Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Follow the leader, lemming-style

I see that Night by Elie Wiesel is still at the number one spot on Amazon.com. This proves, once again, what a pack of lemmings people are.

Don’t get me wrong—Night is an incredible book. Wiesel wrote it, as a young man, to describe his time in Auschwitz. Its lyrical, poetic quality has fanned the flames of literary debate for years—is Night fact or fiction—and contributed to the growth of narrative nonfiction. Because Wiesel possessed the ability to even write one word down about his excruciating time in a concentration camp, let alone bring an ethereal quality to his writing, he’s earned my respect.

What chaps my hide is the way celebrity status embodies an automatic stamp of approval. People reach out and read only what they are told to; Oprah knows all and if she says it’s good, it must be. Then the rush to buy it—I’m surprised that there weren't any OBC zombies in Shaun of the Dead. “Brains… I need brains. Oh, and a copy of Night. Thanks.”

Remember, these are the same brainiacs who bought James Frey's line that his book was 100% true. I hope they actually learn something by reading Night, but I have my doubts. I wonder how many OBC folks believe dogs can't look up. Sigh.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Cory Maye Update-- possible hearing for new trial

Balko has a brief post on the Agitator about this development. He will update further over the weekend.

If you haven't read about Cory Maye, please go to the Agitator and mayeisinnocent.com and read about Maye's case. He sits on deathrow right now for the shooting death of a police officer during an almost-no knock raid on Maye's duplex. The case has a dubious history and a potentially innocent man awaits execution in Mississippi.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The real boy's dream shattered-- he's not made out of wood.

Last week, Claire Wolfe blogged about the trail of doubt following behind James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard. The Smoking Gun investigative article was incredible to read, and I applaud their exhaustive, thorough reporting.

Wednesday, Jan. 25th, an article ran in the Seattle Times about a lawsuit filed in Seattle's federal court, seeking damages from Frey and his publisher for "lost time." That's right-- the plaintiffs want fellow duped readers to be reimbursed for the time they lost reading his fabricated memoir. Sean O'Conner, a UW law professor is quoted as saying the suit equates a bid for a "legal apology. ... They want Frey and Random House to say, 'This was wrong what we did.' "

This is the third suit filed against Frey and his publishers. Suits have been filed in California and Illinois prior to the Seattle one. In line with our Seattle "do-gooder" attitude, the suit filed here is the only one seeking compensation for readers' lost time.

What I don't quite understand is why anyone took Frey's account as "the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God." Memoirs are ripe for line blurring. This type of writing focuses on a chunk of time in the author's life, often from a time period way in the past, and is written in a narrative style. Unless the author tape recorded her life completely during the period she writes about, and uses that to accurately recount conversations, then at the very least, the reader should expect that the dialogue in the memoir is fudged somewhat. Shit-- I have trouble remembering what I said on the phone ten minutes ago, I certainly couldn't state, "This is a word for word recounting of the conversation I had with my abusive (fill in the blank) 25 years ago." Anyone who bought Frey's line that his book was 100% true is gull-a-bull (Yup, that includes you, too, Oprah).

With that said, Frey went beyond " the names and details have been changed to protect people's identities." He took a grain of rice and tried to make a whole friggin' meal out of it. But it's much more exciting to say you hold the record for blowing the highest blood alcohol level in the county rather than writing about how you drove drunk, plus you were messed up with the chicken pox, and that the local fuzz wanted you the hell out of the station, so you didn't infect other prisoners with it. Oh, and you were only in jail as long as it took your parents to come and pick your sorry, blistered ass up. Frey had to know the jig was completely up when Smoking Gun published his year book photo. How bad-ass can a Spandau Ballet groupie be?

Oprah had Frey on her show today, and he 'fessed up to her.

"This hasn't been a great day for me," he said. "I feel like I came here
and I have been honest with you. I have, you know, essentially admitted to
"Lying," Winfrey interrupted.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dear readers, let's yak about art.

Please give a warm round of applause for Yak Attack’s first regular feature. Each week, I’m going to highlight an artist. I’ve had such a blast checking out Artcyclopedia, that I want to continue combing through their archives. Art history was my major in college, too, so it’s been refreshing to dust off some of those memories and create new ones.

