I write like
Cory Doctorow

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Favorites/decade - "If it ain't loud . ." deeper cuts

You didn't think I would post just one list of hard rock/metal tunes from this decade, didja?

"Renegade" by hed (pe). Just primal.

"My Apocalypse" by Metallica. Check it out here.

"The Pretender" by Foo Fighters. The video matches the sonic moves of the song just about perfectly. By the last go around on the chorus, I'm usually bouncing around like a kid on a triple-espresso high.

"B.Y.O.B" by System of a Down. Why, indeed, do they always send the poor? Liberal minded and joyfully loud and screechy!

"Saku" by Dir en grey. Truly a unique act in the metal world. Parts emo, thrash, glam, punk with a vocal direct from the bowels of hell. Oh, and did I mention the band is from Japan? I guarantee this song will worm its way into your head in a most pleasant or a most vicious manner.

"Before I Forget" by Slipknot. Nine guys, face masks and a DJ. Could be a wild Saturday night in WeHo or one of the strongest rock bands to come from Iowa. This is easily their most commercial tune and, much like KISS, not all that willing to bare their faces to the world. Heading into their 15th year in 2010, I can't wait to see where they take their music in the next 10.

and, a quick peek at a song that's just becoming a hit and, with any luck, will make my official "favorites of the decade" list in late 2019:

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Favorites/decade - "Hippie" music

Really, these are just favorites of mine from this decade that feature acoustic guitar. That, and whenever I play these, I get good and mellow. If you need to wind down, the songs on this list are a good place to start:

"Girl You Have No Faith In Medicine" by the White Stripes. It's the exception to the rule with this list. It's the fuzzy, bluesy, looped guitar licks that get me feeling kinda psychedelic.

"Drive" by Incubus. They have put out more mellow, trippy music (Morning View) and much rougher, crazier music (A Crow Left of the Murder), but this song is the one that stops me, begs me to sing along. I really love the lyric: "Would you choose water over wine/Hold the wheel and drive"

"Bad Education" by Tilly and the Wall. Flamenco-style tap dancing, folk song harmonies and brass instrument loops. It really stands out from the crowd of other songs on my "favorites/decade" list.

"Banana Pancakes" by Jack Johnson. It takes me all of 30 seconds to picture a King-sized bed with a giant comforter on top, big pillows all over the head of the bed, a gentle, tropical rain and Jack Johnson bringing banana pancakes with piping hot Kona coffee to me whilst I lie in bed. What Jack does from there is best left to your imagination . . .

"The Sound of Settling" and "Soul Meets Body" by Death Cab for Cutie. This decade has been really great for this band and their unique blend of high-polish production and mellow, hippie style music.

"Do You Realize" by The Flaming Lips. I'll even add their movie "Christmas on Mars" to this list. Between these two contributions to our cultural society, Wayne and the boys really cannot top themselves. I still well up with tears trying to sing along and this past week's second screening of the movie made me fall in love with that movie even harder.

"Wild At Heart" by Gloriana. Best of the bunch as far as production goes - very slick sounding pop with country flairing. The vocal band is at its best when all four harmonize -- I can't help but evoke The Mamas and The Papas when I hear that harmony.

Try watching this video and I defy you not to tap your toes, slap your hands on something or otherwise groove along with this song.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Favorites/decade - Right songs, wrong place

The best music, as is the case with any art form, should evoke emotion that one was not prepared to feel. This decade had a few examples of this. I've even added an entire band to this list -- one whose songs continue to dominate my MP3 player

"Angels on the moon" by Thriving Ivory. Their debut album was released in the middle of last year and this song, as its first single, seemed to take its time in gaining popularity. The singer has a unique-sounding voice, the song was well produced and is a great representative of the rest of the tracks on the album. I cannot figure out why it was not more popular. On the other hand, the band appears to be back in the studio to record a follow-up album. The next decade should show whether Thriving Ivory becomes a (sort of) one-hit wonder or sticks around for a while.

"The Fear" by Lily Allen. Nifty techno-pop with lyrics that don't sink in until after the song is done. I get stuck on the lyric that goes "And I'll take my clothes off and it will be shameless / 'Cuz everyone knows that's how you get famous" Unapologetic lyrics and seemingly more than happy to shock. NOTE: The music video includes a few curse words not bleeped out.

"Bodies" by Drowning Pool. An amazingly powerful, angry, mosh-pit instigating song which was released -- yikes -- a couple of months before September 11, 2001. Fearing that the images painted with the lyrics would alienate listeners, the song quickly disappeared from playlists. They spent the rest of the decade putting out albums, videos, etc. In spite of the poor timing and a tragic loss within the band less than 12 months later, they have managed to power through and are doing quite well these days. Anyone's guess how their career would look now if "Bodies" was permitted to continue its ascent in popularity.

A band which has purposefully pushed the envelope with every album it releases, Rammstein had a pretty darn good decade, ending in the release of their latest album "Liebe ist für alle da" (love is for everyone else) a few months ago. Three of their songs from this decade that I cannot play enough were "Ich will" (I want), "Benzin" (gasoline) and "Donaukinder" (Danube children). They go from loud and gruff to techno to children chorale backed slow tempo tunes with creepy lyrics.

"Not Ready to make Nice" by Dixie Chicks. A pretty clear steering toward pop music waters, this song and its video pack a pretty strong punch in response to the reaction they received when lead singer Natalie made an off-handed comment on stage in London, England regarding George W Bush.

For this lone comment, all manner of chaos reigned for the three women. Like carbon being turned into diamonds, the stress and strain of the fallout after the comments were made made for a terrific album and a stinging retort about the necessity of a true artist to express their feelings. If artists feel they cannot speak from their heart, any manner of art they produce is ultimately muted.

Nothing muted about this song. While they lost fans in the years leading up to the release of "Taking the long way " (a great title track, btw), they gained a whole new set of fans afterward -- myself included.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Favorites/decade - If it ain't loud, it ain't right

I love rock, hard rock and metal (even some of that with the "cookie monster" style vocals, though a little goes a long way). Where'd you think my moniker came from, anyway?

Here's some of the closer-to-pop rock tunes that never quite left my MP3 this decade:

"Headstrong" by Trapt. Good production, especially that roar leading into the chorus. Fun to roar along to the chorus in the car.

"Bring me to life" by Evanescence. So freakin' cool to hear a strong women's voice in rock. But only two albums this decade? The new one can't come soon enough!

