Wednesday, December 28, 2011
It’s so hard to stay honest in a world that’s headed to hell
You can't make a good living these days cause the fruit just won't sell
So if you go out my back door
Just over the hill
You'll see all these plants
That's been paying my bills
But you can't cash my checks
And you can't feel this hunger
You can push me into cold water
But you can't hold me under
Jamey Johnson, singer song writer
From an article in Mother Jones magazine: The New Dealers we learn how more people than we realize are making ends meet. I personally know two such individuals who grow and sell, neither can get work for various reasons. These are the new bootleggers who are not getting rich, but are just making ends meet.
In a forthcoming post you'll see that our elected officials are only interested in their wealth, not your well being nor the country's so long as it conflicts with their money grab.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Erwin N. Griswold (1904–1994), appellate attorney
Draw your own conclusions. I would enjoy hearing your thoughts.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), poet, critic, and writer
The political media is portraying an Iowa grocery store shopper's rude comment, "you're a fucking asshole, as evidence that Newt Gingrich is falling rapidly in the polls. To me it’s just further proof of society’s lack of manners and decorum, which sadly is not news.
Gingrich is doing what any candidate for public office needs to do, which is meet and greet the people who will have an opportunity to cast their vote for or against. There is no need and indeed no excuse for such behavior.
Disgracefully politicians behave similarly: former Vice President Dick Cheney shamefully told a colleague from across the aisle to “Go fuck yourself,” in June of 2004 during a debate regarding Halliburton’s role in the reconstruction of Iraq. His boss President George W. Bush gave the middle finger salute before filming started, which was recorded.
Democrats have been just as bad. Elected leaders need to set examples for civility and for ethical behavior, not elevate contemptible and despicable behavior.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) essayist, poet, philosopher
FINALLY! THE JARRING, BLARING, AND ANNOYING VOLUME OF TELEVISION COMMERCIALS IS GOING TO STOP.
Sorry, I didn't mean to yell, I was trying to write about the commercials, but I couldn't hear myself think.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the FCC said cable and satellite TV companies as well as local broadcasters will be required to make sure the volume on commercials is kept in check. The rules go into effect in December 2012.
Sadly we still have to wait another year, but then one can rest their eyes and not end up like a scared cat clinging to the ceiling once the commercials start screaming at you.
Monday, December 05, 2011
W. C. Fields, (1880 – 1946), actor
I almost missed this. Monday marked the 78th anniversary of the ratification of the 21st Amendment that officially ended Prohibition in the United States. On December 5, 1933, the federal government brought to a close a 13-year era of a failed prohibition of alcohol.
I got this idea from Mother Jones. Here is a list of drinking songs to celebrate or morn. Let’s set the scene in the wee hours of the morning with Mr. Sinatra and we’ll end on a bawdy tune with another Frank, Mr. Zappa):
- One for My Baby (And One More for the Road), Count & The Orchestra Basie/Frank Sinatra, Sinatra at the Sands
- Angel Eyes, Count & The Orchestra Basie/Frank Sinatra, Sinatra at the Sands
- Drinking Again, Frank Sinatra, Nothing But The Best
- Medley: Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes/I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine Dean Martin, Rat Pack Live At The Sands
- Hey Brother, Pour The Wine, Dean Martin, The Capitol Years
- Have Another Drink, The Kinks, Kinks Present A Soap Opera
- Alcohol, The Kinks, Muswell Hillbillies
- My Alcoholic Friends, The Dresden Dolls, Yes, Virginia...
- Alcohol, Barenaked Ladies, Stunt
- The Drinking Song, Loudon Wainwright III, Recovery
- The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me), Tom Waits Small Change
- The Fourth Night of My Drinking, Drive-By Truckers, The Big To-Do
- Daddy Needs a Drink, Drive-By Truckers, Brighter Than Creations Dark
- I Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink, Merle Haggard: The Best of Merle Haggard
- Rudy wants to buy Yez a drink, Frank Zappa, Chunga's revenge
- Moonshine Whiskey, Van Morrison, Tupelo Honey
- Whiskey Can Can, Beck, One Foot In the Grave
- Rye Whiskey, Punch Brothers, T Bone Burnett Presents: The Speaking Clock Revue - Live from The Beacon Theatre
- Women Without Whiskey, Drive-By Truckers, Southern Rock Opera
- Warm Beer and Cold Women, Tom Waits, Nighthawks at the Diner
- Down Among the Wines and Spirits, Elvis Costello, Secret, Profane and Sugarcane
- Elderberry Wine, Elton John, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player
- Pass The Wine (Sophia Loren), The Rolling Stones, Exile On Main Street
- Titties & Beer, Frank Zappa, Zappa In New York
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
John Adams, 1788
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be."
