Sunday, April 30, 2006

Man Of The House

Friday evening, my doorbell rings. I stay here on the computer while my lovely wife answers the door. Apparently, the conversation at the door went something like this:

Neighbor: Hi, ma'am. My lawnmower won't start and I was wondering if I could borrow yours. Is your husband home?

Lovely Wife: He's here, but you can go ahead and borrow it.

Neighbor: Thanks, but I still have to ask your husband.

Lovely Wife: That's not necessary. You're welcome to use it. (To me: Honey! Open the garage please!)

She told me of the conversation and added that she wondered if he saw her roll her eyes when he persisted that he had to ask me instead of her. Here at Chez Bez, we do things a bit differently. None of that man of the house crap. We are a team. We are equal.

Now if he had wanted to borrow my latest issure of Glamour, that would have been a different story. And my Gilmore Girls tapes don't leave this house. The man has spoken.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Beauty Is In The Choice

So the car stereo has been on the fritz for a few weeks now. As much as I love to fill my days and nights with music, this is quite close to unbearable. It is especially unbearable on a night like last night when I did some shopping at Kroger on my way home from work and found myself with a song from their in-store music system stuck in my head for the rest of the trip home. The theme song from Ghostbusters just shouldn't be right with me for each country mile left at the end of another day of arrested development and drudgery.

That said, with the car stereo on the fritz, it means that much more to me to be able to listen to whatever I want when I get home. Usually, I listen to WRVU for some great indie music or I scan around Rhapsody and just bounce around there for a bit. But tonight is a special challenge for Chez Bez. Tonight I have to choose among three artists I've been waiting all day to listen to.

1. I've blogged about Geoff Baker a good bit lately. And thanks to the beauty of blogs and email, he has graciously sent me a few of his CDs. My wife called me this afternoon to say that they arrived today. And now I am looking at the now opened package and reading the liner notes and remembering a time when the words were typed out so much larger on the LPs that filled my room as a young teen. (With digital downloads, does anyone even read liner notes anymore?)

2. While at work recently, I met Jason Harvey. Jason is a rocker who grew up in Memphis and seems on the verge of making a huge impact on radio and through live performances. I've heard a bit of his stuff and like it a lot. My 15 month old daughter and I were listening to snippets from his website last night and while I haven't commited to a favorite song yet, she definitely liked "Unconditional" the most. It's got a really funky beat that she took to immediately. Happiness really is watching a toddler get down to the music.

3. For a bit I was wondering which of the above artists to treat my ears to tonight. And then on my dinner break, I read in the NY Times that Neil Young just released a new album, "Living With War" available to listen to in its entirety on his website for free. As Prince did with Lovesexy in 1988, Neil Young has released this so that you cannot just listen to different tracks alone from the others. It is to be heard as a whole so that "people will have to absorb the whole thing. To understand the songs, you need to understand where the whole album's coming from."

I guess this one wins tonight. As excited as I was to hear either Geoff or Jason, Neil Young gets the edge over most everybody for me. I'm listening to it as I type this (still on the first song right now), and it sounds great. I hear a lot of Ragged Glory in the rough guitar sound. This release is political and it is strong. It was written and performed only three weeks ago and now it's available to all of our ears.

Give yourself some time and give it a listen. And really let it soak in. Some things require our full attention, and this Neil Young release is most certainly one of those things. Until this Tuesday's Pearl Jam release, I think it'll be hard for me to listen to much of anything other than "Living With War." It's that good.

(Edit to add: While surfing around this morning, I saw that one of my favorite bloggers is also talking about "Living With War." Click here to read her take on it.)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Jon Bon Jovi Sings The Question,

"Who Says You Can't Go Home?"

I answer, "My realtor."

They're showing our house again between 10:00 and 12:00 today. And I've got thirty minutes to clean up and get out.

I think what I need to do is make friends with my neighbors so that I can go over and nap on their couch when this stuff comes up.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Day In The Life

She ambles in and asks the bellman a question.

