Sunday, November 20, 2005

My Father Still Gets Mail

When Dad went in the hospital, we started having his mail forwarded to me, so that we could take care of things that might come up. Since I'm now the "Estate of Carl Mitchell," I get some official stuff from time to time, usually Medicare statements. Everything else has tapered off, except for the odd piece of junk mail, some of which is unintentionally quite funny.

Since dad is a vet, this one is not too off the wall. I've written them a couple of times trying to get it to stop, though:


This one came from his former bank, several months after we reported his death and closed the account It's one of those things that happens in large corporations, where one department doesn't talk to another.


It gets a little bit sillier when you see this notice on the envelope:



And even better, when you see the contents. I think his bank is inviting us to commit insurance fraud. It does say he cannot be turned down, after all....


Speaking of insurance, Nationwide seems to think he might be a good auto insurance risk. I guess they're figuring he's not in too much of a hurry to get anywhere these days.


Finally, there's this bit of techno junk mail. I'm not sure they have the kind of connection needed for him to get online.


I guess it's a good sign that looking at stuff like this doesn't upset me any more. I'd like to think Dad would have gotten a kick out of it, too.

Guess Who Got a Scanner for His Birthday?

Once again, it's been a while...for the usual reasons...yadda, yadda, yadda.... More on that later.
I have a training this week that will keep me out of the office from Mon-Wed. Thurs and Fri, I'm off, and the training picks up for the next Mon and Tues, so I'll probably have a little more time and attention span for blogging. I hope.

Anyway, I hit the big 41 a couple weeks ago, and Keith got me a scanner. I knew about it already, because I was with him when he bought it, but I held off on using it until it was an "official" gift.

I've been storing up bits and pieces for a while now, waiting for the time when I would have a scanner, so I figured I'd share one of them right now.




I found this odd little tidbit lying on a counter at the post office. It hits just the right religious looniness button for me to find it irresistable. I just wish I could make out the face with the horns in the satanic smoke. I know it's got to be a current US political figure, but who? It's not W; that much I can tell, but it's obscured enough by the cross-hatching that I can't make it out. Any ideas?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Yesterday Was Conference Set Up Day!



Loading the car.



Table centerpieces. The masks are supposed to be some kind of Katrina memorial thing. Don't ask me. I just chair the committee.


Mums for the stage.


The stage is decorated. Some of the trees have lights in them.


The Men of Thunda won't be there. :-(

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

THUNDA!


It's the day before conference day. I've got hand outs to copy, talking points to revise, prayer candles to light, stuff to haul, evaluations to sort, stuff to stuff, trees to decorate, and no time to blog.

How about some more Men of Thunda?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What I Did at Work Today

Assembled a Forest.

Gathered Door Prizes.


Printed Posters.

Killed a Printer.



Got Stuff Together.

It must be....

CONFERENCE TIME!!!!!

Babbling

I got this from a couple of other sources, but Roger has it too, so go carve yourself a pumpkin!

Have you signed the pledge yet?

Have all those drug ads on TV driven you crazy yet?

Halloween safety tips for pets

Cost of living calculator (Courtesy of BonzerSites.com.)
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It looks like Zombie Tom may have a new hometown: Pittsburgh!

"A zombie-preparedness study, commissioned by Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy and released Monday, indicates that the city could easily succumb to a devastating zombie attack. Insufficient emergency-management-personnel training and poorly conceived undead-defense measures have left the city at great risk for all-out destruction at the hands of the living dead, according to the Zombie Preparedness Institute."

Clever bastards, those zombies:

"Today's zombies quickly learn to open doors, break windows, and stage ambushes," Cornelius said. "In one 1985 incident in Louisville, a band of zombies was able to lure four paramedics and countless law-enforcement officials to their deaths by commandeering an ambulance radio and calling for backup."

(That day is still spoken of in whispers by officials here in Louisville. The last mayor tried to cut funds for the zombie watch towers along the riverbanks, and there was a huge public outcry. Twenty years later, and the memory is still hauntingly fresh.)

Speaking of ZT, he's been awfully quiet lately. Maybe he's packing for the big move.
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And, finally, some comics babbling:

Cognitive Dissonance has the welcome news about the return of Castle Waiting! And at Comics Reporter, even better news about the long-awaited second issue of Dylan Horrocks' Atlas. Not only that, follow the CR link on through to Comics.212.net, and there's news that the next issue of Berlin is also solicited for January release! My long comics dry spell is coming to an end. Seriously, after a couple of years of watching titles I follow either wrap up or fold, it's good to see word about some that have been more up in the air.

Yesterday on My Lunchtime Walk, I Saw....


A Giant Slice of Watermelon!

Who Says Blogging About Blogging is a Sin?

Introducing Banjo Spam!

I wasn't really surprised to get comment spam, since eventually they find their way even to little trafficked sites like this one. I was, however, surprised at the content:

"Great blog you have. I have a site about banjo music for tom dooley. You can check it out at banjo music for tom dooleyGreat blog you have. I have a site about banjo music for tom dooley. You can check it out at banjo music for tom dooley."

"Great blog you have. I have a site about bela fleck banjo instruction. You can check it out at bela fleck banjo instruction."

Yes, other folks get spam for manhood-enhancing products and low-interest home loans. I get spam for banjoes! At least someone thinks I have a great blog!

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I guess it says something about my approach to blogging that my two year blogiversary passed week before last, and I didn’t even notice it. I don’t know if that’s because I basically didn’t post at all during much of the first year of Eddie-torial Comments’ existence or if it’s because several of my early posts make me cringe.
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We have a winner!

Yes, that contest thing was serious. And I do have a winner, even if no one actually entered the contest!

Yes, no one followed the rules, but Roger, my one loyal reader, did actually leave the correct answer in the comments section for that day. That’s close enough to sending me an email, so I decided, what the hell, I’ll send Roger some stuff off my desk.

