Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Gone Gone Gonzo And A Tag

...what a goofball...

By now, most everyone has heard yesterday's news of the resignation of the great man, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. I heard early yesterday morning after getting online quickly before heading off to work. Boy, I had a smile on my face, and a little spring in my step all the live long day! I had just been telling someone recently that it was time to impeach someone, and that Gonzales would be the best candidate to go after. I had imagined him to a friend as a sort of four-legged weird bird, which over the last several weeks and months had three of his legs sequentially blown off, and was now was just sort of spinning about in a circle, kicking away on that one last leg. My suggestion was, let's impeach him, and blow that last leg right on off! Well, it seems Gonzo saw the writing on the wall; he knew that once Congress returned from its recess break that it was most likely to begin to take up initial discussions on his impeachment. So this bird decided to serve himself up; which is just fine,because his crimes will still follow him, and Sen. Patrick Leahy and the Congress will still pursue his many, many violations of the Constitution which he was sworn to uphold.

I wonder how he would hold up under some waterboarding, just to get him to tell the truth for once? He said it's not torture. He essentially approved it for others. I say let's ship him off to Romania to a secret CIA prison, and find out!

And now (like Monty Python said), for something completely different:

Accent – Standard U.S. American (as opposed to the other kinds of American, per Miss Teen Whatever, Caitlin Upton?). I do like using "Y'all" though, meaning all you guys over there. There is no "You" plural in standard English. There is in Spanish and other languages. There should be though, as any Southerner would tell y'all.

I don't drink – Alcohol. Never liked it or developed a taste for it. I subconsciously consider those who lean on it and use it as a crutch (friends and ex-friends included), "weak".

Chore I hate – I hate all chores. I wish I was on vacation 24 hrs. a day. I would take a pile of books, especially classics, to the beach, and just read them all. And there's a lot of them, too.

Pets – I have a Rottweiler/Sheperd/Husky mix named "Sammy". Actually he's my parent's dog, but I see him about once a week. He's a big, dominant dog, who plays with stuffed toys, called his "babies". When you ask him where his "baby" is, he goes searching for one of his little stuffed animals. He's not nice to his babies though. He slowly and eventually tears them apart. One time when he was knawing on a baby, I told him to, "be nice to your babies." He stopped his work to look up at me with a quizzical look on his face, like "Wha?"

Essential Electronics – Laptop for sure. Not too big on electronics I guess, other than the basics of TV, radio/stereo, etc.

Perfume – Are you kidding me? Although, my mother was admiring the smell of my underarms just the other day. I had bought a new deodorant, and it does smell pretty darn good.

Gold or silver - Like Willowtree, I much prefer silver or white gold to gold, in terms of how it looks.

Insomnia – I've always thought of myself as a nightowl, but all of this work and school leaves me so tired that I'm beginning to acquire a pretty conventional schedule. I miss the 2 a.m. reading, blogging, and listening to conspiracy radio programs in the middle of the night.

Job Title – Professional Student and Medical Supplies Delivery Specialist I (OK, I made up the "Specialist I" part)

Most Admired Trait – The trait I most admire would probably be a quiet certitude, based in someone who knows who they are and what they are about, and who reflects that in a confident yet humble way. I don't know if I have that; I work toward it. The trait I feel I like most about myself is an intensity about what I think and feel, that I don't see much in many others. It's taken me to, amongst other things, earning 2 college degrees, from a family in which no one had ever graduated from high school.

Kids – I love kids. Love 'em. I think that if angels exist, then children are God's angels, placed here upon earth so that we can learn from them.

Phobia – Public speaking, although I've gotten better at this with practice in graduate school. Also Clowns. I really don't fear much anymore, which is not a boast. I thought about that recently. I think it is from my study/practice of Buddhism, Taoism, and the teachings of Jesus.

Religion – Well, I could just start another blog post here, but I won't. I'm currently reading the "Tao Te-Ching", which I would say summarizes my beliefs concerning that which is greater than myself. I am also a Christian, who believes that the original teachings have been misconstrued and misused, up until this very day. I would not trust most Christians of today, unfortunately.

