Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Excellent commentary on BBC1 for the UEFA European Men's Football Championship

I have several options for watching the UEFA European Men's Football Championship in languages I know: stations from Germany, France, Austria, and Britain, or Swiss broadcasts in German and French. For last Sunday's match between England and Serbia, I enjoyed the BBC1 commentary so much that I just watched Germany play Hungary on that channel. Wasting little time with background, the commentators focus on details like German midfielder İlkay Gündoğan's superb movement or moments of poor positioning by defenders, as when Hungary's center-back Willi Orbán moved his feet poorly and was unable to clear a ball without surrendering a corner. In one hour, I'll stay on BBC1 for Switzerland against Scotland. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 19 June 2024)

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Jamming from The Velvet Underground’s 1967 song “I’m Waiting for the Man” into Traffic’s 1967 song “Dear Mr. Fantasy"

At the end of "I'm Waiting for the Man", which Lou Reed wrote and recorded with The Velvet Underground for their 1967 debut "The Velvet Underground & Nico", I like to go into a jam that feels like drifting along high on something (heroin in the song; jamming for me), "until tomorrow but that's just some other time." Today, I suddenly found myself going into "Dear Mr. Fantasy", which Traffic recorded on their 1967 debut "Mr. Fantasy" (with words by Jim Capaldi and music by Steve Winwood and Chris Wood. Afterwards, it seemed fitting: in Capaldi's words, Reed may "break out in tears", but he still "can make us all laugh". (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 18 June 2024)

Monday, June 17, 2024

A giant red rose painted on my face and a Stevie Ray Vaughan concert, forty years ago today, 17 June 1984

Forty years ago today, there was some sort of summer fair on the Stanford University campus, and I came across a woman who was doing face-painting. I asked her if she could do a giant red rose around my right eye. She said she'd give it a try, we agreed on a price (I don't remember how much, but more than for her standard things), and she spent quite a long time patiently painting that rose. That evening, I went to the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco to see Stevie Ray Vaughan (for the second time), and all through the concert, I wondered why people kept staring so intently at me. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 17 June 2024) 

Sunday, June 16, 2024

UC Berkeley law professor John C. Yoo should be persona non grata, but if you quote him, you should always identify him as the author of the torture memos

In a Substack post today on "The Right's Politics of Revenge", historian Thomas Zimmer summarized what Donald Trump supporters said after his felony conviction on 30 May. I liked how he identified one supporter: "John C. Yoo, a law professor at Berkeley and also the guy who authored the torture memos under George W. Bush [...]." Although I'd seen Yoo's remarks on Trump before, I was sure he'd only been referred to as a professor, but at least The New York Times on 5 June called him "the author of once-secret Bush administration legal memos declaring that the president can lawfully violate legal limits on torturing detainees and wiretapping without warrants". (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 16 June 2024)


Saturday, June 15, 2024

"Luckily we can predict what our machine guns will do”: A line from Katy Evans-Bush’s “Joe Hill Makes His Way into the Castle” and its echo in a SCOTUS decision

"Luckily we can predict what our machine guns will do," writes Katy Evans-Bush in "From lines by Kenneth Patchen #14" in her book "Joe Hill Makes His Way into the Castle" (CB Editions, 2024). These poems make songs of what this decade offers us ("what it takes to make songs with" in #9), but that machine-gun line makes a song of something that happened yesterday, long after the poem was written: the United States Supreme Court ruled that "bump stocks", which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire nearly as fast as machine guns, cannot be regulated in the United States. Unluckily, we can almost always predict what SCOTUS will do these days. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 15 June 2024)

Friday, June 14, 2024

Remembering reading Philip Levine’s poem “28” in “The New Yorker” in September 1986

Yesterday, British poet Raymond Antrobus asked me if I had a favorite poem I had first read in The New Yorker. I remembered reading "28" by Philip Levine back in the 1980s. I dug the poem up in the magazine's archives: it was published in the issue of 1 September 1986. I was 22 at the time, and the poem floored me with the 56-year-old poet recalling (and perhaps fictionalizing) his experiences half his life ago: "At 28 I was still faithless." The poem appeared in Levine’s “A Walk with Tom Jefferson” in 1988. I bought the book in Boulder, Colorado, on 17 August 1988, which I noted in the book. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 14 June 2024) 

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Two Swiss People’s Party politicians in a scuffle with the police

Yesterday, in the run-up to the peace summit at the Bürgenstock resort in Switzerland this weekend, Ruslan Stefanchuk, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukranian Parliament, visited the Federal Palace in Bern, the seat of the Swiss government and parliament. With the main stairway blocked because of heightened security for Stefanchuk's visit, Thomas Aeschi of the far-right Swiss People's Party (SVP) refused to take an elevator upstairs and got into a scuffle with the police. Aeschi's SVP colleague Michael Graber later said on Swiss television that he completely disagreed with the police's actions. As usual, members of a far-right party insist on law and order until it applies to them. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 13 June 2024)