Thursday, December 31, 2009

Are we having fun yet?

New years eve celebrations seem distinctly subdued this year. Maybe everybody is broke. Maybe we are still worn out from Christmas. Maybe we all of sudden grew up.

I blame the networks. Say what you will about the major broadcast networks, but they still set the tone for the nation. They tell us what to think, when to be happy, when to be sad, how we feel about certain occurrences or whether or not we even give a shit about it.

I remember when I was a kid the new year's eve celebration was hyped to hell and back for three straight days. The show would come on at seven o'clock and function as a veritable roll call for a who's who of every major and minor musical act, starlet wannabe and aging used to be celebrity. Now I guess they are too embarrassed to hype anything that makes you go "who?".

Now the show comes at 10 o'clock, gets interrupted by the 11 o'clock news before it kicks in for a final 45 minute burn through the midnight celebration and a, count 'em, full fifteen minutes thereafter.

Sigh!

But I guess I'm one to talk, I'm here sipping on store brand sparkling cider watching this crap thinking who in their right mind would want to be in the midst of that. I suppose naivete and innocence is the engine that powers the world.

Happy New Year everybody!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

anger and passion

are two branches from one treE
they are twins at cross purposeS
anger will only destroY
and passion cannot be defeateD



Sunday, December 27, 2009

Break's over

It ain't the principle of the thing, it's about the money.

Let's go to work!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Peace on earth, good will toward all

Regardless of how your religion (or lack thereof) dictates that you celebrate (or not) the holiday season, I wish you love, peace, joy, happiness and prosperity in the coming year.

In my home we celebrate Christmas and we believe in Santa Claus. If you do not, that's your call, but I hope you will allow me and mine to revel in the joy of the day. And allow me to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

It is necessary that you believe in something or you are left with nothing. Yeah, I know it seems irreconcilable, a bearded old man in a red suit bringing toys to good little boys and girls around the world seems such a strange custom in light of a world filled with degradation, hunger, poverty and war. But this suffering is exactly why we need something to lift us up above all of our despair. Which is to say you've got to believe in something, why not believe in something good, however you define it.

Santa has brought immense joy to our family for generations. And now, my adult children still expect Santa to bring surprises and still find joy in even the simplest things. I expect them to carry the tradition to the next generation.

Christmas is never perfect and oftentimes is a sad and lonely affair, but each Christmas is always the best Christmas ever just because it is Christmas. There was a time when my children were kept away from me during Christmas. But Christmas is in your heart and it must go on even if you don't feel the spirit of it all just yet. Sometimes you just have to celebrate Christmas with whomever happens to be close at hand (even if they aren't on your preferred guest list). However, some Christmas holidays just stand out from the rest and you know they will hold a special place in your memory forevermore.

Christmas cannot be found at a store in the mall (or on Amazon.com) it is found simply by sharing yourself. There is nothing wrong with a gift given from the heart. But if all you have is over priced crap from the mall you are not there yet. During this holiday season I urge you to share a happy moment with those around you and to look for your source of joy.

I truly hope you find it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Post racial huh?

OK, so now I am seriously contemplating changing the name of this blog to "What the hell is wrong with you people"

What do:

1. Tiger Woods
2. Bill Clinton
3. John McCain
4. Todd Palin
5. Bill Gates
6. Nicolas Sarkozy

all have in common.

That's right, they all like white women.

And within this august list of notables, who is the only one being given shit about it.

OK careful now, think before you respond.

Mmmmmmm Hmmm, that's what I thought.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's out of our hands

Generally preferring to keep this blog vague and ambiguous so as to let folks do their own thinking, I don't really like to get into specific discussions on the issues of the day. But it's my blog and so I guess I can write whatever I damn well please. So here is a question for you anti war protest types.

What the hell is wrong with you people?

There was no choice here. Afghanistan don't give a damn who you voted for. Do you people honestly think that you your monkey ass or your family will be spared when they attack again. The reality is that hippies and fat cats alike are all targeted for death without regard for your position on the issues. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion but we all pretty much have to work with the same reality.

Just because you convene a committee, facilitate a frank and open discussion and call for a show of hands doesn't mean that anything was ever up for a decision. It's called theater for a reason. Everybody can put up their hands but there is only one vote that counts. But there was nothing really to vote on. And the taunts about dithering were cynical expressions of that reality.

I am not some right wing military industrial complex type itching to start a couple wars in order to refill the coffers. And I am not saying that there are no risks. But the man has signaled that he gets it. People will die and this cannot become the open ended shit hole that was Vietnam. That acknowledgment is about as good as it's going to get.

It's not that there were no good choices, there weren't any choices to be made. I don't think we can leave and we sure as hell cannot leave the existing troops hanging out there by themselves. All of this was decided years ago at ground zero et al. War and security is not something you turn on and off like a light switch or pick and choose what you want like a lunch buffet. The decisions we make today affect our situation for years to come. You don't take a nation to war on another continent and then go oops, never mind, my bad. It just don't work that way. Don't pull the thang out unless you plan to bang. Don't even bang unless you plan to hit somethang.

Here's another question for you, where do roadside bombs come from?

Once you figure that one out you can gather up your little signs and take your protests on the road. But you better pack a lunch and wear your prison sandals.

You people are playing checkers and the rest of the world is playing that multidimensional thing with 3 or 4 playing levels that Spock played on the Enterprise. This ain't about you. Nobody gives a damn what you want. Personally, I prefer we keep them sombitches busy over there looking for drones until we can figure out just what their particular issues are (maybe they want flat screen TVs or something). No one wants war except, perhaps, maybe those who stand to profit from it. But in this regard left wing nut jobs are just as dangerous as right wing nut jobs.

If somehow they manage to pull this thing off in Afghanistan and figure out the proper fuel to oxygen mix maybe the American prestige that was diminished in Vietnam can be redeemed from stabilizing a country that has resisted stabilization for thousands of years. But it is not helpful to have the left wing protesting the wrong thing and the right wing issuing taunts.

