Sunday, October 19, 2008

Imaginary EP Available for FREE!

We are giving the Imaginary EP away for FREE (or you can pay what you want)! In exchange we ask that you just tell as many people you can about the EP. Just use the "widget" below to download. Thanks!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008 Videos

Here are some videos of live performances and an interview we did for


My Wet Tongue:


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Guerillafest = Blissfest

I am thrilled to report that Guerilla Fest was a huge success!!!! It was so awesome!!! My band the Happy Hollows, along with the Primos, the Widow Babies, AM, Dirt Dress, and Traps, all traveled throughout LA playing at different locations from noon- 5:55 pm. It was so amazing, and was pulled off without confrontation from the authorities! It was unbelieveable! We each played in a different location thoughout the day and the caravaning crowd seemed to grow larger as we went.

The first band played in a tunnel underground in Echo Park, then we went to a parking lot near downtown, then in the middle of buildings in mid wilshire, then in a pumpkin patch (at the grove!), then underneath this electrical structure next to a freeway intersection, and then finally, in oil fields somewhere above the city!
It was so wonderful! All of the bands were so awesome! It was the most wonderful feeling of freedom and artistry and creativity and commrodery I have EVER experienced from playing Live! It was truely a team effort, and a bonding experience with the bands and everyone who came along to watch for the festival! Thank you to everyone who came and helped out!

Happy Hollows in NYC @ CMJ

Come see us play in NYC!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

GUERILLA-FEST - Locations and Set Times

Guerilla-Fest is going ahead as planned on October 11! As we said in the last message, six bands (Dirt Dress, Happy Hollows, Widow Babies, AM, Primos, and ( )) will caravan around the city and play short sets at six different locations. Below is a map with the set times / locations. Set locations are marked with numbers. More info on specific locations is below.

Here is more info on specific locations:

1. Glendale and Clifford – Dirt Dress – 1:00pm

Site: Glendale and Clifford right before 2 Fwy entrance. Underground tunnel with entrances on both NE and NW sides of the street.

Parking: Street parking on Clifford, NE side.

2. Beaudry between 1st and 2nd – Happy Hollows – 1:48pm

Site: Beaudry between 1st and 2nd on top of one-story building.

Parking: Parking on SW corner of 1st and Beaudry in Prestige parking lot, as well as street parking on 1st and 2nd near Beaudry. No parking on top of building.

Metrorail: Civic Center station @ Hill and 1st streets. Half a mile east of the 2nd location. From this location to the 3rd location take the 2:19pm Purple line train heading west.

3. Wilshire between Serrano and Oxford – the Widow Babies – 2:48pm

Site: In trees in front of the Radio Korea building on the south side of Wilshire, one block east of the Denny's and the Wiltern.

Parking: Parking on the upper levels of the Ralphs parking lot on Oxford behind Denny's, this is if you feel like disobeying the signage. Metered street parking on Oxford and Serrano north and south of Wilshire

Metrorail: Wilshire and Western stop. One block northwest of 3rd location. If coming from 2nd location you should arrive around 2:30pm.

4. 3rd and Fairfax – the Primos – 3:48pm

Site: The NW corner of Fairfax and 3rd in the pumpkin patch.

Parking: Parking limited. The Whole Foods parking lot on the SE corner of Fairfax and 3rd is an option. Street parking where you can find it. Paid parking in the Grove structure is an option as well.

5. Fairfax and Apple – AM – 4:39pm

Site: The NE corner of Apple St. and Fairfax near the 10 Fwy under the power tower on the corner.

Parking: Parking can be found at the Park and Ride parking lot at the SE corner of Fairfax and Washington. Enter the lot by making a left a little past Washington. No parking beside the electric tower.

6. Fairfax between Stocker and Slauson – (unnamed band) – 5:25pm

Site: The oil derricks on the west side of Fairfax Ave. It's an indention in the fencing before the park/soccer field that's also on the west side of Fairfax.

Parking: Parking available on the street near the park. No parking in the gate indention.

