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I somehow had enough to say to say it on multiple pages.  Golly.  Whodathunkit?  And more importantly, you're here reading them.  Wowzers.

Wanna go back to the newer entries?

(March 28) In the 1970's Kiss and Led Zeppelin were battling it out to see who was the greatest band.  Hmmmm, tough choice there....because now I think they both are equally bad!  When I was younger though I'd have picked Kiss because of the makeup, costumes and the use of spitting blood in their stage show. I always loved their big boots.   Never underestimate the value of really really tall shoes in distracting fans I always say..  I loved Kiss and would write their logo on all my notebooks etc and I listened a lot to Kiss Alive.  They sort of sucked but they were fun.  My wife on the other hand loved the Led Zeppelin.  She claims she doesn't anymore and I think that's a good thing.  

But what isn't a tough choice is which of the monster songs would win if they had a battle for best song.  Neither of these songs was by Kiss or Led Zeppelin by the way.  If the song Frankenstein and the song Godzilla had a fight, which one would win?  That's a thought question.

Personally I think Frankenstein the song would win.  It's big and cool and dark and it rocks totally.  That Edgar Winter Group is way cool.  Godzilla is a good song too, but, I don't know, it's so peppy and happy like (Whoa no, there goes Tokayo go go Godzilla-  or whatever the words are!).  Frankenstein's like WOW , big and YOWZA!  Of course a fight between the actual monsters would be a hands down win with Godzilla.  Poor Frankenstein wouldn't stand a chance.  That's why I'm glad the song would win.  At least that's my opinion.  What's yours?

 

(March 22)  You know what I want to know?  What exactly were the circumstances during which someone determined that tomato juice washes off skunk stink?  You know, that's got to be a good story.

 

(March 16) Some random thoughts for the day:
-I wonder if people who go on hunger strikes get migraines?
-George Bush's constant mispronunciation of nuclear would be really amusing if it were done intentionally.
-What am I going to do with all these unsellable CDs I have here? We made a bunch of them and we've still got a bunch of them!
-Who or what decides if a piece of music is classical or not? Can a person who writes a piece of music call it classical if he or she wants to and not be worried that it isn't?
-How does one acquire the title: writer, or musician, or artist? When one writes something are they a writer, when one makes "art" are they an artist, when one plays a song are they a musician? Is it that a person has to be paid to make their particular type of art that they can use the title writer, artist, or musician? 
-Does getting paid to do your "art" tarnish the art-ness of it?

(March 15) Reading is good (eat pudding) PART ONE. Because I care about you I'm suggesting some books for you to read. Now some of you have already read these I know, but others may not have, and I was thinking that instead of hording all these delicious titles I'd pass them on. And these are in no particular order, just how they came to me.

1. Great Jones Street by Don DeLillo. This is a book about a rock star who one day just walks away from it all. He's pursued by some fans and convinced to hold a package for someone. He doesn't really agree to do it, just doesn't care enough to get involved in it all. A bunch of bad stuff happens and he's punished by the mob or whoever for his involvement in this package and the punishment is that he can no longer speak. In the end that turns out to not be a bad thing though and he becomes happier.  It's one of my favorite books.

2. The Illuminatus Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson. No explanation needed here, just read it! 

3. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon. This is Pynchon's most accessible work, and I think it very thought provoking. There's things in there that will stay with me forever. Like a used car salesman talking about how cars are an extension of our personality and how looking through the refuse in used cars he can learn about the people who owned them.  Also, the used car salesman having a nightmare about seeing the NADA sign flapping in the wind and that being a sign to him that his life was meaningless. Another scene where the main character is looking at a Remedios Varo  painting (this one) and crying and wishing the space between her eyes and her glasses could magically seal up so that her tears would fill the space and she could view the rest of her life through the sorrow she was feeling at that moment. Gives me shivers every time I think of that.

4. Mr. Pie by Mervin Peake. A story about finding the middle ground in life. If you're too good you might sprout wings and people will fear you.  If you're too bad you might sprout horns and people will fear you. If you're sort of good sort of bad, you look like everyone else and people don't fear you. Maybe this is good advice, maybe it's not, who can say.

 

(March 14) You know, that Bela Fleck is a pretty darn good player. Sometimes when I listen to him I want to really practice and practice. Other times when I listen to him I want to not practice at all. Other times still, I wonder what planet he comes from and how many fingers he has on his right hand.   Now mind you, I've seen his right hand close up, I probably even touched it several times, but sometimes when he plays he does this thing that seems to me just not possible with the number of fingers I've seen with my own two eyes on his right hand. I think he must have an extra finger or two on his left hand, but not on the hand part, probably no the wrist so he can make these insanely long reaches that are probably not possible for those of us born on THIS planet. Just for kicks, I wrote him a note the other day. Wonder if he'll write back?

Speaking of being from another planet, I came in to work the other day and there was a newspaper classified ad section on my desk with one of the ads circled. I thought it was an ad for a job because most people know I'm looking for another job. So I look at it and it's not an ad for another job, it's an ad that says: "MOVIE PRODUCER seeks real-life victims of  alien abduction. Looking to talk to victims of alien abduction and or conspiracy theorists and other intelligent people "in the know"...etc.  The ad went on to list who to contact etc. I thought it was pretty amusing. So my boss comes in later to see if I got the ad he left me.  Hmmmm..... is that because I'm an alien abductee, a believer in secret societies, or one of the "other intelligent people in the know"? 

So I think..... No way am I going to call that number. I DO NOT want "them" to know who and where I am. This is an obvious play by the government to get us people "in the know" to call and identify ourselves so they can come collect us up for deprogramming and brainwashing. No way am I  calling that number and letting them know where I am so they can  silence me and my kind. 

(March 13) EVERYONE knows the moon is made of cheese. (Yet another FACT the school system is denying to our children. Rocks and dust indeed! That it IS made of cheese is common knowledge!) So we're looking at the moon through the telescope after dinner the other night and I got a great idea on how we could help the nation's economy. I'm thinking of course of Wallace and Grommet and how they ran out of cheese and built a rocket ship in their garage and flew up to the moon to get some more cheese. Now that's a great idea and I think if the government would implement that into the long-range plan the world would be a lot better off. Just think, if we got our cheese from the moon instead of from cows and milk, then we wouldn't have to waste the millions of acres of land we do in planting feed corn for the milk cows. I bet there's even some way of reverse manufacturing that scientists could come up with to extract milk from cheese, or maybe they'd make up some new kind of milky drink from cheese. Ice cream too. 

If they'd do this, it'd be easier to get kids to drink milk too. Well kids that don't readily drink milk now anyway. See because then they could put the NASA logo on it and say the astronauts drink it like they did with TANG. Remember Tang? It came in orange and that was fine, but it also came in grape and that was just plain nasty. My grandmother used to make up these protein drinks for me because she was bothered that I didn't drink enough milk (SEE? I would have been a perfect candidate for the moon milk drink!!). The protein drinks she'd call FREEZE's. They'd be ice cream and milk and powdered milk and fruit and crushed ice and fruit and a splash of vanilla. They were very good and I think of them often, I even have the hand powered ice crusher she'd use (it's shaped like a spaceship sort of!! Another connection here!), only I don't have the thing that held it to the wall so I've never used it. I think maybe I'll try and make a thingy to hold it to the wall now that I think of it. ANYWAY, one time instead of fruit I wanted her to put in Tang. She had both grape and orange Tang on hand and I chose grape to put in. It wasn't so bad all in all, but not nearly as good as a banana freeze. Mmmmmmm a banana freeze...  

(March 12)  I've recently done some banjo work for a few other bands.  One band is Our Religion.  I really like those guys.  This new album is going to be fabulous (despite my participation on it!).  They've not posted the song I played on anywhere yet though.  Justice Cleveland is the one I'm on.

I also played on a song by Jeza.  Jeza is a wonderful guy, very talented and generous.  I enjoyed playing this song, Tower of Babel because it was challenging and had a nice chord structure to work off of.  As I recall, I tuned the banjo in some odd tuning and used a capo to get it to the right key.  It was all pretty experimental and I enjoyed it.  He's posted it for your listening pleasure:  Tower of Babel.

And just the other day I did a song with Phil Frazier.  Phil wanted some banjo on the tune Country Oven, so I said I'd give him some.  He may have gotten more banjo's than he bargained for though!  I laid down three different tracks for this tune and worked them all together to give the tune a jam-like feel.  I think it's a lot of fun to listen to as there are a few different things working in the background there throughout the song.  Phil's a good singer too.  Check it out:  Country Oven.

Now I'm working on remaking one of my tunes into a two part invention sort of affair.  I've got it pseudo-planned in my head, I just need to find the time to work it out with my hands.  Should be a fun thing to play.  I guess that'll be later this month though.  I know you're all waiting on the edge of your seats to hear it too.

 

(March 8) Lately I've been listening to Miles Davis' Live Evil. Loving every minute of it too! Then, I just got Miles Davis' Bitches Brew yesterday. I listened to it all day long today and all I can say is, WOW I wish I'd gotten this years ago. What an intense groove that album is. What amuses me when I listen to these Miles cds from that period is that we listen to them and instead of dissecting them like we would if this were a recording by a friend of ours (Uh gee Miles, you sort of missed that note there, and you're hunting for it. I think you could have done that better, why not go into the studio and fix it?....or...Man, that song is 25 minutes long, NOBODY is going to listen to a 25 minute long song, cut it into pieces and make several songs out of it.....or....Man, the band had a GROOVE going and you came in and wrecked it!, True you rebuilt it, but man the groove was THERE!), we just slowly nod our heads with half closed eyes totally digging the groove. Then, because it's jazz and not rock and roll (or IS it?) we feel educated and classy and soak it in. It's like there's not a hummable section to the entire double CD set here, (in contrast to the Duke Ellington jams where you can hum the melody throughout the jam). I think that's why I like it though. This music is for the moment. Odd that this music I've dubbed "for the moment" is on a cd which is presumably for near-eternity, but when I listen to it, I'm there. When it's over, I hit play again and soak it up again. That's what I like about psychedelic music which I see as the same thing as this phase of jazz. Psychedelic music starts with a melody and then goes with it, never the same twice, never stopping to ask for directions, just going. It's nice to have electric psychedelic rock that is frowned upon, and to have psychedelic jazz that is considered cultured and intelligent. hahahaha it's the same thing people! Music is music. Well all except for opera, that's just annoying. 

