Friday, August 28, 2009


Hey look, Grumpy Guy's back!

Bruce and Susan just visited. This is what they brought us, besides the avian swine flu.

Paul turned 40 recently and celebrated by swiveling his hips a lot. For some reason, I didn't get a picture of him. But I did get a shot of Aidan learning a few tricks.

And April too.

As you probably read, a bunch of folks went to see Willie, Bob, and the Coog. It was pretty sweet, even if the music wasn't quite as exciting as I'd hoped for. I think I appreciated Willie's performance best. The Coog's set seemed super-slick and choreographed, although full of energy. At this point, Bob is just a shell of himself. You could understand maybe every third word and he looks really frail.

Still, Stockton was grand. We stayed in the same hotel as did the musicians' tour busses. I say tour busses because they never seemed to get off them. But we did get to see a wedding reception broken up by 12 of Stockton's finest and watch a meeting of Pocahontas and Redman, which is the second oldest fraternal organization in the US (and not a new stoner film by the rapper). I forgot my camera, so all you get is a shot of a stoner art car parked downtown the next day.

In case you missed Stallion's performance at Cato's, here's what it looked like.

Here's the best video I've seen in ages, by Jay Reatard.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Health care is a good thing, people

Jeez, is this whole mess of nutbags screaming about health care reform making you as mad as it is me? I mean, really, just when you think people in this country can't get any dumber they do. Do they really think that Obama wants to kill their grandmas? Or that there's anything remotely Hitler-like about his health care reform? One guy wanted to kill a whole bunch of people and the other wants everyone to live longer. One guy was keen on making the Arayans live longer and the other wants, again, everyone to live longer. One guy hated the Communists and the other loves them. Or something.

But I guess the big problem is plain and simple: racism. The white folks are scared that the poor black folks will take their health care away from them, and white grandma will die because black grandma needs medical attention. But they know they can't say that so they whine and weep about how Obama hates America. They've even gone as far as saying that Michele Obama's mom is practicing "witchcraft" in the White House. Of course, it's hard to take them seriously when the person who wrote the article also wrote, "After 8 years of a president sent by God to lead the American people and rescue us from the horrors of 911 and Islamo-fascists, it comes to this."

Thank god Barney Frank is around to compare these people to furniture from other planets. It seems to me that the First Amendment covers speech; it doesn't cover screaming and yelling and bullying. It's like the 2000 election all over again, when Republican operatives pretended to be regular people and bullied the Florida recount people with fear mongering and intimidation.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ain't Even Done with the Night

Hey, guess where I’ll be on Saturday? Stockton, CA, brother. That’s where Bobby Dylan, Willie Nelson, and John Freaking Cougar Mellencamp will be rocking the minor league baseball park. I haven’t seen Dylan since ’89, and I’ve never seen Willie, but honestly I’m most excited about the Coog.

What’s to like about some guy from Indiana? (Sorry, Jake!) Check out his induction speech for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame or his recent Fresh Air visit. Man, he’s cranky. And a bit more than bitter. And his songs, well, they’re silly (“I fight authority; authority always wins”?) and preachy and too Bob Seger-y. Hell, here he looks like the scary lovechild of Huey Lewis AND Lou Reed.

A song like “Jack and Diane” is just so fake – a 35 year old singing about being 17 – and yet it still feels right. Maybe because I’m over 35. And maybe because it seemed wrong when I was 17. But wrong in a good way. Dirty wrong.

I can still remember listening to that song and "Hurts So Good" on a car trip in ’82, blasting it on a tiny boombox, standing by a car in my short shorts and muscle tee and bowl haircut. I wish I had a picture of that time. Oh yeah, I do. Woah.

Best line of that induction speech, by the way? The Coog telling Billy Joel what the folks in Illinois thought of his Farm Aid performance: “Billy, they didn’t know you were Jewish. They just thought you were Italian.”

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blueberry. No, really.

Things I learned on my trip to Northern Vermont:

My sister is still very cute, even at the ripe age of seven and a half.

United’s staff in Burlington is made up completely of 16 year olds. The kid at the counter? 16. The baggage handler? 16. The flight attendant? 16 and snarky, looking like he’d seen Rushmore one too many times. (Did you know it is against FAA regulations to bring your own booze onboard?) It’s like deepest Russia or Nebraska, where all the people with any ounce of beauty or intelligence immediately flee to New York.

What else? The loon really does sound crazy. Man, what a nutso racket they make! Also, the moose is a big freaking creature. And comic book guys in Vermont teach poly sci over the internet and own llamas and hot tubs that they rent out as part of B&Bs.

Also, they have Yelp here for some reason. There’s this tiny bakery/restaurant with a famously crazy New Yorker running it. All week long I heard how awful he was, but when we finally went it he was relatively normal. Both disappointing and relieving. He got an article all about him the New York Times.

A picture of my “ghoul friend”:

There’s not much to do around Marshfield. This bar of soap accidentally placed upright on another bar caused quite a ruckus.

The house they stay in is super old, with no toilet (can you say outhouse?), a bathtub that’s too small to really use, and so many dead bugs littered on the shelves that no one bothers to clean them off. That said, it’s right on the pond and the stove is pretty retro cool looking.

My brother’s really into fishing now. Here’s some perch he caught and I didn’t eat. Fish equals yuck in my book.

USAir now charges $7 for a ratty pillow and blanket. Seven dollars! Not a single person asked for one. Add on $20 per piece of luggage and $9 for a meal, and it’s worse than going to see a movie on an empty stomach.

Hmm, what else? April got Superfudge for Yi Rong, and she read it three times in a week. I read it too, and you know what? Judy Blume is funny as shit. But it’s weird now too, because she’s taken to updating her books – in Superfudge, the kid asks Santa for CDs and laptops, which didn’t really exist when the book was originally written. Is nothing sacred? Will Oliver Twist soon feature the wee lad asking for more Ben & Jerry’s Americone Dream instead of gruel?

Yi Rong and I made up a code, based around fruit. Cherry, blueberry, grapes!

After being married for over 20 years, my step-mom says her heart still beats faster when she sees my dad’s car coming up the driveway. That’s pretty cool.