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

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Maybe the sun will shine today...

Maybe it's the constant snow that keeps on coming every day for the last week or so or the meeting I had to sit through all day but I had that song Wait for the Light to Shine by Hank Williams stuck in my head all day long. It's a great little song-they don't write 'em like that anymore. I couldn't find one of Hank's versions, but this one's pretty good anyway...

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Wait for the Light to Shine-Hank Williams

Musical Key-the Cowboy Junkies, Lay it Down

Girl of the North Country-Bob Dylan, Avignon 1981

You Bowed Down-Elvis Costello, All This Useless Beauty

Angel Mine-The Cowboy Junkies, Lay it Down

Happy Thursday, neighbors!


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I'm hungry & I'm irritable

I'm sitting here at the computer waiting for 5 copies of a thirty page reports to print, the same reports that will be quickly glanced over & tossed aside by my boss to print. I spent the past two days working on it knowing full well that if it's done well he'll be able to tell by looking at the first couple of pages & ignore the rest. If it's not done well, he'll ask a ton of questions about it. It's 9:30 & I want to eat, but I like to enjoy my food & I won't be able to until this is done. I just got back from Staples for another cartridge only to get back & see that they gave me the wrong one. I'm not going back out there.

By the way, when lexmark tells you the toner cartridge is low, they are exaggerating how low it is by about 200%, which is good news tonight...

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Seeing the Real You at Last-Bob Dylan, Poughkeepsie 2004

This is the perfect show to listen to during this futile exercise. Those that say Bob Dylan has a horrible voice would poke their ears out listening to this. Gone is the trademark wheeze that people use to annoyingly imitate him, all that's left is an angry bark that fits these songs to a tee. It's as though Bob woke up that morning & realized his voice was shot to hell & said "screw it" & sang with fire & brimstone with what was left of it. It's pure razor blade throated whiskey gargling maddening beauty.

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

The way he shouts FIRE at the end of the refrain refrain is perfect onomatopoeia, it sounds as though he's belching fire.

Highwater (for Charley Patton)-Bob Dylan, Poughkeepsie 2004

If he ever wanted to sound like Charley Patton, he achieves it here.

Ballad of a Thin Man-Poughkeepsie, 2004

Don't procrastinate, friends!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Ain't a That Good News!

The good news?

Brother Dan's out of Iraq. Word is he's in Kuwait soon to head out to the states. I can't wait to see him, wierdo that he is. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in some foreign place of danger for a year away from family & the million little comforts of home that we take for granted every day, but he did it & he can be proud of it for the rest of his life. He's got a beefy armed marmot to come home to as well.

Kevin Davis' new album dropped in my mail box today. These are always unexpected surprises. These homemade little recordings are filled with such clever, funny, heartaching, ironic bittersweet songs, each one different from the last but tied together in some sort of thread.

There's only 98 days until Christie & I get married (I get the update about once a week on how many days it is). If you told me two years ago that I'd be getting married I'd have called you drunk & when you told me that I'd know how many days it would be until said marriage I would have kicked you in the shin. I think I got myself a real peach of a gal.

The bad news? Bad news sucks, I got none.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

The Rookie-Kevin Davis, The Great Plains

You Can't Untip a Waitress-Kevin Davis, The Great Plains

The Rookie-Kevin Davis, The Great Plains

Epilogue-Kevin Davis, The Great Plains

A Man Alone-Kevin Davis, The Great Plains

Happy Monday, friends...


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

If there's an original thought out there, I could use it right now!

As Christie will tell you, I get annoyed by certain words. It could be the sound of them, but I think it has more to do with the misuse or overuse of them. Today, on my ride home I was annoyed, & not by the white out blizzard conditions I was driving in, the ridiculously large SUV's swerving past me at 90 miles an hour or the morons who put on their hazard lights. No, I was annoyed by the fact that I couldn't listen to one of my favorite radio programs "Marketplace" without thinking about the 7,896 times the word marketplace was used during my meetings last week. You can't go through one of these business meetings without hearing "talking points" or "spin" as the news channels like to say. During one meeting, I was rather bored so I decided to start writing down unique words that the speakers would say that were not repeated more than a few times. I couldn't fill a page. Here are some of the biggest offenders:

an excellent product to take to your customers
excellent color & gloss retention
burnish resistant (here's a hint: any time a label uses the word resists or resistant, that means it is awful at that which it is supposed to resist)
perception is reality
disrupt the apple cart
lead generation
grow sales
price points
new product to position against your competition

I could go on forever. Sure, every profession has it's own jargon, but that doesn't mean we have to lose all handle on language & originality. Once in a while, I hear an employee of our fine company using these phrases or jargon in front of customers & it makes me cringe.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Dignity-Bob Dylan, Rochester 2004

I've Got a Feeling-The Beatles, Anthology Volume 3

You Are a Runner & I Am My Father's Son-Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary

Flamenco Sketches-Miles Davis, Kind of Blue

So Long, It's Been Good to Know You-Woody Guthrie

Choose your words, wisely, friends...


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sing Me Back Home

I'm not a crowd person. I can talk to just about anybody, but if you put me in a crowd, I'm a wallflower. I just got back from my little hoorah meeting in Dallas today & I'm incredibly happy to be home. The whole trip is like one big frat party. This trip puts me in an odd frame of mind. I realize that I don't fit in. I get along with everybody at these things & for the most part I try to be sociable but at the same time I realize that I don't belong there. I like the fact that I'm different from the crowd, but at the same time nobody likes to be an outsider. Oh well.

I do like flying, however. There's just something about hearing a harmonica solo through the headphones that takes you over the clouds.