"Is this where the seminar is going to be at?"

"Which seminar would that be, ma'am?"

"It's next week sometime."

"Um, that could be any number of seminars. Do you know the name of..."

"You know. It's about finance."

God. Aren't they all? "I'm sorry, ma'am. I'll need to know a little more info..."

"Who would know?"

"Well, the front desk might..." And to the front desk she went.

I wish her well. And I wish me a drink.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Required Listening

Today, Bruce Springsteen released We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. I've only been able to hear the first four songs and now I have to go to work. Tonight, I will listen to the rest. So far, this is knocking me on my ass. "O Mary Don't You Weep" is absolutely giving me goosebumps.

Recorded in only three days, this tribute to the songs of Pete Seeger is chilling it is so great. I'll write more on this after I punch the time clock late tonight. For now, I'll leave you with this mini-review:

These classic tunes from Pete Seeger's songbook, recorded with the legendary protest singer's original band, sparkle with heartfelt emotion and grace. All the songs were recorded live in the living room of Springsteen's Jersey farmhouse, without rehearsal, giving them a sense of urgency and fun that has been missing from the Boss's work for a mighty long time. His most vital and energized work in a couple decades.
- Jon Maples

By all means, get this album and improve your state of mind.

High Point

Ever have your favorite singer-songwriter e-mail you out of the blue? Mine saw that I had blogged about him and e-mailed me to say how much he appreciated my words. You think Bob Dylan ever called my dad up back in the '60s to personally thank him for being a fan? This internet thing really does bridge the gap between entertainers and their fans.

Currently, my favorite singer-songwriter is Geoff Baker and I have mentioned a bit about him here, and here, and here. I now consider it my mission to get my hands on some of his CDs (I currently listen to him via stream on Rhapsody) and donate them to the lovely Ashley of the wonderful WRVU radio show, Alphabet (stream her latest show here and view her playlists here). She likes Nick Drake and Jeffrey Lewis and everything cool in between. I'm betting that she'd love to play Geoff Baker as well.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

One With Nature

Lying on one's back in the grass and seeing this above is about as peaceful a moment as there is. Posted by Picasa

Ben & Jerry's Offends The Irish

Ben & Jerry's has offended many Irish people because of a new flavor named the "Black & Tan." To the Irish, that is the nickname of the British soldiers they fought during their war of independence. I had no idea. To me, "Black & Tan" has always been the name of a very good ale and stout. But I learned something new today. Anyway, Ben & Jerry's has apologized to anyone who might be offended by it. They're all about peace, love and good ice cream.

But what I really want to tell you has nothing to do with that. The really nice news is that on Tuesday, April 25, Free Cone Day is here. (Thanks Linda for the tip. Consider my calendar marked.) Oh yeah!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

What's That Supposed To Mean?

I'm not often perplexed
by the messages
found on the backs
of trucks. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

New Stooges? Oh Yeah!

Well, I'm trying not to get overly excited, but this has all of the makings of CD of the year in my book.

Iggy Pop and the reunited Stooges are back in the studio to make their first recording since 1973. Pitchfork tells me that Steve Albini is producing and Jack White is involved as well. In place of deceased bassist Dave Alexander is everyone's favorite, Mike Watt. There's no mention of a release date, but there is a tour with several dates already set.

I can't wait to hear this. In celebration and steady anticipation, I think I'll give "Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell" from Raw Power a listen.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Following The Path...

...and feeling the love. Posted by Picasa

Super Hero Registration Act

Topical storyline comes to Marvel Comics. Here's the link.

Banksy - Voice Through Graffiti

The December issue of Esquire featured the work of Banksy, their "Artist of the Year." In London, "everyone knows Banksy and no one knows Banksy."

Here's the site link. Peruse and smile.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Beatles News

Beatles Catalog Set To Go Digital

Read all about it here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Urgent Plea For Help

All night long, whether by television or internet, I have been completely focused on C-Span.

And dare this damn liberal talk about his crush on Condi? Maybe in another post.