In the movie, The Truth about Cats and Dogs, Abby (Janeane Garofalo) makes a quip about “Dada meets Fido,” when she looks at Brian’s (Ben Chaplin) photos. I’m not familiar with the Dada art movement, so this is where my quest for this week’s artist began.

Dada, it turns out, was a short lived movement that sprang up in Europe as a protest against World War 1, traditional conservative thought and the middle class’ preoccupation with materialism. Nihilist in nature, the artists’ of the Dada movement produced “anti-art,” striving to subscribe no inherent meaning to their work. 1916 to 1920 are the most active years of Dada artists. Surrealism evolved from the ashes of dadaism. You might say these two artist groups are the “punks of art,” since they embrace similar nihilist attitude, characteristic of punk bands.

Max Ernst, Yak Attack’s artist of the week, was part of the Cologne, Germany Dada group. In 1922, he moved to Montparnasse, an artist community in Paris, and became involved in surrealism. He was still in Paris when World War 2 broke out, and was one of the artists that Varian Fry helped rescue from the Nazis.

Ernst loved to experiement with different artistic techniques and this experimentation led to his invention of frottage, which involved making a pencil rubbing of a textured surface. The radomness of the resulting image appealed to dadaist theory. He also poineered the surrealist technique of grattage, which involves scraping off paint from the canvas. The paint is typically dry when it is scraped off.

A wild example of Ernst’s work while he was in Cologne is The Gramineous Bicycle Garnished with Bells the Dappled Fire Damps and the Echinoderms Bending the Spine to Look for Caresses. It has a cellular feel combined with clockwork mechanisms that dominate the painting. Earthy browns and blacks, accented with hot dog mustard yellow, create the color scheme. I get a kick out of the middle organism that appears to have wings—Mr. Potato Head or the boss mushroom-headed creature from Super Mario Brothers? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

Loplop Introduces a Young Girl, painted in 1930, when Ernst was living in Montparnasse, features the bird-slash-human creature Loplop. This is Ernst’s bird alter-ego, which guest-hosts in many of his paintings. The various medium (plaster, oil and other materials on wood) used give this painting fun dimension and texture. The clock-like dial looks to me like it’s bleeding—maybe it was a sign of the times, with the turmoil mounting in Europe, or what the future holds for women. The tiny frog at the bottom is so minuscule, watching the action unfold above.

The Temptation of St. Anthony was produced in 1945, when Ernst resided in the US, after Fry helped him escape World War 2 Paris and the Nazis. The scene in this painting is incredibly detailed and nightmarish, depicting the skirmishes St. Anthony had with demonic creatures as he sought solitude in a tomb outside his village’s boundary. This painting was produced during the time period his marriage toPeggy Guggenheim (who helped Fry liberate Ernst) fell apart and before he married Dorthea Tanning in 1946. Perhaps some of Ernst’s emotional stress leaked out on the canvas as well?

His humor shows up in several of his painting, like in the infamous The Virgin Spanking the Christ Child before Three Witnesses: Andre' Brenton, Paul E'luard, and the Painter. Painted back in 1926, it was met with much resistance. Look at the painters’ faces, though, in the window and the Virgin Mary’s exhausted look. Being mother to the Messiah couldn’t have been easy, and it shows on her face. The details, like toddler Jesus’ rosy cheeks and his halo falling to the floor, make the Christ child more approachable.

I encourage you to browse through the catalogue of Ernst’s work. He used a suprising array of colors and styles through out his career, constantly evading the tumble into a stylistic rut.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Let's say see you later instead of goodbye

We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. ~William Faulkner

Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never ever the same. Flavia Weedn, Forever

Walter "Bark" Doss
Jan. 20, 2006

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Anonymity isn't a bad thing

A few ruffians tried to spoil the mystique for everyone today, when they tried to uncover the identity of the Poe Toaster. Every year on the 19th of January, Edgar Allen Poe’s birthday, the mystery toaster brings a bottle of French cognac and three roses. The toaster leaves the flowers and the half full bottle on the grave marker. On rare occasions a note is also left. This tradition has occurred every year for 57 years.