So what I like is that I'm not finding myself listening to this stuff thinking about the drum needing to be louder or more in front, or that the guitar player is noodling or that I can't hear the bass throughout a whole song, I'm just listening to the MUSIC. The whole, the groove (or lack thereof). I wonder what would have happend had Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, John Coletrane and Charlie Mingus met up with and played music with Frank Zappa, Phish, and the 70's era Grateful Dead. Wowzers, that would have been a jam!

 

(March 5)  I really enjoy the taste of fennel.

 

(Feb 22) Cell phones bug me. I see them everywhere I go and I'm wondering WHAT do people have to talk about constantly? In the grocery store is especially annoying to me. I was someone walking down an aisle and she took out her phone and made a call to someone.  It wasn't anything important either, just chit chat (chiT chaT chiT chaT----can anyone tell me what that's from?). Then she was in front of me in line at the checkout aisle and was still chiT chaTTing. Jeez, how fnord annoying, like am I supposed to listen or not to that? (I don't remember, but I bet she was wearing a bellyshirt too to further annoy and confuse me!) 

 Also, when we were at the olympics, we noticed that there were many many many people sitting there watching the games talking on their freaking cell phones. Now unless they were either ALL reporters, or ALL giving play fnord by play descriptions to some rabid team handball fanatics, I just don't think them talking on the phone during an olympic team handball match was all that necessary or polite! 

But maybe it's just me and my irrational fear of talking on the phone fnord here. Maybe other people don't mind the constant cellphone talking going on? I don't mind people talking on the cellphones when they are driving though. I realize there are a bunch of fnord studies citing increased accidents while cardrivingcellphonetalking is going on, but AT LEAST that's cell phone talking in relative privacy and not in public where I don't have to pretend I can't hear or wonder if I'm supposed to pretend I don't hear it!

 

(Feb 20)  The Dalai Lama likes Dahlias, but can't grow them in Darmasala where he lives in exile.  Now doesn't that just SUCK?!  Not only did he loose his country and people, but he can't even grow his favorite flower anymore.  He has a second flower he misses too but I forget which one that is.  How totally sucky that must be not even to be able to grow your favorite flower while you're in exile, all the while knowing it is growing in profusion in Tibet.  

So I was thinking about that, but then I thought that I'm not nearly as spiritually advanced as him, so  maybe he looks at the situation differently than I would.  Then it hit me,  I IMAGINE he might think that maybe it's not so bad knowing that it's growing in profusion in Tibet.  Maybe he can fondly think of his dahlias growing and spreading beauty in his long lost Tibet and feel glad for the flowers and hope that they are making others happy.  (Sort of like that book about the woman who kept tossing flower seeds where ever she'd go so she could help make the world a better place.) 

Yes, the more that I think of it, the more I think I like that idea.  He can't grow dahlias in Darmasala, but he knows they are growing in Lhasa, so he can miss them and maybe be a little sad, but at the same time he can also be happy because people there are enjoying them.  Golly, how inspirational.  Even in my idle imagining of what he might think of something like this there is still inspiration.  Cool.

 

(Feb 13)  I'll tell you something that bugs me, it's the use of the phrase "you guys" when it's both sexes present.  Like you're in a restaurant and the waitress says: "Have you guys decided what you want yet?" or some such, and it's just my wife and me sitting there.  That annoys me.  

Also what both annoys and confuses me is belly shirts.  I work at a college by the way.  Now really, am I as a male supposed to LOOK at the belly that is peeking out from under the hem of the bellyshirt?  Or am I as a liberated male in touch with my sensitive side ( I DO play rhythm acoustic guitar you know!), supposed to NOT look at the belly peeking out from under the hem of the bellyshirt?  This by the way extends to those dumb hip hugger pants because they are generally worn at the same time as the bellyshirts.  I walk by a table of women and they're all wearing bellyshirts and hip hugger pants, and almost every one of them is showing the top of their underwear!  I mean really!! Who decided this was an acceptable fashion?  I personally DO NOT feel the desire to look at the belly and/or underwear of every single young woman that goes to the college I work at.  

I find myself actually wondering if I'm supposed to look or not look.  I was brought up at a time and place where men did not look at the belly's of young girls half their age, and seeing girl's underwear was just not acceptable at all, so now in today's college society, I see belly's and underwear being shown off and displayed constantly.  OH!  Even though it's like 12 degrees outside I see these girls wearing these stupid bellyshirts.  What gives?  Do I need to call their mothers and tell THEM that these girls are walking around in bellyshirts and hip hugger pants?  Granted they ARE wearing coats when they're outside, but not inside!  I just don't understand these kids today.  For real, what is the purpose of these clothes, to make us LOOK or are they worn with some sort of masochistic purpose (because there's NO way those clothes can be comfortable, especially when it's 12 degrees outside).  Really, I'm baffled.

  

(Feb 12)  I really like saying certain phrases repeatedly.  Here are two that have stuck with me for years:

Saint of Circumstance    (When you say this one, overemphasize the S sounds.  And repeat it indefinitely.)

Smilla's Sense of Snow  (Same with this one on the S sounds and repeat it indefinitely.  Actually, when I mow the field in the country the sound of the motor on the mower somehow brings this phrase to mind.  It's actually the name of a cool book.  The book is about a crime and a woman who solves it, but there's a lot in there about the different kinds of snow in the eskimo language and that's pretty neat.)

You know, the funny thing about repeating a phrase like these is that the people around you generally do not enjoy you doing this activity.  It seems that no matter how personally rewarding YOU may find it to repeat repeatedly...Saint of Circumstance...Saint of Circumstance....Saint of Circumstance....etc, those NOT repeating it somehow seem to tire of the activity quickly.  Interesting eh?

 

(Feb 11) I think Fear Factor has got to be one of the most entertaining shows on TV.  It's like morbid fascination watching the people on that show.  The extent to which people will torture themselves both mentally and physically is fascinating.  The show's probably educational too in a sociological sort of way.  Perhaps there's something there for us all to learn from, but that doesn't really concern me.  I just like to watch the people eat the nasty stuff.  All in all I'd say watching that show is an hour well spent.

 

(Feb 10)  I like popcorn.  I like violent and weird movies.  I like just plain weird movies.  I like most music.  I like winter.  I like eating good food.  I like pie.  I like seeing that I've sold CDs.  I like getting fanmail.  I like getting packages in the mail.  I like drinking very cold water.  I like being outside.  I like taking pictures of flowers.  I like reading books.  I like doing fun stuff with the family.  I like the David Letterman and Conan O'Brien shows.  And you know what.... that's just the TIP of the iceberg.

What about you, what do you like?

 

(Feb 8) I'm listening to Raspberry Silk's "Inner Voices" a lot lately. Ever since I got it in the mail the other day I've been listening to it. One of my all time favorite songs is Drowning, and wowzers, it sounded great as an mp3, but it sounds GREAT on the real stereo. Man, what a greatly produced, written, and performed album this is. 

There's some great lines in these songs too that really evoke emotions. One song has a line that says something like this:

if I were to write a love song to you....I'd hide the message from view...but I'd make sure that you knew....you rescue me. 

Wow, that's a great image and lyric and that's par for the course on this album. The lyrics and music are extremely well written and performed. A big double YAY for Kim and Milo!

 

(Feb 5) 

Wisdom.... does NOT come from a can, and it has NO expiration date.

 

 

(Jan 31) Some Random thoughts for today:

1. I hate listening to political speeches because the speaker will say a phrase then pause and the audience will explode into frenzied clapping. Then the speaker will say another phrase and pause and the audience will explode into frenzied clapping. Then the speaker will say another phrase and pause and the audience will explode into frenzied clapping. Then the speaker will say another phrase and pause and the audience will explode into frenzied clapping. Then the speaker will say another phrase and pause and the audience will explode into frenzied clapping. etc etc etc.

2. Daniel Pinkwater is a genious. Bailey White is a genious. Dr. Science is a genious. Ian Shoales is a genious. They all are associated with public radio. Hmmmmm.

3. I think a conversation with Spaulding Gray would be as fascinating as it would be disturbing. I read his works and think of how similar we seem to be in our thinking. This is more disturbing than the prospect of having a conversation with him.

4. That Shakira..... man can she sing! I think though that I prefer her songs in Spanish. My favorite of her albums may be Donde Estan Los Ladrones, but I'm awfully fond of Laundry Service.

5. My student workers were about 1 year old when I met my wife.

(Jan 29) To this day, I still think of David Carradine as being Chinese.  I guess he was supposed to be half Chinese maybe in Kung Fu.  That was one of the greatest TV shows ever.  "I am Cain..." wow, what a line, perhaps it was reminiscent of Melville's "Call me Ishmael."  Except Cain wasn't hunting a great white whale, he was hunting for his brother.  Then when he finally found him, it was sort of a disappointment, but at least he didn't die like Ahab did.  

 

(Jan 28)  Whew, we had a big scare tonight.  It was after dinner and me and the kids were having a rousing game of "count how many times I can run by with the pot on my head" when we heard someone coming into the house.  "QUICK!" I whispered, "get out the educational games!"  We made a mad dash for the game and dropped into our falsely casual positions just as someone walked in.

Whew, that was a close one!

 

(Jan 27) Here's something interesting you may have forgotten or never knew in the first place. If you look through 3D glasses for a longish time, then remove them and look at something white (so you can see colors), you'll notice that the eye that had the red lens will see in blue and the eye that had the blue lens will see in red. Pretty neat huh?

That all probably has something to do with the left right brain and the way the eyes and brain turn stuff over between us seeing something and us realizing something. I've sort of been thinking about it since I discovered this cool little deal, it's kind of fun to think about stuff like that.

I noticed this last night while using my Simpsons 3D glasses to watch an old and crappy Jackie Chan movie. It was a fascinating finding and made me have a new level of amusement while watching the "film".

