portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Wednesday, October 31, 2012



From Big O (where else? ED....no actually Swappers do you even check other websites?)

$ingaporeans have never experienced a storm. Yet its roads are regularly flooded, albeit for about an hour, when rainfall is heavy. These floods, called ponding by the $ingapore government, have become regular affairs since 2010. Wikipedia has the details. We should look at New York City now to see what a “once-in-50-years” type flood really looks like.
By 2 am on the morning of October 30, 2012, USA Today reported:
An estimated 5.7 million people in seven states were without power early Tuesday morning across the East and at least 14 deaths had been confirmed as mega storm Sandy swept across the region.
New York City took the brunt of Sandy’s wrath Monday night as a wide swath of the USA’s most populous city was hit by a storm surge that caused widespread flooding and power outages. Early Tuesday morning multiple fires burned in New York’s Queens borough, with local TV reported that firefighters were unable to reach some of them due to flooding and power outages.
Sandy was no longer a hurricane by the time it slammed into the south New Jersey coast at 8 p.m. ET Monday. Now designated a “post-tropical cyclone” by the National Hurricane Center, the 900-mile storm remains deadly, destructive and likely to cripple much of the East coast for several days.
By 7:45 am: An estimated 6.2 million people in seven states were without power across the East and at least 16 deaths had been confirmed. President Obama has declared New York and Long Island federal disaster areas.

+ + + + +

Lower Manhatten black out (via @nicksummers).
Picture posted at zerohedge.com.

Brooklyn. Picture by doorsixteen, posted at alternet.org.

This photo from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
shows water innudating a PATH station in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Posted at alternet.org.

A vehicle is submerged on 14th Street near the Consolidated Edison
power plant in New York. Picture by John Minchillo,
posted at usatoday.com.

Manhattan. Picture by Kevin Hagen, posted at online.wsj.com.

The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel is flooding… (via @NewsBreaker),
posted at zerohedge.com.

Carey Tunnel (previously the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel).
Picture by Andrew Burton, posted at ctpost.com.

New York Avenue C and 13th Street (via iWitness Weather),
posted at zerohedge.com.

Lower Manhattan. Picture by @HobokenGirlBlog,
posted at alternet.org.

14th Street, New York. Picture posted at ctpost.com.

Lower Manhattan. Picture by Ray Wert, posted at alternet.org.

Streets are flooded under the Manhattan Bridge in the Dumbo section
of Brooklyn. Picture by Bebeto Matthews, posted at ctpost.com.

Entire front of the buildling blown off. Picture by @MegRobertson,
posted at alternet.org.

Transformer explodes in New York (14th Street).
Picture by George Weld, posted at telegraph.co.uk.

Lower east side (via David Schulz). Picture posted at zerohedge.com.

Connecticut wave, picture shared by Ernie Clark.

Atlantic City. Picture posted at ctpost.com.

North Michigan Avenue in Atlantic City. Picture by Michael Ein,
posted at latimes.com.

Dodging the rain and waves in Marshfield, Massachusetts.
Picture posted at cnn.com.

Cape May, New Jersey. Picture by Mel Evans, posted at latimes.com.

Coastal area damaged by surge. Picture posted at bbc.co.uk.
+ + + + +

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My avid readers (ha ha ha....huh? ED) will have noted my passion for the work of John Prine, I have pretty much everything I can lay my hands on and really admire his songwriting skills...he introduced me to the broader work of Steve Goodman the author of 'City of New Orleans' a favourite evocative song which I first head via Arlo Guthrie ( I went through a massive Arlo phase around the time of 'Alice's Restaurant' and still admire him) so here I am especially pleased to note a posting (from Big O? ED) of a Steve Goodman set........
This includes a BBC set from 1976

Monday, October 22, 2012

Blimey! Mo'  Neil! 
Big O are rapidly encouraging the Neil Young posts to turn into an equivalent to Bobby 'His Zimmyness' Dylan's Neverending Tour and posting gigs almost as soon as they have happened!

Neil Young and Crazy Horse 

(13th October Austin Texas)

Big O says . . . .

Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s current tour continue to charge along.
Here are some comments at thrasherswheat.org:
It’s obvious that Poncho and Billy are fully aware that Ramada Inn may be one of the best songs Neil ever wrote, and it’s obviously a blast for them to play it. Poncho is pushing Neil - something I don’t recall before. But the band appears to actually be challenging Neil to take it to a higher level - love it. LUV IT. - Anonymous
You just missed what may be the best version of Down By The River ever recorded - ever. - Anonymous
This is what Hector Saldana blogged at mysanantonio.com:
One of rock’s greatest icons, a symbol of ’60s hope and a hero to punk and grunge rockers, Neil Young took the Bud Light Stage with his garage band, Crazy Horse, and unapologetically jammed over extended and inspired set. Donning a Willie Nelson cap (before throwing it into the crowd after two songs) and dressed in a T-shirt, ragged jeans and armed with his battered signature black Gibson Les Paul electric guitar, Young played with fire, opening with “Love and Only Love,” a relentless two-chord workout followed by the Civil War death saga “Powderfinger.”
Nothing was as haunting and hopeful than “Walk Like a Giant,” its inspirational, sometimes broken tone born of weary wisdom about political winds changing. For longtime fans, Young delivered the acoustic “The Needle and the Damage Done” and stinging electric stabs at “Cinnamon Girl” and “Down By the River” - and his mantra “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black).”
There's also a nice BBC set from Mumford & Sons for you young trendies out there (well none of THEM will be coming across here Ha ha ha ha . . . ED) In the Live Lounge in Maida Vale for the Fearne Cotton show


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mo' Neil...

from Big O,    of course...... (yawn..... ED)

I HAD to include this bit of text from blogger Rambler . . . . . . . . 
This is what the Rambler blogged:
Call me a sentimentalist, but for a rock and roll show, there were a couple of poignant moments during the concert I attended last night.
The first came during Young’s second acoustic solo number, a new song called Twisted Road from the soon-to-be-released album Psychedelic Pill. The lyrics to this song sound like an excerpt from his memoir Waging Heavy Peace, as he recalls the moment when he first heard Bob Dylan sing Like A Rolling Stone and recounts other musical memories. He sounded almost wistful as he sang it, but though there was sentiment, he sounded sincere, more like an old man looking back on his youth than one attempting to re-live it.
The next poignant moment came at the end of the set, and with this one I admit I may be projecting, but I’ll share it with you anyway. Young and Crazy Horse played an uncompromising version of Hey Hey, My My. In the bombastic, protracted ending of the song, as they hit power chord after distorted power chord, Neil repeats these lines from the chorus, in a way I haven’t heard on previous recordings of the song:

once you’re gone,
you can never come back
once you’re gone
once you’re gone

In those words, sung in that way, almost as a coda to one of his most famous and iconic songs ever, I thought I heard the Neil Young I met in his memoir, thinking of the people he’s loved and lost, the good friends who helped him become the man he is today, including several who have died. The words were half-spoken, half-sung, chant-like. It was only a moment in a two-hour concert, but for me it was the moment that stands out and the one I will remember the most.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