Siblings – One brother. If you count the dog, then 2 brothers. I count the dog.

Time I wake up – Around 6-6:30 am. Sometimes I don't really get moving though until 7:30-almost 8am!

Unusual talent/skill – I can literally be in a mansion early in the day, and in the projects in the afternoon, and I can get along with and relate well with whomever I meet throughout the day. Not that I like all of them. And, as a generality though, those with more can many times be more difficult to deal with.

Vegetable I refuse to eat – Beets. Beets are a favorite of "The Office's" Dwight Schrute, whose family grows them. A beet I will not eat.

Worst habit – "My worst habit is that I just care too much." I love that self-serving answer. It's like that apology - "I'm sorry that you were so dense that you miscontrued my completely noble intentions, you moron. I really am sorry about that (meaning you being so dense)." Always love the non-apology apology, also.

My worst habit is not directly answering the question or issue.

X-rays – Bring 'em on. Millions of them went through my body today, sent by the power of the Sun. I got nothing to hide.

My favorite meal – It'd probably have to be Italian food, and of that, probably lasagna, again like Willowtree. I don't have it that much, it being my favorite meal. That probably is as it should be, though. Its rarity in my life probably demonstrates its unique position at the top of my food pyramid

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The legend lives on
from the Chippewa on down
of the great lake they call gitchegumee
The lake it is said, never gives up her dead
when the skies of November turn gloomy
With a load of iron ore, twenty-six thousand tons more
than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
that good ship and crew was a bone to be chewed
when the gales of November came early

The ship was the pride of the American side
coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
with a crew and good captain well seasoned,
concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
when they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night, when the ship's bell rang
could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
and a wave broke over the railing
And ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too
'twas the witch of November come stealin'
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
when the gales of November came slashing
When afternoon came, it was freezing rain
in the face of a hurricane west wind

When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck sayin'
'fellas, it's too rough t'feed ya'
At seven p.m. a main hatchway caved in
he said, 'fellas, it's been good t'know ya'
The captain wired in he had water comin' in
and the good ship and crew were in peril
And later that night, when it's lights went outta sight
came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Does any one know, where the love of God goes?
when the waves turn the minutes to hours
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
if they'd put fifteen more miles behind her
They might have split up, or they might have capsized
they may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains, is the faces and the names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters

Lake Huron rolls, and Superior sings
in the rooms of her ice-water mansion
Old Michigan steams, like a young man's dreams
the islands and bays are for sportsmen
And farther below, Lake Ontario
takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go, as the mariners all know
with the gales of November remembered

In a musty old hall, in Detroit they prayed
in the maritime sailors cathedral
The church bell chimed, 'til it rang twenty-nine times
for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald

The legend lives on
from the Chippewa on down
of the great lake they call gitchegumee
Superior, it's said, never gives up her dead
when the gales of November come early

