pain is the staff of life


Posted in Uncategorized by ruthanzo on June 28, 2008

The mind-numbing dumbing down continues. Is this all there is?

Somme’body throw’d da ol’ brier baby inta da tar sands. She was ‘stackin’ da brooms’ when $umone pull’d da oil-patch over her eyes. Sour, ‘Grapes?’ cause it’s all happening in the land of the Holy Grail and not in Stanley’s Cup? Mandela’s B-day, Bono & Amy W. (with or without emphysema) Wimbledon, Glastonbury…
It never reigns but it poor.


Bo Diddley & the Great Crested Flycatcher

Posted in Uncategorized by ruthanzo on June 27, 2008

What do the late great Bo Diddley and the great crested flycatcher have in common???

A fetish for things reptilian.

Today Better-half and I were lying out on the grass in the barnyard looking up at the sky when a slender grey bird with a long tail landed on a wire and I said lazily ‘Better-half, what is that bird?’ he replied without losing a beat ‘That’s the great crested flycatcher,’ adding ‘There’s always a shed snakeskin in its nest.’ Really.Wow! I was impressed, with him and the bird. By keeping a snakeskin in his nest, is the great crested flycatcher honoring his reptilian ancestors? Or do males of all species know instinctively that females (Eve et al) have a thing for snakeskin?

I was immediately reminded of Who Do You Love, my favorite Bo Diddley song.

I wurk 47 miles’a barbwar
Usa kobra snayk furra nekty
I gotta bran nu houze onna rhode bisside
Maid outta rattosnake hyde,
Gotta brand nu chimnee biltontop
Maid outtava uman skul
So komalong ‘n tayka lil wok wit mee Awleen
‘n tel me “Hoo dooyoo luv?”

Later on in the song Bo returns to the snakemotif.

I roadaround town, witha rattosnake wip
Taykid eezy Awleen, doan gimme no lip..
Hoo dooyoo luv?


Home seems to be a bluebird box. Guess the price was right.

Joyeux St-Jean-Baptiste ✄☺ June 24 2008

Posted in Uncategorized by ruthanzo on June 21, 2008

June 21, 2008

This 1907 pic taken by Donovan of Alexandria On. is from ‘City Work at Country Prices’ a collection of Donovan portraits reproduced from his glass negatives by Montreal photographer Jennifer Harper for Oxford University Press, Toronto, 1977.

St-Jean-Baptiste, coz to Jesus, ranks high-up in the pantheon of French Canada’s Saints. Not only does his feast day on June 24 coincide with the Solstice, for some reason he was co-opted early on by French-Canadian Nationalists (La Société St-Jean-Batiste has always been a quasi-religious/nationalist outfit and sheep magnet) and during Québec’s political unrest in the 60s, Montréal’s annual parade in the Saint’s honour became a flashpoint for young separatists. In the old days the affair was more of a beauty pageant when an appealing boychild with curly hair (mothers were known to cheat and perm their kid’s hair) was chosen from among the faithful (casting couch at the Bishoppric?) to play the Saint and with a little sheep in tow the lucky kid rode around on a float to the unbearable delight of nuns and grannies. In mid-60s Montréal, this benign symbol was replaced by a rigid towering statue of St J-B in cast steel (a hollow idol?) and there were no sheep. Sometime during a parade in the late 60s the Saint’s float was boarded by a group of unruly youths and in a violent public exhibition of anti-clericism the statue was toppled while a bunch of us partied and watched the proceedings from what had once been the rooftop garden of Fawzia Amir’s belly-dancing club on Sherbrooke W. near Bleury. This may have been the same year that the new P-M, Pierre E. Trudeau (a federalist and much-loathed by the separatists) was hit with an empty beer bottle (I’d guess a ‘cinquante’ for that was the nationalists’ broue of choice, Y’a rien qui La batte, curious as Labatts was on Ontario company) as he sat in the reviewing stand in Parc Lafontaine waiting for St J-B to show up. The seething Trudeau who relished confrontation leapt to his feet and began to taunt his assailant, no doubt giving the miscreant his now-famous middle finger, before security could haul him off the stand. The October crisis followed in 1970. By 1976 Québec had elected the Parti Québécois, the provincial separatist party founded by Réné Lévesque. Now, 30 years later, the feast is marked by a glitzy Cirque du Soleil-style parade up Avenue du Parc ending at the statue of Winged Victory (somebody won?) which faces Parc Jeanne-Mance (formerly Fletcher’s Field) followed predictably by endless live performances of artists who were once committed to the ’cause.’ It all seems pretty tame and ho-hum, like that little sheep.

