Saturday, July 31, 2010

We Need To Find This Website Designer And Study Their Brain

I'd always done my own website design until I broke down and bought an out-of-the-box design for The Rumford Meteor. Like many things, I'm simultaneously ashamed and proud of my efforts. My question about all such matters is: could you do more with less? I doubt it. That's the context for everything in this world. People with every advantage in this world think they're a Horatio Alger bootblack. Perhaps I've found a person more constrained than Marley's ghost, and this is the best they can do. But I have my doubts.

I was redirected to this website, looking for what must be a defunct business now. And by gad, what a spot I happened upon. It's the eighth circle of website design, and I've discovered it. Now if I could only figure out what "Teddy Bear mold" is. It sounds like leprosy for toys.

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Wife Found A Copy Of Our Wedding Reception Videotape

She knows what my friends are like, so she didn't attend. On a related note: Shoe Full Of Ouzo would make an awesome band name.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Read Sippican Cottage. There'll Be Some Papers You'll Have To Sign

*No purchase necessary. Some assembly required. Tax, title,license and dealer fees extra. Do not exceed 4 doses in a 24-hour period. You will get wet on this ride. One size fits most. Batteries not included. The white zone is for the immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no parking in the red zone. Dramatization. Proof of mailing does not constitute proof of delivery. Shake well before opening. Contains eggs. Also available left-handed. Before posting, please take a minute to review our posting rules and our legal/privacy policy. All lyrics by Hammerstein, not Rodgers. Hours may vary by location. No smoking or open flames. Professional driver. Closed course. Any similarities between the characters, locations or events depicted herein and actual persons, living or dead, locations or events is purely coincidental and unintentional. Use as directed. Must be 18 to enter. Positive identification required. Handle with care. Do not pass on right. Not responsible for lost or stolen articles. User assumes all risks. No right turn on red. If you can read this, you're too close. Ass, grass, or cash; no one rides for free. Occupancy by more than 135 persons is dangerous and unlawful but kinda fun. Interior is genuine rich, Corinthian leather. Viewer discretion is advised but not anticipated. Not available in stores. Do not feed the animals. Available for Windows, Mac, and the seven people running Linux. 70% cotton, 30% nylon. Nos falamos Portugues. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. The cake is a lie. Limit one per customer per visit. No trespassing. No loitering. No soliciting. Please don't eat the daisies. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear. Ensure equipment is properly grounded prior to operation. Registration required. Not recommended for women who are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant. Ladies drink free. Apply directly to forehead. Closed Sundays and holidays. Filmed before a live studio audience. Available only for a limited time. Follow the yellow brick road. Lights on for safety. Made in China. Do not use as a flotation device. Stay off the grass. Offer void where prohibited. Installation extra. The rain in Spain should be expected to fall mainly on the plain. All sales final. Two-Year service agreement required. Non-toxic. HTML enabled. Don't try this at home. Your ad here. Tamper-resistant packaging. Expect delays. Refrigerate after opening. Restrictions apply. See store for details. No shirt, no shoes, no service. Have a nice day.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Guedelon, Little Bench Doggies

Some people who don't mind purple thumbnails and singed eyebrows are building a castle using only medieval tools and techniques in the middle of France. Should only take about terty-forty years. Call me when you need some furniture, you magnificent loons.

Click the picture for a video tour and in-depth website

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm From The Past [2008, actually] And I'm Here To Help

I was reading Essays In Idleness by Kenko. He was dead in 1350. I am many strains of people, but it's all European. Europe was nothing in 1350. If you were a betting man back then, you'd have bet on Asia. You'd have bet wrong.

So the Black Death is raging around Europe and the Japanese are writing in a style called zuihitsu -- just follow the brush. The brush being the stylus of choice there and then. Kenko read Sei Shonagon, the cranky broad from my masthead, same as me. And the personal essay is tie that binds us.

I hate the term: blog. It's ugly, and it's come to mean something even uglier than the sound of it. It's become the minor leagues of hate. I write personal essays here. Zuihitsu. It might not be noble, but a person has little to offer to others but knowledge of which they are sure. "I am an expert in the affairs of all men" is the banner of the professional politician and their toads. Not hardly.

Why am I wandering in the few moments between exhaustion and sleep in the dusty stacks of an alien culture dead and buried for seven hundred years? To find a kindred spirit. They're in short supply on the DIY network, after all.

