Taking "Yes We Can!" to the Next Level…

Since President Obama’s official nomination by the Democratic party, I’ve had two thoughts:

1. I’m going to get used to calling him “President Obama” right now.

2. I want to freaking DO something…I want to help.

Today, Mr. Obama made that possible. I don’t know if all of you have heard, but he’s breaking from the established methods of raising money and is instead depending on US to help him get into office. Here’s the transcript of the video he posted on http://www.barackobama.com/:


Hi, this is Barack Obama.

I have an important announcement and I wanted all of you – the people who built this movement from the bottom-up – to hear it first. We’ve made the decision not to participate in the public-financing system for the general election. This means we’ll be forgoing more than $80 million in public funds during the final months of this election.

It’s not an easy decision, and especially because I support a robust system of public financing of elections. But the public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is broken, and we face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system. John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs. And we’ve already seen that he’s not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations.

From the very beginning of this campaign, I have asked my supporters to avoid that kind of unregulated activity and join us in building a new kind of politics – and you have. Instead of forcing us to rely on millions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs, you’ve fueled this campaign with donations of $5, $10, $20, whatever you can afford. And because you did, we’ve built a grassroots movement of over 1.5 million Americans. We’ve won the Democratic nomination by relying on ordinary people coming together to achieve extraordinary things.
You’ve already changed the way campaigns are funded because you know that’s the only way we can truly change how Washington works. And that’s the path we will continue in this general election. I’m asking you to try to do something that’s never been done before. Declare our independence from a broken system, and run the type of campaign that reflects the grassroots values that have already changed our politics and brought us this far.

If we don’t stand together, the broken system we have now, a system where special interests drown out the voices of the American people will continue to erode our politics and prevent the possibility of real change. That’s why we must act. The stakes are higher than ever, and people are counting on us.

Every American who is desperate for a fair economy and affordable healthcare, who wants to bring our troops back from Iraq. Who hopes for a better education and future for his or her child, these people are relying on us. You and me. This is our moment and our country is depending on us. So join me, and declare your independence from this broken system and let’s build the first general election campaign that’s truly funded by the American people. With this decision this campaign is in your hands in a way that no campaign has ever been before. Now is the time to act.

Thank you so much.


Just in case you don’t understand…this is HUGE. This could potentially change the way America does politics for generations to come. I now look at Mr. Obama and see and feel what must have been in the hearts of my parents’ generation when they looked toward their TV screens and John F. Kennedy looked back at them. This is a man who wants to see real change happen in this country in his lifetime. In OUR lifetime. …and he’s already started it.

So far, I’ve given $100. And it felt RIGHT. I’m the type of guy who usually has a little bit of “buyer’s-remorse” every time I spend any sum over $5.00–and sometimes even when it’s less, depending on what I bought…but I felt GREAT about giving my money to the Obama campaign. I’m helping to put the first black president into office, and more than that, I’m helping restore something to America that we’ve lost over the past eight-year-hell…

T-Shirts I Own

As many of you know, I go to a bunch of concerts. As such, I’ve bought a lot–sincerely, a LOT–of t-shirts. Since the advent of the Internet, I’ve also bought more than a couple that were not from shows–some for bands I’ve not even seen. Following is a brief, VERY incomplete list of music shirts I own… It’s just off the top of my head, so pardon any misses…and I’ve realized that I don’t have either a Pink Floyd or Pixies shirt for some reason, just incase anyone wants to get me a late birthday present.

* = I have two or more for that band.

+ = I have five or more for that band.

++ = I have 10 or more, and it’s ridiculous.

  1. The Who ++
  2. Drive-By Truckers ++
  3. Cheap Trick ++
  4. Dream Theater +
  5. Black Crowes
  6. Get Up Kids
  7. Headstones
  8. RAMONES *
  9. Iron Maiden +
  10. ALL +
  11. Misfits *
  12. Peral Jam *
  13. Descendents *
  14. KISS (unfortunately)
  15. Queensryche *
  16. Bloc Party
  17. …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead *
  18. Yes *
  19. Queen
  20. Rush +
  21. Led Zeppelin
  22. Van Halen (before it got embarassing) +
  23. Mr. Big
  24. Hank Williams III *
  25. Reverend Horton Heat *
  26. Murder by Death
  27. David Bowie
  28. Rolling Stones
  29. Frank Black
  30. Johnny Cash
  31. Willie Nelson
  32. Billy Joel *
  33. The Drams
  34. Old 97s
  35. Dropkick Murphys *
  36. Devin Townsend Band *
  37. Elton John *
  38. Sammy Hagar +
  39. Bruce Springsteen *
  40. Iggy Pop
  41. Billy Talent
  42. Spice Girls (seriously…I swear I’m not gay)
  43. Anthrax
  44. Motorhead
  45. Madison Greene
  46. George Jones

