Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

August 1st, 2016

Central Capabilities

I was reading the intense profile of Martha Nussbaum in the New Yorker and it says this at one point:

In an Aristotelian spirit, Nussbaum devised a list of ten essential capabilities that all societies should nourish, including the freedom to play, to engage in critical reflection, and to love. The capabilities theory is now a staple of human-rights advocacy.

I was intrigued so I went and looked up what is on the list—it’s pasted below. I don’t agree with all of it but it’s really interesting.

Core Rights Within an Ethical Society
1. Life. Being able to live to the end of a human life of normal length; not dying prematurely, or before one’s life is so reduced as to be not worth living.
2. Bodily Health. Being able to have good health, including reproductive health; to be adequately nourished; to have adequate shelter.
3. Bodily Integrity. Being able to move freely from place to place; to be secure against violent assault, including sexual assault and domestic violence; having opportunities for sexual satisfaction and for choice in matters of reproduction.
4. Senses, Imagination, and Thought. Being able to use the senses, to imagine, think, and reason—and to do these things in a “truly human” way, a way informed and cultivated by an adequate education, including, but by no means limited to, literacy and basic mathematical and scientific training. Being able to use imagination and thought in connection with experiencing and producing works and events of one’s own choice, religious, literary, musical, and so forth. Being able to use one’s mind in ways protected by guarantees of freedom of expression with respect to both political and artistic speech, and freedom of religious exercise. Being able to have pleasurable experiences and to avoid non-beneficial pain.
5. Emotions. Being able to have attachments to things and people outside ourselves; to love those who love and care for us, to grieve at their absence; in general, to love, to grieve, to experience longing, gratitude, and justified anger. Not having one’s emotional development blighted by fear and anxiety. (Supporting this capability means supporting forms of human association that can be shown to be crucial in their development.)
6. Practical Reason. Being able to form a conception of the good and to engage in critical reflection about the planning of one’s life. (This entails protection for the liberty of conscience and religious observance.)
7. Affiliation.
Being able to live with and toward others, to recognize and show concern for other humans, to engage in various forms of social interaction; to be able to imagine the situation of another. (Protecting this capability means protecting institutions that constitute and nourish such forms of affiliation, and also protecting the freedom of assembly and political speech.)
Having the social bases of self-respect and non-humiliation; being able to be treated as a dignified being whose worth is equal to that of others. This entails provisions of non-discrimination on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, caste, religion, national origin and species.
8. Other Species. Being able to live with concern for and in relation to animals, plants, and the world of nature.
9. Play. Being able to laugh, to play, to enjoy recreational activities.
10. Control over one’s Environment.
Political. Being able to participate effectively in political choices that govern one’s life; having the right of political participation, protections of free speech and association.
Material. Being able to hold property (both land and movable goods), and having property rights on an equal basis with others; having the right to seek employment on an equal basis with others; having the freedom from unwarranted search and seizure. In work, being able to work as a human, exercising practical reason and entering into meaningful relationships of mutual recognition with other workers.

March 11th, 2016

A photo of a cove on the Long Island Sound

Where we go to be even happier.

Short version:
I’m updating this for the first time in a million years. So much has happened, but probably what you need to know is that I’m a freelance writer and editor (film tv, interactive, web, print) and I have books in various stages of completion. I’m doing a zine with Volume 1 Brooklyn, and an occasional column for the Fusion newsletter. I have two activism projects in the works having to do with mental health and reproductive rights. I write about everything but mostly culture, pop culture, and politics. My cats died.

Long version:
There is no long version.
Neko Atsume forever.

