Thursday, August 31, 2006

America's own Bob Dylan.

by Hector Diego
The Beatles had very few peers. Here's one.

Bob Dylan - I Want You

Bob Dylan - Ballad Of A Thin Man

The Beatles World.

by Hector Diego

Shirley Bassey - Goldfinger 1964


For Beatles People Only.

by Hector Diego
Here's a rare video of the making of Hey Jude. Of course, the video of Hey Jude that appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in 1968 was also live, featuring a 36 piece orchestra, and people literally invited in off the street to sing along with the Beatles. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) It is this version that was officially released. It proved that the Beatles were still quite capable of performing live---Hey Jude was their largest selling record. In less than six months it sold more than five million copies.

I'll never forget that evening in 1968, glued to the TV set. The parents of America wanted to know who in hell was Jude? The kids didn't care. I didn't know whether to shit or go blind, it was that good.

Here's the one Ed Sullivan showed, and the one released as a single.

Jenny Lewis on London Live

by Jay Allbritton
From London Live, Jenny and the Watson Twins doing You Are What You Love. Thanks mates!

And here's Rise Up With Fists.

The band is looking tight these days.

Anti-Drug Ads Lead to Drug Use

by Jay Allbritton
Crossposted at Ice Station Tango.

So that whole War on Drugs thing? Not working out too well. Wonkette does a fantastic job of breaking down a new report by the GAO which says that the 1.2 billion we've been spending on anti-drug commercials may as well have been launched into the sun.

Of course the cost of launching $1.2 billion into the sun could cost another $1.2 billion, so, let's just cut out the middle man and give it to Lockheed Martin.

VIDEO: Penn and Teller call Bullshit on the War on Drugs.

Ben and Jerry's: A Social Conscience? Paul would say, "I don't think so!"

by Hector Diego
According to the utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham, pain is pain is pain. It should not matter that the one experiencing pain is not human. Is their pain not pain? Are their cries and screams not indicating the very same thing?

I was reminded of Paul McCartney when I read the following article, below. Paul is an ardent vegetarian, and activist for vegetarian causes. And, for some reason, he seems to have a special fondness for chickens. I do not. Paul has gone out of his way to protect chickens from the brutal conditions of factory farming, and while I do not share his enthusiasm for chickens, I agree with his words, "They deserve at least a little kindness." Does Ben and Jerry's think so? Not if it cuts into the most sacred thing in the world: THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR!

An Email I received from the Humane Society:
Protest Ben & Jerry's Scoop of Lies

Dear Hector,

Is Ben & Jerry's serving up "Chocolate Chip Cruelty Dough"? On its web site, the ice cream company known for its social conscience criticizes what it calls "giant, industrial farming operations," and it ends one of its commercials with the tag line, "Ben & Jerry's: Join our fight for small family farms."

But this month, after nearly a year of promises to The Humane Society of the United States that it would phase out battery-cage eggs in its ice cream, the company has done an about-face and chosen to continue to buy eggs—perhaps 20 to 30 million of them a year—from factory farms that confine egg-laying hens in tiny battery cages so small the birds can't even spread their wings.

You've taken action to help farm animals before (thank you!). Today, caged hens are counting on you again to show Ben & Jerry's that it should live up to its socially responsible reputation and lose the battery cage eggs in its ice cream.

Please take just a moment to tell Ben & Jerry's to stop supporting this cruelty. Please call Ben & Jerry's right now at 802-846-1500 and urge the company to keep its promises to stop supporting battery cage cruelty (see our web page for talking points). Once you've called, please also email them.

Thank you for taking action for the animals!


Wayne Pacelle

President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

P.S. Check out the stories on this campaign in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Burlington Free Press and Boston Herald.
Chickens confined in a battery cage on a factory farm

Tell Ben & Jerry's to free them from cages.
Take action!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Zizek on Late Capitalism

by Jay Allbritton
Zizek jumps around quite a bit in his works. He creates a lot of hypotheticals that one has to buy into in order to access his line of thought, but he's certainly popular and quite entertaining. Late capitalism makes me tired too.

John Lennon - Imagine (Live)

by Jay Allbritton
From the Mike Douglas Show.

Nice arrangement on this one. Horns, bass, keys, drums. Excellent.


by Hector Diego
Who would have thought that in this modern world, a Polish dancer would perfect an esoteric art form from India?

Spectacular Views.

by Hector Diego
Click here for Spectacular Views by Rilo Kiley:

Rilo Kiley - Spectacular Views

Waking Life - Free Will

by Jay Allbritton
Waking Life is a unique movie. It was filmed with actors, then animated over, giving it a floating, dream-like quality. It hits you with streams of somewhat rudimentary discourse on philosophy, science and consciousness. It can become tiresome, but I'm glad there's a movie that is at least trying to talk about philosophy.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

P. and I, continued.

by Hector Diego

My sister P and I have been discussing the Beatles. She was there when I first heard the Beatles. I used to hang out in her bedroom and listen to her radio when she was a teen and I was in elementary school. As you can see she is too kind. Here's the latest thread:

Hey, I saw my msg on your blog…too cool.

You must be a much deeper thinker than I am, Michael. I agree that some of their music is profound, but some makes little sense to me.

When I was a teenager, Elvis was still the King in my book! Who were these mopped topped limeys anyway? I remember watching them on Ed Sullivan, too (I forgot that it was your B’day) and wondering what all the commotion was about. They began the British Invasion, and music was changed forever.

Dear P,

Well between you and me, P, Elvis is indeed the King, and will always be the King. And he was one man, not sharing his act or fame (not to dis the Jordanaires, they were very good---underrated), like the Beatles did. That's just one reason why he is the King. Many would feel that no Beatle had a voice that good.

