now playing: baseball tonight

some sports notes:

RedSox 10, Anaheim 7


indians 22, yankees NOTHIN'.

this drops the yankee lead in the AL east to 3.5 games....

...now it gets interesting.

ok, once and for all....

now playing: republican national convention

alright. now i'm tired of this shit.

those of you who keep clamoring about john kerry "releasing his military records"?

click here.

how many more?

now playing: dan fogelberg, "go down easy"

Vietnam vet buries son killed in Iraq
Idaho governor, 1960s rock star attend services

BOISE, Idaho (Reuters) -- Tom Titus experienced the shock of watching his best friend die in his arms during the Vietnam War in 1971.

On Monday, the ex-Army Ranger felt the even greater horror of burying his only son Brandon, 20, killed on August 17 by an explosion while patrolling a Baghdad slum.

Idaho's Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, a 1960s rock 'n' roll star, grieving relatives and leather-clad Vietnam War veterans attended the funeral at a modern church before Pfc. Titus, who served as a gunner on a Humvee, became the first person buried in the new Idaho State Veterans Cemetery.

Such a scene of grief has played out nearly 1,000 times since the United States invaded Iraq last year. Yet Americans rarely hear much about their fallen soldiers, who typically appear as a name or photo in the growing list of the dead.

The story of Brandon Titus is especially poignant because of his father's public anguish and an eloquent note the soldier left behind in the case of his death.

"You wanted me to be proud of you," an emotional Tom Titus, wearing his medals on his vest, said in his eulogy. "I just want to say to my child that this is the proudest dad in the whole world."

Tom Titus barely made it out of Vietnam alive after being wounded twice. In a 1971 incident, a mortar round in the jungle left the decorated soldier without sight in one eye. It took six months in a hospital to reconstruct his face.

Many of his "brothers in arms" wore leather biker jackets to Monday's funeral and more than 100 motorcycles rode in the procession.

Paul Revere, lead singer of the 1960s rock band Paul Revere and the Raiders, gave a eulogy and a member of his band sang a song in the service that had Tom Titus sobbing behind his hands. "If you ever think of me, think of all your liberties and recall, some gave it all," sang Omar Martinez.

Legacy of service

Brandon grew up with his divorced father from age 13 amid a legacy of military service, a family tradition for many generations.

"He was a proud man that spoke highly of his father Tom, a veteran himself. Brandon just wanted to live up to the Titus name," Spc. Dave Huval, a member of Titus' squad, wrote in a message from Iraq posted to an Internet tribute page.

Before going off to war, Brandon left a computer disk with a message entitled, "My Time has Come," to be read only if he did not return from Iraq. Tom Titus broke down in tears when he read it aloud.

"I learned a lot from my dad and I wanted to be like him. I wanted to do something that would truly make him proud of me," he said in that message.

In many ways, Titus was a typical American kid, a football player and high school wrestler who shared his dad's passion for motorcycles. Resident of a strongly Republican state, he felt the need to give back to his country.

"When I was in high school I was against any type of war or occupation of another country and I was ignorant to think the United States government was a bunch of B.S," Brandon Titus wrote.

"When Sept. 11 happened, my opinion of this country changed very quickly. ... Things hit home when I watched a plane filled with innocent people crash into a building killing them all because of some coward terrorists who live in caves who thought they could divide America by doing this."

Brandon's enlistment two years ago upset his father, who exchanged sharp words with both his son and the army recruiter. Amid his grief, the father has now turned against the war.

"I shouldn't be burying him, he should be burying me," he said in a sometimes tearful interview. "The war is not worth it now. We need to get the hell out of there."

so what was the question, again?

now playing: dan fogelberg, "as the raven flies"

a screenshot from MSNBC today (courtesy of the folks at atrios):

and yeah, those are your only two choices for the poll.

how about a poll of our own?

does the media's embrace of the impending inevitability of a one-party state in america leave you feeling alienated and angry, or does it move you to support the kerry/edwards ticket?

anyway, some things i've read recently that you may find interesting:

michael kinsey in time magazine from sunday

more on john o'neill from the times

more than you probably want to know about ghorbanifar and his connections to judge laurence silberman

a couple of articles, here and here, for those of you who still may be staring at the MSNBC poll and trying to decide which way you'd vote....

josh marshall's long-awaited "iran-contra II" article

the last honest, impartial newspaper editor in america

now, this i'm not sure what to make of...it wreaks of oliver-stone-style conspiracy theorism, but it sure is interesting reading....(i found it while trying to dig up information about the first lady's unprosecuted hit-and-run in texas that apparently took the life of her ex-boyfriend, who was driving the vehicle she hit...)

..and a little something to feel good about my current home state for.


more monday things...

now playing: steve ward, "the river leads me home"

someone at CNN cornered robert macneil and apparently, he was only too willing to let them know what he thought....

....Ask Robert MacNeil to assess the current state of journalism and he offers a modest disclaimer.

"I'm sort of a retired newsman. I'm not following it with the intensity I was when I was working," says the former co-anchor of PBS' "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour."

But, when pressed, he cites what he considers among the most troubling trends, including news coverage decorated with tabloid glitter and opinion-shaded reporting.

"I think it's only beginning," he said of the latter.

MacNeil blames Fox News Channel for "cynically and deliberately" choosing to build its audience with "aggressive and competitive patriotism and waving the flag."

..."As this society, or at least the political animals in it, have become so polarized and so intolerant of other views, Democrats want to see more blood flow from the arrows of journalists and Republicans want more red meat out there going after Democrats," MacNeil said.

"There is evidence that the television industry, for its own commercial purposes and in unwarranted fear for the safety of its licenses to operate, has at times forced its news departments to adopt a craven and accommodating attitude to Congress and the White House."

oh, and in other news...

NEW YORK - Sen. John McCain said Monday it was fair game to criticize Democrat John Kerry's anti-war protests of three decades ago, firing an opening salvo as Republicans at their national convention sought to portray President Bush as a strong wartime leader.

McCain, R-Ariz., told CBS' "The Early Show" that television ads accusing Kerry of lying about his military service in Vietnam were "dishonest and dishonorable." But, he added, "what John Kerry did after the war is very legitimate political discussion." Kerry was a leader of Vietnam veterans who opposed the war.

so, there you have it...after all, he's a republican - what did any of us really expect?

here's a guy who probably still has rectal scar tissue from the four-years-ago reaming that he got courtesy of the same crew that are trying to slip it to john kerry right now, and he wants to testify as a character witness for the rapist...

one more time, for the benefit of those of you just joining in...

john kerry came back to the united states and testified before congress in 1971 of the atrocities in vietnam.

in order for this to be a bad thing, you have to fall into one of the following categories:

1. you have somehow come to believe that atrocities were never committed in vietnam.

which is to say that you honestly think that no villages were burned, that there were no free-fire zones, that no civilians were raped, tortured, or killed...that john kerry was dishonest during his testimony to congress. for him to have been dishonest, it would have to be proven that he was lying about these atrocities, that they never happened...yet, it's common knowledge at this point that these things did happen. but, it's a free country, and you can be as deluded as you want.

2. you have to somehow subscribe to the point of view that john kerry had no right to oppose the war.

now, as a veteran myself, i can tell you that soldiers give up any number of rights that are granted to civilians by the constitution...choices are made for you, you subscribe to the dress code, the haircut, the attitude, the subservience, the whole package. but, once your commitment to the service has been fulfilled, you revert to the same rights you were born with as a citizen of this country. and, in john kerry's case, he was free to return to the united states and oppose the war. and as long as his testimony didn't compromise classified information, he was free to say whatever the fuck he wanted - to congress or anyone else.

3. you believe that, somehow, his testimony before congress aided the enemy.

how? simple enough question, i think...how did john kerry aid the enemy by opposing the war? did his testimony pay for supplies, provide troop support, compromise intelligence? obviously not. and whether or not his testimony played into the vietcongs' hands as a propoganda tool is suspect, as well. let's break it down into a sports metaphor, shall we?

let's say that john madden and al michaels are broadcasting a game between the patriots and the perennially hapless cleveland browns...if the score at halftime is 37-10, and john and al are repeating every blow, every play, every score over the airwaves, are they somehow aiding the cause of the browns by reporting the ass-kicking they're receiving at the hands of the patriots?

because if you subscribe to numero 3, that's what you're saying...that john kerry somehow helped the cause of the vietcong by coming home and reporting the details of the inhuman slapdown we were putting onto the bystanders of the war.

i'm personally proud of john kerry for coming home and telling the truth. the fact that so many people consider him anything less than patriotic for doing so shows the world just how far we as americans have regressed...and how much we've been willing to voluntarily forget in the years since vietnam.

steve ward

now playing: steve ward, "evergreen"

i gotta tell ya about this guy - i was driving home last night, late, listening briefly to wrvv during their local music show, open mike night...and they played a new track from this guy, steve ward.

now, i didn't realize it, but i had heard a cut from this guys' previous album that a steel player i was aware of had worked on...but that lone cut didn't come close to scratching the surface of what this guy is capable of.

and, as i found out, his record apparently isn't really new at all...it's a year old...but i'm sold.

great stuff. check it out.

boy, those CNN guys....

now playing: nik everett, "all that i hide away"

so...you know that little idiot tucker carlson, right? you know...the guy with the bowtie and the icy cold stare of a serial killer? the guy who lovingly plays the role of fraternity fucktoy to robert novak on crossfire?

(as an added aside, is it just me or does novak look more and more like j. edgar hoover with each passing day? i know, i know...i digress...)

anyway, it appears that carlson isn't the "bush-can-do-no-wrong"er that i thought he was.

courtesy of daily kos:

"... The attacks initially made me sorry I voted for him. For most of that day, as my wife and children stayed inside our house listening to the roar of fighter jets overhead, and black smoke from the Pentagon hovered above our neighborhood, Bush failed to return to Washington. My family sat unprotected a few miles from the scene of a terrorist attack; Bush hid in a bunker on some faraway military base.

