Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from the official Laziest Family On Earth

Many thanks to all who helped us in the last few, chaotic weeks! We won't forget it. As you can see, we've been taking it easy lately.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Hardwood heaven

The past few weeks have been a flurry of home improvement activity. We are frantically trying to get ready for the move next week!

A thousand million thanks to Drew and Mark for helping me rip out the carpet at our new house a couple weeks ago! Wendi and I have spent a lot of time since then yanking out exactly 896,722,933 staples from the floors. We also ripped out the ugly wallpapered paneling that covered up the natural wood walls in the living room... let's just say that the prybar that Mark left behind got a lot of use. Thanks again Mark, you can have your prybar back anytime you want.

There was about two decades' worth of dirt underneath the carpet. In places it was a quarter inch deep, and it reinforced my vow to never live with carpet again! We have lived in too many apartments with ugly, worn-out, filthy carpet to ever live that way again if we can help it. It doesn't matter how much you vacuum it, dirt builds up under the padding and just stays there. Who knows what kind of vermin thrive in places like that, inches away from you! I hate carpet.

But lovely floors and walls were revealed after all this hard work.... behold!

The living room with real wood paneling.

The living room again.

Who is that scary man with the wild hair at the end of the hall? Notice the dirt worn into the otherwise lovely hardwood :-(

This is the "master bedroom" which is not really so huge. We really hate this color blue and plan to paint it a nice earth tone at some point.

We are tentatively planning to use this bedroom as a study.

In places the dirt was too worn into the finish to be removed, so we are having them refinished and are crossing our fingers in hopes the job will be done by the time we move next Saturday. Once you have hardwood floors, you never go back, man.

Finally, a lovely sunset turned the sky bubblegum pink and gossamer orange. Really spectacular sunset. Love that air pollution.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I take it all back. Not.

Sorry, not to harp on this. Am I being too harsh in saying the GOP and its leader & figurehead, Rush Limbaugh have racist tendencies? Did I make it up?

Maybe I should reconsider. I suppose that some people would find nothing racist about this picture which appeared on the official GOP Facebook page for about a week...

...but you know what? Those people are stupid. And I didn't make it up.

Regardless of what the GOP thinks,I really don't think this photo represents "American values" at all. Not the ones we should admire anyway. Rush Limbaugh and the GOP can keep them to themselves.

Sorry, racism irritates me. I don't feel sorry for or apologize for mocking and ridiculing the people who practice it. Why should people like that be respected?

I'll shut up now... no more political posts for a while :-)

UPDATE 11/5/09: here's a photo from the teabagger "protests" today in DC:

Modest moves toward universal health care are will result in a new holocaust. Makes sense to me, I've been persuaded.

This kind of idiocy cannot be brushed off as being the work of a few crazies on the fringe of the GOP. The Obama photo above was on the GOP's official Facebook page and the awful banner above was proudly hoisted at a rally today sponsered by the GOP congressional leadership.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Truth is out of style

When I read about the right wing freakout over the torpedoing of Rush Limbaugh’s attempt to buy the St. Louis Rams today, I thought of this snarky song from two decades ago.

It’s like the GOP has adopted it as its theme song. Seriously, what is wrong with these people? I would be more disturbed by their whining and paranoia if they weren’t being taken less seriously every time they start frothing about how oppressed, misunderstood and wronged they are. Think about it: wealthy multi-multimillionaire, lying, thrice-divorced, whore chasing, “family values voter” like Limbaugh is soooooo oppressed.

Boo hoo you big fat baby. Nobody’s trying to take away his freedom of speech. In fact, I hope he keeps it up, so he can show everybody everybody who doesn’t know already what a hateful, hypocritical, creep he is.

Lest someone doesn’t think he deserve the backlash against him, please see this list for why some black football players aren’t very appreciative of his race-baiting, reactionary right-wing cluelessness. He says he’s “color blind” when it comes to race. I can actually find common ground; I agree he’s blind to a lot of things!

