Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dead Men Are Still Cooler Than Most Live Men!

There's a world I enter at times that nobody can penetrate. It is a world where jazz musicians are playing whatever the hell they feel like and I am the only person listening (actually with the popularity of jazz nowadays that's often true). Last Tuesday, Columbia released the 50th anniversary edition of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue with an extra disc containing live performances of the material. Oh my God! It is just wonderful. To hear these great musicians play is something most of you just don't get, don't like, or don't care. To me, it is the one thing that takes me out of this world.

Jazz is subjective. Jazz is whatever you want it to be. For instance, to me, jazz is nothing like it is today. Kenny G isn't jazz, Wynton Marsalis is jazz. But you tell me who outdraws who? Go ask Lisa Simpson what I'm talking about (once again it's my world!).

Now a bit of a rant. Jazz in it's pure form was invented by African-Americans. It is a gift. Yet at virtually every jazz concert I have ever attended, whether it be Wynton, or Basie, or Dizzy, or Miles, or Ahmad Jamal, 90% of the crowd is white. African-Americans ignore this art form. I have no idea why. It is a sad commentary to me to see this. I once saw the late Billy Eckstine put his hand to his forehead and look out into the crowd to see if "any brothers or sisters are out there". There were, but too damn few. It's sad. I am off to listen to and 18 minute jam of So What. I will re-enter the atmosphere about 18 minutes from now.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Few Bad Men!

I am sorry, but I'm not letting this go. These people who ran this country into the ground for the last 8 years and destroyed the moral authority this nation once had need to be brought to justice. Can this man leave the United States ever again without fear of arrest? He shouldn't be safe even in Casper, Wyoming or wherever the rock is located he will crawl back under.

Do you need a list of this man misdeeds?

1) he shot a guy in the face and then forced the shootee to apologize
2) he admitted to authorizing waterboarding and torture on ABC News
3) Valerie Plame
4) that energy conference back in 2001 with unnamed energy Dons. Think Godfather. I wonder if Barzini was there? We know Ken Lay was there studying Iraqi oil field maps
5) He received a million a year from Haliburton, the war profiteers, while participating in decisions that steer billions of tax dollars to Haliburton
6) to avoid an investigation by a government oversight agency he claimed the Vice President was not a part of the executive branch, then tried to cut funding to that agency
7) "the insurgency is in its last throes"
8) he lied to Colin Powell, who then made an ass out of himself in front of the world
9) Paul Wolfowitz, Don Rumsfeld, John Bolton
10) Once again, he admitted to authorizing waterboarding, for which this country executed Japanese thumb breakers after WW II

To gain back our respect, this nation must do something about these people. To move on and forget is not acceptable. Please, Mr.President, do something before you lose your respect. The entire word is watching.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

To Hell With The Super Bowl, Just Let The Boss Play!

Ok, there's very few 60 year olds left around who still matter when it comes to rock music. You have parodies of themselves prancing around, guys in 80's wigs pretending they ever mattered, rock bands who cannot control their greed no matter how much they hate each other, 70's retreads playing casinos to baby boomers trying to recapture their youth, bands with one original member and 3 0r 4 30 year olds bopping out the hits from 40 years ago and then, oh yeah, you have Bruce Springsteen. The Boss drops another album ( album?I am so old) today and I can't wait to listen to it. He has put out four albums in the last 6 years and each one comments on the times in ways that nobody else can. I cannot gush enough about this mancrush of mine.

He's completely mainstream. He's a zillionaire. He's hugely popular. Yet, despite those flaws, he is the Boss. Like Paul McCartney is still a Beatle. Like Neil Young is the rockingest grampa ever. Like Bono will be in 10 years. Bruce Springsteen is cool. Period. Don't like him? That's fine with me. A lot of folks can't stand their boss.

Friday, January 23, 2009

How Come There's No Guitar Hero Bee?

You are looking at 3 of the 6 student winners of the District Spelling Bee. One of them is Max. You can guess which one, which may be tough since all their hair is about the same length. Max spelled "percolate" to advance to the Citywide Spelling Bee next month here in Omaha along with his two schoolmates. I was so proud of him that I about c-r-a-p-p-e-d my pants. My accomplishments in grade school involved avoiding getting my ass kicked by nuns.

