Thursday, June 30, 2005

Written By Pavlov's Few, Sad, Last Surviving Dogs

Claire, I know that you and Wally will appreciate this poem, which I'm taking the liberty of excerpting here...

Pathetic, obbedient, we sit waiting as before,

conditioned to believe in a sequence,
in causality, matter, and motion.
We're caged in a fallacy, ergo prompter hoc.
We dabble in theories, dribble on the floor.
Our silver saliva is creating an ocean.

To stop reacting correctly
must be the last and slowest thing to learn.

These lines are from the final stanzas of "Written By Pavlov's Few, Sad, Last Surviving Dogs," a poem by Susanna Roxman. She's a Swedish poet who writes in English.

A poem written from the point of view of one of Pavlov's dogs: A clever poetic conceit that could easily result in an all-too cute 'n' cuddly poem. But Roxman's chilling poem interrogates both the dogs' and the reader's nostalgiac and theoretical inclinations. Flashbacks to innocent puppyhood feasts are tainted by the aging dogs' recognition of how they and their Master betrayed themselves: by subscribing to the underlying tenants of a self-objectifying school of thought.

"We dabble in theories, dribble on the floor."
Note to self: Let this be a warning about the occupational hazzards attendant to an academic or an intellectual life.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The New World Order

Note to self: When teaching Graham Greene's The Quiet American, consider assigning Tony Judt's essay "The New World Order" to give students a sense of how the logic behind US military interventions in Southeast Asia a half century ago compare with the logic behind our global military presence today.

Judt's review essay has made me especially eager to read Andrew Bacevich's book The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced By War, recently published on Oxford University Press.

Judt writes: Bacevich is a graduate of West Point, a Vietnam veteran, and a conservative Catholic who now directs the study of international relations at Boston University. He has thus earned the right to a hearing even in circles typically immune to criticism. What he writes should give them pause. His argument is complex, resting on a close account of changes in the US military since Vietnam, on the militarization of strategic political thinking, and on the role of the military in American culture. But his conclusion is clear. The United States, he writes, is becoming not just a militarized state but a military society: a country where armed power is the measure of national greatness, and war, or planning for war, is the exemplary (and only) common project.

Why does the US Department of Defense currently maintain 725 official US military bases outside the country and 969 at home (not to mention numerous secret bases)? Why does the US spend more on "defense" than all the rest of the world put together? After all, it has no present or likely enemies of the kind who could be intimidated or defeated by "star wars" missile defense or bunker-busting "nukes." And yet this country is obsessed with war: rumors of war, images of war, "preemptive" war, "preventive" war, "surgical" war, "prophylactic" war, "permanent" war. As President Bush explained at a news conference on April 13, 2004, "This country must go on the offense and stay on the offense."

Among democracies, only in America do soldiers and other uniformed servicemen figure ubiquitously in political photo ops and popular movies. Only in America do civilians eagerly buy expensive military service vehicles for suburban shopping runs. In a country no longer supreme in most other fields of human endeavor, war and warriors have become the last, enduring symbols of American dominance and the American way of life. "In war, it seemed," writes Bacevich, "lay America's true comparative advantage."

It sickens me to think how the US wastes so much of its resources on unnecessary military spending that often amounts to little more than subsidies for defense contractors. While taxpayers bailout Boeing, many families of US soldiers live at or below the poverty level. Meanwhile, domestic programs suffer, average Americans lead lives filled with needless anxiety--worrying about health care, how to afford educating themselves and their families--and the world is no safer place. The fact that US spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined is simply obscene. It fills me with fear and loathing to contemplate the degree of paranoia, greed, and general hubris displayed by America's political leaders. I do not want to live in a country where the economy and culture are premised on being at a state of perpetual war.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Midsommar Ring-Dancing

Midsommar Dancing
Originally uploaded by erasmus.
Midsummer Day Festivities
in Gävle's Boulognerskogen.

Celebrants erected and danced
around Midsummer poles
all across the country.

We just watched the dancing but
did enjoy the traditional dinner of
fresh new potatoes, herring and beer.

No schnapps, though schnapps brewing may be a Scandinavian hobby
that I will choose to pursue
in the future.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Note to Ira: Check with before booking your tickets. SAS is one of the airlines whose planes are listed.

