Friday, November 30, 2007

Everything's Gonna Be Alright...

Sorry I’ve been absent here a bit this week, but it’s for good reason. I’ve been enjoying some off-line email exchanges with an old member of the notorious West Point Skateboard Gang as we were referred to by many distaining parents, teachers, civic leaders, girlfriends mothers, etc… This guy has been MIA since I last saw him here in Atlanta within the first couple of weeks of moving here myself back in 1991. He came in to the city for the day, we attended a Braves game with some of his friends, deeked back a bunch of beers later that night, and ended up playing guitar and singing a couple of tunes on the deck of some bar in Buckhead into the wee hours. Either we weren’t half bad, or the hour was so late that the Life College undergrads who were calling out requests were lying to us. We did a scorching rendition of Elton’s “Daniel” as I recall. Oh yeah, did I mention that he’s a smokin’ guitar player? We were in a couple of bands together during high school and shared a house of ill repute for a year or so afterwards before everybody split in all different directions.

Although the reconnection didn’t come via the blogosphere, the word of his return to the land of the living has benefited from the mediums viral effect, this post included. Turns out that out of our little gang of skateboard rock and roll delinquents, he can count himself amongst what seems like a growing cadre of doctorial conferred members (here too), and a larger group of those in the profession of high learning. Who’d of thunk it?

From the conversation we’ve shared, he’s happier than he’d ever expected to be and is STILL as obsessed with music as the rest of us are. It’s truly great to be back in contact with him.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dr. David Palmer.

In honor of the occasion, I’ve added a song to the player in the blog's margin that was written with the lone MIA member of our gang in mind. It was recorded in 1989 here in Atlanta, written by Jackson and myself. A thunderous Brian Spears (RIP) can be heard keeping it all together with some superb drumming, along with what I think is the greatest Joe Walsh like guitar solo ever to be played by none other than Mitch Turner. Bass is being handled by my good friend and neighbor Dr. Bryan R. Caldwell who was Brain Spears roommate at the time, and long time fellow studio rat. If you can keep my woeful Ozzy like vocal from turning you off, you can hear a bunch of guys who can actually play. The lyrics Jackson pulled together for this were perfect IMHO. I’ll say it again, other than sex, there is nothing more fun than recording music, even bad music.

Welcome to the fold Dave, and here’s hoping our MIA guy is out there somewhere, is as happy as the rest of us are, and living the life he always wanted.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why we need the death penalty...

To awful to detail, but you get the idea. See here. With the Riley Ann Sawyer murder being commited in Texas I'm betting Mr. Zeigler and Ms. Trenor will surely get the gas face after being forced to re-live the horror they put that kid through. It'll be a better planet without them. Fucking animals...

I'm not sure this chick deserves the needle, but perhaps a very long stretch will give her time to think. She didn't know she was pregnant. One word for you missy: BULLSHIT.

What is the matter with these people?

Monday, November 26, 2007

There are many jokes to crack, but this is still sad...

Land Shark...

The cautious optimism that is beginning to emanate out of Baghdad lately had an almost deadly set back that is providing some nervous hilarity after a wedding party was stopped at a road block twenty clicks north of the capital city. You can read the details here. Apparently they were shooting for this... But ended up going with this...

I wonder what gave them away? You'd figure with Osama BL's affinity for Whitney he could come up with a more believable disguise for this fucktard.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Blog Reading Level...

I found this over at Balloon Juice this morning. It looks like IDM and Savage Distortion share this dubious distinction:

Must be our shared love of heavy metal...

With that glancing blow I was curious to see how others on my blogroll would fair. Remember, this shit is scientifically proven by scientists.

Dangerous Spork:

The fix must have been in...


That's gotta hurt...

My Dirty Life & Times

With Tom's cootie love of Hillary lately, I'm not surprised.

But check out who gets all the MENSA love...

Mother Goldstein

Look at the big brain on Hue!!! I'll bet it's the Gump Worsley card in his margin.

