January 31, 2006
How about writing something instead of just posting something? There seems to be nothing of note to discuss - life is just going on as usual. Sleep, work/eat, leisure with TV (way too much) or Internet (borderline), sleep more. I used to fit "bike ride" into that schedule but I'm so far removed from that activity that I find it extremely difficult to get motivated for it. I think that's chiefly because once you get out of shape then it becomes a chore instead of a fun leisure time activity. The subtext to that is my ego of being "Mr. Kickass Mountain Biker" in days of yore and now thinking that if I can't just jump on the bike and be him again well then screw it.
I've got to get over that and sooner than later, for sure. I wish I had a quasi-dorky cruiser bike that was really comfortable to sit on and just putt around the neighborhood. Wait, there's another excuse for slack - the streets I have to choose from are the fairly fast traffic road we live on, a narrow road that has a wall of rock on one side and a creek on the other, and a U.S. highway. To do any riding in the nearest neighborhood I would have my choice of going up two streets that average a heinous 20 percent grade for a couple of blocks to get to the top and then cruise down the other side to another busy two lane road. So the preferred thing would be to load up the bike (s? Any chance the wife might be convinced to come?) and go to the Civil War (aka the War of Northern Aggression to some in these parts ) battlefield park, which has some decent roads to cruise on. Imagine the deflating my ego would endure should I hap upon a former pace line compadre (not that they'd notice me).
I do keep busy with the trails thing still, but in the shape I carry currently it wears me slap out. I've been out scouting and marking for a new route at a nearby state park. It's a project that's been put on the back burner for one reason or another for too long, and now that I've got a good look at it I realize it's gonna be a mutha. In some of the lowland creek areas the invasive privet hedge is so thick you can't see three feet into it. And once you get a corridor cut you'll be standing in perennial swamp land. It's the kind of challenge I like, though, very similar to my disposition on biking - anything worth having is worth working for. So lets log off before midnight here and see what tomorrow brings.
January 30, 2006
The Majesty of Rock Quiz
1. Which of the following power-chord anthems influenced Beethoven in composing his power-chord anthem, The Fifth Symphony?
A. Smoke on the Water
B. Iron Man
C. Cat Scratch Fever
2. In which of the following songs does Bob Seger reminisce?
A. Down on Main Street
B. Old Time Rock-N-Roll
C. Like A Rock
D. Against The Wind
E. Night Moves
F. All Of The Above
3. Topic: Bob Seger is to reminiscing what Jerry Seinfeld is to observational humor. Discuss.
4. If Steve Miller went from Phoenix, Arizona all the way to Tacoma, Philadelphia, Atlanta, L.A., and Lowell George went from Tucson to Tucumcari, Tehachapi to Tonopah, and both were traveling at 85 miles per hour and both were semi-sober, who would arrive first in northern California where the girls are warm? Show Your Work (5 points).
5. Which of the following is an actual person?
A. Molly Hatchet
B. Steely Dan
C. Pink Floyd
D. Tipper Gore
E. None of the Above
6. Which of the following bands' music wins the Pabst Blue Ribbon Award for sounding most like a beer commercial?
A. Huey Lewis and the News
B. Lover Boy
C. ZZ Top
D. Bon Jovi
7. Match the musician or band to the individual or band of whom they are basically a cut-rate version (one point each):
A. ___ Southside Johnny-----------1. The Rolling Stones
B. ___ Marilyn Manson-------------2. Allman Bros. Band
C. ___ Aerosmith--------------------3. Bruce Springsteen
D. ___ Meat Loaf--------------------4. Jimi Hendrix
E. ___ Lynard Skynard-------------5. Meat Loaf
F. ___ Robin Trower----------------6. Alice Cooper
8. Which of the following is the worst rock-n-roll song about rock-n-roll?
A. Old Time Rock-N-Roll
B. Rock-N-Roll Hoochie Koo
C. I Love Rock-N-Roll
D. We Built This City
E. All of the Above
9. Physics Theory Question: Could Rod Stewart sell out any further? If “yes” present an equation determining how many light years it would take an average person to get there (4 points).
Here’s a fun game to play while we pause to catch our breath. Use the following band names in varying combinations to create your own laugh-filled variation on Abbott and Costello’s hilarious skit “Who’s on First?”
A. The Who B. The Guess Who C. Was Not Was D. Ah-Ha
10. Which of the following bands started out making decent AOR rock and then devolved into recording cheesy power ballads?
