Friday, March 27, 2009

Matteo y Patricia :: Estilo Villa Urquiza

Stupidity Incarnate

You may or may not have heard about the Dallas police officer who detained an NFL player in the parking lot of the hospital where his mother-in-law was dying.

I have a great deal of respect for police officers. I have a great deal of respect for the intelligent, honest, good-hearted, open-minded, compassionate men and women of integrity who put their lives at risk to make us safer.

Honor. Honorable is the word. It doesn't come when they are issued the uniform and put it on. It comes from the heart and soul. Police departments should be full of these people. Unfortunately, there are a few bad apples in the ranks. Racist in-bred idiot motherfuckers on a power trip who are no better than a common criminal.

Isn't there a simple test for that shit?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

24 de marzo 1976 :: Los Desaparecidos :: The Dirty War

Today is the 33rd anniversary of the military junta that started the Dirty War in Argentina...

Here's a prior post ::

Shady Grove

Feeling Fleeced?

If not, you should. I've repeatedly said that I am no economist, and I don't really have a concrete understanding of everything that is going on. I'm going by some basic common sense and gut instinct. Here's what I think:

The the enormous sums of money that the Federal government is using to bail out the economy...the banks, AIG (I'm so foaming-at-the-mouth livid about this I have to ignore the news), TARP, and on down the simply a way for certain (few) folks to line their pockets at taxpayer expense. It's a free for all and we are essentially printing money and handing out. (Note that I heard the Treasury printed $1 trillion last week.)

The problem is, they are not making the money available to the common man, woman and child where it would do the most good. Give an entity a couple of billion dollars and watch what happens. Nothing. The money goes into a black hole. It makes the entity whole again, in theory. It makes the board of directors whole again, in theory. It makes the stockholders (owners) whole again, in theory. It makes the banks' creditors whole again, in theory - a good thing.

Once made whole after huge losses, do you think they are going to go out and put those funds at risk again? No. You are going to hold on to it. You are most definitely going to hold on to it.

And there it is.

The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kiss and Tango movie production stalled in tango lessons for Bullock

This is my own made up headline, but it just dawned on me that it's very likely that Sandy, after her first round of tango lessons, figured out that it would not be so easy to portray Argentine tango as possibly first thought. Not that I don't think she can learn and learn well, but as we all know, it takes time. It's been about two years since it first hit the news that Sandra Bullock had bought the movie rights to the book. That's just about right. Perhaps production can start now.

Perhaps production has already started. Has anyone seen film crews taking over milonga venues in Buenos Aires?

I check with Google once in a while to see if there is any news on the movie - production-wise. I'm interested in this one because so many movies have come out that do not portray Argentine tango accurately. With this one, perhaps there is a chance to show the world - authentically - what our Argentine Tango is all about.

I'm concerned that the producers (Sandy and friends) may eschew Buenos Aires and its milongas as the actual filming locations due to costs, or logistics or whatever. To me, the movie can't be all that it can be if filmed elsewhere. They will need lots of good tango dancers as extras - the only place to find them is in Buenos Aires.

I'm also concerned that due to song rights issues, they may not use guardia vieja music, which will also affect the outcome, the feel, the everything of the movie. My guess is even if song rights are not an issue, the powers that be will say that the movie going public would not like (or 'get') traditional tango music - and try to come up with something else - thereby missing the mark.


Sandy, if you are reading this, please shoot the film in Buenos Aires in the actual milongas that Marina Palmer danced at. Please use original guardia vieja music exclusively in the film. Please do the right thing and do the thing right. Please please purty please.

Monday, March 16, 2009

On Milonga :: This one put a smile on my face...

I haven't really run across anything on YouTube worthy of posting, that is, until I watched this one this put a smile on my face...

It's a reminder not to take our tango, and especially our milonga, so seriously...

The song is Francisco Canaro's "No hay tierra como la mia"...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Entry #0001 :: No more grass

365/202 The hissing of summer lawns
Originally uploaded by justmakeit

This is my first post in my "the end of life as we know it..." thread. I've been holding off for a while on this, because as a blog theme/thread, it is a vast one - wide and deep. Pretty much all encompassing.