-Gordon Lightfoot-

Monday, August 13, 2007


Ok, yet another movie review. This one, “Rushmore”, from 1998 I believe, stars Jason Schwartzman (son of Talia “Yo Adrian” Shire from the “Rocky” films) and Bill Murray in another one of his reserved, bored, tired (and hilarious) roles. Schwarzman's Max Fischer is a student at the Rushmore Academy, and is either president of or involved in the BeeKeeping Club, Fencing Club, Wrestling Team, Chess Club, Numismatic Club, Debate Team, Cheerleading, a playwright, and on and on and on. His life is completely absorbed by Rushmore and its extracurricular activities, but he is on the verge of flunking out due to his absolute disinterest in what might be termed the core curriculum of the school, things like geometry. In comes Murray as Herman Blume, who as a rich industrialist who has endowed the school, makes a moving speech to the students in which the poor students on scholarship, like Max, as well as old Herman himself was at one time at the school, are to always remember that heart and passion can never be bought, and are to always remind the rich kids of just that. The speech is the start of a bond between the admiring Max and the industrialist Herman. A young teacher, Miss Cross, who is somewhere around 30 yrs. old, becomes the love interest for both the 15 yr. old Max as well as the 50-something Herman Blume. What follows is an absurdist tit for tat struggle between Herman and Max for the attentions of Miss Cross, with Max ultimately losing out. Max finally comes to realize that he and Miss Cross can never be, reconciles with Herman, and arranges for an apparently multi-million dollar aquarium to be built for Miss Cross and her students, as a gift from himself and Blume. At the end of the film, after a performance of his latest play, a Vietnam War tribute to Herman Blume (Max writes the play after once asking Blume, "...so, were you over in the shit? Blume replies in the affirmative), Max finally goes for the girl that has been noticing him for the longest time, little Ms. Margaret Yang. This, as I said wonderfully absurdist cult film, comes from Wes Anderson, noted for other such quirky films as “The Life Aquatic” and many others, is a film which I've seen several times now, and will probably see several times again in the future, whenever I need to see the quirky guy pull it all off in the end. A great little film.

Another film I've seen Schwartzman in recently is “Shopgirl”, with Clare Danes and Steve Martin, as the straight man to Schwartzmann (Martin also wrote the book from which this film was made). An older now mid-20's Schwartzman plays another oddball in this one, with a little bit of a different angle, but he is also wonderfully quirky here as well, in addition to being a tiny bit frightening at first. Turns out he's just weird, not dangerous. Another well recommended film.

Monday, August 06, 2007


Man, I have been seeing some really good DVD's lately! This one, called "Wattstax", I first came across late one night watching PBS, where I had come across the film in progress. It was a concert film from 1972, interspersed with Richard Pryor and his hilarious commentary on life experiences, as well as regular people of the Watts community of Los Angeles talking about life in the community after the rebellion of 1965. As I had come across it in progress, I began to watch it and was just stunned by the performances of artists such as the Staple Singers, Luther Ingraham, Issac Hayes, Rufus Thomas, The Emotions, Rance Allen, a film opener by the Dramatics (Watch See, Is Watcha Get) and many, many more, as well as the discussions by the people of Watts about all aspects of their life. I must have seen it in part more than a year ago, and I think that yet another PBS show on the history of Stax records made me remember this film again, so I ordered it from Half.com. It only became available in DVD format in 2005 I believe, so people who had seen it previously had either caught it on TV like I did, or some were actually there at the event. "Wattstax" is sometimes called the "Black Woodstock", and there is some parallels there certainly. The DVD commentary indicates that many at Wattstax knew that what happened that day was something very magical (which is captured in the film), while Woodstock has been noted by the artists themselves for less than stellar performances, bad weather, equipment problems, and so on. And, as in my previous film posting, the cinematography and editing provided for in this film is just marvelous; they must have had so much film, to have come up with the amazing number of fantastic scenes that were left in the film.

The best thing I think about this film is the people. Dresssed in the early '70's fashions, watching the performances, dancing and feeling the vibe of the day. The everyday Black people in this film are portrayed as a confident, positive, beautiful people and community, and that comes through so very strongly in this film. If you go to IMDB.com and read the commentaries, you'll read much the same; with African-American commentators remembering the film and the times, and expressing how proudly the people are portrayed, as themselves, and remembering the feeling of the times. I myself, while not African-American or Black, remember a little bit of these times, attending primarily African-American elementary and junior high schools, and so I remember the times ands the styles quite fondly, the playing of Soul and R&B records brought in by kids (yes, they were records!) in the school cafeteria at lunch time, and my own white suit and platform shoes for jr. high graduation! Colonialism had recently ended in Africa, and the Black Power movement in America identified strongly with these emergent African nations, as was reflected in ideology, style, and an American music scene with African roots which swept the world and united Black communities around the globe. If you have any connections to any of these experiences or just love Soul music, then this film is definitely a must see, but I really think that everyone should see this film, and I hope that the recent DVD release will provide for a much wider exposure of this classic to the entire world.