7.30.2004

yeah, yeah, i know...unscientific...i hear ya....

now playing: poco, "indian summer"



i can't help but wonder if anyone besides me pays attention to such things...i know i've posted about these before, but these two seem somewhat encouraging:
























"there's somethin' happenin' here...
what it is ain't exactly clear...."






of purse-sized desks....

now playing: poco, "ride the country"



a couple of things regarding my favorite news show:



* note to Tom Brokaw: why i get my hard news from the daily show

* daily show ratings squash fox news, msnbc

* critics prefer their news from comedy central



here's the original post from collective sigh that tipped me off to the award.


here's a complete list of winners from the television critics' association for this year.



this is hugely indicative of the shambles that network news has become.





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.



krugman today

now playing: chuck mangione, "feels so good"



i've been scolded in the past for reprinting articles in their entirety here, but Krugman's article from todays new york times is simply too eloquent not to reprint here....



Triumph of the Trivial
By PAUL KRUGMAN

Under the headline "Voters Want Specifics From Kerry," The Washington Post recently quoted a voter demanding that John Kerry and John Edwards talk about "what they plan on doing about health care for middle-income or lower-income people. I have to face the fact that I will never be able to have health insurance, the way things are now. And these millionaires don't seem to address that."

Mr. Kerry proposes spending $650 billion extending health insurance to lower- and middle-income families. Whether you approve or not, you can't say he hasn't addressed the issue. Why hasn't this voter heard about it?

Well, I've been reading 60 days' worth of transcripts from the places four out of five Americans cite as where they usually get their news: the major cable and broadcast TV networks. Never mind the details - I couldn't even find a clear statement that Mr. Kerry wants to roll back recent high-income tax cuts and use the money to cover most of the uninsured. When reports mentioned the Kerry plan at all, it was usually horse race analysis - how it's playing, not what's in it.

On the other hand, everyone knows that Teresa Heinz Kerry told someone to "shove it," though even there, the context was missing. Except for a brief reference on MSNBC, none of the transcripts I've read mention that the target of her ire works for Richard Mellon Scaife, a billionaire who financed smear campaigns against the Clintons - including accusations of murder. (CNN did mention Mr. Scaife on its Web site, but described him only as a donor to "conservative causes.") And viewers learned nothing about Mr. Scaife's long vendetta against Mrs. Heinz Kerry herself.

There are two issues here, trivialization and bias, but they're related.

Somewhere along the line, TV news stopped reporting on candidates' policies, and turned instead to trivia that supposedly reveal their personalities. We hear about Mr. Kerry's haircuts, not his health care proposals. We hear about George Bush's brush-cutting, not his environmental policies.

Even on its own terms, such reporting often gets it wrong, because journalists aren't especially good at judging character. ("He is, above all, a moralist," wrote George Will about Jack Ryan, the Illinois Senate candidate who dropped out after embarrassing sex-club questions.) And the character issues that dominate today's reporting have historically had no bearing on leadership qualities. While planning D-Day, Dwight Eisenhower had a close, though possibly platonic, relationship with his female driver. Should that have barred him from the White House?

And since campaign coverage as celebrity profiling has no rules, it offers ample scope for biased reporting.

Notice the voter's reference to "these millionaires." A Columbia Journalism Review Web site called campaigndesk.org, says its analysis "reveals a press prone to needlessly introduce Senators Kerry and Edwards and Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, as millionaires or billionaires, without similar labels for President Bush or Vice President Cheney."

As the site points out, the Bush campaign has been "hammering away with talking points casting Kerry as out of the mainstream because of his wealth, hoping to influence press coverage." The campaign isn't claiming that Mr. Kerry's policies favor the rich - they manifestly don't, while Mr. Bush's manifestly do. Instead, we're supposed to dislike Mr. Kerry simply because he's wealthy (and not notice that his opponent is, too). Republicans, of all people, are practicing the politics of envy, and the media obediently go along.

In short, the triumph of the trivial is not a trivial matter. The failure of TV news to inform the public about the policy proposals of this year's presidential candidates is, in its own way, as serious a journalistic betrayal as the failure to raise questions about the rush to invade Iraq.

P.S.: Another story you may not see on TV: Jeb Bush insists that electronic voting machines are perfectly reliable, but The St. Petersburg Times says the Republican Party of Florida has sent out a flier urging supporters to use absentee ballots because the machines lack a paper trail and cannot "verify your vote."

P.P.S.: Three weeks ago, The New Republic reported that the Bush administration was pressuring Pakistan to announce a major terrorist capture during the Democratic convention. Hours before Mr. Kerry's acceptance speech, Pakistan announced, several days after the fact, that it had apprehended an important Al Qaeda operative.





7.29.2004

surprise, surprise, surprise...

now playing: david crosby, "song with no words (tree with no leaves)


i know, i know...maybe a bit much for one day...but i'll tell ya what, man...this is just too much shit for one fan to handle, as one of the commenters on Kos' blog mentioned....

apparently, the bush camp says that if you don't like your job, you should either just get a new one, or go on prozac...


also, if you're tuned into the same channels as i tend to travel in, you've probably heard the term "july surprise" by now...

well, guess what...

the pakistanis came through with their HVT...but they got the guy "a few days ago". we are, however, just hearing about it on the last day of the DNC.


nothing surprises me anymore. nothing.


(those not in the know, google "july surprise" and click on a few links...don't eat anything for a couple of hours beforehand, though. i won't be responsible for any resulting grossness.)


i'm going straight to johnkerry.com and donating $50 to his campaign to celebrate the fact that this vicious killer is off the streets and in custody.







holy shit. no, really. holy shit.

now playing: dan fogelberg, "illinois"


i'm not familiar with this site, so i don't know its credentials and there are a lot of unnamed sources quoted in here, but...well, holy shit.


From Capitol Hill Blue:


Bush Using Drugs to Control Depression, Erratic Behavior

By TERESA HAMPTON (editors note: no relation)
Editor, Capitol Hill Blue
Jul 28, 2004, 08:09

President George W. Bush is taking powerful anti-depressant drugs to control his erratic behavior, depression and paranoia, Capitol Hill Blue has learned.

The prescription drugs, administered by Col. Richard J. Tubb, the White House physician, can impair the President’s mental faculties and decrease both his physical capabilities and his ability to respond to a crisis, administration aides admit privately.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” says one aide. “We can’t have him flying off the handle at the slightest provocation but we also need a President who is alert mentally.”

Tubb prescribed the anti-depressants after a clearly-upset Bush stormed off stage on July 8, refusing to answer reporters' questions about his relationship with indicted Enron executive Kenneth J. Lay.

