Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Growing up, for years and years and years, my family got pretty into the Christmas spirit. I suppose they still do, but between my scrooginess, lack of children, and intolerance for the 3 month xmas assault, I just stopped feeling it years ago. It's not like I don't still sit down and thank whoever for whatever, and think of my family. my friends. I give money to charities I like and I hold the door open for people even when I don't feel like it. But that's about the extent of it.
Oh, and we always have gone to the hospital, where we sing carols to the patients and give out poinsettias. I know it sounds terribly schmaltzy, and it probably is, but it's something we did as a family forever, and believe it or not it feels great. Since I was 14 or so I'd grumble myself awake at 8 to go down there complaining, or wanting to sleep one off. But it never mattered. Because an hour into it you can't help but thaw out a little bit and see how much this means to some of those people. People in the hospital with cancer, or heart failure, or even in the psych ward. They're lonely and bored out of their minds and to see them light up when you spend 2 hours of your holiday morning to say hello is worth it in every sense possible.
Some of us would go the extra mile. While I would usually busy myself with making sure we had enough plants and whatnot, people like my dad would be going into the rooms and sitting down with these patients.
I feel like I should stop for a second and point out -because as I became aware last year, a lot of people haven't spent much time in hospitals- that when you're in an ICU or a trauma ward, it doesn't look like Scrubs. The staff isn't singing and flirting or being witty. They're overworked and exhausted and generally just want to get their job done. and the patients aren't Betty White clones who walk around rapping or whatever happens on that show. It's usually patients with grey skin and sullen eyes. There's often smells that you don't want to think about, and labored breathing. Lots of time sheets will be stained through with blood and bile.
and I'm not trying to gross you out with this. Often it's not like this at all, but when you're 7 and seeing a man die in a hospital bed right in front of you... well, horror movies stopped scaring me around the same time as when I figured out what was going on in the hospital. Of course I was terrified. I wouldn't even look in the windows of the bad ones, fearing something might be transmittable by sight. It wasn't until a few years later when I worked up the nerve to start peering in the windows or even popping my head in the door, still cringing, but knowing it was something I'd have to do. Because honestly, they're the ones that need picking up.
and every time I did, there would be my dad.
Imagine there's a haunted prison near you. One that for years gives your imagination all the ammunition in the world to make you absolutely terrified. and imagine that one day, on a dare, maybe, you make your way inside of the haunted prison. You get through the gate, and the office, getting a little uneasier as you move. You brush giant spider webs aside and see dark mass in corners, trying not to guess what it might be. You make your way past the cells and lunchroom to the worst place possible, to the electric chair or to the solitary cells, where you're just sure something will lunge out and harm you. A heavy steel door opens into darkness with a creak... and there you see your dad, sitting there with his legs crossed and laughing. That's what it was like. No matter how petrified you were or how bad it smelled or what you think you'd find, he'd be in there, as comfortable as can be, talking with the patient and putting his hand on their shoulder, telling them that however long ago, he was in that exact same spot and he's there to tell them that you can recover with hope.
My father was religious (far more than I've ever been, anyway) and he had been in and out of hospitals for plenty of his adult life. He'd had to wait around hoping that his name would find its way to the top of the liver list. He'd been stuck in the hospital on Christmas eating mashed bananas. More so than anyone he knew the score, and would sit, and talk, and pray with these people, no matter how long it took, and no matter how far gone they seemed. I've mentioned before here how brave I thought he was, and this is no exception.
Later, as we'd finish up, he'd make sure we'd all washed our hands and we'd all pile into the car to head back home and open our presents with a complete understanding of just how lucky we were. and on the drive home -this was always my favorite part- we'd troll the radio stations, trying to find Springsteen singing "Santa Clause is Coming to Town".
You don't really want to listen to Christmas carols on the way home from singing them yourselves. Least of all Perry Como doing "Silver Bells" or something. There was really only two Christmas songs we would look for, the other being "Merry Christmas, Baby"(usually the Darlene Love version, though Elvis and Otis were always welcome). It was the only thing that we would listen for, and I think with maybe one or two exceptions, we would find it every year, and for once we wouldn't complain about my dad's singing voice. We wouldn't whine and get embarrassed. We would all sing along, practically shaking the station wagon with our enthusiasm.