…and as I said, there’s a lot missing…

Don’t know why I thought that’d be interesting…

TRUTH, as I see it…

As I said in my last post, I only blog the truth…so here it is:

  1. Biscuits and gravy = awesome.
  2. Anything covered in Ranch = awesome.
  3. The good guys in a movie never have the coolest looking uniforms.
  4. No one cares how fast trains A or B are going, or when they’ll meet.
  5. Smoking makes you look cool.
  6. Coffee is necessary for functionality at work.
  7. Work sucks, even if you love your job.
  8. Jesus was probably not as tall as you think He was.
  9. Muppets = awesome.
  10. It sucks that there’s like 7 months until “Lost” starts airing season five.
  11. My check was neither economic nor stimulating.
  12. I’ve had this pain on and off in my upper left arm/shoulder for like two weeks.
  13. You can’t make me date someone just because you think she’d be good for me.
  14. You can’t stop me from dating someone who is definitely bad for me.
  15. I have no dates planned.
  16. I’m writing this instead of working.
  17. When I have finished writing this, I am likely to go to lunch.
  18. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves for the good of the nation, not because he personally wanted to.
  19. Des Moines is in Iowa.
  20. Alanis Morissette has a new record out, and I haven’t bought it yet, although I’ve meant to.
  21. Coffeemakers never contain the number of “cups” they are advertised to contain. Like I made 10 today, and I’ve only had TWO, but it says there are 6 left. That’s crap math.
  22. Jodie Sweetin, from “Full House” was addicted to meth, but just had a baby and now says she is clean. I just found that out in the supermarket this weekend. That was a lot of information to process in one headline, and I found it interesting because I was just wondering what happened to her the other day.
  23. “Full House” wasn’t great, but it was watchable.
  24. I need a haircut.
  25. I’m very, very tired.
  26. Right now, this is the only thing keeping me awake.
  27. Dogs are good company for the elderly.
  28. Cats are good company for single dudes who work a lot.
  29. Plants don’t really do a good job of keeping you company…unless you affix googly eyes to them.
  30. I’m planning on taking some vacation days next week, as long as it’s cool with everyone around the office.
  31. Summers are kind of dead in the Library, and allow for little diversions like this.
  32. A lot of people hope it doesn’t rain, but I like rain. Don’t care for tornadoes, though…the Midwest has had enough of those.
  33. An anagram for Alec Guinness = Genuine Class.
  34. Donuts = awesome.

…and that, dear reader, is the TRUTH!!!

More Anti-Bush Hogwash…Sorry!

I’ve done this before, and people ignore it…but I’ll try again…big bold letters this time, with lots of extra space to process the information…




…there…gave you plenty of time to click away…also, fair warning, this is long, and I ramble. Also, I apologize for some of the more colourful language I’m going to use. I’m sorry, but I feel it’s justified in the context of this post.


To begin with, I saw Willie Nelson tonight–which was awesome. He did a new song that’s a war protest song entitled, “A Peaceful Solution.” There’s a website devoted to it via the Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute (http://www.willienelsonpri.com/). There’s a great line in it:

“And when the war is over and we’ve won it
let’s remember how we done it
so we don’t have to do it again.”

I’d suggest going to the site and reading the “story” link, then listening to the song…

Hearing that song tonight reminded me to comment on something that I’ve been shockingly remiss in not mentioning sooner…Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for the Chief Executive Office in 2008.

