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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Protest Song of the Day

Our Protest Song of the Day comes from Corrosion of Conformity, one of my favorite bands of all time. Yeah, I know, I have a lot of “favorite” bands, but COC always makes it onto my Top 5 list. Their mix of heavy riffs, bluesy licks, and socially aware lyrics is my cup of tea.

So here, I provide for you, free of charge (under condition that you buy their entire discography, preferably from the label directly – happy RIAA?), their song, The Door, taken perhaps their overall best album, Wiseblood.

Key lines:

Don't knock little can't rock, he's the one huffin' gasoline
Been keepin' time with a cloudy mind since they hit him with a limousine
Still the lil' ones eat off the cold concrete
And the bleedin' hearts don't care
You tell me where I can go and I'll bet you that I see you there

Say tunnel vision, there is no purpose served
By staying aboard this runaway wreck
While you're losing it on the curve
Right there's the door

Adventures in Dating Land

Earlier I helped my friend G move, which unfortunately since I’m big and strong, not to mention a nice guy, isn’t a rare occurrence.  She was practically moving next door so it was a matter of carting her stuff through the alley, and in doing so, we ran into one of her friends that I had dated for a short time months ago.

At the time, I thought she liked me a lot, but then one day she stopped calling, stopped writing, and well, I got the hint.  I don’t know what happened, but oh well.  That certainly wasn’t my first rodeo and these things happen.  I’ve only seen her once since then, and things were cordial but a little bit awkward, but like I said, I’m a nice guy.  No hard feelings.

Today things were also cordial and awkward, although I owe the awkwardness to carrying a table.  It has, after all, been some time since all that happened, and in that time my hair has grown quite a bit.  Apparently, this girl commented to G (not in my presence, mind you) that my long hair made me look “hot.”  

Why thank you.  Cute, handsome, hot.  I know you’re all lying to me, but I’ll take it.

In a related dating topic, at the beginning of the summer I dated a girl (also briefly…I’m good at that obviously) that put her feet up on my dashboard and pressed her toes up against the glass of my windshield.  Why she did this, I don’t know, but she did and the slight amount of pressure she applied was enough to crack the glass.

I wasn’t mad –I’m a nice guy, remember-- and I didn’t think anything of it.  A crack in the windshield, no big deal.  It’s on the passengers side and it’s not big enough to be a problem.  So what?

But with the cold weather we’ve been having the last two weeks or so, things have gotten worse.  The first day it snowed, I was driving and watched that tiny criiinnnnkkk over the entire windshield.  So now I need a new windshield…hell, I need a new car.  And they say dating is overrated.  

Actually it could be worse.  I could have alimony payments or a kid or something…

I’ll take a cracked windshield and some confused chick’s remorse any day.

Blogger Outages Suck

Kiss my ass, Blogger.  Both cheeks.

Two times.

Straight Down Party Lines

I had a lady come to the door in one of those old school door to door campaigns.  I have no idea if she was a candidate or just a toady (I had just been wakened from a nap and wasn’t quite all there), but she asked me if I’d considered who I was voting for.  Of course, I have.

I’m voting for anyone with a D by their name.  No ifs ands or buts about it.

I’ve heard it said that people should vote for who they think will do the best job, and normally I’d agree with them.  This year I don’t.  At this point, I don’t care who will do the best job.  I just care that the job not be given to Republicans.

I consider myself an independent, despite the alleged left wing bias on view for all to see.  The practical aspect of this is that I don’t get to vote in primaries and I’m not invited to the “Party,” so to speak.  I could care less.  

I’m not going to any fundraiser dinners.  I don’t go to speeches.  I don’t hand out literature on street corners.  This blog is about as activist as I get.  I read the paper and I have my various principles and opinions and that’s about it.

But no matter what, I can’t get behind the Republican party, and unless something major changes, I may never.  Here’s why:

The Republican party believes in an open-ended expensive bloody impossible to win war in Iraq.

The Republican party believes a translated oft-misinterpreted ancient text is a better basis for social and moral order than the Constitution on which this Republic is founded.

The Republican party believes in torture, but not in habeas corpus.

The Republican party believes that government is an enterprise motivated by profit rather than principle.

The Republican party believes every pathetic word disgorged from the mouth of George W. Bush and his buddy riding shotgun, Dick Cheney.