But I could be wrong


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I want me this cat I found (A holiday story)

I want me this cat I found is a line from the The movie J.T.

I remember this movie from my childhood but I haven't seen it in 40 years. The story is set around the holidays in New York city circa 1969. It isn't a Christmas story per se, and as I recall it wasn't broadcast as any type of holiday special. But the story, nonetheless, carries the spirit of Christmas in fine form.

I first saw this movie when I was about the same age as the story's main character J.T. The movie just kind of showed up on television one Saturday afternoon without any fanfare. I remember clearly I wasn't planning to watch TV that Saturday afternoon but my calendar was clear for the day so I took up residence in front of the set. That small decision turned out to be a big decision that will follow me for the rest of my life.

I think the movie was only broadcast a few times after that. And just as mysteriously as it appeared, the movie disappeared from the airwaves never to be seen again, or so I came to believe. I think I probably saw the thing a total of maybe one and a half times but that was enough to make a lifelong impression on me. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had a similar affect on a cohort of other kids as well. Rather than just let the movie disappear into the recesses of our collective subconscious memories, for some reason we all held on to it. For me it was always near the surface of awareness, but just out of reach. And there it remained, through puberty and graduations and marriages and children and divorces, undiminished by time or fading memory. Sporadically reaching out with brief flashes to remind me it was still there.

Over the years I would occasionally look for this film. Whenever I was in a video store I would carefully search the videocassette holders for a hint of those images burned indelibly into my young psyche. But never was I able to find those unmistakable pictures. When I later found out that many others were looking for J.T. as well, but not finding, I knew it was just a matter of time before I found him. Unable to remember any details about the movie or even the name of the movie my childhood friend was nearly lost. All I could remember were those gritty scenes etched into my young mind. Those all too real depictions of life that they don't usually show on TV were as but a dream. In an age of blow dried, air brushed, photo shopped and scripted to the last detail television, J.T. was reality TV to the nth power. And it was almost lost.

The one thing that I and the others were able to hold onto was that one memorable line that each of us had probably uttered in all earnestness at some point in our young naive lives: "I want me this cat I found". That was it, that was all the evidence I had that this movie ever existed. But that was all I needed (uh, that and the internet) to find my lost childhood. You see J.T. was me, J.T. was everyone who was looking for him. And there are a lot of us. Now I realize, of course, that perhaps that is exactly what the filmmaker intended to accomplish.

J.T. brought it all back, the memories, the hopes, the dreams, the sweet, the sour, all neatly arranged in the recesses of memory. There, once again, was the naivete of that little man child who managed to maintain his innocence despite having his childhood forged by the blighted, racist, uneven world of ignorance and selfishness that now seems quaint when compared to the gamut that today's youth must face. J.T. may not even register with today's kids whose concept of poverty means people who cannot afford new ipods and Xbox games when the old ones are tarnished with the stench of last semester. Looking back, I guess the movie J.T. was probably a little too real for the seventies and maybe even the eighties. But now it is time that the movie was seen again.

Every December the annual favorite "A Christmas Story" is broadcast on 24 hour continuous loop during the holiday season. "It's a Wonderful Life" is not far behind. The animated holiday treats "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" once signaled the true beginning of the holidays but have been subjugated to second tier status lately although they still manage to bring the spirit of the season. But J.T. towers above them all in my mind. It is a beautiful story that captures the ugliness of life as it truly was, or is. It is a story of making do and working with what you have to get the best that can be had from it. It is a story about me. It is a story about you. I plan to ambush my now chronologically grown kids and make them watch this with me one day. I suggest you watch it with your kids too. And if you are really, really lucky they will be young enough to still be affected by the film.

I do not claim any copyright to this film and I suspect JTClarion, its Youtube poster, does not own the rights either. So I call upon the great TV powers that be to bring back the movie "J.T." for all to see. Until then (or until the copyright police kick in the door) for your viewing pleasure, I present, courtesy of JTClarion, the best television holiday special you never saw.


















Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pimps, Preachers and Politicians

All traffic in that which does not belong to them.

Some things neither can be bought nor sold.

The owners should not be left standing by the highway waiting in the rain.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Are there rings around Uranus

Yes it makes me angry every time I hear it. But the story must be told lest the accomplishments of America's forgotten negroes simply be forgotten.

Working under the most difficult of circumstances with inferior equipment and training these forgotten heroes who created something out of nothing and showed the world the power of their potential that was otherwise left fallow.

Now, they are simply forgotten, not even an asterisk in the footnotes of history.

And although people continue to believe what they want to believe, we will never forget the truth.

All life on earth is cancelled, film at eleven

I hate the tease.

Both kinds.

But I guess at least the TV bobbleheads don't try to harvest me for free drinks whilst they do it.

Still, the same rule applies to both kinds of tease, put out or go away.

Thankya, thankya very much

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I want me this cat I found

If you are looking for the movie J.T. click here

Whether we continue on our present course or not is a determination yet to be made, and not necessarily by those in the driver's seat. What we now know is that we cannot sustain our present situation. It's one thing to disagree with the current heading and speed, it's quite yet another to plot a new course. Everybody has an agenda but there really ought to be a 3 strikes policy for people who produce uselessness.

I suspect that we are at a major turning point in the development of the world, perhaps even in the evolution of mankind. Maybe as a society and a species we encounter historic turning points quite frequently, perhaps even daily. Because we more often choose the proper course we never realize its historic import. Or maybe it's vice versa. During the run up to historic events of the past some voices were heeded and some voices for taking the road not traveled were simply ignored. The resulting decision then becomes history.

So the trick is to ignore the fools. But which is which? A small mind tends to remain that way. A great mind has difficulty comprehending the limits of its ability. The proper decision may not feel good but it should feel right.

People tend to understand a lot better when they know what's at stake for them personally. But you cannot save people who do not want to be saved. And sometimes the best teacher is a little asphalt rash.

Look beyond the dummies and find the ventriloquist.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The wonderful thing about tiggers...