Karl Mueller, Bassist for Soul Asylum, Dies

Karl Mueller (1963-2005)
Originally uploaded by erasmus.
I just learned via an e-mail from Adam that Karl Mueller, the founding bassist of Soul Asylum, died last Friday, June 18 at his home in Minneapolis. Mueller was only 42 years old. Sadly, he was scheduled for throat surgery three days later.

I knew Mueller had been suffering from esophegal cancer, but had been hoping that he would pull through.

Last October, with Mueller's cancer in remission, Soul Asylum reunited and played a benefit concert to help pay for his medical expenses. Coincidentally, earlier last week I read several rave reviews of this concert. Other Twin Cities rockers who played at the show included Paul Westerberg, Hüsker Dü, (2/3 of the band at least, Bob Mould and Grant Hart reunited for this event only; Mould, you'll recall, produced Soul Asylum's first record back in 1984) Golden Smog, and the Gear Daddies.

Soul Asylum is an excellent rock band, much better live than on their records. I think they're often overlooked and underrated. In the 1980s they were, understandably, overshadowed by their Twin Cities peers, The Replacements and Husker Du, two of the greatest bands ever. Then, in the 1990s, Soul Asylum was lumped in with a number of 'grunge' bands. The fact that Soul Asylum had hit records, were overplayed on MTV and the radio, and were invited to the White House hurt their hipster cred. The band got more press because Dave Pirner attended the Oscars with Winona Ryder than because of its muisc. Although it probably sounded as if their hits, "Somebody to Shove" and "Runaway Train," were aping Nirvana, the so-called grunge sound was really pioneered in the Twin Cities in the early 1980s by some of the aforementioned bands, including Soul Asylum.

Thankfully, I don't think the fluctuations of the rock 'n' roll market or the fickleness of wanna-be hipsters mean diddly to guys like Mueller.

I was glad to hear that he was surrounded by friends and loved ones when he died. Isn't the prospect of dying alone more frightening than death itself?

I was particularly touched by the fact that Dave Pirner and Dan Murphy, Soul Asylum's singer and guitarist, were listed as Mueller's brothers in his obituary. If you ever heard Soul Asylum play live, the bond between the friends was palpable.

Below is an article on Mueller's death from the Minneapollis Star Tribune that is well worth reading. It's filled with moving remarks from friends and fellow musicians.

Soul Asylum's bassist, Karl Mueller, dies at 41
Jon Bream, Star Tribune
June 18, 2005

Soul Asylum bassist Karl Mueller, a founding member of one of the Twin Cities' most popular and successful rock bands, died early Friday morning at his home in south Minneapolis. He was 41.

Mueller had been in and out of the hospital recently. His throat cancer was diagnosed in May 2004.

"Everyone was surprised it happened [Friday] morning," said Maggie Macpherson, a friend of Mueller's since 1980 and a longtime worker in the Twin Cities music scene. "We had all hoped he'd come through the worst. We knew his time would be shorter than hoped ... but he was due for surgery on Monday."

Macpherson was among the members of the local music community who gathered at Mueller's home Friday. Also there were Soul Asylum guitarist Dan Murphy, Gary Louris and Marc Perlman of the Jayhawks, Lori Barbero of Babes in Toyland and singer-guitarist Kraig Jarrett Johnson, who along with bassist Jim Boquist had painted Mueller's house after he became ill.
"He was a quiet guy with a big heart," Macpherson said.

Another longtime friend and local music maven, LeeAnn Weimar, said: "Karl was an intelligent guy and had a dry, sarcastic, sardonic wit. And he was a damn good cook. He and [his wife] Mary Beth liked to entertain. He was a really good friend."
Mueller was so well-liked in the local music community that an all-star benefit was held for him at the Quest nightclub in October last year, featuring an unprecedented lineup of 1980s and '90s Twin Cities rock luminaries including Paul Westerberg of the Replacements, Bob Mould and Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü, the reunited Gear Daddies and, of course, Soul Asylum, with Mueller participating in a full set of music.

"Even if I didn't know me, I wouldn't have missed this show for the world," Mueller said backstage that night.
It was his last gig, though he continued to work in the recording studio.

Soul Asylum completed a new album this year, with Mueller and new drummer Michael Bland. The band has been in negotiations to release it on a major label early next year.

The band's lead singer, Dave Pirner, who lives mostly in New Orleans, was en route to Minneapolis Friday night after learning of Mueller's death. Soul Asylum is expected to release a statement today.

"Karl was the person most likely to not be confused as a rock star," said Hart, a St. Paul singer-songwriter who played at last fall's benefit. "That word didn't ever work for Karl."