Winging Roger’s way right now, is a package containing:

One of my old business cards!
Some Amnesty International stickers and stuff!
A personalized notepad! (okay, it’s personalized to me, but can’t everyone use one of those?)
A prayer card to
Saint Dymphna!
An old price sticker from the late lamented Hawley-Cooke Booksellers! (Life just hasn’t been the same since Borders took over the best independent bookstore in town and sucked all the personality out of it.)
A binder clip! (Just to make sure there was something slightly useful in there.)
Some things I’ve forgotten because I didn’t make a list before I sealed the package!

Obviously, I have a long way to go before I get good at this blog contest thing. Maybe I should offer something out of my closet next?
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Damn Dial Up

I’ve been house-sitting for some friends this last week, so I’m stuck with a horribly slow and unreliable dial up connection, which has really limited my online time. I guess years of DSL or cable access have made me slightly spoiled. I have however been doing a lot of writing, so I’ve got a bunch of stuff to post, which I think I’m going to plop out all at once, since this is conference week and I don’t have much time.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Concert Pics

Keith's got some new pics from recent shows up.

Amy Ray at Headliners


I was underwhelmed with the opener, but Amy Ray and the Volunteers rocked the house with a set the showcased tunes from her new CD, Prom, with a handful of stuff from its predecessor, Stag, sprinkled in. (Like Johnny Rottentail!)

The crowd was smaller than we thought it would be. For the Stag tour, Headliners was so packed you could not move an inch without bumping into someone, no matter how hard you tried. Anticipating this, we got there early, stood in line, and made straight for the balcony, since the floor seats were bound to be obscured by people standing. As it turned out, all the precautions weren’t necessary. It was a good-sized crowd, but not overwhelming or obtrusive. Keith and I were part of only a handful of folks in the balcony. We sat on an ottoman in a corner, right up on the rail, in direct sight of stage left, which gave us a nice, cozy box seat, with an excellent view of the show.

For my money, Prom is the best CD of 2005. There’s just nothing that tops this personal collection of tunes that reflect about growing up gay in the rural south in the 70’s, and touch on gay issues and gay life in the 21st century. I’m planning to review the CD soon, so I won’t go into detail, but I had high hopes for this show.

Which did not go unmet. Ray was obviously charged by her band, and the whole set rumbled with energy. I wish she had spent some time talking about the songs and where they came from, but the music stands so powerfully on its own, that this is a minor quibble, rather than a complaint.


Nanci Griffith in Lexington



Griffith was a little annoyed by some minor sound problems that plagued the set, but for the most part she kept that hidden from the audience. In fact, except for a feedback squeal during Gulf Coast Highway, the problems were mostly not noticeable. Nevertheless, throughout the show, she was kind and gracious to the audience, sharing jokes and stories and chatting freely.

The set had a lot of songs from her newest CD, Hearts in Mind, so several older favorites weren’t included. I was a little disappointed not to hear Mary Margaret, but she managed to build some surprises in the set, with songs like Late Night Grande Hotel. She also managed to strike a careful balance between making a political statement or two, and turning the show into a manifesto. I’m one of the sort that would not have objected to the manifesto, but I was impressed with they way she inserted a line into Flyer about bringing the troops home tonight, and a few minutes later, laughingly referred to herself as a “left-winged creature.” A performer can be political and entertaining at the same time, and Griffith certainly proved it.

She also channeled some of her social concern into an area everyone in the audience could agree with at this point in time, hurricane relief efforts. She shared her sadness at the destruction to the gulf, including the Gulf Coast Highway, then shared her hope that after the rebuilding she’ll be able to go and see the blue bonnets in bloom again. It’s been just amazing to me how many musicians I like are from or have lived or have sung about the affected areas: Lucinda Williams, Mary Gauthier, Kate Campbell, and now Nanci Griffith.

When it was obvious that she was starting to move into her closing number (I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t White Freight Liner Blues), I thought “Already? She just started playing!” Then I looked at my watch and realized it was after 10:30! Time does fly when you’re having fun.

Kate Campbell at the Rud



The Rud provides an intimate music experience, which perfectly suited this evening with Kate Campbell. I first saw her perform in March of last year, and instantly became a fan for life. Within a few months, I had managed to acquire all of her CD’s. There’s something about her music that taps into parts of me that other songs don’t. This is another subject for a planned upcoming post, so I’m going to hold off on saying any more about it here.

Campbell devoted her set to playing every song off her new CD, Blues and Lamentations, which had come out a few days earlier. I hadn’t gotten a copy yet, because I wanted to do it at the show, so I got to experience the songs for the first time from the songwriter herself, complete with commentary about the origins of each song. Can’t beat that!

She deviated from this course a couple of times, once to insert a New Orleans song, once to do a Kentucky song, and once to do an Alabama song. This allowed her to touch on the place she was born, the place she was singing, and the place that’s been in most people’s minds recently.

It turned out to be one of the most special evenings of music I have ever experienced. After the show I chatted with her a bit and got some CD’s signed. I hope I didn’t babble too incessantly.



Sometimes Justice Isn't Pretty


Okay, I know that he's a long way from being found guilty, and there's simply no telling what the Republican dirty spin machine will do to fight this, but, just for a moment, let me savor the idea that the system works the way it should, from time to time, at least.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Pix A Go-Go!






There are also some pics of the special Homefront show that Jean Ritchie did recently.

I haven't written much about that show because it's really hard to find the words to do it. She is so gracious and giving, and such a repository of important cultural heritage, that any time you can see her on stage is truly a special treat. She's in her 80's, and, although she's still performing regularly, she might not be with us much longer. I think we're really blessed to have seen her perform twice this year. My great-grandparents died when I was in my early 20's, so I have a lot of childhood memories of them. There's a feeling I get when I think about them or look at the old pictures of them that I really can't describe, except to say that it is very special to me. I get a similar feeling when I see Jean Ritchie play.




