Happy Rosh Hashanah

It’s the Jewish New Year! Happy Rosh Hashanah!

On one of the music stations (I forget which one, even though I’ve been watching it), they’ve declared it “RUSH Hashanah” and they’re playing a bunch of concerts and videos by Canadian power-trio Rush for 24 hours. Which brings me to a fairly embarrassing realization…

Somehow, I had no idea Geddy Lee is Jewish.

I know, right? Seems obvious. In fact, it’s deeper than just him being Jewish. His parents were Holocaust survivors who met while in a retention camp. Apparently his real name is Gary Lee Weinrib and he got saddled with “Geddy” because his mom’s accent was so thick that “Gary” came out “Geddy” so it stuck. I guess he dropped the “Weinrib” for the sake of it not really sounding like a rock-star name or something…

So, yeah..for all these years, I’ve apparently been idolizing Gary Weinrib.

Live and learn…and happy Rosh Hashanah! 🙂

Current Listening:

  • The last live Rush record that I’ve forgotten the name of, but that is on my iPod…

I’m doing an entire post about…

…the new Metallica record, “Death Magnetic.”

Okay. I haven’t liked a Metallica record in ten years. “Black Album” was okay, but not great. I could have LIVED with it if they’d continued down that road…but I still didn’t love it. “Load” was aptly named. “Re-Load” was re-aptly named. “St. Anger” was a freaking joke–nu metal with the snare turned off…ugh…

…but this one’s good.

I put it in and I really HOPED it would suck. I expected to hate it and to feel like I wasted my money on it, despite all of the great reviews I’d been reading. But I got about two minutes in and I realized it was awesome. And it kept being awesome. Track after track. I’m wondering where this was ten years ago.

Sounds like a “Puppets” and “Justice” hybrid. Really cool…and Lars has a SICK (in the good way) bass drum sound on this record. It’s bone-shattering.

Felt like doing an entire post on it because, frankly, it’s that good to have them back.

(EDIT: I hate it when I have typos…especially in the title of the post…sigh…fixed it.)

All I Want from George W. Bush

I just want ONE meeting.

I want to sit across from him at a table with loads of secret-service agents around, in a well-lighted room with many exits, so he feels safe. Then I want to talk, on behalf of essentially the working poor, and I want him to listen. That’s all I want.

I won’t yell. I won’t call him names. For the first time in my life, I’ll even call him “Mr. President” and/or “sir.” But he has to LISTEN. He can’t interrupt me. He can’t counter my points. I just want him to hear, in PLAIN words from one of the people he probably wouldn’t otherwise acknowledge, what some of us think of him. I’ll even go the extra mile and tell him that I know I don’t speak for all of America, and that there are obviously a LOT of people out there who support and respect him far more deeply than I ever will–and I’ll admit to him that if we avoided talking politics, I could probably even call him “friend” in another life. But I want him to hear it.

He doesn’t have to agree. He doesn’t have to make changes. I just want him to know how tightly stretched my approx $25-grand a year is in his economy. I just want him to hear the first and last name of my friend who came home from Iraq without use of his leg. I want him to know how afraid people I know are that the economy is going to collapse and they won’t be able to live. I want him to know how hard it is for some of us to afford simple antibiotics in this country, while Iraq enjoys universal health-care. I want him to hear about a friend of mine who is gay that is regularly called “faggot” and has been beaten up for his “lifestyle,” and who isn’t allowed a simple TAX BREAK from being married. I want him to hear about my friend who regularly shaves his beard and head, hoping people will mistake him for “black” instead of recognizing him as “Arab” (even though he was born in Illinois).

I want him to know how badly the past eight years have hurt.

Then he can leave. I can leave. And I’ll forgive him.

…but I really should leave the science fiction writing to people like Kurt Vonnegut, I guess…he was better at it… On the other hand, though, he died last year, and someone has to dream, right?

OMG – Head for the hills and take your money and guns with you!!!

I had no idea. I really didn’t.

If you listened to the address George W. Bush gave the other night, you–much like myself–must have been shocked to find out that apparently this country’s in a major economic crisis! How did this happen?!? It’s sure news to me. Apparently it’s gotten so bad that the GOVERNMENT actually has to step in and do something to bail the nation out of debt!

Okay, folks…it’s time to get serious. You heard Mr. Bush. It’s time to panic. The stock-market is in serious danger, apparently gas prices are high, and–I had no CLUE–our national debt is through the roof! Good God people…the terrorists are winning!!!