But Elvis is one dimensional, especially compared to the Beatles. They're just far more complex.

Plenty of music is as good as the Beatles. Baby The Rain Must Fall is as good as the Beatles, but the guy who did it is not as great. Janice Joplin is as good as the Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix. Etc. It's just that when you add up all the categories that there could possibly be in evaluating artists, the Beatles win in more categories, overwhelmingly.

No one before or since has so reflected or created culture. I mean in music. I'm not comparing them to Christ or Buddha, although Timothy Leary did. I believe they are at least as important to history as our biggest presidents and emperors, etc.

There's a philosopher, an emeritus professor at Stanford, Richard Rorty, who claims that in modernity, religion and philosophy have been eclipsed by art as a means of knowing what is true. Religion is bounded by history and culture and philosophy has been shown deficient in a world in which progress is called into question, but the heart does not lie. So only our aesthetic sensibility (particularly in the area of language) has survived as a guide to the better life. Rorty is into what Dad would have called "long-hair" culture (you remember his term for classical music?) in the form of plays, difficult to read novels, and such, and I'm not sure if he would extend his observations to pop culture---but I would! How about "I am he are you are he as you are me and we are all together..."

Rorty only has to be partly correct to legitimately encourage this line of thinking.
The Beatles instinctively understood Rorty before Rorty did, especially Lennon (George is a different story altogether). John rejected profundity in his self-description; he always claimed to be simply a mirror---that's what an artist really is---but there are mirrors, and there are mirrors.

Now a sensitive person could find deep stuff in Elvis (especially if he or she has had a few) but the Beatles are something else. That's why Leary called them avataras, four vessels of the divine on earth.

Of course the guy was talking in broad philosophical terms, as I am here. The Beatles ate and shat like all others. On the other hand, we can't illuminate the Beatles. But we can look better in either their light or their shadow.

Love M.

All the Lonely People...

by Jay Allbritton
40 years ago today, Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby was number one on the UK charts.

This is Eleanor Rigby:

Remembering Katrina--Bush, Brownie, Barbara, Kanye, and the failure of the Unitary Executive

by Jay Allbritton
Crossposted at Ice Station Tango.

The President is still making excuses for disastrous preparation and response by the federal government to Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing flood in New Orleans. He's also still thinking about Trent Lott's house.

Yeah, he cares about black people.

And Brownie.

And remember what Barbara Bush had to say about it:
"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (she chuckled)--this is working very well for them."
We know, state and local officials didn't do a great job either, but the last thing anyone wants to hear from the administration that brought us the unitary executive, is that it was beyond your control. Either you're keeping us safe or you're not.

A whole "Chocolate City" drowned while the President played guitar, but we drained a lake to try to find Natalee Holloway and Bush actually cut short his vacation in a desperate bid to save Terry Schaivo. What is Kanye supposed to think?

Possibly the most egregious sin of the federal government has been just how little has been done so far.

From Think Progress:
Ava Lowery made this video about Katrina, which I found on Crooks and Liars:

Monday, August 28, 2006

Give it to me baby.

by Hector Diego

Good stuff from Abbey Road...

by Hector Diego
Really good stuff. Philip Norman (The Beatles in Their Generation) says that there is a version of John singing Get Back! If I ever get my hands on that you'll hear it too. Enjoy.

We're not advocating anything here, but this IS an interesting film.

by Hector Diego

Where is your tax money being spent?

by Hector Diego

Eddie Izzard on Religion

by Jay Allbritton
Great British comedian Eddie Izzard starts off talking about the history of Christianity and Henry VIII. He goes in several directions after that.

Impact: End War

by Jay Allbritton
A montage of peace movement clips, then and now. It's called Impact: End War. Again, this contains graphic footage of a graphic war.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

My sister P and I email about the Beatles.

by Hector Diego

From my sis:

Hector, your words invite me to listen to the Beatles with a different ear. The words they wrote, in context with the era, are like a running commentary of social issues and concerns. And I thought they were just rock ‘n rollers!


My reply:


Perhaps that's what we thought, but the Beatles worked on everyone's subconscious. They did images instead of sermons. Very effective.

John is a Christ-like figure. I'ts not blasphemy to say it. It's mostly image, but there again he played his role correctly. So he still gets his credit.

The Beatles have entered the realm of myth, or rather we might say that they were mythical from the beginning. Now they are like Arthur and his knights, St.Francis, Gandhi, John Henry. It doesn't matter whether these people ever existed, but since we think they do the world is a better place. And, we know the Beatles actually existed.

All of this is just a reflection from God's toenail, but that's another discussion. But I think we both agree that the goal of life is to get in the light of that reflection and stay there. That's what they had, more than other people. They were able to hold the fiery seed of inspiration.

You know that guy Bill Monroe---the founder of bluegrass? People pilgrimage to his place, after his passing, as followers of what some scholars have seen as a (at least) quasi-religious cult (I use that term non-pejoratively). The Beatles are arguably greater than Monroe---and he's quite great.

Let's face it, the only thing greater than sex and the Beatles is God*. God's pretty expensive, so we have the Beatles.

Love, Hector.

*God meaning Jesus, Buddha, higher power, whatever, I'm easy.

Gimme Some Truth

by Jay Allbritton
The Walrus Speaks through this John Lennon fan's video. This video is, at times, extremely graphic, showing torture scenes from Abu Gharib, perhaps elsewhere. If you can't take the truth, or don't want to be reminded of it today, go watch something else.

