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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Finally, Some Good News from the Cottage Bar

The last time Dan invited me to the Cottage bar he told me he had some news for me. I figured that he was engaged, since that's what I predicted when I found out he'd be moving to Indiana. Instead, he told me that he'd be going off to Iraq.

The other night I got invited again to the Cottage Bar since Dan said he'd be home for Christmas. Again, he told me he had big news.

This time he got it right. Dan & Jill are engaged. Jill is in full wedding planning mode, too. I'm sure when Dan gets back from Iraq, she'll be sure to have a flower arrangement to match every bridesmaid's eye color. Maybe there will be a dove for every day that Jill & Dan have known each other to be released up into the sky at the end of the wedding.

I couldn't be happier for them, they just may well could be the best dressed couple I know, although they do have stiff competition from Emily & Bob.

If you guys need any help planning the music, I can lend my services :).

It was a great evening, & a perfect end to six days straight of holiday get togethers (& yes, I'm glad they are over, as fun as they were).

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

En Gallop-Joanna Newsom, The Milk Eyed Mendor
Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie-Joanna Newsom, The Milk Eyed Mendor
Mexican Blue-Jolie Holland, Springtime Can Kill You
Adieu False Heart-Jolie Holland, Springtime Can Kill You
The Long Cut-Uncle Tupelo, Anodyne

Happy Wednesday, friends!


Monday, December 18, 2006

I Didn't Feel So Cold, Then...

The Cold

How exactly good it is
to know myself
in the solitude of winter,

my body containing its own
warmth, divided from all
by the cold; and to go

separate and sure
among the trees cleanly
divided, thinking of you

perfect too in your solitude,
your life withdrawn into
your own keeping

--to be clear, poised
in perfect self-suspension
toward you, as though frozen.

And having known fully the
goodness of that, it will be
good also to melt.

Wendell Berry, Collected Poems

It's ironic that the gal who found this book for me hates winter so much. This poem describes just about everything I love about winter so much, how you can't appreciate the warmth until you've been out in the cold. There's nothing like the first cool day in the fall to give you a break from the heat of the summer, & there's also nothing like that first really warm day in the spring that reminds you how good it is to get outside. Michigan is the perfect place for this kind of feeling.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Lo! How a Rose E're Blooming-Some Choir on Blue Lake Public Radio

Atomic Power-Uncle Tupelo, March 16-20, 1992

Where Are You Tonight?-Bob Dylan, Street Legal

It Ain't Me, Babe-Bob Dylan, NYC 2001

Wait For the Light to Shine-Bob Dylan, NYC 2001 (song by Hank Williams)

Happy Monday, friends...


Saturday, December 16, 2006

I Can't Eat All That Stuff in a Single Bite

Last night was the SW #1327 Christmas party here at the ol' Moreland Street Ghetto. It was a feast of epic proportions, the likes of which haven't been seen at any place where the address has been in my name. Everybody was asked to bring a dish to pass. Kelly & Dan brought Taco Salad with either beef or refried beans, Junior brought Meatballs & corn casserole, Gloria brought Lasagna & a peppermint cake & Christie made cheesy potatoes. I supplied the hors durves (alright I can't spell it), chips & salsa, crackers & winn schulers, & vegetables & dip & beverages. Every dish was delicious. A good time was had by all. I'm still full.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Accidentally Like a Martyr-Warren Zevon, Excitable Boy
City of Gold-the Dixie Hummingbirds, Masked & Anonymous Soundtrack (song by Bob Dylan)
Lenny Bruce-Bob Dylan, Amherst MA, 2006
Tiny Cities Made of Ashes-Sun Kil Moon, Tiny Cities
Jesus Christ Was an Only Child-Sun Kil Moon, Tiny Cities

Happy Saturday, friends, let thine eyes not be bigger than thine stomach.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Holy Crap!

Sad news, Peter Boyle has died. I wish I could say more about the man, he was the funniest character in Everybody Loves Raymond. John Lennon was the best man at his wedding. To hear Peter Boyle talk about John Lennon is heartbreaking.

In other news, Mike's back in town, the wedding went well. Dan may be shuffling off to Ludington soon (dan the ass. man), & all my audits &/or visits from higher ups are over.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

God's Gonna Cut You Down-Johnny Cash, American V, A Hundred Highways

If You Could Read My Mind-Johnny Cash (song by Gordon Lightfoot), American V, A Hundred Highways

Four Strong Winds-Johnny Cash, American V, A Hundred Highways

Desolation Row-Bob Dylan, Wembley 2003

My favorite version of my favorite song.

