Reporting, Recording and Relaying - But Always Telling It As I See It

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Passage To Bangkok - A Rock and Roll Travesty.

Here’s a fun question. What band was formed in 1968; produced thirty-five albums; is third behind The Beatles and the Rolling Stones for consecutive gold albums by a rock band; is fourth behind The Beatles, the Stones and Kiss for most gold and platinum albums in MUSIC FRIGGIN HISTORY and still tours in 2011? If you guessed Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, you would be wrong. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, however, have been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Insane this year.

This year’s slap in the Stratocaster goes (again) to the great Canadian band, Rush. Below is my eulogy. (Non Rush fans, get out your decoder rings.)

So, with a Caress of Steel and Presto! Rush gets screwed again. With all due Grace Under Pressure, Geddy, Alex and Neil realize that even if they Test For Echo in 2112, even if they Roll the Bones with their Counterparts, the Hemispheres will not produce Permanent Waves that will permeate the Power Windows of the Hall Of Fame nominating committee.

But Hold Your Fire! Do not cast upon the nominating committee your Snakes and Arrows. Sure, we all want the committee to Fly By Night (away from here), but we had Signals years ago with the inclusion of such rock luminaries as Earth Wind and Fire that Rush was going to be nothing but Vapor Trails, gliding through the Moving Pictures of rock history. This is truly a Farewell To Kings.

Did I miss any Album Names? 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Important Facebook Updates! Please Read!

After the smashing success of the re-designed homepage, Mark Zucherberg and the Facebook brain trust plan to roll out the following changes in the very near future:

• They are switching to the Mayan calendar.

• Thought Translation Technology (or, ToTT): This will instantly post your thoughts about any particular update. Sample update: “John Doe…let’s plan on doing something great today!” TTT will automatically respond with your first thought: “Go fuck yourself” and post it as a comment.

• Google Search Post Generator (or, GeeSPoG): All of your Google searches will now be automatically posted to your wall. I beta tested this, and my wall post said: Dave Meyer just Google Image Searched “Sophia Vergara Nude.”

• Parental Cloaking (or, PreCk): This provides a faux page plug-in so when, as a parent, you view your child’s page, you see things like, “Your child likes Santa Clause.” Your heart warms while your kid just “friended” the little slut from the next development on his real page.

• Anti-Yum Engine (or, AYEn): This prevents forever the use of the word, “Yum!” Therefore, you will never, ever, be allowed to post something like, “Just finished the best chicken pot-pie! YUM!”

• Picture Reconciliation Drive (or, PRoD): This will block a user from posting 172 nearly identical pictures of their baby in a high chair with pureed carrots on their face. It will also limit any one photo album size to 3,000 pictures – especially vacation photo albums.

• Celebrity Reposter (or, CerP): Any user who posts a comment on a celebrity fan page thinking that said celebrity actually gives a shit will have their post displayed on all your friends’ pages. For instance, you may see: “Dave Meyer…You looked really great in last night’s premier. XOXOXOXO…on Sophia Vergara’s page.”

• Friend Confirming Engine (or, FeCE): The engine will require to prove you actually know someone before “friending” them by having you answer a few simple questions. The first question will be, “Do you even know this person?”

Of course these, like many Facebook updates always bring up the issue of privacy. I would respond by saying, “If you want privacy, stay off of Facebook.”

Monday, September 19, 2011

Joe Sure Plays A Mean Jazz Guitar (Further Enlightenment)

“I found this laying right by the side of the road! I sanded it down so they take it as number one copper. If there’s paint or something on it, they only pay you for number two.” Joe pointed to the section of copper tubing, about fourteen inches long lying on the ground amongst the scraps of copper wire strewn about his feet. Per usual, Joe was sitting on his metal stool, stripping wire - the life of a scrapper.

Since I last updated you on Joe (installment one, here) I have tried to find some things for him to do around my business. This has mostly been pulling weeds and sweeping. He does it gladly and is more than appreciative of the few extra dollars it puts in his pockets.

But the real return for me wasn’t a weed free parking lot; it was listening to Joe strumming his 1963 Guild hollow body guitar, singing a George Benson song. We had started talking about music a week or so before. Joe told me he played every Saturday at a nearby bar that had an open stage in the afternoon. A few days later, when I stopped after lunch to check up on him, he opened the door of his old yellow station wagon and pulled a battered hard shell guitar case from the back seat. He propped one knee up on the floor of the back seat, tuned his B string a bit and ripped into those funky jazz chords that are played halfway up the neck and sound just a bit off, almost slightly pained.