I finally finished reading Blue Like Jazz on the plane ride home. I probably do this every time I finish a good book, but I think I may have found another favorite. It encapsulates many things I believe about Christianity & opens my eyes to new ideas & puts things in a new perspective. I want everyone in the world to read this book.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Sing Me Back Home-Merle Haggard

What Can I Do For You?-Bob Dylan, Fox Warfield 1979

The shows at the Fox Warfield in 1979 were the first concerts where Bob played Christian music. He is met with both boos & wild applause. They were some of the most impassioned concerts of his career.

Black-Pearl Jam, Live on Two Legs

It Must've Been the Roses-The Grateful Dead, Dick's Picks Vol 17

When He Returns-Bob Dylan, Massey Hall 1980

You Are My Face-Wilco, Sky Blue Sky

Happy Thursday, friends, it's good to be home...


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Of war & peace the truth just twists...

It's pretty ominous over there, sitting on the table. I have no immediate plans to start it anytime soon, not for a couple of weeks anyway. I'm kind of nervous about it, as though it might swallow me up & spit me out.

I'm talking about the book War & Peace that Christie bought me for Christmas. I've always wanted to read it ever since I read The Death of Ivan Illyich, also by Tolstoy. The problem is, War & Peace is literally about 10 times longer than The Death of Ivan Illyich. Maybe I'll have to read that one as a warm-up. That one is everything I'd like to teach somebody about life but don't have the time to.

I haven't done too well with books lately, maybe it's the internet or television that keeps me from sinking into a good book & not coming out until it's done. I hope my attention span isn't waning.

No Time

In a rush this weekday morning,
I tap the horn as I speed past the cemetery
where my parents are buried
side by side under a smooth slab of granite.

Then, all day long, I think of him rising up
to give me that look
of knowing disapproval
while my mother calmly tells him to lie back down.

Billy Collins, 2002

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

No Place to Fall-Townes Van Zandt

Nightswimming-REM, Automatic for the People

Oh Sister-Bob Dylan, Desire

Epistrophy-Thelonious Monk & John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall

For the Sake of the Song-Townes Van Zandt

Happy Wednesday, friends...


Monday, January 07, 2008

Onward in my journey, I come to understand...

Hello, friends. The song of the month this is Every Grain of Sand by Bob Dylan. It is the closing song off of the album Shot of Love from 1981, the last of three overtly Christian albums.

Every Grain of Sand

In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath my feet flood every newborn seed
There's a dyin' voice within me reaching out somewhere,
Toiling in the danger and in the morals of despair.

Don't have the inclination to look back on any mistake,
Like Cain, I now behold this chain of events that I must break.
In the fury of the moment I can see the Master's hand
In every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand.

Oh, the flowers of indulgence and the weeds of yesteryear,
Like criminals, they have choked the breath of conscience and good cheer.
The sun beat down upon the steps of time to light the way
To ease the pain of idleness and the memory of decay.

I gaze into the doorway of temptation's angry flame
And every time I pass that way I always hear my name.
Then onward in my journey I come to understand
That every hair is numbered like every grain of sand.

I have gone from rags to riches in the sorrow of the night
In the violence of a summer's dream, in the chill of a wintry light,
In the bitter dance of loneliness fading into space,
In the broken mirror of innocence on each forgotten face.

I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there's someone there, other times it's only me.
I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand.

Copyright © 1981 Special Rider Music

Like many of Bob Dylan's songs, it recognizes opposites sides of everything. Even in the midst of the faith we've been given, our sinful nature causes us to doubt. I don't know of any other song that can be so changed by one lyric change. The album version shows a bit of despair, "I am hanging in the balance, of the reality of man". Every live version I've ever heard turns things around, "I'm hanging in the balance of a perfect finish plan." I don't think I like the song with the original lyrics, with the lyric change it's a masterpiece. I've been lucky enough to see this song live twice, & it was a highlight of each show. In fact, I can't think of one live version I don't like. Emmylou Harris sang the song at Johnny Cash's funeral.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Most Likely (You'll Go Your Way & I'll Go Mine)-Bob Dylan, Boston 1994

Hallelujah-Jeff Buckley, Grace-This song came up on the ol' Ipod shuffle at work today, & somebody told me that they recognized this song from the movie Shrek. I found that to be quite shocking, I'm not sure why. Can anybody confirm this?

Every Grain of Sand-Bob Dylan, Detroit 2004

Man in the Long Black Coat-Bob Dylan, Detroit 2004

Fire on the Mountain-the Grateful Dead, Shakedown Street

Happy Monday, friends...


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Shake it Off

Happy 2008, friends. The first week of the new year was a bit of a rough one, not only with getting back into a groove after being off for a week but also with problems with employees, equipment failures & customer complaints. The week ended on a high note, however with a phone call from Brother Dan from Baghdad. He's safe & happy to be coming home early February.

He told me he was able to score us two tickets to the sold out opening night of Wilco playing at the Riviera in Chicago on February 15. Not only will it be great to see my ol' chum in Chicago with Jill & Christie, I've always wanted to see Wilco in concert. This will be the perfect time for it. Christie & I have been talking about visiting Chicago for a while, she's probably starting to wonder why the only times we ever visit another city it's always for a concert.

The day ended well after work, with a nice dinner at the DEE-Lite in downtown Grand Haven with Mike & Christie. The DEE-Lite is great for their vegetarian sandwiches, there are three options, which is about all you can expect from a restaurant.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

I Don't Need You (to set me free)-Grinderman

Easy Money-Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Abattoir Blues Tour 2004

Supernaturally-Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Abattoir Blues Tour 2004

Is it Wicked Not to Care?-Belle & Sebastian, The Boy with the Arab Strap

Good Year for the Roses-George Jones

Happy Saturday, friends...


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