Saturday, December 06, 2008

A clever title, with a thought provoking double meaning.

Nothing too much going on right now, in the way of passions or protests. I've just been relaxing today ... well ... for the past 4 hours of today. Relaxation seems to take longer than stressfulness. A person can get stressed at the drop of a hat. (Where did that expression come from?) It takes awhile to relax. For me the relaxation started at lunch. Sort of.
Okay, it started at Borders, where I bought the Anti-Federalist Papers. But the book store, full of punk kids, crying babies, and Xmas-loving mongrel-idiots did little to alleviate my stress, so I took my new book to a better venue.

I went to my favorite restaurant in the world, Bombay Grill in Avon, CT. I like to get the lunch buffet when it's available (between 11:30 am and 2:30 pm, daily) because I can sample more than one particular dish. Now, this has a pro and a con. The pro is, of course, that I enjoy variety, and when it comes to my gustatorial habits I like to experience as much as I can. The con being that a buffet dish is not made with the same care and quality as a singular dish, and is never as spicy as I like; the mass populace partakes of the buffet, and the mass populace has a palate that averages on the mild side. Zachy-like-the-spicy!
I also enjoy the buffet for the simple reason that it's cheaper than an ordinary dish. An entrée costs, on average, $15, whereas the buffet rests at an easy $8.95. The average entrée will fill me up and keep me satisfied for an appropriate amount on time, so it's really a good deal. However, the buffet ... ohh, the buffet! Which brings me to my third reason preferring the buffet when possible:
When I really like something a lot I like to eat such an obscene amount of food that it's difficult to walk for a good hour, and I'm not hungry again for a really ... really long time. For example, when I left the restaurant over 3 and a half hours ago I was so stuffed that I walked to my car with a limp. Can you explain how that makes sense? That a man would eat so much food he limps?! My theory is that the food settled on the right side of my stomach. I dunno how it happens, but at that buffet I eat what must be considered a sinful amount of food. On the other hand, it does improve my posture, due to the fact that if I don't sit/stand with my back straight as an ironing board, then my stomach just doesn't have enough room to contain its contents. Seriously ... it hurts to slouch with that much food.

And I love it.

Today I learned about a new dish. I was the only patron left in the restaurant at 2:30 (it closes between 2:30 and 5pm for some reason), so I asked about a part of the buffet I hadn't seen before, and the waiter gladly described it for me, and showed me how to prepare it, and told me how to eat it. My mistake was asking this after I had stuffed myself silly, THEN had dessert ... THEN I asked about the food, and he made it for me, so I couldn't not eat it! Not only did I not want to insult him, but I also really really wanted to try something new. I'll spare you the description, and only say that the dish is called Panipuri. The description in the wikipedia article is roughly what I had. It was so good, and only served on weekend buffets, which is why I hadn't seen it before. I seriously can not wait to go back and try it on a reasonably empty stomach, so that I can feel the pleasure of it in my mouth and not feel the pain of it in the belly. I only ate two of the three he prepared, and explained that I had already stuffed myself silly (can you use that expression twice in the same paragraph?), and he laughed and understood.

So ... that painfully obscene, and nearly grotesque lunch was the beginning of my relaxation today.
I proceeded from there to Barnes and Noble so that I could relax, digest, and read a couple chapters of Watchmen in a big comfy chair.

If you don't know what Watchmen is, then you really ought to stay tuned, because in my next entry I fully intent on delving into the awesomeness that is graphic novels, and particularly Watchmen.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Bob Loblaw Law Blog

Okay, okay, I may have dropped the ball on the whole "once a week" promise I made when I revitalized this blog. I'm sure all TWO people who've read it are so disappointed.

Onto lighter matters than the previous couple updates. I decided to pick up this blog a couple weeks after I realized that a lot of the sites I visit daily are available as RSS feeds, and so after much searching for RSS readers, I settled on the Google reader, which I keep handy right on my iGoogle homepage. After getting that all organized, I had blog on the the brain, and came here to my old blogger.