And, finally, every blog needs a picture

of a half-naked man in a kilt playing a drum!

He's part of Men of Thunda, a local group that describes their sound as "celtic tribal." We saw them at an international heritage festival last month. My pics cam out a little dark, though.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Oh Lord, I’m going to ramble ‘til I get back to where I came

Going to try to actually get some stuff posted tonight. Otherwise, Roger might meme-tag me again.

Since we’re kind of in a lull between active periods, I figure I’d better post now while I can. We have a show tonight (Amy Ray), followed by an out of town show (Nanci Griffith) next Monday. When we get back from that, I’ll be housesitting for some friends for a week. As soon as I get back to our house, it’s CONFERENCE DAY, followed by the first Annual Mitchell Brothers’ Reunion Road Trip!

We decided on Nashville for the destination, so I get to be the tour guide. It’s
IBMA awards and fanfest weekend, so there’s a good chance of catching some good shows, provided we can get a hotel room.

After I get back to town from that jaunt, I run headlong into my 41st birthday. Wow!

So how about some rambling about something other than my boring personal life?
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Name That Tune

Everyone seems to be doing blog contests these days, so I’m going to try too! Tell me the name of the song the main title (the one up there in bigger letters than everything else) of this post comes from and identify the songwriter, and I’ll send you something off my desk!






Seriously, I’m obviously needing to tidy, and I’m sure I can find something interesting in this mess to send someone, just don’t hold out any hope that it might be a CD.

Email your answers to me at memitch at att dot net no later than five p.m. (EST) Monday, October 17, 2005. First correct answer based on the date/time header on the email wins. In the case of a tie, I’ll rummage around and find something to send both winners! Be sure to include your name and address so I’ll know where to send your prize!

Oh yeah! There are a couple of extra hints (not that anyone needs them) hidden in this next little tidbit.

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If I Needed You

Borrowed from the meme-addicted Roger, who got it from Lefty. The idea is to take an artist and answer the questions using the titles of their songs.

Artist/Band: Emmylou Harris

Are you male or female: Boy From Tupelo

Describe yourself: Here I Am

How do some people feel about you: Heaven Only Knows

How do you feel about yourself: Too Far Gone

Describe what you want to be: Michaelangelo

Describe how you live: Beneath Still Waters

Describe how you love: Easy From Now On

Share a few words of wisdom: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

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Johanna Draper Carlson posted some great reviews last week. Of course, she always does great reviews, but this time she hit on a motherlode of books I’m interested in reading, these two in particular. I always appreciate pointers to the good stuff.

Need a job?

Lefty gets excited about comics.

It’s been a rough week for cuddly characters.
The Smurfs get bombed out. Wallace and Gromit get burned out. And the Teletubbies are strung out! (That’s so not right!) More positively, last week Augie discovered Asterix! (Thanks to Cognitive Dissonance and Comics Reporter for the Smurfs links. CR now has a link to the Smurf video now.)

Keith’s from Arkansas, too. Not too far from Fayetteville, I think.
It looks like we chose the wrong time to visit his mother last month. Sigh!

Remember those “Question Authority” bumper stickers from the 80’s
? Some times, that’s a really good idea.

Dr. Doom’s Top 10 Euphemisms for Sex. Gotta love Progressive Ruin!

Once again, I bow to the genius that is Postmodern Barney! God bless you, Dorian Wright!

Make way for the Incredible Pope-Man!

And from another side of the religious spectrum: Muslim heroes!

This is a BIG AD. (From Keith)

What God really said to Bush.

News story I’d really like to see. Thank God for the Onion!

Slideshow video from Carrie Newcomer.

Delbert McClinton e-card.

Old 97’s e-card. They have a live CD out!

Wanna see inside Rhonda Vincent’s Tour Bus? It’s sponsored by Martha White!

If you watch all of Dwight Yoakam’s video, you’ll be casting a vote for it at CMT.

One of Mary Gauthier’s fans created this slideshow using her song Mercy Now and images from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Gauthier is promoting it on her own website. There are a whole lot of people who could use a little mercy now.

Fun Kim Deitch animation. I have to admit it work better for you if you know something of the whole Waldo saga. Here’s a good book to bring you up to speed.

I found some of the above lurking on my clipboard, where it had been for god knows how long. I think some of them were acquired while my dad was ill, and I’ve since lost any attributions I may have had for sources. My apologies, but I thought they were too good not to use.

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Weight Loss

I finally cracked the 220 plateau. I’d been really discouraged lately with the weight loss, because I hadn’t been able to get below 220. This morning the scale said 216, which was a much-needed boost. I haven’t been noticing a lot of difference in the way my clothes fit lately, and this damn belly seems as huge as ever to me

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Music

Speaking of Lucinda Williams, she was a part of a back to back concert week recently. WFPK closed out the Waterfront Wednesday season with the Duhks and Hem. It was a perfect night, cool, but not too cool. Both acts were fantastic. The Duhks had some sound problems at first, but I loved their blend of traditional music, gospel songs, and country twangers!

The next night, we saw Lucinda Williams at the Brown. She’s got a rabid following that expects to hear certain things from her, so I was surprised that she did a half dozen brand new songs that night. She’s road testing some tunes in preparation for putting a new album together. It left less time for some things I wanted to hear her do, so several of them got left out of the set, but it was a rare treat to hear some works in progress out of this great songwriter.

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Now Playing:

John Haitt--Slow Turning: Ahhhhhh!

A User’s Guide to They Might Be Giants: I really, really needed this one this week.

Let Freedom Sing: This Land Is Your Land Vol II: Stuff from the heyday of the 60’s folk boom, when everyone called it “protest music.” The perfect antidote to an overdose of the Bush Administration.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Look Ma! I'm a Charmer!