Said Minneapolis singer-songwriter Paul Metsa: "Karl was blue-collar and a barroom buddy in the best sense of the word. He had a tremendous work ethic. I will never forget seeing him on a Friday night on David Letterman and the following Monday working the kitchen at the Loon Bar and Café downtown."

As for Mueller's bass playing, Metsa called it "both deceptively effortless and incredibly powerful."

Said Hart: "It was never a flashy thing, but that was the core of his humility."

Pat Montague, owner of J.D. Hoyt's restaurant and bar, where Mueller's wife used to work, knew him "as a guy who did crossword puzzles at the bar every day. You'd never know he was in the music business. He was a down-to-Earth guy."
Mueller could often be seen walking his two Scottie dogs -- one black, one white -- around his south Minneapolis neighborhood. But he was famous for what he did with Soul Asylum for more than two decades.

From punk to prom
The Twin Cities quartet was a mainstay on the local scene since the mid-1980s, rising to national prominence in the early '90s with the hits "Black Gold" and "Runaway Train."

Mueller, Pirner and Murphy started together in 1981 as Loud Fast Rules before evolving into Soul Asylum in 1984 with the album, "Say What You Will Clarence ... Karl Sold the Truck" for Twin/Tone Records of Minneapolis.

At first, Soul Asylum played second banana on the local scene to the Replacements and Hüsker Dü. But after making three albums for Twin/Tone, it graduated to a major label, A&M, recording two more albums before moving to Columbia in '92 for "Grave Dancers Union," the quartet's biggest seller.

The band has released three more CDs for Columbia, the most recent being last year's live recording "After the Flood: Live from the Grand Forks Prom June 28, 1998."

In addition to his wife, Mary Beth, survivors include his mother, Mary. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Rollin' (The Joy of a New Bike)

Rollin' (The Joy of a New Bike)
Originally uploaded by erasmus.
Yeah, bikes are damn expensive in Sweden.

But by the looks of it,
this bike was worth every kroner.

We're riding on a bike path
through the woods
outside of G��avle
on our way to the sea.

I just love this picture.
Go, Ira, Go!

Ira's Got a Brand New Bike

Brand New Bike II
Originally uploaded by erasmus.
This weekend
Ira bought
a brand new bike.

On Saturday
we took our bikes
for a ride
to the Baltic Sea.

It was a beautiful day.
I hadn't ridden a bike in years.
It felt great to inhale the pine scent.
The many bike paths in and around Gävle impressed me.

Pinhead Art

Pinhead Art
Originally uploaded by erasmus.
This sculpture is placed
in the middle of a roundabout
in Ga��vle, Sweden.

Whenever I pass it,
I think of
Zippy the Pinhead and
The Ramones.

Flickr Export Plugin for iPhoto

Fraser Speirs, a programmer in Greenock, Scotland, has designed a program that allows you to export images directly from iPhoto to your Flickr account. Mr. Speirs has generously made his FlickrExport application available for free download at his website.

I'm uploading a recent batch of 76 photos to my account right now. It's taking a while, but is still faster and more convenient than having to upload pics 7 or 8 at a time.

Update: the app works great. Thanks, Fraser!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Cemetery Reading

Originally uploaded by erasmus.
Ira and I drove to Uppsala today
so that we could do some work
at the university.

It was far too nice a day to be inside,
so after checking out some books from
the library I spent the afternoon reading outside
in a gorgeous cemetery.

The cemetery and a park are conveniently located right next to the humanities building.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Pynchon Issue of Bookforum

Plea to friends and family in the States: Please pick me up a copy of the Summer 2005 edition of Bookforum, a special tribute to Pynchon issue!

I wonder if he's got a new book coming out soon?...

Friday, June 10, 2005

Oppose the Internet Communications Monopoly

Contact your congressional representative to let him or her know that you oppose H.R. 2726, "Preserving Innovation in Telecom Act," a deceptively named bill will prevent local communities from providing broadband access to their citizens. It will especially hurt citizens living in poorer rural and urban areas who lack broadband access.

The bill is being sponsored by Pete Sessions, a Republican from Texas. No surprise there, eh?

It disgusts me to see how the United States has dropped the ball in terms of providing broadband access to its citizens. Of course, considering who's been running the country, apathy about the digital divide is to be expected.

Republicans and conservative Democrats generally oppose tax dollars going to fund initiatives that benenfit the general public (They want to privatize everything and call State-provided services 'Big Government,' unless it's the military or law enforcement).