About the song: yes some of the cultural references in it are dated, but the sarcastic satire is more biting and relevant as ever in this era of what is misleadingly known as “cable news” and wingnut wackiness. Turn off the TV!

Friday, October 09, 2009

No peace, no prize

Well I haven't posted anything political for a while, so I thought I'd fix the situation.

I did a double take when I read this morning that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. I thought it was a joke at first… I’m sure most people did.

Let’s leave aside the fact that this administration has been in office for only about 9 months or so and hasn’t had time to accomplish much. That’s not the heart of the matter.

Do we really need to be reminded that we are in the midst of an indefinite military occupation and insurgency in Iraq, with no end in sight? When Obama makes a decisive move to end this occupation, then he might deserve a Peace Prize. That is not what is happening. In fact even after withdrawal the USA is likely to have a significant military presence in Iraq.

Do we really need to be reminded that our country is fighting another endless war in Afghanistan? That we are slaughtering civilians there by the dozens every week? When Obama takes significant steps to end this war, then he might deserve a Peace Prize. But that is not what is happening. In fact, the Obama administration is planning on escalating that conflict.

Do we really need to be reminded that in the name of freedom and liberty and America, our country tortured and killed completely innocent people on the most dubious of charges? That the criminals who ordered and perpetrated these crimes are still free? When President Obama decides that these crimes should be prosecuted and these people brought to justice, then he might deserve a Peace Prize. But that is not what is happening. The administration has declined to take any substantive steps because they want to “move forward”. And then it has the gall to lecture Iran about torturing its own people?

Do we really need to be reminded that the Obama administration has not taken any substantive steps to repeal the Patriot Act? That it reserves the right to detain any US citizen indefinitely, without charges? That even if the prison at Guantanamo Bay is closed, the USA reserves the right to hold people without charges in other places? If Obama had taken steps to reverse all this, he might deserve a Peace Prize. But the Obama administration has actually embraced and reinforced most of the powers that the executive branch gave itself during the Bush years.

Do we need to be reminded that the government is at the beck and call of the military-industrial-corporate complex? That we are becoming a country eternally at war in part due to the profitability of our wars to our private sector? If Obama had taken steps to dismantle corporate control of the government’s military procurement system, he might deserve a peace prize. But that is not what is happening. Instead, the government has reinforced its ties with murderous mercenary companies like Blackwater (now Xe... nothing like the slaughter of women and children to affect your company's brand image), while at the first hint of a scandal rushing to strip a scapegoat organization like ACORN of any chance of getting grants from the government. How many people did ACORN machine gun?

I don’t know what the Nobel people were thinking, they are making a mockery of themselves and the Peace Prize. Glenn Greenwald had a good piece up today about this… his thinking mirrors my own. But then, his thinking often does.

This is absurd.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

First show - make it rain

Tonight is the first show for my new band Governors. It just kind of fell into my lap a few days ago and we decided to go for it. We hope to blow the doors off of Bar Bar.

Business not casual. It's how we roll.

My first live performance in nearly 5 years. We gonna make it rain!

I came across this awesome performance and just felt like he was singing to me, is all, ha! Tom Waits is a treasure.... and it's a first-rate song, too. We'll probably never perform so well, but we'll try.

Oh and the guitar solo in the middle is phat.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Don't apologize

I just discovered this powerful new song by Lou Barlow and have to share it. It's from his forthcoming album Goodnight Unknown.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Barlow, he was bassist in the legendary band Dinosaur Jr. in the late 1980s and later led his own bands Sebadoh and Folk Implosion... you may vaguely remember Folk Implosion's big hit in the mid 1990s, "Natural One".

Barlow left Dinosaur Jr. under bitter circumstances and was very public in bashing the singer, J. Mascis -- who is a formidible indie rock legend in his own right. So, it was pretty unexpected when the old Dino Jr. lineup reunited a few years ago and played a very successful tour. I was lucky enough to see them myself back in 2007 at the Westword Music Showcase downtown.

