Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
For this week's poll: Albert Camus said...
For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.
How often could you get nailed for that?
Saturday, June 28, 2008
I have a lot of musician friends and acquaintances. It has a great deal to do with my love of music and general affection for for those that make it. Although I've farted around in the form - songwriting, occasional strumming - I've never considered myself one of them. I dabble at the periphery while enjoying and envying those who dive in.
I love listening to the fruits of my artist friends' labors. Bully Pulpit still gets shots (I love spinning Jockeys & Beyond Elysium, Banks and Curry). AG and the Moms rack up a lot of playtime. My old friend, Mr. B, can still make me smile. I was thrilled with the success of National Trust. Even Curry's Morning Face maintains its charms. The man that cuts the deepest however, the one that staggers me every time, is the Padre.
I've written about the Padre before. He's da man; the breathing definition of the the word "cock". Of all my harmonically inclined buds, he is the one that can most move me with a song. Simple, minimal, poetry that can achieve majesty.
This morning, as we cleaned the kid's room I let the ipod run on its own. While I bounced from trash to storage tub the music motored me along. But when it hit a song of his I suddenly stopped, sat down, turned it up and listened. I have heard the song hundreds of times - it isn't so fresh anymore. Still, it moves me, partly because I enjoy it, partly because I know its origins. It's like having my old pal tell me a great story that I never tire of hearing.
The song is from a group of demos he recorded more than a decade ago. It was solely intended to showcase the Padre, but sadly there was little interest. The Padre, in a fit of funk, refered to it as the Pointless Sessions. He was wrong. Though uneven and imperfect, there are songs on it that stand as testaments, at least for me, of fine songwriting that transcends music and slips into literary, Raymond Carver territory. The song that got me today can still bring tears to my eyes with its beauty and deep quiet nuance.
His music takes cues from Merle Haggard and Buck Owens; is reminiscent of Freedy Johnston and Iris Dement, whom he taught to play guitar two decades ago. It is sometimes so sparse you can hear the wind whistle through its great plains and wide spaces. It seeps up from the Flint Hills and the Great American Desert, and flows like the highways and rivers of the middle west. It is quiet and does not readily bestow its gifts upon the inattentive. With it Padre sets scenes - describes moments - where little or no action takes place and yet you feel as if the world, or at least someone's world, trembles in the balance.
Steve Phillips of The Rainmakers, who engineered Padre's demo, described the Padre to KC's The Pitch as one of the finest songwriters he'd ever met, but added that few people would ever understand the work: it required too much thought. That might be hyperbolic, but I have never been so envious of another's ability to turn a phrase or drop in a single perfect note as I am of the Padre's.
If you're bold and have the time, try them.
Just click the song links to download 'em.
(forgive me, but I can't remember the exact title)
Friday, June 27, 2008
Co-sponsors of the just introduced Marriage Protection Amendment, designed to change the constitution to say that marriage is strictly hetero, are (ready for this?)...
Senator Larry (meet me in the toilet) Craig
Senator David (Mommy, I wet myself) Vitter.
That's right - the sanctity of marriage is being defended by a guy who only comes out of the closet in airport bathrooms, and a guy who visits hookers to satisfy his diaper fetish. All this as their respective, but apparently disrespected, wives wait at home.
Can I get an amen?
via - JMG
Although we aren't in favor binkys at her age, it probably feels good to chew on as the last of her teeth are coming in (thank God). Her mood is not sparkling and anything that helps is welcome, but this face she's putting on with its use is rather unbecoming. I'm tempted to throw a fedora on her and call it a day.
Pyramid Galleries has taken those "designs", added their own extensive histories and flourishes, and turned them into music boxes. The boxes are quite extraordinary and if you ignore the rather spooky nonsense that accompanies them they can be quite lovely objets.
Not cheap - they're around $125 a piece - they are nonetheless stunning.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The warning today was to keep the elderly and kids indoors, change your AC air filters, and find yourself a good diety. The whole thing could last for weeks. Next week could well be worse with the fireworks adding to our horrid conditions.
Summers in this area are bad enough with wretched air blown into the valley from LA and the SF metropoli, but this is just piling on. My throat is scratchy and eyes watery. The kids are coughing. It really is awful.
But boy that sunset is somethin'.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I hope the wildfires currently burning far to the west and north of us are out soon. The golden sunrises and sunsets notwithstanding, the haze throughout the hot days is annoyingly creepy.
