Saturday, January 28, 2017

Trump's 'Extreme Vetting' Leaves Thousands Scrambling At Airports

I'm not particularly political, but this is not the America that I know and love.  For the first time in my life I wrote my Governor and my Senators asking them to fight against this action.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Artist: Spinx

Album; Judas
Year: 1977
Label: Raas
Catalog: 2933 105
Condition: VG+ cover / VG+ LP

I'll admit it - I'm addicted to buying interesting looking albums by bands I know nothing about.   Most of the time they turn out to be crap, but once in awhile I stumble across something that's good, or at least interesting in a bizarre fashion.

Well, this one certainly fits the latter category.

Alec R. Costandinos started out as a singer, but enjoyed his initial international successes working with the band Aphrodite's Child and Vangelis in his solo career.  By the mid''70s he was also dabbling in disco and with partner Don Ray made this bizarre album.  Released in 1977 at the zenith of disco madness, "Judas" featured two side-long songs - "Judas Iscariot" and "Simon Peter," basically setting the story of Judas' betrayal of a disco beat. The disco arrangement's aren't anything you haven't heard before (okay the Gregorian chants are a little out of the ordinary), but the theme ... well hard for me to picture coked out dance patrons shaking their groove things to this one.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


My father died about 20 years ago.  He's buried in a small cemetery in Leesburg, Virginia.  His grave is in the cemetery's older section, surrounded my a mixture of older and newer graves.  Overlooking this section of the graveyard is a majestic, old Maple tree.

Anyhow, I had a physical this morning and after getting through it unscathed, I decided to take the day off.  After doing a couple of other chores I suddenly decided to drive out to Leesburg to say hello and make sure his plot was clean.  

It was one of those wonderful Fall  days.  Bright blue skies; warm sunshine; green, green grass, and that Maple tree just beginning to change colors.  Anyhow, as I was standing there trimming the grass around the grave James Taylor's 'September Grass' climbed into my head.  It was the perfect soundtrack for the afternoon.  Simply one of my favorite Taylor tunes:

Saturday, October 1, 2016


I writing this knowing full well I have no musical talents.  After all, how many folks do you know who have been kicked out of seventh grade recorder band? 

Against that backdrop I have zero credentials for criticizing other folks.  'Course that's not going to stop me from putting this list on the web.

# 10 - Tony Bird

Bird's a white African born in Malawi, living in New York.  He's recorded sporadically since the mid-'70s with a couple of obscure albums seeing an American release (1976's "Tony Bird", 1978's "Tony Bird of Paradise", and 1990's "Sorry Africa").   Imagine a mash-up of old Bob Dylan and "Graceland" era Paul Simon and you'll have a rough idea of what Bird sounds like.  His voice is something else.  Thin, dry, and nasally, he sings as if infected with a nasty lisp.  His accent (apparently a mix of English and Afrikaans) makes it even harder to figure out what he's singing about (though the themes are often activist in nature related to his home country).  

Admittedly the sound quality isn't particularly good and this is a live performance, but this clip from a 1983 performance at the Winnipeg Folk Festival will give you a taste of Mr. Bird:

Monday, September 26, 2016


My wife will tell you I have the sensitivity and awareness of a brick.   Usually she's right.  I tend to be pretty oblivious to most things.

Anyhow, after seeing a photo reflecting how much weight I'd put on, for the last year I've made it a habit of trying to walk whenever I can. One of the places I'll walk is to my local library. It's about two miles each way so I'll put on my earbuds and listen to NPR, or a Pod episode while I make my pilgrimage.

Sunday I walked into a situation I'd never encountered before. I was a couple of blocks from the library and I saw a young woman sitting in a wheelchair in the middle of a side street. She looked bewildered and was in tears. Like a lot of people I tend to shy away from engaging with folks I don't know. In this case I was walking by her and stopped to ask what was happening and if there was anything I could do. The girl (her name was Haley), was probably in her early 20s. Long hair, pretty face, very quiet and demure. It turns out she and her boyfriend were staying in a Fairfax County shelter which happens to be located right next to the library. Her story was that she and the boyfriend had a massive fight and he stormed out of the shelter. She followed him in her wheelchair, but he started running and she couldn't keep up. When she finally stopped she discovered she didn't know where she was. That's when I crossed paths with her.