Can’t people enjoy the mystery? Can’t they watch the tradition from a far and celebrate the secrecy? We always have to know, don’t we? I swear, fear and loathing of anonymity is a national plague.

Hooligans, leave the toaster alone. Relish the delicious spookiness of the tenebrious ceremony and how it honors the American herald of goth.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Seattle Weekly sounds off about Real ID

This week's Seattle Weekly must be the nanny-ism issue. Knute Berger sounds off about Real ID in Mossback: Real IDiocy. While he tries to appeal to the readers' wallets, he also gives background information about the federal legislation and what it ultimately means for the American public. Will the do-gooders of Seattle give Real ID the monkey: see no evil, hear no evil, do no evil-- so what do I have to worry about? Just make my collar and leash pretty.

Good catch E.-- more on Seattle Nanny-ism

My friend E. sent me a note about an article on nanny-ism in Seattle (Big Nanny is Watching You) featured today in the Seattle Weekly. She first spotted it on The Agitator. Radley Balko is quoted in the article, referring the Washington State's new ad campaign to "discourage" smoking:

"This is so bizarre," says Radley Balko, a policy analyst with the
Washington, D.C.–based Cato Institute, after looking at the state's site.
"It's beyond parody." Balko tracks nanny-state issues for the libertarian
nonprofit.In his opinion, the ad campaign clearly paints "smokers as
being the dregs of society." Balko also says, "It just seems like an effort
to make pariahs of smokers."

Smoking, strip clubs and cheap booze, oh my! Not in my part of Emerald City, thank you very much. Seattle City Council, progressive voters and tobacoo czar Roger Valdez you are my hero.
~sheeple of Seattle Metro

Roger Valdez, when asked about the standard of proof used to establish smoking ban violations, after complaints are filed: "We don't have to prove anything," Valdez said. "If we get a complaint of smoke coming in from outside, you have to show by clear and convincing evidence that smoke isn't coming inside." Yet another example of guilty until proven innocent.

Edit: South Puget Sound Libertarian also blogged about the article Big Nanny is Watching You. I somewhat disagree with Mark though. The Seattle Weekly can be definitely dragging through some socialistic mud, depending on the writer, but certainly not always. I applaud the Weekly for shining the spotlight on Seattle Nanny culture.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Authoritative, anti-jaywalking dweebs: the picture of politeness?

Edit: I just read this quote posted yesterday by Gunner at No Quarters. What an apt description of Seattle do-gooders, imposing legal webs on the masses for the harmony of the collective. Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. — C. S. LEWIS

"Liberals like to think they are on the side of liberty, but actually they are on the side of authority." Jonathan Raban, British writer, social critic and Seattle resident

My friend, R², alerted me to this January 12th Washington Post article, In Seattle, The Hostile Crowd is All Smiles. Post staff writer Blaine Harden reported how the Washington Redskins would not only face the Seahawks, but their screaming mass of overt politeness i.e. Seahawk fans. [note: The ‘Hawks triumphed over the Redskins]

Harden isn’t shy at revealing our regional dysfunction. He must have spent some significant time here in the Seattle Metro area. We are the dweebs that wait endlessly for the “walk” sign. While I’m not quite sure that jaywalking is “evidence of low moral character," every time Lew tries to pull me across an empty street when we’re not at a corner or crosswalk, I break out in a cold sweat. Originally from the east side of the mountains, he’s is an abject jaywalker.

We’re the cold fish that barely recognize our neighbors yet dole out polite hugs to an acquaintance. Wouldn’t want to offend, you know. Harden noted that horn honks are rare occurrences within Seattle city limits. Ironically, however, it's inferred that road rage incidents have grown exponentially on the freeways in recent history, the fodder for overzealous nanny-state legislation, perpetual voter initiatives and state patrol pilot programs.