There are many new parents who apparently were not sufficiently instructed on proper Halloween etiquette. As a public service we offer the following list.

1. Halloween does not begin until dark. Just because Halloween falls on Saturday does not change anything. We don't give shit what you had planned for your Saturday evening.

2. And no, your community may not take a vote to change the day of trick or treating if Halloween falls on a Sunday or some other inconvenient day. Your problem, not ours.

3. Parents, even though it has been less than 10 years since you enjoyed trick or treating you don't get to wear a costume and especially no masks. Try that in the wrong neighborhood and you might get shot.

4. Teenagers, we will overlook the fact that you are damn near grown but you need to hang back until the little kiddies get first shot at each house. And it would be nice if you find a pack of small kiddies to accompany under the pretense of "looking out for the little ones".

5. There is nothing wrong with going to a better neighborhood to trick or treat. But drive by trick or treating is a social faux pas of the highest order. Find a park, get out of the goddamn car and walk your kids to the door.

6. Bring a flashlight.

7. Only go to the houses with the porch light on. If the light is off it means I am either out of candy or too drunk to answer the door anymore. Keep moving.

8. Train your kids in advance on Momma's favorite type of candy. Once you ring the doorbell and see the selection its too late to put in your order.

9. Stay the hell off my lawn! We spent a lot of money on those sidewalks for a reason.

We will update the list as the evening progresses

Update

10. Once it starts raining its over, go home.

11. Taking unused Halloween candy back to the store after Halloween is over is like taking milk back to the store after the expiration date. So very uncool! That's why God gave you an office, so you would have someplace to get rid of extra candy.

12. Those kids costumes are now officially pajamas. We don't need to see little vampires and pirates running around the store anymore. Put them away for next year. Better yet donate them to the surplus clothing store and let some other kid have it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Trouble man, don't get in the way

There's only three things that's for sure

Taxes Death and Trouble

This I know

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oh me, Oh my

The stock market has crapped out once and is desperately seeking the H1N1 anti-venom before old snake eyes slithers into town again.

Real Estate sales, the last refuge of the over-motivated and under-qualified, is comatose and on home buyer credit life support. The only thing selling now are huts, hovels and lean-tos. Who can live off the commissions from that?

The banks, all having decided that they prefer the view from the inside of their own rectums when compared to the view of the real world, are universally committed to a tits on a bull strategic vision. Having yanked hundreds of billions of dollars in credit out of the economy, even for credit worthy borrowers, they are now forced to bonus themselves back to prosperity.

Hopped up on quaaludes and cheap wine, the IRS is making international booty calls and has the secret Swiss banking system's number on speed dial. Exactly where are the wealthy supposed to hide their unreported wealth while they complain bitterly about taxes being too high?

Realizing that they might now have to earn their money the old fashioned way, the 2 and 20 crowd is returning a lot more phone calls these days. But now faced with the prospect of perp walks and no longer being able to ply their trade openly, the super savvy are deciding that bailing on their hedge funds might be a better option than the long swim to the surface where they can once again gank their subscriber base.

And Bernie Madoff is still putting the smack down, only now he's doing it from the prison court yard.

Even the good news turned bad. Everybody was breathing a big sigh of relief that only those bailout whores still actively suckling at the federal teat had to deal with the Feinberg compensation caps. But then Ben Bernanke shows up at the party with individually labeled tubes of KY jelly. Rut ro! Hey Ben, is that a helicopter in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

And how long is it going to be before the tax bill comes due on all this medical reform crap for the unwashed heathens, with their hip replacements and expensive drug therapy plans. Who needs all that, their miserable lives can't be all that enjoyable anyway.

I tell ya it ain't easy being rich. Having to face the indignity of shopping at the mall and having to breath swine flu contaminated air. Dear God, is there no mercy? There isn't even any valet parking there. Oh the humanity.

Michael Jackson is dead, and I don't feel so good myself. I mean he had it all, fame, fortune, power, the love of family and friends. Yet he died a virtual prisoner of his own success. Unable to remain a god, yet unable to become a mere mortal. He ended up living and dying a Howard Hughes-ish night mare.

Is this what awaits the wealthy. Where is our compassion? Come on, the rest of us are used to the degradation and indignities of daily life. What kind of unholy beast expects the wealthy to go from personalized shopping at Hermes to the self check out line at the Wally World.

Even Bill Gates refused to bequeath his billions to his children because he didn't want to burden them with it. Really, I mean who wants to be known as the asshole that started off life as a cajillionaire and ended up turning tricks for milk money. The pressure must be enormous.

In order to relieve this needless suffering I propose we take matters into our own hands. We must lift an offering. Give whatever you can afford to give. The suffering of the elite must last not one minute longer. The more enterprising among you might set up fundraisers. Bake sales and car washes are good enough for local libraries and public schools but wholly insufficient for this major challenge. I propose that each of us take on a project. Personally I am going to visit the nearby bus stops during nap time and clandestinely relieve the local urban leisure technicians of their ill gotten beggar profits. They will only spend it on vices instead of properly stimulating the economy.

Each of us must resolve that it stops here and now with me. The whining and complaining of the privileged must not go unheeded. Each of us must give until it hurts so that others may live (a life of decadence)!

How can we call ourselves a great society if there are no elite to trickle down on the rest of us.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thin line between love and hate

A little clarification on the Thelonious Monk post

I don't mean to imply that all geniuses are crazy (yeah, that's a clinical term).

Nor do I think that crazy people are all geniuses (I got that one on good authority).

Genius is not simply being able to process large amounts information as compared to the average person. A savant can memorize and replicate the book quickly but not have a real understanding of the material. A true genius can effectively use this large quantity data to attain enlightenment.

Einstein was a genius not because he could manipulate complicated formulas but because he was able to use that ability to make great leaps of comprehension that lesser thinkers are only now able to prove and quantify.

Einstein was a seer. Able to discern the path even when not apparent to more normal perceptive ability.

