Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Release the Beast!

The inimitable Garon Cockrell of the website Pop Culture Beast has seen fit to publish a concert review of mine here. Go forth and consume. Or perhaps not, because I'm not the boss of you.




Monday, April 28, 2014

A To Z Day Twenty Four: X

Ten Things, People, And Concepts That Are Neither X Ray Nor Xylophone, The Two Things Children's Books Always Use For X:

1. Red Sox infielder Xander Bogaerts
2. Former Seattle Supersonic and Boston Celtic Xavier McDaniel
3. Xavier University
4. The movie rating X
5. The punk rock band X
6. The Mitch Hedberg joke where he supposes that because Xylophone is pronounced Z, X was upset that it wasn't given enough to do, so it gets a costarring role in Tic Tac Toe
7. The X Wing Fighter
8. The X Factor television program
9. The military job XO, or executive officer
10. The left to right portion of the Cartesian coordinate system.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A To Z Day Twenty Three: Weather

Weather and weather forecasting has always fascinated me. My father always said that weather forecasts beyond 48 hours are nonsense, and experience has taught me that this is true. The systems at play in the atmosphere are simply too complex- no matter how hard you try, how big your computers are, how sophisticated your formulas are, you'll never know everything.

There is a lesson there, I think.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A To Z Twenty Two: Veterans

Does it bother anyone else that there are veteran's charities? Since we broke these people, shouldn't we, the people of the United States, be paying whatever it takes to fix them? I don't oppose the cause, of course. I just think there shouldn't be any need for it.
-M



Thursday, April 24, 2014

A to Z Day Twenty One: U2

"Angel of Harlem" is one of my very favorite songs.
U2 got a lot of crap for this album (and for the accompanying film), and I don't think it was fair. People were saying, "How dare these Irish dudes tell us how great Billie Holliday was! We know how great Billie Holliday was!" Well, OK. But I was 17 when this record came out. I didn't know how great Billie Holliday was. And U2 made it cool so I could learn who Billie Holliday was. Perhaps I should have already known. But they were my gateway to a lot of great stuff, and I think that means something.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A to Z Day Twenty: The Band


One of my new favorite songs, "Richard Manuel Is Dead."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A to Z Day Nineteen: Schrodinger's Cat


The late Erwin Schrodinger, an Austrian physicist, once proposed a puzzle (a thought experiment, neither he nor I actually killed any animals) where a cat is sealed into an airtight box with a vial of poison gas , a small amount of radioactive material which has a 50% chance of decaying per hour, and a radiation detector, which if the material decays will smash the vial and kill the cat. The puzzle is, when you shut the box, is the cat alive or dead?
The answer is unclear. One can answer that it is both, or it is neither, or it is nothing until you open the box. There are a number of different interpretations and counter interpretations that try to solve the puzzle, or ignore the puzzle, or work around the puzzle. Personally, it has always just given me a headache.
To quote John Cleese, "it's people like you what cause unrest".

Monday, April 21, 2014

A to Z Day Eighteen: Rest In Peace

A List, In No Particular Order, of People I Wish Were Still Alive:
Isaac Asimov
Kurt Vonnegut
Robert A Heinlein
Freddie Mercury
David Foster Wallace
Jim Morrison
John Lennon
Kurt Cobain
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Jonathan Larson
John Bonham
Heath Ledger
Molly Ivins
My Father

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A To Z Day Seventeen: Queen

James Hetfield, Tony Iommi, and the surviving members of Queen bring the noise on "Stone Cold Crazy."

Friday, April 18, 2014

A To Z Day Sixteen: The Postal Service

Those of you who only know me electronically may not realize that I was, am, and continue to be, a fanatic letter writer and snail mail enthusiast. Even in these advanced times, I sit down with pen and ink and send a letter to people in Wasilla and Washington, San Leandro and San Jose, Nottingham and the Netherlands. It's a form of pseudo meditation, because it cannot be done quickly- or at least, it cannot be done well quickly.

I hear constantly about how retail is dying, the Web is king, and the post office is going to be privatized and go the way of the dodo and the Celtics' playoff hopes this year. These people may be right, and if postal mail goes away, I'll get along. I'm an adaptive sort.

But it shouldn't. A post office is part of a civilized society. Citizens in a democracy should be able to communicate with their leaders and each other without needing a $500 laptop. And it's the only secure communication left- if you seal it tight enough, nobody will read it except the person you address it to.

Call me a Luddite, but I love my postal service and will stay with it until the last dog dies.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A To Z Day Fourteen: Red Sox Nation

I am a Red Sox fan. (I'm sorry.) Being a Red Sox fan is kind of like owning an iPhone used to be: at one point, you were unique, now every third person is just like you.

My instinctive response is to point out that I'm not one of THOSE people- I've been a fan since the Carter Administration. I root when we're good, like 2013, and I root for the dog's breakfast group therapy teams like 2012 and 2011, and I root for the grossly overrated teams like 1995. As Jerry Seinfeld once put it, I'm rooting for laundry, and it's too late for me to change now.

But that's not the right way to act. When you love something, the natural response is to share it, not push people away from it, and just because I know who Jimmy Collins was and what Duffy's Cliff was and who owned the Third Base Saloon, that doesn't make me a better fan than you. It just makes me a bigger nerd.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A to Z Day Thirteen: Handel's "Messiah"

I defy you to not get chills listening to this, The Hallelujah Chorus performed inside a Macy's in Philadelphia.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A To Z Day Eleven: Charlie Brown and the Kite Eating Tree



Most everyone knows who Charlie Brown is. The comic strip "Peanuts" and it's characters are known, I think, around the world. As with any great art, it works on two levels- a tale about a kid trying to fly a kite, and a kind of Sisyphean labor. Charlie Brown bargains with the tree, begs it, defies it, dares it, but still it sits there, implacable, endlessly hungry, ruining his day over and over again, heartless and cruel. I don't know what the late Mr. Schulz intended the tree to "represent", but I think everyone can appreciate a foe that just won't let you have a good time, no matter how hard you try to avoid it.