*Please put this information away when you arrive at a location. If you arrive at a location before the start time please sit back before gathering. We don't want to draw a crowd before a band gets a chance to set up.*

Thursday, October 2, 2008


On October 11, we will be taking part in a conceptual / sociological / fun experiment with six bands playing in this order: Dirt Dress, Happy Hollows, Widow Babies, AM, Primos, and ( ), in which each band plays at a different, non-traditional public space in Los Angeles. The purpose of the project is to remove bands from their traditional spatial contexts as well as to explore the city and pique the interest of passersby. For lack of a better name, we are calling it Guerilla-Fest.

All the bands will travel around in a van, with a generator for the PA and shared gear. Each band will help the other set up the stage and take it down.

The Fest will begin in Silver Lake and end in Inglewood.

More info on exact locations next week!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Trying to Understand the U.S. Economic Crisis

A scary characteristic of the economic calamity facing the United States is that very few people, including myself, fully understand the causes of the credit crisis and nobody, even Econ. PhD. Ben Bernacke, knows how to solve problem.

It's difficult to fight a disease that you can't identify. I'll draw a crude medical comparison to the current pre-recessional period. Imagine that you are feeling ill, very ill. You know that your problem needs medical attention but when you go to see a specialist, she can't identify what is wrong. Now, here is where the comparison gets tricky. Instead of prescribing a progressive, homeopathic cure to attempt to improve your lifestyle, the specialist injects you with adrenaline (stimulus checks). Then, when that doesn't work, the specialist spends exorbitant amounts of money to prevent the disease from progressing rather than treating the root causes of the disease (Bernacke-Paulson bailout plan).

This analogy, I believe, more or less accurately reflects the U.S. government's response to the credit crisis. Rather than allowing toxic parts of the U.S. economy to painfully fail, the government is attempting an exorbitant bailout that will use huge amounts of cash to maintain the solvency of a bloated and sick system. Not that I am in any way a disciple of Milton Friedman, but what happened to the Wall Street motto of "Let the markets work." To me, it seems that Wall Street's creed should be changed to "Let the Markets work...when they are working for us." When there is a crisis, Wall Street wants a governement bailout just like a person who has just been fired from their job.

Of course, those with money and power do not want a recession or even perhaps a depression, and neither in the short run, do most of us. In the short run, a depression will be painful. However, in the long run, is a depression necessary to bring about some of the progressive changes that are necessary to move the society of the United States into the next century? After the last depression, FDR responded with a host of federal programs that helped build the foundation of the U.S. in the second half of the 20th century. If a depression helps the government focus on issues like health care rather than defense spending and rids the U.S. of irresponsible financial speculation maybe a couple years of pain is necessary.

If we put a Marxist spin on this whole ordeal (just for fun), it is pretty easy to see why the government is so frantic to push their $700,000,000,000 bailout plan through. To simplify one of Marx’s general suppositions, political institutions (superstructure) are an extension/reflection of economic power/capital (base). The partial collapse of the U.S. financial system, which would have already occurred without the intervention of the U.S. government on the behalf of the nation’s large capital holders (there is a nice counterfactual for you to chew on), would have profound effects on the nation’s political structure. That is, a drastic reduction and then alteration in the way capital is organized in this country would have a significant reverberation in the politics of the country…we might see the collapse or splintering of a party OR TWO. So, the government is not only working to bail out capital, but itself as well.

What can we take away from this rant? Not much really. Economics is a frightening beast. That's why I study Politics. Not to stereotype economists as a whole, but, in general, to get a PhD. in Econ. you need to have the mind of John Nash and the heart of Gargamel. So take that for what you will.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Imaginary EP Tour Documentary

Sarah is not going crazy, and we have the video to prove it...Directed by Brad Basmajian.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"Imaginary" EP

We will be releasing a new EP entitled Imaginary on October 21! Below is the artwork by Tim Lamb.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sun-Rise Junction

For you morning people out there, it's time for coffee, doughnuts, bagels, orange juice, and Happy Hollows!

We are very happy to be playing The Sunset Junction Street Fair on the Indie 103 Bates Stage this Saturday, August 23!!!

