Archive for August, 2006

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You’d Better Listen

August 29, 2006

The official lyrics for the Tool song Rosetta Stoned have been released. They are below. The bits in bold are just bits that were unknown before.

Alrighty, then … picture this if you will.

10 to 2 AM, X, Yogi DMT, and a box of Krispy Kremes,
in my “need to know” pose, just outside of Area 51
Contemplating the whole “chosen people” thingy
when a flaming stealth banana split the sky
like one would hope but never really expect
to see in a place like this.
Cutting right angle donuts on a dime
and stopping right at my Birkenstocks,
and me yelping…

Holy fucking shit!

Then the X-Files being,
Looking like some kind of blue-green Jackie Chan
with Isabella Rossellini lips, and breath that reeked of
vanilla Chig Champa
Did a slow-mo Matrix descent
Outta the butt end of the banana vessel
And hovered above
my bug-eyes, my gaping jaw,
and my sweaty L. Ron Hubbard upper lip,
and all I could think was:
“I hope Uncle Martin here doesn’t notice
that I pissed my fuckin’ pants.”

So light in his way,
Like an apparition, [that]
He had me crying out,
“Fuck me
It’s gotta be
the Deadhead Chemistry
The blotter got [right] on top of me
Got me seein’ E-motherfuckin’-T!”

And after calming me down
with some orange slices
and some fetal spooning,
E.T. revealed to me his singular purpose.
He said, “You are the Chosen One,
the One who will deliver the message.
A message of hope for those who choose to hear it
and a warning for those who do not.”
Me. The Chosen One?
They chose me!!!
And I didn’t even graduate from fuckin’ high school.

You’d better…
You’d better…
You’d better…
You’d better listen.

Then he looked right through me
With somniferous almond eyes
Don’t even know what that means
Must remember to write it down
This is so real
Like the time Dave floated away
See, my heart is pounding
‘Cause this shit never happens to me

I can’t breathe right now!

It was so real,
Like I woke up in Wonderland.
All sorta terrifying
I don’t wanna be all alone
While I tell this story.
And can anyone tell me why
Y’all sound like Peanuts parents?
Will I ever be coming down?
This is so real
Finally, it’s my lucky day
See, my heart is racing
‘Cause this shit never happens to me

I can’t breathe right now!

You believe me, don’t you?
Please believe what I’ve just said!
See the Dead ain’t touring
And this wasn’t all in my head.
See, they took me by the hand
And invited me right in.
Then they showed me something
I don’t even know where to begin.

Strapped down [to] my bed
Feet cold [and] eyes red
I’m out of my head
Am I alive? Am I dead?
Can’t remember what they said
God damn, shit the bed.

Hey …

Overwhelmed as one would be, placed in my position.
Such a heavy burden now to be the One
Born to bear and bring to all the details of our ending,
To write it down for all the world to see.

But I forgot my pen
Shit the bed again …
Typical.

Strapped down [to] my bed
Feet cold and eyes red
I’m out of my head
Am I alive? Am I dead?
Sunkist and Sudafed
Gyroscopes and infrared
Won’t help, I’m brain dead
Can’t remember what they said
God damn, shit the bed

I can’t remember what they said to me
Can’t remember what they said to make me out to be the hero
Can’t remember what they said
Bob help me!
Can’t remember what they said

[We] don’t know, [and we] won’t know (x12)

God damn, shit the bed!

I definitely think that like the Rosetta Stone, this song is in three parts – all working in different layers but all saying the same thing. The centre of the song is the bad trip as a metaphor for someone who was shown something and did not then act on it for the better and has now become strapped down and is helpless, hence the “shit the bed” line. On one level, the lyrics could reflect that the band themselves showed people a vision on their aspirational, inspirational, realisational etc. etc. epic 2001 album Lateralus. They have even been quoted as saying that this is their blues album.

