Friday, June 27, 2008

Lemon v. Lightning

Opal - Live Somewhere, Somewhen Part 1
Opal - Live Somewhere, Somewhen Part 2

Ha-ha! Music at last! The bastard is back!

Yeah, yeah, settle down. Sorry about the long delay, longer than the vacation warranted, but it's hard to get back in the swing after an absence. Especially when one is the quintessential lazy sod. Me.

You may ask yourself, to continue the musical quotes, you may ask yourself - what the hell does he mean, "Lemon v. Lightning"? Is this a crap show we're being fed here?

No, I'm just showing off my newly learned learning about opals:

"The opal is a pretty gemstone. There are many kinds of opals. Opals can be found all over the world. There are different names for different opals from different places in the world. Some of them are...blah blah blah blah snore."**

Yeah, there are Lemon Opals and there are also ones called Lightning Ridge Opals. I'm trying to set up a mental contrast here for ya all, is what I'm doing. I've given you Clay Allison - pre-Opal - and I've given you classic Opal - with Kendra!!! - and now I'm giving you endtime Opal - post-Kendra, with what's-her-name, before the transmutation into Mazzy Star. Hope! Hope Sandoval! That's her name. Wow, just popped up. Wonder what else is lurking down there, just waiting, biding it's time...

This is an interesting show. I think you'll like it. I'm guessing this is one of the very first shows if not the first show that Hope did. She doesn't even really know the songs and on a couple of them just sings one phrase over and over and over again. (Kendra did specifically recommend her to Dave and company as her replacement, so I don't want to dismiss her completely).

I'll be doing more tunes and getting up some vacation pics soon. Until then, enjoy!

** That's a Black Opal pictured, btw. Lovely, lovely things, those opals. You can find anything you want in them.

CORRECTION: The date of this show as originally posted was wrong - obviously I messed up, as I gave it the same date as the earlier Opal show with Kendra. Losing my touch, I guess. And right now I can't figure out the date. I'm going to call it "Live Somewhere, Somewhen" for now.

Consistency - Not Just for Bowel Movements Anymore

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." - Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th Century Smart F****r.

I've learned one important thing as a teacher. (Yes, it is possible for a teacher to learn. Not likely in my estimation, but possible):

Consistency is important, but never let it interfere with what needs doing. If the lesson plan says everybody has to do "A" before "B" but little Billy (it's always "little Billy") doesn't need to because Billy thinks like a mountain goat and can leap from idea to idea all fast and nimble and without the safety net of the lesson, then let him leap on to "B" right away. Nobody gets hurt and maybe somebody gets helped.

I hope I remember this when I come home and when I'm in the real world, because it's a damn helpful way of dealing with the world.

And I'm trying to remember it this week thinking about FISA. And Obama. Obama and FISA. I was pretty pissed at him earlier this week because my expectations of what he would do on the new FISA legislation evidently don't match his plans for it. Damn him! Why isn't he listening to the heartfelt telepathic messages I'm sending him! How dare he! I'm supporting him, after all!

Seriously, I was really mad. I've called his Washington office twice in the last week to let him - his voice mail, actually - know how I feel about this whole FISA FU. Called all my other representative members of Congress too. I recommend it. It's not hard. I used to be all weird and nervous about this, afraid maybe, though in retrospect I don't know why. Just be nice, be calm, be polite and speak your mind. It feels good, too.

And afterwards, in the self-righteous glow of responsible citizenship, I calmed down a bit and started to think. Obama has his reasons for whatever he does on FISA. I may not agree with them, assuming he tells me. I don't expect a personal call of explanation, not even a postcard, but I'll look for that special nod next time he's giving a speech that's just for me. Just like I'm sure Johnny Thunders looked "Right at me!" once.

So, maybe Obama knows about consistency, too, I began to think. Am still. It's possible. And I like the idea. I like the idea of a leader who can change his mind because he knows he has to. I know the feeling. So I'm gonna give Obama benefit of the doubt, I've decided, because he must think he has to do whatever he's gonna do. I have to learn to trust this guy if I'm going to accept him as my President. It's been a lifetime of not trusting our leaders and yelling at their flat-ass images on TV that built up that wall of cynicism Obama's campaign has been helping me to tear down. I just hope it works.

PS - That's Emerson's grave up there. Been there. Beautiful, restful, lovely. And it's in, Honest Injun, "Sleepy Hollow Cemetery"! Concord, Massachusetts, if memory serves. You could kill yourself there, tripping over the graves of 19th century dead people who shaped their world and ours with their minds and their words. We need more dead people like that. Or living people. Whichever.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Serious Reasons Not to Vote for John McCain #3

He's a liar.

Right now McCain is towing the Bush-Cheney party line about dropping the ban on off-shore oil drilling. The question must needs be asketh, "Why, John, why?"

If he can, perhaps McCain will tell us how dropping the ban now will benefit American consumers today. Bush is insinuating that's the reason it must be done. But this line of reasoning is, uh, let's call it "lying." That's a good word for it.