 

(Jan 26) I bought NINA's video DVD and here's what I think of it....... first off, when the package arrived, we were delighted with the stamps! how fun! But then when we opened the package......WOW what a totally professional fabulous packaging job! The DVD is in one of the standard tallish dvd holders, not in a jewelcase like some of the ones I've bought. This one is in a real and protective case and has fabulous looking artwork and type on it. I tell you honestly, there's not a thing about this that doesn't stand up to comparing it to a storebought dvd. It's completely and totally fabulous looking!

When I put the dvd in my player, the main menu page a lovely picture of Nina with the videotitles on the right. I watched the videos and lemme say without hesitation....... viewing the videos on my computer was cool and good, but they were small. Viewing these same videos on my tv set was amazingly better! The sound is fabulous, the picture is AWESOME. We watched all three videos and then watched the three documentary like extra features on making the videos. These documentary features were great and have the humor and professionalism that we've all come to expect from Nina and Master Zap. Beth and I were just totally impressed with this part of the dvd because it showed how Nina and Zap (and a few qualified assistants) did some of the video "tricks". 

It is to me, totally amazing that they did these videos, and totally amazing that they did them themselves, and totally amazing that they have a dvd of them, and totally amazing that the dvd is totally 100% professional and fantastic. 

Oh, and as an added bonus, there are a bunch of photos of nina in the extra section too. Yowza!

Seriously folks, the only thing to be careful of is to make sure your dvd player is svcd compatable. SVCD will soon be the standard, so if your dvd player is newish, it'll be SVCD compatable, check that first to make sure, and if it is..... buy the dvd, it's amazing.

((this has been an unrequested opinion by ME))

 

(Jan 17) Hmmm. Disgruntled means to make ill humored or ill contented. (Interestingly, it's pretty close to disgust in the dictionary! Four words away in fact.) So what I wonder, is.... if somebody can be disgruntled, can they be gruntled too? Is the goal of management to have a staff of gruntled employees? And if management called it's employees gruntled would they mind? Gruntle is a real word by the way. It means to put in a good humor. Just for curiosity (I have a friend who actually says curiorosity instead of curiosity. It's one of her MANY words she mispronounces.) I counted down four words past gruntle to see what it was, and it's gr wt which is the abbreviation for gross weight. hmmmm, wonder if that might have some sort of odd correlation. Maybe like disgruntle is to gruntle as disgust is to gross weight. I guess that's food for thought...

Oh, and I am by the way.

 

(Jan 15)  I've been thinking, a while back I said that if I could have any superpower I'd want it to be the ability to set things on fire just by looking at them in a special way.  I don't know, maybe instead of that, I should pick the ability to freeze things with some sort of special freezingvision.  That might be more fun and ultimately more useful. I guess I should think about that a bit. 

 

(Jan 2) This year for Christmas I got the new Peter Gabriel CD (UP), the new Shakira CD (Laundry Service), and a DVD of Amelie. Now first of all, the Peter Gabriel CD is total coolness, I love that guy! 

The Shakira CD, wowzers, she knocks my socks off. I love that voice of hers sooooo much, I just can't get enough of it. Came to find out Beth got me a few more of her CDs last night too. Most of her stuff is in Spanish but who cares, that VOICE. (reminds me of The Prayer for Owen Meanie and how the narrator always referred to Owen's voice as the VOICE, only in the Shakira case it's an overly WOW sort of thing when I talk about her VOICE!)

Amelie..... oh my, how out of character for me to absolutely adore this movie. First of all, it's in French with english subtitles. Now certainly in my house, a foreign film is par for the course, we watch many many many of them, it's just that I usually do other stuff while I watch a movie, so subtitles and me just usually don't get along, also I usually pay more attention to the little details of a film and don't remember to read the subtitles and get sort of annoyed. WELL, lemme tell you, Amelie is different, Amelie is one movie I think everyone should see. It's sweet, it's intelligent, it's funny, it's sad, it's inspirational, it's wonderfully filmed and directed. Do yourself a favor and GO OUT AND RENT AMELIE! I just can't stop thinking about certain scenes in that movie. What a sap I've become!

 

(Dec 30) I can't sleep lately again. I've been obsessing about the amount of space in molecules. I'm sure you've heard the thing about how if one part of an atom is a baseball then another part of it would be in the town next to you? I could look that up but I'm sure everyone know's what I'm talking about. The idea that the building blocks of everything that we see and interact with are so incredibly tiny, yet filled with so much space (with respect to their size) and yet STILL build the things we interact with is sort of mindboggling. It's like the idea of endless space (the space like where spaceships and planets are). What's boggling my brain lately is, what if the two things are one in the same? What if the space between the nucleus and the electrons is the same vastness that we think of when we think of outerspace? Where does that leave us? Or where does that take us? It's sort of overwhelming.

Oh, and today's my pal Anthony Ruocco's birthday. I love Ant's music and I've done some with him myself. This year we'll be doing an album or two together too. Why not swing by him music page and give it a spin?  He is an instrumentalist and does a wide variety of musics.  Soon I'll post an interview we're doing.  He's a fascinating dude I say in advance of reading the interview answers myself!

 

(Dec 27) Here's what I've been wondering for the past few days. If you could run EXTREMELY fast, would it be possible to outrun the wind? And if it were possible, what would it feel like once you got there? 

And what would happen to the wind you would create when you did run that fast? Like would it create some sort of negative space where things would be still, or would it create a negative space that would get immediately filled up with the wind you were outrunning so that in that case you yourself would be somewhat in control of the speed of the wind you were outrunning, or would it compound with the wind you were outrunning to make it an even faster wind, or, since you'd obviously have to run faster than the wind to outrun it, would your wind increase the speed of the wind you were outrunning to make you have to run even faster, which would increase the speed of the wind you were trying to outrun etc.

It's a complicated question you see.

 

(Dec 15) I'm off work for three weeks, so naturally I broke out my Parliament Funkadelic albums (The Clones of Doctor Funkenstein is playing right now in fact). All of them I mean, and we've got lots! Those guys are definitely one of the best things to come out of the 70's I think. Their musicianship and creativity are hard to beat. The first time I listened to them was in high school, somewhere in 1979. It was in health class which also acted as home room, and the health teacher was one of the football coaches. Coincidentally most of the football team was in that class too. During homeroom the class would break up into groups of 4 and play spades and someone always had a Parliament album or two there, I guess on cassette. We'd play spades and listen to Parliament. Great fun it was and looking back I guess one of the most valuable lessons I learned in high school was that we can all be ONE NATION UNDER A GROOVE. Ya, I still think that too. Rock on Parliament. 

 

(Dec 9)  I think if Godzilla were around today that scientists would try their darndest to catch it and study it so they could learn how it's lungs are made.  Just think, if people had lungs like Godzilla, we could live both underwater and above water and not need one of those bubble like things you see in futuristic pictures of life under the seas.  Since Godzilla could live underwater and breathe there, and live above ground and breathe there, his/her lung construction would be able to do a whole lot for the overpopulation problem in the world.  So I was thinking, if Godzilla were around, the scientists would probably kill him/her (I'm not sure if Godzilla is a he or a she.) and dissect it to study the lungs.  That would just be sad.  Just plain sad.  I think Japan wouldn't be too happy about it in the long run.

 

(Dec 8) I was raised on certain rules.  There were a bunch, but here's a few of them:

1.  Don't discuss politics or religion because that will generally make people fight with you.  I admit, I do discuss religion, but only if we first both understand that I have my beliefs and you have yours and they're both right.  Politics.... I don't discuss that except in private conversations and only with people I know VERY well.

2.  Don't wear a hat indoors, and don't come to the table with your shirt off.  These rules just plain make good sense.  I sort of cringe when I see boys wearing hats in buildings etc.

3.  Don't talk on the phone during a lightning storm.  I always thought this was a load of crap.  I still think that despite me hearing from a few people that lightning came through the phoneline and out the thing you talk on.  Who even HAS a phone anymore that has one of those skrinky chords connecting the thing you talk into to the thing you dial on?  I know I don't.  Seems like now more than ever this rule is stupid.

4.  Dress up everywhere you go.  I always HATED this, so now I refuse to dress up EVER.

5.  Boys have short hair.  HA HA HA HA HA.

That's all I can think of now.  I'm sure there are more though.  All in all though, I think I turned out ok despite my total disregard for some of these rules.  Be careful, it's dangerous out there.

What are some rules YOU grew up on?

 

  

(Nov 29)I like cold weather. I was thinking of how nice it is to let the dogs in and how when you hug one you can smell winter in it's fur. And how the nights are cold and crisp and you can see the stars so much clearer. And how also around holiday's the people in the gas stations are talkative and happy and much more friendly than at other times of the year. 

Another thing I like about cold weather is if you're in the woods near a stream, you can hear the stream bubbling along the rocks a lot longer than you can when there's leaves on the trees. And also how it sounds when you walk in the woods when it's really really cold out and you can see your breath. Seems like good ideas come a lot easier when you're walking in the woods on those kinds of cold days, when your nose is cold and red and your moustache freezes from the condensation from your breath (if you have a moustache that is, it might be somewhat alarming for you if your moustache froze when you didn't even have one. I realize many readers of this insightful and inspirational entry will not have a moustache and I hope they will forgive my rudeness at even mentioning it, but I think it necessary to the the plot of the thought I was working on that I mention the frozen moustache part as it is so vivid in my memory, the frozen moustache, the sound of the footsteps, the sound of the wind in the leafeless trees, and the oncoming surge of ideas.) and your eyes sting a bit from the cold and brightness of the day (that damn winter sun, so low in the sky like it is. Oh how it hurts my eyes!). I think cold weather is definitely something I'm thankful for. Oh, and also gravity and capillary action.

 

(Nov 28) The first tooth loss happened in time for Thanksgiving.  

