Monday, March 31, 2014

Has Don Rumsfeld done Est?

That was my first reaction when I heard Donald Rumsfeld's "known knowns" and "unknown unknowns" press conference. And it's my reaction now to Errol Morris's analyses on nytimes.com.

That's because, what seems like several lifetimes ago, a former girlfriend took me to a very special guest seminar at Avery Fisher Hall for students of EST-the Forum-Landmark Education. I remember it well because the audience was a bit more devout than the last time I was there for a non-classical event--a massively loud and massively stoned Mahavishnu Orchestra concert. This one was a packed house, too--because the big kahuna himself, Werner Erhard, was in the house.

Using a dry-erase board, Erhard analyzed human experience in a four-part matrix:

Erhard put a big circle around that category at the bottom right and declared that that's where his work worked its magic -- on the unknown unknowns.

So, does anyone know if Don Rumsfeld has done Est?

PS: I'm not the first to suggest this: see lgattruth

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Mayor Skedaddled

It was his first big chance to differentiate himself from Mike Bloomberg, and Bill de Blasio blew it.

Last week, Mayor de Blasio had a chance to show voters that he was, despite his new Upper East Side digs, the same man they voted for. He could have, in one statement, restored our sense that he was, despite his vague and malleable positions on many crucial issues, one of us.

Instead he ran from the conflict.

If you follow the taboids and TV, you know the story: late one night early in the week, Mayor de Blasio picked up the phone to call police officials to find out what was going on with Bishop Orlando Findlayter, a key campaign supporter, who had been pulled over in his car for making a turn without signaling. Then, when records showed several open warrants (apparently for symbolic arrests at protest demonstrations), the clergyman was hauled off to his local precinct. Since he was arrested at almost midnight, he was probably destined to spend the night and the following day, and perhaps even the following evening, at central booking going through the cumbersome and nasty arrest-to-arraignment process.

When the press queried the Mayor about the ethics of pushing for special treatment for a crony, de Blasio defended his phone call by terming Findlayter’s case “unusual.” Then he clammed up, cancelling a press appearance and vanishing from the public eye. He might as well have flown to Bermuda.

Sadly, though, in that one word the Mayor did say about the issue, he misspoke. What happened to Bishop Findlayter was many things—but it was not unusual. Arrests for things that don’t merit arrest happen all the time in New York City. The only two unusual things here are that it happened to an FoB—a friend of Bill—and that it’s being talked about in the press.

Sure it was boneheaded for the Mayor to phone the police and even appear to interfere on behalf of a friend and supporter. But let’s be honest: during the Bloomberg years, it became alarmingly common for New Yorkers to be given tickets, and even to be arrested, for amazingly petty things. Think veering out of a bike lane to avoid a truck that was illegally double-parked. Think walking your dog in a park after dark. Think being accosted by the cops (stop & frisk, anyone?) and not having an ID with you. Think minor automotive things like the Bishop’s supposed infraction (in some circles, that’s called DWB, driving while black.)

This is exactly the tale of two cities that Mayor de Blasio decried in his campaign—that well-connected people like the Bishop get to walk from the precinct, while everyone else is being processed and prosecuted and treated as if they were a violent criminal in punishment for stupid petty violations.

Sorry, Mr. Mayor: if it’s wrong for the bishop, it’s wrong for everyone, and you ought to say so. Arresting people on silly charges like this is a waste of police time, a waste of court time, a waste of the people’s time. And it does nothing to prevent crime. Indeed, it stigmatizes a whole generation—because a kid who finds himself in this situation (you can relate: think of your son, Dante, who featured so mightily in your campaign) might find that that arrest follows him in his computerized records for the rest of his life, potentially blocking him from getting an education or a job.

The Mayor had a chance to be our true elected representative. He had a chance to speak truth to power. He had a chance to say something meaningful: that he had strong reservations about a criminal justice system that would, even temporarily, incarcerate a person—anyone, not just a Bishop and campaign supporter—for spurious and ridiculous violations like making a turn without signaling and getting arrested at demonstrations for engaging in acts of free speech.

And the Mayor ran away.

Monday, February 03, 2014

the last word on art & politics

Art, if you want a definition of it, is criminal action. It conforms to no rules. Not even its own. Anyone who experiences a work of art is as guilty as the artist. It is not a question of sharing the guilt. Each one of us gets all of it.
--John Cage

Thursday, January 30, 2014

new yorker style

History is important. Here are the first paragraphs of the 3 main features in the Feb. 3, 2014 issue of The New Yorker:

1. In 1994, Harry Huang and his wife, Zhang Li, were running Lily Burger, a tiny backpacker restaurant on the banks of the Jen River, in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province.

2. In May of 1990, several hundred physicians gathered in a conference hall at an Atlanta hotel, as uniformed guards stood at the door.

