and the left-wing Liberal-Democrats is no small fait accompli. Wow.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shockingly Stupid: UK and France Considering Joint Custody of an Aircraft Carrier

Brace yourself for a new level of national stupidity and the planned erosion of national sovereignty from old Europe. According to this article from The Sun, planners in both the British and French defense ministries are considering plans to start sharing aircraft carriers. Short of arranging for weekend rotations of nuclear warheads, this joint custody of a front-line defense asset may be one of the stupidest cost-saving measures ever proposed. Reading it made me wonder if the world would be a more sensible place if I self lobotomized. This speaks to the tragic consequences of having an out-of-control entitlement state, where subsidizing unions, unreal benefits, and universal health-care plans, distort of the most important imperative of the state, the stewardship of national sovereignty.

If history is any lesson, this plan demonstrates a sheer ignorance of competing national interests and priorities. The French and British have very different global commerce and trade objectives. The two countries spent several centuries waring, and have only been de facto allies (tenuous one's at best), for spurts during the last century. The two have different linguistic, cultural, legal, and military heritages to contend with, on top of frequently shifting and changing short-term national objectives. This initial thoughts reflect the tip of the iceberg.  Hence, this plan must be a Europhile's and EU boosters wet-dream come true on paper as it strips down national identity, sovereign interests, well promoting a flacid European military command, and an excuse to further expand upon a bankrupt and unsustainable entitlement focused E.U.

With an erosion of external defense credibility, an internal rot can set in and seriously undermine the state and its ethos. Needless to say, a grim picture just got uglier. 

Frankly, I wrote off most of Europe years ago. It is just that these overt examples of retardation should be lessons to those paying attention on this side of the Atlantic.

If we in this hemisphere continue down this ridiculous path we have stupidly set ourselves on with out-of-control state-growth, will we start pooling our resources with the floating jalopies of the Mexican navy to save a few nickels to keep the stooges in the unions and AARP happy?

Joy Division: New Dawn Fades

Friday, August 27, 2010

Progressives Against Progress

During my daily news and article round-up, I came across an excellent piece titled "Progressives Against Progress" in City Journal by Fred Siegel. It builds upon some interesting observation foundations of the transmutation of modern liberalism, as well as flaws in how the modern vernacular no longer adequately captures the true meaning behind certain labels when one deep-dives into how they evolved in the modern world. More importantly, it explores the inherent tension that should exist between a theoretically "humanist" liberal movement and the histrionically "anti-human" nature of the environmentalism. Here is a passage to whet your appetite...

"In his 1973 book The Death of Progress, Bernard James laid out an argument already popularized in such bestsellers as Charles Reich’s The Greening of America and William Irwin Thompson’s At the Edge of History. “Progress seems to have become a lethal idée fixe, irreversibly destroying the very planet it depends upon to survive,” wrote James. Like Reich, James criticized both the “George Babbitt” and “John Dewey” versions of “progress culture”—that is, visions of progress based on rising material attainment or on educational opportunities and upward mobility. “Progress ideology,” he insisted, “whether preached by New Deal Liberals, conservative Western industrialists or Soviet Zealots,” always led in the same direction: environmental apocalypse. Liberalism, which had once viewed men and women as capable of shaping their own destinies, now saw humanity in the grip of vast ecological forces that could be tamed only by extreme measures to reverse the damages that industrial capitalism had inflicted on Mother Earth. It had become progressive to reject progress."

Funny Friday: Hilarious Horse Race Call "My Wife Knows Everything"

A pithy friend quipped, "I bet they were nags." 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Neil Cavuto: Obama's Path to History as a one-termer?

Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto offers some interesting commentary on how the 2012 election may shape out. Ego is an interesting thing, as is the American electorate's willingness to get snookered. Given how slick and disciplined President Obama's 2008 campaign for president was, his preference for time on the golf course, as opposed to managing the nation, his wife's incredibly lavish and out-of-touch sense of vacation entitlement, his administration's indifference to the economic woes crushing large swaths of voters, and his avoidance of seeming pro-active on any issue other than socializing health-care, one must wonder how serious he is about running for a second term.

That being said, perhaps Obama has nailed something about American politics post Eisenhower. No president ever has a good second term. Kennedy got whacked before he could make it, Johnson failed so miserably he bowed-out as to avoid disgrace, Nixon resigned, Carter got trounced because his first term was a botched abortion, Reagan was plagued with shady underlings and memory lapses, Bush the Elder didn't deserve re-election on account of raising taxes, Clinton dragged this nation through tabloid-hell while doing nothing but revealing what a scum-bucket he is, and Bush the Younger couldn't deliver on anything of substance beyond offering successful surge in Iraq and watched the GOP rightfully implode.

Given his monumental vanity and ego, the werewolf is unsure how this comedic-farce will play itself out. However, perhaps Obama will do the nation a favor and push the nation that effective public-service is a better path overall than constantly thinking about the next election. Wishful thinking, methinks.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mexico's Continual Implosion

Today's WSJ ran a frightful article, "Mexico Under Siege," by Nicholas Casey on the latest narco-terror conditions plaguing Mexico's wealthiest city, Monterrey, and threatening the near-term political and economic stability of the Mexican state. This is nothing new conceptually, yet with each passing day, Mexico takes one step closer to totally collapse and collapse and failure. Conditions on the ground level have deteriorated to the point where residents are communicating to the government via newspaper advertising!

"Residents opened their newspapers Wednesday morning to find the ads taken out by Mexican business leaders, begging the government to send more military into the city. "Enough already," said the notice that ran in national and local papers, criticizing what it said was a slow response of police against "criminal bands that in every act look to establish a new boundary of terror."
The Mexican government is either impotent, deaf, or incapable of dealing with the cartel pandemic. Taking out a newspaper ad is akin to sending smoke signals of distress in the days western frontier yore, it doesn't get an flipping' worse. Yet, policy makers in Washington, DC, and leading media analysts seem uninterested in these alarming trends at best and woefully ignorant at worst. Are they distracting, unaware, or just playing the role of the coy ostrich and hoping that embedding your head in the sand will to the problem magically evaporating. Today, we silently celebrated the withdrawal of our last combat brigade from Iraq, are floundering in a confused and ill-defined mission in Afghanistan, and are expressing total indifference to Iran's upcoming membership in the nuclear. All of the aforementioned, while important, is also half-a-globe away. The only news we regularly read about Mexico is how pissed off certain liberals and left-wing Mexicans are about Arizona's legislative experiment in legitimate border control and sovereignty preservation. (Mixed feelings on the Arizona law itself, but a deep appreciation for the spirit driving it on this end) It boggles the mind given what is at stake should Mexico descend into a state paralyzed anarchy, especially given the porous nature of the United States-Mexico border, the size of legitimate trade and commercial activity ob both sides of the border, and the potential for extensive spill-over into the United States proper should things go any further south, south of the border. When it comes to governmental authority and respect for the rule of law, here's what the drug cartels think.

"The body of Edelmiro Cavazos, mayor of the Monterrey suburb of Santiago, was found beside a highway. Mr. Cavazos had been abducted Sunday night, the latest in a string of attacks against politicians in Mexico's north."
These cartel goons are afraid of nothing. Whacking government officials like they are playing Grand Theft Auto with no sense of recourse is unreal. Does Calderon's authority not extend beyond the walls of the presidential residence? How long before madness like that infiltrates El Paso, Tucson, Phoenix, and San Diego? It has been roughly a century since the United States had to dispatch General Pershing to deal with Pancho Villa's cross-border incursions. As much as history repeats itself on some levels, the stakes are much different should we start playing games of cat-and-mouse with well-financed and utterly ruthless drug cartels who know no limits, decency, or honor. If the implications weren't so dire and threat so real, the foundation of this tragedy would actually be fascinating to watch and follow.

Poetry: Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth's foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling,
And took their wages, and are dead.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

A.E. Housman

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

LA Gets Something Right!