Coming Home...

I'm not really a big fan of turkey, but there is one great thing about the Thanksgiving holiday that always gets me excited and that's the coming home aspect. I remember the feeling of returning home from college for the few days we got and seeing friends, family, etc... and just chilling out. It's just the greatest feeling in the world.

This Thanksgiving is no exception. My brother in law Chief Petty Officer Charles Quick returned from a six month cruise on the USS Doyle Sunday and is now home with his family. This time, it's for good. Chuck is retiring after twenty years of service to our nation. He'll join the civilian life and get to come home to his family at the same house every night. This may seem like a small thing to many of us, but for the thousands of men and women serving in our military it is not.

We all need to remember this as we sit down at our tables Thursday. Thousands will not be as lucky to have their guy or gal in attendance and it's important we all acknowledge them and give them thanks. As Chuck can surely attest, kids don't stop growing while you're away and there is a lot you miss. This is the sacrifice people! This is what these folks give up for us. They go out on patrols in dangerous places not just while we eat our Thanksgiving dinner, but while their wives give birth to their sons and daughters, while their kids learn to ride a bike, while their kids become teenagers without them. These lost moments are more valuable then any diamond in the world. If a sailor or a soldier ever tells you that it's not that big of a deal, be sure he or she is saying this only to avoid making you feel uncomfortable or guilty.

So much has happened since Chuck's ship pushed away from it's moorings at the Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville FL last April. For one thing, I am now his neighbor. This is a good thing since my dad and I are the lone males amongst the large gaggle of women in the twisted dysfunction that is the Peachtree City Georgia based Alva family. Christ, even the animals are all female! Dad and I could certainly use the support.

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you what I’m thankful for this holiday season. I hope you all feel as lucky as I do. The photo below simply says it all...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

And they never put the records back in their sleeves...

This was included with the last Leftsetz Letter. Hilarious...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Laugh of the day...

Michael D. the new conservative writer at John Cole's Balloon Juice dropped this photo into a post about the Creation Museum's expansion plans (so many dillusionally insane people and no where to put them). For the second time these guys have made me laugh so hard I begin to tear. Thanks Michael and John. Enjoy everyone!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

My favorite songs in the world: Some Tea and Sympathy

Beth at Cup of Coffey was thoughtful enough to add The Plimsouls “Million Miles Away” to her Mix Tape Friday’s” post for which I am grateful, but she also included Cat Stevens “I Think I See the Light” inspired after seeing Harold & Maude recently. As I left a comment for her, I began to feel a post coming on. Many folks may not dig him, but I love Cat Stevens for two reasons and they are as follows…

My mother was a huge Cat fan from back in the day. While I was oblivious as to why at the time, my mom played records a great deal when my dad was away, especially when he was hardship stationed (w/out family for non-military folks) to Korea in 1973 and the rest of us waited the year out in San Jose, California. My mom is an excellent musician and on those lonely nights when she was missing my dad so much she thought her heart would give out, she played records (loudly!) and accompanied them on the piano late into the night. Sometimes we kids would be awaken by her big voice and piano, but I can never recall any of us ever complaining about it, in fact we loved it, at least I did. Now I know that her love of music was what got her through those rough times as it has done for me on so many occasions throughout my life. There was no avoiding familiarity with the Cat Stevens catalog based on this. Now I spin these records and accompany them at night sometimes.

The other reason I enjoy Cat’s music relates more to understanding what a lot of his music is about. On those early records the guy is obviously searching for answers and his soul is quite unsatisfied. I’ve known a few guys in my life who have shared this desire to have all the questions answered and are generally restless and unhappy spiritually. Some find their way to religion as a result, others to mystics, authors, philosophers, etc… I’ve traveled this road a bit myself, and have felt the impatience with wanting to know. The only real conclusion I’ve come to so far is that many people jump too quickly.