And here I am. So I'd like to share with you what I've got on my blogfeed, and why. And maybe a couple other sites I visit daily, as well. Here's the short list:
A Process Driven Life
Doctor Fiorello's Sing-Along-Blog
GelaSkins What's the Skinny?
The Comics Curmudgeon
The RiffTrax Blog

The Process Driven Life
The Process Driven Life is authored by Michael Bunker - the man I look up to probably more than any other living man. I admire both his doctrine and the way he lives out his worldview. Now, don't get me wrong, he is a man, and thus fallible. But I happen to agree with him on pretty much everything, when it comes to The Bible. He's not the most eloquent writer or speaker, I have to admit. But what he lacks in organization in his articles and sermons, he more than makes up for in content.
He is the author of both The Process Driven Life, as well as The Center for Agrarian Homesteading Education blogs, and I get them both in my RSS Reader, and devour them with much pleasure and delight. His blogs range from typical updates on his daily life trying to live out his Biblical agrarian worldview, to Q+A's that he takes from his world wide web of Internet "students", to multi-part disquisitions for his followers to glean wisdom from. I am a such a follower.
Doctor Fiorello's Sing-Along-Blog
My buddy Chris (earlier referred to here) maintains this blog from his new home- Seoul, South Korea. He has been sort of updating all of us back home with his new life in Korea. Obviously I tune into his exploits, and musings, because he's a very good friend of mine, but also because, simply put, he is quite smart, and I enjoy reading what smart people have to say. Oh course, he and I have many ... many points of contention, but of course, I have nothing but respect for people who have actually well thought out ideas, regardless of whether or not I agree with them. (As opposed to my seething hatred and loathing for people agree OR disagree with me who refuse to think things out.) In any case, Chris and I agree about all most core issues, and many peripheral issues, so it's not like we debate every time we're together.
Man, do I digress. IN ANY CASE ... Chris has been a friend of mine for a long time, and I enjoy him in every appropriate way a man should enjoy another man ... which includes enjoying his scant blog updates, which I'm sure have a larger audience than my scant updates. ~_~
GelaSkins What's the Skinny?
GelaSkins Blog is authored by the guys over at, where I bought my super awesome cell phone skin. Yes, I have a 16th century painting adorning my cell, and you know you want one, too.
In any case, the blog over there is just a fun little blog, mostly with updates about the site itself, and often showcases various artists, both those whose works are used for their many skins, and others who aren't, but are just as cool. Any contemporary art fans should def. go check out the blog archives there, as well as the many artists used for the skins.
The Comics Curmudgeon
Here is one of my favorites. The Comics Curmudgeon takes your daily newspaper comic strips, and lampoons them, in a fashion similar to MST3K. Not only does is mock the "funny" strips, but he has opened my eyes to the world of soap opera strips! Who knew there was such a thing?! No one! Because they are so freaking awful. Which provides Josh with much fodder for his blog. Seriously, though ... does anyone read Mary Worth and enjoy it? Yikes.
The RiffTrax Blog
The RiffTrax Blog is authored by the three guys who starred in Mystery Science Theatre, as well as one of the writers from the Rifftrax. For those who don't know, has carried on the MST3K vision, however with blockbuster modern movies, now-a-days ... no longer the campy, crusty, and super old cheese-flicks from yesteryear.
These guys are just my brand of funny, so I really look forward to their musings. Topics in this blog range from Joey Pants, to bacon, to random YouTube videos they find worthy of making fun of. Special entries about quarters are always treasured with pleasure.
Over at I get my inside scoop and updates on the hit NBC show "The Office" starring Steve Carrel. One "L" or two? Meh.
The site is good for cool updates and spoilers, and fun little facts. However the woman who keeps it is just a horrible site editor with Nazi like regulations, and the majority of the users at the site overuse the phrase "That's what she said" and in instances where it doesn't even make sense, and isn't funny. Example: I might say, "The sandwich I had for lunch today was really big," to which they would respond with, "TWSS!" Uhm ... no ... The WHOLE SENTENCE has to work in order for it to be funny, or even make sense.
Anyway ... the I tune into the site for spoilers, and cool factoids, and insider information.
Not really a blog, so much as an RSS feed of music. is a website devoted to the community of talented artists, and mix artists who take classic video game music, and give us masterful interpretations and "remixes." Only the good stuff gets onto the site, after being reviewed by a panel of judges. For that nostalgic Mario music you used to love, head over to the site, and find MANY different, professional, and awesome takes on the music everybody grew up with. is a website with videos made by a guy named Doug. And yes, he has glasses. He started out by making youtube videos of "5 second movies" where he would take moments from popular films and condense them to the epitomal moments, to produce a usually hilarious little film. And none of them are 5 second long. They usually are between 6 and 20 seconds. If you visit his site, I would suggest that you visit that section first, and look for any movies you've seen before, and check out his "5 second" take on them. He then began doing the Nostalgia Critic videos, in which he reviews nostalgic movies and shows from my generations childhood. Anyone born between 1975 and 1985 will PROBABLY recognize most of the stuff he reviews, and if you're okay with irreverent humor, I would check it out. He then created a couple other characters for his site, and then began taking other contributors for his site for related topics and humor videos. So I check it every day, because there's new videos on there at least a once a week ... usually more.
Well, that's about it for the sites I check out daily, or have in my RSS feed, other than e-mail and Facebook type stuff. I hope you enjoyed it, and maybe even check out some of the sites. If not ... ehh ... whatever, have it your way.
Well, I'm deeply interested in what sites other folks check out every day, and what blogs and RSS feeds you keep updated on. Comment and let me know, cause I'd love to hear about it.
Peace out, Seacrest.