  Gil Scott-Heron


From Big O - October 14, 2012 – 4:20 am
On May 27, 2011, poet, spoken-word artist, musician and author Gil Scott-Heron died in New York. He was 62. Randy Shields still remembers the man.
The commanding voice that named the names, that directed a musical letter of rage (air mail special) to whitey on the moon, and lived to see a revolt (if not a revolution) televised from Egypt, has died. Gil Scott-Heron died at age 62 in NYC’s St. Luke’s Hospital.
I don’t know what age I was when I first heard Scott-Heron wittily and boldly lambasted Nixon and Spearhead Agnew and Ronnie Raygun and Attilla the Haig and Marlin Perkins and Papa Doc Bush - they and their America didn’t mean shit to him (and me and millions of other Americans) and it felt damned good to hear it. One of his favorite targets was Americans’ greatest religious experience: getting something for nothing - specifically, the ripping off of black art, music and culture by (mostly) white capitalists while its creators often died paupers.
He declined the title of “Godfather of Rap” and it was easy to see why. I was blown away by NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” the first couple weeks I listened to it - the anger, the violence, fighting back against racist cops, the clarity about who your enemies are, the cheapness of life worn like a badge. But I found that I couldn’t keep listening to it indefinitely - the music, especially, was both depressing and boring.
And that’s what Gil Scott-Heron and his brilliant longtime collaborator Brian Jackson figured out: they created a poetic, free-flowing, typically flute and percussion-driven platform for Scott-Heron’s AK-47 mouth to artistically and scathingly say that America was a racist war-loving hypocritical slag heap, deluded by fake movies, fake history, fake images and fake media.
Scott-Heron and the multi-instrumentalist Jackson fused and maxed out beat poetry and music to what they always should have been, with fabulous hypnotic grooves and the occasional tasty solo. Scott-Heron ra-ta-tatted against injustice, but you kept on listening, for decades, because the hooks and creativity are always present whether moving through funk, soul, R&B, free jazz, African or Caribbean beats. Drugs, violence, poverty, inequality, opportunistic “leaders” and sellouts, addiction, defeat and lives that never got off the ground were frequent subjects. But the really unforgivable sin was musical boredom.
In his prime, Scott-Heron shouted that the emperors were not only stark naked but stark raving mad. He had empathy for people struggling against addiction and poverty and whenever you have empathy - artistically, personally, politically - it will lead you to a better place. And this is another difference between Scott-Heron and many of the rappers he is alleged to have inspired.
Empathy begat the anger. I dispute that most of the rappers I hear are angry - if they were, they would be totally revulsed by Barack Obama. How empathetic are Americans, in general, when they acquiesce to the nonstop killing of innocents all over the world - they may think they are angry or that their backs are against the wall but these are largely the cries of the alienated, unconnected and passive, satisfied as debt-slaves with iTrinkets and currently presided over by MC Obummer, an astounding master of, as it turns out, killing hope.
I saw Scott-Heron perform three years ago at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia. To see the creator of “Storm Music” and “The Bottle” perform in an intimate club was a thrill. He had a voice and presence that you paid attention to - his baritone was born to deliver Shakespeare, as bassist Ron Carter once said.
He and his rockin’ pianist, blistering lefty lead player and the smoking rhythm section were so relentlessly good that I didn’t even miss my favorite song, “Storm Music,” or “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” The new songs, from “I’m New Here,” were instantly embraced. And “The Bottle” swung mightily that night. And he was hilarious, both that night and on his recorded offhand pot shots against the ruling class, something that isn’t often noted when he’s written about.
That Philly show fell in a time period, the fall of 2009, where I also saw James McMurtry and Iris DeMent. Interestingly (maybe) is that Scott-Heron did not perform “The Revolution Will Not be Televised,” DeMent did not perform “Wasteland of the Free,” and McMurtry did not play “We Can’t Make It Here,” all absolutely classic songs pointedly critical of America.
I’m sure these artists had different reasons for not playing these tunes but I took it as a bad omen. The impression it made on me was that now that the Big Bad Bush was gone it was time to STFU about America. It was time to start feeling good about America because an uncouth goon from Texas was replaced by a smooth-talking intelligent Wall Street stooge.

So, after two years of Obama, I mused: the working class of America, especially blacks, can get as much action on their concerns by sending a letter to whitey on the moon as they can from having America’s first black president in the White House.

