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

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. There's not much new to report, here. Work is done for four days & I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself. I'll probably hang some lights outside & whatever Christie wants done around the house. Tonight is Grumpy Old Men night, Mike & I are going to watch that classic movie after the Thanksgiving get-togethers are over. We will try our whole soul best to talk Christie into being an honorary Grumpy Old Man, but we'll see if she's interested or not.

Tomorrow marks the one day of the year Christie gets up earlier than I. By the end of the day today, Christie & her mother with purses full of coupons will have their battle plans marked out for the Friday after Thanksgiving Massacre of Shopping. They'll be out on the road by 4 am & home by 12:00.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Long Black Veil-Johnny Cash & Joni Mitchell

We Praise Thee, Oh God, Our Redeemer Creator

Thanksgiving Day Parade-Dan Bern

Helpless-Neil Young & the Band, The Last Waltz

Alice's Restaurant-Arlo Guthrie

Happy Thanksgiving, friends & eat my shorts...


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Take what you need you think will last...

Happy Thursday, friends. Conversation about all kinds of things start up at work both with fellow employees & with customers. I try my best to stay out of politics (with customers anyway) unless someone asks my opinion. Everybody seems to have an opinion about what is wrong with the economy & what the government should do to fix it. I'm not sure there is a right or a wrong answer to this question. The only answer that seems correct to me comes from my youngest employee, 20 year old Jeff. He deftly opined that the cause of all of this is greed. We are a country that wants what it can't have & does any number of despicable things to get them. I can't think of too many people who are exempt from this disease, if any. Maybe they'll vote no on greed.

Here's one of my favorite poems, it's a bit long but worth every second. It's one of two poems that got me interested in poetry. I don't think I've been the same since the first time I'd heard this.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Dear Mrs Roosevelt-Woody Guthrie

The Big Three Killed My Baby-The White Stripes

War on War-Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Hey Joe-Jimi Hendrix

Little Green-Joni Mitchell, Blue

Happy Thursday, friends...


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

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

The sentiment of this poem could be applied to any number of things in life. For me, there are books that remain unread on my shelves, cd's that hardly get heard & yes, outdoor chairs that hardly ever get sat in. Christie often reminds me of the book she bought me for Christmas last year that I still haven't started, War & Peace. Hopefully I never have a dog I don't pet or a wife I never speak to.

The Chairs That No One Sits In

You see them on porches & on lawns
down by the lakeside,
usually arranged in pairs implying a couple

who might sit there & look out
at the water or the big shade trees.
The trouble is you never see anyone

sitting in these forlorn chairs
though at one time it must have seemed
a good place to stop & do nothing for a while.

Sometimes there is a little table
between the chairs where no one
is resting a glass or placing a book facedown.

It might be none of my business,
but it might be a good idea one day
for everyone who placed those vacant chairs

on a veranda or a dock to sit down in them
for the sake of remembering
whatever it was they thought deserved

to be viewed from two chairs
side by side with a table in between.
The clouds are high & massive that day.

The woman looks up from her book.
The man takes a sip of his drink.
Then there is nothing but the sound of their looking,

the lapping of lake water, & a call of one bird
then another, cries of joy or warning--
it passes the time to wonder which.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Boots of Spanish Leather-Bob Dylan, Hamburg 2003

Desolation Row-Bob Dylan, Wembley 2003

Shooting Star-Zurich, 2003

Tom Sawyer's Later Years-Kevin Davis

Lost Highway-Hank Williams

Christie's watching the Country Music Awards this evening & I'm reminded of the fact that Hank Williams was stripped of his membership to the Grand Ole' Opry. If Hank Williams doesn't belong in the Grand Ole' Opry no one does.

Happy Wednesday, friends...


Monday, November 10, 2008

Today is my mother's birthday, & since I have only a few pictures of her without me in it on my hard drive, I've posted some pictures I think she'd appreciate.

I now have the dubious distinction of being half as old as my mother. I'm no math genius but I'm pretty sure that can happen only once. That must mean that she was 29 when she had me. I don't know what the significance of all that is, other than the fact that I have no kids. Maybe the fact that I'm half as old as she is explains the uncontrollable urge to play scrabble & to go for a drive for no particular reason.

