Saturday, February 03, 2007

Contestant Search Update

I was in a group of 80 this morning, the second group of 80 today. Out of 1,200 people who took the 10 question test yesterday there were three groups of 80 left. In my group after the 50 question test there were nine of us left. Yes! I passed. We played a mock game to get us used to handling the buzzer thingies and on waiting until the questioner has finished reading it off. I did alright I think. Luckily there was a category about guitar players (yes, I aced that one). I told the production staff people in the interview that I would bring truffles if they put me on the show. They said "Alright a bribe!" I said "A chocolate bribe, those are the most alluring."

So now, I wait to see if they call. I can't audition for a full year. If I am selected to be on the show I can't let anyone know or disclose any of the outcome.

I didn't see Sharon in my group. I hope it's because they had her in another set of folks, not that her asshole friend wouldn't let her continue.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Randy Newman - A Few Words in Defense of Our Country

tip of the hat to oddjob for pointing this one out. randy, dude, if you google yourself, call my agent. i'll work with you again anytime.

Contestant Search Report

I showed up at the Fort McDowell Casino this afternoon. Along with about a thousand other people. The line was already beginning to form up three hours before the published time. I went into the casino, passed on taking a seat at a hold 'em table and grabbed a newspaper and a sandwich.

I talked with a few of the other contestent hopefulls. There was this one guy, with a hot young red head trophy on his arm. Dude was all over the place. I mean these are Jeopardy nerds, ya know? Maybe we aren't all that fucking impressed with how goddamn smart you think you are. He started in on some obscure opera stuff and this little old lady from Long Island corrected his ass sharp. He started to argue with her and somebody else cut him off with "You can't argue whether or not something in history happened or not."

As we were approaching the site for testing the hot red head arm candy was about to leave the line to go wait off in a corner dutifully. I spoke up and said "Why not just take the test? You're probably smarter than you think you are. I can tell you're smarter than he thinks you are. It's only ten questions. Who knows? They just might ask ten questions where you know the answers."

I passed. She passed. Her name's not arm candy, it's Sharon. Dickface flunked. I laughed at him. It felt good.

The big fifty question test is tomorrow at 11:30. If we pass that we get to meet Alex himself. Cool.

Friday Random Ten

The only big news today is that I'm acting on a triple dog dare from my son and going to the contestant search for Jeopardy! today at the Fort McDowell Casino. I am proud that I resisted up to the triple dog level. It speaks for my character. I'll let you know how it goes.

The Future - - Leonard Cohen
99 Luftballoons - - Nena
Calling My Children Home - - Emmylou Harris
Track 11 - - - a jingle track that needs something, something, i will have to listen to this shit until i know what something is.
Sixteen Tons - - Merle Travis
Simple Gifts - - Me on harp, the beautiful Scarlett on violin
Pride and Joy - - Bonnie Raitt
Come Away With Me - - Norah Jones
Jolie Blon - - Doug Kershaw
Cross Road Blues (take 2) - - Robert Johnson


The Wreck of the Barbi Ferrari - - John Hiatt

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Cry, My Belovéd Boston

"There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston!"

- Patrick Henry

I have been alternately laughing and cringing since the cartoon characters vs. the keystone kops & the idiot officials of Boston began. I must, however, state for the record that while I am no big fan of the eastern part of this country and big cities in general I maintain a lingering fondness for Boston. I have some wonderful memories of the time I spent there. We owe the citizens of Boston a debt for the remaining liberties we have. They fought our revolution the soonest and paid enormous prices fighting doggedly alone for the three years it took the other colonies to join in. I have no wish or desire to see Boston become an "only a memory" like New Orleans.

While the talking heads of the news were chattering merrily away to feed the cameras, one of them started in on how "this is a hoax by college kids" or "they might have been left behind by careless students" and then, wrapped it all up by saying "these are all Federal Crimes."

I starting thinking to myself "Is it a federal crime to forget your backpack on the subway now?"

I don't think there was a crime at all. If they must, it would be littering or some other such bullshit. According to Arlo Guthrie littering's not all that bad a beef to have them hang on you. It might be enough to keep the two lads out of the draft when it is reinstated. I also don't think that the little press conference where they talked about hairstyles was all that out of line. The charges are that ludicrous. They don't deserve a serious response. The less seriously we take this farce the sooner it will all go away.

