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Archive for April, 2006

What can i say? I may be a little biased here, but I think Pezz stole the show.

As good as While I Breathe, I Hope played I can honestly say that it looks to me like the crowd thinned out once Pezz left the stage. Not a lot, mind you— The difference may well have been that there were a lot of old bastards like me out there that showed up specifically to see Pezz.

Punk rock has traditionally not been my thing. But I really enjoyed Pezz’s set. One of the greatest moments was when I looked up and saw a crowd gathered in front of Marvin’s microphone stand. It’s been years since these guys have played out, and they had a loyal fan following that still knew all the words to their songs. What better could you hope for in a reunion show? There are bands with platinum albums that should hope for that.

In addition to Marvin, I finally got to meet the other guitarist/ vocalist in the band, Ceylon Mooney. I had heard a great deal about Ceylon from Marvin, and he was everything I expected. He’s a peace activist that has taken three trips to Iraq since the war ended, and one trip into the Palestinian territories.

Fletch Joyner opened the show, and he was quite impressive. He’s very young, and I think his music could best be described as “punk unplugged”. He has a unique sound all his own, although I suspect that fans of Bright Eyes and Death Cab For Cutie may like him. He also showed refreshing social awareness by promoting a demonstration at Crichton College last night designed to pressure our government into pressuring the Congolese government to do something about the child soldiers of that nation. I hope to hear more about that in the near future.

I didn’t really get to listen to Silent Parade. The little of their set that I heard sounded quite promising, though.

While I Breathe, I Hope has a very interesting sound. They’re a three guitar band, so the sound is a bit thicker than you’re accustomed to hearing out of a punk band. Maybe this is my limited experience with punk rock showing through, but when I think of punk, I think of the looseness of the Sex Pistols. The Sex Pistols may or may not have all started their song at the same tempo during a live show, but they rarely ended on the same tempo. None of that with WIBIH— They’re a very tight six-piece outfit. Their singer is very charismatic and was fully in control of a crowd that hung on his every word.

Lest you think the Pezz reunion is simply a nostagia thing, let me tell you this. I bumped into a young girl from my church at the show last night who hadn’t heard of Pezz before. But she became a fan last night.

They’ve got one more show at the Skate Park this weekend. Whether or not there will be any in the future, I would imagine. depends on the response to these shows.

Last night was a hell of a start.

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How can you top this?

“I believe that the government that governs best is a government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.” – Stephen Colbert, White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Runnerup: Also Colbert, showing above how White House Press Secretaries deal with tough questions.

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Got Irony?

What else can you say about an anti-drug video that features Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Lyle Alzado?

Well, it’s a project undertaken by the Reagan White House.

All that’s missing is Rush Limbaugh.

Check out the special moment near the end where Nancy lip synchs.

STOP THE MADNESS!

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… And what a lovely day for canvassing it is!

Reginald Fentress
10 AM Saturday
In front of Home Depot @ 1627 Poplar

And here is information on canvassing for Steve Mulroy supplied by our very dear friend, West Tennessee Liberal:
If you want to be part of taking back the County Commission then why not hop on over to 755 South Graham with me Saturday at 10 or Sunday at 1 for the last weekend push for Steve Mulroy?

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Book Him, Danno!

And the “Couldn’t Have Happened To a Nicer Guy” Award goes to Rush Limbaugh (Seen here in his booking photo from yesterday)!

When Darryl Strawberry was crying, begging the court to help him tackle a drug problem that was stronger than he was, this is the prick that was making fun of him for it.

I’m all for creative sentecing, so here’s my recommendation.

Limbaugh wants drugs so bad? Let him have them. We can make him part of an FDA program to experiment with new ones. If it doesn’t kill Rush, it gets approved.

In all reality, I wish the best to anyone who’s attempting to tackle a serious drug problem. I hope he beats it.

But I also hope the prick remembers this struggle the next time he has the chance to take a cheap shot at someone who’s facing struggles of their own.

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Not too long ago, a young mother put down the child that suckled at her breast and stood in the path of an onslaught that tore her village asunder.

The blood soaked into the dirt roads of Darfur as the Janjawid swept through. They killed every man and child that they came across and raped every woman.

The “lucky” ones (And as you’ll see, the word “lucky” can be defined quite subjectively) escaped and crossed the border into Chad. The others swelter and decay in the desert heat. A trip through the Darfur region must look more than a little like a walk through the ruins of Pompeii, the twisted, mangled bodies lying where they fell.

It’s easy to write it off as racially motivated violence, for that element is certainly there. The Janjawid are Arab, proxies of the barely existent government in Khartoum. Their victims are black.

But as in so many war zones around the globe, the real reason for the slaughter lies beneath the surface, for the farms of Darfur sit atop oil fields.

