Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, April 07, 2004


The highly esteemed political blog Talking Points Memo has a link to a BBC News article with a hint as to a way out of the present bind in Iraq.

It seems the Iraqi Shia have strong divisions as to whether the present uprising makes sense. If -- if, if, if; a giant, long-shot if -- the U.S. were to engage with the Shia leaders staying on the sidelines, a deal could possibly be cut that would get things back on a peaceful track. Some of the Shia remember that the 1920 rebellion against the British ended by saddling them with Sunni rule over them until the present moment, and some people worry about a repeat.

Longshot is better than no shot. But the chances that the U.S. leadership would even be interested -- well, that strikes me as a long shot too. Pity the senseless death. The “flabby, pretending, weak-eyed devil of a rapacious and pitiless folly.” (Joseph Conrad.)

Time for regime change in the good old U.S. of A. A necessary, but insufficient, step.


Regular Turtletop correspondent Jay Sherman-Godfrey sent me these Sousa links.

This tidbit from Sousa's bio: "1867: His father enlisted him in the Marines at age 13 as an apprentice after he attempted to run away to join a circus band."

And some Victrola recordings of Sousa's band to listen to.


The high-school-student-run "Seattle's hottest music" station has been playing a really good song in heavy rotation -- it seems I hear it every time I surf onto that station. They rarely announce song titles or singers, so all I can do is describe it: A Middle Eastern or North African-sounding riff played on an oud-like instrument (maybe even an oud!) over the typical (for the station) upbeat electronic dance percussion along with a North African-sounding drum (which may be electronic too); a lovely-voiced diva singing lead in some language I don't recognize (maybe Arabic?); and a chorus of men singing nice background parts. Catchy and galvanic -- and it makes so happy to hear the high school kids playing what sounds like Arabic music.

Also on that station today a kid with a significant speech impediment read a public service announcement about an opportunity to volunteer at an animal shelter. It was really great to hear someone with really thick, "sh"-sounding "s"'s on the radio. The people!


Lately my favorite song in the world is "Golden Slumbers" by the Beatles. I heard it the other day. Always liked it fine -- very pretty, nice recording. This time, though -- when Paul, seemingly out of nowhere, starts shouting "Golden Slumbers fill your eyes / Smiles awake you when you rise," it blew me away. Over-the-top, excessive, borderline hysterical, scarcely related to the words, antithetical to the idea of a lullabye, seemingly out of nowhere -- and I thought, yup, that's parenthood. Fierce tenderness. Can't think of another song like it, that captures that feeling.

I mention it because it came up at band practice tonight. We practice at the bass player's house, typically, because his partner is in school at night and they have a daughter 12 days older than my son, and so we practice there. The little bugger wasn't going to sleep tonight, and I started singing "Golden Slumbers" to her. The bass player looked surprised and said, "I've been playing that song all the time on piano lately. I was playing it this afternoon." We agreed: Gorgeous song.

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