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

Sunday, April 11, 2004


The flu took away my appetite and even my appetite for music. The sound of it grated. Live, unamplified music probably would not have grated so much, but any recorded music did. I didn't lose my appetite for reading though, and indulged one of the few luxuries that I miss from my life before parenthood: reading in bed. Made it most of the way through "Emma" by Jane Austen (I'm a slow reader). Almost finished and enjoying it tremendously. Laugh-out-loud funny.

In one scene, an out-of-town guest prompts a spontaneous dance party after a dinner party by imploring one of the ladies present to play the pianoforte. Always the ladies, only the ladies play the pianoforte. In the early 19th century, no other source of listening to music exists. The party lasts for two dances before people have to go home. And everybody very much enjoys it.

A hint of how precious music is, *especially when it's scarce.* I swim happily in the ubiquity of recorded music, and contradictorily sometimes rue how overproduction devalues any particular scrap of it. One thing I will always stand by, though: amateurs playing for free. Even bad white hippie drummers, like the two guys playing in the park near our house the other day. Next to no gift for music with either of them, and still it was sweet music to my ears.



Those are my main sources. Some evening when I'm not feeling so rushed I'll add the links to my linklist. Juan Cole is a history professor who lived in the Middle East and has contacts there and reads and speaks Arabic. He's the main source.

News is bad. Iraqi Governing Council members quit in protest; some are rumored to have fled the country fearing for their safety. Those remaining wrote a letter to the US Government protesting the "collective punishment" of Fallujah, an eminently reasonable comment. 3 Shi'a members of the Council attempted a negotiation with Sadr, leader of the Shiite rebellion, offering amnesty to him if he would dissolve his militia and band with the Iraqi National Army or whatever it's called. Uncertain whether Sadr would have accepted; made pitifully moot by the US Government's repudiation of the negotiation attempt. The IGC, note well, is the US-appointed puppet team of mostly returned exiles with little-to-no local credibility. And THEY'RE defying the US.

One would think that years of failed hard-liner-ism against Palestinian militants would serve as an example. But no. Bush and company are hellbent and hellbound.

Speculation runs that the crack-down against Sadr's newspaper, which precipitated the reaction, came from a desire to clear the path for Ahmed Chalabi to become puppet president. Evidence shows that the US has been shoving aside his rivals. The bitter gall of it: Chalabi is Cheney & Rumsfeld's dude; he's a convicted (in absentia) felon with a warrant for his arrest in Jordan (neighboring country! moderate Arab!) for bank fraud; and he's defrauded the US Government of millions of dollars, having served up some of the juiciest bits of knowingly false evidence linking Saddam to WMD and al Qaeda, and doing it on the US Government's payroll, knowing that the false evidence would "build" the "case" for invasion, which would hopefully end up with himself as puppet president.

Democracy -- phooey. Cheney & Rumsfeld consorting with a known swindler and pushing him for president (Chalabi is on the American-appointed Iraqi Governing Council) is gangsterism pure and simple. That ANY of these people has the slightest SHRED of mainstream credibility in the American press is mind-googling.

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