"Take It Off" by The Donnas. I've posted this song on the blog before. 'Nuff said.

"Land of Confusion" by Disturbed. Yeah, it's a remake from the 80's. But, like Billy Idol did with "Mony, Mony", if you're going to remake a hit song, make it your own. Disturbed did just that with David nearly-trademarked growl punctuating the song throughout.

"Juicebox" by The Strokes. The last really big hit from the Strokes until singer Julian finishes up the whole solo project thing. Fun video, great production on the song and the song hasn't gotten old to me in all of these years.

"Slither" by Velvet Revolver. Scott Weiman's the reason to watch the video. Impossibly skinny but, like many a front man before him, impossible to ignore. A nice crossroads of 80's and 90's rock and roll royalty here.

"Nerve" by Soilwork. This band is my own "who the heck are those guys" band of this decade. The band/artists seemingly only you enjoy and no one else gets. It's not the singer or the guitar that grabbed me. Just tune out all of that and listen to the drums. That's what keeps me coming back to this song and this band over and over.

"Follow" and "The Diary of Jane" by Breaking Benjamin. I'm still getting caught up on this band's music in the last six months, but I'm loving them more and more as I keep listening. Very sharp production, just angry enough lyrics and ridiculously catchy. And the singer's easy on the eyes, too!

"American Idiot" by Green Day. Every other music fan (even those classical/baroque music ones) have listed this album and/or song on their "best of the decade" lists, so why not join in with the gang on this one? If you were a fan of Green Day before "American Idiot" came out, this song built a nice bridge from their old material to the music on this album and their latest "21st Century Breakdown". I'm voting for a return to some of their older material for their next album, but there's no denying that your toes are tapping, your head is bobbing or your fist is shaking when this song starts up.

"What I've Done" by Linkin Park. Fans of the group may not think this song is their best of this past decade. There will be purists that will point back to "Hybrid Theory" and go "what the heck happened?" and plenty of 13 year-old girls that can't play "New Divide" enough on their own MP3s. As this is my list, I'm picking this one because, like "American Idiot", there is something to bridge the music from "Hybrid Theory" and "Meteora" over into a more introspective and experimental side of this truly hybrid band. The song does a great job of expressing regret, frustration and a little bit of hope for the future. Whether you love "Minutes to Midnight" (I did) or not, this song represents what is possible from this band and an idea of what's to come in their new record next year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rays of sunshine on the Boulevard today

When I stepped out of my cubicle and onto Hollywood Boulevard late this morning to take one of three brisk-paced walks I take each day to clear the cobwebs out of my head, I was greeted at the corner by a young woman (who is hidden behind the folks standing at the sidewalk's edge) with a bright orange flyer full of talking points.
The photo I snapped of the 10 or so young people from across the street doesn't give the best view of all of their homemade signs. You might make out the partial phrase on a bright blue poster board saying "HoNK 4" or the green letters on black background to the far right reading "Stop Ha . .".

These folks had chosen a popular intersection to try raising awareness and to get some horns a-honking in support of defeating legislation pending in Uganda to make homosexuality a crime with much more severe penalties. The bright orange flyer I received pointed out on the bottom that the punishment of death for engaging in homosexual behavior had since been modified "..because of immense international disapproval."

Sadly, the bright orange flyer had no website referenced and, thanks to my superior(?) storage skills, the flyer just could not be scanned so I could post it here. However, one of our local papers did post a brief "story" about today's mini-rally, so I could tell that the students who gathered this morning made quite a trek to get to Hollywood this morning.

As horns from cars, trucks and tour buses blasted off in support of the student gathering and I continued on my quick walk after snapping the photo above, I had to bite the inside of my lip a bit to stop from crying a bit. It gets way too easy to sink into cynicism over how apathetic we as a country seem to others in need outside of the U.S. There are certainly plenty of places and people here which could use our attention, but it is far too easy to think that just one person cannot make any difference, so why bother?

I can tell you ten teenagers made a difference in my life. If only for today. Anyone's guess who else might have noticed this happening today as well.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Favorites/decade - Wrenching

After seeing this year's whoop-and-cheer, ooh-and-aah movie earlier today, I need to bring things down a couple of notches. When I've been in the mood for something sobering, here's what caught my ear this past 10 years:

"I've Seen It All" by Bjork. Whether I hear the version with Thom Yorke or see it in the movie "Dancer in the Dark", I always remember the scene in the movie at which this song is sung (it was also nominated for an award - remember Bjork's outfit that year?) as the "feel good" moment in a very dreary, sad musical. Definitely bucks the tradition of peppy tunes in a peppy musical show!

"Life is Beautiful" by Sixx:AM. One man's journey through and out of heroin abuse and this song tells of his arriving clean on the other side. Most of the other songs in the album are dark and, as a recovering alcoholic myself and a big fan of Nikki Sixx's original band, this song makes me glad to be alive.

"The Little Things Give You Away" by Linkin Park. The lyric which talks about being six feet under water and looking up to "you" is the most haunting in this uniquely dark song in an album full of well-produced rage.

"Laughing With" by Regina Spektor. A list of incidences where no one laughs at God with a light twist in her practically trademarked yodel/yelp and a slaying last line of lyric.

"Dirty Little Secret" by The All-American Rejects. One of my favorite types of pop tunes - a toe-tapping beat in an easy-to-miss sad and dark lyric. One of the coolest videos of the decade for this song, btw. Really, anything that steers people to postsecret.com is cool by me.

"Rehab" and "You Know That I'm No Good" by Amy Winehouse. She has become the epitome of sad and dark in the lead-up to the award-winning album and her life in the years following that sudden fame. While "Rehab" is hook-filled 60's Motown-style pop, the other song of hers sounds the most to me like self-examination.

"Hurt" by Johnny Cash. If, indeed, there was a musical category called "wrenching", this version of Nine Inch Nails' morose ballad would be the godfather of this genre. Knowing Mr. Cash was so very close to the end of his life and career makes this song all the more . . uh . . wrenching. Cash, like the writer of this song, went through his own struggles with substance abuse. It's hard to think of any other perfect marriage of singer and songwriter, though both are all at once quite different and remarkably the same.

Obama hails 60th Senate vote for health care

While I hold my nose with the passage of the Senate's version of health care reform, I'm just trying to repeat the mantra "Social Security started out shaky, too":

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On the boulevard today

Starting, I'm sure, before dawn today and continuing up to and through the time I post this, Hollywood Boulevard was shut down between Highland Ave and Orange Ave for a premiere screening of a much anticipated new movie being released everywhere on Friday. Perhaps you can see what the movie is from my pics?

Late this morning, a new star was officially unveiled on the Boulevard as well, timed to match with the release this Friday of a new movie in which this actress stars. Glitz, glamor and business meet and swirl like soft-serve ice cream around here.

Meanwhile today, tempers flared a bit with the health care/insurance reform bill process. As someone who isn't a politician, I am well past the temper and am content to just grumble to myself over all of the . . well, politicking . . over something which directly affects people's lives -- no hyperbole here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

So much in political news these days, and yet

I just don't have a unique perspective on any of it. Not the mixed message of the President accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo and giving a speech justifying the continuation of war in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

It was just odd. Perhaps the Nobel folks, going forward, will offer an "opt out" to their winners, should the winner not feel deserving of the medal, prize money, honor, etc.? I can't even find a matching set of circumstances in my own life so that I can at least say something like "I understand, to some degree, why things happened the way they did".

I cannot even find words to talk about the legislative situation in Uganda. Besides, Rachel Maddow tied it all up nicely earlier this week by having on her show a man who, indirectly, led to what looks like legislation through proselytising. And, this guy looks like he's getting all the validation he was seeking through all of this.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Laws written to jail people who don't tell the Ugandan government that someone they know may or may not be gay. Never mind what the law proposes to do with the alleged "gays" themselves.

I can't find the words. But, if it comes to it, I'll do what I can to find room to harbor as many refugees as this law will create. And, barring something miraculous happening, the law is all but assured to pass. If I am able to do what I've just written, then I couldn't say a word to anyone about what I'm doing. I wish I was being hyperbolic.

Then, there's the whole Sarah Palin, Al Gore, iceberg headed for Australia, global warming scientist e-mail disaster. The best I can come up with?

Perhaps then I'll have something to say. Daily.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Favorites/decade - Hip-Hop 'hood

I've occasionally dipped my toe into hip-hop. Like rock, there are a few original voices and a lot of interchangeable imitators. These are some of the original voices from this genre this decade:

"I'm Like a Bird" by Nelly Furtado. Her first hit and the only one with which I've connected. Her voice still stands out, even when the music she made the rest of the decade started to sound like everything else. She definitely has the talent to try moving in another direction.

"In da club" by 50 Cent. Can't imagine me liking something like this? It's more of a soft-spot for most anything Dr. Dre produced/written/backed, etc. Like a few others in the genre, he's starting to parlay his rapping into other forays. It gets pretty tough to do just one thing in the entertainment business, so good for 50!

"Who's gonna save my soul" by Gnarls Barkley (though the video is not the "official" video). Yeah, everyone and their brothers knows their more popular song, "Crazy". But this is where you get the full blast of vocal talent and everything else about this duo that really makes them great. Check out this song, add it to "Crazy" and the other act this decade that Danger Mouse had a hand in producing and it's easy to understand why a lot of music lovers really like them.

"Naughty Girl" by Beyoncé. She's had a ton of hits this decade and this one just rattles around my brain and hasn't left my iPod since the song was released.

"Feel Good, Inc." by Gorillaz. Only two albums released in their career and the two men behind this cartoon band are in no particular hurry to get album #3 out the door. Like Linkin Park, I'm happy that they are taking their time to put something new out.

The video is just cool looking and the song is simply infectious. The album, "Demon Days", has a few other equally infections dance/hip-hop style tunes, but largely goes where it wants. As weird as it sounds, I'm not a big fan of the band from which Gorillaz originates, but if it takes many years of Blur-music to get one Gorillaz album together, it's a small price to pay to get this kind of interesting, genre-blurring music out.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Favorites/decade - "Contest"ed music

It's been the decade of the reality/contest genre on TV. I will admit to only watching two reality/contest shows: Rock Star: Supernova (I didn't catch the only other season of "Rock Star" when a new lead singer for INXS was chosen. That season found a Michael Hutchence sound-a-like, a new record, a tour and the new singer winding up back where he started) and The Amazing Race.

I am now admitting to enjoying music from a select few "contestants" (it's the best word I know to describe the people who participate in these sorts of shows). There it is. I can no longer claim to be any sort of music snob, I suppose.

"Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson. The first American Idol winner has had, in my opinion, the most interesting career since winning. I can't help but loving that she has a look that defies the standard mindset of a pop diva and has let her sound change throughout this decade. This song found her a rock-n-roll following to match her AI following.

Plus, I can't help singing along, banging my head a bit and stomping my feet. Bet you can't help it, either!

"Razorblade". The original version by Blue October (the video has some brief disturbing images a curse word or two) is a great, let the blood boil angry rant with some pretty disturbing lyrics. Since this is the reality/contest favorites post, it was this performance of the song by Zayra Alvarez on Rock Star: Supernova that made my jaw drop and immediate search the original out. I continue to encourage rock's youngest fans that love new covers to seek out the original version of the cover and to check out the new artist's influences to start broadening their musical palette. Zayra's performance, in a way, foreshadows the last half of this decade's growing love of outrageous looking performances with talent to match. Feels like a return to early 70's glam-rock, at least style-wise, is well underway.

. . . and, from this past year:

It only took me until this past season of American Idol to find a 2nd singer from this show that I can't stop watching: Adam Lambert. This guy has an amazing set of pipes and has the chops to sing bubble-gum pop in one moment, then roar out glam/theatrical rock-n-roll the next. His debut CD takes a stab at capturing his range and, from the few listens I've given it, is kind of hit and miss. I'm not much of a fan of what tops the pop music charts in the last few years because a lot of it sounds mass-produced with interchangeable voices, so I cannot fault Adam for covering the ground into which a typical AI teen fan would hook. My favorite track on the album is one written by Justin Hawkins from The Darkness called "Music Again". It's great to hear him easily soar in and out of falsetto and rock the bejesus out of this one.

Finally, I now self-identify as a fan of Susan Boyle.

Like a few million others in the past 6 months or so, I watched the viral video of her first performance on Britain's Got Talent and was very moved. The months since that first performance have been worthy of conversation as to how she handled the knockout punch of fame she received. The album she released a few weeks ago has, hopefully, silenced those who may have thought her fame would overwhelm her.