Monk used his genius to create beautiful music that was at once complicated enough to challenge master musicians for generations to come yet supremely simple with its implied tones and in his own dimension that the rest of us could join if we wanted to but frequently could not muster the ability to do so. But it mattered not to him. He was there, that was enough. We couldn't always understand Monk's motivations but that was our problem.

I think seers are privileged to live in multiple worlds and dimensions of their own creation. Sometimes they lose track of which world and which rules they should be operating under. Everybody knows an absent minded professor type who could build a nuclear reactor out of the crap in your garage but you can't trust them to watch a pot of beans simmering on the stove.

Keep growing and understanding awaits you!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Regarding Henry

He suddenly just showed up one night unannounced and uninvited in my daughter's dorm room and would not leave. Shortly thereafter the first of a series of late night panic stricken calls to me. All I could do was tell my daughter and her suite mates to report him to the college and let them take care of it. But being soft tender hearted girls they felt sorry for him. Where would he go, what would he do, what would happen to him. Against my wishes they adopted him. And so he stayed.

Henry they called him. An uneasy truce was established and he slept on the floor. His visit ultimately lasted a fortnight before he disappeared just as suddenly as he arrived. In letting him stay the girls all sincerely hoped he would behave himself. It wasn't long before it was clear he wouldn't.

The trouble started with little things. Making noise and keeping the girls up too late. Constantly rubbing himself all night long. He began provoking the hormone fueled agitation that is all too easily started when you are in close quarters with four post teen girls who squeal at the top of their lungs way more often than is absolutely necessary. But these young girls, who hadn't had a real job between them, lectured me on the necessity of compassion. Fine! They were all legally grown. Do as you please, I cannot stop you.

Finally we reached the final chapter of this episode. It occurred just before dawn one morning. My daughter's call woke me out of a sound sleep. Apparently, Henry just decided to wander into the bathroom while she was taking a shower. I was awakened just as little miss bossy was barking orders to Henry in the same tone she barks them to me when she is upset. The part of the exchange I heard was her telling him to get out of there now or she was going to "kill him dead"! The intensity in her voice made me believe she would do it. This from a child that stopped drinking milk because she thought it somehow hurt the cows. I think I talked her down but just barely.

She never talked to me about Henry after that. I assume that he found his way to his next destination shortly after that episode. I don't think she killed him. But I don't know that for sure and I never asked.

The last I heard about Henry was in an email from my child. I guess she needed to talk about it but didn't want to do it where I could say I told you so. To wit, I shall let you read for yourself:

*Male crickets rub their wings together to attract female crickets, and the result is the "chirping" noise we hear. Male crickets are equipped with their own built-in fiddle system, and both male and females have their "ears" in their front legs below the knee. Each of the male's wings has a rough surface on its underside — the file. In the same place on top of each wing is a scraper. The cricket rubs the scraper of either wing against the file of the other to make his music, or his mating call. This cricket music is called stridulation.

Crickets rest by day and become active at night. The warmer the weather, the more actively a cricket sings. But it won't sing on nights when the temperature is below 55°. *You can't always follow a cricket's sound; it can make its noise appear to be coming from somewhere else. For centuries, crickets have been kept as pets. Known as suzumishi in Japan, thousands are distributed in tiny bamboo cages each summer to help people forget the heat.

*Count the number of cricket chirps in 14 seconds. Add 40. The answer gives the exact temperature in degrees Fahrenheit! */[i just did it and it gave me 75. accurate!]/

That's my child, if you can't do anything about it analyze the hell out of it.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Round about midnight

Point of personal privilege.

Admittedly this blog has been a little light on the jazz and heavy on the jacked up. Well, its time we corrected that imbalance.

The New York Times has a rather glowing review of a new book about Thelonious Monk. Apparently the family assisted the author, Robin D. G. Kelley, in collecting the necessary material to get the story straight (no chaser?).

Frequently, we hear the term genius or musical genius bandied about with far too little regard for reality. But Monk was a musical genius in the truest sense of the word. He had the signs, childhood precociousness, eccentric and erratic behavior (both personally and musically), mental health instability, encyclopedic knowledge of his craft and a deep and reverential respect of his internationally acknowledged so called peers. Yet, for much of his life he was not treated as a genius. We cannot change the past but we certainly can revere him now.

There also was another feature of note regarding a benefit to purchase a headstone for the grave of one of Monk's idols James P. Johnson.

Both Monk and Johnson were practitioners of what is commonly referred to as stride piano. Now the the definition of stride piano is somewhat complex, technical and a bit nuanced. But basically a stride pianist is one who walks up to a piano and causes most other pianist to get the hell up and as far away as possible lest they become embarrassed by what is about to happen.

As with many people, it took me a very long time to get Monk. He was one strange cat (which is what kept me on the case). But once I learned he was the composer of the jazz classic Round Midnight, it all fell into place and made sense. Of course you could read the book to learn everything you need to know about Monk or you can just watch the first 30 seconds of this video.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

On the nature of power

It comes and it goes regardless of the cravings of its would be possessors. It can flow from the barrel of a weapon, the tip of a silver tongue or the depth of a fat bankroll. It is quickly diminished the instant that you attempt to use it, paradoxically most effective when hoarded. It is a very strange thing, not unlike the antimatter of Scotty's warp drive engines. It makes unbelievable things possible, yet if uncontrolled it ravages indiscriminately with no regard for target or trigger. Power is a jealous bitch, willing to destroy as well as defend the object of its affection. Be not lured by the siren of the oysters of the world before you on a silver platter. The invoice is yet to come, and oyster platters are never cheap. Remember the universe is circular if you can get halfway there, you are halfway home.

Use it, don't let it use you.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Brazil sux!!!

Big fat diseased ones!

David Goldman has been struggling to regain custody and control of his son since the child was kidnapped by the now deceased mother of the child and taken out of the country to Brazil. Now the Brazilians won't give him back. Mr. Goldman is the sole surviving parent of his son and by all accounts he is a fit and proper parent for his child. At this point the discussion should be over. But it isn't. The Brazilians have declined to return the child for what appears to be no other reason than they don't want to. He has taken his pleas to court and to the media all to no avail.

