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Action Bob Markle

Music, theater, and my personal life, not always in that order. I try to keep it interesting, I rarely hold back, because one thing I truly believe in is the shared experience of this reality we call life. We're all in this together, people. More than we even know.

Friday, October 17, 2008

No Depression's new Web site rocks

It's out, and by all appearances the new No Depression Web site just might be on its way to being a success.

About nine months ago, the founders/editorial staff at No Depression Magazine, a publication geared toward alt/indie music, realized that the decline they were seeing in advertising revenue was going to continue and the magazine was a sinking ship. So back then they made plans to retire the printed magazine and enter the digital world. That's not an easy thing to do. The print world and the digital world work under two completely different business models, and frankly, it seems that not too many understand how to make money in the digital world. I don't know, that's for sure.

But what I do know is that the new ND site gives me everything that I loved in the magazine, plus some of those extras that you can only get in the digital world.

The site is rich in its coverage of alt/indie music. Every time I picked up a copy of the magazine I found myself Googling names of bands and artists I had never heard of, and checking them out on YouTube and MySpace. And after surfing the site for a couple of days, I'm already fans of The Bittersweets and The Decemberists, two bands I wasn't familiar with.

And I'd like to tell the staff of ND right now that they can pick up phone and call their advertisers that just yesterday, after visiting that site, I logged on to Amazon.com and ordered CDs by The Bittersweets and Chris Knight, both of whom I learned about from ND, and Lucinda William's new CD, who I knew about when I discovered ND, but who had a darn good feature on her in the Jan/Feb 2007 issue. I know this because I have the cover pinned here to my bulletin board. ND sold CDs; it's just a damn shame the advertisers and labels didn't or couldn't see that. And I'm not saying it's a good thing, but the advertisers' blindness causes talented, creative, passionate people to keep pursuing their passion.

The site also has all the great content (that's digital talk for writing) that was in the magazine. The writing has always been the foundation to ND. It's intelligent writing about music and life written by writers who obviously know about both and which some people realize are as inseparable as whiskey and A minor. That's the side of life that alt/indie music captures. Just get a look at something Grant Alden wrote about Chris Knight. I defy you not to keep reading through the beginning, even though he doesn't mention Chris Knight's name after the first paragraph until about halfway through. And I defy you not to want to hear some of Knight's music after reading this piece.

And that piece is also a pretty good example of maybe why it was a good idea to shelve the printed piece and bring ND into the 21st digital century. There are links and embedded mp3s and a video from YouTube--all the sights and sounds that paper just can't deliver. And in the end there are comments from readers. Somewhere on the new site a reader wrote that now we can read all the letters that were written, not just the ones that they chose to print. That give and take is so important to the today's readers, and it's great that ND recognized that.

They're still selling t-shirts and they've put together a "bookazine", which is a compilation of their writing. NoDepression.com's publisher, Kayla Fairchild, who was a co-publisher of the magazine and who headed up the digital effort, asks in her initial column for people to spread the word, do a little viral marketing.

She writes:
"There were the expected naysayers along the way who said it was virtually impossible for content providers to monetize on the web. I’m asking you to help me prove them wrong. I believe it can be possible for writers to be paid for their craft. You can help by visiting the site often, telling your friends and associates about it, becoming a member of the site, buying the bookazine directly from us, supporting our advertisers, buying music, shopping at Amazon by entering through the No Depression web site as we get a kick back from every purchase you make, whether it’s music or not. It’s going to take an army to keep this thing alive and I’m counting on you."

In essence, we're in this together, which we knew or should have known all along, whether we're talking perpetuating good music and art or riding out the economy.

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Hachiko

Yesterday after work I sat in Park Street Station waiting for Sue, who was coming in from Brighton on a B train, so we could ride the T home together.

I sat on a bench with a couple of scripts in my lap during rush hour and my God, there are a lot of inbound Green Line trains that rumble through that station at that time of day. For every train that came in, I'd lift my head and anxiously scan the rushing crowd of commuters, expectantly looking for that pretty redhead of mine.

And I thought to myself, I must look like a faithful dog sitting here, waiting for his master.

I told this to Sue on the ride home, and having lived in Japan, she knew and told me the story of Hachiko.