I hope whomever stole my bike yesterday really needed it and isn't just a piece of shit thief who who heaps misery on others for a living.
I hope that the injuries visited upon us with a depressing regularity of late take a vacation to... I don't know... Washington D.C.
I hope (but certainly don't expect) college education costs take a dramatic fall before my kids get to that age.
I hope the dogs understand the recent lack of walks have nothing to do with our love for them but are only taking a backseat to more pressing concerns.
I hope Curry and his mate are getting some rest now because soon enough, they won't.
I hope we can get through this election year with race only nipping at our heels rather than taking a chunk out of our collective asses.
I hope, I mean really hope, the boy starts pooing in the toilet.
I hope the cat stops heaving hairballs onto my furniture.
I hope hats - not caps - make a comeback for men.
I hope Fresno State cleans house tonight in the CWS.
I hope the little person adding cell after cell within my wife is already happy with its circumstances and knows that when it gets here I will be happy to see him/her.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Five weeks later and no better. So, at my appointment with the Ortho doc this morning about the knee (remember the knee?) I asked him about it. He took a gander and listened to my story. He ordered an MRI but said based on how long, where, and how it happened he's certain I have torn the TFCC (Triangular Fibro-cartilage Complex). The most common method of doing this is with a fall. The second most common way of tearing it? Using a power drill.
So, assuming the MRI confirms the diagnosis I am up for arthroscopic surgery on the wrist to repair the tear.
I know you are all fascinated by my medical mishaps, but I swear, if I had anything more thrilling to share I would. Just think of the wonderful medical education you are all getting with just a click of your mouse.
Thank me later.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Last week's poll regarding quantities of spawn was like that... except that it didn't come from a vacant mind. It came from a mind massively overstuffed with panic and no place to put it. So it ended up in a poll. That panic was derived from news delivered to me that weekend by my beloved. It was a Father's Day for the ages.
So, we are expecting our third (AND LAST) little bundle come February. By that time I will be happy about it. For now, I am merely resigned.
As Padre Mark once said, "Two's a family, three's a rodeo."
I am so going to need a new saddle.
For this weeks poll: When you see other couples having problems in their relationships what do you do?
We missed G&V as they were in Hawaii celebrating the end of Beach Master's long bachelorhood (nuptial congrats, Dave). G&V had offered the use of their lovely guest house for our stay, but we opted out due to the discomfort of having our two toddlers destroy it without letting the owners watch the horror.
We stayed at the Omni in SF and can only say that if you visit the City and have the misfortune of not crashing with residents, the Omni is Da Bomb. Best hotel I have stayed in for a long time. Great location, stunning service, and priced less than mediocre mid-range lodgings. It lived up to its recently aquired rep as best luxury hotel in SF (3rd best in the US). The milk and cookies at bedtime for the kids were a nice touch.
The surprise birthday party on Friday was filled with more surprises than we expected and provided a load of perspective for all. The Boy spent the affair bouncing on their "jumpoline" and still hasn't recovered. The Girl just let herself be adored.
Breakfasted Saturday morn with the Three Ds and discussed the previous evening - stunned. Little D is becoming quite the young lady.
Dined on Thursday night with Flodo, L, and Bina. Aside from the big black eye she sported (and of which much sport was made) L seemed happy. Flodo was lithe (how do you do that, old man?), and Bina was all grown up (once again Bina, try not to tell the people who lovingly raise you that they suck).
The whole trip was blighted by unseasonable heat, but by Sunday morning the city was foggy and cold again - just the way I like it.
All in all, a pleasure and only wish we could do it more often.
Wow, all apologies for the style of this post. I was apparently channeling Rona Barrett. It will never happen again.
By the time my teens ended the photo had been lost. Though I still remembered the meeting fondly, I had moved on to different idols (I preferred a riskier, more confrontational, Richard Pryor). He could occasionally still make me laugh, but, like most things from youth, he had been discarded. Over the years I might catch something of his, but I watched with something more akin to nostalgia than giddiness. Nonetheless, his influence on my view of the world at that critical age, especially regarding the absurdity of authority, was undeniable.
Thank you, George Carlin, for your time and for the laughs. I will always remember you and our chat. RIP.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Barring any disaster for you or me, we'll see you Sunday with, we hope, a better outlook on things.
addendum: My computer is back; a bad hard drive the culprit. Fortunately, my storage drive was large enough to partition and with a little cloning I'm back in business. And it only cost $120.00.
So that's something.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
It has been a week of pile-ons. The computer is just part. Father's Day proved disastrous. The Boy is going through a phase and spent the day telling me how much he wanted his mother to help or read to him or play with him; not me. "I don't want you," he would scream as I tried to help him get dressed. He's three so I understand, but it doesn't make the rejection any less painful.
The Girl broke my glasses; my new glasses. And the Boy, not to be outdone, broke my sunglasses. A substantial new expense reared its ugly head. Our home is getting much too small, but its collapsing California equity means we are here for a while.
My wife's hospital has announced severe budget cuts and a hiring freeze (thank you Arnold, thank you, George). Medicare and Medical are reducing their payments and tightening eligibility which means more uncollected indigent care in the emergency room. The money has to come from somewhere. It's a hell of a way to run health-care. Her job is not threatened - her profession will provide substantial job security for the foreseeable future - but her department will remain understaffed and merit raises have been decreased.
Tim Russert died. That is sad. Seemed like a nice, fair-minded guy. His death however, is gnawing at me. He was young, relatively, and it was so sudden. I turn 47 in two days. At that point I will have notched as many birthdays as had my father when he died. That feels like an ominous signpost, and combined with Russert's death, is a bit depressing.
Birthdays have never bothered me. 25 was disturbing because I felt as if adolescence was booted and I needed to grow up whether I wanted to or not. But the classics - 30 & 40 - didn't unnerve me in the slightest. Now with the rather arbitrary age of 47 looming, I suddenly feel uncomfortably mortal and with two young children I grow worried for the things they will lose if I slip this mortal coil.
There is one more disturbance to my psyche that was added this week and stirred in with the others it has produced a funk in me that I can't seem to shake. I won't discuss it now but I'm sure it will come up in later posts.
The week can easily be described as something akin to A Perfect Storm, so all told I just feel low.
It must be grand to read this.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
This week: how many children would you want if you could support them all?
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
John Hagee (late of the McCain endorsement) and his ilk have made great hay over the tragedy of New Orleans and Katrina. They have said, both explicitly and implicitly, that it was God's punishment for the crescent city's support of homosexuality.
I just want to know why the Boy Scouts, who have gone to court to keep gays out of their organization, would suffer God's wrath as well. Could it be that support or condemnation of homosexuality has nothing to do with these disasters? Is it possible that the deaths, injuries and horrors experienced at both locations are just random natural acts, Mr. Hagee?
Just curious how you will justify this pain. Let me know.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The single example of this - my guiltiest pleasure for nearly a quarter century - is a mindless, lyrically twitish, little ditty from a pair of otherwise whiny popsters. But it rules my airwaves and this morning it got its first play o' the season. It just makes me happy to hear it. Pure cotton candy.
What's your guiltiest summer aural pleasure?
Hey, if Patti Smith can cover it, I can't be alone.
Monday, June 9, 2008
UCSF~Infectious Diseases Rate Partial Oceanview, King, Non Smoking, Elegantly furnished room, 522 sq ft, partial or angled ocean view from Lanai, marble bath.
That rate name is not very inviting.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Friday she took the kids out to the park for frolic. For a lunch indulgence she went to Costco for the Boy's favorite, hotdogs. As they waited to purchase their meal, she noticed the folks stuck in the ever-present Costco purchase lines being harrassed by a young woman, apparently a Costco employee. She was dressed in a karate gi, her faced painted white with black eyes, and her hair pulled into two pony tails atop her head. The tails were painted black and the rest of her hair painted white. She would approach those poor folks in line and say, with appropriate martial arts moves, "Hi Yaa! Kung Fu Panda tickets for sale! Hi Yaa!" She was incessant.
As my wife and kids sat down to eat their hot dogs, the man at the next table pointed to the girl and said to his young son, "See, that's why you go to college.
They made my morning.
I feel like sharing.
From the 25 funniest analogies (Collected By High School English Teachers).
McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.
The politician was gone, but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr. Pepper can.
