I May Have Created a Monster

Ok, so maybe not a monster… but, I did set my Mom up with StumbleUpon.

Not sure how good of an idea this really is, but I’ve used it for a couple years and always liked it so why not. I told her it would make it harder for her to get to sleep. She laughed a little like I was crazy for thinking that, but I know from experience. She played with it a bit, asked me to send instructions to install it to my aunt in Ohio and then announced shes not going to get anything done tomorrow.

Pretty sure she was kidding, but you never know.

One of these days I’ll sneak on and change all of her settings to “Adult Content” just for giggles. She’d likely try to disown me then, but Dad would think that was HILARIOUS.



The Voices

So I was listening to my music library tonight and I went on a streak I thought was pretty damn cool. That little run got me to thinking, “Who is it I really like listening to?” Not the band, not the music, but the voices, who is it that has something that makes you sit back, or stand up, and listen. The song and the music may not have even been that good, but that voice grabs at you. With a little help, thanks Devlin, here is “The List“. In no particular order, these are in my library somewhere.  Agree? Disagree? Have some additions?

Alison Krauss

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde

Amos Lee

Ani DiFranco

Amy Lee of Evanescence

Darius Rucker of Hootie & The Blowfish

Miranda Lambert

Natalie Maines of Dixie Chicks

Sarah Brightman

Louis Armstrong

Adam Duritz of Counting Crows

Anna Nalick

Marc Roberge of O.A.R. (Of a Revolution)

Eva Cassidy

Nina Simone

Jack Johnson

Kevin Martin of Candlebox

Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland

Scott Anderson of Finger Eleven

Sarah McLachlan

John Denver

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam

Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty

Damien Rice

Todd Park Mohr of Big Head Todd and The Monsters


Norah Jones

Tracy Chapman

Ella Fitzgerald

Michael Stipe of REM

Dobie Gray

Marc Cohn

Terri Nunn of Berlin

Amy Ray and Emily Sailers of Indigo Girls

Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac

Shirley Manson of Garbage

Patty Griffin

Chrissy Hynde of The Pretenders

David Gray

Sarah Dugas of The Duhks


Chris Martin of Coldplay


Diana Krall

Madeleine Peyroux

Ray Charles


Ed Kowalczyk of LIVE

Annie Lennox

Al Green

John Mayer

Emiliana Torrini

Bono of U2

Melissa Etheridge


Joann Armatrading

Robin Hackett

Gemma Hayes

Chris Daughtry of Daughtry

Sophie B. Hawkins

Edie Brickell

Adam Levine of Maroon 5

John Hiatt

Joss Stone

Katie Melua

Paul Thorn

China Forbes of Pink Martini

Regina Spektor

Rosie Thomas

Siobhan Fahey of Shakespears Sister and Bananarama

Aaron Lewis of Staind

Steve Earle

Sylvie Lewis

Nina Persson of The Cardigans

Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries

Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon

Jack White of The White Stripes

Cat Power

Erin Moran of A Girl Called Eddy

Natalie Merchant

Ok… thats a start…


Obama in Battle Creek

From the Obama-Biden Camp:

Please join us for this special event in Battle Creek:

An Evening On the Road for Change
with Barack Obama and Joe Biden

Brown Stadium at Bailey Park
1392 Capital Avenue NE
Battle Creek, MI

Sunday, August 31st
Gates Open: 5:00 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public; tickets are not required but an RSVP is encouraged. Space is available on a first come, first served basis. Please RSVP using the form to the right.

For security reasons, do not bring bags and please limit personal items. No signs or banners permitted.

Parking is very limited. Please carpool or take public transportation if possible.

I’ll be there, as I hope many others will be. It’s time for a change.

To RSVP, follow this link.

Found this this afternoon and I thought it was worth sharing.


A Date for Sunday

It looks like plans have been made for me for this Sunday. Good thing I’m off work…

Fresh from the Mile High City, Presidential Candidate Barack Obama and Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden will be in the Cereal City for a rally at C.O. Brown Stadium.

Wouldn’t miss it for anything, it should be something special, even if it’s only ten minutes. Of course the comments posted on the local newsrags site are less than encouraging but residents of this town have rarely been accused of being overly bright and too many have also never heard, “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you’re dumb than to open it and prove it.”

