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Pulp’s unused James Bond theme, 1997
09.07.2012
05:25 pm

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Another disused James Bond theme, this time from Pulp. In 1997 the Britpop band submitted “Tomorrow Never Lies,” but the the film was re-titled and their song shelved in favor of a Sheryl Crow number, instead.

“Tomorrow Never Lies” came out as the B-side to “Help the Aged.”

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Thunderball’ opening credits with the theme song that Johnny Cash submitted

Alice Cooper’s unused 1974 James Bond theme
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Psychedelic Jesus: Interview with the author of ‘The Sacred Mushroom And The Cross’
09.07.2012
04:03 pm

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Belief
Books
Drugs
History

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John Allegro wrote one of the most compelling books about psychedelic mushrooms ever published. The Sacred Mushroom And The Cross argues that Christianity is rooted in an ancient sex-and-mushroom cult and that Jesus was not a man but the psychedelic Amanita Muscaria mushroom.

Allegro’s method is to delve behind the surface meaning and context of biblical words, conjuring instead with their frequently erotic root meaning (“Christian,” he says, is a derivation from the Sumerian meaning “smeared with semen”). These half-forgotten roots, Allegro maintains, link the characters and stories of the Bible to the orgiastic, often outlawed mushroom cults of the Near East.” (from Time magazine, 1970).

Allegro uses etymological arguments to propose that Christianity originated as a hoax in which the rabbi Jesus was invested with the powers and names of the fly agaric (Amanita Muscaria), the true body of Christ. In effect, according the Allegro, Christianity was the exoteric disguise of a secret mushroom cult whose original content was eventually forgotten.”  Roque Nuevo

Come mushroom hunting season in the Rocky Mountains around Boulder, my friends and I used to pick the bountiful Amanita Muscaria and make tea from it. I found it to be a very challenging trip, always riding the fine line between bliss and terror.

Here’s one of the rare filmed interviews Allegro gave in his lifetime. Recorded for and broadcast on Dutch TV in December 1976.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Patti Smith Group cover The Velvet Underground’s ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ in 1976
09.07.2012
03:26 pm

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Punk

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Photo credit: Kate Simon
 
Patti Smith Group perform The Velvet Underground’s “Pale Blue Eyes” and garage classic “Louie Louie” written by Richard Berry and made famous by The Kingsmen.

Stockholm 1976.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Dicky Dinosaur’ rap
09.07.2012
03:04 pm

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Canadian recording artist Charlotte Diamond sings “Dicky Dinosaur” from her Diamonds And Dragons album.

No relationship to Lil’ Wayne’s “dinosaur dick.”
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
My Mother The Sleepwalker
09.07.2012
02:51 pm

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What do you do when you find your mom sleepwalking in a beatific Ambien trance in the middle of the night? Why, you’d videotape her and upload it to YouTube, of course! 

There’s also a reaction video of mom when she watches herself doing her specialty,“The Tomato Cage Waltz.” Watch it here.

Side note: I once woke up with a raw potato in my bed. No clue how it got there.
 

 
Via the entire Internet

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
How to tell when Mitt Romney is lying: His lips are moving
09.07.2012
02:43 pm

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Class War
Idiocracy
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Stupid or Evil?

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Mitt Romney makes me want to puke. He’s a bald-faced liar whose shameless, morally and intellectually-bereft candidacy will hopefully be rejected soundly by informed American voters in November.

I was especially annoyed watching this clip of him this morning on Fox News. If you need convincing that he’s lying as he claims credit for giving Obama the advice that saved the auto industry, have a quick read of Romney’s own editorial, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” which was published in The New York Times on November 18, 2008.

Then watch in horror as he says THIS:

Well, there’s a nice chance in debates to talk about truth and fiction. I don’t think many people understand that the president took the car companies into bankruptcy. They went into bankruptcy, exactly as I proposed. So the difference between us is that I would have done it earlier than the president did, and saved the American taxpayers about $20 billion.

The thing is, if you follow Romney’s face closely and you are aware that what he is saying is a bold-faced lie, his eyes seem to give it away that he, himself, is all too well-aware that he’s telling a “liar, liar, pants on fire” kind of fib.

The question was never if the Big Three car manufacturers should be restructured in a managed bankruptcy, but whether the automakers would go through that process with the backing of the federal government.