Writer Jonathan Raban makes this observation about Seattle, "Strangers when they first arrive say this is quite a friendly town. They don't realize that the good manners are usually more of a protective barrier than an invitation to intimacy." As a native, you don’t necessarily absorb this, until you break out of King County. It took a move to the Midwest to highlight this Puget Sound attitude for R². I remember one of our conversations right after she relocated—besides the flat, treeless environment, she was most surprised by the open friendliness of her new neighbors. They brought over cookies and jam. Her mail carrier gave her a welcoming greeting card. We just aren’t that warm and fuzzy here. It might upset someone’s sensibilities, or bring righteous, authoritative wrath upon our heads.

Cruising Artcyclopedia

I'm having a blast cruising through Artcyclopedia. I'm reacquainting myself with artists, and their work, that have colored my life.

When I was a college student, I took my first art history class. For that class, it was mandatory to trek either to Vancouver, BC or Seattle and soak up a museum. I chose to tootle around the Seattle Art Museum(SAM), and that is where I met Mark Tobey and Morris Graves.

Of course, it wasn't a literal meet-up; SAM was the first place I viewed their paintings. Since I started cruising Artcyclopedia, I learned something new about Graves and Tobey. They worked together, with a few other artists, to establish The Northwest School. The blending of regional natural elements and traditional Asian style pursued by The Northwest School artists has been hugely influential in establishing contemporary Pacific Northwest aesthetics.

Back when I became aquainted with these two painters, their Puget Sound connection was laid out, but I thought it, at least in Tobey's case, was fleeting. It turns out, besides the establishment of the Northwest School, he taught at Cornish (this brought him to Seattle in the first place) and had his first solo exhibition at Seattle Art Museum.

Graves' roots were well established in the Pacific Northwest; he lived here until 1964. His use of birds in his paintings endeared his work to me. His paintings remind me of old school blues, soulful and yet a celebration of life.

So...how's it going? Emergency preparedness check.

After the clusterfuck in New Orleans last Fall, personal emergency preparedness received more of the attention it rightly deserves. Newspaper articles, blogosphere chatter and nightly news coverage popped up on our radar. Just as robustly, the preparedness flame flickered and dimmed to almost nothingness.

The need to be personally prepared in case of an emergency hasn’t diminished at all; it just got swept back under the rug, due to the newest, latest crisis and related coverage. Make no mistake about it, however, when The S (and I don’t mean sweetness and sunshine here) Hits The Fan (TSHTF), if you want to be able to survive with as much dignity, and as little duress, as possible, it’s all up to you Baby. The only knight in shining armor, on a white horse, will be the one you assemble, in advance.

Did you start putting together a preparedness strategy for you and your family, after Katrina hit the east coast? Maybe earlier than that? How are the plans playing out? I made some plans, like laminating instructions for turning our utilities off in an emergency and placing them, with the needed tools, at the shut off locations. To my chagrin, I admit I’m horrible at keeping preparations rolling. The plans unfurled as far as copying the instructions and placing them in ziplock bags (my temporary lamination). The instructions haven’t made it to posting locations yet. No proper tools have been located and placed strategically.

Years ago, I started a BOB (Bug Out Bag, or in my case a laundry basket) around Y2K, but over the years it has encountered much pillaging and received little replacement. I maintain a functioning first aid kit, and replace stuff in it regularly, but I haven’t checked expiration dates and taken full inventory in over a year.

In regard to food and water storage, I’m making progress. I’ve saved enough water for a gallon a day, per person, for 2 ½ days. That may not sound like a lot, but considering we have 6 people, a people sized dog, cat and guinea pig, that’s a hell of a lot of water.

Putting together emergency plans, in all seriousness, is a true “work in progress” venture. It morphs, expands and depletes as you learn new skills, as your life changes and sometimes you have to start almost from scratch if you move, because possible emergency scenarios change as your location shifts.

“Where to start?” is a valid question. What are the basics you need for sustenance? Food and water squeeze into the top spots. How about a light source, like candles and flashlights? Do you have a way to cook your food? Or do you have some food squirreled away that doesn’t need to be cooked?

I can hear it now, “Whoa, this is starting to sound expensive.” Yeah, it can add up to some major coin, but like the cliché, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” neither are your emergency plans. Pick a spot and start putting your preparedness into action. Think of it this way—what ever you do, it’ll be better than not doing anything at all.