“Keep those motherfuckers away from me,” he screamed at an aide backstage. “If you can’t, I’ll find someone who can.”



click here for entire article....


i've heard rumblings similar to this for some time...how staffers at the white house are referring to bush and ashcroft as the Blues Brothers because they're "on a mission from God" and such...and i heard about justin franks' book some time back...

but get those motherfuckers away from me?











right this way, mr. president...the sunset is right behind the curtain...that's it, just keep walking....








speaking of what 'i heard'....

now playing: jackson browne, "hold on hold out"



so my daughter was absolutely brilliant last night.


last night was her awards banquet/talent show that i mentioned before...she won two separate academic awards in algebra (WTF? who knew?) and in composition/literature. i do plan to follow through on my threat to post her essay here as soon as i get my hands on it in digital form....it's amazing work for someone her age. hell, it's pretty damn good for someone of any age, based on some of what i see in my cybertravels.

she sang a song that she wrote with one of the tutor/counselors (tc's) for the talent show, and the place went nuts. i do wish that the guy running the show would've mentioned that they wrote the song together, but i think that most of the kids knew that already.

she was in her element last night - i gave her the videocamera (her videocamera, after all) during dinner and she was going from table to table, interviewing the other kids...she had a smile on her face all night long, cheering and screaming when her friends got awards...there was a "students and staff only" dance afterwards, and i was threatening to stay for it, much to her dismay - but i relented and left when the ceremony was over.

she and i were cracking up for most of the night...early on, during dinner, she was pouring tea into her glass and said, "i'm not very good at this pouring stuff", which i heard as "i'm not very good at this porn stuff"...

then later, during the awards themselves, she leaned over as a girl got up to accept an award, followed by a young man who had been called right after her...she said to me, "that's her boyfriend, but they're not allowed to see each other because her mom doesn't allow her to have boyfriends..."

which i heard as, "that's her boyfriend, but they're not allowed to sleep together because her mom doesn't allow her to have boyfriends...."


now whether it's entirely faulty, rock-and-roll hearing or parental paranoia is open to debate, i guess...but my guess is that it's probably a mixture of the two.


great time, though...even enjoyed the ride there and back with Mom.






'i heard' and 'people are saying'....

now playing: jennifer warnes, "shot through the heart"



so i got the email in question here the other day...i'm sure some of you got it too. my ex-girlfriend sent it to me, someone whos' no fan of the current administration - thus my surprise in getting it from that direction.

but the good folks at sadly, no got the same email...and took the time to issue some great responses to the points shabbily made in it.

put a smile on my face this morning.



there's a forum that i belong to that started a presidential poll recently that has bush ahead of kerry by a margin of two to one...although i think that's heavily indicative of the demographic that participates in it...i got a good old fashioned flaming there some months ago when the subject of iraq came up and i dared to speak my mind about it, and in the time since, i've laid off posting almost entirely, and only lurk once in a while...but this poll showed up, and someone actually posted that the democratic party had endorsed the communist and socialist parties, and i had to open my mouth and ask for a source on that one. the only reply thus far has been a post declaring that "it's 100% true" and nothing more.


i continue to be amazed at peoples' blind willingness to believe anything they hear.


i mean, it's not that different from the mob mentality that arose around king herod and pontius pilate and allowed themselves to be goaded into screaming for barabbas' release, thus sending jesus christ to the cross for his crimes against the church.


hitler said that if you make the lie big enough and repeat it often enough, it will become the truth.



i mean seriously, come on...who would believe some shit like that?


this asked incredulously from someone who, in the wake of 9/11, listened to a friend as he swore up and down that the FBI had stormed a local restaurant owned by a man of saudi descent and had taken the kitchen help into custody, even though nary a word of this came up in any of the local media...but he heard it from a friend who knew the guy who sells them their restaurant supplies.


i love my country, but i'm not feeling very proud of it at the moment.


i'm keeping my fingers crossed that the real purveyors of hate in this country get their hats handed to them in a few months.










7.27.2004

papa flip-flopper

now playing: andrew gold, "lonely boy"


so the first night of the convention is over...i spent last night (once i finally managed to get home, more on that coming up) flipping back and forth between as many different coverages as i could - MSNBC, CNN, PBS, and yeah...Fox.

i felt energized by clintons' speech, and wished out loud he'd been that passionate when he was in office. i don't remember him ever speaking that intensely. of course, i'm a lot more sensitive to this particular arena than i was then.

i got a kick out of the whackjob that chris matthews pulled off the street to talk to, who said, essentially, that "kerry is too much of a flip flopper...and bush might make mistakes, he might be wrong, but he sticks to his guns, and that's cool."


i just sat there next to my son on the sofa, stunned.


this is to say that if someone is dead wrong about something, that they've made an obvious mistake on an issue, that the more desirable reaction is to ignore the fact that you were wrong and continue beating the drum like you always have? that to ignore your fallibility and stick your chest out and insist that you're staying the course is preferable over admitting the error of your ways and adjusting your position?


god-DAMN, we sure are a country of idiots.


i also got my moneys' worth in the "afterhours" coverage on msnbc, with ron reagan (whom i'm developing a sincere admiration for) sitting next to joe scarborough and his undiagnosed-downs'-syndrome-like head. it got interesting when talk turned to michael moore and fahrenheit 911...you could see the vein in scarborough's neck starting to stand up when ron reagan first spoke to moore directly, and then discussed the film after the interview. reagan said to him, "i think that people take the comedic moments with a grain of salt...no one's going to remember moore circling the capitol reading the patriot act when they walk into the voting booth, but the most damaging portions of the movie are when he lets george w. bush, john ashcroft, donald rumsfeld, condoleeza rice speak...the footage of them, in their own words, is the most damaging part of the film."

then, of course, the scarborough sewage duct opened up full throttle for a few seconds...just long enough to get to a commercial without any rebuttals or opposing viewpoints. timing is everything.

moore said that he gets over 6000 emails a day, and a lot of them start with, "i've never voted before, BUT...", or "i voted for bush last time, BUT..."


i'm going to try to watch as much of the convention as i can, between unpacking, awards dinners, and visitors from out of state...and i'll try to watch the republican convention as well, although that just seems like premeditated rage-mongering on my part - but i will. i can't not, i think.


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


i scrambled from work last night to get to keith amos' shop to pick up a pair of guitars that i sold recently from my own collection and make it to a rendevous with the buyer on time. i went to pick dylan up first, so he could come along.

the guy who bought the guitar - Vic - what a guy. he moved here from manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11 - he said that his wife had been trying to get him to move here for quite some time before that, but 9/11 sewed it up for him...he was buying the guitar for his daughter, who is becoming a beatles fanatic. anyway, we had a great conversation there in the parking lot, for half an hour or so...nice guy.


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


tomorrow night is jayda's upward bound awards ceremony/banquet/talent show. she's told me that she's singing a song that she wrote with one of the staff members, who plays guitar. she also got an award for student of the week in composition/literature during her stay there.

i'll be running the video camera. having something to do with my hands will be a nice shield for allowing myself to get completely weepy and become an embarassment. i can save the weepy moment for when i watch the tape later.

or at least that's my position at this time. and i stand by it.

'course, some "flip flopping" is certainly possible....