February 6th, 2015


“Punk to me has always been a moral philosophy, more than a style of music or a fashion you wear. The underpinnings of all of the songs and clothes was, for me, a core rejection of the way the world operates, the mainstream world. It was a critique of capitalism, which make some people rich on the backs of so many powerless workers. It was about smashing beauty standards that taught fat girls and boys and anyone not adhering to inhuman expectations to hate themselves. It was about challenging racism, challenging homophobia. And when you get down to what all of these rebellions have in common, it’s basic kindness. Love, even. It’s making a pledge to not hurt other people—not to profit off their bodies, not to turn hostile at the way we differ from one another, but to go forward, toward a giant community, fighting only against whoever would keep us down and powerless. Under that whole “personal is political” motto of feminism, I feel that personal kindness, treating people decently, is political—is punk.” —Beth Ditto

February 3rd, 2015

Help Save Jerod Pore and CrazyMeds

How many times do I launch into a story (or a post) with “back in the zine days?” It doesn’t matter, because that time does matter. This is a post about Jerod Pore, who really matters.

cover of a zine, the headline is "factsheet five" it is tattered and old and cheaply made

Jerod was a major contributor to Mike Gunderloy’s Factsheet Five. It was a zine about zines! Without Factsheet Five, you probably wouldn’t have all the former zine writers you know and love today—Nell Zink, Dave Eggers, Johanna Fateman, and more. Our community, and our audiences, couldn’t have existed without him.  Jerod also founded alt.zines, on a thing called Usenet, which was the internet before the world wide web existed. I know, it is a deep thing to think about. We used it to find out about how to scam Kinko’s and stuff. (Not Dave Eggers, probably. I am sure Might was above that. They had a business plan. Yes, that still annoys me.)

a funny rainbow type logo that says crazymeds

More recently, Jerod has been running the site Crazymeds while battling his own health issues. Crazymeds is an amazing community with incredible information about all the medications (stimulants, anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, you name it) used to treat chronic and acute disorders ranging from anxiety to neuropathic pain. It’s conversational, reliable, and so important. Kara once said to me “I can’t believe you know the guy who runs that site, he is like a celebrity to me.” I say that not to make myself seem cool but so you know the impact Crazymeds has had on an acutely underserved community.

Here is part of the Crazymeds mission statement:

Crazymeds is the site for the obsessed and depressed, the manic and the panicked, the schizophrenic and epileptic, the migraineurs and bipolar, those with GAD, SAD, OCD, PTSD, in pain or have an otherwise non-standard brain8. If you have any specific questions about a drug that wasn’t answered on its page, couldn’t find the drug you’re interested in, or want some help in figuring out which medication is the right one for you, then visit Crazy Talk: Our forum for the mentally interesting. We aren’t doctors or anything, and we don’t diagnose, but we have more experience than we ever wanted when it comes to brain cooties and the crazy meds used to treat them. We’re all about helping each other know what the drugs can and cannot do, what they are likely to do for us and to us, and work with our doctors to make the best, or least bad, choice in medication(s) as quickly as possible.

If you’re unsure if you should be taking drugs to treat your condition(s) in the first place, see our all-purpose are you messed-up enough to need medication test.

Jerod was also close friends with Sarah. At one point I was doing a fundraiser for the grant and even though he was in incredible pain, and with very little resources, he managed to send me a a file with memories of her that makes me cry just thinking about it.

Now he needs our help. Here’s what is going on:

Crazymeds is for sale. The domains, the wiki, the forum, everything.

My health has gone seriously sideways and I am forced to return to an urban environment (first choice: Seattle area1). Topamax has suddenly pooped-out as far as my epilepsy is concerned2. When (and if) I find another AED to get the seizures back under control, there’s no guarantee for full control of the symptoms, and tachyphylaxis (poop-out) is to be expected. As it is now it’s becoming increasingly dangerous for me to drive, cook, and deal with other stuff, so I can’t live 15 miles from a grocery store and a pharmacy, 75 miles from a shrink, and 125 miles from a neurologist with EEG equipment that works consistently.

Interested parties should see the recently updated stats page and, if you think you can make a go of it, the contact page for information on reaching me.

I don’t know, maybe one of you out there could buy it. But I know a lot of you out there could donate. There is a PayPal link on the Crazymeds home page, or just log into Paypal and send anything you can to this address: jerod23 AT gmail DOT com. (I couldn’t make a direct link to PayPal work because why should anything go right, ever?)

