Archive for February, 2009


Bike Safety ’63 + BoC = Head Asplode



The Economist: The Biggest Threat To Laissez-Faire Is Deja Vu

It must be serious.  All of a sudden, London’s leading cheerleader for unregulated capitalism has put down its pom-poms and is adopting a markedly different  tone.  And like a tipsy ingenue, it has said too much!

Financial services are in ruins. Perhaps half of all hedge funds will go out of business. Without government aid, so would many banks. Britain has suffered its first bank-run since Disraeli was prime minister in the 1870s. America has stumbled from one rescue to the next. The Wall Street grandees have been humbled. Hundreds of thousands of people in financial services will lose their jobs; many millions of their clients have lost their savings.

For a quarter of a century finance basked in a golden age. Financial globalisation spread capital more widely, markets evolved, businesses were able to finance new ventures and ordinary people had unprecedented access to borrowing and foreign exchange. Modern finance improved countless lives.

Something went awry. Through insurance and saving, financial services are supposed to offer shelter from life’s reverses. Instead, financiers grew rich even as their industry put everyone’s prosperity in danger. Financial services are supposed to bring together borrowers and savers. But as lending markets have retreated, borrowers have been stranded without credit and savers have seen their pensions and investments melt away. Financial markets are supposed to be a machine for amassing capital and determining who gets to use it and for what. How could they have been so wrong?

Finance is increasingly fragile. Barry Eichengreen of the University of California at Berkeley and Michael Bordo of Rutgers University identify 139 financial crises between 1973 and 1997 (of which 44 took place in high-income countries), compared with a total of only 38 between 1945 and 1971. Crises are twice as common as they were before 1914, the authors conclude.

The paradox is that financial markets can function again only if this lesson is partly forgotten.

Let’s see that again, because I don’t believe I just read it:

The paradox is that financial markets can function again only if [we ignore their tendency to bring serial disaster].

Paradox? No.  The above would qualify as a paradox only if it held up two opposing concepts.  But it is widely known – and known best by the financial industry itself – that  for best returns, financial markets absolutely depend on the public turning the blindest eye  to the market’s workings.  And the public and its government has been so exquisitely, tragically blind.

Our conflagration follows thirty years of free-market fundamentalist deregulatiory legislation paid for by business interests who bent western government and the public over a barrel while placing sacks over our heads. This  is hardly circumstantial evidence.   There is no paradox.

Laissez-faire always depended on mass deception.  Now, we are told that this isn’t enough – that we must deny even our deja vu, that these serial molestations by the unregulated market are to be buried, denied, and never spoken of again.

That’ll work fine for Catholics, but what about everybody else?

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Owner Of Rapid-Fire Uterus Speaks, Adding To List Of Orifices Better Left Closed

“All I wanted … was to be a mom. That’s all I ever wanted in my life.”

Yeah, I think you’ve got that covered.  Nice work.   You already had a litter of six — with no means to support same —  and your big idea to get out of that jam was to poop out eight more?

Lady, there are sows in barnyards who don’t have fourteen kids.  But there’s one important difference.  Through the miracle of bacon, they have economic value  — ensuring they get food and shelter every day.

Listen very carefully:


The Cramps’ Lux Interior: 1948-2009

Whoever does sound in the afterlife is busy ordering backup mikes and stands: the great Lux Interior of the Cramps passed away earlier this week due to a heart condition.  The band hadn’t performed since November 2006, which means their around-Halloween show I caught at the Vic that year was among his last.  As always, Lux’s performance met that standard easily with its top-form speaker stack climbing, floor-writhing, mike-fellating and pants-challenging.

Like the Ramones, the Cramps perfectly resonated the dark side of golden-era pop, producing a liberating blast of pure freedom and abandon out of the firmament of rock and roll.  Since freedom – and the responsibility it implies – scares the shit out of most people, one might say the Cramps had a “cult” following.  But I’d say the people who left themselves out of the band’s horror-freakshow were the ones in the cult – and the ones today being deprogrammed daily by the steady destruction of the record business, Wall Street, Main Street and US Empire.  Ooh!  Eee!  Ah! Ah!

