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small red square Today is May Day, Comrade!
Throw of those shackles of oppression!
Class Warfare is the Engine of History!

My friend L bristles when I mention communism favorably, but he's reacting in the conventional manner to the suggestion of brutal statist regimes and all that general Cold War hostility, while I'm thinking instead of commune-style living in a worker's paradise. Where I picture an equitable redistribution of wealth, he sees seizure & confiscation of assets and the KGB. I see Joe Hill, he see Joe Stalin. My own socialist ideal is the way they live on Pern, in Anne McCaffrey's "Dragon" books. What I find appealing is the idea of communal dining in large public halls. What is unappealing is culture based strictly on doctrine - it's so boring, it can't possibly withstand the bright light of international public scrutiny. Check out North Korea's official web site and you can see what I mean. How can anyone take that stuff seriously?

small purple square I've got one of my archival videos playing in the background, as I type this - "Back To The Future", one of my favorite films <1>. The other movies on this tape are "Mothra" and "Don't Look Back" (the Dylan tour documentary). As ever the sound is coming out of my stereo and the picture is on this monochrome (green) Apple monitor my brother N donated (it's the only CRT in my apartment). This particular section was taped on Election Day 1992 off KTLA channel 5, so during the breaks, along with the archaic five-year-old commercials, one finds frequent announcements of Clinton's victory by (award-winning) Hal Fishman.

small gray square A guy <2> on Terri Gross' "Fresh Air" radio show today is talking about how James Brown is really the Godfather of Funk, how his sound is all around us now in the form of Funk and Rap music. Describing the revolutionary structure of 1965's "Poppa's Got A Brand New Bag", he said "...'soul music' peaked in 1966-1967, and really ended in 1968 with the death of Dr. Martin Luther King." I've been mulling over this... the timing seems right, but I've never heard that linkage before, and the more I dwell on it the more specious it seems. The interview was from 1990; played again as part of a James Brown Special Birthday show (he's 70?). The anecdote about him I recall was a news factoid from several years back during one of those stretches he was doing jail time. A surprise inspection uncovered $40,000 cash in his cell; when asked about he said it was "For smokes, man."

CRT - Cathode-Ray Tube

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<1>Cheapened by its sequels, in my opinion. D o you know a new one (#4) is coming? Back

<2>Bruce Tucker, self-professed "middle-aged white guy" and co-author (with the Godfather) of a book about James Brown Back