7.26.2004

hurry up and hurry...

now playing: bob seger, "down on main street"




now there's a stone road song if ever there was one.

one of these days i'll take it in for the guys to learn.



i'm finding myself feeling guilty today about the over-an-hour-long three way phone conversation between myself and my son and his mother last night.

i feel like i let dylan down by not being able to go to bat for him, but goddammit - i can't do this stuff for him when he refuses to take responsibility for his position on this sort of thing.

this whole situation would be immensely different if he'd come to me months ago and said, "dad, my moms' going to the shore again this year, and i don't want to go. can i just stay at your house instead?"

instead, he didn't say anything to anyone until less than a week before time to go, and puts everyone in a shitty position by doing so.


this is one part of parenting that i hate.


it seems to be particular to the prospect of single parenting, although i know that these kind of conflicts arise with parents who are together, too...i guess the single-parenting model just compounds the frustration, maybe.


the irony is that his mom and i seem to maintain a more unified front now than i think we ever have.


were it not already after 5 o'clock, this could turn into one of my trademark wind-laden entries...but the clock dictates that i must move along to other tasks at the moment....






paternity...real and imagined

now playing: super seventies internet radio



happy birthday to me....of course, it's after midnight so this one is behind me at this point.

i've never been much of a person for celebrating birthdays...they seem like much more important milestones when there are fewer of them. even as a child, though, i never gave my birthday much creedence. in fact, outside of my childrens' birthdays, i'm not high on celebrating other peoples' birthdays either.

samantha and shanna had a cake waiting for me on friday night when i took dylans' old bunk bed over to give to shanna, and shanna had written me a very sweet note and given me a couple of her stuffed animals as a gift. i went out to dinner on thursday night with dylan and wendy in celebration of our anniversary...which is a little too close to my birthday for comfort, really - dylan got all dressed up and looked quite spiffy.

i got my customary two hours or so in with jayda this afternoon when we went out to dinner for my birthday, on the way to drop her off for her last week at kutztown university for the summer...i know she's going to miss this when it's over. she's been missing her friends from the neighborhood, i know, but this seems to have had a really good effect on her. i haven't had a lot of time with her in the time she's been in the program, but she's made a lot of new friends and has had a lot of fun. she also wrote a story that i'm going to post here when it's finished and she gives me the word...she's becoming quite a writer.


dylan called me tonight asking me to intervene on his behalf and get him out of going on vacation with his mother and company next week...he didn't offer much up in the way of valid excuses, save for "i don't want to go" and "i'm tired of the shore" and the like (i'm not one for going to the same place every year for vacation, which is all the rage in these parts, but this will only be their second time going...which lets all the air out of that argument.).

i'm not sure what to make of this...first of all, dylan is much more complex emotionally than anyone wants to admit to, either publicly or to themselves, i think. there's a reason he doesn't want to go, but none of his arguments add up, and he's not copping to anything any deeper than what he's said. he mentioned that he wanted to hang out with his west reading friends that week, but this would assume that someone else would be home during the course of what would be a weeks' worth of workdays to get him from point A to point B, and that's not going to be the case. he says that his mom removes herself from the group when they go there, that she's gone so far as to actually draw a circle in the sand and sit inside it and banish anyone from breaking her boundary. i could see that happening (and she did say "i only did that once" when he brought it up), but i'm inclined to think that the bigger issue is where dylan sees himself in this group of people.

i'm beginning to think that dylan is going to be very much a "small groups" kinda guy. i see it in his friendships as much as in his family. his mothers' home is absolutely chaotic - his mom, between jumping through hoops to try and balance a job with tending to her own children, a step-family, and a very demanding, obnoxious bark-slobber-and-piss factory of a dog, i'm betting that dylan doesn't see himself as the priority that he thinks he should be.

this is not to say that he's necessarily correct in this assumption, but that's the only thing that presents itself as an explanation of his behavior at the moment.

dylan insists, though, on positioning himself as the spoiler at every opportunity. if everyone else in the car wants chinese food (his favorite), he'll ask for burger king or arbys'. if jayda wants taco bell, he wants mcdonalds. now, keep in mind - if dylan is asked first, he'll answer with the groaning, multi-syllable accented noise that has become HamptonSpeak for "i dunno". in fact, it's almost a rule of thumb that dylan won't have an opinion until a consensus has surfaced - at which point his opinion will formulate on the opposite side of the consensus.

at any rate, though, dylan dropped this bombshell less than a week before the cars pull out of the driveway. he said on the phone that he never wanted to go, that this whole decision was made without his consent or approval - yet he had no explanation for why he didn't speak up sooner. nor did he have anything to contribute, in terms of alternatives for where they should be going on vacation.


there's something bubbling under the surface that seems to be getting closer to his skin as time passes...and he's not giving away any clues at the moment.


i had to tell him that since he couldn't be bothered to speak his mind as the plans were being formulated, since he hadn't bothered to say anything as money was being spent on this trip, that i wasn't going to try to get him out of it. the time to speak up was when this whole scheme was concocted, and he chose to remain silent, and that now he'd have to go through with it. the lesson (hopefully) in that is that you have to speak your mind and say what you want or don't want when it's appropriate to do so. he sat silently the whole time this trip was being planned and said nothing...and now, for reasons that he won't divulge, he doesn't want to go on this trip.

i don't get it.

but, then again, there are many things about my son that i don't understand.


thankfully, there are many that i do.



i had a dream over the weekend that a girl that i was madly in love with during my wales days had a child recently (very recently...like less than a month ago), and had filed a paternity suit, hoping to prove that i was the father. this, in hopes of securing medical insurance for the child, who was born very sick...

i haven't seen this woman since 1986.

my subconscious doesn't follow logic very closely.






7.23.2004

jumbled

now playing: aunt pat, "nixon"



well, today it's raining like hell again...and for some reason, we've lost connection to the internet at work.

(i always write my blog entries in notepad and then drop them into the text box in blogger after it's finished...)



the funny thing is that i was gonna try to get a jump on assembling the studio this weekend - but i think i'm gonna take advantage of this opportunity to see what happens in the area where the rain came in the last time to see if anything happens there.

that worries me.


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


it looks like i may be taking on a couple of mentors/students soon.

a bass player, mutual friend of blakes', wants me to give his wife some dobro pointers...and the guy who runs shipping and receiving here at work has a teenage son whos' enamoured with learning to play guitar, and he may be showing up on my doorstep soon as well.


ah, well....i've been surfing the 'net, taking in some blogs that i've never read...some that will be showing up on my sideboard soon. it's time for some new blood.

i had to steal a shirt from the folks in personnel today, since i obviously still haven't mastered the culinary skill necessary to successfully eat a meatball sandwich from the vending machine in the cafeteria.

DOH! would be a little too obvious at this point, i think.


ok - 5 o'clock is closing in fast. i must make an honest attempt to get out of here at a decent hour today.

thoughts are rattling around in my head, not holding still long enough to make the trip down my arms to my fingers.

inner-cranial ricochet syndrome.


i bet it's hereditary, too.







7.22.2004

with my sincere apologies to kerry/edwards

7.21.2004

caption contest

ok, ok...i know i probably don't have enough readers for this to fly, but if it amuses no one but me, i'm ok with that.


your challenge:

come up with a caption for this picture:











i'll start.

actually, i have two:


"ohmygod, daddy....turn off the AC! it's stuck to the window!"

or..

"um, we're sorry, miss bush...we're not ready for the money shot yet..."

or, how about...

"is that cheney's limo coming up next to us?


you get the idea. even if you don't think of anything, it turns the ol' wheels in some interesting ways....




two places at once night

now playing: blake allen, rough mixes from upcoming album



blake dropped by last night to pick up an ADAT tape with some of my parts on it for the record and dropped off roughs of three songs...i don't know if it'd be possible to have picked three more different songs to have gotten started with. one of them, "frogs", is a bluegrassy number that i busted my balls on...i played the bass and snare drum parts, as well as mandolin and dobro. i think there may have been banjo on this track at some point, but i don't hear any on the mix. i do know that i spent a lot of time getting these cascading notes to sync up on the outro, and it sounds pretty cool...although one of the parts is missing from that section, i think.

the second song, "the wind", is written from the perspective of a man on death row making peace with himself and his love...it reads almost like a letter. i played a lap steel part on it that sounds more like a pedal steel than a lap steel, and listening to it now makes the hair on my neck stand up. it's a haunted song, and the part fits it all too well.

i think of warren zevon when i hear this song....