Can I borrow a prayer?

O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.

There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.

I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.

Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.

My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off. They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.

But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.

For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.

For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin. But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied. They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is.

Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me. Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Choosing Your Jailer (or) Why Your Vote Doesn't Count

For today I'm going to put away my "sniper rifle" and take out my "shotgun" for some scattershooting ... if you will. Beware: the rants you are about to witness are broad, quick, and messy. Never-the-less, they are on target, so don't get too comfy.

The word of the day is politics. It's one week from "election" day (yes, I purposely used quotation marks ... as opposed to these folks). I started this blog with the intention of eventually writing a politically charged rant at some point, but constantly put it off. Debating politics is like winning the special Olympics ... even if you win the government has you by the short hairs. In any event, I wanna share my brain droppings, because I know you wanna lap up my droppings to fuel your brain.

What a gross start to an otherwise innocuous blog entry.

Political rallies: Who goes to these things? How little of a life to you have to have to actually WANT to go hang out with thousands of sweaty idiots so you can all scream, idolize, chant, and otherwise lick the boot of whatever megalomaniacle fascist you think will look good in the annals of history as "serving the American people"? The speeches are always the same fluff about how, "I'm going to do so many good things for you, and my opponent wants to do so many bad things to you." Yeah? I'm sure you're right about one of those things, however anybody who is power hungry enough to be the president wants to do it for THEMSELVES, not for you. I will never understand why people love rallies so much. My High School even had a School Pride Rally once, and I was forced to be there. Rallies are nothing more than a bucket of filth for people whose taste buds has been microwaved into numbness and who crave something rather than something substantial.

Racism: I was listening to NPR in my car today. It was a bunch of black mothers who flat out said that they are voting for Obama because he's (a)capable of being the president, and (b) black like them. I'm sorry, but is this not racism in the stupidest degree? I know for a fact that if white folks went all over the TV and radio saying that they're voting McCain because he's capable of being president, and white like them, they would be hung in effigy quicker than you can look up how to spell "effigy" ... which I had to do ... I gave it two e's and no i the first time around.
On top of the blatant and flagrant racism of these women they mentioned how they want Obama to win so that when they tell their children "you can grow up to do or be whatever you please" they don't have to say it with a grain of salt, because they'll have President Obama for proof. Excuse me, but NO ... no one can grow up to become whatever they want. That is the biggest American Lie there is. A kid with a missing leg can't grow up to beat Michael Phelps' gold medal record just because he wants to, and a child who wants to be superman simply will never have super powers. This isn't really a political statement, so much as it's a simple fact. I hope I never have to say this again, but Mick Jagger was right - you can't always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you might just find you get what you need. And some people need to be put in prison ... regardless of growing up wanting to be a felon/President.