I rolled my eyes a bit at on-line chatter about the huge number of albums sold versus the level of promotion over the release of a much-anticipated album from a much beloved artist. Selling over 700,000 albums in the first week these days is quite an accomplishment. If most of the folks who bought the album wind up giving the CDs to relatives, it doesn't decrease album sales nor is it any sort of bellwether of the type of fans she will have in the years to come.

The original versions of "Wild Horses" from the early 70's by both Gram Parsons and the Rolling Stones pretty much stand untouched. Ms. Boyle's version works for me because it's her choice of song and, compared to many of the other songs on the album, her voice is most expressive here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Favorites/decade - Just because they're fun

Gay man cannot live by heavy metal alone. So, here are some of favorite pop tunes which I cannot imagine anyone finding offensive :-)

"Everything You Want" by Vertical Horizon. Yes, I remember that song. Why haven't the oldies stations picked up on this one yet? Maybe in a few years.

"Extraordinary Machine" by Fiona Apple. She'll make the most of it - she's an . . well, Ms. Apple's talent for wordy, poetic lyrics and a lighthearted melody and arrangement make this a fun ditty. And, btw, the song doesn't start in the above link 'til about 1:25 in, but it's worth the wait.

"Speed of Sound" by Coldplay. Normally, I find the band itself pretentious and annoying. There's just something hypnotic and toe-tapping about the "wall of sound" style of this song. Do any other Coldplay fans like this song? Maybe that's why I do.

"Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad" by Matt Dusk. The song was written by Bono & The Edge of U2, but you'd be hard-pressed to tell this from this traditional pop arrangement and smoky Sinatra-style singing. While Michael Buble may enjoy better success, Matt Dusk's music is well worth seeking out and he's taken more chances in his albums that most traditional pop singers.

"Makes Me Wonder" by Maroon 5. Yes, Adam Levine is fine looking. The video has him dressed up really nice. In an "airport". Any chance I could fly out of that airport with Adam on the plane -- you know, to conquer my fear of flying one and for all -- strictly a psychological thing. Anyway, with a breezy, hook-laden guitar riff throughout the song. Really makes me wonder what Maroon 5 is up to now. Or, what Adam is up to now . .

"Fidelity" by Regina Spektor. This one of two of her tunes I really like. In this song, her nearly trademark soprano yodel (?) pops up with the chorus and makes the song hard to forget. Take those hiccups out, and it's still a nifty little pop song which leads nicely to a great album she put out this year (more on that in a future post)

"When Did Your Heart Go Missing" by Rooney. Of the non-top-of-the-charts songs I adored this decade, I cannot for the life of me figure out why this song wasn't a huge hit in the summer of '07. Maybe a fan figure it out?

4 police officers shot dead at Wash. coffeehouse

Anytime there is a story involving violence this extreme, it has to be viewed as an opportunity to ask ourselves what our society has done to lead someone to do what was done earlier today and could we have halted this before it even started.

Then again, perhaps the way these sorts of stories are being told is part of the problem. Do we tell these stories every time they happen no matter where they occur or are the media trying to paint a big picture of events in our world in the interest of charging higher ad rates? I'm no media expert; the media and advertisers will have to ask themselves that question.

Here's the challenge: what can I do to affect change in my world so this sort of thing doesn't happen where I live? It's really a question only I should ask myself. Time will tell if the right people ask themselves that question at the right time.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Favorites/decade - Boys (and girls) and their Toys

Technology is a pretty good thing. While I'm just as annoyed with "auto-tuned" vocals in recent years as most long-time music fans are, in the right hands, musicians with computers can make some amazing music.

Six songs from the past ten years come to mind as tops in the "playing in the studio with the PC" category:

"Til the day that I die" by Garbage. It's far too long in between albums for my taste, but I love the DJ cuts with guitar riff samples that roll all over this tune

"Only" by Nine Inch Nails. Very cool music video; however, it's Trent Reznor's restraint with technology that makes this one my pick for the best NIN tune of this decade.

"Dawn of the Dead" by Does It Offend You, Yeah?. This band's name cannot stay in my head, but the electronic siren beats that pulse throughout and the steel drum sampling make the song a delicious piece of ear candy

"Author" by Shimmerplanet. (once you click the link, scroll to the bottom of my post for a link to the song itself.

"Hollaback Girl" by Gwen Stefani. Boom-chik-boom. Chik. Ba-boom-boom-chik-boom. For nearly four minutes. As many love this song as detest it. When it came out in March 2005, I was one of those who couldn't stop playing this song, stomping my feet, clapping my hands and thumping the dashboard. Music fans need the occasional sinful, fat-rich, high fructose corn syrup piece of pop and this was one of the best of the decade.

I heard this last song for this category for the first time in the opening few minutes of an episode of "NUMB3RS" from last season entitled "Disturbed". It was one of those cases of love at first sight. I'm not ashamed to admit that several of my picks in the coming posts were first brought to my attention by watching the song being performed on TV or featured somewhere in episodic TV. It was a great episode and, like many a music fan, I scoured the net looking for the name of this track and finally found it. The song was released five years earlier to little fanfare by a duo called "I Monster". Full of creepy music-box samples, echoes and "auto-tuned" vocals which actually worked for this song

My favorite songs of the Decade - Robbie Williams

I'm sure there'll be a ton of bloggers offering their "best of" lists in all sorts of topics as 2009 draws to a close (there's only 36 days left!). Some may go so far as to post a "best of the decade" list and have the good sense to keep their list to ten of something (newsmakers, bible verses, potato recipes, etc.).

From the guy who wrote 22 posts about Metallica, would you expect me to just post a list of ten songs then go on to something political, religious or otherwise daffy? C'mon!

I did narrow down my list to 63 songs over the span of the last 10 years. I've got each and everyone in my MP3 player, so my list is free of a professional critic's "who-the-heck-is-that" picks.

At least, in my own mind.

If you lived in Britain or most anywhere else in Europe, you'd be talking about Robbie Williams like folks here talk about American Idol winners. I've never figured out why he's not become a bigger star here in the U.S. Maybe a quick listen to my three favorite songs of his from this decade will change a few minds:

"Feel" - a nice, breezy, piano and slide guitar pop ditty. The first verse got me hooked.
"Difficult for Weirdos" - a Pet Shop Boys-inspired cut from his newest album. It really captures what his appeal to the gay community has been all of these years.
"Tripping" - the first song of his I ever heard. Pop music with steel drums and soaring falsetto. I've been hooked ever since.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Waiting for a bus

I had an interesting start to an otherwise routine Monday.