The werewolf both loves and loves to hate his hometown of Los Angeles. For years, he has been aggravated by LA's petulance, arrogance, and vapidity. Nauseating traffic, throngs of unkempt peoples, oppressive city ordinances, and prohibitive living costs are just a few of the turn-offs radiating from the so-called City of Angels. However, LA has a pedestrian eating scene that is second to none (Pink's, Phillipe's, Langer's, Cantor's, The Larchmont Village Wine Shop, Roscoe's Chicken, to name a few folks), incredible people watching, amazing architecture, accommodating weather, and a diverse swath of enchanting neighborhoods tucked away in various pockets of urban jungle, certainly add to its charm. However, The Los Angeles Times has an amusing piece, "It's Unanimous, President's Visit Leaves LA Boiling," which brought a sincere and overdue smile to the werewolf's face. An excellent except:

"A Brentwood resident's two-mile jaunt took 45 minutes. An Echo Park couple who left home at 5:30 p.m. found their usual 20-minute drive west to Olympic and Rimpau boulevards took a whopping hour and 15 minutes. An attorney left his Miracle Mile-area office at 5:45 p.m. and sat unmoving in traffic for 45 minutes.
No matter their politics, Los Angeles residents found themselves united. "It was a beautiful thing," said Brentwood resident Myles Berkowitz, commiserating with his neighbors on Montana Avenue. "Young, old, black, white — everyone was pissed off.""

Hope and change, folks.


The delectable Eva Green, portraying Vesper Lynd, in Casino Royale. A modern day Helen of Troy? Perhaps...

Sea Wolf: You're a Wolf (studio)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Robert Kaplan - Living With a Nuclear Iran

Sadly, the West has lost all resolve and gumption when it comes to containing and preempting belligerent states from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Like an ostrich with its' head in the sand, the feckless and passive attitudes currently reigning supreme in Washington, London, Berlin, Brussels, and Paris, are woefully neglectful of the pending problems and changing landscape on the surface. The reliably insightful Robert Kaplan has an excellent article, "Living with a Nuclear Iran," that paints a poignant picture how to handle this brave new world in the latest edition of The Altantic. We are in for an bumpy ride ahead and the deferring the tough choices of the present while pay some ugly dividends in the years to come.

"At the time of his writing Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, some analysts took Kissinger to task for what one reviewer called “wishful thinking”—in particular, his insufficient consideration of civilian casualties in a limited nuclear exchange. Moreover, Kissinger himself later moved away from his advocacy of a NATO strategy that relied on short-range, tactical nuclear weapons to counterbalance the might of the Soviet Union’s conventional forces. (The doctrinal willingness to suffer millions of West German civilian casualties to repel a Soviet attack seemed a poor way to demonstrate the American commitment to the security and freedom of its allies.) But that does not diminish the utility of Kissinger’s thinking the unthinkable. Indeed, now that the nuclear club has grown, and nuclear weaponry has become more versatile and sophisticated, the questions that his book raises are even more relevant. The dreadful prospect of limited nuclear exchanges is inherent in a world no longer protected by the carapace of mutual assured destruction. Yet much as limited war has brought us to grief, our willingness to wage it may one day save us from revolutionary powers that have cleverly obscured their intentions—Iran not least among them."

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll

Bizarre, alluring, energetic, and violent. Surprisingly enjoyable.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Welcome to The 29 Club

The werewolf was thrust through the doors of The 29 Club today. As we get older, each passing year seems to elapse quicker than the previous one. It's like compound interest, except applied to time, perspective and speed. Years felt like lifetimes during the ignorant days of my youth. Perhaps the dull and mundane routine of elementary school combined with a lack of perspective is what made time feel so slow back in the day. Now, I am desperately searching for way to put the brakes on time.

In many ways, I'd liken my experience during my 20s to the "Roaring 20s" in American history. The early and mid-part of the decade were loaded with excitement, opportunity, and optimism. However, as the end of the decade approached, the bubble I was living in violently burst, and getting back-on-track has proven a Herculean task. 28 was an incredibly shitty year by most metrics for the werewolf, so although somewhat ambivalent about crossing the threshold, he hopes that the psychological chance to start afresh actually lends itself to something tangible and measurable.

It's freaky to think I am fast approaching 30, which is halfway to 60, which in turn is more than halfway to certain death. I graduated from high school in June of 2000 and can vividly recall most of the past decade. I am slightly more than a decade away from being 40, which used to seem geriatric and unimaginably far off when I was a whelp.  In turn, the optimistic vitality of youth has given-way to the dark realities of mortality and getting my crap in order. In some ways, I have meet my internal goals for myself, in other ways, I have fallen drastically short. Oddly, the expansive and ambitious certainty that governed my disposition a few years ago has morphed into something that is far less certain and much more aware of the constraints and limitations that exist.

