May 29, 2011

You Will Not Be Able To Plug In, Turn On And Cop Out

YouTube video posted by comet 9 of Gil Scott-Heron's 

Seen on 12th Street and Avenue C in NYC
Photograph taken by Pak So and Anna Tan

"The revolution will be live."

May 23, 2011

Prayer "About" Everyone And Everything

Official The Tree of Life trailer posted on YouTube 
by Fox Searchlight Pictures

. . . . . . . . 

In his blog for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert recently commented on The Tree of Life, a new film written and directed by Terrence Malick:

"Many films diminish us. They cheapen us, masturbate our senses, hammer us with shabby thrills, diminish the value of life. Some few films evoke the wonderment of life's experience, and those I consider a form of prayer. Not prayer "to" anyone or anything, but prayer "about" everyone and everything. I believe prayer that makes requests is pointless. What will be, will be. But I value the kind of prayer when you stand at the edge of the sea, or beneath a tree, or smell a flower, or love someone, or do a good thing. Those prayers validate existence and snatch it away from meaningless routine."

Most Prayers Are The Words We Say When We Are Tired Of Feeling

From The River and the Train by Edwin Brock, first published by New Directions in 1979:

Love poem

Listen, I can tell you this:
I do not know how love grows
until it is mourning,
making a measure 
I can understand

most love poems are written
far away from love and out of 
loneliness, most of life is spent
in a chair in the corner of a room

remember the young days when our blood
boiled and we believed it was our souls talking?
now my soul talks to itself in the beeches
believing it is a screech owl.

Listen, I can tell you this:
I do not know how God knows
about our misunderstanding: today
there is a small rat at the river's edge
with its severed head a foot away

most prayers are the words 
we say when we are tired of 
feeling, most words are the sounds
we are trying on for size

remember the nights we knelt and asked
that our souls depart in peace?
today I believe I am immortal only
because my mortality has atrophied.

Listen, I believe we are the festival
of a harvest which is over-ripe
and rotting, I believe all we have grown
is stinking in the market place

I don't know what a soul does
lost in hibernation, but I have heard
my own in the beeches sounding like a screech owl
looking for a mouse to fill
before it feathers down to kill it.

May 2, 2011

An Occasion For Rejoicing Or A Time For Reflection?

"Wow! Wow!" supermarket banner seen on 
Westchester Avenue in The Bronx, NY

From the article titled Obama Calls World 'Safer' After Pakistan Raid written by Steven Lee Myers and Elisabeth Bumiller for the May 2, 2011 edition of The New York Times:

"The world is safer," Mr. Obama said as he appeared at a White House ceremony bestowing the Medal of Honor to two soldiers killed in the Korean War. "It is a better place because of the death of Osama bin Laden."

. . . . . . . .

From Matt Taibbi's article Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail? (subtitled Financial crooks brought down the world's economy - but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them) published in the March 3, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone magazine:

Over drinks at a bar on a dreary, snowy night in Washington this past month, a former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer.

"Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail," he said. "That's your whole story right there. Hell, you don't even have to write the rest of it. Just write that."

I put down my notebook. "Just that?"

"That's right," he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. "Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there."

Nobody goes to jail. This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world's wealth - and nobody went to jail. Nobody, that is, except Bernie Madoff, a flamboyant and pathological celebrity con artist, whose victims happened to be other rich and famous people.

The rest of them, all of them, got off. Not a single executive who ran the companies that cooked up and cashed in on the phony financial boom - an industrywide scam that involved the mass sale of mismarked, fraudulent mortgage-backed securities - has ever been convicted. ...

... Instead, federal regulators and prosecutors have let the banks and finance companies that tried to burn the world economy to the ground get off with carefully orchestrated settlements - whitewash jobs that involve the firms paying pathetically small fines without even being required to admit wrongdoing. To add insult to injury, the people who actually committed the crimes almost never pay the fines themselves; banks caught defrauding their shareholders often use shareholder money to foot the tab of justice. "If the allegations in these settlements are true," says Jed Rakoff, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York, "it's management buying its way off cheap, from the pockets of their victims."