I have redubbed the early portion of Sunset Junction. It is now Sun-RISE Junction since our earlybird set starts at 12:50PM. We will have a pot of coffee on the stage, which probably means we will play our songs way too fast (which we do anyway so this will be way way too fast).

The good news is that the show is ALL AGES!!! We don't get to do ALL AGES shows often enough. So we are really looking forward to it!

Also, make sure to get there early BOTH days to see Radars to the Sky on Saturday and The Henry Clay People on Sunday.

Hope to see you there!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Happy Hollows @ The Casbah in San Diego

We will be playing The Casbah in San Diego on Monday, July 28 w/ The Modlins and Apes of Wrath!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Little Radio Summer Camp

We are playing the Little Radio Summer Camp on Sunday, July 13. Hope you can make it! We'll be on somtime after 3PM.

Little Radio is located at:

1218 Long Beach Ave.
Downtown Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mission Creek Music Festival - San Francisco

On Friday, July 18, we are playing at The Hotel Utah in San Francisco @ The Mission Creek Music Festival. Thanks to Performer Magazine for inviting us to play this show!

Drunk Soccer Ref: Don't Try This At Home

It seems this soccer ref had too much to drink at halftime....

Monday, June 30, 2008

Spaceland Tonight (6/30) w/ The Afternoons and The Movies

We are playing Spaceland tonight (Monday, June 30) w/ The Afternoons and The Movies. The show is FREE.

Below are some old pictures from our first show at Spaceland by George Tapia!

Friday, June 27, 2008

What Ever Happened to Q Lazzarus? Q Who?

We played last night in San Diego w/ The Hectors. Near the end of their set, they played a great cover of the Q Lazzarus song "Goodbye Horses". Apparently they had been playing Grand Theft Auto 4 and "Goodbye Horses" is part of the soundtrack. Hearing the song led me to look up its history and some info on the the one-hit-wonder known as Q Lazzarus.

Like many people, I first heard the song in the movie Silence of the Lambs. If you've seen the movie, you know that the song is played during a sort of disturbing scene when the serial killer, Buffalo Bill, is dancing in front of a mirror.

Before its placement in the movie, the song seems to have hardly made a dent in popular consciousness. It was released in 1988 and apparently was in the movie Married to the Mob, which, like Silence of the Lambs, was also directed by Johnathan Demme.

After it appeared in Silence of the Lambs, the song was used in a spoof scene in Clerks 2, which you can see below:

Finally, as The Hectors pointed out to me last night, the song has become part of the Grand Theft Auto 4 soundtrack. As far as the mysterious Q Lazzarus, it has been rumored that she was a NYC taxi cab driver before the song was recorded. There is also a MySpace Page that claims to be her personal page.

By the way, what does the song "Goodbye Horses" mean anyway? According to a member of Q Lazzarus:

"In an Eastern philosophy "horses" are symbolic/representative of the 5 senses - the things that keep us tied to the physical/material plane of existence. When you can transcend the limitations of these senses and achieve a higher level of consciousness, you are leaving the "horses" behind - "flying over them." The song is about someone who was so affected by (A loss? A breakup?) they decide to give up the things that keep them tied to this world by emotion."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Beauty Bar - San Diego

Off we go to San Diego. Come see us play at Beauty Bar on June 26 w/ The Hectors and Blizzard!

Monday, June 23, 2008

CNN: "Gas Prices Thwart Indie Band Tours"

There is a piece on CNN today about how high gas prices are killing the tours of small indie bands We aren't "going on tour" this summer but we are playing out of L.A. a lot and the cost of gas is going to be outrageous.

So, when we run out of money on the highway, my plan is to have Sarah do tarot readings on the side of the road until we make enough cash to travel.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"The Happening" and "Day of the Triffids"

I was hoping that M. Night Shyamalan's new movie, The Happening, was going to be a return to his early form. I wasn't a huge fan of his early movies but they were decent. Alas, the early reviews for The Happening are in and they are baaaaaad. As it stands now, the movie has a 16% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Those are Gigli numbers.

One interesting "spoiler" from the early reviews is that a plant toxin is responsible for the strange illness that befalls people. Shyamalan is quoted as saying that the movie is inspired by the idea that "plants can fight back" against humanity.

