Geek Mythology

June 27, 2010

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 5:19 pm

Yesterday I saw one of my favorite bands called Kitty, Daisy and Lewis play. They where amazing. The band consists of two sisters and a brother. Their mom and dad also play in the band. They brought with them a guest trumpeter as well. They take turns playing different instruments and it sounds like “a mix up of dirty R’n’B & blues, whiskey soaked country, haunting Hawaiian jungle drums and Gospel fever, with a punch in the face by Daisy’s hard beatboxing!.”Afterwards we hung out and drank some Jägermeister that they had brought with them from the airport.

Heres one of their songs:

June 23, 2010

I see a bad moon rising.

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 9:39 am

Well the shit has really hit the fan this time. As I write this US general Stanley McChrystal, the guy who is leading the American war effort has been called back to Washington to explain himself for comments he has made about senior members of the current administration in an article called “The Runaway general” in the latest issue of Rolling Stone. The president is pissed off. Obama is described in the article as being intimidated by him and the top military brass in their first meeting and McChrystals aides are described as calling Vice President Biden “Bite me”. This couldn’t have come at a worse time. The war effort is at a critical juncture and its not looking good for American and NATO forces as it is. No one knows the situation on the ground as well as McChrystal does and replacing him now would mean a major setback for the operations in Afghanistan. But keeping him on would also signify a huge breach of trust between the Pentagon and the White House.

Many of the snide comments in the article where made by McChrystals team of advisors during a recent trip to Paris when they where all stuck on the ground due to the ash volcano. They called going to a meeting with a French minister “gay” and didnt have good things to say about Holbrook or Eikenberry either. The only ones who they seem to feel has McChrystals back is Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates. To me it looks like the American war effort in Afghanistan is starting to come apart at the seems. The article also includes many disgruntled comments from soldiers who feel they they can’t operate freely enough under McChrystals COIN (counterinsurgency) strategy. COIN strategy focuses on clearing areas of enemies and then holding them to be able to insert a new local governance that is not collaborating with the Taliban.

Many say that this strategy is the real problem. That it is much too ambitious and impossible to achieve in an area like Afghanistan. When the aim is nationbuilding then the bar is set too high. Vice president Biden discussed using a much smaller foorprint in the region but he was rebuffed. Instead the administration went with McChrystals counterinsurgency plan. Now it is becoming more and more clear just how difficult this will be. The Afghan war has stubbornly refused to follow Washingtons orders and now it is not only Afghanistans erratic leader Hamid Karzai who they percieve to be the problem it is the US administrations main general. He has supposedly submitted his resignation and his future hangs in the balance. We will know within a day or two wether or not he will keep leading the war effort or be replaced.

Here is a comment from Rolling Stone about the article:

June 22, 2010

Positive mental attitude!

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 8:29 am

This is a hilarious clip about staying motivated while working out.

June 21, 2010

Musical intermission

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 10:14 pm

Heres a clip of The Rhythm Shakers, a great rockabilly band from Los Angeles. They have an album called Flipsville on Wild Records. Check it out!!!

June 20, 2010

Gulf oil leak hits 2 month mark: Watch Live Video Feeds

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 3:34 pm

Free video streaming by Ustream

June 19, 2010

The bleeding wound.

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 9:54 am

America has now been in Afghanistan for almost a decade, making it the longest war in US history. The Soviet Union was also in Afghanistan for a decade and it was after ten years that they pulled out, drained and defeated. The American war effort in Afghanistan has been meeting with some major problems. First and foremost the Afghan government which in many Afghans eyes lacks legitimacy due to the inustrial sized voting fraud commited by President Karzai has plauged his administration since the elections last summer. Washington has tried different techniques in dealing with him during this past year, from tough love to love bombing during his recent visit to the American capital. None of these strategies seems to have worked and Karzai has been expressing contradictory statements in the line of wanting to make his own deals with moderate Taliban and blaming NATO and Americans for the fraud amongst other things. With no reliable partner on the ground the US counterinsurgency effort is lagging.

