1.30.2004

someone to keep in your thoughts...

now playing: super seventies internet radio



via my friend jon rosenbaum, i just found out that george grantham, drummer for one of my favorite bands, poco, had a stroke onstage last night during a show in springfield, mass. and was rushed to the hospital. he's there, in critical condition, as of 4:30 today, and the prognosis is rather gray. he's regained consciousness a couple of times, but hasn't been terribly responsive.


his wife and daughter are there with him, at the hospital, and they're waiting for some definitive word as to his outlook.



george is 57 years old.


keep him in your prayers, if you would be so kind.


i've never told any of my poco stories here, just because it's never occured to me to do so.


i'll save them for hopefully happier times.



1.27.2004

if it looks like bullshit, and smells like bullshit, then it must be...

now playing: lynyrd skynyrd, "what's your name"


from alternet today:


Kay Testimony Impeaches Bush

By Robert Scheer, AlterNet
January 26, 2004



Can we now talk impeachment?


The rueful admission by the chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay that Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction or the means to create them raises the prospect that the Bush administration is complicit in the greatest scandal in U.S. history. Yet, we hear no calls for a broad-ranging investigation of the type that led to the discovery of Monica Lewinsky's infamous blue dress.


In no previous instance of presidential malfeasance was so much at stake, in preserving both constitutional safeguards and national security. This egregious deception, which lead us to war on the basis of phony intelligence, overshadow previous scandals motivated by greed, such as Teapot Dome, or partisanship, such as Watergate. What is more, the White House continues to dig itself deeper into a hole by denying reality even as its lieutenants, one-by-one, find the courage to speak the truth.


A year after using his State of the Union Address to paint Iraq's allegedly vast arsenal of WMD as a grave threat to the U.S. and the world – and even citing forged documents in those "16 words" about African uranium sales – Bush spent this month's State of the Union defending the war because "had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day." Bush said officials were still "seeking all the facts" about Iraq's weapons programs, but noted that weapons searchers had already identified "dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities."


Vice President Dick Cheney in interviews with USA Today and the Los Angeles Times echoed this rhetorical fudging – last year "weapons," this year "programs" – declaring that "the jury's still out" on whether Iraq had WMD. Cheney declared, "I am a long way at this stage from concluding that somehow there was some fundamental flaw in our intelligence."


But a mere three days after the State of the Union Address, Kay quit and told the world what the Bush administration had been denying since taking office: That Saddam Hussein's regime was but a weak shadow of the semi-fearsome military force it had been at the time of the first Gulf War; that it had no significant chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programs or stockpiles still in place; and that the U.N. inspections and Allied bombing runs in the 1990s had been much more effective than their critics had believed at destroying the remnants of these programs, which simply eroded into dust.


"I'm personally convinced that there were not large stockpiles of newly produced weapons of mass destruction," Kay told the New York Times. "We don't find the people, the documents or the physical plants that you would expect to find if the production was going on. I think they gradually reduced stockpiles throughout the 1990's. Somewhere in the mid-1990's the large chemical overhang of existing stockpiles was eliminated. The Iraqis say the they believed that [the UN inspection system] was more effective [than U.S. analysts believed it was], and they didn't want to get caught."


The maddening aspect of all this is that we haven't needed – although his is a welcome, if belated, breath of honesty – David Kay to set the record straight. The evidence of the Bush administration's systematic abuse of the facts and its own intelligence has been out there for all who wanted to see it for nearly two years. That's why 23 former intelligence and foreign service employees of the United States government – including several who quit in disgust – have been willing to speak out in Robert Greenwald's shocking documentary "Uncovered." The story they tell is one of an administration that decided to go to war for reasons that smack of empire-building, and then constructed a false reality in order to sell it to the American people.

Is that not an impeachable offense?


After all, the President misled Congress into approving his preemptive war on the grounds that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction threatened our very survival as a nation. If we hesitated and allowed the UN inspectors who were on the ground in Iraq to do their job, a mushroom cloud over New York – to use Condoleezza Rice's imagery – might well be our dark reward. Now David Kay – who, it should be remembered, originally defended the war and dismissed the work of the UN inspectors – has spent $900 million dollars and the time of 1400 weapons inspectors to discover what many in the CIA and elsewhere had been telling us all along.

Are there to be no real repercussions for such a devastating official deceit?

-------------------------------------------------


broken record time: not one american lost their lives as a result of whitewater or whatever acts of fellatio might have occured in the oval office...we spent millions of taxpayer dollars and countless special prosecutor hours gettin' to the bottom of that, though. and we actually managed to carry through an impeachment, where slick willie was concerned. but dubya has sent over 500 americans and thousands of iraqi citizens to that great supreme court chamber in the sky over a fabrication.

he gets a free ride, though.

now that i think of it, there have been two impeachments of the executive branch in the history of our country...slick willie, and andrew johnson - who was impeached because he wanted to follow through with abraham lincoln's reconstruction policies after the civil war, which congress didn't deem harsh enough on the southern states.

so maybe being impeached is just bullshit to begin with. nixon escaped it. ronald reagan was never held accountable for iran-contra. so why hold dubya accountable for any of this? sure as hell ain't consistent. no sir.

also, read michael moore's response to the uproar over his thoughts about dubya if you have time.

it cracks me the fuck up when the media's collective colon clenches up when someone says something like this, yet makes no case to refute it.

did dubya avoid military service during vietnam? goddamn right he did. so why flinch as though someone just kicked you in the balls when someone brings it up?