Thanks, Lux.


Led Zeus Shit Jar, ATP ’09: Too Big To Fail

Take the name of Chicago perv-rock legends The Jesus Lizard.  Scramble up the letters.  Scramble ’em good.  What do you get?  Zest Jihad RulesJeez, Radish SlutHertz Used Jails.  And, of course, Led Zeus Shit Jar, which is a name TJL played under for one secret show at Czar Bar in ’91 or so.

Why the logophilic reminiscence, you ask?  Well gee, William Fuckin’ Buckley, it’s because the almighty Lizard — broken up lo these many years — is signed on with original members to play an alleged 30 shows this year, including All Tomorrow’s Parties in the UK.  This calls for commentary.

Where do I even begin?  First of all, there’s this: TJL’s Bass Officer David Wm. Sims, Chicago’s raised-bet answer to The Stranglers’ JJ Burnel and The Birthday Patry’s Tracy Pew, provider of monstrous, gulping low frequencies in the late lamented outfits Rapeman and Scratch Acid — has been blogging. Too Big To Fail, he calls his effort, and  for all we know, this fine bit of WordPressery may indeed be the result of the Federal Reserve bloating Mr. Sims’ institution with freshly minted greenbacks by the trailerload — it’s not as if they’re keeping any records over there.   But more likely, TBTF is simply another enjoyable expression of the aggro-musician-with-great-taste phenomenon Chicagoans are appreciated for – even when they come from Texas and live today in NYC.  Several thumbs up.

Then there’s these upcoming Jesus Lizard shows.   The first time I saw this essential band was at Edge Of The Looking Glass in…I dunno, 1990?  (Singer David) Yow was wearing a suit and had a huge sponge soaked with what appeared to be ink and kept sqooshing it over his head – when he wasn’t delivering interperative-dance moves akin to a woozy Bob Fosse.  I knew the Davids from Scratch Acid, but had never before seen and been blown away by the full combo.  The diamond-sharp blare of Duane Denison and the sideways artillery of Mac McNeilly just made me want to quit music, because they had solved it. I saw ’em with Slint.  I saw ’em out of state. I saw ’em a lot of times, and every time was a joy.  Yes, I’m going to some of these shows.

And then there’s this, a world-colliding (well, at least to me) double bill with Devo and The Jesus Lizard at All Tomorrow’s Parties.  I guess now is the time to tell this one:

Around nine years ago, I worked at a record label/recording studio.  I had a little latitude and was able to chase down a dream project – as a producer of sorts. So I went for it.

I had heard through mutual friends that one of my biggest musical mentors, Devo’s bassist Gerald V. Casale, was beginning to work on a solo record and had need of a drummer.  I heard some tapes and they were cool.  At the time, TJL’s Mac McNeilly was no longer with the band, so I figured I’d see if he was interested in maybe working with Gerry on his record at this studio.  Amazingly, Mac was into the idea.  I sent Gerry copies of Goat and Head. Then, even more amazingly, Gerry was into the idea.  Or at least that’s what it seemed like, because he was super-appreciative of the Macness.   The tapes I heard were grinding, raw and great, but…it turned out that Gerry saw all that as a problem to be overcome.  He kept talking about scrubbing away all the dirt and making the record to a click track and laying the drums in last…which, I’m sorry to say, is a great way to make a shiny, quantized and very “L.A.”  record.  — and no way to waste the wind tunnel of Hurricane Mac.  So it didn’t happen. Boo hoo.

But now – TJL and Devo on the same bill? Yes, please.  In the words of Tina Fey: “I want to go to there.”



rob [at] warmowski [dot] com

@warmowski on twitter

Rob’s Bands

Rob Warmowski entry at Chicago Punk Database
1984-89: Defoliants
1991-94: Buzzmuscle
2001-05: San Andreas Fault
2008- : Sirs
2008- : Allende

Rob at Huffington Post

February 2009
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