It infuriated me, as did the subsequent excuses from White House spokesman. There was a risk in coming back, they said. There was a risk in coming back, they said. Of course there was. That's the point: Leaders must take risks, sometimes physical ones. Bush should have elbowed his Secret Service detail out of the way and returned in a display of fearlessness to his nation's capital. I found it distressingly revealing that he didn't."

maaaaan....tucker's gonna get a spanking if he keeps talkin' like that.

speaking of CNN anchors, if you needed another reason to think that daryn kagan was a wingnut skank, here it is.

it'll be interesting to see how much steam the ben barnes story or the whole iran-contra sequel will pick up this week.

today's "quote of the day" in my daily new york times email:

"We absolutely need to invoke Sept. 11 in the convention. This election will determine how we fight a war on terror that began right here in this city."
Richard Aguilar, convention delegate

fool me once, shame on...fool me...won't get fooled again.

also, if you're click-happy, check this out. then head over to the guestbook and read all the shit this guys' getting from The Chosen Wing. pretty sad.


the financial reality of original music

now playing: the olympics

i thought i'd relay a conversation that took place today via "reply to all" email between myself, keyboardist extraordinnaire diamond dave minnich, and phoenixville expatriate charlie degenhart:

(attached to an email discussing potential philadelphia-area dates in october, including the famously frugal grape street pub...)

just a heads-up, boys!
i'll keep ya posted!
your pal,

diamond dave:

cool man

are we playin' for money or a hamburger? :)

hope you're havin' a great summer!


yours truly:

hey, dave....

he's talkin' about the Grape here - i think you'd better bring your own hamburger, man.

and this, truly, is the nature of playing your own songs on this level of the food chain...it's ironic that this cyber-conversation happened on the same day that my beloved white trash, trailer park, classic rock cover band was booked for a new years' eve gig for a thousand bucks.

i can go play american band and sweet home alabama for eighty-five bucks an hour, or i can go out and play original music for....

...a hamburger.

these are both paths that i'm walking at the same time right now - i committed to at least one charlie gig on 10/29, and i've officially joined nik everett's band as well, and neither of these situations are going to make me rich, but they scratch an itch that isn't going to be scratched otherwise.

so it sounds like what you're saying is...

now playing: abba, "chiquitita"

ok, ok, ok...i know how much you guys hate it when i post articles in their entirety. notwithstanding intellectual property situations that might arise from such, there are those who profess disdain for the space it takes up.

however, it seems easier to roll your scroller a few times than to go through the NY Times' registration process, so presented here, in its entirety, is former vietnam war correspondent neil sheehans' op-ed piece from today's times:

emphasis added after the fact by yours truly...

A War Without End

Washington — Thirteen years after the 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush, announced that America had "kicked the Vietnam syndrome'' with his crushing expulsion of Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait, the war in Vietnam is back. Its memories and divisions are reverberating as forcefully as ever in the campaign between his son, George Walker Bush, the 43rd president, and Senator John Kerry.

Seeking to convince voters that he would make a better commander-in-chief in the war on terror than Mr. Bush has been, Mr. Kerry placed his status as a Vietnam War hero front and center, only to find his reputation under assault by a group calling itself the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. As well as can be determined, the accusations are unfounded and Mr. Kerry deserved his medals.

Mr. Bush has his own problem with Vietnam; he did not serve there. In the spring of 1968, when he was a senior at Yale, casualties in Vietnam were averaging 414 killed and 1,160 seriously wounded a week. Draft calls were running commensurately high to replace the fallen. In contrast to the present, when the National Guard and the Reserves are ransacked for replacements for Iraq, both institutions were safe havens during the Vietnam era. Mr. Bush used his father's political influence to leapfrog the waiting list into the Texas Air National Guard.

One must be careful in pointing a finger at those who avoided service in Vietnam. Many, like President Clinton, had moral objections to the war. The gimmicks they used to stay out of it were tawdry, but they acted from motives of conscience. Mr. Bush - like his father's vice president, Dan Quayle, who sheltered in the Indiana National Guard, and his own vice president, Dick Cheney, who obtained five draft deferments - are in a different category. From what can be discerned, none of them opposed the Vietnam War. Had the younger Mr. Bush not stood aside from the central, transforming event of his youthful years, his performance as president might have been closer to that of the wise and capable commander-in-chief he claims to be but has not been. He might have learned a lesson from Vietnam - do not become involved in an unnecessary war.

Unnoticed in the controversy over the Swift Boat group's accusations is an undercurrent that lingers from the war. The men who fought in Vietnam and survived came back as divided as the public at home. Most suffered in silence, then picked up their lives and went on. But some, like John Kerry, were so disillusioned that they felt they had to do something to stop the war. Another minority persisted in their faith that the war could be won, that America is an exception to history and can do no wrong.

The nation has yet to come to grips with what really happened in Vietnam, and Mr. Kerry's accusers are among those who simply cannot and never will. They are driven by more than a political desire to further the fortunes of George Bush. Their remarks make clear that what they really hold against Mr. Kerry are his antiwar activities after his return and his testimony then that atrocities were being committed in Vietnam. They regard these as undermining the war effort and casting aspersions on their service. "We won the battle,'' one of Mr. Kerry's accusers, former Navy commander Adrian Lonsdale, said. "Kerry went home and lost the war for us.'' The group's second television commercial focuses on this issue, running bits of old news film of Mr. Kerry's testimony in a 1971 Senate hearing, excerpting his remarks to twist their meaning.

The truth is that atrocities were committed in Vietnam. The worst and most horrendous atrocity was officially sanctioned. The American command coldbloodedly set about to deprive the Communists of the recruits and other assistance the peasantry could provide by emptying the countryside. Peasant hamlets in Communist-dominated areas were deliberately and relentlessly bombed and shelled. Free Fire Zones - anything that moved, human or animal, could be killed - were redlined on military maps.

By 1968, civilian deaths, the great majority from air strikes and artillery, were estimated at about 40,000 a year and seriously wounded at 85,000. The wholesale killing cheapened the value of Vietnamese life in American eyes. It created an atmosphere that fostered the massacre at My Lai hamlet on March 16, 1968, when 347 Vietnamese old men, women, boys, girls and babies were butchered. That same morning another 90 unarmed Vietnamese were slaughtered at a nearby hamlet by a second army unit.

In Vietnam, America the exceptional joined the rest of the human race and demonstrated that it could do evil as easily as it could do good. Mr. Kerry undoubtedly said some intemperate things in 1971. That is the way of youth. But he also showed the moral courage to try to persuade his fellow citizens to halt actions that were disgracing their nation.

There is a way to honestly confront the reality of Vietnam and yet still honor the men who fought there. One must learn to distinguish between the war and the warrior. It always galls me when I hear the generation of World War II referred to as the "greatest generation.'' They were a great generation, but so were the men who served in Vietnam. The soldiers and Marines, sailors and airmen who fought there did so with just as much courage as anyone who fought in World War II. The generation of Vietnam had the ill luck to draw a bad war, an unnecessary and unwinnable war, a tragic, terrible mistake. But valor has a worth of its own, and theirs deserves to be honored and remembered.

Neil Sheehan, a correspondent in Vietnamfor the United Press International and The Times, won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction for "A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam.''

ok, gang...let's scroll back up about halfway, and i want you guys to read it aloud with me...

"atrocities were committed in vietnam."

c'mon. one more time.

"atrocities were committed in vietnam."

everybody....you guys in the back...sing along!

"atrocities were committed in vietnam."

yeah! now - sing it like you mean it!

"atrocities were committed in vietnam."

keep reading it...read it until you can't fucking understand for the life of you how it is that john kerry's truthful assertion during his testimony before congress in 1971 is supposed to be such an evil, treasonous thing.

and if you're seriously thick enough to think that john kerry sat down behind that microphone with the singular motive of sticking it to his shipmates, then you're every bit as delusional as the swift boat fudgepackers who think that john kerry is a worse choice for president than someone who was a fuckin' male cheerleader at yale during the war.

one more time, then i'll dismiss class for the day....let's hear it:

"atrocities were committed in vietnam."

thank you, cleveland...good night!

and then i didn't write...

now playing: bob seger, "night moves"

think george w. bush wants to put an end to independent 527 groups running ads in the media?

guess it depends on when you ask him.

hell, that's really all i had to say today.

no, actually, wait a minute.

every thought i've ever had about kenny chesney has been negative, i'm not really ashamed to say. his image essentially says, "look at the tool with the sleeveless shirt who wants to be jimmy buffett really badly, but isn't even cool enough to emulate a dork in a hawaiian shirt."

now, maybe kenny doesn't write the descriptions to his songs that appear in the liner notes of no shoes, no shirt, no problems (see? who the fuck calls their record something like that?), but if he did, then he's ok with me.

you can learn a lot from a guy from the insights he offers regarding a bunch of songs he didn't even write.


we have seen the enemy, and he is US...

now playing: boz scaggs, "lowdown"

i'm having one of those moments, and i just had to write it down before it got away.

i think i finally understand.

i know this feeling...i remember it well from when i was younger - that feeling of enlightenment, when you connect with someone or something and feel you share a common thread or you hear someone express something in a song or a poem that speaks directly to you somehow, as if that person had stepped into your shoes and lived a part of your life with you...

well, ok, maybe it's not quite like that...but i do feel enlightened.

i just clicked through a link from digby to an article that mark ames wrote for the new york press back in june called spite! it wins votes!

ames makes some points that are at once disturbing and revealing...it's equal parts political and societal commentary in its abandon to point out some not-so-noble characteristics that exist within the middle class. he also makes some interesting, if not chilling, comparisons between Dubya and Milosevic.

seriously, read it. to quote my buddy mike hudson from tenth grade, it'll fuck you up.

one thing that i'm noticing in myself is that i'm finding that i'm only too willing to allow ones' political bent to totally override any other trait that they might posess in determining what my opinion of them might be. for instance, i'm noticing that it's been very easy for me to allow dennis miller's latent republican bent to completely color my impression of him as a comedian. now, thankfully, there aren't a whole lot of people who fall under the GOP umbrella who seem to have any other redeeming qualities in my book (brooks and dunn? the gatlin brothers? michael w. smith? of course, my old high school alumni darryl worley will be there, but this comes as a shock to no one...).