Say what you want about the Democrats; they certainly deserve their criticisms.  You may think national healthcare or the minimum wage is a bad idea, and who knows, maybe they are.  But one thing they are not is dangerous.

And that’s more than I can say about the Republican party, which has proven with six years of unchecked power that they fit that definition and then some.

Random Friday Ten - Saturday Edition

Yesterday was normally my day off, but since I took a few days off earlier in the week for my Texas trip, I had to work. It wasn't bad, but a whole chunk of my day was sucked up in the capitalistic pursuit of money. I got bills, man!

Hence why I didn't get my "Friday Random Ten" in under deadline. So here it is. The Saturday edition.

1) Sevendust - Leech
2) John Coltrane - Mr. Syms
3) Genesis - Land of Confusion (Way better than the Disturbed version)
4) Willie Nelson - Stardust
5) Avenged Sevenfold - Beast and the Harlot
6) Shadowsfall - Destroyer of Senses
7) Frida Soundtrack - Burn it Blue (Great soundtrack!)
8) Ben Harper - Alone (Acoustic)
9) Slash's Snakepit - The Truth
10) Tool - Part of Me

Friday, October 20, 2006

War Movies

You wanna see a grown man cry? Stick me in front of a screen that's playing Saving Private Ryan. It's not the graphic scenes of war that get me, although I confess to watching those with eyes wide with shock and horror, but the very last scene, where a dying Captain Miller (portrayed with a heartbreaking humanity by Tom Hanks) whispers the unforgettable words to Private James Ryan, "James, earn this. Earn it."

Perhaps it's just the invocation of my name, but it's almost as if he's speaking directly to me.

But the tears don't start rolling down my cheeks until the next scene, where the older James Ryan gazing down on Captain Miller's grave says, "Every day I think about what you said to me that day on the bridge. I've tried to live my life the best I could. I hope that was enough. I hope that at least in your eyes, I've earned what all of you have done for me."

The tears become a torrent when he turns to his wife and says, "Tell me I'm a good man. Tell me I've lived a good life." After all is said and done, that's all that matters.

And so it is that this weekend, Clint Eastwood's new movie (dare I say, film) opens, Flags of Our Fathers, a war movie, or more properly a war tragedy. From what I've read it's not a gung-ho hoo-rah recreation of Iwo Jima. It's about blood spilled and lives lost, about what war does to a man. I'm going to see it tomorrow, among other things on my to-do list, and I'm prepared to cry like a baby.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Beware the Deftones

The deftones' new record, Saturday Night Wrist, comes out on Halloween. I've only heard two songs off of it, but I can assure you I'll be the first kid on my block to buy it. It's been well-documented that I'm a huge fan and I'm looking forward to whatever weirdness they came up with this time.

I did manage to bootleg a couple tracks from their Myspace page. Don't worry, RIAA lawyers and label people. I'm still going to buy the record. Unlike you, I don't want to wait until you have all your marketing ducks in a row before I hear the new shit, which has most likely been in the can for months. I want it now!

The first single, Hole in the Earth, has already been spinning on radio. It has all their familiar trademarks, ethereal stream of consciousness lyrics, strange Cure-like sounds, bruising rhythms and thunderous riffs.

The other song, though, Beware is the one I like best so far. The last minute or so contains nothing less than mighty riffage that will make your ears bleed.

Miserable Failure In Chief

The big news the other day was Bush agreeing with George Stephanopoulos that what's going on in Iraq "could be" easily compared to what happened in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive. Well, duh. Both situations could be said to be a bloody war with unclear objectives and falling support back home. The comparison is obvious.

However, Bush said something else that went unchallenged, something that reveals in very clear terms that Bush has no clue what he's doing. He said:
"George, my gut tells me that they have all along been trying to inflict enough damage that we'd leave," Bush said. "And the leaders of al Qaeda have made that very clear. Look, here's how I view it. First of all, al Qaeda is still very active in Iraq. They are dangerous. They are lethal. They are trying to not only kill American troops, but they're trying to foment sectarian violence. They believe that if they can create enough chaos, the American people will grow sick and tired of the Iraqi effort and will cause government to withdraw."
First of all, trying? Trying?? They're not trying, they're succeeding! Yesterday alone 10 of our troops were killed. Sectarian violence has already been fomented. The chaos in Iraq has already made the American people weary. There is no line to be held here. We've already got "zips in the wire."