I’ll see if I can’t get some pics and maybe some audio, though I’m not sure of the security policy.

As the time is firmed up I’ll relay that too.


One Less Wild Boy

We met when I was all of 22.

I’d just moved to Port Charlotte, Florida and was getting settled in to my new place, a rental I shared with two other guys, the bartender and the Sous Chef. The club we worked for had rented houses for the entire staff and we were moved into a place that had just been left to it’s new owner after her mother had passed away. It was furnished, and we did what we could to make it ours, but it ended up more than just the three of us lived there.

The owner of the house told us when we moved in that her mothers cat had run away from her home where she brought him after her mothers passing and that he had been seen recently in the neighborhood. Her mother had had him as in indoor cat, but he just wouldn’t stay in her house. She told us his name, but I don’t remember it.

One December night in 97, one of my roommates and another of our cohorts took in a Jimmy Buffett concert in Tampa. Being in hospitalities, our nights were long and our days started about 1:00 in the afternoon. Except that day.

About 9:00 that morning Josh hopped in his 1984 Buick to get back to his place and get some rest before we had to be to work. Turns out the engine compartment of a Buick is very accommodating; plenty warm and spacious and 100% gator free so when he turned it over and a horrible shrieking started, it didn’t take long to figure out where it was coming from. Most of the morning my roommate and I searched for the cat. We had no idea how bad he was going to be but if the sounds of the howling playing in my head most of the day were any indication, it was bad enough. Between shifts we saw him a couple times and he would run away whenever we would get close. The next afternoon I finally cornered him, scared, hurt and hungry and I grabbed him to be carted him off to the vet.

I have always had pets. They are part of the family, and he was no different. He was part of someones family and I tried through the club to reach his owner. Turns out the rental income had been put to good use and she and her husband were on a cruise and would be gone for a week. Well, I told the vet to do whatever he needed in order to fix up the cat. It was what I would have wanted if it was my cat.

His “owner” came back from her cruise and when I told her what had happened, she told me he was old and she would have had him put down. For some fairly deep cuts on his legs and his lip, she would have put him down. In my mind it was the vet bill that influenced her decision and that bothered me. Since I had fronted the vet bill, I told her I’d take the cat as his “condition” wasn’t life threatening. And I did, though I lost respect for her.

The night I picked him up his name changed to Gateway, because we thought he looked like a Gateway computer box. When I left Florida late one night two months later, he was in the truck with me and has been ever since. He hated the ride to Michigan and spent most of it on the floor of the truck shaking, most certainly cussing at me. When we got “home” he ran like a SOB out into a full blown lightening and thunderstorm and hid in the field next to Mom and Dad’s for a couple days before deciding he was hungry.

He was a pretty good cat most of the time, but was never really happy being inside. I wasn’t happy with him inside either because he took to pissing on everything. Not exactly indoor pet behavior. He should have been disowned right then, but he wasn’t, I just moved him outside.

I moved him four more times over the next 11 years, so much for being old in ’97, and he always hated the ride. The cat had some serious anxiety when it came to vehicles and though they more than likely weren’t related, I attributed it to the accident he had gotten himself into. Cars freaked the shit out of him. He wintered in the garage and hunted to supplement his cat food, which he never lacked. When I was going to school late, Dad would come over and let Jack out and sit with Gateway, just eating up the attention. He was a pretty good cat, as far as cats go.

Two nights ago I sat talking with him and petting him while he had his cat food and milk for the evening in the backyard.

Tonight I cried a bit as I buried him in that yard, mostly because I’ll miss him as much as one can miss a cat. He’d been with me, or rather, I’d been responsible for him, for a long time. Another part of me cried though because he left me the same way he found me. He had been hit by a car sometime this morning.

Just doesn’t feel right, you know…


Listening Machine

I’ve been gong nuts with “reading” new books lately. Since physically I can’t seem to keep my eyes open for more than a chapter at a time, I’ve been hitting audiobooks. I cannot recommend this enough to you. Just trust me, it rocks. I just finished George Orwell’s classic Nineteen Eighty-Four and have just begun Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot.