You may recall that I started writing about the shit-hitting-the-economic-fan very soon after I started this blog, during the fall of 2007. My feelings and beliefs on the multitude of issues that are currently raining down upon us began being formulated in 1974. After reading one of my sister's college textbooks - Paul Erlich's Population, Resources, Environments: Issues in Human Ecology (1970) - I began to ponder human overpopulation and its implications. Erlich was one of the founders of the Zero Population Growth movement.

After that textbook, I read everything I could get my hands on. I joined the Ozark Society. I joined the Audubon Society. I was a card carrying member of the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society. I traveled deep into the Atchafalaya Basin, guiding large groups of canoeists into the stillness of the blackwater swamps of Buffalo Cove. I bushwacked the thick, dark forests and steep, slimy loess slopes of the Tunica Hills near Pond, Mississippi. I trekked into the mountain wilderness and jammed my bloody fists into cold granite cracks to scale the peaks there. I was born an environmentalist (another post), but it was these years that solidified these foundations in my soul.

I can't really call it "my" theory, or a theory at all. It's an amalgam of everything I read and pondered and figured out for myself. Only my two wives knew this deepest, darkest secret of my soul. I couldn't share my feelings with anyone else over these past 34 years. I called it my "majorsocioeconomicenviropoliticalcatasrophe" theory. Add religious and racial issues into the mix now and it pretty much covers everything. It is based on the fact, the FACT, that human overpopulation will begin to precipitate a series (concurrent) of events that will fundamentally change the way life is lived on this planet.

Water shortages, oil shortages, energy shortages, global warming, radical climate change, acid rain (at the time), air pollution, food shortages, topsoil depletion, loss of arable land, famine, loss of wildlife habitat, overfishing of oceans, ocean acidification, death of coral reefs and ocean ecosystem imbalances, loss of species, wild disparities of economic status, social dissatisfaction leading to civil unrest, ethnic cleansing leading to genocide, political squabbles, religious tension, foreign relations issues, war, the failure of health care and educational systems - serious failure and instability across the board and across the globe. My "theory" isn't pretty picture. Uncomfortable at the very least - devastating contraction of human population levels at the very worst. Devasting to those devasted, and a really good thing, for those not.

I thought, predicted, in the privacy of my own mind, that after world oil production peaked somewhere around 2005 to 2010, (my dad the geologist told me this factoid in 1974), that things would begin to decline, hopefully on the way to fundamental change, somewhere around 2020. I guessed that we might not really see the worst until 2030 or 2040, at the end of my life, at the age of 70 or 80, and that it might take 50 years for things to really stabilize and come out the the other side. A "not in my lifetime" scenario.

I quit the Sierra Club in the early 80's, resigning myself with the feeling that there was nothing anyone could do to stave off the inevitable. The inevitability of one of the fundamental laws of nature. One of the fundamental truths of the universe. The truth that population levels fluctuate. They rise and they fall. Without fail. I went on about my life in the ensuing years, keeping my black secret hidden in my heart. After my daughter was born, I worried about her - I hoped she would not ever see this in her lifetime.

But now, I fear everything is happening sooner than I anticipated - 10-20 years sooner. The crux is this. Sustainability. The Western world is primarily responsible for choosing a path that is not sustainable. I'm not talking 5 years, or 10 years, or even 50 years. We need to be looking at things in a 500 year window. A 500 year sustainability window. We are now seeing the effects of our unsustainable choices for the past 300 years or so. Or is it unsustainable evolution? My concern is that no one is talking about sustainability. No one is talking about overpopulation. No one is talking about the elephant in the room.

For my profile on Facebook, under "politics", I put that I am a "radically conservative, fundamentalist ultra-left wing elitist liberal", or something along those lines. I think that's pretty close. I'm not a doomsday or survivalist type., however. It's important to note that this post is not about despair, but hope. Hope for the human species. Hope that we can join together and rise above materialism and self-interest. Hope that love, community and pursuit of the common good will prevail.

For now, suffice it to say there will be no more thirsty lawns or grass. The entire metropolis of Atlanta almost ran out of water last summer. They were down to a thirty day supply of water in their only reservoir. The Hill Country of Texas is on a critical drought/water shortage alert - they are asking everyone to voluntarily curtail water use by 30%. Los Angeles is in big trouble. The roughly 125 golf courses in the Palm Desert are in trouble. There were over 100 the last time I checked.