Moreover, it's not in their interest for more people to have high-speed Internet access. After all, people might just discover that there are progressive populists out there, people who don't want to see democracy sold on the cheap.

It takes only a few seconds to send an e-mail to your representative through the website.

Gävle Graduation Parade

Graduation Parade
Originally uploaded by erasmus.
Public education is taken very seriously here in Sweden (unlike the States, where schools without high tax revenues are underfunded), and much ado is made each Spring when students graduate.

It's a Swedish tradition for the graduating seniors to march around the downtown carrying signs displaying photos of themselves as young kids.

Some were also bearing beers, which was all part of the fun.

I prefer this tradition to the generally tedious, formal graduation ceremonies in the States.

After the parade, the students host parties for friends and family. In the evening, the kids, still in full regalia, are driven around the commune in older vehicles--flatbed trucks--by parents. This solves the perennial problem of teenage drunken driving.

That's 2-year old Daniel Goloubev, aka, Lil' G, in the poster with the stuffed yellow bear.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Paragraph Breaks: Draft Version 1.1

The following is the opening section from a review essay of Slavoj Zizek's The Puppet and the Dwarf that will appear in its entirety in ebr ) once the site redesign is completed. My piece will be included a cluster featuring other Zizek-related material, including a long review of On Deleuze by Hanjo Berressem.

I'm posting this portion of my essay here in draft form so that I can play around with the layout -- particularly paragraph breaks. Paragraphs in academic essays tend to be longer than in non-academic pieces. Although the overall length of an essay tends to be less of an issue in online writing, long paragraphs can be difficult to read online.

Rob Wittig advocates lots of 'white space' for online writing. The trick is to divide the paragraphs up in such a way that they are not too long but also retain the initial logic of the piece. For those of us who take writing seriously, it's no easy thing.

Ideally, I'd like each paragraph to be about 3-4 sentences long and no more than five. However, I don't know if that's feasible. We'll see...

Slavoj Zizek’s subtitle, “The Perverse Core of Christianity,” seems to promise an account of all that is corrupt in the Christian faith. Readers aware of Zizek’s reputation as a leading Leftist theorist but unfamiliar with his thinking might open The Puppet and the Dwarf expecting a neo-Nietzschean or post-Marxist critique of Christianity. But Zizek doesn’t censure Christians for subscribing to a ‘slave morality’ or becoming addicted to an ‘opiate for the masses.’ It’s liberals, particularly Western intellectuals with pseudo-spiritual leanings, whom Zizek rebukes. Their misguided ethical convictions and corresponding lack of political gumption have facilitated the spread of a global corporatism that benefits a small economic elite at the expense of the world’s workers. With this emergent global capitalist New World Order in mind, Zizek prescribes a dose of Christianity to an anemic and largely impotent Left he diagnoses as suffering from a debilitating malady—postmodern cynicism.

Postmodern cynicism (a term that Zizek doesn’t use, but which concisely encapsulates a number of his targets) refers to several related concepts: the relativist notion that all truth claims are contingent, social constructions which are ‘true’ only for members of particular communities; the rejection of universal truth claims on the grounds that they disrespect or infringe upon the difference of others; and the tendency to disavow sincerely and “directly assumed belief[s]” (7) for fear of offending others or of appearing politically incorrect. Quickly, Zizek’s arguments against these notions are as follows: First, it makes no sense to speak of a relative truth that doesn’t apply universally. For a claim to be considered true, it must, by definition, be presumed to be valid for everyone. If others don’t recognize a claim’s validity, it’s because they are mistaken. Second, talk of respecting difference or otherness fetishizes empty abstractions and is effectively meaningless, mere grandstanding rhetoric. These first two points, while valid, do not constitute a particularly novel theoretical intervention. However, Zizek does contribute something new to Anglo-American debates about the belief in postmodern societies with his account of disavowed belief, which begins with a simple premise: “today, we believe more than ever” (6).

The catch is that believers are confused and fail to grasp the extent of their beliefs, particularly when it comes to “religious matters” (5). Thus, to the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk’s oft-cited formula for cynical reason—“I know what I am doing; nonetheless, I am doing it…”— Zizek adds a final clause: “…because I don’t know what I believe” (5). Our confusion about what we believe is understandable given that defining what belief entails is no straightforward project. What does it even mean to say that I believe in something? Such a question implies a uniquely modern concept of subjective belief.