D. REO Speedwagon
E. All of The Above
11. Match the band or individual with the song that should be considered justification for their punishment by death (one point each):
A. ___ Meatloaf-------------1. Amanda
B. ___ Boston---------------2. Anything
C. ___ Jimmy Buffet-------3. I Would Do Anything For Love
D. ___ .38 Special----------4. Cheeseburger in Paradise
E. ___ Loverboy-------------5. Rockin' Into the Night
12. If the Anti-Christ were to have three heads, which of the following bands would comprise those three heads?
A. Journey, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon
B. Quiet Riot, Jefferson Starship, Night Ranger
C. .38 Special, Lover Boy, Def Leopard
D. Ratt, Twisted Sister, White Snake
13. Which dude has the funkiest hair?
A. Keith Richards
C. George Clinton
D. Mike Score (dude from Flock of Seagulls)
14. Which band has the best one-armed drummer?
A. Def Leppard
15. Who Do You Love?
A. Bo Diddley
B. George Thorogood
C. The Doors
D. Ronnie Hawkins
16. Which of the following is actually a law firm and not a band?
A. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
B. Medeski, Martin and Wood
C. Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe
D. Bachman Turner Overdrive
E. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
17. True or False: Gram Parsons is the king of lysergically inclined, Nudie-suited, anti-Nashville mavericks of the late 1960s and early ’70s.
BONUS QUESTION: Beck and Jeff Beck are sitting on a fence. If Beck falls off, who is left? (1/3 point)
1. There's no telling (Whatever also accepted)
4. Lowell George is dead. Steve Miller's career is, too.
5. E (the Tipper Gore had ya goin' there, eh?)
6. A close one, but we gotta give it to B. Loverboy
7. A-3, B-6, C-1, D-5, E-2, F-4
9. Yes - .33 1/3 light years
11. A-2, B-1, C-4, D-5, E-2
12. D, for pure apocalyptic scare value
13. CC, cuz funky begets funky (and I love ya, dred!)
15. A (always the original)
16. E (the Weehauken office)
17. Oh so True
BONUS: The god of all guitar masters. Eat shit, Clapton.
26-33 1/3: You are a true Majesty of Rock. Pick up your air guitar, hair dryer, spandex, and sequined opera cape on the way out.
17-25: Work on your chops in opening bands for a while. You’re not quite ready to headline yet.
8-16: Dude, I’ll bet you think Van Halen wrote All Day and All Night, don’t you?
0-7: American Idol is on tonight (Check local listings or ask mom).
The bulk of this quiz was compiled through the genius of one Michael Hillman, esq. (with a tip o' the hat to O' Tim and The Rock Snob's Dictionary).
Copyright 2006 Michaelopedia Press. All rights reserved.
January 28, 2006
Me? Bill Clinton. Hmm, could be worse. I was kind of hoping for Harry Truman but at least it wasn't you-know-who. Good thing they didn't ask about mountain biking...
Take the test and then comment back here if you will.
January 26, 2006
Opposition - For your health!
Mark, I have disdain for the neo-con dogma of pre-emptive war, which I see as a heinous hijacking of our initial purpose after 9-11: justice and OK, while we've got the world on our side, revenge.
I, and a hell of a lot of people do not see/regard what we're are doing in the Middle East as revenge. A common misconception is that Israelis, as well, are always out for revenge on the Arabs. Spielbergs lates piece of crap, Munich, isn't helping. Jews are prohibited from partaking in Schadenfreude, or taking pleasure in the misfortune of others. Their war on terrorism is necessary for the very survival of Israel. It is not something they have chosen to do.
You obviously hold a strong feeling that the Islamofascists must be dealt with post-haste. I don't know enough to disagree, but Iraq has provided me with no confidence in the Bush administration to further a workable Middle East policy. I am among what I think are millions (and possibly a majority) of Americans who are scared shitless by the way they have handled Iraq and deflated our global social currency.
Islam is central to the vast majority of armed conflicts happening around the world today. By contrast, Judaism and Christianity are not. That pretty much tells me where the problem lies. Yes, it must be dealt with, Not dealing with it is something that does not compute. As far as our ‘global social currency’ being ‘deflated,’ our global social currency was strongest right after 9/11. If the rest of he world only wants to be our friend when we're dying and on the defensive, fuck 'em. It's only a matter of time before we will be called upon to bail Europe out of another mess of their own making, i.e. Islamic civil unrest. Will we help?? We always have, I expect we will continue to do so.
That seems pretty cynical to me, and strikes me as a dangerous attitude for the U.S. to have in its foreign policy (yes I realize YOU said it and that YOU don't work at the State Dept.). I think if we keep allowing the neocons to take us cowboying around the globe pissing away millons of taxpayer dollars per minute, we're going to end up in a sorry state. Will we be in a position to help Europe if it does indeed come to what you say? Couldn't China just continue to sit quiet and let most of the chess board get all mixed up before introducing the queen from the back row on cleanup duty? The USSR is dead = communism is dead? What a joke!
I voted for Nader in 2000 (Bill Bradley in the primary) simply because I agreed with his belief that the two major parties are really the same. They talk different talk but they walk the same walk. My voting, for the record: '92 - Bush Sr. '96 & '00 - libertarian, whoever the hell was running cuz I sure wasn't voting for Dole or Clinton or Gore. Anyway, with a “these are tough times and he IS the commander-in-chief” I trusted Bush Jr. to lead the country where we needed to go after 9/11 (still I was cautious as evidenced in this Letter to TIME magazine - try not to pick it apart too much, it was written in passion and definitely flys high my liberal freak flag), and as you already know I am wholly disappointed in his effort.