see? now i'm gettin' all worked up again.

it's time to go home soon anyway.





guitars and cruxifiction...sort of

now playing: james taylor, "mexico"

new hampshire primary is today. early reports show that wesley clark has an early lead. the plot thickens...

here in the great northeast, we're getting a pretty severe pounding in the weather department...everything is frozen, including the windshield wipers on my van...had to pull over and scrape on the way to work this morning.

i'm thinking that this might be God's way of showing the philadelphia area, in yet another way, what it's like in buffalo...

two days in a row now, i've forgotten to bring in the box of girl scout cookies that sit next to the front door of my house. this speaks less to my forgetfulness, however, than it does to my inability to get out of bed at an hour that would allow for remembering to bring them, i think. i seem to wake lately with the attitude that i am above the law of the alarm clock and capable of making up any impossible discrepancy between the hour that the clock rings and the hour that i decide it's time for me to get up. i think it's more a deluded state of mind than an arrogant one, though.

of course, i wouldn't have heard the alarm at all had wendy not come downstairs and retrieved me from the sofa...i got home last night at 8:45 and spent the next three-plus hours washing all the dishes from the weekend - sat down on the sofa and lost consciousness. woke up (what seemed like) fifteen minutes later to wendy on the stairs, and went upstairs at around 5:45 to sleep a few more minutes...

am contemplating a future in part-time music retail, of sorts...a distributor that i've formed a friendship with is setting me up in their system as a dealer, and i'm going to start reselling their products in this area on a part-time basis over the 'net and face-to-face, since i do seem to come in contact with a lot of musicians...but whether or not i follow through depends on what i think about the first instrument i receive from him, which will be a black 12 string rickenbacker copy...i'm familiar with the company in name only at this point, as i haven't owned any of their instruments yet, but i'll be forming a pretty quick opinion once i have one in my hands...

...the funny thing is, i'm not even interested in doing it as a money-making venture so much as i'd like to be able to help people get their hands on these...they're damn near impossible to find, and i've been waiting for this particular shipment of these to come in for almost six months. so i'm psyched to get my hands on this one, to see if they're what my often absent sense of optimism would like to think they'll turn out to be.

i have this mental image of myself selling guitars out of the back of my van...

anyway, i talked to quin yesterday for about half an hour - he's going to be playing the valentines' day stone road show with us, which pleases me greatly...i've missed him these last couple of shows. we've had a pair of great shows back to back, and if you weren't paying attention, you might not even have noticed he was gone, but goddamn...i sure do. he is making quite a bit of headway in getting caught up on his work, though, and he's gotten to spend some quality time with his sons, and i'm glad to know this...

dylan and i finished the final odds and ends in the studio this weekend, and now pretty much everything that should be operational upstairs is operational upstairs. i had some interesting problems getting the guitar port to work with the new PC up there, but a quick uninstall/reinstall fixed that, and now dylan is learning how to route signals on the mixing console to be able to play his guitar in the studio. he's making pretty unbelievable progress...and he's proving himself a capable student. for instance, one of the songs he started working on was a papa roach song, "last resort". i showed him how to use the "half speed" function in guitar port to slow a song down while you're initially learning it, and he learned the intro riff in one day...but he learned it by sliding his fingers from fret to fret to play it, and i sat down with him and explained that this was a lethal habit to get into, as it was really important to learn dexterity and to develop his left hand skills, etc, etc, blah blah blah...the next day, he'd learned the riff by playing it with the first three fingers of his left hand. just like that. he's still not able to play it full speed, but he knows it.

i think perhaps his musical gene may not be so recessive after all.

he was in the studio with me when i cut a lowell-george-esque slide guitar part for one of blake's songs called "cleaning" the other night, listening intently...when i was finished, he asked sternly, "what did you think of that pass?"....almost asking without asking if i thought it was good enough...with the Belushi Eyebrow raised ever so slightly...

i'm thinkin' he's into it.

a local news story that i found....uh, interesting....

from the reading eagle website:

Boy who was nailed to wall by students still no Eagles fan

Brian Hilbert pays with ripped clothes for his opinion of the local team. The four classmates responsible have been suspended and cited and will pay for the garments, officials say.

By Keith Mayer


A 16-year-old Gilbertsville boy who police say was nailed to a wall by his clothes by four classmates earlier this month after he criticized the Philadelphia Eagles, said Monday that he still doesn't like the team.

But Brian Hilbert also knows his opinion and his staunch support of the Tennessee Titans brought on the rough treatment.

“They (the classmates) didn't really like that I said their team stinks,” Hilbert said.

Meanwhile, Oley Township police filed criminal mischief and harassment citations against Jeremy R. Trout, 18, of the 700 block of Mimosa Lane, Exeter Township, and three 17-year-old boys from the Boyertown and Gilbertsville areas.

Hilbert and the other teens are carpentry students at the Berks Career and Technology Center East Campus, officials said. They were working on the house that students build as a project.

Police withheld the names of the 17-year-olds. The citations were filed in the office of Oley District Justice Ronald C. Mest.

Police also want the teens to pay restitution for Hilbert's clothes.

Mest said he is waiting for Hilbert's parents to tell him the cost of the clothes.

Authorities gave this account of the Jan. 13 assault:

Hilbert argued about the Eagles with his classmates, who then used a hammer to nail him up by his clothes to a framed-out wall in a house the students were building along Old State Road in Oley Township.

Hilbert ripped his clothes to free himself while the others watched and laughed.