Lou Barlow's music is usually pretty melancholy but there's something anthemic and profound about it that makes it better than your average indie rock. Sebadoh's 6th album, 1994's Bakesale was part of the soundtrack of my early 20s. It ages so well 15 years later. I'm happy to see that Lou's still going strong and still making great music! I think I'm going to go and listen to Bakesale now...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hey Gandalf.... nice dress!

Great video by Red Fang that I came across today. It's got swords, wizards, violence, beer and rock n' roll. And it's funny!

All kidding aside, this band really rocks and I'm going to have to check out more of their stuff. I'm posting this video because their sound is close to the aesthetic to which I aspire for my own band... more about that soon!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Monkey chant! Wow!

I have been playing and listening to a lot of music lately, so in keeping with this theme...

Glenn Kotche is the drummer for Wilco, a band I have followed and loved for many years now. I saw them live once. But I didn't know until a few days ago just what a virtuoso their drummer is. He has a percussion performance degree from University of Kentucky... and it shows.

It's long, but this performance is worth checking out to see the just what amazing things a master percussionist can do. You will notice that his kit is heavily modified, with all manner of springs, boxes, soundmakers, a thumb piano, bells and other odd little devices... with which he makes some astounding music!

The piece is not just a drum solo, but composed the whole way through with (I think) a few improvisatory sections. You will notice he returns to the same melodic theme on the thumb piano and bells multiple times.

No, the crickets aren't real... but I have no idea what the heck is up with them! Ask Kotche.

Hat tip to Will for enlightening me with this a few days ago. Turn it up loud.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Guitarists I Admire: Jimi Hendrix

I imagine that most of the small crowd that reads this blog knows that I play guitar. It’s the great pleasure of my life, and “musician” is a key part of my identity. I’ve been playing guitar for about 20 or so years now, and I’ve come a long way in terms of ability. While I don’t consider myself anywhere close to being a virtuoso or even an expert, I’m pretty comfortable with my instrument and can play pretty much anything I hear in my head, electric or acoustic.

Part of being a serious musician is having and acknowledging your musical influences. I am no exception. Certain guitarists have influenced and inspired me since I was a kid of 14 just learning to plink out a few hesitant chords on my mom’s nylon string guitar. I can’t say that all of what I liked when I was a kid has stood the test of time (Mark loves to give me crap for liking crap like Whitesnake and Britney Fox in the 1980s), but over the past two decades, there are certain artists/bands/guitarists whose influence upon my style and taste in music has proven durable and deeply influential to me. And, given the fact I am a total music nerd who can talk for days about music that I dig, I feel like sharing what inspires me.

So, this is Part One of what I plan to be a occasional, long series on guitarists I admire. I’ve been drawn to loud rock n’ roll from a pretty young age, so it shouldn’t be surprising that most of the guitar gods you’ll read about in this series come from that tradition. It’s not that there aren’t fantastic guitarists that I like in other genres such as jazz (Django Reinhart, Pat Metheny, Stanley Jordan) or classical (John Williams, Andre Segovia), etc., it’s just that rock n’ roll is the family of music that has left a lasting mark on my musical personality.

As I’ve often said, my tongue only half in my cheek, “I was born to rock!”

First up in the series of Guitarists I Admire: Jimi Hendrix

This is kind of a no-brainer. A cliché too. I mean, what fan of rock music doesn’t consider him among the greats? But I have to weigh in, because Jimi Hendrix’ music was very important to me as a formative musical influence.

I think I first heard Hendrix on a tape that my friend Nat gave to me when I was a sophomore in high skool. The first song? “Are You Experienced?” It was mind blowing for my 15 year old adolescent brain, that thick, hypnotic, incredibly complex, sidewinding electric guitar figure that comes in over the trippy backwards drums, and a guitar solo recorded backwards in the middle, too. I listened to that tape over and over again… I think I actually still have it somewhere.