Metro in Los Angeles had a portion of their light rail service closed all along Washington Blvd. for the weekend. The closure was due to end last evening. As what sometimes with any construction, it went a bit past schedule.

The light rail I ride stopped at the Washington Blvd. stop, everyone disembarked and slowly started to queue for Metro buses which arrived every few minutes to pick up commuters from across the street from the stop, then shuttled through four remaining stops in the route.

I could use this forum to grouse about the construction delays, the bumpy bus ride, the 30 minute wait on my still recuperating legs (never mind the rest of the walk and ride to work after the bus trip with stiff joints and sore thigh muscles).


I'll write about the mass of humanity shuffling along while others skipped ahead of the queue by skipping into the street only to be abruptly placed back into line by one of the many Sheriff's Deputies keeping the foot and motor traffic running.
I met two teachers while waiting for the bus: one an ESL teacher of adults and the other a literature teacher of high school juniors. We and others around us kept reminding each other that it could be colder outside, it could still be prior to sunrise, it could have been raining.

A large black bird on top of a telephone pole squawking, ruffling its back feathers was causing the crowd around the pole scattering in different directions and the bird was having its . . uh . . morning constitutional.

Each comment, each turn around to view the crowd in front of us and the never-ending mass of commuters from more arriving trains, every wisecrack and passing catering truck with cruel promises of hot coffee on a cold fall morning, elicited laughs, giggles, snorts (from me - freaking deviated septum!) and a far more relaxed atmosphere than it could have been.

So, I got to work 45 minutes late today. I took some comfort that a few thousand others were in the same figurative boat as I was and was grateful to God for all the ways a potential disaster was turned into a chance to interact with fellow commuters and find the basic goodness in most everyone.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

2009 World AIDS Day 2009 in Whittier California

My apologies for the long break in between postings. With the ebbing and flowing of politics in Washington D.C over health insurance reform and everyone with an educated opinion (and some without) guessing how the Bill will look and whether or not it will pass through Congress, it's a bit easier to just find a nice large piece of driftwood and watch the show.

It's virtually impossible to let a day go by without health on anyone's mind. I am certainly no exception.

One of my employers was kind enough to extend to me an immunization shot for Influenza A & B early last month. Even with this precaution, I managed to still pick up an intestinal virus this past weekend that had me .. uh .. occupied .. for much of this past week. Even as I type this, some of the muscles in my legs were weakened enough that I've had to walk with a cane for the first time in my life. Blessedly, as each day passes, my strength returns.

My employer gave me the paid time off so that I could rest. I have health insurance so I could see the doctor who could figure out what was wrong with me and give me the go-ahead to indulge in a sugary sports drink to rehydrate. Then, with the prescription benefit I have with my employer, I was able to get some anti-nausea medication and recuperate my waning appetite.

Too many of us in this country are not as fortunate as I am. Whether the legislation in the works will give more of us access to the kind of coverage I have is out of my hands.

Here is what I can do:

A week from Tuesday is World AIDS Day. Remembrances, red ribbons and other events are planned for that day and an event near you may be listed by clicking here. (dates are listed European style, meaning day/month/year). I will be at this memorial service:

Good Samaritan Metropolitan Community Church (click for address & directions)
Tuesday December 1, 2009
Service starts at 7 pm. Please bring a photo of someone who has died from AIDS and/or who is battling with this disease and has inspired you.

No matter whether people gather at a place of worship, a community center and/or process through their town holding lit candles, there is no observance too small to make a difference to someone. With few exceptions, I am at a World AIDS Day services/marches/observance each year. Unlike most my age, I have only lost person I loved to AIDS. Like most who are younger than me, I know so many more friends who live with the virus every day and stories of survival with HIV of 10, 15 or even more than 20 years are becoming the norm.

Though my loss came at a time when AIDS was a "death sentence", December 1st brings the feelings up as if it just happened. It helps me to be with others who know how this feels and maybe provides some comfort to someone else there.

If I am fortunate to live long enough and we are smart and hard working enough, I look forward to the day when World AIDS days are mentioned in history books.

Until then, I hope to see you on Tuesday, December 1.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My therapy

Some smoke up, some head to the local waterhole for libation and conversation. I write.

Whatever you to work out the tensions of the week, be sure to do some of that this weekend and make the most distressing thing you do is take in the lousy sci-fi/horror flick of the week. I checked out "This is It" and shamelessly sang along with Michael Jackson and it felt so good. Oh, and avoid the news for a bit.

That said, I'm tapping this one out while riding the rails. Sadly, inspiration to write after ten days has been wrung out of the horrific events yesterday in fort hood. I'm not a soldier, but I've been kept in a room for hours on end waiting for a nearby act of insanity to pass. I'm not a mental health professional, but I make my living listening to people's problems and finding quick solutions. I've spent of my adult life trying to find meaning to existence through God while excluding as little as possible as I wander.
My life experiences tell me that this U.S. Army Major, who is frighteningly close to my age, chose to do what he did based on a series of decisions made that, metaphorically, painted himself into a corner where he felt the only way to ease the ache was through creating a whorl of violent chaos. The right question to ask is this: What happened in his life that led him down his path where nearly everyone would have exited the same path a few off-ramps ago.

Since tapping out the text above on Friday 11/6, the Major is now conscious. However, no work as to whether or not he'll be interviewed and, even if he is interviewed, what sort of "truth" will we hear about the situation at Fort Hood.

If you believe the media, he's a hop, skip and a jump from the 9/11/01 terrorists and he has gone from a faithful Muslim to an extremist.

I still believe this was more of a case of a mental health professional who was not taking his medications as he should have and, because the meds were not doing what they should have, he felt free to do what he wanted.

We should, of course, hang on for a bit until all of the facts are in and are spoon-fed to us.

Meanwhile, I baked up a batch of macaroni & cheese from scratch and passed it out to my co-workers. Nothing like eggs, butter, pasta and lots of cheese to siphon out the tension and anger.

And the tension/migraine headache I'm nursing, I'm sure, is yet another way of keeping my anger in check. Hard to be mad when your head's in a vice.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We can save HOW MUCH?

OK, so Olbermann chatted tonight with a representative of the California Nurses Association. Not surprising. The topic? The information in this article from Reuters.

When they say the US Healthcare system, they don't just mean Medi-Care. They mean the WHOLE healthcare system.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Whoa-oh-whoa it's OK

It's Friday night and I'm in a mood to celebrate!