The idea of killer plants is not a new one. There is a sci-fi book with a cult following called Day of the Triffids in which killer plants take over humanity. Judging from the reviews of The Happening, you're probably better off sticking with the triffids.

If you insist on entertaining yourself with something called "The Happening" listen to the Pixies song, it has a sci-fi subject matter and only lasts 4 minutes instead of 90.

Friday, June 6, 2008

PBS Frontline: Bush's War

Last Spring, the PBS documentary show, Frontline, put together a two part series called Bush's War to mark the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. For anyone who wants a detailed account of how the U.S. went to war and how we screwed up post-war Iraq this is it. It is an absolutely amazing piece of work with interviews of people intimately involved with the decision to go to war as well as the decisions on how to govern post-war Iraq. The best part is you can watch it all online!

Click here to watch.

In under four hours, you can essentially learn all there is to know about the most important domestic and international poltical event since Vietnam. You need to see this!

The documentary is especially amazing because, while it is clearly and rightly slanted against decisions made by the Bush administration, it does not take a polemical tone. Rather, it allows people who were involved in the events tell the story as it happened and doesn't dumb down the content in any way.

Below is a preview for Part 1 of Bush's War:

Interviews We've Done

Below are links to some interviews we've done:

Web In Front
KROQ w/ Kat Corbitt
Radio Free Silver Lake
Detour Magazine
Indie Schmarm
Flashfilm (Japan)
Is Good w/ John Hershfield

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Thought: Make Music, Not War

I have mixed feelings about Memorial Day. I certainly recognize the men and women of the U.S. armed forces who have died while serving the country. However, I also feel it is important that in this recognition, we do not glorify the phenomenon of war, which has brought so much pain and suffering to our world. Those who serve and die in the army are certainly courageous, but those that send young men and women off to die do not always exhibit the same degree of bravery. The ideal Memorial Day would be one where we no longer needed to recognize a new list of people who had died in conflict over the previous year.

War has been with humans ever since the beginning of civilization and probably beforehand. Through centuries, countless young people have died fighting for their country, tribe, family, cause, etc. In recognition of their bravery, we should also have the courage to admit that wars, even/often those in which the U.S. is a participant, are not always noble affairs. We should be careful to distinguish between the bravery of young people, the legitimacy of the conflict they are involved in, and the enterprise of war in general.

Every nation-state, except Costa Rica, needs an army. The soldiers who serve in these armies usually have little say in the actions they are asked to perform. However, statesmen who make decisions about war and peace have the power, and should have the wisdom, to decide when war is just and when it is not. Certainly a war like WWII was just and necessary. On the other hand, numerous other wars and military operations over the years have been more questionable. In general, leaders should be hesitant to go to war. They should be hesitant to put the lives of young people on the line. And their certainly is no glory in dying in a war. We aren't Klingons after all. Death in war is nothing but tragic and sad.

War should be avoided whenever possible. It seems like such a simple maxim, but for millennia war has plagued humanity. The most important step in reducing the phenomena of war is creating a culture that abhors war rather than glorifies it. A society that glorifies war is more likely to engage in the practice. A society that despises war is less likely to instigate an armed conflict. Instead of hailing the young people who have died in war as glorious, we should lament their deaths. We should admit that war is a gruesome and disgusting disease that infects our species.

Like a virus, war may never be completely eliminated from our world, but also like a virus, it may be managed. Perhaps we can potentially reduce the number and severity of wars and make war an option of last resort and most importantly refuse to glorify war, while still honoring those who have tragically died as a result of armed conflict.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Upcoming Show - Alex's Bar - 5/29 - Long Beach, CA

The Happy Hollows are playing @ Alex's Bar on Thursday, May 29 w/ Forcefield On, Le Switch, and Meemies! The show is being presented by KROQ Locals Only! Hope you can come!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sherwin-Williams: Staying Off the Green Bandwagon

In this day and age it seems that most large companies are trying to create an environmentally sound, "green" image to appeal to customers. Well, Sherwin-Williams, a paint company, certainly isn't. Check out their logo:

Can you imagine a more "environmentally challenged" logo? A beautiful blue-green earth being covered in red paint that looks like blood! And to top it off their slogan is "Cover the Earth". Unbelievable! Earth to marketing department...your logo was designed by Dick Cheney.