I can’t tell you how proud I am to live in a version of America where a person of colour has a very real shot (and a likelihood) at being the next President. Within my father’s lifetime, he will have gone from seeing blacks relegated to their own drinking fountains to a man of colour perhaps being the leader of the free world. (I had to ask him about that, because I wasn’t sure…and I only blog the TRUTH.) That’s pretty incredible. Of course, it’s sullied by the fact that if/when he beats the geriatric running for the opposition, he’ll probably have to be the most heavily PROTECTED President in American history–especially in the deep South, and in Iowa and Indiana, which are still major headquarters of the KKK…but nonetheless…

I’m glad I’m going to be voting a black man into office (and I’m aware of the schism of whether or not he should be called “black,” but I stand by the notion that everyone else in the world will call him that, so America should, too). I’m assuming he’s going to win. America’s fed up with the failures of the current administration. I don’t think they want to chance it with the return of the same guard that’s been putting the “tit” in the Constitution for the past eight years. (I don’t know what I mean by that, either. Don’t ask.)

People keep asking those of us who support Mr. Obama what he “stands for” and what his “record” shows. Those are ridiculous questions. He’s a Democrat. He stands for things that Democrats stand for and his record shows that he believes in those things. Okay, he’s been lumped in with some unfortunate bedfellows–at least most of whom he’s had the guts to say he doesn’t 100% support and has FURTHER had the guts not to completely trash in the media, proving that loyalty is more important to him that his reputation. Personally, I don’t care who his friends are. I care who his friends AREN’T…and as long as his friends don’t have names like “George,” “Dick,” or “Condoleezza” I’m as happy as a bear in a Pope hat. …or…a pig in the forest… …or…I forget how that goes. (By the way, I was trying to find a way to make an Ann Coulter joke there…but it’s just easier to say she’s a terrible person who looks like a horse.)

People bring up the lack of an American flag pin and the not putting his hand on his heart at the fish-fry a lot…and I say, “Sorry…don’t care.” It really doesn’t matter to me. I like that he doesn’t seem to look like the current breed of geezers that we have been trotting out onto the platforms and calling “leaders” for the past administration. I’m glad he’s basically a normal person. (And, by the way, that story of him being “sworn in” on a copy of the Qu’ran is just a lie. He was sworn in on a Bible, just like Curious George was.) It’s shocking to me the way that people will look to discredit the guy. Now…if he had entered into a war based on lies, hid the record of a rapist, had a substance dependency, rigged an election, skipped out on his military service, or (in violation of international law) hid prisoners from the Red Cross so the organization couldn’t monitor their treatment. Sure, I could understand going over stuff like THAT with a magnifying glass…but, really…who could get away with that kind of thing?

Look…even if he doesn’t always wear an American Flag pin, or always put his hand over his heart during the national anthem (which you probably don’t, either)…and even if he has been connected to some shady characters (and, by the way, I bet you’ve got a bad friend or two…I personally know several drug-doers, a convicted sex-offender, three guys who’ve done SERIOUS time in prison, and my brother used to be a telemarketer)…and even if his record in the Senate doesn’t shine of progressive voting and taking major stands in the face of adversity (how many of you have been silent when your barber says they just can’t stand going to church or when your boss says they just don’t trust people of a certain skin-colour? …or how many of you just haven’t voted in a national election?)… Even if ALL of that is true (and a lot of it is).

…at least the guy SEEMS like a leader. He’s smart–and he’s proven it. He’s eloquent. He’s clean cut. He’s inspiring. And that’s enough to get me to vote for him. (This is, of course, alongside the fact that I agree with him on every issue, except that I consider myself basically opposed to abortion in most circumstances. Ahem, MOST circumstances.)

The hallmark of good leadership isn’t in having all of the answers or always having the right idea. It’s also not in sticktoitiveness (a fake-word I’ve actually heard George of the Jungle use). The hallmark of good leadership isn’t even in surrounding yourself with people whose strengths bolster your weaknesses (though that is a good idea that Gorgeous George should have tried). The hallmark of good leadership is being a leader who inspires those in your command. Obama’s record may not be impressive. He may not have every answer to every issue clearly mapped out. He may not have concrete plans for withdrawal from the war that WE HAVE LOST. (And before anyone gets all high-and-mighty about it, I DO support the troops. I have a couple of friends over there, and one who got sent home and STILL hasn’t regained use of his left leg–and there’s not a God-damned thing that justifies that “sacrifice”–as the Madness of King George referred to it. So don’t give me that “You should support the troops” bullshit. I do support them. I want them to stop being hurt and killed by this stupid, stupid, Godless war.) Obama may not, on paper, look like he belongs in Washington (and I’m not sure why people think that’s a bad thing…I’d take it as a compliment, if I were him). What he does have, though, is that he has the ability to make people feel like they’re empowered.

