Saturday, December 31, 2005

Ring Out The Old, Ring In The New !

Here's hoping that everyone has a great year in 2006! It looks like the new kid is already signing in the 'ol logbook for the new year. This kid looks like he has some moxie! I think he's going to do pretty well in the coming year. And he's brought along his suitcase; I think he's going to stay for awhile!

January 1 will be exactly the 1 year anniversary of my blog. Oh, how the time flies! Exigua pars est vitae quam nos vivimus - Seneca (The part of life we really live is short)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I'm Still Alive

Eddie likes to climb scaffolding during concerts...

Son, she said, have I got a little story for you
What you thought was your daddy was nothin’ but a...
While you were sittin’ home alone at age thirteen
Your real daddy was dyin’, sorry you didn’t see him, but I’m glad we talked...

Oh I, oh, I’m still alive
Hey, I, I, oh, I’m still alive
Hey I, oh, I’m still alive

Oh, she walks slowly, across a young man’s room
She said I’m ready...for you
I can’t remember anything to this very day
’cept the look, the look...
Oh, you know where, now I can’t see, I just stare...

I, I’m still alive
Hey I, but, I’m still alive
Hey I, boy, I’m still alive
Hey I, I, I, I’m still alive, yeah
Ooh yeah...yeah yeah yeah...oh...oh...

Is something wrong, she said
Well of course there is
You’re still alive, she said
Oh, and do I deserve to be
Is that the question
And if so...if so...who answers...who answers...

I, oh, I’m still alive
Hey I, oh, I’m still alive
Hey I, but, I’m still alive
Yeah I, ooh, I’m still alive
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Have you ever come across someone that is unusually charismatic, someone that people pay attention to when they choose to say something? For me, one of those people is Eddie Vedder, lead singer of Pearl Jam. I got Pearl Jam's Greatest Hits CD for Christmas (and yes, I asked for it), to listen a little more to one of the greatest bands of the '90's, and still going strong. "Alive" is probably their most well-known song, and it's largely autobiographical. Eddie did not find out until about age 15 or so that the man he had thought was his father in fact was not, and that his real father, a man he had met before, was dying and eventually died by the time Eddie was told the truth. Shortly after this, Eddie was living on his own, working to support himself while attending high school. He worked during this time at a Long's Drug Store, and later had worked as a gas station attendant, before his "success" came around as the lead singer for a major group. In the song, at the end, Eddie's mother seems to say, "what's the big deal, you're still alive", to which Eddie says back in the song, "Yeah I, oh, I, I’m still alive".

It's a very powerful song for anyone who has ever gone through some real shit, and can still yet say, defiantly, I Am Still Alive!!! I think a lot of people can relate with the feel of the song; I know I do, as well as with the group, Eddie Vedder, and the music of Pearl Jam. Sometimes I wonder why this type of music ever "went away", especially as related to what's out there today.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Here's wishing everyone around the world a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and especially my blogger friends, Willowtree (my doppelganger), Aneesa, God's Child, and Jesse. I am very happy to have met all of you in this past year, and wish all of you the very best for the coming New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2005

King George II, Supreme Monarch

The wiretapping of American citizens, without the benefit of judicial court warrant and judicial court review and approval, now seems to be the new "law" of the land, under George II . Leading presidential scholars and experts are aghast that a sitting president has for the first time actually admitted to committing a felony act while currently in office. And this new power is based upon what? None of the B-Team has been able to give a sufficient answer to this, other than it has now become an inherent right of the President to do whatever he wants in a time of "war", or, that Congress gave over this right to the President when it sanctioned him to use force (are wiretaps "force"?) if necessary to defend the nation with regard to Iraq and/or terrorism (and Iraq was never a threat, despite the "irrefutable" evidence waved about by Powell, or blathered on about by Rumsfeld).

Which war are we talking about, because as far as I can tell, Congress, which has the sole legal right to declare war, has not yet done so with regard to Iraq, The War on Terror, The Boogeymen That Live Under My Bed, the land of Narnia, wherever that place is that Harry Potter lives, nor against any one else, real or imaginary. The only declared war now seems to be the war upon civil liberties, which is now out in full force.

