July 31, 2006


A new look, a new leaf

As you can see I spent a couple of "productive" hours rearranging the template for this blog. It uses the red color family and some fancy fonts to which I'm partial. The background is an homage to he for whom this blog is named (MPATHG scene XX); he who can summon up fire without flint or tinder; he who knows the location of the cave of Caerbannog, wherein, carved in mystic runes upon the very living rock, the last words of Olfyn Bedweir of Rheged make plain the last resting place of the... Oh, OK it's John Cleese in a silly ram's horn helmet thingy.

And now for something completely different. After thirteen years of marriage and about five or six of sitting on the fence with regards to starting a family, Jennifer and I have become expectant parents! The essential mixing of the procreative cocktail happened quick, too, for we only began trying (a very strange term if you ask me) at the end of June, and she's in week five now.

My sister Julie has "respectfully" submitted the following name suggestions:

Botond (Hungarian) - mace welding warrior (no one will mess with HIM at the playground)
Hont (Hungarian) dogbreeder/friend of dogs (need I say more?)

Kamella (Hungarian) - young ceremonial attendant (whatever THAT is...)
Zigna (Hungarian) - gypsy girl (maybe a Dead Head in the making?)

Delling (Scandanavian) - scintillating (witty - like his/her DaDa)
Loki (Scandanavian) - trickster god (did you see Dogma?)

I'm not sure what her predisposition to Hungarian names is all about. Jennifer was mildly, and very briefly, amused. I'm strangely drawn to Hont myself - hey, the middle name is for fun or idiotic family names, right? Well anyway, we've got about seven and a half months to think about it (the official due date is April 3), and after the ultrasound that determines the gender (no pictures, I promise) we'll have it narrowed down by fifty percent.

July 27, 2006


Thirteen words I won't ever use, vol. I

As a writer I am, of course, fascinated (read obsessed) by words, and being a speaker of English has me amazed by the sheer volume of what's available for my native tongue. But I am more astounded by how many English words are completely unneccessary, and nothing illustrates this better than my e-mail subscription to Dictionary.com's Word of the Day.

While I try to read them as often as I can, these things can pile up on you, so I created a folder and filter to keep them sequestered (see, its starting already) and where I can read them at leisure. Hey, I reach for the thesaurus as often as any inkslinger, and I believe everyone should seek to improve their vocabulary throughout life. But in scrolling through my collection, I came across a plethora (a word that goes on my "favorites" list) of silly mots for which I cannot see ever having a need. Forthwith, I offer these thirteen most ridiculous, droll, absurd, farcical, risible and unusable appellations:

agog \uh-GOG\, adjective: Full of excitement or interest; in eager desire; eager, keen.
Derives from Middle French en gogues, "in mirth; lively."
This is not a happy word. Sounds menacing, in a biblical sort of way.

billingsgate\BIL-ingz-gayt; -git\, noun: Coarsely abusive, foul, or profane language. So called after Billingsgate, a former market in London celebrated for fish and foul language.
None but some utterly arseholed and pretentious Anglophile would call cussing by this fucking bullshit term.

Brobdingnagian \brob-ding-NAG-ee-uhn\, adjective: Of extraordinary size; gigantic; enormous. From Brobdingnag, a country of giants in Gulliver's Travels.
Methinks thou wouldst be considered too Swift should ye spake the likes of this word.

brummagem \BRUHM-uh-juhm\, adjective: Cheap and showy, tawdry; also, spurious, counterfeit. An alteration of Birmingham, England, from the counterfeit groats produced there in the 17th century.
I'm not positive what "groats" refers to - Birminghamians either made fake coins or bogus cracked barley. Anyway, it says enough about a word when it's used frequently by William F. Buckley, Jr.

consanguineous \kon-san(g)-GWIN-ee-us\, adjective: Of the same blood; related by birth; descended from the same parent or ancestor. From Latin consanguineus; from com-, con-"with, together" + sanguineus, from sanguis, sanguin-, "blood."
Too DaVinci Code. English is hurtin' when it ADDS a letter to the Latin.