It's hard now for me to remember what that was like, before the internet made any song you could ever think of a mouse click away. I think one of us had half a version dubbed from the radio somewhere, but otherwise we just had the radio for 2 weeks in December to comb for it. After awhile it turned into a game. We'd call my dad whenever it came on, seeing who spotted it first (almost always my sister) and laughing about it later. I was still calling my dad and telling him when I heard it last year. Dutifully, he would change the radio from the sports station in the background.
Well, I hadn't thought about Christmas this year at all, really. We're split off from our families, and in California. It's hard to think about these things when it's not cold enough for a sweater. But of course in doing my daily culling of internet music, I came across this show from Winterland 1978. One I had a few years back and lost. the one that has not only the best version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" on it, but also the best intro imaginable. and it hit me like a ball-peen hammer. Suddenly I'm excited for Christmas. I'm excited to go home. I'm going to have a sub and go to the Plumstead. I'm going to sing at the hospital, even in the room where my whole family watched my father die last March. I'm going to freeze my ass off. and for a few days, at least, I will love it. and I wanted to share that with you before I left for home. You might be sick of it, you may not like it. But it's certainly what's in my thoughts at the moment.
Like a lot of people, I think, I have whole memories of things that never happened to me. That never happened to anyone outside of Bruce Springsteen's imagination. I can hear Mary's heels click-clack across the porch as the radio plays. I can picture the Magic Rat's worn, brown leather jacket as he gets out of his car and appears on the scene. I can hear Spanish Johnny's voice.
But this is the rare instance that I feel like Bruce Springsteen knows what it's like to be in my head. Of course he didn't write this song, but when he was putting together his arrangement, it's almost like he had a family of 7 in a grimy station wagon with melted toys and shit scattered all over the third seat. to me, he was thinking of a bunch of kids dressed up to sing to cancer patients and then later for each other. and that's all the gift I could ever want. Thanks Boss.
"Intro" - Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
"Santa Clause is Coming to Town" - Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
also, if you like the sound of this, the rest of the show is available for download here.
So I'm going to be sort of all over the place for the next week or so. I don't think I'll get a chance for updates, and I definitely won't be able to upload the Economist until Thursday at least, so I might skip it altogether. I'll be home, and if you're near -even if you're not- gimme a call. Same old number. Otherwise, I hope everyone has a great Christmas or holiday or whatever, and don't forget appreciate who you are and who you love and who loves you.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
holy shit a lot to read today for me. First of all, as promised yesterday here's Christmas and New Years, Part 1. Expect the second part of this on Wed. morning or so. And now on the the myriad of bullshit:
Salon has a great article about the CIA black sites that strikes terror into my heart. Seriously, this is abhorrent stuff. I honest recommend checking this out. It should be mandatory reading for every citizen of this country.
The Media Ownership Act of 2007 is back around and It's nice to see that the long hours I spend writing these whiny emails actually gets read. As Michael Copps (who has been desperate to draw some attention to this issue since it began) points out, regardless of which issues are important to you, this affects you and needs to be a priority. and he's pretty much right.
Lieberman endorses McCain. Huh? Well, at least it's not Romney, who is firing on all of his retarded lying-ass cylinders lately.
Also, head over to Paper Thin Walls and download yourself a 2007 mixtape.
I'm a little insulted that nobody's told me that Philly news reporters are punching NYC cops and calling them dykes. What the fuck? Isn't this the same girl that got caught sending racy pictures of herself to Rich Eisen last year? (answer: yes). Holy shit I'm excited to get to see some hilarious news again. Other than the escaped violent criminals and Al Sharpton bribing people.
keep the Eagles winning, though.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
a mix I've had half-pieced together for months. a lot of old soul and reggae mixed with some new stuff. Which I guess is pretty much all the mixes I make. It's defoid of any clips or snppets or anything of the sort due to lack of time. I'm sure that most of you won't like track 17, so feel free to skip that one when downloading. I'll wait.