Punk to me has always been a moral philosophy. —Beth Ditto

May 10th, 2014

The Woman in the Picture!

a photo from the 60s of a white woman using a computer

Back in 2011, I reblogged the above photo from a tumblr called SuperSeventies—and recently the woman in the photo, Ruth Jeans, got in touch with me asking where I got it. I helped her try to track it down to the original posting, but as you all know, that can sometimes be impossible. She isn’t upset, just bemused. I asked her if she would tell me more about the photo, and she kindly agreed:

“I worked for 45 years at the Government’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, here in Oxfordshire, UK… an administrative manager, (nothing to do with computers!!).

Early on in my career I was (randomly) stopped in a corridor and asked if I would just come in to a nearby lab so that the scientists could take a photograph of someone operating a new type of computer that they were developing.

Over my career, the picture haunted me by turning up in the strangest places within the Laboratory and included in random internal publications. However when someone drew my attention to your site, I was stunned to discover that it had gone viral!  You can imagine my reaction, that having now retired, I’m still finding that it’s ‘out there’! “

SO COOL. Thank you, Ruth.

December 1st, 2013


Copying this over from Facebook because I’m feeling nostalgic.

50 Shows

August 5, 2009 at 6:36pm

This was weirdly hard. I sometimes feel like all I have done since I was 13 is go to shows, or talk about shows, or miss shows I wanted to see. The last few years have been something of a bust, though, possibly even all the years since I have lived in NY. I remember before I moved, going to a show at Jabberjaw and thinking I might die under the weight of knowing everyone there, everyone’s internecine history, our too-close family. And then I went to my first show in NY and feeling so alone because I only knew two people there. My memories are more about who was there and what happened than the music, but the music is what’s playing in my mind as I write this.