I have no idea what the environmental record of this company is. Maybe it's good, but that is beside the point. It seems that they have totally missed the boat on creating a "green" image, which, if you are a company trying to sell a product, is very important.

Addenum: I just went to the company website and this is what it said about their logo:

"Our historical logo is one of the most recognized company logos in existence. Created in the late 1800's, the logo's purpose was to represent the company's desire to help beautify and protect the buildings of the world. It was a symbol of a young company's enthusiasm, idealism and hope regarding its future and the possibility for achievement that hovered on the nation's horizon. Over the years our "Cover the Earth" logo has become a figurative emblem signifying integrity and service."

Whether or not it was created in the 1800s and is "historical", this logo has got to go. It's a public relations disaster! I mean, if slackers like me are blogging about it, you have a problem.

Also, I have been looking around the internet and many other bloggers have commented on the company's logo. In the comments section of many of these posts, there are "people", who are obviously Sherwin-Williams employess, trying to attack the bloggers! For example one "person" writes:

"I’m not sure who you are or what this website is all about, I simply stumbled upon while looking for a SW logo to print off. I think you should know that Sherwin-Williams was the first major paint company to stop making lead paint. They did decades before the federal government passed legislation that made it illegal . Sherwin-Williams is also the leading innovator in making low voc and “green” paints. The logo is actually the fourth most recognizable logo in the world and that is why is not dropped. People like the logo and have for years, and I do not see that changing in the near future."


"Does focusing on such a trivial and superficial aspect of a company’s corporate policies seem a wise investment of time? The symbol and the company are over one hundred years old. They have a right to acknowledge that history. Perhaps your time would better be spent focusing on real issues like the actual environmental policies of the company or the government than it it is railing about such a cosmetic issue."

It's crazy to think that this company pays people to go around and write comments in blogs in order to change public opinion! Guys, get with the times and change your logo or else suffer the cold wrath of the market.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hybrid Health Care?

In case you didn't know, in the next few years there is going to be a major battle over the future of health care in the U.S. If a democrat is elected president, some sort of large scale, universal (almost) system will be proposed. The battle between the drug/insurance companies/republicans and the democrats on this issue will be huge.

I just watched Michael Moore's Sicko this weekend. While the juxtaposition of the "perfect" health systems in France, Canada, and Cuba to the "hellish" one in the U.S. was a bit oversimplified (you can likely find people with health care horror stories in any country), Moore does bring up some very good points.

One of these is that the interests of health care organizations and especially drug companies, which are desperate to be profitable, in the U.S. are diametrically opposed to those of patients. A patient wants the system to spend as much money on him/her as possible, while an insurance organization, especially one which is publicly traded, has an incentive to spend as little on the patient as possible and to seek reasons to deny care. This point is insightful because, whether or not health care functions better in the U.S., the system is still set up in an adversarial way. Instead of feeling like they are cared for, patients become the opponents of the system that is supposed to help them get well. When you walk into a doctor's office in the U.S., the first thing you think of is not "How am I going to get well?" but "How much will this cost?" and "I know I am going to get screwed!"

Another interesting point Moore brings up, which lies at the center of his argument, is that not all industries function better when privatized. As examples of "socialized" institutions, Moore gives the U.S. postal system and the public school system. I would agree with him that both these institutions are public, but they coexist alongside private organizations which offer similar and often higher caliber services. Fed Ex and UPS are superior to USPS, but also more expensive. With respect to education, private schools at all levels are quite often (not always) superior to their public counterparts. Of course, like good health care, excellent private schooling is only available to those with money and excellent public schools are usually found in high income areas.

