Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shhh. This is a library post.

"She does not know her beauty." So Nina Simone sings in "Images." (I cannot find the song on YouTube, otherwise I'd share it here.) Please know your beauty.

Other things:

Bukowski tour via Esotouric. (I like the accompanying picture.)

Live Earth India

Springsteen's "Working On A Dream" is of the good (and of the free).

The Pitchfork 500 (Hi Claire!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm at the library and I have one hour to read everything on the Internet.

I'm at the library. Checking my mail. I guess I could blog a bit but it's just more fun for me to do that while listening to jazz in my living midnight...pants optional.

Not much time for reading everyone's blogs here, also not much time for leaving comments. Suffice to say, I love you all. Holly and her cat are beautiful. Monstermash continues to post great videos. Sasha almost met Prince once. Corey checks out the Loveless Cafe. Leesa lives right and shares beautifully. (Nice new blog header there, my friend!)

Also, "Be careful on the edge of the continent."

As for the 700+ other posts that were waiting for me today when I checked my Google Reader account, I'll spare you the share.

Happy Holidays!

chez bez

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I watch a lot more television now that I don't have the Internet in my home.

The laptop is dead. We can't find the original discs. I'm dealing with this better than my wife (I get Twitter updates on my phone; she does not).

Suddenly, last summer last week, it shut down while I was online and tried repeatedly to restart. Always back to the blue screen though. All options, SAFE MODE, LAST GOOD START, etc., resulted in the same unsuccessful effort.

Anyway, maybe our best course of action is to save what we can and take it to a local computer repair shop. I hope that we didn't lose the hard drive. There are a lot of good songs on the D: drive. (If they are lost forever, at least the songs are on my iPod and I can figure out how to move them from the iPod to the next drive later.)

The holiday season is tight enough as it is. I'm not even entertaining thoughts of a new computer. Between kids and family, I'd rather spend any available bucks on presents anyway. Or we'll just forget about a computer for the time being and just buy iPhones and surf the Internet that way. (I think I'm joking but maybe not.)

A thought occurred to me today regarding my iTunes account. I subscribe to dozens of podcasts. Since I don't have access to iTunes right now, is there another way to manage my account (i.e. unsubscribe to all of those podcasts)? If not, I envision logging back in, let's say sometime in March 2010, and suddenly seeing thousands upon thousands of podcasts trying to update all at once. I'd rather just kill them all for now and build them back up later.

Thanks for reading. Maybe I'll see you on Twitter. Log in and follow "beziat." I love it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Status: Offline

Our laptop conked out on us last night. Could be a virus or it could be a hard drive crash. (We narrow it down, don't we?) Anyway, except for occasional stops at the library, we'll be offline for a bit. Days, weeks, months? Who knows?

Funny. It was just when I was starting to feel a push toward trying out some polite street photography. I took several shots yesterday. But now with nowhere to put the pictures, I don't even care to pick up my camera. Oh well. I'll get back to it eventually.

Have a nice day. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You Can Indeed Kiss Your Sister In The NFL

I'm really puzzled. I read earlier today that Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles was unaware until Sunday's tie game with the Bengals that NFL games can and do result in ties. To me, that seems like basic knowledge. And I didn't really start watching football until 1997. While it's certainly true that there are no ties in college football (McNabb was quarterback for Syracuse), he's been in the NFL since 1999. Surely this rule has come up once or twice over ten seasons in the league. Surely he's glanced at the win-loss column in the newspaper and wondered about that letter T next to the W and the L.

I don't mean to give him a hard time. He plays to win each and every time he's on the field. I have no doubt that this little detail played no part in the Eagles inability to defeat the (once again) hapless Bengals on Sunday. I'm merely puzzled. But just when I thought I was reading about one weird isolated incident, I learn that he's far from the only person on his team that doesn't know about the possibility of a tie.

In his defense, McNabb wasn't the only one oblivious to the rules. Several of his teammates were just as clueless. 
"Me and Greg Lewis were discussing it on the sideline, so we asked one of our trainers and he told us it ends in a tie," running back Correll Buckhalter said.
"I found out while we were in OT," rookie wideout DeSean Jackson said.
"I thought we kept playing," linebacker Omar Gaither said.
That's four teammates who also had no clue. I don't get it. Maybe Chunky Soup should start printing random NFL rules on the sides of their cans. Ex: "Did You Know? A safety is worth two points. Don't get sacked in your own endzone!!" Or... "Did You Know? In a playoff game or in the Super Bowl, there are no ties." Because Donovan didn't know that one either.
"I never knew in the professional ranks it would end that way. I hate to see what would happen in the Super Bowl and in the playoffs," McNabb said.
I'm not picking on him. I just thought it was weird that a seemingly obvious rule was absolutely foreign to a 10-year veteran of the game. Or rather, I thought it weird that I, a humble fan, knew a rule about his game that he didn't.