For now, I only ask one favor: Someone get me drunk enough so that I can get back to enjoying guilty pleasures. I have no business watching Obama and Condi politely argue positions with a look of such rapt attention on my face.

My poor wife shouldn't have to watch me get so excited about such things.

One Thick Bedtime Story

I may not be around for a while. Joshua just ran in with the The Yellow Pages and asked me to "read me this story, Daddy."

Escape From Home

At approximately 10:40 this morning, I looked at my phone to find that I had missed a call. Checking voicemail, it turned out that a realtor was on the way over with prospective buyers and would be here anytime between 11:00 and noon. How'd I miss that call? My younger son is watching Dora or Diego and is clad only in diapers and a t-shirt. I'm shoeless and still sporting the crazy hair I worked all night to perfect. The place is not a wreck, but there are certainly a few things that must be tidied.

And all this time, I thought my wife was just pretending that we were selling the house to get me to clean up a bit. Turns out I had been picking up my dirty socks from the floor for good reason. People might want to buy. And now, with some people on the way, Joshua and I needed to get out and fast. It's a weird feeling, fleeing from one's home. I've seen men do it before in movies - Mickey Rourke as an Irish hitman with the authorities on his tail, countless drug dealers with the Feds in hot pursuit - they all would have been proud of me.

So I am multi-tasking like never before. My left hand is picking up clutter while my right hand is stocking the getaway bag (diapers, wipes, dog treats, etc.) and Joshua is marching behind me reminding me not to forget his juice, his blanket, and his stuffed animals (giraffe, puppy, and baby giraffe). It's now 10:55 and I can just feel that if this were a movie, the audience would be seeing jumpcut scenes of the realtor and the prospective buyer fast approaching. I turn the corner to my stairs as they turn the corner onto Florence Road. I realize that Joshua needs a diaper change as they find themselves stopped at the railroad tracks. The musical score swells as the climactic scene builds.

We are at the door, Joshua in my arms, diaper bag over my shoulder, keys in my left hand, dog leash with dog attached in my right hand, big mug full of my latest beverage addiction, Strawberry-Banana Smoothie. I open the door and make one last glance behind me at the house which should be immaculate. What's that pink stuff on the floor?!! Oy vey! Strawberry-Banana Smoothie! Quickly, all members of the family are released from my arms and I run over to wipe up all of these pink spots from the floor.

I am on my knees tending to the pink and I wish The Cat In The Hat would race in with Thing 1 and Thing 2. I read the book when I was a kid. They were great at cleaning up pink spots. Alas, they are not coming and I can just picture the interested parties standing at the door, seeing a dog on a leash peeing on the carpet, a two year old scattering DVDs all over the place, and my butt, as I face away, furiously cleaning up spots from the linoleum as if I have just committed a murder and am trying to erase the blood from the floor. Out Damn Spot!

Thankfully, none of this occurs. Now absent of pink spots, the kitchen no longer requires my attention. I re-grab all parties who are leaving with me, place them and myself safely into the Honda of Greatness, and off we go. We have done the seemingly impossible. We have tidied and gathered and cleaned, we have changed a diaper and stocked a diaper bag and left the house, all in 15 minutes. I don't know how close we were to not making it out in time, but I like to think that we made it by a minute and a half. That would have been some movie scene.

Peacefully, the three of us, Joshua, our dog, and I, walked around a nearby park and had a wonderful time. We sat on a big rock and watched a short but long waterfall. We walked across the river on a very cool bridge. We heard birds sing and we watched airplanes fly over our heads. While we walked and talked and bonded, someone was in our home deciding whether or not to buy it. Even if they decide not to, I'm glad they stopped by. Walking in the park with my son and my dog sure beat staying inside watching Dora The Explorer and surfing the net. It was a beautiful day.

Joshua Watches As The Storm Passes Through

Friday night, I was at work as the tornados passed through my state. It can't be forgotten how horribly the storm shortened the lives of a dozen people in the Gallatin area. Our hearts are certainly with those lost their loved ones.