Courtesy of Roger and Gordon:

Your Seduction Style: Sweet Talker
Your seduction technique can be summed up with "charm"You know that if you have the chance to talk to someone...Well, you won't be talking for long! ;-)
You're great at telling potential lovers what they want to hear.Partially, because you're a great reflective listener and good at complementing.The other part of your formula? Focusing your conversation completely on the other person.
Your "sweet talking" ways have taken you far in romance - and in life.You can finess your way through any difficult situation, with a smile on your face.Speeding tickets, job interviews... bring it on! You truly live a *charmed life*

What kind of a seducer are you?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Life with Felines


Cat sociology is so fascinating. When Basil was at her worst, the Boy gave her wide berth and didn’t bother her at all. He also stopped harassing Bennie. After he came to live with us, he couldn't get the #1 spot away from Basil, so he bumped Bennie out of the #2 slot. We tried every way in the world to get him to stop picking on her, but nothing worked.

Bennie naps with some friends in more peaceful days.


How can anyone so cute be such a meanie?


As Basil started to get a little better, but was still isolating herself, he made his move for the number one cat spot. He started doing things like cutting in front of her to eat and such. He never really got physical with her, but it was obvious what he was doing. When he thought he had rule of the roost, he started to leave Bennie completely alone.

When we thought Basil was bouncing back, he started letting Basil eat first, but it was obvious that the dynamic had changed. She used to be able to drive him back from whatever dish she wanted with a look. We were wondering what would happen when she came back 100%.

She did reassert herself some, but I don't think she got top spot back from him. The second she started, he started picking on Bennie again.

Bennie ran and hid when we came back from the vet without Basil. The last night when we sat up with her all night in the living room, Beenie sat in the kitchen door at the other end of the house and watched us. Basil was laying by the front door, and since we have a shotgun house, Bennie could see us from her spot. (Do I need to explain shotgun houses for non-Southern folks?)

She's cried some at night, and the other day came bursting in the bathromm searching for Basil, but it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be, given that they were never apart their whole lives. The Boy has been glued to my lap and has started sleeping on my side of the bed, right next to me. He'll even sleep on the back of my legs like Basil used to, except he's not as patient with my wiggling as she was. Until this weekend, he left Ben alone, but he started bring a little shit again on Saturday.

Of course the hardest adjustment for everyone right now is the return to the diet. When Basil wasn't eating well, the vet told us to feed her whenever she wanted as much as she wanted. Well, feeding Basil meant feeding everyone. Bennie and the Boy must have thought the famine ended or something. They're back to being little porkers again! Bringing back the diet is causing quite a bit of kitty consternation!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Babbling

This is basically a long, tedious dump of posts, random thoughts, and other nonsense that I haven’t had a chance to finish or post until now. Consider yourself warned.

Edit: I eddie-ted some of my comments about Ryan Shupe to add info about his new release and soften some comments whose tone I didn't like.
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Happy Fall! If you didn’t notice Fall fell on us a couple of days ago. 2005 is almost over. Can you believe it? Where did it go? It seems like the last thing I really remember was going to San Francisco in April. Everything else is lost in a whirl of hospitals, doctors, funeral homes, insurance policies, wills and the like.

This isn’t exactly the 2005 I signed up for. Can I get a refund or at least a do-over?

Sigh.
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Since it’s conference planning time at work, life has been a whirl of meetings lately. I’m blessed with one planning committee member who’s all about hearing herself talk. It’s a constant struggle to keep the group on our appointed task and not her personal agenda, which seems to revolve around decorations.

Somehow I seem to end up with committees that have at least one "problem personality" on them. If Charlie Brown were a working adult, he would be me.

Then there’s also the joy of finding that our director was working on a workshop for the conference that no one knew about until she had it all planned! Luckily, one of the sessions I was working on just wasn’t coming together, so we had a slot, otherwise I would have had to uninvite a presenter.

Yesterday, I took everything that’s been done so far to the bigwigs to make sure everyone is onboard and that there are no more little “surprises” out there. It went well except for the one person who always has to object to something connected with everything I do. This time the objection related to a specific element of the opening assembly that “just doesn’t seem to fit with everything else.” That woul, of course, be the one part of the opneing that said group of bigwigs asked me specifically to include. Sigh!


Still, if this is the worst that happens, it’ll be okay. I was looking down the list of things that still need to be done and we’re actually a little ahead of where we usually are this time each year. If I can get these last couple of workshops confirmed, I’ll actually have the program to the printer early!

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Been doing a lot of yard saling lately. Last Saturday and this one we've gone to several sales. It's a good way to get new clothes since a lot of my old stuff isn't fitting any more. I also picked up a nice leather overnight bag today, which will come in handy when my brother and I talk our innaugural road trip in a few weeks.

The only good thing to come out of Dad's illness was that Danny and I both realized how much we missed spending time together, just the two of us. So, we're going to plan a Mitchell Brothers Road Trip once a year. I'm looking forward to it.

As for yard saling, well, given that we've got our own sale coming up next week, there's an element of irony here.....

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I've plateaued in my weight loss. Been sitting at the same spot for a couple of weeks now. Ugh!

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I’ve decided that I’m going to enter some kind of a distance walking event next year. I don’t know exactly which one yet. I’d prefer something where I pay a fee and walk a few miles with a group of people, rather than having to get sponsors. Around Derby time there are always things like that happening here. I walk every day as a part of my exercise routine, and I’m looking to stretch in that area. I think this will provide me the motivation to do so. More as this develops.

Then again, there’s also
this. If they just had a beginner session in the evenings…

Of course,
I could do it on my own, too.

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I got the bill for Dad’s funeral the other day. That should signal the end to all the paperwork and financial dealings until I have to do his taxes next year.


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Playlists

Here's the stuff that's been playing at home and at the office for the past few weeks:

Austin Country Nights: An excellent, hard-honky-tonkin’ compilation of Austin-based artists from the mid-nineties.