Usually, when there’s a drop of oil in the ground, we’re in a hurry to step in. Things are, of course, complicated by our heavy deployment into Iraq for the Great WMD Snipe Hunt.

But there’s another consideration. Apparently, Sudan throws us a bone from time to time on al Qaeda. We’ve got a history of looking the other way in exchange for information of al Qaeda. If you doubt that, I would suggest a quick trip to Uzbekistan to talk to the families of the people that their president, Islam Karimov, ordered to be boiled alive.

If you’re wondering just what information the Sudanese can be giving us about an organization that left their shores almost a decade ago that can be worth overlooking a massacre on this scale, you’re not the only one. Every so often, a Bush administration official (Perhaps not coincidentally, usually the African-American ones) will take the world stage, wag a finger, and say “Stop it or we’ll spank you.” But the Sudanese government pretends that they’re not sponsoring the Janjawid (And never really coming up with a plausible explanation as to exactly who was supplying the Janjawid with helicopter gunships and Antonov fighter planes).

So what about the refugees from Darfur? I saw some video from inside the refugee camp not too long ago. There are supplies, but never nearly enough. So another young mother had fashioned a piece of animal hide into a makeshift vessel. From sunup to sundown, she walked back and forth from the squalor of the refugee camp to a body of water so rancid that Americans wouldn’t even urinate in it. It wasn’t exactly watertight, so by the time she made it back to her young children, there was never more than a mouthful left. But that tiny amount of water was all that stood between her children and an agonizing death, so she made the trip all day, every day.

I’ll never forget the face of her youngest child. Malnutrition has a way of obscuring a child’s age, so it could have been anywhere from two to four years old. I’m not certain whether it was a boy or a girl. They all look the same when malnutrition is making their hair fall out. He or she was crying, but was far too dehydrated to generate real tears. His eyes, almost hollow sockets, were surrounded by a thick, oozing mucus. Medical expertise is not required to know that child was not long for this earth.

As bad as things were then, they just got worse today. I was quite sad to see that the UN has announced they are cutting aid to the refugees of Darfur. They’re citing “donor fatigue”.

I’m quite fatigued by it as well. I have this feeling that if the victims of this genocide were one shade closer to the skin tone of the ruling class of this nation, we already would have swept into town and displaced the Sudanese government.

Let’s not pretend this one is far beyond us. Foreign Policy Magazine just issued their 2006 Failed States Index, and Sudan is number one. Foreign policy wonks, let’s put this in perspective— They ranked the Sudanese government as being less stable than Iraq’s, where there is an open civil war. If we simply imposed sanctions on them and cut off the money supply for a very short time, the Sudanese government would crumble into the same dust as their Darfuri victims.

But that’s simply not good enough. Drop a dozen National Guardsmen into Darfur, and there will never be another shot fired. The Sudanese simply cannot risk open warfare against us. They don’t mind bumping up against Chad— The Janjawid have crossed the border and attacked the refugee camps several times. But they will not risk warfare with us.

We’ve gone to war for some pretty weak reasons. Nonexistent WMDs, a hearty game of Saddam Whack-a-Mole, a fictional attack in the Gulf of Tonkin… But this is worthwhile. Darfuri bodies are still hitting the dirt at an alarming rate, and the government in Khartoum is still not fooling anyone when they feign innocence.

And this is a situation where we can genuinely make a difference. If we can muster the will, that is.

Sometime soon, yet another young mother in Darfur will put down the child that suckles at her breast and stand in the path of an onslaught that is tearing her village asunder.

When that happens, I would like for the United States military to have her back. Because her life is worth something too.

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No, not the candy…

A very good friend of mine named Marvin Stockwell played in a band called Pezz that released several damn good punk CDs in years past. Their other guitarist is a peace activist that has been to Iraq three times and the Palestinian Territories once.

Well, they’re reuniting for a show this Saturday night at The Rally Point at 616 Highland.

The event is a CD release party for While I Breathe I Hope. The show supposedly starts at 8 PM (Has anyone ever been to a rock & roll show that started on time? But don’t be TOO late— It’s not like these guys have Axl Rose singing).

The show will be opened by Silent Parade and Fletch Joyner, with PEZZ going on before the headliners.

The $7 cover charge gets you a full length CD of the new release by While I Breathe I Hope, Long Live the King.

Click here to go to Pezz’s Myspace page and listen to audio samples or here to sample While I Breathe I Hope.

This is the first of Pezz’s two scheduled reunion shows. Let’s hope they book even more.

UPDATE

Marvin just emailed me with the details for the second of the two Pezz reunion shows.

Skatepark of Memphis
7740 Trinity Road #118
Cordova, TN
901-737-8448
Sat 5/6/06 7pm $8
PEZZ
TOUCHDOWN!
BURIAL WITHIN
WICKER
THE RALEIGH SYMPHONY

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