Since then, Joe and I have talked a lot about music. He can talk incessantly about jazz guitarists and their instruments. It is technical and loving.

A few weeks ago, Joe had to sell his Guild. He was having some problems with the pick-ups and the body had two cracks in it. He couldn’t afford to have the pick-ups fixed and the cracks caused a bit of a tone problem when he played through an amp. Besides, he needed the money. Selling a few pounds of copper scrap a day is a tough way to make a living. (Joe is so poor that he once walked six blocks to get a coffee because he didn’t want to waste the gas. That has been fixed; coffee is now free from our office.)

Joe has recently had his mind on a Peerless double cutaway, part of their Thinline Series. “I need to get something lighter, I want to stand up when I play,” Joe says. At around a grand a piece, Joe and I both know that may be out of the question. Today, Joe told me he is now thinking of a used Fender Stratocaster. Either way, that’s a lot of copper wire.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Admit It, We Love Each Other

On September 8, 2009, Marine Dakota Meyer (absolutely no relation), saved thirteen Marines and Soldiers, pulled four of his dead comrades back from the lines and killed eight insurgents – and oh yeah, he was wounded in the leg. For this heroism, he received the Medal of Honor. You would think this would come with a check for a billion dollars – that is stimulus I could get behind. (Interestingly, when the White House contacted him, he was working a construction job and refused the call. The White House called back during his lunch break.)

Earlier this week, motorcyclist Brandon Wright was pinned under a car – his motorcycle tangled in the front burner and on fire. Undaunted, the people of Logan, Utah, lifted the car ala the Justice League and pulled Brandon to safety.

And we certainly need look no further than New York, Washington and Shanksville ten years ago, the heroes of that day our countless.

The point is this; things are going to get interesting in this country over the next twelve months as we face down the unbearable presidential campaign season. We will argue, snipe, conspire and slander. (We may even libel, which is like slander, but different. Sort of like flotsam and jetsam – no one really knows the difference but they always seem to go together.)

But when it is all over and the votes are counted (and re-counted, and after the Supreme Court chimes in) we will have a new (or new again) President. At this point, we can comfortably resume our arguing, sniping, conspiring and slandering. That is, we can resume this until the shit hits the fan. We can resume this until someone we don’t know is trapped under a car, until someone is stuck in a burning building or until our friends are pinned down. Because when that happens, Americans don’t really seem to give a damn about who you voted for. The firemen and police in New York didn’t ask, the citizens of Logan didn’t ask. Dakota certainly didn’t ask.

Are we a nation of heroes? No question about it. But we are also a nation of people with different views, beliefs and lifestyles – who also happen to choose time and again to refuse to let anything bad happen to our fellow Americans. This, my friends, is why freedom and respect always win.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Permission To Educate

Today was the first day of school for my boys. (This was evidenced by the somewhat heavy application of body spray in the house this morning.) When I arrived home after work, I was presented with the first of over 3,000 documents I will receive – each carefully formatted – that will require my careful consideration. And by careful consideration I mean stuffing them in a drawer.

However, given that this was the first day of school, I decided to give what they brought home my attention, as we recently melted all of our gold so that we could purchase the school supplies they would need that are outlined in over eighteen pages.

As usual, some of these forms required a signature – particularly the one that asked whether or not I want my boys to be present in health when they talk about AIDS. As if to assure parents that this is not the School District’s idea, the letter starts by stating that School Districts were mandated in 1988 by the PA State Board of Education to teach a unit on AIDS, and that they are only complying with state law.

It goes onto state that, “there are at no times graphic pictures or in-depth discussion of risky sexual behaviors.” Well, that’s a relief, although I am not sure how you show a “graphic” picture of AIDS. Isn’t that like saying they are not going to show a graphic picture of the flu?

So if I have this right, a disease with no known cure that is easily preventable through education requires a parent’s permission to allow their child to receive this information? But I get it (and excuse me for the following bitch), this is done to placate a few ass-backward parents who think they can lock their kids in a room with a set of Hardy Boys books and a rosary and unleash them on the world at the age of eighteen and hope with all their might that they will be okay. Well, personally I think that is reckless.

We don’t have to fear AIDS – or drugs or sex or texting while driving or not eating enough vegetables– we have to fear the consequences of not teaching our kids about these things. It’s irresponsible to do anything less.