Or without it, as Romney himself advocated in the fucking New York Times!

The problem is, that 2008 editorial follows Romney around like a wet sulfurous fart on hot, humid day. Even Fox News reporters are fully aware of what’s going on. Tell me Bret Baier doesn’t know that Romney is lying through his teeth here. Of course he does! Listen to how he phrased the question. He assumes that even his viewers have enough bare-minimum recent historical context to understand what’s being left unsaid (why? BECAUSE IT’S SO OBVIOUS, THAT’S WHY).

It was a gross move when Mitt Romney, the son of the man who was credited with turning American Motors around in the 1950s and who was a popular governor during Michigan’s heyday, wrote that editorial in the first place. That he is now claiming credit for turning around the auto industry, it makes me fantasize about hocking up a big, fat greener and spitting it right in his lying face. The man deserves NO respect. Never in my lifetime has a more repulsive, morally bankrupt character topped the national ticket of a major political party.

Say what you want about Sarah Palin, at least she was sincere! Nixon seems like a idealist compared to a cynic like Romney.

YouTube commentor rodneyriddnauer remarked:

Understand one thing: you may not “like” President Obama, but Mitt Romney is a complete, all-out, unapologetic LIAR. Even the few details he does offer are simply made-up gibberish that Fox then has to try and bolster.

Folks, it ain’t about is The President 100% perfect and unflawed…it’s about which of these two men is worse for YOU, the average working American.

Romney/Ryan will GUT every safety net in our framework, and send your job to China or India. Believe that.

Watch in disbelief as Romney claims Obama copied his idea to save Detroit. Is it ANY WONDER why the Republicans have already conceded Michigan, Romney’s home state, and pulled all of their TV ads?
 

 
Via Daily Kos

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Breaking Bad’ meets ‘Star Wars’ GIFs
09.07.2012
01:01 pm

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Television

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Something Awful held a Breaking Bad meets Star Wars GIF mash-up contest. Most of the submissions were, well…awful. However, I do like the above GIF submitted by The NPR Store.

See the rest over at Something Awful.

Via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Rat-fucking the bankers: A hero in California leads the way
09.07.2012
11:49 am

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Over the weekend, there was a fascinating article about the foreclosure crisis in Southern California that appeared at the Huffington Post with the title “San Bernardino Eminent Domain Fight Closely Watched By Other Struggling Communities.” That title might not have grabbed you, but what’s in the article, penned by Ben Hallman, is extraordinary and needs to gain more traction.

If you read what’s written there and disregard all of the “opinion” (what Rahm Emanuel and the banking PR flacks have to say) and just concentrate on the plan of action that’s being offered to deal with the mortgage crisis, it’s a winner.

It’s being proposed that “eminent domain,” the power local government have to seize property for the common good, be employed to help stressed communities in San Bernardino County. The idea for this originates with Steven Gluckstern, the executive director of Mortgage Resolution Partners: Local authorities could seize home loans—not properties—and “condemn” the ones that were underwater, though not in arrears, and held by private trusts. The local government would then forgive the debt in excess of current market value of the home. Homeowners could then refinance at the new, lower value, freeing up hundred of dollars per month, and boosting the local economy and jobs growth. The pension and institutional investment funds that actually own these loans would get paid fair market value. For investors in Inland Empire property, this will mean taking a significant haircut.

It’s estimated that there are around 150,000 homeowners in the county who owe more on their homes than they are worth, yet only a small percentage of them would actually qualify for a loan modification because their credit is bad.

One estimate sees as many as 42,000 homeowners in San Bernardino County benefiting from the plan. It would have a significant impact on the lives of county residents.

It’s also a beautiful solution that fucks over the capitalist greed-heads who deserve it the most. They made investments in bad securities. That’s capitalism, baby! Shit happens!

It’s thrilling to think we could be on the verge of seeing something like this occur:

This old railroad town in the heart of the Southern California foreclosure belt doesn’t attract many visitors these days, especially not in the blazing summer heat. Yet on a recent Thursday morning, a handful of well-heeled business travelers from the East Coast hurried along a sidewalk to address a government official they have come to know well.