 

 

 

(Nov 27)  You know, lately I've been thinking a lot about internet and personality and getting to know people and whether or not we actually DO know anyone on the internet and how it came to be that I keep in contact with my internet friends more than my friends I could reach out and touch if I wanted to.  I mean, does anyone really know me or what I think or am like if they can't actually see me react to things or listen to the sound of my voice when I speak or the way my eyes dart around and my breathing gets hard when I walk into a room with too many people in it?  I was thinking about this tonight and was thinking about how I've not heard from an internet friend in a while.  Then I thought about a friend I sat and shot the bull with today while I was at work and how I felt like I knew him and was real comfortable telling him a bunch of stuff that is just too boring to relate here.  

I'm sort of wondering if the Bud YOU think you know is the same one I think I know.  Know what I mean?  You probably have some idea of what my opinions, likes and dislikes, tendancies and quirks are just from email and ezboard posts and these brilliant and insightful journal entries.  I wonder how close that perception actually is to my perception of who I am.  It's an interesting thought.  I suppose the internet is an opportunity for us all to reinvent ourselves.  Make a new and better I if we want to.  I wonder if we DO make a new and better one, or if the I we make on the internet is possibly more of the real one than the one we ourselves perceive?  

Anytime I think about reinventing myself I think of the son of the sherpa who was on the first successful Mt Everest "all the way to the top" climb.  When he climbed to the top for the first time, he brought a picture of his father, a picture of the Dalai Lama, and a stuffed elephant doll his kid gave him.  He said when he was there on the top he felt close to his dad and felt like his dad was laughing and saying that he didn't have to climb all the way to the top of the mountain to be close to him.  Then he left the two pictures and the elephant on the top and climbed back down.  I don't know why, but thinking about that always puts a lump in my throat and I think of that every time I think of reinventing myself.  I wonder what that says about me....... perhaps I'll never know.

 

 

(Nov 23)DDay revisited.

A long time ago, I posted this as an entry:

"Instead of practicing my banjo tunes I'm supposed to be recording, I decided to clean out from under the piano. Seems I stash a lot of stuff under the piano because I don't have any other place for it. So in cleaning it out I found a poster that I bought at the DDay National Monument in Bedford, Virginia. The monument was a pretty ok place to visit, I think it'll be better in a few years when all of their money problems are ironed out and they can finish constructing the gardens and statues though. But really, I'll never forget the day we visited it. My wife and kids and I drove up there and looked all around the place and as we were finishing up and getting ready to leave, an old old man looked over at us and my son started talking to him. The man started talking about two of the statues we were looking at and how they looked just like the boys they were modeled after. Then he went on to tell us how he was on Normandy Beach on DDay and how he knew the boys the statues looked like. How he grew up and lived his life in Bedford and how lucky he felt to be there at the monument and to have met the president. He told us all about the day on the beach in Normandy so long ago. We told him that my daughter was born in Bedford on the 50th anniversary of DDay and that made him very happy. When he finished talking, we all just stood there a while looking at the statues and the people walking around. It was time for us to go. I looked over at the old man and walked over and shook his hand. He looked up at me and smiled real big. I think we both felt like something special had happened that day to us. I know I'll never forget it."

I keep seeing the monument in the news because of all the trouble they're having because of money and conspiracy and fraud. It's sort of annoying really. Every time I hear that stuff I think about that old man and wonder what he thinks about all this controversy and trouble. I can just picture him standing there overlooking the pool with the statues of his two dead friends, with that old guy faraway look and a handful of brochures for the monument in his hand to give to people. 

I don't understand why the monument is having all these money troubles. It's a freaking national monument to DDay for crying out loud, you'd think people would donate money or the government would give them money or the state etc. I mean, it's a national monument for crying out loud.

Click the button, see the monument

 

(Nov 20) OK, more number fun. I was thinking about the nine times tables and remembered that 9x1=9, 9x2=18, 9x3=27 etc etc. and if you add the digits of the product of all the nine times table up to 10, you get 9.

1+8=9, 2+7=9, 3+6=9 etc. I think that's pretty amusing.

That made me think of when I was in school and learning the nine times table myself and the special formula I came up with to do it. The way I did it was, if i wanted to know 9x4, I subtracted 4-1=3 and used that as the tens spot, then 10-4=6 and used that as the ones spot. So I quickly knew the answer was 9x4=36. None of my friends seemed to want to adopt that formula in their learning process. I never knew why.

Several years ago I was explaining this to Don (Don liked to drink soda at room temperature because he said the flavor was stronger that way), the guy who worked in the photocopy department next to my office and he wrote it out for me and called it the Bennett Algorythm. I would show you but I forget where I put it. Don was a great guy and we'd while away the hours discussing stuff like this. When he left he gave me his copies of the I Ching and Gorillas in the Mist. I wonder if they are somehow connected?

 

(Nov 19) Pythagoras was a fascinating fellow. I was thinking about him today for some reason and I thought I'd write down what I remember about him.

He had many wacky beliefs and rules for his community of followers. Some of them are:
1. you couldn't eat meat, fish, beans or drink wine
2. leaders must be celibate
3. you must avoid woolen clothes and only wear white clothes.
4. you may never stir fire with an iron poker
5. never eat from a whole loaf of bread
6. never urinate against the sun

but he also had some well grounded beliefs:
1. women are the equal of men
2. marriage, faithfulness and child rearing are important
3. the study of arithmatic is the way to perfection because that way you could discover aspects of God's plan and the rules that guide the universe


He had a large and odd birthmark on his leg too. He lived until about 80, and he established a lot of secret societies devoted to the study of numbers.

And he had a cool concept about triangular numbers. He'd draw a triangle like this:
     0
    0 0
  0 0 0
 0 0 0 0

this was called the tetraktys and I'm pretty sure he and his followers thought it sacred. It was the basis of the triangular number theory. Like, the first triangular number is 1, the second is 3, then 6, then 10 etc etc etc. 

Sometimes for fun I like to try and quickly tabulate what a triangular number would be. You know, count in triangular numbers. 1,3,6,10,15, 21, 28, 36 etc. It get's kind of hard after 36 so I have to write it down, but it's kind of fun to think about don't you think? (Once you wrap your brain around the idea that is.  Think about it a second, it's sort of easy........)

 

 

 

 

 

OK now I'll tell you the trick, count the row that the next number would be and add that number to your previous total.  See, the first triangular number is 1, so the second would be in row 2, so add 1+2 and you get 3. etc.  The 5th triangular number would be in row 5, so add 10 +5 and you get 15.  See?  It's sort of fun keeping it all straight in your brain.

 

(Nov 18)  You want to know what annoys me?  It's when people don't answer when I email them asking a question or telling them something.  That's what annoys me.  Really it's a simple thing to hit the reply button you know.  I mean, I know I'm not the most important person in the world, and that what I have to say isn't necessarily the most fascinating or important thing in the world, but if I write a person, I would at least like some sort of reply.  Even if the reply is "Go away, you annoy me."

Does that annoy you too?

 

(Nov 17) I saw my friend's mother on TV the other day. She's an actress. Personally I think it would be pretty neat to have an actress mother. My mother's a nurse. 

We knew about when she'd be on the show so we watched carefully and every time she came on we'd yell "Pam LaTesta!" That's her name, Pam LaTesta. It was a lot of fun.

Usually when I watch TV I pay more attention to the extras and the stuff going on in the background of the show than I do to the main characters. I've done that ever since they filmed Dirty Dancing in my area, probably because I one of the guys that was an extra would come to see the movie every few nights, and he'd often come get me so I could see his scene. In it he was sitting at a table talking to someone and eating a meal. He told me he was pantomining the talking and eating and they had to be silent during the shot. I thought that was pretty interesting and ever since then I watch the background.

I also like to watch commercials. We have a friend who's an actress and she's in a lot of commercials. She sent us a videotape once of some of her commercials, just one after the other. Now that's interesting viewing! 

 

 

(Nov 15)Tonight I thought it'd be fun to listen to all my Devo albums. Yes Devo albums. My very forever favorite one is Are We Not Men. Actually the title might be: Q: Are We Not Men A: We are DEVO. but I always call it Are We Not Men. I bought it back in 1979 or so but ended up trading that one for a Who album in college. I've since bought it again though and I still love it as much as I did then. I guess the difference now though is that when I listen to it now I don't do the robot dance when Praying Hands is playing. I do admit that I still have the urge to though.

Beth prefers New Traditionalists which I always refer to as the one with the Reagan Hair. Though there is only three years between the two albums, it's like a totally different band somehow. Out were the yellow plastic jumpsuits and goggles and in was the plastic Reagan hair (which you could purchase for $7.00 United States or $15.00 international using the convenient orderform on the album sleeve and which was officially called New Traditionalist Pomp). You could also purchase a Muzak cassette tape "of your favorite DEVO tunes performed by DEVO at a rare casual moment".


Anyway, when I think of Devo I think of my friend Roy Hover that I knew in high school. Roy was into Devo and got me into it. And every single time I think of Roy Hover I think of the time he and I tried out for cheerleading. Mind you this was before the days of male cheerleaders. Also, keep in mind that Roy and I had no intention of joining the cheerleaders, we just wanted to cut class and thought it'd be funny and obnoxious to try out for cheerleading. So they announced cheerleader tryouts were starting, so Roy and I got up, walked to the teacher and told her we were trying out and left the classroom. We went outside and got in line and had not the slightest clue what we were doing but we jumped around and had a good time laughing and cutting up. After the tryouts were over we were heading for the door to go back into school and the cheerleader coach called us back and excitedly asked us if we would join the squad. She said they'd wanted to have male cheerleaders for a long time and they'd love to have us....

Roy and I laughed and laughed at that. No thanks we told her and went back into school laughing. I still think of that every time I think of Roy and I think of Roy every time I see the Q:Are We Not Men A: We Are DEVO album. I wonder what ever happened to Roy?

Are we not men?
we are DEVO!
Are we not men?
we are DEVO!
Are we not men?
we are DEVO!
are we not men?
we are DEVO!
we must repeat
D-E-V-O
we must repeat
D-E-V-O
we must repeat
D-E-V-O
we must repeat
o.k. let's go!

 

(Nov 14) I found this while puttering around in some old discs tonight.  It's something I was working on a few years ago and sort of forgot about.  It's not too good, but kind of sweet and it still sort of chokes me up.