Elton John Looks to Launch Another Notable Collaboration

by Jay Allbritton
Elton John is looking to cross over into the realm of hip hop.
"I want to bring my songs and melodies to hip hop beats -- a bit like 'No Diggity' by Blackstreet,"

John said in excerpts of an interview posted on Rolling Stone's Web site on Friday. John told the music magazine he would like to work with producer Dr. Dre and a variety of artists, although he had yet to contact them.

"I want to work with Pharrell (Williams), Timbaland, Snoop (Dogg), Kanye (West), Eminem and just see what happens. It may be a disaster, it could be fantastic, but you don't know until you try," he said.

Elton is one of pop music's great collaborators. He's written a ton of stunning songs with lyricist Bernie Taupin. He's worked with Dre and Eminem on a landmark and controversial live performance of Eminem's hit Stan at the Grammys.

John also worked with John Lennon (from Wikipedia):
In 1974 a collaboration with John Lennon took place, resulting in Elton John covering The Beatles's "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and Lennon's "One Day at a Time", and in return Elton John and band being featured on Lennon's "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night". In what would be Lennon's last live performance, the pair performed these two No. 1 hits along with the Beatles classic "I Saw Her Standing There" at Madison Square Garden.
This is Elton doing Imagine in Central Park.

Paul On LSD... On the subject of LSD, I mean.

by Jay Allbritton
Earlier this year there was an international symposium on LSD in Switzerland.

Paul talks about LSD--from 1967.

At long to my ears. Click on it.

by Hector Diego

Rilo Kiley is simply the best band of the 21st century. I was astounded by their music when the Station Agent introduced me to them by way of a compilation CD.

Having grown up with the music of the 60s, I was extremely hard to please. The Jayman made me one CD after another of current music, and I found very little that I was willing to grade any higher than B-. I mean, after the Beatles, what comes next?

Then I found out what comes next. The Station Master made a CD of Rilo Kiley featuring the following (click on it) as the first selection. The first song was so great that I doubted the rest could be as good, but it was. By the end of the CD, I was practically in tears. Click:


Rilo Kiley - The Good That Won't Come Out


by Hector Diego

John Lennon returned his Member of the Order of the British Empire medal to Queen Elizabeth II in 1969 in protest over Britain's involvement in the Viet Nam war. Millions followed his example and burned their draft cards. Today we are entangled in Iraq. What's the difference?

What's Going On?

by Jay Allbritton
I intend to keep mentioning the Vietnam War here. John's legend, as huge as it was before he protested this war, doubled in size when he went on his heroic crusade against the war. How do like that choice of words. To define John fully, we must define 'nam.

This is a moving clip juxtaposing images from the Vietnam War with Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?"

Documentary, About a Son, Sheds Light on Cobain Few Knew

by Jay Allbritton
A new documentary, About a Son, looks to shed light on the personality of the late rock star Kurt Cobain. The common narrative take on Cobain is viewed through the prism of his dramatic death. The filmmakers here reportedly reveal another side of Cobain by allowing an interview taken with Cobain in 1992 drive the narrative. The film premiers next month at the Toronto film festival.

This is one of the finest vocal performances I have seen. Nirvana, from MTV Unplugged with "Where Did You Sleep Last Night."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Beatles Grow Up.

by Hector Diego

From 1960 to 1962, the Beatles were the hottest band in Liverpool and Hamburg; from 1963, all of England and most of Western Europe; from 1964, America and the rest of the world. But they soon evolved from being the preeminent representatives of the "Mersey Beat" (named after the river that flows through Liverpool, founded by---get this---King John in CE 1207) as "The Fabs", the "Mop Tops", etc., and showed increasingly astonishing ingenuity as they continued to change musical, and world, history. It all seems like such a fairy tale that, if it wasn't so obviously true, it would be hard to believe; for if they had collapsed after 1964, that would still have been sufficient to assure their success as the most popular (and deservedly, best) band of all time. But they just kept growing, through Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Peppers, Magical Mystery Tour, the "White Album", Let it Be (recorded before Abbey Road but released last), and Abbey Road. And then, they had had enough.

It wasn't easy being a Beatle. Even after the screaming, hysterical early phase, it was difficult for them to go out in public, to enjoy life as normal people do, even for an hour or two in a park or restaurant. What's more, by 1970, the Beatles had been working together since 1957. Now they were married men with children, and needing some breathing space from each other. Perhaps most telling was their musical inclinations going in different directions.

And so the four brothers went off on their own...but the story did not end there because we could not forget the Beatles. John and George, particularly, were ready for the world to move on, in relation to the Beatles, as they had. I believe that most of us have done that, but we have also kept the Beatles as an important part of our lives for many reasons.

Here's John Lennon's post-Beatles advice for all, in response to Mick Jagger's complaint that he had retired into the world of Yoko's house-husband. In caring for their son Sean, John had truly learned that all you need is love. That's how we move on.

Click to hear what John had to say in 1980, just weeks before he was assassinated.


John Lennon-Watching the wheels


by Hector Diego

How do we know what John Lennon's views would be today? Well, the Station Master has that all taken care of. Where I differ with him is on Lennon's ideology. I only take Lennon's verified statements to the press, free-lance journalists, music industry people, friends, etc., as my sources, without guessing. I do apply these statements to current situations.

The Station Master is the real political pundit at The Walrus Speaks. For current politics, the Station Master is the man.

For the Beatles, listen to this: I have been studying the Beatles for 42 years. I have taught advanced graduate courses on the Beatles on every continent including Florida!

The following will clue you about future Hector Diego posts here at The Walrus Speaks.






SO STAY TUNED! ("That will be in F, for you, George...")

Click here for Beatles music.