The fear they are so outraged about having been laid over the city was caused first, by the over reactions of the police. I mean, sweet holy saints and flowers, these were cardboard litebright signs. They didn't look like bombs, they weren't placed like bombs. The idiots that "detonated" them should have known that instantly. Then to have the streets shut down, the rivers cleared, all of that big hoorah was an extreme overplaying of the response. It's like calling a six alarm fire because someone had their TV playing that Yule Log loop in a model house open for demo.

Now, they want to throw a couple of kids in jail because they feel like fools and idiots? All that will do is make them look like freedom hating fools and idiots with a mean streak.

What would happen if people, just on their own, not in any organized fashion just started to "forget" their backpacks when walking around the city? There are four college campuses and numerous highschools in my immediate vicinity. Lots of students, lots of backpacks. Are they prepared to bring the city to a grinding halt every time some kid is forgetful? Even if it's done on purpose the kid's saying "oops, silly, silly me" holds more water than the vice president's claims of innocence in the Valerie Plame outing.

The city officials of Boston need to remember their history of loving freedom and standing up to tyranny. They need to start protecting the rights of their citizens instead of trying to cover their own asses.

They need to remember that there are lots of little backpacks that could just be left lying around. I hope we really don't live in a country where forgetting your backpack or posting a stupid little sign is now a federal crime.


Translation Time

Edmund Ryan of the Hill, was an Irish Earl who was disenfranchised and outlawed by Cromwell after the Battle of the Boyne. Rather than fly to exile in France or Spain he stayed and continued trying to rally some kind of resistance. In this song he is hard hunted and seeking the shelter of an old girlfriend. The two were betrayed by a neighbor hoping to receive a cash reward offered by the British. The reward was never paid. The translation is courtesy of Donal O'Sullivan.

"Oh who is without
That with passionate shout
Keeps beating my bolted door?"

"I am Ned of the Hill
Forspent wet and chill
From long trudging marsh and moor"

"My love, fond and true
What else could I do
But shield you from wind and from weather?
When the shots fall like hail
They us both shall assail
And mayhap we shall die together."

"Through forest and through snow
Tired and hunted I go
In fear both from friend and from neighbor
My horses run wild
My acres untilled
And they all of them lost to my labor
But it grieves me far more
Than the loss of my store
That there's none who would shield me from danger
So my fate it must be
To fare eastward o'er sea
And languish amid the stranger"


Wonderful News

One of my very favorite writers (a huge inspiration for my own untidy efforts in the arena) is Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare's Sister. She has not only ended a drought of employment that lasted far beyond the time her talents should have allowed she has begun working for John Edwards campaign as "Netroots Coodinator."

I haven't solidified any support for a candidate yet, my beloved General Wesley Clark has not declared, and even if he does I am not certain of him. There are many questions that need asking this cycle.

John Edwards is a good and decent man. I would love for Mr. Edwards to bring me something and someone to be For in an election. It feels like that last several elections I was always in the "hold your nose and vote for the least worst alternative.

Go get 'em Melissa!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Harp is Tuned, This Song is Played

press for tune

"Ce-h-e sin amuh
Go bhfuil faor ar a ghuth
A' reaba mo dhoruis dunta?"

"Mise Eamonn a' Chnuic
Ta baidhte fuar fliuch
O shior-shuil sleihbte is gleannta"

"A lao ghil's a chuid
Cad do dheannfainn-se dhuit
Mara gcuirfinn ort beinn dom ghuna?
'S go mbeidh pudar dubh
Is go mbeimis araon muchta"

"Is fada mise amuh
Faoi shneachta is faoi shioc
Is gan danacht agam ar einne
Mo bhranar gan cur
Mo sheisreach gar sgur
Is gan iad agam ar aon chor
Nil caraid agam
(Is danaid liom san)
Do ghlacfadh me moch na deanach
Is go gcaithfe me dul
Thar fairrge soir
O's ann na fuil mo ghaolta"

it's the saddest song i know, good-bye Molly. I bet Mark Twain and Mencken know where the good Tex-Mex joints are.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Because One Good Pete Deserves Another

Pointed out by Senor Horsedooty.

