Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Ku Klux Klan in Kalamazoo

Hello friends,

I've mentioned this to a couple of you, but for those who do not know, the Ku Klux Klan will be meeting at Bronson Park on Saturday at noon for a "Rally Against Black Gang Terrorism." I will be there protesting and I'm wondering if some of you might feel inclined to join the effort. We cannot, in good conscience, let this rally happen without letting them know they are in no way welcome. Please, please, please forward this to anyone you believe will be interested in countering this.

Below is more information from Michigan Against White Supremacy.

"On Saturday, August 4, the racist radio talk show host Hal Turner is holding what he is hoping will be a major white supremacist event in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Turner’s event, dubbed a “Rally Against Black Gang Terrorism,” will feature speakers from various Ku Klux Klan groups, a pastor from the racist Christian Identity religion, and various racists not affiliated with any organized group. Moreover, invitations have been extended to nearly every organized white supremacist group from the Aryan Nations to White Revolution. Far from expressing concern about any issues affecting people in Kalamazoo, Hal Turner’s event is designed to act as a means of recruiting more people into the white supremacist movement and advancing their racist agenda.

Michigan Against White Supremacy is organizing a counter event because we believe that the white supremacists cannot be ignored. If we choose to ignore the white supremacists, they will be emboldened. If allowed to rally unopposed, the white supremacists will believe that they have the support of the community to enact their program of racist terror. Many of the white supremacists coming to Kalamazoo have advocated violence to achieve their political goals–expressing support for acts ranging from the “lynching” of African-Americans in Kalamazoo to the mass execution of Jewish people. We must stand up and oppose white supremacists as one of the many ways in which we can and should stand in solidarity and mutual struggle with oppressed groups.

We encourage people to protest in a way that effectively will silence the white supremacists’ message. In addition, we support people using a variety of methods and tactics to oppose the presence of white supremacists in Kalamazoo, provided that their actions are well-thought out and take into consideration their potential impact on the local community and other counter-demonstrators.

Meet at Bronson Park (South Rose and W. South St) in Kalamazoo, Michigan at 12:00pm. Brings signs, banners, noisemakers, and anything else that will help make it clear that white supremacy is not welcome in Kalamazoo, Michigan, or anywhere else.

For more information, please consult our website at http://maws.wordpress.com

Friday, July 27, 2007

Marco! Polo!

Earlier this summer, my neighbor in the lot behind me installed an upground pool and it has been delighting and comforting me all summer long. None of this delight has come from actually setting foot in the pool itself, but from the sounds of the kids who swim in it from 9 in the morning to late in the evening.

I grew up with a pool. The shouts and splashes and inevitable angry screams when an unsuspecting child gets the occasional dunking is the soundtrack to my life that I hadn't even realized had stopped playing.

The most quintessential pool sound comes from the class game, Marco Polo. The person who is "it" closes their eyes and yells "Marco!" while the rest of the players dart out of the way responding "Polo!" In the pool of my youth, this included tactics of varying torture, such as bopping the person who is "it" on the head and leaping out of the way before they could tag you, or yanking on their ankles from underneath the water to pull them down whilst they swing and swing for you. I didn't say we were nice children, but we were very, very fun.

I was big with the "Fish Out of Water" thing because I was little and fast. Our house rules said that as long as one part of your body is in the water, it counts as in. This is the best way to get a bop on someone's head. You wait until just after you've responded with a "Polo!" then you dive over their head, give it a good, satisfying bop, and then swim away underwater to safety.

I don't know if the kids behind me are as vicious as we were, but they do play the game, evidence of which echoes throughout our neighbor like a call to summer. I love it.

I also love this little snippet of conversation I just heard clean as a bell:

Mother: Benjamin! Did you throw rocks in the pool?
Benjamin: Nooooo ...
Mother: You have all those pool toys and you're throwing rocks in the pool that I worked so hard to put up for you?
Benjamin (a little more softly this time): Nooo ...
Mother: Don't lie to me, Benjamin! Your father seen it!

This conversation could have happened at our house, except my mother never would have said "seen it" because she's better educated than that, but still ... we did throw a lot of golfballs in there and we did put some holes in the pool that my dad had to patch. Our pool's still there. It's a beauty of an underground pool with a slide and a diving board. And thank God, my nephews and nieces are still playing the TV Game, the Quiet Game (damn, I can't remember what we called it), and of course, Marco Polo. I hope my parents' neighbors are as caressed by the raucous sounds of it as I am.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Best Nude News Ever

This is by far the best thing I have read in the newspaper in a long, long time:

"Man who ran nude to spice up boring life gets 30 days in jail"

A 49-year-old man who told police his life lacked excitement was sentenced to 30 days in jail for running while wearing only a stocking cap, gloves and reflective tape.

Russell Rotta acknowledged to police that he had been running naked since he was a teenager and generally woke up each day around 4 a.m. to conceal his activity from his wife.