A house, I know, is a temporary abode, but how delightful it is to find one that has harmonious proportions and a pleasant atmosphere. One feels somehow that even moonlight, when it shines into the quiet domicile of a person of taste, is more affecting than elsewhere. A house though it may not be in the current fashion or elaborately decorated, will appeal to us by its unassuming beauty-- a grove of trees with an indefinably ancient look; a garden where plants, growing of their own accord, have a special charm; a verandah and an open-work wooden fence of interesting construction' and a few personal effects left carelessly lying about, giving the place an air of having been lived in. A house which multitudes of workmen have polished with every care, where strange and rare Chinese and Japanese furnishings are displayed, and even the grasses and trees of the garden have been trained unnaturally, is ugly to look at and most depressing. How could anyone live for long in such a place?

You can't. I have never been in a hotel room as comfortable and pleasant as my own bedroom, and I have been in Presidential Suites before. Money can't fix the problem, and the availability of money without the governor of a framework of rules to expend it almost always makes things worse.

Our post-modern zeitgeist evangelizes that rules of any sort that govern personal behaviors or the appearance of our surroundings or entertainment are stultifying and worthy only of mindless opposition. The unthinking rejection of all tradition leads to a counterintuitive outcome: a set of rules, much more stringent than what they replaced, will replace the old ones, and they will consist of the worst possible alternative to what was there before.

How else can I explain nailing your house onto the ass end of your garage? How else can I explain a Japanese man writing about my house, and the house you should be living in, in the fourteenth century?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fire Escape

Escape the fire. That's what it's for, papa said.

The fire is in the sky, all day long. It slides below the buildings cross the street real early like, but it has fingers and pulls the line of houses down like a man looking out a blind and cooks us from out of sight. Our house is the sun's bank, ma says, and he keeps his fire here all night long. Ma puts our head under the tap and keeps a pitcher on the table but the ice don't last.

Tony got the hydrant open for a while 'til the bulls came. They point the nightstick at the end of his nose but they're holding back a smile and you can see it. He says he won't do it no more and waits for them to take the turn of the block and then gets the wrench again from his dad's toolbox. The bulls take the long way back on the hot days and we all knows it.

The little ones cry  a little at first but then they're gone for the duration into their night pictures. I like it best when they stop squirming and you can lie still and see the moon creep up the block like a burglar. He steals the heat and goes home again. I'll sleep when I feel his cool blue hand on my face.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

If You Hold A Seashell To Your Ear, You Hear The Ocean

If you hold an ashtray to one ear, and a coffee cup to the other, you hear an AA meeting.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Littel Known Facts

I once arranged a Hendrix song for a klezmer band,  and called it: The Wind Cries Murray.

I have an extra organ. It allows me to stand unaided.

A circus once ran away to join me.  

It is illegal to sell olive oil marked "extra virgin." Sorry.

I declined the premiership of Costaguana. I wasn't going for any of that shite.

When I was born, my dad gave Bill Clinton a cigar. You know the rest.

One of my harsh looks once left a DNA sample on a passing motorist.

I joined the London Philharmonic because it needed more cowbell. 

The three fastest-growing lost tribes worship me as the god of infertility.

I'm five-foot-fourteen.

I was banned from America's Cup yacht racing for playing defense.

I've shot four holes in one. Guy.

I once sold an encyclopedia salesman a vacuum cleaner.

Growing up, I was acknowledged as the toughest kid in my neighborhood until those boys moved in.

I invented the spork. I don't get any royalties because I insisted on calling it the foon.

I had a full-sized tattoo of myself applied.

I killed the deputy.

I'm so handsome I was sued for alienation of affection by a narcissist.

I hold the patent for Wite-Out for websites.

All told, six women have committed suicide over me, so I now carry a really strong umbrella.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Soundtrack For Our Times

You're nothing but a dirty, dirty old man
You do your thinking with a one-track mind
Keep talkin' about heaven's glory
But on your face is a different story
Clean up your rap your story's getting dusty
Wash out your mouth -your lies are getting rusty
Can't believe nothing you say
'cause I'm around and I see what you do

You know you're funkier than a mosquito's tweeter
You gotta mouth like a herd of boll weevils
Same old game, same old thang -you never changed
Always rappin' 'bout the same old thing

I got something to tell ya
I got something to tell you baby
That you ain't hip to, baby
Blowin' minds is a thing of the past
You blew your chance- that's why you never last
You want to be a graduatin' mother,
But in reality just another brother
You think you slick but you could stand a lot of greasin'
The things you do ain't never really pleasin'
Can't believe nothin' you say
'cause I'm around and I see what you do

You know you funkier than a mosquito's tweeter
You got a mouth like a herd of boll weevils
Same old game, same old thing
Always rappin' 'bout the same old thang
You beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful

You put yourself upon a big stool,
Nothin' worse than an educated fool
Talkin' sex is your favorite conversation
But peace and love is a famous generation
What's in your head has really started showing
Your conversation gettin' kinda boring
Can't believe nothin' you say
'Cause I'm around and I see what you do
You know you funkier than a mosquito's tweeter
You got a mouth like a herd of boll weevils
Same old game, same old game
Same old thing, you never change
Same old game, same old thang
Always rappin' 'bout the same old thang

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Friday, July 09, 2010

Yeah, I Play A Little Bass Myself

Say! I was unaware that Paul McCartney played in a band after Badfinger, but before Klaatu!