Sister Hazel—Somewhere More Familiar: Eh....

Ollabelle—Self-titled: Wow!

Caetano Veloso--Livro: Usually like his stuff, but this just didn't click with me after reapeated listenings.

Eliza Gilkyson--Paradise Hotel: Not quite as good as Land of Milk and Honey, but easily one of the best of the year.

Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem--Cocktail Swing: Nothing but silly, fun, feel good music (even the sadder songs), and there sure ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Freedy Johnston--Never Home: Fascinating.

Jordan Chassan--East of Bristol West of Knoxville: Ditto

RebbeSoul--Fringe of Blue: Traditional forms of Jewish music blended with American (rock, blues, and jazz), European, and African rythms and styles. It shouldn’t work nearly as well as it does. Largely instrumental with a few prayer chants thrown in, this is one of the most captivating things I’ve played in recent days.

Tracy Bonham--Blink the Brightest: I was born without you. Why can’t I live without you now?

Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band—Hey Hey Hey: I knew them only from the comedic song “I Play the Banjo” so I was surprised at how much this made me think of jam bands. I was also surprised at how much I liked the whole CD, since that’s not really a genre I get into. (I like Leftover Salmon, but for the most part, extended noodly never-ending jams really leave me cold.) I think a part of it is that they never really do any full-fledged noodling, and part of it is that Shupe sounds so much like Danny Flanigan and Mitch Barret (of ZoĆ« Speaks), two local artists I really like.


By the way this whole CD has just recently been re-released on a major label under the title Dream Big. Contents and song order are unchanged.

Kate Campbell—Blues and Lamentations: There’s just something about her music that I find comforting. She touches parts of my life and heart that don’t get touched much. I can’t explain it any better without going into a really long, rambly post about spirituality. New Kate Campbell is always a cuse for joy.

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2005 is going to be one of the best years for new music I can remember. A core of my favorite artists--Eliza Gilkyson, Kate Campbell, Carrie Newcomer, and Mary Gauthier—have all released albums this year. Wow!

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Just checked the local concert calendars, and all of a sudden, our fall looks to be pretty booked:

Amy Ray at Headliners October 14

James McMurtry at Uncle Pleasants October 18
Bright Eyes at the Brown on November 15

Keller Williams at the Brown November 19

Keith will be more psyched about Bright Eyes, while I’m pretty excited about Amy Ray. I haven't brought up McMurtry or Williams yet.


Lucinda WIlliams is next week!


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Karla Bonoff?

I'm needing something light right now, so I'm digging into something that I think the entire blogging world has already done: the Music Outfitters thing.

Just in case you've missed it, here's the drill:

Go to Music Outfitters.

Enter the year you graduated high school in to the search function.

Take the list of top songs from that year and bold the ones you like, strike through the ones you don't, underline your favorite, and leave the rest alone.

Here's my take on the magical year that was 1982, including some commentary when appropriate.

1. Physical, Olivia Newton-John

Remember the video for this one?

2. Eye Of The Tiger, Survivor

This was 1982?

3. I Love Rock N' Roll, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts

The programming manager at the little radio station in my hometown didn't like this song and wouldn't let it be played. He went out of town one weekend and one of the DJ's played it like 5 or 6 times in a row. I think that was about the only time it was ever played there.

4. Ebony And Ivory, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
5. Centerfold, J. Geils Band
6. Don't You Want Me, Human League
7. Jack And Diane, John Cougar
8. Hurts So Good, John Cougar
9. Abracadabra, Steve Miller Band
10. Hard To Say I'm Sorry, Chicago
11. Tainted Love, Soft Cell
12. Chariots Of Fire, Vangelis
13. Harden My Heart, Quarterflash
14. Rosanna, Toto
15. I Can't Go For That, Daryl Hall and John Oates

16. 867-5309 (Jenny), Tommy Tutone

My roommate in college my freshman year was named Tommy. All the guys on the floor called him "Tutone."

17. Key Largo, Bertie Higgins
18. You Should Hear How She Talks About You, Melissa Manchester
19. Waiting For A Girl Like You, Foreigner

20. Don't Talk To Strangers, Rick Springfield
21. The Sweetest Thing, Juice Newton
22. Always On My Mind, Willie Nelson
23. Shake It Up, Cars
24. Let It Whip, Dazz Band
25. We Got The Beat, Go-Go's

Until the day I die, this will always be my all time favorite group.

26. The Other Woman, Ray Parker Jr.
27. Turn Your Love Around, George Benson
28. Sweet Dreams, Air Supply

29. Only The Lonely, Motels
30. Who Can It Be Now?, Men At Work
31. Hold Me, Fleetwood Mac
32. Eye In The Sky, Alan Parsons Project

What the hell was this song supposed to be about anyway?

33. Let's Groove, Earth, Wind and Fire
34. Open Arms, Journey

Okay, I know it's cheesy, but I had my first "serious" relationship my senior year in high school. I also ended my first "serious" relationship my senior year in high school.

She stayed in our small hometown, hooked up with another guy from our class, got married, and now works at Wal-Mart. I went to college, moved to Louisville, eventually came out of the closet, and fell in love with Keith. I think I got the better deal.

35. Leader Of The Band, Dan Fogelberg
36. Leather And Lace, Stevie Nicks and Don Henley

I LOVED this song!

37. Even The Nights Are Better, Air Supply

Isn't it surprising how many shitty Air Supply songs are on this list?

38. I've Never Been To Me, Charlene

This song always reminds me of a friend of mine from my senior class. She got pregnant our senior year and had to finish the school year at home. She wasn't even allowed to walk with the rest of us at graduation.

