30 December 2007


Christmas Bike, Suspended

My Christmas Bike

This is the bike that Mack got me for Christmas this year, suspended from the bike storage system he installed in the garage yesterday. Sweet, huh?

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28 December 2007


Tax Deductible Giving

Still looking for somewhere to send some of that voluminous excess wealth you've generated over this past year using creative financing in the hot hot hot real-estate market? I've got a few suggestions:

My personal goal is to get us to classical tithing levels: 10% of income to not-for-profit causes. We're nowhere near that, but with the credit cards paid off and a traditional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage that we can afford, we have been able to contribute more this year than previously.

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26 December 2007


Directed Nostalgia

I had the opportunity last week to take a quick road trip up to Tennessee and back. Left Tuesday, spent that night in Atlanta. Drove up to Nashville on Wednesday, then to Memphis on Friday. Drove home Sunday, 850 miles in 13 hours almost exactly.

The occasion that motivated this was Cloverbottom's playing at Springwater last Wednesday, 19 December. Cloverbottom was part of the Nashville punk and new wave scene in the early 1980s, a scene so underground that "even the hip will know" crowd often missed it. They had a compact, directed sound with tunes that were loud, fast, and fun. Their former drummer, Bryan de Beanne (Bryan Talbot) ended up with Mike McCurdy and me making up X-04. So when I heard they were playing, I wanted immediately to go and hear them, and when the opportunity became real, I took it.

Cloverbottom II
The show was excellent. Okay there were other bands on the bill that didn't exactly fit the Cloverbottom vibe (one man's opinion). They weren't bad, and, in fact, Spirit Dog had a good sound (although I'm pretty sure they could get that with three, at most four, of the members instead of the six-person line up. Guitar, bass, drums: the rest is fluff) and did the third-best arrangement of Eleanor Rigby I'd ever heard (after the original and the Aretha Franklin ones). And Ghettobilly was fine.

But Cloverbottom was the attraction. No new material, just three guys who had had a chance to reflect on what the sound had been and what the sound was supposed to be. Their effort, their practicing paid off. I had never heard them so tight. (Not that I can accurately recall particulars of performances from way back when, but I can remember being down front under the low ceiling at Frank's many times.) Not a missed note to my senses. (Complete set of pics here.)

As well as the band members, Rock Strata and Johnny Hollywood in addition to Bryan, I got to see old friends. Had dinner with Mike McCurdy who couldn't make the show. Saw my nephew Sam and his friends at the show: they've taken this bent for old local punk, but who can blame them. (Aside to Sam: You dance like Shermie in Peanuts.) Got to see Gigi Gaskins and Robb Earls. Got to see all of Bryan's family but Ellen.

Mike, Nicole, and Mason II
The next day, I rode down to Lawrenceburg to see my brother Dan, his wife Suzie, their son Mike, Mike's bride Nicole, and Mike and Nicole's new son Mason. A great dinner and a great time visiting. Complete set of pics here.

With Mary Ann and Barna Gibson
Before driving to Memphis the next day, I (1) went to the Hermitage [pics] to see the home of Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the USA, and (2) visit with Barna and Mary Ann Gibson, of Knoxville, but formerly of my home town of Centerville, Tennessee. I had thought I would come back home via Knoxville to see them, but when I found out they were going to be in Nashville, decided to see them there and then drive to Memphis and do some visiting there. Hadn't seen the Gibsons in probably 25 years, so it was good to spend some time catching up with them. They are very special people, who were there for me at a time in my life when I needed someone to be there for me.

Memphis was kind of low key. (It's Memphis.) Saw a few old friends and got my Christmas shopping done.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip. I got to see quite a few people from my past who matter to me to this day. There were others I'd like to have seen, but I left much to chance. Chance was kind to me in many ways.

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25 December 2007


Happy Holidays!

Some—say, Bill O'Reilly and the Fox News crowd and similar—would have you believe that Americans of all previous generations went around at this time of year saying "Merry Christmas," and that "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" are a Communist or Atheist (or Jewish or Muslim) invention designed to denigrate Christianity.

As evidence to the contrary, here's one part of a presentation on how Christmas was celebrated in the 1820s at The Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson's home near Nashville.

Andrew Jackson's Christmas Wishes

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24 December 2007


Let's Hear It for Egg Nog

Miss Carl's Egg Nog, in particular. With Knob Creek.

Merry Christmas.

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16 December 2007


Our Pursuit of Happiness Trumps Your Marriage Amendment

Check out Fairness for ALL Families. Send money.

Florida resident? Sign the pledge.

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15 December 2007


Roll Them Bones

Mark Ambinder, here:
In a hard-changing interview with Charlie Rose tonight, Bill Clinton said Americans who are prepared to choose someone with less experience [i.e., Obama], are prepared to "roll the dice" about the future of America. "It's less predictable, isn't it? When is the last time we elected a president based on one year of service before he's running?"
Well, if the nation had followed similar logic in 1860, Stephen Douglas would've likely been elected President of the US. I still doubt that would've been a wiser course.

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09 December 2007


Christmas Video of the Year (for Now)

It's the Killers with "Don't Shoot Me Santa." Buy the tune at iTunes to support (RED).

Recommended by James Poulos at The American Scene.

08 December 2007



Received my Ion USB turntable ($99.95 at Costco with free shipping) the other day and finally got to mess with it today. Felt compelled to rip immediately my work with X-04 and with Ed Fitzgerald and Civic Duty, since those are the only vinyl (acetate in one instance) artifacts that I was ever a performing artist. Hope to get around to ripping music off of 4- and 2-track tapes soon.

Without further delay, for your listening pleasure, from the early 1980s:Details, band drama, perhaps at some future time. I hope it's okay with Ed Fitz that I posted his music. If not, at least I'll get to hear from him!

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