Congress has passed a significant piece of hate crimes legislation by extending the existing federal hate crimes laws to cover crimes committed against lesbians and gays. I feel just a little bit safer and a little more at peace that violence done because of "those f***ots" or "those dy**s" will hold increase penalties for offenders. I can even dare to hope for future conversations about the reasons people commit such crimes in the first place and try to put a stop to that crime before it begins.

On top of that, my partner and I are celebrating 21 years together tomorrow and we're celebrating the recent wedding of one of our relatives (if this blog were about them, I'd name them) !

While I'm in a celebratory mood, click play on the YouTube clip below featuring Christian singing duo Jason & DeMarco (and they are boyfriends in real life! Yikes! Yippee!!) a fairly recent hit song "It's OK"

Because maybe it really is

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One of the best kept secret stories in the liberal blogosphere . .

. . . has been told and augmented with comments from some of the accused in, of all places, military.com!


Not the New York Times.

Not even the (insert name of your favorite liberal newspaper/magazine here) !

Finally, Brad Friedman's months long efforts to write about and talk about, write about and talk about, then more of the same, the testimony of Sibel Edmonds (seh-BEEL ehd-MUHN-dz) is FINALLY starting to get a little traction. Here is part of what Brad wrote this past August, just to whet your appetite for what an interesting story this really is:
Thanks to a subpoena issued by the campaign of Ohio's 2nd District Democratic U.S. Congressional candidate David Krikorian, her remarkable allegations of blackmail, bribery, espionage, infiltration, and criminal conspiracy by current and former members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking State and Defense Department officials, and agents of the government of Turkey are seen and heard here, in full, for the first time, in her under-oath deposition.

So, if you are interested in the details and can't find the time to sort through his chock-full-of-info-and-brightly-colored blog, check him out on the radio later this week (though, I still don't understand how he doesn't yet have his own nationally syndicated show -- he's got a great voice for radio and a rapid-fire, jam-packed interview style when he's on air). Just search for Green960 this Friday and listen on-line between 6 pm and 8 pm Pacific as he is filling in for the regular host of "Live From the Left Coast".

If there really is an investigation ongoing into what Ms. Edmonds testified to this past August and even half of what she testified to is true, this could get ugly.

And, while it's tempting to brand this one a full-blown liberal smear job, then how would one rebrand this story when it was also reported here?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It took this to get me to write again

I was checking out the top of Malloy's program earlier tonight and he was talking about the opinion piece (well sourced, btw) from truthout.org regarding how children of military families these days are handling one of their parents being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. I won't rehash Ms. Bannerman's article as it's already easy to understand and the questions asked should be obvious to anyone.

Maybe because my father was in the military while I was growing up, I'm presuming that everyone should feel the same as I do. My father did go to war; however, I was a little infant at the time, so the trauma wasn't so profoundly felt -- unless you count hearing stories about how adorable I was walking around in the dry heat of the desert southwest in only a diaper as my mother took care of the laundry at the local laundromat.

Silly aside, I could not imagine how a child must feel knowing mom or dad is halfway around the world for the next 12 months or longer with no guarantee of quick visits around the holidays. And, with my father having to take frequent, sometimes weeks at a stretch, temporary duty assignments, at Uncle Sam's behest, phone calls and postcards (this was the 70's and early 80's, mind you) just don't fill the gap completely. Nor, I'm sure, would a video or audio call or any frequency of e-mails from the front.

But even the opinion piece would not have fired me hot enough to write. Not until the start of the last leg of my commute home tonight. My apologies again for the poor photography:

For the first time since I began riding the Metro light rails earlier this year, there was a table set up at the bottom right of the stairs which connect one rail line with the other. While I carry a satchel containing sunglasses, the iPhone . . oh, to hell with it -- it's a small purse, I narrowly escaped the random bag searches being conducted this evening. I was not aware of any specific threat toward public transportation, unless you consider how many folks are using public transportation while being sick with something (yes, hand sanitizer is in my purse, but it only works when it's used and too much use just looks pretentious. Besides, I got my flu shots on Friday, so I can look reasonably cool on the train and use the sanitizer sparingly.

Keeping in mind that my (ugh) purse would have been tossed about at any major airport should I have chosen to fly to work today, I suppose I should not have been so jarred by the mere presence of the Sheriff's department's presence tonight.

Perhaps I should save my indignant attitude for another night where the Deputies bring in the dogs to sniff around? Or maybe practice a little deep breathing and relax until they start patting random passengers down?

The only question to ask is: did I feel safer tonight because of the random bag search? If the random pieces of contraband (I haven't a clue for what exactly the Deputies were searching) taken and the odd passenger was whisked away in cuffs this evening because of this, I'd say this was a colossal waste of time. If, however, there was another motive to the random searches . . .

Nah, still a waste of time. And, the deep breathing ain't working.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I love a good speech

As I type this, I'm watching C-SPAN's broadcast of the Equality Across America rally at the foot of the Capitol building in Washington D.C. I'm about an hour into the 3 hours being broadcasted live while I watch it off of a DVR. I can pause and reflect on each speech . . literally!

As is often the case with LGBT marches and rallies, there is a rainbow of participants on the stage, 18 years old to AARP eligible, every shade of skin color, all heights and widths and everything else that makes watching one of these events so joyous for me.

Before today's march and rally even began, Representative Frank has already weighed in on what the LGBT community really should be doing instead of marching and rallying and making speeches in D.C: lobby your congressional representatives to get pro-LGBT legislation passed the Congress and signed into law. While today's speakers are happy to use this "wet-blanket" proclamation as a springboard to justify the frustration and vehemence in their tone, when the last of the trash is policed from the Mall and everyone has been bussed and flown home later today, Representative Frank's words will find their place in the hearts and minds of even the most verbose participant.

Now is no time to stop pressuring our Representatives to get pro-LGBT legislation from being passed and signed into law.

While "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", the overturning of the "Defense of Marriage Act" and repealing a ban on persons with HIV/AIDS from entering the U.S. are most certainly issues our community can support, we also need to be mindful of pending legislation that also affect us directly but does not name us specifically. Here, I'm referring to the passage of meaningful health care and health insurance reforms and a peaceful end to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

If you're like me, and you're trying to decide which issue you should support with your money (not issues plural -- times are tight for everyone), before trying to take a large enough bite into these nationwide concerns, each of us can lend support in ways besides clicking in a credit card number.