The 17-year-olds, all Boyertown High School seniors, and Trout, an Exeter High School senior, have been suspended for 10 days, officials said.

Hilbert said he and the other boys traded barbs over the two football teams.

“We weren't getting loud, then I figured it was over,” Hilbert said.

The other boys then lured Hilbert into the basement and scuffled with him, police said. They held him against the wall and nailed his clothes, investigators said.

Hilbert said he grew up around mostly Eagles fans, including his family.

“I guess I wanted to be the different one,” he said.

Hilbert's father, Gary L., said he and his wife, Paula K., are proud of the way their son handled the situation.

“The other students thought that by bullying him they could change his mind,” said the elder Hilbert, who added that he's an Eagles fan. “But he stood his ground, and both his mother and I are really proud of him for that.”

-----------------------------------------------------------


...all i know is it's a goddamn shame he wasn't a panthers fan. 'course, they may have really nailed him to the wall if he was....





1.23.2004

from the what the fuck? desk...

just a couple of neat, little republican tidbits....

first, from the washington post:

Probe of Intercepted Messages Focuses on Shelby
Justice Department Investigating Leak of Classified NSA Material Regarding Sept. 11 Attacks

By Dana Priest and Allan Lengel
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 22, 2004; Page A02


The Justice Department's 18-month investigation into the leak of classified intercepted messages is focusing on Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), who was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at the time of the disclosure, according to a law enforcement official and congressional sources.

A grand jury has been hearing information and has taken the testimony of at least two witnesses, including Shelby's former press secretary, sources said. The investigation centers on the disclosure in 2002 that the National Security Agency had intercepted two messages on the eve of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks signaling that something was to happen the next day. The cryptic messages were not translated until Sept. 12.

Shelby has since left the committee and is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. He said in a statement yesterday: "My position on this issue is clear and well-known: At no time during my career as a United States Senator and, more particularly, at no time during my service as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence have I ever knowingly compromised classified information.

"To my knowledge, the same can be said about my staff. We have provided the investigation with our full cooperation in the past, and we will continue to do so." The statement said Shelby has had no contact with investigators for more than a year.

Shelby's former press secretary, Andrea Andrews, has moved to Texas. Neither she nor her attorney could be reached to comment yesterday.

It was unclear yesterday how close the FBI is to concluding its investigation, or for how long it has focused on Shelby.

On June 19, 2002, CNN, citing "two congressional sources," quoted phrases contained in two classified NSA intercepts from Sept. 10, 2001, that hinted of an impending terrorist operation. The intercepts included the phrases "The match begins tomorrow" and "tomorrow is zero day." This information was revealed by NSA's director, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, during a closed session of a joint House-Senate panel investigating the Sept. 11 attacks.

At the time, Vice President Cheney chastised committee members publicly about the disclosure of sensitive information. Critics said the administration was trying to stop public disclosure of embarrassing information about the lapses in intelligence and security surrounding the attacks.

Cheney's criticism prompted the House and Senate intelligence committees to encourage an FBI investigation of themselves. Within two months, FBI agents had the phone records, appointment calendars and schedules of 17 senators and had questioned more than 100 people, including all 37 members of the committee and about 60 staff members.

The agents typically asked lawmakers and staff members if they were willing to take polygraph tests.

Meanwhile yesterday, Democratic members of key House committees said they were frustrated by a lack of information about another leak investigation: the FBI's probe of who disclosed the identity of a CIA case officer, Valerie Plame, who was undercover.

In December, seven members of the House asked the Justice Department for a progress report on the investigation, launched to find out who told columnist Robert D. Novak that Plame is a CIA officer. Plame is married to former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, a prominent critic of the administration's Iraq policies, who concluded during a 2002 CIA-sponsored mission to Africa that there was little evidence Saddam Hussein sought uranium there. Wilson says he believes his wife's identity was disclosed in retaliation for his public discussions of those findings.

Bush mentioned the alleged Africa-Iraq uranium connection in last year's State of the Union address as he built a case for going to war against Iraq. The CIA had warned the White House against using that assertion, and documents showing a Niger-Iraq link turned out to be forged.

Members of the House asked the Justice Department how many interviews had been conducted and how many remain to be scheduled. The lawmakers, some of whom said they fear the department is not pushing hard enough to resolve the matter, also wanted to know whether the Bush administration had turned over the documents requested.

The department, in a letter dated Jan. 13, declined to answer the questions, citing long-standing policy against revealing information during an investigation.

Yesterday, Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.), and the ranking members of the House International Relations, Judiciary and Government Reform committees, introduced a Resolution of Inquiry, an infrequently used device to compel the executive branch to turn over information to Congress.

The resolution will be introduced in four committees that share jurisdiction on the matter. If it is not voted down or acted upon by each committee within 14 days, Holt and his co-signers can take the matter to the floor. Holt said chances of the resolution passing are "slim" but "at least it raises the issue."

"I certainly don't want to compromise an ongoing investigation," he said. "I think this is a way of strengthening the backbone of investigators."

Co-signers include Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) of the International Relations Committee and Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) of the Government Reform Committee.


----------------------------------------------

no accountability. none. the message seems to be that they'll do whatever the fuck they want, and if that's a problem...well, go ahead and try to "out" us on it. no one will care, so what good will it do ya?



and then, this little number....from the AFL-CIO site:



Senate Bows to Bush—Workers’ Overtime at Risk


Jan. 22—Strong-armed by President George W. Bush, members of the U.S. Senate backed off a filibuster against a massive government spending bill. Bush had threatened to veto the bill if it included an overtime pay protection guarantee for the nation’s workers, and the Senate in December launched a filibuster to protest the lack of an overtime pay guarantee in the bill.