But, Al Qaeda? You've got to be kidding me. No doubt Al Qaeda is operating in Iraq. The situation created by the invasion made it particularly easy for them to operate with impunity, providing plenty of juicy targets, both military and civilian. Oh, we may round up the dummy martyrs who claim to be "leaders," but we have done very little to curb the murderous ideaology that makes Al Qaeda possible.

Take a look at this Washington Post analysis of who we're fighting in Iraq. Al Qaeda isn't even mentioned! The Mahdi army (Al-Sadr's henchmen), yes. Hezbollah, yes. The Badr Brigades, yes. The Khadimiya Brigade, yep. A gang I never heard of before, the Haider Hamida, yes, they're mentioned. But on Al Qaeda, there's nothing.

So why does Bush still prattle on about Al Qaeda? You tell me. My guess is that he's a bit like Danny Kaffee from A Few Good Men.

He can't handle the truth.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More Texas Pics

This wasn't a tourist type visit, considering the circumstances, but my Mom and I did break away long enough to spend a morning at the Stockyards. If you've ever been to Ft. Worth, you'll probably know the big tourist trap is the Stockyards. When I was younger, I thought it was much cooler, but the last few times I've been, my impression has been meh. On a drizzly Monday morning, which is when we went, it was as dead as Pancho Villa.

Speaking of Pancho Villa....we ran into him outside the Stock Exchange.And, you know, they don't call them long horns for nothing. This guy had at least a four foot wingspan.I'm sure you've probably heard about Texas politicians. Some of them can be kind of weird...After all, we can thank Texas for bringing us Dubya. One day you're a bad joke, the next you're President. Only in Texas.

Oh, did I mention I saw Johnny Cash?I also saw this sign hanging in a shop at the Stockyards.Skyline pictures anyone?Here's the fam. Do you really need me to tell you who is who? Let's see, the couple in back is Grandma and Grandpa. The couple to the right is my Aunt Terri and Uncle Bill. My Mom is on the left. If you can't figure out who I am, you're reading the wrong blog, man.Can you see the resemblance?

A Little Sadness, a Little Joy

Here's a pic of me after touching down at DFW airport a few days ago. I brought my "stupid hat," as Uncle Jim would call it, and yes my hair is getting long. When I saw this pic, I thought of one thing and one thing only. No, it wasn't "Man, I need a haircut" or "Man, that hat looks silly." It was, "Man, I look like this guy!"

Remember that guy? His name is Zoot and he plays in the Electric Mayhem.

Wocka wocka wocka.

Anyway, here I am, on my last night in Texas. Tomorrow morning, I've got a 6:30 flight that takes me back home to Denver, where I understand it's snowing. It's nice and sunny down here, hot and humid even.

It's been a good visit, filled with laughter and tears, pretty much what one would expect from visiting a loved one who is terminally ill. It's not so bad...yet, and I was able to visit with Grandma and Grandpa at their home. If it weren't for the oxygen tubes snaking out of her nose and the rhythmic hiss of the oxygen machine (not to mention the certainty of her diagnosis hanging over all of our heads), you could almost believe that it was just another visit, like any other except now we're older, perhaps even wiser.

Words are easy for me, most of the time. You give me a subject and I can rattle off about it for pages. I've got opinions and feelings and impressions and ideas, and the words flow as if they are being pumped from my brain to my fingers to the page (or screen) by some invisible force over which I have no control.

But for the first time in my life, I can't put what I've been feeling into words. Words are too small, too inadequate, to convey the sadness and joy, the heartbreak and resignation that I've been feeling these last few days. I've laughed and I've cried. I've looked at pictures and contemplated life and loss, looked into my Grandma's eyes, saw the familiar warmth and love that I've known my entire life, knowing full well that someday, someday soon, it will all be gone, forever.

When I left Grandma's house today, perhaps for the last time, I gave her a huge hug. I shook with tears and I squeezed, knowing that this moment will probably be the last time I would ever hear her voice, ever give her a hug. I told her that I loved her, that I always did and I always would. She kissed me on the cheek and told me she loved me too, that I've been a good grandson, that we had such good times together, so many great memories. And I thanked her.

That sounds silly, but when someone enriches your life, you should thank them. Especially if you may never see them again. And if you love someone, you should tell them. Never be afraid of telling someone you love them, because you never know...

Someday you may not get that chance.