i did encounter an exception on monday night, though...in one al michaels.

i've always enjoyed the familiarity of michaels' play-by-play presence on monday night football, and can't say that i ever remember a time when he interjected too much of himself into his work from a political standpoint...but this past monday, he broke with tradition on several occasions, culminating in touting missouri's presidential voting history, and mentioning that only three times in the past hundred years have they not gone in the direction of the eventual winner in the election (thomas dewey, adlai stevenson, and al gore), and then showing a poll report from some group called rasmussen reports that showed bush with a 50-46 advantage over kerry. now, it bears mentioning that a quick visit to the wall street journal battleground states poll, which uses zogby as a source (who the fuck is rasmussen reports, anyway?), not only shows kerry ahead, albeit by less than a percentage point, but it points out that bush won missouri in 2000.

and, as it turns out, al's true colors run parallel to that of most GOP shills...apparently, al thinks that katherine harris is an american heroine, as well.

now, the sometimes-bigger part of me...the normally sensible, compassionate, and occasionally even forgiving part - would like to intervene and say, well...that's his politics, and he's obviously not alone in his beliefs, and that is one part of him that doesn't speak to what you personally enjoy about his work...

but that's not really true. i wonder, in fact, if i'll even bother to watch any more monday night football games until after the election. and if W wins somehow, i think i'll be done for the year. i won't be able to take it.

maybe it's selective memory on my part, or maybe it's because i hadn't been that politically active until 2000, but i don't remember him ever interjecting this part of himself into his work before.

now...this is the part where i come grinding into a face-to-face confrontation with my own glaring hypocrisy:

i'm sitting here slamming al michaels for daring to interject his personal politics into his work in the same space i've defended the right of linda ronstadt, the dixie chicks, don henley, bruce springsteen, and many others - to interject their politics into their work without fear of public reproach.

if i should expect a conservative to allow linda ronstadt her affection for michael moore without allowing it to color his perception of her as a singer and performer, why then should it be a contemptible matter from the point of my perception if al michaels wants to write checks to dubya and scrape the countryside for a poll that shows bush ahead of kerry in a state where kerry is clearly ahead (although by less than the margin of error) in that state? i guess the whole "digging for a best foot to put forward" thing pisses me off, but that's human nature. if you're looking for a way to present a viewpoint and support it with raw data, it's pretty easy to understand how one might look for the best possible light in which to cast his raw data.

i think, though, that to be completely honest with myself, i'm gonna let that nagging little episode this past monday night bother me for quite some time to come....

...which makes me no worse than the assholes at the alladin.



now playing: aunt pat, "satellite"

i mentioned this to wendy the other night...with regards to one of my favorite movies of all time, i think i have a pretty good idea who the lead singer might be inspired by....

these are "period pics" of paul rodgers, then of free and later of bad company:

and this is jason lee as jeff bebe of stillwater:

i dunno why it took me four years to put my finger on it, but it always bugged me....he looks like somebody...

(by the way, please forgive the "hands off my intellectual property" stripe on the first pic - it didn't seem worth what they wanted for the pic to prove my point. i thought about photoshopping it out, but that didn't seem worth the effort, either.)

more numbers...

i've seen this twice in as many days, so the Universe must be telling me to repost it here:



Jan 2001-------------------NOW







Trade deficit, per month

the first place i saw it posted added the following statistic:


it starts with a V...

now playing: train, "let it roll"

a few things....

the marines are slashing combat training in half. does anyone remember the last time this happened?

hint: it starts with a "V" and ends with "IETNAM".

paul krugman is becoming one of my favorite reads, along with my usual suspects that i've talked about before. this column, the rambo coalition, is another winner.


All the credible evidence, from military records to the testimony of those who served with Mr. Kerry, confirms his wartime heroism. Why, then, are some veterans willing to join the smear campaign? Because they are angry about his later statements against the war. Yet making those statements was itself a heroic act - and what he said then rings truer than ever.

The young John Kerry spoke of leaders who sent others to their deaths because they wanted to seem tough, then "left all the casualties and retreated behind a pious shield of public rectitude." Fifteen months after George Bush strutted around in his flight suit, more and more Americans are echoing Gen. Anthony Zinni, who received a standing ovation from an audience of Marine and Navy officers when he talked about the debacle in Iraq and said of those who served in Vietnam: "We heard the garbage and the lies, and we saw the sacrifice. I ask you, is it happening again?"

Mr. Kerry also spoke of the moral cost of an ill-conceived war - of the atrocities soldiers find themselves committing when they can't tell friend from foe. Two words: Abu Ghraib.

Let's hope that this latest campaign of garbage and lies - initially financed by a Texas Republican close to Karl Rove, and running an ad featuring an "independent" veteran who turns out to have served on a Bush campaign committee - leads to a backlash against Mr. Bush. If it doesn't, here's the message we'll be sending to Americans who serve their country: If you tell the truth, your courage and sacrifice count for nothing.

Jon Stewart was, as usual, in brilliant form last night. If you're still in a frame of mind that'll let you laugh at the insanity that's currently masquerading as a presidential campaign, stop by here and download the clips. it'll be worth the bandwidth, i promise.

in the meantime, i submit these for your approval:

site statistics

now playing: the innocence mission, "black sheep wall"

checked my webstats this morning (which i haven't done in ages), and got a chuckle out of my top 20 search strings....some highlights:

kerry hecklers ejected
brokaw vending sandwich
canadiens evil empire
bill timmins alladin casino letter
friday ham but no burger (number 3, if you can believe it)
kevin dukes guitar mississippi
the mollies moon over the interstate
bad moon rising two guitars play
bam margera's secret life
suhprize suhprize suhprize

of the referring pages, the top two non-blogger sites on the list are david corn's bushlies site, and ex-lynyrd skynyrd guitarist ed king's forum. (of course, google was at the top of the list, with several other search engines listed as well...and the ever-present technorati.

not sure why this stuff fascinates me....


my teenage twin

now playing: nik everett, "the rest doesn't matter"

updated some of the links on the right side of the window...added some of the already-popular "A"-list liberal blogs (eschaton, pandagon, etc) and put steve earle's blog on the list as well.

there seems to be this cloud of Offspring Turmoil hanging over the room in which i've spent the day...my shopmate is having a huge fight with her freeloader married-with-children son, whose shiftless wife is becoming a wedge between the two of them...and i'm having some Son Issues of my own.

i found out today - five days after the fact - that he took money from a wallet that his mom's boyfriends' 5 year old son found in front of their house and divided it up between himself and his friends. i use the word "divided" in a pretty liberal sense...there was a total of $43 in the wallet...dylan gave a dollar each to his three co-conspirators and kept the two twenties for himself.

this isn't a new development....i've talked before about his liberties with the truth. it hasn't gotten any better.

some days, he makes jon lovitz's saturday night live character look like george washington at the cherry tree. this, plus there are problems he seems to have at his mothers' house that i don't have...and i got to listen to a phone call between the two of them via my answering machine that didn't shut off this week, which was pretty telling....he's very short with his mother, and you can hear the rage in his voice when he talks to her. there's something pretty scary that comes out in his voice when you hear him talk to her.

there are some obvious questions that probably come to the minds of outsiders when they read things like this, and trust me - i've answered most of them many times over. yeah, there are what would seem to be simple solutions to some of these problems, but the whole situation is rather complex. and at the points at which i've just had to chomp off a big bite of this, i'm not prone to wax on about it much...

suffice to say, there are some rough, adolescent waters ahead for this family.

kill the fire and turn to the sun

now playing: dan fogelberg, "face the fire"

one of my absolute favorite guitar solos, the end of that song...builds perfectly to the end of the song.

at some point, though, i gotta turn this off and brush up on my nik everett a little bit...first full band rehearsal tonight.

anyway, a couple of things today - last night, my buddy blake sent me a link to a blog article that quoted dan's mother in the peoria journal star, saying that the cancer had spread to his bones, and that he was undergoing experimental treatment at Harvard Medical Center...first with hormone therapy and a nutrition program, then a new form of chemotherapy ("not the kind that tears you up", his mother said). today, though, dan's official site refuted much of the article, saying that "the quotes attributed to my elderly mother not only misrepresent the extent of my illness, but also the treatment involved". (you can read the original peoria journal star article here and another news article referring to it here.)

i wonder how much of this is typical celebrity posturing posing as rumor control, personally...it's certainly hard, from the outside, to separate truth from fiction, and i find myself torn between wanting to know everything that's going on out of my own sense of concern for one of my heroes...and maintaining a distance and taking in the news as it becomes available and quelling my curiosity out of respect for his always-guarded privacy. that idiotic "inquiring minds want to know" phrase seems to come to mind...

this whole thing just sucks.

i googled the 'net looking for a picture that i know to exist of dan playing the gretsch guitar that's at the reykjavik hard rock cafe (the one identical to the one i own), but i couldn't find a copy of the one i have...but this one is from the 1982 solo acoustic tour - the first time i saw him:

yesterday, to keep myself distracted and disengaged from the perpetual sameness that's settling over the post-UNIX-outage work environment, i went to brian andreas' storypeople website and collected a long webpages' worth of my favorite andreas quotes and put them up on my webspace for future referral. i ordered one of his prints to give to my daughter a little over a week ago, which should be arriving today, according to the good prophets at ups.com.

i'm a huge fan of david corn. he's the washington editor of the nation, and i link to both his nation column and his blog in my right-hand column...but this week, he has a great article on steve earle in mother jones about his new record, called the revolution starts...now (read it here). i thought it was a stretch for him, originally, until i read the article and learned that earle's new record will have a pretty blatant political undertone...which, of course, is just fine with me. david is a great writer, though...i've been a fan for some time now.

my buddy mitch is clamoring for poco stories...which i'll probably oblige later today. i need to get out of this room for a while first.


i can't be satisfied

now playing: dan fogelberg, "stars"

paul waldman, editor-in-chief of the gadflyer:

"Much has been made of liberals' anger at President Bush, and that anger is certainly real. But if Bush loses in November, that anger will dissipate. You'll be able to find liberals angry about one issue or another at one time or another, but you won't find them simmering with a generalized fury. But many conservatives remain angry, even at the height of their power. They'll be angry if Bush loses, and they'll be angry if he wins."

click here for entire article

buddy hollys' stratocaster

now playing: lynyrd skynyrd, "workin' for MCA"

if you're one of my guitar junkie buddies, then you've gotta check this out. it'll put a smile on your face.


to recapture the innocent age...

now playing: elton john, "tiny dancer"

shaping up to be another long night at work - the drives that we ordered for our now long-suffering UNIX machine arrived today, so here i sit, as the Adaptec card writes a brand spankin' new RAID-10 stripe onto the drives...39% complete...

got an email from someone who i only really correspond with in matters regarding a common hero late this afternoon, and it was not good news...

with the words that i have at my disposal, i'm still not sure how i would go about trying to explain how important this guy has been to me...i know that there are those who think of this music as hokey, sentimental crap, and that's ok. i'm alright with that. to each his own.

see, here's the thing...

i pretty much missed the whole punk thing. i never got it. still don't.

when the clash hit, i was blissfully unaware of them, until such time as rock the casbah hit, and by then i was in high school and DJ'ing at one of the radio stations in my hometown - and it was an adult contemporary station. by that point, my tastes were pretty much carved in stone. and i didn't care for the loud, angry shit at all.

i've heard the whole "revolt against the corporate dreck that the music business had become" argument, and it's a powerful argument. but i never made peace with how you effectively backlash against the status quo by sucking. the mindset was apparently that if there were already all these bands who were commercially successful as a result of writing good songs and playing them well, then the way to start the revolution was to go out and be awful. and a lot of them were.


i don't get the clash. i don't get television. i don't get lou reed. i don't get david byrne (then or now. hell, especially now.)

even now, i listen to radio stations like wxpn and i hear one song out of maybe six to ten that i can tolerate. it used to be one in every three or four, but we've again come full circle in many ways to those halcyon days in the late seventies when the punk movement made it hip to suck ass.

let's look at lucinda williams, for instance.

every critic on the planet has had to lunge for their collective thesauruses to find new words to use to shine lucindas' ass, and i can't stand her. she can't sing for shit, first of all...and while she used to write good songs (something about what happens when we talk and sweet old world, for instance), she seems to have given that up in the wake of her critical success.

yet people fawn over her.

don't get it. nope.

now, i don't know why i got off on this tangent in the first place, but now that i've come down this street, i want to stress that it's not that i have a bias against anything recorded in the past 20 years, or anything of that nature. i love counting crows, for instance. i love lori mckenna and michael tolcher and train and sarah mclachlan and shane nicholson and...and....

well, you get my point. i'm not an "era snob".

but some people are, and those are the ones who'll be shaking their heads when i talk about what a huge influence dan was on my formative years.

everything that i wanted to be, he already was. he wrote amazing songs, and his voice did them justice. he was equal parts composer, musician, and artist, and he gave me the drive to broaden my horizons and listen to other types of music that i wouldn't have given time to, otherwise (and yeah, i fully realize the irony in that statement, considering the first part of my little stream of consciousness rant...).

as i found out what little there was to know about him at the time, i was even more intrigued...his father was a classically trained musician, and a conductor and teacher by trade. his mother was a trained singer. he spent his adolescent years in peoria, illinois, not really fitting in with the social classes that i believed to exist in every high school, and ended up playing in bands through high school, doing beatles and buffalo springfield songs. as he matured as a musician, he was drawn to songwriting and the acoustic guitar, and gravitated to a favorite spot over the river where he found his feet as a songwriter. left home, struck out for the city with his then-manager, irving azoff, who shopped him around LA, trying to get a deal for him for months before he finally ended up with a deal with columbia, where he cut his gorgeous debut album, home free.

his lyrics were literal poetry...abstract imagery, but literal enough to conjure a common wistfulness or a shared experience, and sung with equal parts conviction and sincerety.

"The places dash and the faces
Like fishes in a dream
Hiding 'neath the murky banks
of long forgotten streams
The lines of life are never long
when seen from end to end
The future's never coming
and the past has never been..."

from in the passage

"...Every time I try to put
This puzzle into place
There always seems to be
A piece that's missing
And through the eyes of someone else
I look into my face
And can't believe the sorrow
There I see
I can't believe this lonely man
Is me..."

from lost in the sun

"...Pressed in the pages
Of some aging text
Lies an old lily, crumbling
Marking a moment
Of childish respects
Long since betrayed and forgotten.

Times stills the singing
A child holds so dear
And I'm just beginning to hear
Gone are the pathways
The child followed home
Gone, like the sand and the foam..."

from the sand and the foam

as an alienated teenager fixated on rock and roll and belonging nowhere in particular, i found something to relate to in what he said, and the enigmatic image he projected...i identified with the reclusive artist persona, as i felt that this was something that we actually had in common. he got me out from behind the drums and lit the fire inside me to learn guitar, to pick up a pencil and write songs, to be willing to make mistakes and learn the craft of songwriting and to find the words inside myself to express what i felt, even if those early efforts struggled just to be worthy of amateur status.

when he came to memphis my senior year in high school, there was no way in hell i wasn't going. a buddy of mine who was also a fan knew how to get there (i didn't), so i bought the tickets, he bought the gas, and we went.

i couldn't believe how his voice seemed to fill the entire auditorium. it was just him, guitar and piano...and one of the first things i noticed was that when he played the songs, his accompaniment was perfect - it was the first glimpse i'd gotten of what the process was - i'd always thought that the songs probably started with a rudimentary chord progression, and all the frills and accents were added on later. what i learned was that songs like make love stay started out with the chord progression and melody completely intact, and that the arrangements on the recording were done to complement the songs as they were written. i noticed that while a lot of his songs did have the traditional folk fingerstyle accompaniment, he mixed fingerpicking with strumming for dynamics, and he wasn't afraid to snap a bass string with his thumb for good measure, and that he actually tuned his guitar differently to play certain songs...i knew those weren't the basic chords that he was flying by in some of those songs, like once upon a time and longer and so on...he was just an amazing musician, and that two and a half hours changed my life. it set me on the path to become a better guitarist, to stretch my voice and lose the timid delivery that had been a subconscious barricade for me...

it's no exaggeration that i wouldn't be the musician that i am now if it weren't for him.

i've known...forecasted, even...that there'd be a time when the years would force the human side of my heroes to the surface, and i'd have to stand by and watch them start to fall, one by one. last year, we lost warren zevon and just last month one of my heroes whom i've been fortunate enough to call a friend as well, george grantham from poco was felled by a stroke onstage, two songs into a show in springfield, mass. (he's doing much better and has returned to nashville just this past week, although he's still hospitalized at this point, by the way).

i can see the age in my own eyes when i look in the mirror with some strange mix of regret and anxiety...but as time goes by and the cultural landscape under my feet continues to shift and mutate into something that i fail to recognize sometimes, nothing drives home the passing of the years quite like seeing my heroes age.

if you're not too cool to do so, say a prayer for dan tonight.



now playing: poco, "indian summer"

wendy brought home the first season of six feet under last week, and i'm firmly convinced at this point that it's probably the best show on TV right now. i used to watch it pretty religiously when we still had HBO (before the great purge of the pay channels), and lost interest when it wasn't around anymore, as i typically do with TV. it's not terribly often that i'll allow myself to ignore all the things around me that need my attention and sink into the sofa and indulge myself with tube time...it's just hard for me to relax if something's pressing on my "to do" button. and to clarify - it's not so much an OCD type disorder as it is a matter of tending to basic needs. it's generally more of a "do i want to watch tv or have clean clothes to wear to work tomorrow?" more than a "how can i waste my time watching tv when i haven't alphabetized the soup cans in the cupboard yet?" thing.

and yes, i am aware of a person (who happens to sit just to my right, through a wall) who actually does that...alphabetizes his soup cans.

so i got a tip that there's a relatively cheap pickup truck for sale in ephrata that might fit my (nonexistant) budget, so i think we'll go have a look after work tonight. good excuse to go to boehringer's, too, since it's on the way. i also need to drop off the videos from the weekend as well (one time when i did blow everything else off to sit on my ass and watch movies with my kids was this past week when we all went and rented movies together...)

wendy is heading off for maine and massachusetts for labor day weekend (plus part of the week after), so i'm gonna have large chunks of alone time over the weekend to finish up some household stuff (building dylan's new bunk beds and getting the garage/workshop in order, as well as helping jayda situate her room the way she wants it), and after all the headway made this past weekend, it'll be a long stride towards finally making the place feel more like home than storage space.

this has been another of those "time-delayed" attempts at sitting down and writing something...i open up Notepad, and start scribbling, and the phone rings, and then i start scribbling, and someone comes back to the shop with a printer problem, and i resume scribbling and the phone rings again, and i dash off to help someone restart their machine to clear a program error (yeah, it's true...i have callouses on my palms from the hand-holding that i do on a daily basis)...so i think i'm going to abandon this particular attempt at coherency before it becomes all too obvious that there's much more of a lack thereof...


vehicular deja-vu

now playing: the innocence mission, "mercy"

well, i batted one out of two for the auditions i had this weekend...i didn't make the sunday audition, thanks to my van deciding to splinter the alternator belt...i had both the battery and the oxygen sensor lights come on on the dash, and when i parked it, i had coolant going everywhere in the back. what's worse, when i came back to it to move it, the rear tire on the drivers' side was flat.

i've really, really had it with this thing. obviously, having an ace mechanic isn't improving the uptime ratio of this thing.