The Beatles - Sun King

Beatles Webcam Busts Hooligans in Liverpool

by Jay Allbritton
From Reuters:

An American helped foil a burglary in northern England while watching a Beatles-related Webcam over the Internet, police said Friday. The man from Dallas was using a live camera link to look at Mathew Street, an area of Liverpool synonymous with the Beatles and home to the Cavern Club where the band regularly played. He saw intruders apparently breaking into a sports store and alerted local police.

"We did get a call from someone in Dallas who was watching on a Webcam that looks into the tourist areas, of which Mathew Street is one because of all the Beatles stuff," a Merseyside Police spokeswoman said. "He called directly through to police here." Officers were sent to the scene, and three suspects were arrested.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Station Agent Right On Target

by Hector Diego

John and Yoko in bed for peace

I did my homework assigned by the Station Agent, and read A Rumor of War a long time ago. In fact, I personally know Lieutenant Bruce Tester, Philip Caputos' best buddy in the Danang conflict of 1965. These men were among the very first Marines to risk their lives for you and me, my friends. At least, that's what conservatives would have us believe. Having met Tester, I read A Rumor of War with the sense that I had personally escaped a great danger.

Just as the Viet Nam war was winding down, I turned 18. I had been concerned about the draft for many years, thinking how long is this war going to last? So it was with great relief that I read the news, in late 1973---just a few months before that magical birthday---the selective service act had been suspended. I would not have registered anyway.

As long as that crazy war went on, still, we must look with pride to the biggest reason the war ended when it did. It was because millions of conscientious Americans took to the streets and demonstrated. We did it in downtown metropolitan areas, blocking traffic. We did it on college campuses, interrupting classes. And we did it in front of the White House, ruining the complacent consciousness of those who always feel, "My country, right or wrong." One should always support one's country---but the big question is, what is right, and what is wrong?

Among the big figures of the twentieth century who stuck their chins out and spoke out against the war was John Lennon. John led demonstrations in places like New York City, and for his efforts he was deemed a national threat by the Nixon administration. He did more than any single individual to end that war, by his influence.

For more information on Lennon's involvement with the peace movement, and the price he had to pay for it.

Since Lennon's participation in the demonstrations was a focal point for all of us, I feel that he saved many lives...possibly my own. Lennon lives on, my friends. The Walrus still speaks!

The Vietnam War Slides Down the Memory Hole

by Jay Allbritton
Crossposted at Ice Station Tango.

I was born shortly before the Vietnam War ended. I didn't know anything about the horrors of that conflict until I made it the focus of my graduate education. After spending the last five years soaking in every book and film I could find about this war, I find it utterly unbelievable that anyone can discount the comparisons between this war and that one. Worse, the Iraq War means that those killed, maimed and psychologically damaged fighting for America in Vietnam were sacrificed for nothing then and for nothing now. It's like the whole thing never happened.

If you have the opportunity please read at least one of these books.

Dispatches by Michael Herr.

The Things They Carried
by Tim O' Brien.

A Rumor of War by Phillip Caputo.

VIDEO: A medic in the Vietnam War, Bob Goss speaks about the psychological effects on returning Iraq War Vets.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit Video

by Jay Allbritton
This was way before emptyV.

Another reason for one more Beatles blog: the kid.

by Hector Diego

Epinion's kid.

You have already heard Hector Diego (that's me) rail against the "official" Beatles website, Anything that is insulting, demeaning, minimizing, or even just poorly representative of the Beatles PUTS ME IN A BAD MOOD. And since the goal of life is to get in a good mood and stay there, I'm writing this review of a review by someone who obviously is not a Beatles person.

There's a foolish interpreter of the Beatles at (, "t-the kid". Since we don't know t-the kid's gender, we'll just call the kid the kid. T-the kid certainly thinks like one.

Here's one of the kid's classic blunders: "The Beatles were not brilliant musicians or singers, but boy could they write great songs and come up with great ideas!" Let's give the kid the benefit of the doubt here, and say that perhaps the kid doesn't know how to express the kid very well. If they were not brilliant musicians or singers, how could they write great songs and come up with great ideas? If the kid wants to say that, as a matter of opinion, their musicianship (defined as how they play their instruments) was not at the highest level of perfection, that might be allowed so long as all understand they were very good with their musical instruments. After all, how many covers (and they have inspired more than any other group) of the Beatles sound better than the Beatles? The kid seems to want to say that the Beatles were innovative, but the kid has no finesse. The kid is, well, a kid.

Here's another gem: "
But for some reason or another, no one could see that at first." The kid is referring to their great songs and great ideas. But what is the negative reception the kid is talking about, "at first". Even with that bumbling manager of their's (Brian Epstein---I'll take him apart some other time) it was only a matter of months before their efforts at finding a record label paid off, once they really tried. And it's not that most of these producers did not see the Beatles' talent, it was their myopic vision of the market they thought they knew. That's a far cry from the kid's misinformed prose.

There's worse: "
The Beatles were at first as much a product of their time as anything, because, let’s face it; a lot of what they did their first 2 years was not really anything special, and sounded like what was hot in the music scene at the time." Methinks the kid does not understand what was hot in the music scene at the time. In no way did the Beatles sound like anyone else in the early 60s, even before signing with George Martin at Parlophone. And what does the kid mean by "their first two years"? John and Paul started playing together in July, 1957, and George joined them soon after. So is the kid talking about 1957-1959, perhaps? Let's say the kid is referring to 1962-1964, the time of their first albums. Does Please, Please Me sound remotely like ANYTHING on the airwaves at that time? It is a fact that the kid was not alive then, and is guessing. Bad guess, kid. Why does the kid think the Beatles smashed all records within less than a month of their American radio debut? Because they were good at imitating others?

