everything you ever wanted to know about nothing at all...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Neighborhood #2

It seems as though I'm one of the people amongst the little cluster of places on my street that's been around the longest. My neighbor two doors down who moved in after I did has a for sale sign in his window, as does the neighbor across the street. Consequently, the neighbor across the street moved into the house across the street after living in the apartment down the hall from Danny Ludington, who has also moved away. I hope it's not me.

Now, if I could just get the people across the street with the noisy car & truck to move away, we'd have something.

Here's a little clip from one of the greatest shows in the history of television.

Just Sit.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

I'll Keep it With Mine-Bob Dylan, Bringing it All Back Home Outtakes

July, July!-The Decemberists, Castaways & Cutouts

Farewell Angelina-Bob Dylan, Bringing it All Back Home Outtakes

Windowsill-Arcade Fire, Neon Bible

Intervention-Arcade Fire, Neon Bible

Happy Wednesday, friends...


Monday, May 28, 2007

Don't get up gentlemen, I'm only passing through...

Happy Memorial Day, friends.

I'm always appreciative of all of the important women in my life & all the different ways they've effected me throughout my life. I could name them all, but I'd forget something about someone & anyways a couple of words on a silly blog site wouldn't do them justice. Today, though, my thoughts go to the fellas.

First of all, tip your hats to all of the soldiers you know & all the ones you wish you did. I hope they all come home soon, no quick. Here's another link to my good friend Dan's blog site, who's currently serving in Iraq. Wish him a happy birthday, he's 25 now. If I know him, he's probably thwarting policy in all sorts of ways & getting into all kinds of mischief but still getting the job done. Have a good long listen to some Blue Train or some Nashville Skyline today, Brother Dan, knowing that all sorts of people are appreciative of your efforts.

Speaking of Nashville Skyline, it was playing on the turntable yesterday at my cousin Matt's graduation party yesterday. I'll not talk about all of his accomplishments or scholarships because I hear he's got plenty of them, & I don't know what most of them are. I will say that he's got a great record collection, which in my opinion, is a good companion to a higher education that he'll be embarking upon soon. He's also already read On the Road before he's turned 18, a book that tells you all kinds of things you need to know about the world & all kinds of things you probably shouldn't. He's well on his way, methinks.

At the party, I of course saw Opa. Opa's usually more excited to see Christie, understandably, but today he was excited to give me something. He pulls out a Cool Whip container with a signed baseball from the great Charlie Gehringer, second baseman for the Detroit Tigers in the thirties. I knew the name, & I knew that he played for the Tigers World Series Championship team in '35 but I mistakenly thought that he was a catcher, forgetting about another Tiger great Mickey Cochrane who played the position. Charlie Gehringer played second. It was another in a series of great memories Opa has given me with the game of baseball. We used to play on the farm, & he taught me how to better catch fly balls by throwing the ball up on the roof of the barn & waiting for it to come down. I went to my first game with Opa & my dad, when the Tigers played the Milwaukee Brewers in 1986 & Johnny Grubb hit a home run. I also went to my first game at Comerica Park with Opa. He used to come to alot of my little league games & give me pointers. My dad always used to tell me that Opa could've made it to the majors if only he could run better, & I used to always tell my friends that. When Oma & Opa used to go to Florida for Spring Training they'd always bring me back autographs from the players. Thanks Opa, if you read this, this is an incredible gift.

Christie & I rode to the party with my old man. We drove past Opa's house & all of the other family members who used to live on the ridge. This is always a great drive for me to listen to my dad tell stories about the people who lived there, especially with Christie with me.

Finally, I spent the rest of my trip to the east side with Heidi & her family at her house. It was Quinn's fifth birthday earlier in the week. The sun came out just in time for us to play on the swing set & on the sidewalk. It's fun to watch the kids in their own little habitat. Heidi suggested that we go to a vegetarian restaurant in Ann Arbor called Seva. I thought this to be an undeserved luxury seeing as how I'm the only vegetarian in the family. When I got there, though, I was in heaven. I don't usually expect too many vegetarian options when I go to restaurants, & am usually happy if there are a couple of options. I didn't know what to do when the whole menu was vegetarian. I apologized to Scott, an avid carnivore, but he assured me that he'd eat anything, which is true. If they had such a place around here I'd be fat & broke. The major highlight of the evening was driving Quinn to the restaurant, though. We got him to say hi to everyone we passed by who was in hearing distance. It doesn't sound like much, but it was hilarious. I've never heard Quinn talk as much as he did in the car, & it's a blast seeing how his personality is taking shape. He's quite the funny little guy.