From Wikipedia:

"In 1924, Hachikō was brought to Tokyo by his owner, Hidesamurō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo. During his owner's life, Hachikō saw him off from the front door and greeted him at the end of the day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925, when Professor Ueno didn't return on the usual train one evening. The professor had suffered a stroke at the university that day. He died and never returned to the train station where his friend was waiting.

Hachikō was given away after his master's death, but he routinely escaped, showing up again and again at his old home. After time, Hachikō apparently realized that Professor Ueno no longer lived at the house. So he went to look for his master at the train station where he had accompanied him so many times before. Each day, Hachikō waited for Professor Ueno to return. And each day he didn't see his friend among the commuters at the station.

The permanent fixture at the train station that was Hachikō attracted the attention of other commuters. Many of the people who frequented the Shibuya train station had seen Hachikō and Professor Ueno together each day. Realizing that Hachikō waited in vigil for his dead master, their hearts were touched. They brought Hachikō treats and food to nourish him during his wait.

This continued for 10 years, with Hachikō appearing only in the evening time, precisely when the train was due at the station."

In my world, being compared to a dog is not a bad thing. In my world, it's a compliment. If you don't understand that, well, I feel sorry for you. Sorry, that you don't understand how deep the relationship can be between a human and a dog.

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Wild One by Those Darlins

: )


A really nice break from the election and the economy:



Thursday, October 16, 2008

Embedded: Inside Afghanistan with Ben Andrews on VBS


This today on Very Short List:


"A British journalist named Ben Anderson reports from Afghanistan, walking the walk — and ducking the bullets — alongside British troops and the Afghan National Army. And his footage is must-see Web TV.

Presented by Vice magazine’s online video service, VBS, the webisodes were filmed during an especially violent day in Afghanistan’s Helmand province — poppy country, the scene of near-continuous fighting between the Afghan army (and NATO forces) and the Taliban. The lines between “war on terror” and “war on drugs” are decidedly blurred here, and Anderson’s video is raw and trippy: Afghan soldiers smoke opium during breaks in the fighting; bullets whiz by overhead; a courtly British officer radios for an air strike and signs off, “That would be lovely. Over.” Those arguing over where to find the “central front in the war on terror” should perhaps take a look. That would be lovely. Over."

Check it out.

The info is out there. You just got to dig for it a little bit.

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President Sarah Palin--hilarious!

Some copywriters (who else?) at an ad agency had some time on their hands and put together this hilarious, interactive site showing what it would be like if McCain took a dirt nap and Palin became prez.

Click on Bambi. Gotcha.

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Floored by the MBTA's "courtesy campaign"

I'm still floored that the MBTA launched a "courtesy campaign" of really lame, amateurish posters chiding people to be polite on the T. I know the headlines were written in-house at the T, presumably to save money, but listen, the T should stick to public transportation and not mass communication. It has enough trouble doing what it's supposed to know how to do.

I mean, for some people, is it really that hard to be polite? To know when they're being boorish? You know, I think there are some people who are completely clueless, so self-centered that they have no perception of the outside world, or at least how they're being perceived.

It's not that hard. There are simple rules:

Get the fuck out of the way. I mean, you, the guy on the Red Line inbound this morning in the snappy running suit standing by the door and reading your book. Lots of people stand in the door and seem a bit unsettled when the doors open and people try to get past them. Haven't you heard the announcements time and time again to get away from the door, step in the car, let people through? Oh, I get it. Those announcements don't apply to you. The big space by the door made by the rest of us was so you had some place to stand.

And in the same vein, on the platform, stop wandering around like a cow that got loose from the pasture. This is a public transportation system. Do you see all of these people walking fast around you?--they're trying to get somewhere. Jobs. Doctor appointments. Some place important. You just sort of walking aimlessly like you're in your apartment on a rainy Saturday only annoys people and makes their lives just a little harder.

And you, one of the gazillion students or the guy who's dressed to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in your trekking pants, hiking boots, and snappy North Face jacket, take off the backpack when you get on the train and put it by your side or on the floor. That hump on your back takes up the same space an upright person would take up, and every time you turn or make a move that thing swings around and hits people. Yeah, it's comfortable for you. It's about you...you...isn't it?