The Log Driver’s Waltz (NFB short 1979)

Posted in Uncategorized by ruthanzo on June 20, 2008

June 20 2008

John F. Weldon did the animation for what has become Wade Hemsworth’s best-known song. Kate & Anna McGarrigle and the Mountain City Four did the soundtrack. If you were an English-speaking Canadian schoolchild in the 1980s with a TV you probably saw it. Arguably the most popular of the NFB’s Canadian Vignettes that aired on the CBC. It was already uploaded to



Posted in Uncategorized by ruthanzo on June 17, 2008

Was he SMOKIN’ or what? Of course he’s had lots of rest and hasn’t had to serve up sound bites to the various RAVENOUS interest groups like the other poor candidates have had to do this last year and whose cupboards are now bare. He certainly was impressive with his take on what the problems the next administration needs to tackle….. AS great as he was I don’t think he impressed the SMIRKY Campbell Brown. She looks like she’s had something done to her mouth that prevents her from going slack-jAWEd like the rest of us.

Tagged with: ,

Neo-classic satyricon.

Posted in Uncategorized by ruthanzo on June 15, 2008

There’s a really funny account in Mother Jones of how a plot to change the regime in Iran was planned back in Dec 2001 at a bar in Rome in a meeting that was facilitated by the Italian Military Intelligence Service. It reads like the scenario for a Marx Brothers movie though I’m sure it was Casablanca the planners had in mind. Larry Franklin the supposed Iran expert in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans is dispatched to this meeting by Douglas Feith and Franklin comes off as a dimwitted patsy falling for the scheme that was hatched by neo-con Michael Ledeen and exiled Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar. (Franklin’s doing time for leaking U.S. defense secrets to the Israelis so he can’t be too bright.) There’s even a phoney exiled mullah named ‘Ayatollah Maliki’ (Nuri-al?) that ‘Gorba’ produces at a later Paris meeting. The Americans had to ante up $5 million for the privilege of seeing ‘Gorba’s plan outlined on a cocktail napkin (does he think he’s Picasso?) These are the same two guys that were behind the Iran-Contra arms swap for hostages back in early 1980s and ‘Gorba’ also served up the uranium yellow-cake that led to ‘dessert storm.’ The usual suspects indeed. Burlesque-oni.


BLACKOUT SABBATH – JUNE 21 08 – First ever Stromausfallschabath (may there be many more)

Posted in Uncategorized by ruthanzo on June 12, 2008

Rufus Wainwright is hoping to help save the Earth, our home. He has initiated a holiday BLACKOUT SABBATH that combines inventiveness with ecological commonsense. The object of this holiday is to leave the grid for 12 hours on June 21 (noon to midnight) the eve of the Summer Solstice. No driving either. You’ll be richer in the morning. Use up all the stuff in your freezer in the days before June 21 making the food you’ll need to eat during the Blackout Sabbath. Have a party. Look at it as an incentive to clean the fridge. For those of you deep in the country ‘go’ outdoors (like they do at European Music Festivals) cause the water pump’s gotta be turned off too, no flush unless its a royal. Trim your lamps and make sure you have candles and matches at the ready before sunset.

An aside: Just googled Black Sabbath, the band. The group was called Earth (really? must have been when it was just a ball of iron making Ozzie some kinda fossil) until they decided to call themselves after the Italian horror film Black Sabbath starring Boris Karloff. What does it all mean?

Naan apologizes for the weird meter (electrical?) to these following missives. Just as Jesus turned water into wine WordPress has turned prose into poetry.


Hey all!

This will be the last reminder before the first annual Blackoutsabbath
ritual takes place on Saturday, June 21st 2008 from noon to midnight
all over the World. I’m assuming you folks out there haven’t been
bombarded with promo concerning the event: this is precisely my
intention! I didn’t want to push this project too hard and make it
seem like some kind of media fad. Like the low grade fever that grips
our planet, we need a low grade answer (not necessarily dramatic, but
a CONSTANT reminder) to combat the marathon machinations we are about
to experience, not to mention what we are experiencing right now!
Don’t get me wrong, the bigger the gesture the better. Still, any
shift must last and in essence become a solid part of our lives. The
other day I saw some guy on TV (wish I could remember his name)
talking about how it is the simple organisms that survive on this
planet, and that history is laced with examples of species dying out
because they failed to cut back when their habitat required them to.
On one hand it’s frightening, but on the other it’s possibly a
testament to the greatness of humanity if we act on the fact that we
as a species might actually have to de-evolve in a way in order to
survive. IT’S REVOLUTIONARY, and has never been done in the whole
history of the earth! Still, I would bargain to say that not only the
earth but in fact the entire Universe has never witnessed such a thing
as “human beings” and that even if they can get a bit screwy, our
brains are still our greatest asset. So good luck with your day off,
do what you can, but most of all, keep trying.