Volunteer a few hours a month to knock on doors in support of a pro-civil rights candidate for a city, state or nationwide elected office.
When you hear a defamatory joke being told, or a person perceived to be gay/lesbian being taunted, teased or picked on, stand right next to them and look the bullies in the eye. No words are necessary -- your presence next to the victim will make a difference. This 18 year-old who took the podium today in D.C testified to this today.
Click on the banner that will stay atop my blog and find out what you may do to help support the Trevor Project. Anyone who is contemplating suicide because they do not believe they can live with pride about who they are must know this group existence. One more person dead because they think they are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and/or transgendered is too horrible a tragedy for me to contemplate.

If none of these opportunities resonates with you, there's a quote you can write down and keep with you as a promise you can make to yourself:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Obama Says He Will End 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy

I may roll my eyes over the lack of a timetable on the promises the President made again in tonight's speech. However, it was pretty terrific to see a sitting President give a speech to the HRC and speak in as definitive a tone as is possible without the full support of a Democratic­-controlle­d Legislature.

BTW, the finger-pointing from us LGBT people needs to really remain on the "blue dog" Dems. Give the President legislation worth signing, he will sign it.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Video via audio

The top two photos are views to the west toward tonight's sunset and to the north and the skyline of downtown Los Angeles in the far distance as Southern California's marine layer starts to creep in for the night. I'm going to miss coming home in the sunlight when we lose Daylight Savings in a few weeks!

The 3rd photo was from another world premiere earlier this week at Graumann's.

Now that you're sufficiently relaxed and bedazzled . .

In the interest of full disclosure, I heard bits and pieces of Rep. Gohmert's ramble on Randi Rhodes' show this afternoon and heard Mike Malloy reading a post from someone who attended a rally/protest march in Rochester, NY yesterday. If you ever wondered what the state of freedom of speech is in the U.S these days, these two videos illustrate this well.

While the Gohmert clip is edit-free thanks to C-SPAN, please note that the Rochester video has edits a-plenty. While the editing is likely due to time constraints (who would watch an entire rally and protest when it's unlikely you know anyone there?), it's a bit difficult to know if there was any provocation on the part of the participants or if all of the aggression came from the police offers who swarmed in. The clip is most telling when a female off camera toward the end of the clip begins to pan around and count the number of police cars (around two dozen) on scene to end the protest (number of participants I would guess at around 60).

Now, editing aside, I couldn't help but notice how ignorant the Representative sounded while at least two rainbow pride flags appear in the midst of the Rochester clip. Remember what I wrote about fear? I can't help but think that while the Rep's words ring of fear, the presence and passion of those protesting in Rochester, NY, may, in some small way, overcome the fear of changing the course of whatever it is we are doing in Afghanistan.

Finally, in the spirit of love overcoming fear, while the efficacy of last night's Countdown Special Comment is open for debate, his fund-raising / political statement idea could only do good: stage Free Clinics so folks can get basic health care for a day in five states (or as many of those five as possible) where Democratic Senators have not yet supported the Public Option or are working against it.

Got insurance? Please share of your blessings with those who cannot afford it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

holy, holy, ho-oh-ly!

Some interesting articles with a religious tilt:

The Shroud of Turin, apparently, is a fake. Perhaps a gentle reminder to be a little more cautious before granting a measure of holiness in anything?

Conservatives are feeling the need to cobble together a right-wing version of the Bible. I had no idea the versions of the Bible out there were starting to wear thin from all the thumping of the Bible all over teh gays, women who have had an abortion, non-Christians, etc. This is apparently going to be a everyone-can-contribute version on-line. Seems a little odd that there are not enough funds to create a hard-copy version of this work-in-progress Bible. Personally, I'm fascinated to read a "final" version of the new "Conservative" Bible -- kind of like I'm fascinated to see what's lying in the middle of a rural road (I'm a city boy - I'm not lying when I say I'd be fascinated)

Even after over 15 years at a fairly liberal Church and, as I was reading the Gospel lesson this past Sunday, I still found myself needing to better understand just what Jesus was talking about when He, yet again, was dressing down the Pharisees. When my Pastor explained that in Jesus' time, women were treated much like property and far too many men seemed to have taken more than one wife at a time and/or may have had socially acceptable outlets for their unsatisfied sexual urges (i.e. concubines), suddenly the reminder that when a man and woman joined in marriage they should remain so. Instead of a man just signing off on a certificate to end his relationship with his wife and leaving her to grovel to her brother(s) and/or parents or to become a prostitute, men need to work on their relationships with their wives and, only after exhausting all attempts to restore the relationship, should divorce be an option. In addition, if a man cannot treat his wife with respect and as a partner in the relationship, the man is at fault for violating his marriage vow and his wife should have the option to part ways with her husband. These acts include physical and/or emotional abuse, neglect, etc.

Whew! And I typed the condensed version. It really was quite the sermon.

So, was Jesus a Liberal? As far as a group of folks who are determined to keep as much of Christ's teachings as is, He may as well be. I suppose I invite trouble when I mix politics with religion, but that's why I'm writing and not starting up conversation.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quick update to the blog on the left

In light of the two large earthquakes in the south Pacific recently, I've gone to the Red Cross site and have installed a widget to the left. Click on the story of interest and be taken to the Red Cross site to read the latest update. Then, click on the Help Now link just above that story in the new page to find ways to make donations.

As getting supplies flown/shipped to Sumatra and the Samoa/American Samoa area is difficult and time consuming, a contribution placed on plastic (credit card) is the fastest way to help.

I'll be offering prayers as well.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A little nip in the air at dusk

Another beautiful Southern California sunset. Unlike the one six days ago, this one came with a nice cool breeze from the ocean. Sadly, the cool breeze is fast on its way out of here.

I'm also getting the impression that a "public option" component of health insurance reform is slowly sinking down the drain after today's Senate Finance Committee meeting and 13 votes against both proposed "public option" amendments.

Other bills in the Senate and Congress include a "public option" for those whose employers do not or cannot provide group coverage for their employees. A comfortable majority of Americans want to see a "public option" in the health insurance reform, yet there were some Democrats in the Senate who get all kinds of nervous about having this "option" in legislation.

Are they filled with dread at the promise of folks in the U.S. that will thank them endlessly and re-elect them when they pass insurance reform with a "public option" component?

Who could pass up all of that love and support from their constituents?

My guess is it's those Legislators who are well funded by those who want nothing to do with health insurance reform. Nothing in politics speaks louder than love these days than money and fear.