contumely \kon-TYOO-muh-lee; -TOO-; KON-tyoo-mee-lee; -too-; KON-tum-lee\, noun: 1. Rudeness or rough treatment arising from haughtiness and contempt; scornful insolence. 2. An instance of contemptuousness in act or speech. From the Latin contumelia - outrage, insult.
What could be more awkward than a noun in adverb's clothing?

eleemosynary \el-uh-MOS-uh-ner-ee\, adjective: 1. Of or for charity; charitable; as, "an eleemosynary institution." 2. Given in charity; having the nature of alms; as, "eleemosynary assistance." 3. Supported by or dependent on charity; as, "the eleemosynary poor." From medieval Latin eleemosynarius, from Late Latin eleemosyna, "alms," from Greek eleemosyne, from eleemon, "pitiful," from eleos, "pity."
Too many "froms"

emolument \ih-MOL-yuh-muhnt\, noun: The wages or perquisites arising from office, employment, or labor; gain; compensation. Derives from Latin emolumentum, originally a sum paid to a miller for grinding out one's wheat, from molere, "to grind," which is related to molar, the "grinding" tooth.
I can't hang with something that sounds like three, possibly four, words jammed together.

execrable \EK-sih-kruh-buhl\, adjective:1. Deserving to be execrated; detestable; abominable. 2. Extremely bad; of very poor quality; very inferior. Derives from Latin exsecrabilis, "to execrate, to curse."
Or perhaps from excrement, "to be shitty."

pleonasm \PLEE-uh-naz-uhm\, noun: 1. The use of more words than are necessary to express an idea; as, "at this moment in time" for "now" 2. An instance or example of pleonasm.3. A superfluous word or expression. From the Greek pleonasmos, from pleon, "greater, more."
Oh, the irony...

rebarbative \ree-BAR-buh-tiv\, adjective: Serving or tending to irritate or repel. From the French rébarbatif, "stern, surly, grim, forbidding," from Middle French rebarber, "to be repellent," from re- (from the Latin) + barbe, "beard" (from Latin barba).
Too lawyer-sounding and too French. The Latin suggests we just stick with, "He's really kinda stubbly."

sesquipedalian \ses-kwuh-puh-DAYL-yuhn\, adjective: 1. Given to or characterized by the use of long words. 2. Long and ponderous; having many syllables. noun: A long word. From the Latin sesquipedalis, "a foot and a half long, hence inordinately long," from sesqui, "one half more, half as much again" + pes, ped-, "a foot."
Six inches over? The Horror! Also could be confused for meaning a native of Sesquipedalia, and we wouldn't want that.

simulacrum \sim-yuh-LAY-kruhm; -LAK-ruhm\, noun; plural simulacra, 1. An image; a representation. 2. An insubstantial, superficial, or vague likeness or semblance. From the Latin simulare, "to make like, to put on an appearance of." From similis, "like." It is related to simulate and similar.
Wherefrom comes the "crum?"

July 25, 2006


Like Jehovah's favorite choir...

Trendy, we bloggers be. Here's a cool one going around (at least at Cheezy's, under Joe's bridge & at Paula's Ultra Palace of Bloggy Delights)

QUICK ! Name ten bands/performers ! Now, man ! NOW !

1. Jerry Garcia Band
2. Bonnie Raitt
3. XTC
4. North Mississippi All-Stars
5. Crosby, Stills and Nash
6. BR5-49
7. Charles Mingus
8. Van Morrison
9. Beach Boys
10. Black Grape

OK, now apply these questions to your list:

1. What was the first song you ever heard by 6? Little Ramona

2. What is your favourite album of 8? Tupelo Honey

3. What is your favourite lyric of 5? "If I had ever been here before on another time around the wheel I would probably know just how to deal with all of you."