1. Sex Pistols on TV: Not really a concert but I was home from school and saw them playing “God Save the Queen” on the barge and it was an instant imprint—that you could make music, make a political statement, piss people off, and dress weird, all at once.
2. Weirdos in Redondo Beach: They had masking tape on their faces and all the surfers and the punkers just stared. They played “We got the Neutron Bomb” and I realized that the Sex Pistols thing was happening here too.
3. Black Flag everywhere and anywhere: The police rioted, the punks moshed—it was always an adrenalin rush and a test of endurance.
4. Operation Ivy at the Bottom of the Hill: They played all over, but this show stands out because basically it meant everyone trekked from the East Bay to SF to see them. After the last song Jesse arranged rides home for people. I was kind of burned out on punk and they reinspired me.
5. Celebrity Skin and 45 Grave at Scream: The Mentors were supposed to play too, but they bailed, so Celebrity Skin played a set as the Mentors, which was hilarious. Don smashed a beer on his head. Dayle Gloria was dressed like a nun, which freaked everyone out and she was the first person I had ever seen wearing a headset. Pat joined Gary on stage to sing “Golden Boys,” which was awesome. Later that night me and Skip got busted for jaywalking but the cops never noticed our IDs were fake and we had drugs on us.
6. Celebrity Skin at the Bottom of the Hill: I was not at this show but it is legend unto me. They had decided they were going to lipsynch all of their out of town shows, but they screwed up the tape and it devolved into Gary yelling at Jason or something—now I can’t even remember the story. Also every time Pat tells it he goes into some long tirade about how he almost sat on a couch that GG Allin had sat on and he shudders.
7. Nirvana at Jabberjaw: They had just gotten signed, and everyone kept talking about the show like it was a funeral. “It’s the last time we will ever see them,” was a common refrain. At the show I asked Kurt how he was going to handle being famous and he said, in all seriousness, “I don’t know, how do you handle it?” HAHA. He said “You are famous in your little circle!” I was like “I think it will be different for you.”
8. Nirvana with Distorted Pony at Rajis: I have to list this one because David U will die with a smile on his face, knowing Nirvana opened for him once.
9. Slug at Jabberjaw: Ok, obviously we all saw Slug 900 million times, at Jabberjaw and elsewhere. But there was this one show, one show, where they went from being a pretty good band of my friends to “Wow, when did Slug get so amazing?” I still remember standing there with my mind blown. I think it was mostly Tomas turning the corner with his drumming.
10. That weird music concrete show at Jabberjaw: What was their name???? Something with a K? Fuck me, I can’t remember but it was intense. I thought Damion was going to pop a vein.
11. Every show at Lectisternium: Still my favorite club of all time, except maybe that weird Mexican restaurant that used to have shows in Torrance. The very best one was Kevin Hanley’s band, Peaches or something like that? Peach?
12. Ethyl Meatplow at the Whisky and at the Temporary Contemporary: They were hitting the big time. The cops shut down the Temp show. Carla had on a leather bra and still seemed oddly prim. I still love this band and play it a lot.
13. Flaming Lips somewhere in NYC: I took a 5 hour bus ride and then sat in Tompkins Square Park for a few more hours waiting for the show. There were about 25 people there in a basement. The band started to play and at the same time turned on a bank of klieg lights behind them that were so strong we all had to turn around and listen to the whole show staring at the back wall of the club. I quit grad school the next week and moved back home to LA. I dig their stuff now but loved them when they were punk.
14. Dead Kennedys at Alpine Village: I am pretty sure I got my bf at the time to take me to this show by telling him that Jello would barf on stage. The next day, my dad very seriously asked me to explain “California Uber Alles” to him.
15. Creedence Clearwater at USC: This is totally weird to remember but somehow my bf (this was obv his musical choice) had gotten his best friend to drive us since we weren’t old enough. This is what blows my mind—we sat in the back seat! How fucking rude is that? I am still mortified in retrospect. Then we got there and he had forgotten/lost/never had tickets so we just walked around and did drugs with people.
16. U2 and J. Geils band at the Forum: Same guy, which is also hilarious. For some reason I though U2 would be kinda badass, but other than the “This is not a rebel song” stuff, they were really tame and I was pissed off. We brought my best friend who had just been dumped. She cried the whole entire show. And we also brought some other couple I can’t remember who made out the whole time but insisted on staying for J Geils. I was like, I need to get out of this fucking town.
17. Mission of Burma at Coney: I beat Matthew at Go-Karts, and since I rarely win at anything, it was a great day. We could hear MoB as we drove. People closer to the stage told me the sound sucked, but it sounded perfect to me.
18. Tribe Called Quest at Tibetan Freedom Concert, San Francisco: The Foo Fighters had just played to a lukewarm reception and then TCQ came out and it was like a few thousand more people had showed up who were STOKED. The rest of us were like, “Oh. That is the new thing, I guess.” The sun had set on our little indie rock moment.
19. Japanther at PS 1: With Penny Rimbaud. Everyone was running in circles (literally) and dancing, there were dinosaurs and smoke monsters. I believe Matt and Ian both had on track suits.
20. Japanther at Autumn Bowl: Ballet and punk rock in a skate park. Perfect.