Well, I found out that Christie gets out of work early today, so we're going for a hike & to the beach. I hope it's as beautiful where you are today as it is here. Mid-seventies & sunny.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Cross the Green Mountain-Bob Dylan, Gods & Generals Soundtrack

Une Annee Sans Lumiere-Arcade Fire, Funeral

Muddy Hymnal-Iron & Wine, the Creek Drank the Cradle

Wide River to Cross-Buddy Miller, Universal United House of Prayer

Ramblin' Round Your City-Woody Guthrie

Have a good week, friends...


p.s. all the pictures were lifted from other websites. by the by, i'm sure this is as close as opa will ever get to a vegetarian restaurant :).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Name me someone that's not a parasite & I'll go out & say a prayer for him...

It was one of those days at work today where around every turn there was another fire that had to be put out. I've seen just about everything that can happen in a paint store, so I try not to get rattled by problems, but when they are over & over again it gets to you. Oh well, I think we'll still be in business tomorrow.

There was a few positives from the day, however. One was that we were extremely busy & that at the end of the day we could still laugh about the things that went on. Second, was that I got a gift from a customer that consisted of fresh asparagus, morel mushrooms & three bean salad. He's a big hunter & fisherman, but he can appreciate my vegetarian ways. I just ate my meal, it was delicious. I've never had morel mushrooms before, & they were better than I imagined.

Third is that I'm sitting down & listening to one of the greatest rock & roll albums of all time, currently, Blonde on Blonde from Bob Dylan in 1966. I go back & forth on which album is better, Highway 61 Revisited or Blonde on Blonde, & usually the vote goes to Highway 61, but tonight the winner is Blonde on Blonde. It's Bob's first album to incorporate some pop sensibilities to it, just listen to I Want You. He really brought all the forms together with this album: pop, folk, blues & rock & roll, all with lyrics that will never be touched in songwriting. Right now, I'm listening to Visions of Johanna, a song whose meaning is difficult to discern. Maybe there's no meaning at all, but it sure does paint one hell of a picture.

The poem, a faraway ellipsis, trots
prefatorially. The poem as wits, as
a wily pirate's raft. The poem a loss.
The poem is pi, a software astrally
lawless. The poem is a patriot fray,
a wry separatist. Lo, the poem fails.
Say the poem is spatial art, flower
stairway o'er pitfalls. The poem as
leaf-rot, the solipsism, a war (type A)
Mars' way. All of the poets praise it:
the powem plows fatalities, arrays
ires. The poem is play, a straw float.
Pray sit. The poem, waterfall oasis,
lists. The poem parrots a life away.
The poem awaits, falters prosily, a
wary foal. The poem, a satire, splits.
The poem a writer's apostasy. I fall
for the poem's salsa, partiality.
We rail away--the poem stops, lifts ear
The poem is a self portrait always.

--Kevin McFadden

Great paintings shouldn't be in museums. Have you ever been in a museum? Museums are cemeteries. Paintings should be on the walls of restaurants, in dime stores, in gas stations, in men's rooms. Great paintings should be where people hang out. The only thing where it's happening is on radio & records, that's where people hang out. YOu can't see great paintings. You pay half a million & hang one in your house & one guest sees it. That's not art. That's a shame, a crime. Music is the only thing that's in tune with what's happening. It's not in book form, it's not on the stage. All this art they've been talking about is non-existent. It just remains on the shelf. It doesn't make anyone happier. Just think how many people would really feel great if they could see a Picasso in their daily diner. It's not the bomb that has to go, man, it's the museums.

--Bob Dylan interview with Nora Ephron

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Visions of Johanna-Bob Dylan, Blonde on Blonde

This song is a series of knockout punches, starting with the opening line...

Ain't it just like the night to play tricks when you're trying to be so quiet?

Sooner or Later (One of us Must know)-Bob Dylan, Blonde on Blonde

Gospel-Charlie Sexton

I'm Going on a Long Journey Never to Return-T Bone Burnett

Dead Man's Will-Iron & Wine

Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands-Bob Dylan, Blonde on Blonde

Happy Tuesday, friends...


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Kind of Blue

Well, friends. It's that time of the week again, Sunday evening & I have to go back to work again tomorrow morning at 7:00 am. How am I going to spend the last hour of the weekend before I go to bed? Well, I have one of the greatest jazz albums of all time playing in the background, Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.

Now, I don't consider myself a jazz expert by any stretch of the imagination. I have no idea what key they're playing in, I don't know which cats played on which sessions, I didn't even know until recently that Kind of Blue was recorded somewhat out of key. I only have a modest collection, some Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday & several others, but until I complete my Miles Davis collection, I don't know how much I'll broaden my horizons. I only have one friend who's really interested in jazz, little Dan, & he pointed out to me that the greatness of Miles was due to the fact that he didn't have to outplay everybody else to get his sound across. Not only did he allow for his bandmates to shine, but he also allowed for the brilliant silence that can occur between the notes you play. Sometimes greatness comes from what you don't play, as opposed to filling every waking second of a song with a superfluous note.

