Friday, December 28, 2007

Another day off

I'm crossing my fingers that the murder of Bhutto does not lead to WWIII.

Just finished Michael Palin's Diaries 1969-1979, a great book. As a teen, I would spend my late Saturday nights watching Saturday Night Live from 10pm to midnight and then catch Monty Python on PBS from midnight to whenever the showings ended. I loved Python, although I never became one of those annoying kids trying to mimic the accents or re-enact the bits over and over again. Of all the Pythons, I enjoyed the smarminess of Eric Idle and the everyman frustration of Palin the most.

I think Diaries 1969-1979 capture Palin's work ethic, his love of family, and his own amazement at times that he was actually earning a living by putting pen to paper. An entry late in the book, as Life of Brian was printing cash for the group, George Harrison pulls Palin aside to say that now Palin could own a mansion like George's. Palin's inner voice says, "but I like where I am now", a home in a somewhat conventional London suburb. You have to admire someone who is that famous staying so very rooted in the 'real' world.

Now, on to the Warren Zevon biography, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead.

William James, In the Maelstrom of American Modernism, will be attended to shortly. Damn heaving reading, that book.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Peoria's Own

A feeling of sadness and loss accompany the news that Flyover favorite Dan Fogelberg passed away on Sunday.

My multi-part tribute and critique of his albums (starting 2 years ago) never got off the ground. I will say that I was not pleased with a Chicago radio show's description of Dan's career as a "punch line".

Now that I've reached 45, I've come to the conclusion that, as Warhol said, everyone gets 15 minutes. Dan Fogelberg's window was open from 1972 to 1985, and I daresay he made the most of it. While his artistic focus changed from the commercially viable after 1985, it would be wrong to say that he became a joke. Sure, the records didn't sell. But I think he was satisfied with his career and saw no reason to extend it. His money was made and he (I hope) was enjoying his life.

How many artists really have the emotional strength to continue to break new ground all the time? Springsteen, perhaps. Bono, we'll see. As much as the Stones continue to be commercially viable, don't kid yourself -- The Stones stopped breaking new ground in 1980.

Sure, Fogelberg's wistfully romantic songs were fluffy. But we liked them. How many times has "Longer" been played at weddings? A couple of million? Heck, one of my first paying gigs was playing "Longer" at a wedding with two flutists. Twenty bucks was twenty bucks back in 1981. He crossed over from Country-Rock to Rock to Pop to Jazz to Bluegrass to Rhythm & Blues. He could do it all. I guess he could have been HUGE at Branson, but he preferred Colorado and Maine.

Living in the shadows
Of the things that might have been
Torn between the blessing and the curse
You may stop the hunger but you'll never slake the thirst
For the nectar you remember
But you'll never taste again.

The Lion's Share 1981

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Snow" Day

No school today. Although we were not hit with the massive ice storm overnight as predicted, the roads are slick and there's no sense in having anyone injured in a school bus accident.

I brought a lot of work home, so I'm with the kids.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Punks in any age

I read today that Lori Drew, the Dardenne Prairie, MO woman who drove teenager Megan Meier to suicide by posting terrible lies and rumors on a MySpace page, will not be facing any criminal charges because (simply put) there doesn't seem to be a law that was broken in the case.

I was going to go ahead and post her photo, address, phone number, etc here today as a kind of vigilante justice, but in researching the story, I have learned that it has already been done.

When Lori, her husband, or daughter beg for mercy, please remember the mercy they showed to a 13 year old girl.

Everyone ought to pay for their mistakes, and I think the Drew's have quite a large balance outstanding. They are lucky I don't live in their town. There isn't enough dog shit in the world to throw at them.