The 61–32 vote that ended the filibuster against the omnibus appropriations bill was one vote more than needed to meet the 60-vote threshold to shut off debate. Congressional backers of the overtime pay guarantee say they will find another legislative avenue to block the Bush administration’s changes in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that would cost 8 million workers their overtime pay protection under the FLSA.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says the fight against the Bush overtime pay protection elimination is far from over: Since the proposal was announced last year, workers have sent more than 1.5 million e-mails, letters, faxes and made phone calls to the White House, the Department of Labor and Congress protesting Bush’s attempt to take away overtime pay protections. In recent weeks, 300,000 workers signed online and hand-distributed petitions calling on Bush to withdraw his overtime take-away proposal, and since Jan. 16, more than 230,000 workers sent faxes to their senators urging them to support the filibuster and protect overtime. Those 230,000 messages were copied to the Bush White House.

The White House has set up a blocking system to prevent e-mails from union activist groups and other advocacy groups from being delivered to the White House e-mail system. Those sending the e-mail messages are not being notified that their messages are not getting through. The White House has not responded to requests for information about the e-mail blocking.

On Jan. 20, the Senate kept the filibuster alive by a 12-vote margin. But the Bush White House refused to back off its veto threat and Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), the third-ranking Republican senator, promised stubborn resistance to adding an overtime pay guarantee to the bill. “We are not changing this bill, period,” he said.

-------------------------------------

message here is pretty clear, huh? especially the strong segment...call/email/protest/scream all you want, we don't care! we're not listening to you!

it's fuckin' sad to think of our leadership as eddie murphy in beverly hills cop, running away from paul reiser, through the locker room with his hands cupped over his ears, singing "la la la la la...i am not listening to jeffrey...la la la la...."


our at-large population should be absolutely furious about this shit.

aaaah, well...who's gettin' voted off the island this week?

i really gotta start thinking seriously about gettin' the hell outta here.



1.21.2004

pc's, politics, and lowell george's ghost

now playing: james gang, "walk away"

so today, i'm paying for last night's incompetence.

i finished putting together what should have been my PC-building masterpiece - the last hurdle to clear in order to render the studio completely operational - and it would not power up. there was power to the motherboard, but the machine wouldn't actually boot up - hitting the power switch yielded no results. i spent at least three hours on it last night and the net result, as of now, is a goose egg. i gotta get this thing up and running, man. i need it to be workin'.

i'm building one identical to the one i just built for blake, and i want to know that it's not an issue that's gonna replicate itself outside of the case it sits in...and the machine that used to inhabit this case ran just fine in there. so i'm on edge a bit about the whole computer mess...which will remain a mess until such time as i manage to get home later tonight. sheesh.

i'm having lunch tomorrow with a representative of the company that i mentioned some time back...the company that might take me on as a consultant of sorts. it seems that she has some opinions about the current state of their IT department that she'd rather not relay until she meets with me face to face...which is understandable, i suppose. color me intrigued.

having taken yesterday off due to an unnatural preoccupation with spending as much time as possible in the bathroom, i find myself approaching the tail end of midweek completely overwhelmed with work - three laptops that need to be completely configured and ready to fly by friday morning...which gives me exactly one working day, after today, to make that happen. add to that three machines that need my attention, and a laptop that refuses to boot and has left a user stranded without a machine, and you have the makings of an occupational nightmare.

i'm gonna be a little preoccupied for a few days.

so the iowa caucuses have come and gone, and it appears the self-destruction of howard dean has begun...new hampshire is creeping up on us, and john kerry is surging, donations pouring in...and a few days ago, no one would have predicted any of this. i'm still not sure what to make of it. i'd personally love to live in a world in which dennis kucinich would be a serious, viable candidate for president, but i think the reality of the situation is that we don't deserve him. the american population at large is too apathetically bloated and selfish and disconnected from the rest of the world to benefit from a kucinich presidency.

not when there's a new season of american idol getting underway, and the survivor all star season coming up in a couple of weeks.

pass the fuckin' doritos.

hmmm...i guess i do know what i make of it, after all.

other sites are analyzing the content of the state of the union address with far more detail than i personally care to go into...stop by at left of the aisle or patriot watch or collective sigh or alternet for an indepth ridiculing of our unelected president and his tirade last evening...i will say that i laughed out loud when he read from the teleprompter, "the patriot act is due to expire this year" to the unfettered applause of the democratic side of the congress...the look on his face at that moment was worth sitting through the rest of the speech.

i guarantee that the individual responsible for leaving that window of opportunity in the speech is filling out the insta-applications at fast food joints this morning.

also: click on the capital games link across the way to read david corns' take on the address...always insightful, and always able to spot a fabrication or a spin a mile away.

in other news...

between swings at the snooze button, i dreamt this morning that i was learning slide guitar tricks from lowell george's ghost, and the only person who could see or talk to him was me. we were in my grandfather's old house back in tennessee, and he was playing one of my stratocasters that i have set up specifically for slide, and i was trying to get him to listen to a tape i had made, but he kept saying, "it don't matter, man. it don't matter. here. just do this..." and he'd rip off a lick that would just sound amazing, and then he'd hand me the guitar and the 3/4 socket that he'd been wearing on his left hand, and i'd play something that sounded just like what he'd just played and then try again to get him to listen to this tape...i have no idea what was on the tape, but it was mighty important to me that he hear it.

lowell was an absolute monster on slide guitar...if you've never, for whatever reason, been exposed to little feat, you owe it to yourself. they spawned an entire branch of the rock and roll stylistic tree. no shit. and lowell was the driver of the truck.