Speaking of blues, I finally painted the bathroom after Mike & I did some extensive drywall repair a few weeks ago. The color was originally a lighter blue, which I was quite proud of. However, I felt as though it would be a waste doing all that work to repaint it the same color, so I went four or five shades deeper blue. It looks ace, save for the one time I tagged the ceiling, which I'll repair tomorrow. For the record, Duration Home tinted with envirotoner tint makes for the best interior paint money can buy (you can't get it everywhere, it's a little trick that you can only get in Grand Haven).

I want to put framed albums of Miles' Kind of Blue & Joni Mitchell's Blue in there, but it might look silly.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

All Blues-Miles Davis, Kind of Blue

Blue in Green-Miles Davis, Kind of Blue

It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)-Bob Dylan, Amsterdam 2007

A Case of You-Joni Mitchell, Blue

Highwater (for Charley Patton)-Bob Dylan, Amsterdam 2007

Have a good week, friends...


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Some are Mathematicians, some are truckdriver's wives...I don't know how it all got started I don't know what they're doin' with they're lives...

When the phone rings at work, I always ask who it is, not to avoid undesirable callers (although sometimes I'd like to), but just to get an idea of what I might be dealing with so I can prepare myself.

Today I got a phone call from a name I hadn't heard in years, & it took me a while to realize where I knew the name from. It was an old friend from high school calling about the upcoming 10 year Reunion. I knew that 10 years was about to pass since my high school graduation, but I had no idea of whether or not there'd be any kind of reunion or not. I don't wake up everyday & wonder what happened to all the people I went to school with, but every now & then I think about it. I don't sit back & romanticize how great I remember high school to be. Some of it was fun. Some of it wasn't fun.

I have a confession to make. I hated running. I have maybe run 6 times since I graduated high school. I don't necessarily regret running track & cross country, well maybe I do, but I wonder how things might've been different had I played a different sport, or none at all. The only other extracurricular activities I remember were drama & the yearbook staff & those didn't appeal to me, now or then. Oh well.

If I go to the reunion, I'm sure not to greatly impress anybody with my profession, although I like it & enjoy it. I don't think I've become better looking since I graduated high school. I'll probably impress people with my hot younger girlfriend, but other than that, I think people turn out to be what they always were to begin with. I'm not a whole lot different than I was in high school, I still like doing most of the same activities that I used to like to do. My political views are a little different, but I'm not sure I had any real political views in high school, maybe just regurgitating things I've heard from others. I never figured I'd turn into a vegetarian, but other than that, I think I turned out kinda like I expected.

It's fun to think about, & then forget about for another ten years...

p.s. It's good to know Mr. Weier is still on the payroll. He's the best teacher that place ever had, but that's another post for another day.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Gates of Eden-Bob Dylan, Stockholm Sweden, 2000

Jokerman-Bob Dylan, Hammersmith, 2003

This performance never fails to give me the chills. The album version, from 1983 is okay, but it's rather stale. The song comes to life in this arrangement with this band, however. Whatever vocal abilities Dylan lacks at this age he makes up for it in expressiveness & phrasing. He's got the voice that old blues guys would call that coffin closing sound, especially as he ends each line. It's performances like this that make me go see the old man every time he plays nearby.

It's a shadowy world, skies are slippery gray,
A woman just gave birth to a prince today and dressed him in scarlet.
He'll put the priest in his pocket, put the blade to the heat,
Take the motherless children off the street
And place them at the feet of a harlot.
Oh, Jokerman, you know what he wants,
Oh, Jokerman, you don't show any response.

Praying at the Old Camp Ground-Mississippi John Hurt

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

Blind Hope-Son Volt, Wide Swing Tremolo

Happy Wednesday, friends...


Monday, May 14, 2007

Please Tell My Mother I Miss Her the Most...

Happy Mother's day, a day late. From her blog, it looks like she had a good day. I wish I could've been there, although we had a great time at Christie's mother's house. My mother's never been one who needs to call attention to herself, anyway. I'll say this about her, anyway, she's transitioned into Grandmotherhood very gracefully. She appears to have more energy & zeal now as she ever has. It makes me excited to see that gray hair of hers.

Speaking of mothers, keep Christie's grandma in your prayers, she's having heart troubles. Thankfully she's out of intensive care, but she needs the heart medicine to work.

In honor of Mother's day, for your viewing pleasure, is a performance of a song my mother likes from a couple of dorky old dudes...