"starin' at the ground...a penny up, a penny down
i wrote you a letter, baby...i'm leavin' this world today...

lay me in the ground...my love - let the sound of the wind speak to you..."


the third song, "eliza", is probably the least finished of the lot...there are some issues, i think, over the placement of the drum loop that i hope he manages to resolve - it's a great song, and it deserves a great treatment.


so tonight, i need to deal with some computer issues for a couple of customers - i had planned on trying to do some moving tonight, but i don't see that happening until the weekend, at best. i want to have jamie over to deal with the carpet soon, too, so that we can get dylans' room squared away and get everyones' room done.

whereas i haven't been able to say this with any semblance of confidence in the past month, i'm pretty sure that we'll be completely out of the old house by the end of this weekend.

i've gotten four hours or less of sleep every night this week, so i could see myself fading early tonight...but somehow, i doubt that'll actually happen. i really need to get the studio started, and i'll probably make at least two runs to the house before i make my computer run later tonight.


i had envisioned a longer, more personally involved entry today...but i'm just not feeling very chatty, i guess.

i did encounter this brief editorial on the pages of the NY Times today, though:

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

July 21, 2004
Desperadoes

Something went awry at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas last Saturday night. Linda Ronstadt did what she has done at several concerts across the country this summer. She dedicated the song "Desperado"- an encore - to Michael Moore and urged members of the audience to go see his new movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Elsewhere, audiences have reacted to the mention of Mr. Moore by cheering, booing, walking out and sometimes glaring at one another in parking lots. At the Aladdin, a few audience members tore down posters, threw drinks and demanded their money back. According to one person who was present - William Timmins, the Aladdin's president - it was "a very ugly scene." Mr. Timmins promptly made it even uglier. He had Ms. Ronstadt ejected from the premises.

This behavior assumes that Ms. Ronstadt had no right to express a political opinion from the stage. It implies - for some members of the audience at least - that there is a philosophical contract that says an artist must entertain an audience only in the ways that audience sees fit. It argues, in fact, that an artist like Ms. Ronstadt does not have the same rights as everyone else.

Perhaps her praise for Mr. Moore, even at the very end of her show, did ruin the performance for some people. They have a right to voice their disapproval - to express their opinion as Ms. Ronstadt expressed hers and to ask for a refund. But if their intemperate behavior began to worry the management, then they were the ones who should have been thrown out and told never to return, not Ms. Ronstadt, who threatened, after all, only to sing.

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


this gentleman makes a good point...one that i'm surprised i didn't come to myself, as a musician - how is it that the entertainer is chatized for the behavior of the audience? if i were a venue manager or a talent booker, i'd probably be just as inclined to perhaps extend a "no, thanks" to an act that i found belligerent, or who saw fit to provoke this kind of behavior in an audience...for instance, i doubt that the promoter who brought the who to cincinnati's riverfront stadium in 1979 was terribly eager to add their city to the bands' itinerary the following year. it took bob dylan over 35 years to return to the newport folk festival after having his electric band booed offstage there on the day i was born. likewise, i doubt i'll be seeing great white listing any club dates in rhode island in the near future...or any reappearances of justin and janet during the superbowl.

my point is that if a performer or entertainer does something during their show that a promoter deems offensive, they typically deal with it in a businesslike manner and simply refuse future bookings. i don't think that linda ronstadt did anything to warrant being escorted off the premises in simply dedicating a song to a controversial figure. i think that the fact that the wingnuts in the audience reacted in the completely uncivilized manner that they did is the crux of the matter, here.

as i said yesterday...i take a certain degree of pride in my rather confident assumption that had the ideological shoe been on the other foot, the audience behavior would've been markedly different. if she'd dedicated "you're no good" to john kerry, i mighta been taken aback by it, but i wouldn't have thrown drinks from my table and proceeded to trash the place.

i think i'm a little more grownup than that.


i gotta wonder, though...


should i start worrying about being held responsible for the behavior of the lesser species who show up for my bands' gigs?




7.20.2004

they're at it again, folks....

now playing: shame, "one note serenade"




it's sad that the foxnews zombies and dittoheads have become as predictable as they have.


some of you probably heard about the riot at the linda ronstadt show in vegas over the weekend by now...or at least that's what it's being billed as.

excerpt:

Ronstadt, who had been hired for a one-show engagement Saturday night at the Las Vegas Strip casino, dedicated a performance of "Desperado" to Moore and his controversial documentary, which criticizes President Bush and the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

That dedication angered some Aladdin guests who spilled drinks, tore down posters and demanded their money back, said casino spokeswoman Sara Gorgon.

"We had quite a scene at the box office," she said.

About a quarter of the 4,500 people in the audience got up and left before the performance had finished, Gorgon said.


(end excerpt)


so, ya know...i figured i'd head over to the the discussion forum on her official website to see just how deep the shit had gotten by today...and you know it: the fur was flyin'.

let me share with you some of my personal faves:

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

*Every one of your CDs and LPs just went into the trash chute. You are a terrorist loving, socialists who needs to get your butt over France where you can renounce your United States citizenship and live your pin headed, anti-American, Pro-Communist life agenda out with other clueless pigs like yourself. ELEKTRA should DUMP YOU! I know they are on my boycott list now. Michael Moore HATES AMERICA and says so constantly. For you to align yourself with him makes me sick. I will always seek to point out what a looser you are to all I meet and I hope your American made fortunes collapse.

*This is just what the terrorists are looking for. The country to divide with total disrespect for the leaders of the people.
You couldn't pay me to watch that 911 film. And yea to the preseident of the Alladin Hotel for escorting Linda out.

*Linda seems to emulate not only Mr. Moore's politics, but his eating habits as well.

*WHY should I be “compassionate” for some fat hag that ruined my $1000 trip just see her? She spit her HATE SPEECH at me and INSULTED me! She spewed her HATE for America and INSULTED the President of the United States of America! She GUSHED over a EVIL slug like moore and promoted his filth and lies as something worthwhile! She totally disrespected every man and woman in the US MILITARY in the most HATE FILLED way she could! She insulted the Casino, Las Vegas and the audience and was a LIBERAL CONTENTIOUS SNOB, just like the rest of your “heroes”.

*Ronstadt has confirmed her membership in the pro-torture, pro-murder, pro-rape left. Thank goodness she was booted out of the Aladdin. What an idiot. Why doesn't she go live in France?

*You don't understand and you turned into a fat no talent pig who hates America and you are supporting the worst villian in our history.

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

so, it would appear, that ms. ronstadt has a weight problem. no, disregard the "fat hag", "fat, no talent pig", and all that...the thing that tipped me off was the guy who called her a "terrorist loving socialists". apparently, there's enough of her to comprise more than one! now that's phat, yo.

oh, and the left is the "pro-torture, pro-murder, pro rape" side of the coin. didja know that? that's why we're all pumping our fists in the air along with Inhofe and rush "it was no different than fraternity hazing" limbaugh and the like, shoutin' out a bangin' "hell yeah!!!" when we get the latest dope about how we're beatin' those ragheads down, baby. woooooo-hoo!


and of course i posted a reply. i won't post the whole thing, but the point i closed with was simply this:


for those of you who came here [to this forum] specifically to discuss this issue, or to add your own cute little vilification of linda's politics to the list, let me ask you one question:

if she'd dedicated the song to rush limbaugh or bill o'reilly, do you think the liberals in the audience would've acted like dickheads the way your own kind did at the alladin that night?



this isn't entirely unlike the cyberbeating that margaret cho took not long after the drudge report posted her email address after her monolouge at the bush in 30 seconds show some months back...her inbox flooded with one rude, vile, ignorant diatribe after another, which she decided to copy and post on her blog...i'm sure i wasn't the only person who decided to drop some of those folks a note myself, since she was kind enough to include their email addresses in her post...



the rest of the left can be spineless and nonconfrontational if they want.

homey don't play that anymore. i've had it.