Gregory Devereaux is the chief executive of San Bernardino County and its 2 million residents. At his urging, local authorities are considering a proposal that would allow local governments to exercise their power to seize private property without landowners’ consent in a dramatic—some say radical—new way.

Governments usually use this power, known as eminent domain, to acquire private land for public purposes, such as roads or utility lines. But this plan, proposed by a San Francisco-based venture fund Mortgage Resolution Partners, calls for government authorities to seize the mortgages of underwater borrowers, paying the investors that own them a fraction of what they are owed, using money borrowed from the fund. Homeowners could then refinance with a federal loan at a much lower rate, based on what their home is actually worth instead of what they owe.

Supporters say the plan would send a supercharged bolt of energy into the housing market, spurring economic development and preventing even more of the foreclosures that have wrecked many communities.

“It is a disaster of epic proportions,” said John Vlahoplus, chief strategy officer at Mortgage Resolution Partners, of the dramatic decline in home prices that in many areas has left homes worth less than half what the borrowers paid. “The crash has devastated the family wealth of these communities.”

Gregory Devereaux… you are my new hero.

You’ve met the good guys, now meet the bad guys (so to speak):

The group from the East Coast, representatives of the mortgage finance industry, don’t like this idea much at all. They have worn a path to Devereaux’s office in recent months to tell him, and anyone else who would listen, that the proposal amounts to nothing less than a threat to the entire mortgage finance system, and an assault on free enterprise and the U.S. Constitution.

They’re sort of right about that, but have you been in San Bernadino County lately? It’s very very easy to see why a plan like this would be popular in the Inland Empire: It’s getting to be just like Mad Max there. The local economies will never recover with so many residents underwater on their mortgages. If you owe $400,000 on a house that’s worth $150,000, tops, not that you could sell it anyway, just what the fuck are you going to do next? What if you lose your income? Then what’s your move?

You don’t have one. The bulldozer-like plan that Mr. Devereaux is proposing has the potential to change the lives of tens of thousands of desperate families in his county. He’s worried about them, not about some bankers, mortgage brokers and fat cats taking the hit. (Did I mention yet that Gregory Devereaux is my new hero?)

Absent something like this, how would the Inland Empire EVER be expected to recover? It probably won’t be during many of the current generation’s lifetimes, we’re talking decades to recover. Seriously, it’s fucking GRIM there. Really, really super grim. (Comparing parts of San Bernadino to Mad Max is only a slight exaggeration, trust me)

[“Blah, blah. blah” said mortgage industry spokespeople. “Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah” said someone else. Back to what matters…]

Proponents, meanwhile, argue that bold measures are worth considering in the face of a festering foreclosure crisis. Recent modest increases in home prices have done little to help the estimated 16 million underwater homeowners nationwide, who, according to the real estate valuation website Zillow, collectively owe $1.2 trillion more than their homes are worth.

The proposal also comes amidst broad frustration with the Obama administration, which has so far refused to offer a broad-based plan to bail out underwater borrowers, even as taxpayers have spent hundreds of billions of dollars to prop up banks.

“We’ve seen a bailout of the banking industry, but no bailout for homeowners,” said Arie Giddens, a San Bernardino resident whose home is worth less than half the $300,000 she paid for it in 2005, according to Zillow.

About a dozen communities have voiced some level of interest in the eminent domain plan, including Chicago, Sacramento, New York’s Suffolk County and most recently—according to sources familiar with the discussions—Detroit. Not coincidentally, these communities have also been particularly hard hit by the housing crisis. In San Bernardino County, more than half of all homeowners are underwater, and the foreclosure rate is three-and-a-half times the national average.

“Everyone here has a friend or a family member who has lost their home to foreclosure,” said Greg O’Donnell, the development director at Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services, a housing nonprofit in Ontario, Calif.

At the public hearing, Devereaux said the eminent domain plan is still far from reality.

“Thank you very much,” he said more than once in response to the mortgage industry lobbyists’ criticism of the plan. “We appreciate your involvement.”

Gregory Devereaux, you are a badassmotherfucker…

Nothing had been decided yet, he cautioned. Mortgage Resolution Partners has not even submitted a formal plan yet, he said.

What worries the finance industry is that nothing has been ruled out, either.