"I can't find a soul who'll take on this mess
It's those rock and roll hours, early graves without flowers
Please, please darlin' put my mind at rest
I'm beggin' please darlin' put my mind at rest..."



stop back by anytime, lowell. i usually set my alarm for around six...




1.19.2004

as i predicted....

now playing: NFL primetime

so....

how 'bout them philadelphia heimlichs?

i knew they wouldn't let me down. what a bunch of losers.

this is why i don't root for my home team. premeditated disappointment.




1.16.2004

cold, thin air

now playing: joni mitchell, "a case of you"

came in this morning and immediately loaded up the trusty mp3 jukebox with about 3 1/2 hours' worth of joni. i think it's gonna be that kind of day/night.

the entire northeast is frozen solid this week - should make for some interesting football matchups this weekend, to say the least...it'll be interesting to see how the colts' self-important quarterback holds up in this...he was pouting on the sideline during the final quarter of the last meetup between the pats and his team, and while it'll be tight, i think the pats have the advantage. the colts' punter, who has yet to punt at all during this years' playoffs, will definitely see some action.

we won't even go into the fate that awaits the philadelphia heimlichs...

it's not as cold here as it is there, where pictures are surfacing on the internet of icicles hanging down from ceilings of houses freshly extinguished by firefighters, but it's plenty cold for most peoples' taste. the air is brittle and harsh, and the wind at night is pretty intense - i drove jayda and her boyfriend last night to drop him off at his house and even at that hour (9pm) the wind was pretty fierce. i was up late (doing dishes and laundry, and playing with my new toy and i could hear it picking up steam into the early morning hours...crazy.

today could well be the longest workday of my week - and that's taking into consideration my fourteen hour day on tuesday. i have eighteen machines to prepare for deployment today, and a couple of repairs to fit into this same period of time...insane. just insane.

but thursdays' paycheck will be a welcome reward for all the crap i've gone through the past couple of weeks...i have some debts to atone for. enough, in fact, that i probably wouldn't flinch at another two weeks like these if circumstances made it necessary. nor will i flinch at the thought of not getting out of bed tomorrow until well past my usual weekday hour...i'm abandoning my usual practice of beating myself up for sleeping in on the weekends. i have things i want to do this weekend, but i'm not going to torture myself if they don't get done. i'm expecting my buddy mitch to come out this weekend for the stone road show tomorrow night and stay for football on sunday...he's such a blast to have around. just the fact that he's in the room makes the air thinner...and my house could stand for the air to be thinner lately.






1.14.2004

most likely to mislead a nation into war....

now playing: willy porter, "infinity"

(have i mentioned that i love this song?)


i think i need to make a personal commitment to ignore all news outlets until late in the evening, perhaps...maybe that would alleviate the perpetual looming funk of the past week, thus far.

i just can't figure this shit out.

according to a recent CNN article, "two thirds of americans think president bush has the right personal qualities for the presidency"...

what the fuck, over?

what qualities would those be? an intense personal distaste for the truth? sneakiness? cronyism? fiscal irresponsibility? what? WHAT?

he obviously doesn't think that we're carrying enough debt yet....

as God is my witness, i have no fucking idea what goes on in peoples' heads anymore.

pair this with fuckin' paul o'neill tripping all over himself to try and quell the storm of controversy tripped off by what he represented as a sincere professional opinion...i just can't listen to much more of this shit.

so i'm takin' a break from it for a couple of days. before i hurt somebody.

stone road gigs coming up - this saturday and next. this sunday, the philadelphia heimlichs will continue their tradition of throwing the NFC championship game...already looking forward to a Panthers/Patriots super bowl.

fellow guitarists: you absolutely have to check out guitar port. i plugged mine into my downstairs computer last night when it arrived and couldn't believe how it sounded through my $25 computer speakers and my $6 headphones that reside downstairs. once the studio PC is rebuilt and I can move it up there, i can't imagine how it's gonna sound...the amp and cabinet models are pretty amazing.

and i can probably officially stop worrying about setting off any neighborly confrontations at this point, due to noise from the studio....

....although there's still the drum issue....





1.13.2004

i didn't mean to say it, but i meant what i said....*

now playing: james taylor, "believe it or not"



you know, just once....just once - it'd be nice if somebody in a position of alleged importance could open their mouth without feeling like they had to backpedal and apologize all over themselves as if they had no idea that what they said would arouse a little controversy.

and i'll tell ya another thing.

much as you may hate to hear it, howard dean was right when he said that in order to win, he needed to be the candidate for the guy with the confederate flag on his truck. and i lost a healthy amount of respect for him when he apologized for having said it, to be honest.

where are the courage of your convictions? or is it that you have no real convictions?

gettin' pretty irate around here lately....maybe i should take a day or two off....