4. How many times have you seen 4 live? Twice

5. What is your favourite song by 7? II BS

6. Is there a song of 3 that makes you sad? I Remember The Sun OR Dear God

7. What is your favourite lyric of 9? "Where can I turn when my fair weather friends cop out? What's it all about?"

8. What is your favourite song by 1? Original - The Wheel Cover - That's What Love Will Make You Do

9. How did you get into 8? By delving just a little deeper than his Top 40 stuff.

10. What is your favourite song by 4? Po' Black Maddie

11. How many times have you seen 1 live? Aw, shit... 8 ?

12. What is a good memory concerning 2? Seeing her open for 1 at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, CA (8-30-87) and doing a duet with Jerry on Jimmy McCracklin's 1965 R&B hit Think and Dylan's Knocking On Heaven's Door.

13. Is there a song by 2 that makes you sad? Angel From Montgomery, which is by John Prine, but sung no more soulfully than by Bonnie.

14. What is your favourite song of 6? Lifetime To Prove

15. How did you become a fan of 10? By delving into the music of the Madchester scene after watching the film 24 Hour Party People.

"Good night everybody - you've been great!"

July 23, 2006


Floyd makes it eight


With Phonak rider Floyd Landis' Tour de France victory this morning, Americans have now dominated the world's most grueling sporting event for eight straight years.

Landis, also this year's Tour de Georgia winner, made what many consider to be the all-time greatest comeback in the history of cycling's greatest race. In Thursday's stage 16 final climb up to La Toussuire, Landis majorly bonked (ran out of steam) and slipped backwards 11 km from the line to finish a massive 10'04" down in 23rd place for the stage. "It's over for Floyd," many said, deeming quite appropriately that the overall time difference of 8'08" to get the yellow leader's jersey was insurmoutable with just three stages to go

But with one more Alps stage left Landis came out Friday morning with a vengeance. He broke clear in the early slopes of the Col de Saisies, 72 km after the start in St. Jean de Maurienne. He carved his way through an 11-man breakaway group which had gone clear after 12 km and was out front for the remainder of the 200.5 km stage.

Davitamon-Lotto racer Cadel Evans, an excellent climber for his part, told what he was thinking after the race. "When Floyd went, I just thought 'what the hell is he doing?' It tactically didn't seem like a sensible thing to do, but I didn't know he had the legs like that... nobody did! He went so fast from the start, he rode the whole peloton off his wheels! Nobody could follow."

Landis' well known descending abilities (he's a former pro mountain biker!) along with the bonus seconds he picked up en route saw him make the incredible jump from eleventh to third overall, 30 seconds off the yellow jersey, and looking like a very real contender again in advance of Saturday's 57 km time trial showdown.

When asked afterwards if he was happy with the stage win, Landis showed his focus and source of motivation. "I don't care," he said, smiling. "I came here to win the Tour, and that's what I'm trying to do."

Although finishing third in Saturday's individual time trial (aka "The race of truth"), Landis picked up the maillot jaune with 59 seconds to spare, which effectively meant all he had to do was spin and not crash on Sunday's ride into Paris.

Not bad for a guy scheduled to have hip replacement surgery in a few weeks. I say to my fellow mountain biker, "Way to show them leg-shavin' nancy boys, Floyd !!"

July 20, 2006


The Thirteen Most, um, Entertaining Album Covers

Some folks in the bloggerhood have occasionally posted some of their favorite album covers, presumably of musicians they enjoy. Here's another take on that. I know very little about any of these "artists," save the first two. But they have provided me, and hopefully now you, with several minutes of jocularity. DISCLAIMER: Adult-oriented images below.

Before the hilarity ensues, I offer this mini-review of what I consider to be the best effort of the Bob Welch-era Fleetwood Mac. I had this album on vinyl as a teen, bought because of the amazing tune Hypnotized, one of my favorite rock songs to this day. It turns out the rest of the album is pretty good, the Mac being in transition from its Peter Green/Jeremy Spencer blues band days to the pop mega-success of the Buckingham-Nicks lineup. Anyway, the album cover proclaims the title track (another strong tune) but perhaps indicates feelings about what the hell this phallic-backed ape is doing here.