This week, which of those Old Testament rules are you least likely to break.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Although flawed, the album is still a gem of funky agit-prop. Slip over to Last Days of Man on Earth and download it (a quick note: I Slept in an Arcade, for some reason, doesn't download). It can be offensive, but that was part of Black Randy's shtick. The sick humor of both the music and its master is purely tongue in cheek.
The guy was a clever lyricist (you only need to read the lyrics for Barefootin' On The Wicked Picket to get that) and he often used that cleverness to skewer self-importance, ego, fame, and their abuses. His targets ran the gamut, from Marlon Brando to James Chance. He famously tortured the punk photographer (and truly annoying) Jenny Lens when, during a radio interview, he outed her second job by announcing that the dope she sold sucked. He then recorded the phone call he made to her, ostensibly to apologize, in which she expresses her anger with him for potentially getting her busted and, alternately, driving away her business. He had no fear of chewing on and spitting out the scene he was very much a part of.
I've spent the morning chuckling my way through his cover of Say it Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud.
Almost 30 years and the album sounds fresh. It may be even more offensive now than it was then.
Black Randy would have loved that.
Though it never got a theatrical run (it had a poor test in Denver), the movie nonetheless achieved fame through word of mouth and its appearances on the beloved Night Flight. By no means a great film it still stands as a pop culture icon. It features a 15 year old Diane Lane, an even younger Laura Dern (who successfully sued her mother, Diane Ladd, for emancipation when Ms. Ladd refused to ler her do the film) and a host of music icons including: Paul Cook, Steve Jones, Paul Simonon, Fee Waybill and the infamous Black Randy. If you look closely you may see, he of the yellow eyes, Brent Spiner, in an uncredited bit role. It was written by Nancy Dowd (the late 70's version of Diablo Cody and Academy Award winner for Coming Home), and poorly directed by music mogul, Lou Adler.
Perhaps its most-remembered scene is Diane Lane belting out Waste Of Time as the female audience chanted, We Don't Put Out. That scene and others are the reason the DVD has long been pined for. The movie did not so much capture a moment as inspire one and that reason alone is enough to require a re-watching or even a first-time viewing.
It will tickle the nostalgia in most of a certain age, even those who might lack the gene. Eh, RC?
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
As Wired reports:
For just $40 a year, believers can arrange for up to 62 people to get a final message exactly six days after the Rapture, that day when -- according to Christian end times dogma -- Christians will be swept up to heaven, while doubters are left behind to suffer seven years of Tribulation under a global government headed by the Antichrist.
"You've Been Left Behind gives you one last opportunity to reach your lost family and friends for Christ," reads the website, which is purportedly run "by Christians, for Christians." The domain name is registered through an anonymous proxy service, presumably to protect the proprietors from the Forces of Darkness, and not because they're up to anything shady.
The e-mails will be triggered when three of the site's five Christian staffers "scattered around the U.S." fail to log in for six days in a row -- a system that incorporates a nice margin of safety, should two of the proprietors turn out to be unrepentant sinners or atheists.
That would be youvebeenleftbehind.com for all you modern Rapture anticipators and Tim LaHaye fans.
While the rest of the world acknowledged Obama's presumptive nomination and recognized its historical significance, in a bid to get herself the VP slot, she implied the threat of withholding her supporters. "Give me what I want or I will bury you," was the essence of her ploy. She put into play yesterday her desire for a spot on the ticket. Throughout the day she and her surrogates dropped the markers. Then, by not graciously ceding the nomination to Obama in her speech last night, she raised her dagger.
Obama is now in a box. He can't give her the VP even if he wanted to (and really, who would). If he were to offer it to her he would be seen as weak and bowing to her power in the first major decision of his post-primary, Presidential climb. It will not play. It won't happen now.
Perhaps there were back-channel negotiations that failed. Perhaps, as it was reported by some yesterday, he was willing to offer her the VP only if she wouldn't take it. He would then give her a cabinet post or even a Supreme Court spot. Perhaps she said no - I want to be Vice President - and took the nuclear option. Even if that is the case, she is playing the spoiled child and she doesn't have much time to pull her act together. If she doesn't get behind him soon, her supporters may be bitter enough to go to McCain in protest. That need not spell total disaster, but it doesn't help.
She has proven herself no team player at this point and that is ultimately what this is about. Her leverage is disappearing with every second that ticks by and neither she nor Obama benefits from her tantrums and childish demands. Enough is enough.