Journal : A Hot Anecdote

When Andy made ‘ Raavi’ sweat

In a room with stark naked women

Pandit Ravi Shankar : The Warhol story

Narrated by – VICTOR BANERJEE

Source : Page 11, The Telegraph India @ http://fe.gd/41q

. . .

That brings me to an amoral anecdote about Ravi Shankar. A good friend of mine, once a popular portrait painter in the United States, and a great friend of Andy Warhol, had this story to relate. It was in the days just after he had allowed Andy the use of his camera to film Sleep. Ravi Shankar, who always wanted to meet Andy Warhol, was invited to his studio in New York, on a crisp morning at 10 ‘clock sharp.

Andy Warhol

When he rang the doorbell at what must have once been a warehouse, its giant wooden door creaked open to reveal an enormous Lurch-like figure from the Adam’s Family. “Mr Shankaar?” it echoed. The dumbstruck Pandit Ravi Shankar nodded. He was ushered into an empty floor that was half the size of a football field. There was one chair and he was motioned to sit on it. He did. Lurch left him alone.

The minutes ticked by in silence. The wail of sirens as police cars raced down New York’s streets kept the adrenaline flowing in disproportion to Ravi Shankar’s normal disposition. About 10 minutes after absolutely nothing had happened, a voluptuous and gorgeous woman, stark naked, walked into the room with a stool under her arm. She set it down about 10 feet away from Ravi Shankar and sat down. The minutes ticked by again. Not a word spoken. Not a sound.

After about five uneasy minutes, Ravi Shankar, with beads of perspiration glistening on his noble forehead and regal nose, smiled more to himself than his naked roommate and began easing out of his chair to beat a quiet but hasty retreat. A door swung open behind him and in walked a naked man with an easel. He set it down near the woman on the chair and walked out. In seconds, two more naked women walked in. One carrying brushes and paints and the other struck a rather embarrassing and provocative pose that ensnared the first girl.

Once again, the minutes passed. And no one said a word, or moved. By now Ravi Shankar was drenched in sweat, was beginning to get terrified of the unpredictable madness of a New York he had only heard about, and then, with all the courage he could muster, he stood up and walked briskly to the door he had come in through. “Hey RAAVI. Hey…Hi !!” boomed voices behind him.

In trooped Andy Warhol and a bunch of pranksters who had staged the whole thing to embarrass and frighten the poor, defenceless and artistic soul from the peaceful land of ragas and spiritual India.

My friend had a happy ending to the narrative, but I shall leave that alone and let it join with such mysteries as what might have happened in the Marabar caves, in A Passage to India.

Pandit Ravi Shankar

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Journal : Bradley Manning Speaks …

Adapted from material  © 2012 Amy Goodman

Bradley Manning was finally allowed to speak publicly, in his own defense, in a preliminary hearing of his court-martial. In April 2010, the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks released a U.S. military video showing an Apache helicopter killing a dozen civilians in Baghdad, including two Reuters employees, a videographer and his driver. One month after the video was released, Manning was arrested in Iraq, charged with leaking the video and hundreds of thousands of documents.

Thus began his ordeal of cruel, torturous and degrading imprisonment in solitary confinement, from his detention in Kuwait to months in the military brig in Quantico, Va. Facing global condemnation, the U.S. military transferred Manning to less-abusive detention at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Photo : AP

As he now faces 22 counts in a court martial that could land him in prison for the rest of his life, his lawyer argued in court that the case should be thrown out, based on his unlawful pretrial punishment.

Veteran constitutional attorney Michael Ratner described the courtroom scene : “It was one of the most dramatic courtroom scenes I’ve ever been in. … When Bradley opened his mouth, he was not nervous. The testimony was incredibly moving, an emotional roller coaster for all of us, but particularly, obviously, for Bradley and what he went through. But it was so horrible what happened to him over a two-year period. He described it in great detail in a way that was articulate, smart, self-aware.”

Ratner said Manning described being kept in a cage in Kuwait : “There were two cages. He said they were like animal cages. They were in a tent alone, just these two cages, side by side. One of them had whatever possessions he may have had; one of them, he was in, with a little bed for a rack and a toilet, dark, in this cage for almost two months.” Ratner quoted Manning from his testimony, recalling his words: “For me, I stopped keeping track. I didn’t know whether night was day or day was night. And my world became very, very small. It became these cages.” Ratner added, “It almost destroyed him.”