*quoted from james mcmurtry's "too long in the wasteland"



bush in 30 seconds

now playing: dan fogelberg, "to the morning"

i actually went to bed at 10:30 last night. go figure.

out of frustration, somewhat, as i had been tuned in to the bush in 30 seconds webcast, but lost my connection and couldn't re-establish it after almost 15 minutes of trying. i'm not sure if i've made my peace with the winner yet, but i can understand what i perceive to be their reasons for picking it...it does make a point that sidesteps the issue of beleaguering the iraq war, taking bush to task for the deficit as opposed to some of the harder-hitting ads that made the final cut. my personal choice would've been this one or more likely, this one. you can watch the second one with the sound off and still get the full impact. goosebumps.

with every day that passes by, it becomes just that much more obvious to me that the vast majority of the populace has turned a completely blind eye to what's going on in this country. the new book that paul o'neill figures so heavily in potentially confirms what so many of us have suspected to be truth all along, regarding agendas in the bush administration...no one in the know has seen fit to deny any of his statements, but instead are gearing up for a probe to investigate whether or not he compromised classified information in going public.

well, let's just hope that this particular witch hunt moves with the expediency of the valerie plame leak investigation. i'm sure we'll have him nailed to the wall in no time.

yep...divert their attention to the matter of whether classified information was leaked or not. because, hell, we all know that none of 'em even remember that whole Plume business - if they ever knew about it at all! goddamn, i love it when a plan comes together....we make a big enough stink to make him look like a laid-off postal worker, the hordes will completely ignore the fact that we didn't bother to deny any of it...yeeeeeHAW!

perhaps it'd just 'wouldn't be prudent at this juncture' (as Dana Carvey's GB Sr. would say) to go around denying o'neills' allegations this soon after none other than colin powell himself made some pretty damning statements regarding our misleading motives for war. in fact, as late as february 2001, powell himself stated that iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.


oh, fuck all that, anyway. 'survivor all-star' premieres right after the superbowl, yo!

i have to be at work tomorrow morning at five in the morning. we just had a major power outage that severely weakened the relays in the breaker box that supplies power to the server closet here, and that's when we're scheduling the replacement of it. as it stands, i already have an apparent corrupt MAS200 installation on a server as a result of today's outage. that'd be lovely, huh? be at work all night tonight and have to be back at five in the morning.

i had almost seventy hours in last week. i bet i beat that mark this week.






1.09.2004

vacancy

now playing: marty higgins, "drivin' her home"


i just wrote a huge entry and went back and deleted it before i even posted it. it just all sounded like bullshit...like i was writing for the sake of writing and not because i had anything to say.

and i guess i'm telling you this because there may be some merit in you knowing that i just don't really have anything pressing on my mind that warrants sharing.

i think i'm just gonna sit here and stomp through the remaining work i have for the day and listen to my buddy marty for a while...and then go home and go to bed early. i'm not feeling terribly chatty, or terribly social, or much at all like continuing to be "on call" tonight. maybe i'll read a book or listen to some music and pretend that the lion's share of the rest of the world doesn't exist.

until tomorrow, when i can no longer ignore it.







1.08.2004

let me in, immigration man...*

now playing: shawn colvin and dave matthews, "eleanor"



out of some sinister curiosity, i sat down in front of the tv last night and flipped back and forth between hardball and the o'reilly smackdown, which was especially convienent since our cable system has msnbc and fox news exiled next to each other on concurrent channels.

understand that this was necessary, in my mind, because i wanted to know how his droids were going to react to his immigration ploy. i was a little surprised, actually, to see that they weren't terribly pleased...o'reilly, especially, was pretty harsh (cue gomer pyle: suhPRIZE suhPRIZE suhPRIZE!) - and chris matthews had the patron saint of disgruntledness, pat buchanan, on as a guest. (speaking of buchanan, does anyone remember this buchanan article that came out just before the war in iraq?)

matthews also had former JFK defense secretary robert macnamara on...talk about someone who knows how to skirt offering an opinion, man...

anyway, i did eventually go to bed. i'm not sleepin' much lately.

jayda - if you're reading this, you must click here and read through these. i immediately thought of you when i saw this, you could have written these yourself...well, you and jhonen vasquez could have probably collaborated on them, anyway.

(the rest of you may feel free as to click away as well...you just might not find them as funny as we would...)

entries are short lately due to some serious multitasking that seems to have taken over my life and work...hope to soon escape "random thoughts" mode.



*from the song of the same name by graham nash





1.07.2004

my grandfathers' AM radio revisited

now playing: david lindley, "turning point"


had our first "quin-less" stone road practice last night, and started charting out new material for the next round of gigs. also, quin committed to doing the valentines' day gig we have on the books as well. darryl may have a conflict with a gig we have booked in march, but that hasn't fleshed itself out yet. adding more gigs this month as well.

when i was a kid, growing up in tennessee, i vividly remember listening to paul harvey on the radio all the time. i was a big fan of his afternoon program, "the rest of the story" - it always told an intriguing story that ultimately involved a strange twist in the life of someone famous, or had some form of a head-scratching ending. good memories.

i used to have a book, a collection of those stories, that vanished along with an ex-fiance some years ago, but i was reminded of a story in that book a while back and went looking for another copy and couldn't find one...yet. it is, of course, a saved search on eBay now. i went to his website today, though, and had to chuckle at the fact that his cyberhome touts him as "the voice of the new millenium" - sorry, man. the sound of your voice will automatically conjure 1975 or so to me.

i did click on the "listen using windows media player" button, though, and listened in for a while - i don't remember there being so much commercial content back in the day, somehow.

hello americans, this is paul harvey - stand by for news! blah blah water heater blah blah occular nutrition blah blah toll free number etc blah etc...

in my movements around the web today, i went against my better judgement (but adhered to my personal credo to allot an open mind to opposing points of view) and clicked on one of the recent updates to a blog...and found this entry, which...of course, prompted me to read this to see what he was talking about...

it amazes me sometimes - the lengths some people will go to in defense of the indefensive.

talk about "askin' to get smacked around"....

ah, well...must get to work here.