Love, Rufus

P.S. This message was pretty dry in terms of the comedy section, so
below I attached a couple of emails, one from my mom and one from Jorn
so you guys can chuckle a bit. Also, don’t forget to visit the site to get the specifics. Adios!

From Kate (forever the flower child) adapting the old Timothy Leary slogan for the day:

blackoutsabbath: TURN OFF!!!TUNE UP!!!DROP IN!!!
TURN OFF all Blackberrys, computers, cell phones, lights and electrical appliances, TUNE UP
your harp, biwa, whatever, voice.. host a blackoutsabbath DROP IN: preferably outdoors…just like the old celebration of the solstice – burning the fire from sundown to sun up in order to keep the day from dying and starting anew! In Quebec, we do the St. Jean which is an ancient Celtic (Breton) celebration…don’t use anything ELECTRICAL or ELECTRONIC… your ELECTRONS some love: give them the DAY OFF!
For advice on how to prepare, ask your RABBI whose people have lots of experience
(thousands of years) doing sabbath – how to prepare, what to eat etc…(Naan will consult her local DRUID leader Dane) As this event has nothing to do with WORK, I suggest a hearty BBQ – fire is allowed,
coals are allowed – fun is allowed! NO ELECTRONIC SOURCES OF SOUNDS –
make your own music….beat a drum, strum a guitar, plink a piano,
blow a horn!

Here’s one from Jorn:

Liebe Lieblingsdeutschen,
Schon wieder was Neues aus Amerika und Ihr werdet dabei sein. Nicht
der neue Sex and the City, der schon so vorbei ist, wenn man ihn sieht
und das einzig Neue ist, dass keine Anzeigen drin sind, sondern der
Film halt eine einzige Anzeige ist, nicht ein neues Iphone, obwohl ich
selber gar nicht sicher bin, ob es das schon gibt, kein neuer Ipod mit
Speicherkapazitaet fuer jede Minute eines ganzen Durchschittsleben,
sondern es ist Blackoutsabbath.
Jawohl! Ihr habt recht gehoert, es ist etwas, was sich dunkel und
geheimnisvoll anhoert (etwas das die Amerikaner lieber den Europaern
ueberlassen haben) aber es kommt eben doch aus den USA.
Und richtig, es hoert sich auch ein bischen nach Rezession an und das
ist nun auch eine der Neuigkeiten, die wir gemeinsam haben. Wir haben
Rezession und wir haben McCain. Das tolle aber an dieser Neuigkeit
ist, dass sie mit zwei altbekannten Gesichtern daherkommt. Zum einen
Rufus, der dann schon ein paar Tage an etwas das so passe ist wie
Shakespeare’s Sonnette gearbeitet haben wird und eben ich.
Blackoutsabbath ist am 21. Juni und das einzige, was Ihr machen
muesst, um dabei zu sein ist: Nichts.
Hoert sich bislang ganz einfach an. Ihr muesst sicherstellen, dass
nichts wird aus dem, was Ihr macht oder das ihr nichts braucht fuer
das, was Ihr macht. Was heisst das? Strom abstellen! Macht Euren
eigenen Stromausfall (english blackout). Und ja, es ist an einem
Samstag und der 21. Juni ist zufaelligerweise auch der laengste Tag
des Jahres. Und in New York gibt es ja auch die Upper West Side mit
ganz vielen Sabbathfahrstuehlen, die einfach in jedem Stock halten,
weil man ja keine Knoepfe druecken darf, und bevor ich nach New York
umgezogen bin, hat mir Adriana versucht alle juedischen Feiertage
beizubringen und jetzt wuenschte ich, ich wuerde in einer juedischen
Firma arbeiten, weil da hat man 13 freie Tage mehr (ja, DREIZEHN). Ich
bin mir sicher, dass Ihr jetzt verstanden habt, warum das
Blackoutsabbath (Stromausfallschabath) heisst.
Ihr duerft nichts machen an dem Tag von 12 Uhr Mittag bis 12 Uhr
nachts (ausser den Kuehlschrank sauber machen, wurde auch langsam
Zeit) und duerft nicht von Energie abhaengen. Wie ist das moeglich?
Wie werdet Ihr bloss mit diesen furchteinfloessenden 12 Stunden
fertig? Indem Ihr zu der Party kommt, die Corinna, Georg, Rufus und
ich um 7 Uhr veranstalten werden. Ihr muesst bei —- klingeln. Eine
Sekunde, klingeln?
Geht nicht! Wir werden uns was einfallen lassen, wie Ihr Euch
bemerkbar macht. Und Ihr muesst die Treppen steigen, weil Fahrstuhl
geht nur mit Strom. Rufus hat schon angeboten immer runterzuflitzen
wenn jemand klingelt (wir nennen das jetzt einfach mal so), weil sein
Trainer ihm gesagt hat, dass Treppensteigen einen Knallerarsch macht.
Ihr koennt natuerlich nicht mit dem Auto oder der U Bahn kommen, weil
ja nichts mehr funktioniert. Auch trampen oder Fahrgemeinschaften
gelten nicht. Ihr koennt ja vor Mittag hier rueber fahren und dann
spazieren gehen (und Zeit vergeuden, was an diesem Tag sehr produktiv
waere). Ihr koenntet angeritten kommen oder einfach das Fahrrad
nehmen. Bringt eine Kerze mit (weil es wird ja dunkel) und Ideen,
ueber die man reden kann, was man anders machen kann und was man
selber aendern will an seinem eigenen und Konsumverhalten. Wir
schreiben dann alles auf und dank Rufus’ absolut unermuedlicher Fans,
die ihm von Schals bis Broschen und Spielzeug (nicht SO ein Spielzeug)
alles schenken, gibt es Kuehlschrankmagneten en masse, die
sicherstellen, dass unsere Ideen fuer ein ganzes Jahr bei uns bleiben
bis das gleiche sich dann im naechsten Jahr wiederholt und wir andere
Ideen haben koennen. Ich wuenschte wirklich, dass Rufus¹ Fans ihm
nuetzlichere Dinge geben wuerden wie Suppenschalen (wir brauchen die
ganz wirklich fuer unser Fruehstueck morgens), eine wunderschoene
Tagesdecke (und ich meine auch wunderschoen nicht wie neulich wieder
dieser Schal nach dem Konzert am 1. April). Ich musste sogar meinen
eigenen Entsafter kaufen, auf den ich seit drei Jahren warte, aber
kein Fan wollte uns einen schenken. Warum bin ich eigentlich in dieser
Aber ich weiche ab.
Es waere also eine Ehre, wenn Ihr mit uns diesen Abend verbringen
Es wird eine der raren Chancen sein, dass Ihr mich und umgekehrt seht
(nicht dass es allzu hell sein wird). Bitte gebt auch bescheid, ob Ihr
jemanden mitbringen wollt und begrenzt es bitte auf eine Person, und
es sollte auch diejenige sein, mit der ihr den regelmaessigsten Sex
habt (und gar kein Sex ist nicht regelmaessig).
Freue mich riesig!
P.S. Achso, wer es immer noch nicht verstanden hat worum es geht, kann
auch noch mal auf der webpage die Idee
Irgendwann steht dieser Text da bestimmt auch.

Und weil es jetzt so schoen war, das ganze noch mal in Englisch:

Heyho fellow Germans,
A new thing is coming from the US again and you will be able to
experience it first hand. It is not the new Sex and the City which is
already so out of date when you watch it and the only new thing about
it is that there are no ads in between but the whole film is a
constant ad, it is not the new Iphone although I am sure there is one
and not the new Ipod that has a bigger music capacity than a person’s
average lifetime but it is blackoutsabbath. Yes, you heard right, it
is something that sounds dark and gloomy (something that American were
leaving up to the Europeans in the past) and it comes from the US. It
does sound a little bit like recession and yes, that is also something
new that we have to share. But the great thing is that the new thing
comes with two well known things or better people; Rufus who will be
in Berlin for a while working on something as over as Shakespeare’s
Sonnets and me. Blackoutsabbath is on the 21st of June and the only
thing that you have to do to be part of it is: nothing. That sounds
easy so far. You have to make sure though that nothing comes out of
anything that you do or that you need nothing to do what you are
doing. What does this mean? Turn of your power! Create your own
blackout. And yes, it is a Saturday and the 21st of June happens to be
summer solstice, the longest day during the year and in New York there
is the Upper West Side and before I moved to New York my friend
Adriana tried to explain to me all Jewish holidays and now I wish I
would be working for a Jewish company because one gets 13 (yes,
thirteen) holidays more in that culture, so now I am sure you also
understand why it is called Blackoutsabbath. So you must not do
anything that day and must not rely on energy. How is that possible?
How can you get through these frightening 12 hours? By coming to the
party that Corinna, Georg, Rufus and myself are organizing at 7PM. You
have to ring the doorbell that says —-. Hang on a minute…Ring a
doorbell? No, you can’t!
We will come up with a device how we upstairs will notice that you
downstairs want to come up. And you will have to use the stairs
because remember no power, no elevators. Rufus already volunteered
that he will come down each time someone is ringing (let us just call
it that for the ease of the communication sake) because climbing
stairs makes your butt pop out. You cannot use your car or the subway
to get here because everything is not working anymore during a
blackout. You could drive over here before noon and hang around
wasting your time (which would be a good thing to do that day).
Also hitchhiking, subway, even sharing cars with lots of other people
does not work. You could use your horse or other animals that you can
ride on or just a bicycle. Bring a candle (as it does get dark and
again, there is no power for 12 hours) and ideas to talk about what
one can change or wants to change about ones life, consumption and
behavior. We will then write everything down and Rufus has really
relentless fans that give him anything from scarves to brooches to
toys (not THOSE toys) to fridge magnets that will make sure that our
thoughts and ideas will stay with us for a year until the same thing
happens again and we can have new ideas that come out of absolutely
nothing. I wish his fans would also give us more useful things like
new bowls (help, we really need some for cereal in the morning!), a
beautiful day blanket for the bed (and I mean BEAUTIFUL not like the
scarf that he got on April 1st after this one show, (didn’t Naan give him that!). I even had to get
my own juicer because I waited for three years and no fan was ready to
give us one.
Why am I in this relationship? But let us stay on the topic.
It would be an honor if you would want to celebrate this evening with
us. It will also be one of the few changes for me to see you again and
vice versa even though after a certain hour we will not see that much
Please let me know if you are attending and if you bring someone. You
can only bring one person and that should be the one you have the most
regular sex with (and no sex is not regular).
Lots of love,

P.S. And who still did not get what this is about please go to
where this text will end up too probably eventually. (actually Naan has scooped it)

And because this was so much fun here is the same letter in Chinese
(just kidding, but they would actually need this) (Jorn, I think they already have it in Sichuan)

New works by two friends.

Posted in Uncategorized by ruthanzo on June 4, 2008

John F. Weldon (blogroll) has a very silly new video with song about how during a recent bout of pneumonia he happily found religion. A good venue for a screening of it would be the Trinity United Church in Chicago (12 gates to the Second City, hallelujah!) which has become the latest Yuk Yuk’s franchise (de facto, ani?) De Franco’s church is in Buffalo.

Philippe Tatartcheff (blogroll) revisits his past life as a keeper of cows and gets an absurdly early start on the Holiday Season with his unhinged Cow Christmas video and song. This presentation of Cows in Snow is actually brought to you by Philippe’s dogs Mup and Elmo. Tatartcheff is a border-line (collie?) misanthrope. You’d have to agree that his cows are certainly more appealing than some of the so-called humans who’ve been in the news of late.

Noah Adams on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Posted in Uncategorized by ruthanzo on June 1, 2008

It’s been such a pleasure these last couple of weeks to hear Noah Adams hosting All Things Considered on NPR (his old gig.) I wondered what had happened to him. He is SO good AND he never editorializes with his voice like so many MSM types. Ugh. What a relief. CBC (with it’s asleep-at-the-wheel lifers and the ‘aren’t we a clever bunch children’s brigade’) take note. Of course the team of Robert Siegel (a mensch), Michelle Norris (fuzzy friendly) and Melissa Block (a bit prickly) on All Things Considered is probably the best anywhere in the Western World. Noah and Michelle were co-hosting from Washington while Robert and Melissa were in China on special assignment. Then the earthquake happened. Coincidence? It certainly made for some outstanding radio.