Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Last night I searched for and found all my music/recording equipment and accessories, and even found a home for them in the office. I'll need to buy batteries for the effects pedals. I also need to re-load my Roxio software onto my computer, because I forgot to do it when I replaced the hard drive last fall.

Wait a minute, where's the mic stand? Either in the basement storage or in the garage. In either place, it's collecting dust.

The photo has nothing to do with my post. It's just a photo I took on a recent jobsite visit to Soldier Field, and it was a beautiful day.

Monday, September 26, 2005

No more dead asses!

Distinguished artist, faithful reader, and all-around good guy James came north for a visit 10 days ago (along with lovely wife and daughter) and we had the chance to hang out and get a few things thought out and talked through.

We paid a visit to Leapin’ Lyrics in Geneva, IL, and now there is another outlet for MusicArt T-Shirts (and hopefully prints and such)!  

We also worked on some of our songs, which are 20 year works in progress.  You know, there are millions of people who write songs together, and they all believe that their songs are good.  We are among them.

“Weddings, Funerals, and Bar Mitzvahs” was our slogan.  We believed (and still do) that we can be professional songwriters.  After our work session Thursday night, I firmly believe we still “have it”.  

I guess the reason I’m not a professional songwriter is because I don’t want it bad enough.  I have a ‘regular’ job, I have a ‘regular’ family, and ‘regular’ responsibilities.  I commend James for wanting to be a professional artist bad enough to find a way to be one.  He has been able to structure a career and family that allows him almost just enough time to be productive and creative.  But he’s the first to admit that it’s very stressful pursuing your dream.

And every time we part company, I feel bad for letting the dream go.  We can do this, but why won’t I get off my dead ass and do it?  For one thing, I love being lazy.  I could create the time to sit down with my 4-track and compose, but I’d rather sit on my rear and vegetate.  Like all the deep thoughts I’m thinking make a bit of difference.  I need to get motivated.  I need to set goals and KEEP THEM!

I have been working on a recording project for a while, well, it’s still in the concept stage.  In a classic instance of putting the cart before the horse, I’ve created the CD cover, picked out all the songs, written liner notes, etc, but haven’t begun any actual recording.  THIS IS SO ME!!!

So tonight, after the city council meeting, I’ll be scrounging through the still-packed boxes in the basement and locate all my recording equipment and accessories.  I’ll find a place to set up a studio area, and as of Oct 1, begin an earnest rehearsal schedule to record this project called (fittingly enough) Woulda Shoulda Coulda.

Turning my back on my gifts is sinful.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Arlo & Janis (& Katrina)

I'm a huge Arlo and Janis fan. In fact, I have a huge crush on Janis; she's very sexy for a pen and ink drawing.

Jimmy Johnson, the genius who created this comic strip, lives in Pass Christian, MS. Rather, that is where his home is. I don't know if he is in his home today or not.

I don't know Jimmy personally, although through his comic strip and website, I have come to know of him, and I admire him very much.

Sometimes we aren't able to grasp the enormity of a disaster because we "turn off" the voices of the strangers who are affected. Jimmy has posted an aerial photograph of Pass Christian with commentary about what buildings used to exist and how neighborhoods were wiped out by Katrina.

The media is busy in other places; we might not see Pass Christian on TV. His website has put a "face" on the disaster that we may be able to relate to.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

It begins at home

I received an e-mail from faithful reader James the other day:

"I got quite misty yesterday when (my daughter)came home from school. Her school is gathering pennies in order to raise money. When she came home she did an "extensive" search of the house for pennies. She had just about accepted the fact that she did not find very many. Then she remembered her piggy bank, went up and took out all the pennies. She came downstairs and proudly stated something to the effect that could now help the people hurt by the hurricane. I'm telling you, I hugged and smooched that kid and had to walk away to regain my composure. Egadz! Sometimes the future doesn't seem so bad."

Inspired by his daughters ingenuity and generousity, I decided to discuss this with my kids (ages 9&5). My wife and I explained to them that all these people that we see on TV lost their homes, toys, pets, clothes, books, etc.; and that they were being "asked" to ride on buses many hundreds of miles away to live in an indoor stadium or convention center in a city of someone else's choosing. We reminded our kids that they were very fortunate that we live in a nice home, in a safe town, and have lots of toys, clothes, and a wonderful dog. (Which means a tornado will come and knock my house down next week, because I'm a big believer in jinxes).

We told the kids that we would be giving some extra money at church on Sunday that will be sent to help these families. We asked them if they would consider giving some of the money that is in their piggy banks (yes, they are actual piggy banks) to help these families, too.

My daughter emptied her bank, counted the money, and decided to give about 60% of it. I told her that I was very proud of her generosity, and that her kindness would be returned to her someday.

