Breathe…cause it just might be your last

At the risk of becoming a simple music source, tonight I listened, en vivo, to Southerly, normally a one-man band that released it’s new cd today. Happily, Krist (hey, maybe it’s a Pacific NW thing — see Krist Novocelic from Nirvana) Krueger enlisted friends and musicians for an album full of pop gems mostly under 3 minutes in length. The concert ended with Soldiers, which brings to mind the Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony, condensed into a Portland sound via the assistance of Black Butte Porter. Southerly begins here via Boxnet.

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Pa’ Gozar

Could it be that Apple (trading at $112 these days) just gets it? The music from their latest commercial brings summer, hip-swinging dance steps, smooth tans that grow amid island breezes, and visions of postings in Latin America to life once more. Enjoy Quantic and Nickodemus’ Mi Swing Es Tropical, with it’s giddy Wurlitzer-fueled rhythms and Caribbean-accented Spanish; I’ve added to box net, to the right. Someone find me my tiguere shirt.

Se baila asi, se goza mas

A One Color-Wheel

I wonder if living for a year in the Brown world is what makes Oregon appear to be the whitest place I’ve ever seen. Seriously, the only pigment I’ve seen is in the local Pinot Noirs bottled near where I’m staying.  Regardless, the  img_2749.jpgone color that isn’t lacking is green, cut to various lengths and shades.  And the smells of spruce and pine.  All perfectly combined in the amphitheater setting of the tee-box on  hole #3.

This land is your land, this land is my land…la-la-la

On opposite sides of the globe, a curious thing is happening.  Two administrations, one a national government and one a state government, are embroiled in projects to change ownership of that ever- contentious commodity — land.  In one case, the government says its land reforms are aimed at ending inequality that has put 80% of the country’s private land in the hands of just 5% of the population.  In the other, the government says its land reforms are necessary to bring in investment and industry to the state. The violence is just starting in the former; it has been going on for the past 8 months in the latter. Funny thing, though, is that in the first case of Venezuela, it’s a government that follows the principles of socialism, and to a large extent probably, communism.  In the second in the Indian State of West Bengal, it’s a Communist government that is now advocating in many respects the principles of capitalism. Continue reading

Overnight in Tokyo

It’s oddly refreshing to be in a country where the language is so completely alien to me. And besides, things in Tokyo are just damn cool, though goofy. Start with the hotel. The automatic doors at the entrance are supremely silent, and the lobby of the hotel is actually on the 16th floor of the building, which makes me wonder what’s going on below. The hotel has a modernist bent, like so much of the city that I’ve seen Tokyo. Modernism has it’s drawbacks, particularly in the suburbs in between the city and Narita Int’l., but when it’s done well it simplifies everything.  In my room, I was impressed with the automatic toilet, which heats the seat and has two different sprayers (fountain and direct), which make the automatic flush seems trivial by comparison.

Alternatively, Tokyo seems strangely lifeless. Although your senses do get overloaded, it’s not with emotional pleasure. I’m reminded of arriving in Stockholm. The airport there, in Arlanda, was too quiet. And it was a long, pricey express train into the city. I know the Swedes have character, as do the Japanese, but you just don’t feel it when you arrive in these countries the way you do in Latin America, India, Africa, and some places in Europe. I feel as if an outside force is constantly organizing and directing me.  That force is similar to the one that lead me to a small cafeteria called Azuma in the Ginza District, where you can get a signature dish of an omelette on ketchup-seasoned fried rice.  I opted instead for the curry rice (mmm…see? Japanese curry rice is not a Mexico City creation) with a soya flavored hamburger steak

These thoughts aren’t anything new, but a reminder that sometimes the search for a place called home can seem like it’s perpetual.

Spreading the Sonic Love

The other day I read that listening to music produces endorphins, and thus, the power of wearing headphones for that massive rush. There have been some great songs that I’ve been listening to (ok, so most of them are at least a year old), and some that I’ve mentioned on other pages on this site.

So look to the right and you’ll now see a widget with these mind-altering tunes available for your aural pleasure, including the unreasonably addictive “Hate then Love” by the Dears, the classic ode to a car and driving “Blue Thunder” by Galaxie 500, and some stirring gospel by Mahalia Jackson. Enjoy.