There were other ones that draw undeniable parallels to what's going on in Iraq right now, but I like this one. It's just Pete. There even some good pictures of his hands where you players out there can steal some chords.
Bring Them Home

from the good folks at Alternate brain

with a grateful hat tip to Rez Dog

Pete Seeger is a hero. He is passionate, overflowing with courage, and usually right.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Two More Horse Songs

But first I need to make an apology and a correction on something I said in the first Barbaro post below. I heard one of the treating vets on NPR a little bit later and he said that the owners of Barbaro have spent more money on horses worth far less. They are people who love their horses. I still don't get behind much racing though. These horses that run so fast are mere babies. As three year olds they have already been running flat out with a rider for at least a year. I bring mine along much more slowly. No full weight until they are past three, no regular riding for a lot longer. I'm just not prepared to blow up six or seven horses to find that one magical mount.

I was sickened when I saw Barbaro break down. I knew right then that the horse was not going to be alright. Even under the best circumstances a broken leg is usually a death sentence for a horse. Their lungs won't even work correctly if they are aren't moving.

This one's from Woody Guthrie. He said it was one of the first songs he learned and he knows it's the first one he ever got paid for singing. It seems Woody was knocking around the streets of a little town in Oklahoma when he was a boy, trying to put some money together shining boots and shoes when he heard a man playing a harmonica. Woody talked to him and the man told him if he could sing this song then he would give Woody the harmonica.

Old Stewball

Old Stewball was a racehorse,
And I wish he was mine.
He never drank water,
He'd only drink wine.

His bridle was silver,
And his reins they was gold,
And the wealth on his saddle
Ain't never been told.

Oh the racetrack was crowded,
And Stewball was there,
But the betting was heavy
On the bay and the mare.

As they was running,
'Bout half way around,
The gray mare she stumbled
and fell to the ground.

And away out yonder,
Ahead of them all,
Came a-prancing and a-dancing,
My noble Stewball.

I bet on the gray mare
And I bet on the bay.
If I'd bet on old Stewball
I'd be a free man today.

Oh the hoot owl she hollered,
And the turtle dove moaned.
I'm a poor boy in trouble.
I'm a long way from home.

Old Stewball was a racehorse,
And I wish he were mine.
He never drank water,
He only drank wine.

This one's from Doc Watson

Tennessee Stud

Along about eighteen and forty five
I left Tennessee pretty much alive
I never could have forded on the Arkansas flood
If I hadn't been riding on my Tennessee Stud.
I had a little trouble with my girlfriend's pa
And one of her brothers was a bad outlaw
So I sent her a letter by my Uncle Dud
And off I rode on my Tennessee Stud.

The Tennessee Stud is long and lean
He's the color of the sun and his eyes are green
He had the nerve and he had the blood
There ain't never been a horse like my Tennessee Stud.

I went down into no man's land
I crossed that river called the Rio Grande
I raced my horse with the Spaniard's foals
And I won myself a pocket full of silver and gold
Me and this gambler we couldn't agree
We got in a fight over Tennessee
He went for his guns and he fell with a thud
And off I rode on my Tennessee Stud.


I got lonesome as a man can be
Thinking 'bout my girl back in Tennessee
The Tennessee Stud's green eyes turned blue
He was a thinkin' of his sweetheart too
I went back through Arkansas
I whupped her brother then I whupped her pa
I grabbed that girl with the golden hair
And Lord, she was riding her a Tennessee Mare
Stirrup to stirrup and side by side
We crossed them mountains and the valleys wide
We come to Big Muddy and we parted the flood
On a Tennessee Mare and a Tennessee Stud


There's a pretty little baby on the cabin floor
There's a pretty little filly outside the door
I love that girl with the golden hair
And my Tennessee Stud loves that Tennessee Mare

The Tennessee Stud he's long and lean
He's the color of the sun and his eyes are green
He had the nerve and he had the blood
There ain't never been a horse like my
Tennessee Stud.

Adios Barbaro.