But, as always, the real beauty of Tool’s music is that it is open to interpretation in every way. However, I do think that Rosetta Stoned definitely laments in a cynical disbelieving way at the bad tripper… Mocking them for shitting the bed and basically stuffing up what they were shown through their own clumsiness and stupidity. Who the bad tripper is (is it humanity? Is it a personal story? Is it a targeted group? Is is all three?) remains a mystery – but again, that lets us team our imagination up with our open mind to interpret… A very cool song.

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Why don’t they…

August 21, 2006

Just adopt the NSW Year 9 and 10 Syllabus and stop wasting time and money on a series of meetings that will fuel media speculation and just tumble the teaching of history into the History Wars? You know it makes sense.

In other exciting news, Tool are playing Australia in Jan 2007. I shall be there.

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The Leaking Boat Nightmare

August 15, 2006

Howard is going to have a stronger hate for Leaky boats now since his government is starting to resemble one. It hasn’t been a good year for the government so far. I guess it’s hard when you say things like “This election, ladies and gentlemen, will be about trust. Who do you trust to keep the economy strong and protect family living standards? Who do you trust to keep interest rates low?” and then your ideological bent drives you to a NoWorkChoices agenda putting family job security at risk just as a number of factors that are somewhat beyond the government’s control combine to force interest rates up.

After a decade, the Howard Government’s recklessness and arrogance is crossing over into a realm where it will have adverse consequences for the very people who the Government has relied upon to sweep them into power at the last two elections in particular. It’s sad that it’s taken this long and that it has been something that has been somewhat less outrageous than some of the other things this government has done that is causing it. Nonetheless, the government is runnning into trouble on a number of fronts. Surely, at the very least the people will ensure that there is an adequate check in place in the form of a vibrant and non-government controlled Senate after the next election. Particularly after the lieathon of the last election has really been exposed.

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Getting Worse

August 8, 2006

No sign of peace in sight. There has to be a point when people put down their guns, start talking and stop killing. Why do people always seem to forget what war is all about? I had many things to write about today – the ongoing war, the HoWARd government starting to sink and a poem… But, I think I might hold those off for today. This is just going on and on and on and it’s depressing.

peace.gif

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Who controls the past now…

August 4, 2006

Last weekend, Hindsight broadcasted the Whose History Forum which allowed a number of history teachers and academics (two of which I have been taught by at university) the chance to respond to John Howard’s assertion back in January that “Too often being taught without any sense of structured narrative, replaced by a fragmented stew of themes and issues…history…has succumbed to a postmodern culture of relativism where any objective record of achievement is questioned or repudiated.” Mark over at Larvatus Prodeo commented on Howard’s bold new vision last week.

I don’t really think that Howard’s view of how history should be taught in Australia is practical. Besides, in NSW at least, if he reads the stage 5 syllabus, he would see that it is entirely geard around Australian history and can most definitely be taught in a chronological manner and can be introduced in a structured narrative way if that’s what floats your boat. But does Howard want us to stop there? What to do after the basic narrative? Then we interpret, fragment, categorise and find themes, problems and issues. That is what the nature of doing history is all about Johnny – enquiring, probing, interpreting, categorising and looking for thematic problems and issues so as to interpret the present and future as well.

The power of history is enormous and George Orwell’s famous saying most certainly is true. That is why it is important for history teachers to present all different interpretations, themes and issues in relation to historical analysis and allow students a maximum amount of room to move to encourage their own unique interpretation of what they are studying and what it means for us as a species. When politicians want to use history to try to create a “standard”, one-size-fits-all narrative for certain political ends, then I’m not really worried about what that will do to Australian students because it will fail simply through students not paying attention in class because of how boring and unimaginative it will be for them. History is dynamic and therefore requires a dynamic classroom. Narrative is important, but only to establish a base from which to conduct historical analysis. John Howard should keep this in mind.

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What to read and watch while the world burns

August 2, 2006

Some newsbytes and commentary worth reading as Israel gears up for a wide scale ground invasion, Iraq’s civil war (does anyone seriously doubt that’s what it is anymore?) gets worse and worse and Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government forget the 2002 truce.

