Monthly Archive for June, 2009

Truman Kind of Rhymes

Nothing Rhymes with Woman.  Best Carbon Leaf album ever! Nice cover too, all black and orange. Nothing rhymes with orange, either. Coincidence? I think not.

Until now, best Carbon Leaf song? was easy (War Was in Color). Now, not so much. CL lyrics in the past have had a spotty quality to them. Flickers of brilliance bruised by assonant compromises. For every In a window back home/A blue star is traded for gold there was an I will not leave this pulse alone/Though it may take the long way home. Huh?

And here we have an album with several songs at the same level as WWIC. Songwriting still improving after 17 years together? That alone is worthy of the sort of recognition you get from reviews on obscure personal blogs with easily a half-dozen readers. No problem, guys. You’re very welcome.

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Who Farted?

Quoting Samuel Beckett here, don’t look at me like that.  This is serious, serious art.  With themes and symbolism and ambiguity and everything.  Literature, man!

Specifically, Waiting for Godot at Roundabout Theatre (in Studio 54).  It is meant as a comedy, but when you read the script it comes off all literary and…  interesting. Funny, but in a cerebral way.  But put Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin, two of the world’s greatest clowns, in the roles of Estragon and Vladimir, add John Goodman as Pozzo and the unknown (to me) John Glover as Lucky, and then turn them loose, and you end up with side-splitting physical comedy.  Turns out the themes and symbolism and whatnot come through just fine when you do that.  Which I guess is why it’s considered a masterpiece.

Yes, we did wonder when Nathan Lane, rolling around on the floor with Goodman and Irwin, said “Who farted?”, whether that was in the original text.  And yes, it is.

Best part was when Estragon took Pozzo’s whip and “attempted” to use it.  30 seconds of Nathan Lane cavorting around the entire stage flailing an 8 foot bullwhip around everywhere.  Somehow without hurting anyone, including himself.  That took some practice, I guarantee.  It took us another minute to recover from laughing about that.

Kudos to director Anthony Page for playing it for the comedy.  I wondered for a millisecond if that would detract from the serious themes.  Nope.

Worth the drive to NYC!

Happy Loving Day. Not.

And I was so enjoying waving happily at Air Force One when it flew overhead.  Looks like I’m gonna have to go back to flipping it off.

Hope?  Nope.  Change?  Strange, looks like just another cheesy breezy politician blowin’ in the wind.  Creeping up as close to that center line as he can get.

Obama defends DOMA in federal court. Says banning gay marriage is good for the federal budget. Invokes incest and marrying children.


Virginia is for Loving

This Friday will mark 42 years since everyone in the U.S. got the right to marry whomever they want.  Well.  Not quite everyone.  Not quite yet.  Still, it was a massive social change, brought about by a zealous court.  Talk about your judicial activism!  Overturning the clearly expressed and massively supported will of the people, without any such right being explicitly spelled out in the constitution.  If the constitution doesn’t grant the right, how can you overturn democratically enacted laws based on some nebulous concept of “civil rights”?  (Hint:  What part of the 9th amendment don’t you understand?)

Loving v. Virginia.  Was there ever a better-named court case?  This here’s a couple years old, but it still makes me smile:

Loving for All

By Mildred Loving

Prepared for Delivery on June 12, 2007, The 40th Anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia Announcement

When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, DC in 1958, it wasn’t to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married.

We didn’t get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there because the government wouldn’t allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the “crime” of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed. The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile.

We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn’t have to fight alone. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men,” a “basic civil right.”

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

Yeah.  What she said.

My Morning in the Land of Styrofoam and Ice

The sky over Tsukiji was the color of Ridley Scott’s hair.  The boy was up early, tracing the satellite signals to a place not the meeting point.  GPS fail under a light rain.  Perhaps the taxi hadn’t left him at the designated corner, and now the metal roof that kept the sky off his head blocked the signal.  The other outsiders were on the far end of an invisible radio link, somewhere in the crushing crowd.  He was flying blind; despite its moniker, the phone had no eye.  Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

No.  It was.  Mitsui-san appeared out of the mist, beckoning the boy and his local cohort.  “The auction ends soon; we should hurry a little,” he called in a slight accent, ducking from the sidewalk into an industrial garage.  Trucks, hand and power, executed an impossible choreography of loading and driving off with their precious cargo, sprinting to the customers across the city with their goods losing value by the minute.
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I have only one burnin’ desire.  Let me cook next to your fire!

Who doesn’t love some yaki-niku?  Plates and plates of delicious meats, and sometimes vegetables too, maybe some shrimp and scallops, all brought to you in profusion by cute waitresses with their hair in pigtails, and left for you to cook yourself upon the bed of brightly glowing coals.  With maybe some kimchee on the side.

Oh and beer too.

I think this may be Korean in origin, but I’ve never been to Korea, so to me it’s Japanese.

There are four of these places (that we know of) between our hotel and ISAS.  Two of them are part of the Gyu-Kaku chain, of which I am especially fond.  Mainly due to their ice cream sprinkled with some kind of malted flour (oat, maybe?)

I’d like to see them get away with this in the US.  Seriously. But I know that would last until some kid or drunk frat boy grabs the screen, burns himself badly enough to land in the hospital, and sues the chain back to Japan.

But this isn’t about things I hate.  This is about love.  Love of food, in point of fact.  Something a good deal more dangerous.  It gets hard to say no, y’know?  But how can you hurt the feelings of something like this?  Look at those marbled beefs, that basil chicken, those pretty peppers, that not-so-fresh corn.  Okay, never mind about the corn.  But the rest…

Yeah.  Keep ’em coming!

Portable Fans

Can I just say nobody understands audience interaction like Carbon Leaf? You might think if you’ve only heard them recorded that the songs repeat too much and the lyrics while generally very good do sometimes choose cleverness over feeling.

So what you gotta do is see them live. Find out where they are, go see them. Drive from Greenbelt to Richmond the night before an international plane trip, if necessary. I did, and it was so worth it. How long does it take to get to Richmond? I donno, two and a half hours maybe? It’s just past King’s Dominion, right? (The town fathers hate it when Richmond is referred to that way.) Why do you ask? Carbon Leaf is playing there tonight. Hometown show, should be good. Um, okay, any tix left? Yup, and it’s GA too. What, Georgia? General Admission, numb-nuts. Oh.

What the hell, I like staying up wicked late the night before flying; helps me sleep on the plane. Then a wicked latte to wake me up and I’m good. Plus, Jubal Early (our new ride) has actual cruise control! We should be home by 3, no probs. And the National (a new (refurbished?) venue) is like 20 feet off I-95, so we can hardly get lost. (Though we did the cheap tour of one-way streets on the way to finding parking.)

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Things I Hate, Part 5

Kids (yeah, kids.  With X marks on their hands and no-alcohol colored wristbands.  Now get the hell off my lawn) who don’t know the difference between a concert and a bar.  See, a bar is where you go to meet friends, talk, drink, and occasionally pay attention to the band.

Also, “Hang out with your wang out” is mildly amusing, if you are planning to drop trou.  Otherwise repeating it ad nauseum doesn’t even make sense.  C’mon kids, if you’re gonna rock out with your cock out, let’s see it.  Otherwise it’s just talk.

Anyway, what these tots need is a little lesson in paying attention and shutting the hell up.  But who would they listen to?