1.06.2004

goodbye, tug.

now playing: david crosby, "laughing"


Rest in peace, tug mcgraw.

last time i saw tug was the last time a lot of us saw him...getting out of the car to walk to the pitchers' mound at the closing ceremonies at veterans stadium. there wasn't a dry eye in the house, man. or at least not on the sofa.

you definitely left your mark, man. thanks for the memories.





the S word? saddam? shock and awe? no, wait....

now playing: nik everett, "love equals blue"


my buddy at collective sigh beat me to the punch at posting this, but i link to it here for your convienence....

...i'm still giggling.





1.05.2004

times are hard for dreamers

now playing: poco, "midnight rain"


did i say something yesterday about being optimistic?

had a long (almost two hour) conversation last night with quin, the hammond organ player in one of my bands, stone road. he's been having some health problems and has been overrun with his business lately...and as such, he's taking a leave of absence for a couple of months.

all this time, i'd been looking forward to getting through the glut of gigs that we had at the end of the year so that we could get back into a regular rehearsal schedule for a month or so and start tightening some screws, but this serves to delay that process somewhat. in some ways, it needn't do so, as donnie and i have some serious work in front of us to tighten up the interplay between us - and this need not affect that. i just have this perception that this reflects a dissipating of motivation on quin's part, although that never really felt apparent during our conversation last night at all - he was pretty straightforward with regards to what was going on with him, and i respect that. after all, it's a leave of absence, no notice was given. it's just hard for me not to take this personally, that's all - because so often, when someone leaves a band, that's all it's about...personalities. i've often said that putting a band together is similar to getting married several times over, because being in a band with someone is a pretty intense relationship...in my mind, anyway. i know that to someone who hasn't experienced this, it probably sounds trite or melodramatic, but i think it's true. in order to do your best work with other musicians in that particular setting, you really have to have the proper circuits open between everyone. this isn't to say that i can't walk into a situation with a handful of guys that i've never played with before and do my thing...i can.

i guess this is where my marriage analogy really bears fruit...you can walk into a bar and pick someone up and follow through and you'll most likely have had a pretty good time at the end of the night, when the dust settles...but there's something that you gain via the familiarity of a companion - an understanding of each other, of what and what not to say, of what works and what doesn't...and you form a common bond that outshines the temporary form over time.

i really feel like i have that with this group of guys...quin included. which is probably why it's hard to keep from taking this personally. i just have to remind myself that it's a leave of absence.

he's our secret weapon, though. no one else does what he does.

there's no replacing him. actually, if i think about it...

right now, there's no replacing anyone in this band, should anything go south for whatever reason.

arrogantly, i've always thought that my perfect band would be a clone of myself on every instrument. i think, though, that this band may be about as good as it's possible to get at what it is that we do. i've had a number of conversations with my buddy mitch about this - about appreciating what it is that we have, and relishing it when the opportunity presents itself...mitch was there for our last show together for the foreseeable future, and i'm glad that i can say that.

we'll miss ya, quin. hurry back, brother.

we'll keep your bench warm.

*********************************************************************


came up to bed last night at around 1:30 am, and amelie was on tv when i came into the bedroom...why is this movie never on at a decent hour?

i love the conversation between nino and the man (men) in the picture on the card that amelie left on his bike...one of my favorite scenes in the movie.








*********************************************************************


oh, and the jodi album project, discussed last month, is back on again - now that the distractions of the holidays are behind us...her song list has changed a few dozen times, and i think that what's gonna happen is that we're gonna move ahead with getting together and just rolling tape and recording whatever feels best, and working further on the ones that call out to be worked out past that. I'm thinking of it as the Johnny Cash Method, for the moment.

i've all but decided that i'm going to do an albums' worth of john gorka songs. whether they'll actually make it onto a disc or not is unlikely, save for a few one-offs for friends here and there, but that was probably a safe assumption to begin with.

of course, this time tomorrow i may blow that off, too.



1.04.2004

a far too typical sunday

now playing: chris whitley, "big sky country"

i'll tell ya what, some days i could go without looking at a PC. this is shaping up to be one of them.

i have a machine in front of me that i really wanted to deliver tonight...it's an upgrade project (i'm not typically fond of upgrade projects to begin with), and it's become a stubborn upgrade project. i suppose i shouldn't bitch, because these projects go my way far more often than they don't, but my personally-enforced delivery date is looming over my head, and i'd really like to get paid for this before the bank opens tomorrow, so that i may please Our Benevolent Lady Of The Rent Payment. the combination of christmas and the skewered manner in which our paychecks are delivered this time of year have joined forces to constrict my cashflow somewhat. it's purely a temporary situation...'specially if i manage to deliver this pitifully confused machine that i'm trying to upgrade.

i shall prevail, though. i generally do.

i have the technology.

i think that i'm actually in a good place to make some financial headway this month, actually...i have a couple of things that have been hanging over my head for some time that i'm going to get out of the way this month, and as i've been dealing with the glut of indie computer work that's come my way, i may be in a pretty good place by the middle of the month to take care of a few things.

right after the holidays is a strange time for optimism, for me, but there ya have it.