Hendrix was a man of many and immense talents. To this day he is primarily known for his guitar solo pyrotechnics (literally… at one famous show he set his guitar on fire before smashing it to bits) and his liberal, revolutionary use of fuzz tone. And it’s true that his abilities in this arena have rarely been equaled, before or since. He had a naturally flowing, lyrical style to playing guitar solos that made them seem effortless. His vibrato technique was among the most expressive and instantly recognizable anywhere. And he pioneered guitar sounds that are still admired all these years later, even though the technology for producing them was quite crude by today’s standards (slashing speaker cones to make them sound “dirty”, first generation fuzz boxes, arcane guitar effects like the Echoplex and Univibe).

The band he became famous for fronting, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, consisted of himself and two seasoned jazzmen, Mitch Mitchell on drums and Noel Redding on bass. Indeed, it’s difficult to separate his own talent from that of the phenomenal talents of his “sidemen”, both of whom, while being slightly lesser known than Hendrix, have nearly equal status in musician’s circles. Mitchell, in particular, is considered to be one of the greatest of all rock drummers and is certainly responsible for much of the magic of Hendrix’ early albums. Prime examples of this band firing on all cylinders are “Manic Depression”, “Red House” and of course his first big hit “Hey Joe”. None of these are particularly musically complex (“Red House” is in a standard 12 bar blues form), but they are prime examples of what master musicians can do with simple ideas.

These guys were so talented that they would record entire albums with minimal rehearsals, sometimes recording tunes that Hendrix had written the same day. That is a significantly different aesthetic than modern recording techniques, which are far more sophisticated and time consuming. The primitive techniques they used resulted in some timeless music, and didn’t rely on technological gimmickry to sweeten them up.

But to label Hendrix as merely a great guitar player does not really do justice to his multifaceted talents. He was also a first rate songwriter. “Castles Made Of Sand” is a melancholy, somewhat simple song that nonetheless shows of some tastefully understated guitar chops. The chord progression to “Little Wing” is a beautiful example of the ideas that sprang from him, lilting and longing. Though his voice was not particularly good by traditional standards and he used a sort of “speak/sing” technique on most of his work, it was nonetheless expressive and well suited to his compositional ideas.

On later albums such as Electric Ladyland, he toned down the flashy guitar solos and focused more on songwriting and use of recording techniques; although this being Hendrix, flashy guitar work is in abundance.. The result was, predictably, great music. Psychedelia just doesn’t get much better than a song like “In 1983 A Merman I Should Turn To Be”

Hendrix eventually parted ways with Mitchell and Redding and formed a new band, the Band Of Gypsys. While not quite as legendary as the Experience, they were more than capable of backing Hendrix and his music. And my favorite Hendrix tune of all, “Machine Gun”, dates from this era. The song was recorded live and is famous for both its politics (a Vietnam War protest song) and the stuttering palm-muted guitar technique that Hendrix used at the beginning to imitate the rat-tat-tat of a machine gun.

But what really makes it stand out is the guitar solo in the middle. Beginning with a single, sustained note that he holds for a ridiculous length to build suspense, it then carpet bombs everything in its path for the next couple of minutes with liquid napalm. All other electric guitarists before and since are felled by this solo. I hereby proclaim it The Greatest Electric Guitar Solo Of All Time!

You think I’m kidding? No. That’s not hyperbole at all. Okay, maybe the caps were a bit much. But if you really want to know why Hendrix is worshipped by musicians to this day with such reverence, listen to this song and your question will be answered. I get goosebumps just remembering it in my head now. Also, "Machine Gun" is an excellent example of what the aforementioned Univibe effect sounds like.