Which doesn't necessarily bring me to ... Rhetoric! Now, hear me out, here ... I don't want either man for president, and I will be equally displeased with whichever one wins. Continuing ... I've seen the debates, and video of the rallies. I know the rhetoric. It's Obama saying "Change" ad infinitum ad nauseum, and McCain saying "Experience" ad infinitum ad nauseum. But neither man addresses each other ... ESPECIALLY during debate, when they are supposed to address each other. McCain doesn't logically tackle Obama's premise that change is necessary, nor does he discuss the changes he would make. And when confronting Obama on experience, he doesn't try to express WHY experience is a necessity. Nor does Obama address McCains claim that experience is prerequisite for election, and he certainly doesn't explain why change is good. Hitler changed Germany, so clearly "Change" isn't a platitude worthy of being pronounced a priori. I'm sick of the meaningless banter, the empty rhetoric, and the banal debates. My ears and intellect are too good to put up with, this, or any other year.

Why don't I like Obama? There's too many reasons. In no particular order:
He is anti-gun. He has too many times made it clear that the second amendment means nothing to him. He's repeatedly voted to ban guns, which is fundamentally anti-American, and anti-freedom. No one can reasonably be called free, unless he can lawfully protect themselves, and guns are dreadfully important both in defense against crooks, and especially in defense against crooked government, as was the purpose in writing the second amendment.
He is pro-death. The man has voted to take away the most basic freedom of any human, and that is to exist. I've heard every argument from pro-abortion puppets, and none of them hold water. Calling it a "right to chose" is incredibly dangerous - yes, people DO have certain rights, but ending a human life when unprovoked never was, and never will be a right, no matter what the government says. And all this stuff about a fetus not being a human is (forgive the oxymoron) clear crap. A sperm will always be a sperm forever, till it fertilizes an egg or dies. And an egg will always be an egg till it's fertilized or dies. Neither of them grow, neither of them lasts, and we flush them down the toilet every day. However, at conception ... at the moment that egg is fertilized, it is now something that will naturally grow and develop. YOU were never a sperm, or an egg ... however you WERE a fetus, and that much is fact.
He is pro-war. This one almost makes me laugh, in that so many people are going to vote for him under the pretense that he is anti-war, because he says he's for a withdrawal from Iraq. But he has said plenty of times ... and I heard him say it at the very first presidential debate, that he wants to take the troops out of Iraq to put them elsewhere in Asia - North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, etc. This is far from anti-war. You know the A+TT commercials that advertise "More bars, in more places"? Obama wants more war, in more places. A preemptive war is an unjust war. This is like the movie Minority Report; they punish you for crimes that you didn't even do. It's absolutely unjust.

Why don't I like McCain? Too many reasons.
He's pro-war ... that one is self explanatory.
He's pro abortion, so long as you say you were raped, or got knocked up from a family member.
He's anti-second amendment, in that there are guns he'd like to ban. He also willfully ignores how anti-gun his "opponent" is.
And he's just more of the same thing. Just like Obama will be more of the same thing.

Hence the title of this entry. Whoever wins, I guarantee you that America will lose. Because both of these candidates support huge government control, oppose constitutional freedoms, and will further America's decline into the belly of the beast. The presidential system of government, as it is in America, is clearly flawed, when it allows rulers like the many of the ones we've had for the past 147 years. At this point in history, voting is essentially like letting a prisoner chose his jailer. It's not freedom if after the election you're still essentially in jail. Which is why, till things change, I will elect to freely abstain from voting. Voting for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil. Voting for 3rd party candidate is acknowledging and approving of a broken system. Right now what we need is a new system.

People will inevitably, and have already on many occasions, tell me to move the heck out of America if it's so durn bad. That sort of false dichotomy type of thinking is not only flat out stupid, but it's ... well, I got nothin' ... it's just stupid. America is so much more than a government. The only people who equate a country with its government are people who grew up in public school reading the history books where all history throughout time was political in nature. History and countries are much more than what a government does. It is a people, a culture, a bordered piece of land, and an ideology, among many other things. And while I may not like some of what America is, their are things that I do like about America. It's simply ignorant to tell someone to love it or leave it. It assumes that people deserve to have what they love (which they don't), and it assumes that the person thinks like you do (which they don't ... they're much wiser than you, I promise).