Mommy and daddy with your little, precious bundle of joy, leave your SUV baby carriage at home. There are small, lightweight, collapsible strollers with handles shaped like umbrella handles for commuting. The other day there was a woman with a child on the Red Line sitting in a seat with the child in a huge stroller in front of her, taking up the space in front of two seats. She and her caravan, in essence, were taking up the space meant for six people. At rush hour!

Do we really have to talk about cell phones? Sigh. I guess we do. Like the guy today sitting right in front of me, leaning forward in his seat like he was sitting on the hopper taking a dump, talking, talking, talking...not only were you encroaching in my space--do you know what it's like to have to stand further back and reach over you for that overhead handrail?--but your loud, long-winded conversation in Chinese no less was so loud I heard it through my iPod.

Don't push for the door. You're not the only one getting out at Downtown Crossing or South Station. Half the effing train is. Let someone go ahead of you. Take turns. I know that's hard for a lot of people raised in the Northeast to do, but for those of us who were raised in the rest of the country, we understand there's no prize for getting out first.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vida, the Blueridge Guitar

All guitars, like boats, should have a name, right? And that name should stay with them for their entire lives. It's all so spiritual. You can play a hundred guitars, all the same model, and each one will be different. And then, suddenly--as it always happens right out of the blue--one just calls to you. You can put it down, walk away, and when you go back to it, it will reach out and grab you again. Then, it's your decision: Can you live without it?

Guitars are like every other tool or instrument: A good one can make you a better player. We both knew we were each sitting on a plateau in our respective musical paths, so we were on the lookout for a new guitar. We would walk into a new music store and we would have our standards. Just walking in the door you can feel if you're in a friendly place where neophytes like us will be welcome. If you're greeted with a howdy or a hey or a smile, that's a good sign. If the guitars are treated respectfully, that's an even better sign. If the guitars are all in tune, and the salespeople insist on helping you with the more expensive guitars, those are really good signs. Rather than feel insulted that I'll damage the instruments, I like that they protect them. It means that when I finally shell out some dough, I'll know what I'm getting has been treated with kid gloves. And if you're left alone, given time to play, and if when you ask a question it's answered respectfully and without an attitude, well, if you got all that you've found a special place.

So Sue and I patiently just kept searching. Sometimes the journey is as much as the destination, right?

And in Austin, after visiting only a couple of music stores, we found the South Austin Music Store. Not the fanciest place, as you can see. But even that is a plus for me. I don't want to be paying for someone's overhead and inflated rent for a boutique spot on some place like Boylston Street. I want the money put in product and service.

We wandered a bit, and then Bill came up to us to say hi. Since this was more Sue's gig, I split off to look at Les Paul's and Telecasters, and was pretty much left alone. Sweet. When I wandered back across the floor, Bill and Sue were talking friendly. One thing I liked about Bill is when I approached he included me in the conversation, but he didn't exclude Sue.

We told Bill our price range, and I'm not even sure how the Blueridge ended up in Sue's hands. I know it wasn't hard sell on Bill's part. I think he just sort of figured from the way we were talking that maybe the three of us should get acquainted. The Saga Blueridge is a 000 size, and it fits Sue perfectly. All wood, so the sound is real rich. I actually had to get used to how loud it was compared to the dreadnoughts we had at home. We stayed and handed her back and forth, playing her plugged in and unplugged. By all reckoning it was a great guitar. And it wasn't a Martin or a Gibson or a Taylor or anything we ever heard of, which is a good thing and a bad thing. To my way of thinking, there's nothing like a Martin D-28. But at $3,200 there probably isn't going to be one in my future. That's sort of the thing. If you want a decent Martin or Taylor, you have to pay for it. Their low end just isn't worth the money, just to have the name.

But even with Bill giving us a great deal, the Blueridge still was out of our individual price range. Which is where it's great to be with someone who shares your vision and your passion. It wasn't much of a stretch for Sue and me to look at each other and say, I can pony up this much, how about you? If music is your passion and it means something to you, it's not hard to say, well, the apartment might not look like something out of House Beautiful, but this particular piece of wood and string will make us better...kind of in the spiritual sense, if you can understand where I'm going with this.