Things I have noticed the last few years:

I can no longer metabolize chill-cheese bacon burgers and double-dipped milkshakes with the same enthusiasm and carelessness of my teenage years. Still few things are as grand as a dozen raw oysters, a rare dry-aged porterhouse, warm buttered bread, and a giant baked potato with the works.

The hair on my head is diminishing resource. Despite my emotional protests, it seems to be recolonizing down my back.

Hard-drinking and partying with reckless abandon is still fun and admirable. 2-day Hangovers aren't.

I can live just fine without vodka. However, the mere thought of going sans bourbon, gin, rye, or rum is truly depressing.

I am struggling with the trends in humor or perhaps what passes for current humor isn't funny. With a few current expectations, movies and television isn't as funny as it used to be. I still yearn to play golf at Bushwood Country Club, go to Wally World, trade pork belly futures with the Duke Brothers, travel to Zumunda, and find that Torino with no wheels in East St. Louis.

Freedom and individuality are growing scarce. Cherish them.

You start to really know who your friends are and will be. Long standing relationships, rich with history, are one of the most gratifying things we experience.

Our entry visas on this planet are truly brief, before our exit visa gets stamped. It is time to start making each-and-every day count.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Style & Wisdom

The Sterling Look

Pearls of Sterling Wisdom

“I like redheads. Their mouths are like a drop of strawberry jam in a glass of milk.”

"Look, I want to tell you something because you're very dear to me. And I hope you understand that it comes from the bottom of my damaged, damaged heart. You are the finest piece of ass I've ever had and I don't care who knows it. I am so glad that I got to roam those hillsides." 

"Look, we've got oysters rockefeller! Beef Wellington! Napoleons! We leave this lunch alone, it'll take over Europe."

"Don't you love the chase? Sometimes it doesn't work out; those are the stakes. But when it does work out, it's like having that first cigarette: your head gets all dizzy, your heart pounds, your knees go weak. Remember that? Old business is just old business."

"Can I just fire everyone?"

Simple Minds: Don't You Forget About Me (live)

Thursday, July 29, 2010


One of history's greatest heroes. We owe this man more than any word or phrase can adequately capture.

Warren Zevon: Werewolves of London (live)

In many ways this is the anthem that paves the way for all the werewolf does in this humble life. Likely, it is the finest song ever written. It has often been speculated that werewolf was conceived following a Warren Zevon concert in late 1980 or early 1981. It was during the summer of 1998, while drinking too much gin on the banks of the Zambezi river, playing a drawn out game of chess with a profoundly decent and generous Afrikaner at the Tahita Falcon Lodge in southern Zambia, that the epic nature of this song revealed itself.

Not sure what Warren has been drinking or smoking prior to this performance, but the legend himself is en fuego during this clip. I would have given the thumb on my left paw to see this song performed live by the maestro. Enjoy!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Tempest in a Teapot: Faux controversey over Stanley Statue

In the history of colonial exploration and adventure, the most quoted man is likely Henry Morgan Stanley. Any educated person who isn't familiar with Stanley's famous "Dr. Livingston, I presume" should take-up skydiving without a parachute or drag racing in the fog without a seat-belt.  The Daily Telegraph has an excellent piece highlighting how the corrupt agents of skewed political correctness have hamstrung a Welsh town's ability to celebrate its' favorite son. The self-righteous, no-fun, limited, and myopic people who are hell-bent on obstructing the commissioning of this statue are a laughable testament to how bankrupt and shameless slaves to political correctness have become. Get a freakin' life, folks. Do you propose we tear down every statue to Woodrow Wilson, since he re-segregated the U.S. Civil Service, or most of the founding fathers, since they were active slave-owners? Let us not forget that Nelson Mandela was once a violent terrorist. We can devote our time to tearing apart most of history's heroes and noted characters, but sometimes saving our collective doubts and scorn for those villains who merit it, like Fidel Castro, Joseph Stalin, and Adolf Hilter. Few things are as loathsome as selective outrage.