Protest and anger were uncool. Nothing as pseudo-glorious as Reagan’s Morning (Thunder) in America but, rather, some weak-ass liberal Sleepytime tea time in America. Scott-Heron had also spoken favorably about Obama.
So, after two years of Obama, I mused: the working class of America, especially blacks, can get as much action on their concerns by sending a letter to whitey on the moon as they can from having America’s first black president in the White House.
In the jumbled world of confusing musicians with leaders, I thought about how Scott-Heron canceled a planned show in Israel in 2010 (why did he ever schedule it?) - persuaded by activists that it would be similar to playing in apartheid South Africa.
One might imagine that Scott-Heron would be helping to lead a BDS movement instead of being confronted by it. But why should we expect musicians and celebrities to be more unaffected by capitalism than 99.9% of the rest of the population?
His embrace of Obama perfectly symbolizes the personal and political decline and irrelevance of the left over the last 40 years. We didn’t just come a short way, baby. We went headlong the wrong way. O working class, we have to be constantly moving forward toward the overthrow of capitalism because when we cease to advance we will either die immediately or be lost for decades.
So I’m thinking of Gil Scott-Heron and his commendable activism against the nuclear industry and apartheid South Africa, and the litmus test of one’s humanity and commitment to justice, equality and the rule of law, i.e., supporting the Palestinians against Israel, and how two weeks ago [Ed: this article was written in 2011] I saw my first keyboard hero, Ray Manzarek (of the Doors), at the Sellersville Theater, pleased with his acid-tested spirituality, telling the crowd that Christians and Muslims and Jews should put away their religious books and just love each other and, by the way, he and Robby Krieger are looking forward to playing as the Doors in Tel Aviv this summer because “the Israelis are so cool.”
(Hey, Ray, how about you and Robby do something that truly breaks on through: be on the next Free Gaza flotilla and play a Gaza concert if and when you “break on through” the illegal Israeli blockade - maybe you can see how “cool” the IDF is. Maybe you can grab Jim Morrison from out of the ether, where you said he resides, and bring your interstellular spirituality down to earth where it might mean something. It says in the Uncool Book that faith without works is dead.)
Oh well, as a sometime Zionist, sometime Christian troubadour once admonished us, “Don’t follow leaders and watch the parking meters.” He never explained the parking meter thing though I assumed he was warning us not to take up the drunken dares of friends to vault over the meters after the bars close.
And I give Gil Scott-Heron almost the last word: “It ain’t no new thing - America is always the same old shit.”
Now, are those words from many years ago too negative and cynical, too unhopey and unchangey? Well, decades after Gil Scott-Heron urged people to send their unaffordable, unpaid “doctor bills to whitey on the moon,” he lived to see 45 million Americans without any health insurance and 47 million on food stamps. He railed against ghetto poverty in 1970 and 41 years later lived to see the greatest inequalities in wealth since the Great Depression. And he lived to see the first black POTUS, a Nobel Peace Prize-winner who’s currently slaughtering innocent dark-skinned people in five different countries.
America can’t make clothes, shoes, toys, electronics, peace or justice but we make a hell of a lot of irony. Anyway… Gil Scott-Heron, don’t rest in peace as everyone is advising you to, rage on wherever you are, be witty and scathing, be the fighter you are, be bold when no one else will, whether you’re in heaven or hell, I’m sure that things can be better in both places.
Take with you into eternity the fiery ambitious man/child who wrote a well-regarded novel, “The Vulture,” when you were only 19 years old. Fuck crack, fuck Rikers, fuck HIV, fuck the blunting of capitalism on your spirit, it happens, from time to time the darkness comes along to terrorize the weak and challenge the strong, because you were a human being, not a god, the storm is coming, it grows on the waves from Johannesburg to Montego Bay, these were tiny blips on the road to making a beautiful soul, none of us are who capitalism says we are, we have no idea who we are or what we could be, but justice is coming on the wings of a storm and we resist in the present for those yet unborn, what’s that music (storm music) playin’ on the radio, what’s that music (storm music) playin’ everywhere I go, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a sweeter feelin’ in the whole wide world than Gil Scott-Heron playing “Storm Music” on the radio…
Note: Randy Shields can be reached at music2hi4thehumanear@gmail.com. Visit Randy’s website at innagoddadadamdavegan.blogspot. The above article was posted at CounterPunch and dissidentvoice.org.
+ + + + +

Saturday, October 13, 2012

So after the sad demise of my beloved scooter.......

....I finally learn exactly how much my insurance company will pay out and it may limit my sights somewhat as to what I can afford to get as a replacement.......

Friday, October 12, 2012

More drawings from my 'Injury Book' hospital notebook . . . largely drawn with either the left hand or both left and limited right . . . . . .

Recovery ward...

Hospital corridor waiting for an X-Ray

Hospital ward corridor

Hospital Trauma Unit Ward 3a

iPad drawings from 'The Injury Book' Sept - Oct 2012 . . . . 

Hospital portrait - 20ml morphine 100ml Tramadol 100mg Paracetamol

Spine study

Home with bones broken
Spine study II

View from my hospital bed

Hospital bed Oct 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Big O comes up with more than music that often makes for an interesting read



Human life before the age of capitalism was one of early death, high infant mortality, illiteracy, and suffering. The age of capitalism resulted in more advances in measurable aspect of human life then the previous 6,000 years of non-capitalist civilization.

