Sunday, July 18, 2010

To live is to fly

A Sunday. Hot. Humid. Just the way I like it. I think I'm cashing in on my alleged father's Italian genes. I love hot weather. It doesn't bother me the way it seems to bother others. I hate the cold and the wet and the dark. When it gets this hot, all I have to do is think about snow, and I just settle down. I always joke and say I'm solar-powered.

So, sitting on the porch this morning reading the New York Times and trying to figure out what to do with this beautiful day, I finally decided not to go to a play and spend money even though I should--(should!--that awful word rife with guilt)--even though I should stay on top of the local theater scene since I'm going to school and spending so much money and time (did I mention so much money?) to be a part of local theater scene. I always say that an artist has to live life, and then bring what he or she finds in life to the stage or the canvas or to music, so today I decided to to stay at home and live a life and write and read for my class and play guitar. And not spend a dime. I'm reading everywhere about the Great Recession. (I don't know why we keep dancing around this and wonder when we're just going to realize it's probably even worse that the 1930s.) I learned a while back how to enjoy simple and cheap and free. Sue and I have so much in this apartment, and people don't really understand what we do all the time since we don't have a television. (So, what do you do?)

A mockingbird moved into our neighborhood, and is the last bird heard as night falls.

Today in the Times I read how important Facebook and Twitter is to our diplomatic effort. Please, people falling into the trap (again) that technology will save the day. With people, you have to continue to do the human thing.

Yesterday I spent a glorious day on the beach with my oldest, who has seemed to have adopted Rhode Island for her home. It's a beautiful place, all that coastline with such a deep sailing history. We get along, after all these years of being apart. In my counterculture class we read how so many people want to turn back the clock, revisit a time when things were "better." That's a natural human response but it's impossible. And it's a response that I think is ruining this country right now. We have to embark on new paths; learn from the past but the times call for a new way of life.

With my daughter I know I can't turn back the clock, I can only go forward from here, and that's probably the right and true thing to do anyway. I know, if she could, she'd turn back the clock to when she was happier, when there was a regular family with a mom and a dad and a sister and a dog living in a house in the suburbs. She needs me right now, needs my advice to help her move toward the future. I think there are some people in her life who'd she'd be a lot better off without. Not bad people; just nothing great about them--they're the hoi polloi, though I'm sure they think otherwise about themselves; I'm sure they've been told all their lives how great they are, how smart, funny, intelligent, witty, good-looking (on the outside, maybe) by doting parents and superficial friends. And I know I'm prejudiced, but Allison is a catch. She's a terrific person who has a fragile side thanks to her father and there are those who are too damn clumsy, stupid, or just plain uncaring to deserve her company. And I feel it's my responsibility to protect her. I told her yesterday that she deserves to have the kind of friend that she makes for others.

I've turned into a crusty old SOB; someone who doesn't suffer fools. I've wasted too much time (Livin's mostly wastin' time/I waste my share of mine/But it never feels too good/So let's don't take too long). I've always heard the clock tickin' and always tried to live my life knowing that it all could end tomorrow. It's too precious. And I hate wasting anything much less time.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Drew Landry, crawfish fisherman, uses a folk song to urge the oil commission to "do the right damn thing."

I saw this article on Huffington Post yesterday, about this crawfisher from Louisiana who went to Washington to testify in front of the White House oil spill commission. And it was a great story about how this guy pulled out his guitar and sang a song he wrote about the effects of the oil spill, and it was a nice song and he had a nice voice.

He also said a lot of intelligent and soulful and heartfelt things to the commission, and it made me feel so good because I like seeing country people in that light. They're smart and caring and maybe they're not as sophisticated as so many city people, but they're heads are usually screwed on straight.

I've been bumming out more and more about the state of affairs of the world, the oil spill has me sick, with all its ramifications of destruction and greed, and how the economy is just killing people, and again at the root of it all was greed and dishonesty. It is enough to make a person sick.

So today, because I was bumming out, I pulled up the video again just to cheer myself up. I tend to turn to music when I'm feeling low. And I was listening to it, and I notice the guy's name--Drew Landry. And I thought to myself, hold on a minute, I know that name.

And it took me a minute, but he and I are Facebook friends. We've never met, but I even remember he befriended me, and I even wrote him asking who he was, and he said he was a musician and saw that I posted about music occasionally, and that was it. He shows up on my wall from time to time, and I get invited to concerts and such down in Louisiana, which of course I can't make.

But today I'm feeling good about the world, despite everything. Because there are good people in the world, and thanks to the digital space, which if you've read this blog enough I certainly have some bones to pick, but you don't have to look hard to find these people. And music is a good thing that does make the world a better place, so we all got to keep playing music.

Here's the video of him testifying and singing his song. After this one there's another video of him I picked up on Youtube of him playing a song and another of a movie someone is making of him. He's a talented musician, and obviously a real decent human being. Kind of a vanishing breed in the United States, wouldn't you say?

unf--k the gulf...

Unfuck the Gulf. You heard me. And a federal appeals court threw out the FCC's indecency policy, so my headline and anything I say including this video is 100% AOK to post. Hey, if the Wall Street Journal says it's true, who am I to aruge?

You get the message from the title. It's the work of Nate Guidas and Luke Montgomey.

About Nate:
Nate is an environmental activist and educator with a passion for persuasion. He produced the video and designed the charity shirt. Check out more about him on his website:

About Luke:
Luke is an internet, fundraising and media strategist who works as a consultant for non-profits who want to make a bigger impact and change in the world. He directed the video and designed the website. See more of his work at:

Do your part. Check out Buy a t-shirt. Post it on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Comfortable in my own skin

Well, life is good and it's not and sometimes it's hot and today it's raining.

Happy in my own skin seems to be the order of the day. I used that expression last night in class, and it seemed to resonate with the professor. I guess folksy talk isn't normally heard in a graduate studies classroom, but I was using it to describe Jay Gatsby, or rather how the Great One wasn't. Comfortable in his own skin, that is.

One of the greatest lessons I've learned in my lifetime is how to say no. Or walk away from something or someone. I was a yes-man for years, not in the bootlicker kind of way, but I rarely said no to anyone and eventually you see that you're getting taken advantage more often than not.

Now I'm going to point you over to two posts that I've written most recently over at It's a cute little endeavor over there, but numbers are taking a front seat to quality, and that never sets well with me, especially when it comes to slacking off when it comes to writing. It's all about SEO and Google, and money, of course.

(Maybe, for full disclosure, I should say that the the literature course that is currently occupying my mind is called the literature of the American counter-culture. Never before has the American Dream been on the retreat as it is now in the United States, and big changes are in the wind. Money--or our incessant, 24/7 desire for it--has got to have a cap on that oil well in the Gulf. And I guess capping our desires is going to prove as difficult as the oil well.)

Anyway, check out what I had to say about a viral video, and my response for what gets passed off as a news story on
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