Saturday, February 27, 2010

Il est interdit d'interdire!

It is forbidden to forbid!

The French kids have really captured my attention of late with their musical scores. My friend, who has been staying out here in the barro, told me about the latest of French New wave, latest of course being relative. Specifically my ear has been caught by Indochine. Formed in the year of my birth, 1981, the popular 80s new wave band was quite the success in their homeland along with abroad in Latin America and other parts of the continental Europe. Not understanding a bit of the nasal I can only surmise that the lyrics are about the poverty of love, longing, and the other muck that makes up the lyrical soundtrack of the 80s.

Indochine- l'aventurier

3 nuits par semaine (They're looking old)

Images- Les Demons de minuit

A weird video that came up while I was looking at Indochine

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Another Act of Terror... but one to support!

I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano,-
A stage, where every man must play a part;
And mine a sad one.

William Shakespeare

Merchant of Venice Act 1 scene 1

On Thursday morning 53 year old Joesph Stacks got into his plane and began to fly. His steps into a single engine Piper-Cherokee aircraft were strides off a rigged playing field of capitalist social relations. Fueled by ressentiment, the Austin, Texas resident flew his craft low over the skyline before piloting his kamikaze vehicle into the Internal Revenue Service building. Plowing into the hulking seven story building just before 10 am, Stacks' act of terrorism brought instant reminders of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. Flames shot from the building, windows exploded, a huge pillar of black smoke rose over the city and terrified workers scrambled to safety. The Pentagon scrambled two F-16 fighter jets from Houston to patrol the skies over the burning building before it became clear that it was the act of a lone pilot.

"It felt like a bomb blew off," said Peggy Walker, an IRS revenue officer who was sitting at her desk. "The ceiling caved in and windows blew in. We got up and ran."

Terrorism is a gesture of advertising: it's a literary act, a form of representation before all else and Stacks with his feeble attack on the IRS that killed one (besides himself) and critically injured two others, publicized his hatred for an inept political system.

Stacks was kind enough to leave behind a suicide note before his fatal voyage that brings more depth to his act. It is in his words, that would have gone completely ignored if he had not piloted his plane into such a spectacular collision, that we see his banal motivations. Cheated by a governmental system that cost him over $40,000, ten years of his life and sent his retirement plans back to zero, he conveys his life history of miserably common working class failures. After all: “The capitalist creed (is): From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.”

During his early years as a college student, still full of hope, Stacks lived next to an elderly widow. Her husband was a steel worker whose pension had been raided by corrupt unions, incompetent management, and of course the government, leaving the woman with only the pittance provided by social security to survive on. At one point he recounts a conversation between himself and the older neighbor in which “...she in her grandmotherly fashion tried to convince me that I would be “healthier” eating cat food (like her) rather than trying to get all my substance from peanut butter and bread.”

Stacks goes on to list his different attempts to solve the problems he has with the government, and the different ideologies through which he passes. Having spent at least 1000 hours and $5000 “mailing any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen,” attempting to mount a campaign against the atrocity of unfair taxation, he realized the futility of his actions. Stacks finally grasped that “when the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.” Having little recourse Stacks took up the decision for pointless martyrdom. Knowing that “... there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. “

It is Stacks himself that points out the madness of his actions. Saying that “...the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different.” Stacks perversely had some desire that his actions would some how wake up the “American Zombies” to the injustice of the reigning order. Yet as stated above others have thrown themselves against the Kafkaesque labyrinth of despair that is the governmental bureaucracy with equal effect, which is to say none.

Just days after his death, petty politicians of the left and the right are quick to denounce Stacks, each side pointing to the other for producing a mad man. The play of blame just quickens the process of recuperation, Stacks' act is caught up into the order of things and quickly forgotten, after all Pamela Anderson's new scanty outfit was a scandal and the Olympics are being played out. While pointing to the widely known fact that something is terribly amiss with the world today Stacks delusive deed becomes just another blurb in the spectacle of modern society.

What we really see in Stacks is the nihilism of his gesture. Nihilists constantly feel the urge to destroy the system which destroys them. They cannot go on living as they are. Stacks did not recognize the possibility for the transformation of the world, and so he becomes ossified into a role: in this case the “suicide.”

The nihilists' mistake is that they do not realize that there are other with whom they can work. Consequently, they assume that participation in a collective project of self-realization is impossible.

“Take my pound of flesh and sleep well.”

Joe Stacks


Welcome to Fruitvale Sucker

Neighborhoods are defined by characteristics both tangible and unnoticed. What goes unsaid is what is most salient. The food of a geographic region not only tells of its class, but of its ethnicity, and of its history.

Taqueria El Farolito is located at the end of my block. Hosting long hours, longer than the other restaurants around, and of course later than the tamale carts that operate during the pedestrian hours. This little corner stop foodery offers standard fair, and by that I mean mother fucking burritos.

The burrito, or little donkey, has a long history in the bay area. According to Mexican history some good hearted Latino came up from mexico and started wrapping up his tacos in large flour tortillas. His cart was pushed around by an ass and since the flavorful treat already looked like an ass' ear and the cart being pushed around by that infamous beast of burden, well the taco treat was named the burrito.

The San Francisco burrito is the archetype for all burritos. A nice steamed tortilla is packed with rice and beans along with other various goods. While attributed to the latino crowd the burrito is not commonly found south of the border.

Fruitvale harboring a population (on record) of being 49 % latino (probably much higher) has a lot of tacquerias. You can get pollo tacos, enchiladas, even the disgusting morning breakfast of heuvos rancheros anywhere you go! At the end of my street there are four different restaurants within eye sight all selling essentially the same goods (plus a tamale cart).

Enough bullshitting about local history let's get to the food!

This meal, enjoyed at a pretty proletarian price of $4.88 included chips, the salsa was self serve and what makes this little restaurant on the corner stand out is its green salsa. Us gringos don't know much about salsa but my tastebuds sure know when one is good!Right about when my appetite was satiated with the salty corn chips and salsa my burrito came to my table. I got my burrito vegetarian, the only way I roll. Hopefully though those beans didn't have lard in them. I operate under a strict (vegan) diet where don't ask don't tell is key, and hey this jefe no hablo español.

My companion at the time asked me to describe my burrito with three adjectives. My key selection of descriptors would be: beany, wet, and soft. Looking at this picture you can see that big hunk of protein sitting right in the middle of that treat. Us white people aren't used to that many refried pellets in our food. Why ground beef in the hamburger helper or hotdogs in the macaroni and cheese is cause for alarm. 'Those little nuggets of goodness sure did drip though, leaking their juice all over the tray while I was eating. Perhaps that's why the wrap was so wet and soft, although the fact that the tortilla was steamed before filled probably helped the attributes of being wet and soft.

To wash down all this "south of the border" muck, my companion and I slurped on some negro modelos. A lager that's popular amongst the kids in the hood.

Overall the restaurant is nice, cheap and open late hours. Their food is pretty standard, and inexpensive, and hey given my inability to get a raise I'll be frequently this plate often!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Music round up

The move to Fruitvale has taken its toll on my uber productive writing career. No longer do I sit around hammering away at my keyboard in the bougeroisie comfort of Berkeley. I'm setting up house and checking out the sites in the new hood. More writing will follow soon enough.
Last night I was hanging out with a good droog of mine and we went out on the town. We danced the night away to Brit Pop. While the british may have have made some good tunes, so did the french. One of the few good things that the French have done is make pop music that coincides with their nasal language.

Les Calamties "Toutes les nuits"

La Roux- Bulletproof

Marie La Foret "Paint it Black"