And that's worthy of a blog post.

[Edit to add: In defending his ignorance a bit, I'll say that there has only been one NFL game that resulted in a tie since Donovan McNabb has been in the league. Also, I don't have one in front of me, but I would hazard to guess that as long as a season has no tied games, the newspaper probably doesn't waste the space for a T-column.]

Monday, November 17, 2008


Apologies to subscribers of this blog. I tinkered a bit with my blog and suddenly I found my last twenty-five posts in Google Reader. So you probably got them, too.

I'm not done tinkering, so, um, it might happen again. The good news is that embedded YouTube videos now show up properly in Reader. No more jumbles of code.

Good times. Have a nice night.

Eddie Would Go

"Make Yourself Invisible"

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's A Fact

Feel Good Friday is good for your heart. (Talk of the Nation, NPR)

Best Thing I've Read All Day

Click and read:

One More Racist Joke and I'll Gloat the Whole Four Years

Feel Good Friday - "Dorothy Parker Blue"

The Real Tuesday Weld

Stuck Between Stations

I clocked out, walked downstairs to the locker rooms and changed from slacks to jeans, uniform jacket to black concert shirt, working man to resting man. Alone, I sat down on the floor with my back against my closed locker and listened to a few tracks from The Hold Steady's Boys And Girls In America. There's a magic in that album that I think will always resonate in my tired but hopeful heart, no matter my age or place in this life. It sets a mood for me that both relaxes and pumps. Its songs' rich narratives make me that much more attentive to my immediate surroundings, as if I can feel around me the songs and stories in every little thing.

Settled and soothed, I made my way out the back doors to the parking lot. My sometimes operable I-think-I-can vehicle, old and all by itself, awaited my hands, feet and butt. It has no radio, looks its age and should have been traded years ago, but when it runs it sure beats walking. I lowered the window, opened the sun roof and drove home feeling the night air wisp softly against my face.

It's a different feeling now to make this drive. After so many months of either riding home with friends or walking the six miles alone, it's both empowering and lonely. I think of my friend who died so recently and suddenly. I was honored to be his passenger all of those nights, to receive the kind generosity of his friendship. He had a long drive home each night, but was always happy to add a few minutes to his commute to help me out. We'd listen to late night AM radio and talk about topics ranging from UFOs to Obama. Some nights we'd talk about work and other nights we'd hardly say a word to each other. Anyway, I miss him. Obviously.

Tonight, more tuned in than usual to the details of my surroundings, I saw so many people walking down Elm Hill Pike. I've walked it, too. While I make the best of it and think of how healthy a good two hour walk can be, the truth is that it sucks to be a pedestrian on a pedestrian unfriendly road so late at night. Between the inattentive or angry drivers and the unsure footing, it's just not safe. Between McGavock Pike and Bell Road, I saw four different walkers tonight. All with their own story. All who could probably relate with those strugglers and yearners in any song by The Hold Steady or Bruce Springsteen.

The scariest though was the last one that I just barely saw. As I made my way eastbound crossing the bridge over I-40, I was shocked to make sight of someone walking westbound in the other lane. This person seemed to be walking dangerously on the white line. A westbound driver would have to really be paying attention to avoid tragedy. That quick glimpse reminded me of just how quickly everything can go wrong in just one second. Sure enough, here came a car, heading westward. I checked my mirror as the driver passed. I couldn't see much, but I didn't notice brake lights or swerving. All was well, I trust.

As I crossed the dam a few minutes later, a car was pulled over by police right on a curve. Neither car was completely to the right and I had to pass very slowly and cautiously. The trip home actually started with me stuck behind one car and then another, both of which were driving very slowly (like 20 m.p.h. in a 35 m.p.h. zone) before turning off to other roads. It just made for a curiously strange night I suppose, as if my pace was not mine to control.

Elm Hill Pike. It's not quite Suess's Mulberry Street, but it's mine. Some nights I drive it, some nights I walk it. I don't think I'll ever get up the courage to bike it. Anyway, I'm home now and wishing everyone safety and warmth. Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Listening to Studs Terkel And Thinking About Hope

"The individual discovers his strength as an individual because he has, along the way, discovered others share his feelings," ... "He is not alone, and thus a community is formed" - Studs Terkel

Ever since the early 90s I've enjoyed lying awake at night listening to people talk on the radio. Before his CNN gig, Larry King's late night radio talk show would play on my bedside stereo night after night. The show's "Open Phone America" segment was my favorite segment. As I recall, King would take each call asking the person on the other line, "Where are you calling from and why are you up?" For me, the folks who were up during those post-midnight hours were always pretty interesting. Unlike today's sports and political talk shows, folks weren't required to "have a take." It was very conversational, relatively anonymous, and somewhat confessional.

