Posts Categorized: ideas + opinions

Give Thanks I


As the song goes, “Give thanks with a grateful heart.” In this week of Thanksgiving, I am going to daily post at least one thing that I am thankful for.
Monday – 11/24/03:
1) The birth of Mike Magrann on Nov. 24th, 1960. Happy Birthday, Mike! I’ve know Mike since I was 15 and his songs have been a part of my personal in head sing-a-long playlist since 1983, esp. “Manzanar“.
2) The Anna’s Hummingbird pair who were defending their territory in the backyard of the Doll Hut yesterday afternoon. Just when I thought I was at a honky tonk benefit, standing out in the back patio, smashed along with all the other folks there to see The Blasters, I noticed a pair of hummingbirds racing around our heads. There is a yellow flowering tree growing just outside the fence of the Doll Hut that the hummers were trying to defend from the 50 odd people invading their space and flowers. In all my years of birding, I have never had a hummingbird allow me to get within 5 feet of it, and yesterday both birds stuck around the tree and fence for over 2 hours. I was able to get two clear pictures. Amazing!
3) A good drummer seamless integrates into a band’s sound. A bad drummer sticks out like a sore thumb. But a truly great drummer is a joy to watch and listen to. In my book there are three truly great drummers out playing right now:
a) Matt Kelly of the Dropkick Murphys
b) Sally of the Fabulous Disaster
c) Bill Bateman of the Blasters and the Blue Shadows
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching Bill Bateman play an amazing set at the Doll Hut. Thank you, Bill.

U.S. Gov’t Defense Budget vs. Fire Fighting

Jim Washburn has an eye opening, if a bit inflammatory, opinion editorial in this week’s OC Weekly:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: it is flat-out insane for a nation to spend billions on a missile defense shield while leaving itself defenseless against the damage that any nitwit, domestic or foreign, can do to us with a single match. A great many experts will tell you a missile defense shield simply won’t work and that, moreover, none of the terrorists we regard as a threat have a missile that could pester us. Meanwhile, the threat of arson is so palpable that I could instead be writing this article in big letters in the layer of ash blanketing my neighborhood.

Why even mention the missile defense shield at this charred moment? Because we have only so much money and resources. We have only so many scientific minds. We have only so much civic will. And we are frittering it all away on a bunch of fearmongers’ hardware instead of on programs that might ever conceivably do us some good, particularly in weeks such as this.

Do you know how many nuclear warheads the U.S. has? As of February, we had 10,729 operational nukes, and Bush wants to build a pricey new generation of treaty-busting ones.

Do you know how many firefighting tanker planes we have? Thirty.

For a nation that has spent the last two years venerating Firefighters, why don’t we allocate them the resources and staff to do their jobs?
San Diego, with a high proportion of tax-cut fervored Republicans, got caught with their pants down. Right or Left or Center, we Americans need to rethink our approach to essential services and infrastructure and tax accordingly.
I don’t know about you, but I think I would like a well-staffed and equipped fire department, clean water & air, good roads, and effecient sewage treatement over more warheads.

Preach it Brother Shea!

A 100% Pure Product of American Protestantism – in this blog post Mark Shea tells it straight and links to an article that spells out the extreme results of American Evangelical culture.

“Same with American Protestantism: at it’s best you get saints like Billy Graham or Jim Eliot. At its worst, Brother Bubba’s Informercial Gospel Hour.”

Mr. Shea forgot to mention that American Protestantism at its worst also gives us George W. Bush and his cronies.
As a nice Californian Christian person from a family that is a mix of Catholic and Protestants and Agnostics, as well as someone who attended a conservative Protestant Evangelical college, this post reminded me why it is very important to be flexible, be open to the tenets and emphases of the other major branches of Christianity, and why not to take oneself and one’s beliefs so darned seriously.
Christians of all the branches of the faith should read Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman’s “Good Omens” to loosen up and have many great laughs.


Last week, I left a message on Wanda’s machine to the effect of, “My family is in the middle of a huge conuberation. Argh!” Wanda left me a message later that said, “I looked up conuberation and it is not in any dictionary. What did you mean by that word?” Blessings upon my English Masters / journalist/ editor friends for keeping me honest.
I looked in my dictionary. There is a conurbation (a continuous network of urban communities; example: Los Angeles). But no conuberation. I was surprised, as I have been using the word for years, mostly with Erika and my brother Joe. Upon reflection, I realized that Erika, Joe, and I all make up new words all the time, and as a result have no problem with using made up words in context. Some of the words get used frequently, and then become a “word” in our vocabulary.
I called Erika and asked if I made up conuberation or if it is a real word, because I know that she and I use it all the time. She told me that I made it up years ago to describe how crazy my family is and that we both now use it regularly in conversation. She said it is spreading to other people.
Here is the official definition that Erika and I have decided upon:
Conuberation: \k&#228n-(y)u-ber-‘a-zhen\ modern Califorian, n: a fit or enactment of crazy, mixed up, hysterical, out of control place, situation or family.
The conuberation is a hybrid of conniption and conurbation.

California Uber Alles

Notes from the 10:00 pm (PDT) hour on the day of the Recall Election:
1) I must quote Jello, the punk prophet, who called it in 1980, “California Uber Alles”. Heil Arh-nold. Arnold + Arrogance + Big Money GOP Backing = Arnold – you are now what you fear most – a whore. Go shoot more steroids, then you will be a real man…
2) (Arrogance + Actor who reads scripts for a living + cult of celebrity) + Calif’s career politician legistature = hell hath no fury like a woman scorned + one interesting Circus to come.
Hope Arnold has been coated in teflon, the Terminator may not last through the first one hundred days or so predicts conservative George Neumayr.
3) Can we Recall Dick Cheney? Please?
4) Art and Punk Rock is always best under oppresion and facism. Look at what the Reagan 80’s produced…. Bush Jr + Actor Governor = Bye Bye Blink 182, Good Charlotte and the like. Hello Anti-Flag!
5) At the Grisham for Govenor Rally on Sunday night, one of the security guys said to one of the bands, “I like your music, but I hate your politics.” Hello! Wake up! Real Punk = Radical Politics. If you don’t want radical left politics with your music, go listen to Korn or Brittney Spears or Celine Dion.
Let the Games begin! Shall we all go to the Colesium for bread and circus?
(note to the faint of heart or the moderate: this post was purposefully inflammatory)