Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Too Stupid Too Discuss

I heard an ad today on NPR, announcing the show On Point was going to have a discussion on The Orange Idiot's desire to expand the death penalty to drug dealers. We are discussing this? Here's how that discussion should go:

Host: My guest today is This Guy.
That Guy: Hi, thanks for having me on.
Host. Thanks for being here. So, Donald Trump has announced his intention to expand the death penalty to drug dealers. Isn't that stupid?
That Guy. Yes, colossally stupid. Why are we even talking about this? How did someone this stupid become president?
Host: Alright, that's all the time we have for this today. I'd like to thank This Guy for joining us.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Long Live the Blog?

Or the personal web page. Is this a blog or a personal web page? Yes.

Nice blog entry by Scalzi on the importance of having a place on the internet that is yours and controlled only by you. Someday Twitter and Facebook will be gone. What will replace it? I'd like to see a system where each individual has their own IP type address and you can subscribe to that feed via some open source software. No one will control it. I wonder how that would work?

Friday, February 23, 2018

Quit Right or Don't Quit

After reading this post by Troy I got to thinking about times I have quit jobs. My job experience isn't all that lengthy, considering I am approaching the 25th year with my current employer, the public library.

My first attempt at a job was picking cherries for a local farmer outside Cedar, MI, when I was 13. My output was so bad, I was asked to not come back. I didn't argue. Later, at 16, I I was hanging out with some friends at a video arcade after baseball practice and I had no quarters for games. I then got a job at Sugar Loaf, a local ski and golf resort. I had that job, except for one summer at a restaurant, my whole time in high school, until I left for boot camp. I remember receiving a nice send off from the manager of my department, she was my supervisor the full three years I worked there.

After my stint in the Marines, I worked as a cashier for a local convenience store chain, making pretty much nothing but it was what I needed after four years in the service. I made enough money to buy beer and the job didn't require any real effort. That was the first of two jobs I walked out on. In the spring of 1992, my step dad died suddenly of a heart attack. I took a few days off from work because I was devastated, naturally. At one point the manager of the store called and asked when I would be back. I don't remember my response. I do remember being furious. Eventually, I agreed to go back and the store manager scheduled me for a twelve-hour day on my first day back. I didn't go in that day, or ever again, and I didn't call. Instead, my friend Jeff and I went to a baseball card show.

Eventually, I ended up at OfficeMax. I was there for about nine months. It was a building full of young and fun coworkers but the job was horrible. Customers and management treated those of us on the floor terribly. I have never felt more disposable and less respected anywhere. At one point a new employee manual was released and we all were given a copy. It was, essentially, a list of 1,001 ways to get fired. In fact, I wrote that in marker on the cover of my copy of this terrible booklet and tacked it to the cork board in the employee break room. The next day was Saturday and my morning tennis class through CPCC. I was scheduled to work after the tennis class but a group that included a woman I had a crush on, invited me to have some drinks. I readily agreed, had a great time and skipped out on work and that was it for OfficeMax. I remember being told that my quitting that way after what I did with the employee manual was admired by other employees at the store. I guess it was pretty good but I still think it wasn't as impressive as the cashier who went to lunch one day and never came back. A week later she was waitressing at the bar next to the OfficeMax store. Within a month, I was working for the library and never looked back.

I guess the moral is, you should quit properly unless you work for a company that treats you like shit.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

David and Robert Childers

I love watching people communicate through music. David and Robert Childers have been making music together for a long time. Every since Robert was a child, I assume. He's been drumming for his father for much of his adult life. I sat and watched David play an acoustic show at Brawley's Beverage recently. Robert was , as usual, on drums, and they were accompanied by a wizard on an electrified stand-up bass. David can play a single chord and his son will nod and they'll start a song. They can take songs and extend them, change them and twist them with deceivingly little effort. Every time I witness this connection, I am awed. David & Robert Childers

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Diet Cheater

We live in a cul de sac at the end of a mile-long road that weaves through our neighborhood. Essentially, we have a driveway that is one mile long. It's an interesting way to live, it does feel like we are tucked away from the rest of the city. That is, until the traffic on W.T. Harris, that runs behind our backyard, is going at full throttle. There is a humorous happening that I see at least once a month on that long driveway. We have a fast food eater who is hiding their shame by tossing a bag of fast food on the side of the road in roughly the same spot each time. Every time I see this bag of shame, I think how naive this person is that they think when they get home their significant other can't smell that Burger King on their breath. They are not fooling anybody.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Bill Walpole

I found out my friend Bill Walpole died today.