Sue and I had to talk about this a bit. No pressure from Bill. We retired to Uncle Billy's over on Barton Springs Road for some good home-brewed beer and tangy BBQ. Sue and I have a funny way of working. We're not compulsive shoppers, and Sue can squeeze a nickel until the buffalo bellows. And she knows what's in her head, or at least she gives that impression most of the time; I pretty much know what's in mine, but we both sort of have to weigh things out. On the walk over to Uncle Billy's I figured the money was there. But what else was there to think about? Over dinner, with Sue's sister, Stacey adding her ideas, it pretty much came down to figuring out how the warranty would work with us in Boston and how would we get it home.

Long story short, the next day, Sue and I took a break from the dust and crowds of the music festival, hitched a ride over to South Austin Music, and adopted ourselves a Blueridge. I do believe in karma, in some form or another. I've learned to just walk away from things that just don't feel exactly right. The one last thing I was concerned about was if Vida would make the trip to Boston. And that other big if: Would we love her as much as when we first played her.

The big box came on a Friday. We were expecting it to arrive on Saturday, so that was a nice surprise. We unpacked her, and God love Sue, she said for me to play her first. I strummed her, and I'll be darned if she still wasn't pretty much in tune. Sue named her Vida--which means life, in Spanish.

Now are you all starting to understand why we don't have a television?

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True Love Will Find You In The End

It's all connected, isn't it?...just follow your nose...just a couple of weeks ago at the Austin City Limits Music Festival I was turned on in a major way to Beck...today Daniel Johnston...and now here's Beck doing one of his songs that some singer/songwriters are saying should be a standard....

just keep following your nose, and you'll get to where you got to go...



True love will find you in the end
You're gonna find out that love's your friend
Don't be sad, I know you will
Don't give up until
True love will find you in the end

This is a promise with a catch
Only if you're looking can it find you
Cause true love is searching too
How can it recognize you
Unless you step out into the light, the light?

Don't be sad, I know you will
Don't give up until
True love will find you in the end

Don't be sad, I know you will
Don't give up until
True love will find you in the end

True love will find you in the end
True love will find you in the end
True love will find you in the end

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How about, Don't be a boor, open the door?

Because there are so many more people riding the T, presumably because of gas prices, the MBTA today started putting posters in the trains as part of a "courtesy campaign" to teach people manners when out in public with their fellow commuters. Like a poster is going to cut through the level of self-absorption that one sees daily on the T. They actually spent hard cash on posters that say, for instance, Don't be a lout, let them out, and Don't be a drone on the phone?


But how about a few for the T operators, too? How about one that suggests that maybe they can keep the door open for a split second or so longer when they see someone running for the train late at night instead of shutting the doors right in their face?

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Security breach at the Lafayette Avenue Post Office



The line at the Lafayette Avenue (Avenue de Lafayette, hoo-boy) post office was so long today that people weren't going through the metal detectors or bomb detectors or whatever the heck those things are. Instead, they'd walk through the door and immediately cut left to get to the end of the line. I'm not sure if those things have ever caught anyone anywhere on the planet. How do we even know if they're on?--they just sort of sit there and basically get in the way.

The only time I've ever heard anything like that go off is in some place like TJ Maxx when some clerk forgot to take off the security tag off a coat.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Palin represents just how low our standards have become

I've been shying from commenting too much about the election. I mean, really. Does the world need one more voice crying out in the wind on this subject? I I couldn't add any more original content, what's the use?

I, frankly, am not that impressed with either of the two major candidates, but that's just me. I wrote an op-ed column for a newspaper for about fifteen years, and politics was a big topic of that column. I followed politics closely, but towards the end it was getting hard for even the likes of me to tell a Democrat from a Republican. They all lied and postured and were on the take with Big Business and lobbyists. I guess over time I slowly evolved to a sort of loose Libertarian with rough edges, kind of like now I'm sort of a Catholic-Buddhist. I make it all up as I go along.

I've long realized that anyone who was qualified to live in the White House didn't want the job. The really qualified, good people didn't want to put themselves or their loved ones through that mud-slinging circus. That's one of the few reasons why I'm not that enamored with Barrack Obama. I figure if he wants the job so bad there must be something wrong with him. It just hasn't come out yet.

So, with that, I figured come election day, Obama is going to take Massachusetts, so I can write in any candidate I deem deserves my vote--Al Gore or Colin Powell--and I can leave the voting booth with a clear conscience.