APPLES

One on our dogs ran away yesterday. A neighbor called and told my wife, and she went out and caught him, so everything was OK by the time I got home. So while my wife was cooking dinner, my three-year-old daughter and I went outside to inspect the dog pen to see how he had gotten away. As soon as we were in the pen, she started climbing up one of the walls. "Maybe he climbed over it like this." she said.
"No, I don't think so." I said as I looked for any obvious holes. I didn't see any, but I did notice some tiny apples just beginning to form on one of our trees. I called her over to show her.

I picked her up and explained what we were seeing and about how these tiny green lumps would soon be big red apples. She said: "Can people eat them?"
"When they get bigger." I answered.
"When I get bigger?"
"Well, when the apples are bigger, but you'll be a little bigger then too."

That's when I was struck by the thought that she was getting bigger. This reminded me that I had never thought to make little marks on the doorjamb to remind myself that she was growing. I knew I still had the time to do that and other things, but somehow time suddenly seemed lost. She was becoming an independent person, and though I enjoyed glimpses of the world through her questions, I felt saddened by them too, as it meant that her independence was growing along with her curiosity, while her innocence was shrinking.

That's the thing I never understood before we had children. Right after birth, a child learns and watches and begins to do things for itself. Little by little, the parent isn't needed as much, and though that means more freedom, it also means that the baby isn't as much of a baby anymore and will quickly grow up and move away. Notice I said quickly and not eventually. I would have thought that "quickly" seemed absurd, but to anyone who's child can walk and dress and reason, "eventually" seems the absurd word. I think we are somehow tricked into not noticing the passage of time until one day we wake up and it's gone. Just like when a woman gives birth, she soon forgets the pain, I also think that kids must secrete some pheromone to make us forget about time. The older the kid, I guess, the stronger the pheromone until the day they move out, and then we suddenly realize that twenty years have passed. I don't claim to be an authority, this is all just theory based on my three years of parenting, but that moment under the apple tree with my daughter jolted me into the realization that she was three years old. The years had disappeared without me noticing. 


I have often wondered how much reality to force on my child. When she comes up with childish explanations for things, it's hard to know if, as an adult and stranger to my own innocence, I should correct her and give the "right" explanation, or if I should let her hold onto her innocence a little longer. I want my child to learn and know how to reason, but that moment under the apple trees, I realized the value of holding off the realities of the world a little longer and how, looking back, my own childhood seemed so short, and so long ago. 


As I put her back on the ground so we could keep searching for the dog escape route, I watched her scamper around for several minutes. Innocence is a beautiful thing. When she remembered what we were doing in the backyard, she stopped and seriously looked around and ran to the trunks of some pine trees. 
"Maybe he jumped up so high and grabbed those branches with his teeth and climbed over the fence here." she suggested, pointing and looking up in that special way that is indescribable, but forever etched into my memory.
"Yes. I think you must be right." I said, turning away, trying to ignore the goose bumps on my arms and the tear in my eye.

 

(Nov 12) Here are a few random (?) thoughts for today:

Dust is an odd substance. If it weren't so annoying, it might be interesting.

I think everybody should be required to have an answering machine hooked up to their phone.

I find commercials oftentimes to be much more interesting to watch than the show's they interrupt.

In the fall leaves of deciduous trees in some parts of the country change colors but in other parts of the country they don't.

Arizona does not participate in daylight savings time.

The majority of women singers that I like have extremely large mouths.

There's just no easy decision on the question of whether or not to get rid of the thousands of record albums you've collected for the past twenty years.

 

(Nov 11) I like to look at pictures. They're frozen moments in time never to be had again. Sometimes I think about Bladerunner where they had that technology to go inside a picture and go around corners and look on the dressers etal at stuff. Sort of like the picture captured the room in that moment of time. They do similar stuff on cop shows all the time too. Not only do they have the fastest most efficient computers on the planet that can pull up any sort of information instantaneously, they have this incredible software that can pull out tiny bits of a picture and blow it up to crystal clarity to get clues. It's sort of cool. 

What I was thinking though is if the Bladerunner and copshow technology were real, it'd be cool and maybe if we had a picture of someone before they died or got sick, we could go into the picture and almost relive moments with them. It might be sort of nice and comforting to do that, we could relive that moment and explore it and maybe appreciate it all the more. But I guess that sort of thing is only in the movies...

 

(Nov 10)  What song is in your head RIGHT NOW!  Beth and I have mental soudtracks going all the time and we've songs in our heads almost all the time.  What's in yours?

 

(Nov 9) Here in the south, we love the Andy Griffith Show. It's about a small town, Mayberry North Carolina, and it's people. The main characters are the sherriff Andy Taylor, the deputy sheriff Barney Fife, the sheriff's aunt Aunt Bee, the sheriff's son Opey, and various of the town's inhabitants. It's a sweet little show and nothing really bad ever happens there. Aunt Bee makes terrible pickles but thinks they're great. Barney thinks the tiny town needs all the latest police equipment so they can better fight crime (nevermind the sheriff doesn't have a gun and Barney only has one bullet, which he has to carry in his pocket). The town drunk, Otis Campbell lets himself into and out of the jail cell when he's on a bender. etc etc etc. It's a fabulous show and even though it was filmed in the 1950-60 range we still love it here and it's on in syndication every single day. 

The town of Mayberry is based on a real town very close to where I live. We ate lunch there once but somehow it just wasn't the same as on the show. But still, it's sort of comforting to know that, if only in our local minds here, Mayberry is just a few hours away, and if we ever went to visit the sheriff and his aunt and son, Opey would gladly sleep on an ironing board stretched between two chairs so we could use his room, and Aunt Bee would pack us a giant bagged lunch of yummy sandwiches for our return trip back to our real homes where life moves a bit too fast and we no longer sit on the front porch on a Sunday afternoon with nothing more pressing to think about than walking down to the gas station for a soda.

Do you have The Andy Griffith Show where you live? 

(Nov 8) I got a free Olympics hat the other day. Several weeks ago I got a piece of junk mail form the Olympic's people and it said that if I linked to them they'd send me a free olympic's gift. I figured sure, why not. So I linked to them and then forgot about it. So when the hat came in the mail I was surprised and happy. It's a darn nice hat too. I figured I'd get a pin which was cool because I was sort of collecting the olympics pins for a while. 

I like the olympics hat because it reminds me of when we went to the olympics a few years ago in Atlanta. It was a lot of fun except for the part where someone had to set off some bombs. That sort of ruined it, but the rest was fun. We were had just left Centennial Park and then the bombs went off. Well I guess we had left about an hour or so before anyway. It was quite a shock to hear about the bomb I'll tell you.

Anyway, I'm pretty pumped about the Olympics possibly being in NYC in 2012. We'll find out on Saturday if NYC gets them or San Francisco. I'm hoping for NYC so I can go back to them. And you all better make an effort to go to or I'll bug you about it!

 

(Nov 7) Remember Schoolhouse Rock? Here's the one's I remember (everyone sing along now):
1. Conjunction Junction. (my alltime favorite!)
2. The Preamble to the Constitution (I remember the preamble JUST because of this song I think.)
3. Lolly Lolly Lolly get your Adverbs here.
4. I'm Just a Bill (He signed you Bill... you're a Law!!!)


Anyway, my kid came home today talking about seeing a schoolhouse rock math video today. I only vaguely remember any math ones, but these others are solid in my brain. I'm sure there's lots more too. Come on, list them! What were the others you can still sing by memory?

 

(Nov 6) I work at a college and I have a few college kids working for me. I also listen to a lot of music. I have found that it's kind of fun to play albums (CDs) for them that I used to like when I was their age. It's kind of fun because you know, music has changed radically in the
twenty years that have been thrust upon us since I was 19.

Today I dragged out Supertramp's Breakfast in America and played it for one of my student assistants. She says she liked it. She says that about everything though. Zappa, Yes, Primus, Grateful Dead, you name it she likes it. Who knows, maybe she does.

What I noticed right off the bat though is that Supertramp sure did sing HIGH! Bands don't sing high like that anymore. Hmmmmmmm using my overanalytical brain here, I wonder if bands from the 1970's sang high to symbolize their search for a more meaningful existence, perhaps the high notes and falsetto singing was a pseudo-subliminal message to us listeners that they were on a higher spiritual plane because of the cosmic blending of the tones of their music. Perhaps Supertramp was some sort of band of Avatars that meant to lead the way to a higher consciousness or something by way of the album Breakfast in America. 

So, maybe the songs on Breakfast in America are a message of some sort to support the higher consciousness hidden message. Gone Hollywood, The Logical Song, Goodbye Stranger, Take the Long Way Home, Lord is it Mine, Child of Vision. Oh my, it's all making some sort of odd sense to me at the moment. Too bad I can't leap back to when I was 19 and listen to this album again with this idea in mind. I wonder what would happen if I could.... 

(Nov 5) Memory chains are funny. Like when I think of poetry, I think of e.e. cummings. And when I think of e.e. cummings I think of Kiss and Van Halen. 

You see, when I was in high school I loved english class. I didn't like it because I much cared about what the teacher was talking about, I liked it because it gave me a chance to thumb through the literature book and read e.e. cummings poems. I would try to memorize them and I think I still remember one:

buffalo bill's defunct
who used to ride a waterysmooth silver stallion
and could shoot onetwothreefourfive pigeons just like that
jesus that man was beautiful
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blue eyed boy
mister death?

That's the way I remember the poem. It may not exactly be right but it matches the memory I have of sitting in english class in 1980. So anyway, what I'd do is read the poem a few times and memorize chunks of it, then try to recite the poem in my head while not looking at it. So I'd draw on the front of my three ring binder while I'd mentally recite the poem. Of course, being a high school boy in 1980 I was drawing the Kiss and Van Halen logo's. 

I recently came across that three ring binder. It still had the many Kiss and Van Halen's drawn on it. As soon as I saw it I thought of Buffalo Bill. Pretty neat. So see, I did learn something in high school.

 

(Nov 4) I pulled out some Rolling Stones CDs last week and listened to them.  It'd been a really long time since I'd listened to them and I admit, they sounded pretty darn good to me.  All week I listened to the four CDs I have.  I even wrote a note to a friend saying how I only liked this and that Stones album.  But you know what?  I listened to a bunch more Stones albums this weekend and they all sounded pretty darn good.  