I still like to pull out some Hendrix once in a while, even though his music, particularly his big hits like “Purple Haze” and “Crosstown Traffic”, has been nearly over played to death on classic rock radio. But he was a genuine rock and roll pioneer. His huge impact on later generations of musicians, including myself, means that it makes no sense to write about great rock guitarists without a hat tip to Hendrix. RIP Jimi.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wendi's stone update

Quick blurb to update everyone about Wendi's salivary gland stone problems. Her surgery was yesterday. Here is what they pulled out of her...

I have read and heard from the medical professionals in our family that most salivary gland stones are about the size of a grain of sand. Wendi has had this one for more than 20 years and it grew to the size of a pea. In Mark's words, "That's a big honkin' stone!"

Though the surgery itself went well, she is having a difficult time swallowing, is in a lot of pain and is rather loopy from the pain meds. I feel bad for her. We are watching her condition closely.

So, I'm at home today again helping with Simon, who is blissfully oblivious to most of this, though I do think he understands that mommy isn't feeling very well. Oh well at least I got off work again.

Get well soon, hon.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Professional sports: parasites of the public

This post started as a response to Mark’s latest post rhapsodizing about the Nuggets. It’s nice that the Nuggs have finally overcome their jinx. They do seem to be playing better than at any time in their history and Denver is really rallying behind them. Awesome!

I’m being sarcastic. Now I’ll turn on the charm.

I don’t have the obsession that most people have with professional sports. In fact, I hate professional sports, almost without exception. And college sports are nearly as bad. If the Nuggs, Broncos and Avs left town never to return, not only would I not miss them, but I would cheer and openly celebrate.

Why, you ask? What did the Nuggets or the Broncos ever do to Matt?

But that’s the wrong question. My question is, “What have the Nuggets or Broncos ever done for me?” I understand the appeal of watching a game. What I don’t understand is the sentimental attachment. The Nuggets are not our friends. Most are not from Denver. They are millionaires, hired mercenaries, paid to use their athletic talents to fool you into thinking we have some kind of stake in their success, that their triumph is ours. We have no stake, and their triumph is not ours. They do not care for us, they do not love us, and they have no loyalty to Denver.

Neither do any of the other major professional sports teams have any particular loyalty to any location. They are notorious for pulling up stakes as soon as they find they can make more money elsewhere. It’s not surprising. Any business would do the same.

What is surprising is the adoration and love that sports fans shower upon their “heroes”. It is completely one-sided – we can read in sports magazines about the sadness sports fans every time their idols do not live up to their perceived status as “role models”. Which is quite often, though the reality never seems to sink in to the fans. Sports stars are generally egomaniacal prima donnas, jerks who relish their status and care what the fans think only so far as it affects their abilities to sign fat endorsement contracts.

And why would they? To be a sports star in America is to be the closest thing to royalty we have in this country, and rare is the scandal that ends one’s career. The worst forms of behavior are winked at. The reality is that the culture of sports encourages it. And people expect these overgrown babies to be role models?

But sports star culture is not even close to being the worst thing about professional sports. Far worse is the parasitic nature of the industry on the economy. Most sports teams could not survive economically without public subsidy of their enterprises, through public financing of stadiums, special laws granting them the ability to effectively operate as monopolies, etc. If the public balks at providing subsidies for the multimillionaire owners, the owners threaten to move to a town more favorable to their public extortion scheme. And they do not hesitate to follow through on these threats if their bluff is called.

Here in Denver, the public provided nearly 70% of the financing for the Bronco’s home, Invesco Field at Mile High, nearly $250,000,000, through a special metro-area sales tax levy.

The rationale behind this public “investment” is a supposed benefit to the economy at large. In reality, the positive effects on the economy are dubious at best, non-existent or negative at worst.

But certainly, some people do benefit economically – the wealthy owners and athletes. They are lucky to have such a deep reservoir of public goodwill and trust, which never seems to deplete, no matter how badly they misuse and abuse it.

It’s true that, in Denver’s case at least, the tax increase in question passed by a wide margin of a popular vote, so clearly the public believes it derives some form of value from the Broncos et al. My question is therefore, what value? The right to purchase overpriced tickets and merchandise? $8 beers and $5 hot dogs, while being prohibited from bringing your own food into a facility that your tax dollars paid for?