Then Sarah Palin enter the scene.

I had heard of Palin a few months prior to McCain tapping her from Short Shorts. I read that blog just about every day, and back when Becky made Palin out to sound like a real interesting pol. But then we all got to know her for the absolute incompetent that she is, and that's when I realized I better shout out here.

Sarah Palin represents how low our standards have become for what we expect of the leaders of our country. She can't name the newspapers she claims to read. She says, and it seems she honestly believes, that being able to see Russia from her house qualifies her for foreign diplomacy, as if it is some sort of neighborhood watch. She doesn't even know what the job entails, something that anyone who stayed awake in high school civics would know. The choice of Palin for Republican VP gives us a good idea of the kinds of choices and decisions McCain will make. Palin, according to McCain, is the very best he could come up with.

And what's even worse, she's considered a valid candidate is given all the attention appropriated to a valid candidate and there are people who undeniably believe that she deserves the job.

We have sunk to an all-time low here, folks, and it's not even funny any more.



These people actually are allowed to vote for the president of the United States. Listening to these people--and please don't tell me they are entitled to their opinion--reminds me of how much this world has changed because of the Internet. As of this writing, this particular rock on Youtube was picked up and looked under 1,166,454 times. Before the Internet, we'd never know these people existed, much less would they have had an outlet for their vitriol. Now, the Internet and Youtube gives them validity, and instead of them being embarrassed I'm quite certain they probably look at the number of hits they're getting and think that their day has finally come.

Democracy is a responsibility that requires not only that a person keeps up with current events, but you have to exercise more than a little intelligence. That Obama's middle name links him with terrorists is not only idiotic and illogical, it's also very dangerous thinking.

This is the reason why sometimes I've felt we would be better off with a benevolent dictator rather than a democracy. Just as Palin is woefully unqualified to be vice president, some people are woefully unqualified to perform their civic duties, too.

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Churches

I was raised Catholic. Staunch, strict Catholic. And I haven't practiced it in years and I miss the Church immensely. It gave a structure and meaning to my life. I was what is known as a fish on Friday Catholic. I just did what I was told and didn't question anything. When I got to the age where I questioned everything, the Catholic Church has a way of just crumbling. The Church doesn't cotton to questioners, and I, to this day, question everything.

So, I've been wandering in the wilderness for a good thirty years and more.

But, I still have a special love for churches, they just aren't what some others might call churches. Funny story, once I lost a script and I asked an astrologer friend who practices horary astrology where it was. (You can ask a horary astrologer any question, even where a lost article is, and by consulting star and planetary charts they can tell you where it is.) She struggled, and I ultimately found it on my own. It was on a bookshelf where I had other scripts; it had just fallen behind the other ones. I told my astrologer friend that I had found it, and she said she couldn't come up with an answer because the charts kept pointing towards a church. I told her I wish she had told me that in the first place, because the charts were dead on. I think of the theater as my church. When I'm in a theater, it's as if I am in church.

Anyway, I have other places in the world where I feel like I'm in church. First Encounter Beach on Cape Cod, the entire beach, is one of those places. The top of Bondclift in the White Mountains is another. And today, I showed Sue another one.

The Buddha room in the MFA is so peaceful. Sometimes I go there and sit for hours. Just letting everything fall away. And I love every Buddha in that room, for different reasons. One is so calm and serene. Another one reminds me of my father.

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Saturday night guitars


It's been a quiet weekend here. It's getting chilly as fall really settles in. We're still getting pretty fall days, and we're enjoying them. I've learned not only to enjoy but also appreciate whatever is free in this world. A pretty sunrise or moonrise, like we have out there right night now, a crisp night, a walk through the city with good friends are things that I've learned can't be replaced by wide screen TVs and all the trappings with which so many people fill their lives. Simple and free is the way to go.

Of course, the economy is on my mind, so free is the way more and more people will have to be thinking. I'm believe this will be a whole new way of life for many people, living with less, living within their means, and I think it's for the better. I sometimes think we've not only bankrupt our treasury, we've also bankrupted our lives. I think so many people have compromised themselves and their values all in the cause of materialism they don't even realize it any more.