Congratulations to Max and his classmates.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

You Have The Right To Remain Morally Corrupt!

There are hundreds of reasons why this cheap hack ought to be in jail now that he's a private citizen. Here are just 20:

1) he said to a CIA analyst "ok you covered your ass now" after he was told of an NSA memo predicting the 9/11 attacks
2) He invaded the wrong country
3) He lied to foreign governments and us about Iraq
4) he played guitar while people drowned in New Orleans
5) he gave no bid contracts to Haliburton & Blackwater while denying benefits to mangled war veterans
6) hundreds of "renditions"
7) torture
8) slashed regulations on banks
9) Enron
10) deregulates oil industry sending oil prices through the roof
11) used auto industry problems to punish unions
12) silenced the truth on global warming
13) Jack Abramoff
14) Pat Tillman
15) US Attorneys fired for not being Republican hacks
16) abortion causes breast cancer
17) Donald Rumsfeld
18) Abu Graib
19) outsourcing port security to Dubai
20) No Child Left Behind

You want more? Are you listening, The Hague? Are you listening, Mr.President? If this criminal enterprise is allowed to go unpunished, we all lose. If torture is allowed to stand without consequences, the government of the United States has become the torturer and any moral standing is gone. If this last 8 years is simply relegated to history books to be looked on as a pothole in the road not to be fixed, how long before we bust an axle? This country stands for something. The last 8 years this country has stood for the things we find reprehensible in others. Do something about this. Somebody. Do something!

Monday, January 19, 2009

From Dope To Hope!

It's almost over. The 8 years of corrupt, hopeless, dismal leadership has run its course. After tomorrow, that bunch will be gone and a new bunch will be moving in. It can't be any worse.
I am not a hopeful person. Throughout my lifetime I have seen one corporate stooge after another take center stage and pretend to care about the people of this country. There was some hope after Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976 and the crooks were all indicted, jailed or sent into exile. But Carter was too much of a idealist, and unwilling to do things other than his way. Sound familiar? Bill Clinton gave me a bit of hope. I mean as much as a Republican in Democratic clothing could. But Clinton compromised with evil after the 1994 Gingrich coup, and helped the evil ones with their campaign to ruin him with lies by actually giving them a truth to use. Even George W Bush made me a bit hopeful that he wasn't as big a tool as he seemed. Wrong.
Barack Obama makes me feel like Bobby Kennedy did when I was 11 years old. As skittish as I am over politicians and their handlers, I hope Obama is the man. I really hope so. Not for my sake, I am beyond help, but for Max's sake. Let him never know the disappointment of leaders who lie, cheat, and steal. Pipe dream? Yes. Hope? You betcha.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Just Two Kids Hugging! Nothing To See Here!

It's been a rough week, or rather a rough 9 months, or 5 years, or 85 years for that matter for Max's Dad's mom, who passed away last Monday after deciding she'd had enough pain and suffering for a lifetime. Charlene, my mom, worked full time to age 84 as an executive secretary for a Rotary Club here in Omaha. It was her life. She worked through my Dad's illnesses, his death, her own lung cancer, her second lung cancer, her chronic breathing problems, and right up through her first broken hip suffered in May of 2008. Pneumonia began to call her damaged lung home after that. She went through at least four bouts with it. Then she broke the other hip in September of 2008 and the life began to drain. She was forced to retire. Retire? Are you speaking Japanese here? The woman, never one to stop moving, couldn't move any longer. Forced to sit in a chair, have help getting up, and missing out on dinners and lunches and golf and Rotary meetings and fun, could feel the life leaving her. I could see it in her face. I could hear it in her voice. The same lack of energy I heard in my Dad's voice had entered Mom's voice. It's not something you ever want to hear.

Last Saturday, in the hospital, full of infections and pneumonia and shingles and a general exhaustion, Charlene decided it was time to stop fighting. Treated with dignity and respect by the folks at Lakeside Hospital, and eventually by the saints who work at the Hospice House, Charlene passed away around 7 pm on Monday, January 12th, 2009. I was not there. I couldn't be there. My Mom actually passed away, metaphorically, the night she broke her hip in May of 2008. Oh what a life you had, Charlene. Congratulations. We love you.

