Tag Archives: Pontifying

Letters from Russia to Appear on “WriteNow” on Santa Cruz Freak Radio

CountrysideReceived a lovely note from DJ Snailmail who creates a show (with her colleague DJ Anon) on Santa Cruz Free Radio called “WriteNow! The Art and Action of Letter-writing” expressing an interest in reading my Letters From Russia project.

In case you missed it … LFR (Letters from Russia (.pdf)- war & love epistletory discourse) is written as a series of 14 letters and a “declaration” ostensibly by a cobbler in Napoleon’s army in Russia 1812, to his lover in Paris. It evolved into multi-medium art project with a series of illustrations, paintings and papercraft all bundled in a handmade book of hemp and wood and twine.

Campsite from Letters From RussiaAnyhow, here’s more about the show – i’ll be on to talk about using letter writing a a literary device and the process i used and philosophical underpinnings and inspirations of the content.

“WriteNow! The Art and Action of Letter-writing.” The program explores the art, value and action of letter-writing, basically all aspects of letter- writing, specifically snailmail and handwritten letters. It’s on Tuesdays from 8-9pm on Free Radio Santa Cruz (101.1FM and streamed at Freakradio.org).

And i’m a sucker for civil disobedience, ergo:

In full disclosure, Free Radio Santa Cruz (FRSC) is a 100% volunteer collective and we do not make any money in this effort. FRSC has been on the air for over ten years without an FCC license. freakradio.org/about.html

Canadian Legion threatens White Poppies for Peace folks

White poppies for peaceThis is a case of copyright gone wild. The Peace Pledge Union based in the UK sell white poppies to citizens around the world who wish to show their abhorance and refusal to support war for any purpose. You can read more back story about the white poppies and red poppies for that matter at Remembrance Day Activities in Vancouver.

But the Canadian Legion decided it owned the rights to sell poppies of any kind or colour and threathened the peaceniks with legal action. However, they aren’t giving up and surrendering to the bully who is claiming an absurd trademark right though a Canadian supplier has been forced to stop selling the wee plastic mementos.

Here’s Peace Pledge’s quick overview:Cenotaph in Vancouver

Last year The Royal Canadian Legion through it legal representative demanded that Canadian groups stop distribution them and that the PPU stop making white poppies available in Canada, or else. That was the gist, though expressed in more formal language. According to the RCL’s legal representatives, the white poppy infringes the Legion’s poppy trademark. The PPU replied at length; our central point was that we disagreed with their argument. We have not heard from them since but the Canadian shop at the centre of this complaint regrettably had to acquiesce. You can read more about this at http://tinyurl.com/2mc7pq where you can also find out about the white poppy project and the PPU.

Following the legal threats both the promoters in Canada and Canadians who bought the poppy from us hoped that white poppies would again be available in Canada this year.

White poppies in any quantity are available from us for dispatch anywhere in the world including Canada.

In case you missed it, i recorded a spoken word podcast series based around the White Poppies i received last year and my brother’s involvement in the conflict in Iraq (now home safe – wish i could say the same for the rest). Still one more episode to go – trying to get it all done in less than a year ;-).

You can also subscribe to Postcards from Gravelly Beach in iTunes.

Be sure to order white poppies early (shipped across the Atlantic) and read the loquacious discourse on this most critical of topics. Make no mistake, the way to honour ultimate sacrifice is to ensure no such future bloodshed is required from man’s inability to get along. And we (all of us) have a right to respect the fallen in a manner which suits our conscience and not a method prescribed by the Legion or anyone else.

Honor by not fighting“The power of the white poppy lies in its questioning of the dominant – and fundamentally dishonest – view of war. More than that, it carries the hopes and demands of the mothers, wives, daughters and girlfriends of the men who for whatever reason and in whatever way were diminished by their participation in war. Their hope was that we would find less brutal social institutions to solve problems and resolve conflict. It remains for us to fulfill the wish.”

Catholic Parade for John Paul 2 in Santiago de Compostella, Spain

Whether by divine decree or coincidence, we happened into the famed Spanish town of Santiago de Compostela the day before Pope John Paul II died.

I’m not a Catholic but wondered in the pageantry and the amazement of the pilgrims completing their walk on the Camino De Santiago.

During this time, I attended my first and only mass at the giant and well used Cathedral. The giant vats of incense swaying, bells ringing in discord, and this parade happening as we walked to mass.

The ladies had their best haridos and the dudes all walk chill and then throngs of priests in their finery hefting and shrine and beating the ground with their canes.

