Saturday, January 24, 2009

One winter night...

...thousands of years ago, the day's hunting had been good, and we were lounging around the fire with full bellies, telling stories and belching. And there was a slight rustling, and a wild cat cautiously emerged from the underbrush. We fell silent, mindful that our spears were close at hand, and watched as the cat slowly padded into our circle, slowly sat and narrowed her eyes in the firelight.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Out with the Old

Things are looking pretty good so far.

By the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to improve the effectiveness of human intelligence gathering, to promote the safe, lawful, and humane treatment of individuals in United States custody and of United States personnel who are detained in armed conflicts, to ensure compliance with the treaty obligations of the United States, including the Geneva Conventions, and to take care that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed, I hereby order as follows:

Section 1. Revocation. Executive Order 13440 of July 20, 2007, is revoked. All executive directives, orders, and regulations inconsistent with this order, including but not limited to those issued to or by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from September 11, 2001, to January 20, 2009, concerning detention or the interrogation of detained individuals, are revoked to the extent of their inconsistency with this order. Heads of departments and agencies shall take all necessary steps to ensure that all directives, orders, and regulations of their respective departments or agencies are consistent with this order. Upon request, the Attorney General shall provide guidance about which directives, orders, and regulations are inconsistent with this order.

. . .

(c) Interpretations of Common Article 3 and the Army Field Manual. From this day forward, unless the Attorney General with appropriate consultation provides further guidance, officers, employees, and other agents of the United States Government may, in conducting interrogations, act in reliance upon Army Field Manual 2 22.3, but may not, in conducting interrogations, rely upon any interpretation of the law governing interrogation -- including interpretations of Federal criminal laws, the Convention Against Torture, Common Article 3, Army Field Manual 2 22.3, and its predecessor document, Army Field Manual 34 52 issued by the Department of Justice between September 11, 2001, and January 20, 2009.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pre-Inauguration Trivialities Mix

  • Friday's high temperature in Takoma Park, Maryland: 18 degrees. Friday's high temperature at McMurdo Station, Antarctica: 34 degrees. Of course it's summer down there, but still. I've started growing my hair back. Usually when I try this it gets about three millimeters long, and I behold how tragically bald and grey I've become, and then I shave it all off again, but if this weather keeps up I'll need all the scalp-warming I can get.

  • How in the world did I get through the 80s and 90s without ever once hearing the Urban Dance Squad? This stuff is amazing. And Tres Manos is a telecaster guy.

  • From Serious Eats, this is an odd little video of Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain talking about food and sex. I post it here only because Bourdain echoes something I've been saying for years, viz. that whether a prospective partner enjoys sushi is a reliable indicator of how well I'm going to get along with her. If she doesn't like uni, or ankimo, or otoro -- my god, how can there be anybody anywhere who denies the near-hallucinatory deliciousness of otoro? and yet such people exist -- the prospects are very, very grim. Which is why I find Japanese restaurants to be ideal for first dates.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tools for warding off a cold

  • Hot lemonade: Juice of a lemon, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 cup hot water.

  • Ginger tea: grate a thumb-sized hunk of fresh ginger, steep in a mugful of boiling water for five or ten minutes.

  • Hot whiskey: two parts hot water to one of your favorite Irish whiskey, a spoonful of sugar, a squeeze of lemon, two or three cloves.

  • Chicken antioxidant soup.
Any others?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

District of Noise!

Did you hear? All Things Considered did a story tonight on experimental music in DC. It's pretty amazing to have been working on my stuff all this time, thinking I'm a lone voice in the wilderness, and then discover that I'm in fact living in the best place in America for destroying the earth with noise. It takes a village, you know.

Would everybody please just stop dying?

Vaca Estupenda lights a candle and chugs a pint of bourbon for the great Ron Asheton, guitarist for the Stooges, a huge influence on me and on many other guitarists I've admired. The world just got a little less loud.

"Look at B.B. King, what is he, 80-something? That's the beauty of being a musician. They can't take it away from you. It's your music, and you're pumping it out. You just play 'til you drop."

Friday, January 2, 2009

My new year so far

I have no heat in my house. The repair guy was supposed to be here at 3:30 this afternoon. I left work early. It's now 7. He's running late. I haven't had dinner yet because I wanted to go to the gym first, which I still hope to do if he makes it here before 8. It's 58 degrees in my living room. I can't feel my fingers. I'm an angry, angry, cold, angry man.