If you’re like me, and procrastination is a close companion, get off your duff (yes, I’m saying this to myself, too) and do something. The time to ponder where to start has passed. For real-- pick something and take care of it. I’ll post when I get my shut off instructions pinned up by the utility shut offs.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Art online

Rosie uncovered this extremely neat website while working on a cheesedog essay on "What is art?" Artcyclopedia not only pulls up information and photos of artwork created by specific artists, the site has information on art movements, art museums around the world, current art news and offers monthly art feature articles. So far it is free, thanks to banner display, but after reading the "about us" section, the future of a free Artcyclopedia may be limited.

While surfing the site, I checked out a couple of artists' whose work I enjoy immensely, but hadn't thought about for a while. Willem de Kooning was an abstract expressionist painter. He was born in Holland in 1904, but as a young man moved to New York City, where he established himself as an artist. The painting that drew me to de Kooning's work is Woman and Bicycle.

Alice Neel was an American painter as well. She absorbed the essense of her models and reconstituted it on her canvas. "Like Chekhov, I am a collector of souls... if I hadn't been an artist, I could have been a psychiatrist," Alice Neel.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Is screwing really the ultimate?

I picked up a bottle of Hogue Cellars' Fume' Blanc at Trader Joe's, to give it a whirl. It has a screwcap for a seal, and the bottle came with a hangtag that gave information about how Hogue Cellars completed a four year study on sealing wine, and came to the conclusion that screwcaps care the best seal out there.

I'm no sommilier, so I'm not sure if this hangtag is spreading half-truths or not. I'm an old fashioned gal, however, when it comes to wine-- I prefer regular cork. Cork is also a very cool, renewable resource. I wonder what the "cork war" is really all about.

Wine enthusiasts, please chime in. What's your take on cork versus plastic and screwcaps?

Rave Report

After I entered my thirties, my face became quite dry on my cheeks and around my mouth, while the T zone was ready to fry up potatoes. It really creeps me out. To my dismay, a moisturizer that makes my whole face feel good has eluded me; if I don't use some sort of lotion, most of my face feels like it's encased in papier-mache'.

On top of that, I'm pretty thrifty (translation: cheap). I can't stand spending $10 or more on a thimble sized bottle of moisturizer. I've stuck it out with a less expensive brand, but it leaves my face feeling slickery and tacky, plus lately it's been making me break out.

I decided to try the Lavender and Shea Butter Moisturizer by Kiss Your Face, after spotting it at our local Trader Joe's. It's an affordable price and comes in a good sized bottle.

My rave: after using it just once, Lew noticed the difference. I hadn't told him about my purchase. When he touched my cheek in the evening, after my first use of the moisturizer, he commented how soft it was. I asked him if it really felt different, and he said my face was noticeably softer. Also, I can no longer grease baking dishes with the T zone part of my face.

When I put the moisturizer on, it feels a bit sting-y, but that's the lavender oil I think. It's momentary; I haven't experienced any rash or irritation from the lotion. The lavender oil aroma is strong, too, but I love the smell of real lavender.

A terrific bonus-- no animal products or animal testing are used to produce Kiss My Face products.

Stupid is as stupid does

John Stossel explored government stamped and edified stupidity last night in Stupid in America. D. Parvaz, at the Seattle PI, doesn't need any studies about growing ignorance in the U.S. In Popping Off: The latest style: Wearing stupidity with pride, D. reveals, first hand, how willfully ignorant people are.

Furthermore, all you have to do is read some of the entries on the best-of-Craigslist to witness stupidity in America (warning: best-of-Craigslist entries can be extremely raunchy). Although, a caveat needs be thrown in here-- sometimes best-of highlights mildly intelligent people with WAY to much time on their hands. Here is an example. Personally, I think it's the Yellow Submarine.

Now, we're not going to discuss those who take the time to cruise best-of.

Thank you to Lew, who discovered the best-of example.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I can see your eyes again

Yesterday, I took Rosie and Tee to visit Deadhead Girl's son, Skippy, in the hospital. He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes seven years ago, and for the past year he's really had a tough go of it, logging in six hospital visits.

