What happened?

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:42 pm by George Smith

Fire ants. That’s part of it.


DOA: Thor as a hacker

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:50 pm by George Smith

Before Xmas Michael Mann’s “Blackhat” was an object of ridicule here, another way too obvious product from the Culture of Lickspittle

Blow up a Chinese nuclear reactor, research advisors courtesy of US cyberdefense officials! Just brilliant.

The first thing in the trailer — a quote from Leon Panetta on the likelihood of “cyber-Pearl Harbor — showing the people who made the movie have lost their grip.

Wait for the unintentionally hilarious moment, near the end, when a big red emergency banner reading “NSA Breach” appears on screen.


Ricin Mama gets 18 years

Posted in Ricin Kooks, Uncategorized, WhiteManistan at 10:40 am by George Smith

Eighteen years is hard punishment for someone who appeared and appears to not really be all right in the head. Shannon Guess Richardson, like all of the Americans who try this, wasn’t capable of purifying ricin from castor seeds.

They grind the seeds to powder and, in this case, famously mailed part of the slightly oily mess containing some poor characterized amount of ricin to the President and others as part of a cracked frame job. Astonishingly, two ricin cases were frame jobs, the other being the case of guitarist, Budweiser Beer Battle of the Bands winner and karate teacher J. Everett Dutschke of Tupelo, Mississippi, in the very odd summer of last year.

From the wire:

A federal judge gave Shannon Guess Richardson, 36, the maximum sentence under her plea deal on a federal charge of possessing and producing a biological toxin. Richardson was also ordered to pay restitution. She had pleaded guilty to the charge in December.

“I never intended for anybody to be hurt,” she told the court, adding later, “I’m not a bad person; I don’t have it in me to hurt anyone.”

Richardson, who had minor acting roles in film and television, said she thought security measures would prevent anyone from opening the letters addressed to Obama and the now-former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

She acknowledged in a signed plea agreement that she ordered castor beans online and learned how to process them into a substance used to make ricin.


Pete Seeger, 94

Posted in Rock 'n' Roll, Uncategorized at 4:09 pm by George Smith

I interviewed him once for the Allentown Morning Call. His was a gentle soul of great accomplishment and generosity.

From February 1990:

There was a time not too long ago when Sing Out! magazine was in such dire straits that one of its founding members, folk hero Pete Seeger, had to sell the rights to his best-known song, “If I Had A Hammer,” to an English tea company, to keep the quarterly afloat.

The tea company wanted to use the song in an advertising jingle. “I don’t normally do that kind of thing, but there was a need and the money was used to pay off some of Sing Out!’s outstanding bills,” Seeger recalled wistfully during a telephone interview last week from his home in Beacon, N.Y.

That low point came in 1982. Sing Out! was $35,000 in debt. Things were so bad that during the summer, the magazine closed its New York City office. The office’s contents were loaded into a U-Haul truck and taken to Easton, where old copies of Sing Out! and files were stored in the basement of a sympathetic bicycle dealer. The publication’s future was uncertain.

Now, however, financial turmoil is a distant memory, a sour note whose sound has been drowned out by ringing chords of revitalization. The South Side Bethlehem-based magazine started in New York City by Seeger, Woody Guthrie and Lee Hays is enjoying a banner year as it celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Sing Out! circulation is at an all-time high of 10,000. The quarterly currently employs three full-time workers. After recent remodeling, the magazine occupies about 1,800 square feet of office space at 125 E. Third St., plus another 900 square feet of basement storage.

In May, the Sing Out! Resource Center will open in the publication’s Bethlehem office. The center will give the public access to an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, reports and recordings relating to folk music, folklore and folk songs.

There also is a news-style radio magazine in the offing for the last quarter of 1990. (“It will be sort of the `All Things Considered’ of folk music,” said Sing Out! editor Mark Moss.) In addition, Sing Out! will stage four festivals this year. The first will be May 18 in New York City and feature Seeger, Dave Van Ronk and other folk artists. Others will be held in Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C., throughout the year.

Along with those projects, Sing Out!, in conjunction the C.F. Martin Guitar Co. in Nazareth, has designed and produced a limited-edition commemorative instrument. All 40 guitars are signed by Seeger and the rest of Sing Out’s board of directors. The guitars never reached stores; demand was so great that the instruments were sold before most were made. The guitars reportedly listed for about $3,400 …

Seeger, Sing Out!’s sole surviving founder, was enthusiastic as he reminisced about the magazine’s shaky financial history. “The publication actually started just after World War II in 1945 under the name People’s Song Bulletin — Songs Of Labor And The American People. I had been in the service; Woody (Guthrie) had been in the merchant marine. Along with Lee Hays, we thought that our good contacts in the labor unions would be very beneficial for a magazine dealing with music for and by the people.

“Well, the Cold War came along and dashed our hopes for that. So People’s Songs folded in 1949.”

For one year, Seeger put out a mimeographed newsletter, which he continued until 1950, the year Sing Out! — essentially a reborn People’s Songs — was started.

“Sing Out!’s circulation eventually rose to a high point of about 10,000 during the great false folk boom of 1964 — thanks to The Kingston Trio,” Seeger recalled. “The magazine, however, was always on the brink of bankruptcy.

