Archive for March 14, 2009

Painting: David Stoupakis

Posted: March 14, 2009 in creativity


Souvenir of sadness (Korn: See you on the other side)

David Stoupakis is a New-York based surrealist/gothic artist. He is primarily a painter; he has also done artwork for Korn‘s album See You on the Other Side and Haloburn’s debut album. The themes of his work include death, life, God, decay, rebirth, the juxtaposition of the impossible with the unreal and the barely possible.

According to David his paintings are about the strength of imagination, innocence, and the truth that children are are far more intelligent than most adults give them credit for. And his paintings, like fairytales, are open to interpretation. Viewers have had mixed reactions about his work. Some observe a sense of purity within David’s imagery, while others see only brutality.



Who Will Rescue Us As Our Economy Stays In Free Fall?

By Schecter, Danny
Danny Schecter’s ZSpace Page
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“In 1930, right before the depression hit John Maynard Keynes wrote, “The world has been slow to realize that we are living this year in the shadow of one of the greatest economic catastrophes of modern history.” (Economist James Galbraith, Congressional Testimony (Monthly Review))

economic-collapseNo One Seems To Know Or Be Willing To Say How Bad Things Are

Pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger has been given his own Facebook page which may be the equivalent these days to being inducted in some heroes hall of fame. He became the rescuer who knew where he was, saw where he was going, and touched his huge plane down into what he calculated correctly would be a safe landing on the Hudson River.

Will President Obama be able to rescue us from the ongoing economic collapse that has put the country and his plans at risk?  Is he flying blind or does he know how to achieve a safe landing even in the absence of flight controllers and people who know what is going on. Is he going far enough?

Does anyone even know how bad the economy is, or how much worse it will get?  Can anyone see the “bottom” the way Sully saw the water rushing up at him in the cockpit of his distressed aircraft?  He handled his crash; can we handle ours?

On Friday, after a crisis that’s been going in full panic mode since August 2007, the people who are supposedly in the know don’t “seem” to be. This AP report from late last week made that clear:

“WASHINGTON – The economy’s downhill slide at the end of last year was likely much steeper than the government initially thought and it is probably doing just as poorly now – if not worse – as a relentless slew of negative forces feed on each other, pushing the country deeper into recession.”

Reread the sentence and you can see, as a famous Hollywood Screen writer wrote years ago “nobody knows nothing.”  The operative phrases are “likely much steeper than the government initially thought” and “it is probably doing just as poorly now.” What? Duh?



Guadeloupe Strikes: A Warning to Obama?

By Naiman, Robert
Robert Naiman’s ZSpace Page
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On February 12, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told Congress that the global economic crisis was the most serious security challenge facing the United States and that it could topple governments and trigger waves of refugees, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A week later, the French government was sending police reinforcements to the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe after a month of strikes and protests over low pay and high prices followed by clashes between police and protesters. Strikers have been demanding a raise of $250 a month for low-wage workers who now make about $1,130 a month. “Underlying much of the unrest in Guadeloupe and Martinique is anger within the local Afro-Caribbean community…that the vast majority of wealth and land remain in the hands of colonist descendants,” noted Al Jazeera.

Across much of the world, and much of Latin America in particular, the global economic crisis is going to play out against a legacy of extreme inequality and poverty. The unrest in Guadeloupe may be a preview of what’s coming worldwide if there isn’t a change in Washington’s priorities.

If the global economic crisis is the most serious security challenge, how come there is so little discussion of devoting more resources to addressing this challenge directly? Quite the contrary: with the purported goal of reducing the U.S. budget deficit, the Obama Administration is planning to “scale back” its promise to double foreign aid, the New York Times reports.

The notion that scaling back Obama’s commitment to double foreign aid would be a reasonable way to reduce the nation’s fiscal deficit can only be taken seriously as long as people aren’t aware of or don’t consider the relative magnitude of the numbers involved and the likely consequences of different kinds of spending.



The Deep Politics of Hollywood – In the Parents’ Best Interests

by Matthew Alford and Robbie Graham

Global Research

Tom Cruise – “the world’s most powerful celebrity” according to Forbes Magazine – was unceremoniously sacked in 2006. His dismissal was particularly shocking for the fact that it was carried out not by his immediate employer, Paramount Studios, but rather by Paramount’s parent company, Viacom. Viacom’s notoriously irascible CEO Sumner Redstone – who owns a long list of media companies including CBS, Nickelodeon, MTV, and VH1 – said that Cruise had committed “creative suicide” following a spate of manic public activity. It was a sacking worthy of an episode of The Apprentice.[i]

The Cruise case points to the overlooked notion that the internal mechanisms of Hollywood are not determined entirely by audience desires, as one might expect, nor are they geared to respond solely to the decisions of studio creatives, or even those of the studio heads themselves. In 2000, The Hollywood Reporter released a top 100 list of the most powerful figures in the industry over the past 70 years. Rupert Murdoch, chief of News Corporation, which owns Twentieth Century Fox, was the most powerful living figure. With the exception of director Steven Spielberg (no. 3), no artists appeared in the top 10.

Each of the dominant Hollywood studios (“the majors”) is now a subsidiary of a much larger corporation, and therefore is not so much a separate or independent business, but rather just one of a great many sources of revenue in its parent company’s wider financial empire. The majors and their parents are: Twentieth Century Fox (News Corp), Paramount Pictures (Viacom), Universal (General Electric/Vivendi), Disney (The Walt Disney Company), Columbia TriStar (Sony), and Warner Brothers (Time Warner). These parent companies are amongst the largest and most powerful in the world, typically run by lawyers and investment bankers.[ii] Their economic interests are also sometimes closely tied to politicised areas such as the armaments industry, and they are frequently inclined to cozy-up to the government of the day because it decides on financial regulation.


Miriam Pemberton, a military analyst, estimates that the US government is spending US$100 billion annually to maintain 1000 foreign military bases as part of its imperialist dream. That’s a lot of money, but of course it represents only a small fraction of what being spent on the military as a whole. Using Lockheed as an example, the video shows who benefits from it and the ruses set up to ensure the profits keep rolling in.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Pulau Orang Utan, or Orang Utan island, covers 35 acres – five of which is being used for the conservation programme. The island, set in the middle of a scenic lake at the Bukit Merah Laketown Resort in Perak state, has been transformed into a research centre and sanctuary for the endangered primates.

Not everyone is happy though. The critique is probably valid, and while it’s hard to argue against saving Orang Utans from extinction, the problem is that governments do next to nothing to prevent logging, fires and hunting in the first place. That’s the real disgrace.

[This is a report by Reuters’ Sonia Legg on Planet Ark.]

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The changing nature of tattoos

Posted: March 14, 2009 in creativity


A visitor to the 17th International Tattoo Convention in Berlin in 2007

This guy is just so different from today’s trendies; he still looks like he belongs to an era when tattoos went to the gutsy, the outlaws, the fringe dwellers, the rebels, the people living in the darker corners of society. Tattoos were tribal then and tattooing was an artform; people would put a lot of thought in the design of their body art – like the guy above. And I could imagine people’s tattoos had meaning for them and a lot of them might have been quite unique as well.

Quite different from today where tattoos have become a major fashion fad, with designs ripped off celebrity magazines (see links below) and chosen according to current tattoo design trends; even tongue tattoos are beginning to be considered by the mainstream. Given the fashion nature though of tattoos I wonder what people will do when their tattoo does not represent the latest trend anymore – not as easy to change as last year’s clothes …

As for some background on tattoos, people’s journeys around and with them, the cultures, meanings and history of tattoos (including their celebrity cult status), etc. it’s worth checking out Vanishing Tattoo.

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