I talked to Deadhead Girl on the phone Tuesday night, and in an effort to make her laugh, I told her Tee lost ten pounds. The first words out of her mouth-- "He got a hair cut?" Yup, he had to endure a hair cut to wrestle without a skull cap (that's a whole other story; suffice it to say that if you have thick hair, slicky skull caps aren't very helpful).

Skippy must not have believed his mom when she told him about Tee's haircut. He was grinning from ear to ear when he spotted us walking down the hospital hallway, and when Tee walked into his room, he said, "You really did get a hair cut."

I think Skippy would get a kick out of this little film linked on Lee and Rich's Punk Rock Parents. It's titled Stop Emo Haircuts. Watch it in celebration of the fact we can see Tee's eyes and his haircut pasted a grin on Skippy's face.

UPDATE: Skippy is now home, but the doctors at the hospital were unable pinpoint exactly what's causing the health problems he's experiencing.

lunch and a show

Diners at Salty's on Alki had a show during lunch time. A sea lion decided he liked lounging on top of a car instead of the local docks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

When I started up Yak Attack, I hoped to write more about the universe unfolding as it should, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle style. When Harold ends up in jail, his cellmate, a victim of much police abuse over the years, shares this simple philosophy about life. It changes Harold’s outlook and by the end of the movie the bad guys get hosed; Harold gets his car back, and the girl; Kumar decides to go to medical school; and Harold’s cellmate gets the justice he deserves. Life is good.

Since I logged on in July, however, the crappola has been flying forward at ludicrous speed. We’re still mired deeply in the Middle East; secret, overseas prisons have been revealed and covert rendition kidnappings exposed; a possibly innocent man sits on death row in Mississippi and mainstream media is ignoring his case; a possibly innocent man, executed in 1992, might be cleared of guilt through a DNA test; goobermint is telling the populace where to smoke, what constitutes"healthy enough"; freezing billions of stolen funds that belong predominately to low income families and the kicker is they don't know they're being investigated for possible tax fraud; a person’s name is reduced to trademark fodder; and snooping is epidemic, from the NSA scooping up phone calls to garbage collectors tagging peoplefor not recycling enough. I look for signs that the universe unfolding “as it should,” i.e. the good folks, the little people, unwashed masses if you will, are making some head way. I search for common sense and sanity to return, yet what I find is sneaky, pitiful legislation about “annoyance” slipped into a DOJ funding bill.

In my search for a small snippet of hope and goodwill, I’ve discovered I’ll have to scrape it up wherever I can. It’s not going to be obvious. It’s not going to be neatly wrapped in a shiny, metallic bow. It certainly won’t be served as a side to crab cakes and plum sauce, with a glass of pinot grigio.

So while reading that Bob Evans, Cory Maye’s public defender, was fired from his position as Prentiss, Mississippi’s public defender, I realized this is one of those snippets. Could it be that there are enough holes in Maye’s conviction to win an appeal? Considering that it does appear Evan’s dismissal by the aldermen of Prentiss is directly related to his representation of Maye, I’ll take it as a yes. I claim this ray of hope—that the truth will shine forth in this case, and any wrong doing, any cover-ups, will be brought to the light of day.

Another snippet I rejoice over is the recent update about Bark’s health. Not only was enough money raised through the Ebay auction and concert held on his behalf to send Bark to a naturopath for evaluation and treatment, he was feeling well enough to make the initial trip, and is set to start a two month course of treatment.

Well, these two diminutive news bites are a start. They’ll have to sustain me for now. I’ll keep searching for more evidence of the universe unfolding, Harold and Kumar style.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Taking time to live well and soothe the savage beast

The 4 meme dealie I participated in last week asked about what four musicians turned my crank. Today, I want to talk more about the musicians that make me happy. It’s not that SRV, Gov’t Mule, Tom Petty and the Beatles don’t make me smile—they do. There are so many tunes that make my soul happy, though, that I want to highlight them today. Right now is a time to count all those things that bring a smile to my face, because sometimes I forget.