Zizek notes, “the direct belief in a truth that is subjectively fully assumed (‘Here I stand!’) is a modern phenomenon, in contrast to traditional beliefs-through distance, like politeness or rituals” (6). Postmodern thought has challenged the autonomy of the individual subject, and a typically postmodern reflex has been to place one’s directly held beliefs at a remove. Examples include: Deconstructionists whose skepticism requires the positing of “an Other who ‘really believes’” (6); ironists who incessantly place their remarks within quotation marks; and self-conscious lovers who say things like, “As the poets would have put it, I love you.” This phenomenon, which he refers to variously as disavowed, displaced, or suspended belief, both amuses and annoys Zizek.

Zizek, who is giving psychoanalysis new life in the 21st century, insists that any rigorous theory of belief must take into account unconscious beliefs, which by definition are unknown to the subject holding them. While people consciously profess their disbelief in a particular ideological system, they behave ‘as if’ they actually believe in its authority. By analyzing people’s behaviors as manifested in various cultural phenomena, Zizek aims to identify our unconsciously held beliefs and the desires that motivate them. In The Puppet and the Dwarf, he is especially interested in religous belief.

Discerning widespread ambivalence about people who profess to having fundamentalist religious beliefs directly (are they to be commended for taking a decisive stand or condemned as extremist?), Zizek redefines (postmodern) culture as the practices that follow from all of our ostensibly nonserious, ironic or disavowed beliefs:

When it comes to religion…we no longer “really believe” today, we just follow (some) religious rituals and mores as part of respect for the “lifestyle” of the community to which we belong (nonbelieving Jews obeying kosher rules ‘out of respect for tradition,’ etc.). “I don’t really believe in it, it’s just part of my culture” effectively seems to be the predominant mode of the disavowed/displaced belief characteristic of our times. What is a cultural lifestyle, if not the fact that, although we don’t believe in Santa Claus, there is a Christmas tree in every house, and even in public places every December? Perhaps, then, the “nonfundamentalist” notion of “culture” as distinguished from “real” religion, art, and so on, is in its very core the name for the field of disowned/impersonal beliefs—‘culture’ is the name for all those things we practice without really believing in them, without ‘taking them seriously’ (7).

Culture, thus defined, refers to the domain of ideas we espouse, things we do, and projects in which we partake but from which we strive to maintain a sophisticated distance. Zizek identifies various contemporary religious formations—ranging from Western Buddhism to New Age paganism and gnosticism to a deconstructionist-Levinasian Judaism—whose adherents subscribe to modes of disavowed belief that cannot be publicly acknowledged and must remain a “private obscene secret” (6).

Zizek rejects these religions on the grounds that, despite appearances to the contrary, they function as ideological handmaidens to global capitalism. However, his aim is not to expose the adherents of these faiths as hypocrites whose spiritual commitments are easily trumped by their material interests. Nor does he wish to see a return to an authentic form of these faiths in place of their superficial, postmodern forms. Zizek rejects all varieties of these religions outright. His argument against these faiths is that the inherent logic of these faiths allows one to partake in exploitative market practices with a clearer conscience and dampens one’s political desire to change the economic system.

This is not the place to rehearse or debate the specifics concerning Zizek’s controversial accounts of these religions. But, broadly speaking, these religions share two key features—a vision of the universe as a harmonious whole and an ethos that regards efforts to introduce a split into this universe as being misguided, even evil. [note: insert remarks here? Paganism – abyss and Judaisim-otherness as sameness]. Buddhist compassion teaches meditative techniques that allow one to remain indifferent to phenomenal reality, which is illusory, and to “fully assum[e] the Void as the only true Good” (23). The bottom line is that these belief systems enable people to function more efficiently as capitalist subjects.

Because these faiths are complicit with capitalism, the Left must purge itself of the ethos that they share—an ethic of otherness. Zizek attributes much of the Left’s problems to a misguided commitment to otherness, which has resulted in a political agenda based largely on appeals to cultural difference and the need for tolerance. In other words, too many Leftists have become complacent liberals who are basically satisfied with the existing socioeconomic order—at least that’s what all their talk about celebrating multiculturalism diversity and respecting “otherness” implies. The Left needs to understand that its ultimate commitment is not to liberal tolerance but to eliminating material inequality.