(i should point out that the best political debate i've engaged in on the internet, ever, has been at nic's frustrated writer, linked from my page. there are a couple of very respectful (yet opinionated) conservatives who visit her blog regularly who are capable of debate without resorting to the kind of bullshit that i reprinted from the ronstadt forum. and - believe it or not - i actually managed to agree with laura on a point not that terribly long ago. she and abby definitely carry the conservative torch, and they bring it when the opportunity arises. they know what it means to voice their opinions - and not in a whiny, i-know-i'm-out-of-my-element, alan colmes kinda way.)







an open letter to a reluctant used car salesman

now playing: those lovable assholes, the boston red sox, losing in extra innings to the hapless seattle mariners


first of all, man...don't take this personally. these are just my feelings on the matter.

you did seem like a nice enough fella, and i'm sure you didn't mean any harm.


this is what i choose to believe, anyway.


i mean, maybe you've forgotten, i don't know. i was the guy who bought your volkswagen van from you on eBay almost a year ago now. i took the train out to meet you and drive it back. i was really excited, because it was my second vanagon, and i fell in love with the first one...i was really upset when it finally died of old age, and yours was very, very similar to it, except in better shape...newer, too. i couldn't wait to get there and start the trip home.

well, the first omen that i chose to ignore was the traffic jam that kept me from the train station on the day i was to leave. i blew that off and just left the next day instead.

i brought my laptop with me for the trip, worked on the manuscript for my book on the way out, and finally took posession of the van after spending a great afternoon with you, and meeting your personal VW mechanic. i really enjoyed my time there, on the outskirts of wayne and garths' hometown. i finally left that afternoon and started on my way back east.

the trip went great...i remember being a little bummed out that i hadn't left earlier so that more of it would've taken place in the daylight, but no matter...i had brought tapes with me, and after a little coin manipulation to steady the speed of the cassette deck (a trick learned during a lifetime of driving shitty, shitty cars), i was jammin' and on my way home with my new and improved hippie van.

'course, then i had a flat tire at 2am, just after crossing over the pennsylvania state line.

that would be the second omen.


we put my stunted spare on the van, and i began the much slower trip back out the turnpike...i was certain that i wasn't gonna make it to work on time, but not only did i make it, i actually got home in time to take a nap for half an hour.

well, i drove the van without incident for a time...it was a short time, but a time nonetheless. first, a hose came loose and almost left me on the side of the road, save for a blast of energy that got us off the interstate and onto penn avenue before calling AAA.

oh, yeah, you've heard of them, right? AAA?

AAA is an emergency road service contractor...probably the most popular in the world. we're on really good terms. in fact, in the time between october (when i took posession of the van) and the middle of december, i used up my entire yearly allowance of free roadside assistance from AAA. four visits plus a courtesy visit that they fronted me.

out of pity, i guess.


hoses coming off, dipsticks falling into the engine, oil leaks, engines that stall and refuse to budge in the cold, non-functioning speedometers, bad brakes, worn and useless rubber that give the impression of a wind tunnel....

all these things combined over time to become greater than the sum of their inferior parts...bringing us to now, when - not more than two weeks after taking delivery of the van from my mechanic - it began leaking oil so profusely that a smoke cloud follows me wherever i go.

in two weeks, i've put over twenty quarts of oil into this money pit. twenty.


well, i've all but decided that i'm finished. i have an appointment to have it looked at by a new mechanic in a week, and if the news is bad, i've decided to sell it to the highest bidder from whatever salvage yard is willing to take it.

i've degenerated into someone for whom driving - once a source of serenity and quality alone time - has become a source of nervous tension and anxiety. i feel a palpable sense of dread when i walk out the door of my house in the morning, and when i leave work at night. when i'm driving the piece of ass-lint that you so generally referred to as a "car", my body tangibly increases in tension, and i am completely unable to relax. i listen intently to the gatlin-gun-like noises coming from the back of the van, knowing that the very next knock could easily be the last one that the engine makes. every trip i take in this van is a gift from father time at this point.


i've learned never to say "never"...it's a word i've had to eat a time or two.

so i won't say i'll "never" own another volksvagen van...

but it'll take nothing shy of a fuckin' miracle for me to ever, ever place my own money into someone elses' hands for the distorted "privelege" of driving such as piece of absolute shit as the one you sold me.


when the day comes that the kids are old enough to drive it, i may pass it on, if that's an option...i'm much more certain at this point, though, that i'll roll it into a wall like aerosmith, "livin' on the edge" style, as soon as it's replaced.


i can't wait to drive with my normal muscles in my body again.









7.14.2004

into each life, an assload of rain must fall....

now playing: walter egan, "magnet and steel"



i'd say "when it rains, it pours", if it weren't such a trite pun in the face of the events of the past 48 hours.

yesterday, i had a couple of conversations with people who'd had serious problems as a result of the merciless pounding we took here on monday from the weather. some areas got as much as a foot of rain in a 24 hour period. one of the ladies in HR had a puddle form in her living room, via a leak in her roof.

i remember thinking as i was hearing all this, "man...i'm really lucky that i didn't have to deal with any of that...."

it's ironic as well that one of the first conversations i had with my next-door neighbor concerned the same subject...i had mentioned that i was a musician, just like the previous occupant, but that the kind of music i played was a bit tamer than his - and she mentioned that justins' music never once bothered her, and that the previous occupant had, in fact, had a grandson who was a DJ who'd been louder than justin was...but anyway, the talk turned somehow to finished basements and water and the like, and she mentioned that it had been over a decade since anyone in the neighborhood had any serious problems with their basements, and that was when a sewer main had backed up and some of the folks had water coming in as a result.

flash forward to last night, when wendy was on the phone with her dad, who'd called because he saw a news story about a reading woman being washed into a drain of some sort. i'm not sure why it occured to her to do so, but she went down into the basement and checked everything out, and sure enough - the carpet in the back room of the basement (the room that happened to be housing my entire guitar collection, as well as the console for my studio and much of the other recording equipment) was absolutely soaked. soaked through to the point that the bottoms of a number of the cases were wet, as well as the guitars inside them.

i was on my way home with dylan at the time, and she called me on my cellphone...very excited, to say the least. i got home and immediately began what she called "triage operations", while she drove back to the old chestnut street house to retrieve the dehumidifier from the basement there.

the final analysis of the damage has yet to be rendered - i called justins' parents and told them what had happened, and they're coming over today to take a look at the basement. i'm not sure if the carpet will have to be replaced or not, but i'm leaning in that direction. had we not gotten the dehumidifier in there when we did, it'd have been a lost cause without a doubt. as it is, we may get enough of the moisture out of it to save it, but i'm not optimistic about it.

i'm just happy at this point that nothing was seriously damaged that couldn't be replaced. the water itself reached about halfway across the room, coming in off the outer wall of the basement into the middle room (and, to a lesser degree, into the front area of the basement where the oil tank resides...but this area is behind a door, out of sight and away from everything else in the finished area of the basement).