My guess is that a new health care system in the U.S., if it ever comes to pass (and that is a big IF), will likely be similar to the differences between public and private schools. The wealthy will continue to have private health care and will get the "best of the best". At the same time, the rest of the country will have a public system with a mixed level of quality (a small number of very good facilities and large number of mediocre ones)...but at least it will be mostly free. It is unlikely that drug costs will go down anytime soon though.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Slackers and Nihilists in "The Big Lebowski"

There is an interesting tension/distinction between "slacker" and "nihilist" in The Big Lebowski. While the primary "conflict" in the film takes place between the square, conservative, ex-vet Big Lebowski and the burnt-out, draft-dodging Dude, there is also a sub-conflict between nihilists and slackers. Both Walter (John Goodman) and The Dude seem to have disdain for nihilists, amusingly represented by three German techno musicians as well as by Bunny's pornstar boyfriend.

The film is filled with overt references to nihilism, which can be defined as:

the philosophical stance that existence is without meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value, and that there is no morality whatsoever.

And, although I don't think the term "slacker" is overtly used, the Big Lebowski himself refers to The Dude as a "bum", which we can take to mean the same thing. A quick jump to Wikipedia gives us this definition of the term slacker:

a term commonly used to refer to a person who avoids work or military service, or (primarily in North American English) an educated person who is anti-materialistic and viewed as an underachiever.

So what makes a slacker so amusing and loveable while a nihilist is an object of derision? I'd say that the fundamental difference lies solely in the way an individual perceives the philosophy and projects it onto themselves. That is, there really is no difference between a slacker and a nihilist other than that nihilists have made "caring for nothing" an ethos and point of introspection, while slackers are too lazy or too stupid to focus on the matter.

In a sense, The Dude is more nihilistic than a nihilist because he doesn't obsess over his nihilism. Theoretically, a nihilist shoudln't care about anything, even his/her own worldview. So, it seems that a nihilist is just a slacker who took his slacking a little too seriously.

Of course, the joke could be on the slackers as well. They deride and disparage the nihilists, all the while there is no morality or meaning in their own lives. The slackers are actually disgusted by a mirror image of themselves, albeit an image that takes the "philosophy" far more seriously...and makes bad German techno.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A United States With Four Major Political Parties?

When someone in the U.S. brings up the possibility that there could be more than two major political parties, people get all glassy-eyed and run for the nearest shot of Jägermeister. In America we think that, in the natural world, humans have two eyes, two ears, two arms, two legs, and two political parties. Of course, we have the Green Party but for most people that is like an eyelash or something.

In general, people look at a multiparty system as if it were some mutant with eight legs, one eye, and five arms. The Fact of the matter is, most countries have many major political parties. The UK has three major parties and Brazil has 21.

But could we be in for a change? In this year's presidential election I really believe that there should have been four parties, each a splinter of the two major parties, each with its own candidate. It didn't work out that way, but maybe we are seeing some ideological/class/social divides that will eventually turn into splinter parties. Here are the four hypothetical parties and their constituencies:

1) The Progressive Party (Barack Obama) - brings together the odd assortment of yuppies, young idealists, educated do-gooders, african americans, hipsters, and hippies.

2) The Labor Party (Hilary Clinton) - "working class" liberals, latina/o laborers, older moderates.

3) The Defense Party (John McCain/Mitt Romney) - fiscal conservatives, older conservatives still wedded to big bombs and Cold War era defense, army veterans, older secular conservatives, young libertarians.

4) The Conservative Party (Mike Huckabee) - social conservatives, religious right.

This may never happen, but what if it did....someday.


Wikipedia is so last year, the new rage is Wookieepedia. Wookieepedia is the place you go to when you want to know what happened to Luke Skywalker's children or how Chewbacca died. Yes, Chewbacca is dead. He died fighting an evil race of aliens called the Yuuzhan Vong. Uh oh, I just ruined Star Wars Episode VII for you.

Be careful, this site is addictive. Don't you want to know how Yoda became a Jedi? I rest my case.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

"To Save Skeletor"

Courtesy of YouTube, it is now possible to view many old cartoons that made such an impression on all (well most) of us. Below is probably the best episode of He-Man ever, entitled "To Save Skeletor". It's not really very good at all....but is still fun to watch. Basically Skeletor summons an evil creature from another dimension...all sorts of trouble ensues.