The major recent operation that has taken place is the attempted implementation of the ”government-in-a-box” in the area of Marja, an agricultural district located in Helmland province, southwest of Lashkar Gah. In febuary this year operation Moshtarak(meaning ”together”) was launched by a combination of Afghan, NATO and American troops. Marja is a major center for the poppy trade and was also controlled by Taliban militants. This operation was suposed to clear out the enemy and bring in the new Afghan government. However, the success of these operations has not really manifested itself. The Taliban have been driven away to some extent, but they still have a strong influence over the local population. They have been pressuring locals who cooperate with the army and international forces making it difficult for any real change to occur there. American army commanders are now calling Marja a “bleeding ulcer”, which is an ominous parallel to Gorbachevs term for Afghanistan which was “the bleeding wound.”

The next step in General Stanley McChrystals counterinsurgency strategy will be to take Kandahar which is a significantly larger city and startegically more complex operation than the one in Marja. Kandahar is the second biggest city in Afghanistan and has been seen as the ”spiritual birthplace” of the Taliban in the southern part of the country. To ”clear and hold” this city is the next major aim of the international forces and this is proving to be more difficult than they could imagine. Taliban forces have gone on an assassination campaign where they are taking out different government collaborators inside of Kandhar. In this way spreading fear in the local populations.

The US army is currently in the process of scaling down the war in Iraq and bringing in more soldiers to Afghanistan. President Obama has pledged to send in 30,000 more troops which are all now in the process of arriving on the ground there. When I spoke with a Swede who had worked in Afghanistan she told me that 5,000 American troops would also start being deployed into the north of the country where the Swedish army is located. During this summer we will see increased levels of violence as the war is escalated and the pressure is increased on the Taliban. With Kandahar being the main objective, I dont think there will be a Fallujah style seige of the city, but more of a slow build up of troops that aim to secure the city. This however will be very difficult. If one views the stalled progress in Marja, which is significantlly smaller than Kandahar, then one can sense the immense difficulty in this undertaking.

President Obama has declared that he will start withdrawing his troops form Afghanistan in July 2011. This has worried many of the players in the region making them fear that they will again be abandoned by the Americans like they felt they where in 1989 after Russia was beaten and the Americans went home, leaving the country in a dangerous power vaccum that created chaos and carnage. With the Americans signalling that they will soon start withdrawing their forces then all ISAF forces will soon follow suit(infact this is already starting to happend). The developments during this summer will be crucial for the international forces. But this situation does not look good. They are not making the progress that they planned on, they are supporting a government that is disliked in many parts of the country and are seen as unreliable due to the fact that they have signalled an early withdrawal. In a senate hearing a few days ago the American General Petraeus was answering questions about Afghanistan in pretty harsh session when he fainted. The pressure is on and it looks like its going to be a cruel summer.

June 15, 2010

Art workshop at Kulturhuset.

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 8:23 pm

Valeria and I are in the midst of giving a workshop at Kulturhuset in Stockholm. We are building a love wall with found objects that are turned into art. Join us tomorrow for day 2 and make some art with us!

June 14, 2010

Moby Dick and the Spill

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 11:06 pm

“In the weeks since the rig explosion, parallels between that disaster and the proto-Modernist one imagined by Melville more than a century and a half ago have sometimes been striking — and painfully illuminating as the spill becomes a daily reminder of the limitations, even now, of man’s ability to harness nature for his needs. The novel has served over the years as a remarkably resilient metaphor for everything from atomic power to the invasion of Iraq to the decline of the white race (this from D. H. Lawrence, who helped revive Melville’s reputation). Now, 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, its themes of hubris, destructiveness and relentless pursuit are as telling as ever…Melville’s story “is certainly, among many other things, a cautionary tale about the terrible cost of exploiting nature for human wants,” he said. “It’s a story about self-destruction visited upon the destroyer — and the apocalyptic vision at the end seems eerily pertinent to today.”

– from the article The Ahab Parallax: ‘Moby Dick’ and the Spill By Randy Kennedy in the New York Times

June 13, 2010

The commemorative Hawaiian Jazzfest shirt

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 7:50 pm

When I was in New Olreans in april I went to Jazzfest which is this huge music festival that goes down there every year. For all the die hard Jazzfest fans they produce a special commemorative Jazzfest hawaiian style shirt that features New Orleans symbols woven into it´s pattern. I´m a collector of Hawaii shirts and therefore this was a real nice detail to an amazing festival. I didnt get one but here are a few samples of shirts that have been sold at the fest throughout the years:

Here with the classic New Orleans fleur de lis symbol and trombones

Here with alligators.

With crawfish.

With red beans and rice.

With accordions

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 9:15 am

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