“By 1982, the editors had said to me, `We’ve tried everything. We can’t continue working without being paid. There’s no hope.’ ”

Seeger then produced a Sing Out! newsletter which asked the readership what should be done to revitalize the publication. In the meantime, he sold the rights to “If I Had A Hammer.”

Moss, then on the Sing Out! editorial board, remembered, “The ’70s were a difficult period for us. Sing Out! was seen by its subscribers as moving between being an eclectic music magazine and a magazine with a more political bent. And it was seen as not doing both particularly well by readers who favored either camp.

“The seed money that Pete raised was used to hold us over while we polled the readers on what they wanted and ran fund-raisers to bring in more revenue.”

It turned out, said Seeger and Moss, that readers wanted the magazine to refocus on folk music. There wasn’t a need to beat them over the head with all things political. Nor was there a need to continue three-color layouts and standard magazine size.

“The readers wanted a return to a smaller size which better matched our print size,” said Seeger. “It was relaunched with the idea that the editor needed more support from his board of directors.”

In August 1982, the magazine’s supporters began in earnest to pay off the $35,000 debt. Through benefit concerts and donations the debt was eradicated by the end of the year. Enough money also was raised to re-start the magazine, and in 1983 Sing Out! began publishing from a vacant warehouse on 4th Street in Easton. The first issue went to press in April. Sing Out! moved to Bethlehem in December 1987, when the Easton building was sold.

Seeger believes that, in part, Sing Out!’s rejuvenation can be attributed to the quality of the writing. “Most of the arts publications I’ve seen aren’t very well done. The mural painters’ newsletter and one devoted to ceramics are good examples. Obviously, some artists aren’t very good with words.

“But Sing Out! seems to be better than most. It should be . . . folk artists deal in words, so they should be halfway decent at writing, don’t you think? They remake songs; they know how to cut and paste.”


Last chance

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:24 pm by George Smith

I’ve been overcome by the support readers have given me and Escape from WhiteManistan blog over the holiday. It has been wonderful. It compels me to say, and more later, that I’ll strive to keep giving you the high standard, or at least idiosyncrasy, you’ve come to expect.

As with all the rest of the on-line labors of love, blandishments in my mail box, time is running out on the year. It’s still possible to throw in a few pennies.

Whether or not, I still wish you a Happy New Year!

Make sure you see today’s final rundown of rant and analysis. And do read “Slap Shot and the 40 year slump.”

Longer than the standard post, I spent time on it trying to make it a little more special.


Wealthiness leads to Godliness

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:59 pm by George Smith

That’s what Jesus taught.

Fiore. Jesus Rebranded.

Then go listen to Jesus of America, part of the LP you’ll never see reviewed because I won’t pay the toll to Apple/Rhapsody/whomever required to stock it.


The 7-figure explainer

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:24 am by George Smith

Tom Friedman, no link, likes talking to wealth in Singapore and then use his column to explain how the US should be more like it.

Singapore, the wart on the tip of Malaya, has about the same level of inequality as the US, is a beehive, and relies on a servant workforce of foreigners.

Other than that I can’t think of anything remotely edifying about it in terms of human progress. It’s into being a tax corporate haven, right? Didn’t it invent caning people for spitting chewing gun on the sidewalk, too?

It’s unfortunate they never had terrorists, we could have bombed them and they would not have been able to retaliate.

Years ago before I was broke I was invited to give a lecture in Singapore on a subject in terrorism. I learned Singapore academicians were cheap, except when apparently paying the freight for celebrities like Friedman, and that I’d be in the air for a day to get there. I would have sooner signed up for three free root canals and a carbuncle lancing and cauterization.

One can understand why a Tom Friedman would love Singapore, finding it advanced and progressive. It’s a corporate wealth totalitarian state with the population but not any of the culture, advantages or history of Los Angeles County. The US is a corporate fascist state, too, of course, but not yet (see below).



Posted in Uncategorized at 3:03 pm by George Smith

Still haven’t come up with a replacement for the malfunctioning Akismet spam filter, so comments are still under moderation.

Suggestions compatible with WordPress welcome.


Meta, spam question

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:10 pm by George Smith

Akismet, the spam filtering plug-in used by WordPress, just crashed on the blog side. I noticed it when a number of spam pieces went right through to comments.

The Akismet plug-in reports it cannot reach its servers. But there is no notice of a problem at akismet.com.

If anyone has had this happen to them, I’d appreciate a note.

In the meantime all comments are being held for moderation.


Bean Pounding (continued)

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:27 pm by George Smith

The FBI is remaining mum on the recent case involving ricin mail in Spokane, WA. This is not surprising. The agency wants to avoid another case of mistaken identity and misdirection.

From the AP wire:

Agency spokeswoman Ayn Sandalo Dietrich added legal documents in the case also might be sealed. Their comments come after law enforcement officers raided a Spokane apartment Saturday and witnesses said they escorted a man from the building.

The letters were postmarked last Tuesday in Spokane and addressed to the downtown post office and the adjacent federal building. They were intercepted by the Postal Service, and no one was injured.

Investigators in hazardous materials suits spent most of Saturday executing a search warrant at the three-story apartment building …

There was no answer after a knock on the door of the apartment that was raided.

I think there might be a sitcom or comedy movie in castor bean pounding, don’t you?

It just writes itself. Weird freaky guys with unusual hobbies, framing enemies, scaring neighbors and making themselves famous through a new kind of performance art.

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