I used to never like the stones, I wonder why I like them all of a sudden.  hmmmmm maybe it's got something to do with these migrain headache's I'm suddenly getting.  I bet if I thought about it long enough I'd come up with a good correlation there.

 

(Nov 3) If I had a superpower, I think it'd have to be the ability to start fires by staring at something really hard.  See, because that way it wouldn't matter if my firewood was wet, or if I was camping and didn't have a flashlight, or if I was in a play or something and was playing the part of a guy who could start fires just by staring really hard at something, I wouldn't have to learn my lines.  And also, that way anytime anyone asked me if I had a light, I could always say yes. 

 

(Oct 31) I was sitting here and I had a flash of memory of  what pizza tasted like in the early 1970's.  This was before Dominos and the other places that deliver pizza's.  I remember that the pizza came on a large flattish aluminum pizza pan and that the edges of the pizza (which was flat, not puffy like the modern day pizzas) were a browned, but there was flour on it.  And flour somehow on the bottom of the pizza to a little so that the texture of the bottom of the pizza was a little bit dry and grainy maybe.  Actually maybe it wasn't flour at all, but that's sort of how I remember it.  I can just picture the pizza sitting on the table in front of us all cheesy and saucey and how we'd hold the slices as we bit it, trying to maintain the "going out for dinner" sort of deal at the same time.

This was at an Italian restaurant near my house and I remember my family going to it one night.  Only it was like going "out" for dinner you know, not like today when we all just go out for pizza to Pizza Hut.  I remember that the shakers of parmesan cheese and hot peppers were sort of a novelty.  I think the restaurant was named Marie's, but maybe I'm confused about that because there was another restaurant near there named Marie's and it's not the same place I'm thinking of.  Anyway, I remember we went there one time and got pizza.  I know I went there more times, but I only remember eating pizza there.  Sometimes I miss the days when going out for a pizza was "going out".  Know what I mean?

Or DO you?

 

(Oct 30) Several weeks ago I sent Jon Solo my song Touch the Water.  He produced the track beautifully for me.  I also mentioned to him that I was thinking of having him orchestrate that song and several others.  You see, I'm sort of wavering on what I want to do with some of my songs and I thought it'd be sort of interesting to see what he'd cook up.  I had been discussing this with his wife, my pal Jimrie also.  WELL...... a few days later Jon sent me the song all prettied up and produced which I have on this website in my free MP3 area.  BUT, he also sent me a stunning orchestrated version of the song.  It's very pretty folks.  He's just posted it on his website, give it a "spin" and tell us what you think.  

I sort of have this fantasy of having two versions of Five Beans, one solo banjo and one orchestrated banjo.  That'd be kind of neat I think.  What do YOU think?  We'll see what happens I guess.  In the meantime, check out: Touch the Water with Jon Solo.

 

(Oct 29) Speaking of things worth thinking about, I often have this running through my mind. It's sort of a physics, math and philosophy question all rolled into one.

Question: If I am holding a pencil 4 feet above the ground and I drop it, will the pencil ever hit the ground?

Answer: No. Because, if the pencil is 4 feet above the ground, there is a halfway point between your pencil and the ground that the pencil would have to pass through on it's way to the ground, that being 2 feet. But also there's a halfway point to that halfway point that the pencil would have to pass through on it's way to the ground, 1 foot. But also there's a halfway point to that halfway point that the pencil would have to pass through on it's way to the ground, 6 inches. But also there's a halfway point to that halfway point that the pencil would have to pass through on it's way to the ground, 3 inches. But also there's a halfway point to that halfway point that the pencil would have to pass through on it's way to the ground, 1.5 inches. But also there's a halfway point to that halfway point that the pencil would have to pass through on it's way to the ground, .75 inches. etc etc etc. 

Because of our numberline and math, there are an infinite number of points that the pencil would have to pass through on it's way to the floor. Since there is an infinite number of points, logically the pencil would NEVER hit the floor.

See I really do think about this sort of stuff all the time.  But oddly enough, every time I drop the pencil, it hits the floor.  It just doesn't seem fair somehow.

 

(Oct 28)  The Tibetan Monks were cool.  The coolest part about it was that after the Mandala was finished, it was swept up, put in a bowl, and given away to all of us there.  I love the idea that these seven monks worked for four days on this incredibly beautiful, intricate, exact thing all the while knowing it was in the end going to be swept up and dispersed.  That makes it ALL the more better to me.  

I asked one of the monks (turns out he is a reincarnated lama, possibly the reincarnation of the tutor to the tenth Panchen Lama ((it was sort of hard to understand the interpreter sometimes))) about why they throw it in a river when they're done.  He told me the mandala is a house for god and they invite god to come live in it.  After it's done they pray over it, then happily (and I mean happily, look at the picture of the Venerable Dorjee in the photos from the ceremony) destroy it and throw it in a river to disperse it.  God is for everybody, the river is for everybody.  The river is clean and flowing.  What a beautiful idea I think.  That made me think of my song Touch the Water in a slightly different way.

After the ceremony they held a Cham (sounds like charm but without the r) which is a song, dance and music "show".  During it Gabriel fell asleep, but before he did, he was singing along with the monk chants.  That was fascinating to me and not really unusual for him.  He's a special little guy for sure.  After he went asleep, I wondered what he was dreaming.  It would be something to be able to look inside his thoughts then, dreaming while listening to Tibetan monk prayers in that otherworldly way they have of praying.  Maybe someday I'll ask him.  He probably won't tell me though.

 

 

(Oct 25)One of my science heroes is Dr. John C. Lilly. You know, the guy who tries to talk to dolphins? The guy who the movie Altered States was based on? He's one of those guys on the fringe of science and insanity. I like him because when I was a freshman in college I came home for one of the breaks and I picked up a sopy of Omni with a cool cover. It was a hand all bandaged up and in between some of the bandages were eyes. It was kind of creepy, kind of cool. Inside, in one of the interviews there was John C. Lilly. He looked really scruffy and sort of stoned with his squinty eyes and sunburned face. I read the interview that night, partially to annoy my family, but partially because I figured if a guy could look so scruffy and be the main interview in Omni then he must have something going for him. 

The article was very cool. I've looked it up since and it's still cool. It talked about his research in a real matter of fact way like it was the most normal thing in the world to eat a bunch of psychedelic drugs and float in a dark tank of warm water imagining what it was like to be a prehominid. And like talking to dolphins by way of a cool computer system was something anyone could be doing. It was sort of inspirational.

I brought the magazine back to school with me when I went back and tried to do some papers on him but you know what? My professors weren't interested in me doing any papers on Dr. John C. Lilly. Isn't that amusing? I guess Lilly had the last laugh though because Oysterhead did a song about him. ha ha. Oysterhead never did a song about any of MY college teachers. Yeah see, maybe they should have thought of THAT when I was in college! Maybe if they'd have let me do a paper on Lilly then they'd see how it's cool to try to talk to the dolphins and float in a dark tank imagining they were prehominids. Yeah, and maybe THEN Oysterhead would do a song about them too.

"Oz is always floating
ever drifting sometimes doting
over things that mean the world to Dr. John C. Lilly
In the tank he's grooving
ever sifting sometimes smoothing 
out the things that mean the world to Dr. John C. Lilly"


(Oct 24) You know, it's pretty important to make sure your hands are at the right place on the keyboard when you type. Otherwise you might type godjdyovld instead of fishsticks. Just imagine what sort of problems that little mistake might cause. You know, come to think of it, there's probably not much of a reason you would ever type fishsticks, which makes it all the more important to get your hands in the right position first. I'd hate to think that the word fishsticks had waited all that time to be typed, only to come out as godjdyovld.

 


(Oct 23) I just put something in the microwave. I don't know how they work, but I do know that when they became available to the public back in the 1970's and my family got one that my grandmother refused to eat or drink anything that came out of one because of the radiation. She also claimed that she was watching something cool through the little window on the door of that microwave and that after that her eyes were messed up because of that. (Who knows, maybe they are. She HAS had cataract problems for years!)

Anyway, we all survived nicely with the added radiation from our microwaves. The only weird thing that ever happened that was sort of scarey was one night when Beth and I were getting ready to go to a Little Feat concert. We were cooking a coulpe of baked potatoes in the microwave. All of a sudden black smoke started pouring out of it and flames started shooting out of the potatoes. It was pretty scarey. The inside of it was all melty and scarey looking, so I just unplugged it and tossed it in the dumpster. Radioactive potatoes and all. 

I thought of that because I was warming up some rice tonight in our microwave. Nothing exciting happened though.


 

(Oct 21)  It's raining outside.  That's a good thing because Virginia is in the grips of a long term drought.  Our natural lake is even drying up.  You know the one, Mountain Lake, where they filmed part of Dirty Dancing.  If Baby and Johnny could see it now, they'd not recognize it.   What used to be the shoreline is now regularly mowed.  The boathouse is now several hundred feet from the actual water and a smaller "temporary" boathouse has been constructed on the actual waterline.  It's sad, but interesting because now all the gigantic boulders I used to look at partially submerged are high and dry and climb-on-able.  They say that Mountain Lake actually dries up once every several-hundred years and this is all part of a natural order type of thing.  I can't help but think that the people who own Mountain Lake are going to stop this natural order because with every gallon of water they loose from the lake another potential overnight guest will not make a reservation to come see where Baby and Johnny frolicked.

But that's not what I came here to talk about.  It's the rain I wanted to mention.  Almost every time it rains I think about that day in 1993 that it started to rain.  It was June 20 or so and Beth and I had just a few days before started on our cross country trip.  As we were driving out of East St. Louis it started to rain.  It was a nice gentle rain as I remember.  We drove on through it and it stopped sometime during the day for us as we drove west.  It didn't seem like a big deal at all, certainly not a memorable event by any means, but I do remember it.

