Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Postal

The Post Office has selling more than 30 million "Forever Stamps" per day for the past several weeks, as we get closer to the next rate increase, which is only 1 cent.

I don't get it though - if everyone buys the Forever Stamps, and they keep buying them, won't the Post Office go out of business, (or whatever government entities do that really aren't businesses) in a couple of decades, if not sooner?

If they're saying they can't operate at the rate that the current postage provides them, then how can they say they will be able to continue to operate at that rate forever?

Will someone explain that to me?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weird Desert Flower

Car off the road inside Sedona state park.
I saw it from on top of a hill and hiked down to it to take pictures; sprained my ankle right after I took this. I don't think it was worth it... luckily, my car was close by and I was able to hobble over to it...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Finished the mural




I am very tired, but happy that it's finished.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Snake Week


Four days hiking, 3 days snakes.

But it's so green and beautiful, it's hard to resist.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Danny Federici 1950-2008



Danny Federici ( January 23, 1950-April 17, 2008) was an American musician, most known as the longtime organ, glockenspiel, and accordion player for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band.

Federici started to play accordion when he was seven years old, which he learned from watching The Lawrence Welk Show. When he mastered classical music and polka, his mother booked him at parties, clubs and on radio. While he continued his studies in classical accordion, he gained an interest in jazz and blues, after he heard a professor on NuPower Conservatory of Music in Philadelphia play those styles on accordion.

During in-concert band intros, Springsteen often referred to him as "Phantom," sometimes said to be because of an incident in Asbury Park in the 1960s where Federici evaded a police crackdown that resulted in the arrest of numerous others. Federici attended high school at Hunterdon Central High School in New Jersey. When he, along with Vini Lopez started the band Child at the end of the 1960s, their choice for a singer fell on Bruce Springsteen; Federici also joined Springsteen in other early efforts such as Steel Mill.

Federici's organ fills are a key component in the E Street sound, and sometimes take on a more prominent role, such as on the hit "Hungry Heart". His use of the electronic glockenspiel is also an easily recognized E Street element; he has since used electronic keyboards to simulate the glockenspiel sound. Another notable performance is his accordion solo on "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)." It was reported in an interview in Backstreets magazine that Federici did not have the best working relationship while playing with pianist David Sancious in the early days of the E Street Band; Sancious would comment on Federici's parts, constantly telling him what to play and what not to play.

During the long time the E Street Band was inactive during the 1990s, Federici recorded a solo album of jazz instrumentals called Flemington, after his hometown of Flemington, New Jersey. This was released on the Music Masters Jazz label in 1997; it was later re-worked and re-issued as Danny Federici on Hip-O Records in 2001. Federici followed this up with a smooth jazz album Sweet, self-released on Backstreets.com in 2004; it was re-issued as Out of a Dream on V2 Records in 2005.
On November 21, 2007, it was announced that Federici would take a leave of absence from Springsteen and the E Street Band's ongoing Magic Tour to pursue treatment for melanoma, and was temporarily replaced by veteran musician Charles Giordano. Springsteen stated at the time: "Danny is one of the pillars of our sound and has played beside me as a great friend for more than 40 years. We all eagerly await his healthy and speedy return." Federici made his only return to the stage on March 20, 2008, when he appeared for portions of a Springsteen and E Street Band performance in Indianapolis.

Federici passed away on April 17, 2008 in New York after a three-year battle with melanoma.

Big Hair, Big Love



Because of the numerous references to the HBO series, Big Love, on the news and elsewhere, I don't feel that bad making light of the polygamist/child abuse situation in Texas. (On a serious note though, child abuse intake 101 states that removing the child from the home is the LAST RESORT, and disrupting an entire community is basically retarded. That's all I'm saying. This is bringing a lot of my child abuse intake experience back, even dealing with that kind of religious community in Sarasota, FL.) And a note to my Mormon friends, there's a difference between cult religion, and religion...this is not about you, obviously.

Instead I want to focus on the whole Big Hair, Big Dresses look. In this pic, Rozie, who says she is 23 (must be a really hard life if she is 23), has achieved the Mormon Mullet - perfect upswept hairdo, feminine tendrils hanging down, with the party hair going down her back. The de rigeur lavender pastel dress only accentuates the beautiful silver of her braces. I ask you, if you are going to have that hairdo and that dress, do you really need to worry about having straight teeth?

Of course, this is not this woman's choice. This appearance is obviously a community requirement, dictated by the men. So everything we are seeing is what these men want. At best this is to desexualize the women; at worst it is a form of emotional abuse - turning women into objects by making them all achieve the same appearance (hmmm, the same thing fashion magazines do to women every day). On the other hand, maybe this is the look that is as hot to men living in the cult as implants and thongs are to the average Joe.

Yearning for Zion? Zion is pastel dresses, covering every limb no matter the weather, long undyed hair, and multiple versions of the same woman under your roof.

Monday, April 14, 2008

WNEW is back...

For those of us who grew up with the best radio station ever, this is certainly good news... Let's hope they can reasonably approximate the old programming style, which pretty much had no programming - if it was raining and the DJ felt like playing the Beatles, you heard the Beatles all day. If somebody liked a new band, they just played them... It's the anti-ClearChannel... Right now they're playing an interview w/ David Bowie by Scott Muni from the early 70s, but the last thing they played was the new Portishead, and then a rare Stones outtake from the 60s.