The Blackman Township resident pleaded guilty to a charge of indecent exposure May 22 in Jackson County district court. Judge Joseph Filip also sentenced him Tuesday to 24 months probation and $1,500 in fines and costs.

Rotta was arrested early April 4 after a caller reported seeing a naked man running in the southbound lane of U.S. Highway 127 in Blackman Township, north of Jackson and about 70 miles west of Detroit.

In the police report, the responding officer wrote that he recalled several reports over the years of a naked man running in the area. The officer said he spotted Rotta by his shoe reflectors as he attempted to cross a road.

The man was arrested following a foot chase.

Rotta told police he didn't indulge his habit to disturb anyone or receive sexual gratification and generally confined his running to open fields and wooded areas away from roads. He wore reflective tape around his arms, ankles, waist and thighs to avoid being hit when he crossed roads, the police report said.

Rotta reported running in the nude six miles a day every day, weather permitting. "That is the one wild, crazy thing that I do that makes me feel alive," police quoted him as saying.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Fundamentals According to Lloyd Dobler and Co.

It occurs to me that the core fundamentals of my life have come from very few sources and they amount to an odd collage of manifesto-esque soundbytes. You know what I mean - those things you read or heard that screamed at you like your own personal prophet coming down, grabbing you by the lapels, and saying, "Now hear this! This is how you will live, according to these principles!"

Here are a few of mine, for good or for awesome, in no particular order:

1. "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived ... I wanted to live deep and suck the marrow out of life" (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden").

2. "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that" (Lloyd Dobler, "Say Anything").

3. "Nobody knows anybody. Not that well" (Tom Reagan, "Miller's Crossing").

I could only come up with three at this moment, but that second one is really resonating with me at the moment. 'More to come. Maybe.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Formerly of the MTV Generation

Early this morning, even before my neighbors started their early morning running up and down the stairs, I was awake and watching VH1 Videos. It was both a thrilling and nostalgic experience. The music felt bigger to me than it had a long time. It felt like it had a chance of actually being affecting and not just being the music I run to or clean the dishes to. It was a moment of clarity at a very early hour in the morning, all made possible by the artistry and dentistry of videos.

I was born in 1974. This means I was around for the Buggles first video, "Video Killed the Radio Star," which was the first video ever shown on MTV. It was August 1st, 1981. (Go here to view said video, which is very hard to embed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pe9FMoElCoU).

We had one of the brown box remote channel changers that you zip up and down like a keyboard to change the channel. (I have searched in vain to find a picture of this to jog all our memories, but I can find nothing. If you know what I'm talking about and can find a picture to send me, I would be extremely grateful).

But as we all know, it is very difficult to view videos anymore unless we are up at hours we do not intend to be. Sure, we've all seen The Beastie Boys "Sabotage" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzTxuDUfzzM), and The White Stripes lego-riffic fantasy "Fell in Love With a Girl" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRDi67G0Siw), and personally, I still feel artistically indebted to A-Ha's "Take On Me" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUod3jGQt0U).

But surely there's more to inspire us that the four or five stations out there are withholding from us, choosing instead to expose us to yet another Sweet Sixteen, mind-baffling bitchfest.

To misquote Jason Compson, "Once a video enjoyer, always a video enjoyer, what I say!" And let it begin with the following, a song and video called "Young Folk" by Peter, Bjorn, and John. It f-ing rocks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51V1VMkuyx0

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Because Fat is (Apparently) Disgusting

I've come across these images many times of late in the blogosphere and felt a sense of obligation to continue the discussion they stimulate. The following images are from a Brazilian yogurt ad campaign intended as a warning to women that no one likes fatties. Keep in mind that the tagline for the following ads is: Forget about it. Men's preference will never change. Fit Light Yogurt.

I say we suggest new taglines for this breathtakingly offensive ad campaign. Here are some suggestions for 1-3:

1. Men's preferences will never change. This chick will always be hotter than Mena Suvari (except when Suvari is playing a lesbian on Six Feet Under, because guys can't help themselves in thinking girl on girl is very, very hot).

2. It's true. Man's preferences will never change. Every stolen glance of panty is an awesome glance of panty.

3. Smart women prefer to keep their legs closed no matter what that crafty cameraman said.

That's all 145 pounds of me has to offer today.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Short on Obsessions

Obsessions get sort of a bad rap. Personally, I'm always envious of someone who is obsessed with something because it shows that they care about something with a great deal of passion. Trust me, as someone who cannot remember what it's like to get really, really excited about anything, I think obsessions are altogether healthy and valuable.

I have decided just today to become obsessed with Zach Braff. He's earned it. If you don't believe me, just take it from this guy:


Also, for those of you who need a crib sheet for my last post - don't be shy, that's a lot of damn books - go here: http://www.litline.org/ABR/100bestfirstlines.html

Off to become Zach Braff's number one friend on Myspace.