Tonight, I awoke from a nap to hear Studs Terkel's voice speaking on my iPod. The podcast version of NPR's This American Life was playing. Listening to him interview someone who lived through the Great Depression, I appreciated the dignity of his interviewee's voice, being allowedinvitedto tell her story of financial hardship and personal growth, from absolutely knowing she was better than people of color (who were doing exactly the same work as she) to simply knowing better. Hearing her speak of her moral transformation gives me hope for those who think and speak the way that she used to. I want to share details from her story here but they are better heard in her words. The link is here.

Times are getting tougher and unhealthy feelings of hate and bigotry seem to be more vocal these days. I'm hearing racist comments from people who precede their statements with, "I'm not a racist, but..." I don't know. Some people won't change, but then again some do. Life can be exhausting, trying to figure this stuff out. The woman in the Studs Terkel interview found her enlightenment. How many others will? We have a new president but we're still a long way from healed.

I just hope that we can listen to and care about each others' stories. Love thy neighbor. Hope and pray for those with hate in their hearts. We move on. Meanwhile, I appreciate those quiet moments where I can listen to people talk about things like dignity and humility, personal growth and lessons learned. We've all got a voice to contribute. And thanks to people like Studs Terkel, some of our voices will always be there for the education and interest of others. May he rest in peace.

Let's Active

Monsters At The Fence

"All The World Is Green"

Live On Letterman

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday Morning at the Tennis Courts

Future Wimbledon ball boy, maybe?

The Migraine Brain

I'm one of the lucky ones. I might get about two or three headaches a year. My mom has suffered from major migraines for years and so have so many of my friends. There was a period of time about fifteen years ago when I really got them bad for a few weeks. There was no way I could function when one would hit. I'd be at work at the record store and would just go to the back office, lay my head down against the cold, hard desk and rub my temples hoping for any measure of relief.

Anyway, those days of major headaches are long since past. How people make it through their days dealing with pain like that, I have no idea. My heart goes out to them. Last Thursday's episode of Fresh Air featured neurologist Carolyn Bernstein whose book, The Migraine Brain, explores the subject. I'll listen to the podcast of the show tonight. It should be quite interesting.

I could learn a lot from my kid.

The 5-year-old boy just used my phone to call his 3-year-old sister who is grocery shopping with her mom.

"Hi Ari. I like you. You're so beautiful. Bye."

I think he just made her day.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Stop; Start Forward

Dreams of a westbound train are spending much time in my head again.

iTunes Genius was keeping a certain mood going for me nicely as I played with thoughts of my life's trajectory.

"Chips Ahoy" by The Hold Steady led nicely into Pink Floyd's "Goodbye Blue Sky" and I kept thinking of those many hours of relative silence that a long train ride would provide. I imagined myself undisturbed and relaxed with notebook on my lap as the landscape passed by outside my window. Who knows? Maybe this hotel worker would finally figure out how to write something worthy of publication on a trip like that.

Anyway, it was a nice thing to imagine until the next song, supposedly related to the two previous, kicked in: "Beautiful Girls" by Van Halen. Awesome song, but I can't say it really fit the playlist. We're back to good now. Bruce Springsteen. "The River."

And I'm back to those dreams of solitude and inspiration.

Status Report

I can't imagine that there are two more exhausted parents than my wife and I. I'm probably wrong about that and if so I wish those other parents my deepest sympathies.

Feel Good Friday

Friday's almost done but I'll post anyhow. From Bon Jovi's This Left Feels Right, enjoy a reworking of "You Give Love A Bad Name." I like it.

As an afterthought I'll add a song that's been in my head all day. As has been reported from within the McCain camp, apparently Mrs. Sarah Palin was unaware that Africa was a continent and not a country. I really hope that it's just a ridiculous claim, but one just doesn't know for sure. Anyway, enjoy Toto. They probably knew that little fact.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Diamonds On My Windshield

It ain't the most profound of lyrics, but I think my favorite two lines from any Tom Waits song are the following:

A Wisconsin hiker with a cue-ball head
Is wishing he was home in a Wiscosin bed

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Young Girl On An Autumn Day

Or Maybe It's Just A Phase

In recent developments, my daughter seems to be quite the hockey fan. At age three, and oh so "girly" in the ways of princesses and all things sweet and sensitive, I'm a bit surprised. But there she was, arguing with me tonight to watch the Devils and Sabres do their thing on the ice. I mentioned that hockey was on while I was surfing around to see what I wanted to watch. She wanted to watch hockey but I wanted to watch Monday Night Countdown prior to tonight's Redskins-Steelers matchup. Already mastering her way around a conversation she offered: "Dad, you do know that they're just talking about football, right? Now turn it to hockey."

