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Late Night: Earth Day

By: Tuesday April 22, 2014 7:54 pm

It’s Earth Day! I kept the TV off , the lights off, and didn’t drive anywhere. I spent time in the garden, looking at the bees and Gulf Fritillary butterflies busy among the passion flower vines. The mockingbirds are back, and the bushtits have several nests in the trees–they are really tiny cute little brown birds, very social, and the single males watch the nests while the mom and dad go looking for seeds and aphids.

Skunks have been digging for grubs in the lawn. I love skunks; they eat slugs, snails and black widows, so I don’t mind if they occasionally turn up a few inches of lawn looking for a snack. My neighbor says she saw two raccoons! The coyotes have been scarce.

How was your Earth Day? What did you do to celebrate?

Gulf Fritillary

Down the Rabbit Hole for Easter: Two Conspiracy Books Look at “America’s Secret History”

By: Saturday April 19, 2014 9:20 am

History buffs and the conspiracy-curious have two new books to satiate their appetite, and they are doozies. Fleshing Out Skull & Bones, Investigations into America’s Most Powerful Secret Society dives into the history of Yale’s secret society and its links to politicians, including three U.S. Presidents and over twenty senators). Fleshing… is a dense book, full of historical documents and lots of mystical speculation (JFK’s murder was a ritual Masonic sacrifice), plus lists of Skull & Bones members by class year at Yale. With a collection of 40 essays covering all manner of Skull & Bones stories and alleged plots (Mind control! World domination! Drug smuggling! Funding Hitler! War! Illuminati!), Fleshing… makes for a fun read for the skeptical, especially in short bursts. But like any history book, should not be one’s only source.

Barry & “The Boys”: The CIA the Mob and America’s Secret’s History is a more rollicking look at some of the same subjects (it’s also referenced in Fleshing Out Skull & Bones, reminding us that in the world of conspiracy theorists there’s a whole lot of ::gulp:: ouroboros going on) using the mysterious figure of Barry Seal as the throughline. Seal, who the Wall Street Journal called

the ghost haunting the Whitewater probe

was–according to author Daniel Hopsicker, a former TV news producer–an active participant in the Bay of Pigs, the assassination of JFK, Watergate, and the importing of tons of cocaine from Colombia into the US through a little town called Mena in Arkansas, laying the ground work for what has been called the scandal behind the scandal in Iran-Contra and Whitewater.

Seal was murdered, gunned down in 1986 ostensibly by a Colombian cartel assassin after flipping from smuggler to federal informant. According to Hopsicker, he had President George “Poppy” Bush’s phone number in his pocket at the time of his death.

Conspiracy theories are part and parcel of the American consciousness, going back all the way to Salem. There are conspiracy theories linking mortgage fraud and Michael Jackson, the evil Illuminati (as opposed to the good one) with rap and rock music, conspiracies claiming we never landed on the moon, and that the Easter Bunny is Satanic, that space aliens control us…

And really do these theories help us or hinder us in our search for personal freedom and the self-determination? Are they merely distractions to keep us from moving forward?

Both these books, Fleshing Out Skull & Bones and Barry & the Boys are fun reads, if you take them such. Otherwise you’ll need to order a case of tin foil and retire from the world.

Bonus if you live in Los Angeles: Authors Daniel Hopsicker, Kris Millegan & Cheri Seymour, will be signing tomorrow, April 20th from 6pm to 9pm, at La Luz de Jesus and a music performance, by The Normal Bean Band, featuring Prairie Prince of The Tubes.

Maybe-Rapey Street Artist David Choe Admits He Maybe Raped Massage Therapist, Then Says “Only Kidding”

By: Friday April 18, 2014 10:35 pm

This post is NSFW or kids. Or your blood pressure.

Street artist David Choe is an asshole. On a recent podcast, the Los Angeles-born-and-based graffiti artist, who has hobnobbed with Anthony Bourdain and Heidi Fliess and spent time in a Japanese jail for beating up a security guard, boasted that he’d forced a massage therapist’s head down on his penis and ejaculated in her mouth because

she said yes with her eyes

after he touched

 her butt and she pulls away.

The forced oral copulation occurred after Choe coerced her to pour oil on his penis and stroke it. The whole podcast is below, and this foul part starts at 1:13. It’s appalling and disgusting. And he knows it. Choe said

I just want to make it clear that I admit that that’s rapey behavior. But I am not a rapist.

That’s like being a little pregnant, scumbag. Under California law, rape is

an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person..where it is accomplished against a person’s will by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the person or another…The essential guilt of rape consists in the outrage to the person and feelings of the victim of the rape. Any sexual penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the crime.

In the original podcast, Choe says what he did was part of his “erection quest”–his search for a really good boner:

It’s dangerous and it’s super self destructive. I’m at a place and there’s potential for a lawsuit…I would have been in a lot of trouble right now if I put her hand on my dick and she’s like, ‘Fucking stop I’m gonna go call security. That would have been a much different story. But the thrill of possibly going to jail, that’s what achieved the erection quest.