Smack dab on the top of my list is Sublime’s What I got. It’s not all sweetness and light, but it’s about living life, right now, the best that you can. Also, since I usually hear it on the radio, “I can play the guitar like a motherfucking riot,” gets blurred by the censoring folks. So for a long time, I didn’t know what the hell Brad Nowell was singing for sure. “Motherfucking zealot” or “m.f. pilot” were some of my favorite fill-ins, back when I didn’t know the lyrics.

Jack Johnson’s Bubbly Toes makes me smile wide every time I hear it. This was the first Jack Johnson song Lew ever learned how to play. Johnson sounds like he’s having a blast playing and singing. Those good vibes flow through the speakers and straight into my veins.

X’s Blue Spark and Under the Big, Black Sun just plain kick-ass. That, of course, makes me feel happy on the inside and I walk a bit taller after listening to them.

Spill the Wine by Eric Burdon & The War—how many songs are there about “overfed, long-haired leaping” gnomes?

Paul Simon’s song Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard grew on me last year, when I took college courses at the University of Washington. I swear, every Tuesday Marty Riemer would play this song during the Attitude Adjustment hour. It makes sense—after the initial annoyance of hearing this song a few times, it really does make you happy. I wonder if the tone of Simon’s voice produces endorphines.

Soulshine by Gov’t Mule. My love affair with this song began with the Mountain Summer Sample cd they gave away in 2002. When I bought Lew Gov’t Mule’s The Deep End Vol. 1, I became in serious heart with this song. It makes me quake inside, it’s so luscious.

Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Couldn’t Stand the Weather. ‘Nuff said. Quintessential SRV.

Happy=most songs featuring xylophones. The Violent Femmes trip my happy meter, because I dig the way Brian Ritchie bangs those boards. I also majorly love songs with horns and saxophones. Oingo Boingo receives two thumbs up, because they have brass and boards. I must follow up, though, by saying that I dislike most songs they recorded on Dead Man’s Party and beyond. Sadly, I never quite got over Weird Science.

Because of my addiction to brass, SKA is a guilty pleasure of mine. Madness’ recent release of cover tunes, Dangermen Session, Vol. 1, is a fun cd to spin. I get happy when I hear any song from Dave Matthew’s Crash. Okay, part of that happy factor is I love hearing Deadhead Girl refer to Matthew’s by the nickname she made up for him (she has quite the aversion to early DM music)—the way she says it totally cracks me up. Her fusion, deadheady music influence brought me to Galatica—their songs that have prominent baritone saxophone are especially tasty.

Do you sometimes forget to dwell upon that which makes you smile? As I mentioned, I certainly do. Music soothes the savage beast, and all that crap—that’s probably why I enjoy it so much. If I have anything going at all during the day for background noise, it is the radio or a cd spinning. If you’d like, share the music that makes you happy. Yes, I’m grubbing for comments here. Let’s exchange happy tune lists and make tomorrow a bit brighter for both of us.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Quiet Revolution by Lynn Stuter

I recently rediscovered Berit Kjos' website. Her book, Brave New Schools, was the first one I read that outlines the messed up stuff happening in the education arena, and how it is tied to society in general.

There is an article by Lynn Stuter featured on the front page of Kjos' website. The Quiet Revolution discusses gradualism and systems theory, and how these ideas have produced significant change, via frog boiling syndrome, through out American society. Stuter offers up several links through her article, which provide some interesting reading.

Garbage Snooping the law in Seattle

Starting this week, garbage collectors are now the garbage fuzz in Seattle city limits. Both business and residential garbage will be checked for recycling material, and if it is deemed that more than 10% of the refuse is stuff that can indeed be recycled, the city won't pick up the trash. Do it enough, and the offending tosser will be slapped with a $50 fine.

I'm all for recycling and do so every day. Recycle or else-- and we're checking up on you-- just stinks. Boo hiss, Seattle.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Papa H and the Martini

During my Christmas break, a newstory caught my eye. The owner of a bar in Greensboro, North Carolina is being sued by author Ernest Hemingway’s heirs for trademark infringement. Jeff Schleuning, owner of Hemingway’s Downtown, claims he named his membership-based bar after the English Bulldog that was his boyhood pet. Hemingway’s heirs don’t care—“The question is whether there is consumer confusion over the source of the name," said John F. Morrow Jr, the attorney representing the heirs.

