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

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Sunday Smile

Friday's nice, the last day of the work week, that is unless you have to work Saturday's. Saturday is nice, but there's too much pressure put on Saturday, either to have a great time or to get something accomplished. If I don't get something accomplished on a Saturday, I feel kind of guilty. Me, I'm a Sunday man.

Let me tell you how my average Sunday goes. It may sound boring to you, but to me, it's perfect. I wake up somewhere between 6:30 & 8:00 & I get ready for church. I let the dog out, make some coffee (coffee always tastes better on a Sunday morning) & I'll either putz around on the computer or watch television for an hour or so. I'll either catch up on reruns of "Spectacle, Elvis Costello with..." or I'll watch the Sunday morning news programs, my personal favorites are Meet the Press (although it's not quite the same since Tim Russert passed) & Reliable Sources. Around 9:00 or so, I grab the dog & plan a stealth attack for waking Christie up. I'll drop the dog right around Christie's face so that he licks her until she wakes up. I'll grab her coffee & then go back to whatever television show I was watching.

10:30 church starts. I hate to say it, but we're those people that always show up about one minute before the service starts. From there, it's on to breakfast. We switch back & forth between the Wharf Pavillion & the Morningstar. The Wharf is faster & more inexpensive but the food isn't quite as fancy as the Morningstar. Each place has it's charm. From there, we usually go to the Bookman & pick up a magazine or two.

Sunday afternoon is hardly ever planned out. Many times we'll talk about doing something substantial, but we usually end up sitting around the house. Lately, Christie has had a lot of homework to do, which leaves me to read, play video games, take the dog for a walk or find some documentaries to watch on television. In the summer, we'll go for a walk on the pier or downtown with the dog. Sometimes we'll go shopping. Dinner on Sunday evenings is always at home, nothing special. Christie usually watches Desperate Housewives on Sunday evenings, in which case I'll either read or listen to tunes in the other room. I'll usually go to bed around 10:00 or so.

Some great discoveries have been made on Sundays. I took a walk in downtown Grand Rapids about 9 years ago in the wintertime & stumbled upon Vertigo Records. When I lived in Grand Rapids, I'd usually save my trips to Vertigo for Sunday. My friends & I used to have a tradition of going to New Beginnings restuarant on Sunday mornings until we wised up & discovered Wolfgangs or the Sundance Grill. Going back further to when I was a kid I remember going to bed & listening to the Mitch Albom show on WJR on Sunday nights. It was at that point that I learned to enjoy the last few hours before Monday came around.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Godspeed-Jenny Lewis, Acid Tongue

Bridges & Balloons-Joanna Newsom, The Milk Eyed Mendor

On Eagle's Wings-Hymn

The Tracks of My Tears-Smokey Robinson

Uphill Mountain-Jackie Greene, Giving Up the Ghost

Happy Sunday, friends...


Friday, February 20, 2009

We're all in this together

There's too much depressing news lately. Here's some songs that might put things in perspective. If there's something bad about the internet (I'm sure there's plenty) it's that it is so much easier to post a link to an article or a video than to say something original, but when in Rome, right?

Jenny Lewis-Sing a Song for Them

If you sing a song, sing a song for them
If you sing a song, sing the song for them
For the bats and belfry and the fairies on Main Street
For the deadbeat daddies and the Boulevard freaks
For the little girls with the carousel eyes
And the brick-a-brak finding housewives, losing their minds

Sing the song for them, if you sing a song
Sing the song for them
If you sing a song, sing the song for them

To the never-made-its, and the unrecognized
To the alley rats and the tenement flies
To the weekend tweakers, the blond and the blind
To the ex-thrill seekers in the methadone lines

Sing the song for them
If you sing a song, sing the song for them

To who you are, and will never be
To the shaking hand of the maker we’re all going to meet
Sing the song for them
If you sing a song, sing the song for them