We're pretty good at living on the cheap, but we don't look at it like that though. We just enjoy pretty simple things in life. It's a Sunday night, and right now I can hear her strumming on Vida in the other room. We grilled out last night and tonight, and tonight's chicken marinaded all day with a stray bottle of salad dressing we had in the 'fridge. Last night we sat on the floor with a bottle of wine between us, each cradling a guitar until around 11:00.

Before we went to bed we checked out Mad Men on Youtube, something I've seen clips of and have heard so much about. I feel I'm missing something when I hear people, especially at work, go on and on about the TV shows they watch, then I see them and can't for the life of me figure out what all the fuss is about. So I just keep quiet (well, maybe not here I don't) but it just seemed to me to be the same old same old, albeit some high quality same old same old. Good-looking white people, each one with a single distinguishing personality characteristic, then you just overlap small scenes of semi-outrageous behavior and include pithy dialogue that doesn't really appear in real life. I guess I'm jaded (I guess?--are you kidding? I'm the definition of jaded.)

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Channing Penna exhibit at the Boston Public Libary


With the way the economy is going, we're going to have to learn to live on the cheap for years to come. And one of the best deals is still the Boston Public Library. I've never been disappointed, and many times amazed, by the quality of the exhibits the BPL puts on. And the current one, Movingline, drawings by Channing Penna, ranks right up there as being one of the best I've seen.

This is a series of 68 extraordinarily detailed pencil sketches depicting the force and the power of nature, plus some of her earlier portrait work of local celebs and everyday Bostonians tagged on at the end, which I could have done without them because, for me at least, they undercut the majestic feeling I felt throughout the main part of the exhibit.

The focus of the exhibit is Penna's sketches that, while detailed, are not precise renderings; rather, they are the visual representations of how Penna feels for the three main subjects she portrays: ocean waves, birds in flight, and horses. Think abstract expressionism meets the Audubon. This is Penna's own personal world we're seeing, and that's underscored by the personal writings that accompany each work, giving Penna's thoughts and reasoning for and about each image. The personal backstory coupled with the images give not only a powerful visual experience but also critical insight into the creative process of the artist.

Here is a video of Penna explaining her work and the exhibit. You'll get a good idea of the exhibit from this. You'll be able to view Channing Penna's work at the BPL until November 30.

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Politicians are chicken



From Dede...a story about Farmer John...

John the farmer was in the fertilized egg business. He had several hundred young layers (hens), called "pullets", and ten roosters, whose job it was to fertilize the eggs.

John kept records, and any rooster that didn't "perform" went into the soup pot and was replaced. That took an awful lot of his time, so he bought a set of tiny bells and attached them to his roosters. Each bell had a different tone so John could tell from a distance, which rooster was performing. Now he could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report simply by listening to the bells.

John's favorite rooster was old Butch, a very fine specimen he was, too. But on this particular morning John noticed old Butch's bell hadn't rung at all! John went to investigate.

The other roosters were chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing. The pullets, hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover.

But to John's amazement, old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn't ring. He'd sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one. John was so proud of old Butch, he entered him in the Renfrew County Fair and he became an overnight sensation among the judges.

The result...The judges not only awarded old Butch the No Bell Piece Prize, but they also awarded him the Pulletsurprise as well.

Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making: who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most highly coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the populace and screwing them when they weren't paying attention.

Vote carefully...the bells are not always audible!

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Monday, October 6, 2008

World Habitat Day


Just coincidence that I went to the Habitat for Humanity site for some work GMAC may be doing in New Orleans and discovered that today is World Habitat Day.

Sometimes I really do like my job. It isn't all selling shit that people don't need. Sometimes you see there really still is some good things happening in the United States.

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The wharf rat writes

These are the selected writings of Craig Moodie, a.k.a. the wharf rat. He writes about sailing, the kind I like to read about. I'm not interested in the scene in Newport. I'm more interested in gunk-holing and the desire to see what's just over the horizon, and then just keep going.

He has a new book out--Seaborn.

He has a bunch of other books, all about the sea. You can learn about them here.


And here's the old wharf rat, himself. Craig and I worked together a long time ago. Many lives ago. Something that always struck me about him was how growing up on Cape Cod and working for a while on the few rusty fishing boats that still go out of the Cape affected him. It's a place he's never really left, but in a way that it seems as if he's still looking for something there. Like a ghost continues to haunt. Unsettled. Troubled. Disturbed, as in, his sleep was disturbed.