As for my immediate family, everyone is fine. My Gallatin relatives were both safe at their workplaces and their homes, while just across the street from the terrible destruction, escaped damage. My wife, Paige, and our two youngest were at home in Murfreesboro and were keeping keen eyes on the clouds and hail just outside. Joshua was particularly observant of his surroundings as Paige snapped this shot.

Nashville Red Cross could use your donations of money and/or time to help those who were hit hard by the tornados.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Right Man For The Job? I Sure Hope So.

About ten years ago, I was working where I work now and I was single. I was between places and sleeping on a friend's couch. The only rent he would accept was a shared 6-pack of cheap beer every couple of nights. I don't make much money now and I didn't make much money then, but the same money covered so much more back then.

I don't remember ever stressing about my role in life back then. In fact, I don't remember stressing about much of anything at all. I have since found love and the domesticity that comes with it. And due to certain quirks of character, I haven't become that guy I need to be for my family. Well, that's not entirely true. I love them and am very kind to them. But now that people count on me for sustenance, I am always very aware of the limits of my income. But somehow, we live the dream life of millions. I think of our relative poverty, but then I open my fridge and wonder how I'll fit the latest purchase among the shelves full of food and drink. I come home nervous about so many insignificant details of life, as I turn off the alarm on the comfortable home I share with my family.

I feel love all around, but I often feel as though I'm living a life that someone else deserves more. It's as if at any moment, God will pick my whining self up by my shirt collar and put me down somewhere where I know the difference between whining in suburbia and crying in life. I feel that I am caught in the middle of really, really needing that winning Powerball ticket and really, really needing a stong dose of humilty.

It's my strongest of hopes that my wife and I remain strong together. To help her realize her dreams is to realize my own dreams of being the right man for the job, the husband she needs me to be. I have a feeling I will never make it big in the corporate world. But it seems that this is a world where more and more people are finding their way to financial success through strange little ways that no high school guidance counselor would have ever envisioned possible (podcasts? blogs?). I could very well stumble into something big before it's all said and done.

I sure hope so.


Every mile I drive every day is for your love.
Each sacrifice is no big deal when it's for you.
And every action I take is with your thoughts in mind.
And I hope your heart concurs with mine.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

You Can't Sing That In China

Rolling Stones kowtow after censors cut greatest hits from concert - World - Times Online:

I met a gin soaked/ bar-room queen in Memphis/ She tried to take me upstairs for a ride/ She had to heave me right across her shoulder/ ’Cause I just can’t seem to drink you off my mind
Honky Tonk Woman

No excuses offered anyway/ Let’s spend the night together/ I’ll satisfy your every need/ And I now know you will satisfy me
Let’s Spend The Night Together

Ah brown sugar/ How come you taste so good/ Brown sugar/ Just like a black girl should
Brown Sugar

I’ll never be your beast of burden/ So let’s go home and draw the curtains/ Music on the radio/ Come on baby make sweet love to me
Beast of Burden

Plato Says...

"The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men."

Salman Rushdie's Wife

There is a nice piece on Lakshmi Rushdie in the UK's Sunday Times. Click here for the info.

She gets a lot of criticism from the literati for being young and a bit "vapid." Among her sins? She is only 35, uses "dude" a lot in sentences, is a beauty model, and listens to hip-hop.

I for one am on her side. She seems like a very bright and energetic woman with plenty of self-confidence and a bright outlook on life. And she won me over with this simple yet very honest quote: “I think that people make the mistake of thinking women are attracted to money and success, but what we’re really attracted to is men who’ve done something interesting.”

Muzak: It's For "Audio Branding"

Tonight, I read a great story on Muzak by David Owen in The New Yorker.