Also I ate a cracker and touched the bones of San Ignacio AKA Saint James. It is believed in the lore of some cultures that Santiago was the secret hiding place for Jesus Christ’s family or himself and his entourage, further, this is purported to be a strong hold of the Knights Templar who emerged during the Crusades but were thwarted during the various Inquisitions… except the one who continued the traditions in Santiago…

Anyhow, here’s a bit of a parade filmed in 2005 on a Sony Hi8 tape camera. Glad it survived to share.

Creative Commons – Remix and share with attribution

Etymology of Chooglin’ in rock, funk and boogie – Definition of Choogle

You know i dig Chooglin’ on – meaning rambling along on adventures, going elsewhere, somewhere, nowhere … rolling where i feel the flow, getting in a ruckus and causing a disturbance – but ya know the good kind of raucous disturbances.

When i think about ‘who’s chooglin’?’ i think of the dude careening down the city road riding an overloaded shopping cart of bottles, cans and random crap, he’s chooglin’. The old lady with a cane hustling to catch the bus cause the driver ain’t got no heart to wait – she’s a chooglin’. The busker i see in the seabus tunnel playing his guts out and getting hassled by the po-po cause he ain’t got no permit and he’s just trying to sing to the folks man! – he be a chooglin’ for sure. Chooglin’ is a state of mind – a go with the flow but in an immediate active tense … so as i sees it anyhow.

Choogle on Street Party

Some urban dictionary jive has all sorts of crazy speculation about what means choogle/chooglin’/choogling ranging from dubious sex acts to cheating or Chinese-i-fying some search engine which vaguely rhymes with choogle.

Turns out some lads in Austin spent the time to figure what the meaning of choogle is on the street. Read the whole treatise (written by Christopher Gray, published Wed Apr 18, 12:40pm) called To Choogle or Not to Choogle as he talks about a band called Chooglin’ and the origins of the word in a semi-academic manner.

(btw, the band is described in another article “Choogle X 2” thusly: “The fourpiece utilizes garage-borne punk fury to remind us of the ass-shaking salvation once offered by the boogie-down guitar rock of the Seventies before it got all bloated on deli trays and cocaine.”)

Noble effort indeed. Here’s a guy who clearly spent some time diggin’ into the heart of rockin forth,boogie-ing down and chooglin’ – serving up the full riffs of swampy CCR, burly BTO and ramblin Grateful Dead as the reprentative soundtrackers to the choogle lifestyle. Serves up some tasty honorable mentions to Sly and his Family of Stone(r)s, Black Sabbath, Motörhead, Skynyrd, (phat) Elvis (sometimes) and even cameo chooglin by alt-rock savants Modest Mouse. Knew someone would find a common thread between all those besides just me.

Here a remixed sampler pack of quotes about the etymology of Chooglin’ but wise folks with read up on the choogle (Copyright © 2007 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved. Used under fair use.) and live it right (or wrong – whichever, i do not fret):

Some words are so much fun to say it almost doesn’t matter what they mean. So it is with the perpetually misunderstood swampy rock & roll term “choogle.” It’s one of those words – SF Weekly calls it a “nonsense rock verb” this week – that gets tossed around a fair amount even though its actual meaning is elusive.

If applied correctly, it’s simply a synonym for awesome, and this nonsense rock verb is having a bit of a moment right now.

But choogle is meant to be embraced, not overlooked. “Choogle is a debauched form of white-boy boogie, after white-boy boogie drank too much Old Crow and fell asleep on his deck listening to Grand Funk Railroad,” SF Weekly’s Frances Reade, profiling contemporary acid casualties the Assemble Head, writes in the paper’s current issue. “Choogle has a nasty sunburn and a hangover, but he’s still ready to party.”

Choogle dates back at least to 1969, when it was coined by John Fogerty. Lord knows how he came up with it, but Fogerty advised listeners to “Keep on chooglin'” for eight whole minutes on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s second album, Bayou Country.

Choogle also became known as an especially funky form of travel once Fogerty stated his intention to “choogle on down to New Orleans” in the same album’s “Born on the Bayou.” Deposed former Village Voice rock scribe Robert Christgau, never, ever guilty of overanalysis, displays a firm grasp on choogle on his Web site’s Creedence entry: “The energy implied by coinages like ‘choogle’ and ‘ramble tamble’ has more to do with vigor than with potency, more to do with simple activity than with sexuality. That distinction has its parallel in Fogerty’s politics, which are less apocalyptic (and revolutionary) than activist (and liberal) – the politics of agape rather than the politics of eros.” Word, Bob.

