Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Biafra celebrates 50th with pair of concerts

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Angry and articulate, Jello Biafra has made as many enemies as influential records. Next week, the former singer of the Dead Kennedys turns 50, and he celebrates with a pair of concerts at the Great American Music Hall. He also celebrates a career that has seen the singer/raconteur/spoken-word artist lead the West Coast punk charge, run for political office and get beat down on more than one occasion.

Here are the highlights of that life and career:

1958: Eric Reed Boucher is born in Boulder, Colo. "My parents didn't hide reality," he says. "I watched cartoons and the news with equal fascination. I saw Oswald get shot live. I saw the Berlin Wall go up, and Vietnam was the best reality show in the history of television."

1977: Shortly before enrolling at UC Santa Cruz - for just one quarter - Biafra takes in live sets by early punk heroes like the Avengers, Wire and the Ramones. "Not only were they way louder than we thought they would be, but they scared the living daylights out of everyone in the room," he says. "The best part was they made it look much easier than it was."

1978: Earning enough money from doing laundry in a nursing home, Biafra moves to San Francisco and takes on his new moniker. He co-founds Dead Kennedys and, a week later, books the band at seminal San Francisco punk venue Mabuhay Gardens. "We wanted it to be as extreme as possible," Biafra says.

1979: The Dead Kennedys form the Alternative Tentacles label and release the underground hit "California Uber Alles." On a dare, Biafra launches a mayoral campaign in San Francisco and comes in fourth in a field of 10 candidates. The same year, he performs nude in front of 3,000 Clash fans, getting the band blacklisted by Bill Graham. "We had no problem attacking the industry," he says.

1980: Dead Kennedys mania hits. The band goes international as controversy brews around crude punk singles like "Too Drunk to F-" and "Nazi Punks F- Off." Alternative Tentacles helps ignite the American hard-core scene with releases by T.S.O.L., 7 Seconds and D.O.A. "The vision for the label is the same now as it was then: to provide an outlet for artists that want to operate outside of the industry," Biafra says.

1983-85: A series of guerrilla gigs sees the Dead Kennedys perform on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and outside both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Rumblings from Tipper Gore's Parents' Music Resource Center signals trouble ahead.

1986: Biafra's home and offices are raided. The band, now defunct, is charged with distribution of harmful matter to minors. The matter in question is the Dead Kennedys' "Frankenchrist" album, which includes surrealist artwork by H.R. Giger depicting nine penises at climax. A criminal trial ends with a hung jury. Biafra and Gore later face off on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." "Right after that everything with my name on it was banned," Biafra says.

1988: The PRMC ordeal raises Biafra's status as a spoken-word artist, vaulting him onto the college lecture circuit as an expert on censorship. "I fought back and people dug that," he says.

1989: Biafra spends the next decade recording albums with various bands such as Lard and Nomeansno. His spoken-word releases get national attention, as do Alternative Tentacles releases by divisive figures like Mumia Abu-Jamal, Noam Chomsky and Angela Davis.

1994: The singer is attacked at Berkeley punk club 924 Gilman Street by a group of men who kick him on the ground shouting, "Sellout rock star!"

2000: Accused by his former bandmates for failing to sell out, accurately distribute royalties or promote their back catalog, Biafra is ordered to pay $220,000 in damages. The following year, he appeals the ruling. "That's still the great heartbreak of my life," he says. "That whole lawsuit was a scam over my not wanting 'Holiday in Cambodia' to be used in a Levi's commercial."

2005: Biafra records "Sieg Howdy!" with members of the Melvins. He credits himself as J Lo on the sleeve. "If I go without rock for too long, I feel depressed," he says. "I saw the Stooges at the Warfield on Iggy's 60th birthday, so I figured I've got to get something together for my 50th."

Biafra Five-O with Jello Biafra and the Melvins 8 p.m. Mon.-Tues. $22 ($40 both nights). Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell St., San Francisco. (415) 885-0750,

E-mail Aidin Vaziri at

This article appeared on page E - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Japanese swimmers likely to get OK to use Speedo swimsuits in Olympics

Japanese swimmers from left, Reiko Nakamura, Takeshi Matsuda, Kosuke Kitajima, Haruka Ueda, and Yoshihiro Okumura, appear in Speedo swimsuits at the Japan Open on Friday.
Japanese swimmers from left, Reiko Nakamura, Takeshi Matsuda, Kosuke Kitajima, Haruka Ueda, and Yoshihiro Okumura, appear in Speedo swimsuits at the Japan Open on Friday.