21. Japanther at Automotive High: I could list every Japanther show, of course, but they played this show on day after a long tour, talked to the kids and exhorted them to be true and to be creative, and didn’t allow me to help carry equipment.
22. USA is a Monster at trucker shack in Greenpoint: What was the name of the shack? Freezing cold, beer in garbage cans, and sausage sandwiches. Jens hated it so of course I loved every minute.
23. Japanther at the Pool: How could I have forgotten this? Playing in a hidden indoor pool with water ballet accompaniment, crazy fans jumping in the water, and pool lady out of central casting with her clipboard and whistle yelling at everyone.
24. Cheeseburger record release party: I mostly remember this because I brought a bunch of ppl who hadn’t seen Cheeseburger before and was slightly scared of how it would go over. Afterwards everyone was soaked in beer and asking me when they were playing again.
25. Cheeseburger at Trash/Lux/whatever it was called then: It was Superbowl Sunday which somehow made the whole thing even funnier, as there were maybe 10 people there, three of them being me, Crystal and Kim. Joe was all “Hey, sports fans!” I don’t think this was the first Cheeseburger show but it was the first one I went to. I remember being so worried they would suck and then being totally impressed at how good they were. Christy had on some filthy white pants. Also, Joe threw an empty Diet Coke bottle at me and I caught it and felt like a badass.
26. Wrens at Knitting Factory: They were last of 30 bands playing at the benefit, and didn’t go on until maybe 1 am, but they had the biggest crowd. I didn’t even know them then and they were so so so nice, and I just suckered Charles into playing a benefit next month so I love them even more.
27. Naked Highway at Delancey: I think Breakup Breakdown and Julia Marvel had just played downstairs? Whitney and Caitlins’s bday? Jens and Jackie and Lisa and I were the last to leave and we passed a guy singing insanely dirty disco songs to a boombox, with a bubble machine and a dancer. I had flowers that someone had brought me (Denton maybe?) and we threw them at the singer and have been friends ever since! Xo Sy, love you.
28. Breakup Breakdown at closing party for Black Betty: Don’t think this needs to be explained at all.
29. Dealbreaker at Black Betty: The infamous night when Dealbreaker, still the worst band any of us has ever seen, will never be forgotten. At one point the singer jumped off the stage and played a guitar solo for me and I wanted to die. Also significant: I did not kiss Jesse Blockton that night, no matter what he has told you.
30. Todosantos and Mae Shi at Miss B’s in Austin, SXSW 2007: Actually every show I saw there was great, excellent programming from Mr. P.
31. Big Sleep at Studio B: Proved to me once and for all that I hate big shows, even with bands I love.
32. Pat Smear at Bogart’s: Pat had just done his first solo record. He had the words written on a piece of paper and played all the songs really fast, staring down at the words, then he played them all again without singing. I still love that record beyond reason, wish it was on CD. After him, SWA played and I was like what the fuck has happened while I have been at college?
33. Ultimate United Givers of Themes, Philadelphia: My MySpace friends! Who turned out to be Dave’s friends! What a weird little thing that was. I LOVE THIS BAND. They write theme songs to movies that don’t have them. So good, and ou know how I feel about comedy rock.
34. Kills at Bowery Ballroom: Alison Mossheart was throwing up in the bathroom before the show and on stage, which apparently really impresses me. I remember noting Don Bolles was good at this a long time ago.
35. Andrew WK at Two Boots: At that crappy little theater in the East Village, they showed his movie and then at the end part, it is a shot of him playing the piano, and the screen pulled up and he was there playing the piano! Whoa! The kids in front went crazy, it was cute. Afterwards he was signing posters and Tommy went slightly insane and took like 20, saying we could sell them on eBay and we’d be rich! Rich!
36. Ar Duvall in Philly: I was there for a booksigning and they played a show just for me and DW, or at least that is how I remember it in my head. Such a great band.
37. Tusk at that place on Cherokee, what was it called?: Two drummers, the first song (I think) was a Vanilla Ice cover, it was fucking awesome.
38. Maplewood at Knitting Factory: I love canyon rock! Closest I will come to seeing the Flying Burrito Bros.
39. Blood on the Wall somewhere in Dumbo with the Rogers Sisters: This might have been the first Todd P show I ever went to? Really really good stuff from two bands I hadn’t seen or heard before that night.
40. Caroliner Rainbow at Al’s Bar: They were weird, they were hard to listen to, they literally put up walls between them and the audience, and yet: love.
41. Motley Crue at the Whisky a Go Go: I think this was 1980? There had been some roundup in the LA Times about who the best new bands of the year were going to be and John Doe said Motley Crue (I swear), so me and my friend Daria went to see them. As true punks we were of course horrified.
42. Haunted Garage at the Coconut Teaszer: I think I had just moved home, and Nicky Beat and Mike Alvarez and some others were living near me in Hollywood. This was a Thanksgiving Day show which was super awesome. I usually hate Thanksgiving!
43. Guadalcanal Diary at Al’s Bar: This was such a great night. Bec I was with Katy and Skip! Generally I don’t like that REM post-punk genre but they were really good.
44. Jesus Lizard at Jabberjaw: David Yow, naked and bloodied, what more can I say?
45-50–God—all the shows in the desert, all the shows at the train tracks, the ones in basements and in backyards and under the piers.