After Kuwait, Manning was shipped to a brig in Quantico. Manning’s civilian defense attorney, David Coombs, said earlier this month: “Brad’s treatment at Quantico will forever be etched, I believe, in our nation’s history, as a disgraceful moment in time. Not only was it stupid and counterproductive. It was criminal.” The United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, attempted to visit Manning, but then refused when the military said it could surveil and record the visit. He reported : “Solitary confinement is a harsh measure which may cause serious psychological and physiological adverse effects on individuals regardless of their specific conditions.”

Manning’s cruel treatment was described by officials as necessary, as he was a suicide risk. Yet Navy Capt. William Hocter, a forensic psychiatrist at Quantico, said he was no such risk, but was ignored. “I had been a senior medical officer for 24 years at the time, and I had never experienced anything like this,” Hocter testified. “It was clear to me they had made up their mind on a certain cause of action, and my recommendations had no impact.”

This first phase of the court-martial, which Coombs calls “the unlawful pretrial punishment motion phase,” considered a defense motion to throw out the entire case. While that is unlikely, observers say, the defense asked, as an alternative, that the court consider crediting Manning with 10 days’ reduction from any eventual sentence for each day he spent suffering cruel and degrading punishment in Kuwait and Quantico, which could in theory trim six years from his prison time.

Bradley Manning is charged with releasing the WikiLeaks trove of documents, which included the Baghdad massacre video, two separate, massive tranches of documents relating to U.S. military records from Iraq and Afghanistan wars and, perhaps most importantly, the huge release of more than 250,000 U.S. State Department cables, dubbed “Cablegate.” In an August 2010 assessment, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said the document release “has not revealed any sensitive intelligence sources and methods compromised by the disclosure.” Manning has offered to plead guilty to releasing the documents, but not to the more serious charges of espionage or aiding the enemy.

Manning turns 25, in prison, on Dec. 17, which is also the second anniversary of the day a young Tunisian set himself on fire in protest of his country’s corrupt government, sparking the Arab Spring. A year ago, as Time magazine named the protester as the “Person of the Year,” legendary Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg offered praise that rings true today : “The Time magazine cover gives protester, an anonymous protester, as ‘Person of the Year,’ but it is possible to put a face and a name to that picture of ‘Person of the Year.’ And the American face I would put on that is Private Bradley Manning.”

Adapted from material  © 2012 Amy Goodman

Source :  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/12/13-0

Journal : Great Lyrics …

Naturally, it depends …

But here’s something that is both beautiful and witty. I found it crisp and very musically delivered by Jethro Tull

“Mother Goose”

As I did walk by Hampstead Fair
I came upon Mother Goose —
so I turned her loose —
she was screaming.

And a foreign student said to me —
was it really true
there are elephants and lions too
in Piccadilly Circus ?

Walked down by the bathing pond
to try and catch some sun.
Saw at least a hundred schoolgirls sobbing
into hankerchiefs as one.
I don’t believe they knew
I was a schoolboy.

And a bearded lady said to me —
if you start your raving
and your misbehaving
— you’ll be sorry.

Then the chicken-fancier came to play —
with his long red beard
(and his sister’s weird : she drives a lorry).

Laughed down by the putting green —
I popped `em in their holes.
Four and twenty labourers were labouring —
digging up their gold.
I don’t believe they knew
that I was Long John Silver.

Saw Johnny Scarecrow make his rounds
in his jet-black mac
(which he won’t give back) —
stole it from a snow man.

Journal : Had A Laugh On Beer Snobs ?

English: Guinness for strenght

[ Flicked from Allan, who stole it from elsewhere …]

After the Great Britain Beer Festival, in London, all the brewery CEOs go out for a beer.

The guy from Corona sits down and says, “Hey Senor, I would like the world’s best beer, a Corona.”

The bartender dusts off a bottle from the shelf and gives it to him.

The guy from Budweiser says, “I’d like the best beer in the world, give me ‘The King Of Beers’, a Budweiser.”

The bartender gives him one.

The guy from Coors says, “I’d like the only beer made with Rocky Mountain spring water, give me a Coors.”

He gets it.

The guy from Guinness sits down and says, “Give me a Coke.”

The bartender is a little taken aback, but gives him what he ordered.

The other brewery presidents look over at him and ask “Why aren’t you drinking a Guinness ?”

The Guinness president replies,

“Well, I figured if you guys aren’t drinking beer, neither would I.”

*   *   *

Ha-ha-ha … ho-ho-ho-ho !

Admit it …