Officials in other jurisdictions, by all accounts, are waiting for someone else to make the first move. That someone, if it is anyone, will likely be Devereaux. What he thinks could determine whether the eminent domain proposal winds up on a scrap heap of failed ideas to resolve the housing crisis—or sets new legal precedent on the way to providing mortgage relief to a population at the highest statistical risk of losing their home to foreclosure.

It has come to this: More than five years after home prices fell like a rock into a well, the last hope for some borrowers stuck at the bottom could be a public official unknown even to many citizens of his own county.

On Thursday, Mortgage Resolution Partners announced that they are expanding their original proposal to help individuals underwater on their mortgages by including homeowners who have defaulted or are delinquent on their mortgages.

Keep in mind that this is not all bad for the investors themselves. There’s a (theoretical) “silver lining” upside for them, too: Laurie Goodman, of Amherst Securities, analyzed the potential impact of eminent domain mortgage write-downs: “Taking select loans out of a trust could conceivably result in a higher realized value for (the) investors,” Goodman wrote. “Using eminent domain is a novel (albeit aggressive) idea to reach this goal.”

Banks holding loans already use formulas to decide how far they can write down a mortgage and still make money. The same should hold true for mortgages held in trusts, at least that’s the theory.

The top regulator at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, has warned that the agency might “take action” against San Bernardino County should it decide to adopt the Mortgage Resolution Partners. A highly visible supporter of the plan is California’s lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom. This could get really interesting.
 
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Gregory C. Devereaux, Chief Executive Officer for the County of San Bernardino, California

Thank you Michael Backes!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘I shall meet thee bravely’: Beethoven’s secret ‘suicide’ letter to his brothers
09.06.2012
09:01 pm

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Anthony Burgess chose Beethoven as the favored composer for his character Alex in A Clockwork Orange, because dear olde Ludwig van was a rebel, a romantic, a revolutionary who struggled all of his life against poverty, injustice and ill health to produce genius art.

His struggles took many forms, but his greatest one was physical. When Ludwig van Beethoven realized he was going deaf he contemplated suicide. His deafness had started when he was twenty-six with severe tinnitus - a constant ringing in his ears. This was followed by gradual and then profound hearing loss.

By 1802, the severity of his deafness had caused him great frustration and unhappiness. He therefore removed himself from society to a peaceful house in the countryside of Heiligenstadt, then an independent municipality, now the 19th district of Vienna. It was here, between April and October 1802, that Beethoven wrote a final letter to his brothers Carl and Johann, in which he explained his ‘wretched existence’ and his terrible sense of isolation and despair.

I can understand this. I have tinnitus and hearing impairment, which means I will eventually go deaf. It’s of little consequence when compared to Beethoven’s suffering, or indeed my own Grandfather’s, who spent his final years not only deaf but blind.  Yet, I like to think it gives me a small understanding of the isolation and frustration deafness can bring.

Beethoven was only twenty-nine when he faced this severe crisis. His deafness was an attack on his very being, his very existence, greatly impeding his ability to create. Unable to hear the notes he played, he would rest his head on the piano so he could feel their vibration.

After writing his testament, Beethoven decided against suicide, and hid the letter amongst his papers, where it was discovered after his death in 1827. instead of death, Beethoven chose to accept his fate bravely, and focus on his Art, and went on to compose some of his greatest work.

Beethoven’s Heiligenstadt Testament is a deeply moving and highly personal letter, that is also a powerful reminder of the human will to succeed - no matter the obstacles or consequences.

For my brothers Carl and [Johann] Beethoven

‘O ye men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn or misanthropic, how greatly do ye wrong me, you do not know the secret causes of my seeming, from childhood my heart and mind were disposed to the gentle feelings of good will, I was even ever eager to accomplish great deeds, but reflect now that for six years I have been a hopeless case, aggravated by senseless physicians, cheated year after year in the hope of improvement, finally compelled to face the prospect of a lasting malady (whose cure will take years or, perhaps, be impossible), born with an ardent and lively temperament, even susceptible to the diversions of society, I was compelled early to isolate myself, to live in loneliness, when I at times tried to forget all this, O how harshly was I repulsed by the doubly sad experience of my bad hearing, and yet it was impossible for me to say to men speak louder, shout, for I am deaf.