Of course not. The “value” to the public is what they perceive to be the “team spirit”, the loyalty to the hometown, the vicarious thrill of victory when the “hometown boys”, who are neither boys or in most cases from the hometown, defeat the enemy. But as I have shown, that is manufactured, not genuine, the result of successful branding campaigns and gigantic marketing budgets. The reality is precisely the opposite. It is cynical exploitation of mass delusion, and very, very lucrative. Every time you buy something in the Denver area, you are paying the interest on the bonds that were issued to pay for Mile High Stadium.

If you feel good about that, consider this: perhaps the worst thing about the public subsidy of pro sports is what economists call “opportunity cost”. An opportunity cost is the result of choosing one economic option over another. How much affordable housing could have been built for that $250 million? How many schools built and funded? How many public works like parks and infrastructure could have been paid for? Don’t ask the owners of the Broncos. They’re too busy putting that new wing on the mansion or vacationing in Bermuda.

I am under no illusion that professional sports are going away any time soon, or that they don’t command significant popularity. I just think that people should try to be a little more aware of the realities of the world of pro sports before they go painting their faces orange, or arguing about statistics in some bar. Professional sports teams are not your friends.

Wake up. Class dismissed.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Slack and a salivary stone scare

For the record, today was a classic rainy day in Denver. So, I thought I would write a short post, just to show I haven't disappeared or anything.

Y’all don’t have to tell me what a slacker I am. I will just say that there are 2 reasons I haven’t posted anything for more than 2 months.

The first: school. Or “skool” as I like to spell it. I am taking a really hard tax class this semester and I’m in skool 2 nights out of the week. Wendi is of course back in skool too. From Monday to Thursday, it seems we barely see each other. So when I’m not at work or at skool, I’m at home taking care of Simon. And when he goes to bed, I usually don’t have the energy to write much. Sorry. Plus, this tax class I'm taking is really difficult.

The second reason: music. I have finally found a good drummer to work with. I have been playing with Will for about 2 months now, and am looking forward to summer when I will have more time to devote to creating loud, obnoxious music that will frighten decent people, disgust upstanding citizens and make children cry. That’s really what I live for, after all. Plus, a very good situation has come my way recently that I think will give me a great foundation to network and play with even more musicians. More about that later.

For now, we had a bit of a scare this evening. Wendi has had sporadic problems with a salivary gland stone since she was 17. Her stone had been hurting her for a couple days but this afternoon it really started to hurt and swell. A conference with Dr. Mark and internet research revealed that an abscessed salivary gland stone can be very serious. We made the decision to take her to the ER at Swedish Medical Center, where she spent a good portion of the evening.

Don't worry, everything is more or less OK. I picked her up a few minutes ago from the ER. She will probably need surgery for it. Bummer, but at least she won't have any more stone problems. Geez, it seems Wendi and I are on track for having an average of one surgery each per year. As Wendi is fond of saying, "Ain't nobody getting any younger."

Anyway, I plan on posting again soon. From famine to feast and all that…

Friday, February 27, 2009

Say it ain't so, Rocky!

By now I’m sure you’ve heard. I bought my last-ever copy of the Rocky Mountain News today. No I’m not going to have it framed. But this is definitely a very sad day.

Most people know that I am a voracious consumer of news. I’ve long been in the habit of reading an actual newspaper several times a week at the very least. Since I’ve been taking mass transit the past few years, the Rocky has been an indispensable companion on the way to work. Reading the paper is one of those little morning rituals that helps me wake and mentally gear up for my day.

I’ve lived in Colorado for 20 years now and though I sometimes read the Post, the Rocky has always been my favorite. I’m not sure why. Even though its editorial page was much more conservative than my general views, I think the reporting and overall quality of the paper was more consistent.