Time Enough for a Song
1. "American Dreamin'" - Jay-Z (Cookin' Soul Elvis remix)
2. "I'm Blue (The Gong-Gong Song)" - The Ikettes
3. "Dart for my Sweetheart" - Archie Bronson Outfit
4. "Staggolee" - Pacific Gas & Electric
5. "The Owl" - Silver Apples
6. "The First Cut is the Deepest" - Norma Frazer
7. "Subway Theme" - Grand Wizard Theodore
8. "Soon it Will Be Cold enough to Build Fires" - Emancipator
9. "Take a Little Walk with Me" - The Aces
10."I was Born Blue" - Swamp Dogg
11. "Lulu was that You?" - Cal Waymon
12. "At Last" - The Do
13. "Ha Ha" - Ty
14. "As Long As the Grass Shall Grow" - Johnny Cash
15. "I Can't Break Away" - Chuck Jackson
16. "Burning Bridges" - Lalo Schifrin
17. "Brand New Day" - Staple Singers
18. "Northern Girls" - Bellaruche
19. "Shirley Come Back" - Derrick Morgan feat. Hortence Ellis
20. "The Magician" - Jason Isbell
21. "We Are Co-Existors" - Bodies of Water
22. "No Depression in Heaven" - The Carter Family
Anyway, I'm planning on posting the 2 part Christmas episode of Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour XM show. Theme Time is fast becoming my favorite thing to listen to in the late evening. So keep an eye on that before I fly home on Thursday night.
The Economist 12/15 - 12/21
If you're wondering why I'm using all the megaupload, it's because it's the only site I know that lets me upload files over 100 Mb. So my apologies for any inconveniences/waiting.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
But chances are I'll start this process and then get stuck watching the entire Planet of the Apes series and chuck all that shit right back in the box. oh well.
16 year-old in Iceland prank calls Bush's private White House line. huh.
this guy had a beer-filled condom in his stomach. Ummm... WHAT?
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
I ended up not being Santa. For a good reason, I looked like the meth head that stabbed Santa and store is clothes. I'm so tired right now from that party. Watching the fox news because I was promised videos of animals opening christmas presents, but of course it's gonna be last. It looks like there was a foam explosion in Philly. again. We have snow on nearby Mt. Baldy and it's totally refreshing.
The Economist, December 8
polar bear opening his present
Friday, December 07, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
They'll be lucky if Santa isn't crying blood.
They'll be really lucky if Santa is sober.
I was in the laundromat the other night, halfway through the dryer cycle as well as my second beer. In addition to the homeless guy who yelled at me for drinking in a laundromat and then later asked me for my empties, there were four young guys in the parking lot, wearing sleeveless t-shirts and listening to the Steve Miller Band. They were gathered around a truck that had a paintjob reminiscent of a half-finished gobstopper. There were at least 3 visible layers of paint. Did I mention that at least 2 of them were air-guitaring? to Steve Miller?
I try to ignore scenes like this, no matter how much like 1974 they might feel, but I figured sitting around listening to the xmas muzak spilling into the laundromat and reading a book about fables would be less riveting. So I watched as these guys, who were doing laundry after all, pulled a single blanket from the dryer. It was clearly not dry yet, but appeared clean enough for their standards. So they took it, dripping and all, and threw it in the back of the pickup before driving off.
So now I'm pretty convinced that they killed someone and were trying to bleach out the evidence.
Santa the testifying witness.
$1 billion dollars missing. That's not even the fun part. I've been following the comments all evening.
Ride the Green Line in Boston? Watch the fuck out for THIS GUY
the 25 greatest fictional weapons of all time
What do cops know by checking you in their database? Sadly, this is old news.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
That's true. The Congress has signed on essentially to a new war. And I'm talking now not of people like Dennis Kucinich or any members of the Out of Iraq Caucus. But the majority of Democrats, and particularly the Democratic leadership, I believe, have accepted privately at least the secret goal of many people in the administration. And that is an indefinite occupation of Iraq, preferably of reduced scale in forces. A more politically sustainable and less costly environment, with hopefully fewer U.S. casualties.
But the maintenance of U.S. bases in the middle of the oil-rich sphere of the Middle East, and specifically in Iraq -- indefinitely. I don't mean the ten-year war that Nancy Pelosi has accused the President of having in mind, and which General Petraeus talks about. I'm talking fifty years, the way the President talks, when he mentions Korea or other places. We've been in Korea, of course, over fifty years. I think that not only President Bush and Cheney foresee a stay that long, and indeed much longer -- basically until the oil is gone in the Middle East. But I think that the Democratic leadership and the major Democratic candidates have essentially accepted that idea and that project. Hillary Clinton revealed as early as March 13 in The New York Times that if she were president, she would not remove all troops from Iraq. She wasn't specific as to just how many she would reduce, but the same article gave estimates of cutting the troops in half, taking out most of the so-called combat troops, which is a rather elastic definition actually, and getting down to between 50,000 and 100,000 troops to remain indefinitely. She mentioned a number of goals which could actually easily justify leaving a much larger force there indefinitely.