My son emptied his bank and said that because he has so many nice toys that he didn't need the money, so "those people" could have all of it. Besides, his birthday was only 6 months away, and he would get more money then. $12.67. I thanked him for his generousity and told him that I am indeed a proud father to have such caring children.

They put their money into ziplock bags and proudly put it in the collection basket on Sunday. The folks who count the money each week probably weren't thrilled (although we put slips of paper with the dollar amount in each bag to make it easier to process).

It has been my goal to raise children with a certain "community service conscientiousness". I think I'm on the way.

Thanks again to James and his daughter for the inspiration.

And yes, I'll be sneaking some extra change back into their piggy banks to help rebuild their savings.

Can we just focus?

People are starving, dying, and generally having a lousy time.

Why are we having this debate on whether they are called refugees or evacuees?

Don't we all something more important to do? Like saving them, housing them, and feeding them?

Each time I hear a so-called "community leader" whine about this issue, I want to scream!

Hey, George!

Mr. Bush,

I've always, ALWAYS, given you the benefit of the doubt. But come on, let's pull the old head out of the keister and 1) whack the FEMA guy; 2) put together some plan (even if it is over-the-top authoritarian; and 3) ask your beloved mom to just stay home ( I mean she's a sweet lady and all, but there is never a positive PR outcome when River Oaks Matrons rub elbows with the Great Unwashed).

It is not a sign of weakness to flat out fire a guy who has screwed the pooch, even if you were the guy that hired him in the first place. Actually, it makes you look stronger to do so.

Just handing the evacuees cash isn't going to solve the long term problem. A huge stimulus package needs to be developed so these people can get jobs and get on their feet as soon as possible. Surely we need some roads to be built, or perhaps even a city in southern Lousiana.

Now there's a plan! Employ the affected people to rebuild their city. Hire them, train them, pay them. Yes, it will cost a fortune, but it will cost a fortune either way.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Finger, finger, who gets the finger?

Because this is America in the 21st century, let's start pointing the finger of blame...

At President Bush, for using money that could have been used to make New Orleans safe to the war in Iraq.

At Bill Clinton, for using money that could have been used to make New Orleans safe to make the budget surplus.

At George HW Bush, for using money that could have been used to make New Orleans safe to bail out the Savings and Loans.

At Ronald Reagan, for using the money to end the Cold War.

At Jimmy Carter, for using the money to attempt to bring peace to the Middle East.

At Richard Nixon, for using the money in Viet Nam.

At Lyndon Johnson, for spending the money creating welfare and The Great Society.

At John Kennedy, for spending the money to go to the moon.

At Dwight Eisenhower, for spending the money on the arms race of the 1950's.

At Harry Truman, for spending the money to defend South Korea.

At Franklin Roosevelt, for spending the money to defend our country in WWII, and before that, to pull our country out of the Great Depression.

At Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge and Warren Harding ,for whatever the hell they accomplished during their administrations.

At Woodrow Wilson, for keeping us isolated, then engaging us in WWI.

At William Taft, for eating too much.

At Teddy Roosevelt, for being Teddy Roosevelt.

At Lincoln, for saving the Union.

At Thomas Jefferson, for spending the money that could have been used to save New Orleans, for making the Louisiana Purchase in the first place.

Do you understand where I'm going here? New Orleans has always been this Civil Engineering Textbook Disaster Waiting to Happen. It has NEVER been the political will of our leaders to prevent it. And yet, no shortage of people hesitated to invest their lives in this area because of the risks involved. I don't fault the people for living in New Orleans, I just don't think it's right to point fingers at the last caretaker because the storm hit on his watch.

For God's sake, quite whining about what isn't happening and take some action!!!

Thursday, September 01, 2005


This isn't about the looters.

There are bad people in this world, as there are good people. The difference is, the bad people get to be on TV, while the good people get to be in magazines.

This isn't about race. This isn't about class.

Anyone could have been stuck in New Orleans (or Gulfport, or Biloxi, or any of the hundreds of small towns that are no longer). Eighty percent is underwater. Here's something to think about: Eighty percent of the people who used to live in New Orleans no longer have....anything. No house, no posessions, nothing.

How would you feel if this happened to you? Your family? Your children?

I don't understand why some people felt the need to steal televisions and jewelry. However, I won't make a moral judgement about them in this case. I do understand, and wholeheartedly agree with the looting of grocery stores. Let's face it, the food is going to spoil, and my children need to eat. I've just lost EVERYTHING, GODDAMMIT!!! So let me feed my family.

I predict that for every person that was rescued from a rooftop, there are 4 people dead inside a home. What we see in terms of devastation in New Orleans is but the tip of the iceburg.


The total cost of impact will be several times that of 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Just wait till the water is gone.

(photo credit: Marc Serota/Reuters)