Why is it a lie? Because even if we drop the ban today and begin exploration and drilling tomorrow (from the magical oil rigs which will sprout from seagull droppings at Bush's command, ready to drill in minutes!), how long will it take for the rather minor oil reserves being tapped to benefit the American consumer? A week? A month? Before the end of summer?

Nope. How about 2038? Okay, maybe they can shove up production. Make it 2020. If you want to wait around three decades or a dozen years (whichever, it doesn't matter in the end) for all that cheap gas to roll in from those off-shore oil platforms - which, by the way, we do not have the tanker and shipping capacity to service; just another multi-year setback in this grand plan - then go ahead. Listen to the lies. Vote for the liars.

But check some facts, first. Maybe John has to play ball with the President on this one? Maybe he's got some very anxious friends who'd really like him to be President?

Vote Obama!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


People often ask me why I work in the kind of school I work in, why I want to be surrounded by the kids society calls "losers" and "dropouts" and "worthless," with all the connotations those words have. Michelle Obama hits it square and hard on the head in this speech.

We had our graduation a few weeks ago, just before I went out of town, and it was wonderful. Lots of cheering, lots of joy. We also had a great speaker who actually hit a number of the same themes as Michelle does. If you got time, I think it's worth it.

Enjoy. And VOTE OBAMA!

Now playing: Julian Cope - Love L.U.V. (Beautiful Love)
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hangin' In, Hangin' On

Wow. We done a lot of stuff. Still am. Doing stuff, I mean.(Hmmm, my word-stuff is worse than usual. Must be rusty from not use.) Still more southerly than usual (St. Louis right now), but going north in a few days.

Sorry I have no pics to post and no music yet, but I forgot the card reader and the USB connector for the camera. And I'm not gonna pay Walgreen's to make me a CDR of my own pictures!

It has been quite a trip and I'll put up an annotated slideshow soon as I can for any what's interested.

Here's a brief litany of the trip to date: Weird dead things by the road, religious artifacts, Johnny Cash, dead baby cemeteries, dead country star's graves, BBQ, BBQ, BBQ, beer, shotgun shacks, the Delta, haunted blues crossroads, Muddy Waters, BBQ, Sun Studios, Dr. Pepper, Stax, used books, cool art, BBQ, Johnny Cash and Johnny Cash.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Moving to Memphis

Well, for a few days. Not permanently. Got here last night and enjoyed the graciousness of good friends (the previously mentioned Larry and his lovely wife, The Fox - it's pretty neat when two of your best friends get married and turn into one sort of super friend - Wonder Twins, anyone?).

Enroute yesterday, drove further south on the western side of the Mississippi than we've ever done before.

Roadkill and other things we saw:

(1) Deer, large, probably a buck
(1) Dog, medium, black, short-haired
(1) Bird, large, either turkey or turkey buzzard (aka vulture)
(1) Sign declaring a convenience store a "Gun Free" zone
(2) Armadillos, squashed
(6) Anti-abortion billboards/art installations
(Many) Unidentified parts of many different animals
(Countless) Scraps of Missourah Jerky (aka tire blowouts)

Music we listened to: Neil Young, Johnny Cash, various blues artists and The Raconteurs. Bought Broken Boy Soldiers just for the trip and am LOVING IT! Go buy this album right now and love it. Best thing Jack White's ever done.

And today we had, naturally, some great barbeque, saw the grave of Charlie Rich, the former home of Johnny Cash, a baby cemetery, drove by Sun Studios (we'll get there, don't worry), loitered around Graceland for a while and spent several hours at the Civil Rights Museum downtown.

If you haven't heard of it or been there, this is the Lorraine Hotel where the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968. It's a somber experience to see that balcony and that hotel room door, that bland roadside American motel architecture that has become a fatal icon. It was inspiring, though, to be there and to be contemplating the past while pondering the future, this day after Barack Obama became the first black American presidential nominee.

More reports to follow. But, for now, a good time was had by all.

Monday, June 2, 2008

It's Almost Over...Right?

Do we have a winner?

Let's hope so. I'm wiped out. I know I've been taking this primary way too seriously, but months ago I decided my heart had to be in this. I had to commit myself. And I have. These, for me, way too public postings of political opinion are part of the process.

And I think that something is changing inside of me permanently. I have had realizations of late concerning life and work that directly relate to the level of desire I have poured into Obama's possible Presidency.

I don't know if I'm saying this right, but I'm changing. That's all. I've made decisions just recently, positive ones, that a year ago I could not have made. And it feels damn good. And it's all a result of the effort and thought and emotional commitment I've put into this election process.

If for nothing else, I'll always be grateful to Barack Obama for this. I need to pay it back, though. So I'll keep blogging, keep arguing, and I'm thinking that this summer and fall I'll get out there and start working the streets for him and for the new America I think I can help him build, that we can help him build.

Unless I scurry rat-like, this is the last post for a few weeks. Taking a break. I'll update you when I get back. I might have pretty pictures and I'll definitely have pretty music for you.

Vote Obama!