The other candidates essentially have not disagreed with that, as you've probably noticed. Even when they were asked the simple, concrete question: Do you foresee our American troops being out at the end of your first term if you were elected -- that is, by 2013, the start of a new term -- not one of them was willing to say yes. And that's five years away.I really don't think they were just allowing a little flexibility as to whether it would be five years or six years. I've seen no indication that the Democratic leadership in Congress, or the Republican leaders, or the candidates, envision the Americans being out of those bases any time in their lifetime or our children's lifetime. And that means that Americans will be killing Iraqis and dying, and killing Iraqi civilians -- committing atrocities, among other things -- as long as they're there. And that, as I say, is another half-century or more. -Daniel Ellsberg, Vietnam Veteran, Pentagon Papers Leaker, Activist, and Author
also an interesting article in the LA Times on these CNN/Youtube debates.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
We went to the Japanese Garden at the Huntington Library in Pasadena today. We got to look at a Gutenberg Bible. 7 different handwritten manuscripts of Walden. Walt Whitman's letter to Santa Fe, on its 333rd anniversary:
Dear Sirs:It was incredible. Then we walked around the gardens, which were also incredible, as evidenced above.
Your kind invitation to visit you and deliver a poem for the 333d Anniversary of founding Santa Fe has reach'd me so late that I have to decline, with sincere regret. But I will say a few words off hand.
We Americans have yet to really learn our own antecedents, and sort them, to unify them. They will be found ampler than has been supposed, and in widely different sources. Thus far, impress'd by New England writers and schoolmasters, we tacitly abandon ourselves to the notion that our United States have been fashion'd from the British Islands only, and essentially form a second England only—which is a very great mistake. Many leading traits for our future national personality, and some of the best ones, will certainly prove to have originated from other than British stock. As it is, the British and German, valuable, as they are in the concrete, already threaten excess. Or rather, I should say, they have certainly reach'd that excess. To-day, something outside of them, and to counterbalance them, is seriously needed.
The seething materialistic and business vortices of the United States, in their present devouring relations, controlling and belittling everything else, are, in my opinion, but a vast and indispensable stage in the new world's development, and are certainly to be follow'd by something entirely different— least by immense modifications. Character, literature, a society worth the name, are yet to be establish'd, through a nationality of noblest spiritual, heroic and democratic attributes— one of which at present definitely exists— different from the past, though unerringly founded on it, and to justify it.
To that composite American identity of the future, Spanish character will supply some of the most needed parts. No stock shows a grander historic retrospect— in religiousness and loyalty, or for patriotism, courage, decorum, gravity and honor. (It is time to dismiss utterly the illusion-compound, half raw-head-and-bloody-bones and half Mysteries-of-Udolpho, inherited from the English writers of the past two hundred years. It is time to realize— it is certainly true— there will not be found any more cruelty, tyranny, superstition, &c., in the resume of past Spanish history than in the corresponding resume of Anglo-Norman history. Nay, I think there will not be found so much.)
Then another point, relating to American ethnology, past and to come, I will here touch upon at a venture. As to our aboriginal or Indian population— Aztec in the South, and many a tribe in the North and West— know it seems to be agreed that they must gradually dwindle as time rolls on, and in a few generations more leave only a reminiscence, a blank. But I am not at all clear about that. As America, from its many far-back sources and current supplies, develops, adapts, entwines, faithfully identifies its own— we to see it cheerfully accepting and using all the contributions of foreign lands from the whole outside globe— then rejecting the only ones distinctively its own— autochthonic ones?
As to the Spanish stock of our Southwest, it is certain to me that we do not begin to appreciate the splendor and sterling value of its race element. Who knows but that element, like the course of some subterranean river, dipping invisibly for a hundred or two years, is now to emerge in broadest flow and permanent action?
If I might assume to do so, I would like to send you the most cordial, heartfelt congratulations of your American fellow-country-men here. You have more friends in the Northern and Atlantic regions than you suppose, and they are deeply interested in the development of the great Southwestern interior, and in what your festival would arouse to public attention.
Very respectfully, &c.,
then I sat around in Pasadena during the USC/UCLA game while Carrie shopped. So I bought myselv some new kicks. They are like underoos for my feet and I love them.