(Video from my spies in Venice, CA.)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

I Don't Know Anything

I don't know where this occurred. I don't know how old this video is. I don't know one single, solitary fact about the who, what, when, where, and why of it. But I'm absolutely certain of one thing: the man depicted in the video will stand up before a judge and plead NOT GUILTY!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Hot Weather Music Circa 1972

Egad. As a bass player, that many guitar players at the same time gives me the willies.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Leningrad Cowboys Go Mexico! AYYYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYYAYA!!!1!11!1

The Leningrad Cowboys have apparently made some sort of movie about racing in the Panamerica Rally in Mexico. Excuse me, I have to go buy a lawn chair and a thermos and a sleeping bag, and start camping outside the movie theater. Just in case the movie actually exists.

Or maybe that was the whole movie. I dunno. I was too excited and I started drinking really early today. In any case, in the words of the L. Cowboys themselves: "Thank you very many!"

Monday, July 05, 2010

Edgey Music

Here's the wonderful Hot Club of San Francisco:

Django Reinhardt and The Quintet of the Hot Club of France? Maybe you've gotten a look at the elderly Stephane Grappelli, heard the sweet violin counterpoint he provided his whole life through to whoever would have it, and gotten this sort of antimacassar impression of the original scene.

These were Gypsys. Romani. Wild men. They were considered profoundly unsavory and subversive. I'd be hard pressed to come up with a modern equivalent. All sorts of people would like to claim the mantle, and not just in music, either -- but there's something incredibly milquetoast about having skulls all over your black T-shirt and your skin alike while selling Stratocasters to suburbanite kids; or maybe torching a half-built condo complex to save the earth while getting away in your mom's minivan; or perhaps declaring that _________is Hitler loudly into the microphone at your function-room-class performance. Django always wore a suit and tie, BTW. He'd probably stab you if you tried to stiff him after a performance, though.

Django walked out of the hospital because his leg was burned so badly they wanted to amputate it. Hardcore. He returned to Paris, even when the Nazis overran it, gassing gypsies like him in their thousands. Fearless. Not "I married my stepdaughter but still get invited to all the best cocktail parties fearless." The real kind of fearless.

It's nice that people still keep the memory of the music alive like you see in the video. It's a wonderful amber they've produced, with a marvelous fly in it. Me? I'm always on the lookout for the new Romani. I need fellow-travelers.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Life, Liberty, The Pursuit Of Happiness, And The Right To Be A Weirdo

Well, I'm still alive; I'm at liberty to report I'm still at large; I ran happiness up a stump about twenty years back; I'm perfectly happy being dour; and I never waited for any encouragement to be a weirdo, so I'm good. Hope you're good too, today.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Scary Registered Nurse

My excellent friend and excellent photographer Steve LaBadessa has a photo essay featured in Time magazine about open carry gun law advocates in California:

It's interesting that it's a Barney Fife situation; you have to keep your bullets in your pockets until the little Andy Taylor in your head tells you it's OK to get operational. I didn't realize that was the case. For all the digital ink spilled on the subject, you'd think that tidbit would have found its way to my eyeballs. But then, you don't hear much sense about the issue one way or the other about the topic.

I must admit it's a bit jarring to see people walking around with a holster like that. Not particularly scary, just a little odd. Maybe I got blase while working construction for the majority of my life. We were all carrying around things that could maim or kill you pretty much all the time. Which would send you scurrying off a subway car faster: a guy with a pistol in a holster, or a guy carrying a chainsaw?

People disarmed themselves in the not too distant past. It wasn't laws that did it, particularly. Guns became mostly superfluous in most places outside a farm or a city with the crime rate through the roof, so people stopped having them around. People stopped having outhouses when indoor plumbing got going, too. The unusual nature of seeing people out and about with guns again is more a signal that many average persons don't think guns are superfluous any more, and they don't think the government's first impulse is to protect them from harm any longer, so they're doing it themselves.

The question of whether to let people carry guns is plenty argued over. Better to ask why they want to. The registered nurse in the essay doesn't look like Annie Oakley to me; maybe she just knows something we don't about being out in the world with a bag full of legal drugs lots of people would kill her over.