Oh yeah, forget about that age thing. She was in denial right up to the end. She was the same age as Max. Trust me on this one.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Oh Great, Now He Has Cooties!

It's been a tough week as Mom goes through a rough time again. But who lined them up? Jimmy seems to want to be out pounding nails into shoddy houses, Bill is recalling fond memories of the Oval Office corridor, GW wants to block Barack out of the picture, 41 is trying to remember why the place looks familiar and Barack is forced to stand there smiling between Gramps and his stupid older brother. Poor guy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Heil L. Ron Hubbard!

Ok I know. Tom Cruise is a nut, he's obnoxious, he believes in a strange religion where aliens dropped us off a long time ago as opposed to the real religion where a talking snake yapped at a naked teenager. All that being said, I saw his new film about Operation Valkyrie , the plot to kill Adolf Hitler in 1944. The German government was opposed to letting them film because Cruise had a past where he jumped on a couch and argued with a morning show host about psychiatry. That's right, Germany was hacked off about somebody else's past. Ich bin ein holocaust denier.

Anyway, about the movie, I actually liked it. It's not the greatest thing on celluloid, but it tells a story well, it's suspenseful, even though you know how it ends, and the fact that Cruise has no accent doesn't mean jack. Stocked full of primo English actors from Tom Wilkinson to Eddie Izzard to Kenneth Branaugh and directed by Brian Singer of Usual Suspects fame, the film gets a recommendation from Max's Dad if you are interested in history and another yes from Max himself from the 12 year old perspective.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Balls To The Wall!

Really now, who has bigger balls, and I mean this as a compliment, than Hillary Clinton? Maybe Barack Obama, but other than him, Hillary is numero uno. The woman took so much ca ca from conservatives and libs like me for the last 20 years and still will not back down from anybody. Well that's good she's going to be Secretary of State, but there were people in 2008 who had bigger cajones than Hill or Barack, and that is not a compliment. Who? Well let's go.

1) Elliott Spitzer- the disgraced ex-Governor of New York. Disgraced not so much because he liked to canoodle with a hooker, errrr, escort of dubious intelligence, but that he prosecuted others when state Attorney General for doing the exact same thing. That takes huge ones. Last seen disparaging his new employer,, by saying working for them "sucks".

2) Ted Stevens- Who cares if this diminutive arm twisting Senator from Alaska is a crook? Come on, find me anybody out of Alaska who isn't? No, his large cylinders come from the fact the man actually took an oath to tell the truth in court, then testified he came home one day, and his house was full of new furniture, and he had no idea where it came from, and thus he just kept it because he didn't know where to return it. Yeah, right. And then the con artists and fugitives who make up 99.9% of Alaska's population almost re-elected him. Maybe they deserve some large ones too.

3) Dick Cheney- this one is almost too easy except for the fact this guy is so uncaring and cold he will admit to war crimes in national television and to having no idea why he's so unpopular. His round ones are so huge nobody will ever touch him for longevity. His first name is so appropriate he had to have been created, not born.

4) William Jefferson- the soon to be ex-Congressman from Louisiana may be old news for keeping $90,000 in frozen assets in his freezer, but after hanging on for three years because about 16% of his Alaska-like constituents kept seeing nothing wrong with his bribe-taking and coziness with African thumb breakers posing as leaders and re-electing him. But this year he was finally tossed out by voters who were forced to vote for a Vietnamese boat person who will keep the seat warm for a couple of years before he gets thrown out by the next Jeffersonian Democrat.

5) Rod Blagojevich- man, this guy is ballsy. He isn't techno-smart, he has no idea how to get free money from lobbyists, his hair is so used car salesman. He doesn't give a #$%@ about protocol. Just give him the money. Straightforward, no middle man, no lobbyist, none of that pussbag third party crap, just pay him directly and he'll come across for you. Start bidding now. He's a regular E-Bay Guv. There's something about 1930's sleaziness you have to give a nod to.

Oh, there's more who aren't well-known. We'll get to those later. Is this a great country or what?