Not since Elian Gonzalez has there been such an international display of custodial arrogance and outright hostility towards the concept of parenthood.

Now Brazil expects the world to traipse down there with buckets of money to spend on their little ignoring the rule of law Olympics. Hell, we might as well conduct the Olympics in North Korea.

I hear they put on quite the party down there. But now that they've "got the bid" to put up the Olympics, Brazil needs to decide just how much of the world's good will is needed to have a successful event. Perhaps they can trample on international conventions and no one will notice. Maybe in a backwards third world banana republic with wide disparity between rich and poor you can take people's children with impunity. But in a civilized world you don't condone that sort of thing. And surely you don't reward it with millions of tourist dollars.

Maybe they don't need any help converting their third world city to the standards required of a modern Olympiad. Possibly they couldn't care less what the rest of the world thinks of their legal system. Can the Olympics be successful if participants are concerned about taking their children there lest some Brazilian take a liking to them and decide to keep a few of them.

I for one do not intend to excuse taking children hostage and holding them against their parents wishes for no identifiable reason. If they do not return Mr. Goldman's child (and any other child similarly held) I will not watch one single event of the 2016 Olympiad. I will not eat brazil nuts. I will not support any of the advertisers. I will actively work to encourage everyone I know to boycott all products advertised during the Olympics. I will pray for two solid weeks of rain during the event. And I will not forget.

Unless those wacky Brazilians do the right thing and give Mr. Goldman his son back, and with a quickness, I encourage the rest of the world to consider just how complicit participating in this Olympics makes them in the kidnapping of children.

Pick up the phone Rio, the world is calling.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Who? Where? ;+)

Time for a little outhouse humor

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One word, Somali Pirates

Okay, that's more like two words, but you get the point

Don't make me get up

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I can make it better

Either you are with us or agin us, the saying goes.

Despite the raw unmitigated cynicism that pervades, nay, assaults the senses on an ongoing basis, there is an unrepentant desire among "us" to overcome the mischief of "them" and work towards a better world.

The demarcation point between the us and the them goes beyond the easily defined lines of race, class, nationality, religion or any other such meaninglessness. Ignorance and the illusion of time allow these isms to perpetuate. But as we all face our ultimate demise the isms are rendered meaningless as we approach our final day on this planet. Something holds us all together as much as the air we breathe. Despite our failure as a species to acknowledge the fact that we are irretrievable intertwined, we in fact do need each other. If for no other reason, than simply to measure ourselves and our own humanity.

At every turn there is some scoundrel, tyrant, philandering cad, common liar or petty thief who diminishes the very gravity that binds us to the planet; the shared sense of community that we all should nurture. We all live in a blue submarine, and for better or worse we are stuck with each other.

All of us want our children to be safe, our parents to be cared for and we want to believe that at least some small measure of our own hopes and dreams will be fulfilled before we perish. Yet we must function with the knowledge that none of these things are guaranteed or even probable.

And so it is with this futility that most of us continue to strive for a better world in our own way, despite the ugliness that assaults our sensibilities daily. We retrieve a single piece of litter that blows across our path knowing full well that garbage is hauled in by the megaton. We donate to causes that most assuredly are as corrupt as the small minded ninnys that run them because we believe in the cause. We protect and encourage young children to stay in school and do well with the understanding that whole industries are dependent on them not doing well and exist solely to incarcerate a huge percentage of our future. But we persevere, we persist in clinging to notions of community and commonality that, if they ever did exist, have surely been proven to be the province of saps, suckers and dupes.

Or are they?

Perhaps, because we don't know what else to do we keep trying. Like the metaphorical pissing in the ocean, with the vastness of the sea rendering our actions utterly and totally irrelevant for good or evil, we do what we can. In the short term it makes us feel better, and maybe that's enough to get us to the next stage.

The assholes will continue being themselves and soon enough their hindrances simply become part of the calculus of what must be overcome in order to succeed. We take two steps forward and three steps back only so long as it takes to find a way to progress despite our barriers. And at some point we all must decide which side we are on, us or them.

Those who choose us must face the rising sun resolute in the knowledge that despite the formidable obstacles strewn across the path to the future, each of us can make it better!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Can you stop the rain?

There are some things we must accept; despite our best efforts some things cannot be changed.

The universe is circular and those with the ability to explore it eventually find that the end is simply the beginning of the course you just completed.

The world should be a better place, but it isn't,

and wishing won't make it so.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hood rules

I keep reading about how 4 out of 5 dentist don't want to chew gum in Afghanistan. I wasn't aware that engaging Afghanistan was up for a vote. The original premise of going there has always been about saving them from another trip to come see us here in the US. And Americans are always concerned about the comfort and convenience of others. Its kind of like hood rules, nobody asks for your views on anything much less your preferences on whether or not to have war.

Has something changed? If not maybe we need to focus our poll taking on something that is truly up for discussion.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Charlie Wilson's war

Charlie Wilson is one of the pillars of soul and R&B music. He tells a compelling story of rags to riches to rags and back to riches and redemption having lost his fortune to drug and alchohol addiction. His music has long since been discovered by the so called hip hop crowd. And therein lies the problem. The music sampling crowd has taken one of the most powerful musicians of the 70's and laid claim to him as their own. The material he now releases is clearly aimed at the under 30 crowd, gangster pimpin, thug living and such. He sings about things that a 50+ year old man should have long since ceased to be concerned about. Its as if he is at war with himself and his true nature. Many of us have been Charlie Wilson fans from the very beginning of the GAP Band releases and it is disheartening to have to share you with the teenie boppers. While I understand why they want you on their team, the truth is Charlie Wilson belongs to the old school crowd. And we want you back singing songs that relate to old school themes. Mr. Wilson, I guess life will go on one way or the other, but its just not the same without you.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Smoking with the bums

Went downtown today. I always park on the street and go into the door next to the bus stop where they treat the cement floor every morning with chemicals to eliminate the urine smell. On the way in I always give the brothers an ever so slight upward head nod. "Sup." But not too much lest we become long lost pals finally reunited and able to now share our joint resources one for all and all for one style.