Oh but now that the internets are heating up with rage–because there are many, many chivalrous guys online as well as many women, all of whom are disgusted by this story–Choe has turned it around and issued this statement:

We create stories and tell tales. It’s not a news show. It’s not a representation of my reality. It’s not the place to come for reliable information about me or my life. It’s my version of reality, it’s art that sometimes offends people. I’m sorry if anyone believed that the stories were fact. They were not!

Yes he just says he was joking and “story telling.” There’s a lot of stuff that’s funny, but rape isn’t. Here’s Choe’s explanation:

I never thought I’d wake up one late afternoon and hear myself called a rapist. It sucks. Especially because I am not one. I am not a rapist. I hate rapists, I think rapists should be raped and murdered.

I am an artist and a storyteller and I view my show DVDASA as a complete extension of my art.

If I am guilty of anything, it’s bad storytelling in the style of douche.

So either he’s a rapist or he’s a liar who lies about forcing sex on a woman, and thinks that making up stories about rape is cool. And either way, he’s a not a man. David Choe is an insult to all men. He is an insult to men who treat women with dignity and respect and courtesy. He is an insult to men who treat women, whether they are masseuses, strippers, sex workers or “nice girls” with basic decency that goes with the social interaction, whether paid for or not. I pray his dick shrivels, his balls wither and his sex drive drives up along with wall space, safe passage on the streets, and any and all corporate sponsorships.

Actually that latter part may be happening faster than maybe-rapey Choe can say”just kidding”: Vice, who is one of Choe’s clients was queries by Buzzfeed about whether they would continue working with him. Vice replied

We are looking into it.

Hopefully any corporation will now not even have to think twice about skipping over Choe for work (and maybe the White House will take down the Choe art work hanging there; Choe painted a portrait of Barack Obama for use in a grassroots street art campaign during the 2008 election). There are many great street artists out there–ones who are respectful towards everyone, male, female, LGBTQ and straight. Non-rapey, non-creepy, non-scummy. And talented. Very talented.

Street artists have a hard time of it. Their art is misunderstood, and allegations of criminality can overshadowed the fine work done by urban artists. So when a successful, corporately sponsored street artist admits to a disgusting crime, far worse than decorating a cement wall, it further tarnishes a genre that is striving for respectability.

I auppose one could argue that I’m being thought-policey, that if Choe wants to tell stories about being creepy maybe-rapey that’s his right. If he wants to make up stories that make him look like a dirtbag scum who forces women to blow him so that he can feel empowered on his podcast, that’s his right. And it’s equally the right of others to mock him, shun him and send the hounds of hell upon him  for even “joking” that the type of behavior in his “storytelling” is something to be lauded.

HT: xoJane

Dustin Lance Black Shamed by Alma Mater, Canceled as Graduation Speaker

By: Friday April 18, 2014 3:13 pm

Academy Award winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black has been uninvited to speak at Pasadena City College’s  2014 graduation. Black  attended Pasadena City College, part of California’s two year community college program, and received an Associate of the Arts degree from PCC. Black discovered he was no longer the speaker from a newspaper report. The reason the [...]

FDL Late Night: “Taxman” The Beatles Cartoon

By: Tuesday April 15, 2014 7:54 pm

The Beatles cartoon TV series was really weird, locking the band down as suited mop-tops, with John as the leader and Paul as the cute one. Ringo is goofy and George is uh…mysterious? In this episode the Beatles travel back in time and encounter Robin Hood and his hip beatnik sidekick Little John. Happy tax [...]

Captain America: Winter Soldier – Even in Our Fantasies, the Only Existential Threat to the USA is Internal Corruption

By: Tuesday April 15, 2014 9:40 am

Over the weekend I saw Captain American: Winter Solider and it seem to highlight for me a current trend in big action movies. The idea of an external existential threat to the United States has become literally unthinkable.

FDL Saturday Art: San Diego’s Chicano Park

By: Saturday April 12, 2014 9:47 am

Chicano Park in San Diego’s Barrio Logan displays one of the largest assemblages of public murals in North America. The monolithic pillars, the pylons of the Coronado Bay Bridge, have been transformed into an outdoor museum of art and history.  These awe inspiring murals are giant mirrors of Chicano Mexicano history, and a tribute to [...]

Late Night: She Sells Sanctuary

By: Tuesday April 8, 2014 7:53 pm

  This weekend I saw The Cult in San Diego. A band I’d written about here, Prayers, was opening for them so I bought a ticket and drove down. I’d never seen The Cult in their heyday, and I thought it was pretty cool that a friend of the lead singer Ian Astbury had shown [...]

Game of Thrones Returns on Sunday!

By: Saturday April 5, 2014 9:34 am

While this post is spoiler free the links ahead contain show spoilers aplenty. I don’t know about you guys but I’m the most excited about returning to the world of Westeros this Sunday night. The thought alone initiates the sound of the all too familiar theme song (performed by Break of Reality in the video [...]

Mozilla CEO Steps Down Amid OkCupid Led Backlash to Anti-Gay Marriage Views

By: Friday April 4, 2014 10:25 am

Five years ago amid the debates over marriage equality in California, Mozilla Firefox founder Brendan Eich made a $1,000 donation to proponents of Proposition 8, a ballot measure designed to revoke the rights of same sex couples in the state. Yesterday, that decision cost him his job as newly appointed CEO of the company with popular online [...]