the long-term damage, if any, is to my faith in the sanctity of the basement...whereas i hadn't given any thought or concern at all to the possibility of this happening before, it's now a very real part of my planning for setting up shop there. i will definitely end up rethinking some things...for instance, i'll probably build a pair of very shallow platforms of some sort to store things on in that particular room, as to keep them off the actual floor. i don't think it'll be that difficult to move ahead with my plans for the studio, i'm just going to have to keep this particular possibility in mind as i go.

the silver lining here is that this kind of rain doesn't exactly happen on a regular basis...so i think that, passing natural disasters notwithstanding, i should be rather safe in this space...once we get it squared away.



in other news, nik everett has asked me to play in his band.

nik was the host of the songwriters' night at the grape street pub before i was, and has an amazing voice. i have his song, "love equals blue" on a bunch of my winamp playlists to this day, as well as some other stuff from his first two albums...and he's always been a good friend to me, although i generally don't travel in those circles at all anymore. what he's looking for seems to be right up my alley, though - i downloaded all the songs from his new album as we were talking on saturday, and at some point this week i'm going to burn them onto a CD and bring them to work so i can start absorbing them. he sent me a short list of what parts he wants me to learn and such, so there's no guesswork involved...

it'll be fun to take on something fresh...but it is an original project, and as such, i have to temper my expectations in certain regards. i'm afraid that i might've been spoiled from these past few years of playing covers...will i be able to drive to god-knows-where and play a 45 minute set for no money on a weeknight and come home without an attitude problem? there was a time when there was an easy answer to that question, but times have changed.

the weekend that broke my resolve as a songwriter/purveyor of my own original music occured in the first week of february of, i believe, 1999 (possibly 1998...i can't remember for sure. i can double-check it if it's that important). i was booked to play on friday night at picasso's in elizabethtown, KY and the following night at the common ground coffeehouse in louisville, KY. i left reading at 5am friday morning and drove straight through to the gig, picking up a ticket in western PA that eventually led to a court appearance that i had to go back for...but i digress. i played to less than a dozen people that night and slept in my van behind a convienence store on bardstown road. the next day, i bummed around town a bit, stopping in at guitar emporium (where i bought my once-trusty les paul standard that i later sold to todd bartolo of the youngers, who has made it his main gigging axe...basically though, i spent the day walking up and down the street talking to people, ducking into record shops, and the like...mentioning that i was playing that night, if you're not doing anything, etc...(i also spent a chunk of the morning in the park there, finishing nicholas sparks' "message in a bottle", which outclasses the movie in a major way...and yeah, go ahead and get your digs in now. i can already hear it.)

so i show up for the gig, and with the exception of a few people who i knew would be coming, there were less than a dozen people in the audience yet again.

it probably goes without saying that i received no financial compensation for either of these gigs.

so, that night i left the venue after my set and pulled over at a rest stop to sleep before heading out for home....

...now, i mentioned it was the first week of february, right?

i slid into my sleeping bag in the back of the van and slept comfortably in the receding heat left over from the initial part of the drive...but i woke up some hours later, with my face sticking out of the tiny opening in the bag...i was warm enough over most of my body, but my face was numb with cold. literally.

it took every bit of willpower i had to climb out of that bag and into the front seat of the van. my hands were shaking when i fumbled the keys from my pocket and started the engine.

it had gotten so cold overnight that the inside of the windshield was covered with frost.

yeah, really.

i had to scrape the inside of the windshield before i could pull out of the rest stop.



i could probably point to a number of causes or incidents that i could single out as bellwethers for my departure (in earnest, anyway) from that particular sect of the music business, but that particular trip stands out in my mind as the most obvious breaking point.



so do i have it in me to take on another original music project on this particular rung of the food chain?



i guess we're about to find out.






7.13.2004

vehicular disenchantment

now playing: ambrosia, "holdin' on to yesterday"


hmmmm....would that today be better than yesterday?


maybe...but not likely.


the flaming PC has been replaced, but the flighty young lady who was assigned to it apparently is rather network-ignorant, and can't really be bothered to save her work to network (read: safe) drives or directories...therefore, i've been tasked with trying to save whatever may have resided on the newly kingston-charcoalesque machine.

i can't exactly plead guilty to being in much of a hurry, though...i don't find other peoples' stupidity to be very motivating. besides, the lesson may sink a few layers deeper if she sweats an additional day or two.

a PC that i worked on for a full day has started blue-screening, indicating an inaccessible boot device. i tried to run the repair option from the win2k disk, only to find that windows sees the drive partitions as "unformatted or damaged". i did not, however, make the mistake of storing anything there that i don't have anywhere else.

so, yeah...i'll have to set it up again, but that seems a little less painful knowing that all my actual data is safe.



in other news...

i think my infatuation with my volkswagen van is about to come to an end.

i mentioned a while back that i ended up firing my longtime mechanic after the most recent malfunction, due to his letting it sit on his lot, unattended and ignored, while i carpooled with wendy for almost a month...waiting all the while for him to get to it.

well, i've been driving it since getting it back...it has a pretty severe oil leak, but as long as i've been keeping it filled, it's been getting me from point A to point B. but i've gotten to the point of becoming seriously tired of the grunts and groans from various areas of the underside of the old girl, and - depending on how much the bill comes to from my newly annointed M.D. (Mechanical Doctor), i may end up putting it on the block and leaping into the market for something newer and, unbelievably enough, less desirable.

i've always rationalized (and tempered) my argument for driving the old girl with the "i don't have a car payment" rationale...but when it's in the shop four, five, six times a year, that becomes a hard argument to stand behind. maybe it's not going to ford motor credit, but you most certainly do have a car payment, buddy.


and having just talked to my buddy mitch this very second, it appears that he happens to know someone in the philadelphia area who might be able to help me find something down the road...his buddy fernando just bought an old government-owned (read: unmarked police car) vehicle for a pretty attractive price, so i'll keep that filed away in the back of my head.

every day when i get in the van to come to work, i feel a palpable increase in tension and my legs tighten up...as if my body is anticipating the seemingly inevitable collapse of the engine before it makes it to wherever i might be going. i've been borrowing wendys' car for after-work appointments and the like, and i've been somewhat hesitant to take it in to be fixed until the spectre of the old chestnut street house has cleared from over my head. we still have stuff there that has to be cleaned out, and the more time we allow to pass, the more it bothers me. yet again this weekend, there's a stone road gig that will essentially render one day of the weekend useless, so it cuts in half the amount of time i can devote to trying to slay this particular dragon.


this particular tail-chasing phase has to come to a close soon.







7.12.2004

my own personal hamster wheel

now playing: boz scaggs, "lido shuffle"




there is the occasional day when i just wish i hadn't gotten out of bed...usually those don't shape up right away, but now - before ten a.m. has even settled in, i'm wishing i could give this one back.

i have the CEO's laptop on my desk, as well as a repeat customer that just doesn't seem to want to stay powered up for more than half an hour or so. it's funny - i got my start in this business working on laptops, and now i hate working on them. well, maybe hate is a strong word...i strongly dislike working on them.

i've also had a machine literally catch fire this morning.

not even lunchtime yet.



sheesh.



the bright side, though, is that i'm having dinner tonight with marie and heidi from my old job...i haven't seen either of them in years. marie still calls me her son to this day. heidi would be my sister in that particular relationship.


back to repetitive keystroke-ville.







