Thursday, July 20, 2006

Dalai Lama

I just came across this interview with the Dalai Lama from London's Daily Telegraph.

There were two paragraphs that had my jaw on the floor.

The first one -

Although he is known for his tolerant, humane views, he is a surprisingly harsh critic of homosexuality. If you are a Buddhist, he says, it is wrong. "Full stop.
No way round it.
"A gay couple came to see me, seeking my support and blessing. I had to explain our teachings. Another lady introduced another woman as her wife - astonishing. It is the same with a husband and wife using certain sexual practices. Using the other two holes is wrong."

I had to read that one a couple of times to make sure I wasn't misinterpreting it. I really had no idea that Buddhism had any prohibitions against homosexuality.

The second one -

The Dalai Lama is no innocent when it comes to realpolitik: he regularly chats to Nelson Mandela, debates ethical issues with the Pope, and knows many world leaders personally through his attempts to highlight the Tibetan cause. Although he appears not to approve of the war in Iraq, he nevertheless admires President Bush.
"He is very straightforward," says the Dalai Lama - and it's clear that this is high praise indeed. "On our first visit, I was faced with a large plate of biscuits. President Bush immediately offered me his favourites, and after that, we got on fine. On my next visit, he didn't mind when I was blunt about the war. By my third visit, I was ushering him into the Oval Office. I was astonished by his grasp of Buddhism." (emphasis added).

Who knew that Bush was such a keen student of Buddhism?? Or that the Dalai Lama admires him?

Curiouser and curiouser...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

And While You Are At It...

As the conflict between Israel and, well, almost all of its neighbors continues to escalate, I cannot help but wonder if Israel is not uniquely positioned to strike at Iran's nuclear capabilities again. It's not a newsflash the Hizbollah is controlled from Tehran (albeit through Syria). There appears to be an opening here for Israel to solve a lot of problems for everybody.

Just a thought.

Pete, You Must Be Joking

I got an email today from The Who.

For the low price of $59.99, I can purchase "Platinum Membership" in The Who 2006 Tour and buy tickets four days before they go on sale. Tickets that are already absurdly priced.

Now, any reader of this blog will know I love The Who and that Pete has always been my hero.

But it pains me to see the band revert to its usual form and just come across as a bunch of money-grubbers, looking to cash-in however they can.

Let's review.

This is NOT The Who that is going on tour. It is Roger and Pete, backed by session musicians. For completely unknown reasons, Pete is bringing his brother along to play rhythm guitar. All of these guys are excellent players (well, I have no idea about Simon Townshend; his playing is so superfluous), but they are not Entwistle and Moon. The band was barely credible after Moon died to begin with and Entwistle's departure utterly dismantled the Who sound. To quote Pete himself, this is more like "The Who on Ice."

Which is fine, up to a point. I admit that I still love to see Pete play and enjoy his banter between songs. And if, as he promised at Knebworth, the band does start to play some rarities, it will be a vast improvement over sleepwalking through "I Can't Explain" for the 10,000th time.

But the ticket prices, the Platinum memberships, the overall chutzpah of pretending that this is a real Who tour is starting to grate. And the honest truth is that Pete tends to mail it in for these shows. I can't tell you how often he was sitting back and letting the band play while he noodled indifferently or abused his tremolo bar like a 13 year-old who had just bought his first electric guitar. By the way, what the hell is Pete doing with a tremolo bar on his guitar anyway?

So $59.95 so I can be a few rows closer to this thing?

Hey Pete: Fuck You.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Heil Kitler

I always knew cats were evil.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Syd Barrett - R.I.P.

Syd Barrett has died.

Like most people my age, I came at Pink Floyd through the successful commercial albums of the 1970s. I vividly remember listening on WPLJ to the concert broadcast of the band at the Nassau Coliseum in what must have been 1980. Back then, WPLJ was New York's rock station of choice - back when classic rock was just "rock."

But I still remember the day I brought home, at long last, the vinyl of Piper at the Gates of Dawn. This was actually a tough record to track down back then, as I recall and the chase made it seem even more mythic. I tried all the usual (now long-gone) spots - Disc-o-Mat, Sam Goody's, Crazy Eddie's, but they looked at me like I was nuts when I asked about this record. I'm pretty sure the guy at Disc-o-Mat didn't actually believe there were any Floyd records before Meddle. I had to have this record made by this mad genius just before he dipped into the void.

Of course, when I finally got it on my Pioneer turntable, it was like listening to a different band. But what a fucking band! I listened to that record endlessly over the course of that winter. I didn't play guitar yet, so I had no idea how any of the sounds were made or what was going on. It was just pure sonic pleasure.

Syd's tragedy and his slip into the void was really just another crazy rock tale to me until a few years ago, when I was watching a special on Floyd on VH1 with my ex-girlfriend. She didn't know the history of the band, but she was nearly in tears when she watched Roger Waters tell about how he lost his friend. It must have been horrible for Roger to sit there and watch Syd go down with so little he could do about it. It was easy to miss that part amidst the amusing anecdotes about Syd's eccentricities.

So, here's hoping Syd found some peace at last.

BTW, I refuse to put on "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" today. The appropriate music is Piper itself.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Charity Drive

I think it's time that we all chipped in and bought a red brick wall for Stinkrock to stand in front of.

If we raise enough, we can also get suspenders and a striped shirt for him.

Abatement ab initio

Holy cow!

Apparently, Ken Lay's death before a full appeal of his conviction means that he goes to his grave innocent in the eyes of law.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I miss Chrispy

Please come back.