America only works if Americans believe in it. That stretches to the highest office. Obama has proven that he can motivate people. Who–I ask you–would have thought even LAST YEAR that a black man might be the next President? I went on record as saying I didn’t think America was ready to accept him as a candidate. I was dead wrong, and I’m proud to say that. Obama has gotten people all across America to believe in him and to believe in (and I know it sounds cheesy) hope. Hope and change are BIG parts of his campaign slogans…and we’re willing to believe in it for some reason. Maybe it’s his natural charisma. Maybe it’s that we’re sick of the America George Borewell (that’s a good one) has sold us for the past few years. Maybe it’s even a little bit of white-guilt coming out, I don’t know…

All I know is that I’ve been a man without a country for the past eight years. For the first time in a LONG time, someone’s said it and I believe it:


Fell Asleep There, Didn’t I?

I haven’t posted since my birthday! Thanks to Marc for posting on my blog, which made me remember that it exists. 🙂

It’s kind of a busy time right now. I’m like three days in to being the manager at my job. It’s a lot of work. None of it has to do with my actual JOB, though…mostly, I’ve spent the last few days trying to get my office and computer in order. Believe it or not, that can really wear you out.

I’m also still working on the house, but I keep starting and stopping. Like on Sunday, I finally got around to slapping some touch-up and finishing paint on the walls…but just as I was painting my windowsill a deep, black-coffee-brown, I realized it was 6:00 and I was supposed to have dinner with my dad. So I had to leave, and the windowsill’s still only HALF done. Just haven’t gotten back to it.

I’ve also been taking things like that slowly–VERY slowly. I’ve been having some back-problems lately, and I don’t want to risk being as miserable as I’ve been in the not-too-distant past with another major muscle-strain. So if I know painting my windowsill, for example, should only take about 30 minutes to an hour, I allow at least TWO hours for it. Never mind tearing up the carpeting a few weeks ago! I need to keep doing SOMETHING, because not exercising a sore muscle is worse than exercising it…but it’s still an irritant.

Plus, the band’s kind of getting serious. Blue Tattoo has a FIFTH member now. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that yet… His name’s Sean Russell, and he’s the dude who recorded our demo with us. We brought him in to do some keyboard parts, and now it’s starting to look like he’s going to be playing some guitar, too. I’m excited about that. We’ve also decided that we’re going to do a proper press-kit, which includes bio-writing, picture-taking, and re-launching of the BT website…and while I’m at that I’m finally going to–come Hell or high-water (or is that “hill?”)–get my personal, much-fabled website up and running.

Stack on top of that the upcoming Summer Concert Season, and I’m pretty thinly stretched!

Of course, I’m still playing with the Feldman Band. We’re taking June off, though. Mike’s going to be in Jamaica for a couple of weeks…and Kenny and I, though we have a great rapport, would be pretty boring to watch on our own. Or would we? That might be more interesting than I’d considered…

Random note: Apparently, Sean (the new guy in Blue Tattoo) sees me as something of the band-leader (though the task is shared between me and Dave, in reality). He reportedly, though I didn’t hear it, recently said, “You guys should be called Derek and the…somebodies…” Now…I know I’m the “Derek” in that, so I may be a bit biased…but is “Derek and the Somebodies” a great band-name or WHAT? I don’t really want to be that, but it’s pretty good. I may start calling my solo act that. Derek and the Somebodies. It’s got a ring…and it’s a nice “Dominoes” parody, to boot.

So anyway…things have been busy, and that kind of explains the lack of bloggery. I’ll try to be better. However, in the mean time, I suggest checking out Jorge Garcia’s blog–he’s the guy who plays Hurley on “Lost.” It’s a pretty entertaining read. He doesn’t give away too many secrets of the show or anything. Most he does is say, “Remember that one scene? The ocean was a camera-trick.” and he posts some on-set pictures sometimes…but mostly it’s just about what the dude does in his free time, and he showcases his dog a lot. Much more fun to read than my drivel…and he even has pictures! I can’t be bothered with that! Anyway…he’s at http://dispatchesfromtheisland.blogspot.com. Worth a look.

Gotta go…I’m–uhh…tired of writing, to be honest with you. 🙂

Current Listening:

  • Old 97s: “Blame it on Gravity”
  • Aimee Mann: “@#%&*! Smilers