(it should also be noted that my ace mechanic must not be in the shop today, since no one seems to be either answering the phone or returning my calls)

wendy made a good and relevant point as i was silently and inwardly expressing my disgust with this piece of shit - in that i should definitely consider getting another means of transportation if i'm considering taking on a band that's headquartered two hours from home.

good point.

i'm pretty thoroughly disgusted at this point. tired of not being able to follow through on committments because of shit like this.

anyway, i didn't have my cell phone with me yesterday, and didn't have freds' number with me either...and after dwelling on wendys' comment for a while, it probably didn't matter. as much as i'd like to take this on, i just can't see clear to committing to these guys if i can't get in my fucking car and somehow, through the miracle of modern transportation, get from point A to point B.

so i guess i'm going to have to accept the reality of being in the market for a new ride...my buddy mitch had told me about a guy he knows in the philadelphia area that would probably be able to do something for me some time back, but after i tripped over my mechanic and he got me back on the road, it seems to have slipped my mind.

guess i gotta refocus.

the nik everett encounter went much better, probably because nik came to me instead of vice versa...and while i didn't have the songs mastered to the extent that i would've liked, it went alright nonetheless. we're planning on getting together with niks' rhythm section at the end of this week, which should prove to be a lot more productive...it's tough to relax and play your best when it's two people face to face and you're busy trying to be subtle and stay out of the way of things in that particular environment. he's already taken a date for his CD release party in october at the point in bryn mawr...which he was laughing about on saturday, saying that having the date in stone would force us to get off our collective asses.

i was glad to hear him say that we'd probably pick up one or two of the old songs as well...one of my favorite nik songs is from his second record, called "love equals blue"...in fact, i go to his site every now and then and refresh it until that song plays under his index page.

anyway, the one good thing that came from having my plans derailed yesterday was that i got enough wind at my back to finish wiring the studio...so now everything is in place and functional. i did do one stupid thing, though...and it didn't occur to me that i was doing it until everything was already wired and in place.

i have an old 16 in, 16 out patch bay that i've had literally since i first began making recordings, back in 1986. my console is a 20 channel RAMSA, and i have 2 ADAT machines that make up my non-hard disk recording environment. since i only use 16 channels at a pop on the console (and generally use the last four as effects returns), i got a 16 channel custom insert snake for the first 16 channels.

so, i figure as i'm agonizing over the layout and such, why not use the old 16 in/out patchbay for the channel inserts? it's the same number of ins and outs, no confusion, no extra patch points to waste...perfect, right?

well, it seemed thus until last night when i got everything in place and started testing the rig and realized that my old, trusty MTR patchbay that i was using for inserts wasn't normalled - which means that unless a cable is in place on the channel, the circuit is broken and nary a sound shall ye year until you patch the send into the return.

now, i have a behringer patch panel in there that's switchable, and that's where the inserts went before...but being the lazy fuck that i am, i'll probably leave it the way it is and just get extra cables to leave in the insert patchbay so i don't have to move shit again.

although there's an excellent chance that it'll eventually bother me to the point that i'll fix it.

it was quite nice, though, at a little before 4am this morning, to hear audio coming from my speakers through the console.

i sure am payin' for it today, though.


road stories and such....

now playing: dolly varden, "progress note"

so i'm in the middle of a little data housecleaning, and i found the following in a word document that was in an old backup file. from the days when i was compiling my thoughts in a more centralized fashion.

not sure why i thought this would be relevant, but some of it is pretty funny.


Earthquake? What Earthquake?

January 16th, 1994 – my sidekick at the time, Todd Bartolo, accompanied me to one of our regular stops in Lewistown, PA...Kirby’s. I’ve heard that they’ve since closed, which is a shame, because it was a great place to play, and we always had a good turnout. This particular night was the coldest in recent memory, with a wind chill well below zero, and we were travelling in my old 1976 Ford Econoline with no heat. We finished up the show and were getting ready to tear everything down when a guy walked up to us and asked, during the course of our conversation, where we were from.

“Reading”, we answered.

His face fell, and he told us, “maaaaan…you guys had an earthquake tonight, dude.”


“…yeah, man… bummer.”

Todd and I looked at each other with that knowing glance that wordlessly said, “OK. Sure. Right. Whatever.” We then loaded into our refrigerated van and got ready to make the trek home.

If you’ve ever travelled 322 East towards State College, you’re familiar with the void that exists in that part of the state…and we had gotten just outside the city when the van started sputtering. I told Todd that if the van died, we would die with it, because it was just too friggin’ cold. I had a quarter tank of gas, and I didn’t believe for a minute that the gas was the problem. We managed to make it to a Sheetz that had only been built at its location for a few days and gassed up, and it ran fine the rest of the way home…cold, but fine. (we actually ended up stopping at a truck stop further along the trip to buy socks for Todd, since he was wearing those cute little ankle socks that didn’t provide much protection from frostbite..)

The punchline? We arrived home to find that our hallucinating friend out west hadn’t been hallucinating at all, and that there actually had been an earthquake in Reading that night…but, of course, you miss a lot when you live this life….

Speaking of COLD….

February of 1998, my then-manager booked me a short weekend trip to play at a couple of rooms in Kentucky – Picassos’ in Elizabethtown and the Second Song Coffeehouse in Louisville. Kind of a standard thing, we had someone in the area that I could split shows with, and in my then-characteristic abandon, I left for the gigs without really thinking twice about it. I had this habit of assuming that everything was taken care of (including making connections for places to stay…silly me!), so I left my apartment at 6AM and started south.

At the time, I was driving SYD (acronym for Suburban Yuppie Dirtmobile), my trusty ’89 Dodge Caravan. This vehicle was a wonder – 4 ½ engines during our time together. We travelled many, many miles together…from Memphis and Nashville to Toronto and many, many points in between – NYC, Boston, Pittsburgh, DC – you name it. This particular weekend, though, I had two gigs down south and then back home – piece of cake, right?

Well, the shows went well, and I got to visit Guitar Emporium in Louisville, KY (where I bought my first mail-order Les Paul years before) and did a lot of window shopping during the day. I also got to sit under a tree in the park and read for a few hours on that particular Saturday. I had slept in SYD the night before, parked strategically behind a convienence store, and had managed to shave and wash my hair (and select other body parts…too much information?) in the bathroom at the McDonalds’ on Bardstown Road the following morning. You see, these are the secondary skills that you glean as a musician…learning to make a Hilton out of a Motel Six seems easy compared to making a bed and bath out of a rest stop. So, having soldiered through the previous two days, I thought nothing of sleeping in the van after the last show of the jaunt. So, as per the lessons experience had taught me, I drove the first couple of hours up the interstate after the show to warm up the van, and climbed into the back seat and zipped my sleeping bag up around my face and went to sleep. Now, it was the first week of February, and I should have expected as much, but it had been pretty mild the previous two nights, so I thought not much of it….but this last night, it was COLD. I mean COLD. I sleep pretty heavily as it is, so I didn’t really feel it until the next morning, when I woke up. My nose and cheeks were almost numb from the cold, and were my willpower a little less weak, I’d have still been there, shivering, in the bag. I actually had to scrape the INSIDE of the windshield before I could start driving north that morning. All this to play two gigs that netted me $38.00.

The Great Disappearing Audience Trick

Yet another Kirby’s story…I had the good fortune of having a core following at Kirbys’, a group of people I could count on showing up every time I was there…one of them, Marylou, was especially close to me. She was a joker of the highest order. On one particular night, she seemed especially intent on pulling one off at my expense – and she must’ve succeeded, because I still remember it…

The setup at Kirby’s was unique…I played in the basement tavern, and there was a piano in the room, but it sat flush against the wall that I stood against. This meant that if I wanted to play the piano, I had to do so with my back to the audience…which sucked, but it was one of the only places that I had access to a piano, so I felt obligated to use it. This particular night, I was in the middle of “Candle in the Wind”, and I listened as I played to the room growing really quiet…”wow,” I thought…”this is unusual for this room..” I finished the song to the same silence, and turned around to find that there wasn’t a soul in the entire room. After a brief pause, I heard uproarious laughter coming from just outside the doorway, and Marylou opened the door and everyone came back in…she had led everyone in the room outside during the song, and no one opened their mouth or gave away a thing. I was so intent on playing that I had no idea what was going on behind me until I had already been duped. And, of course, Marylou never let me live that one down.


now, in retrospect, i don't remember why i started writing all that stuff down...i obviously hadn't abandoned capitalization yet at that point...and i'd forgotten about a couple of those stories.

anyway, there ya go.

another one i found was written just after the death of folk musician dave carter...


i'm not sure why this news bothers me as much as it did for most of last night - i wasn't terribly familiar with his music, and i only met him briefly, but he made an impression.

we saw him at Falcon Ridge last year...we were there for their mainstage performance, but it was so late, and so cold - we called it a night and went back to the tent and collapsed into sleep.

the next day, he and Tracy Grammer were at the festival stage, and Dave played a Christmas song he wrote, and talked about writing it in the middle of the summer because it was a commisioned work, and the awkwardness that accompanied writing it...i related to that, because i had done the same thing myself. i had to write "the road south" in the middle of august in a sweltering three room apartment above 5th street in reading, listening to the sirens and the wheeled subwoofers that coasted to a stop beneath the open window that faced the street - and i knew it wasn't gonna be a Santa Song or a Frosty Song or a Birth of Christ song...i wrote instead about a fantasy Christmas trip home with Chris that i thought might happen someday. I had talked to her on the phone just prior to writing it, and told her that i was hanging up and i couldn't talk to her until it was done. when i put that particular spin on it, it poured out - it wasn't a particularly hard song to write, but it was a personal song, and they never seem to be....but writing a Christmas song, a Real Christmas song - there just seems to be this sense that other people should "get it" as such...but i really didn't care about that.

so Dave asked for title ideas for his song and Dylan came up with one. So I took him with me to the rear of the tent to tell Dave his Grand Idea for the title of his Christmas song. Dylan, as is his way, was loathe to say anything when we first went back, but Dave talked to him (and to me) for a time, and Dylan seemed to feel at ease with him. He just seemed like such a warm and gentle person, sincere in talking to Dylan - I had told him that I was a writer as well...or maybe Dylan told him, I can't remember, but Dylan told him his idea for his song title, and we chatted a little longer, and he turned to me and said, "I'd love to hear some of your music sometime, too..."

and i felt as though he actually meant it. and i never feel that. the fact that i remember that from the conversation is probably the most telling thing about the impression he made.

i've said "thank you" so many times that it almost feels contemptuous when someone complements me on my talent. to thank someone for their kind words is a motor response, an expected dialouge from someone that a stranger might admire or respect in a certain light...and when you travel in musicians' circles, it becomes, over time, a phrase incapable of penetrating ones' impervious cynicism.

