Daily Archives: February 1, 2010

King Of The Mountain

1 February 2010

So, I know I’m a week late on this, but did you all watch the state of the union address?  The White House must do its research, because I have to admit, Obama said damn near everything I was thinking (and had in fact spoken at length about just days before while lunching with my folks).  There’s plenty of blame to go around, but my general view is that the Republicans are being the dicks they always are (shame on them), and the Dems have been too stupid to recognize that, accept it, and work around it to actually get something done (shame on them).  I was entertained by how different the comments and angles were as I flipped back and forth between Fox and MSNBC.  Both ridiculous in their own way.  The address itself was good I thought.  It struck me as relatively candid.  The official Republican response was comically empty.  It was delivered with absolutely no charisma, and it said nothing whatsoever.  The only thing I heard of any substance was a rehashing of Obama’s own points as if they were somehow fresh counterpoints.  It was embarrassing.

I was particularly caught by the whole bit about the failure of virtually everyone in Washington to put the good of the people ahead of their career self-preservation and political posturing.  It sums up so much of what’s been wrong (and getting worse) in American governement the last few decades.  And it’s not just Republicans.  OK, it’s mostly Republicans.

As I recall, the founding fathers were not career politicians.  They were business men who worked in government out of duty and necessity.  It was a burden, not a reward.  And when the work was done, they wanted to get back to being business men.  I’m reminded of that scene in Gladiator where the emperor Marcus Aurelius offers to make Maximus his successor.  Maximus refuses, and the emperor says, “that is why it must be you.”  In today’s world, every one of those fuckers in Washington gets their position and spends the rest of their career doing what they have to to hold on to it.  It doesn’t matter what’s best for the people and nation that they were hired to serve.  Because it all takes a back seat to their own ambitions.  It’s sickening.

This is not supposed to be “king of the mountain.”  It’s not supposed to be that once you get into power, you just use that power to help yourself.  Getting into office isn’t supposed to be like winning the lottery.  It’s not a reward.  It’s a job.  You were sent there to do a job.  You were sent there to represent me.  I didn’t vote for you and give you that power because I felt like you’re such a swell guy that you deserved to be rich and powerful at my expense.  No, I sent you there to do a job.  If you are unable or unwilling, then step down and make room for someone with the integrity and sense of duty to try to help their country instead of themselves.

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

— Greek proverb



UPDATE:  Just after I posted this blog last night, the Colbert Report had something poignant to add — hilariously illustrating the sad fact that many politicians will resist a thing not because they think it’s a bad idea or because it won’t benefit the people… but simply because they don’t want the other side to get the credit or look good.  It’s incomprehensible to me.  What a disservice to those poor people they dupe into following them.  Because those poor souls all think you’re on their side and working for their best interest.  But you’re not, you’re working for yours.


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Now You’re A Man!

1 February 2010

First, I bought a pot (08/16/07).  Then I bought dinnerware and gave up paper plates and cups (early 2008?).  I even fixed my old couch once upon a time (03/20/06).  And here we are at the next step of my maturation.  Ladies and gentlemen, I bought power tools.  And used them even!  I had some metal work I needed to do on a guitar (which I’ll discuss in a minute), and I needed a Dremel and a power drill.  Well after three trips to hardware stores to get equipment, drill bits, and screws, I was all set.  I spent two nights in my apartment making sparks like it was Flashdance, and now not only is my guitar good to go, but I think I felt my balls drop too!  Where’s that grunting Tim Allen when you need him?  Because if I’m not mistaken, I think I just became a man!

(P.S.  I so loved looking at those old blogs… reading what was going on with me in those days as well as my friends’ comments.  Le sigh!)

This Friday (2/5), This Charming Band will be playing at one of my favorite venues: San Jose’s Blank Club.  We’ve got a lot of friends in San Jose, and the shows there are a hoot, almost without exception.  Starting with this show, you may have noticed our flyer format has changed.  There are a few benefits to this, not the least of which is that they’re way easier to put together.  It also allows for a more modern and sleeker consistency, as well as a lot more room for including show details.  There are pros and cons.  True, the overall effect may be slightly less “Smithsy” than the old format, but it was getting harder and harder to find workable images and prepare those things.  With this new approach, the full picture can be seen, without having to creatively sneak in all the details in and around it.  Of course, I still love those old flyers, and I’m profoundly proud of some of them.  But we’re trying something new, and here’s the result… what do you think?  (Incidentally, this one’s a tribute to the ailing Dennis Hopper.  We love ya, Frank!)

So I hope to see you all at The Blank this weekend, where I plan to “hang out with my twang out.”  That’s right, those of you who come will bear witness to the re-debut of El Twango, my long-forgotten Fender Telecaster.  See, I got him many years ago, but frankly I was too green to contain him.  Telecasters really cut through the mix and have a very different tonal quality than any of the guitars I regularly use.  I always had a hard time dialing in a good sound, and every little flub was painfully obvious.  So after just one use in the first year of TCB, El Twango was banished to guitar collection purgatory.  Not sold off, but not played regularly either.  And there he remained for years… until I found he was the natural choice for my short-lived spaghetti western project (absolutely nails that Alessandroni-esque tone by the way, though he himself reportedly used a Strat).

So that was all in the back of my mind.  Then recently I decided that maybe it was time to give him another shot in TCB, and to my great pleasure, I found that the Tele actually “fits” me now.  And not only that, but it sounds like the vicar’s knickers on a lot of the old Smiths stuff.  “This Charming Man” was largely recorded with one, believe it or not.  Teles were also used extensively on the “Meat Is Murder” album, and they’re a favorite of Boz Boorer.  So it just makes sense.  I’ll be including El Twango in the roster on Friday, and I expect him to make regular appearances for the foreseeable future.  A new (but old) guitar, how exciting!