Sunday, April 15, 2007

Work In Progress

I've been to a couple of concerts in my day. Some I'm quite proud of (especially recently) and some not so. I've been meaning to make a list of everyone I've ever seen. Well. Here I go.

Iggy and The Stooges
The Pogues
Flogging Molly
John Prine
Gov't Mule
New Earth Mud
Robert Randolph and The Family Band
The Jayhawks
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
The Wallflowers
ZZ Top
The Black Crowes
Johnny Lang
Lenny Kravitz
Ziggy Marley
The Replacements
Jeff Healey
Blues Traveler
Billy Joel
Georgia Satellites
Beastie Boys
The Allman Brothers Band
Howling Diablos
Kid Rock
Taj Mahal
Procol Harum
The Marshall Tucker Band
Guy Davis
Arlo Guthrie
Fiji Mariners
Sass Jordan
The Arc Angels
Ray Charles
Chuck Berry
Aretha Franklin
BB King
Buckwheat Zydeco
Jimmy Johnson
Dr. John
Gladys Knight and the Pips
Wilson Pickett
The Meters
Sonny Rollins
Harry Connick Jr.
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown
Pete Seeger
Peter Paul and Mary
Collective Soul
Bob Dylan
Hot Tuna
James Cotton
Koko Taylor
Natalie Merchant
Bruce Hornsby
Jeff Beck
Grateful Dead
Aquarium Rescue Unit
Street Dogs
Widespread Panic
North Mississippi Allstars

Wow. I'm already getting a headache. I'll add much much more later.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Long time, no see!

It's been quite a while since I've posted. I've either been busy, depressed, or a wicked combination of the two. It's obvious that losing your job 4 days before you have a child will have a negative effect on you, but you really can't appreciate it unless it happens to you. The past 6 months of my life seems like something out of a Richard Lewis routine. My wife and I worked for the same company. A week after informing them that she was pregnant, she was laid off. The very same day, our financing company informed us that our mortgage would go up $480/mo, as our homeowners insurance went up, and our taxes were mis-assessed. Three days later, my wife was in an accident, and our jeep was damaged. We filed for reassessment regarding our city taxes, and the city forgot to do it! They only do these in July and December, so we will have to wait. To lower our monthly payment, we decided to refinance our home. We found a company that could reduce our payments to $860, and would approve me with my "less than perfect" credit. We had all but signed the papers to finalize it, and a hurricane knocks out their building! Two days following the hurricane, I get a phone call from the new owner of the company I was working for, and he tells me that they can't afford to pay me anymore, so I, and the other night dispatcher, will be laid off. The new owner's son takes my job, and since the other night dispatcher was friends with the owner's son, he is rehired, and continues to work there to this day. I still keep in contact with some people there, and they tell me that the owner's son and his buddy don't do anything. They'll leave for hours, and neglect their responsibilities. I have been told how much I am missed. Four days after that, my 2nd daughter is born.

There are plenty of people who make much less money than I was making, although I wasn't making an incredible amount, who vehemently oppose social programs sponsored by our government. They have been led to believe that there are people leeching off of their tax dollars, and this money would be better off remaining in their own pockets. The sad truth is that taxes are never reduced, only reallocated. The money that is earmarked for social programs is only diverted into something REALLY important, like the military or corporate welfare. I have never been in a position where I required any assistance before, and I am grateful that it was available to me and my family this time. Sometimes, hard working people get the shaft, and there are legitimate circumstances that warrant these social programs. I would not have been able to buy the formula my daughter needed! Luckily, my wife and two kids were able to get on WIC. We lost our health insurance, and the kids are covered by the State of Michigan. We also get $70/mo in food assistance. This is a help, but still isn't quite enough to feed a family of three (formula is covered under WIC) for a month! I have been diligently looking for work both nearby, and in various cities throughout the country, and have had little or no luck. The job market isn't very good right now, in case you haven't noticed. I do have a follow-up interview today in Kalamazoo, so hopefully that goes well. I have been collecting unemployment, but that is less than half of what I was making on my salary. The costs of our home when you factor in mortgage, taxes, city services, and utilities cost approximately 30% more than my unemployment benefits, which are the maximum allowable. If it were not for the generosity and kindness of our family, friends, and neighbors, we would have been out of this house months ago. My point is, bad things happen to good people. I did my job very well, and did not deserve to lose it. Neither did my wife. But we're going to survive, and we will do well. The job I applied for requires me to work 12 hour shifts M-F, a short 6 hour shift on Saturdays, an occasional Sunday, and on call 24/7. Add an hour drive each way to and from work, and that leaves little or no time for me to spend with my family. But I'll do what I can to make sure that they have what they need. I just hope they realize what they are asking of me, and compensate me accordingly. If they offer me a $300/wk salary, and I decline, I lose my unemployment benefits. I hope it works out.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Ok. Let's compare two employees here.

Employee A does his job well, has never missed a day of work.

Employee B has not only spent approximately 70% of his tenure either on vacation, but did not report to work when he was needed most

Employee A is of slightly higher than average intelligence.

Employee B has displayed the intelligence equal to that of a 6th grade child more often than not.

Employee A has made his workplace a better place to work, as he is helpful to those working around him, even when he seems to be overwhelmed with his workload.

Employee B has pitted one side of the office against the other.

Employee A works very well under pressure.

Employee B mumbles and stutters when he's confused.

Employee A is good for his company.