Lenin comments on Israel’s Lebanon offensive in the wider context of Empire.
– Sean Gonsalves talks about the “war” in Iraq, the language of the war, the rule of law and which way foward over at AlterNet.
– The “Baghdad Blogger”, Salam Pax invites us to follow him around Baghdad and see what it’s really like living outside the green zone in the one of most dangerous cities in the world (as seen on Foreign Correspondent).
The Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tigers are facing off over a reservoir which supplies the innocent people caught in the middle with drinking and irrigation water.
– The Congo seems calm thus far after the first democratic elections to take place there in 45 years. However, the threat of violence between east and west looms over the horizon. Hoping it stays peaceful.
– And as NATO takes over Southern Afghanistan (remember that theatre of the war on terror?) from US troops, it is welcomed with an ambush from the Taliban that has killed three British soldiers.

Yikes… Try to digest all that. As the world burns, I’m keeping Michael Franti on in the background, particularly “Time To Go Home”:

Those who start wars never fight them
And those who fight wars never like them
Those who write laws can recite them
And those of us who just fight laws we live and die them

and:

How many people were they runnin’ from and how many people never saw it comin’
How many people never heard the warning how man people should have stayed at home and
How many people never heard the call and how many people never saw at all
How many people did they spend it on and how many people got to sing this song
How many people never heard the cry and how many people gotten pushed aside
How many people never saw the dove fly and how many people never said goodbye
How many people never saw the fall and how many people till we end it all
How many people never saw the wrong and how many people did they drop the bomb on?
Don’t take our boys away no don’t take our girls away no
It’s time to go home…

Once again, hoping for better days.

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The Cringe

August 1, 2006

Over the weekend, I caught up with some old friends who I used to work with. We went to the Art Gallery of NSW which was OK. Being mostly into Surrealist and Visionary art, there wasn’t much that caught my eye in the gallery personally. However, whenever I go to a gallery or exhibition, even if I don’t like it, I marvel at the talent of the artists and try to take on a whole post-modern mindset as I stroll past each painting or sculpture and interpret them entirely in my own way.

So, the day was going swimmingly. We wandered out of the gallery around lunchtime to an awesome day outside in the domain. However, when it came time for lunch, the day turned sour. My companions suggested we go to the Pitt Street Mall for lunch and not wanting to be a spoil sport, I reluctantly agreed and chose not to convey my hatred for malls and shopping centres in general to the group. I should have spoken up. Anyway, we made our way down to Pitt Street Mall and of course, it was revolting. What follows is a poem I scribbled down on the train on the way home – it’s certainly not some of my best writing, but I just had to get it out… I hate malls!

Transfixed on the spectacle; flashing lights; air thick with noise.
Oblivious face of the consumer; buy freedom – on special today with poise!
Eat the slimy creams and oily meats; just throw those plastic plates away.
We are the masters of this place; the mall – our domain over which we hold sway!

Blank stares and shallow laughter, a teenager points and squeals out “cool”!
Mother/daughter couples reek of perfume adding their credit to the cesspool.
Pre-packaged art; purchase one and get one free!
Oh! That looks so good on you. Say it with me now – “me!” “me!” “me!” “me!”…

The floor is always clean – the man with the buffer sees to that.
With your money, you’re free here – black, white, thin or fat.
New clothes, new shoes, new phones and jewellery.
Where does it come from? Nevermind – that’s just tomfoolery!

Here! Now! New! You! Them! Me!
Walk with me through this bastion of freedom while you can friend.
Before too long, it will be gone through necessity – the lights, the credit, the shoes – all at end.
And when that time comes, you’ll be clutching your dear old possessions from your dear old mall.
Selfish as ever, wanting more as ever and oblivious as ever, wondering what brought about your own fall.

Eat while the crap is abundant. I hope you choke on your oily meat.