But coming around the corner I caught a glimpse of a nicely tanned crossed leg with a besandaled foot and painted toenails. Hmmm! That foot don't belong here.

Well it didn't. It was a beautiful young woman sitting well within begging distance of a group of our illustrious urban leisure technicians. She was sitting there very nonchalantly getting a fix from her nicotine stick. And what's more, the fellas seemed to be just as unconcerned with this situation as she was. They needed a place to be and she needed a place to smoke. And somehow they reached an understanding so that everybody could get what they needed.

Despite our differences, maybe we are all the same after all

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hey, don't I know you from someplace

Most of the time there really is nothing most of us can do about the the issues that overtake the collective consciousness of the nation/world. But in light of the most recent unpleasantness with the Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. episode, there is something we all can do about it.

If you will recall from my YoMamaGates affair posting, I decided that the real tragedy was neighbors not knowing each other.

Cue the National Night Out people. I don't really see where all registration and organization is absolutely required (especially since its now too late to do it anyway), but I think they have the thing figured out. Just get out on the street and meet your neighbors. And if you don't get around to it until tomorrow or the next day so what. You can start with the kids, hand out treats (assuming that's cool where you live). Then the parents might wander up and before you know it we are a force to be reckoned with (either that or you will be reminded why you stay the hell away from them sombitches). But at least you will know your neighbors and more importantly, your neighbors will know you (I'm looking at you Dr. Gates).

Oh goody, we are having iced tea and donut holes on my block. I wonder if they will be checking the cups?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Can you say buttwhuppin on TV

What is wrong with you people? Why are we celebrating this little psychopath in training. In case you missed it, little 7 year old Preston took a joy ride in the family car. Take a look




The kid blows through at least two stop signs like they weren't even there. And at the end of the ride makes a break for it towards the house. What are the consequences of his actions? Instead of beating his little ass, he and the whole family get a trip NEW YORK CITY so he can wave at his friends back home on national TV on The Today Show. I'll bet he's even the center of attention with the playground set back at the local school. To my knowledge the Today Show did not present the cops perspective on this. I wonder what the take away message is for them.

The question I have is, what happens the next time he (or some other kid who watches this) starts to feel like he needs a little more attention. Sure the video is entertaining and sure the kid looks cute running to the house afterwards and sure the tape was worthy of national airplay. But why do we need to hear from the family that reared this child. Something is wrong here and somebody better fix it before its too late. I'm no child psychologist but I have enough child rearing experience to know that driving off in the family car is not the normal response of a seven year old seeking to avoid an unwanted outcome. I do know this, from the day of their birth most children are driven by two and only two things:
1. cause
and
2. effect

I cry and somebody feeds me. I make babbling noises and people pay attention to me. I steal the family car and run from the cops and I get a trip to New York to be on TV. I wonder what I get if I burn down the family house?

This was not the finest hour of The Today Show. Hey I know morning show news is a tough business but this child's actions could have turned out much differently (I'll let you use your own imagination). And that is what has to temper the public response to this thing. And in light of the whole Louis Gates Jr. thing one has to wonder what might have been the response had this been a little black inner city child.

No word yet on whether there will be any sort of milk and cookies summit at The White House to sort it all out.

Friday, July 24, 2009

But its my elfin porch

Well it looks like cooler heads are prevailing (as it should be) in the Henry Gates affair or YoMamaGates as we like to call it. But as we all return to our neutral corners there seems to be a bit of claim staking taking place. I think one of these claims needs to be challenged.

The cops seemed to have circled the wagons and laid claim to the right to arrest anyone who is spouting off at the mouth but physically situated on their own private property when their is no police emergency requiring their presence or involvement.

Now I am the first to concede that cops generally have a hard job, but so do firemen and we don't allow them to become the arbiters of who may use fire.

I think this issue needs to be clarified and if necessary fixed so that we continue to be the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The real tragedy of the Henry Louis Gates Jr. story

The tragedy of the Henry Louis Gates Jr. story began long before Mr. Gates found his front door inoperable or the subsequent arrival of the local po po's to investigate a reported breaking and entering.

Whether what happened that day is the result of racism will probably depend on your personal perspective. If you are a minority in this country (or any country for that matter) and you have lived your entire life under the weight of the oppressive force of racism that is as intangible but just as real as a fart in the wind (and every bit as offensive) you are likely to see the racism in this episode. If you have the perspective of a street cop and live day to day with the knowledge that your next assignment might be the last thing you do on this earth because some asshole has decided he ain't goin' back to jail you can see the necessity of controlling the situation. On the other hand if you are a non minority who feels like you have done your part to eliminate racism in this country (I'm not racist, hey I voted for Obama) you might wonder what all the fuss is about.

There really ought to be a cost whenever you invoke racism, a licensing fee perhaps. Just like Paul McCartney having to pay Michael Jackson's estate every time he sings Hey Jude. When one hollers racism it is not a personal thing any longer. To cry racism is to summon the pain and fear, the hopes and aspirations of everyone who has ever suffered silently or not so silently under the degradation of a dual system. Calling it racism makes it our business. And business is business, put a nickel in the cup. No matter how disgusting it is, racism is our ugly step baby, and you have awakened it. It needs to be fed and put back to sleep.

There is a certain logic to cops controlling the street. If cops are to control the streets for our mutual benefit, they must, by definition, be invested with a certain amount of ownership of those streets. So when someone fails to comply with a directive from an officer of the law on the streets an assertive response is not unreasonable. There is no such reasonable ownership rights on a man's front porch. My front porch is the one place I ought to be able to act a fool if I have determined that its time to do so.