7.11.2004

new mama

now playing: super seventies internet radio


a word about my now playing link...i tripped over this radio station when my mp3 jukebox PC was down at work this past week, and it's the closest thing to a time capsule i've tripped over in my years of browsing internet streaming audio. all of a sudden, i'm 12 years old again, with my little transistor radio with the off-white earplug (yeah, that's right...earplug. no headphones back then.)...snuggled in bed, listening to stations from god-knows-where. this was in the pre-walkman era, big time. the guy who runs the station, vince garcia, actually hosts the show live for a few hours on a few occasions per week...and tonight is one of those.

every now and then, something happens to point out to me how lucky i am to live in the times i live in, and this would be one of those times.


tonight was the last night of our local carnivalistic ritual called community days, which culminates in a fireworks display...wendy and i timed our appearance in the ferris wheel line perfectly to be on the ferris wheel when the fireworks started. i'm surprised that more people don't do that, but this year the wheel was set up at an odd angle, and it wasn't as cool as i thought it'd be to be on there when they started up.

dylan pooped out early, and i walked him home (he doesn't have a key to the new house yet) before coming back for the rest of the night...as we were walking out, we walked past the row of kiddie rides at the outer corner of the area. i was looking over at the rides, and i couldn't help but take notice of the mothers there, tending to their kids as they rode the merry go round and the little choo-choo train that runs on the oval track. i was struck by the cross-section that they represented...there were the yuppie moms, smiling and manipulating their cameras while their kids waved back at them, riding next to the children of the less fortunate moms, minding (swearing at?) three other children standing next to the stroller, cigarette dangling from her mouth and loosing the occasional ash onto her protruding beer gut.

watching the kids, though, is the real treat...we met one little guy named nick, over by the swings (which i rode twice...you know, the ones suspended from the high chain that swing out over everyone at a 45 degree angle about 100 feet off the ground? i love it.) his dad had him for the weekend for his birthday, and he'd gotten him a kiddie motorcycle...hands down, his favorite present. he was sitting on his dads' shoulders while he held a goldfish someone had won earlier (which probably has about 48 hours to live, as do most of the carny fish).

i remember thinking about a specific trip to hersheypark with the kids when they were seven and five...it was right after their mom and i split up, and it was just the three of us for the entire day. no, seriously...the entire day. we stayed and rode everything in the park as many times as we could until eleven, when they ran everyone off. we walked out to the van, and they climbed in and promptly fell asleep - almost before their little fannies were strapped into their seats. it was quite a day for the two of them. at the end of the night, though, we were literally running from one ride to another, getting right onto whatever we wanted, because there were so few people there. they had the time of their young lives - dylan's hair lives on to this day in a picture i took of him after getting off the one rollercoaster he was tall enough to ride on...in fact, i took a lot of pictures of them during that trip that i love. one of them stayed on my wall at work for years - up until i left the company i was working for at the time. it was from a ride called the arrow, if i recall...i was on the seat in front of them, and they were both in the seat behind me, and i turned around and took this picture at the absolute perfect time. it captured them in exactly the way i want to remember them from that time period.

i thought about that, as i walked down "new mommy row" at community days...wondering how many of them might realize just how special this particular time of their lives as parents is. i know i didn't have a clue at the time. there are so many things i wish i'd done with my kids when they were smaller that i didn't do at all, or that i didn't (or couldn't) participate in for whatever reason...whether because of other obligations or because i couldn't be bothered, and was only too content to let their mother deal with trips to the mountains for labor day weekend and such...

i'm glad i came around in time to salvage a relationship with my children. some men never do, but i've somehow been able to carve out my place in their lives as time has gone by. and - i feel like i have to add this - it's not that i wish my kids to be that age again, for any reason...i love them as they are now, for who they've become...i love dylan, i love the mystery that is my son that perhaps only i understand - since he and i are essentially the same person. i love jayda for her talents and for her big heart and her willingness to allow me to occupy a place in her life. i feel priveleged to get to watch them grow, and although being a parent has its frustrations, i have to stop and consider from time to time just how incredibly lucky i am to have been given this role in their lives.

i don't know how they came to choose me from their places outside this particular universe, but i'm glad they did. i think we make a pretty damn good team.

tonight, after community days, we went to wendy's for drive thru, and then i had to take jayda to her moms' to pick up stuff for a sleepover at her friend marissa's house. i happened to be looking in the direction of the house when she came out to go, and she looked like a girl and a woman to me at the same time. i saw a grownup and a child in the same vision...i saw the person she's become, and i got a glimpse of the little blond girl who used to stand in the doorway with her hands against the screen, watching me pull away on my way to work...

just before we got to marissa's house, the bodeans sang, "ain't that what dreams are made of...."



yeah, ya know....i think it is.



7.08.2004

a uniter, not a divider....

now playing: scandal, "the warrior"




from a story on CNN:




Bush declines NAACP invitation


Thursday, July 8, 2004 Posted: 11:40 AM EDT (1540 GMT)


PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (AP) -- President Bush declined an invitation to speak at the NAACP's annual convention, the group said.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People expects more than 8,000 people to attend the convention, which opens on Saturday.

Democratic challenger John Kerry accepted an invitation to speak next Thursday on the final day of the convention, the NAACP said.

Bush spoke at the 2000 NAACP convention in Baltimore when he was running for president.

NAACP spokesman John White said Wednesday that Bush has declined invitations in each year of his presidency -- becoming the first president since Herbert Hoover not to attend an NAACP convention.

The NAACP received a letter from the White House three weeks ago declining the invitation because of scheduling conflicts and thanking them for understanding.

The letter was signed by presidential scheduler Melissa Bennett.

White House spokesman Jim Morrell said Wednesday that the president has spoken about "equal opportunity and equal rights for all Americans" in many public places.


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


but, hey - saddam never spoke to them there colored people, either!

kinda reminds me of how clinton held the town hall meetings on MTV while poppa bush steadfastly refused their invitations to appear on the network until he was so far behind in the polls that it didn't matter anymore.

does this mean that he's conceding the black vote to the dems?






the leap

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


there is now, officially, internet service at the new place. dylan is busily frying bad guys on my computer in the "study", just off the living room. i have the old, trusty, compaq laptop on the sofa, tossing data packets through the air to the wireless router that sits on top of my deskjet printer.

already, it feels this much more like home.


tonight, i had to drive up to kutztown to drop some things off with jayda...when i walked into the dorm, she was in the lobby with her back turned to me, but i knew it was her. after i left, i had to think about how it was that i just instinctively knew it was her, in this time of identical haircuts...i'm still not sure. i just think it must be one of those things that you just know, as a parent - just as i could pick out either of my children by the sound of them crying when they were babies. i could tell, if i heard a child crying in a public place, or if i could hear them and not see them, whether or not it was jayda or dylan, or if it was someone else's child.

anyway, i digress...

she was there, in the lobby, playing a game with some of the TC's and a lot of the other students, and she just seemed totally at ease with where she was and who she was with...she had a confidence about her, and i could tell that she was really enjoying herself. i handed her the things i'd brought, and she flashed me a smile and i asked her about a phone message she'd left earlier in the week and i was on my way.

i still feel as though i've been shortchanged, in terms of the years i was supposed to have a child in my company...not a teenager, not an adult, but my little girl.

i know i'm not the first person to feel any of this...it just seems like she's been ahead of the curve for such a long time - that she went from being 7 to being 15, and it all flew by waaaay too fast.

i drove home listening to an ancient cassette of our mutual angels that never seems to leave the car, and thinking about blake's record, and the progress being made on it (he's actually starting to mix some of the tracks of late) and the studio waiting to be reassembled in my basement...


y'know, it's funny. barely two months ago, i was intent on moving, intent on getting out of this area, checking every musician's classified ad website on the internet, plotting my escape...convinced that i needed to be somewhere else.

now, two months later, i'm putting the finishing touches on moving into a new house right here where i've been for the last 15 years. what happened?

as seems to be the one constant in my life, i never really seem to have a grip until the dust has settled and i have to figure this all out after the fact.

justin, my friend whose house i now occupy, made the leap. i didn't. i chose (albeit somewhat unconsciously) to leave my roots where they lay, even as i was planning and plotting doing exactly the opposite.

had i kept my nose to the stone and left the blinders on, i wonder what direction i'd be moving in right now...but as it is, we have a great new house and - with a couple of notable exceptions - i've felt really good about what's taken place in the time since my determination to flee to nashville and "get on the bus" has subsided somewhat.

what i have to realize, though...and what i think hit me as i was driving home listening to my seven year old album, is that this move, and this willingness to "lay my dreams to rest, if only for today", pretty much means "game over" for me. taking this house, moving here and allowing the roots to cut that much deeper into the earth, pretty much means that i'm here for at least another five to seven years. in seven years, i'll be approaching 45, and whatever realistic chance i would have at even getting sideman work would be prohibitively slim - slim enough to become a serious deterrent.

so what this means is that i can now remove the musician's classifieds from my morning sites checklist when i get to work...it means that i can stop amassing gear tailored specifically for road work. it means that i can make some choices about the projects that i'm currently involved in, and some things that i very much would like to do...

it means, in a nutshell, that it's time to hunker down and accept my fate. my lot in life.


the truth is, it's not a bad lot. never has been. it's pointed in different directions at times, but where i currently stand isn't a bad place. there really aren't any parts of my life (other than the trivial complaint) that i find loathesome or troubling...i "hhave a good job, my kids are wonderful, i have a wealth of friends and talents that i find personally satisfying and rewarding...i'm not, by trade, an ingrate, and i do appreciate all that i have.

it's just time to let go of some things that i've always considered attainable in the back of my mind.

that's all.


on a totally unrelated note, i've made the switch to vh1 classic in mid-entry, and i just have to say that even through all the stylistic travesties that have occured in the time since she's become a commercial commodity...even through all the embarrasing fashion moments that have brought other, bigger stars to their doom...somehow, amy grant has always looked amazing. even in an awful video with you know who surrounded by faux ballerinas, she just looks like a breath of fresh air. and shes' still pretty amazing looking, almost twenty years after that particular lapse in judgement.


boy...unrelated, and quite long-winded.

i have clothes in the dryer for some time now. i think it might be wise to retrieve them and take my babbling ass to bed, before i give this awful swing out sister video enough time to take residence in my head and keep me awake.


god, this is just awful. i'm not sitting on the remote, i hope....







7.07.2004

treading water

now playing: bob seger, "hollywood nights"



still no internet at the new house...thus the silence over the weekend.


i made good this weekend on a long standing intention to take the kids to philadelphia to see the fireworks there over the fourth of july weekend, instead of sticking around town and taking in whatevers' going on here...i've been meaning to do it for a long time, and since the flagship fireworks display here in town doesn't take place until next weekend, it was the perfect year to go.

i called my buddy mitch and told him we were coming down, and he met us at the metro station at city hall, and we walked to Love Park to take it in...it's a great spot to watch them from, as you're not right underneath the display, and the vantage point looking down benjamin franklin parkway towards the art museum was definitely the best view in the city. it was a nice departure from cardboard boxes and bubblewrap and trying to find things that i knew i packed but couldn't locate...

we loaded yet another truck full of accumulated posessions on saturday...the contents of the studio and a sizeable chunk of the basement...but yet there's still more stuff to be moved there, and much cleaning to do before the final walkthrough. that's one of two huge preoccupations of mine at the moment...getting the old house cleaned out - and being able to drive my van without tension building in every muscle in my body.


there's an off chance that i may actually get out of the building today at a decent hour - i have to drop some stuff off with jayda out at kutztown, and then i'm going to head home and get as caught up as i can on my "to do" list there.


it's not short, by anyone's estimate.







7.02.2004

seventh inning stretch

now playing: heatwave, "always and forever"



man.

i'm going to avoid the insanely overused euphemisms that all add up to TGIF if possible, and just be thankful that this week is over.

i haven't been on time for work once all week, and ended up not coming in yesterday at all...just walking into this building this week had resulted in the beginning of a knot in my stomach. combine this with the day-to-day status of my vehicle (which i need to hang in there in a big way right now) and the whole inertia of knowing that my belongings are scattered between two houses, one of which i'll have hopefully vacated as of tomorrow...

and yeah, there's the other stuff, too. the stuff that we've gone back to not really talking about, save for a conversation that happened out of earshot last night that i haven't heard any details of...

i'm still not sure how much this is going to complicate things. i know that there's a perception in the kids' other parental environment that some lines have been drawn, and that they've formed some pretty solid conclusions that (i'm thinking) aren't gonna be mended anytime soon...and this is just going to drive certain people further into their shells and further out of the way of active participation in the simple act of being a family at my house.

and i'm not in much of a position to do anything about it. i'm certainly not in a position to defend what happened here. in fact, i think i'm more irate about the fact that it happened than most of the maternal side of the kids' family is - it happened under my roof, and that makes me somewhat responsible for the fact that it took place at all.

any way you look at it, a string of isolated incidents constitutes a pattern, and it's not a pattern i plan on ignoring or trying to justify or explain away.

very simply put, either the behavior in question will cease or this particular element will have to be taken out of the equation.

personally, i'm tired of being angry about it, and i'm finding my faith in people in general being pretty severely tested. certainly, i know it's possible for people to change...but i further know that old habits win these battles far more often than they lose them.


so after having talked about all this, it would seem that the unspoken resolution borne out of the relative silence that's abounded in the time since is to wait and see what transpires in similar situations in the future...whether there's reason to believe that effort is being made to bring a more tranquil face to the table in these situations, or if history will prove to be immovable in the face of whatever desire to change might actually exist.

some bold statements have been made, on my part, with regard some things that were taken for granted to have been happening at some point in the future that i've essentially taken completely off the table now...but since it's not being discussed, i'm not really sure what effect that's had. not as much as i thought it would have, i'm rather certain.


i feel like a baseball team playing down several runs late in the game - and knowing that i have good batters coming to the plate in the next inning, and the possibility of catching up and possibly taking this one back is very real...and yet i have one batter due to come to the plate that has a history of disappointment in clutch situations.

the game is winnable, but there's a sinking feeling in my stomach that it's gonna be a lot harder to pull it out than it needs to be.


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


jayda comes home from her first week away tonight.

i miss her terribly.

i know her brother does, too.

community days starts monday, though, and she'll be with her mom tonight into tomorrow, which leaves tomorrow afternoon into tomorrow night to hang with her...and i have a gig.

she's fourteen now, though, and my gut tells me that she's gonna be making up for lost time with her social circle while she's home.

and i can respect that. i do remember what it was like to be her age...although there's no way in hell i'd want to be 14 in 2004.

so i'll do my best to facilitate what will probably be an endless string of "take me here"s and "drop me off there"s while she's back, and if i'm lucky, we'll get an hour to take a long drive before she has to go back so i can catch up on how schools' been.


before any of this happens, though, i have to finish up here and get out of this place.


minus the knot in my stomach.