The callous Lt. Pike who so willingly sprayed peaceful students at UC Davis deserves all the infamous notoriety. He was put on PAID administrative leave, which is akin to vacation.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
God makes his plan
The information’s unavailable
To the mortal man
We’re working our jobs
Collect our pay
Believe we’re gliding down the highway
When in fact we’re slip slidin’ away
“Slip Slidin’ Away” written by Paul Simon, from the album “Still Cray After All These Years”
I have been familiar with Paul Simon’s music for a number of years maybe beginning in the late ‘60s and certainly continually since the mid-‘70s, when I am guessing his fame was at its pinnacle after having recently separated from his childhood friend and musical partner Art Garfunkel. I attended his concert at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in ’76-’77. I was too musically immature to truly appreciate him and he seemed too soft rock/pop for my tastes at that time. I purchased most of his albums over the years, but rarely kept them on regular rotation.
My music listening has increased tremendously in the last few years. Most likely Apple and its iPod are responsible for my renewed focus on music. Now I focus much more on the lyrics. While I still like a good rock song my aging tastes lean toward acoustic, thoughtful, and insightful. Simon’s song writing fits the bill nicely.
Simon’s latest CD and tour titled “So Beautiful or So What” intrigued me enough to experience both. I purchased two tickets and invited my cousin from Oregon to accompany me to the April concert. The show was very good until the encore, and then it was amazing. Simon walked out by himself with an acoustic guitar and started into “The Sound of Silence.” I was stunned by the beauty and poetic nature of the song that I overlooked until now:
Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
"Fools", said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
In the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sound of silence
Prior to that concert the only version I had heard was the version with Garfunkel, it was nice just not poignant to me. The version on his latest collection of songs “Paul Simon Songwriter” is the song I heard him sing, twice and both were spellbinding. There is also a version on his album “Paul Simon Songbook” that sounds stark and angry, which also works.
While I didn’t initially appreciate the song many others have for decades. According to Wikipedia: "The Sound of Silence" is the song that propelled Simon & Garfunkel to popularity. It was written in February 1964 by Paul Simon in the aftermath of the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy. While the song was a hit and is the 18th most recorded song with five million plus performances, according BMI, it still feels underrated and taken for granted.
Having now seen Simon twice in concert this year, once in April and again in October because I wanted my Love to experience the musical beauty of that song and the entire concert. The second time around I was able to better appreciate the songs and the band. The autumn show was looser and tighter. The band’s stage presence seemed more relaxed, despite guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Mark Stewart suffering a rather significant bike riding accident earlier that day.
I am making up for all the unappreciated Simon years by listening frequently to my Paul Simon playlist. A number of his songs have lyrics that are poignant and poetic. He captures a feeling that is universal in a very poetic manner. The song “I Am a Rock” is a perfect companion to “The Sound of Silence.”.
A winter's day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
Don't talk of love,
Well, I've heard the word before.
It's sleeping in my memory.
I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.
Simon has been a singer/song writer for nearly 50 years now, depending when on when you start the clock, and as popular, talented, and world renown yet I believe he is still underrated.
His music is very melodic and his voice is soft. Unlike Bob Dylan, Simon has not been in the news much for an infamous personal life. The only three major headlines I can think of for Simon include the breakup of Simon and Garfunkel, the divorce from Princess Lea (Carrie Fisher), and the non-controversy of his incorporating South African music into his CD; really he was exploring and pushing the limits of his creativity. So, no headlines, smooth voice, and literary lyrics combine to stifle the attention his work receives.
Additionally there is nothing racy about his lyrics. He mentions “stepping out to smoke a J” in “Late in the Evening,” and “Duncan” starts off about a couple that could win a prize for going at it all night long; “Old” references the first time he tried marijuana and his feeling of paranoia. These are genteel compared to say Dylan’s “Let’s Go Get Stoned” or many, many other songs.
The painter/photographer Chuck Close writes in the forward to Paul Simon’s book “Paul Simon Lyrics 1964-2008,” that no less a composer than Philip Glass has called Paul the greatest songwriter of our time.
And I am heading for a place of quiet
Where the sage and sweet grass grow
By a lake of scared water
From the mountain’s melted snow
“Quiet” by Paul Simon
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
“If they'd lower the taxes and get rid of the smog and clean up the traffic mess, I really believe I'd settle here until the next earthquake”
Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx (1890 – 1977) comedian and film star
I realize now it’s me that cannot drive in the rain.
I need a frontal lobotomy, near-blinding cataracts, and paralysis of my right foot to prevent movement from one pedal to the next.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Made a little something to help my synagogue promote its Torah restoration project (restoring a 350 year-old Torah that survived the Holocaust!).
Get the mp3 here!
(And to find out how you can write a letter in our Holocaust Torah, visit my synagogue's website.)
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Monday, January 03, 2011
Jane Brody, author