Barbaro Euthanized

I'm not really a big fan of Thoroughbred racing. They ride their horses too hard, way too young.

Barbaro was put down this morning. This is a beautiful animal who probably suffered needlessly because there was huge money at stake for him to stand at stud.

I get sad when horses die. I like them better than I like people. About the only thing Ronald Reagan ever said where I agreed without reservation was when he quoted someone else (and I can't off the top of my head remember whom)

"The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man."

Goodbye Barbaro, this song's being sung for you today.

Goodbye, old Paint,
I’m a-leaving Cheyenne,
Goodbye, old Paint,
I’m a-leaving Cheyenne

Old Paint’s a good pony.
He paces when he can,
Good-bye to Arizona,
My pony won’t stand.


I’m a-riding old Paint,
I’m a-leading old Dan,
Goodbye, little Annie,
I’m off for Montan’


Oh, hitch up your horses,
And feed them some hay,
And seat yourself by me
As long as you stay.


My horses ain’t hungry,
They’ll not eat your hay,
My wagon is loaded
And rolling away.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

From The Guttmacher Institute


The vast majority of Americans have sex before marriage, including those who abstained from sex during their teenage years, according to “Trends in Premarital Sex in the United States, 1954–2003,” by Lawrence B. Finer, published in the January/February 2007 issue of Public Health Reports. Further, contrary to the public perception that premarital sex is much more common now than in the past, the study shows that even among women who were born in the 1940s, nearly nine in 10 had sex before marriage. (bolds are mine)

The new study uses data from several rounds of the federal National Survey of Family Growth to examine sexual behavior before marriage, and how it has changed over time. According to the analysis, by age 44, 99% of respondents had had sex, and 95% had done so before marriage. Even among those who abstained from sex until age 20 or older, 81% had had premarital sex by age 44.

“This is reality-check research. Premarital sex is normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades,” says study author Lawrence Finer, director of domestic research at the Guttmacher Institute. “The data clearly show that the majority of older teens and adults have already had sex before marriage, which calls into question the federal government’s funding of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs for 12–29-year-olds. It would be more effective to provide young people with the skills and information they need to be safe once they become sexually active—which nearly everyone eventually will.”

Indeed, while the likelihood that Americans will have sex before marriage has remained virtually unchanged since the 1950s, people now wait longer to get married, so they are sexually active and unmarried for much longer than in the past. During this period, Dr. Finer concludes, young adults have an especially great need for accurate information about how to protect themselves against unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections

First off, I must thank the delightful Susie Bright for tipping me off to this study first. The thing that leaps out to me is that we have yet another example of religious conservatives (or, as I prefer to call them, intrusive asshats) taking an engraved in stone falsehood as their premise. We have never been a chaste nation folks. Some of our founders (most notably Hamilton) were born out of wedlock, far many more were conceived out of wedlock and legitamized by a quick wedding. As my grandmother from Ireland used to say, "First babies can come at any time. After that, it's usually nine months." So, while the President must be robbing the treasury from somewhere (oh, yeah, he's stiffing some poor school districts that fail his testing benchmarks) to get the half billion dollars he's spending to preach abstinence to 19 to 29 year olds (using the irrepressible Ms. Bright again) who aren't going to do it anyway.

The part that makes me weary and feeling old is that they do this all the time. They start with a bald faced lie, like, "We were founded as a Christian Nation" or "The controversy surrounding Darwin's theories is clear" and then, even in the face of all the facts that prove their basic premise to be a lie they will still persist.

This is the kind of imaginary friends magical thinking that gives us an Attorney General who can deny that Habeas Corpus is a constitutional right. After all, the constitution says that it should not be suspended except under the most extreme circumstances, it never says explicitly "You have the right." Jayzus Horatio Christ Sleeping in the Goddamn Pews! Next, when confronted with a pattern of logic that leads one to realize that it wasn't explicity granted because it had its foundation in Common Law the great unwritten list of things that just are because they should be, he says "Well, I don't believe that it's so."

The facts don't care what you believe. (warning, this next part comes straight from a lecture by Victor Davis Hanson, look away if the man offends you) "History is by its nature, amoral."