Here's the kid on the album Hard Day's Night. "It wasn’t a perfect album, but it showed a HUGE improvement artistically as a band." OK, kid, what's a "perfect album"? And what was the HUGE improvement in the Beatles' artistry? Is the kid mimicking something heard from someone else who is not really a Beatles person? Like maybe...Pat Boone? Or a hack writer for the Reader's Digest?

The kid on Rubber Soul: "
It was a record of change and some experimentation, but most importantly, quality, which it brought in spades. " As if their previous recordings lacked quality? The Beatles would not have let anything out that was not of the highest quality, nor would Martin. And neither would the suits at EMI!

One more comment from the kid: "
Before Revolver, they were already the most famous band on the planet, but afterwards, they were known as both the most famous and most interesting band on the planet. And maybe the best as well." Does the kid think that any other band was in the running for the most interesting, even with the release of their very first album? If so, which band would that be? "And maybe the best as well"...that kills me.

After this, the kid goes off on his views of Sgt. Pepper's, which he thinks is the Beatles best effort, and the real subject of his review---the other stuff being preparatory to the main course. I have no problem with an opinion about which Beatles album is the best, but by God and Goddess, no one like the kid should be reviewing the Beatles! The kid does not do his research, the kid does not know how to express the kid's self (although it is obvious that the kid thinks the kid does), but above all the kid does not understand that the Beatles ARE SACRED and that some old bastard like myself is likely TO TAKE THE DUMB KID'S HEAD OFF FOR SUCH BLASPHEMY. I'm fairly sure the kid does not realize that he has committed blasphemy, and that's why the kid is...a kid.

I have written this for my own satisfaction, and I implore our good readers: do not hesitate to do something similar when you read a stupid review of the Beatles. There is more than music at stake here, there is the issue of historical revisionism and its consequences. If future generations do not grok the Beatles, the world is screwed.

And this is just one more reason for another Beatles blog.

Harrison believed in experience...

by Hector Diego
Rather than speculating on the nature of God, or whether or not God exists, George Harrison recommended experiencing God through the practice of bhakti yoga.

For millenia, India has produced spiritual adepts who have provided "maps" for people desiring to ascend to higher consciousness. Their advice has always been, "Just try it."

Harrison's guru, HDG A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, would request only that people try bhakti yoga for one brief lifetime---and then, if they didn't care for it, in their next life they could do something else. Such an attitude seems incomprehensible to the Abrahamic belief that we have only one life on earth. Incidentally, this is also the belief of most atheists. So, are the Abrahamic religions more like India's indigenous religions, or are they more like atheism? Now that depends on how you want to look at it. But, I digress.

Harrison wrote, "If there's a God, I want to see Him. It's pointless to believe in something without proof, and Krsna Consciousness and meditation are methods where you can actually obtain God perception." (George Harrison, "Words From Apple" in Krsna The Supreme Personality of Godhead, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Los Angeles, 1970)

Evangelicals will be offended by the notion that there are methods to obtain God perception. For them, one simply accepts the Bible and hopes to have some kind of experience so that one is "reborn". There is no "method", for that would surely put many churches out of business.

Atheists are also put off by spiritual methods, because they do not correspond to modern science. But every single Beatle rejected the epistemological primacy of science. They all believed in spiritual life and spiritual principles. They occasionally professed atheism early in their career, ostensibly to confound those with a limited conception of God and spirituality, but as the years passed their spiritual leanings became overt and refined.

The essay I have promised on John's spirituality is in the works. For now, we can observe that evangelical Christianity and atheism are usually characterized by the same insistence on a single way of knowing---something that would disgust the Beatles. Be it the Bible or the rectangular coordinate system, "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy..."

The Definition of Atheism According to the Oxford English Dictionary--Whoever They Are

by Jay Allbritton
I hear a lot of people who use the term atheist and agnostic in overlapping ways. I consoder myself technically Catholic, though I sure don't think Catholics would. I don't believe in any textual description of God I've ever heard. I feel like the term agnostic is a cop-out, but the term atheist is too extreme.

Here's how the Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition defines atheist.

atheism Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a god.

disbelieve 1. trans. Not to believe or credit; to refuse credence to: a. a statement or (alleged) fact: To reject the truth or reality of.


  1. To contradict or gainsay (anything stated or alleged); to declare to be untrue or untenable, or not what it is stated to be.
  2. Logic. The opposite of affirm; to assert the contradictory of (a proposition).
  3. To refuse to admit the truth of (a doctrine or tenet); to reject as untrue or unfounded; the opposite of assert or maintain.
  4. To refuse to recognize or acknowledge (a person or thing) as having a certain character or certain claims; to disown, disavow, repudiate, renounce.
Hmm. Under example 3, I think I may qualify. Perhaps Diego will have a take on this.

Rilo Kiley - Radio Appearence

by Jay Allbritton
More Adventurous and Portions for Foxes.

Does He Love You and It Just Is.

Interview and Absence of God.

Ripchord and Go Ahead.

A Man, Me, Then Jim.

Somebody Else's Clothes.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Imagine that you can imagine...keep imagining...

by Hector Diego

John Mark the New Mark David?

by Jay Allbritton
All this hype about John Mark Karr has me thinking about celebrity in America, which inevitably leads back to Mark David Chapman.