‘Ah how could I possibly admit such an infirmity in the one sense which should have been more perfect in me than in others, a sense which I once possessed in highest perfection, a perfection such as few surely in my profession enjoy or have enjoyed - O I cannot do it, therefore forgive me when you see me draw back when I would gladly mingle with you, my misfortune is doubly painful because it must lead to my being misunderstood, for me there can be no recreations in society of my fellows, refined intercourse, mutual exchange of thought, only just as little as the greatest needs command may I mix with society. I must live like an exile, if I approach near to people a hot terror seizes upon me, a fear that I may be subjected to the danger of letting my condition be observed - thus it has been during the past year which I spent in the country, commanded by my intelligent physician to spare my hearing as much as possible, in this almost meeting my natural disposition, although I sometimes ran counter to it yielding to my inclination for society, but what a humiliation when one stood beside me and heard a flute in the distance and I heard nothing, or someone heard the shepherd singing and again I heard nothing, such incidents brought me to the verge of despair, but little more and I would have put an end to my life - only art it was that withheld me, ah it seemed impossible to leave the world until I had produced all that I felt called upon me to produce, and so I endured this wretched existence - truly wretched, an excitable body which a sudden change can throw from the best into the worst state - Patience - it is said that I must now choose for my guide, I have done so, I hope my determination will remain firm to endure until it please the inexorable parcae to bread the thread, perhaps I shall get better, perhaps not, I am prepared. Forced already in my 28th year to become a philosopher, O it is not easy, less easy for the artist than for anyone else - Divine One thou lookest into my inmost soul, thou knowest it, thou knowest that love of man and desire to do good live therein.

‘O men, when some day you read these words, reflect that ye did me wrong and let the unfortunate one comfort himself and find one of his kind who despite all obstacles of nature yet did all that was in his power to be accepted among worthy artists and men. You my brothers Carl and [Johann] as soon as I am dead if Dr. Schmid is still alive ask him in my name to describe my malady and attach this document to the history of my illness so that so far as possible at least the world may become reconciled with me after my death.

‘At the same time I declare you two to be the heirs to my small fortune (if so it can be called), divide it fairly, bear with and help each other, what injury you have done me you know was long ago forgiven. to you brother Carl I give special thanks for the attachment you have displayed towards me of late. It is my wish that your lives be better and freer from care than I have had, recommend virtue to your children, it alone can give happiness, not money, I speak from experience, it was virtue that upheld me in misery, to it next to my art I owe the fact that I did not end my life with suicide.

‘Farewell and love each other - I thank all my friends, particularly Prince Lichnowsky and Professor Schmid - I desire that the instruments from Prince L. be preserved by one of you but let no quarrel result from this, so soon as they can serve you better purpose sell them, how glad will I be if I can still be helpful to you in my grave - with joy I hasten towards death - if it comes before I shall have had an opportunity to show all my artistic capacities it will still come too early for me despite my hard fate and I shall probably wish it had come later - but even then I am satisfied, will it not free me from my state of endless suffering? Come when thou will I shall meet thee bravely. - Farewell and do not wholly forget me when I am dead, I deserve this of you in having often in life thought of you how to make you happy, be so -

Ludwig van Beethoven

Heiligenstadt,

October 6th, 1802


For my brothers Carl and [Johann]

to be read and executed after my death.

Heiligenstadt, October 10, 1802, thus do I take my farewell of thee - and indeed sadly - yes that beloved hope - which I brought with me when I came here to be cured at least in a degree - I must wholly abandon, as the leaves of autumn fall and are withered so hope has been blighted, almost as I came - I go away - even the high courage - which often inspired me in the beautiful days of summer - has disappeared - O Providence - grant me at least but one day of pure joy - it is so long since real joy echoed in my heart - O when - O when, O Divine One - shall I find it again in the temple of nature and of men - Never? no - O that would be too hard.

 
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Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Why does this video of Mitt Romney’s mother keep getting pulled off YouTube?
09.06.2012
07:08 pm

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I’m not saying I have the answer, but it’s fascinating to hear Lenore Romney say that her husband, Governor George Romney—Mitt’s father—was on welfare for the first years of his life.

YouTube has been playing Whac-A-Mole with this clip for some time now, so watch this one while you still can. Here’s a clip of George Romney talking sense about the Vietnam war when he was running for President against Richard Nixon. How could these two have raised Mittens???
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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