What I loved about Bill Walpole is that I could say pretty much anything to him. I spent ten minutes one evening at the Double Door explaining to Bill in a callous and tasteless way why Wendell Black was behaving strangely that night. He said to me, "You ain't right." I took it as the compliment it was.

The photo below was taken at the Double Door in December 2004. It's my favorite photo that I took of him because he wasn't out front much. Bill only had one vocal part during the Federal Bureau of Rock and Roll reunion shows. After the line, "The shit has hit the fan" during the song Lawyers, Guns and Money, Bill would step up to the microphone and holler, "Hell, yeah!" I tried to catch that moment several times and I got it this once.

He was also a great musician. He played an amazing slide guitar. Lenny Federal said he liked playing with Bill because, "Bill listens." Rob Tavaliogne once described Bill's playing by saying that Bill invented chords, meaning that Bill knew how to insert himself into the middle of a song and not distract from but add to it. The word genius gets tossed around easily but it applies to his playing.

I'm trying not to feel too sad because I was lucky to spend the little time I did around him. I think anyone who ever had a private moment with Bill is feeling that right now. He was just fun and he probably enjoyed laughing more than anyone I have ever met. In 1998 when Christopher McComb, Wendell and I traveled to Cleveland to see R.L. Burnisde, I had a chance to talk to Bob Log III, who was touring with Burnside. He said that Burnside had several phrases and jokes that he would say over and over again and they would get funnier the more he said them. Bill was like that. He loved to yell, "Woah! Woah! Woah!" while someone was backing up their car. When they slammed on their brakes in a panic he would laugh and laugh. And it got funnier every time he did it. You waited for it.

Everybody that knew him has a story to tell and if you live on through stories then Bill will have a rich afterlife.
Bill Says, "Hell yeah!"

Friday, February 03, 2017

Crack The Sky

I came across this blog post a couple of weeks ago. It's about a band out of Baltimore called Crack the Sky. The post claims that they are a lost great band, a band that should be a classic band from the 70s. I went back and listened to their eponymously titled first album and it's fantastic. I then listened to the album they released in 1980, White Music, which has a more stripped down, pop punk sound. It shows incredible flexibility from the bandleader, John Palumbo. I'm amazed that here in 2017 I am still discovering quality music from the 60s and 70s. There is so much out there.

This Youtube video is a performance of their signature song, Surf City, in front of a hometown crowd in 1980. Lots of energy here from the band and the crowd.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Different Seasons

Two photos from the same bridge. Clam Lake, Michigan, one panorama taken in September 2011 and the next taken December 2016.

Clam River Panorama clam lake pano 2

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Mandate, My Ass

I heard this song as a teenager when it was played WNMC in northern Michigan. It's probably the first overtly political song I ever loved and listened to repeatedly. I happened to be recording the radio when this song came on and I played it over and over. It's still relevant.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Legend

There are few true sports giants in the world. People who can distract a whole room. People like Willie Mays or Junior Johnson. Arnold Palmer was one. I had an opportunity to watch Palmer play a few holes at the pro am at the Well Fargo tournament in May of 2011. There was a palpable buzz on the course because Arnold Palmer was there. There was a constant stream of love washing over him the whole time. Grown men yelling his name and thanking him for being there. Two things stand out from that day. I watched him scarf down a hotdog in under thirty seconds and he played from the black tees because it would have been beneath him to play from the senior tees. That wasn't a great decision because he was unable to reach the fairway off the tee but he hit 'em straight. Arnold Palmer at the Wells Fargo Pro-Am