I found this news clip from the day after the shooting, when news crews caught up with Paul McCartney at his studio. Just goes to show that journalists didn't have a great deal of tact back then either.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Click here to Come Together with JPGR.

by Hector Diego

The Beatles - Come Together

Why Not Beatles Park?

by Hector Diego

"For No One" plays at the end of this video. Except that it was recorded in this period, 1966, for the album Revolver, it does not seem appropriate to the film footage--which is excellent.

Anyway, the Beatles toured no longer.

Here's a back-files post from KTWS TELERADIO in our first month of broadcasting from America's Deep South, August 21, 2006. The local temperature is currently an extremely pleasant 73 Beatle degrees.

For those of you who don't know, the Beatles played their last concert at San Francisco's Candlestick Park August 29, 1966. This venue is the venue from hell. It is always windy and frequently cold. For those reasons it seems an appropriate place for the Beatles to end their touring careers...there's something funereal about "the Stick", as it is affectionately called by Bay Areans.

If not called Candlestick Park, why not Beatles Park? After all, the greatest historical event for which the place is known has nothing to do with 3Com, which names the place now: unfortunately it is now officially known as 3Com Park. What in hell is 3Com and who cares? This is just one more example of corporate nonsense. This corporation has the nerve to rename this park after itself...I could continue on here, but you all know what I'm talking about. Nothing is sacred to corporations---not even the Beatles. And I believe that says it all about corporations.

John Lennon Interview; Beatles' Cartoon

by Jay Allbritton
Google Video has a long interview Tom Snyder did with John Lennon in 1975.

And, to get your week off to the right start, here's a Beatles cartoon for the kiddies:

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Brian Wilson Reunites with the Beach Boys

by Jay Allbritton
Brian Wilson recently played a show with the Beach Boys commemorating the 40th anniversary of the release of Pet Sounds.

Brian Wilson - Sloop John B (Letterman 2000)

Brian Wilson and others talk about the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words...

by Hector Diego

You Know It's What You Need!

by Hector Diego
For God and Goddess so loved the world that They gave Their four begotten Sons, that whosoever heedeth Their lyrics should not become bitter, but should have sound counsel all of their life.

''I declare that the Beatles are mutants. Prototypes of evolutionary agents sent by God with a mysterious power to create a new species - a young race of laughing freemen. ... They are the wisest, holiest, most effective avatars the human race has ever produced.'' - TIMOTHY LEARY

Well, Dr. Leary, those are strong words. However, you only have to be partially correct to validate the Beatles as one of the most potent forces for GOOD in all of recorded human history. I'll settle for the following appellation regarding the Beatles:


Helen Shapiro

by Jay Allbritton
Diego, you mentioned Helen Shapiro?

"Well, Look Who It Is", singing with all the Beatles (except Paul).

Friday, August 18, 2006

So You Think Faith Based Services Are A Good Idea?

by Hector Diego
Faith based services could be a good idea. However, they would only be as good as the people administering the funds. We must recognize that under our present system, a fair distribution of funding to faith organizations is probably not possible. Because Christianity has deep resources to mobilize in order to apply for these funds and realistically manage a social services program, at present Bush's program amounts to patronage of a particular religion. But it gets worse, as Robyn Blumner explains. AND YOU ARE PAYING FOR IT.

From The Salt Lake Tribune:

Social Services Under Bush - Only Christians Need Apply

By Robyn Blumner
Tribune Media Services
August 18, 2006

Thanks to President Bush and his plan to Christianize the nation's provision of social services, one's relationship with Jesus Christ has become a real resume booster. As author Michelle Goldberg reports in her new book, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, Bush has ushered in affirmative action for the born again.

In 2005 alone, more than $2 billion in federal tax money went to faith-based programs for such services as job placement programs, addiction treatment and child mentoring. Overwhelmingly this money went to groups affiliated with Christian religions.

This reallocation of social service money from secular agencies to religiously affiliated programs has also resulted in shifting employment opportunities. But some of these new employers have a shocking job requirement: Only Christians need apply.

Goldberg cited the publicly funded Firm Foundation of Bradford, Pa., as a blatant example. The group provides prison inmates with job training, something one would think any trained professional could do. Well, think again. According to Goldberg, the group posted an ad for a site manager. It said that the applicant must be ''a believer in Christ and Christian Life today, sharing these ideals when the opportunity arises.'' Apparently, experience and qualifications are secondary.

Transforming social welfare into conversion therapy was Bush's design when he made faith-based initiatives the priority of his administration's domestic agenda. And his success has been astounding.

Before Bush upended things, religious groups had always been enlisted by government as providers of social services. They just had to wholly separate their religious mission from their government-funded services. Under Bush, there has been substantial blurring of the line.

As to hiring, the law always allowed religious groups to discriminate on religious grounds - so that the Catholic Church could hire Catholic priests, for example - but that exemption did not extend to employees hired with public funds to provide social welfare. It was a simple, clear rule. If you took public money you hired on the basis of merit, not piety.

But Bush wiped away this calibrated distinction by issuing a series of executive orders early in his presidency approving taxpayer financed religious discrimination.
Some of the resulting collateral damage has been tragic. Just talk to Anne Lown. She worked for 24 years for the Salvation Army in New York City before resigning
due to the hostility she felt toward her non-Christian beliefs. The office she ran had hundreds of employees with an annual budget of $50 million, almost all of which came from public sources. Lown oversaw foster care placements, day care services, residential services for the developmentally disabled and many other programs.

In Lown's experience, the Salvation Army had always in the past been meticulous about keeping its evangelical side from mingling with its provision of social services, but all that changed in 2003 - a change that she attributes directly to Bush's policies. A lawsuit filed by Lown and another 17 current and former employees of the Salvation Army alleges that religion suddenly pervaded the agency's personnel decisions.