Accidentally Like a Martyr-Warren Zevon, Excitable Boy

Happy Wednesday, friends!


Monday, December 11, 2006

Businessmen they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth...

Can't people just leave me alone & let me do my job?

Thursday morning, when all was quiet in the store & the snow was coming down in buckets, a lady stepped out of her mazda car, puffing on a cigarette. There is a one on one fitness place to the right of our store, & a Michigan Works employment office on the left. When we are slow, & we see somebody pull into the parking lot & watch them get out of their car, we try & guess which place people are going. The cigarette tipped us off that she wasn't going to the fitness place. She had one of those carry along briefcases with wheels on it that extend. She was headed our way.

We give the standard greeting & ask what we can do for her. It was our auditor. For some reason, my stomach always falls to the floor when the auditor showed up. It's not that my store isn't in good shape or that I'm doing anything grossly wrong, it's the fact that you can get caught doing something wrong that always makes me nervous, like when you pass a cop on the highway you instinctively slow down even if your not speeding. The fact that we haven't seen one in almost two years made it a little worse.

Everything went fine, of course, & after I found out that I did reasonably well on the audit, I took the opportunity to question the reasoning behind many rules. Most notably, I asked why it was an audit infraction to not have printed out a fifty page report that can easily be viewed online just so you can prove that you looked at it.

The audit lasted for three whole days, after the auditor would take an hour & a half for lunch each day, another 1/2 hour smoking & she'd spend another 1/2 hour on the phone for personal calls. Today took the cake, however, she finished the audit at 10:30 am, then proceeded to go online & check menus of restaurants in towns where she'd be spending time in the future. She filled out Christmas cards. She talked on the phone some more. She bugged my employees. She left at four. Can I have my auditor audited?

Tomorrow, my boss & my bosses boss are scheduled to visit my store in the afternoon. We've spent the last week painting the floor in the back room, cleaning the floors in the front, changing ballasts & light bulbs. I'm sure I'll get a phone call telling me that they didn't have time to make it, after all.

Wednesday, I have "Diversity" training. I think it's quite hypocritical for a company who has very few minorities & women in managment to have diversity training, but what do I know?

No more complaining. Not until tomorrow, anyway.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Alexandra Leaving-Leonard Cohen, Ten New Songs

Baby's Got New Plans-Alejandro Escovedo

Everybody Knows-Leonard Cohen, I'm Your Man

Shelter From the Storm-Bob Dylan, Comstock Park, MI, 2006

Cold Irons Bound-Bob Dylan, Portland 2006

Happy Monday, friends!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Money Doesn't Talk, It Swears/Love & Some Verses

The company I work for has done a good job in the last year or so of stripping it's managers of all of their responibilities, leaving us to have to ask for approval for every small thing such as ordering product on certain days, changing a customer's price (even though we are the ones who are to go out & find the customers & quote them prices), extending a customer credit, writing checks over a certain amount etc, etc etc. They also ask us to cut hours for all sorts of reasons. There is one responsibility they leave in our hands, however, which is telling our employees that their hours are going to be cut, & it breaks my heart to do it. That's business, I guess, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

On a happier note (well, for me anyway), here's some of my favorite lyrics from my favorite songwriters.

Karl Marx squeezed his carbuncles
while writing Das Kapital
and gaugin, he buggered off, man,
and went all tropical
while Philip Larkin stuck it out
in a library in Hull
And Dylan Tho
mas died drunk in
St Vincent's hospital
Nick Cave, There She Goes My Beautiful World

I could have been your pillar,
could have been your door

I could have stayed beside you,
could have stayed for more.

Could have been your statue,
could have been your friend,

A whole long lifetime could have been the end.
I could be yours so true I would be,
I should be through and through

I could have been One of these things first
I could have been One of these things first.
Nick Drake, One of These Things First

Come on down to the Mermaid Cafe
and I will buy you a bottle of wine
And we'll laugh and toast to nothing
and smash our empty glasses down
Let's have a round for these freaks and these soldiers
A round for these friends of mine
Let's have another round for the bright red devil
Who keeps me in this tourist town
Joni Mitchell, Carey

Papa died while my Girl Lady Edith was born Both heads fell like Eyes on a crack in the door And Sodom, South Georgia Slept on an acre of bones Slept through Christmas Slept like a bucket of snow
Samuel Beam, aka Iron & Wine, Sodom, South Georgia