3. In the spring of 2000, Reed Hastings, the C.E.O. of Netflix, hired a private plane and flew from San Jose to Dallas for a summit meeting with Blockbuster, the video-rental giant that had seventy-seven hundred stores worldwide handling mostly VCR tapes.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

John Cage, futurist

We are getting rid of ownership, substituting use.

My idea was that if they wanted to fight (human nature and all that), they should do it in the Antarctic, rest of us gambling on daily outcome: proceeds for world welfare.

Society's changing. Relevant information's hard to come by. Soon it'll be everywhere, unnoticed.

War will not be group conflict: it'll be murder, pure and simple, individually conceived.

Treat redwoods, for instance, as entitles that have at least a chance to win.

Fusion of credit card with passport.

Effect of videophone on travel? That we'll stay home, settling like gods for impressions we'll give of being everywhere at once.

Everywhere where economics and politics obtain (everywhere?), policy is dog eat dog.

The truth is that everything causes everything else.

Heaven's no longer paved with gold (changes in church architecture). Heaven's a motel.

Utopia? Self-knowledge. Some will make it, with or without LSD. The others? Pray for acts of God, crises, power failures, no water to drink.
--from Diary: How to improve the world (you will only make matters worse) 1965



The question is not: How much are you going to get out of it? Nor is it: How much are you going to put into it? But rather: How immediately are you going to say Yes to no matter what unpredictability, even when what happens seems to have no relation to what one thought was one's commitment?
--from Lecture on Commitment, 1961

Friday, January 10, 2014

I like a country where it's nobody's damn business ...

I like a country where it's nobody's damn business what magazines anyone reads, what he thinks, whom he has cocktails with. I like a country where we do not have to stuff the chimney against listening ears and where what we say does not go into the FBI files along with a note from S-17 that I may have another wife in California. I like a country where no college-trained flatfeet collect memoranda about us and ask judicial protection for them, a country where when someone makes statements about us to officials he can be held to account. We had that kind of country only a little while ago and I'm for getting it back. It was a lot less scared than the one we've got now. It slept sound no matter how many people joined communist reading circles and it put common scolds to the ducking stool.
That's Bernard de Voto from "Due Notice to the FBI," in Harper's Magazine, October 1949. Fighting surveillance six and a half decades ago. Swap in contemporary references and it's strikingly fresh.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

scenic superficial garage resort cornutopia

1067 PacificPeople
COLLECTIVE (hands-on, cooking, cornutopia)
SCENIC SUPERFICIAL GARAGE RESORT ADDS A STATION

October 10  - October 12, 2013
@ 5:30pm - 9:30pm (Meal at 7:30pm)
Thursday:  Sonoran-Desert Post-Apocalyptic Tortillas
Friday: Campfire Corn Soup with Cornbread
Saturday:  Monte Verità Polenta Bar

The people can choose to be in an active or passive state to be part of the meal preparation or drop in for the eating.



The Scenic Superficial Garage Resort becomes a 3-day gathering and social sculpture, it invites friends, artists and guests to practice, to witness, to move, to share, to eat, to relax and to converse. How food can become a conscious collective act of embodiment and a form of artistic practice with aesthetic and critical perspective in our time?  During COLLECTIVE, Swiss Gastronomy Advisor Martina Haenggi will offer her hands-on cooking expertise while Nancye creates the fire ritual and Andrea offers singular movement exploration using fingertips to scroll, to zoom, to get closer to the COLLECTIVE landscape, a linkage between gazing and touching, a physical contact. We encourage you to spend some time to experience COLLECTIVE  in all its facets and if time permits come for all 3 days to experience the full cornutopia.

Join us at 1067 Pacific Street, Brooklyn, http://goo.gl/ugOcy.
Bring currency and/or raw food products to support the collective meal.
RSVP at andrea@amdat.org.
Onward to COLLECTIVE :)
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1067 PacificPeople
Twitter: @1067PacificPeop

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ABOUT: 1067 PacificPeople Installation/Performance research field work SCENIC SUPERFICIAL GARAGE RESORT gets built on:
The desire to be touched by something. Untouched. Desert. Landscape Touched. Altered. Human interference. Desertification. Desire expresses movement. Movement expresses Desire. Movement includes the missing. The failed communication. Desire to express the failed communication. Desire to Produce Affections and Sensations to address the uneasy sense of dislocation and detachment that hangs in the air.”

Ø Signs of affection in the urban desert landscapes
Ø An act of enclosure, erasure and devotion derived, in part, from artist Andrea Haenggi’s participation in the mobile desert performance Shuttle, (http://www.performingmobilities.net) moving through the desert of the American South West with eight other artists in a Chevy Van with its fleeting ecological diverse desert landscape and social temporality and her studio research into aesthetic, political, cultural and environmental of the deserts beauty, control, wilderness, death.
Ø An investigation into the “experience economy”.
Ø Finding new forms of somatic dance/art/theater served hotdrylow
Ø Looking for diversities in creative practices and disciplines

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http://www.andreahaenggi.net

http://stealthofnations.blogspot.com