The so called "capitalist system" is the only one (yet known) that relies on voluntary human actions and not on force backed up by the threat of violence. Capitalism allows individuals of endless varieties of worldviews to live together in peace. If you don't like what companies or individuals do, under capitalism one is allowed to ignore them and both parties can live in peace and go about different paths towards happiness. Socialism and other non-capitalist systems require all to conform to a single world view or suffer imprisonment, execution or other means to prevent non-conformist actions.

In a capitalist transaction, both parties have to think they benefit, as either party can back out of any transaction. No one is forced to shop at Wal-Mart or eat at McDonald's, these companies can only survive by providing things people want. Capitalism is freedom, almost all of the problems the author whines about came about due to government interference in the market, not the market itself.

Socialism has been tried in a wide variety of forms, including National Socialism (Nazis) in Germany, Stalinism in Russia and Mao's version in China, all failed miserably, and resulted in deaths of hundreds of millions of individuals.

Been there done that, didn't Berman learn anything from the 20th century?

America has not failed, the opposite is true, America has been a huge success (look at the number of applications for immigration to the USA), although we Americans have been facing slower growth (but still growth) as we have moved farther away from a true capitalist system to more of a mixed system with increased government regulations and involvement.

Silly arguments made here which are unlikely to appeal to anyone over the age of 22 (unless dreaming of being a '60s protestor) or anyone who has ever lived in a system like the one Berman advocates.

Let us not forget Malthus from 200 years and realize dire prediction of ecological disasters in the past have not come true, in fact the opposite has happened as capitalist systems have proven to be able to adapt to changing environments much better than other systems and continue to improve the quality of our lives.

Despite what the alarmists over centuries have claimed, the sky is not falling and life generally gets better for each generation and there is no reason to believe this trend over the past 600 years is about to change anytime soon.

via Internet

Thursday, October 04, 2012

There's a doozie of a Neil Young (and Crazy Horse) today over at Big O  . . . . available here Neil Young & Crazy Horse - New York 2012
This is from 29th September! It never ceases to amaze me how fast we can get this stuff now.....I'm of the generation that was used to waiting years for certain bootlegs to reveal themselves!

This is what Hendrik Hertzberg posted at newyorker.com:
Neil Young, sixty-seven years old next month, is a wonder. His voice is rougher and lower than it was when I first heard it, forty-six years ago, at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. But it’s as strong as it was in his Buffalo Springfield days, and as distinctive, and as clear, with those emphatic Canadian “r”s. Even against the cacophony of Crazy Horse’s tsunami of sound, you don’t need a lyric sheet to understand the words he sings the first time you hear them. You get the music and you get the meaning.
Back then he was a diffident young buck. Now he’s a lion, thrashing and roaring. He’s a buffalo in an autumn field, snorting and pawing the plain of the stage. For more than an hour, every minute of it intense, he sang and played, loped and ducked and stomped. This is not an oldies act. There was no “Everybody Knows,” no “Heart of Gold,” no “Old Man” (except the ones on the stage). From the long-ago past, only “The Needle and the Damage Done,” which he sang accompanied solely by his own acoustic guitar. (The set was beautifully paced.)
The shortage of “greatest hits” mattered not at all. In his late sixties Young is a volcano of creativity. The song about hearing “Like a Rolling Stone” for the first time was proof enough of that. For me, though, the night’s high point was another new composition of his, “Walk Like a Giant.”
The lyrics are about disillusionment (”I used to walk like a giant on the land/Now I feel like a leaf floating on the stream”), but the music, its thunderous, feedback-rich electric guitars set off by a jaunty whistled bridge, is about defiance. Its stunning conclusion was a long series of stomps: Neil in his thick farmer’s boots slamming the floor - thud! thud! thud! - and putting his whole body into it, with every thud augmented by a bone-rattling guitar chord. It was as if we were being stalked by a tyrannosaur as big as the Beresford.
The concert ended the only way it properly could, with everyone on stage with the master, “Rockin’ in the Free World.” The last note faded at exactly 10 pm.
Meanwhile......I am getting slowly better and thanks for all the good will texts and cards, they are ALL really appreciated. Can't write yet as fast as I'd like and it's slow stuff as is most stuff but we re getting there . . . . .still awaiting to see if there are operations on the hands as they don't seem to be happy with how they're healing....as in their not! Hasn't stopped me drawing mind.......or writing this to you.........peace love and understanding - Swappers
Trauma Ward 3a, John Radcliffe Hospital 2012