We all know Cat found his answers in Islam and practices a strict form of the faith that considers song an affront to Allah of some sort. That is regretful. All the gossip surrounding him lately in no way diminishes what I think is a very well crafted and sincere catalog of songs. They vividly convey his torment in a way I can relate to. Perhaps he’ll one day recognize that he was closer than he thought to finding answers when he was writing and playing music.

I again failed to narrow down to a single song so I’ve picked four. I commented on Beth’s blog that I thought the “Mona Bone Jakon” album was a better listen overall than “Tea for the Tillerman”, but I happened to catch ‘Harold and Maude’ on HBO Thursday night myself and it made me reconsider this as absolute.

“Miles from Nowhere” from Tea for the Tillerman - This track has such great dynamics it’s like three songs in one. Love the lyrics, love the peaks and valleys, love the loud boisterous verses.

“Trouble” from Mona Bone Jakon – I got peaked about this song as a result of seeing Harold and Maude for the first time. The director’s use of it was perfect in my opinion.

“Katmandu” from Mona Bone Jakon - If I had to pick between them all, I’d have to go with this one as my fav. It’s got Peter Gabriel playing the haunting flute part and the lyrics are simply sublime. It always reminds me of the feeling you get when you come home from college or something.

“Tea for the Tillerman” – I was so excited to hear this as outro music to Ricky Gervis’s HBO series “Extras”. How can anyone NOT like this little song?

Bring tea for the Tillerman, steak for the sun
Wine for the women who made the rain come
Seagulls sing your hearts away
‘Cause while the sinners sin, the children play
Oh lord how the play and pray for that happy day
For that happy day!

As always, click the player to hear the tracks and let me know what you think.

Monday, November 05, 2007

You always remember your first...

I had a great time attending a concert this weekend and it had nothing to do with the bands or the music they played. The reason I enjoyed the event so much was that I got to take my 14 year old niece to her very first concert (Fallout Boy with Plain White Tee’s and Gym Class Heroes as opening acts). Not only did she get to see the show, but due to the generosity and thoughtfulness of some very good friends of mine, my niece actually got to meet her favorite band before the show. She has in the last year or so fallen in love with pop music and much to her joy, received an iPod for her birthday this past summer that has since never been far from her grasp.

While technology has changed by quantum leaps, the process of falling in love with music seems to have changed very little. I began my love affair with music listening to top forty AM radio in the fifth grade. From there, word of mouth from kids at school and friends older brothers whom I thought were cool guided my early record purchases. About the same time (1976), FM radio was fast becoming the main stay for album oriented rock (AOR). Each record I purchased deepened my obsession with rock and roll music that carries on to this day. I couldn’t wait for the chance to see my first show and would bum out for weeks when my friends got to attend a concert, usually as a reluctant guest of their older brother/sister.

Everybody remembers their first concert. I remember mine like it was yesterday (Starz opening for J. Geils Band, Eisenhower Hall, Fall of 1977). I still listen to both acts regularly and just recently re-purchased J. Geils ‘Monkey Island’ on vinyl. I remember the anticipation that began the minute my ticket was purchased. I dreamt of the performances for weeks ahead of the show and listened to nothing but the two bands records exclusively in the interim. What little time I spent previously in school actually paying attention to what my teachers were blathering on about was now spent day dreaming about loud ear splitting guitars being played by long haired dudes in spandex pants. One thing I did have that my niece is without were record jackets with pictures to get lost in. I’d stare at the album covers for hours while blasting the tunes and imagining what it was going to be like. I was NOT disappointed. In fact, it was about the coolest thing that had ever happened to me up to that point in my life.

My niece was every bit as excited as I was back then. I’m not sure what I would have done had I got a chance to meet the guys in Starz or J. Geils (oddly enough, I did meet guitarist Richie Ranno from Starz some 25 years later and he had very vivid recollections of the Eisenhower Hall show), but I can say with certainty that I would have shared the grin my niece is wearing in the above picture. I knew every lyric of every song as did my niece when the diminutive Fallout Boy hit the stage for their set Saturday night.