Stanley may have been a racist, opportunist, and shameless self-promoter. Not my place to judge (I save that for when it counts, like terrorism or genocide), and these are certainly not the traits that give cause to honor him. Undoubtedly, he was also incredibly bold, intrepid, and dynamic in terms of the risk and endeavors he pursued. Those are qualities that merit recognition and give cause for just remembrance and why he is likely one of the most quoted men in history. Here is to hoping the statue gets completed, and the vow that if the werewolf should ever find himself in the Welsh town of Denbigh, you can wager he'll be sporting a big smile next to the statue of Henry Morgan Stanley.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Funny Friday: Best In Show "Faux Love"

Desmund Tutu: Wishing Obama would Channel Bush on Africa

In a remarkable article published in yesterday's New York Times, Desmund Tutu, human rights legend and anti-apartheid luminary, publicly wonders why Obama is derelict on his pledges to Africa and the continent's struggle against the AIDS crisis. During the 2008 election, Obama's ties to Kenya were played ad nauseum, as if they somehow accentuated his already stunted credentials. The great irony that liberals can't seem to grasp, is that President Bush was the most Africa oriented President to every occupy the White House. Other legacies aside, that seems to be set in stone for the foreseeable future. When you've pissed off Desmond Tutu, and you can claim black African heritage and are the former poster-child for post-modern liberalism, you know you've lost some serious luster.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

African Terror: Recalling Mau Mau

Last February, The Daily Mail ran a great article from an acitve participant's perspective during the infamous Mau Mau emergency that took place in Kenya during the 1950s. The participant and author, Tim Symonds, paints a candid and thoughtful picture that pulls no punches. In this modern era of hyper-sensitivity and revisionist inclination, finding someone who calls it as it actually happened is refreshing. The Mau Mau were one of Africa's ugliest and most brutal terrorist insurgencies. For anyone with any passing interest in African history, security, terrorism, decolonization, or justice, this article is a breath of fresh air and a must read.

Here are some excellent passages from Symonds recollection:

Criteria for being targeting by the Mau Mau.
"Leakey was selected not because he was an enemy of the Kikuyu but, perversely, because he was widely considered a good man and therefore a more powerful sacrificial offering. He even had a Kikuyu nickname - Morungaru - which means 'tall and straight'."
 On blending in.
"Their sense of smell from life in the forest had become so keen that they could smell my freshly-laundered clothes. Another white man arrived. 'OK, film star,' he said to me. 'I'm your make-up man.'
He painted potassium permanganate on my hands, face and neck to stain the skin. Then he produced a small tin of boot polish and a tiny watercolour brush. 'Let's start with your right eye,' he said. 'Open wide.'
He brushed a small blob of the boot polish right inside the eyelid. It stung and I shouted, prompting peals of laughter from the Mau Mau men. He held out a mirror and, blinking uncontrollably, I looked at my eye. The polish had spread across it, turning the whites a streaky yellow"
 Jomo Kenyatta and the sinister benefits of incarceration.
"A white police officer met me and told me I was to take charge of a Land Rover with an African driver, who would take me to a secret destination to deliver a cargo. I went outside and met the driver. Crates had been loaded in the back of the Land Rover, covered by a tarpaulin.
Some time later we arrived at our destination where I gave a white Kenya police officer the papers to sign for the cargo. He invited me in for a quick drink before I had to set off for home base. Afterwards I came out to find the Land Rover only three-quarters unloaded. The mysterious cargo turned out to be crate upon crate of Scotch whisky.
The police officer explained that Jomo Kenyatta, the man accused of masterminding the Mau Mau, was being held under close arrest nearby. Kenyatta was being provided with three bottles of Scotch every day, which he was consuming.
The real aim, the officer said, was for Kenyatta to die of cirrhosis of the liver as quickly as possible. I could tell he wasn't joking.
Kenyatta was nearing 70 at the time. Eight years later, in 1963, he was to become newly independent Kenya's first black prime minister. Shortly after that he became Kenya's president, famed for his flywhisk, the symbol of a Kikuyu elder, made from the end of a cow's tail. Perhaps we pickled him instead of killing him: Kenyatta lived until he was 89."
It's a spectacular and compelling tale.