A week or two later we were in Las Cruces watching the news and they were talking about the rains in the east and the horrid flooding.  They talked about how it had steadily rained since June 20 and it showed the devestating floods.  People's lives were ruined, houses washed away, trees floating down streets amongst cars floating by.  Crying people praying for it to stop.  Meanwhile we sat in dry sunny Las Cruces thinking about the day we drove out of East St. Louis in the nice gentle rain and were glad for the rain as it meant a nice day of driving for us.  

By the time we drove back through Arkansas and Tennessee, the rains had stopped and the rivers were going back down again, but as we drove through there we could see the sobering results of two weeks of rain and flooding.  Horrid devestation.  Water's a powerful force.  

So that's what I think of almost every time it rains.  How rain can be a good thing and a bad thing.  Whether it's too much or too little we might not know for a while.  And about how the answer might change day to day for us.  Anyway, today it's raining.  Today it's a good thing.  Baby and Johnny, there might be hope for Mountain Lake today.

 

(Oct 20) If you're going to Hawaii, I don't envy you. It's not that I have anything against Hawaii exactly, it's just that it's surrounded by water. And any body of water is filled with starving man eating sharks. And since I'm a man, I have a problem with that. I have a real and unnatural fear of sharks you see. This fear is so real that if I close my eyes when I'm in water, I imaging that ANY body of water I'm in contains sharks. When I used to swim in my backyard pool I'd sometimes play games with myself to see how long I could float with my eyes closed. It never amounted to being very long though because I'd always get freaked out somehow into thinking there was a shark. Now really, intellectually I'd know I was in a backyard aboveground swimming pool and there was no shark, but floating there with my eyes closed something would snap in my tired little brain and I'd have a bolt of panic and be suddenly afraid. 

I have spent a long time thinking about why I have this odd fear (gee, is there even a name for that phobia?), and I can narrow it down to a very real incident. It's the fault of a chain letter. When I was young, my dad and I would go fishing with this guy who had a boat. We'd go out into the James River and fish, then we'd sometimes go to this place to eat lunch, swim a bit, and then get back in the boat and fish. We'd often catch sand sharks at that exact same spot. In fact I have the jaws of one of those sand sharks mounted on a plaque in my basement right now. So anyway, one time I got a chain letter and I read it, recognized it as crap and threw it in the garbage. I admit the warnings of danger in the letter played with my mind a bit, and a night or two before one of our fishing trips I suddenly had the flash of panic.... sharks! boat! swimming! broken chain letter!!! I lay awake that night in actual fear that the penalty for breaking the chain of that chain letter would be shark attack. I didn't go fishing that day, and I was petrified my father wouldn't come home from that day. As it turns out he DID come home that day, and he brought a sand shark jaw for me as a souvenir. I still have it, in the basement as I mentioned. I guess subconsciounsly I may still have that fear and am waiting. Waiting in mild fear. Sharks....you never know where they'll be. 

Be careful out there. 

 

(Oct 19) I'm a grown up. Really I am. I remember the first time I realized it too. I was at a Grateful Dead show, it was either Greensboro or Charlotte sometime in the late 1980's. My wife, a friend and I were there together and we were hanging around before the show as people did back then. It rained. I mean it RAINED. I was wearing long pants that day and before we went in to see the show I remembered that I had some cutoff shorts in the car, so I went to the car and changed pants (yes, standing there in the parking lot). But then I sort of panicked because the shorts were all ripped up and pretty short and sort of dirty looking. I thought "I can't wear these to the concert" but then it hit me, WHY YES I COULD! I actually do honestly recall standing there in that parking lot with this liberated realization that I was a grown up and could wear any damn thing I pleased anywhere I wanted. If I wanted to wear those nasty shorts I could and did. It was a good show too by the way. As we were leaving at the end of it, I bumped into an old friend I hadn't seen in ages. We did a big hug and he said something I've never forgotten. "I'm having a major goo attack." Ahh. Words of wisdom from my pal Whitney at a Dead show after years of not seeing each other. 

 


(Oct 15) Here's something I love to do. I like to say regular words but change the inflection on them. Like instead of saying FEAR factor, I say fear FACTOR. Instead of saying jackie CHAN, I say JACKIE chan. Get the picture? It's a lot of fun and it keeps the brain alive.

Another thing I like to do is talk to someone while I type, but I type something totally unrelated to what I'm saying. That's kind of fun and sort of makes my brain expand I think.

Oh, another typing game I play is sometimes when I listen to music I like to type in time with the music, sort of like it's a percussion instrument. Well I guess it is sort of like a percussion instrument actually.

Another fun game I like to play is to suddenly guess the number of letters in a word. Like I'll say a word, like "school" for example, and right after I say it I'll guess how many letters are in it. But silently. Like I'll say "How was school (5 letters) today?" See isn't that fun?  I do that until I get a wrong answer.  One reason that's fun is that you have to keep talking while you mentally count the letters in the word you just spelled.   It's kind of hard but sort of fun too.

Everytime I hear or say the word Poughkeepsie, I spell it aloud. No matter what the conversation or to who. You might be surprised how few times the word Poughkeepsie (11 letters) comes up in a day. OH NO, Poughkeepsie has 12 letters. I loose.


(Oct 14) I'll tell you what never ceases to amuse me. It's seeing college and university campus' on TV. I've worked on a university campus for 17 years now, and I've lived in a university town for 23 years, so I feel like I have a good grasp on what they're like. It never fails though, everytime I see a campus on a TV show it makes me laugh. They're as far removed from the truth as possible. It seems like they use some sort of romanticized ideal instead of any sort of reality. There was some cop show on last night and some of it took place on a university campus. Highly amusing that was.

Oh, speaking of university campus', the Professor on Gilligan's Island sure was amazingly talented and well rounded to have been able to do all the stuff he did. Like one time he made a radio out of some coconuts. He was always coming up with some sort of amazing discovery or invention. I think after they were all rescued from Gilligan's Island if the Professor ever went back to teaching at a university, that he'd be sort of disappointed. I mean it's probably a lot more rewarding to make a radio out of a coconut than out of whatever sort of normal stuff you'd make a radio out of. He'd probably not be able to get tenure or published much if he tried to teach and write about how to make coconut radios, even though that's probably a lot more useful than a lot of the stuff he'd be supposed to teach. 


I really liked that episode where Gilligan found the totem pole and his likeness was the top head on it. That episode really sticks out in my mind. Oh, speaking of Gilligan, he lives or lived just a few hours to the west of me. That's one of the fun little parts of living here, Gilligan was always nearby. Probably didn't have a coconut radio though.

 


(Oct 13) We just finished watching Godzilla vs. Monster Zero. Of course we knew all along that monster zero was really Ghidra, and the Controller of Planet X confirmed that right away as soon as he captured the two astronauts from earth. He begged them to ask the earth to lend Planet X both Godzilla and Rhodan so they could fight Monster Zero (Ghidra) on Planet X. In exchange, the controller of Planet X would give earth the formula for a magic drug that would cure all disease etc. That seemed like a pretty ok deal, so the astronauts went back to earth and talked the plan up. The Planet X people came and got Godzilla and Rhodan and took them and the astronauts back to Planet X to fight Monster Zero (Ghidra). It was pretty neat to see Godzilla and Rhodan working together again, just like they did in Godzilla vs Ghidra, only in that one they had to be convinced by Mothra (who was in the caterpillar stage still) to cooperate to fight off Ghidra. Anyway, of course the Controller of Planet X had an ulterior motive and just wanted to enslave the earth and steal our water. In the end, the humans won and Godzilla and Rhodan drove Monster Zero (Ghidra) off to who knows where. It all ended happily luckily.

I love those old Godzilla movies. They sure don't make them like they used to.

 


(Oct 12) Lately I keep hearing stuff about what our founding fathers had in mind when they made the constitution. That sort of amuses me because I get a picture of them appearing somewhere in the present government system the way Bill and Ted did in Bill and Ted's Excellent adventure. They appeared way in the future and the people who were ruling the land at that time saw them and knew who they were and made special stylized Bill and Ted gestures, like playing the air guitar, and said special Bill and Ted things, like party on dude. Bill and Ted were sort of amazed at this and didn't really understand it all. This is what I imagine would happen if Thomas Jefferson etal would suddenly appear in Congress or whatever. I think they'd look around and wonder what exactly was going on. They'd probably wonder what was going on just like Bill and Ted did. Then they'd probably want to go back home to their olden days time. That's what I imagine everytime I hear something about what our founding fathers meant or what they'd think. 

Party on Thomas Jefferson. 

 

(Oct 2) A few unrelated (or ARE they?) thoughts to start the day:

The world would probably be a much more interesting place if chicken actually tasted like something.

The most amusing thing to me about the W.A.S.T.E. mail system in Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 is that most of the mail that circulated through it was junk mail. 

The smarter we get, the more wrinkled our brain looks. But, the more wrinkled our shirts are, the less smart we look.

The most important things in life are invisible.

You've never seen Lawrence Welk and Christopher Walken in a room together at the same time.

A lot of music is political but not a lot of politics is musical.

A quote from Dalai Lama's An Open Heart: "One renowned Tibetan hermit limited his practice to watching his mind. He drew a black mark on the wall of his room whenever he had an un-virtuous thought. Initially his walls were all black; however, as he became more mindful, his thoughts became more virtuous and white marks began to replace the black ones. We must apply similar mindfulness in our daily lives."

 

You know what the trouble is with TV these days? It's the lack of many good theme songs. Remember in the 70's how good the theme songs were? Like Gilligans Island, now that was a good theme song. You knew after the song exactly what was going on and what you could expect from the show. And I bet almost everybody in my age bracket can still sing the Gilligan's Island theme song. The Brady Bunch, that was another good one. Nowadays, you don't have jack squat for good theme songs. I mean, don't get me wrong, they have these nice lite-classical-like instrumental theme songs now that are sort of pretty and memorable, but nothing like the Three's Company song where you know the story of the show. I blame it on M*A*S*H* and Hawaii 5-O. Both of those shows had great theme songs but they were instrumental. I think the popularity of those shows probably did in the "letstellthestoryoftheshow" type of theme songs.