What really brought a smile to my face was what I got to witness before the show. The logistics for the event had us meeting a contingency of sweepstakes contest winners from around the country at a hotel forty five minutes from the venue. We happened to have arrived first and boarded this decked out party bus that would take us all over to the show. As the out of town contestants arrived and boarded the bus, my normally shy and slightly introverted niece immediately began chatting wildly with what were only a minute ago perfect strangers. That is the power of music my friends.

I’ll say this too: It is the reason EVERY parent should make it a point to try and keep current with what their kids are listening to, no matter how crappy and/or distasteful you might find the music to be. Find a way to enjoy some aspect of it and even if it’s easy to do, try your best not to ridicule it either. Kids will inevitably grow out of their first pop idol infatuations, but at the moment the sun rises and sets on these one hit wonders and they probably have more influence on your kid than you do.

For my niece’s first show, she got to meet her favorite band in person and witness her muse play their stuff from close up floor seats, lights, pyro, confetti, $50.00 plus concert shirt and all. As she ran down the experience to me afterwards all I could do was listen and smile. I knew she didn’t want to hear a recount of my similar experience 30 years ago. Perhaps someday she will. No, all I could do was nod in silent acknowledgment and share in the joy of seeing her heroes spill their blood on the stage. For me, a bunch of unremarkable samie/samie performances of songs that sort of all blend into each other. For her though, an experience that she will NEVER forget as long as she lives.

I'm truly glad to have been there. It was a good night indeed…

Thursday, November 01, 2007

This Blows...

I can understand Army's AD following orders and I suppose with the need for new officers growing it makes sense, but for the program, players, and fans this is sad:

In one of the more bazaar events I can recall in my years in intercollegiate athletics, I have been put in the position to rescind my recommendation for all of you Jacket fans to make plans to visit West Point next season for our return game at Army. Loyal readers of The Good Word will recall that in my last edition, I talked about what a great pleasure it will be to visit such a prestigious and hallowed place for a game in 2008. While the venue remains as I described, circumstances have abruptly changed and Georgia Tech's visit there will not occur.

Let me explain.

Less than an hour before the kickoff of our homecoming game, Kevin Anderson, Director of Athletics at the Academy, hand delivered to me a letter stating that Army would exercise an option to cancel next year's return game scheduled for October 11, 2008. It is indeed an extremely rare occasion for any school to opt out of a home game, after playing that opponent already on the road. But the explanation was clearly verbalized in the letter I read that afternoon at
Bobby Dodd Stadium.

"After evaluating the limited depth on our roster, we realize that playing consecutive games against schools from major conferences is not in the best interest of our program or our cadets," wrote Mr. Anderson. "Under similar circumstances in years past, our players have suffered numerous injuries that have threatened both their athletic and military careers."

Wow. In light of our world circumstances, what was I to say to that rationale? I have made an offer to perhaps find a different place in the schedule for the game, but that resolution was not possible after a subsequent conversation with Mr. Anderson. In the meantime, we have moved swiftly to identify other possibilities that could bring a seventh home game to
Bobby Dodd Stadium in '08. Stay tuned for developments as they occur in the coming days and weeks.

Finally, I would reiterate that is was truly an honor to host the United States Military Academy for the game on the flats 10 days ago. As Mr. Anderson went on to say is his letter to me: "We need to be careful as we focus on our primary mission to produce leaders for our nation's Army."

Well said, Kevin. We wish you guys nothing but the best!

There's no ill will from me towards Kevin Anderson and I'm sure he was simply following orders from the Superintendent. I don't second guess the decision and I appreciate GT athletic Director Dan Radakovich being so magnanimous about it.

I genuinely looked forward to hosting our local tailgate crew back in my hometown as much as I look forward to Christmas, so this bums me out pretty bad. I know one way to make it alright would be for Army to whip Air Force this weekend. Let's hope it can happen because they return to Michie Stadium to take on Rutgers.