The book’s underlying premise is that the Left must reclaim the Christian legacy and harness its immanent and still largely untapped revolutionary potential. Zizek asserts, “My claim here is not merely that I am a materialist through and through, and that the subversive kernel of Christianity is accessible also to a materialist approach; my thesis is much stronger: this kernel is accessible only to a materialist approach—and vice versa: to become a true dialectical materialist, one should go through the Christian experience” (6). The “subversive kernel of Christianity” that Zizek extracts for his readers, then, is presented as an alternative to the “perverse core” referred to in the subtitle. But before unpacking Zizek’s account of Christianity’s subversive kernel versus its perverse core, it is worth noting how the book’s allusive main title cues us in to Zizek’s critical project.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Mobility Myth

Many Americans wrongly believe that the United States is a classless society. Economic disparaties exist, sure, but according to the American Dream, hard work makes it possible for ambitious individuals to move up in class.

Don't believe the hype.

Bob Herbert deflates "the mobility myth" in an editorial that comments on how the Bush administration is waging and winning a cruel class war. Bush and company may be losing the war in Iraq, but they're kicking ass back in the States, where the poor and middle classes continue to suffer from tax policies that reward the ultra-wealthy and punish workers.

Partly because of the effectiveness of the Right's media machine, which has been successful in hyping up faux issues (flag burning, etc.) to divert attention from it's ruthless policies, many Americans remain unaware that the gap between the rich and the everbody else continues to grow.

The Right wraps itself in the flag and accuses anyone who dares to report that Americans are not necessarily the envy of all people around the globe of being unpatriotic.

We need to hear more voices, especially in the mainstream media and in the Democratic Party, who are willing to tell it like it is when it comes to socio-economic realities.

As Herbert writes, " Economic mobility in the United States - the extent to which individuals and families move from one social class to another - is no higher than in Britain or France, and lower than in some Scandinavian countries. Maybe we should be studying the Scandinavian dream."

From what I've observed of here in Sweden, that last bit of advice would be particularly prudent (to borrow one of Bush Sr.'s favorite words). However you measure a country's standard of living, Sweden is doing quite well. And Swedes enjoy, I think, a higher quality of life than most people in the States. They work fewer hours per year, spend less time stuck in traffic, worry less about social security, health care, education and retirement, and as a consequence enjoy more quality time with friends and family.

Sadly, it seems that most U.S. politicians believe American voters are too proud to acknowledge that the U.S. might learn from another country's example. We hear all sorts of talk about traditional values from the Religious Right. They would do well to remember that Pride is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Love of one's country must not blind one to the country's flaws. That love should impel one to remedy existing problems.

Incidentally, today is Sweden's National Day, so my mini sermon is over. It's time to pack a picnic lunch and head to a park, or perhaps the sea. For those inclined to question my allegiance to America, don't worry. I'll be packing some American literature--probably William Gaddis's The Recognitions.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Blow, Man, Blow

Daniel on Sax
Originally uploaded by erasmus.



torsdag, juni 02, 2005

Jumpin' Jack Flash

Jumpin' Jack Flash
Originally uploaded by erasmus.

That be Daniel on the drums,
playing with Navigating Flow,
fresh from their recent tour of China and Hong Kong...

Daniel's Graduation Concert

Daniel's Graduation Concert
Originally uploaded by erasmus.
A shot of Daniel (on the saxophone)
and some of his friends playing at their graduation concert.

The event was held at the Gävle Konserthus.
, a striking blue building.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Apple iPod Settlement

I haven't had the time to read all of the fine print, but Apple has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of owners of the first three generations of iPods. Some of these models, my Third Generation iPod included, were equipped with faulty batteries that drain in under four hours. By and large, I love my iPod, and friends and family know that I'm generally a strong advocate for Apple Computers. However, I've been really annoyed by the fact that my iPod sometimes barely stays charged long enough to listen to it on both legs of my commute--1 hour door to door--from my apartment to my office at UIC.

Fortunately, I believe that Apple has agreed to replace the batteries free of charge on some of the models or to provide a $50 rebate good on most purchases from Apple. Again, I haven't looked into all the details, but I believe that owners have until sometime in September, 2005 to file their claim forms.

For more details about the Class Notice and forms and instructions, visit the Apple iPod Settlement website.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Impeach Bush

In an op-ed piece appearing in The Boston Globe, Ralph Nader and Kevin Zeese argue, "The impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, should be part of mainstream political discourse." They're right, and impeaching Bush shouldn't just be discussed, it should become a reality. After all, misleading the country into war is a much more serious offense than misleading the country about an extra-marital affair. Why was Monica a bigger deal than the WMDs?