I do feel that the quality of the Rocky went steeply downhill the past 2 or 3 years though. The past few months, it seems they’ve been focusing on reporting on what the TV news stations are too – crime, puff personality pieces, sensationalism. I hate TV news and never watch it anymore so I was disappointed in this turn of events. I’ve barely even bought a paper in the last month. The sports section was still robust and they seemed to be pouring their limited resources into it, but I care nothing for professional sports. The rest was all national AP/wire stories that you can read anywhere online.

However they still did a great job of covering the state legislature, and though their business section was pretty stripped down, they still had some great journalists like David Milstead and good business reporting. Plus they have won several Pulitzers in the past 7 or 8 years. It wasn’t all bad, and will be sorely missed. It was the oldest operating business in Colorado… less than 2 months shy of being 150.

I am very sad today. I will remember the Rocky like an old friend with whom I didn’t always agree, but whose absence leaves me wondering what will fill the void.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I've added to my blogroll

This week it occurred to me how thankful I am for what has become known as the blogosphere. 5 or 6 years ago, blogs were still relatively new and unknown. Look how much has changed!

I believe that with the rise of the blogosphere, the Web has finally begun to fulfill the potential that I remember being hyped so much in the early 1990s. I'm still relatively new to this and I am not good at html, but am thankful to have the blogosphere to make my workdays spectacularly unproductive ;-)

So, I've now added some links to a number of blogs that I follow nearly every day. To your right you will find a section titled, "some other blogs I read." Clever, no? They mostly deal with economics or politics, but I will add others soon. Check them out... they are all very intelligent, informative and some are very, very funny... particularly Sadly No and Jon Swift. It's a brave new world, baby.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Don't spare the change

Well yet another eon has passed since my last post. It occurs to me that I would probably be better off posting lots of little posts rather than these mega-screeds that nobody wants to read anyway. Mea culpa..

Now, to bizness. I am of course thrilled that President Obama was elected by such a landslide, as you could probably guess from my last post. Heck it just feels so good to put the word “president” in front of his name and not Bush’s for a change. It has been a long 8 years and it seems like the world has really entered a new age since January 2001 when Bush took office. The sense of transition is more pronounced than I can ever remember in my lifetime.

There is no other politician that I can remember who brought tears to my eyes with such a wonderful inauguration speech, anyway. It was profoundly moving, and unlike most political speeches actually contained substance – acknowledgement of the troubles we face and a rejection of the direction we are going. I’m cynical, but I also long for reasons to be proud of my country. Men like Obama make me proud.

He seems to have hit the ground running, with a flurry of activity. We’re only 4 days into Obama’s administration and it really seems like they are trying to make a legitimate break from Bush, at least so far. I could not be happier. There has been a lot of speculation among we flaming, pinko, godless, America-hating, liberals since the election about whether Obama really intends to shake things up as was promised during the election. In particular a lot of his cabinet appointments of people from the Clinton years have drawn cries of alarm.

I’ll admit I was nervous too, as I never liked Clinton much. At times during the latest campaign, the thought of Hillary Clinton as president sent shivers of horror up my spine. Do we Americans need two decades of control of the most powerful office of the most powerful country in the world by only two families? The prospect is awful on both symbolic and functional terms. Ugh.

However, I give Prez O credit He has demonstrated time and again that he is a master of political strategy. He has been building a political juggernaut that might well be unstoppable. He has a mandate, momentum and vision. I just hope he uses these for things I want to see happen.

So the first week looks like a great start. I am a big fan of Obama and am inclined to trust his instincts. There will be mistakes and slips on the way I’m sure. But after 8 years in the Bush, I will be overjoyed if on balance things change marginally for the better. I don’t expect that I will agree with 100% of what they do.

But I am also going to hold his administration to a high standard. If it doesn’t perform, you can bet I will say something about it, and I won’t be nice. Mark my words. I have enough problems with Democrats already. If I am forced to say “et tu, Barry?” I may never vote for another Democrat again.