Friday, April 27, 2007

Your Alabama Tax $$$ At Work

Did you know that if you are a resident of the state of Alabama you can sign up at your local library for access to the Alabama Virtual Library? It's free, and you get access to the online Oxford English Dictionary!

There's also a bunch of databases I haven't nosed around in yet. Much of the site is meant for kids doing research papers, but it's worth a trip to the library for free access to the OED, the second greatest accomplishment in the English language after the King James Bible (suck it, Shakespeare!). That's a savings of $295 per year!

Do other states offer this? I mean, the OE-fuckin-D. How cool is that?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

My Wireless "Broadband" Sucks

This is like dial-up, only three times more expensive. Any time I send data from a form like blogger or Metafilter, the connection resets.

Why can't I have nice things?

Earl Greyhound Rocks The Nick

OK, so it's been a few days since the Earl Greyhound show, but I needed time to staunch the bleeding from my ears and to properly assimilate their CD, Soft Targets, before revealing to the world that I have found the Keepers of the Rawk and they are a skinny guy from Brooklyn, a bass player who taught your kids phonics, and a drummer with the biggest bass drum I've ever seen on stage at The Nick, with the chops to match.

Call them retro, call them Zepplinesque, make comparisons to the Black Keys, whatever. These guys were loud, proud, and unbowed. They TORE UP a mostly empty room but the squall stayed focused. The outlines of the song were never far away and like the best blues Earl Greyhound used repetition and variation as a motif, not an excuse for jam-band wankery.

They fucking rocked.

Go see them, and go buy their record.

(They were actually the opening band for Rose Hill Drive, of whom I can honestly say I heard the first two songs and then I left.)

Monday, April 23, 2007

An Overdue Eulogy

One of the myriad of reasons I abruptly stopped blogging last November was the death of my friend, Marty. He died the day before Thanksgiving. He was 39. He overdosed on heroin. He was one of my best friends. You know, you have your "friends" and then your "Friends", and then you have the people that you know have your back and will take a bullet for you. That was Marty. We met many years ago through mutual friends, and our initial attraction was LSD, Captain Beefheart, and hardcore punk. Once we met, we never lost contact. I talked to Marty at least once a month, every month, for fifteen years. When I was unemployed, he hired me on as a plumber's apprentice and kept my bills paid. When he was innit wif Mr. Shizznit, I paid his bail.

For most of the time I knew him, Marty never touched heroin. We smoked weed, maybe sniffed a little blow once and again, drank like fish, and chased wimmin. Marty was six-foot-three and maybe a charitable 350 pounds. He was a force of nature, and I miss him. I wrote this rambling sketch in the hours after I'd heard he passed on:
Fugazi @ Tuxedo Junction

let me piss up yr ass @ The Nick

Jonathan Richman is a goddamn carpetbagger @ Zydeco


"Viva Los Santos!" SCOTS @ the Nick

Almost starting a race riot in Montevallo

Destroying Dave's truck

"Friend, let me tell you about Jesus!" in Richard's alley

First let me get the cliches out of the way -- he was larger than life, he lived more in 40 years than most men do in 80, he had a big heart, a big soul, a big presence. I knew Marty for half my life. I never knew anyone like him.

To Marty: you stupid fuck, how dare you check out on your mom like this? She deserves better, and you loved her more than this.

Tattered flannel, overalls, a blown-out cowboy hat and shitkicker boots. A persona deliberately veering into caricature, a plea veiled with a shout. Marty embraced the world and all its weird wonder without fear or flinching because that's what good strong Southern men do -- we stand up and we take it on the chin and we keep swinging, not because it's right and proper and honorable or even smart or advisable but because it's all we can do, it's all we can hope for: our daddies gave us spines and hands and our mommas gave us hearts and minds and its our job to put it all together and shape ourselves and stand for something.

And Marty stood for something -- he was a nexus, a locus, he was a bridge between people. He brought together plumbers and artists, hippies and rednecks, losers, winners, and dreamers.

We all have our demons, and Marty had his share. Like many of us, Marty danced with his demons. We can learn this lesson -- we are not big enough to embrace the whole of the earth. We lack the requisite strength and grace to rise above the snares. But we can learn from his fall -- we can grow, we can change, we can learn from our history and embrace the past by confronting the future.

That doesn't do him justice. I have a story in me about Dave's truck, and that'll be fun to read. I just figured that the least I could do for someone who functioned his whole entire life on Navajo time (that's racist, I know, but I could have said "French time" except I figured the Navajo would be more understanding) would appreciate a eulogy published five months late.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Way To Go Loretta!

Loretta Nall's Kafkaesque nightmare with the Powers of Tallapoosa County is finally over, and for once the good guys won!

A Musical Day

Seeking beauty in my dreary life, today I visited that quaintest of emporia, the CD store. I bought a collection of Bach's solo violin works, a Mastodon record, and Charles Ives' 2nd & 4th symphonies.

I get home and there's a big fat care package from my pal Ace in Yonkers, a belated birthday present that contains CDs as diverse as Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach, the new Modest Mouse, Van Halen I ("Runnin' with the Devil"! rawk!), and some Beck I haven't yet heard; along with artsy ephemera that Noo Yawk intelligentsia must attract like magnets draw iron filings.

So a sonically happy day. Couple that with the fact that I have several good books lined up to read (including Guns, Germs, and Steel, which I've been meaning to get to for more than a year), I'm aurally and intellectually well-provisioned, so bring on the Apocalypse (we won't lose power, will we?).

Hello, World!


I'm back.

Didja miss me?

I missed you, too.

I have lotsa stuff to talk about.

I'm gonna leave all the insane drunken posts I made last fall in place, just as sort of an object lesson for what NOT to do. A constant admonishment.

I'll try to more closely craft the longer posts, or at least edit the fuckers before displaying my ineptitude for all the world to see.

I'll start tagging posts, too, having finally seen the light. The tags, of course, will be whimsical and misleading, thereby rendering them useless.

I have (intermittently) reliable Internet access now, which is a delight, having had none for many months. So expect more bilious idiocy to drop at any moment.

You're on notice, Internets.