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Grandpa was a Carpenter-John Prine

Love Sick-Bob Dylan, Grand Rapids, 2001

No Depression-Uncle Tupelo, No Depression

John Saw that Number-Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

This Wheel's on Fire-Bob Dylan, Poughkeepsie, 2004

Happy Monday, friends...


Thursday, May 10, 2007

No Cars, Go!

This week's been incredibly busy with all sorts of little adventures. Whenever I've got a full schedule like this I often feel as though I'm forgetting about something else I'm supposed to be doing or wondering if I would be having a better time if I had no plans at all. I usually know the answer to that one.

Monday-I worked all day...Christie & I cooked dinner & Jr & Debbie came over to watch the Pistons game.

Tuesday-Worked most of the day, was supposed to get out early, but you know how it goes. Afterwards I broke in my new GPS unit with a couple of caches. The first cache took me to Pidgeon Creek Park (a great place to hike, by the way) where I found it easily. The second cache took me to a not so well known beach on Lake Michigan south of town. It was a beautiful night for a walk, although I couldn't find the cache. It was a great view.

Wednesday-We have a complaint going through work (for the record, it's not our fault, but you have to take care of things anyway) on a deck overlooking the Grand River. To resolve the complaint, I hired Mark to strip & stain it. However, we found out that his usual method of stripping decks wasn't going to work on it. I went to take a look at it & we decided it was going to be alot more work than we planned on. So, I had one of those moments where I wonder what the hell am I doing, but deep down know that I'm doing the right thing. I went & changed my clothes & we went to work stripping the deck all afternoon. My neck is extremely red & my back is kind of sore. When the customer came home he was ecstatic with how nice the deck looked & he was surprised that I was there helping. The only downfall was that in the midst of working I knocked my phone off of it's holster into the river. Of course, like an idiot I went in after thinking I could save it, so I was wet from the knees down the rest of the afternoon. Oh well, all in the line of duty. The phone doesn't work, by the way. Hopefully my new one shows up tomorrow.

Thursday-Extremely busy at work (I'm glad it wasn't that way yesterday while I was stripping a deck without a phone) & my boss was in town. We had two employees out making deliveries all morning while I stayed at the store. I was hoping they'd make it back in time for my dentist appointment, which they did. Fillings filled, mouth numbed...Back to work for a while & off to golf, where I shot very well, better than my score indicates.

Now, what lies ahead of me is a wet burrito from Prueblo's & a Pistons game.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Come Away With Me-Norah Jones,

Hers was the voice comforting me through the high pitched screams of the dentist's tools today. Thank you, Norah.

No Cars Go-Arcade Fire, Neon Bible

Like a Rolling Stone-Bob Dylan, Hamburg 2007

Anti-Christ Television Blues-Arcade Fire, Neon Bible

I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine-Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding

Happy Thursday, friends...


Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Merry Month of May

It's a beautiful day outside, never mind the clouds, the sun'll be shining soon. I've posted some pictures of my fair little city (I didn't take them, of course).

Just as I was about to grab my cd player & go for a walk, I got a phone call from a customer. Of course, I have the day off, & the two that are working could've handled it, but I figured I'm only a couple of miles away so I went in. Christie hates it when I go into work on my day off, probably for good reason. I don't know what it is, but if I go in for just a few minutes on a day off I have a little better feeling about things. It's not that I don't trust the others when I'm not there, far on the contrary, I have great employees, it's just the way it is.

Now that that's over with, I think I'll grab a seat outside with a cup of coffee & a magazine, enjoy the flowers & wait for Christie to get here so we can head up north to see Dan & Kelly in Ludington. It should be fun.

In other news, Junior is now a college graduate & a resident of Grand Haven. The town is very excited to have him, well, me at least.

I think I posted this poem last year, but it's worth repeating, methinks...

The Month of May

by Wendy Cope

The Month of May, the merry month of May,
So long awaited, and so quickly past.
The winter's over, and it's time to play.

I saw a hundred shades of green today
And everything that Man made was outclassed.
The month of May, the merry month of May.

Now hello pink & white & farewell grey.
My spirits are no longer overcast.
The winter's over & it's time to play.

Sing fa la la la la, I dare to say,
(Tried being modern but it didn't last)
The month of May, the merry month of May.

I don't know how much longer I can stay.
The summers come, the summers go so fast,
And soon there will be no more time to play.

So carpe diem, gather buds, make hay.
The world is glorious, Compare, contrast
December with the merry month of May.
Now is the time, now is the time to play.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Love Comes to Me-Bonnie "Prince" Billy, The Letting Go

Poor Places-Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Blind Hope-Son Volt, Wide Swing Tremolo

Bridges & Balloons-Joanna Newsom, the Milk Eyed Mendor

Bob Lee Junior Blues-Memphis Jug Band

Happy fifth of May, friends!


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