******************** ******************** ******************* ***************

P.S. I'm an SEIU member as a home health-care worker. I still haven't seen any benefit to me directly with SEIU's affiliation with ACORN. If there's a left-wing conspiracy between my union and the much-maligned community organization group, no one is inviting me to the secret planning meetings.

When/if that happens, you know I'll write about it here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hotter than blazes today

The only upside to the miserable hot, dry Santa Ana winds today is a beautiful sunrise Los Angeles skyline.

For the moment, the newest wildfire in the Moorpark/Fillmore CA area has not blown its smoke in the direction of L.A. However, I am reading/hearing predictions of full containment of this fire by this weekend.

Then, speaking of wildfires, at least the metaphorical sort, comes a story of a Census employee who was found hung in eastern Kentucky earlier this month. The story itself hints at all sorts of circumstances, from suicide or a crime committed by someone with which the man was related to the not-so-big-of-a-leap toward this being some sort of creepy hate crime. Will have to wait to see what happens, but it appears readers of this blog have a whole slate of theories of their own.

And, if you haven't been enjoying the General lately, check out today's post on the fight against Halloween. I'm still one of those odd gay dudes who does not like Halloween at all. However, if there's a good scary movie playing on that night, you'll find me there. Better to be in a group than on one's own on such a creepy night like that.

Maybe this year's Halloween is well worth looking forward to if it's at least 40 degrees cooler than today was!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Peggy Noonan: Obama Media Tour "Boorish" (VIDEO)

It was right after Ms. Noonan made this comment that I shut off the TV. Normally, I enjoy the back and forth of the Roundtable on This Week, even when the right-wing panelists are just parroting the talking points of the right.

However, I suspect the President would not have even considered appearing so frequently on TV lately had we not had to face the bombardment of shrill, stupid, dead-headed empty thought drones we've had to endure sound clips from in the past few weeks. The only way to try to match that piercing whining is to start doing so on the left, but louder, more shrill and more empty-headed.

Liberals are just too nice, too smart and too rational to take that approach. So, we just try and show up often, speak the same coherent facts often and hope for the best. What a surprise, then, when the best we can do to back up the facts is the critique "boorish".

In the words of our President: "ENOUGH!!"
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fresh from the Blvd.

A scene becoming awfully frequent these days -- another wreath, flower and candle arrangement at one of the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Blessedly, the daily struggles for Patrick Swayze are over. On the Blvd, the camera operators, photographers and tourists (and me) are all struggling for the best view/photo of the newest temporary shrine.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

One post-September 12 question

I suppose most people who blog use this outlet to provide answers they have crafted to questions that have been asked over and over again in the two topics no one should bring up in polite conversation: religion and politics

And while this is a Sunday and it would seem apropos to ask questions about religion, I cannot get out of my head the briefest of clips of yesterday's protest march/rally in Washington D.C. It seems to have incited such partisan passion in many in the media that it was nearly impossible to find an unbiased yet thorough coverage of this event. BBC's reporting seemed most dispassionate, yet it was all too brief. Fox News went into the most detail, but there's not much need to go into the point of view their written reporting adopted.

I'm just left with one question to ask: Why hasn't the debate about health care insurance reform been based in love rather than fear? It could well be that some in the crowd yesterday were willing and able to express their opinion from a place of love (how to make something work better for the most number of people); however, all of that got overshadowed from those who . . uh . . "argued" from a place of fear. The words, pictures and voices I kept experiencing yesterday all came from a place of fear.

If ever I write opinion from a place of fear, please call me on it. I'm a little worn out of the "place of fear" discourse I keep hearing and reading. So, for the moment, I'll let the video below be the line which I'll not cross. It's the first time I'd heard of Rammstein and the video splices in scenes from the movie XXX. Strong song whose title in English means, roughly, "Fire at will". I cannot wait for the new song from them later this week and the new album next month.

I'll try to listed from a place of love.

Friday, September 11, 2009

As the work week ends

One of the great joys of living in Southern CA: gorgeous sunsets nearly every day! While I know that moisture, dust, smoke and other particulates in the atmosphere and the sun's position in the sky determine the colors present in the sunset, the little child in me can't help but stand in awe and give praise to God for the amazing artwork done just for lil' ol' me.

I do the same thing with star-strewn skies or a full, bright moon in the night sky and photos from the Hubble telescope, knowing full well the science involved in it all.

A nice way to end a very turbulent week for many around the nation.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"We don't need no water let the m***erf**ker burn . ."

(the post's title comes from the chorus of the song "Fire Water Burn" by Bloodhound Gang)

The latest photo from my little corner of SoCal of the Station Fire. The website for our local "The CW" station is reporting the Station Fire is over 70% contained (basically, 70% of the fire cannot burn any further in any direction without dying out). Part of the containment efforts today was setting backfires to the east of Mt. Wilson (the large hill on the left in the background) and you can see the smoke still rising from the backfires on the far right of the photo.

While we're talking about backfires, I'm with Rep. Frank on the "You lie!" cat-call from the right side of the Chamber. Here's what he had to say on the Rachel Maddow show last night about Rep. Wilson's little outburst:

I don‘t think it‘s a big deal. Look, I think free speech—you know, heckling is a tradition, obviously, in the British parliament. They even have mikes that come down to hear the heckles.

I think what we should take it as—it is unusual—it‘s a sign of how effective the president was. These guys just couldn‘t handle it. I looked at John Boehner and he looked about as glum and as dour as—as possibly he could be.

So what Joe Wilson did was just scream out in frustration because the president was nailing it. So we‘ve got to be very clear, Wilson lied when he said the president lied. And he talked about illegal immigrants. It‘s clearly excluded from the bill.

My guess is that those who are participating in fanning the flames of nastiness in last month's Town Hall meetings across the country realized the truth was being spoken at the front center of the room last night and the "You lie!" was a feeble last gasp at trying to draw attention away from the President and the message of the evening.

If you believe the polls taken after the President's speech, it makes it even more clear that the demonstrations being put on by the far-right conservatives and health insurance industry lobby are much like the Station Fire has become around here in SoCal.

Something easier to defeat with every passing day by starving the fire of its fuel. Let the fires from the far-right. No water necessary -- let the (metaphorical) fire burn so everyone sees what the "argument" from the far-right is fast becoming:

Lots of wispy, white smoke - the last gasp of fire soon extinguished on its own.

Search This Blog