Finally, I'd like to offer my election prediction, if I may. What? You say I mayn't? I don't care,; it's my blog and I'll do what I like.
I think McCain will win. I think that Obama supporters will be lax on voting, because they think he's a shoe in, and McCain supporters will show up in large droves to support the underdog. It's a close enough "race" that it'll acually make a difference when it happens. Frankly, though, I really don't care what happens ... I just like predicting. I could be way off the mark. *Meh* = me not caring.
Even if Obama wins, I'd bet 200:1 that some crazy racist tries to assassinate him within the first 5 years.

There you have it folks ... my political rantology is complete. And I hope to never touch the subject again ... until the next big political event rolls around.

PS. "Etta Baker with Taj Mahal" is a fantastic album, that comes with my high approval. I suggest that anyone with discerning musical tastes, and appreciation for true American-style music, go find a copy (legal, or otherwise) and download it ... or, ya know ... buy it. That, along with anything either Etta or Taj have done individually.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Le poèt et le prédicateur.

Back in High School I was best of friends with a fellow by the name of Chris. We were the original odd couple. He was a mathematician poet, while I was the preacher of philosophy. No two minds could ever be more brilliantly opposing than ours were. This fuelled our friendship, and conversation for many a year. Where we differed we differed passionately, and where we agreed we were a force to be reckoned with. And if we each had half a brain, then together we still wouldn't have half a brain. And yet we thought ourselves to be intellectual monsters, amidst our peon peers in public school. Which we were, to be totally truthful. How many other people would compare themselves to Plato (myself), and Aristotle (Christopher)? The comparison surely fit, in our own odd way. Now-a-days, with our interests leaning more Biblio-centered, we would probably be likened more unto John Wesley (Christopher), and George Whitefield (myself).
In high school we could be seen roaming the halls, in a fevered discussion of some sort; or lounging in the weight room during gym class, heatedly debating; or sharing our musings and mumblings in study halls and "life skills" class; and during lunch we were often found to be eating. But in the midst of all this seriousness was quite a large amount of tomfoolery, and almost as much of ballyhoo. Our conversation wasn't made complete till it was heavy laden with punch drunkenness. For example, we once paired our respective powers of intellect together, and came up with Maph and its one working example - by merging math and philosophy together we proved that it is indeed "better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." Therefore, in the spirit of presenting serious subjects in a lighthearted manner (or is it presenting lighthearted objects in a serious manner?), I offer unto you a series of poems Chris and I wrote many years ago ... I would say, roughly 6 and a half years ago ... give or take half a year. I have retained the original spelling, capitalization, and punctuation in transcribing these hand-written pseudo-treasures. Enjoy!

Untitled Poem by Zachariah Patterson
Fade to grey, button tops
trying to hide, killing cops
I've gotta birdy in my hand
like a dessert, survey the land
Searching life for my desire
Gotsta find the right way out
Classified ads "wanted for hire"
Could we be taking the wrong route?
Friends just staring, like sitting ducks
madness has run amok
Every one just wants a buck
And it seems like we're all out of luck

Butt Char by Zachariah Patterson
Look! My grinder on the floor
rain is falling on the door
in front of us is a store
we're waiting for our friends some more
They'll soon be here, I am sure
We tell tales of mystic lore
about those hearts that are kept pure
By us drive a nice green car
I presume that our friend ain't far
lo, rain still falls on the tar
If we played golf we'd miss the par.
Maybe they're drinking in the bar
we should check, I'm sure they are,
they burned our food, it is butt char

Untitled Poem by Christopher Fiorello
As I look down, toward the wheel
I see some steamy oatmeal
the steam, it rises to the top
and starts a tango with a mop.
The mop, however wants to waltz
and steam get shafted - its his faults.
Jeff and Adrienne will jaunt
and visit us while teeth they flaunt
A very pretty girl is he
Jeff has the gift of Monody.
AJ, on the other hand
would like to swim inside the sand
Zach has food of Hefner's aim
Whilst cowgirls dance with cubist claim
The red-haired violist lulls us all to sleep on oil
and with her pow'r removes us from both man's and Tesla's coil