  • Sheri Barclay likes this.
  • Johnny Napier Hey!…..thanks so much for mentioning “us” on this list Ms. Halpin!!!!!! That’s very kind of you. (;o)
  • Mikki Halpin But of course! You were probably at half of the other shows too!
  • David Brown I’m going to try to even remember 50 shows. It’s an inspiring list.
  • Johnny Napier hee hee hee!….yeah. It was a trip down (faded) memory land to be sure.

    Did not see Nirvana @ J.J. because I had the flu
    (As if that was something that should have stopped me?) and did not see David Y. “naked and bloodied” until a later date (…Metro, Chicago? Can’t remember.) but yes Mikki, I was quite the show hoe at one point in my life.
    Yeah…a bit more then half I’d say!!! (;o)… Read more

    Is that show w/ a “K” in it the KK Null show? If so…I just about shit my draw’s as well watching it! I remember hearing that show all the way up 5th Ave. over there past the Mom and Pops Supermarket and just outside the door at the house where my folks were staying at the time….What?…Like a about a mile down the road from J.J.? Fucker was llllllllloooooo….owww…oowww’d!
    (and amazingly great!)

  • Johnny Napier Nevermind….K K Null is not Muzak Concrete duh.
  • Mikki Halpin I don’t think it was KK Null. AGh I wish I could remember. They were super slow and quiet and Darby wanted to bring sleeping bags. Maybe they werent Music Concrete and I am confusing things.
  • Ruby Karp mikki I’m learning so much about you! i wish i knew you then too!
  • Mikki Halpin half of them are pretty recent
  • Ruby Karp well when we’re old and refusing to be admitted into the nursing homes, we can run away and you can catch me up on all this show-going of your past
  • Crystal Bahmaie these are great stories! that superbowl cheeseburger show was hilarious.

    i assume that number 50 would have been carrying two trays of cupcakes to one of our first shows. hahah.

  • Katy Lain Al’s Bar…those were the days. And wasn’t there an Ethyl Meaplow show at Barney’s Beanery one time? I was a J Geils, too. Your list is an inspiration. I should write down every Weller show I’ve been to, that would be fun.
  • Mikki Halpin Haha if all 50 shows were Weller that would be awesome.

Addendum, December 1, 2013

Reading this back now, have mixed feelings. John is dead. I probably went to more shows with him in my life than anyone except maybe Darby or Katy. He was old school—always watched every band, every song. And he had a wide, wild enthusiasm for music. I miss him.

Shows I would add—the Katrina benefit we did at the Knitting Factory, I think it was 30 bands? On all three stages? That seems insane in retrospect but we did it and it was amazing. The Wrens playing at midnight, Sy Boccari kicking it off on the main stage with Naked Highway….

a poster for a concert. it has a fist holding a microphone and the headline is "Act Local: Rock for Hurricane Relief", then it lists 30 bands, and details on ticket purchases. the concert was January 15, 2006

And the Domino “Friendraiser” concert, Nada Surf and Cheeseburger playing in the rain, next to the factory, on the water, getting the building landmarked in at least one tiny “fuck you” to developers. Vic Thrill, The Wau Wau Sisters, Black Tie Party, and The Hungry March Band also played. Some good pics here.

A poster for a concert, it has a fist holding a microphone, and it says ACT LOCAL DONT DEMO DOMINO, lists a concert "friend raiser"--you get in free if you sign the petition to landmark the factory

And the community center benefit, with Nada Surf, They Might Be Giants, Charles Bissell, and special guest John Roderick. It was my birthday and Ann from the Greenpoint Food Pantry made cakes, there was an all star jam, and I should especially thank TMBG who played on their one night off, and brought their entire stage production, confetti cannons and all, they paid their crew out of pocket and put on an incredible show. Logistically, this show was a nightmare because of the people I was working with and I basically quit any kind of local activism or benefit stuff afterwards to focus on the grant, but it was an excellent end, with local bands playing for a local cause, a lot of love in the room.

November 22nd, 2013


July 31st, 2013

Protected: Even better than an ex-friend with a terrible haircut: an ex-friend with a terrible haircut,…

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July 28th, 2013

Protected: "I knew you’d be upset"

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July 23rd, 2013

You may all continue to say nice things to me. Anna and Kara are on email duty.

You may all continue to say nice things to me. Anna and Kara are on email duty.