The Laura Nyro Incarnations

The Fury in Her Soul I’m gonna take a day off from hating America -- I’ll be back on the job tomorrow -- and, instead, rhapsodize about Laura Nyro. I was inspired by a performance I saw this past week at the Sellersville Theater of “One Child Born,” a one-woman play/performance about Nyro and the effect she had on her fans, starring Kate Ferber. I highly recommend it. When I was coming of musical age in the late 1960s I was swimming in the sea of Laura Nyro. As I listened to my mother’s records and read the covers and credits I kept seeing Laura Nyro’s name. It started with the Fifth Dimension (“Sweet Blindness,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Stoned Soul Picnic”), progressed to the Blood Sweat and

Baracchio and the Piggly Wiggly World

Oklahoma: Please Drive Through Like Hell Again It’s unseemly for anyone born and raised in Ohio to criticize any other place on earth. But I recently passed through Oklahoma. Starting from the adopted home base of Killadelphia -- city of descending tough guy mayors like Frank Rizzo, MOVEabomber Wilson Goode and, now, raccoon-killer Michael Extermi-Nutter, a city where the pedophile priests and NAMBLA-pamby football coaches roam and the streets overflow with the cheapest narcotics (Philly cheese steaks), a city where the homeless and their outdoor nuisance feedings are now “raptured” out of sight from the brand new Barnes Foundation building and where Christian forgiveness is reserved for dog

The Great White Camel

Zero Down and Dirty Probably many people have read the informed and thoughtful commentary on the movie Zero Dark Thirty by Glenn Greenwald or Jane Mayer or Karen Greenberg. But what you’re really wondering is: what does a scalawag, what does a completely unrepentant flame thrower and certified America-hater think about Zero Dark Thirty? Come, sit by me. Zero Dark Thirty, like director Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker (which I reviewed and contrasted with Avatar here), is about the trials and tribulations of American occupiers, torturers, death squads and empire builders -- no Muslims need apply for any humanity, although they’re allowed to scream a lot and blow up shit. (In real life they s

Helping Toads Cross the Road to Make Whoopee

The Ecstasy of Altruism For the past two years I’ve been a volunteer for the Roxborough, Pennsylvania Toad DETOUR (Defending Emerging Toads of Upper Roxborough). It’s not the thousands of migrating amphibians who are being detoured, however, it’s that non-native rumbling beast, the car. I’d like to take you on a brief but epic journey of the toads, their helpers and their antagonists -- from the meat eating toad saviors to the Commie vegans (me), to the right wing talk-shit radio host who ridicules the detour, to the local evangelical pastor who believes we should be working on “the abortion issue instead of the toad issue,” to the five-year-olds filled with wonder and their Dixie cups fille

Kitten Stompers at the Supreme Court

Alito Dissents as Other Justices Kick Up Their Heels! Last Tuesday the Supreme Court patted America on the back about its specialness, its sacred right of free speech, by striking down a law which prohibited the selling of “crush” videos where kittens and other small animals are stomped to death for the sadistic sexual satisfaction of, well, people who have a God-given right to sadistic sexual satisfaction and that most defended corollary American right -- the right to make money off of it. The 8 to 1 majority decision ( is a straight up over broad interpretation of a very targeted law which let off the hook nearly every other kind of depiction of animal cruelty -- hunti

Ain't No New Thing: Reflections On The Whitey House

Gil Scott-Heron Dies at 62 The commanding voice that named the names, that directed a musical letter of rage (air mail special) to whitey on the moon, and lived to see a revolt (if not a revolution) televised from Egypt, has died. Gil Scott-Heron died Friday afternoon at age 62 in NYC’s St. Luke’s Hospital. I don’t know what age I was when I first heard Scott-Heron wittily and boldly lambaste Nixon and Spearhead Agnew and Ronnie Raygun and Attilla the Haig and Marlin Perkins and Papa Doc Bush — they and their America didn’t mean shit to him (and me and millions of other Americans) and it felt damned good to hear it. One of his favorite targets was Americans’ greatest religious experience: ge

America is a Cabaret, Old Chum

Vhere are Your Troubles Now? Ladies und gentlemen, willkommen to the Kit Kat Klub in beautiful Los Angeles, California where even za hood has palm trees! As you know, three weeks ago it was windy for two straight days and last week it was overcast and sprinkled briefly but we've talked it out, we've recovered and we're ready to party again! Don't let the sports on the giant plasma screens or the live dancers distract you from this book review. Stop texting for a moment and let me pour you a Tony Montana, a line of Whole Fools gluten-free, organic, totally vegan, absolutely fair-traded Bolivian marching powder. Vhere are your troubles now? I just finished reading Robert Gellately's Backing Hi

Somewhere Down the Izzy River

Annexing the Pennsylvania "Terrortories" (Press Conference with President Bush) Reporter A: Mr. President, last year the American Council of Rabbinical Hydrologists concluded that a previously unknown biblical text proved that God gave "the land of the three rivers" to the Jews. The council further determined that these three rivers were the Allegheny, the Monongahela and the Ohio Rivers. In recent months, Jewish settlers have begun to establish "facts on the ground" at Fallingwater, Kennywood Amusement Park and, most controversially, the Pittsburgh Pirates' PNC Park. What's the administration's policy on western Pennsylvania? Bush: Israel has the right to defend herself. I know that the mom

Madison April 24, 1983

In the beginning, there were strangers. One by one we picked them up in Columbus, Springfield, Dayton, Indianapolis... going to Madison, Wisconsin to protest the “infliction of pain to elicit information” -- the torture and superstitious non-science of animal experiments. Driving and driving past the gray of Gary and Chicago, the world in delicious color again in Wisconsin. Driving and driving past over around through inconjunct perpendicular parallel to roadkills slaughterhouses farms labs shelters pounds puppy mills -- I never knew how much killing this country can comfortably contain. The next day the assembly site is incredibly bright, four thousand hearts heat up and beat as one, thum

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