It’s our fault. It’s got to be. We, as Americans, have failed our country by not being patriotic enough. We don’t have enough yellow ribbons stuck to our cars with magnets. We haven’t bought enough American flags. We didn’t give enough to the war effort–shoot we should have all volunteered to go to Iraq! After all, the government clearly knows what they’re doing over there, and I feel like I should personally call Mr. Bush and apologize for not having gone over there, rifle in hand and with a picture of him on my t-shirt.

So, it’s time to take drastic measures. We’ve got to cancel the election. No one but George W. Bush is educationally and spiritually equipped to get us through this emergency. No more campaigning. No more debating. Let’s just skip it. Also, I think it is our responsibility as Americans to follow Mr. Bush’s words and immediately panic. We’ve got to go to the banks and withdraw all of our money–don’t worry, they have enough, they’re banks. We’ll need to have funds to re-build America after it collapses under the weight of the mistakes WE all made. We’ll also need guns. Lots of them. We’ll need to protect the money–and to a lesser extent our families, traditions, and values–from the hordes of looters and rape gangs that are sure to form all across the nation. In fact, if anyone even knocks on your door… Shoot them immediately. George W. Bush says this is serious. Who are we not to trust the man that we all elected–with absolutely no dispute, controversy, or dirty politics–into the nation’s highest office?

Also… Set the nearest gas station to your home on fire. Now. The terrorists CAN’T get our gas. That’s probably why the prices are so high at the pumps…terrorists must be taking our gas…but if there’s no gas to TAKE, then there’s no way for them to win.

…now, maybe I’m just reacting out of fear and responding with desperation…but this is big news, and NO ONE saw it coming! I mean, like overnight we went from being loved by all peoples of the world, being the richest nation in the world, and having an economy so tight you could bounce a quarter off of it to–as of Tuesday–being in serious financial danger with absolutely no previous warning signs. Mr. Bush must have been as astounded as anyone. It’s not like he made any mistakes in his tenure in office, or like his administration has been running on vapors for the past 4-8 years. It’s not like his approval ratings have been in the toilet for the majority of his time in office or anything. I feel bad for the guy. This must have been an overwhelming shock to him.

———-

Okay…

Unless you’re a raving idiot who’s never heard the words “satire” or “sarcasm,” I guess I should cover my own butt by saying I meant NONE of the above…

In truth, we ARE in a major economic recession–bordering on a new depression-era in America, and something SHOULD be done about it…and it seems to me like it should’ve been done sometime BEFORE the election year…sometime when it WASN’T a cheap, whorish political move, prostituting the welfare of the American economy to get votes for a geriatric and an idiot. Something should have been done in 2004. We should have voted the son-of-a-Bush OUT. Or anytime between then and now, the word “impeachment” could have been thrown around a little bit more.

We ARE in a major economic crisis, and it’s the fault of the current administration–and McCain has been pretty vocal about having supported Mr. Bush’s decision-making, claiming to have voted with him 90% of the time, by the way. The speech the Burning Bush gave on Tuesday was a cheap political move, filled with truth–but truth that came about because of his ineptitude, not because of anything to do with economic “trends.” (Maybe something to do with an unjust, stupid, stupid–and I say again STUPID–war that’s killing tens-of-thousands and spending trillions of dollars?) This country IS in danger of collapse, and it’s been that way since the year 2000 when America flipped a coin between Bush and Gore and it came up tails a few times too often–sort of…we all know how that really worked out with the people of the nation having voted in the majority for the other guy…but whatever…broken record and all that…

The point is…George W. Bush is so full of sh*t that he can’t tell it from good chocolate anymore. He’s screwed this country so hard for so long that we’re not even feeling it anymore–instead just staring up at him with dead eyes and hoping he throws us a wadded-up $20 for our time when he leaves. Unfortunately…that $20 won’t even fill up your tank anymore.

Oh, and I’ll once again say that if our economy is in such a recession, maybe throwing a minimum of $600 at every tax-payer in the country last year wasn’t such a great financial idea, huh? …which, actually… That fits my prostitute metaphor from the last paragraph pretty well.

———-

HAD to say all of that. Apologies to the readers I have that were offended, especially those who are my friends…but I just couldn’t leave that one alone. I do care if I offend my FRIENDS, and I hope they understand that I respect them and their views…I just have absolutely NO respect for what the current administration has done to MY country, which I love.

…also just a reminder that comment moderation is ON, so if you’re planning on posting anything cute, it won’t be seen by anyone other than me–and I’m not going to read much of it myself.

Current Listening:

  • …who can afford to buy CDs anymore??? I’m listening to crickets.