Employee B has already driven many other businesses into the red, and now he's doing the same to your company.

Employee A has a brilliant daugher and wife, and is expecting another baby in a week.

Employee B, as well as his wife, children, neices and nephews, have a history of legal and criminal problems.

Employee A is reliable, responsible, and driven.

Employee B has a history of going AWOL, diverting blame, and never held accountable for his (in)actions.

Which of these employees deserve to be fired?

Why does Bu$h have a job, and I don't?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Can't We Just All Get Along?

This is one of the two most offensive, disgusting icons I can think of at the moment. The Swastika and whatever they call that encircled cross that the Klan uses. It stands for hatred, closed-mindedness, intolerance, and ignorance. That being said, I support their right to assemble, and to voice their opinions. We had a similar problem with a Klan Rally in Ann Arbor that made national headlines. There were those of us who argued, after that incident, that if nobody showed up, the Klan would stop marching. They got exactly what they wanted out of Toledo today. National press coverage. Something they can use as a recruiting tool. A chance to play the victim. Let them dress up in their costumes and march around playing soldier for a day. Who cares? Don't go! Without an audience, they aren't shit.

Bush-it Politics

Hopefully, I am not simply being overly optimistic here (optimism is not a typical trait of mine). But could Rove really be held responsible? Just look at how Bush struggles when Unca Karl isn't around! The story of the rehearsed, unscripted Q&A with the soldiers would never have been news at all. Georgie doesn't stand a chance without his puppetmaster. If Rove and DeLay both go down, I think Bush's days as President are numbered. I've always pointed out the similarities between the Bush and Nixon Administrations. I never thought that the possibility of Bush ending his Presidency just as Nixon did, even as awfully as he has "done his job". Here's where the optimism comes in. It does seen highly likely, though if Rove and DeLay are found guilty.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Son Of A Bush

Oh no
Struck by greased lightning
F'd by the same last name
You know what?
China ain't never givin' back that goddamn plane
Must got this ol' nation trained
On some kennel ration
The same train
Full of cocaine
Froze the brain
Have you forgotten?
I been through the first term of Rotten
The father, the son
And the holy Bush-it we all in
Don't look at me
I ain't callin' for no assassination
I'm just sayin' who voted for this asshole of the nation

Deja Bush
Crushed by the head rush
15 years back
When I wrote the first Bum Rush
Saw you salute
To the then
Vice Prez
Who did what Raygun said
And then became Prez
Himself went for Delf
Knee deep in his damn self
Stuck in a 3 headed bucket
Of Trilateral Bush-it
Sorry ain't no better way of puttin' it
No you cannot freestyle this
Cause yo ass still ain't free
If I fight for y'all
And they get me
How many of y'all
Is comin' to get me?
'Cause it's easier to forget me
Ain't that a A Bush
Son of a Bush is here
All up in your zone
You ain't never heard so much soul to the bone
I told y'all when the first Bush was tappin' my telephone
Spy vs. Spy
Can't trust 'em
As your salute to the illuminati
Take your ass to your 1 millionth party
He's the son of a baaaaad
He's the Son of a Bad Man
Now here's the pitch
High and inside
Certified Genocide
Ain't That a Bush - Repeat, Ain't that a Bush
Out of Nowhere
Headed to the hothouse?
Killed 135 at the last count.... Texas bounce
Cats in the cage
Got a ghost of a chance
Of comin' back
From your whack ass killin' machine
Son of a Bush ain't that a Son of a Bush
Cats doin' bids
For doin' the same Bush-it that you did
Serial killer kid, uh seriel killer kid
He's the son of a baaaad
He's the Son of a Bad Man
Coke it's the real thing
Used to make you swing
Used to be your thing
Daddy had you under his wing
Son of a Bush
Bringin' kilos to fill up the silos
You probably sniffed piles
Got inmates in Texas scrubbin' tiles
That shit is wild
CIA child
He's the son of a baaaaad
He's the Son of a Bad Man

The Monkey Thing

Every so often, you find a piece of music that just blows your freakin' mind. Lately, I've been sifting through different jazz musicians looking for something new (to me) and interesting. I came across Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "Kirk in Copenhagen". Track 3, The Monkey Thing, has Sonny Boy Williamson sitting in. Unfreakin'believable!!! Although I had never actually heard any of his material, I had heard OF him. This guy just blows my mind. I've never heard such versatility, technique, and intensity from one musician. A true genius. Hearing that track made me feel like I did the first time I heard Kashmir, Around The Plynth, How High The Moon, and The Wizard. I was in complete awe, and had never heard anything quite like it before. Too bad I noticed him 28 years too late.

Monday, September 26, 2005

What worked in 1963 works today

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring childrenInto the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would neverForgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

-Bob Dylan 1963

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I just saw a documentary on IFC about the evolution of punk. I know it's trivial, but it's always pissed me off that The Ramones get credit for originating punk. The Ramones' first album was released in 1976. The Stooges first album was released in 1969. Maybe it's because I'm from Ann Arbor, and I personally know people who have played with the Ashetons, and Iggy for that matter. I'm way too young to have noticed it while it was happening, but I'm a HUGE fan of the Stooges. And that has nothing to do with my girth. The stuff that was coming out of NYC in the mid to late 70s was good, no doubt, but pales in comparison to The Stooges and MC5. Ann Arbor, not NYC, was the birthplace of punk. Thanks to Iggy, the Ashetons, and John Sinclair.