Lown says she was handed a form that all employees were expected to complete, asking for a list of churches she attended over the last 10 years and the name of her present minister. Lown says she was told that indicating ''not applicable'' was not an option. A lawyer for the Salvation Army says the form was modified after complaints were received.

Margaret Geissman, who is also part of the lawsuit, claims that she was asked by a supervisor to point out gay and non-Christian employees, with the overt suggestion that there would eventually be a purge of sorts. The Salvation Army denies this.

Despite the Salvation Army's disclaimers, Goldberg cites an internal Salvation Army document describing a deal struck in 2001 with the White House. In exchange for the administration's passing regulations protecting faith-based groups from state and local anti-discrimination regulations relative to gays, the Salvation Army agreed to promote the administration's faith-based agenda.

Forget the proverbial wall. Here it is, church and state working hand-in-glove, with tax money and government-sanctioned intolerance as the prize.

Just another example of how, under this president, I hardly recognize my country anymore.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Freedom of Speech Tour; Colbert Report; More

by Jay Allbritton
Crosby, Stills, Nash and most importantly, Young, are back on tour, supporting Young's anti-war album Living with War.

Throw Away Your Television has a documentary about the "Freedom of Speech Tour":

Here's Neil Young on The Colbert Report last night.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young - Ohio (live, 1974)

Crosby, Stills, and Nash - Southern Cross.

Neil Young on CNN, from April.

And, since this is a Beatles blog, here's Neil's moving version of Imagine, sung as tribute to 9/11.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

How Would You Feel If You Were A Veal?

by Hector Diego

The Beatles and Vegetarianism

From Paul McCartney's biography, Many Years from Now, by Barry Miles, 1997.

Paul on Bungalow Bill:

"I remember John singing Bungalow Bill in Rishikesh. This is another of his great songs and it's one of my favourites to this day because it stands for a lot of what I stand for now. "Did you have to shoot that tiger" is its message. "Aren't you a big guy? Aren't you a brave man?" I think John put it very well. Funny enough, John wasn't an overt animal activist, but I think by writing this song he showed that his sentiments were very much that way. One of the nice things about Beatles songs is that in many cases they do seem to stand the test of time and this is an example of one that's getting better with time. It's becoming more and more relevant. If you look at veal crating and listen to this song, or look at the hunting of nearly extinct species like tigers and rhinos, well, this is a very good song. In that context it's fabulous." p. 421

Many good folks do bad things without even realizing it. For instance, do you know how veal is produced? The baby calf is confined its entire life in a cage so small that it cannot move around, it never walks. Therefore its legs atrophy, and the flesh becomes very tender. That's how that tender meat comes to your plate---through extreme suffering of another sentient being.

That we should care about humans first, before we care about animals, is a false argument. First, it is a rare occurrence indeed when kindness to animals results in unkindness to humans---very rare. But more importantly, we must understand that everything in nature is related, and we are part of nature. We must take a wholistic view of the world and our actions in it if we are to make it a better place. Pain is pain is pain, no matter who is experiencing it.

Let's say you are not ready to become a vegetarian. OK, at least you could stop eating veal. If you can't become a vegetarian right away, why not do it gradually, by eliminating the cruelest of your eating habits step by step?

Here's a good source of information on vegetarianism---the innocent diet.

Here's a list of famous vegetarians:

You wake up in hell. You know you are there because there is a sign there that says, "Welcome to hell."

by Hector Diego

But there is absolute silence, so you figure, this can't be too bad. Why do they call it hell? And then the soundtrack comes on. It's a recording of Senator Phil Gramm---can you believe it---one-time Presidential hopeful. Now you now why they call it hell.

SEN. PHIL GRAMM: "Now I know our Democrat colleagues are going to jump up and down and say, "well, first of all 32 million American families pay no income taxes and so if you have an across-the-board tax cut, they will not get a tax cut." And that's right. Tax cuts are for taxpayers. If you don't pay taxes and we have a tax cut, you don't get a tax cut. Most Americans don't get food stamps. Most Americans don't get AFDC, most Americans don't get Medicaid because they don't qualify for those programs. If you don't pay taxes, you don't qualify for a tax cut."

After this tirade, that you thought might last for an eternity, you shiver with gratitude as Satan drags you off to a meeting with his lover, Saddam Hussain.

Across the Universe in an Alternate Reality

by Jay Allbritton
Blogging from an alternate reality, Across the Universe.

Beatles - Across the Universe.

Fiona Apple - Across the Universe.

Mark Twain on the Middle East

by Jay Allbritton
Campaign Follies makes the argument that Mark Twain had the Middle East figured out 112 years ago.

From Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894).
"Huck Finn, do you mean to tell me you don't know what a crusade is?"
"No," says I, "I don't.
"A crusade is a war to recover the Holy Land from the paynim."
"Which Holy Land?"
"Why, the Holy Land -- there ain't but one."
"What do we want of it?"
"Why, can't you understand? It's in the hands of the paynim, and it's our duty to take it away from them."
"How did we come to let them git hold of it?"
"We didn't come to let them git hold of it. They always had it."
"Why, Tom, then it must belong to them, don't it?"
"Why of course it does. Who said it didn't?"
I studied over it, but couldn't seem to git at the right of it, no way. I says:
"It's too many for me, Tom Sawyer. If I had a farm and it was mine, and another person wanted it, would it be right for him to --"
"Oh, shucks! you don't know enough to come in when it rains, Huck Finn. It ain't a farm, it's entirely different. You see, it's like this. They own the land, just the mere land, and that's all they DO own; but it was our folks, our Jews and Christians, that made it holy, and so they haven't any business to be there defiling it. It's a shame, and we ought not to stand it a minute. We ought to march against them and take it away from them."
"Why, it does seem to me it's the most mixed-up thing I ever see! Now, if I had a farm and another person --"
"Don't I tell you it hasn't got anything to do with farming? Farming is business, just common low-down business: that's all it is, it's all you can say for it; but this is higher, this is religious, and totally different."
"Religious to go and take the land away from people that owns it?"
"Certainly; it's always been considered so.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

It's up to us.

by Hector Diego

"I AM HE AS YOU ARE HE AS YOU ARE ME AND WE ARE ALL TOGETHER" sang John. What does that mean?

John Lennon - Working Class Hero

by Jay Allbritton
A working class hero is something to be.

Happy Janmashtami, Sriman George Harrison...wherever you are.

by Hector Diego
Today is Janmastami, a special holiday for Hindus worldwide---the birthday of Lord Krishna. George became involved with the Hare Krishna movement in 1969, after seeing some devotees of Krishna performing sankirtana on a London street. It is widely acknowledged among Hare Krishna people that Bhakta George did more than any single devotee to propagate the teachings of his spiritual master, H. D. G. , A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, throughout the world.

Here is an interview with George from 1982, conducted by Mukunda Gosvami, ISKCON's (the International Society for Krishna Consciousness) public relations officer, and a close friend of George's. When George left this world in 2001, Mukunda Gosvami (far left, top) was at his bedside, softly chanting:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

Practical Meditation

Mukunda: The maha-mantra was prescribed for modern times because of the fast-paced nature of things today. Even when people do get into a little quiet place, it's very difficult to calm the mind for very long.

George: That's right. Chanting Hare Krishna is a type of meditation that can be practiced even if the mind is in turbulence. You can even be doing it and other things at the same time. That's what's so nice. In my life there's been many times the mantra brought things around. It keeps me in tune with reality, and the more you sit in one place and chant, the more incense you offer to Krishna in the same room, the more you purify the vibration, the more you can achieve what you're trying to do, which is just trying to remember God, God, God, God, God, as often as possible. And if you're talking to Him with the mantra, it certainly helps.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"I was The Walrus...the dream is over." And love is all you need.

by Hector Diego

Yep, John Lennon informed us all that "The Walrus was Paul" in Glass Onion, but don't you believe it. In God, Lennon confesses:

"I was The Walrus, but now I'm John...and so dear friends, you just have to carry on...the dream is over."

In this song, Lennon is as antinomian as you can get. He claims not to believe in mantra, Buddha, or even Elvis, Zimmerman (Dylan)... or even The Beatles! "I just believe in me, Yoko and me, and that's reality."

Was Lennon on a collosal ego trip by claiming that only he and Yoko were reality? Some people might interpret his music that way, but such folks get an F- in Beatleology. I'm quite sure Lennon was simply telling everyone to get off their asses and be who they are, to the best of their ability. It's fine to believe in whatever (so long as it's not destructive, see Revolution) but ultimately you can only be who you are---and that's reality.

The Walrus believed very deeply in God, but he was concerned that spirituality should have immediate application. Perhaps that's why he claimed to be just John, not the wise Walrus. I'm not saying that Lennon was the wisest guy who ever lived, but he certainly knew how to push our buttons, didn't he? There's something wise about that.

You need far more than love, but love is all you need. And now you know why I named this blog The Walrus Speaks. Let's not live in a dream. We are all The Walrus. Love him.

Station Agent's Birthday Playlist

by Jay Allbritton
Well this is it, the yearly tradition. 32 years old and I don't feel a day over 900.

Here's some music I've been listening to lately.

Rilo Kiley - A Man, Me, Then Jim.

Bishop Allen - Things Are What You Make of 'Em.

Bright Eyes - Perfect Sonnett

Nonpoint - Alive and Kicking

Bjork - Joga

Jena Kraus - My Old Guitar

Flogging Molly - The Likes of You Again

With Arms Outstretched

by Jay Allbritton
Thanks to Largeheartedboy, this is the first RK song I ever heard, back in 2004.

Rilo Kiley - With Arms Outstretched.

Happy Birthday Station Master, Jayman, Fuseman. The beat goes on.

by Hector Diego

I have a little custom. Whenever anyone turns 32, I sing:

" 'When I was a little boy/ Way back home in Liverpool/ My mama told me... I was great... Now I'm only thirty-two and all I wanna do is boogaloo," Ringo sings on the opening track of his newest and most adventurous effort to date. All the "greats" came out for this one: Nicky Hopkins, Marc Bolan, Harry Nilsson, Klaus Voorman, Billy Preston, David Bromberg, Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Jim Keltner and then the extra added attractions: John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney. On "I'm The Greatest," a song written by John Lennon for Ringo, everyone but Paul played and just the idea of hearing Ringo's drumming and vocals over John's backup vocals and George's lead guitar can send shivers down the back."

Author: Janis Schacht, Circus, 1/74.

The Station Master will not stop boogalooin' until EVERY CAPITALIST HAS BEEN TAKEN OUT AND SHOT with a squirt gun. He will not stop boogalooin' until every conservative Christian getting in your face for no good Jeffersonian reason HAS BEEN WHIPPED with a limp strand of spaghetti.

Like Ringo, the Fuseman is very unassuming. As Ringo laid down the steady beat, the Jayman lays down the facts and figures by which Lennon's dream will eventually be realized. Ringo and the Station Master provide The Guts of the Operation. Jayman has always reminded me of Ringo for some strange reason, and I just realized what it is today. The beat goes on.


Antique walrus print courtesy of FineRarePrints.Com