Month: January 2018

Israel cannot cure itself

On January 1, a frail 16 year-old girl stood in a military court. This is how Israel welcomes the new year. Surrounded by soldiers a child mustered all that she had to look up and to look ahead, not to let them see her weakness, not to cry. She knows these sham courts boast 99% conviction rates. All the world’s cameras glared at the accused and we never saw the judge. The cameras snapped the Palestinian, but I wanted to see the Israelis. What the Israeli state and public craved when they hauled Ahed Tamimi before a uniformed judge...

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DeSoto Love by Kim Goldberg

Our sixth installment, Kim Goldberg’s “DeSoto Love,” kicks off a cluster of poems exploring gender. Goldberg poses a seemingly funny question about why her female speaker had to hide in the trunk of her boyfriend’s car, leading to serious reflections on the relationship between driving and interpersonal agency. *** DeSoto Love The summer I was seventeen, my boyfriend (the first one I really loved) snuck me into the drive-in in the trunk of his 1960 DeSoto that I helped him paint the week before (abalone blue, like his eyes). And looking back, I’m not sure why I’m the one...

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The Best Music of 2017, Part II

This is the second part of my completely subjective list of the best music of 2017.  Part I was published on Tuesday. As I noted in Part I, 2017 was a dumpster fire of a year in many ways, but there was also some brilliant music.  I don’t know about all y’all, but, for me, music is an essential component of the good life.  It is almost always playing in our house. Right now I’m listening to Kelly Lee Owens’ most excellent eponymous debut (more on that below).  Then there’s the guitars in the house.  I told a friend of mine this week that I generally do my serious music listening in the car, though.  And in 2017, I drove a lot.  I drove from our (now former home) in Southeastern Tennessee to Vancouver via New Mexico and the Southwest.  Then I drove home from Vancouver along the northern route, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska. It was epic.  Then we moved from Southeastern Tennessee back to Western Massachusetts.  I drove that as well. So there was a lot of time to listen to good music.  So, without further ado: Rainer Maria, S/T (Polyvinyl)  I don’t know how I never listened to Rainer Maria in their first go-round in the 00s.  But my buddy Karl got all excited about this new one on Facebook, so generally respecting his opinion (and his taste in hockey...

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The Power of the Media

Last week I posted this to Facebook, thinking it made a good point about corporate behaviour as opposed to individual behaviour.  I immediately got lambasted by several friends who argued that it is we as individuals who make change and that corporations and the media respond to us.  As far as I’m concerned this is hogwash and the height of American liberalism.  No.  We don’t control corporations.  We don’t control the  media.  We are conditioned not to. We are conditioned to purchase new things, to listen to our media.  And, sure, we can boycott. One friend lives in rural Tennessee and is doing her best to live a life of simplicity with minimal consumption.  I salute that.  I personally do not shop at Walmart due to its odious corporate behaviour vis-à-vis downtown cores around this country.  But Lydia’s actions and mine are small, a drop in the ocean.  And, yes, certainly, if we are joined in our attempts to make the world better in this sense, it would make a difference.  But, until we are numerous enough to make Walmart stop gutting the downtowns of small-town America, for example, I think we need to both carry on keeping on keeping on, but also holding the nose of corporations to the stink they create. Today, I looked briefly on Twitter and got depressed.  Trump, Trump, and more Trump.  Some of...

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The Best Music of 2017, Part I

Over New Year’s, we gathered with friends, decompressed, and tried to be optimistic.  We started referring to 2017 as a dumpster fire.  That dumpster fire followed 2016’s tire fire.  It’s been a rough couple of years, starting with the elephant in the room.  And ending with that same elephant.  We lost a lot of musicians in 2017, too.  From Chris Cornell to Chester Bennington, we also lost Chuck Berry, the rapper Prodigy, Glen Campbell, Gregg Allman, Malcolm Young, Fats Domino, and Tom Petty. And, Canada lost its de facto poet laureate, Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie.  For a good Canadian lad like myself, losing Downie hurts.  And I hadn’t got over losing my hometown boy Leonard Cohen in 2016. But, in all of this, 2017 left behind some great music.  This is Part I of my completely subjective list of great 2017 music, though it also includes some 2016 music because I didn’t come across it until 2017.  This list is also in no particular order. Indian Handcrafts, Creeps (Sargent House)  A stoner rock duo from Brampton, Ontario, Indian Handcraft’s 2012 album, Civil Disobedience for Losers, has remained on constant play around here for the past 5 years.  Creeps continues on their formula of heavy, sludgy, melodic heavy stoner rock.  Highly recommended. Slow Season, Mountains (Riding Easy Records)  A devastating collection of hard rocking, hard hitting rawk music.  Best suited to pissing off the...

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