[Dave note: ‘the politics of agape rather than the politics of eros.’ = whoa dude]

… it’s more of a rhythm than anything else: fluid, organic, undulating. Though the tempo varies, all choogle carries an insistent drive that just won’t quit. Therefore, the lion’s share of Sly & the Family Stone’s newly reissued 1969 landmark Stand! could rightfully be called choogle, while some Southern rock icons are almost completely choogle-free.

Choogle is rooted in the blues, but doesn’t live there – the Allman Brothers couldn’t choogle to save their lives. Lynyrd Skynyrd were capable of chooglin’ – “Gimme Three Steps” and “Call Me the Breeze” come to mind – but certainly not “Free Bird” or “Saturday Night Special.” .38 Special flirted with choogle on “Hold On Loosely” and “Caught Up in You,” but more as a garnish than a foundation. Post-’68-comeback Elvis choogled all over “Burning Love,” “Suspicious Minds,” and Tony Joe White’s “Polk Salad Annie,” but was inevitably eclipsed by less choogly ballads like “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” More’s the pity.

Like Fogerty himself, many of history’s main chooglers hail from way outside Dixie. All-time choogler anthem “Takin’ Care of Business” comes to us from Winnipeg, Canada, by way of Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Cleveland native Joe Walsh took choogle to new heights on “Rocky Mountain Way,” and once they got going, the Grateful Dead could choogle for hours on end. Maybe even days..

Metal never, ever choogles, except maybe Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades.” Modest Mouse flirts with chooglin’ a few times on latest We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, but never quite follow through.

To Choogle or Not to Choogle Christopher Gray, published Wed Apr 18, 12:40pm

(Copyright © 2007 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved. Used under fair use.)

Military service evaders seeking justice – Laying it all out on paper

You likely know i’ve been working on a series for Postcard from Gravelly Beach podcast about war and peace called “White Poppies for Remembrance” recorded last November.
Poetry on war and peace and remembrance

The most recent episode “Buddhas in the Trenches” discusses conscientious objection and military service evaders.  I wrote a “Pro” and “Con” argument paper while at Evergreen College in Olympia, WA in the early days of this ‘war on abstract nouns’  which (unfortunately) is still vitally relevant.

The essay titled Should U.S. military evaders be extradited? Yes & No arguments (.pdf) 08/04” break down the issues and conundrums facing the (growing number of) men and women who are giving their humanity and conscience priority over their military service obligations/commitments.

Rather than rambling on, … please note the endnotes for both sides of the argument.  I encourage people to learn more about what is going on as decent people fight for refugee status and their right to not-kill and be killed for an illegal, immoral and unethical war.  The situation is vastly different than Vietnam era (no more draft and extradition treaties are in place) but eerily similar (particularly as the war continues to escalate out of control).

This essay is available along with many others at…

Cosmo imparts knowledge in Business Examiner article about ISP crime

Not sure if you saw this but … a few month’s back, my colleague and co-conspirator at Zhonka! was at it again with a wise and insightful bit of commentary on the unnecessary hassle imposed on ISPs who some think should pay the role of snoop and fink. Jay’s commentary is below form his blog post Yet More Business Press from Tuesday, November 21, 2006.

Jay Stewart speaks out against ISP hassles to Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna

This is in response to the Attorneys General of many states, including Rob McKenna of Washington State, putting out a hot-air puffery press release (read the actual letter here) on how ISPs could help catch paedophiles, which is true, if we snooped on traffic and violated the privacy of our customers. Surely, there is a better way to protect children than turning our country into a “Big Brother” police state, where ISPs and telephone companies keep records of activity and data forever, so that the “authorities” can sift through it long after it would have protected any children. Law enforcement needs to start doing it’s job, and stop hassling poor (and brown) people. Anyway, I think these are some of my best quotes ever published in the print media, and am proud to been able to speak out against this kind of fishing expedition.

Using Social Media for Artistic Endeavours at Vancouver Film School, 2007

Notes on the white board from VFS Lecture

Using Social Media for Art Endeavours – Dave O Lecture at VFS

Lecture by me (Dave Olson) to Robert Scales‘ class at Vancouver Film School on March 29, 2007. My occasionally witty, yet sometimes convoluted banter, is laden with anecdotes on publishing, planning, development, outreach, promotion and collaboration, particularly about HempenRoad film project.