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Zappadan, Day Eight. December 11, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, music.
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As we keep the flame alive during Frank’s absence, there’s plenty of material out there (yeah, He built that!) to choose from.

I’ll start with tonight’s dinner, a humble meal inspired by the 1970 album of the same name:


Now, that in itself would be a paltry tribute to  man who spent his adult life making music which will survive him by centuries, and defending Freedom of Speech from the Theocratic Crunge we here in America call “The Right.” So here is Frank speaking Truth to Power on CBS’ Nightwatch in 1988, as was his daily wont.

Frank Zappa tells Charlie Rose what he thinks:

Frank’s disdain for the Main$tream Media was always thick enough to cut with an axe, but here he treats Charlie Rose with more deference than he showed the troglodytes he ate whole on Crossfire in 1986 (6:16, “I love it when you froth like that ,”  he says to dim-witted gasbag John Lofton.)

More music and words from Frank will be forthcoming as we hold the fort in His absence.

With A Little Help From My Friends December 1, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.

I get by.

And without you, I wouldn’t.

Because you know, in the course of my usual work-day, I’m more likely to hear the news of the deaths of thousands of Bangladeshis or Sudanese greeted with flippant, grinning snark like, “Thats life!” or “Them’s the breaks!” than with sadness or compassion or anything like empathy.

I stare at my “Christian” co-workers in disbelief, choking back the tears of sadness and loss, feeling them turning to tears of rage. How dare we, how dare we dismiss the suffering of other human beings, then claim any connection to or comprehension of the teachings and philosophy of Jesus? How did a “Christian Nation” get to the point where Others don’t matter?

The truth is, others do matter. They matter to me, and they matter to you, and I’ll bet they matter to plenty of the people I work with. I’d even venture a guess that they matter to most Americans, whether Christian or Muslim or Jewish or Whatever.

So where are the voices expressing this? Where are the words of empathy and compassion, of solidarity with the disenfranchised, of commitment to justice?


Silenced by a fear of recrimination. Silenced by black-and-white proclamations about what will be tolerated and what will not. “Either you’re with us, or you’re with the terrorists.” Silenced by laws which threaten to shut us down, freeze our assets, confiscate our existence if we dare to organize against the hegemaniacal juggernaut which has seized control of our Country.

Where are the voices in Congress calling BULLSHIT on a President who knowingly LIED to Congress and the American people? Where are the voices of the Judiciary calling the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people based on the Conscious Lies of a Few war crimes?

From the most powerful to the least of us, silenced.

The voice of dissent, the catalyst for this Experiment in Democracy, the very impetus for our existence, silenced. From the workplace, where a supervisor demands your ethical subordination, to the barroom where expressing a difference of opinion will get your ass beat, to the elementary school classroom where you better parrot the party line or you won’t get your “C,” silenced.

But at the end of the day, after the long drive home, well away from the hammer-swinging yahoos and the bible-banging supervisors and the noise, I come here.

And here I find voices like Sparticus asking similar questions, coming to similar conclusions, and I know I’m not alone. Dissent isn’t treasonous, it’s patriotic. It’s a necessary ingredient in the recipe for democracy and freedom and the real American Way. And Sparticus wants that understanding for his son.

Surf on over to Jonestown or My Saturday Evening Post to hear the first-hand account of a man who wants more for his kid than the expectation that he’ll repuke the Party Line.

Sparticus, you and yours are helping me to get by.

And without you, I wouldn’t.

What Price Freedom October 6, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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If you’re reading this on Friday evening, my local public radio station, WAMC out of Albany, NY is wrapping up their Fall Fund Drive. This is incredible for at least two reasons:

Firstly, they began at 6am Monday morning needing to raise $800,000.

Yeah, that’s right, Eight Hundred Thousand Dollars.

And I have every faith in the world that they’ll close the books on this TONIGHT. **

Secondly, while most other Public Radio stations are owned and operated by colleges or Universities, WAMC is a free-standing entity, owning its own buildings and transmitters and producing the majority of its programming. This means WAMC can say and do whatever they need to to get the truth to the masses without looking over their collective shoulders and worrying about government funding, which seems to mysteriously dwindle when one rattles the “wrong” cages.

I’m mentioning this here because We The People, every last one of us, owes WAMC and it’s staff of managers, reporters, technicians and on-air talent our undying gratitude for carrying the Light of Liberty, the Fire of Free Speech, the Ray of Reasoned Hope to not only those of us here within it’s ever-expanding broadcast range, buy thanks to the modern miracle of the internet, to the entire wired world.

This Little Ship That Could is intrepidly captained by the indefatigable Dr. Alan Chartock, a mighty mite of a man with more guts than a slaughterhouse floor. He’s been Speaking Truth to Power via WAMC for nearly four decades, be it by airing hour-long interviews with Scott Ritter in the wake of his assassination by the Rovian Right, or standing up to Governors who tried to deep-six the station for its non-party-line stances (on more than one occasion, actually) or any number of other brave and forthright positions he (and they, and we) have presented and defended, even when the illumination of truth was difficult and perilous and costly.

Believe me when I say that beneath that Terrier Exterior lies the heart of a Pit Bull.

But there’s a price for this Moral Magnanimity. Just as Venezuela’s Chavez is demonized for taking care of his people rather than fellating multinational corporations, so too is WAMC in danger of vilification from The Right. It stands as a shining example of Free Speech, Independent Thought and Speaking Truth to Power.

Don’t imagine for one second that the people who want it all don’t want to silence such a voice.

Listen live via internet or enjoy their many and varied archived programs, and throw them a little support if you can. They’ll take your hundred, your fifty, or your five, and welcome you as family.

Because we are a family. Join us.

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