Blowfly is the X-rated alter ego of Clarence Reid, a songwriter/producer who had quite a bit of success under his own name in the '70s, with disco label TK Records. Blowfly is best considered "The Redd Foxx of the Southern soul circuit," specializing in dirty parodies of current soul and pop hits. He is enough of a cultural icon that he even recorded his own holiday single in the mid-'70s. Of course, the songs were called "Jingle Fuckin' Bells" with B-side "Queer for the New Year." Can't get enough of that funky stuff - HIT MEEE ! !

Here we see what is undoubtedly the "altar-ego" (haha) of Church of the Subgenius founder J.R. "Bob" Dobbs. Quite surreal the use of the black background is.

This one speaks for itself, though I will say dude put his cards right out there...

Good thing Ken's music wasn't compulsory. I'd wager that his career faltered after a deafening silence from an audience not familiar with the Ken repetoire.

The Fembots got nothing on this band.

This is actually a Christian rock band (complete with leftmost dude's bulge). I wonder if they ever put out strikes two and three...

The Cooper's gained noteriety when they were tapped to open for Stryken on the blockbuster "F$%k Satan's Rock" tour. Little Stevie Cooper (back row) went MIA at Neverland in the late 80s, while Mrs. C went on to moderate success in Hollywood, most notably as Dustin Hoffman's body double in Tootsie.

Evidently the success of the original Stuffparty allowed the purchase of some fancy new duds and a killer hairpiece for Larz.

I just don't know if I've ever seen a better investment in graphic design.

Perhaps the most interesting thing on this one is the sensuous black man's face transplant (and I mean thing not thang).

Quite the pithy title here, but I still have to question the validity of an album by a ventriloquist.

Another classic of the apparently popular ventriloquist genre, though I'd deem this at the other end of the spectrum from Geraldine and Ricky (notice I avoided saying anything about wood).

July 18, 2006


The Hoot & The Humidity

Once again, T-Dawg and crew bring the Back Porch Hootenanny to town. We'll be there (where are those dang bells?). How 'bout you?

July 13, 2006


Nailhead, vol. II

One of my favorite things to read in just about any periodical is the letters to the editor. It's fascinating to catch these glimpses into the mind of the public. Some are ignorant, myopic rants, while others reveal thoughtfulness, heart and the craft of words. Being an occasional LTE writer myself, I revel in the freedom of expression that editors give to my kind (though I was miffed at how Vanity Fair once truncated one of my missives - clipping what I saw as the best part, too). Here's one from a recent Chattanooga Times - Free Press letters section that is sure to be a longtime favorite:

Monday, July 2, 2006

Religion approached as ‘all or nothing’

Fundamentalists holding to the literal truth and inerrancy of the Bible fear that if any part of the Scriptures is called into question, the entire basis for our morals, ethics and values is in danger of immediate collapse. Theirs is an "all or nothing" approach to religion and almost everything else. The founder of the Moral Majority and a University named "Liberty," of all things, claims the Bible "says what it means and means what it says."

But when shown that the Scriptures can sometimes be inconsistent and self-contradictory — if taken literally, as they insist — fundamentalists begin interpreting like "fuzzyheaded liberals." I guess they want it both ways.

The saddest thing coming out of the neofundamentalist movement has been the conservative revolution within our most evangelical — in the very best sense of that word — denomination.

This movement climaxed with the firing of seminary professors who dared examine the Scriptures objectively in a scientific and historical context. Once setting the standard for others in funding missions, schools and hospitals, they now spend lavishly on "family life centers" to rival country clubs and YMCAs and in propagating the gospel according to Karl Rove.

Rossville, Ga.


"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." - Sinclair Lewis


Blood for oil?

Perhaps not - but one thing's for sure, "staying the course" in Iraq is wearing thin among most Americans save those staunchest supporters of the invasion. Robert Greenwald's new documentary Iraq For Sale may give good reason for why the United States of Haliburton/KBR is poisoning any altruistic efforts to fight jihadists effectively.

Check out the trailer:

Still not convinced? Check this out for a list of offenses and, if you're so inclined, job opportunities.