Old Crow Medicine Show-Lift Him Up

When a man has got the blues and feels discouraged
And has nothing else but trouble all his life
But he's just an honest man like any other
Living in a world that's tearing at his mind
If he's sick and tired of life and takes to drinking
Do not pass him by don't greet him with a frown
Do not fail to lend your hand and try to help him
Always lift him up and never knock him down

If he stays out late at night because he's troubled
Or because his home is not what it should be
Have a smile for him wherever you might meet him
It will help him find the right way don't you see
If he gambles when he's in the town or city
Tell him what he ought to do to win the round
Do not fail to lend your hand to show him pity
Always lift him up and never knock him down

If he has no friends and everything's against him
If he's failed in everything he has tried
Try to lift his load and help him bear his burden
Let him know that you are walking by his side
If he feels that all is lost and he has fallen
Help to place this poor man's feet on solid ground
And when this world has turned its back against him
Always lift him up and never knock him down

Last but not least, this is also an Old Crow Medicine Show song, but most of you would be more willing to watch Norah Jones. This is wonderful. My mother might even like this one.

Norah Jones-We're All in This Thing Together


Well my friend, well I see your face so clearly
Little bit tired, little bit worn through the years
You sound nervous, you seem lonely
I hardly recognize your voice on the telephone

In between I remember
Just before we wound up broken down
Drive out to the edge of the highway
Follow that lonesome dead-end roadside sound

We’re all in this thing together
Walkin’ the line between faith and fear
This life don’t last forever
When you cry I taste the salt in your tears

Well my friend, let’s put this thing together
And walk the path that worn out feet have trod
If you wanted we can go home forever
Give up your jaded ways, spell your name to God


All we are is a picture in a mirror
Fancy shoes to grace our feet
All that there is is a slow road to freedom
Heaven above and the devil beneath


Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Hard Ain't It Hard-Woody Guthrie

Caroline-Old Crow Medicine Show, Tennessee Pusher

Anything I Say Can & Will Be Used Against You-T-Bone Burnett, Tooth of Crime

We're All in this Thing Together-Norah Jones

Boom Like That-Mark Knopfler, Shangri La

Maybe I'll have something to say tomorrow.


Monday, February 09, 2009

musta been the hand of the Lord...

Happy Monday, friends. It was a pretty uneventful weekend here in little old Grand Haven, which is usually how I prefer it. I did see something in church this weekend I won't soon forget. I feel like I was invading on their private moment when I saw it, but I couldn't help but watch it. There is a family in church every week that has four boys, probably ages 8-15. One of the boys is mentally challenged. It doesn't look like he can walk, speak or communicate in any way. Unfortunately, I don't know hardly anything about the family, although I overheard once that the father sacrificed something for the health of his son. During the sermon & during the prayers, the father would hold the son's hands & stroke them in such a way that seemed to me as though he was trying to pass the message on in any way he could. Perhaps this is part of their regular routine, but it was still incredibly moving. It must take an incredible amount of faith to be in their position. I can't begin to know what is in the head or heart of that kid, but maybe he knows his Lord & Savior in ways we never will.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

When You Awake-The Band, Before the Flood

You're A Big Girl Now-Bob Dylan, Hard Times in Alabama

I Will Follow You Into the Dark-Death Cab for Cutie, Plans

Oliver James-Fleet Foxes

So Real-Jeff Buckley, Grace


Monday, February 02, 2009

I don't carry dead weight, I'm no flash in the pan

Here's me stealing Sarah's idea & dorkifying it. You could probably ask me my ten favorite musicians/bands in a week & get a totally different answer but for today...