"great set, tom."

"dude, that song is amazing."

"i loved your record."

it's a record of the damage that a prolonged existence on this rung of the food chain does to a persons' expectations. It made me into someone capable of being unmoved by the compliments of the very person or persons i wanted to reach with my music.

coming from another musician, of course, whatever was said was automatically bullshit. i saw it so many times during the Grape Days - a fellow musician tells another musician that his new songs are really cool, good stuff...until he escapes to the bar for a beer, at which time "his stuff is really tired, man...." "what's up with that shirt?" "he wasn't at Ben Arnold's party last month, was he?"

thus the reason I find myself here, voluntarily extricated from the Grape and the Grape Days.

yet that day at Falcon Ridge, I felt like I was in the presence of the Real Thing for a couple of minutes. Someone who played because he loved playing, who wrote because he loved writing, who interacted with the people who took the time to see and hear him out of genuine, sincere gratitude...

he was 49 years old when he died, and he was a very accomplished musician - jazz pianist, degreed...yet he found his voice in folk music. i can't help but admire that, too.

but i found myself feeling sad that he'd passed on, partly because of the impression of him as a person that i'd formed from that one meeting, and from having read what Tracy had posted on his website when i checked it yesterday when i came home - i found myself mourning as much for her loss as for the worlds'.

and the irony is that wendy and i discussed exchanging vows at falcon ridge - which, this past weekend, was the scene of a dave carter tribute concert and a memorial...and which would have made it impossible for me to try and impose nuptials into the same space.

it was almost as if we weren't supposed to know about it before we left, and we weren't supposed to hear about it until we came home...

the memory of this past week as we lived it out will be largely uncluttered by any memory of it having occured during the week after Dave's death, yet his death feels like a loss to me. in a lot of ways, i'm not sure why...i feel like i should be harder than this by now.

so last night, i lay in bed next to my new wife, who knew (of course) that I was sad, and in my fashion, i was purely unable to talk about it. i wasn't able to tell her that this was affecting me the way it had, or why, or make any sense out of it until i had time to think about it today and put it into perspective.

so i lay there, with tiny tear tracks finding their way from my eyes into my hairline, staring at the ceiling with my insides twisted up, unable to really deal with it in any way that made sense on what i'd probably call a rational level.

and i felt a loss for my son, too, who had lost another potential role model before he got the chance to fully experience what he was about.

I started to tell him about it when he came downstairs last night to go shopping, but it didn't seem like it was a huge priority - he's still of an age that doesn't feel the weight of death the way we do when we grow up and learn to interpret death as loss - death, to a child, is totally foreign until they lose someone who represents a personal loss.

Dylan doesn't feel these kinds of losses yet.

This all seems to contain a message for me - as have a whole string of events that have played out over the past few months.

First, my old lawyer books me for a show in DC and manages to parlay it into a fresh shipment of "mutual angels" - which had been out of print and largely forgotten, so i thought, until then...

then Pete from Shame asks me to open a show for them and tells me that an opportunity exists for me to make another record for free.

then I go to Albany, and to New Hampshire, during the course of our vacation, and find out that there are still people out there who I had no connection to who love my music, and who want to see me continue to make records...

i feel like my resistance to all this has been justified in my own stubborness, my own trite refusal to write, sing, play, record - feeling that if i wasn't doing it for a viable (meaning large in my mind) audience, then I shouldn't bother....my whole "what's the point"-ness.

i think if anything significant comes from feeling a sense of loss from Dave Carter's death, it's that there are reasons to do this that have nothing to do with who might be listening at a given point.


some of this might still be relevant - i have two separate auditions for a couple of different situations this weekend, and they're both things that i'd really be psyched to be a part of...not sure what else to say about any of that until such time as i have something substantial to report.



now playing: james taylor, "don't let me be lonely tonight"

so, get this....they're chasin' me outta here. my boss just came over and gave me this incredulous look and said, "you're still here?"

so i'm being sent home.

which is fine...i mean, hell...who wants to be inside with weather like this, huh?

(ultra-thundershowers, for those not in our local listening area)

man...JT - they shoulda played sleep come free me....


now playing: harry chapin, "taxi"

i'm too tired to think of any words of my own today.

"i believe that success brings responsibility. it also does not bring immunity to the consequences of our quickening march towards oblivion. the bottom line is that all of us should be involved in our own futures to create a world that our children will want to live in."

--- Harry Chapin



now playing: nik everett, "excellent night"

i'm never, ever gonna get outta here.

i don't know if it's worth it to even go into the chronology of what's taken place at work this past week, but suffice to say, it's been downright ugly. beyond ugly, really...i was here last night until midnight. tonight, same thing. i'm in the position of blowing off band practice and my kids to camp here late tonight and gut a server and rebuild it. this said with the knowledge that once i've removed the offending parts, i'll be installing them in another machine for the purpose of troubleshooting - and dropping them back into the server and transferring the data again once the problems have been rooted out.

good thing i like what i do, for the most part.

not sure too many other people in my circles like what i do right now, though.

it probably goes without saying, but the resultant lack of sleep has conjured some interesting dreams in the midst of the few hours i've managed to close my eyes this past week. i'm not sure if i even want to get into any of that at the moment....probably requires a bit more time than i know i have at the moment.

the thing is, this is just a spike on the radar...if my boss gets his way and we move completely to a windows network environment, complete with exchange, SQL server, and all the bells and whistles, it's going to become much more interesting.

the length of this post and the observation that i just don't seem to have anything else to write about at the moment would be a good indicator that i should probably just shut the hell up until i have something else to say.


why apple can kiss my ass

now playing: whole wheat radio

so we're still troubleshooting our server problem here at work. it's now 2:30, and we're no closer, really, to being up than we were. we did back up the original RAID array to an IDE drive to attempt to read the data as it was at the time of the crash, but (as i suspected) if the data on the drive is already toast, then there is no magical healing process that takes place when you back up your already corrupted data. it's not as if the cybergods look down from heaven and say to themselves, "awwww....look at that. he's making such a valiant effort...maybe we should smile upon him..."


it's more like, "you dumb bastard! the time to have done that was before we trashed your shit! glad you have so much surplus time on your hands, for today we teach you a lesson."

so thanks, cybergods. welcome to my lost weekend.

anyway, back to why Apple can kiss my ass.

a word to the wise, those of you in the position to make such decisions - you are not helping anyone by putting a spiffy, new voicemail system in place that effectively insulates your customer base from the unfortunate experience of actually having to talk to a human being.

for instance, APPLE...when i go to your website and track down the phone number for your store in King of Prussia - and, heaven forbid, DIAL it...the phone should actually ring at the store in King of Prussia. It should not go into some international PBX system that routes my call to any one of other countless similar PBX systems, similarly designed to thwart my original intention of actually speaking to a human being. AND...(and this goes for all of you who do so) - don't direct me to your website. If (not so hypothetically speaking), i'm hoping that there's a longshot that an Apple store might have a 36GB Ultra-3 SCSI drive in stock, I'm not going to be driving to your website on a Sunday afternoon to pick it up...if, perchance you have one (based on our consultants' stereotypical assumption that "macs use scsi drives, maybe an apple store would have one"), i'm not going to be hopping in my car and driving to your website to pick one up.

where would i be going for that?


so that's why apple can kiss my ass.

or at least, that's what i just told their voicemail.



now playing: the never-ending whistle of an adaptec SCSI card indicating that it isn't happy with its RAID configuration

...which would indicate that i'm at work, since i don't really use SCSI (or RAID, for that matter) on any of my machines at home...

maryann called me this morning to let me know that the UNIX server that hosts our manufacturing software had crashed, and - since she's not what she considers to be hardware-savvy - she wanted to know how long it'd take me to get here.

so i threw some clothes on and brought my barely-awake, as-yet-unshowered-from-the-previous-night's-carpetlaying ass to work.

that was 5 hours ago.

right now, we're doing a sector-by-sector copy of the RAID array (since we finally managed to get one of the striped sets ressurected) with Ghost, and then she's going to do a full restore from the backup...hopefully, that'll get us back up and online.

why are we cloning an array that refuses to boot up?

don't ask. not that you probably would, anyway...

but - it's all good. we're almost finished with the cloning portion of the show, and then we should be able to restore the backup and get on with our lives...until tomorrow, anyway. it's looking highly likely that we may end up in here tomorrow as well, but that depends on the outcome of this evening.

until the new drives are here and we manage to rebuild this array, though, i feel like i'm living in one long test of the emergency broadcast system.

and this is, of course, exactly what i had in mind for this weekend...i'm sure my kids are sitting at home thinking, "yeah, some fuckin' "welcome back from vacation" weekend, huh...."

not that i'd blame them. that's precisely what i'd probably be thinking, were i in their place.

after X number of instances of this, i wonder...at what point do you pass the point of diminshing returns in the "i'll make it up to you" column on the ledger?

i'm not certain that, in jackson browne's words, "i passed that point long ago"....

yea, tho many obstacles might litter my already cluttered path, i shall prevail...eventually.


lies and the lying liars who tell them, redux

now playing: earth, wind, and fire, "got to get you into my life"

ok, first order of business...i think i've discussed previously my contempt for the means by which the word "liberal" has been somehow transformed into a slur over the years. those of us who fall under that banner made it easy for those who would turn it into a vilification by trying to be all things to all people and distance ourselves from the "label".

we preach tolerance of race, tolerance of sex, tolerance of religious bent, tolerance of physical and mental handicaps under the guise of "political correctness"...but all of a sudden there's a modicum of shame attached to this label.

it pisses me off. 'nuff said.

however, in the most recent misuse of the label by the wingnuts on the right, they can't even get their facts straight.

those of you following the election have by now no doubt heard the rights' charge that kerry and edwards posess the first and fourth most liberal voting records in the senate. this tidbit of information is attibuted to the national review, a non-partisan legislative watchdog group...they've been only too happy to dole out credit for the statistic - but they haven't been very forthcoming about how they managed to squeeze these numbers out.

the numbers they cultivated to arrive at this statistic were taken from a period in 2003 that found both senators on the campaign trail and not present for votes.

as we all learned during the OJ trial, you can buy any result you want.

if you're interested, here are the top ten most liberal voting records in the senate...courtesy of (you guessed it) the national review:

National Journal: Most liberal senators, lifetime voting

1. Mark Dayton, D-Minn.
2. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md.
3. Jack Reed, D-R.I.
4. Jon Corzine, D-N.J.
5. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
6. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
7. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa
8. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.
9. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.
10. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt

believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see...

what i think i think - #1

i think that if you're gonna bring magazines in from home to read on the shitter at work, you should probably entertain the notion of taking the mailing label off the back of it.

that way, no one else will be aware that you kinda consider the bathroom at work a home away from home, where you can stretch out and enjoy your latest issue of pennsylvania game news and relax for a while.

if you neglect to do so, then you have no one but yourself to blame when your co-workers christen you the Great White Hunter.

i'm just sayin', ya know....