39. '65 Love Affair, Paul Davis
40. Heat Of The Moment, Asia
41. Take It Easy On Me, Little River Band
42. Pac-man Fever, Buckner and Garcia
43. That Girl, Stevie Wonder
44. Private Eyes, Daryl Hall and John Oates
45. Trouble, Lindsey Buckingham
46. Making Love, Roberta Flack
47. Love's Been A Little Bit Hard On Me, Juice Newton
48. Young Turks, Rod Stewart
49. Freeze-frame, J. Geils Band
50. Keep The Fire Burnin', REO Speedwagon

Wasn't that such a great album?

51. Do You Believe In Love, Huey Lewis and The News
52. Cool Night, Paul Davis
53. Caught Up In You, 38 Special
54. Why Do Fools Fall In Love?, Diana Ross
55. Love In The First Degree, Alabama
56. Hooked On Classics, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
57. Wasted On The Way, Crosby, Stills and Nash
58. Think I'm In Love, Eddie Money
59. Love Is In Control, Donna Summer
60. Personally, Karla Bonoff
61. One Hundred Ways, Quincy Jones
62. Blue Eyes, Elton John
63. Our Lips Are Sealed, Go-Go's

What? You expected me to be albe to pick between two Go-Go's tunes for my favorite??

64. You Could Have Been With Me, Sheena Easton

I HATED this song!

65. You Can Do Magic, America
66. Did It In A Minute, Daryl Hall and John Oates


The number of shitty Hall and Oates songs equals the number of shitty Air Supply songs.

67. I Ran, A Flock Of Seagulls
68. Somebody's Baby, Jackson Browne
69. Oh No, Commodores
70. Take It Away, Paul McCartney
71. It's Gonna Take A Miracle, Deneice Williams
72. Love Will Turn You Around, Kenny Rogers
73. Don't Stop Bellevin', Journey

Someone told me this was the "offical" song of our senior calss. I don't remember who made that decision.

74. Comin' In And Out Of Your Life, Barbra Streisand
75. Gloria, Laura Branigan
76. Empty Garden, Elton John

This might possibly have been the last era when Elton John songs were tolerable.

77. Yesterday's Songs, Neil Diamond

Yeah, yeah...I know....


78. Crimson And Clover, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts

For some reason, I've not warmed to many covers of Tommy James songs.

79. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Police
80. Here I Am, Air Supply
81. I Keep Forgettin', Michael Mcdonald

82. Get Down On It, Kool and The Gang
83. Any Day Now, Ronnie Milsap
84. Make A Move On Me, Olivia Newton-John
85. Take My Heart, Kool and The Gang
86. Mirror Mirror, Diana Ross
87. Vacation, Go-Go's

I like it, but it's not as good as the other two.

88. (Oh) Pretty Woman, Van Halen
89. Should I Do It, Pointer Sisters
90. Hot In The City, Billy Idol
91. Kids In America, Kim Wilde

I didn't realize this came out in '82. I thought it was closer to my college graduation.

92. Man On Your Mind, Little River Band
93. What's Forever For, Michael Murphy
94. Waiting On A Friend, Rolling Stones
95. Do I Do, Stevie Wonder
96. Working For The Weekend, Loverboy
97. Goin' Down, Greg Guidry
98. Arthur's Theme, Christopher Cross
99. Through The Years, Kenny Rogers
100. Edge Of Seventeen, Stevie Nicks

I was kind of surprised how many sappy sings there were in 1982. I'm also surprised that there were quite a few I couldn't remember. Who the hell was Karla Bonoff?

Great. Now I'm starting the day with Air Supply songs stuck in my head.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Tidying Up!

I fixed Basil's pic so that it actually shows up now. Not sure what happened there. I also added a couple of links to that post that I didn't have time to do yesterday. I edited it just a tad too. It was a combinatino of two posts, one about Basil's illness and one about losing her, that were written several weeks apart and put together. It needed just a little smoothing out.

Sigh!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Worst Year Ever

Last week sucked.

So did Monday. So will today. And there’s not much hope for the rest of the week.

And there’s one less sweet, silly, grey kitty in the world to make it all better.

Sigh.



We got Basil from a friend of mine who had a pregnant cat. I told him that if there was a solid grey kitty and a grey stripey-tabby cat in the litter that I wanted them. I had the names all picked out and could even visualize them. The grey one was going to be a girl named Basil and the striped one would be a boy named Benny, which was short for Benedict. I figured if saints’ names were good for human babies, they’d work for kitties too. Mind you, I hadn’t seen them yet; in fact, they hadn’t even been born. I just knew that this was what I wanted.

Keith and I were planning on moving in together and I told him we had to have a place where we could have cats. I had lived with my mom for a year before getting another place on my own and had spent the entire year in my little efficiency apartment missing her kitties. I was so adamant about having cats that I paid the pet deposit myself and was going to pay the extra ten bucks a month on the rent for them.

They were born with just enough time to get weaned before we moved in to our new place. Amazingly enough, there were two babies in the litter that matched my “dream cat” descriptions perfectly—except that the stripey cat was also a girl. I changed the spelling of her name to Bennie, which was now short for Benedicta.

I went to see them when they were a few weeks old and fell in love. They were just starting to explore the world under the watchful gaze of their mother. I picked one of them up, and she clung to me right away, squealing the whole time. The mother jumped in front of me and gave me an evil look, but she was hooked on my shirt and I could not get her off. I had to get down on my knees and lean my chest as close to the floor as I could so she would let go. In my mind’s eye, I have romanticized this story to make that little baby kitty Basil, but the truth is I cannot remember which one it was. It may have even been one of the other litter mates. (Sadly, one of the litter died shortly after birth and the rest died right after I picked up Basil and Bennie.)

On the day we moved into the apartment, we went to get them. I didn’t have a carrier, so we punched holes in the top of computer paper box. When I got back in the car with them in the box, Keith want to see them. I opened the box and out popped these two fuzzy little heads that were all ears and eyes. He fell in love with them right away and they became “our” cats.