I remember one night we drove down to the Cape from our homes in MetroWest to fish the canal, which is a really dreadful thing to do, but we had dreadful jobs at the time and so standing in all that bilge water didn't seem to matter much. We ended up not catching a thing, probably not even getting a nibble, the only shivers on our poles came from dragging our lures across the bottom. It must have been Scusset Beach where we ended up driving to finish the beer we had. And the reason I remember that night was because Craig skipped a rock across the lapping oily water at the earth's edge and the sea's beginning, and it hit green, and green, and green again. I'd never seen the fluorescence before. I'm sure I stood there slack-jawed for a while. You can't forget seeing something like that for the first time.

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The Visitor


A movie that tackles the fears and frustrations of people caught up in our post-9/11 immigration system probably isn’t the easiest studio sell. Throw in a romantic subplot involving an un-handsome middle-aged man (gasp!), add a couple of low-wattage stars, and it’s a wonder that The Visitor was made at all. Be glad that it was: It’s a carefully crafted, beautifully acted film that starts off slowly but doesn’t soon let go.

Six Feet Under’s Richard Jenkins plays Walter — a widowed college professor who’s set his life on autopilot. One day, Walter returns to his New York pied-à-terre and discovers a Syrian musician and a Senegalese street vendor living there. Instead of kicking the couple out, he befriends them. But if you’re expecting Live Aid pieties, you’re in for a surprise or two; The Visitor’s writer-director, Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent), takes sharp turns on the way to his destination. And Jenkins — a character actor who turned 60 last year — delivers a late-inning star turn: His tiniest gestures pack more of a punch than most of Al Pacino’s recent monologues.

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Sexy people



A great site--why did I describe it that way?--of not very sexy people at all. So why did I spend so much time there, looking at one image after the other? What's the appeal? It's not like a slowing down for a car wreck. I loved everyone there.

Maybe it's the normal, everyday that is so gosh-darn appealing. (Sorry about that phrasing--I think I've had too much Sarah Palin.)

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Love in the Public Gardens...



There was love in the Public Gardens today.

...also a couple of weddings...

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Nanci Griffith: I'm Not Driving These Wheels

It's a long way to Texas, it's a long way back home...






From Boston to South Shore in the back of the bus ...
it's the last winter storm of the season and such
And I am lost to the fiction of the book in my lap
the snow makes me drowsy ... while the dreams roll and tumble ...

It's a long way to Texas ... it's a long way back home
it's a three hour flight on the plane when I go
... away from this snow from Boston to South Shore where the
dreams roll and tumble ... and bring the prose to the wheel ...

(chorus)
Bring the prose to the wheel ... I'm not drivin' these wheels
I'm not drivin' these wheels
Bring the prose to the wheel ... I'm not drivin' these wheels
I'm not drivin' these wheels ... (today)

That face in the window ... it's one I should know
but it's never been haloed by New England snow ...
and the child 'cross the isle is sleepin' away
while the soldier behind me lets his dreams roll and tumble
my way ...

(repeat chorus)

This cradle of the interstate makes me weary of dreams
the hurt they cause is now ... restless ... it seems
Oh soldier, dear soldier, 'ya keep your dreams to yourself ...
my hearts rolled and tumbled 'till I've put it on the shelf

(repeat chorus)

From Boston to Southshore in the back of the bus
it's the last winter storm of the season and such
And I am lost to the fiction of the book in my lap ...
the snow makes me drowsy ... while the dreams roll and tumble ...

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

September madness

Finally, a picture we can all understand that explains all this financial upheaval...

thanks melissa...

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

You Will Be Loved Again


This was my birthday wish from Dede...she's the birthday queen...she's always dead on with her presents...

thank you, darlin'...




How could he take you in his arms
And help you to be free
Then leave you forgotten
And is it enough to cry?
When you're so broken...

Her cold eyes tell you you're not welcome
She tells lies but you'll take her back again
And is it enough to die?
When you're so taken

You will be loved again
You will be loved again

But will she sing and will she dance
And will she forever
And will he sing and will he dance
And will he forever

Someday you will feel a love so deep
And you'll find someone not lost in sleep

And you will be loved again
You will be loved again
You will be loved again

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