March 17, 2007

Newspaper makes news

Gregor at The World's Reality is on a story about the Oakland Tribune's dabbling in openly partisan politics last year.

Here is the announcement at

Mail or bring your copies of '1984' to the Oakland Tribune -- they will send them to Congress!! 23 Dec 2005 "We think it's time for Congress to heed the warning of George Orwell. To that end, we're asking for your help: Mail us or drop off your tattered copies of '1984.' When we get 537 of them, we'll send them to every member of the House of Representatives and Senate and to President [sic] Bush and Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney. Feel free to inscribe the book with a note, reminding these fine people that we Americans take the threat to our liberties seriously... Bring or mail your books to the Oakland Tribune, 401 13th St., Oakland CA 94612. Doors are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m."
Here is the complete announcement from the Oakland Tribune on 13 Feb 06.

Gregor writes:

I just received a call back from Josh Richman of the Oakland Tribune - Politics & Criminal Justice.

Mr. Richman completely admitted that the newspaper editorial board organized, publicized, and activity participated in this protest of the sitting President of the United States. This is unbelievable!

He did inform me that this protest is already completed and started over a year ago, but the most interesting information he gave me was that there were employees of the newspaper actually sitting in an office, stuffing these books into envelopes, addressing them to members of Congress, and then mailing them. This is absurd!

I asked Mr. Richman if the Oakland Tribune had given up their newspaper status and now become a political action committee.

I've been told that I will also be getting a call from the Editor soon, as they seem to be concerned with where this might lead, and if this does happen I will post updates as they come in.

Spread the word. This could get good.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:04 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

March 06, 2007

Closing Time

Since no one's complained about the previous post, I'll go ahead and give you the truly sublime opportunity to hear one of my all-time favorite Leonard Cohen songs.

When I first this song -- about 15 years ago -- I very nearly threw my guitar and typewriter into Long Island Sound and vowed never to write a song again.

And, until about an hour ago, I had no idea that a video had ever been made for it.

There are so many ways to hear this song that if I say any more about it I dread that it'll ruin it for you.

So, with both hands off the keyboard and without further ado, here's Leonard Cohen's "Closing Time":

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:53 PM | Comments (915) | TrackBack

March 03, 2007


I believe that it was in 1987 that I saw a TV special titled "20 Years of Rolling Stone: What A Long Strange Trip It's Been", hosted by Dennis Hopper. I don't remember much at all about it, but I do remember some footage of an interview with Bob Dylan from about 1978. Pacing the room aggitatedly, Dylan ranted something along the lines of:

But even if we sit here and talk for a while, you don't know me and I don't know you. Y'know people come up to me acting like I'm their long lost brother or something. But at the end of the day they still don't know me and I still don't know them, and I'm still not their brother. I think I can prove that in any court.

But what I remember the most was a part near the very end. Most of the show focussed on the '60s and early '70s, counter-culture, Summer of Love type stuff. The exit question to the various guests of the program was: "Is love all you need?"

Most answered -- as did Abbie Hoffman -- with some variation on: "love is important, but you need to pay the bills, too".

Then the question went to George Harrison. "Is love all you need?". George thought for a moment and nodded emphatically, "Yes. And I can prove it." He then turned to his bookcase and muttered aloud to himself: "...where's that book...?"

A few more answers from other guests and it was back to George who, reading from a book, quoted something along the lines of: "Blah blah blah and with love all things are possible yadda yadda....and love is the divinity itself, for love is God and God is love."

George nodded, looked up and into the camera and said, "I believe that and I'm s-s-s-s-stickin' to it."

It was only a couple of years after that that I first heard Leonard Cohen's song, "Hallelujah". Cohen seems to have taken the belief that "love is God and God is love" and, as a songwriter, gave it it's obvious meaning: that an act of love is a sacrament and that a love song is, thereby, a hymn.

It's certainly not the first time he's done that. Plenty of songs on his first album, including "Suzanne", take the same approach. But with "Hallelujah", it's done in just about the most hymn-like way imaginable.
Take the second verse for example:

Your faith was strong, but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya
She tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne, she cut your hair
and from your lips she drew a "Hallelujah!"

So, here is a version of Cohen performing this song, apparantly somewhere in Scandinavia -- probably Denmark actually Germany (Thank you, Misha!:)).
(I like the part where the camera pans across the girls on the upper tier. They all look so dang... Danish...)

And speaking of Denmark....

Most people who know this song know it from Jeff Buckley's version. The major differance between the version above and Buckley's version is that Buckley sings the verses as recorded by Cohen on the album, Cohen Live. The differences between the 3rd and 4th verses of the original, and the 3rd, 4th and 5th verses of the second version, are that the second version is, on balance, a much sadder song.

But, of all the versions of this song available on YouTube, the following is my favorite. It's Tina Dickow and Steffen Brandt with a full band playing live and singing the song in Danish. I can't understand Danish, but this is my favorite version, regardless.

While Cohen originally sang four verses and Buckley covered the five-verse second (Cohen Live) version, Dickow and Brandt sing six verses. I don't know for sure which verses they sing as the 3rd, 4th and 5th verses. But, from the way Tina and Steffen deliver them, I'm guessing that they sang the five-verse "Buckley version", then reprised the final verse from the original four-versed Cohen version. (Any Danish speakers out there wanna confirm this for me? Annika? Misha? Beuller?) This returns the song to having a much more uplifting finish, and you can see that on Tina and Steffen's faces -- as well as hear it in the audience's response.

Confused yet? Well, then do what I do and just sit back and enjoy the music.

Lyrics to both versions, in English, are in the extended entry...

Leonard Cohen's original version:

1. Now, I've heard there was a secret chord
that David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do ya?
It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth,
the minor fall, the major lift;
the baffled king composing "Hallelujah"

2. Your faith was strong, but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya
She tied you to her kitchen chair,
she broke your throne, she cut your hair
and from your lips she drew the "Hallelujah!"

3. You say I took the name in vain,
but I don't even know the name
But if I did well, really, what's it to ya?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard;
the holy or the broken "Hallelujah"

4. I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel so I tried to touch
I told the truth, I didn't come all this way to fool ya
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
with nothing on my tongue but "Hallelujah!".

Cohen Live/Jeff Buckley version:

[First two verses are the same as above]

3. Baby, I've been here before
I've seen this room and I've walked this floor
Y'see, I used to live alone before I knew ya
And I see your flag on the marble arch
But, love is not a victory march
That's a cold and it's a broken "Hallelujah"

4. There was a time when you let me know
what's really going on below
But now you never show that to me, do ya?
But remember when I moved in you
and the holy dove was moving, too
and every breath we drew was "Hallelujah!"

5. Maybe there's a God above
but all I've ever learned from love
was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
It's not a cry that you hear tonight
and it's not some pilgrim who's seen the light
It's a cold and very broken "Hallelujah".

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:22 PM | Comments (934) | TrackBack
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