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

the other night, as my dear friend and fellow activist buddy mitch were cleaning out the last of the stray items from the old chestnut street house, a question popped into my head...

"mitch...which do you think is worse? ashcroft or j. edgar hoover?"

we both pondered this for a minute or two and came to the conclusion that we couldn't really come to a conclusion.

today, however, i got my answer.

now...before i pass this on, i want to point out up front that, through some deft publicity, they managed to have this order rescinded after the fact, but i'm reprinting this here anyway...to illustrate again the arrogance and panache of those who pull the strings in our justice department.

this makes me ill.

Ashcroft Orders Libraries To Destroy Copies Of Laws
Federal Statutes On Asset Forfeiture May Not Be Published

In another move towards federal tyranny, the Attorney General John Ashcroft has ordered the American Library Association to destroy all copies of the federal laws on asset forfeiture and to deny access to those laws to the general public.

The unprecedented move, in which US citizens would be unable to read or know the text of the laws they are expected to obey, was another stage in the growing power of President George W Bush.

The American Library Association has refused the request of the "Justice" Department to destroy copies of the law, and made the following statement:

Statement regarding DOJ request for removal of government publications by depository libraries

The following statement has been issued by President-Elect Michael Gorman, representing President Carol Brey-Casiano, who is currently in Guatemala representing the Association:


July 30, 2004

Statement from ALA President-Elect Michael Gorman:

Last week, the American Library Association learned that the Department of Justice asked the Government Printing Office Superintendent of Documents to instruct depository libraries to destroy five publications the Department has deemed not "appropriate for external use." The Department of Justice has called for these five these public documents, two of which are texts of federal statutes, to be removed from depository libraries and destroyed, making their content available only to those with access to a law office or law library.

The topics addressed in the named documents include information on how citizens can retrieve items that may have been confiscated by the government during an investigation.

The documents to be removed and destroyed include: Civil and Criminal Forfeiture Procedure; Select Criminal Forfeiture Forms; Select Federal Asset Forfeiture Statutes; Asset forfeiture and money laundering resource directory; and Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA).

ALA has submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the withdrawn materials in order to obtain an official response from the Department of Justice regarding this unusual action, and why the Department has requested that documents that have been available to the public for as long as four years be removed from depository library collections. ALA is committed to ensuring that public documents remain available to the public and will do its best to bring about a satisfactory resolution of this matter.

Librarians should note that, according to policy 72, written authorization from the Superintendent of Documents is required to remove any documents. To this date no such written authorization in hard copy has been issued.

Keith Michael Fiels
Executive Director
American Library Association
(800) 545-2433 ext.1392


now, don't misconstrue this statement as an indictment of librarians, for i could see where this would be possible...but i'll say it anyway....

it's a sad fucking day in america when the only people who seem to be willing to stand up to the brownshirts are the librarians.

not the media, not the opposition party leaders, not the oppressed droids who suffer willingly at the hands of these people...

the librarians.

god bless 'em.

and may the rest of us hang our heads in shame.



now playing: lynyrd skynyrd, "workin' for MCA"

speaking of skynyrd, lacy van zant passed away this week. for the uninitiated, he was the father of the van zant boys - ronnie, johnnie, and donnie. ronnie was the original vocalist and frontman of skynyrd, while donnie went on to form .38 special. johnnie is the current vocalist for lynyrd skynyrd.

that's quite a legacy in anyone's book. rest in peace, papa skynyrd.

i believe the children are our future...

now playing: frog holler, "WJKS"

i opened up my yahoo page last night, and was greeted with this picture under their "news" section:

now, all other factors aside...this man does not look to be at ease to me. at all. not even a little.

now, this is about as nitpicky as i get, and i realize this is an age-old political tradition, but i'm not feeling a whole lot of love when i look at this picture. i see someone who clearly sees themselves as above this, with more disdain than tolerance.

so i skipped around the 'net for a minute or two, and found that there really isn't much in the way of flattering "bush baby" pics out there. it's all mostly stuff like this:

i guess the impression that i'm left with...and the advice that i'd pass on to dubya if he remotely gave a shit what i thought...would be to steer clear of the kiddie photo-ops. my pet goat is gonna haunt him for the rest of his public life as it is...so if he persists in this area, the law of averages is gonna catch up with him sooner or later...

i'd say stick with the "haves" and the "have mores". you seem much more at ease among them.

guest editorial

now playing: bread, "everything i own"

from today's new york times editorial page:

Chords for Change

A nation's artists and musicians have a particular place in its social and political life. Over the years I've tried to think long and hard about what it means to be American: about the distinctive identity and position we have in the world, and how that position is best carried. I've tried to write songs that speak to our pride and criticize our failures.

These questions are at the heart of this election: who we are, what we stand for, why we fight. Personally, for the last 25 years I have always stayed one step away from partisan politics. Instead, I have been partisan about a set of ideals: economic justice, civil rights, a humane foreign policy, freedom and a decent life for all of our citizens. This year, however, for many of us the stakes have risen too high to sit this election out.

Through my work, I've always tried to ask hard questions. Why is it that the wealthiest nation in the world finds it so hard to keep its promise and faith with its weakest citizens? Why do we continue to find it so difficult to see beyond the veil of race? How do we conduct ourselves during difficult times without killing the things we hold dear? Why does the fulfillment of our promise as a people always seem to be just within grasp yet forever out of reach?

I don't think John Kerry and John Edwards have all the answers. I do believe they are sincerely interested in asking the right questions and working their way toward honest solutions. They understand that we need an administration that places a priority on fairness, curiosity, openness, humility, concern for all America's citizens, courage and faith.

People have different notions of these values, and they live them out in different ways. I've tried to sing about some of them in my songs. But I have my own ideas about what they mean, too. That is why I plan to join with many fellow artists, including the Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., the Dixie Chicks, Jurassic 5, James Taylor and Jackson Browne, in touring the country this October. We will be performing under the umbrella of a new group called Vote for Change. Our goal is to change the direction of the government and change the current administration come November.

Like many others, in the aftermath of 9/11, I felt the country's unity. I don't remember anything quite like it. I supported the decision to enter Afghanistan and I hoped that the seriousness of the times would bring forth strength, humility and wisdom in our leaders. Instead, we dived headlong into an unnecessary war in Iraq, offering up the lives of our young men and women under circumstances that are now discredited. We ran record deficits, while simultaneously cutting and squeezing services like afterschool programs. We granted tax cuts to the richest 1 percent (corporate bigwigs, well-to-do guitar players), increasing the division of wealth that threatens to destroy our social contract with one another and render mute the promise of "one nation indivisible."

It is through the truthful exercising of the best of human qualities - respect for others, honesty about ourselves, faith in our ideals - that we come to life in God's eyes. It is how our soul, as a nation and as individuals, is revealed. Our American government has strayed too far from American values. It is time to move forward. The country we carry in our hearts is waiting.

Bruce Springsteen is a writer and performer.

this is gonna be tough...the whole concert tour thing. pearl jam is playing here in reading, jackson browne is playing in williamsport, and then there's the bruce show in philadelphia, with REM on the bill...and they're all the same Goddamn day!

i guess if the motivation is to get voters out and mobilize a force at the polls, that makes sense...personally, i would've put jackson on the bill with bruce and would've had REM headline their own leg...it makes more sense from a demographic standpoint, anyway. but hey, what the hell do i know?

the only time i've seen springsteen was the amnesty international tour that he did with sting, peter gabriel, and tracy chapman. that one's on my top five list. it was an amazing show. it was the first time that i'd experienced something of that magnitude...actually, hell, it was the only time i've experienced something of that magnitude....that many people in one spot, on their feet, all tuned in to the same energy source - it was pretty amazing. however, i'm not sure that it's something that i'd necessarily want to repeat...

let's say it's something that i'm glad i did, but that i wouldn't necessarily want to repeat - not that i really could. that was a Moment.


give 'em hell

now playing: pure prairie league, "jazzman"

addendum to yesterdays' post: add matthew yglesias to the list of folks whose head snapped back at the bush remark that his opponent had no "signature achievements"...

although many of my ilk choose to ignore the modern-day Pravda embodied by the msnbc/fox news conglomerate, i try to keep my ear to the ground on occasion (thus the ease with which i slip into funks personified by yesterday's sick of it all mentality...and it doesn't help to think of it as a watchdog action...it's still pretty tough sometimes).