Untitled Poem with Alternating lines Written by Each of Us by Chris (lines 1, 3, and 5) and Zach (lines 2, 4, and 6)
We run to break, Banana spray
it's my favorite drink, anyway!
Blackend skies collide
falling down on every side
The rain is piercing
please come here, sing!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Artist's Choice

Many years ago my girlfriend (Liz) was in Starbucks buying herself a caffinated beverage of some sort. I doubt it was coffee because (a) Starbucks' regular coffee is horrendous, and (b) girls- nay!, people go to Starbucks to get crazy drinks such as nonfat-nondairy-caffè-latte-macchiato-with-foam-and-sprinkles-hold-the-caffine-and-any-resemblance-to-coffee ... venti, please. In any case, sitting there next to the cash register was a pretty looking CD with Tony Bennett's smiling face on it, labeled "Artists Choice." My lady thought what anyone would have thought at that time, and assumed it was a collection of choice songs from said artist ... that is, that the songs were performed by Benedetto, himself. And what person with a good semi-pseudo-Italian upraising doesn't enjoy the smooth sounds of a Tony Bennett ballad? Buying that, and her non-coffee beverage of choice, she retreated to her car and played the CD to find that it hadn't a lick of old (or young) Tony on it, but rather that it was an artist's choice of songs they really liked. Merely a CD of Tony Bennett's favorite or meaningful songs. Luckily, Liz liked listening to the lovely list.

Two summers ago, being influenced by the Artist's Choice concept, she suggested to her friends that we each create an "Artist's Choice" to share with eachother. Everyone seemed to embrace the idea, and within a couple weeks we each had copies of our CD's to pass out to eachother. The deciding factors for which songs would be on our CD's were common to all of us: some songs which had a lot of meaning; songs that moved us; that we enjoyed for the sake of good music; and songs that are just plain fun! Overall, it was a good experience in finding out how we would define ourselfs with a CD full of music, and discovering the music that our friends really like.
After receiving eachothers CD's, (and this is just my gut instinct, not necessarily a fact), I don't think anyone sat down, relaxed, and listened intently to the another persons CD. Well, I did, actually, a number of times. I figure that my friends worked hard on getting a single CD full of music for us, I should indulge them and really listen to what they are saying through the songs they chose, and to enjoy it. After all, that's exactly what I wanted them to do for my Artist's Choice CD.
Regardless of who listened to what, I did listen to the 3 CD's I was given, and I think I learned a lot by them. Things that people might not even know they were revealing. I wonder what I revealed in the songs I chose, that I might not know I revealed.
While I can't know what I don't know, I do know what I have known. And I know why I picked the songs that I did for my Artists Choice. Without further ado, my playlist, and commentary:

Song Title - Artist
South Side of the Sky (Acoustic) - Yes
Locomotive Breath - Jethro Tull
Come Thou Fount - David Crowder Band
I Don't Want to Miss a Thing - Aerosmith
Awaken (1996 live recording) - Yes
Dreamgirl - Dave Mathews Band
My Father's Gun - Elton John
Dogs - Pink Floyd
It's Good to be King - Tom Petty
The More We Live/Let Go - Yes
Sideways - Citizen Cope