And if you don't understand what all of the fuss is about, why everyone must get so excited about this then I submit that you are part of the problem (I don't care who you voted for). Because ignorance of and blindness to the problem is what allows it continue to exist.

But I digress, back to the tragedy. The real tragedy occurred when the apparently well intentioned neighbor made the call to law enforcement to report a break in as Mr. Gates attempted to enter his home. The real tragedy is that you can live anywhere in America, but especially in a reasonably safe neighborhood, and not know what your neighbors look like when they live within eye shot of your home.

And unlike racism, that is something each one of us can fix.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Just say no to crack

OK, not sure if its the boredom or the beer, probably a little of both, but these folks seem to know what to do when you have a little drunken time on your hands.

Loosely referred to as the Annual Mooning of Amtrak, they really know how to spend a little quality family time.

I especially like the section marked WHO IS IN CHARGE?
No one. No one organizes or is responsible for this annual event. Everyone who attends helps make it a safe, law-abiding, fun & successful day. It occurs the second Saturday in July each year, whether this web-site existed or not. This web site is a gratis service to provide some helpful information

But, beware if you plan to participate. You might want to bring bail money. The city of Laguna Niguel has declared war on the festival.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Red Alert

This warning is issued as a public service to those susceptible to a little known but well established matter of jurisprudence referred to as buttwhuppin by proxy.

All you absent parents out there be ye forewarned. If you have a family court date coming up in the next few weeks, particularly in certain southern states, do not, I repeat, do not show up for court. Do whatever you gotta do to get out of it. Get your lawyer (Mr. how much you got on you right now) to ask for a continuance, make them request a pysch evaluation (wear colorful pajamas to court or convene a press conference outside the courthouse but say nuthin' and just dance) whatever you gotta do.

The MIC (see June 20 post) is in full effect. This ain't the time for your lame ass excuses. Everybody who shows up in court this week is going to take the heat for certain high profile philanderers. Your dumb ass is going to represent all of the folks who won't be dragged down to the court and subjected to the realities of reality. You are the one who will be made an example of by folks who who want to keep their jobs and are more than willing to demonstrate that they are not soft on this sort of thing. The fact that your case is completely unrelated will be cold comfort where you find yourself.

Don't go down there looking for justice because the only thing you will find is just-us.



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm watching reality television, get me out of here!

Reality television has been on a slide for some time now. But I remember better days of the genre where they had things figured out. On the very first episodes of The Biggest Loser where they introduced these overweight people with whom you could identify.

They developed these people into interdependent teams and then worked them like borrowed slaves all day long. They then brought them into the studio to "weigh in". But first they locked them in a room with a platter full of cupcakes and turned off the lights for five minutes.

Now that's television.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

From your absent father to you on Father's Day

I was reading an article on fatherhood in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) about gate keeping mothers preventing fathers from doing their jobs as fathers by deciding when and when not to allow dads to be dads. I was fairly well impressed that someone had thought to take a different approach in the big annual run up to father's day (Come Monday we will be back to nobody giving a good goddamn about father's and fatherhood, but I digress). Then I started reading the comments section which had a decidedly negative perspective on the article.

My first impression was that maybe the commentators were self satisfied fathers who just didn't get it. These were people who felt they had fulfilled their fatherhood responsibilities and didn't need anybody telling them how to be a father. As I continue to think about it, I am beginning to recognize that maybe that's the point.

Over the years I become more and more disillusioned with the concept of father's day, as it seems to have become nothing more than a vehicle of the M.I.C. (Motherhood Industrial Complex) which is used to berate men who don't measure up to the arbitrary standards they have imposed upon us. Essentially, the day functions as an opportunity to make a list of all the stuff that men need to do. Fathers have lost control of the very day supposedly set aside to honor them. The M.I.C. has convinced the world that we should use this occasion to detail all of the things that are wrong with fathers. Mother's day is a celebration of motherhood, as it should be. Why isn't father's day a celebration of fathers. Why is the focus on the mistakes and missteps. Come next mother's day, I am going to keep count of all the articles that tell young single mothers that you should have kept your legs closed until you got your act together. Or if you are poor you are an unfit mother. Because these are exactly the messages that fathers are subjected to on their "day of honor".

This is a symptom that is representative of fatherhood in general. The self assured mothers and mothers in law and list makers and pundits are all telling us what to do and who to be. They even line up an errant prodigal father who, after 20 years of absence, is now the reigning expert on what fathers ought do. Somehow we have merged the role of father with the role of husband. Maybe this was accurate back in the days of Ozzie and Harriet or Ward and June Cleaver, but the sexual revolution of the 60's produced the "baby daddy" of the 70's. The Husband and the father have been unequivocally bifurcated.

Husbands better do as they are told if they want to have a peaceful home. Fathers are not necessarily a part of the home. We are warriors and protectors of children who may or may not live under our roof. Being a father to the children of your baby mama from across town increases the difficulty factor exponentially. And sometimes being absent from your child is the best way we know how to protect that child. Understood, this don't feed the bulldog, but sometimes that's all we got. And truth be told, fathers who are not absent are not all that present anyway. Yeah, the body is present but the spirit is on the job, or at the golf course or caught up with the sports team or worse yet in the bottle.

It is very difficult to live in the small space that is left open by the M.I.C. You should wear this, and do that and pay this and bring that and and and... We have been contorted into this made for TV version of what a father ought to be. And what's worse, we have convinced our kids of this crap. If we don't go out back and play catch with the little boys they feel deprived. If we don't suit up and attend the daddy daughter dance little girls don't feel they are getting enough of their daddy's love. And God help your monkey ass if you come up short on a court ordered child support payment or two.

So if you want to encourage fatherhood then sit quietly and let us tell you what it means to be a father. Unless you are a father you cannot possibly know what it means. So let us tell you what it means to walk into a hospital natal ward hard and tough on the outside but a quivering mass of fear on the inside. Let us tell you what it means to come up short on Christmas presents. Let us tell you what its like to try to teach a child the things nobody ever taught you. Let us tell you what its like to look into the eyes of your newborn and know you are not ready for this.