From a review article:

WNEW-FM, the New York station that pioneered free-form rock radio, is coming back. CBS Radio, which owns WNEW and its former frequency in the New York region, 102.7, will begin broadcasting a high-definition signal and Internet stream today based on the station’s rock format. The streaming audio version, on wnew.com, will play a mix of classic 1960s and ’70s music and current rock songs, as well as historic concerts and interviews from its archives, but will not have disc jockeys. Instead, CBS says, listeners will be able to contribute through wnew.com and last.fm, a social-networking Web site owned by the CBS Corporation.

A note from Norm Winer...
WNEW.com is a channel and website created by and for people who are passionate about rock. Unlike most radio stations, who limit themselves to one style or vintage (e.g., alternative, hard rock, soft rock, classic rock), WNEW.com will reflect the broad tastes of listeners who enjoy a wider spectrum of music. Perhaps the most unique aspect of WNEW.com is our incredible audio archives, featuring historic concerts and live performances from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, as well as timeless interviews with a remarkable roster of rock immortals. We’ve gathered and digitized hundreds of amazing moments from the airwaves of some of America’s great rock radio stations, most notably our namesake WNEW-FM, which ruled the airwaves in New York City for four decades. On-air visits were commonplace by members of the Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Who, the Dead and virtually every superstar you could imagine. And the amazing WNEW airstaff always made them feel at home.

As the leader (or the 'ringleader') of our staff here at WNEW.com, I want to encourage you to join us for this noble experiment. Listen live whenever you can and spend some time on our website. To make this a meaningful relationship we hope to hear from you often. So, please, let us know your thoughts. Share your comments, insights, and memories with us. We have no intention of just being another 'station.' With access to all this great music and other resources, it’s going to be pretty hard to screw this up.

Our primary goals are to be an extraordinary rock outpost and to be extremely relevant to you. We want to recapture the spirit and philosophy of progressive rock through WNEW.com and connect the dots to rock's most compelling artists of the present and future.

Please help guide us with your input as we get to know each other better.

Welcome to the NEW frontier.

Thanks.

Norm Winer, program director, and the staff of WNEW.com

Friday, April 11, 2008

Drama Week

In our little neighborhood, usually something weird or funny happens about once a month, but you would only get it if you knew the players. This week was different.

For several days in a row, Tracy (lives in guesthouse) and I heard a kitten mewing and it sounded like it was coming from under my house. Every time I went outside to see where it was coming from, it would stop. One late afternoon I heard Tracy try for almost 1/2 hour to track it down, calling and maybe even using tuna -something smelly anyway. Then we found out that both the next door neighbors and those two doors down were also looking for a kitty in distress. Guess what it was? A mockingbird. I didn't believe it at first, but yesterday I heard the bird do a whole series - a little birdie symphony, and the kitten crying was somewhere in the middle, a middle kitty movement.



Then two days ago a man, who turned out to be the estranged husband of someone close by (won't mention any names) wandered drunkenly into my back yard and encountered Ms. Ferocious Dog of the Century, my 13-year old Bella, who proceeded to alert ALL the neighbors, and then bite the big guy squarely in the ass. Needless to say, he left. I missed the excitement because I was hiking, and when I got home was greeted by a neighbor with - "the police want to talk to you." Usually that sentence causes me to hike. So now I may have to testify about this guy, and here I was worried I was in trouble b/c the dog bit him. Go Bella. She got extra treats that night when I heard the story. Since then she has gotten up 2 or 3 times a night to check the perimeter. Report back: no drunken assholes but some really cool smells.



Have probably mentioned this before, but this is kind of a 'dog park'. Out of 45 families there are probably 35 dogs. There's a lot of barking. One neighbor has two Labs, chocolate and black (Irma and Jackson), who are ferocious watch dogs but love me because I throw the ball over their fence, and love Bella because her butt smells terrific. Right around the corner another neighbor has a cockatoo, Dookie, who was a rescue bird. I'm walking Bella and Bella (did I mention Tracy's dog is Bella too?) from the Lab house to the Cockatoo house, when Dookie starts squalking like crazy, which made the Bellas really stand up and take notice. Then, the bird started BARKING, just like the Labs, this deep, pissed-off rant. So now we had 4 dogs barking, and one bird.

Check out the You Tube on the right - apparently lots of cockatoos bark.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Caption this


Continuing with the zombie theme, this is the design of the week at Istockphoto.com, some AMAZING photoshop work.

Ryan:
Brains: It's What's For Breakfast
Brainios

Me:
Brains: Breakfast of Champions

Others?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Common Craft

The Common Craft Show is a series of short explanatory videos, usually titled "in plain English" that two people produce in their free time. They use paper doll-like cut outs to illustrate concepts, and push the cut outs around with their fingers. They're surprisingly effective and really easy to understand. Lately, they've focused on social media, and zombies. Both seem to be in abundance lately, have you noticed?

So when your aunt, cousin, co-worker asks what Twitter is, point them there. Here's an example:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Favorite Flicks in March

Lust, Caution
Wristcutters, a Love Story
There Will be Blood (ok, so I'm slow sometimes)
In Bruges
Romance and Cigarettes

I also rewatched No Country for Old Men, and it was almost as unbearably suspenseful the second time, but not enough so to miss all the great shots and symbolism that I was too freaked out to see the first time.

Excellent, excellent flick, can't believe Oscar recognized that. Maybe there's hope for the Academy yet.