South Side of the Sky (Acoustic) - Yes
South Side of the Sky, is off of Yes' fourth album titled "Fragile." It was not originally acoustic, of course, being produced in the early 70's by the progressive rock band of this, that, and any other era. The original has always been one of my favorite Yes songs since I received Fragile as a Christmas gift my freshman(?) year of High School. Killer drums, a thumping bass rythm, twangy rock guitar, make this awesome right off the bat. Beautiful synthesizer playing, sweeping wind effects, ethereal lyrics, and a gentle interlude gives this rock song my absolute seal of approval of being a song EVERYONE should listen to. In fact, I remember working on a street corner one day (building a handycap walkway, I believe) when I heard a dirty looking, old man riding a bicycle sing while waiting for the street light to turn green, "... were we ever colder on that day, a million miles away? It seemed from all of eternity ..." and as soon as I recognized the song I had it in my head till the moment I stepped in my house and was able to turn it on and crank the volume.
The reason I've chosen this acoustic version, is because it's still the same great song, but with a much gentler feel. It starts with a bit of a Calypso feeling to it, and ends on a sweeping, lovely piano solo. A wonderful rendition of a song that will never die for me.
You may watch them play it, from their DVD "YesAcoustic" here:
Locomotive Breath - Jethro Tull
As the last song left off on a piano solo, this one begins on one. Jethro Tull's song, Locomotive Breath, seems, as first glance, to be about a train. Or a trainwreck. It seems to me to be more about a man whose life is really just falling apart. And I almost put Aqualung in place of this, except, this song feels much cooler. I like the image of a life being like a train without a breakhandle, running "headlong to ... death." And how on the way all this "stuff" keeps happening, with no way to stop it.
Also, I love the flute solo. Seriously, have you SEEN Jethro Tull? Check out this live performance of the song: ... the man plays the flute on ONE FOOT (3 minutes, 36 seconds in)! These guys are rock and roll mad men!
Come Thou Fount - David Crowder Band
Now I've somehow slipped a classic hymn into the mix. Come Thou Fount was written by Robert "Bob" Robinson, in the 1700's, and this version is performed by David Crowder Band - a contemporary Christian band who occasionally do a really good song. This is my second favorite hymn, and while it might not be my favorite performance of it, it is still lovely, and beautifully arranged. However, I find that almost no one sings the entire hymn as it was written, and they seem to lop off the final, and my favorite verse. Here is that final verse, that you may enjoy it:
"On that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day."
For those who wish to read my personal reflections on this hymn, you may find it in my old LJ, here:
I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing - Aerosmith
Come on, who does NOT like this song? I, for one, have loved it since the day the movie "Armageddon" came out. And when I got that soundtack (for Christmas ... once again), I would always hear that song, and pine over whoever I had a crush on. That was, of course, when I was in Middle school, and I pined after many a girl. Anyways, pudescent fantasies aside, I now have achieved the woman I desire. And as cliché as it is, I still love this song, and think only of her when I hear it. It's cheesy, over-used, and yet still totally awesome. Plus, Aerosmith performed is during Superbowl half-time, once. Actually, my favorite half-time show ever! I know, I know ... but seriously ... Mick Jager, Prince, Tom Petty, and Paul McCartney are all mostly dead. Check out that show, even if you hate //\\//*Sync: (Aerosmith is at 2 minutes).
Awaken - Yes
Now we come to the first "epic" song on this Artist's Choice. Awaken is off of Yes' eighth studio album, Going For the One (1977). The only reason I pick a live version recorded 19 years after the studio album is, because of technology the synths sound so much cooler. Well, that and Yes always has been the most phenominal live performers ... and are still as hot today as they were 40 years after they first came on the scene. Awaken is simply my favorite song ever, hands down. Ranking in at 18 and a half minutes, most people born after 1980 probably haven't ever heard a song nearly that long. I assure you all that it is worth ever single second, because this song does not let down on ANY front. What seals the deal for me is that roughly 8 minutes in Rick Wakeman gets an extended keyboard solo. And man, does he nail it! It is so hauntingly awesome, that I really don't know what more I an possibly say about this song. I could listen to it over and over, and love it more each time.
You actually can't find the complete song on youtube, due to video time limits. Here are the two parts I found recorded on some guys home video recorder, for anyone interested:
Dreamgirl - Dave Mathews Band
Ahh, love. I love to love. And I love Liz, because she is my dreamgirl. This song is here for the very simple reason that I like it, and it makes me think of Liz, and it makes me happy. So mellow, I can't listen to it without wanting to go on a summer picnic with my lady, and just relax all day.
Don't ask about Julia Roberts ... I don't get it, either.
My Fathers Gun - Elton John