1. Bob Dylan
2. Miles Davis
3. The Velvet Underground
4. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
5. Wilco
6. Iron & Wine
7. Sufjan Stevens
8. Alejandro Escovedo
9. Bonnie "Prince" Billy
10. Patti Smith

honorable mention

woody guthrie
arlo guthrie
otis redding
marvin gaye
kevin davis
leonard cohen
the band
uncle tupelo
Vic Chesnutt
Son Volt
The Clash
Joni Mitchell
Elizabeth Cotten
The Grateful Dead
The Roots
Elvis Costello
josh ritter
van morrison
thelonious monk
john coltrane
the new pornographers
the white stripes
warren zevon
frank sinatra
johnny cash
nick drake
the drive by truckers
the decemberists
jolie holland
joanna newsom
muddy waters

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

London Calling-The Clash

Watchin' the Detectives-Elvis Costello

Grace Cathedral Hill-The Decemberists

Train in Vain-The Clash

Living Well is the Best Revenge-REM

happy monday, friends...


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Thus the world, like a jaded coquette, spurns our attempts to give ourselves to her wholly.

John Updike died this week at the age of 76. I'm far from an expert on his canon, but I would consider him one of my favorite authors. What do I like about Updike? His critics say that he wrote eloquently about nothing at all, but I would say the opposite was true. I think he could find the profound, the ugly & the beautiful in every day life & every day lives & could write about it in such a way that could illuminate the human condition. He took a workmanlike approach to writing, I remember hearing once that he went to an office everyday & wrote at least four pages. It's been a long time since I've ready any of his short stories, but I think I'll go back to them soon.


It came to me the other day:
Were I to die, no one would say,
“Oh, what a shame! So young, so full
Of promise — depths unplumbable!”

Instead, a shrug and tearless eyes
Will greet my overdue demise;
The wide response will be, I know,
“I thought he died a while ago.”

For life’s a shabby subterfuge,
And death is real, and dark, and huge.
The shock of it will register
Nowhere but where it will occur.

Endpoint & Other Poems

Ironically, I started reading Bound for Glory by Woody Guthrie this week. Woody's style couldn't be farther away from Updike, but it's beautiful all the same. This passage made the hairs on my neck stand up straight when I read it on the plane heading home from Dallas:

"My eyes closed tight, quivering till they exploded like the rain when the lightning dumped a truckload of thunder down along the train. I was whirling & floating & hugging the little runt around the belly, & my brain felt like a pot of hot lead bubbling over a flame. Who's all of these crazy men down there howling out at each other like hyenas? Are these men? Who am I? How come them here? How the hell come me here? What am I supposed to do here?

My ear flat against the tin roof soaked up some music & singing coming from down inside of the car:

This train don't carry no rustlers,
whores, pimps, or side street hustlers;
This train is bound for glory,
This train.

Can I remember? Remember back to where I was this morning? St Paul. Yes. The morning before? Bismarck, North Dakota. And the morning before that? Miles City, Montana. Weeks ago I was a piano player in Seattle.

Who's this kid? Where's he from & where's he headed for? Will he be me when he grows up? Was I like him when I was just his size? Let me remember. Let me go back. Let me get up & walk back down the road I come. This old hard rambling & hard graveling. This old chuck-luck traveling. My head ain't working right.

Where was I
Where in the hell was I?
Where was I when I was a kid? Just as far, far, far back, on back, as I can remember?
Strike, lightning, strike!
Strike, goddam you, strike!
There's lots of folks that you cain't hurt!
Strike, lightning!
See if I care!
Roar & rumble, twist & turn, the sky ain't never as crazy as the world.
Bound for glory? This train? Ha!
I wonder just where in the hell we're bound.
Rain on, little rain, rain on!
Blow on, little wind, keep blowin'!
Cause them guys is a singin' that this train is bound for glory, an' I'm gonna hug her breast till I find out where she's bound."

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

The Roving Blade-Bob Dylan, 2000

Pretty Peggy-O-Bob Dylan

She Came Along to Me-Billy Bragg, Mermaid Ave Vol I

"the women are equal & may be ahead of the men"

Another Man Done Gone-Wilco

December 1999-Jolie Holland, Catalpa

Happy reading, friends...


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About Me

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