Okay, a quick Internet search reveals that Hemingway is not a unique name for a bar. There’s Hemingway’s Tropical Bar and Grill in Marietta, Georgia; Hemingway’s Bar and Grill in Rockport, Texas; Heminway’s Bar, which is part of the Portillo Restaurant Group of Chicago, Illinois; Hemingway’s of Toronto, Ontario Canada; Hemingway’s Key West Grille of Denver, Colorado; and of course there’s the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz Paris. Some of these places display a disclaimer that they’re not associated with the author. Most, however, are quite open that they draw their name from Papa Hemingway and honor him; have they all paid blood money to the heirs for name usage? Why are the author’s heirs choosing to pick on only one bar, who doesn’t even claim to associate its name at all with Papa H? Why tie up the courts with these obtuse claims?

Tag, you're it! 4 meme

Kirsten caught me—I’ve been lollygagging about. With the Christmas holiday quickly approaching, my time was gobbled up spending time with the kids, shopping, wrapping and hanging out with friends. I also took Tee to the doctor. He came down with a raging case of pink eye, and strep throat to boot. He felt great; he just didn’t look so hot, with gooey, inflamed eyes.

I wasn’t naughty in 2005, but I must have made some sort of negative impression. Instead of coal in my stocking, I was gifted with a horrible head cold and a temperature of 102 on Christmas day. I spent most of the day in bed. Lew made a yummy, but simple, Christmas dinner—bacon cheeseburgers and chicken soup. The kids were troopers and didn’t complain; I think they relished a day with no running around.

Our universe is back in alignment. I’m ready and anxious to blog again, and to my surprise, Kirsten’s meme tag is here, waiting for me. So, without further blathering, I present my 4 meme answers.

4 meme (courtesy of Kirsten at Enjoy Every Sandwich)
Four jobs you’ve had in your life:
1. Cardboard Box Jockey
2. Cashier/Stocker at an auto supply store
3. Greeting Card Associate
4.Pallet Jack Picker

Four movies you could watch over and over:
1. Bridget Jones’ Diary
2. Shaun of the Dead
3.Romie and Michelle’s High School Reunion
4. Mystery Men

Four places you’ve lived (In Washington, ala Almost Live):
1. Where the belt buckles are big and the trucks are high
2. Scoal Ring Central
3. Sans Greek System University
4. Where Nirvana gelled together before heading to Seattle

Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. The Simpsons
2. Saturday Night Live
3. Ab Fab
4.King of the Hill

Four places you’ve been on vacation:
1. Molokai, Hawaii
2.Yellowstone National Park
3.Tillamook, Oregon
4. Las Vegas, Nevada

Four websites you visit daily:
1. The Claire Files
2. Enjoy Every Sandwich
3. Freedom Sight
4. LibertyFilter

Four of your favorite foods:
1. Cheese (Provolone; feta; kaseri; sharp cheddar; Cougar Gold…)
2. Shrimp sauteed with minced garlic, butter and white wine
3. Spumoni ice cream
4. Mango

Four places you’d rather be:
1. BJ’s Garden Gate Sequim, WA
2.Victoria, British Columbia
3. Any beach located on the northern Oregon Coast
4. Salish Lodge, Snoqualmie, WA

(I’ll honor Kirsten’s category change here) Four albums [musicians' entire collections] you can’t [would prefer not to even imagine having to] live without:
1. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble
2. Gov’t Mule
3. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
4. The Beatles

Four favorite science fiction authors (I don’t care much for sci fi, but I’ll give it a go):
1. CS Lewis
2. Madeleine L'Engle
3. Max Barry
4. Michael Crichton

Who to tag next, to keep the meme running? I’ll tag Tim Osman, over at LibertyFilter. I know he’s very busy at present, but I hope he’ll take a moment to come out and play. Liberty Lightning, bloggerita of the quiet-for-now Freedom Outlaw, do you want to participate, too, for old times’ sake?