We don't celebrate "Actively Engaged Father's Day" we celebrate "Father's day". Whether by birth or by adoption, still living or dead and gone fathers should be honored simply for existing, in the flesh or only in memory, warts and all. Of course we should talk about all those other things that need to be done. Children need food , clothes, homes and yes somebody to play catch with them or take them to the daddy daughter dance. But maybe that can wait until Monday.

There is an old philosophical question about whether a tree falling in the woods makes a sound if nobody is there to hear it.

Can you hear me now?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You go girl

My favorite first lady just keeps on impressin' thehelloutame.

Now folks have been having jazz at the White House as long as I can remember. Previously the high water mark was set by the peanut farming president Jimmy Carter "sitting in" on a rendition of Salt Peanuts with Dizzy Gillespie. But Michelle Obama just brings a whole new style to the party. And she does it with such class.

And crazy ain't cheap

Acting crazy is a statement (as opposed to being crazy which is a condition), but either way, there is a cost associated with crazy.

If you have to ask, you probably can't afford it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Life doesn't come with a meal plan

Wouldn't it be wonderful if life was lived by the semester. You register every 3 months and you got most summers off. And no matter how bad you screwed up you get to start over next term. The days would always begin by draggin your ass down to the cafetorium and ordering an egg white omelet with mushrooms and capers. Then we could complain about how hard it is to walk to the other end of the building to get breakfast and fantasize about a better life with breakfast delivery.

But then I guess somebody has to make the omelets.

Riddle me this one Batman

Why do the pictures of the Iranian authorities wearing that batman looking body armor beating the crap out of election protesters say "Police" across the back in English. Shouldn't "Police be written in Farsi or something. And exactly who is the audience for the word "Police".

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Taciturn and trying to learn

There are many people who feel that not having anything to say is insufficient reason to stop talking.

I am not one of those people.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Serenity Prayer

I have found the serenity prayer to be highly effective in a great many situations regardless of one's particular religious perspective. It is not a prayer for material riches or deliverance from a situation, as is often prayed for by those who lack vision. Rather than asking God to change the universe to fit one's preconceived notion of what the universe ought be, it is a prayer to change one's perspective so that one can peacefully coexist with the universe as it is. And therein lies its power. Instead of asking God to stop the ocean tides from coming in, the prayer guides you to ask God for short pants and a pair of flip flops so that you may make the best of the situation as it is.

My observation of the world finds it to be populated with self absorbed, narcissistic, immature products of the immediate environment. God grant me the serenity to accept these fools as they are.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Serendipity

So I am tooling down the interstate not too long ago trying to make it home with a load of my kid's crap in time to get to my favorite live jazz gig when off in the distance I detect flashing lights that aren't normally in that location. Thinking its a minor snarl I bravely trudge onward. Mistake! Damnit! Traffic is hopelessly tangled. Being an optimist I hope for the best. But half an hour later I have made maybe 100 yards of progress. People are starting to get out of their cars and walk around. That's when you know its time to take fate into your own hands. I drive a few thousand feet in the median, hit the all wheel drive button and execute a maneuver that I am thinking probably does not comport with the law as currently written. But at least I am now heading full speed in the opposite direction. I take the first exit and try to triangulate my way back to the interstate on the other side of the tie up.

I travel a few miles and come to a little town square and all the townies are chillin in their lawn chairs all over the place. My first thought is what tha...? But I can see there is a little band playing on the gazebo thingy. Then I'm thinking hmmm. So I roll down my window to give a listen and they are playing an instrumental version of the O'Jays' I Love Music. But wait, "this don't sound like no local band". I have listened to a lot of local bands in my time and invariably they do not have the synthesizers to reliably reproduce the horn lines and string orchestration. This one did, and they were poppin' too. As luck would have it (with an assist from a bit of malingering on my vehicle's part) I got caught by the stop light. For 30 glorious seconds I got a front row seat to the proceedings. When the light turns green I turn the corner begin to make my way home. But then I spot 5 sharply dressed men making their way through the back stage area (OK so they were crawling between the parked cars and the merch guy but you get the idea). They were all wearing the same little tams and I'm thinking who wears tams nowadays? Oh snap, its The Tams.

As the music is fading in the distance I start thinking parking doesn't look like that much of a problem. And it wasn't. So I standing there amongst the townies listening to The Tams. I can see why they picked this band. They put on a great show, at least for the 10 minutes or so that I witnessed. But one of them ain't dancin'. Turns out he's 72 year old original Tam Charles Pope or "daddy" as the lead singer called him. On the road for over 50 years he says.

My curse back on the interstate had turned into my blessing on the town square. Sometimes you just need to ride the wave and go wherever it takes you. Enjoy the serendipitous things that life brings you as long as you can. But I've got a jazz gig to get to.

And miles to go before I sleep...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What is Jazz???

So, what is jazz, nostalgia music for people who refuse to move along? Are the best days of jazz ahead of it, or behind. Was bird a fluke of history, or is there some weird cat getting kicked out of band some place and now on his/her way to developing the next new thing. Is there any such thing in jazz as a new thing or is it the same collection of twelve tones rearranged in different ways?

I want answers and I want them now!!!

I gotta be me

In order to be free to discuss what ever happens to come across my feeble mind (and apparently only with myself judging from the crowd) I have set up this blog. However, as indicated in the name, I expect this discussion will be primarily about music in general, and jazz in particular. Other than that not much in the way of rules and regulations. Oh yeah, one more thing, please be kind and rewind.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hello world

I suppose for my first post I should say something profound.

For some time now, it has been painfully evident that there is group of people on this planet who's vision for this world is to have a small elite who are served by a desperate and financially unstable mass of people who are kept ignorant and focused on trifles. To which group do you belong?

Whoa, where'd that come from

KCSM

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Now playing: The Bay Area's Jazz Station - KCSM Jazz91 - Stream 164
via FoxyTunes