Among the things I learned:
  • Muzak’s corporate headquarters are in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Naturally, there’s an awesome sound system, which extends into the parking lot but not (for deeply felt symbolic reasons) into the elevator.
  • McKelvey, a creative manager at Muzak, is one of twenty-two “audio architects”—the company’s term for its program designers.
  • In the forties, Muzak introduced a trademarked concept, called Stimulus Progression, which held that most workers would be more productive if they were exposed to music of gradually increasing intensity, in fifteen minute cycles.
  • Audio architecture is a compelling concept because the human response to musical accompaniment is powerful and involuntary. “Our biggest competitor,” a member of Muzak’s marketing department told me, “is silence.”

Here's the temporary link.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

So...Bush Has To Fire Himself, Right?

So Scooter Libby says that Bush was the man who approved of the infamous leaks of 2003. These were the leaks that unmasked former CIA agent Valerie Plame. And Bush had said so many months ago that he would fire anyone in his cabinet who was involved in her outing.

But I'm sure that even if Libby is telling the truth here, he'll be discredited as a lying and disgruntled disgrace of a man, desperately pointing fingers at innocent officials, and things at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. will keep on keeping on.

Sin City II: A Dame To Kill For

Or is it A Dame To Wait For?

The Dame in question is Angelina Jolie and the sequel will wait until she gives birth to her child. Director Robert Rodriguez has stated that the film is a go, but that he cannot imagine a better actress for the title role than Angelina. And so we wait. And we know that it'll be worth the wait.

It also appears that several of the characters who were in the original will be back as it will be both a prequel and a sequel. No problem following that. Tarantino taught me how to follow films with lots of scenes jumping back and forth. Just keep it cool and fun and I'm there for the whole, thrilling ride.

Clerks 2 - Dante and Randal Are Back

Clerks 2 is on its way. The trailers give me goosebumps. Ahhh, I feel like it's 1994 all over again. All of the same primaries are back. The trailer made me laugh out loud. I'm giddy.

The small problem is that it looks like MGM will distribute it. Kevin Smith was looking forward to releasing it with no rating so that no cuts would be necessary. But MGM has a policy that all of its films must have an MPAA rating. And this would likely mean megacuts to this long awaited sequel. (Of course, I'm a DVD guy so I'm not too worried about it.) Still, this could at least mean a delay in its release, depending on how the screening goes with the MPAA in mid-May.

Regardless, I'm stoked about watching these same guys, twelve years older and still clerking at entry level jobs. Reminds me Only much, much funnier.

Here's the link to the Clerks 2 website.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

My Grandfather

Reservoir Dogs, Nashville Style

 Posted by Picasa

Four Days? I Just Don't Write Like I Used To.

My life has been devoid of drama lately. And this is a good thing, I suppose. But the thing is, I have nothing to write about. At least I don't think I do. I read the blogs of people I admire and find myself with writer's block. They write about politics or they write about our social duties and I just feel all diminutive in comparison.

Better stick to topics of music and family here. I can't get in over my head with these things. They are my rhythm and they are my life. I'd like to write about George W. and change the way that some of my readers view him. But the truth is that I don't have the stuff to back up my thoughts on our politicians. I'd rather just listen to Tom Waits sing about hookers, boozers, and the blue collared dreamers of the night.

I'd like to write an essay on the hell that the people of Darfur face each and every day while we comfortably go about our lives. Our enemies are the people who jockey for position on I-40 each morning as we make our way to our jobs, and our days are ruined because we left our iPods at home on the kitchen counter. To this, all I can offer is that if we care at all, we should voice our concerns to our congressmen. It's the least that we can do. We don't face our own genocide every day; the people of Darfur do. But after you write that letter, I really want you to listen to "Kerosene" by Miranda Lambert and tell me if it sounds like an old Steve Earle song. I can't quite place it, but it really sounds like something I've heard Steve sing before.

I'll continue to read up on issues of global and local importance as often as I can, but I continue to try to find my voice here. BB has kindly commented that she likes reading my take on music I like. And so without totally committing to calling this a "music blog," I will probably lean toward the music more than anything. And if I feel that too much time has gone by without giving a girl a good reason to say, "Awwww," I will post a cute picture of a baby Bez.