While the both spent time wherever they liked and with whomever they liked, Basil tended to gravitate to me from the start, while Bennie did the same with Keith. Very early on, Basil started sleeping on the back of my legs at night, something she only stopped doing when she got sick this year.

Pretty early on, it became clear that Basil bonded to me as if I were her birth mother. She would sit on my lap and bend her head, so that I could rub it with my nose, then she would rub her nose on mine and purr. She soon transferred this routine to the bathroom, where she would sit on the toilet each morning when I got ready for work and wait for me to rub her head. I started my day out like that for years.

She was never the brightest of cats, but she always managed to bully the others enough to be acknowledged at the leader of the pack. Even when we got the Boy, who is quite boisterous and rambunctious, she kept her top slot. She would sit and wait for him to walk by her and, every so often, she would smack him in the back of the head with her paw—just enough to keep him in line. Ironically, she was scared of anything that moved—including me and Keith if we happened to be carrying something. She was forever running and hiding from one thing or another.

In her mind, she ought to be able to do anything the other cats did and go anywhere they could go. However, she never could quite get down the exact process that the others followed. If the Boy curled up in my arms and went to sleep, then she would end up in some awkward stance with her legs all akimbo and dangling all over me. If someone got in the top of the closet or on a high shelf, she would do the same and then sit there with a perplexed look on her face, as if she had no idea what she was supposed to do next. (or how to get down.)

She could be as sweet as she was silly. She lived for lap time and, if she couldn’t get it, she’d plop on my feet to remind me that I was being derelict in my duties. Merely sitting down to put on my shoes was an invitation to her. There was never a day that was so bad that some quality time with Basil couldn’t fix it.

She first got sick right around the time my dad did. We were really worried that she had something like kidney failure because she had stopped eating and drinking and was isolating herself from everyone. It all started when things were at their most tenuous with Dad, and the thought of having to put her down was about to overwhelm both me and Keith. Losing her then would have been more than I could have taken.

Fortunately, all the tests for kidney problems came back negative, which left us with no clue as to what was ailing her. Then I started noticing that her balance was completely off. She was wobbling and weaving when she walked, and tended to circle unexpectedly. Our vet identified this as vestibular disease, which isn't normally fatal, unless it's a sign of something more serious like a braim tumor.

During that time, we had force feeding regimens to keep her strength up, plus courses of anti-biotics, appetite stimulants, and steroids. She was well on the road to recovery, when she had small relapse. The vet thought that we just didn't treat her long enough, so we had more anti-biotics and steroids for her. She started eating again in a couple of days, so we thought we were making progress again. This was late June/early July.

She never quite totally bounced back, but I just assumed it was going to happen gradually. She stayed earthbound most of the time, not getting in my lap or in bed with us. And she had diarrhea that never cleared up no matter what we did. At first we thought it was a side effect of the anti-biotics. The vet had some concerns about her vision, which would have been on e of the signs of something more serious, but she seemed to be navigating the house all right. She was walking straight, and eating, and cleaning herself, and going through most of her daily routines, so we thought everything was going to be okay.

We could not have been more wrong.

The end came so suddenly that I’m still in shock. Weeknd before last, we went away for the weekend, and when we got back on Sunday evening, she was isolating herself again. When she came out she would stagger and sway just like before. She had also stopped eating and drinking, and I was starting to suspect that, this time, she really had lost her vision. Her pupils were completely open and unchanging and she had a fixed glassy stare. She sat by the front door and cried all that night and into the next day.

We took her to the vet Monday afternoon, who concurred that she had definitely lost at least some of her vision. Her eyes didn’t respond at all to having a light shining directly in them. The vet also noticed that her skin was starting to turn yellow. We left her there to be re-hydrated, and by the time we came back to pick her up, she had started having difficulty breathing. She was trying to breathe through her mouth.

We took her home for one last night and took turns sitting up with her. She kept pulling herself up and staggering around the living room until she collapsed. Then she would start crying again. By the morning, she couldn’t stand and her cries were whispers. We called the vet and got ready to say good-bye. On the drive to the vet she crapped and pissed all over me.

Her bloodwork had come back showing extreme liver dysfunction. As near as we can tell, it really was a tumor causing her dizziness and we had only managed to delay things with the steroids and anti-biotics. In the meantime, it started spreading into her liver.

The vet talked to her a bit before giving the injection. She reminded us of the way she used to call Basil “Miss Chubby” before we started the diet. Everyone at the office knew and loved Basil. A couple of minutes after the shot and my sweet little baby was gone. For the first time in nearly 13 years, there won’t be a Basil at home to greet me after work.

I don’t know who’s going to help me start my day now or who’s going to make the bad ones better for me. All I know is that I’m tired of everyone I love dying. I’m still working through some of my grief for my dad. How am I supposed to grieve for Basil on top of that? I can’t take any more of this. 2005 is now officially the worst year ever.

Who Thinks Up These Things Anyway?

Insect or Human, huh?

Well let's see.

According to Mr. Green, I'm supposed to:

"First, list writer Robert Heinlein's examples of the accomplishments that distinguish a [generalist] human from a [specialist] insect. Then identify the ones [you have] actually done. A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." (Eddie-ted just a tad for better readability.)

Like Roger, I've copied the list with some notes.

Change a diaper (Used to work in the nursery at church. Got this one down.)

Plan an invasion (Does moving count? That's kind of like invading.)

Butcher a hog (Not personally, but I do come from a long line of farm folks who have. My mother has seen my great-grandparents do it.)

Conn a ship (I don't even know what this means, but, like Roger, I've done a bad job of rowing a canoe. In fact, I tipped one over once.)

Design a building (I've sketched out layouts for rooms.)

Write a sonnet (Not a sonnet, per se, but I wrote bad poetry in college.)

Balance accounts (I've had to do this for several grants I've worked on over the years.)

Build a wall (I've painted one.)

Set a bone (Only in first aid class.)