She had made her point and so I turned it to hockey. She watched a few minutes, we talked about what was going on and the names of the teams and her short little attention span took her to the other room. It seemed like as safe a time as any and I turned the channel back to Monday Night Countdown. Within seconds, my little princess hurried back into the living room with actual tears on her face. I assumed her brother had made her cry somehow. Wrong. It was me. "Dad, you turned the channel when I didn't want you to," she accused.

Back to hockey. Olvia, the biggest hockey fan I know, is hereby welcome to borrow her and take her to a game whenever she wants.

Father Daughter

Thinking about my sweetie. Thankful that she loves me.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Blogging is fun when I don't worry about it being good.

What's the deal with Twitter SMS? I send a tweet from my phone and have no confidence that it will update within the next ten hours or so. Someone please buy me an iPhone or a G1 Android so I can stay in the Twitter loop at all times. Just kidding. Sometimes it's healthy to just make do with what you've got.

I saw Nine Inch Nails on Halloween. The good post about the show is here . The thing that I'm talking about is something that made me smile the day after. I went to read about the concert on the NIN website under the forums page and read about someone who was bitching about a stolen tambourine. The person complained that Trent Reznor tossed his tambourine down to her after she asked him for it. According to her story, someone then immediately dragged her to the ground and took it from her. I read that and got pissed on her behalf remembering the time someone grabbed a program from my hands at a Dio show. Anyway, that crap happens.

Later that evening I was at work and talking to a co-worker about the show when she mentioned that a friend of a friend was bragging about a tambourine that he or she had gotten at the concert. Small world, I guess. I told her what I had read of that story and she got a kick out of it. She'll ask her friend about that and tell me more from that side of the story. I didn't know either person but between the Internet and a co-worker I found myself somewhat knowledgeable about two sides to a story about some silly tambourine incident at a NIN show.

In other news (I'm allowing myself some meaningless rambles tonight), I'm still trying to decide if I love the new Todd Rundgren CD or not. It really rocks hard, but something holds me back from really hearing it as I think I'm supposed to hear it. He's so talented and so sharp that it almost feels too calculated to be trusted as a true rock 'n' roll experience. It's not fair of me to look at it like that, but there it is. I found it helped for me to look at it not as a new Todd Rundgren release but rather as some debut CD by some 20-somethings trying to make their mark. Is that the bastard elitist coming out in me? It's not real rock unless it's performed by broke, mean and lean musicians? Anyway, "Gun" is currently my favorite track from the CD, although the big riff seems to borrow (or is it steal?) from Alice Cooper's famous "School's Out."

Also, I want to write with a bit less self-consciousness, a bit less politeness, but there are some respectable people out there with my last name and I'd hate for them to have to answer to my weird blog posts if they were to have bosses and potential bosses come across the blog. Maybe I'll start another one and find the balls to cuss on it from time to time.

I'm going to bed now. Thanks for reading.

"It's A Sad And Beautiful World"

My friend and co-worker died in a car wreck yesterday. I think he was in his mid-40s. I clocked in, heard the news, and worked for the next nine hours, smiling in public and trying not to cry in private. When trying to process his sudden absence from our lives, I kept hearing the phrase, "life is fleeting" in my head. That line which I first heard in Gary Oldman's Romeo Is Bleeding so many years ago always sounded somewhat cool and profound. We lose a friend though and the line carries very little weight. I tried to say it in conversation with friends today, but I would ponder it first, decide that it sounded devoid of proper compassion and let it go unsaid.

All of us at the workplace will miss our friend very much. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones. We're all going to have to just deal with this in each of our own personal ways. (I guess this is mine.) When my wheels wouldn't go, he was my ride to and from work. I'd wait for him outside my apartment while listening to Tom Waits on my iPod. He would pull up and I'd hop into his car where Mariah Carey was always sure to be playing on his stereo. If not the music, then the rides and the good conversations were always well appreciated. He was always a good Samaritan to me.

Life is fleeting. Or, "it's a sad and beautiful world." From Down By Law, starring Tom Waits, John Lurie, and Roberto Benigni, here's one of my favorite scenes.