I heard an excerpt of the book during an interview with Sagan’s son over the weekend and thought the book would be worth my time. Incidentally, the younger Sagan was recorded at age 6 saying the phrase, “Hello from the children of planet Earth,” which was imprinted on a gold record and is currently hurtling through space on-board the Voyager spacecraft, a greeting offered to whatever is out there.

Anyway, the title of the book comes from a picture taken of the Earth from something like 4 billion miles away where Earth is just a pale blue dot… the YouTube vid is Sagan reading from this book.

If you want to READ it, here you go:

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

Not bad eh?


Yield for Stupid

I don’t TRY to be an assbag, I just happen to be good at it when prompted…

Friday night I broke my glasses. My fault, I set them on the dash of the truck and took a corner and then whoosh, out the corner they went. Ok. Won’t be doing that again.

Today I make my way to the local Wally World to get my exam and new pair of glasses ordered. So far so good, a rather pleasant day and I ended up paying like $68 bucks for a $300 pair of glasses. And then I left, which is where the fun started.

Here, like every Wally World I would imagine, there are three striped pedestrian crossing zones, with a yield sign at each end, each one about fifty feet long. When I made it to the yield sign, there was no one in the pedestrian crossing and no one walking at a pace that I judged as putting them in the “Danger Zone” coming in or out. If they were breathing adults with half a brain they could see me and for their own safety stop as to not be run over by the big red truck. I’m cruising through the zone at all of like three miles an hour and, I shit you not, with not FIVE feet left in the crossing zone, when I drive past a couple (who I can best describe as a pear and a pixie stick embodied) and then I watch in my rear view mirror as the pear gives me the finger and starts jawing. Oh, you want to play… ok.

Now, what I should have done was just laugh it off. But, well, I didn’t.

Screech! You can squelch tires to a halt even at a snails pace. I put the car in park, and hop on out and ask in what I consider a pretty mellow tone for having just been given the bird, “Is there a problem?”

“You didn’t f*ckin’ see me? You almost f*ckin hit me. You could have stopped, it’s PEDESTRIAN crossing, you prick. You sonofabitch! What a stupid f*ck!” she spouts off through her toothless mouth to me and looking to her man for reassurance that his ass was up to cashing the check her mouth was about to write. For the record, he looked straight ahead like aww shit, not again.

“Yeah, it’s pedestrian crossing with a yield sign, waaaaaay ass back there, and when I yielded, there were no pedestrians. That means I can go. See how this works? It’s not real complicated when you think about it.”

Apparently she did not see how this works, or she wasn’t able to think about it and proceeded to let me know all of the things I could do to myself sexually, some of which I think are actually impossible, but interesting all the same. Allllllllrighty then…

“So is it my fault you couldn’t waddle your fat ass up here any quicker or is it my fault for misjudging your momentum and your ability to stop when you saw the MOTOR F*CKING VEHICLE coming?” I ask, still maintaining more of a smartass tone than a dickhead one.

Now her scrawny man decides to let me know, “You can’t talk to a lady like that!”

I continue being a smartass and take an exaggerated look around 360 degrees, then back at the woman who appears to be smuggling ham hocks in her sweatpants, you know the one with a mouth like a sailor, and let him know, “I know you aren’t talkin’ ’bout her. SHE gives ME the finger and starts shoutin’ about how I effin’ this and I effin’ that, I’ll speak how I’m spoken to, understand? If a lady shows up, I’ll bite my tongue and I’ll probably be the only one.” Oops, a little dickhead came out.

“I got your license plate,” she pipes up, now doing a little head bobbing and hand waving.

“Good. Call the cops. Maybe they’ll give me a ticket for you being f*ckin’ stupid, but since it’s private property don’t get your hopes up. Jesus… I hope to f*ck you haven’t bred, this place already has more stupid than it can handle.” I finish as I shake my head and get back into the truck listening to her spew more things unsuitable for print. As I drive away I wave, with all my fingers, to the pear and the pixie stick and the greeter who has made his way out of the building to see what’s happening.

Just goes to further my belief that Wally World might actually be the downfall of civilization as we know it and is certainly a gathering site for local inbreds.

Which is why I try really, really, REALLY hard not to shop there.