Saturday, November 29, 2008

After 31 years...

I've always been a big Jackson Browne fan, starting when I was 14 and Running on Empty was released. It was one of the first albums I bought when I started buying albums with my own money.

For all you youngsters out there, it was recorded live in venues from concert halls to hotel rooms to the tour bus. At a time when live albums featured re-hashed greatest hits with mistakes overdubbed in the studio, Running on Empty was unique in that all the songs were new and recorded 'as-is'. The one thing about Jackson Browne live is that the musicianship is top-rate...sometimes too perfect, inasmuch as no one seems to make a mistake onstage. Not a bad thing, really, just outside the norm.

Anyway, this tour would have been at the time The Pretender was out, and for Jackson Browne, this would have been a challenging time in his life. Go to Wikipedia to learn why, I'm not a very good biographer.

The opening track, of course, is Running on Empty, and the first 30 seconds or so consists of various shouts from the audience, which, when I was a teenager, meant nothing to me, it was just a bunch of rowdy fans making noise.

At my advanced age, listening now, I realize the shouts were requests for songs such as Ready or Not, Late for the Sky, and Redneck Friend. You can hear an eight count leading up to the song that was in fact performed.

Also at my advanced age, I think about those people at the concert, yelling for their favorite song, and then POW! Running on Empty, the version you hear on the radio, with the great David Lindley lap steel solo and the Danny Kortchmar guitar fills and the beautiful soaring harmony of Rosemary Butler (I had a serious Rosemary Butler obsession in 1980) and of course the message of the song, the ever searching, longing, to find what it is we needed to find ourselves. If the audience only knew. Were they disappointed? Don't know.

Looking around for the friends I used to turn to to pull me through, looking into their eyes, I see them running, too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Remorse, optional

When asked if there were anything George Ryan would change, Lura Lynn Ryan said neither she nor her husband has any regrets. "His conscience is as clear as his mind," she said. "If he had it to do over -- and I've heard him say this -- he would govern the same way as he did before.... Sun-Times story today

There were stories in both Chicago papers today regarding the possibility that President Bush may commute the sentence of former Illinois Governor George Ryan, who is in jail on a racketeering conviction.

A thumbnail: While Secretary of State (among other things, in charge of granting drivers licenses) Ryan either implemented or ignored the program to sell commercial driver's licenses. One such beneficiary ended up instigating that burned six children to death in a highway accident.

Ryan, obviously, to this day believes he did nothing wrong because he never 'took the money', channeling it to cronies, who in turn, would do really nice things for Ryan and his family.

He is a really old man, his wife is not in the best health, he has lost his government pension, and has ruined his name. Maybe serving one year of his six-year sentence is justice enough.

But if he can't feel any remorse, then perhaps he needs to rot a little more.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

After a one week cooling off period...

Well, congratulations to President-Elect Obama. History has been made, and we will be watching it unfold for the next 4-8 years.

Now that the election is over, our nation needs to keep on keeping on. The sky has not fallen, despite what my republican brethren say, and I don't think we're headed for the socialist revolution.

I don't know the last time Warren Buffett was wrong about something, and if he isn't afraid, then why should I be afraid?

The McCain campaign hacks who persuaded him to pick Palin are now trying to throw mud at her. What you see is what you get, folks. She was not the best choice, and I've spoken to a lot of conservatives that saw through her act and were very afraid of the prospect of another dolt leading our nation.

My pain is with the neo-cons (Rush Limbaugh included) who will not rest until Obama is killed. Hate is hate.

I'm against hate.

If President Obama turns out to be a stinker, we have the 2010 and 2012 elections to rectify the problem. Martyring a president is a sure why to ensure his programs (especially the offensive ones) get passed.

This is America, we should give President Obama a chance. We gave President Bush a chance, and how bad was that?

I retract the question.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day 2008

Wow, here we are at last.

What ever happened to my fellow well-informed Republican voters?

I guess there were no issues that interested mainstream Republican voters this year. Instead of arguing the merits of McCain's position on the economy, security, energy, etc, all I seem to hear from my fellow Republicans is how Barack Husein Obama is going to have abortions performed on every pregnant woman in the country, take money away from (white) poverty-stricken pensioners and give it to (black) welfare mothers, and mandate the teaching of Arabic in our schools.

Keep in mind, I'm a Reagan Republican, and this rhetoric offends me.

I've always thought that fear-mongering was for the losers, and I guess I'm right about that this year.

McCain-Palin will go down in flames, and our country will have new challenges to face and overcome.

It is time to re-think how we elect our leaders. Money outstrips the message. Fear outweighs fact. The loudest voices are heard over the smartest voices.

I'll miss Tina Fey. We'll I can always watch her on 30 Rock, I guess, but she has never been more brilliantly funny than as Sarah Palin.

And four years from now, if Sarah Palin is more than trivia, I'll vomit.