For the Record… (Pun Unintended)

Just in case anyone was wondering what my time/effort-level in relationship to Blue Tattoo adds up to… Here’s a list of stuff I regularly do and/or contribute for the band:

  1. I write all of the music (or high 90-percentile, since I mainly do the melodies, and the specifics of the other parts are left up to those who play them).
  2. I write at least 50% of the lyrics, possibly more.
  3. I design the artwork for the stuff we need art for.
  4. I handle the burning of the demos.
  5. I assemble the press packets.
  6. I sacrifice living-space in my house (for other people’s gear and the individual preferences of those who are in the band–ie, roundabout Christmas last year, I completely re-arranged the room because the drummer though it’d be cool to have us all closer together).
  7. I’m about to drop a few hundred dollars on soundproofing.
  8. I’m the webmaster (though there’s nothing posted, there’s stuff that I’m working on pretty hard).
  9. I recently boosted the gain on our demo, so it’s a little louder and fuller sounding.
  10. …not to mention rehearsal…and literally thousands of dollars in gear.

…so, y’know…I pull my weight. Just in case anyone wonders about my commitment level. ***Cough…***

Four things that’ve happened…

Kind of want to blog about four different things, so I’m going to do them all at once.

1. “Out from the Light”
As many of you will know, I’ve been promising a new solo record for about a year (or so), titled “Out from the Light.” My feet have been dragging on it for various reasons, some of which weren’t my fault but most of which were. However, this past weekend, Dan Drake came over and put down his keyboard tracks. As such, the record has now FINISHED the production phase. Now, we’ve just got post production, which is the process of me cleaning up, mixing, and mastering the recordings. The “cleaning up” part takes the longest, as it’s going through each track and fixing whatever needs fixing and removing unwanted noises, etc. The rest is pretty quick. So I’ll be doing that over the next week or so, and I’ll soon have a new record finished.

Just want to add a note that this is some of the nicest-sounding work I’ve ever done. It’s kind of “pretty” sounding. Dan’s piano-work really adds a lot and there are moments where I forget that it’s even MY project. That’s pretty cool. Never had that before. I’ve talked a LOT about how this record covers darker subject matter. However, I’ve been realizing that it also kind of celebrates it. There IS beauty in sadness, and there’s something romantic about the futile. I guess that’s what I’m trying to capture on this record…and if anything captures the “beauty” part of that, it’s Dan’s keys.

One quick update on Dave–who you may remember has suffered a severe and possibly career-threatening hand-injury. He’s been in good spirits. He’s been joking about it a little. Like he’s been posting slightly nonsensical typo-laden posts on my MySpace page, blaming it on the fact that he only has one hand to type with. That’s pretty funny. He finds out on either the 25th or the 29th (I forget which he told me) when he can have his stitches removed.

2. The Emmys
Okay…I didn’t watch the Emmys, mostly because there was a bunch of stuff nominated that I don’t care about at all, and I knew the stuff I DID care about wouldn’t be winning. The show I probably put the most effort into is “LOST” and I knew they wouldn’t be taking home “best drama” nor would Michael Emerson get whatever he was up for–even though he SORELY deserved it. But I get why it didn’t win… (Apologies for the forthcoming asterisks.)

A lot of people are saying “LOST” didn’t win because “it’s TOO good,” but I don’t buy that at all. That just sounds a lot like the nerd who gets beaten up all the time saying, “They only do it because they’re jealous.” No. They do it because you’re a f**king nerd.

I think that Lost is pretty much the best thing on TV (or at least close…it’s between that and “House”)…but it’s one of those shows that will never be honored in the way it probably should be (unless they pile on the awards in the final season). It’s not that it’s too smart. It’s not that it’s too well done. It’s that it’s a show that you HAVE to watch every show to know what’s going on (thereby giving it an immediately limited audience after the first season), and it’s sci-fi.

Going back to the “nerd” illustration… There are a lot of nerds out there who are really nice, wonderful people. They do great things. They are good to those who love them. They may even really love some of the same basic stuff you do (in this metaphor, let’s say they love Led Zeppelin, just as the TV industry loves dramatic death-scenes). But… After you’ve been around for a couple of minutes, they mention something to the effect that the theory of relativity combined with a time fluctuation, combined with electromagnetism could possibly allow a bunny to travel forward in time a few seconds, therefore on a massive scale, the same principle could move an entire island…

…and they get the sh*t beaten out of them. Lesson learned.

3. The Feldman Gig This Weekend
There wasn’t one. The gig was double-booked by the bar, and we were cancelled at the last minute. Apologies to anyone who might have shown up.