The Courtship of Eddie's Father, that was another good one that still sticks in my memory. But really, whenever I hear The Monkees theme song, I STILL get the urge to jump up and dance around the room in a crazy chicken dance. You know the one, you've done it yourself a bunch of times. The one where you put your hands in your armpits and flap your winglike appendages while extending your head all the way to the front and then all the way to the back repeatedly, while you march around in giant circles with your knees bent? Only I don't dance, so I don't do that, I just sit and tap my foot. 

Speaking of dancing and not dancing, back when my wife and I would go to Dead show after Dead show, I would watch the people dancing and feel a little jealous because I wasn't dancing. So when we were in Philadelphia (ug, don't get me started on THAT trip!) we were sitting up really high in the top section watching the show and I was watching the people around me dance in wild abandon, so I decided to go ahead and give it a shot. I started dancing around and doing those cool arm twisty things the people do at deadshows, weaving my arms in and out of each other in front of me while I moved around the floor grooving to the tunes. But after a few minutes of that I still felt dorky so I stopped, put my hands back in my pockets and tapped my foot while nodding my head semi-in-time with the music. It just felt more better that way. Once when the Dead were playing in Roanoke, I spent the whole DrumsSpace part of the show watching a guy whirl around a bandana that he had tied two glow sticks to. He was slowly spinning it and dancing around to DrumsSpace and when I looked around the whole bunch of us were there watching him, it was sort of beautiful and I'll probably never forget it. 

Oh, and once at a Dead show people were batting around balloons. Our seats were right next to Phil and a big balloon was coming towards me. I reached up to bat it and just as my fingers touched the balloon, Phil hit the big low note and the balloon went wockawockawocka. WOW, I grabbed the balloon and spent the rest of the show holding it totally digging the vibrations of it. People around me would sometimes reachout and rest their hand on it too and be amazed. At the end of the show I took out the plug and let the air out of it and brought it home with me. I brought it to a bunch of concerts after that and it greatly magnified my enjoyment of them and reduced my jealousy of the dancing people. Sadly, I lost it after an Eric Clapton show. I hope somebody found it and is still bringing it to concerts. 

I realized the other day that I overuse the comma. And that my sentences are broken into tiny thought fragments. I became sensitive to my comma overuse because I'm rereading Nicholson Baker's book Room Temperature. In it he's lying in bed listening to his wife write in his journal and trying to figure out by listening to the sound of her pen on the paper what she's writing. The only thing he determines he can tell is when she makes a comma because the comma is not only a pause in the reading, but we naturally pause in the writing when we make a comma. He's thinking about that and then decides he should become hermitlike and write a giant treatise on the history of punctuation in general, but the comma in particular. then after a while she asks him if he's ok because he's breathing funny. He suddenly panics because he's been there picking his nose while he thought about the history of punctuation. Then he goes on for three chapters debating on whether he should tell his wife that he's there lying in his marriage bed picking his nose while listening to her write in her daily journal. 

It's quite a fascinating book. 

I was reading at lunch yesterday about Jack Kerouac and one of the things he did to improve his writing was to use a giant roll of paper in the typewriter instead of sheets of paper. This helped him to develop and hone his stream of consciousness type writing. It was also fascinating but ina different way than Nicholson Baker. I had to stop reading that though because i kept getting an image of this giant pile of an unwound roll of paper on the floor all typewritten and the horrid mess it would be to untangle it and reroll it so it could actually be read. I kept distracting myself with that thought, so I quit and started reresearching the parallels between Pynchon and Kerouac. I somehow decided that pynchon was writing something to or about Kerouac because of the muted post horn in Pynchon and the recurrance of jazz in Kerouac. And in The Crying of Lot 49, Pynchon talks about the Tristero and Kerouac has a book called Tristessa. hmmm. Also, Pynchon has his group of invisible undergrounds just like Kerouac has his Subterraneans. Something must be going on there. 

All this reminds me that one time I got a Yoko Ono book or writings and she had these little cool things they called poems but I thought of them more like art project instructions. I thought they were sort of absurd, but I also photocopied a page or two of them and carried it around in my wallet next to my grandfathers recipe for pickled fish. I don't know why, I just did. The pickled fish recipe I still somehow have in my wallet, still on the piece of yellow notepager with the smiley face on the top. The Yoko Ono poems I ran across recently in my bookcase sitting on top of Mason and Dixon, oddly enough the only Pynchon book I'm not able to get through. I opened the folded paper and saw the Yoko Ono things there and reread them and now I think they're brilliant. One said something about tape recording your wife brushing her hair and then when she dies, play it. Another said to tape record snow falling, cut the tape into pieces and use it to decorate presents for people. Wow, how utterly cool and deep that seems now. I wish I had put that piece of paper back in my wallet next to the pickled fish recipe, but I didn't, and now I can't find it again. Someday down the road I may run across it again and it will make me smile again. Next time I do find it though, I think I'll write on the paper a poem of my own. I think I'll write to photocopy something you don't think is cool and save it for years semi hidden. Then someday find it again and see if you think it's cool. If not, rehide it and wait longer.

Oh look , it's lunchtime again.

 

It's hot hot hot.  I hate the summer.  The only thing I like about the summer is the fireflies and now they're gone.  I wrote a piece last year about the fireflies and how I was sad at the end of the year when they left.  I tried to equate the short time the fireflies are around with the short time my kids would be young and innocent.  In the piece I told about how my daughter and I sat up one night saying goodbye to the fireflies that we couldn't catch.  Each time one lit up we'd say goodbye.  It was horribly sad but apparently something others could identify with.  I've got it on a music website somewhere I think.  Anyway, the fireflies are gone again this year.  Someone recently was talking to me about this piece  and he said "Every year it seems those fireflies get harder and harder to catch."  Wow, truer words have never been spoken.  I can't wait until next summer now.  Heat be damned, I miss the fireflies already.

 

 

Instead of practicing my banjo tunes I'm supposed to be recording, I decided to clean out from under the piano.  Seems I stash a lot of stuff under the piano because I don't have any other place for it.  So in cleaning it out I found a poster that I bought at the DDay National Monument in Bedford, Virginia.  The monument was a pretty ok place to visit, I think it'll be better in a few years when all of their money problems are ironed out and they can finish constructing the gardens and statues though.  But really, I'll never forget the day we visited it.  My wife and kids and I drove up there and looked all around the place and as we were finishing up and getting ready to leave, an old old man looked over at us and my son started talking to him.  The man started talking about two of the statues we were looking at and how they looked just like the boys they were modeled after.  Then he went on to tell us how he was on Normandy Beach on DDay and how he knew the boys the statues looked like.  How he grew up and lived his life in Bedford and how lucky he felt to be there at the monument and to have met the president.  He told us all about the day on the beach in Normandy so long ago.  We told him that my daughter was born in Bedford on the 50th anniversary of DDay and that made him very happy.  When he finished talking, we all just stood there a while looking at the statues and the people walking around.  It was time for us to go.  I looked over at the old man and walked over and shook his hand.  He looked up at me and smiled real big.  I think we both  felt like something special had happened that day to us.  I know I'll never forget it.

 

 

I was off work last week, so this week when I drove in this week I noticed some big changes along the way.  There is major road construction between my house and my job, and it seems they've made terrific headway in the week I was off.  What I found particularly odd was that I noticed that a large hill was missing.  Last week there was a hill right beside the road I've driven on twice a day, five days a week, this week the hill is gone.  The first few times I got to that point in the trip the hill's absence hit me pretty hard, but today I found myself looking at the spot and trying to remember just exactly what that hill looked like.  Seems I am now having trouble reconstructing it and I think that's very strange.  That reminds me of George Orwell's 1984 and how people in the Ministry of Truth would re-write news stories to suit the government's whims.  "We've always been at war with Westphalia."  That was one of the things the Ministry of Truth people switched around frequently.  It was either, "We've always been at war with Westphalia." or "We've always been at war with Eastphalia."  The public heard it and seemed to have no problem believing it and completely forgetting that the day before it had been the other phalia.  I find myself thinking this from time to time when I notice odd discrepancies in my day to day life.

In Orwell's 1984 it was the workers in the Ministry of Truth doing this, apparently the way it works in our modern non-literary life is that the highway department changes our landscape and with it our remembered past by creating and removing hills here and there to suit their far-ranging highway plans.  Where once was Hokie Honda now is a giant hill that seems to match up with the giant hill on the other side of the road that wasn't there a few months ago.  So I can imagine my kids years from now driving down this road looking at these hills and how they seem to match in such a way as to suggest they were once connected and the highway department cut the road through it, when instead they made the hills from scratch by trucking in dirt and rock.  It's all very unsettling.  Sort of like that Talking Heads song Nothing But Flowers where they talk about how this used to be a shopping mall now it's a field of flowers and how they missed the shopping malls.  I'm not saying I miss Hokie Honda, but that I can't reconstruct the landscape that I saw day in and day out for ten years because now the highway department has made a hill here I find quite odd.  

So that's what I was thinking of today as I was driving home on a road I've driven in thousands of times.  As I passed the non-hill I thought: "We've always been at war with Westphalia."

 

I had dinner the other night at the house of a cello maker.  It was fascinating to me to see the whole cello making process.  Seeing the raw wood and the many stages of carving and staining was also inspiring, because I got the idea that before the cello is completely finished, the instrument maker has no idea if the cello will be a good cello or not.  He makes the cello believing that it will be a great cello and gives it every chance to be, then in the end he tests it and it either IS or ISN'T a great cello.  (I wonder what he does with the ones that aren't great cellos?)  The thing that I liked most of all though, was that he signs his name on the inside of the cello top when he's done and just before he glues it all together.  I liked seeing that because I'd recently read a book about a piano repair shop (Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Carhart Thaddeus) and in it I learned that piano manufacturers often sign parts of their pianos.  Nobody may ever see the signature, but it's there.  I like knowing that.  I also like knowing that ever since I was a kid, just before I move out of a house, I walk into the closet and sign my name in the tiny space between the door molding and the corner of the closet.  I don't know why I do this, but I always have.  It's in a spot that you probably could only see if you tried really hard to.   If you took a tour of all the closets in Virginia and New York, you'd be able to see all the places I've ever lived.  Well I suppose I didn't do that when I was extremely young, but ever since then anyway.

 

 

 

2002 Bud Bennett