Happy Birthday, mom. We miss you & we love you.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Ballad of a Thin Man-Bob Dylan, Kalamazoo 11.8.08

Thunder on the Mountain-Bob Dylan, Kalamazoo 11.8.08

People Get Ready-Curtis Mayfield

Freddy's Dead-Curtis Mayfield

See that My Grave is Kept Clean-Blind Willie Johnson

Happy Monday, friends...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Keep the Car Running

There's very few things that will keep me up past midnight, especially on a work night. It's also a rare occasion where a Bob Dylan concert is not the highlight of the week, but both of these were the case this week. I stayed awake long enough to watch Barack Obama quote the great Sam Cooke song, A Change is Gonna Come. It was the biggest piece of history we've witnessed since the start of the Iraq war or perhaps September 11. I'm not ashamed to admit that I got goosebumps more than once watching the events of the election unfold.

I guess it's easy to get swept up in all the excitement & rhetoric to believe that this won't be politics as usual. T Bone Burnett wrote not too long ago:

presidents come & presidents go
they rise like smoke & fall like snow
'do you believe the things you say?
you're lofty thoughts are filled with hay
what is this faith that you profess?
that led to this colossal mess?
When you awaken from this coma
you'll find you were in Oklahoma
When you come out of this self-delusion
you're gonna need a soul transfusion.

It's also easy to be such a cynic to believe that nothing can change. Maybe it's no mistake that a president's mistakes are remembered more than his successes. Maybe it's a self fulfilling prophecy. One of the most patriotic things I can do is to keep an eye on Barack Obama's doings over the next four years & look for reasons not to vote for him the next time around. The most patriotic thing that you who did not vote for him can do is to look for the positives as reasons why you might want to re-elect him in four years. Maybe we'll meet somewhere in the middle & something might get done.

I look at it as though five of us are collectively purchasing a car. The cars we have to choose from fit some of our needs, others not as much. Maybe the best car to choose from has things we don't like about it. After we've handed over our money it's ours & we've got to live with it whether it was our first choice or not. The better we maintain it, the better it works for us, but we still have to ultimately decide whether it will safely get us where we want to go. If not, we'll have to get rid of it & get us a new one. Okay, it's a stretch, but it's the best I can do for now.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Goin' to Acapulco-Jim James & Calexico, I'm Not There Soundtrack

Palestine, Texas-T Bone Burnett, The True False Identity

There She Goes, My Beautiful World-Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, The Abattoir Blues Tour 2004

Blowin' in the Wind-Bob Dylan, University of Minnesota, November 4, 2008

Keep the Car Running-The Arcade Fire, Neon Bible

Happy Thursday, friends...


Monday, November 03, 2008

the loser now will be later to win...

I'm sure I'm not the only blogger in the world to reference the song "The Times They Are a Changin'" today or tomorrow. A great song transcends the time frame & the circumstances for which it was written. This performance is from 1981 on one of Bob Dylan's gospel tours. The song is not out of place when seen through the lense of Bob Dylan's conversion to Christianity. It's a bit corny to think of this song the day before an election, but I can't help it.

I know it's cliche, but I truly believe that tomorrow's election is the most important of my lifetime. I believe that one of the positives that will come out of the past eight years is that the citizens of this country will no longer be passive about what their government is doing. There is too much at stake for the future of this country & in people's lives to sit idly by without taking an active interest in what's going on. A lady I work with told me that at 60 years old, this is the first election she has ever voted in. Another gentlemen told me that even though he is kind of "racist" he can't help but vote for Barack Obama.

Here's why I'm voting for Barack Obama.

He opposed the war from the start when it wasn't politically beneficial for him to do so & he wants to bring the war in Iraq to a close.

He is respected throughout the world & will restore our broken reputation. He sees a value in communicating with our enemies, knowing full well that it is easier to speak ill or do harm to someone when you don't have to look them in the eye.

He has pragmatic, holistic solutions to this country's ills. The environment, our economy, our infrastructure & our national security are all intertwined.

He doesn't shine a light on or hide from his race. He doesn't see things in black & white, literally or figuratively.

He's willing to be honest with people about the sacrifices they may have to make & about the fate of the economy.

He has no major ties to lobbyists or corporations.

He gives intelligent, well thought out answers to hard questions & sees both sides of issues.

He instills hope in people, & doesn't use fear as a campaign tactic.

He believes that everyone who wants it should have health care, & I believe he'll do everything he can to make sure they can get it.

His economic policy favors the middle class rather than large corporations.

He has run an honest & an honorable campaign that isn't based around negative attacks on his opponent.

I'm excited to cast my vote tomorrow.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

The Times They Are a Changin'-Bob Dylan, Avignon 1981

Evil Urges-My Morning Jacket

It Makes No Difference-The Band, the Last Waltz

A Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall-Bob Dylan, Brixton 2003

Anthem-Leonard Cohen, The Future

Happy election day, friends...


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About Me

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