Blood for oil? Maybe.
Blood will boil? For most true patriots I'd bet on it.

July 01, 2006


Nail, meet hammer, vol. I

I've decided to inject this blog with an occasional series of commentaries and editorials that have struck me, like a hammer to a nail, in a particularly strong way. With some I may offer up my opinion and others, like this inaugural volume, speak for themselves (with some help from Mr. Young at the end).

This commentary has a great title and it speaks for me most accurately - especially the last sentence of the ninth paragraph.


Friday, June 30, 2006

There comes a time
By Randy Tucker, headmaster of Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga

Like most Americans, I have followed the occupation of Iraq with a passion that rests deep in my soul.

I am told by my family not to talk about the war with my friends. I watch television with a mixture of pride and pain, for I am very proud of the young men and women we have sent to Iraq, and yet I am in pain as I watch the numbers of our dead and wounded rise each day.

I listen to the all-too-familiar "stay the course" speeches and "cut and run" accusations. And all of it, all of it, causes my mind to wander to days earlier in my life when we fought in another distant place.

For a while in those days, we were applauded as crusaders for freedom. We did our duty over and over, but in the end, the people of South Vietnam did not prove themselves strong enough to accept the burdensome responsibilities of democracy. Fifty-eight thousand American dead later, we left, and we had accomplished very little.

We could have "stayed the course," I guess. We could have stayed another seven years and lost 50,000 or so more of our children, I guess. We could have spent another trillion dollars in that desolate place, I guess. But I wonder what we would have achieved?

As it was, the Communists didn’t take over the world as we were warned they would. Even though we were told over and over again by our political leaders, our security and our futures weren’t at stake in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Our leaders made us feel unpatriotic if we ever questioned their decisions. They made us out to be cowards when we asked what it was that we were accomplishing. So, finally and wisely, we quit listening to our leaders.

After being unwise for so many years, we came home to a divided and weakened America. Weakened not by an enemy, but by our nationalistic pride — a pride that would not let us say, "There comes a time."

Now that more than 2,500 Americans have died, and more than 20,000 men and women have been wounded, I believe it is time to ask ourselves whether "there comes a time" in Iraq, too.

Nothing I have seen has made me believe the Sunnis and the Shiites are going to trust one another enough to form a viable democracy in the foreseeable future. Nothing I have seen offers encouragement that if the Sunnis and Shiites have a miraculous reconciliation, that they won’t then turn on the Kurds as they have done so often over the years. Importantly, nothing I have seen has proven our government’s position that Iraq was a dire threat to our security.

For the sake of both our children and our treasure it is time for us to say as a nation, "the time is close at hand." Iraq must stand on its own feet, and if it has the will to do so, it can survive.

We have rid it of a dictator, but if the people of Iraq cannot put aside hatred and religious bigotry, then democracy will not thrive. They must decide to stop hating. They must decide to stop killing. It simply will not matter how long we stay. They will hate and kill after our humvees drive by. Our continued military presence cannot and will not end the hatred in Iraq. Nor will our presence help create a climate of reconciliation.

My most fervent hope is that the people of Iraq will value the opportunity they have been provided and that the sacrifices our country has made will provide the fertile ground of another great democracy. I will support our diplomatic and financial efforts to encourage freedom for the Iraqi people, but the time is coming when the killing of Americans must end.

I believe this time around, we must not abandon our children and our treasure to nationalistic pride. This time, those who call us unpatriotic must not cow us. This time, we must make the wise decisions that an earlier generation could not. We must be wise enough to recognize when we have done our duty and offered our sacrifices.

This I believe.


Comes a time when you're driftin'
Comes a time when you settle down
Comes a light feelin's liftin'
Lift that baby right up off the ground

Oh, this old world keeps spinning round
It's a wonder tall trees ain't layin' down
There comes a time.

You and I we were captured
We took our souls and we flew away
We were right we were giving
That's how we kept what we gave away

Oh, this old world keeps spinning round
It's a wonder tall trees ain't layin' down
There comes a time.

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