It’s getting to be an unsettling trend with this band. In recent days, we’ve been screwed out of money (Pirate’s Cove–where we’re playing next week AGAIN for some reason, and it’s absolutely the LAST time I’m doing it–and it’s under protest). We’ve had gigs where no one showed up (Kokomos–when I didn’t play bass). We’ve had gigs end early because of lack of attendance (Mac’s–who were actually really nice about it, and were really cool people). We’ve had bars book us on St. Patrick’s Weekend and not draw a crowd, then blame US for no one coming in (Parrot’s–their owner’s a freak, an ass, and a complete douchebag…but other than that I have no strong opinions about him).

I’m starting to think we’re playing the wrong places. I mean…if we’re booked at bars that DON’T have a crowd in them on a Saturday night, then we’re playing the wrong bars. It’s a bar…it should be overflowing with people. If it’s not, then you can’t blame the band. If you’re expecting a band to bring in their friends, you’re working under a failing business model. (This is especially true as it applies to a cover band–were we playing originals, the bars would have a valid point.) Maybe we don’t just need to book ANYTHING…maybe we need to book places that have a few cars sitting in the parking lot.

It’s just been frustrating lately…

4. Duckman
So “Duckman” came out on DVD! (Well, the first two seasons, anyway.) I’ve loved “Duckman” for YEARS. It’s one of the first really “adult” themed animated shows (from like 1994) starring Jason Alexander in the title-role. It’s lewd, rude, and in poor taste…and is AWESOME! I’m just really happy that it’s on DVD now! I’m hoping the releases of seasons 3-4 aren’t too far behind.

…and those are the four things I wanted to blog about…

Current Listening:

  • Tori Amos – “The Beekeeper”

Update and Whining…

I’ve been in some pain this week. A lot of it in in my left pectoral (again). Some of you may remember that I’ve had pains there on and off for a while. This time around, it hasn’t been as intense or frightening (there were times before that I thought it was my heart, it hurt so much)…but it has been more specific and localized. Part of it has to do with something that’s supposed to actually make me feel better…

As you probably know, I sometimes walk with a cane due to a bad knee that I’ve developed over the past few years. The trouble with the cane is that it helps the knee, but then I have to spend WEEKS rehabbing my shoulder, peck, and/or back. Kind of a catch 22. I think. I’m not really sure what a catch 22 is. I should really read that.

It’s also–I don’t expect you to understand this–a bit embarrassing to be 28 and walk with a cane. As a result I sometimes don’t use the cane when I (sometimes BADLY) need it. Maybe it shouldn’t be embarrassing. After all…what’s that old parable? “A one-legged man went his whole life being depressed and wondering what good there was to living until he met a man with no legs…then he knew there was at least one guy out there that he could take in a fight.” Something like that, isn’t it? I’ve always wondered if that metaphor’s supposed to make one-legged people feel better or make no-legged people feel worse.

Okay…

I kind of like the cane. It makes other people nicer. People open doors for you. They get out of your way. They tell their kids to stop running around and acting like idiots, less they trip the dude who kind of looks like House. Plus (as House himself would attest) you can get away with being a little bit surly and no one will get too mad at a guy with a cane–or at least they won’t say anything. Sometimes people even let you get away with coming in late to work. The phrase, “My leg hurt” goes a shockingly long way. I don’t mind any of that.

What I mind is that people who I know begin behaving differently towards me when I need the cane. Usually well-meaning (Christian) people that I know will treat me with extra sympathy when I’ve got the cane. I get it. It’s the same thing that makes otherwise anonymous strangers open doors or grab things off particularly high (or low) shelves for me…but it’s different when it’s a friend. They shouldn’t feel obligated to do that. They should treat me the same way if my balance is off or not…though, I do appreciate it when someone helps me carry something. (The worst part about the cane isn’t having the bad knee, it’s only having one available hand.)

Alright…so that SHOULDN’T be embarrassing… In fact, I do kind of celebrate the cane when I have it. It gives me something to do with my hands as I’m sitting around. I play little games or do things that require a lot of dexterity (like flip the cane around in the air through all of my fingers–which even Hugh Laurie can’t do, as he’s only ever gotten to THREE fingers on the show!). Plus, as I said to someone who last week said, “I notice you’ve got your cane,” “Yeah, but it’s okay. It’s a nice cane.” It is. It cost me $85. Still, there’s a slightly miserable part to being pitied by someone you know. It’s not fun.

…all that to say my shoulder and peck hurt, and the Feldman gig (at Kokomo’s, on Mid-Rivers Mall Drive) tomorrow is going to SUCK. (Apparently last time Mike played there with a session bass player, as I was unavailable, there was absolutely NO audience at all…and we’re playing there tomorrow…for four hours…………………… ….. ?)

Anyhoo…don’t know why I wanted to talk about that…but it’s my blog and I don’t really need to qualify it, right? 🙂

Current Listening:

  • Hugh Dillon Redemption Choir – “High Cost of Low Living”