dylan is making huge strides in both his guitar and bass playing lately. he's learning songs now, and is learning how to voice chords on guitar and note substitution on the bass...if he continues to show this much enthusiasm down the stretch, he may become quite a player. it's good to see him inspired. when i came downstairs this morning, he was sitting on the sofa with one of my guitars on, playing "smoke on the water". i also taught him john mcvies' bass run that opens the closing section of "the chain" earlier this past week, and he's pretty much mastered that by now, too. he has a tendency to get frustrated with himself when it doesn't come to him as quickly as he'd like for it to, but i'm trying to gently push him past that. that particular brand of frustration is dangerous...because you have to get past it in order to get to a point as a player where things come quickly enough to avoid that kind of frustration in the first place.

yesterday, i bought a guitar port for the studio that i think we'll both be sharing - i wasn't completely sold on it as a recording tool, but it kicks ass as an educational tool...and i feel as though i've been stuck in a rut for some time now, and i think it'll be great for dylan, now that he's starting to show some motivation. i also bought a behringer V-amp for recording, as it seems to be modeled more towards studio use. i'm avoiding the POD until i see what the guitar port sounds like. this isn't stuff that i would typically even consider using, but the confines of my studio make it somewhat impractical to record blaring guitar amps in the traditional manner there...i have folks on either side of me who'd be oblivious simply by removing their hearing aids, but that doesn't address the uncomfortability factor involved in making that much noise in a suburban area such as that where i live.

couldn't do much for my playing, that's for sure. i don't handle awkwardness well.

dylan sure did look comfortable, man...wearin' his eddie george jersey from last night with that PRS slung over his shoulder. once he gets it, look out.


late breaking news (as per CNNSI): green bay and seattle are going into overtime tied at 27.





1.02.2004

deja vu?

now playing: fleetwood mac, "beautiful child"

this post, from berry's world, made some leeway in cheering me up earlier tonight:

WE, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, BEING OF SOUND MIND AND BODY...

BuzzFlash steers us to a story advising Democrats to, bascially, start making out our will, as we are in for an ass-whupping come the general election. Some excerpts:

'This is a year of turmoil and terror in the Democratic Party: Their likely presidential nominee battered, bloodied, and ridiculed even before the general election has begun...'

'Rarely, in contemporary American politics, has a prospective Democratic presidential standard-bearer emerged successfully from his early primaries burdened by so many deep public doubts about his character within his own party.'

'In over three decades of political reporting, I cannot recall a time when some of the Democratic Party's senior strategists and adviser have spoken with such brutal candor about their likely nominee and his perceived weaknesses.'

'Indeed, many Democrats fear that their primaries are about to deliver to them "the worst of all worlds, a bleeding front-runner stumbling over the finish line" to receive the Democratic presidential nomination. (Democratic consultant David) Sawyer said.'


Gosh, are things really so gloomy? Is all hope lost?

Not when you consider the story was written by Donald Lambro in June of 1992, and the hopeless Democratic candidate was a fella by the name of Bill Clinton.

**end quote**


as dubya's daddy showed us then, a lot can happen in less than a year, where public opinion is concerned.

we sure are a fickle lot....thank god.




lazy

now playing: aunt pat, "saddest cowgirl"


so after today, there's the weekend, and then it's back to the usual day-to-day.

i don't know that i really got much of a sense of being aware of the holidays at all this year, save for christmas eve, during my traditional "buy a bottle of champagne and stay up wrapping all the kids' presents while watching 'it's a wonderful life' and the alastair sim version of 'a christmas carol' on tv" routine. that was about it, really.

last night, i found myself in the studio, listening to some history and digging up old mixes from "our mutual angels"...turned out to be interesting. i heard some things that were ultimately left out of the final mixes that were intriguing, and some of the songs actually sounded better in rawer form than they did on the album. one song, "is that enough", specifically suffered at the hands of some pretty ruthless edits. an entire verse was left out, and a nice little instrumental transition as well. but, ya know....whaddayagonnado?

independent side work keeps pouring in - which is great. i never got the callback regarding the consulting gig that could still be up in the air, for all i know....this time of year is pretty chaotic for trying to deal with situations like this, with key people being indisposed at various times. i'll give it a week or so before i resign myself to considering it a good idea that never moved past the discussion stage.

i'm starting this weekend with my usual high hopes and to-be-dashed-at-a-later-date expectations regarding what i'd like to get done...the odds are against me, considering that it's wild card weekend and that there are two games a piece on saturday and sunday, and i'm recognizing this fact now, as i make my plans to rearrange the basement and move stuff down from the regular quarters and work on tracks for blake's record. so i guess i'll just acknowledge right now that my weekend will probably consist of sleeping too much and lounging in front of the tv watching football.

every time i use the word "lazy" to describe myself to anyone who knows me, i get this look of disbelief, as if i'd just grown a foot long tree out of my forehead. no one i know thinks of me as lazy but myself....well, probably my kids from time to time...i'll have to ask them. i feel lazy when i know that my plate is full, but i choose to utilize downtime instead of being responsible and getting the work done. maybe it's a combination of laziness and procrastination.

when i say this to friends, though, they see a guy hustling from work to people's houses to do computer work and then going home to pick up guitars to rush to a gig and back home to sleep a few hours before getting up and going right back out there to do it again...and perhaps lazy doesn't present itself as an adjective for good reason, but i have a tendency to feel guilty if there's a project on the table and i'm not working on it for whatever reason.

this weekend, with all that i have to do, i think the word 'lazy' may very well make a cameo appearance.