And some might say that it's a waste of time
Cause ain't no amount of dancing finna break the bondage We go to war and transcend space and time When every record ain't a record just to shake behinds You know the stakes is high we in the face of drama That's why we can't shake it or escape the problem Its like a game of roulette the barrel revolving They only wanna see us occupying a coffin Mothers crying too often from they lost child leaving From trying to get over, get under, get even Get inside getting, getting dumped, getting greedy We got to get it right It ain't about to be easy You better pull you goggles up, it's about to get greasy Believe it's on as long as we can still speak freely Pages of my life would make it hard to read me I know my people hearing me, holler it you hear me
The Roots, Guns Are Drawn

I choose the rooms that I live in with care,
the windows are small and the walls almost bare,
there's only one bed and there's only one prayer;
I listen all night for your step on the stair.
Leonard Cohen, Tonight Will Be Fine

Jesus, help me find my proper place Jesus,
help me find my proper place

Help me in my weakness
'Cos I'm falling out of grace Jesus Jesus
Lou Reed, Jesus

I wake up an' I'm fine
With my dreamings still on my mind
But it doesn't take long, you see
For the demons to come and visit me
And i've got my problems
Sometimes love doesn't solve them
And i end each day in a song
Will Oldham, aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Hard Life

if you find that your closet is a mess
dig through the bins
try to find a nice dress
among the skeletons
Kevin Davis, If We Run

Well, I rapped upon a house
With the U.S. flag upon display
I said, "Could you help me out
I got some friends down the way"
The man says, "Get out of here
I'll tear you limb from limb"
I said, "You know they refused Jesus, too"
He said, "You're not Him
Get out of here before I break your bones
I ain't your pop"
I decided to have him arrested
And I went looking for a cop
Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan's 115th Dream

I'm missing a ton of course, but that's all I got for today.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Where Are You Tonight?-Bob Dylan, Street Legal

Lessons From What's Poor-Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Master & Everyone

Every Ghost Town Needs a Commission-Kevin Davis

Better Git it in Yo' Soul!-Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um

Oh Babe I'm On Fire-Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Nocturama

Happy Wednesday, friends!


Monday, December 04, 2006

Repeat the Hymn Again!

Looks like somebody's got a case of the Mondays!
Doesn't anyone here know what Christmas is all about?

Here's my tree, thanks Christie! There's more pictures here, ignore the dork she's with!

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is the music, usually not the usual songs that you hear six months before Christmas but the traditional songs that you only hear in church. The older I get, the more I excited I get to hear the more obscure songs like Savior of the Nations, Come, Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel, On Jordan's Bank the Baptists Cry, & my favorite Lo, How A Rose Ere Blooming. A couple of years ago, Dan gave me a copy of the book 101 Hymn Stories, & in it it says that the tune to Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel is from the twelfth century. It's not surprising that such a great tune can last for over 8000 years.

Here's a version of Lo, How A Rose Ere Blooming from Sufjan Stevens. I had no idea he ever sang this song until I googled it. As if there weren't enough reasons not to like Sufjan. I beg you to listen to this, if you can, you won't be disappointed, it's incredible.

On the subject of Dan, there's a rumor that he will be spending Christmas in Michigan, which is great news, a Festivus Miracle!

On the subject of Christmas music, I picked up a copy of the Vince Guaraldi Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack from Best Buy yesterday for $7, a steal. Did you know that CBS originally did not want to air the special because of the soundtrack? They thought having jazz as a soundtrack to a cartoon would not mesh, they couldn't have been more wrong. That would've been one of the great mistakes in television history, if you ask me.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Lo, How A Rose Ere Blooming-Sufjan Stevens

What Child is This-Vince Guaraldi

One of These Things First-Nick Drake, Bryter Later

Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel-Cellist from Immanuel Lutheran Church whose name escapes me at the moment.

Actually, this is from yesterday, but I didn't write a blog yesterday, so there you go.

Go No More a Roving-Leonard Cohen, Dear Heather

I rented the I'm Your Man documentary about Leonard the other day, I'm gonna watch it tonight. I'm excited.

Happy Monday, friends!


Friday, December 01, 2006

Still Waters Run Deep

Here's a link to the annual Thanksgiving story from Bailey White. It was a good one this year, as usual. Her characters are usually simple & heartwarming, although usually not innocent.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Every Grain of Sand-Bob Dylan, Brixton 2005

Not too be morbid, but this would be a great song to play at a funeral.

Ain't Talkin'-Bob Dylan, New York City, 2006

Medicine Hat-Son Volt, Wide Swing Tremolo

River-Joni Mitchell, Blue

A Case of You-Joni Mitchell, Blue

Happy Friday, friends!


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About Me

Grand Haven, Michigan
the sun shines on a dog's ass every now & then...