I have not much respect for those who say they supported our war in Afghanistan, but not Iraq.
That would be me. To me the war on terror has been about as effective as the war on drugs, and I'm starting feel like the principles of the former are regressing into ones similar to the latter. In his latest Vanity Fair article Michael Wolff compares the impending film version of Alan Moore's cult graphic novel V for Vendetta (damn I can't wait!) with other subversive works of cultural sabotage such as A Clockwork Orange and Dr. Strangelove. Wolff says the film (by the Matrix-making, outside-the-Hollywood-glamosphere Wachowski brothers) is an upending opposition narrative to the Bush administration's justification for Iraq. Fear of the apocalypse has, writes Wolff, made our country's political mantra "when, not if" since 9/11, which he says is "the greatest of all rhetorical devices...well suited to religion, politics, and comic books."
He continues, “Mass destruction is the super-narrative that belittles all the other, more equivocal ones. ‘The world is going to end unless we take control’ versus ‘The world is, all things considered,with a bit of luck and finesse, most likely going to be O.K.’” To reiterate what camp I’m in (and trust me, I’ve seen both places), I say the Bushies are lacking finesse and running out of luck. So the end-of –the-world story diminishes everyone else’s, the Iraq war gets a feeble nod from Congress, and the bulk of our deployed forces make a U-turn from Afghanistan.
We’ve been there before, Wolff points out. The Cold War had near-absolute U.S. nuclear supremacy audaciously reversed into the absurd notion of a “missile gap” and our need to be able to double-nuke the Russians. But that story line was countered by those who considered the decidedly less compelling alternative that we should wait and see before going off half cocked, and was upended in the literal apocalypse of Vietnam, “occuring because of the fear of a hypothetical apocalypse,” as Wolff puts it. He says that similarly 9/11 has made the “our very existence is at issue” camp completely intolerant of any contrary view that the attack represents “a complicated new kind of vandalism, best guarded against by better law enforcement management.”
To me these reactions are simplistic extremes, but I definitely hold the ultimate suspicion of the former and lean toward the latter based on what the leaders of the 9/11 commission said in December: “Billions have have been distributed with virtually no risk assessment and little planning (they’re talking about domestically, by the way). Nor has the federal government set preparedness standards to help state and local governments use the money wisely.”
Do Americans care that, as The Wall Street Journal estimates, 100,000 Iraqi lives are saved for each year that we are willing to exchange more of our soldiers lives? At what point, Wolff asks, does Iraq become the main theme of popular culture like Vietnam did? For the record, the death rate in Iraq is currently just shy of 2 percent of total troop deployment, which was the rate in Vietnam in 1967; the kill count in Iraq last year averaged two soldiers per day, but is now on its way to four.
Wolff maintains that the Wachowskis, although penning the screenplay in the mid-90s, use V for Vendetta (Moore’s original work was a treatise on Thatcherism) to push back the envelope that Bush advances – “How much more war can we get away with?”
I don’t agree with those who say we must pull out from Iraq ASAP, but I assure you that I am just as pissed as they are that we are there. It’s likely we would have ended up there eventually, but the current strategy is, well, what IS the current strategy? Of course 20/20 hindsight shows Bush Sr. should have had the balls his son has and cashed that global social currency check in Gulf War I. Hell, Saddam invaded another country, how much more justification did we need? Or was the U.S. still a bit too red-aced from its support of Hussein against Iran? I love Bill Hicks’ bit about “How do you know Saddam has these powerful weapons? – Uh, says right here on the receipt.” So you say the Left has its head up its ass? Well, I fall back back on my pro-Nader vote on that one, my friend. Now, let’s talk about a three-party system...
January 25, 2006
Here is a view from the East Overlook at Raccoon Mountain the other morning, toward Lookout Mountain and the Moccasin Bend of the Tennessee River. SORBA, the mountain bike organization in which I'm involved, negotiated a first-of-its-kind agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority to build trails around their pumped storage reservoir up there. It's gorgeous land - forested but still open enough to make routing trails fairly easy. They've agreed to a first phase system of about ten miles up on top, where about 60 percent of the trails will be fairly flat and nice for beginners. Hopefully they'll like what they see and agree to future phases that go down the mountain. There are well over 1,000 acres (maybe closer to 2,000?) of TVA property there.
Fun Facts About TVA-Raccoon Mtn.
January 21, 2006
Wheels rollin' again
Oh, one last rationalization: I HAVE been lurking and posting comments to several other blogs, I guess because the conversations are interesting. I've been drawn to some political and Grateful Dead blogs (some are even both), and to a degree I envy people with the discipline to blog every day, especially the politicos (though in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "What does their sink look like?").
I write for a living, so you'd think I could more frequently transfer interesting thoughts to this space, especially since my writing for work (ostensibly news) is pretty simple, often boring stuff. I just need more discipline. Ha, "more." Good one, Tim!