So, no more grass. No more white picket fence. Save water, save trees, eliminate the toxic paint waste, open your dusty yard to the neighbor kids to play football.

Stay tuned for "Where did we go wrong?"

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some really nasty tango...

Here's some nasty shit-for-tango that will leave a bad taste in your mouth...

Sorry, but I'm in one of my moods...


The Last Milonguero

A better life...

"Most of the people in these nations [of the United States] are extremely eager in the pursuit of immediate material pleasures, and are always discontented with the position they occupy. They think about nothing but ways of changing their lot and bettering it...An American will build a house in which to pass his old age and sell it before the roof is on. He will plant a garden and rent it just as the trees are coming into bear. He will take up a profession and leave it, settle in one place and soon go off elsewhere with his changing desire. Yet at the end of the year crammed with work he has little spare leisure. His restless curiosity goes with him traveling up and down the vast territories of the United States."
Alexis de Tocqueville
Democracy in America, 1835

Monday, March 9, 2009

It is odd to watch...

with what feverish ardor the Americans pursue prosperity. Millions of men are all marching together toward the same point on the horizon; their languages, religions, and mores are different, but they have one common aim. They have been told that fortune is to be found somewhere toward the west, and they hasten to seek it.

Alexis de Tocqueville
Democracy in America, 1835

I would urge you to be prepared...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Something I saw on the way home one day...

Driftwood, Texas
photo by on the photo for the large size...

Titled "Driftwood, Texas"...

Or is this better? Or just different? I'm not sure what I think about "fine art" photography always expected to be black & white...for me, the yellow sign in the distance and the red gas pump "make" the the black and white version, those two elements are lost...

"fine art 2" in Driftwood

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Corruption of Tango


I'm going back to a prior post - "Tango is in trouble" - because there is some good commentary going on -

Important note: Ruddy did not write the original post, but an anonymous acquaintance of his did. At the time, I thought it was interesting enough to share - he was writing about tango being "in trouble" in Buenos Aires.

It was this paragraph that I found most interesting - and is probably the reason I posted it in the first place:

Many Argentine people that are involved with the music of tango, such as tango historians and others, who may not even dance themselves, feel that the Americans have a genuine interest and love for tango
music. It appears that many people from the US are buying a lot of
tango music, and not just the most obvious selections, but things
that are rare, and they know what they are buying because they have
been looking for it. These Argentine tango historians look at the
American dancers and DJ's with respect and hope. They believe that if
anyone can save the tango, it will be the Americans that love it.

As a tango DJ and historian myself, I found it intriguing that as the decades advance, a few of us here in the U.S. may end up being the archivists, the preservationists, of the one, true, original tango. This is simply an interesting concept to ponder, that's all.

The commentary on the original post tended toward "the death of tango" - kindasorta. I don't think tango is in any real danger of dying out or disappearing. Quite the contrary. I think tango has a slow steady burn to it - like the coals of a fire made with heavy, dense oak logs. Those fires burn long and hot. More coals than flames. Black iron can be forged in those coals. White hot coals and blue flames in between them.

The fire may appear to be out in the morning chill - covered with a layer of white ash - there is no heat from the night before. But if you lightly brush back the ash, and start to blow on the coals, you will always find a few still glowing. A good boy scout can get a fire roaring back from only one or two glowing coals.

What I do think, based on my personal observations and experiences, is that for every traditionalist, there are three or four who are corrupting tango through their ignorance or apathy of the history, traditions, culture and music of tango. I don't think they are doing purposely. I think they are oblivious.

So, more accurately, perhaps our concern should be about the corruption of tango, or the prostitution of tango.

See Johanna's post on the "Kiss and Tango Effect" for more interesting commentary on a related aspect.

I'm not worried. I'm simply choosing Ghandi's words as my new mantra, adapted for the purpose - "BE the tango you wish to see in the world."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Something I saw on the way to lunch...

Of this earth...
Photo by alex.tango.fuego...

No crop. No retouch. Just stick my head out the window (on the way to grab lunch), compose in the frame, and snap. Okay, so I did underexpose in manual mode to blue up the sky a bit. But no post-processing whatsoever.