Even though she didn't realize it, Haley was only a block away from the shelter and so I told her I'd walk back with her. She was clearly upset by the episode so we didn't say a great deal during the walk. She wheeled herself along the sidewalk and I walked along with her and in five minutes we were back on familiar ground. As we were waiting to cross the street to get to the library and the shelter, I asked her what she was going to do. Her response was to text the boyfriend, but her phone had broken so she'd use one of the library computers. At that moment her chair was sitting in the middle of a busy library parking lot so I asked her to let me wheel her across the lot, up the handicap access ramp into the library. She agreed and that's what I did. Last I saw of her she was heading for the library computers. After I check out some new books I looked around, but she'd seemingly already left so I walked home.

So now I'm wondering if there's anything else I could have done, or should have done for Haley ...

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Not sure why, but a couple of weeks ago we got a couple of free tickets to a home improvement show here in Northern Virginia.  Given we've been thinking about undertaking some renovations we decided to check it out in the hopes of getting some good ideas and seeing some of the new materials and products available on the market.

This particular show is held at this gigantic old box store that's been converted into a site for all kinds of shows and conventions.  You walk into the gigantic open space and there are literally a couple of hundred displays lined up into about a dozen aisles.

What we didn't expect was to be accosted by dozens of vendors and contractors looking to sell us everything from new windows, to some new brand of power drink, and everything in between.  Insurance?  LED lit shoes?   Body massages?   Candy?   What in the world ?  As we wanted up and down the displays we were literally attacked by desperate vendors anxious to give us an opportunity to save money on this product, or that product, while getting a chance to win $10,000, $100,000, a new car, an old car, a vacation, etc.   And there was the sale material.  You could turn around without some stuffing a sales brochure in your hands.  As fast as people have me stuff I threw it into the garbage cans helpful placed at the end of each aisle.

The most common approach seemed to be "Sign up for a chance to win xxx ..." or "So what's your next renovation effort?"  We quickly discovered the way to disengage and move on was to tell them we were interested in tile.  Most of the vendors weren't selling tile so they had no interest in us.  On the couple of occasions we were confronted with tile dealers we said we were interested in pest control.  Between those responses, walking in the center of the aisle, preferably behind older people, and keeping our eyes on the ground, we managed to navigate the last half of the show/obstacle course without too much pain.

And here's where it got even stranger.   There was a guy selling tile that looks like wood flooring.  We're actually interested in putting it in our bathrooms.  We wanted to find out more about the product - styles, colors, costs.   The vendor had zero interest in us. Basically blew us off.   

Good news is we were in and out of the place (including a bathroom break) in less than 45 minutes.  Went to Old Town Alexandria for the rest of the day.   Much more fun.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


A couple of weeks ago I discovered I was reading a Yahoo story about one of the Kardashians - something to do with one of them being fed up with a former basketball player husband.  I guess there are a couple of them in that position.  

This evening I noticed that three of the top-40 banner articles on AOL are about the Kardashians.  Pardon my language, but WTF?  I'll admit they're all attractive, but I know next to nothing about them. They're famous for something, though I don't have a clue what it is, other than one has a butt that's insured for $1M, or something along those lines.  I've never seen their television show(s).  I've never bought any of their products.

So as one of $330 million Americans, I'm done with the Kardashians.  I don't care if the whole family shows up at my home naked and throwing hundred dollar bills at me.  I'm not going to pay attention to anything that carries a Kardashian tag.

There are simply too many other things going on in the world to waste my limited time on these folks.

So my small, insignificant life is now officially Kardashian free.