Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Flower Carnival in Debrecen, Hungary

Dates: August 16-21
A friend of mine in Hungary sent this video link to me. It seems to be just a bit more people oriented than our similar Rose Bowl Parade, focused as it is around a sporting event. I'm not sure why this Hungarian approach appeals to me more. Perhaps it is the length of the event that makes the difference, perhaps it is the carnival type of production. Although our Mardi Gras is famous, it seems to be centered more around prurient and dark themes. This is a nice video about a great, proud, and historically enduring people. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mistaking Value for the Price

So Beautiful or So What   - Paul Simon

I'm going to make a chicken gumbo
Toss some sausage in the pot
I'm going to flavor it with okra
Cayenne pepper to make it hot
You know life is what we make of it
So beautiful or so what

I'm going to tell my kids a bedtime story
A play without a plot
Will it have a happy ending?
Maybe yeah, maybe not
I tell them life is what you make of it
So beautiful or so what

So beautiful
So beautiful
So what

I'm just a raindrop in a bucket
A coin dropped in a slot
I am an empty house on Weed Street
Across the road from the vacant lot
You know life is what you make of it
So beautiful or so what

Ain't it strange the way we're ignorant
How we seek out bad advice
How we jigger it and figure it
Mistaking value for the price
And play a game with time and love
Like pair of rolling dice
So beautiful
So beautiful
So what

Four men on the balcony
Overlooking the parking lot
Pointing at a figure in the distance
Dr. King has just been shot
And the sirens long melody
Singing Savior Pass Me Not

Ain't it strange the way we're ignorant
How we seek out bad advice
How we jigger it and figure it
Mistaking value for the price
And play a game with time and love
Like a pair of rolling dice
So beautiful
So beautiful
So beautiful

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol link and Talk of the Town by Jack Johnson link are the two songs that originally began my second great period of interest in music. My original interest was in The Beatles and this group of people remain of great influence to my life. At the same early age I also became interested in groups like Pink Floyd, Yes, and Jethro Tull. Of those three Jethro Tull still somewhat, in the personage of Ian Anderson, aligns with my interest in singer/songwriters. My best friend introduced me to Bob Dylan, the single best modern singer/songwriter I know of. I think I posted one song by him, Everything is Broken, link  that I found on a Catholic site (original sin, I think, though Dylan is/was variously Jewish and born again. :) )  Apparently, Dylan's publishers had thought that this video post was OK but all others for that song on YouTube had to be withdrawn. Perhaps that one link was just oddly Dylanesque enough.

Later, I also liked other singer/songwriters like James Taylor and Paul Simon. Of the new music I like today, I don't bother enough with the details behind a song but just enjoy it. For instance, early on I liked James Taylor's You've Got A Friend but I liked it mostly because Carol King wrote it, a wonderful singer/songwriter herself. I admire James Taylor for never failing to point out in concert that possibly the biggest hit in his career was written by someone else. But these days I just listen to the music and don't bother with details about who wrote the song or the history of the song. One exception was k.d. lang's Olympic performance of Hallelujah. I definitely looked up the song writer, Leonard Cohen, of that one. Here is a clip from YouTube of another non-Olympic version:

As we gaze over the riots in London, the site of the next "peace" event of the Olympics, I marvel at a world that would so restrict availability of the Olympic video version of kd lang's Hallelujah just so that it could be sold for profit. But it is so.

And they wonder why the world is what it is?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hope of Deliverance (all the hope we can get)

Paul, Studio:

Paul, Live:

MissPennieLane, Cover:
   "I know it's not good but I really wanted to play this song so here it is!"

Detailed Two Guitar Solo:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Line 'em Up

When Richard Nixon resigned the presidency, his emotions were overwhelming and quite affecting to a young boy who had followed the Watergate hearings day after day on television. Richard Nixon had never shown this human side to me. To the contrary, he had seemed invinceable, strong, an enemy. This was really the beginning of my deep personal interest in politics, yet never again would I see such a dramatic emotional moment as that good-bye speech. Regret, sorrow, tears, and an off the cuff speech drenched with humanity. Then of course there was the impromptu lining up of the White House staff to create the traditional campaign handshaking line. But, oh, the emotion and the tears on their faces as the consumate politician said goodbye to each and every one, working the long familiar line of wellwishers one last time.

As I was waiting along the same kind of traditional line to see and shake hands with Barack Obama, I actually had the rememberance of that morning in 1974, and in my head, this James Taylor song:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Holy Mackerel, Batman!!

One of my favorite movie memories. Hanging on a rope ladder from the Batcopter, Batman is dragging on his leg a shark that has jumped out of the water to attack him. It is in that original Batman movie, the one before Batman became serious and dark, when Robin actually says "Holy Mackerel" and saves Batman by handing him the Bat Shark Repellent he carries down the rope on his utility belt.

Later this classic dialog:

BATMAN: Hmmm, pretty fishy what happened to me.
GORDON: You mean where there's a fish, there could be... a Penguin.
ROBIN: But wait! It happened at sea. See? "C" for Catwoman!
BATMAN: Yet an exploding shark was pulling my leg!
GORDON: The Joker!
O'HARA: It all adds up to a sinister riddle. Riddle-er! Riddler?

Those were the days for screen writers; plenty of time to get the laundry done now. :)

Years later around 2001 or so, this classic email picture showed up in every one's email box as if it were, Holy Mackerel, real...

It was forwarded unquestioningly by millions, surely. It was everywhere.  And here is where I have questions about the ability of us all to understand reality enough to make viable choices in a society based on democracy. Sure, I can watch some reality shows and ask myself "People believe this?" But the real question should be "When we watch or read the news, do we the understand the subtleties?"  I know I spent most of my life learning these things myself. And I still surprise myself on what an idiot I can be.

Basically I'm worried about the giant corporations with money to spend on the brightest minds. This power is used to influence government and the power of bribing officials directly with money has been elevated to the level of freedom of the speech. They have "direct democracy," influencing specific laws that affect their companies. Lobbyists can make sure the companies have daily influence. I have a vote every few years or so and vote for a representative, never directly on a single issue or law. Our minds, voting every so often, against those bright folks who spend their whole day thinking and researching what will increase their company's profits, voting every legislative day.

So, has our representative democracy jumped the shark? :)  Or was that a theme for a Sex in the City episode?  I can't remember.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

One Possible Outcome :)

CSPAN screen, should the debt limit bill not pass tonight in the House of Reps: