Ginger's Heart


Who the hell knows if this is true or not. Could easily be a fact, could just as easily be a ruse to get out of a tour he decided he didn't really feel like doing. He's had that kind of a career, that kind of a life.

Great drummer, though. Cream. Blind Faith. Ginger Baker's Air Force. Baker Gurvitz Army. With Fela Kuti, with Hawkwind. The Ginger Baker Trio with Charlie Haden and Bill Frisell. And then there's a ton of solo stuff I've never heard at all, and gigs with John Lydon's PIL.

Just FYI: the Zildjian 22" cymbal and the 14" hi-hats Baker has been using on recent tours are the same ones he used during the final Cream shows in 1968.

Yolande Betbeze Fox, 1928 - 2016


“I’m a Southern girl, but I’m a thinking girl.”

A remarkable woman who has fascinated me for decades. Born in Mobile Alabama (a few miles across the state line from my hometown of Pensacola) and Roman Catholic convent educated and an aspiring opera singer who later became a Washington D.C. socialite married to a movie mogul, she was crowned Miss America in 1950 and promptly refused to publicly model bathing suits as required by her Miss America contract and the Miss America sponsor, Catalina Swimwear. The pageant caved in to her, Catalina withdrew its sponsorship and founded the rival Miss U.S.A. contest.

She went on to to become a social activist in the civil rights and feminist movements (she was a member of the NAACP and CORE and continued sparring with the Miss America pageant for years, attacking it for its lack of racial diversity) and was the Paris ambassador for The Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy. She was at Sing Sing Prison to protest the executions of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, and she studied philosophy at the New School for Social Research. She co-founded an off-Broadway theater in New York City.

She died yesterday in Washington D.C.

The photo at top is Ms Betbeze appearing as Miss America in Pensacola's Fiesta of Five Flags parade in June 1951. (Dig the creepy-looking cop behind her.)

Photo credit: Frank Hardy Sr

Stand With Tim

The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.

Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government.

We are challenging the FBI’s demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and a love of our country. We believe it would be in the best interest of everyone to step back and consider the implications.

While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.

Tim Cook

Links last updated: Sunday February 23 2016

For Apple, A Search For A Moral High Ground In A Heated Debate

Apple Still Holds The Keys To Its Cloud Service, But Reluctantly

Apple Sees Value In Its Stand To Protect Security

How Tim Cook, in iPhone Battle, Became A Bulward For Digital Privacy

Sundar Pichai via Twitter

Jack Dorsey via Twitter

Apple Vs The FBI Vs A Suggestion

Why Apple Is Right To Challenge An Order To Help The F.B.I.


Real Life Rock Again


I am so very happy today.

Greil Marcus's Real LIfe Rock Top 10 Now Hosted On Pitchfork

Quid Pro Quo

I'm no Clinton hater. If she wins the Democratic nomination in August I will vote for her in November without holding my nose and, indeed, with some pride.

Secretary Clinton, however, is seriously trying to play us when she self-righteously sharp-elbows Senator Sanders for speaking common sense and the facts in saying that Wall Street $$$donations$$$ influence politicians and render those politicians beholden, when she contends that there is no quid pro quo for the six-figure donations her campaign and her SuperPAC are receiving from Goldman Sachs et al (not to mention the six-figure speaking fees).

This is at the very heart of the campaign finance reform that is so necessary, that Secretary Clinton herself says she supports.

Just ask Senator Elizabeth Warren about that.


UPDATE February 7 2016: On This Week With George Stephanopolous today, Secretary Clinton explained that she didn't vote for the bankruptcy bill in 2001 because it was unfair to women, not because of her Wall Street donor-constituents.


Since 2001 Bill and Hillary Clinton have earned $125M in lecture fees, mostly from large corporations and banks.

Since 2000 Hillary Clinton's campaigns have received (as of September 30 2015) a total of $712.4M. Four of the top five sources of these donations are Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Morgan Stanley.

Since 2001 nearly $2B has been donated to the Clinton Foundation. According to a February 2015 analysis of Clinton Foundation funding by The Washington Post, the financial services industry has accounted for the largest single share of the foundation’s corporate donors (the same corporations donating to her campaigns and paying her speaking fees).

The Clinton campaign has publicly set a goal of raising $1 billion for her Super PAC for the 2016 election.

The optics here are terrible for Secretary Clinton.

RIP Peteski (?)



UPDATE (February 26 2016): Would you like to know where I was?


BAMPFA, Old & New


After some thinking about it:

I wish the University of California had used some of the millions they spent on the new BAMPFA space for simultaneously retrofitting and rehabbing their former digs, Mario Ciampi's brutally beautiful building on Bancroft. The interior is a fiercely harsh and inhospitable environment, admittedly, especially for almost any sort of art you might immediately imagine, and the exterior is a challenge, but geez Louise just look at that thing! Come on! I'm the last one to argue for going out of your way to save many beloved old buildings, be it an Art Deco movie palace or a charming lighthouse or even a revered Frank Lloyd Wright (the Ennis-Brown House in Los Angeles, beautifully designed and shabbily constructed, has been crumbling from Day One and should just be put out its misery) but come on! Look at this thing!


Let them have their shiny new space at Center and Oxford but keep the grand old Soviet bunker on Bancroft, too. Make the space work. If you can't make sense of it, if you can't figure out what kind of art to display in it, you shouldn't be running a museum in the first place.

As for the new digs:

Shiny and modestly eccentric on the outside, sort of garagey on the inside. I'm still getting used to it. Check back with me in a couple of years, though I guarantee you I will never like it as much as the Ciampi.



The Swimmer


The pond in which I would begin my swim is called Menemsha, and is the second-westernmost body of water along the island’s southern shore. J.’s family has a house up the hill from it, and it was while I was staying there, six summers before, that I had decided that one day I would reenact a version of John Cheever’s short story ‘‘The Swimmer’’ by swimming across the entire length of the island, a 20-mile-long necklace of skinny fingers of land linking dozens of saltwater lakes and ponds, so many of them that when you look at a map, the coastline resembles something that’s been nibbled on by a family of mice.

A Brisk Swim Across Martha's Vineyard | Hanya Yanagihara
T Magazine, New York Times, February 4 2016


Photograph: George Steinmetz