Second Best Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips

Friday, May 9, 2008

NY Times Disses L.A in Coverage of Taco Truck Controversy

Did anyone happen to read The New York Times piece on the L.A. taco truck controversy? Well, while I applaud the Grey Lady for covering the story, there was a decided tone of disdain for Los Angeles in the column.

Exhibit A:

"Los Angeles, loath to rally cohesively around a local cause, has joined hands around tortillas."

Exhibit B:

"This a [sic] where you can pave over a freeway’s carpool lanes with toll roads, and few will complain. You can propose a 40-story skyrise in the center of Hollywood, and hardly anyone two miles to the west will take notice. You can squander public money, close down the ports and flatten landmarks, and many residents of this sprawling metropolis will simply yawn and move on."

I love The New York Times (gods bless you Paul Krugman), but the article, by Jennifer Steinhauer, did not need to commence with the predictable, cliché diss that so often prefaces stories about Los Angeles.

Look, L.A. has its problems, but at least we aren't home to George Steinbrenner and Staten Island...

Thoughts on the U.S. Presidential Primary System

I know this insight has been made in other places, but presidential elections in the United States have fallen prey to the country's love for the "contest" and "competition" rather than its love for the actual process of government and getting things done that truly help people.

The entire process of electing a president now takes over two years! Candidates raise insane amounts of money, which could be put to good use elsewhere, in order to buy television adds and hire enormous staffs that spend all day sending out spam.

In the U.S. we love elections but hate the actual process of government.

It's hard to see how this tendency will change. For ratings purposes, the media will always choose to report on a national political contest over talking about universal health care options or the environment. Pundits will talk about Iowa and New Hampshire for six months while letting biggest political story of our generation, The Iraq War, go by the wayside.

In the American mentality Hilary vs. Obama is just another Yankees vs. Red Sox or Lakers vs. Celtics. A competition in which we can root for our favorite candidate as we would root for our hometown team.

Is there anyway to address this problem?

Well, for one thing the primary season should be condesed into one month rather than lasting six months. This would lessen the impact of states like Iowa and New Hampshire and allow nominees to be chosen quickly. In addition, there should be public funding of candidates so that no candidate simply wins becasue they have more money. Finally, the policial "elite" class should focus on campaign issues and not so much on the demographics and characteristics of the race. That is, rather than spending all day talking about generational, geographical, and racial divides in the polity, they should discuss Iraq, the environment, health care, and income inequality.

I pity the fool who has this phone number...


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Four Days in September

I doubt anyone knows who the distinguished, stately looking gentleman below is:

His name was Charles Burke Elbrick and, at one point in time, he was the United States ambassador to Brazil. His interesting tale is recounted in the 1997 Brazilian film Four Days in September. In 1969 Ambassador Elbrick was kidnapped by a guerilla/revolutionary group called MR-8. The group sequestered the ambassador in order to bring attention to their struggle against the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil and to exchange his life for political prisoners.

Now why do I here recount this somewhat arcane piece of guerilla lore? Well, the movie brings up a good point: is there such a thing as "good" terrorism? In the U.S., we have been conditioned to think of terrorists as muslim fundamentalists who hate "freedom", and I don't deny that those kind of people exist. But there is also a long history of people who have used terrorism in order to fight for democracy, "freedom", etc. In Brazil, for example, the revolutinary groups struggled against a dictatorship that suspended human rights, freedom of press, and tortured and dissappeared thousands of Brazilians. Thus, was it okay for them to kidnap Mr. Elbrick? Something to think about.

Another interesting note from this story concerns one of the kidnappers, Fernando Gabeira. After the kidnapping, Senhor Gabeira went on to become a member of the Brazilian congress. That would be kind of like a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army becoming a congressman. Kind of.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Best Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips

The Best Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips in the known world:

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Videothing Video of our show with The Movies

The amazing videothing recently put together a video of our show with The Movies!

Happy Hollows New Website/Blog

We are switching our website over to a blog so that we can update / upload information about the band more frequently.....hopefully almost every day!