Don't buy into the rhetoric that this is all necessary for your protection. The previous checks and balances system of court warrant and judicial review already covered all contingencies, including the allowance for immediate wiretaps in an emergency, to be followed up with a subsequent review and/or approval or denial. Even Nixon couldn't get away with this stuff! The President is angry about the leaking of this "secret" program? Yeah, angry that he got caught, because this is a serious and criminal violation of the rights of the American people. The Congress must investigate this matter immediately, and begin the process for impeachment . We are a nation of laws, not of men, and no man, including the President, is above the law. The fight for freedom, it seems, will now begin at home.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Corner

I really like this song (and video), by the rapper Common. It kind of takes me back, and connects me with a lot of places that perhaps many people would want to avoid, but for others it reminds them of home, and of past memories. It's put together like a little film, almost all in black & white, and produced by Kanye West, who seems to have the golden touch these days with everything he handles. There's a feeling of pride in this video, in spite of hard circumstances, and I love how that vibe is sent out, in contrast to the same 'ol same 'ol, with most of the formulaic, "let me just cash in on this" rappers of the moment. I like how they included in it "The Last Poets", some older fellows from the '60's-'70's, showing the connection from past to the present, with the struggle still going on. This is kind of how hip-hop could be, in its original tradition, instead of largely how it is today, not saying much of anything. Common and Kanye West are bringing back some depth to the hip-hop sound, which can only be a good thing.

Other songs I either listened to, or saw the video of, in the last day or so: "I'm Goin' Down" - Mary J. Blige (I like old neo-soul Mary J. better than new Mary J.), "A Long Walk" - Jill Scott (boy, that one reminds of Smiley Jr. High, summer afternoons, sirens and cops at the school, basketball, romances, etc.), and "Heard 'Em Say" - Kanye West (Tommorow's not promised to us, only today - something to think about).

I guess I'm in a neo-soul mood right now. Who are some other good artists to learn about and listen to in the neo-soul genre? Or, what kinds of music do you like, and what musical mood are you in now?

Monday, December 12, 2005

I Wanna Fly Like An Eagle... the sea, fly like an eagle, let my spirit carry me...

The Steve Miller Band
said it best, and yes, I want to fly like an eagle, because I'M FREE! Free from school, that is, for at least a little over one month! I finished up and emailed off a 26 pg. paper to my professor at around 2am Monday morning, and after working on that project for the last several weeks, I can finally now take a little break! I don't want to learn nothing, or know nothing about nothing, for at least one month! I wanna read comic books, watch Jerry Springer, listen to the wise words of Beavis and Butthead, go downtown and hop up and down like a crazy man, spend 40 days and 40 nights in the desert, eat fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches like Elvis, drink out of majestic and stately public water fountains, and generally do everything and anything else anti-intellectual for at least the next about 45 days, and then, when I'm completely sick from all of the debauchery, I might, just might, then be ready to hit the books again. Or, I just might have found a new way of living. As the great Donald Rumsfeld once said about proper troop levels, or presumably the location of weapons of mass destruction, "Who Knows?".

Friday, December 02, 2005

Where Have I Been?

So, where have I been lately? Did I swallow some ether? Was I imprisoned for naughty behavior? Or maybe just out rolling around on my beach ball, perhaps? No, I've just been busy with the last remaining weeks of school. I still have a 25 pg. paper due in about a week, and also a presentation to prepare for. It's been a little hectic, but it'll soon be over!

Does anyone remember Curious George? Curious George taught me how to read through his books, and I still collect Curious George items. I remember how George's curiosity would always get the better of him, and The Man in The Yellow Hat would always come to his rescue and save him from his predicaments. You'd read the books and feel that you were Curious George, exploring new things, getting lost, and getting into trouble. I'm still curious about everything even today, but now I hardly ever get lost, and I rarely get into too much trouble!