The Japan Swimming Federation appears likely to lift a ban on the use of Speedo swimsuits for Japanese Olympic athletes, after five national records were broken Friday by competitors wearing the swimsuit manufacturer's LZR Racer suits.

New national records were set in five of the 10 finals at the Japan Open on Friday, all by swimmers wearing the LZR Racer. The swimming federation has not permitted the use of Speedo's swimsuits in the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, instead having swimmers choose from three manufacturers whom it has contracts. However, it appears certain that the federation will give Speedo suits the green light at a board of directors meeting on Tuesday.

In the Japan Open at Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center on Friday, Kosuke Kitajima set a new national record of 59.44 seconds in the final of the men's 100-meter breaststroke, beating his own record set three years earlier. In the final of the women's 200 meter freestyle, meanwhile, Haruka Ueda broke a national record that had stood for nine years.

Other national record breakers wearing the LZR Racer were Takeshi Matsuda in the men's 200 meter butterfly, Reiko Nakamura in the women's 100 meters backstroke, and Yoshihiro Okumura in the men's 200 meter freestyle.

Speaking on the run of new national records, Koji Ueno, manager of Japan's national team, said the LZR had produced a good response. He said his concern was for the athletes who belonged to other companies (such as Mizuno), suggesting that the Japan Swimming Federation would move in the direction of allowing Speedo's swimsuits.

Norimasa Hirai, a national team coach who coaches Kitajima has gone as far as to assert, "If swimmers don't wear the LZR Racer, they won't be able to compete in Beijing Olympics" in terms of performance.

The five swimmers who produced national records all wore swimsuits produced by Japanese manufacturers during the qualifying rounds. Ai Shibata, who won a gold medal in the 800 meters freestyle at the 2004 Olympic Games wore a swimsuit that a Japanese manufacturer had improved at the request of the Japan Swimming Federation, but failed to produce an outstanding time.

At present, Japan's Olympic swimmers are supposed to choose from swimsuits provided by three manufacturers with which the Japan Swimming Federation has contracts: Mizuno, Descente and Asics. However, calls for swimmers to adopt the LZR Racer have arisen since foreign swimmers wearing the suits have broken world records.

"The Speedo suit is great, as the results show," Kitajima said. "I've worn Mizuno swimsuits for many years, so I also want them to try their best."

(Mainichi Japan) June 7, 2008

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Music Videos

Michiro Endo Stalin Water Sister

Clash Know your rights US Festival 83

System Of A Down - Lonely Day

Soft Ballet - ?whole the whole?


Wayne County and the Electric Chairs- Putty (1978)

Four on the Floor - Boys

T.S.O.L - "Code Blue" (Live) - Frontier Records

DRY & HEAVY - Rumble (Live 2004.09.03)

[LIVE]StonySkunk- Ragga Muffin

Dogggystyle - Weelin' Of The Nation (Live 2003)

this was yesterday's reads

North Cornwall fairies and legends ([1906])

The Brahmans, theists and Muslims of India. Studies of goddess-worship in Bengal, caste, Brahmaism and social reform, with descriptive sketches of curious festivals, ceremonies, and faquirs (1907)

Tammuz and Ishtar : a monograph upon Babylonian religion and theology containing extensive extracts from the Tammuz liturgies and all of the Arbela oracles (1914)

Serpent-worship, and other essays : with a chapter on totemism (1888)

Totem and taboo; resemblances between the psychic lives of savages and neurotics (1918, t.p. 1919)

The origin of man and of his superstitions (1920)

Social origins (1903)

Read a book

Amurru, the home of the Northern Semites, a study showing that the religion and culture of Israel are not of Babylonian origin (1909)

The Babylonian story of the Deluge and the Epic of Gilgamish : with an account of the Royal Libraries of Nineveh (1920)

Bel, the Christ of ancient times (1908)

Bible and the monuments : the primitive Hebrew records in the light of modern research (1895)

The expectations formed by the Assyrians, that a great deliverer would appear, about the time of Our Lord's advent, demonstrated .. (1826)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Earliest Londoners Arrived Earlier, Had Wealth

Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

June 6, 2008 -- London's Covent Garden district, formerly the Anglo Saxon city of Lundenwic, is at least 100 years older than previously thought, based on analysis of skeletons and objects found in the region's oldest Anglo Saxon cemetery, which was recently discovered.

Instead of being founded in 650 A.D., as was earlier believed, archaeologists now think Lundenwic dates to 550 A.D. or earlier, according to a report published today in British Archaeology.