Comfort the dying (I guess Dad counts here.)

Take orders (I do work for government.)

Give orders (I've got a committee meeting today that I'm chairing. I hate these things.)

Cooperate (See above comment. I'm happier on my own.)

Act alone (See above comment.)

Solve equations (I was a math major for two years in college.)

Analyze a new problem (That's part of working in training and development.)

Pitch manure (Like Roger, I've cleaned cat litter boxes.)

Program a computer (Also like Roger, I've installed software.)

Cook a tasty meal (I don't do it much, but I'm a halfway decent cook.)

Fight efficiently (Sorry, I'm a pacifist.)

Die gallantly (Not any time in the near future.)

Sleepers Awake!

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

>Grunt!<

Huh? Wazzat?

Oh it's just Roger with some silly meme-thing. Go away Roger!

ZZZZZZ!! Huh?

What now Roger? Two and a half weeks since my last post? And you're disturbing my beauty sleep for this announcement because...

Surely you're not saying there are people actually sitting around wondering what's happening with Eddie-torial Comments are you?

Oh, you're sitting around wondering what's happening with Eddie-torial Comments?

All right...all right...

Let me get my robe and some coffee.

Sigh!

Be right with you!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

How Do I Love Thee?

I’m feeling out of sorts with comics right now, so I’m going to steal a meme from Lyle and list some of the things in comics that I’m excited about now:

The Little Lulu trades from Dark Horse. I know that one volume had some pages out of order, but every one of these has been a real treat regardless.

James Kochalka

Lewis Trondheim (I think Kochlaka and Trondheim will always be on any list like this that I make.)

Joann Sfar (I'm looking forward to getting Rabbi's Cat.)

The Buddha volumes from Vertical (Volume 7 is due in October!!)

I love going into the one independent bookseller we have left in this town and seeing a carefully chosen shelf of graphic novels and trades. I try to buy a volume from them every so often.

Half-Price Books, where it seems you can find almost anything

My local shop, of course. Nicest people on the planet.

Going to the flea market and looking for old DC’s

The upcoming Showcase Presents series of thick black and white volumes. DC has so much stuff I’d like to see reprinted—the original Angel and the Ape for one—that I’m glad to see them moving into this format.

That Fantagraphics’ financial situation has largely stabilized thanks to their Peanuts reprints. (Link courtesy of Comics Reporter)

Jason (See comment about Trondheim and Kochalka.)

Age of Bronze (See comment about Jason. I guess it's nice to have some old favorites and dependable stand-bys.)

I’ve finally gotten my collection down to a manageable size, with emphasis on the areas where I want to concentrate.


The forthcoming English translation of Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne from DC/CMX

The Mike Allred issue of Solo. (I can't decide whether the return of X-Statix is something to get excited about yet.)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Well, I Made It Again!

Yes Siree! I did it once again. I was so successful at meeting my goal of blogging every day for seven days, that I thought I would try something else. This time I set a goal not to blog for seven days, and it looks like I made it again!

Of course, nobody knew about this one, because I didn't blog about it.

Okay, okay....

Been a tad busy. It's conference planning time at work, which has cut severely down on my time of late. That's likely to continue until the end of October. Of course, the closer we get to the actual date, my insomnia will start kicking in, meaning I will actually have MORE time to blog, since there's nothing else to do here at 3 in the morning.

Let's see...what else? I'm realizing how little I actually blog about comics, which was my purpose for setting up the blog to begin with. I'm also noting that the blogosphere seems to get along just fine without my silly little remarks, so I'm likely to continue as I have been. Besides, who needs me to say anything at all about comics, when you've already got great folks doing a much better job at it? (Although I do have a post about my dad and comics I'm hoping to finish soon.)

The doctor was pleased with my weight loss at my appointment a little while ago.

Keith and I completed a little home improvement project this evening. I'll try to get a picture up soon. In the words of HGTV, we "repurposed" an item we no longer had a use for.

I'm working on two long Emmylou Harris posts, if I can get time to finish them.

We're revving up to see Jean Ritchie, Kate Campbell, the Duhks, and Lucinda Williams next month; Amy Ray and Nanci Griffith in October; and Bright Eyes in November. Before that we've got a trip to Arkansas to visit Keith's mom (and pick up a new--to us--car). Before that we're jaunting to the flea market on Labor Day. And before that, we're catching Del McCoury at the Waterfront this Wednesday.

Beyond that, the tomotoes are still coming in, which has prompted Keith to start making the yummiest home made salsa! I still have a couple of things that need to be done in the yard, like trimming that front tree. And we're in the middle of taking all the cats to the vet for shots and check-ups. And there's still a yard sale to plan for....

-------------------------------------------------

Last Week's Playlist:

Tracy Grammer--Flower of Avalon (Haunting and beautiful)
Buddy Miller--Universal United House of Prayer
Mighty Lemon Drops---World Without End
Book of Love--Candy Carol (Sweet and fun!)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Why Do I Like My Comics Shop So Much?

1. Even though I usually only make it in one or two times a month, most of the staff know me by name, and some of them do by comic taste.

2. A couple of weeks ago, I got a personal phone call from one of the managers letting me know about the specials they were having in August. I'm pretty sure all the customers with hold files got one, but it was a nice touch. She even tied some of the specials to my regular habits. "I know you buy a lot of graphic novels. Well, on Wednesdays this month, they're going to be 20% off."

3. Today, everything in the store was 20% off, so we stopped by. My hold file was pretty slim, since I did a couple of large pick ups earlier. The same manager told me that she was sorry that she hadn't called and told me about the sale today before I had come and picked up the other stuff, which I thought was really nice. After all, my file had gotten pretty full while Dad was sick.

4. Keith likes to shop there, too. True, he's there to look at the CD's on the music side of the store, but it is the only one of the four shops in town that he'll visit with me. The staff don't know him by name, but they do recognize that we are together.