Now, it's anyones guess why a homosexual Brit is singing a song from a confederate soldier's perspective, but that's the great thing about music, isn't it? You can tell any story you want, and make it sound really good. And Elton John does just that. I love his singing, but mostly I love the song for it's story. Suppliment that with the movie "Elizabethtown" where the song is heavily featured in, and it really becomes something I personally love. There is something about a man who relates himself to his father, and taking on the burdens that his father had, that really resonated with me. On the idealogical side of it, I think it's great for men to have a father they can look up to, and follow in the footsteps of. Personally speaking, though, it makes me think of what kind of man my own father is, and it causes me to relate myself to him. Who I am in him, and who I am apart from him? It's been a subject I spent much time pondering for the first 2 years after high school, when I was really forced to "find myself". The song evokes some very important feelings in me, and it feels very personal.
Here the song is put to clips from the movie "Elizabethtown":
Part of why I love the song is because I love the movie, which is very much about fatherhood, but also a guy whose driving around, trying to figure it all out ... which I have done quite often, with the window open, and the music blaring.
Dogs - Pink Floyd
This song really ties into the last song for me. But let's not jump the gun. First of all, this song is awesome, musically speaking. It's from the Pink Floyd album, Animals, which features 3 songs: Dogs, Pigs (Three Different Ones), and Sheep. The songs are loosely based on the Animal Farm depiction of each animal as a social archtype. In rediscovering this album a few years back, my father related himself to one of the "pigs." Having the songs fresh in my own memory, and not clouded by pot and booze, I came to a different conclusion, and when I told him he's more of a dog, he listened to the song, and came to the same semi-sobering conclusion.
Which is why I relate this song to the previous song. Because if my father is a "dog" what does that make me? The verse that is the most haunting is semi-prophetic:
"And when you loose control, you'll reap the harvest you have sown
And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone
And it's too late to loose the weight you used to need to throw around
So have a good drown, as you go down, all alone
Dragged down by the stone."
I just hope that I am not that guy. It's kinda scary.
This song is another epic, clocking in at a touch over 17 minutes, so the videos come in two parts. Here's the studio version:
It's Good to be King - Tom Petty
I remember when this song first came out my mom would listen to it over and over again, and I would always see the video on MTV. I liked the song right from the begining. The music video is so bizare, and fantastic, though, so you need to watch it:
It got on my list by being a song that will never grow old for me, and always let me dream of being king ... of something or other. "Yeah I'll be king when dogs get wings. Can I help it if I still dream time to time?"
The More We Live/Let Go - Yes
This song doesn't really have spectacular lyrics. This, for me, is about the music. I remember when I was a kid, whenever my father got drunk, we would crank the music on our full surround sound system. But no song would he blare louder than this one. I can always remember the night he dragged me into the living room at night, turned on the song, turned down the lights, and turned up the volume, and told me to watch. What fascinated him was that if you watched our 4 foot tall speakers, while the song was blasted at full tilt, the subwoofers in each speaker would emit an eery yellow light. From that moment on I could not listen to the song without having it at max volume. Which is tough in an apartment, when you have to mind the other tennants. It's best to go for a drive, and let it rip.
No idea what the video clip is from, but this is the song as I found it on Youtube:
Sideways - Citizen Cope
At last, after this long musical journey, we come to the end. Such a melancholy song. I'll let it speak for itself, and for me. What does it tell you about me? Here's the full lyrics, followed by video:
"You know it ain't easy
For these thoughts here to leave me
There's no words to describe it
In French or in English
Well, diamonds they fade
And flowers they bloom
And I'm telling you
These feelings won't go away
They've been knockin' me sideways
They've been knockin' me out lately
Whenever you come around me
These feelings won't go away
They've been knockin' me sideways
I keep thinking in a moment that
Time will take them away
But these feelings won't go away"
Future blog posts won't be nearly this long. So thanks for sticking around ... for those of you who have.
Enjoy your day.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Secondarily speaking.

Hey, I know I haven't posted to this blog in almost 3 years.

That's about to change.

LiveJournal is basically dead. Well ... byt that I mean, I've fallen way way WAY out of the habit of using it. Plus, that was more of a personal journal, than a web log.

So here I am, now, at, and I plan to make it my new home for internet musing. I plan to write at least one entry per week, and to make it somehow topical or relevant. This blog is more for that masses than for myself. Don't get me wrong, though. It'll still be highly personal, but it will be written with you in mind.

I'm excited to get into the swing of things.
And I hope you are, too.

Stay tuned ...