last night, bill maher was on hardball, and had a couple of great quotes...the one that stood out in my mind was his observation that "there are people who will vote for george w. bush NO MATTER WHAT...if pictures came out tomorrow of george w. bush at abu gharib holding a leash with an iraqi on the other end, they'd still vote for him." (this offered as part of an explanation of the lack of a "bounce" after the convention because of early voter polarization). he also said that he thought there'd be a significant shift toward the challenger after the debates, comparing this election to the 1980 election when carter went into his re-election campaign with what could generously be called "significant baggage"...and how he and reagan were dead even in the polls in spite of this until after the debates (and, in fact, into the last month of the campaign).

and that was really about as good as it got. one channel away on my remote, o'reilly was interviewing june cleav--, um, laura bush...talk about a stepford wife - but she was, of course, given the kid gloves treatment by rush, jr (who gave the impression of actual pity as the interview wore on...leading questions and all). contrast this, though, to someone i used to actually enjoy on sportscenter, still rehashing THK's "shove it" bit and freshly indignant about her putting some hecklers in their place during a rally yesterday. (apparently, as some hitler youth rejects stood in the back yelling "four more years" over a bullhorn, she said from the stage that they want "four more years of hell"). i mean, he actually pondered aloud if people wanted to hear the word hell from a potential first lady...in an era where the vice president can tell a senator to go fuck himself, how is this an issue? why is this worth airtime?

now personally, i would've preferred hearing her (or someone) say, "y'know, it's a kickass country we live in that allows freedom of speech to the mentally handicapped....although, if this were a bush/cheney rally, we'd have screened your asses out of this process before you even got out of your wheelchair-equipped van."

or she could've just stuck her tongue out at them.

i don't remember how the subject came up the other night, but i was working in the basement and wendy mentioned something about me being a nice guy, and i replied without thinking about my reply that i wasn't. "no, i'm not." i just don't feel like a nice guy these days. if you knew me a while back, you wouldn't know me to be the kind of person to make remarks about someone's wheelchair-equipped van as a derogatory statement...but i've regressed quite a bit. attributing it to my perpetual frustration over the constantly declining state of the world could possibly account for a good-sized chunk of my disposition, but i don't think that's all of it. but whatever doorstep i lay it on, i don't really feel like a nice guy these days.

i fear that i may be starting the long descent into becoming yogi, my old next door neighbor. friendly enough in an outward manner, certainly opinionated, but not very social in the grand scheme of things...and potentially downright antisocial under the right circumstances.

maybe i could use that as an album title someday, a la ani difranco..."not a nice guy".

i have it set in my head that i want to make some significant progress in the house before the kids get back from the shore this weekend...it's been baby steps thus far this week, what with not getting home most nights until well after 9 or 10 o'clock and then staying up until 2:30 or 3 in the morning. i did get some significant work done last night in the studio, and i'm going to try to get the remaining components there situated tonight. i'm also going to try to get my carpet guy started so that dylans' room will be inhabitable by the time he's back.

i have this unexplainable need for my house to start resembling a house at some point in the not too distant future. call me crazy.


sick of it all

now playing: little river band, "middle man"

i'm tempted to take a page from one of my favorite sportswriters, peter king, and title this piece ten things i think i think...

i'm finding myself a little overwhelmed today by the sound bites, the scribs on CNN, and the blatant favoritism amongst the talking heads...

for instance, does anyone else find it somewhat interesting that howard dean is an asshole for pointing out that these fearmongering "terror alerts" just might have a political motivation?

(and on that note, is anyone else sick of ol' "toothless joe" lieberman yet? he's becoming the alan colmes "token democrat" of congress, fer chrissake).

now, when it comes to light that the information that ridges' brownshirts used to declare the terror alert was over three years old, and that ridge's statement was already politicized in the first place --

("But we must understand that the kind of information available to us today is the result of the President’s leadership in the war against terror. The reports that have led to this alert are the result of offensive intelligence and military operations overseas, as well as strong partnerships with our allies around the world, such as Pakistan.")

who, then, is left to bring up that there's more than a passing chance that ol' screamin' dean might have been correct in his assertation that there are motivations behind these alerts that have nothing to do with public safety or awareness?

probably not these guys...

oh, don't worry, though...i'm sure you'll hear about it.

from the same folks who brought you the breaking news that sandy berger had been cleared of all wrongdoing in the document-withholding case? (subscription-required WSJ article here.)

and, of course, all this month you'll get to sit in front of your television and be subjected to the GOP's smear machine doing what they do best - ridiculing and deriding their opponent. you'll have idiots telling you that a vote for bush is a vote for change...WTF? none of this impending onslaught will have anything to do with issues, mind you - and this underscores yet again that they don't have a record of their own to run on. in fact, they all but tell you that just the opposite is true - that kerry doesn't have any "signature achievements" to run on after 20 years in congress...without running down whatever inevitably fictitious list of accomplishments that the mountain bikin' crawford cowboy has racked up.

thankfully, there are people like josh marshall and matt deatherage and atrios to debunk the sunconscious myth that dubya & co. has forwarded the cause of humanity while john kerry stood at the congressional watercooler.

even things that come down the pike that look like good news turn out to have an ominous downside. for instance, when tom delay finally fell under the scrutiny of the house ethics committee, it came to light that delay has the ethics committee in his pocket to begin with.

it just literally boggles my mind. seriously.

people not only buy this shit, they eat it up.

it's enough to make you think that perhaps hitler was just a neurosis or two shy of freud....

"All this was inspired by the principle -- which is quite true in itself -- that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily, and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. These people know only too well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes."

adolf hitler

"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Hermann Goering, Hitler's #2 Man

don't look now....but we're falling for it again. here.

by the way - if you're interested, here's a more detailed transcript of dean's comments (the terror alert comments i mentioned earlier) to wolf blitzer - a man who, it might warrant mentioning, came upon his notoriety as a result of a gulf war...just a thought.


making the (obvious) case

now playing: carly simon, "you belong to me"

i'll tell ya what...i'm really likin' this guy.

he says he'll never be president, but i'd sure as hell vote for him.

from the september 2004 esquire:

ron reagan, jr: making the case against george w. bush

a long read, to be sure...but it's worth your time.


closing the door on chestnut street

now playing: air america radio

tonight, wendy and i put the finishing touches on the final cleanup of the house at 511 chestnut street...the house where i no longer live, as of about half an hour ago.

some spackling, some heavy carpet cleaning, and that was it...take the keys off my keyring, leave it on the bannister...and close the door behind me.

now, let's get one thing straight...the house where we now live is amazing. it's got twice the room, it's beautiful, it's in a great neighborhood, and once everything is squared away here, it's gonna be home. i don't doubt that.

but it was actually hard to drive away from there tonight.

i still have to consciously think about driving home from work...i have to remind myself not to go back to the old house. and i think that this adjustment has been harder because this wasn't a compulsory move, or a situation where we had to leave for some other reason, other than our own choice to do so. this house became available, and we decided to move based on the merits of the new house.

dylan signed off on it...but i've noticed in the time since that he seems to miss living at the old house. he had a "posse" there, and i know that he misses his friends in the old neighborhood. we're not that far away from the old house, and i've committed to help him keep in touch, but he hasn't asked to go there very much in the time since we've moved.

so i know that dylan misses the old house. i'd feel better if i could say the same thing, but the truth is, i don't miss the house at all.

i think it's just a nostalgia thing...it'll pass.

i've lived in five different places now, though, since having moved out of the house i shared with the mother of my kids...not much to show in the way of consistency, i guess. i suppose i've always forced them to turn to their mom for that. now, they're both smack-dab in the middle of their adolescent years, and i wonder how much they'd allow themselves to rely on me for that at this point, anyway.

i know they rely on me for other things...i'm not slipping into a self-pity fit or anything like that. in truth, i'm not sure why i'm even thinking of all this...save for having closed the door on a particular chapter of my life this evening.

sheesh...i said i was going to bed. i think i'd better act on that.

update on george grantham

now playing: poco, "and settlin' down"

so as of today, grace grantham (george's daughter) says that george is coming around, and he's moving his left arm and leg a little bit...this is wonderful news, for fans as well as those of us who know george personally.

i talked to my friend jon (who does their artwork these days, including the cover of their most recent record, running horse as well as promotional material), and he said that he'd been moving the fingers on his left hand a bit the day before. jon, by the way, rode to the hospital in the back of the ambulance with george when he fell ill during the show on thursday night. the initial prognosis, jon told me, was pretty grim...but in the time that's passed since then, he's fought back quite a bit.

i got a report from the show last night in barnstable that they opened the show acoustically (they were using a pickup drummer), and that rusty told the crowd what had happened...."we almost didn't make it tonight..."

he asked everyone to say a prayer for george that night before they went to bed, and went on to talk about how he had been playing with george since he was seventeen years old...at that point, he had to choke back some tears and actually turned his back on the crowd for a minute to compose himself.

that just kills me.

at some point, once this has all passed, and george is back to being george again and all is well, i'll post the whole story of my involvement with this band on my blog for you. i don't even feel like getting into it right now.

if, as jackson browne said once, our lives could be viewed like the rings of a tree, then there'd be a set of rings very close to the middle that would be pretty heavily poco-centric.

right now, in 2004, three of the four members are guys who've been with the band for over 30 years, with george and rusty being original members....they just released their first album in over ten years, and only a couple of months ago did a show at the Belcourt Theatre in nashville that was taped for a DVD release. richie furay, the man most consider to be the founder of the group, joined them there for a large chunk of the show as well.

everything has been going their way lately. they're not charting or keeping britney spears awake at night, but there was a period when they weren't doing much...taking gigs here and there and just kinda marking time...

but getting george back in the band seemed to revitalize them.

and...i'll go ahead and say it here...jon rosenbaum and i were largely responsible for george's return to the poco fold.

it's really a long story....a great story, but a long one...and i'm just gonna have to save it for later.

i will tell it, eventually, though...i promise.


this is old news among the political junkies in the blogosphere, but if you want to see a fundamental difference in the john kerry and george w. bush, then you need look no further than this article.

note the complete lack of reports of kerry storming off the stage, screaming "get those motherfuckers away from me!" when the brownshirts crashed his own appearance in NM just a month earlier.

if these two candidates were identical in every other way, this incident alone would convince me to vote for kerry.

now i lay me down to sleep....