Lundenwic also appears to have been relatively wealthy and cosmopolitan from its first days, based on the quality of artifacts found in the graves.

"These were not elite or royal individuals, but they would have been middle to high class, as their objects were quite nice," Melissa Melikian, who worked on the project, told Discovery News.

"In the grave of an adult woman, for example, we found a silver disc brooch set with cut garnets," added Melikian, general manager of Britain's AOC Archaeology Group southern region.

She and her colleagues found the cemetery during an excavation underneath the London Transport Museum, which extended its basement in order to put in a new shop and gallery. The archaeologists unearthed 10 cremation burials, most of which were placed in urns.

The scientists also discovered three adults buried together. Radiocarbon testing dates them to between 410 A.D. and 550 A.D., so the newly established 550 A.D. date for Lundenwic's emergence takes the more conservative number.

The bodies all belonged to Anglo Saxons -- a people believed to be descendants of three Germanic tribes who settled in south and east Great Britain during the 5th century A.D. Based on the recent and prior Lundenwic finds, historians think the Anglo Saxons established the city as an industrial trading center on the north bank of the Thames, between what is now Trafalgar Square and Aldwych.

According to Mike Pitts, an archaeologist and publisher of British Archaeology, the Roman town of Londinium was already based to the east of Lundenwic. Both cities were eventually "swallowed up in the vast metropolis" that is modern London.

Items found at the Lundenwic grave, including a fine pair of tweezers and a necklace once strung with 19 amber beads and a colorful, swirled glass bead, provide further evidence of the trade and craft activities that were taking place very early on at the site.

Lyn Blackmore, a pottery and sciences specialist at the Museum of London, who is one of the world's leading experts on early London history, told Discovery News that the tweezers likely belonged to a male, since "Anglo Saxon men tended to be buried with tweezers."

"We don't know why," she added. "Perhaps they were used to groom mustaches, or they could have even been included in the burials for unknown symbolic reasons."

The woman's skeleton in the collective burial, according to Melikian, reveals that this person died between the ages of 25-36, suffered from some arthritis and had healed broken ribs and dental cavities. Her cause of death remains unknown but, Lundenwic's inhabitants were often the targets of raids.

"The city experienced a sharp economic downturn and shrinkage at the end of the 8th century, due to Viking raiders coming down from the north," Blackmore said. "Lundenwic was a completely undefended, open site."

According to both Blackmore and Pitts, most of Lundenwic's residents after that devastating raid likely fled to Londinium, which still had its old Roman walls, "presumably still crumbling a bit," intact, to offer at least some protection.

The ancient city divisions are still evident in the character of England's capital city today. The old Roman town of Londinium became London's business center, otherwise known as the City of London, while Covent Garden is now dominated by shopping and entertainment facilities.

Crows - Episode 0

Crows Zero

The cool, the bad and the ugly:
A class photo for Takashi Miike's teen action drama Crows Zero.
Movie review here.

Man Falls After Receiving Spirit, Sues

Claims church liable for injuries sustained during healing service

JUNE 5--Last June, Matthew Lincoln was attending an evening service at his nondenominational Tennessee church when he approached the altar where a visiting minister was offering individual prayers for parishioners. Assigned "catchers" were present on the altar in case congregants fainted, fell, or otherwise lost control. When the minister, Robert Lavala, slightly touched his forehead, the Knoxville-area man "received the spirit and fell backwards." Except nobody was there to catch him, Lincoln charges in a $2.5 million lawsuit filed yesterday against Lakewind Church and its pastors. Lincoln, 58, claims that he fell backwards, striking his head against the "carpet-covered cement floor," according to the Circuit Court complaint, which was first reported by Courthouse News Service. A copy of Lincoln's lawsuit can be found below. Since he already suffered from a "degenerative disc disease of his neck and back," Lincoln, a former church board member, contends the fall exacerbated the pre-existing condition and has caused him "severe and permanent" injuries. As a result of the fall, Lincoln, a recording engineer, claims that he is no longer able to care for his disabled daughter. Lincoln alleges that Lakewind and its pastors were "negligent in not supervising the catchers to be sure that they stood behind the person being prayed for...should they have a dizzying, fainting, or falling in the spirit as had occurred on many occasions before." Lincoln's lawyer, J.D. Lee, told TSG that the church's insurer, Zurich of North America, rejected an insurance claim, asserting that Lincoln should have realized that no catchers were situated behind him. (5 pages)

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